Friday, September 30, 2011

Outrage in Bahrain

I agree fully with the leader in The Times today:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Exhibition in Oman

I was in Oman all last week to work on our exhibition stand at the Muscat International Exhibition Centre.

As they couldn't find anyone more senior (!), I was left to do the hob-knobbing with the dignitaries that came through on the VIP sessions.

Below is me greeting His Excellency somebody who's name I didn't get (with his security entourage - check out the daggers!)

Lurking in the background is Jamie Bowden, British Ambassador to Oman and Graham Inett, Head of UK Trade and Investment in Oman, who both came up for a chat.

The next day I met His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport & Communications.

Right, well that's enough name-dropping for one blog......

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Slavery alive and well in UAE

Agents advise paying maids less than minimum wage - The National

I think what these agents are advising, and definitely their advise is heeded, amounts to slavery. It doesn't have to be this way. We pay our maid more than double the minimum suggested. She gets a day off. When she has finished her work, she can go out and meet her friends. This is just normal and humane. I heard someone say the other day that maids don't "run away" , we are not talking about children here - they may "choose to leave" because the conditions they are in, or their treatment, is unacceptable.

There are those here (it's fair to say, generally, Arab) that consider our approach as being bad for "the market" in maids - pushing up the salaries and making maids "run away" when they realise they can earn more elsewhere. It can be argued that even the minimum salaries offered are significantly more than they could earn in their own countries, but for me their treatment is more important than the salary itself. Personally I would feel guilty at paying only the minimum, but that is from my western expat cultural perspective. For most western expats here, we have maids not because we can't possibly do without one (we managed perfectly well at home without!), but simply because it is an affordable convenience.

So - if you have a maid, do the right thing!

Sand in don't say!

I have read some pretty idiotic letters to the paper over here, but I have to say that, so far, this one takes the biscuit! I couldn't possibly speculate on the colour of her hair, but she may well be from [a county just to the North East of London] (for my international readers, please insert appropriate location populated by really really thick blondes!).

btw.... love the two comments :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A secret habit with a get-out clause

Boys sentenced to jail over ‘secret habit’
Haneen Dajani
The National - News
13 Sep 2011

ABU DHABI // Two teenage boys who committed indecent acts on themselves were sentenced to two months in a youth correctional centre after being cleared of rape and kidnapping. S M, an Egyptian, and R M, who is Jordanian, had been accused with more...

So what I have learnt from this article....

  • Having a "secret habit" is against Islam
  • ...but Sharia law has no penalty for it
  • It's ok to do it in your bathroom
  • ...but not together with your mate, sat on some other dude
  • If doing it stops you from having sex out of wedlock, then go for it
  • ...a Fatwa says it's ok

I wonder it ok to do it in the bedroom, kitchen, living room etc?

Anyway.. I think it's an activity best performed alone - leave your mates out of it frankly.

Yas Island traffic police

Well Abu Dhabi Police seem to be having a purge on drivers gunning it down the Yas/Saadiyat Island highway. There is only one camera, so once you are past that you can pretty much put your foot down until you reach the port area. Not any more.

For the last week or so there have been about 4-6 patrol cars parked at various stages down the highway waiting for offenders. Now, today, I know for sure that there are also unmarked police cars patrolling. How? Well, Caz got stopped by one today! However, it turns out the cop who stopped her, was the same cop that attended our house over the maid incident. Basically, he tried chatting her up then while my back was turned - and he went about the same routine today! This time offering Caz a dinner trip on his boat. How nice of him. Caz said her husband loved boats and we would both be delighted to come, at which is seemed to back off not surprisingly.

Anyway, a little feminine charm later and she was let off with a warning.

Caz: well played
Cop: you weasel

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 lessons for Saudi

So I reckon it is a pretty obvious little equation that follows from the above survey



17% !!!???

Thursday, September 8, 2011

John al Bobbitt

Maid severed sponsor's penis after rape, court told - The National

Now, knowing the punishments that are given out here, I am pretty sure that a maid isn't going to do this unless she is severely provoked. But, if he was doing what he is alleged to have done - I guess it's pretty unlikely he will be doing it again!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is justice possible?

From today's The National...

Surgeon in obscene gesture case not returning for trial, lawyer says - The National

I reckon this guy is on a hiding to nothing and is doing exactly the right thing. It does seem here that you are pretty much guilty unless you can prove your innocence. There is very little evidence here except the say-so of those involved - and one of those has way more on his side, if you know what I mean!

It's a shame, because now the UAE will have one less well trained surgeon (he was considering a post here).

Friday, September 2, 2011