Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Dubai – Think Think & Think all that shines is not valuable

a place aiming for 2020 expo is hub of all misfortunes in terms of humanity and human rights

Living in Dubai is not wonderful and glamorous, as many would have you believe. Forget about what you’ve read, seen, and heard; those shiny buildings and man made islands are all just smoke and mirrors. There are so many things wrong with this place that I have decided to compile a list, a must read if you are considering a potential move to Dubai.

Basically for being tax heaven, all ‘dark money’ from international Mafias is dumped in dubai real estate. No economy based on ‘General Trading’ with Fees applicable once a year does not thrive as portrayed in dubai. Neighboring KSA is biggest critic of happenings in Dubai

1. There is no standard address system making mail-to-the door delivery impossible. In fact, it makes anything nearly impossible. The taxi driver, here for only two days, and having learned English from old Beatles albums has no clue where your house is. He won’t tell you that of course, he’ll just keep calling and saying, “Okay, okay. Yeah, yeah.” When you purchase something that requires delivery they do not have an address line, but a box where you are expected to draw a map. Not able to draw a map? Explain like this: I live on the street after the airport road, but before the roundabout. Go past the mosque and make a U-turn.

2. The government blocks all web sites that it deems “offensive” to the “religious, moral, and cultural values” of the UAE. That’s hard to swallow for a freedom loving American, but I get it. I do not understand, however, why all VOIP access and related web sites are blocked. I guess the government also takes offense to people inexpensively contacting their families back home. You’re welcome to call using the analog service provided by the government-owned telephone monopoly, but it will cost you a whole lot more. So much so, in fact, your frequency of calls will be greatly diminished if you can afford them at all. The government says VOIP is blocked for security reasons, yet even the residents of communist China and North Korea have access to these inexpensive calls.

3. It is really hot outside. Not Florida in July hot; Hot as if you were locked in a car in Florida in July with sufficient humidity to make it feel as though you are drowning. Hot as in 120 degrees with nearly 100% humidity. Do not look to the wind for relief. This is the equivalent of pointing a hairdryer on full blast directly at your face. Pour fine moon dust-like sand over your head as you do this and you get the picture.

4. There are too few trees, plants, and grass – or living things aside from us crazy humans, for that matter. Ever see a bird pant? I have. In my opinion, human beings were not meant to live in such a place. If we were, there would be sufficient water and shade. The only greenery around are the roadside gardens planted by the government, who waters the hell out of them in the middle of the day. Thanks a lot! Didn’t you say we should cut down on our water consumption because you are unable to keep up with the demand? I have an idea: let’s all move someplace where it’s not 120 degrees outside.

5. This country prides itself so much on its glitz and glamour that it put a picture of its 7-star hotel on the license plate. Yet, the public toilets in the king-of-bling Gold Souk district are holes in the ground with no toilet paper or soap. Hoses to rinse your nether regions, however, are provided. This results in a mass of water on the floor that you must stand in to pee. Try squatting without touching anything and keeping your pants from touching anything either. Oh yeah. It’s 120 degrees in there too.

6. This country encourages businesses to hire people from other poor countries to come here and work. They have them sign contracts that are a decade long and then take their passports. Even though taking passports is supposedly illegal, the government knows it happens and does nothing to enforce the law. These poor people are promised a certain pay, but the companies neglect to tell them they will be deducting their cost of living from their paychecks, leaving them virtually penniless – that is, if they choose to pay them. Companies hold back paychecks for months at a time. When the workers strike as a result, they are jailed. Protesting is illegal, you see (apparently this law IS enforced).

These people will never make enough to buy a ticket home and even if they do, they do not have their passports. They live crammed in portables with tons of others, in highly unsanitary conditions. The kicker: they are building hotels that cost more to stay in for one night than they will make in an entire year. Things are so bad that a number of laborers are willing to throw themselves in front of cars because their death would bring their family affluence in the form of diya, blood money paid to the victim’s family as mandated by the government.

7. Things are not cheaper here. I’m sick of people saying that. I read the letters to the editor page of the paper and people say to those who complain about the cost of living rising here, “Well, it’s cheaper than your home country or you wouldn’t be here.” The only thing cheaper here is labor. Yes, you can have a maid – but a bag of washed lettuce will cost you almost $10.

