Tuesday 31 August 2010

Egovernment? i am not sure

You are going to be starteled when you read this blog as we all think that we have completely goner electronic when it comes to dealing with government. I don't think so. Take tha national I'd card for example. We have to download the form and take it ourselves to the various places and wait in the queue to process it. Then wait for over a month to receive it. What about payment online? We still suffer fromthis. I have to go to a building to pay my pcompany phone bills. This last one was with du of course and to think that a phone company has every thing to do with the Internet but they cannot handle B2B operations.

Also in Bahrain one has to jump a thousand hoops to get a passport renewed! Forget the licences, Leases, visas and all the shebang that is attributed to the necessities of life.

I lived in the west for a while. So in the eighties I was studying in Southampton, my brother needed to get a replacement for his son's birth certificate. I rang the birth registrar, they sent me a form, filled it, posted it, few days later I had it in my mailbox. Easy peasy. Last year my husband's passport needed renewal, I downloaded the form, filed it, sent it by courier, three weeks later got the new passport! How easy is this? Imagine if you have to do this here. First you have to endure the heat, then you have to find parking then of course the queues and the faces that look at you as if you are an alian from outer space, one cannot but wonder why on earth do these people bother to go to work every morning? Unsure really.

The banks is another joke. Sometimes I wonder if I am trusting my money with woody wood picker. Every thing one needs to do one has to go tothe bank. My bank in New Zealand never saw my face all my transaction are handled in a remote way and visiting the branch is not something thati need to do at all unless I wanted to chat to someone! I once bought two houses off plan and got a mortgage signed while I was at mydosk indubai and the houses were in
Hamilton. No exaggeration my friends. I never saw the agent nor the banker or the lawyer. My house in Dubai took 5 months to be registered.

Where is the E-government

Friday 20 August 2010

Fathers, fathers and fathers!

There are fathers who love to go to wars, there are fathers who love to create wars, there are fathers who prefer peace than wars
There are fathers who worship work, others who only love themselves and many who care about their families.
There are some who write books, some who read books, and some who despise any sort of print and writing and declare that its all to do with propaganda.
Some who work really hard to support others, and some who want to make a difference in this life? Some go to mosque but have no idea why, and some go to mosques to worship God, and some go to mosques to meet people and have new friends.
Some fathers become presidents of their country; some become presidents of their companies, and some only job is to create companies.
A lot of fathers just struggle in life to achieve something, and a lot of fathers do not have to struggle at all, things just seem to work out for them. Some worship women, some marry one woman only and some want to marry all the women in the world. Some have no idea why are they created and some make it a point to prove that they are idiots. Some love politics, some love poetry and some love songs, but some sing songs.

The list above is not exhaustive, nor does it undermine men in any way, I couldn’t sleep so I started to analyse reasons why one father is stuck to his daughter. This father couldn’t work, couldn’t read, couldn’t do anything at all since his daughter went away to complete her studies, so unknowing what to do, he started to create problems at home, over things that are non-existing, and made up so many excuses of why he cannot live in that country and how he has to go away to start building his future. He cried on hearing the voice of his daughter, he had nightmares about her getting into trouble or being involved in something that is not appropriate. He fought with everybody, and left the country to go and stay with her "for a while only" until he figures out what he should do with his future, he made everybody think that he must be suffering from some sort of stress or depression, and that was the reason for his abrupt departure from his work and his house. Obviously everybody assumed that there is a problem between his wife and him, and people at work started to look from the side of their eyes to the wife, and what a horrible monster she was to give all these problems to her poor husband. Unknowing of course that there were no problems at all, and the whole act was just a camouflage for wanting to be next to his sweetheart daughter. So in which category do we place this man?

Of course the daughter loves him dearly, and his other kids do so too, and the wife as well, however for him he only loves this one daughter for some reason. He Cannot close his eyes if she is not close to him, he texts her to know if she is fine, and calls her every now and then to ensure that she didn’t go under a truck , I am kidding of course. What I really mean is that, can someone be so affectionate to one member of the family and is unable to declare it? Or is he shy that the family will not understand? Well, now that it is obvious to them, I dont think they will be worried any more or have to think hard on whether they did something directly or indirectly to hurt him. All doubts are removed, this man adores his little girl and wants to make sure that she is safe, and nothing disrupts her studies. If it was me, I would say that out loud, there is nothing to be worried about, I want to be close to my daughter, and what is wrong with that?

Sunday 15 August 2010

Flash! oops did I go to sleep?

