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A Red Bull Air Village was set up opposite the Bahar sector at JBR.

The 300 square metre village featured a 4 x 4 x 6 metre plane, a

mock up of the Abu Dhabi Air Race track, a photo gallery displaying
30 images from previous races worldwide, along with gaming
stations where visitors engaged in simulated flights.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 1

May 2010 DH 5

Published from Dubai Media City

The Duke Ellington Big Bank

The chosen one –UAE tales
Gold swopping time
Cyber liability
Interview with MF Hussain Arabian Travel Market

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2 l UAE Digest, May 2010


The Duke Ellington Big Bank
will be appearing in public at
The Palladium, Dubai following
invitation-only performances in
Abu Dhabi.

8 21
Tweeting about holidays Surf’s up
abroad Taking a legal look at one area of cyber
Is the UAE’s travel industry ready to adopt liability – employees and the Internet
the latest online armoury – Twitter - to sell
its tourist sites?

Art for heart’s sake
A legendary painter talks about his
new projects, passion for cinema,
role of controversy and awards

10 Gold swopping time
The chosen one have your old jewellery turned
Meet the woman who into new – by swopping it. Time
facilitates adoption in the to visit the gold souk.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 3


As(h)ing for
trouble Opening of

he middle of last month saw a 10 Metro stations
volcano erupting a number of RTA opens seven metro sta-
times from under a glacier in tions in April and three others
Iceland. The combination of mediate receiving/transit countries could on May 15, while 28 buses to be deployed
water, gases and hot inner earth materials not provide accommodation for all. to link the stations with surrounding areas
caused thick volcanic ash to spew at least Even so, those in the UAE, more than RTA said they would do it, and they
three kilometres upwards into the sky before 30,000, were accommodated in hotels, with have been working hard to keep to their
if fell back down in the form of thick clouds. most guests enjoying the extra unexpected word. Stations at Emirates, Airport Termi-
Then the wind blew, causing the clouds to stay, even though it was edged with worries nal 1, Al Karama, Emirates Towers, Dubai
travel towards Europe which resulted in about plans already made with colleagues Internet City, Marina and Ibn Battuta are
flight cessations for six days which, in turn, and familes at their destinations. now open while those at GGICO, World
had a severe impact on those stranded in Following test flights by European Trade Centre and Al Qouz will be opened
various countries. carriers on the 20th, airports in Europe on the 15th . The remainder of stations
Emirates were the first to cancel all resumed operations. on the Red Line will be opened during
flights to the UK on 15 April as a result of
UK announcing a ban on travel within its Stations ready to receive passengers
airspace. Passengers already in transit in
Dubai were provided with hotel accommo-
dation. Other airlines followed immediately
and thousands of travellers worldwide were
affected as flights from the Far East and
other continents were stopped as the inter-

4 l UAE Digest, May 2010

the coming months until all are functional sattriya dance and a plethora of popular Authority.
before the year’s end. Assamese songs.
RTA has carried out site surveys for the Curbing the sale of pirated
neighbourhoods of the stations opening Youth Without Smoking software
shortly and accordingly opened up new bus
routes to feed the metro stations. Twenty Five anti-piracy raids in Fujairah
eight buses are being deployed to link the Last month, Dubai Municipality launched In its ongoing efforts to curb the spread of
metro stations with the surrounding areas a campaign called, ‘Youth Without Smok- pirated software, Microsoft Gulf has filed
and the service is set to run at 13-20 minute ing. Activities of the two-month campaign, criminal complaints which led to five anti-
intervals. piracy raids on
resellers in Fu-
Indian Consul General at jairah. The raids
were conducted
Rongali Bihu celebrations
by the Fujairah
in Dubai branch of the
Under the aegis of Assam Society UAE, the UAE Ministry
Assamese community celebrated Rongali of Economy,
Bihu with traditional gaiety in a cultural the Fujairah
and the UAE
National Media
Council. The
raids resulted in
the confiscation
Youth without smoking campaign at Al Ahli Club of personal
which will culminate with the World No computers loaded with pirated copies of
Tobacco Day on 31st May, include three software.
sporting events and involvement of 10 Hassan Yousef Al Mushtaghil, Direc-
schools. During the campaign, a team from tor of the UAE Ministry of Economy in
Mr. Sanjay Verma, Consul-General of India in Dubai
Municipality Clinic, with the participa- Fujairah said, “In addition to the impact on
extravaganza in Dubai. Rongali Bihu tion of Dubai Health Authority and Dubai economies and innovation, software piracy
celebrates the onset of the Assamese New Medical College, will conduct medical poses real risks to businesses and consumers.
Year and is the biggest socio-cultural spring examinations free of charge for young peo- It is for this reason that protecting Intel-
festival of the people of Assam in India’s ple and make them aware of the seriousness lectual Property Rights is at the top of the
north-east. of the hazards of smoking, which threatens agenda for the ministry where we partner
Consul-General of India in Dubai, Mr. their health and their future. with organisations such as Microsoft in the
Sanjay Verma graced the occasion as the The team will be present at many of the development of strategies and mechanisms
chief guest. sports tournaments conducted during the that will help tackle this issue in the Arab
During the festivities, Consul General period as well as go to many educational world.”
Verma launched the new website of the institutions in the emirate to provide free
society, and released services to check carbon dioxide levels, Symantec unveils plans for
the fifth edition of ‘Probaxi Bihuwan’, the examine the lungs and offer free medical
Lunar Data Centre
Rongali Bihu 2010 souvenir, which serves consultation on different types of treat-
as a socio-cultural medium for the UAE’s ment which includes awareness therapies, Symantec Corp. has announced the pur-
vibrant Assamese community. conventional treatment using tablets and chase of two acres of land on the moon as the
This year’s Rongali Bihu celebrations other medicines, and new methods of treat- build site for its new state-of-the-art ‘Data
were held at Dubai’s Metropolitan Palace ment such as laser and other magnet based Centre of the Future’. The new facility will
Hotel in Deira, where members of the devices. benefit from the latest green technologies for
community performed the traditional The campaign emphasises on the power and cooling, taking advantage of the
Bihu dance and hussorie amidst the unique importance of a healthy lifestyle, healthy moon’s lack of air and freezing temperatures
sounds of exotic musical instruments food, and sports. It targets the middle to keep the data centre cool and utilising
like dhol, pepa and gogona. During the school, high school, college and university solar light to power the centre. “This data
cultural programme, local artistes were students, and the activities of the campaign centre will be the greenest (or in moon
joined by guest performers from Assam who will be organised in coordination with parlance, the whitest) in the galaxy and will
enthralled the audience with the famous the Knowledge and Human Development run without an earthly carbon footprint”

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 5

said a sustainability expert too embarrassed The agreements signal the arrival of
to be named. Japengo Café, Caffè Nero, Hatam and
Symantec has a long history of prevent- Wild Peeta at DWTC’s Trade Centre Plaza
ing data from disappearing into black holes. development - the spacious open area adja-
This move is the culmination of a vision to cent to its newly opened extension, located
move from cyberspace to real space. This steps away from the new Trade Centre
project may be one small step for Symantec, metro station which provides visitors easy
but one giant leap for the next generation access to the exhibition halls. Scheduled to
of data centres. The lunar data centre will open in June, these four leading restaurants
benefit from the next generation of security will provide business and leisure visitors
protection since it will be built out of reach with the choice of a variety of international
of earth-bound elements and threats. It will cuisine options. of 100 per cent biodegradable materials for
communicate with earth via secure wireless Wild Peeta, the Emirati brand of belts and buckles, mercury free batteries
transmissions. Norton concludes: “This level quick service restaurants selling fusion and natural ingredients like corn resin,
of security will totally ‘eclipse’ anything Shawarmas and salads will open its first bamboo and organic cotton, the timepieces
we’ve seen before.” ever ‘lifestyle’ outlet in the Trade Centre are packaged in an eco-friendly box, which
Plaza this summer. The design of the 1,173 when ripped open and poured water into
DWTC reveals first square foot store is a unique collaboration will ‘sprout’ into your own patch of grass.
between Wild Peeta and the University of Hour Choice is also inviting children in
hospitality partners at
Sharjah (Department of Architecture) and the age group of 7 to 12 to paint their vision
Trade Centre Plaza the company’s impressive social media fol- on the theme ‘Give Earth Some Time’ on
Leading F&B outlets confirm plans to lowing, which includes a ‘thought wall’ for A3 sheets and submit it to any of their out-
launch as part of the Plaza’s First Class visualising and sharing ideas, a ‘story-teller’ lets in the country before 31st May, 2010.
dining experience area for small presentations and a ‘work’ At the end of the competition, the top 25
section that is laptop friendly. young artists will be invited as special guests
Dubai World Trade Centre has announced for a fantastic summer event at Kidzania,
a major milestone for its new world class Eco-friendly watch Dubai Mall.
entertainment hub - Trade Centre Plaza -
revealing hospitality leaders Bin Hendi, Al In the spirit of the Earth Day, Hour Choice Ice Station Troll
Tayer Trends, Al Khaja Group and Wild from the Rivoli Group, has announced a
Peeta founders Al Awadhi brothers as special initiative towards making the Earth BT has announced the completion of its
operators confirmed to launch leading food a greener place. Bringing to their stores first satellite terminal in Antartica, at one
outlets that will anchor the Plaza’s hospital- across UAE, for the first time is an entirely of the world’s coldest, driest, and windiest
ity offering. eco-friendly timepiece called Sprout. Made locations. Ice Station Troll is part of the
Trade Centre Plaza

6 l UAE Digest, May 2010

global network BT is deploying for the It’s Zee show at DMC stalls to provide gastronomic treats.
Galileo programme - Europe’s civilian By Vanit Sethi On the fashion scene, the 45-minute
global positioning system (GPS), deliver- Catwalk Show presented by Centrepoint
ing improved accuracy and guaranteed Indian television giant Zee Network was colourful and foot-tapping, combin-
positioning services. Other sites are lo- organised a mega exhibition with numerous ing boutique fashion with the spectacle of
cated on islands such as La Reunion, New cultural, culinary and couture shows at theatre and dance. With creations from
Caledonia, Easter Island and Hawaii. the Dubai Media City amphitheatre in the Indian subcontinent, alongside lo-
Detailed planning for Ice Station Troll April. Called the Zee Dubai Mega Mela, cally inspired and high-street designs, the
began in 2008 and considerable plan- the highlight of the three-day event was a show offered something for everyone. A
ning was needed to meet the short ‘good stage appearance by Bollywood heartthrob traditional yet contemporary collection was
weather’ window to ship last November. Hrithik Roshan, who answered questions featured by Soirée, Dubai’s first high-end,
The project was completed in February. multi-brand Paki-
BT recently signed a contract exten- stani boutique. The
sion with the European Space Agency Samsaara sequence,
for the further deployment of a data dis- featuring collec-
semination network for the pilot phase of tions by designers
Galileo. When fully deployed, the system Z4Z & Oozmani
will consist of 30 satellites and associated had a Latin theme,
ground infrastructure - interoperable while the FNK Asia
with the American GPS. range of clothing
was inspired by
UAE swings to the sound the people of Swat.
Other designers and
of big band jazz
fashion brands who
The sound of big band jazz arrives in showcased their
Loy at the show
the United Arab Emirates with live creations were BnK
performances by The Duke Ellington by the spectators, anchored by Rohit Roy. Fashions from Abu Dhabi, Suman Bajaj
Big Band, formed in tribute to the man Other celebrity performers who graced the from India, Unge from UK, and Monga’s
widely considered America’s greatest stage were the famous music trio Shankar- from India.
and most prolific composer. The band Ehsaan-Loy, and Ali Azmat, the former Undoubtedly, the last word, or note, at
will be appearing at The Palladium, lead singer of Pakistani band Junoon. Star the event went to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who
Dubai Media City, for one night only on performers of the
Thursday, 27 May, following restricted hit reality shows
and invitation only performances in Abu Sa Re Ga Ma (Raja
Dhabi. Accompanying the band will be Hasan, Yashita, San-
Mercedes Ellington, the most senior of chita, Sumedha) and
the composer’s grandchildren and the Dance India Dance
producer, director and choreographer of (Kamlesh) added
the Panoramajazz programme. She is a colour to the scintil-
torchbearer for the iconic Ellington cul- lating performances.
tural inheritance and formed The Duke On the culinary
Ellington Center for the Arts to ensure side, gourmet maes-
continuity of the legacy tro Sanjeev Kapoor
provided a delicious
Duke Ellington, who led his band taste of India to Shankar and Ehsaan
from 1923 until his death in 1974, was the visitors at the
one of most influential artists in recorded fair with signature dishes like tandoori performed on the last day of the event, belt-
music and widely recognised as one of items and dum style of cooking, while star ing out hits from Rock On, Dil Chahta Hai,
the greatest figures in the history of jazz. chef Vineet Bhatia came up with tandoori Bunty aur Babli, Taare Zameen Par, and My
His music also included blues, gospel, salmon and chocolate samosas. Besides, a Name is Khan. A fitting finale to the colour-
film scores, popular and classical and he number of Dubai restaurants like Indego, ful and lively event.
composed a huge songbook. Ashiana, Bombay Chowpatty, Qureshi’s, The Zee Dubai Mega Mela promises to
Shamiana, and Bikanervala had set up their be an annual event now.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 7


Tweeting about holidays abroad

Is the UAE’s travel industry ready to adopt the latest online armoury –
Twitter - to sell its tourist sites?
By Abha Sadana & M. Sadana

evelopment of the
tourism industry and
technology go hand
in hand. Centuries
ago, travel on foot was the norm,
but now tours to space on space-
ships are also available. Earlier, pro-
motion of travel was through word-
of-mouth, but now the internet
has brought travel destinations to
one’s bedroom. People chat about
their travels on Facebook and other
social networking sites. Recently,
the Twitter craze has spread like
wildfire in the US, but it has yet to
become a phenomenon in the UAE
market where high-tech develop-
ments are the norm.
An American company, PacRim
Marketing Group Inc., developed
a strategy to pioneer the use of US Manmohan Sadana
popular social media marketing platforms
such as Twitter in the Japanese travel mar- Twitter has applications which the travel industry can
ket. With offices in Honolulu (US) and adapt for consumers and travellers who are tech-savvy and
Tokyo (Japan), PacRim began testing its like to gather information from others, and learn about
efforts that led to the launching of Twitter
destinations, hotels and activities prior to travel
accounts for its Japanese national employ-
ees, as well as for its editor and writers in
the Japanese language who oversee the waiiarukikata (Hawaii News), Hawaii- times daily. This strategy has received
content of, one of Friends ( Readers’ some success and is ready for replication
the most popular web portal sites for Ha- Café), HawaaiiDeGohan (Hawaii in markets where computerisation is at a
waii. It has created active Twitter accounts Gourmet) and MyHawaiiHotel (Hawaii take-off stage.
for HawaiiTenki (Hawaii Weather), Ha- Hotel deals), that are updated several Twitter is the latest rage in the US,