8. There are traffic cameras everywhere. I consider this cheating. Where are the damn cops? I drove around this city for weeks before I ever even saw a cop. Trust me, they need traffic cops here. People drive like idiots. It’s perfectly okay to turn left from the far right lane, but speeding even just a couple of kilometers over will get you fined. These cameras are placed strategically as you come down hills, or just as the speed limit changes. Before you know it…BAM! Fined. Forget to pay the bill and your car will be impounded..

9. The clothing some of these women wear makes no sense to me. I understand that as part of your religion you are required to dress in a particular way, but a black robe over your jeans and turtleneck and cover your head when it is 120 degrees outside? In the gym some women wear five layers of clothing…sweatpants and t-shits over sweaters with headscarves. Yet the men’s clothing makes absolute sense: white, airy, and nothing underneath but their skivvies.

10. People stare at you. I am sick of being stared at. I’m stared at by men who have never seen a fair-skinned blue-eyed woman before, or who have and think we are all prostitutes so it’s okay to stare. They stare at me when I am fully covered or with my husband, and even follow me around. It’s beyond creepy and has brought me to tears on more than one occasion. The staring is not limited to men, either. I’m stared at angrily by female prostitutes who think I am running in on their territory by having a few drinks with my husband at the bar.

11. Prostitutes? Oh hell yes, there are prostitutes. Tons of them. So, let me get this straight, I can’t look at a naked picture of a person on the Internet in the privacy of my home, but it is okay to go out in public and buy a few for the night?. Any nationality any age any color. In short selected areas become brothel streets across Dubai. soliciting is done at metro stations, using bluetooth pairing or bbm pins passed over scrap papers.

12. Alcohol can only be sold in hotels and a handful of private clubs. A person must own a liquor license to consume in the privacy of their own home. To obtain a liquor license you must get signed approval from your boss, prove a certain level of salary that determines how much you are allowed to buy, and then submit several mug shots (aka passport photos) for approval. Pay the fee and the additional 30% tax on every purchase and you may drink at home. Then again, you can just pick up a few bottles in the airport duty free on your way in to the country, but two is the max. Why not just drive out to Ajman where it’s a free-for-all and load up the SUV? It’s easy enough, but crossing the Emirates with alcohol is illegal – particularly in the dry emirate of Sharjah, which just happens to lie between Dubai and Ajman. Go figure.

13. Not only do you have to get your boss’s approval to obtain a liquor license, but you must also get the company’s approval to rent property, have a telephone, or get satellite TV.

14. Back to the craziness on the roads: If I see one more kid standing up and waving to me out the back window while flying down the road at 160 kph…whatever happened to seatbelts?

15. When is the weekend again? Let me get this straight: the weekend used to be Thursday and Friday, but no one took off all of Thursday, just a half day really. Now the government says Friday and Saturday are the weekend, but some people only take off Friday, others still take a half day on Thursday, but some might just take a half day on Saturday instead. Anyway you slice it, Sundays are workdays and little business can be accomplished Thursday through Saturday.

16. There are few satellite television operators: OSN network under ownership of regions Richest man Mr. Walid bin Talal is seriously compromised. the content is dubbed and filtered. News channels seldom show the ground reality of human rights violation across GCC. The movie channels play movies that are old and outdated. Many of them went straight to video back in the States. Every sitcom that failed in the US has been purchased and is played here. Old episodes of Knight Rider are advertised like it is the coolest thing since sliced bread. The TV commercials are repeated so often that I am determined NOT to buy anything I see advertised on television here just for thee principle of it. When I say repeated often, I mean every commercial break – sometimes more than once.

17. The roads are horribly designed. Driving ten minutes out of the way to make a U-turn is not uncommon. People are not able to give directions most of the time (remember reason #1), and the maps are little help because most have few road names on them, if any. Where is interchange four? You just have to hope you got on the freeway in the right place and start counting because they are not numbered. Miss it and you’ll likely end up on the other side of town before you are able to turn around and go back.