Driving back from Abu Dhabi on Friday afternoon, suddenly I got stunned by the flash of the radar, looked at the speedometer and oops its closing on 160 KM per hour. Oh my god, I am a drive-o-phobic person (unsure if there is such word or not, I am sure you know what it means though, my heart pounds, and the palm of my hands drips with sweat when I drive especially if alone on the highway; in actual fact i need to have a towel next to me to wipe of the rain dropping from my hands. So I never drive over the speed limit, what am I talking about, I never drive over a 100 on the highway, just to avoid that feeling, and always try to drive away from the trucks, as they are the monsters on the roads that bring the daymare to my life (as in nightmares).
So my explanation to myself is that I must have gone to sleep as it was really hot, the sun was glaring and I was fasting too which didn’t help, this reminded me of that time when I used to work in a company and had to drive 45 KMs a day to and fro. In those days the roads to perdition (to work) were single lanes, nothing on either side except the sand, and even the camels used to wonder on the highway, so I trained myself to drive while sleeping, and it worked very well, every day I increased it for more minutes, the drive was lovely full of day dreams and magic, I used to dream of the high-rises that now exist on either side of the road, and the multiple lanes that will allow me to be on my own so I can continue to sleepdrive without hesitation. Sometimes I think that the waves of my dreams must have hit the heads of the people that own Dubai and they started the frenzy of buildings, until all these buildings showed up and the roads got so congested to the extent that no one including myself would be able to drivesleep or sleepdrive or whatever you want to call it. Now I am dreaming of cars that can detect dangers on the road and drives away from it. I will be the first person that will buy such car.
Being drivophobic makes me hate to be driven by anyone else, I cannot really hire a driver as I will be watching his or her every move and that way I will never focus on what I need to do ( BBM, TXT, EMAil, tweet or facebook) which is what I do while driving now. The other day I heard that a plane crash happened in New Zealand, and when they checked the phone of the pilot, they noticed that the last thing he was doing prior to the crash is text someone, I thought that was odd, as normally aeroplanes fly on autopilot, so a person hooked to a phone is safe on an aeroplane, but it doesn’t seem so, as this pilot had died. Now I have to change my strategy and stop typing too? Is that going to be the end of my 60000 thoughts a second? Of course not, as soon as I heard this I started to use the voice-note- recorder on the BB, and then emailed it to my daughter so she can transcribe it into a page. She told me off as she knew that I did that while driving. Thus whatever I do they will find out. Maybe the best thing is not to take the phone with me in the car? Or maybe I should courier my phone everyday to the office to stop this madness completely? What do you think blogpals? Tell me honestly.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

My love in this life, sea life

I am not sure why people forward emails, maybe they think that the recipient doesn’t know the information, or would like to know more information, or maybe just to stay in touch. Like businesses really, if they are not in our face we will forget about them (far from the eye, is far from the heart as they say). However since I moved back to Dubai, I didn’t have enough time to check all the forwards, so I created a folder on my outlook that is called "forwards from friends" ingenious really:) and I only go there when I have some time to spare which is really rare, with my phone ringing all the time, and the 300-400 business emails that I have to reply to, and the shopping with the kids, and for the house, and the social agenda that doesn’t end. Sometimes when I am returning home at night I get worried that I will have an accident, as my head spins and my eyes closes, I wonder why am I doing this, but I only remember at the end of the day when I am fully tired. Anyway, so in those rare moments when I have time I do check your forwards friends, please don’t be upset with me.

And when I like what they send, I will post it here for you all to see too (when you have the time, that is)
A preamble for this post
Three years ago I was still a member of the Dubai ladies club. It was my favourite place on this earth. The beach was always empty, and I would either be swimming in it, or just lying on those long bed-like-chairs reading a book or just meditating. In those moments many things cross my mind, so I thought of a novel, (I always wanted to write something but didn’t know what it was) the novel involved the sea, and the life inside it, with a mix of people going there and solving the sea lives problems. Of course I never came around to writing it, one day I will, I promise, it will be the next better-than-harry potter book, and you will all receive a copy signed by me.

So whenever I receive forwards on sea life I reminisce on my novel, and that is why I am posting this post:

These are the images shot for an underwater film created using revolutionary technology. The film took four years to shoot and costing a staggering £45 million to produce. But it's easy to see why: 500 hours of unedited film were shot using remote-controlled mini helicopters, divers, hydrodynamic cameras dragged behind boats and top speeds, and carefully tied poles.