8 l UAE Digest, May 2010

with the social media explod-
ing to new levels. It has grown
into a real-time short messag-
ing service that works over
multiple networks and devices.
It has picked up in India, and
this platform is a recent craze
among the youth and the mid-
dle-aged. Presently, promotion
of destinations in the UAE and
the Middle East is being done
through established promo-
tional tools like advertising in
print media, electronic media,
outdoor advertising, participa-
tion in fairs and exhibitions,
and word-of-mouth publicity.
The discerning Arab traveller
is educated abroad and well-
versed with the IT revolution. Usage of applications which the travel industry gust 17, 2009, aims to boost demand among
Twitter accounts, with the travel industry can adapt for consumers and travellers followers by leaving messages on travel and
back-up in using this platform, will bring who are tech-savvy and like to gather campaign information that Rakuten Travel
destination promotion to the homes of the information from others, and learn about personnel recommend, in addition to in-
potential tourist. destinations, hotels and activities prior formation related to sightseeing and travel
to travel. in general. Rakuten Travel said it plans to
Spreading the message Twitter can also work on mobile transmit preliminary news releases and
In today’s world, Twitter is a simple-to- phones, and its concept is simple: “What campaign information exclusive to Twitter
use and powerful marketing tool to get are you doing now?” In 140 characters, in the future.
a message out to various media channels consumers can use Twitter to find their Another is OpenDoor Inc., the operator
and direct to consumers, if used correctly. friends or family at the mall while of the comprehensive travel information site
One of its findings in its research of the travelling, or use it as a powerful instant Travelko-chan, which recently began opera-
Japanese market was that the number communications tool in ‘real-time’ to tions. In addition to transmitting the least
of Japanese who knew how to twitter communicate experiences of their vaca- expensive tours and last-minute travel infor-
was far smaller compared to those in the tion directly back to their countries to mation, OpenDoor enables consumers to
US market. Recognising this, PacRim friends, family, and also to the general share a variety of data and postings among
developed a Japanese-language training consumer. Social Media is just that - it is them by facilitating the retreat (retransmis-
tutorial and posted it on the Japanese social, and can spread a message quickly sion) function from August 24, 2009.
YouTube for Japanese users to learn how and instantaneously. The above two companies aim to offer
to signup, create a Twitter account, and It is worth mentioning that Twitter high-density, yet user-friendly communica-
to use it to follow individuals or com- was the site US President Barack Obama tions with consumers via Twitter, which is
panies they can learn from, and make took advantage of during his presidential equipped with higher immediacy bidirec-
others follow. Launched on May 13, the election. Users can transmit opinions and tional capacity compared to blogs.
Japanese-language video can be seen at comments and also exchange messages The UAE has the potential to excel, and and YouTube. with other users registered on the Twit- in case this technology is adopted in this
It would be an ideal opportunity to follow ter account. Hence, whenever travellers market, it can pay rich dividends in the near
the same model in Arabic. convey messages from a particular site, future. Tourism in this part of the world
We need to realise that the 140-char- they are dynamic, full of life, and the best will never be the same again.
acter message on Twitter keeps commu- source of database the travel industry
nications brief, but the message remains and tourism boards can use for the their (Abha Sadana is a lecturer at the IILM
powerful as it can link to articles, and promotions and development of tourism Institute for Higher Education in New
include photos. Twitter is so simple and products and policies. Delhi, and M. Sadana is the Regional
fun to use, and has some very practical For example, Rakuten Travel Inc., Director, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of
applications for specific industries. It has which opened its official website on Au- India)

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 9


Helping eager parents

SIMC experts prepare adoptive parents for all emotional and legal issues
By Vanit Sethi

ubai’s Synergy Integrated prepare parents for the challenge and
Medical Centre (SIMC) joy of entering international adoption
expanded their interna- and to ensure a successful adoption
tional adoption services process.
and introduced their growing team at Another open evening is scheduled
a home study open evening on April 13 for May as there are many people still on
at their complex in Al Wasl Road. The the waiting list, according to Gordona
adoption team comprised Dr Randall Sikora, marketing director of SIMC.
Phillips, Director, Synergy International Synergy International Adoption
Adoption Services (Canada); Suzanne Services is part of SIMC – a new
Phillips, Adoption Specialist Hague concept in healthcare, which combines
Legality; Dr Veronique Cugnet-Richard, conventional medicine with comple-
Head of Adoption Department (France); mentary forms of therapy in order to
Emily Kerins and Fiona Brew, both provide a holistic healing model.
Adoption Home Study Specialists (UK).
The adoption team at Synergy sup-
ports all adoptive parents in every aspect; Sharia law does not permit adoption
providing them with an international and referral as necessary. The home study in the United Arab Emirates. The
standard home study that includes an is completed by a team consisting of a Sharia Court may grant a guardi-
adoption preparedness programme, licensed psychologist, counsellor and anship, but such a guardianship is
focusing on positive parenting. Their social worker. Assessment is made of the insufficient for the filing of an I-130
experts prepare adoptive parents for prospective parent’s philosophies, home, petition for US immigration pur-
all emotional issues that the child may lifestyle and financial situation to ensure poses, according to the US Board of
experience through life, which begins that the child enters a safe and loving Immigration Appeals. Individual
with the imprint of abandonment and environment. The pre-adoption assess- countries should be approached
rejection from their birth mother. The ment includes 10 to 12 hours of practical regarding their laws in allowing the
home studies follow the International parenting, education and counselling to children into their borders.
Standards of the Hague Agreement.
Prospective parents, numbering about
25, attended the meeting to familiarise
themselves with adoption issues, legal re- International adoption, or intercountry adoption, is a type of adoption in
quirements and preparation programme. which an individual or couple becomes the legal and permanent parents of a
Updated information on the legalities of child born in another country. In general, prospective adoptive parents must
adoption in line with the Hague Conven- meet the legal adoption requirements of their country of residence and those of
tion were provided at the meeting. The the country in which the child was born.
broad areas covered included interna- The laws of different countries vary in their willingness to allow international
tional adoption, the role of Synergy adoptions. Some countries, such as China and Korea, have relatively well-
Services in facilitating adoption, Home established rules and procedures for international adoptions, while other
Study Process, how to get started, and countries expressly forbid it. Some countries, notably many African nations,
the Hague Convention. have extended residency requirements for adoptive parents that in effect rule
The Synergy service for those plan- out most international adoptions.
ning international adoption includes a
pre-adoption assessment, home study

10 l UAE Digest, May 2010


The chosen one

Beauty, money, fame, age, health and love
might disappear with time, but if you have
a mission that brings deep happiness to
people, you have a blessed life. Dubaiite
for 36 years, Omana Menon, speaks to
Manju Ramanan on her role of facilitating
adoption in the GCC, that has enriched
her own life and, after the death of her
husband, paved the path towards self-

ometimes you are chosen by destiny to do things you’d never have
imagined. As you carry on your duty steadfast, the meaning be-
hind the patterns emerge. A 20-something Omana Menon, never
thought that, one day, she would be facilitating childless couples
in the GCC (mostly Indians, Americans, Europeans and Australians) by
bridging the gap between Indian orphanages, the government and them,
when she stepped onto this soil 36 years ago. Omana came to join her hus-
band, the late BK Menon, who was working with the Al Ghurair Group
– mainly responsible for the first mall in Dubai, the Al Ghurair Mall, and
the first mineral water plant, Masafi Water. She has two children and is a
grandmother too.
“Way back in 1974, community events and entertainment options in
Dubai were meagre. So we decided to organise the Indian Ladies Associa-
tion,” she says.
The Ladies Association, which originally consisted of an elite group of
women, spearheaded several community activities including starting the
first music class for Carnatic classical music and Bharatanatyam dance by
renting out a flat in Karama. They also indulged in various fund raising
activities like starting a thrift shop where people would donate things they
no longer had a use for, and selling them at throwaway prices to the needy.
Soon, under Omana’s presidency, the club started accommodating women
from all walks of life. “A large part of the UAE consists of working class
Indians and I wanted them to be part of the organisation too,” she states.
So, in 1976, nurses, teachers, home-makers etc, found in the Ladies As-
sociation, a forum of self-expression and a climate of bonding.
Omana, being a senior member of the club, often doubled up as a
counsellor and a confidante to many. During the course of one of her Omana Menon has helped adopt
interactions, she met a childless couple who were keen to adopt a child about 2,000 children from India
from India.
to the GCC countries in the last
“They had been to orphanages there, but the Indian government had
wanted a social worker to submit an assessment about them before it
34 years
would allow for adoption,” she says.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 11

To assist them, Omana phoned the was restricted to couples who couldn’t India rules, people in their 30s are given
Indian Association for Promotion of conceive, now it is spread over people infant children who are 2-3 months old,
Adoption in New Delhi, introduced her- who want to adopt,” she states. but if the couple’s combined age is 90
self as the President of the Indian Ladies Is there a parental criterion for adop- years, they are given older children,” she
Association in Dubai and asked tion? The study that Omana submits to states.
them how she could help the But, do the 2-3 year adopted
couple. There is a story about adoption that Omana children adjust normally?
“The Association “It is a popular misnomer
sent me guidelines and I
loves to narrate. It is about a child who is teased that they don’t. I ask parents
prepared a home study, by his peers at school that he is adopted and what they remember of their
got the Indian Consulate runs home to his mother crying. She tells own life when they were two
involved and soon, the couple him: “Tell them, ‘they just happened, you and three years old and they
got the baby,” she states. She was were chosen’. The child goes back to school usually are blank. So, it doesn’t
thrilled! “All this happened even really matter. In fact, we have
before I had any authorised pa-
narrating the same incident and soon his peers a young couple from the UAE
per from the Indian government. are crying - and he’s the one laughing, for he is who adopted an eight-year-old
There was no agency here that the chosen one child,” she adds. It so happened
was doing that. So, it did prompt that the girl had lost both her
me to take it seriously. What parents when a car hit them,
started out as a small step of help, killing them instantly and she was
became my life’s mission,” she adds. being brought up at her uncle’s place,
As for public knowledge about where she was reduced to the position
adoption, word about Omana spread of a servant of the household. The
through word of mouth, and she was neighbours complained to the parish
approached by more people, and the and the priest counselled the family,
same process continued with success. to no avail. That is when the news
“In order to formalise it, I wrote spread across the world and was nar-
to the Indian government request- rated by a priest in a Dubai church.
ing for an enlistment but they didn’t “I was amazed when I saw the
do it for 10 long years, though the couple who had come to me with
process of adoption continued. Only a request to adopt the eight-year-
14 years ago, they enlisted me,” she old child. The lady was in her early
states. Today, the Central Agency for twenties and her husband was a little
Resourcing Adoption that reports older than her. But they adopted her
to the Ministry of Social Empower- happily. When the girl was brought
ment and Justice, through a Govern- here, she was shy and timid but today,
ment of India letter, formalises and she is a star student in one of the
acknowledges Omana is in charge of GEMS schools. It happens to all of
adoption to the GCC countries. them. They blossom after the initial
By enlisting, Omana means that six months,” states Omana.
orphanages in India are intimated of There are so many such experi-
Omana’s name and position in the ences that Omana has had that she
UAE and it recognises her of being feels truly blessed.
the medium of adoption of Indian “Recently, a strapping young man
children to the GCC countries. the Indian government is exhaustive. and a youthful woman came to see me
Ask her, how the process of adoption Right from the prospective parent’s and, as usual, I asked them my routine
itself has undergone change in the past age, financial stability, educational questions, presuming that they were mar-
three decades and she says, there is more background etc, everything is studied ried (and that she was older to him). The
openness now. thoroughly. She also does a personal in- lady came closer and asked me if I failed to
“Earlier, children were not told terview of the parents, counselling them recognise her? She then introduced her son
about the status of their adoption, now about the arduous paperwork involved to me, telling me that he was the first baby
90 per cent of them know that they are in the whole process. I had helped adopt and that he was going
adopted. The process of adoption earlier “According to the Government of to the US and they wanted to meet me and

12 l UAE Digest, May 2010

take my blessings. I cried,” she adds. 10 and knew the truth all the while but Of course, she reminisces, “Life
With a skewed male-versus-female gen- it didn’t matter to her at all,” she states. then was happier than it is today. You
der ratio in India, do prospective parents For a lot of parents, the tedious knew everybody and everybody knew
from the GCC ask for any specific gender process of paperwork to get the child to you. People weren’t in large numbers as
of the child? a foreign country and the paraphernalia they are today. I was a mother figure for
“You’ll be surprised that 85 per cent involved is a phase that they forget easily. several people who had just moved in and
of parents who come here ask for a female “In fact, many children start looking you could say I did a lot of what is called
child,” she replies. like their parents, they dress like them, ‘social work’. I realise that those were the
Of course, she gets one of the odd re- pick up their mannerisms, use their seeds that were sown then and this is the
quests where parents want children from language – that makes it all so beautiful pattern that has evolved.”
the same caste or religion. as if the child was waiting for a home On a parting shot, she does admit that
“I tell them it is not possible to note like this,” she adds. once she sees that the child has adjusted
that at all. When a child is abandoned, no After her husband’s death a few years with his/her new family, she detaches
one can tell that. And anyways, it is not ago, Omana believes that this is one job herself from them. “It happened that
important. What is important is that a that has helped her move on in life. once or twice I ran into the families of the
child comes to your household and fills it “We all go through a process of people I helped adopt and with great hap-
with its banter, happiness and joy.” continuous evolution. As children, if piness went over to talk to them, but they
The transformation a child under- you have played with dolls and doll turned their faces away. I cannot blame
goes when he/she comes here after being houses and that was the most engaging them. I remind them that they adopted
adopted is heartening to note. Though thing at that stage of your life, you move their children and now they don’t want
Omana has to submit a yearly report to on to other things like climbing trees to think about that period of their life.
the Indian Government till the child is or other activities. You shed off your What matters to them is now that they
about three years old, she has never been past and move on. Similarly, when my have a child. It hurt me immensely in the
disappointed with the way the parents in husband passed away, there was an obvi- beginning, but I understood why and
the GCC countries bring up their adopted ous void in my life, and I kept to myself. dealt with it,” she reiterates.
children. People asked me to move out, indulge in For her, the entire process is like a
“The reticent child that comes to me pastimes like playing cards, catching up spiritual journey. “You involve yourself
immediately after he/she is adopted, blos- with friends etc, but I am involved with completely with the parents, help them
soms in six months time with love, care, my job. I am meeting real people with get a child, see the child grow up and then
food and attention, all provided amply,” real problems and finding solutions for detach yourself from it. I have realised
she says. them. I couldn’t have asked for better,” that with age, you also need a sense of
Does she encourage parents to tell she says. vairagya (detachment) to evolve further.”
their children that they are adopted?
“Yes, I do. Because it is always better
that the child knows about his adoption
from his parents than from outsiders. The
immediate families might be supportive,
but there could be a jealous relative or a
friend who can break the news to the child
and devastate him/her,” she explains. She
narrates an incident wherein a girl she
had helped adopt was getting married
and the parents wanted to intimate the
groom’s parents about the adoption. The
girl in question had never been told about
it. When the groom’s parents were very
accepting about the issue, the parents
decided to break the news to the girl too.
They sat her down and told her in all seri-
ousness she was adopted and she laughed
saying that she already knew about it 15
years ago, shocking everyone! “She had
stumbled across some papers when she was