18. Taxi drivers are over worked and smelly. Taxi drivers work very hard here to earn a living because travel by taxi is still relatively inexpensive, even though the cost of living is not (see reason #7). Because of this you may have a driver who has had little sleep or the opportunity to shower for several days. Many of these drivers have just as much difficulty finding their way around as you do, but add to this a third-world country driving style and extreme exhaustion and, well, remember to buckle up for safety.

19. Speeding is an Emirati sport and Emirates Road is just an extension of the Dubai Autodrome. I know I keep mentioning the roads, but really, much of this city’s issues are encompassed by the erratic and irrational behavior displayed on its streets. Visions of flashing lights on even flashier, limo-tinted SUVs haunt me as I merge on to the highway. Local nationals are somehow able to get the sun-protecting dark window tint denied to us expats and use it to hide their faces as they tailgate you incessantly at unbelievably high speeds, their lights flickering on and off and horn blaring repeatedly. It doesn’t matter that you can’t get over, or if doing so would be particularly dangerous, they will run you off the road to get in front of you. Don’t even think about giving someone the finger; the offense could land you in jail. Tailgating is, unbelievably, legal.

20. Dubai is far from environmentally friendly. Ever wonder how much damage those manmade islands are doing to the delicate ocean ecosystem? Coral reefs, sea grasses, and oyster beds that were once part of protected marine lands lie choked under a barrage of dredged up sea sand. Consider the waste that occurs from erecting buildings on top of these sand monsters and from the people that occupy them coupled with the lack of an effective recycling program and you have an environmental disaster on your hands. Add to this more gas guzzling SUVs than fuel-efficient cars on the road and the need for 24-hour powerful air-conditioning and its evident that the environment is not high on the priority list of the UAE.

So while I’m sure there are benefits to living in Dubai, tax breaks, multi-cultural environments, and beautiful buildings aside, reconsider your plans to move here if any of the above mentioned reasons strikes a chord within you. Dubai is a city caught in an identity crisis. Struggling somewhere between its desire to be a playground for the rich and its adherence to traditional Islamic roots, rests a city that lacks sufficient infrastructure to support its delusions of grandeur. Visit if you must, but leave quickly before you are sucked into its calamitous void.

TAX on way

The UAE is considering to impose a tax on the money that expatriates transfer to their home countries every year, government and banking sources said on last Friday.

Expat employees in the UAE transferred a net total of AED45.1 billion out of the country last year, up from AED41.2 billion in 2011, according to central bank data.

while in an opinion poll conducted by independent sources most expats consider it begining of TAXation culture in UAE.

Some locals consder it is as haram. “you will be mostly cutting up the hard earned money of the laborers and workers to fill up your filthy pockets. Those poor people sweat and bleed to earn and you want a free share? limit your greed? If UAE continues implementing these laws to earn easy money. Destruction awaits UAE” says Mohammed (a very common name in Muslim world)

another expat shares his opinion as:

Already the cost of living & spending has risen up a lot without any imposed incremental salary for expats. It is worth to mention that “impose tax on remittances” will impact on further forced spending at this stage. So it is not recommended at all to go for this proposal.

another expat from Indian subcontinent shares as:

It will encourage ‘Hundi’ transfers ( hundi is subcontinent terms for undeclared money transfers which works at light speed give cash in UAE, take cash in your country in next minute ) no questions asked.

Surfing in Aabaya

The dress code for women in Islam & the Gulf region GCC is quiet modest & these brave women are comfortable and enjoying the life

read here

Eid-al Fitr Holidays in UAE

The Federal government offices in UAE will be closed from Wednesday, August 7, Ramadan 29 and will reopen on the fourth day of the month of Shawal (possibly on Aug 11th) in celebration of Eid Al Fitr.

Shawal 4 falls on Sunday, August 11, if Eid begins on Thursday, August 8.

Work in the government will resume on Monday, August 12, if the start of the new lunar month of Shawal is not confirmed by Ramadan 29 and subsequently Ramadan completes 30 days.

The announcement was made by the Federal Authority of Human Resources on Tuesday July 30 2012

Ramadan 01 1434 Hijri ( July 10 2013)

Ramadan etiquette for expats across UAE & GCC

With the right attitude, non-Muslim expatriates and visitors can have a great time during Ramadan in the UAE & GCC It’s a wonderful moment to immerse in local culture, as local and Muslim expatriate residents observe the month-long fast from dawn till sunset.

