Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sharia Zones in Britain?

Now - I live in a Muslim country under Sharia law. As I have chosen to live here, I accept the laws I live under. If I chose to break the law, I accept that I would be leaving myself open to punishment under those laws. End of. Your country. Your laws. Who am I to complain?

So [excuse my language] why the fuck do certain groups of Muslims (and I accept that it may be a minority) think it is acceptable to try and impose Sharia law on areas of the UK, which already has perfectly good laws which apply to all people whatever their race/colour/sex/religion etc.

It would be interesting to see what happened if tomorrow I went along Hamdan Street posting leaflets saying the street was now a hedonist only zone! You can only walk down this road if you are naked, smoking a spliff and you must have a shag in public before you leave...I think I could guess what would happen.

It really pisses me off. If you want to live in a Muslim country, move to one! There are plenty in the world that would love to have you and you can share with your Muslim brothers and sisters and feel very comfortable that the community is built around your belief system. The alternative is to live side by side with the rest of the people of the UK (Christian, Jew, Hindu, Atheist, Buddhist ...etc. etc.) , as many thousands of Muslims manage to do very successfully.

The UK has of course brought this upon themselves; little by little allowing concessions here and there, trying not to upset people here and there, trying to be community spirited and accommodating ... The UK has become way too soft which is why it is the nirvana that attracts the world's immigrants because they know everything will be laid on a plate for them when they get there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ramadan - you don't have no ice cream

There is a reason for embedding this video, which will be revealed - but if you are offended by bad language, maybe give it a miss!

We had a couple of visitors at work today from the UK who asked a question that a lot of people ask, "What is it like here during Ramadan?", which will be starting next week. They were asking from a business perspective, but we also reflected on life in general during The Holy Month. 

Of course most people focus in on the  "no eating and drinking" thing which is to be expected. I don't find this so much of a problem really. Most hotels have a coffee shop that is open in the daytime, but is curtained off from the general public. Some coffee shops like Starbucks are also open but with their shopfront windows blacked out. Garages and grocers continue to sell food and drink and even some fast food chains will be open, but for take away only. This reflects the way in which the UAE generally is tolerant of non-Muslim expats and allows for a degree of flexibility. The secret is not to abuse this tolerance and be seen to be openly flaunting the fact. Hence, if I want to have a drink during the day, I can easily buy one and quietly drink it in my car away from the general public or maybe swiftly swigging it as I drive while there is no one driving next to me. It's really about respect. Muslims commit themselves to not eating/drinking/smoking or having sex during daylight hours, so to openly drink/eat or smoke in public (sex in public isn't acceptable anytime, anywhere!) is like Eddie Murphy as a child smugly taunting the child that has no ice cream! And it would also come across as a big "Dis' " to Islam. 

In the evenings, the place goes mad! Just before sunset the roads are busy as everyone gets home to pray and break their fast at sunset. Breaking the fast is traditionally done with dates and milk. During this time, the roads become empty and makes for a great time to go to the supermarkets if you are a non-Muslim!

After prayers, there is then the Iftar meal. Sometimes businesses organise Iftar celebrations to invite all their customers to share. Business is still done at Iftar and after. Mainly though, everyone is out to join friends and family to celebrate. I can see how they must love this time - it's like Christmas week , but for a month!  The malls are full until the early hours of the morning and the place seems to be buzzing. Live music and entertainment is restricted though - and that includes the volume of the music in your car. 

Business in Abu Dhabi goes very quiet during Ramadan. Major decisions, such as contract awards are not usually taken during Ramadan, especially with Government or semi-government organisations. Those that are fasting will work shortened hours, so there is a smaller window of opportunity for meetings. Muslim expats may travel at this time to be with family. 

Generally, I don't mind Ramadan. It's a nice quiet time of year and I think people generally have a happier disposition. 

So, to my Muslim readers - Ramadan Kareem for next week!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The summer exodus

The UAE is definitely feeling quieter now the summer is here. As soon as the schools finish, the Jumeirah Janes and the Khalidiya Kates take their darling little ones back home for the summer, leaving their hubbies to fend for themselves as bachelors for 8-10 weeks.

I'm only jealous of course, I would love to escape the summer here and enjoy that amount of time in a sensible climate and not open my front door as if I am opening the over door to check the Sunday (or Friday) roast; or get in my car while it's been parked during an appointment and have my skin weld itself to part of the door frame, steering wheel or dashboard that I foolishly lean on; or get third degree burns walking from my car to the said appointment, as a baseball cap doesn't make a good business accessory.

One benefit though, is that the roads are much quieter. Still cars manage to hit each other on 10 lane highways with about 6 cars on them within 2 miles, which is quite a feat - it's actually harder to hit something than to avoid everything, so, impressive.

I think the worst of the weather is still to come, as we have only had one week about a month ago when the temperature touched 51C. Since then, we haven't reached those highs. So I guess, just as we are approaching Ramadan (no food/drink/smoking/sex during daylight hours), things could turn nasty weatherwise. I noticed the lights are being put up on the Corniche which reminded me of the imminent Ramadan festivities.

We have to wait until Aug 12th before we get a trip home, and then only for a week. But we are really looking forward to it, especially to see our kids. We also have a wedding to attend in Berlin on the way back, which will also be nice.

Before we leave we have a new maid starting, Madhu, who is currently at home in Sri Lanka, but will join us on Aug 5th. She seems very nice and we are hoping that she will be fine. 

So, until then, we plod on with life and endure the heat.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Where's the seat belts?

This picture was in the paper this week. I can only hope that this was a staged shot while stationary... neither the driver or the child are belted in...

I know I shouldn't laugh....

...but I did! .... a lot.

From today's paper....

ONONDAGA, NEW YOK Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike’s handlebars and hit his head on the pavement. The accident happened on Saturday afternoon in the town of Onondaga, in central New York near Syracuse. State troopers said Philip A Contos, 55, of Parish, NY, was driving a 1983 Harley Davidson with a group of bikers who were protesting against helmet laws by not wearing helmets. Troopers say Mr Contos would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet. –

Saturday, July 2, 2011