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 13


Your parents love you

A call for child-friendly, safe environments
By Linda Benbow

here is an old song/solilo- programme. The findings were discussed school warning signs, speed signs, bumps
quy (one person talking out during a policy session for injuries among or radars to slow down traffic and that
loudly to himself, as if telling children at the Arab Children Health in about 80 per cent of cases children
a story) from the 1950s about Congress held in March. are dropped off into the main road or
a child called Albert who visits the lion Dr. Grivna provided further insight on the opposite side of the road instead
in a zoo, falls into his den and gets eaten on the types of injuries: of directly into the sidewalk,” added Dr.
up by the animal. The father consoles • with traffic accidents representing 63 Grivna.
Albert’s mother by telling her that she can per cent of mortality cases The report calls for the introduc-
have another child, but the mother retorts • Drowning and falls at 10 per cent tion and enforcement of child safety
“What? Just to feed lions, no indeed!” each restraints, effective traffic calming meas-
It’s an amusing song to those who have a • Surveys among local population ures in and around schools to ensure that
peculiar sense of humour, but it does high- showed that over 90 per cent had speed is low enough and safe energy-free
light how parents should be looking after never used car seats before and that drop-off and pick-up points, as well as the
and protecting their children, instead of the majority of children were not dispersion of schools in quiet residential
just letting them do whatever they want restrained whether seated in front or areas away from high speed roads.
to, and maybe getting hurt in the process at the rear of the car. “Creating child-friendly environ-
– or worse. “There are also environmental risk ments through innovative integrated
It takes a lot of time and effort to have factors that need to be addressed such as legislation, enforcement combined with
a child, so shouldn’t you be looking after ensuring appropriate traffic and urban training and education, has the potential
it? That bundle of joy that quickly grows planning around schools and safe drop to eliminate most injury deaths in traffic
into a toddler; and before you know it off and pick up sites for children. We as well as at home”.
has grown into a podgy child who, like a have found, for example, there are few Participating in a separate policy
chrysalis, emerges as a handsome teenager
Safety bus activities at the Arab Children Health Congress 2010
before leaving home to start his adult life.
Parents are both morally and legally
obliged to provide their children with a
safe home life, and preferably a loving one
In this multi-cultural expatriate soci-
ety where families are not always around
to give advice, parenting is often of mixed
standards. So advice often has to come
from authoritive bodies and concerned
Accidental injuries represent the
number one cause of death among
children up to the age of 14 years in the
United Arab Emirates, according to a
study carried out by Dr. Michal Grivna,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine
& Health Sciences, of the University of
the UAE, with the support of Johnson
& Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust
- as part of their Safe Kids Middle East

14 l UAE Digest, May 2010

roundtable session, Mr. Johannes Patter- which gave
mann, Chairman of Johnson & Johnson a definitive
Corporate Citizenship Trust Middle East guide on the
shared best practice and lessons learned correct use of
of the Safe Kids Worldwide and Safe seat belts and
Kids Middle East initiatives which focus child safety
on preventing unintentional childhood restraints in
injury. vehicles.
“Over the past five years, we have been Ac-
working with various partners such as the cording to
Dubai Road and Transport Authority and the World
Dubai Healthcare Authority on educa- Health
tional safety programmes for children Organisation
and families within schools and hospi- (WHO),
tals such as the Safe Kids Booklet, the child safety
Safety School Bus and the Baby Memories restraints
Programme. We strongly believe that have been
a comprehensive approach that is built shown to
on policy and legislation, awareness and reduce infant
education on safety makes a difference in deaths by ap-
terms of reducing child injuries and fatali- proximately
ties”, stated Mr. Patterman. 70 per cent,
Several representatives from govern- and fatalities
ment authorities, international organisa- by between Baby in the correct car safety restraint
tions such as Unicef, the Arab League and 54 per cent
WHO, as well as academics and young and 80 per cent in an accident. It is also for children aged between four and 11
people attended the policy roundtable. known that 83 per cent of belted and years old have been shown to reduce the
restrained children remain uninjured in risk of injury by 59 per cent compared to
BMW promotes the use of accidents. Child safety booster cushions seat belts alone.
child restraints
4,000 child safety booster cushions were Mohammed AbdulKareem Julfar, Assistant Director General for Corporate Support Services Sector,
donates blood during the Dubai Municipality employees’ Blood Donation Drive. Dubai Municipality
distributed in the UAE to families to en- regularly organises these drives where its staff donate to the country’s blood banks which provide blood
courage the use of child restraints in cars for saving lives, in emergencies, and aims at helping thalassaemia affected children who need regular
blood transfusions every three to four weeks.
As part of its ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive’ road
safety campaign launched in the UAE last
month, aimed at educating families about
the importance of wearing seat belts and
using child safety restraints in vehicles,
BMW Group Middle East, supported
by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi
(HAAD), the Road and Transport Au-
thority of Dubai (RTA), Abu Dhabi Mu-
nicipality and Dubai Municipality, hosted
two road safety public awareness days.
At these, BMW provided interactive
demonstrations on the correct installation
and use of child safety restraints, as well
as distributing 4,000 child safety booster
cushions to qualifying families. There
were also fun activities such as face paint-
ing and giveaways for children. Educa-
tional brochures were provided to parents,

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 15


Early Cure
It is but a small heel prick. Now, done during the first 48 hours of an infant’s
life, that screens the child for a variety of genetic disorders, some of them
preventable at birth

small heel prick test is all it or defective. As a result, amino acids or disorders.
takes when a baby is born in nitrogen (a component of amino acids) Several organisations within the UAE
the hospital in the UAE where build up in the body to toxic levels, result- are working hard to raise awareness, prevent
99 per cent of deliveries occur. ing in metabolism disorders that include the spread of genetic disorders and work
The tests allow for the national neonatal Phenylketonuria(PKU), Homocystinuria towards effective treatment. The Genet-
screening programme for genetic disorders (HCY), Citrullinemia (CIT) etc. ics and Development Research Priority
such as phenylketonuria, congenital hy- Haemoglobinopathies and sickle cell Group based in the Faculty of Medicine and
pothyroidism (endocrinologic), metabolic disease are disorders caused by abnormal Health Sciences (FMHS) in Al Ain focuses
and hematologic diseases. haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells on birth defects and congenital abnormali-
The test is conducted because the UAE that is responsible for transporting oxygen ties. The Genetics and Thalassemia Centre
has a high rate of consanguineous marriag- to the body. Babies with these haemo- in Dubai offers cytogenic, molecular and
es and there are chances that the children globinopathies may have problems with biochemical techniques that address various
born out of these marriages might give rise red blood cell production, resulting in types of common genetic disorders, the
to offspring with genetic disorders. If left anaemia (shortage of red blood cells), or genetic service provided by the Faculty of
untreated, these could result in permanent produce abnormally shaped red blood cells Medicine and Health Sciences in Al Ain
disability, mental retardation or death. The that cause problems in blood circulation and the Maternity and Child Develop-
tests came into effect due to the efforts of and damage easily. These disorders include ment of the Ministry of Health, and The
several organisations in the UAE, experts sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia, and Hb Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS),
and medical practitioners. Jamal Al- Bah, S/C disease. Other disorders that might Dubai etc. In fact, the CAGS part of Sheikh
Chairman of the “Arab Family Organisa- be screened for include congenital hy- Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award
tion”, in his capacity as Director-General pothyroidism (a hormone deficiency that for Medical Sciences, a semi-government
of the Marriage Fund (1993 to 2005), was causes problems with growth and brain organisation that deals with research per-
instrumental in raising awareness on the se- development) etc. If the baby has tested taining to the field of genetics in the Arab
riousness of genetic disorders. These efforts positive for any of the disorders, additional world, compiles painstaking data about the
bore fruit by the issuance of the first law in testing is usually done, followed by a refer- genetic disorders among them and advises
the Arab World mandating the process of ral to a genetic specialist or a paediatrician ruling bodies on the path to address these
pre-marital screening for some common that specialises in endocrine or metabolic disorders, resulting in policy level changes.
genetic disorders. The CAGS has initi-
The heel prick ated a comprehensive
test is done within Catalogue of Trans-
a few days of the mission Genetics in
baby’s birth, ide- Arabs (CTGA) with
ally during the the aim of enlighten-
first 48-96 hours ing the scientific com-
of life. With these munity and the public
disorders, enzymes on the occurrence of
essential in break- inherited disorders in
ing down certain Arabs, and to suggest
amino acids are future investigation
missing, deficient, strategies.

16 l UAE Digest, May 2010


Yours untruthfully!
According to a poll conducted by YouGov Siraj Omnibul, a full-service
market research company specialising in online polling and qualitative
research, 14 per cent of people who are in a relationship in the UAE admit
to infidelity

dultery is the applica- with families back home), a glitzy world a relationship suspect their partner of
tion of democracy to filled with the latest gadgets and gizmos infidelity. Only six per cent of women say
love,” says Henry Louis that allows for flirting discretely and they have been unfaithful compared to
Mencken. A statement, indiscriminately, a bevy of opportunities 19 per cent of men who admit infidelity.
most people in a relationship or marriage available at a cost - the results of the poll Arab expatriates are more
will be happy to coun- comes as no surprise. What was usually likely to cheat at 22
ter vehemently. spoken about casually is now proven per cent. A further
To a world statistically. 19 per cent - almost
that still The two in ten - say they
believes that have contemplated in-
marriages fidelity. The findings of
are sacrosanct the research that looked
and that ‘odd at attitudes towards
deviant behaviour’ infidelity were conducted
of straying comes once between 1st and 8th March
in a while, mostly ‘to 2010 under which 699 UAE
them, not to us’; a residents were polled.
recent YouGov Siraj “This poll shows how honest
Omnibus Poll reveals people are when responding
otherwise. The poll re- to our online surveys. As it is
veals that close to one third entirely confidential, people are
of women in a relationship suspect their poll more willing to open up. They
partner of infidelity. states that 14 would never admit to infidelity if
Call it insecurity associated with the per cent of people who are in asked, face to face, by an interviewer. This
buzzing pace of the emirate, a large popu- a relationship in the UAE admit to type of fast, accurate online polling is very
lation of singles (including married singles infidelity and 28 per cent of women in useful for companies who need to ask their

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 17

customer base sensitive questions, for She narrates the incident of a friend who Jessica Antony, a former beautician,
instance questions about hygiene, finances found out that her partner was dating and a cybercafé attendant, feels that there
or personal care,” says Joanna Longworth, a colleague after she checked his phone are many expatriates trapped in the UAE,
Chief Marketing Officer, YouGov Siraj. text messages. “He would never admit to in relationships they would rather avoid
It is known that the UAE has the high- it always stating that ‘they were friends,’ if they were economically sound. “I have
est number of divorces in the Arab world but his working hours kept increasing. Fi- a son back home who is taken care of by
and like everywhere else in the world; one nally, when she cornered him, he admit- my family members and I earn a salary
of the reasons cited for of Dh2,000 out of which I
divorce is infidelity. have to pay my rent and my
Psychologist and food, as well as send money
marriage therapist home. I cut all corners and
Devika Singh from do the best I can. I did
the Divorce Support have a boyfriend who was
Group, Dubai feels married and he was a good
that the general reasons companion, who knew the
for divorce among the situation I had been in. He
Emirati population lent a patient ear to all my
could be a history of longings for my son and
distress and abuse in the even helped me out finan-
family, extra-marital cially. It was good as long
relationships, changing as it lasted, since he too was
financial situations, and single here. He left when he
ineffective communica- lost his job. I guess single-
tion. “The three main dom in a foreign country
reasons couples tend to gets people together. Some
have increased marital even have second families
conflict stems from ba- here and their families at
sic issues like money, sex home have no clue because
and communication,” they do live very far away,”
she states. she states.
Perhaps the fol- With three children
lowing case illustrates to support back home and
Singh’s statement quite a wayward husband who
aptly: mounted huge credit card
June Fay, a recep- bills before he left for his
tionist at a real estate home country, Flora M,
firm, who has seen slogged for three years to
a friend go through pay off her bills. “I send
the trauma of being money home so that my
dumped, states that children are looked after
distractions are eas- and they have one parent
ily available and provide living with them. In this case,
temporary relief. “The UAE is a land of ted to it and brushed it off saying it was a isn’t it normal that I get attached to some-
many nationalities and they come from ‘temporary leaning’ he indulged in. His one who gives me attention and treats me
various cultures of the world. It is also casual attitude broke her spirit and she specially? I am a human being and I too
a land of business and opportunity, and tried to get to terms with it. She is still in need to be loved and pampered, instead
pressures at work run very high. Combine the marriage though their relationship of being a machine for creating wealth,”
this with a high standard of living and it is not the same. And yes, the fling didn’t she states.
is increasingly difficult for couples to stay last,” she adds. The poll states that 14 per cent of
at the same level with each other unless But, for many, infidelity need not just respondents say they suspect their partner
they are properly grounded and either love be a pleasurable experience. It might stem of being unfaithful, which matches the
each other, or respect each other, or are from a basic need for companionship, percentage of people who have admit-
committed to a relationship,” she states. emotional support and love. ted cheating. However, women are more