More here

Indian graduates unfit for employment

Shocking: Nearly 50% of Indian graduates not fit to be hired, says a new report. The study, National Employability Report-Graduates 2013, conducted by Aspiring Minds, a company involved in assessing various aspects of education, training and employment, reveals that nearly half of Indian graduates are not fit to be hired.

The country boasts of 5 million graduates every year but if nearly 50 per cent of them are unfit to enter the job market, it is quite a big problem that needs to be addressed.

DETAILS HERE

Train in UAE by 2018

Etihad Rail is evaluating bids to connect key cities and industrial hubs in the country and link them to the Saudi border as part of the most important phase of the UAE’s multibillion dollar railway project.

With the first phase of the project under way, the government-owned Etihad Rail has turned its attention to the key 628km of rail lines that will connect Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain, and run to Ghweifat on the border.

The first phase of the project connects the Shah oil and gas field with the port of Ruwais. The railway will transport sulphur from the Shah sour gas project that will begin operating next year. Etihad Rail expects the 264km of rail to be operational before the year is out.

The second phase will extend the section that is running along the coast on both sides, linking the main cities to the border with Saudi Arabia.

Phase two is divided into several packages for the various stretches of rail, as well as the supporting infrastructure. “Tenders for the second phase have been submitted,” said Richard Barrett, chief executive for the Middle East at Atkins, the engineering firm responsible for the concept design for the project.

Etihad Rail’s third phase will run to the Omani border, as well as connecting the oil and gas logistics hub of Fujairah with the rest of the country.

Once all three stages have been completed by 2018, in a construction process estimated to cost Dh40 billion, the UAE will be covered by about 1,200km of track, and the network is expected to boost the economy by facilitating the movement of goods and people.

The UAE’s industrial hubs of Jebel Ali, Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone in Taweelah and Fujairah port outside the Strait of Hormuz will all be connected by Etihad Rail, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi and the federal government. Through its connection to the rest of the GCC, the UAE will be able to build up its position as a regional trade and logistics hub.

So far, Saudi Arabia is the only GCC state with a rail network. More than 1,300km of track connects Riyadh with the kingdom’s main oil-producing region on the Gulf coast and provides transportation for industry and the military.

Saudi Arabia’s Rail Master Plan envisages the construction of a further 5,500km of track by 2025 and includes a line to connect the UAE with Qatar and Kuwait, as well as one that would link up the Gulf and the Red Sea.

Some NOT-TO-DO-AT-WORK tips

with recession in UAE almost over job market is thriving again companies are hiring and more ‘LOCAL market experience’ candidates per vacant slot available employers are looking for top notch people at bargain salary package. following are five tips to-avoid-being-replaced gathered by the job market experts

Doing your day’s work honestly is, of course, the golden mantra, but not doing certain things can also help you avoid unnecessary problems at the workplace.

If you want to be seen as a serious employee, you just have to be more careful about not making some annoying mistakes, unless you really don’t care about losing your job. That’s why you need to avoid doing these five things at work.

#1 Being too Social – Online, that is

One of the biggest mistake people make at work is abusing the time they have with spending it recklessly on the Internet and social media. While the Internet and social media are great work tools, they can be – and are often – misused.

And misusing the Internet can have serious repercussions. “The biggest mistake people make at work is abusing the time they have on the Internet, social media and using their company e-mail for private purpose,” Jennifer Campori, Managing Director, Middle East and Europe, Charterhouse Partnership, told Emirates 24|7.

“While the Internet and social media are great work tools, they can be abused and the last thing companies want to pay for is your time on the Internet,” she added.

Employees often chat online with family and friends, spend time on Twitter and Facebook during the time they should be slogging hard for the company they are employed with.

“It is unethical. How can employees use somebody else’s time, money and bandwidth? They are being paid to work, not socialise,” said the HR manager of a multinational bank in Dubai without wishing to be named.

#2 Online Shopping

An extension of the excessive use of the Internet, some employees also shop online while at work.