Just going for a little flight: A long-beaked dolphin is caught on camera by a mini helicopter as it leaps from the water in an unspecified location in one of the images from the film


Behind the scenes: A mini helicopter hovers above a whale during the four years of filming


Health and safety?: A diver moves carefully through a sea of jellyfish…..
The film, Oceans for Pathi, is set to be launched this year. Cameras have penetrated shoals of hunting tuna fish and flown just metres above dolphins as they leap from the ocean. The film-makers also captured a sand-level view of tiny turtles hatching and scurrying to the ocean.


Sand-eye view: This eerie image of horseshoe crabs scuttling on a beach was part of the 500 hours of unedited footage


My, what big fins you have: A diver appears dwarfed by a sunfish in footage from the film.
It took two years of planning before 15 cameramen could even begin filming Oceans for Pathi, which will be out on general release on 27 January 2010. The crew filmed in 50 locations across the world and captured 80 species of fish, dolphins, whales, squid, lizards, crabs and turtles. The secret to the production is its revolutionary filming carried out in a bid to get within the ocean's most intimate events.


Cuddles: A walrus with its baby in another image from the film


Cannonball!: Sea birds dive bomb the water in search of fish
A watertight, hydrodynamic box was built to house a specially designed digital camera. The box was then drawn at top speed behind a boat, capturing dolphins as they darted through the water. The camera was also attached to a long pole and tied across the front of the boat, enabling directors Jacques Cluzaud and Jacques Perrin to film laterally at speeds of up to 15 knots. A remote-controlled mini helicopter hovered silently above the directors' prey and divers made 75 expeditions to capture 500 hours of unedited film.

Head first: An Adelie penguin diving from an iceberg in the film


Hold that pose: Two Weddell seals turn their inquisitive eyes on the camera in footage from the film

Two Californian sea lions look as though they are dancing through the reefs in the footage


The scale of the production was matched by the directors' vision for the film.
'In an attempt to tell the story of the oceans, we sought to open doors other than those of statistics: those of a fantastic and magical tale, the marvels of the little world of the coral reefs, the heroism of dolphins in full charge, the gracious dances of the humpback whale and giant squids, the horror of the attacks made on the oceans and to their creatures, the incredible spectacle of the sea unleashed in a titanic storm, the silence of a museum of extinct species,' said co-director Jacques Cluzaud.
Scientific director Sephane Durand said: 'The directors' dream was to swim with fish and dolphins, to track their underwater movements and ocean crossings whatever their speed, their evolutions, their acrobatics:

Fancy meeting you here: A humpback whale appears out of the astonishingly blue ocean to peer into the camera in another shot from the film, which cost £45m to produce

As the world turns: A ball of horse mackerel in a scene from the film

A dinghy is dwarfed by a crane hoisting a camera over the water to film a whale

leave you with these photos to imagine my novel guys.

The way governors think?

Dont you all wish sometimes that you are a different person with a different nationality? I dont mean to insult my western friends, so apologies in advance if this will sound demeaning to you western boys and girls.

Day before yesterday I was waiting for my group in a hotel, so (as my usual self) I started chatting with the girl who was in the lobby, and asked her what she is doing here, she said that they are flown all the way from USA to provide technological and scientific programmes for the kids during Ramadan. A programme that starts at 9 PM and goes on till 1 AM. Of course two things came to my mind straight away, kids should not be up that late, even if its Ramadan, and second thing why bring a group for a month and host them at a 5 star hotel to provide this sort of entertainment to our kids? When there are thousands of companies that were established by people like me and other men and women who borrowed money and risked their lives to provide for the country? I haven’t seen that programme tendered at all? And to just bring a group for it from overseas is not acceptable at all. Then this morning in another country and another setting, I hear that they would pay for the foreigners fully if they are giving a service to them. And I have been providing a service to this place since 8 years and no talk happened about any payment. All work that I did was for charity I guess?

And later on in the day my other western friend told me that she had sent her bill to the group she brought to my office to pick my brain but they didn’t pay her yet! And all these years I have been booking appointments for people, taking them there and letting people pick my brain for a bill that has a ZERO amount.

Which brings me to this discussion: either that I should change my look and my accent (maybe) to make others feel that I am a westerner (probably remove the shaila too) , hire a westerner to go for the meetings ( which I cannot afford) or quit what I am doing? As no matter how hard one works, and how sincere the work is, no one will value what one does and what one can provide unless you look different.