18 l UAE Digest, May 2010

likely to be suspicious, with 28 per cent of love sometimes in a relationship. But
suspecting their partner of infidelity. if you are committed to a marriage and
“It won’t be wrong to say that people you have children, you are parents first,
make an effort to look good in this part of then a husband and wife. I still believe in
the world. Very rarely would you find peo- the norm that responsible behaviour is
ple in public places who are badly turned possible and you don’t need to get into an
out. So, naturally, there is an insecurity extra-marital relationship ‘to feel good’
that creeps in and that promotes suspi- about yourself,” says an Emirati, who is
cion,” says Malini Mohan, a homemaker. in a relationship and doesn’t want to be
So much so, that private investigators named.
make quite a sum out of these insecurities. When looking at how the popula-
According to newspaper reports, it would tion would react if they discovered their
cost anywhere between Dh73,000 for partner is cheating, the largest propor-
20 days’ work that includes monitoring a tion (42 per cent) says they would end the
spouse for a month; though, according to relationship. Arab expats are more likely
Khalil Al Mansoori, Director of Criminal to end the relationship (60 per cent).
Investigation Department at Dubai Po- However, a significant number (29 per
lice, private investigation firms are illegal cent), almost two thirds of those polled
in the UAE. in the UAE, would confront the issue
“No one has the right to interfere in and then forget it. delity out of your life. What do people do?
people’s personal lives and take photo- Asked how she would react if she “Infidelity means cheating. Be it a
graphs without their permission. Anyone found her partner cheating on her, she serious affair or a one-night stand. If I am
who does so will be punished,” he states. says simply, “If he finds someone else, he steadfast in my devotion to my partner, I ex-
According to the newspaper report, can forget about me. When he realises his pect the same from him. Nearly every day, I
Paul Hawker of UK-based Research mistake it will be too late. I will be hurt have to tear down a massage parlour visiting
Associates, who specialises in infidelity for sure, but I will not stay with him if he card that gets slipped under my door. It just
cases, said that it was important for firms is unfaithful, because if he does it once, has a heart and a mobile number. The fact
to check out the local laws before sending he can do it again,” she adds. that it is circulated so regularly means that
detectives internationally. “We work with Counsellors state that the amount there is a demand for it. And most people
clients to help catch any inappropriate of stress these days is higher than it ever who live around my area are families as well
behaviour,” he said. We ask clients to cram was. This is aggravated by issues like as singles who have families back home –
their spouses schedule for a few days with traffic, accommodation, cost of living, which means, some of them indulge in it,”
social activities, but then let them know housing, space – that have a spill-over says Tanya Suhail, a homemaker.
that there is a window of opportunity aris- in the family circuits as well as relation- “If you have a good communication
ing soon. When the time comes, we follow ships. Also observed is the constant use going, it is easier to notice the early signs of
them and catch them when they meet the of negative styles of interacting. This straying. You have to rework on your rela-
other party. Sometimes we have been able actually means ineffective communica- tionships, redefine them all the time so that
to get a hotel room right next to where tion that manifests as blaming, taunts, you stay together, ”says Jennifer D’Souza
they were staying, or a table at a restaurant restricting behaviour that could trigger an account executive with a company in
next to them,” he stated. This might be a off an outburst, wherein one of the Sharjah.
good result to the investigator, but a very partners involved might find respite out And what do people in the UAE con-
sad thing for the other partner to hear. of a situation through an extra-marital sider to be infidelity? According to the poll,
When asked what it is about infidelity relationship. 77 per cent say it is having an affair, 75 per
that they find the most difficult, the poll’s “What people find most frightening cent say it is prostitution, 70 per cent say it
respondents, the largest proportion (38 is not perhaps the actual act of infidelity is loving someone else, 54 per cent say kiss-
per cent) being of UAE society, believe the it is more the idea they are loved less, and ing and 36 per cent say checking someone
worst part of infidelity is if your partner that someone else is loved more. In the out is a form of infidelity.
falls in love with someone else. Another eyes of the UAE, this seems to be more The latter is where it all starts actually…
significant proportion holds a different of a betrayal. It is heartening to see and in the mind. And with temptations galore
view, 23 per cent say it would be worse if important to note that a large majority of and in abundance, it takes quite a lot to stay
their partner had an extramarital relation- couples are faithful to each other,” states on track.Beware!
ship but it did not involve feelings. Joanna Longworth. (Names and nationalities of the people
“I understand that you can grow out But, is there a process of keeping infi- have been changed to protect their identity)

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 19


Surf’s up
Mark Hill takes a legal look at one area of cyberliability – employees and
the Internet

or all those employers and ees from committing discriminatory acts. ployee will be responsible for it and will
managers out there, do your And then we have the inevitable area be legally liable for any damages it causes
employees have access to the of downloading and circulating pornog- to the reputation of the individual that
Internet and to email at work? raphy. This can put the employer in a the statement is about. The employer may
If yes, read on! Did you know that an position of liability i.e. because employers well be found liable too though - for ex-
employer can be found liable for the ac- risk discrimination complaints if they ample because the employer has provided
tions of its employees on the internet and permit employees to create a hostile the facilities for the employee to access
certainly any company whose employees working environment by downloading the Internet in the first place.
are able to conduct commercial transac- and circulating explicit and inappropriate Infringement of intellectual
tions over the web will be exposed to all materials. property rights : The internet increases
sorts of potential legal liabilities. Defamation : Defamation arises the way that employees can infringe
Harassment, discrimination and where there is the publication of an un- copyright and trade marks. It is a usual
dismissal : Any remarks sent by email true statement which “tends to lower the rule that the employer will normally be
are capable of amounting to harassment subject of the statement in the estimation held liable for any intellectual property
and you could find them used as the basis of right-thinking members of society gen- infringements of its employees but the
for complaints of discrimination under erally or causes him or her to be shunned employer can also be directly liable for
various local laws. These laws are there or avoided”. A little wordy but basically such infringements where it provides the
to protect individuals from being treated what it means is that, if you make untrue, bulletin board, the mailing list, the server
less favourably on account of his or her insulting or critical statements about or web page on which the infringement
sex, race, religion and so on. Though not someone, both the employee and the occurs. So employers should take care to
a clear area of law in many Middle Eastern employer are risking possible liability ensure that their employees are observ-
jurisdictions, the employer could face for defamation. So, if an employee is the ing copyright notices when downloading
liability because it may be found that the author of a defamatory message sent by material from the internet. They should
employer has a duty to prevent its employ- email or posted on the Internet, the em- also be well aware of the problem of

20 l UAE Digest, May 2010

downloading and
copying unlicensed
software (some-
thing that the Gulf
is getting better at
but which is still a
problem here).
contracts where
you don’t mean to:
Contracts can be
formed online just
as much as they can
offline. Something
I see a lot is where
a contract has been
formed in the usual
way by a contract
being signed off-
line but then there
has been email
discussion about
the contract which of risks we have just the company liable; and
can actually end up varying been talking about. • knowingly downloading or requesting
the contract itself. This is just Well, yes there is and software or media files or data streams
not something you want to one of the solutions that will use a greater amount of
happen! And unless control- is a remarkably easy network bandwidth than is permitted
led, this could give rise to the thing for all employ- (especially if you are based in DIC or
danger of employees inadvertently form- ers to do. Are you ready? Tell your DMC where you pay for bandwidth
ing contracts on behalf of their employer employees what they can and can’t do! and not time online).
or varying contractual terms to which the Yep, it really is that simple. Consequence of breach : In the
employer then becomes bound. Oops! The way to do this is by writing a policy, you can also state that the
Criminal law : We have laws around simple policy document saying what is, company will monitor logs of Internet
the Gulf which can have an impact on and is not, allowed. use which will reveal information about
what your employees are doing online. What is not acceptable use? : Your which sites employees are accessing and
Of particular concern in relation to the policy could state that, except in the also the email addresses of those they
internet are the laws which make illegal course of an employee’s duties or with the are communicating with. Then, you
the possession or transmission of child express permission of the employer, the can clearly state that any misuse of the
pornography and other objectionable internet access provided by the company internet on company systems could be
materials. Again, in some situations, may not be used for: viewed as a disciplinary matter. This is
employers can find themselves liable for • personal commercial purposes; something that a lot of employees get
their employee’s criminal conduct on the • sending unsolicited bulk emails; wrong. Please remember that the ques-
internet. • sending out confidential information tion of whether you would be entitled to
The solution : So, cyberliability is about the company; discipline or dismiss an employee who
something that we know exists. And we • any illegal purpose; is using the internet for unauthorised
have seen that the employer can find itself • knowingly causing interference with purposes really comes down to whether
liable for things that most employers in or disruption to any network or infor- or not you have made the policy clear. If
this region would not even have the first mation service; you have no policy, you may not be able
idea might end up being their problem. • sending out personal contact informa- to discipline or dismiss an employee even
Now let’s face it, employers providing tion about employees or officers of the if what they have been doing seems to you
internet access to employees is going to company without their consent; to be blatant.
become increasingly common. So, there • knowingly causing any other person Mark Hill can be contacted at
must be a way of dealing with the kind to view content which would make therightslawyers

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 21


Linda Benbow asked Farah Al-Fardh why
she likes rolled up pieces of paper

arah Al-Fardh is an Emirati it because I enjoy it and it is an art for
quilling artist from Umm Al all age groups and you can do so many
Quwain. She has been inter- wonderful things with it.
ested in arts and crafts since
an early age and loves to create art pieces What made you take the leap from
using this medium. Farah has taken her enjoying a craft to talking about it on
love for this craft to great lengths: she TV and magazines?
introduced the art on various television I started quilling in 2004 and the first
channels, newspapers and magazines in time I appeared on TV to introduce it
the UAE; held workshops in Ras Al about. So when
Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Dubai I received the invitation
and Al Ain and launched the first Ara- from Sama Dubai TV I said “yes”
bic website on paper quilling. Alongside right away. And till now I get the same
all this she also holds a full-time job. reaction from people who see my work,
they are amazed and can’t believe that
What other crafts do you enjoy? I made them out of paper strips.
I enjoy embroidery and making greeting Also, I have taught this craft to
cards but I love quilling the most many people (boys and girls) from all
age groups and discovered that kids
Why is it the best? tend to focus and concentrate a lot
I wanted to try a new craft and quilling while practising this, which made their
ended up being the best choice. I was parents thank me for teaching them,
also looking for something quite chal- something that wwould keep them
lenging. This helps me relax. quiet. And some parents couldn’t
believe that their children managed to
Why do you want to revive the craft? create beautiful artwork.
The art of paper quilling is new in our
region so I am actually introducing the art was in February 2008. This art became Does your sister Amna still do this
more than reviving it. I want to introduce a passion I wanted everyone to know craftwork – or has she moved on to

22 l UAE Digest, May 2010

something else? My parents were very supportive
Both of us started round the same time and they always admired my crea-
but didn’t know that we are doing it, al- tivity and artistic mode. I have rel-
though our rooms are opposite each other. atives in different countries who
She is still quilling and does many other love to come to my facebook page
paper creations. This art is very addictive; and give their positive feedback on
once you start you cannot stop. my latest creations. My sisters are

Was it difficult to launch a website on

this topic?
It was really challenging to launch the
website. First of all it was unique (first
website in the world in Arabic and Eng-
lish about paper quilling). I launched preparing for this visit in July. My sister
it on January 13, 2009 and I received Amna and I would like to start a UAE
Tamaiaz Award from Mawarid in May Quilling Guild, and at the moment, are
2009 for coming up with this website. working on getting enough members to
I started working on it round March form this group.
2008 and it has come a long way since My biggest plan would be to have
then (look at the first quilling exhibition in the Mid-
dle East and publish a book on quilling
How did the workshop in Ras Al in Arabic.
Khaimah go – were there many enthu-
siastic participants, or did they just Quilling
come to see what it was all about? Quilling is a lovely old art form which
My first workshop was conducted in Ras some believe may date back to ancient
Al Khaimah - all the attendees were art the biggest energy boosters; whenever I Egypt. It has been known by many names,
teachers from different cities and they have a new idea, they will keep asking if I including paper-rolling, paper-scrolling,
were really surprised and interested to have finished the project or not! filigree, paper mosaic. It is theorised that
know to know more about it. So much so early quillers rolled their papers on a
feather, or quill, hence the name quilling.
that they bought all the materials, books What are your plans for the future?
The art form involves the use of strips of
and tools that I had brought with me and I received an invitation from Japan Quill- paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued
took my contact details to order more. I ing Guild to visit and attend a workshop together to create many designs.
am still in touch with them as a quest, with my sister, and I am
Farah won the Tamaiaz Award in the category of Entrepreneurship in May 2009
Does your craft get in the way of your
day job?
Quilling is the relaxation zone for me.
I enjoy my work as Assistant Manager-
Vendor Relations at Dubai World Trade
Centre, and I enjoy quilling. My boss, and
the company, always support my artistic
activities. When I received Tamaiaz
Award they published it in the company
newsletter and when I participated at the
Doll Exhibition; the company sent an
email to all employees announcing my
participation. My craft does not come in
the way of my work as I keep it for week-
ends or after working hours

What does your family think of your


UAE Digest, May 2010 l 23

Horse with
an Indian

Art for heart’s sake

Legendary painter MF Hussain talks to Vanit Sethi
on his new projects, passion for cinema and history,
role of controversy and awards for an artist

W hat are your new artworks that

are now displaying and what are
you working on?
crazy about cinema. My father wouldn’t
let me go to the movies, and, in those
days, it wasn’t considered a good thing to had lost
I’m displaying 10 imprints each of my origi- go to cinema. I got beaten up seven times my mother at
nal works from different themes (horses, (laughs), but still I was adamant. an early age, I kept looking
dance, music, map of India etc) and periods Now, all my works are an artist’s vi- for that image of my mother in differ-
of my career out of a total of 110 each, and sion – recreations of something that has ent women for 50 years. I painted women
these are very affordable. Each imprint is already been created by the Creator. So, all thus in motherlike forms – Durga Mata,
numbered and with my original signature. art is merely recreation and restructuring Mother India etc. But one day, some friend
These imprints are made with different - nothing is original. If anyone says he has asked me to go and see the film Hum
techniques, most prominently the silk created an original work, he is lying. Aapke Hain Koun, which was running for
screen technique, on stone or metal plate.
While the original works are priced
above rupees 10 million (nearly Dh1bil-
lion), these imprints are available for
Dh3,000-4,000 each. That’s why the theme
of these imprints are ‘Art for the people
with more taste than money’. These works
are for the middle class who cannot afford
the originals but want to acquire some art
works. Rich people buy just for investment.
They really don’t know what the art is all
about – all they know is how much it is
worth and how much it could fetch them.

Apart from these imprints, what other

works are you planning?
I came here five years ago and wanted to do
three major projects, but I was looking for
sponsors, which I found here in Dubai and
in London. The three projects are: (i) The
History of Arab Civilisation (dating back “I’m crazy about cinema. My father wouldn’t let me go to
to the times of Babylon) – how Muslims, the movies, and those days, it wasn’t considered a good thing
Christians and Jews have all contributed to
to go to cinema. I got beaten up seven times, but still I was
the betterment of man; (ii) The History of
Indian Civilisation (from Mohenjodaro to
Manmohan Singh). That’s the title, because
Manmohan Singh has now become a phe- You have painted many Indian actresses. a year. I saw and became instantly hooked
nomenon; and (iii) This one is my favourite Is it necessary for an artist to have a and saw the movie 67 times in the movie
- 100 years of Indian Cinema. Soon, Indian muse? halls. Actress Madhuri Dixit is the essence
cinema will be completing 100 years; so Yes, why not? Again, it depends on what of Indian womanhood, so she became my
I have to commemorate that because I’m you are painting or looking for. Since I muse for quite some time.