Time that could have been used productively is often wasted on Souq.com, eBay, Amazon and a whole lot of other sites, whether window shopping designer labels or actually swiping the credit card for the goods purchased.

“Invariably, all travel booking and ticketing is done in office – checking the best rates available to taking the ticket print-out – is all done on somebody else’s money,” said an employee working with a media company in Dubai. Avoid it.

#3 Gossiping and Office Politics

Gossiping should be avoided under all circumstances. Recruitment experts in the country believe it can only have adverse effects and reactions.

“There are objective rules like avoid too much gossiping,” said Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase International.

“Most importantly, employees should avoid any office politics or gossip in the workplace. While it may be tempting to join in discussions about issues or individuals, your comments may find themselves related to senior managers, potentially impacting your advancement with the company,” said James Sayer, Director, Robert Half Middle East.

“Instead, try to take the high road by walking away or politely declining to engage in such behaviour,” he suggested.

Passing on information to another employee, who then passes it on to the next one, should also be avoided.

For example, talking about a particular ‘undeserving’ employee getting the biggest hike when this may not be the case will only lead to feelings of discontent among other team members, and you may have to face the wrath of the boss if the gossip is tracked back to you.

#4 Missing in Action

Taking too many leave often leaves a bad impression and no boss or office will give you a clean chit to stay away from work. Silly excuses to just avoid work can only land you in deeper soup. In this case, you will be given a few warnings, which then may lead to termination.

“Avoiding absenteeism and being a good team player,” are traits that should be followed at work, says the Stanton Chase expert. “However, things an employee should avoid will depend on the company one works for. For instance, in some companies, arriving late in the morning might be frowned upon whereas in other companies, it might still be acceptable,” she added.

#5 Complaining About Your Job

Negativity nurtures negativity. Employees should be smart enough to behave professionally in today’s job market.

Avoid acting unprofessional by constantly complaining about your job, salary or working conditions. Be proud of your work, your workplace or at least pretend to be until you have the next offer letter in hand.

Dress code for UAE

What is indecent for men
Very short pants in public or commercial places like malls and public offices

Chest nudity
Ezar in public places (Ezar is the local Emirati male underwear)

What is indecent for women
Clothing that exposes the stomach and back Short clothing above the knee
Tight and transparent clothing that describes the body

Rules at public beaches
All swimmers should wear conservative swimwear that is acceptable to the culture in Sharjah
Do not wear swimwear in streets or other public places

Living together
It is not allowed for a man and woman who are not connected by a legally acceptable relationship to be alone in public places or in suspicious times or circumstances.

Enforcement

Police, designated employees, security officers, and building guards are ordered to observe, coordinate and ensure adherence to these rules of decency and public conduct.
Police only enforce these whenever a warning is not sufficient.
Public employees are to provide instructions, advice and clarification to the violator, keeping goodwill as the basis in the interaction. In case of negative response, the police may be called in.
When violators of this code seek service, it may be refused and they should be made aware of the regulations.
Source: Sharjah decency and public conduct rules and objectives official brochure

Salary Racism: What’s the Colour of Your Passport?

Shared by a friend in medical profession

Bullying and workplace violence are a real problem in UAE-GCC. The backgrounds and reasons for this unfortunate phenomenon can partly be blamed on the salary disparities between different nationalities performing the same jobs.

The wage system in UAE-GCC is completely based on the color of the employees passport. This goes for all companies hiring foreign staff. My experience is from the nursing field so I will talk more about that specifically.

In most countries the nursing salaries are seen as too low compared to the education level and the actual job responsibilities and duties the job required. The salaries will however usually increase as the nurse gets more experience and training over the years. In UAE-GCC the staff nurse with only two years working experience and the one with 30 years experience plus additional training will earn the same monthly salary. There are no age or experience benefits and specialization will only once slightly increase the salary.

The only determining factor in the salary is the passport which the employee is applying for the job with. In fact, not even nationality matters.

For example an Indian national who worked in Great Britain, obtaining a British passport and dual nationality. He will naturally apply to work in UAE-GCC with the British passport because of the much fatter paycheck. Some Asians, particularly Filipinos knowing this, travel to Canada just to get the passport. It’s the easiest country to obtain a passport from in just a few years. The expats then relocate to the Middle East, applying for the job as Canadians, this way multiplying their earnings.