Good morning everybody, in actual fact, I just woke up and have a change of heart now, maybe I dont want to publish this blog, as it would show weakness in me that doesn’t actually exist. I told myself last night that maybe I should only work with individuals and forget about the governors as I am not sure how they think, or who advises them. For example my friend last night was asking why not have a local there do the job of this other person who is not a local (forgive me for being vague a bit, this is in a foreign land where an entrepreneur is hired rather than jetting a local person from here, totally agrees with my first paragraph) so I said that someone must have done a cost/ benefit analysis and found out that if they did that, the cost to them is triple, and this place that I am talking about apparently has very strong auditors who know what are they doing. They must be giving a sound advice to the governors. But in the mean time this same place spends millions on buildings and staff to do a job that we do for them without costing them anything at all? Weird I guess? I cannot see the reason behind this really, so if one of you understood what i am trying to achieve here and knows a bit of background then please help?

Thursday 5 August 2010

Third World lack of confidence? What do we do about it?

I am sure you all know what I am talking about. Since November 2007 I got my BB and had enjoyed tremendous freedom and mobility; I was travelling and at the same time keeping my business running. The amount of time I saved and the number of gains I secured because of it are not quantifiable, also being linked all the time with my children who study overseas by chatting with them all the time whether on MSN or BBM kept me in contact to the extent that I didn’t feel the need the distance between us nor did I worry about them at any point in time. My team in the office were also constantly in check, so if I needed to ask for something or needed them to do something urgently I was only an email away.

However all of this freedom is about to go, just because the guys at TRA and RIM cannot find a solution to the security issue. Now that this word is introduced I opened Pandora’s Box and of course we must reflect on the subject of national security. What does it mean? Is the country worried about 500,000 business men and women who are trying to add value to the country's economy? Is the country worried that us the business people are in contact with our children and families while trying to add value to the economy and doing this in stress-free mind? Is the country worried that being stress-free will actually endanger the country?

I dont think this is what bothers the country. To me, I dont mind if the country checks all my emails, mms, sms, bbms, emails, phone conversation etc. I dont mind if I have bugs around my house. In actual fact I will be happy if they do this as it will provide me peace of mind knowing that there are people who are worried about our security. Do you know that I become worried and terrified when I enter an airport that doesn’t check our things because there could be a terrorist amongst us who will either kill all of us or damage property; I would rather have the country do the proper checks and balances to keep us all safe. If the country says to me that I have to go and provide my finger prints and reveal all my life's secrets, I would do that tomorrow, in exchange to freedom and mobility. The latter is too important for me and my business. I consider what I am doing is so important to the country and its inhabitants, as otherwise most of my clients (the students) may lose time as they will not be able to study on time, so if in exchange I reveal a bit of my private information then who really cares? And mentioning private information is really a funny subject. If you google my name you can find out everything about me, the only this that is probably missing is the colour of my underwear, and even that is available from my credit card purchases. So our information is public and our lives are public, and even what we do for living is public as we show it on our websites hoping that people who need us will find us. And to prove that we are real we have to put our photos, and all of this is public too.

Did you know? I didn’t want to say all of this, rather I wanted to say that we will always be a third world, as we dont know how to solve business issues. TRA could have secretly talked to RIM and solved this matter in a very civilised manner the same as what the first world had done. Did we all think that the people who are using BB in the west are saved from this? No please you are all naive if you thought so, everybody in the world has a security surveillance imposed on him or her. When we lived in New Zealand they introduced a driving license with a chip (smart card) this chip is linked to radar that tells a machine somewhere, your whereabouts and the explanation provided is that in case someone is lost they can find him or her? Well, that was in the first world? Did anyone utter a word about it? Also in US all bags are screened before and after the flight has landed. The garbage is checked by the green police in Germany, and if they see a piece of paper they try to trace it to the house it’s thrown from then the person is fined.

What I am trying to say here is that, please people dont be upset, and we should all try to save our third world countries from acts that could harm us and our generations, and if we all thought that BBMs could endanger national security we should have said this before TRA had discovered it. In actual fact I received some BBMs that are not proper and I was upset about it. I think we as people living in the third world really lack confidence; we should not be scared to say what is on our mind in order to protect the people and the country.