24 l UAE Digest, May 2010

“People told me ‘you can’t treat the PM like that... at
least inform her why you won’t be going’, but I didn’t.
The next day when I went, she (Indira Gandhi) didn’t
mention anything about my absence”

You have also painted political leaders something which has a link with
like Indira Gandhi. Do you feel artists past traditions and culture, that is
need to court politicians to stay on the serious art.
right side of power? Indian culture is full of colour
Indira Gandhi was the most powerful and very sensuous. In the West, it’s
woman in the world and the only politician more of form. They have mastered
who truly understood Indian culture and the matter and split the atom. But in
art, since she was in Shanti Niketan under the East, we went beyond reality. So, it’s “Everybody loves gossip and
Rabindranath Tagore. She was a true reality and illusion or maya... that is the controversy... that’s the spice
woman of substance. I was doing a portrait beauty of life in two different worlds. You of life. As long as it is not
for her, and I was commissioned to work on shouldn’t remain stuck in one form, idea
a monumental image of her for the interna- or philosophy. I’ve done 130 paintings of
malicious and does not hurt
tional airport in Delhi. For five days with the Ramayana (Indian epic) after consult- people, controversy is fine”
20 minutes each day beginning at 8.30am, ing various scholars.
I would paint her. But on the fourth day, definitely help writers, some of whom may
I just didn’t feel like going. People told me Do controversy and awards help an artist not be so well-known, to sell their works. It
“you can’t treat the PM like that... at least sell his works? has been proved, awards and controversies
inform her why you won’t be going”, but I First of all, I think controversy is mostly do help artists sell their works and become
didn’t. The next day when I went, she didn’t created by the media. But I’m not accusing famous.
mention anything about my absence. That the media - because that’s what keeps it
was her grace. going. And let’s face it, everybody loves Lastly, do you find painting about India
gossip and controversy, that’s the spice of difficult while living outside India?
Coming back to art, what do you think of life. As long as it is not malicious and does No, not all. I always carry India within
modern contemporary art? not hurt people, controversy is fine. Now me. It’s in my blood. I’ve painted in various
In the name of modern art, you can do see, this controversy over my paintings has cities and countries of the world, and that’s
anything crazy and it becomes art. It’s okay. helped me. Many people look at my art fascinating. But one lifetime is not enough
I’ve nothing against it. They are doing some works deliberately to see some nudes. That to explore India. Even now, after so many
innovation... but it’s more like entertain- way, at least they look at my paintings. So, years of my life, I’ve got out only 10 per cent
ment. Ninety per cent of art today is it does help an artist and people then try of India in my paintings. Even if I’m out of
entertainment. But serious art is limited. If to understand art. India far away in a jungle or a desert - India
you’ve worked most of your life and created Similarly, awards like Nobel or Booker cannot be out of me.

Finishing Line Mother Teresa Vivaah (Wedding)

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 25

“Even if I’m out of India far away in a jungle Art show in Dubai
or a desert - India cannot be out of me” MF amazed guests at a private exhibition
on April 8, when he premiered a limited
edition collection of signed imprints.
The collection comprised 120 of his most
Portrait of an artist sought after masterpieces, some of which
Born in 1915 in Pandharpur of Maharash- citizenship, and that he is living abroad more have never been seen before. The exclusive
tra, a state in western India, M.F. Hussain out of work compulsions than fear of the law cocktail event was held at the Capital Club
began his career as a painter of film posters or concerns about security. His son, probably in the presence of the artist himself, and
and graduated to becoming India’s most less dictated by political correctness, main- was attended by 300 of the most avid art
celebrated, as well as controversial, painter. tained otherwise. lovers and well-known figures from the
After being hounded by the Hindu right in However, his new projects on Indian his- city’s vibrant social scene.
India for his nude paintings of certain Indian tory and cinema (to be executed from London) The exhibition, entitled Imprints of
gods and goddesses, he has been outside reveal that while he may be outside India, India, was held in commemoration of
India – mostly Dubai and London – since India has not really deserted him. “I’m free to Husain’s 95th birthday this year, in line
2006. In January this year, he was offered the return anytime,” as he has often said. with his desire to make art accessible to
citizenship of Qatar, and he accepted it. all. On display was a series of serigraphs,
Several court cases against him too have Iconography lithographs and digital art prints, featuring
been pending in India on the charge of of- Controversial paintings: some of his most famed work, including
fending Hindu sensibilities. Hussain argues • Durga Mata Finishing Line, Krishna Gopala, and Mother
he is seeped deep in India’s predominantly • Mother India Teresa. “It is a pleasure to show my
Hindu traditions which are syncretic and • Paintings of Hindu Gods and Godesses collection in Dubai, a city that has brought
so much to me, and makes me feel so
allow immense scope for freedom of expres-
sion. But in an age of hardening attitudes and welcome and at home,” said Hussain.
heightened sensibilities, his defence cut no Upcoming projects (to be Quickly snapped up by art lovers
ice. Ironically, some of his controversial nudes completed in 2015): during the Dubai exhibition, Hussain’s
were done way back in the 1970s, but they • History of Arab Civilisation (99 pieces) imprints made a lasting impression on
assumed prominence only after the rise of • History of Indian Civilisation (200 pieces) exhibition guests. Husain has enjoyed
Hindutva in the early 90s. Curiously, he also • 100 Years of of Indian Cinema (100 pieces) a long-standing and well-deserved
fell foul of the Muslim right over a qawwali reputation as the ‘Picasso of India’ and
song in one of his films titled Meenaxi, which Movies: his art is internationally renowned. His
was termed blasphemous, but the contro- • Through the eyes of a painter (won a creative forms have grown to include
versy died down soon after Hussain clarified Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in drawings, poetry and more recently, film-
that there was no intention to offend. 1967) making. Hussain was recently honoured
In the midst of all the brouhaha and • Gaja Gamini with a special award for his commitment
endless debates in India over his art and • Meenaxi: A tale of three cities to Diversity in Art and for his lifetime
patriotism, Hussain has maintained that he is • Another proposed film – a socio-political achievement as the ‘Greatest Living Indian
no less an Indian after being granted Qatari comedy Artist’ in the Speaker’s Apartment of
London’s House of Commons.

Art lovers at the MF Hussain exhibition in DIFC

26 l UAE Digest, May 2010


Films in May

Cheri Robin Hood

It is the turn of the century in Belle Epoque Paris Academy Award winners Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett star in the untold
and a scandalous romp is underfoot. The sensa- story of how the man became a legendary hero, directed by Ridley Scott.
tional tale begins as the ravishing Lea (Michelle In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront cor-
Pfeiffer) contemplates retirement from her ruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever
renowned stature as Paris’ most envied seductress alter the balance of world power, in the process becoming an eternal symbol of
to the rich and famous. Her plans are cut short freedom for his people.
when she is approached by a former courtesan and Robin Hood chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only
arch rival, the barb-throwing gossip Charlotte in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French.
Peloux (Kathy Bates), who encourages Lea to Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the
teach her disaffected 19 year-old son - a bon vivant corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the
nicknamed “Cheri” (Rupert Friend) - a thing or spirited widow Lady Marion, a woman sceptical of the identity and motivations
two about women. The resulting escapades involve of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and
power struggles over sex, money, age and society - salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are
and, unexpectedly, love itself - as a boy who refuses matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indul-
to grow up collides with a woman who realises she gent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.
cannot stay young forever. With their country weakened from decades of war, embattled from the inef-
Director Stephen Frears (The Queen) and screen- fective rule of the new king, and vulnerable to insurgencies from within and
writer Christopher Hampton (Atonement) reunite threats from afar, Robin and his men heed a call to ever greater adventure. This
(Dangerous Liaisons) to playfully bring Colette’s unlikeliest of heroes and his allies set off to protect their country from slipping
unconventional romance, Cheri, to the screen. into bloody civil war and return glory to England once more.

Valhall Rising
Set in the 10th century, an expedition sets out
to return to Scandinavia but gets lost in the
fog. They eventually reach an unknown land
and think it is Valhall, the Viking equivalent of
Heaven, but it turns out to be America.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 27


Dubai retail:
A market in transition

lthough the retail sector has underpinning the sector at present. new mall developments and some sectors
not experienced the same More focus on local spending: The of the market approaching saturation,
levels of performance decline market is now adjusting to address the several proposed future malls are likely to
as other sectors of the Dubai needs of the resident population; be delayed. This will result in much lower
real estate market, it is still undergoing a Attention to value: In line with glo- levels of expected future supply entering
period of transition. The significant boost bal trends, the focus of consumers in Du- the retail market during the rest of 2010
in new supply entering the
market in recent years,
declining sales, lower
footfall levels and a
drop in tourist growth
in 2009 have put
greater pressure on the
industry and its players
to reconsider their
strategies to ensure
future growth can be
Jones Lang LaSalle’s
April edition of
MENA House View
highlights a number
of new trends that are
emerging within the
sector; the most signifi-
cant of these include
the following:
End of an era for new supply: The bai has moved closer to a stronger value and 2011, with no new super regional
opening of Mirdif City Centre by market- proposition. With a decline in purchas- centres expected before the completion of
leading developer Majid Al Futtaim ing power of the resident population over the first stage of the Mall of Arabia which
Group (MAF) on March 16th, 2010 the past 18 months, consumer shopping is expected to complete in 2013.
marks the end of an era of wide-scale budgets have been reduced significantly. This reduction in the delivery of
development of super-regional malls in This represents a shift away from luxury new retail shopping centres will give the
Dubai. Mirdif City Centre is likely to be driven retail. For retailers and mall own- market the necessary breathing space to
the last of its kind, at least in the short- ers, there is now heightened competition absorb the high levels of supply experi-
medium term as this sector of the market to aggressively capture shoppers interests enced in recent years. Mirdif City Centre
approaches saturation. Mirdif City Centre and disposable income. will be the last super regional centre to
reflects many of the changing trends With financing difficult to achieve for open for the next 3 years. While it is

28 l UAE Digest, May 2010

clearly too early to assess the impact of
this new centre, it is expected to attract Trends in the retail sector
both spending and retail tenants from Landlords Tenants
other centres in the northern regions of
• Thinking more creatively by • Likely to seek more flexibility on rental
Dubai. Mirdif City Centre also reflects a offering a range of lease lengths payments and intervals
number of the other major trends impact- that match the tenant mix. • Value creation will mean looking more
ing the market including the focus on • Offering longer leases to strong closely at alternative income sources such
local residents and the increased emphasis retailers (from 3 to 20 year as speciality retailing, sponsored events
leases). or leasing vacant units on very short term
on value proposition.
• Offering incentives to incoming leases as temporary measures.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that retail tenants such as capital • Focus on staff training to improve the
sales are now starting to recover, with contributions and rent free customer experience, and offering
increased footfall and turnover being re- periods to offset tenant’s upfront alternative ‘value for money’for
costs. customers e.g. additional services or

ported by some retailers during the recent
Offering an exit strategy for poor membership to money-saving schemes.
Dubai Shopping Festival. The Dubai
performing retailers to recapture • Focus on accessibility, signage, parking
Chamber of Commerce reports that total prime space. provision and excellent facilities to attract
retail spending in Dubai is expected to • Consideration of redevelopment customers and encourage repeat visits.
increase by around 4% in 2010 and by options to either add new retail • Consider physical changes in unit sizing
more than 8% in 2011. space or redevelop the centre for and configuration to improve quality of
alternative uses. retail offering.
The shift in the structure of the retail
sector is occurring with the emphasis
being on a back-to-basics approach. A A must-visit mall in Centre (MCC) which was delivered
number of prudent retailers are already Mirdiff on-time, and with 85 per cent of its 430
looking at new strategies in this regard. First there was Jumeirah Jane, then, retail outlets opening on the same day.
This trend is likely to result in the repo- when rents went up and folks started The on-time completion of the massive
sitioning of both existing and new retail to move into more modest rentals and project is a major achievement for the
centres away from the previous focus on Satwa Sally and Deira Dolly became region’s construction industry, said Majid
luxury brands towards value merchandis- dominant. With the advent of freehold Al Futtaim Properties CEO Peter Wal-
ing. Owners and managers of shopping purchases more names appeared as the ichnowski at the official opening
malls will have to consider implementing Arabian Ranches filled up with those “It is one of the most successful open-
active management strategies to re-align who had to be temporarily housed at ings of any mall in the region. Once we
these properties to retain value. Some The Lakes, The Springs, The Meadows, started construction two years ago, we
obsolescent or underperforming shopping etc while waiting for their homes to promised to open on 16 March 2010, and
centres may be redeveloped or even in be completed as soon as possible after so here it is,” he said.
some cases converted to other uses - as has the delivery date had passed. Homes “We have saved 20 per cent of the
been witnessed in some US and European went up, people moved in and shopping total energy consumption through design
markets. malls were opened to make the best use initiatives embedded in the scheme. We
While the focus is expected to switch of the spending habits of an affluent have selected materials with a high recy-
to serving the needs of the resident crowd. Each mall had a unique entice- clable content, sourced from sustainable
population of Dubai and the surrounding ment to draw the crowds into their sources, and have championed a market-
emirates, the tourist sector will remain a doors. leading 50 per cent of the construction
significant component of retail spending For many years Mirdiff was known waste not going to landfill. This is a
in Dubai. Dubai remains an attractive for its welcoming green park, big and remarkable achievement,” said Majid
destination for retail related tourism and cheap villas on the very outskirts of Al Futtaim Properties vice-president,
the retail sector is expected to benefit town - far from the ‘in’ crowd - and project management, Jonathan Emery.
from the continued growth in visitor under the flight path of planes using Opening day saw hordes of shoppers
arrivals (forecast to increase by 5 per cent nearby Dubai Airport. As folks moved eagerly inspecting new shop names and
in 2010) and high levels of investment in into the area the retailers decided to new merchandise. And people have not
stopped flooding through the doors since
developing the cities tourist infrastructure move in too - to cater to a new affluent
then. Some come to shop, others come
(e.g.: the growth and development of crowd who didn’t want to travel far to
to eat, or socialise, or watch a film at the
Dubai International Airport, the opening do their weekend shopping. cinema, or play games at the multitude of
of Dubai Metro and the promotion of Now there is another reason to go entertainments available such as indoor
the city in international tourist source there. The opening of the Dh3 billion, skydiving, water games and rides. iFly
markets). 196,000 square metre Mirdiff City

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 29

iFly Dubai – an experience language,” said the instructor and my son smiled at me know-
ing how difficult it would be for him to do that. After a few
By Manju Ramanan sessions in sign language that included a pointer for chin up, a
I sat with my six and a half year old son in our first-ever ‘V’ for keeping your legs straight, an inverted comma sign for
class together at the iFly training session at the Mirdiff City folding your knees and a thumbs up for all well – he was ready
Centre. The instructor was addressing a group of flying to take the plunge - oops! flight!
enthusiasts spanning the age groups of 6- 60 teaching them After wearing all the gear that was provided – a flying suit,
the nuances of flying indoors. iFLY Dubai is not a ride or a a pair of socks and special shoes, a woollen cap and a helmet
simulator but a vertical wind tunnel that moves air up in a - the group was ushered into a glass room that surrounded
vertical column offering the best possible flight experience for the wind tunnel room (also made of glass) and made to sit in
indoor skydiving. a semi circle. The wind tunnel room has an instructor who
“No talking inside the wind tunnel, we use only sign takes the participants in and assists them in their airborne
adventure. What I noticed is
that children, because they are
more flexible and believe in
flying (thanks to their dozens
of comic superheroes) take to
the sport easily while adults
enjoy it, but take a while to
get used to being airborne.
Either ways, it is an experi-
ence of a lifetime and should
not be missed. Don’t forget to
remind your child about the
theory of gravity when he’s
trying to practice his flying
skills at home!
Safe for kids, the experi-
ence for first time flyers (peak)
costs Dh145 for kids and
Dh195 for adults offering two
flight chances, off peak rates
are cheaper and offer a single
flight experience. There is a
Learn to Fly package where
you learn the real sky diving
free fall skills. Timings, be-
tween Saturday to Wednesday
between 10 am – 11 pm and
Thursday and Friday between
10 am -12 am.