The below fictional salary table of nurses illustrates how bad the salary disparity in UAE-GCC can be. Salaries of course vary from one hospital to another and there’s a difference between private hospitals and government owned, with the latter paying higher salaries.

Passport = Basic salary per month UAE AEDs

Indian 2500

Filipino 3500

South African 7000

Malaysian 8000

Arabs (Lebanon, Jordan etc) 10000

UAE 11000

European (British,German etc) 16000

American (Canada,Australia) 18000

So basically the lowest paid are the Asian passport holders and highest salary goes to U.S. and Canadian passport holders. This system is said to be based on the standard of living in the home country of the employees. In other words, what the money will buy the employee back home and the cost of living and value of money in each country. It’s also said to be based on the quality of the education that western vs. Asian nurses have.

For example a Filipino nurse earns so much in the Kingdom she’s able not only to live a comfortable life there but also support her extended family back home and maybe even purchase a house and a car. The money the Filipino expat earns in UAE, although much less compared to what their western colleagues are making for the same job, will in comparison get them more back in their home countries.

On the other hand the American or European nurse, although earning more than at home, does not get a significant pay raise in UAE-GCC. Many are able to travel and save some money, perhaps pay off loans but there is no way they could support others and make large purchases at the same time.

As an example, starting salaries for Indian nurses in their home country according to this source is 2300 rupees a month which is about 41 U.S dollars (150AED). The maximum salary with all benefits would be around 5000 rupees, or 90 dollars. The estimated earnings of an Indian nurse in UAE-GCC, 2000-4000 AED is around 1000-2000 U.S dollars at the current exchange rate. That would add up to roughly 58,000 rupees. That is a staggering difference to what they can earn back home.

Filipino nurses earn approximately 5000P a month back home in Philippines, which is about 450 AED (120 U.S dollars). A news article from 2009 states Pinoy nurses salaries in government hospitals will be raised from 2550 to 3500AED. If they earned the estimated 3500AED a month in UAE-GCC that would be roughly 39,000P (900$). Almost ten times the amount they would earn in the Philippines.

Compare this to the European nurse with estimated earnings of around 2400 euros at home, minus taxes leaving her with about 1600 euros a month. That’s roughly 7500 UAE AEDs, or if counted from the salary before tax cuts, 11,000AED. In UAE-GCC her salary will increase about 30% from this. If the European were to get a comparative pay raise to the Asians, her salary would be something around 26,000 euros or 120,000AED a month.

Interestingly, the Filipino expat that first relocated to Canada to obtain the passport which he consequently used to apply for work in UAE-GCC, suddenly becomes a millionaire back home. By completing just a few years of work in the Kingdom, the expat can return home to the Philippines as a very rich man.

Another strange aspect is how the UAE nationals themselves get lower pay than westerners do. Don’t the employers value their own citizens more? Are UAE employees not seen as efficient or highly trained as the western nurses are and thus not deserving as much pay? It’s not totally uncommon to hear other nurses complaining about the laziness or lack of training of the UAE nurses though.

Even though it might be partly understandable why they thought up this kind of system in the first place and it does have some sort of rationale behind it, it still causes a lot of tension at the workplace. In the end of the day it’s unfair to pay one employee ten times more in UAE AEDs for the same job, based solely on which passport they hold. This creates grudges and jealousy between nationalities.

Is there a solution to this salary racism? Could all employees be paid same salary regardless of their passport color? If the wages went down significantly how would UAE companies be able to attract western employees anymore? If employees from poorer countries started earning the same salaries as westerners in UAE do, what would happen? An overwhelming influx of Asian employees? How about raising the UAE’s salaries in order to motivate them more? Would making the salaries more equal make the working environments more tolerable places for all nationalities to work harmoniously in?

If these salaries are based on the cost of living back home and education levels then why do some employees get paid according to their newly obtained passports? What about a UAE or Asian employee who trained in the west? Or a western nurse that got their education from a third world country? This system seems to have so many loopholes and other negative aspects to it that at least some sort of reform would certainly do good for the UAE workplaces.

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