Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stupid me!

I really should have learnt by now...wait for the 'clarification'.

Before commenting, wait twenty-four hours after an official statement has been made and published because it's almost guaranteed that a 'clarification' is on the way.

Yesterday I posted about the lifting of the ban on fifty-seven job titles not being allowed to sponsor their families.

Within twenty-four hours a 'clarification' was issued which denied the ban had been lifted.

I quote from the 'clarification' in The National:

"UAE officials have denied a report that expatriates from 57 different work categories would now be allowed to get visas for their families to live here.

The ban on certain lower-income occupations being eligible for visa sponsorship has not been lifted they said."

The officals giving the clarification are anonymous, the original statement was from Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs at the Ministry of Interior.

An ongoing story perhaps, so let's wait for the 'clarification' of the 'clarification' which could well be being prepared as I write.

Here's the clarification.

Thanks for the comments on my previous post which alerted me to the 'clarification'.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Good & bad

A couple of stories in today's Gulf News relate to subjects I posted about last year. One's good news, the other I don't understand.

The good news is that the strange list of fifty-seven occupations barred from sponsoring family members has at long last been changed.

It was always strange to me that sales people, mechanics, butchers, drivers, tailors, cooks and many more were discriminated against on the basis of their profession, regardless of how much money they earned. Putting a minimum wage requirement on sponsoring makes sense to me, to ensure that the family can be looked after, but to ban people from from having their family with them based on their occupation I don't understand.

Anyway, the ban is lifted provided that the would-be sponsor lodges a deposit of Dh5,000 per sponsored person. That's a lot of money to them but at least they now have the option.

The other story is about a Pakistani visitor who'll be spending ten years in Al Slammer, was fined Dh50,000 and will be deported after his jail term. He'll be pleased to be deported I should think, to get the hell out of here.

His dastardly crime? He was convicted of drug running. He brought in 123 grammes of...wait for it...poppy seeds.

Back in January last year I posted this pic...

Bagels sold in Spinneys smothered in grammes of...wait for it...poppy seeds.

I must have a look to see if they still have them on sale.

I haven't read about the Drug Squad raiding Spinneys. Or anybody from Spinneys heirachy languishing in Al Slammer. Why not?

Is it a law that needs changing? I think so.

My earlier posts are here and here. Today's stories in Gulf News are here and here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not tempted

We usually find something new and interesting on menus when we're in Singapore, and the last trip was no exception.

Chicken feet is a standard item in Chinese restaurants but this was a new one on me:

I've eaten crocodile meat back in Oz, but I draw a line at eating the feet.

I gave these a miss too:

And much like Dubai, No Parking doesn't apply to you if you drive something like a Lambo:

Now back in Dubai and there's an interesting story in today's papers. Given our reputation for enjoying a beer or two I had to smile at reports that an Aussie's been fined for consuming alcohol.
Our football team's former captain Craig Moore pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol and was fined Dh1,000.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Free cars

An update on the abandoned cars posts I've been doing every so often.

You could help yourself to any of these I guess, they're on a one kilometre stretch in Dubai Marina.

There are two more that could be holiday cars but the dust is getting thicker and they're beginning to look as though they may be abandoned too...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cyber Stone Age

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Claims that we're a major international commercial centre, business friendly, a great place to set up a business fly in the face of the Cyber Stone Age internet we have to struggle with.

The speed is no better than the old dial-up I had back in Oz fifteen years or more ago. That's a lifetime in the cyberworld - think of the development over that period. But not here.

It comes into sharp focus when you get back from somewhere like Singapore.

Using the computer there last week I was connected to websites within a couple of seconds. Click and the new screen opens in a couple of seconds.

I come back to Dubai and I sit looking at a slowly, very slowly, loading screen. Thirty to sixty seconds is normal.

Bottom left corner is mocking me with "Connecting to http://..." then after more time "Waiting for http://..." then even more time "Start downloading from site http://..."

And they're the same websites which open instantly in Singapore.

There are regular complaints about the high prices we have to pay for internet access, but to me that's not the main problem. The main problem is the lack of speed
It's hugely wasteful of time, reduces productivity which means increased costs. How many hours are lost here, I wonder, by people just sitting waiting for the computer to move on so that they can get on with their work.

We're paying high prices for a terrible product. If they gave it to us free it would still be a poor product.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A back issue

Well that was a different stay in Singapore from the ones we usually have.

Arrived late Friday evening, got ready to go out for coffee mid morning Saturday, bent over to pick something the floor in agony.

A joint in the back had decided to click out of place.

Ten minutes later I could move - just about and very, very carefully.

What I needed was a wellness solutions facility* .

But it was the weekend so they weren't open.

Spent most of the weekend lying flat, then I hobbled off to the first appointment I could get, which was 8am Monday. At 9am I walked out normally, if a bit stiffly.

The joint was back where it should be.

I went back a couple of times for work on the soft tissue which had been damaged, because another eight hours sitting in a cramped aircraft seat was coming up and I wanted to get it as right as I could. It worked.

I tell you all this not for sympathy but because some of you will, I'm sure, visit Singapore some time and you might also need a wellness solutions practitioner*

Away from our usual habitat the biggest problem is always who to call, who to see, who to trust.

Make a note of the name Jackson Yong. Far East Shopping Centre, next to the Hilton on Orchard Road. I hope you never need him but if you do you can call him on 683 65896.

Singaporean, trained in Australia and he's good. Very good.

* Physiotherapist

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Even quieter for a week

At the end of the day we human capital were looking for a relaxation solution going forward, somewhere that's customer-centric, offers lifestyle concepts, comfortable sleep systems, ticks all the boxes...

...we'll be in Singapore next week.

Eid mubarak all.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Solutions absurdity

It's been about six weeks since my last rant about the ridiculous buzzword 'solutions'; July 18 in fact if you want to go back and remind yourself.

But I've just noticed a byline that reaches new levels of absurdity.

Gulf News have a reporter who's called...Community Solutions Journalist.


It's her job title.

Community Solutions Journalist.

What the hell does it mean?

Compounding the absurdity the Community Solutions Journalist sometimes co-writes with a colleague who is...Community Interactivity Editor.

I'm not making it up, you can check it for yourself here.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Strong light

It would have been much worse if the street light hadn't been as strong. It stopped the van from crossing the kerb and causing a head-on crash.

It's a sixty kph zone by the way, but as it's the usual Dubai dual-carriageway, two lanes either side, it's treated like a freeway.