Hamleys, the world-famous toy re- within the store. track where kids can test the latest remote
tailer, opened its second store in the UAE The official opening began with a control cars, a Girls World dolls house
here. Eight winners from a nationwide parade of children led by the Hamleys and a Disney cinema, as well as all their
drawing competition to ‘draw your fa- bear and band towards the store where favourite quality toys. The new store also
vourite toy’ were invited, along with their they were greeted by a live radio DJ and features a Hamleys Party Room, which
classmates to participate in the opening staff giving out party bags. Within the offers customised birthday parties com-
parade, with winners each receiving a new interactive store, a replica of a red plete with a play area featuring a bouncy
Dh500 gift voucher to spend within the double-decker London bus was unveiled, castle and bicycle track.
store as well as seeing their drawings en- as children explored the 22,000 square Hamleys is an internationally-recog-
larged and framed as a permanent feature foot store which features a chrome race nised toy retailer with ambitious plans to

30 l UAE Digest, May 2010

grow the brand further. It was established to the more chic bikini, beach dresses, Juicy Couture has attracted many a Hol-
nearly 250 years ago by William Hamley this new collection, a first in the region, is lywood diva and style-conscious women
and its flagship store on Regent available in various designs, alike over the years from Madonna to Jes-
Street, with over seven floors styles and colours.   Located sica Biel. The flattering, slender fit of the
packed full of toys and games, is on the first floor, products, the price points, the exclusive
considered to be one of London’s the new concept distribution and the loyal celebrity follow-
major tourist attractions and store, expresses ing have all played an important role in
receives about five million the iconic nature shaping the brand.
visitors a year. The company of the Juicy Jumbo Electronics has opened its
has developed an international brand complete newest outlet here. With a floor area of
reputation for choice, quality, with its trade- more than 5000 square feet the store will
and innovation. mark graphics, carry the full range of consumer electron-
Juicy Couture, a contem- slogans and ics including LCD TV’s, digital still
porary brand of casual lifestyle props set in stone cameras, Handycams, laptops, mobile
clothing, has opened the or etched glass. phones and MP3 players. A main focus of
region’s first stand alone acces- Founded in this new store is the contemporary design,
sory boutique at Mirdiff City 1994 by Pamela making it very easy for customers to
Centre. The new boutique Skaist-Levy and navigate. This store opening follows a very
carries an extensive range of Gela Taylor, successful Dubai Shopping Festival for
jewellery, shoes and handbags as premium Jumbo which also marked the company’s
featuring the brand’s stylish designer, 15th year of sponsorship.
and chic collections.  It also marketer and Expanding its reach to customers
showcases the latest Juicy wholesaler of further, Etisalat has opened the doors
swimwear that flatters any chic, sophis- to its 38th retail outlet here, its one-stop
type of body! From the ticated basics shop offering customers a broad range of
basic one-piece swimsuit for women, landline, mobile, broadband and enter-

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 31

kitchen and accessories available in one
single location. As with all Better Life
stores, customer service is paramount,
and an in-house kitchen designer is on
hand to provide assistance and advice to
ensure they chose the best products that
suit their needs.
Delivering on its promise to continue
with its retail expansion plans despite the
tainment services. Located on the first added services. global downturn, Al Fahim Holdings,
level of the mall from the North Entrance Better Life, a leading specialist home one of the largest diversified business
and spread over nearly 210 square metres, appliance company, has opened the doors groups in the GCC, has opened its stylish
this outlet is aimed to enhance the cus- on its seventh store at MCC. With a Paris Gallery at Mirdif City Centre. The
tomers’ experience with its contemporary shop area of 4,700square feet, the new new location takes the total number of
outlook, warm environment, latest tech store gives customers a warm and relax- outlets in the UAE alone to 27. Covering
gadgets in the market and an experienced ing shopping experience with its entire a total area of over 29,000 square feet, the
customer care team. Open from 10.00am brand portfolio on offer, which includes store features more than 480 prestigious
to 10.00pm from Sunday to Thursday Siemens, Electrolux, Grundig, and international and regional luxury brands
and between 10.00am until 12:00am on Lagostina amongst many others. Aside under one roof and underlines the com-
Friday and Saturday, the spacious outlet is from home appliances and accessories, pany’s commitment towards supporting
designed to offer customers an improved the store also has on display its new the UAE economy.
and wholesome retail experience. S2 Kitchen by German manufacturer In a statement, Group CEO Moham-
Shoppers and visitors will be able to SieMatic. A minimalist high end kitchen, med A.R. Al Fahim said: “Our latest
visit the Etisalat outlet for new fixed-line with the comforts and convenience of a store at Mirdif City Centre continues our
subscriptions, prepaid Wasel and postpaid fully furnished living space makes this a retail expansion which utilises our exist-
mobile connections, and Internet connec- must for any modern household. ing, successful retail blueprint and is the
tions. The outlets are also fully equipped For residents looking to personalise first of a series of several exciting ventures
to provide customers information on their apartments and villas in the newly we wish to reveal for 2010.”
services such as BlackBerry, iPhone, opened developments in the vicinity, the The new store will also see more em-
MobileCAM, 3G USB Modems, e-vision new store offers tenants the convenience ployment opportunities being generated
services and many more main and value- of having their entire home appliance for UAE nationals who have been trained
in the group’s stringent
retail philosophy. The
group works closely with
Zayed University where
it educates and empowers
Emirati students in the
retail business through its
Luxury Retail Leadership
Programme, Graduate
Management Training
Programme, internal
orientation programme and
On-Job Training.
In celebration of the
new development, Paris
Gallery held a two-day
in-store event and a catwalk
show where it presented the
2010 collections of its top
brands Chopard, Givenchy,
GianFranco Ferre, Escada
and E. Zegna Eyewear.

32 l UAE Digest, May 2010


Used computing
ICT cluster spearheads recycle and
reuse initiative

ubai Internet City (DIC) has collected over 1,000
pieces of used computer hardware equipment from
the companies based within its premises as part of
its ongoing recycling campaign. The ‘DIC Recycle –
Reuse’ drive extends to recycling laptops, printers, screen monitors
and scanners, and is being carried out in association with Dubai
Municipality, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian
and Charity Foundation and Microsoft Middle East. DIC’s busi-
ness partners were encouraged to give their used equipments which
will then be distributed among educational, social and charitable
institutions. phones, batteries and accessories, along with other related electron-
The ‘Envirofone Recycling Drive’ is another ongoing green ics. The items thus collected are exported to specialised e-waste
initiative by DIC. Developed by Envirofone, which manages and recycling companies based in Singapore or Malaysia.
promotes the UAE national campaign for the recycling of e-waste, As the region’s leading managed ICT cluster, DIC works to-
mobile phones, accessories and batteries, the programme aims to wards driving sustainability across the region through the platform
create a safer office environment through disposing of electronic of technology. Among its vigorous recycling drive campaigns
waste that would be hazardous and toxic. within the community, DIC also recently commissioned a white
In partnership with Envirofone, DIC has placed drop boxes paper on how telecom operators in the region can reap cost savings
across TECOM business parks including Dubai Knowledge Village through adopting sustainable technologies and meeting industry
and Dubai Media City. Individuals are encouraged to deposit used recognised environmental standards.

Waste management services at petrol stations

Waste management agreement covers 36 service stations
across the emirate of Sharjah
Dulsco Sharjah has announced that it has fuel refilling companies.
recently signed a contract to collect waste Providing service stations with waste
from 36 service stations of Enoc/Eppco in collection services is not new to Dulsco as
Sharjah. Dulsco revealed that the agreement the company has a long and comprehensive
underlines the company’s continued success experience of the same type of service with
in providing expert services and reaffirms Emarat in Dubai and in other emirates.
the company’s leadership in the field of waste Dulsco Sharjah has been successfully
management, spanning several decades. providing waste management services to
Dulsco Sharjah began the collection of several companies involving different types its services from all its customers in the emir-
food and other general waste from these pet- of wastes over the past several years. It is ate. Officials have made it a practice both
rol stations on August 1, 2009. The company set to further increase its customer base to make regular visits to key clients to see if
already provides other services such as tank of companies in the emirate using waste their expectations are being adequately met,
cleaning. Dulsco pointed out that the new management services. and also to take necessary action immedi-
waste collection service contract has further Moreover, Dulsco has set in motion the ately if found wanting in even the slightest
strengthened its business relationship with practice of seeking regular feedback about degree of service.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 33


More ‘brains’, less ‘muscle’

move towards knowledge- information exactly as is expected – this disillusionment and fall in confidence,”
intensive activities in Dubai means the multi-tasking capability has to he said. “The most beneficial educa-
was highlighted by the Dubai be second nature. When business grows, tion is experiential learning that offers
Competitiveness Centre the skills are expected to run in parallel. a practical outlook rather than simple
(DCC) recently at a debate hosted by Du- But when the business contracts, skills textbook training. This provides a good
bai Knowledge Village. Gayane Afrikian, leave, or are harvested (meaning reduced link between ‘doing’ and ‘knowing’.”
the Director of the DCC, who presented capability to deliver and strain on those
information on the UAE’s global competi- remaining), more is not more ... less is Teaching update
tive ranking, said that it was time for Du- more becomes the key. This is where a Teachers from government schools
bai to shift from labour-intensive activities focus on skills and competence develop- across the UAE had the opportunity
to more knowledge-driven activities. She ment is crucial.” to improve the way they teach mixed
also revealed, with regard to promoting a James warned against falling into ability classes and adapt materials at the
culture of knowledge in the region, that ‘capability incompetence’. He used an first British Council Teaching Young
there needed to be more of a push towards example of technology incompetence, Learners and Teenagers Conference in
continued education where UAE Nation- where people were faced with a mass March. The two one-day mini-confer-
als were concerned. of technological
This indication of support towards devices but had little
improving knowledge and skills in Dubai understanding of
was favourably received by higher-educa- their capability.
tion and training providers who have been “Today we are
concerned that a tightening of budgets faced with the need
during the economic recession might to deliver projects
impact negatively on skills development. with less, but how?
“The UAE is developing rapidly. But The answers lie
‘more’ is not necessarily better,” said James in the end-to-end
Norbury of Specialised Management understanding of
Group. “Now, more than ever, companies how projects benefit
require a strong focus on competence and and deliver business
capability. Sponsors want project manag- strategy. The axe
ers and teams to do more with less. Precise is being swung on
decisions - on time, every time - requires many aspects and
project managers to facilitate the flow of has created much
Fatma Al Marri, CEO of the KHDA School Agency in Dubai, delivered a
warm welcome address to British Council conference delegates
34 l UAE Digest, May 2010
ences, held at the Princess Haya bint Al Six schools by Dewan by Dewan, four will be for girls and two
Hussein School for Girls in Dubai, and for Al Ain for boys. Each school will have the capac-
at the Institute of Applied Technology Dewan Architects & Engineers, the firm ity to cater for between 1,225 and 1,500
in Fujairah, gave 350 teachers, supervi- behind the design of such landmark students, and will offer classes for either
sors and teacher trainees from primary, projects as The Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi Grades 6 to 12 or Grades 10 t0 12.
preparatory and secondary government and Dubai’s Creek Towers & Plaza, Dewan is well recognised for its
schools new techniques to deal effective- has been selected to design six of the 18 forward-thinking approach to and incor-
ly with mixed ability classes and to adapt schools planned by the Abu Dhabi Edu- poration of eco-friendly and sustainable
classroom materials to better meet the cation Council for the emirate of Al Ain. design elements in each of its projects. The
needs of their students. Hopefully, this ADEC recently unveiled plans to firm, established in Abu Dhabi in 1984, is
information will be relayed to their col- build 100 new schools in the emirate ranked among the top 100 architectural
leagues at their individual workplaces. of Abu Dhabi with construction on 18 firms in the world today, and is one of the
This was the first regional confer- schools starting this year. Technology is top five ranked firms in the Middle East.
ence circuit organised under the British a key feature of the design that will be
Council’s English for the Future applied to new school buildings. Labs Gulf for Good partners
programme, and took place in Bahrain, and ICT rooms will be equipped with
with top educational
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Yemen and the the latest technology and every educa-
UAE. All presenters are IATEFL- tional space in the new school buildings
affiliated and include UK education will be prepared for wireless connections Gulf for Good (G4G), a Dubai-based
experts such as Wendy Arnold, Noreen to the internet providing a new learning charity that organises adventure chal-
Caplen-Spence, Coralyn Bradshaw and mode for students in which they will lenges to raise funds to be donated to
Martin Goosey. They are all specialists learn direct computer skills. A number of handpicked causes, is planning to partner
in the teaching of young learners and technological features will also be applied with educational institutions across the
have previous experience of working in to teaching methods, making classes UAE, to further promote its fund-raising
the Middle East. The conferences were more interactive and conducive to an en- adventure activities. The initiative is also
supported by KHDA in Dubai and IAT vironment where students apply greater part of the charity’s vision to expand its
in Fujairah. problem-solving and analytical skills. reach over the Gulf region and boost the
Karen Ryan, English Project In order to achieve these aims, Dewan number of regional participants in its
Manager for the UAE, said: “This first has worked with its teams of specialists to adventure activities.
Regional Conference Circuit specifically deliver world-class architectural solutions G4G has previously worked with
designed for the needs of government that are economical, environmentally UAE-based institutions such as The Eng-
teachers working with young learners friendly, buildable and easy to maintain. lish College and Dubai Men’s College and
and teenagers provides an excellent These principles were carefully adopted is aiming to involve other schools, colleges
opportunity for teachers from different and packaged within outstanding and universities in adventure challenges to
government schools in the UAE to share exterior designs that correspond with the raise funds for charity. The charity’s plan
best practice between themselves, for the client’s vision for the future. to collaborate with educational institu-
benefit of Emirati students’. Out of the six schools to be designed tions can also assist programmes such
as the ‘Duke of Edinburgh
Awards’ and the Interna-
tional Baccalaureate, both
of which are dedicated to
the personal development
of young people from
all backgrounds and
the promotion of peace
through intercultural
understanding. Some of
G4G’s previous projects
include the construction
of a community hospital in
Nepal, classrooms in Tan-
zania, purchasing children’s
physiotherapy equipment in
Sharjah, computer software
for blind students in Oman