I love my country and I would do anything to protect it. Come on Etisalat, find us a replacement that continues to save our time, or do the talk that the western world had with RIM (we have many advisors from the west, so why not use them for this to compensate the hefty salaries that they pocket every month)

Monday 2 August 2010

Sibling's frictions

I must go back to school and study psychology; I really don’t understand the behaviours of today’s children. Why are kids in the same home fight? is that because they are jealous of each other, is it because they want to extract the love of their parents just for themselves, does the way parents deal with their kids affect the kids' relationship so they become hostile towards each other? Or it’s just a matter of personality difference or the clash of their stars? (If you believe in horoscope and Chinese animals of course)
last night I arrived home a bit late as I was invited to a dinner at one of my friend's house (I am not deviating from the subject to talk about the variety of food that we ate and the size of the women that were in that house and how they eat, this will be the subject of our discussion in another blog) and my son and daughter had had a fight over the way my daughter drives, apparently she almost got herself killed by not watching her blind side while driving. Had you listened to the story of either side you will think that each one of them had only listened to the end of the sentences that were exchanged and not to the crux of the matter. Why did they only listen to what they wanted to listen to? Is it because they hated each other? Or is it because they had different mind sets? Is one of them very stubborn to accept criticism? Or the other one is sensitive to what he or she hears? I need answers to these questions. To me I want a home that when I reach to I find paradise on earth, I want to have a happy atmosphere where the waves are not disturbed by stones thrown at them. What my kids do not know is that the ripple effect of the thrown stone is endless and is maintained in the universe until the time ends. And on the day of justice that ripple will be held and they are both asked to why they fought? Their voices will be heard where everybody that is gathered there will be able to judge who is at fault. I guess all we need to do is to make ourselves aware of every word before it is said and engage our ears before our mouths are opened. Dad used to tell me that God almighty gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason that is to listen twice then talk. I think this is the reason for fights, people do not listen, we only listen to what we want to listen to and forget that the sentence is not complete and should not warrant a fight as we actually never listened to it. I don’t know if you read poetry or not, but people used to blame Omar Alkhayam for being atheist when he was in actual fact a scholar. One of his poems says “God did not threaten those that drank but he threatened those that prayed “; meaning the person that read half the verse would think that God discouraged people from prayers and encouraged drinking.

Beware of half sentences people.

How history affects the lives of people

This was the title of an article in gulf news last weekend. So I didn't create it if you are wondering. Well let me go to the story without further ado. My friend's son wanted to register his marriage in one of the courts here. The person at the customer service desk asked him about his religion and his sect, and the bride's religion and sect. And since they were from different sects, the customer service person asked him to renounce his sect, or he cannot marry the girl. The man wrote on a piece of paper that he must renounce it, and asked him to go to another counter. The girl at the other counter was astonished from the harshness of the sentence, didn’t know what to do as it was the first time she hears of such thing; so she tells the groom that he needn’t do this, instead he can write that he will not swear at the other sect, and that will do it. She writes the sentence and he signed it (all of this on the same piece of paper of course), again they go back to the first counter. He in turn didn’t like what was said, so off he sends them to meet the manager of the court, whose face turns red, and takes the paper, rips it (or something of the sort) and ask the groom to come back another time.
Of course the other humiliating thing here is that the bride was also exposed, as her father who is from a different sect, had divorced the mother few hundred years ago ( exaggeration!) and at that time the court ruled out that the kids will be in the mother’s custody. So the guy at the counter says that this is not on, and that we should go back to that judge (who could be dead now) and ask him why he did that, and demands that the father comes to the court to give the daughter away to be married. The girl innocently told him that neither she nor the mother know where he is, so he said “of course, your mother must have divorced him because of his sect??!!” now this is another story in itself and worth writing another blog about it dont you think?
I cannot recall the rest of the story, the reason I am telling you about what happened is to show you how historical events have affected the marriage of this couple. The boy who had been brought up in a foreign country and who is totally oblivious to the fact of what sect to believe in and doesn’t actually care as it doesn’t really matter for him or his bride. What would the world say about us? why do we hang on to the triviality of what happened in ancient times and forget the rest of what that era had actually given us, from medical to scientific to poetry to artistic discoveries, why are we stuck to just one side of the story about our history, why would we stick to this side and grew an industry that only focuses on the parts that actually insults people and their thoughts? Why would religion be a question that needs to be declared to anybody? Isn’t religion a personal thing? I would follow what the westerners say all the time “between friends we should not discuss religion or politics”. There are millions of other pressing issues, and once we remove religion from the equation, I feel everything else will be solved; it’s the domino effect that I am looking for. Of course this behaviour is not only prevalent in marriage, it has similar effects on jobs, friendships, writing, publishing, opening business, going overseas to study, promotions if one is already in a job etc etc.
You see how historical events had affected people's lives?

p.s. the boy decided to do a civil marriage at his embassy to cut this crap and get on with life as it should be.