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 35

English College group teams up with Gulf for Good for the Everest Base Camp Challenge

and medical equipment in Palestine. a total of 28 challenges in 17 countries reflected in a recent survey conducted by
“We believe that students can learn involving over 550 participants aged IC&E. More than 60 per cent of the sur-
important lessons not only inside the from 15 to 72, and has raised over Dh5 vey’s respondents said they want to pursue
classroom, but also by interacting with million in total funds, which have or complete their master’s degree to boost
and playing an active role in the commu- been donated to tangible and deserving their employment opportunities, while up
nity, which can hone a host of practical community projects in the adventure to 74 per cent of those planning to take
skills to complement their theoretical challenge host countries. The chal- up post-graduate studies prefer to attend
knowledge,” said Brian Wilkie, Chair- lenges previously organised by the group classes at the university campus.
man and Founder of Gulf for Good. include trekking to Machu Piccu in The survey also revealed that 22.9 per
“With the growing interest of students Peru and Everest Base Camp, cycling cent of learners are interested in online
in the UAE in acquiring a holistic in Cambodia, kayaking in Madagascar, study programmes, while less than three
education, we are confident that our Oman and Borneo and even camel per cent prefer self study programmes.
challenges will help students to get fitter, trekking in Jordan! This year, they are of- Anselm Godinho, Managing Director,
develop their skills, learn to respect and fering climbing Kilimanjaro, hiking in IC&E, said: “The survey confirms that the
understand other cultures and become Lebanon, cycling in Cuba and cycling, majority of working professionals in the
well-rounded individuals with a culture trekking and kayaking in northern UAE are proactively seeking opportuni-
of serving the community.” Thailand. ties to boost their career development. We
Gulf for Good was recently honoured have also discovered through the survey
at the first ever ‘Noble Humanitar- Pursuing postgraduate that one out of three learners prefer to
ian Awards Middle East’, a prestigious attend exhibitions and trade events to find
annual gathering that recognises the out more about different postgraduate
achievements of philanthropic organisa- Getex Dubai serves as a platform for programmes.”
tions. academic programmes According to the survey, 72 per cent
Founded in 2001, Gulf for Good International Conferences & Exhibi- of respondents find information about
( is operating tions (IC&E), organiser of Getex various postgraduate courses either
under the patronage of His Highness Dubai 2010, an education, training and through the internet or by attending trade
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, professional development event held in exhibitions and conferences. Moreover,
President, Dubai’s Department of Civil April, has announced that post-graduate the survey revealed that about 84 per cent
Aviation and Chairman & CEO, Emir- studies remain in great demand among of those who want to pursue a master’s
ates Group. To date, G4G has organised working professionals in the UAE, as degree are in the 24 to 35 age bracket.

36 l UAE Digest, May 2010


Summer deals
t’s getting hotter every day, children all. The hotel is even offering a choice of massages at the spa when staying at the
are being taken to cooler climes wedding presents (vouchers) from them resort.
and the pace of life is slowing. to the happy couple, which can be used Stay one night at Al Maha Desert
Time for summer offers and during the first year of marriage. Resort & Spa and enjoy an additional
enticements from the hospitality sector Travel back to the 19th century as night at half price with the resort’s ‘The
to welcome visitors through their doors. Hoi An, at Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Extended Experience’ offer. Valid until
Take advantage of the abundance of deals Al Beri, Abu Dhabi captures the essence May 31st, the offer includes all meals and
cropping up now, and try out things that of colonial Vietnamese cuisine with a two nature-based activities per night’s
you haven’t tried before: reduced prices touch of French flair. Available from stay, such as falconry, guided nature walks,
on early dining, extra nights and meals 19th to 28th May. Order before 7pm and desert drives, horse riding, camel treks
at hotels, golf bargains, five-star cooking enjoy a three-course set menu featuring or archery. Surrounded by some of the
lessons, a variety of weekend brunches and authentic Vietnamese dishes inclusive region’s most spectacular landscape, rich
more – including a German Maifest in the of house malt or vintage. Hoi An opens with protected wildlife and traditional
Middle East! daily from 6pm to 11.30pm. Bedouin pastimes, Al Maha provides a
Your wedding day should be the most Banyan Tree Al Wadi is Ras Al secluded, romantic and tranquil experi-
ence. The Bedouin-inspired suites all have
their own private, temperature-controlled
swimming pools and a sundeck. As part of

Bedouin suite at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

special celebration of your life, full of Khaimah’s latest

exciting and long lasting memories. The exclusive resort, 45
five-star Park Rotana Abu Dhabi is ready minutes drive from
to offer you a complete hassle-free wed- Dubai Airport.
ding experience starting from planning Until September
and all the way to your ‘big day’ recep- 21, enjoy a compli-
tion. The newly opened property caters mentary night with
to various types of weddings from 100 every three paid
to 350 guests. Its convenient location, nights. Rates include
stunning Grand Park ballroom with daily breakfast and
ample pre-function area and outdoor welcome drinks for
terrace, luxurious accommodation, great two. Also, during
selection of wedding menus and a team of this month, you can
professional event planners will make you enjoy a 30 per cent
and your guests feeling at the centre of it discount off body

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 37

the Al Maha experience, guests will enjoy
a sumptuous five-course meal in the stun-
ning Al Diwaan restaurant, or can choose
to eat privately at their own deck.
Spend your day at Dubai Creek Golf
& Yacht Club and take advantage of the
special full-day package for less than
Dh500, which includes a continental
breakfast for two people on Lake View
Terrace, one round of golf on the champi-
onship course, plus full day use of all Golf
Academy practice facilities, use of the
club’s gym and tropical swimming pool
all day for two, and enjoy the new buffet
lunch for two at the Boardwalk. Valid for
UAE residents every day until the end of
Dubai Creek Gold & Yacht Club May.
Maifest at JW Marriott

Seafood at
The Gem
By Linda Benbow

Every Wednesday
night at Holiday Inn
Dubai –Al Barsha is a
seafood night at The
Gem Garden, an all-
day-dining restaurant
with a minimalist Zen
style setting, ideal to
enjoy a family meal
or a business lunch.
Smooth and creamy
seafood soup is a Visit Junsui, Burj Al Arab for a gastronomic journey that explores
delight to savour while the spices of authentic Balinese cuisine. Bumbu Bali’s Chef Heinz von
the popular serving Holzen will be cooking up a storm in Junsui this May, 11th to 15th,
platter of oysters with with his original recipes and will be teaching the secrets of Balinese
choices of accompa- cuisine at interactive afternoon cooking classes from 4pm to 6pm.
niements are replen- Say goodbye to the winter chill and welcome in the warm beauty of
ished regularly. Three springtime, with a traditional German celebration at Hofbräuhaus of
different ways of serving salmon and rollmop herrings the JW Marriott Dubai from 1st to 31st May. In keeping with the spirit
can be found amongst salads and cold fishy mezzes. Hot of Maifest, there’s plenty of food and beverages to enjoy, accompanied
serving dishes contain Thai curry, prawn pilau and stuffed by lively German music and singing. Indulge in a traditional Bavarian
squid. The chef at the live cooking station will chatter to buffet from 6pm to 2am and enjoy specially made May Punch or Mai-
you as he deep fries your choice of fish, or cook it on a hot bock – a German malt brewed only during this season.
griddle with your choice of marinade or flavourings. And, The Media One Hotel, located in the bustling Media City district
something that isn’t seen often enough, the dessert table of Dubai, is bursting with great value food and beverage promotions as
holds a large cheeseboard for those who prefer a savoury well as top-class entertainment. On Sundays, at ‘The Z’ you can buy a
dessert, as well as a selection of enticing looking sweet cocktail and enjoy a second one free of charge, from 6pm to midnight.
delights. A similar promotion on Martinis is held on Thursdays.

38 l UAE Digest, May 2010

Old ways are still
good ways
By Linda Benbow

Don Corleone at Metropolitan Hotel,

part of the Al Habtoor Group, is still
serving home-made Italian food in
the same way that customers have
enjoyed it for many, many years. The
white-washed stuccoed walls act as a
friendly backdrop for the red-checked
tablecloths on the cosy tables both
inside and outside on the ivy covered verandah. Big and small por- affordable place to visit with its English pub – The Red Lion, top-
tions of pasta, grilled vegetables and cheese fondue await you. floor chinese restaurant - The Summer Place, Indian restaurant with
Yes, the Al Habtoor Group is celebrating its 40th anniversary this live band, and the oriental Market Place on the second floor with a
year. Congratulations! The hotel has always been a popular, wooden bridge arching over a pond of Japanese Koi fish.

The Meydan Hotel, the world's first buffet where they can help themselves into Shades, the chic and vibrant lounge
five-star trackside hotel has announced or be helped by one of the many staff in at The Address Dubai Marina for a ladies
the launch of packages designed specifical- brightly decorated colours. The buffet night-out to remember. Live the Marina
ly and exclusively for GCC residents and itself is placed on low tables to help the vibe as you unwind to the DJ’s latest selec-
business groups. Valid until September children reach it and has all items that tion of cool rhythms. This trendy hotspot
prices include free shuttle to Dubai Mall ‘children simply love’. For adults, the buf- is ideal for the fashionable at heart. Every
and DIFC, as well as 24-hour check-in fet is endless, having over 200 dishes to Tuesday, 6pm to midnight, all ladies re-
stays and leisure based services, among be offered, in addition to a wide variety ceive two complimentary glasses of bubbly.
others. of cooking stations from 11 different Stimulate your mind with quiz nights
The Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Dei- outlets. at Bunkers, The Address Montgomerie
ra Creek, offers a great deal for its family Tune in to the latest trends with the Dubai, with quizmaster Phil Richard, and
Friday brunch in-house Fashion Advi- enjoy great food and a fabulous ambience.
experience sor, a signature service Enjoy 20 per cent off on selected beverages
from May 7 for guests of The Ad- and indulge in a specially prepared menu
to September dress Dubai Mall. You for the evening. Memorable prizes are up
10. Every will receive a consulta- for grabs. Every Monday from 6.30pm to
Friday from tion at the hotel, fol- 10pm.
12.30pm lowed by advice on the Experience the ultimate BBQ evening
to 4pm, the most suitable styles for hosted by Calabar and Zeta at The Ad-
second floor you, plus a personalised dress Downtown Dubai. Choose from an
of the hotel is shopping session and impressive array of seafood and marinated
transformed great tips for accessoris- meats grilled to order on the terrace. Set
into a Friday ing your outfits. Try their against the stunning backdrop of the Burj
Fun Food Festival, and it’s not just for exclusive ‘Fashion Dilemma’ session, Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, it’s the
the parents, but for the younger members perfect for ladies who need help with an coolest BBQ in town every Tuesday from
of the family as well. The price each child outfit for a specific occasion. Featuring 6pm to 10.30pm
pays for their meals depends on how tall advice on combining events with the Monday nights are alive with Arabian
they are. Children below one metre get to right fashion, and a shopping trip to traditions at Layali Ewaan, The Palace
eat for free. The choice that the children selected outlets. The ‘Style Me and Shop- - the Old Town, with live Arabic music,
have for entertainment ranges from video ping’ session for ladies and gents includes belly dancing, tannoura dancer and
games to a play area, a magician and even a a consultation to match styles with the shisha on the terrace. Featuring delicious
mini soccer table. They can also have their individual’s personality, plus a trip to key mezzehs, falafel, saj, ouzi, barbecue and a
face painted and try some cotton candy stores. lavish buffet in impressive surroundings
and popcorn. There is also a child-sized Ladies, put on your stilettos and slip adorned with silk tapestries.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 39


The business of fashion

ast month saw a multitude of sessions started well after their advertised Managing Director and blogger of Hellwa-
fashion shows being staged in timings. Fashionably late is obviously
Dubai, with an array of different different in various parts or the world, and The Samsung stand welcomed 400 en-
audiences. The professionally or- some of the timings of between one to two tries over five days, with fashionistas from
ganised Motexha 2010 fashion and apparel hours late in starting were unacceptable to all over Dubai posing with Samsung’s Diva
exhibition at Dubai World Trade Centre many in the audience who showed their mobile phones to compete for the title
had its usual success with exhibitors at the disapproval by leaving the rooms. of Diva of Dubai Fashion Week. As the
event expressing their satisfaction at the “Make your feet do the talking” is a official product partner for mobile phones
quality of visitors on the first day as leading much used slogan nowadays with crowds and televisions this year, the Samsung
buyers and merchandisers visited the event turning away from high-priced concerts, DFW online diary
to place multiple orders on behalf of their forceful planning dictates and late show- was visited by 5,823 people, eager to get
organisations. ings. the latest from Dubai Fashion Week, and
This is what these events are supposed The fashion displays that did take place included notes on signature looks, up-and-
to be about. A showcase for designers and were well received, and designers will coming designers, key trends for the season
companies to display their wares for buy- be happy with the media coverage they and of course all the front row gossip about
ers, whether for stores and businesses, or received from the well organised Press who is wearing what.
individuals, to inspect. Centre. Then came The Bride Show, a fashion-
The much-fanfared event of Dubai Dubai Fashion Week and Splash once able feast for fiancés; children under 12
Fashion Week (DFW), which began on again collaborated to present the Splash were not allowed in. His Excellency
Saturday, 3rd April, turned out to be a Emerging Talent Contest, which has been Abdul Rahman Al Ghurair, Chairman of
social event for those in the audiences and a major breakthrough event for previ- Dubai Commerce and Industry officially
an opportunity for emerging designers to ous up and coming designers. The judges inaugurated The Bride Show Dubai with
show their wares on stage and in the media. decisions were based on creativity in the a ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by
Before the event, organisers had promised collections, selection and usage of fabrics, a tour of Halls 1, 2 and 3 of the Dubai
‘new international designers, more buyers use of accessories and presentation. International Exhibition Centre, where he
and a spectrum of the season’s fashion’ - Samsung Electronics, a sponsor of met regional and international exhibitors
and it did actually provide two out of three Dubai Fashion Week, announced Garima and was treated to a preview fashion show
of those. Irisha Kapoor as the winner of the Sam- by Bollywood designer Vikram Phadnis.
The semi-professional organisation of sung Diva of Dubai Fashion Week 2010 The remaining opening day fashion
the event was held up to the light in the judged by Samsung, Dubai-based fashion shows wowed the crowds as the team of
local newspapers when various catwalk designer Salma Khan and Bebhinn Kelly, professional models graced the catwalk
in embellished abayas by Al
Motahajiba Abayas, jalabiyas
and kaftans for Indulge by
Divya Oswal and exquisite
bridal gowns by local favour-
ite and long-time Bride Show
supporter Jalal M. Khan Est.
- ‘Demetrios’.
One of the biggest fea-
tures to get eyes popping and
camera bulbs flashing was the
16 foot tall wedding cake cre-
ated by the culinary masters
Mariam Mazrou successfully showed her Garima Irish Kapoor is Samsung Diva of Dubai Fashion Week at the Shangri-La hotel in
collection of designs at Dubai Fashion

40 l UAE Digest, May 2010

The new
Bridal Lounge, an
interactive dem-
onstration area
for brides-to-be to
gain inspiration,
advice and tips,
proved to be very
popular on the
first day.
Senior make-up
artists from MAC
A 50-carat intense yellow radiant diamond engagement ring
Cosmetics and hair
stylists from Jamil Style, a l’Oréal Profes- has a prestigious Gemological Institute of offered by established favourites, such as
sionnel salon explained the techniques they America certificate. Salam Stores, Escada, Moschino, Paolo
adopt in order to create flawless make-up “We do not solely cater for the most Frani, Catherine Dean, Armani Collezioni
and hair for weddings. expensive tastes; our diamonds range from and suchlike.
Women’s World Live, the new exhibi- $20 (Dh73) upwards with any kind of The glamorous, free, two-day event
tion running alongside The Bride Show certification,” said Gary Shuster, owner of wowed crowds with a line-up of profession-
Dubai, welcomed lots of visitors in fitness South African Jewels, a family business in ally produced fashion shows from the array
gear, which granted them free admission, operation for more than 70 years, that will (over 260) of leading fashion and beauty
to take part in an exercise class wearing launch its showroom in Dubai, located in brands at Mirdif City Centre - showcasing
Kangoo Jumps boots, Latino Cardio, the Al Mas Tower in Jumeirah Lake Tow- a preview of the latest trends and hottest
Body Combat and Dubai Drums, a group ers, in September 2010. styles from around the globe.
drumming session which is proven to raise Mirdiff City Centre held a fashion Visitors to the event were shown how
endorphin levels. The free health checks extravaganza in mid-April with many of they can achieve the chic runway looks seen
at the Philips stand were also a popular the stores in the newly opened mall taking on the catwalk with an amazing line-up of
feature on the first day. part in the New Season Catwalk Show hair, make-up and styling demonstrations,
Millions of dollars of diamonds were on which was eagerly awaited by shoppers in addition to in-store events and exclusive
display at the show with pride of place go- keen to make use of the many discounts customer giveaways.
ing to a 50-carat fancy intense yellow
radiant diamond engagement ring on
offer at $2million (Dh7.34million).
South African Jewels took part
for the second time to sell some of the
world’s most exquisite diamonds to
Dubai’s elite at wholesale price, some
50 per cent less than retail prices.
The company’s decision to sell at
wholesale was made because Dubai
customers still typically pay in cash
and upfront.
Following on from their participa-
tion in The Bride Show Abu Dhabi
in February, where they displayed a
$1million (Dh3.67million) 25 carat
yellow diamond engagement ring, the
company brought a number of pieces
guaranteed to drop jaws and pop eyes.
This time they brought a 50-carat
engagement ring, worth a staggering
$2million (Dh7.34million), which

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 41


Gold swopping time

By Linda Benbow

imes are still diffi- take a stroll through the gold souk. Solid
cult at the moment chains, hollow chains, bracelets and
and the atmos- bangles lie next to each other in tempting
phere of ‘make do’ bulk displays of jewellery for both adorn-
often clashes with the trendy ment and investment.
‘must-have’ moments that pop Differing nationalities like differ-
into people’s minds. But there ent types of gold, settings and pieces
is still a way to have your cake of adornment. The traditional bright,
and eat it – well, actually, to shiny colour is well loved by all but a
have your old jewellery turned more yellow coloured metal, and a higher
into new – just swop it. If quality of carat is preferred by the main
needs be, then pay a little extra bulk of buyers consisting of people from
to get your choice of adorn- sub-continent countries and some Gulf
ment. Buying, selling and nationals. Europeans prefer the lighter
exchanging of jewellery has colours in both matt and gloss. A newer
been quietly going on for hun- trend is to buy white gold which looks
dreds of years. Now, it is your very similar to the costlier metal of
turn to walk through the souks platinum.
of Dubai. After the fun of “just looking, thank
Dubai is well known for you” comes the fun of buying. Ask for
its gold shops. The gold souk, the prices of a number of items that you
or marketplace, consists of a like and watch the salesman as he weighs
few streets which have been set your chosen few, and quickly presses the
aside for those in the business buttons on his ever ready calculator. A
to carry out their trade, as is little fore knowledge is necessary here.
customary in the Middle East. The local newspapers print the daily price
Located within the first bend of Dubai’s mopolitan jewellery on offer. Shop after of gold on the international markets.
creek, on the Deira side of the water shop of baubles, bangles and beads attract This is the price per ounce of 24 carat
between Al Khaleej Road and Baniyas the eye, making them widen in order to gold. Tone this price down appropriately
Road, the area has in recent years been take in the full magnificence of the shiny for the 18 carat and 22 carat items which
given a facelift by the municipality, which displays. are mainly sold in these shops.
has constructed covered walkways for the Shades of coloured gold fuse into Watch the salesman’s fingers to see
convenience of shoppers. delicate necklets and earrings. Shim- what figures he is entering on the calcula-
Walk through the old and new areas, mering shades of dull orange, primrose, tor and check that it is the same figure
malls and showrooms, pavements and iridescent glittery yellow, dusky pink, that the men in the previous few shops
cobblestones to savour the feel of the cos- and even white, dazzle the eye when you were selling at. There is usually a small

42 l UAE Digest, May 2010

charge added on to the final cost price for lowing week when prices have gone down
workmanship of the item. again. All nationalities play this profitable
And then bargain. Haggle. Ask for game with society hostesses changing their
the “best price” and think carefully about jewellery almost as much as their change
whether you want to buy or not. Leave of wardrobes.
the shop to see what other jewellery is on at the variety of customers buying and For a cooler and more modern way of
offer in the area and feel free to return to selling precious metals, for this is a shopping, visit the Gold & Diamond Park
your original choice. The salesman will be marketplace where customers are not in Al Quoz, Sheik Zayed Road, where a
waiting for you with open arms. always the person who has walked into specialist shopping mall of hundreds of
Remember to negotiate a price first be- the shop. Sometimes the customer, or jewellery shops operates in air-conditioned
fore placing an order for specialist jewel- buyer, is standing right there behind splendour. Small and airy glass paned
lery to be made to your own requirements the counter. Women with carrier bags shops are there, with smartly dressed
and design. Allow up to one week for the of adornments sell their dowries when young salesmen who knowledgably
craftsman to do his job properly although prices are high. Traditional necklaces discuss gems, precious metals and even
simple items like a necklet of your name of coins and pendants, headdresses of purple gold. Yes, it really does exist. A
written in Arabic and set onto a chain linked discs, bulky bangles and tola bars combination of precious metals that has
should take no longer than three days. can be sold one day and newer more been ingeniously fused to produce a much
Visitors to Dubai often gaze in wonder appealing items can be bought the fol- treasured new colour of gold.

Gold Facts: London. It is noted as a place where • Tael – Traditional Chinese unit of
• Alloy – Mixture of two or more metals. large volumes of gold can be traded weight for precious metals. The
Gold is typically alloyed with other and the fix price is widely used as the normal bar sizes are 1 and 5 taels.
metals to increase its hardness or reference price for gold on a particular 1 tael = 37.429grammes.
change its colour. day. • Tola – Traditional Indian unit of weight
• Baht – Thai bullion bar weighing 0.47 • Gold – A yellow coloured shiny for precious metals.
ounces or 15.4 grammes. chemically resistant precious metal. 1 tola = 11.1grammes.
• Bars – Gold is frequently bought and Chemical symbol: Au. Specific weight: The normal bar size is 10 tolas.
sold in bars which are of a wide variety 19.3g/cm3. Melting point: 1064o
of weight units and sizes. Bars carry centigrade.
a manufacturer’s stamp guaranteeing • Hallmark – Marks on gold jewellery
weight and gold content to protect the which indicate that the gold content
buyer. complies with the stated ‘cartage’ and
• Bullion – Precious metal in ingots, bars with legal standards.
or wafers at least 0.995 pure. • Krugerrand – A 22 carat gold coin
• Carat – The purity of gold is described minted in South Africa. The first bullion
by its ‘fineness’ or carat as parts in 24. coin to contain exactly one ounce of
Thus, 18 carat is 18/24ths gold or 75 per pure gold (plus a little alloy to harden
cent gold. 24 carat is pure gold. it).
• Fixing – The London ‘fix’ is a trading • Mint – A factory, typically government • Troy ounce – An Anglo-Saxon unit of
session with five members held twice owned, where the legal tender of a weight for precious metals.
daily in the offices of N.M. Rothschild in country is coined. 1 troy ounce = 31.1035 grammes.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 43


Jewelled skincare
By Linda Benbow

vlgari unveiled its range of new Amaranthine the refreshing, non-oily textures melts
skincare products in a white Amaranthine opens with a dramatic naturally into skin, combining effective-
tent on the lawns of the Ritz- flourish of spices and tropical green. This ness and pleasure in perfect harmony.
Carlton, filled with hostesses lick of drama is beautifully ambushed by
dressed in white, white leather couchettes an unctuous accord of jasmine and ylang- MasterCream Eye & Lip
for sitting on and massage experts who ylang, a heady bloom renowned for its Our eyes and lips proclaim our thoughts,
feelings or intentions. And with time,
our emotions
leave visible
traces. There-
fore the new
Eye & Lip from
Juvena of Swit-
zerland fulfils the
allround skincare
needs of the
most demanding areas of a woman’s face
– with just a single cream. It combines
most highly effective anti-aging active
ingredients with the company’s exclusive
Bvlgari guests were given a hand massage
SkinNova SC Technology. Available at
gave guests a hand massage while explain-
ing how to apply the various whitening aphrodisiac properties, and clove swathed Korres Colour
products on offer. The theme of the in spices, tea, musk and the rounded The colour pigments used in Korres Col-
evening was to show the whitening power beauty of tonka bean absolute. It is avail- our are crystal substances that alter the
of their jewelled skincare line inspired by able as Eau de Parfum; and as a limited visual properties of the formula to create
luxurious gemstones. edition Parfum (30ml) housed in a hand- a number of effects in terms of colour in-
Currently exclusively available at crafted crystal and silver bottle with a tensity, transparency and brightness. All
Harvey Nichols in Mall of the Emirates, silver butterfly charm bracelet sitting their products have been developed using
the range will go on sale later this year around its neck. Available natural emulsifiers, vegetable oils
at all leading department stores. Priced at Penhaligon stores and waxes, herbal extracts and
from Dh190, there are 37 products in the vitamins. The Mango Butter
collection, ranging from serums to crèmes Clarins’ Daily
and sun protection – all with a unique
gem formula which is said to have healing
powers for the skin. It uses sapphire, Clarins, the skin care
tourmaline, citrine and amethyst which expert, has created Daily
emit energy, which is then absorbed by Energizer skin care to help
the skin, improving circulation and giving make dreams of flawless
skin a radiant appearance. skin come true. Each of

44 l UAE Digest, May 2010

Lipstick has an SPF 10 rating and is rich indulge in an unfor-
in precious nutrient substances. Mango gettable experience.
butter melts at body temperature and is Being a ‘lady of a
easily absorbed by the skin, leaving a pleas- certain age’ I asked if
ant sensation. Even in extreme conditions, the make-up consult-
such as heat-waves, severe cold, prolonged ant could help me get
exposure to the sun, or time spent in dry, rid of years of looking
ventilated spaces, mango butter protects the same and wearing
lips effectively and offers a healthy shine. the same type of
make-up, I wanted to
Missha The Style Dia Pearl look a bit more mod-
ern. No problem. Es-
tee Lauder sorted out
Missha, the revolutionary cosmetics brand the black bags under
has introduced attractive eye make-up my eyes, slack chin
Announcing the special offers at Areej
with splendid pearls. The shining pearl eye and laughter lines
shadow with Diamond Sparkling Pearls around the mouth. A
glitters from various angles, lending a day per person. DKNY has pre-ordered number of other brands of make-up were
glamorous look to the eyes. Available in its stocks and pays its farmers invoices necessary to transform the visage from
seven different shades. promptly,” Sandra Boubeckeur explained. plain-but-elderly to interesting-looking.
“Also, try out the com- And they worked. My husband said so –
pany’s limited edition Be after a gentle reminder from me on how I
Delicious perfume which has a had spent the morning!
light fruity aroma for daytime Exclusive Areej offers include Prada’s
wear,” she explained. A pouf new limited edition fragrance Infusion De
of spray onto a cardboard Tubereuse Eau De Parfum with the mod-
finger, specially designed for ern interpretations of classic scents and a
smelling purposes proved uniquely designed packaging inspired by
that she was right – it was a the fashion archives of Prada.
very light and pleasant aroma. Throughout the event, customers
“There were only 750 bottles can visit any Areej store and avail
for sale in this region, and half of an extensive range of attractive
those were sold within a week,” she offers on select products, gifts
Beauty extravaganza confirmed. or value sets from some of the
Areej is hosting its annual exclusive This year’s Beauty Extravaganza leading global cosmetic and
Beauty Extravaganza across all their brings many incredible offers on skincare brands; Guerlain,
stores in UAE, Oman and KSA until premium beauty brands, in ad- Dior, Lancôme, Chanel, Gi-
May 8th. dition to make-up workshops, venchy, Yves Saint Laurent,
It was pure conincidence that a friend fragrance layer- La Prairie,
and I entered the Areej store near our ing sessions, Estée
home at the exact time that the Sales beauty Lauder,
and Education Manager from the Estee consultation Clarins,
Lauder Group started to speak to a group pro- Clinique
of ladies about designer fragrances and the grammes, and
special offers that are currently on offer in fragrance many
its stores. launches more.
“Welcome to the launch of DKNY’s and sev-
Pure perfume which has a floral under- eral other
tone and a vanilla top scent. The company pampering
is continuing its trend of helping third treats that
world countries by buying its vanilla from will give
Uganda farmers, where the countryside customers
daily living expense is approx.$1.5 per a chance to
Discover the Elizabeth Arden set for a special price

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 45


ActiveHybrid X6 and ActiveHybrid 7, the next step in BMW’s

efficient dynamics strategy to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
ActiveHybrid 7 - more than15 per cent better fuel economy with
better performance than the new BMW 750i.
ActiveHybrid X6 - up to 20 per cent better fuel efficiency compared to
the conventional X6.

Overseas diagnostics
AGMC, importer of BMW cars, has completed an expansion to its main
showroom in Dubai
By Linda Benbow

ave you ever seen a clean on the thickly painted, anti-slip floor, stood to attention near some cars and
car repair garage? No, me and no bits and pieces of engines lying others awaited repairs from the various
neither, until I had a look around. The place was almost clinically marked compartments at its allocated
around the AGMC service clean – well for a car repair shop – with workstation.
centre on Sheikh Zayed Road, which is BMWs, Minis and a Rolls Royce neatly The workshop features the most
part of the company’s newly expanded lined up over work pits or raised on up-to-date equipment and machinery
showroom. There were no grease patches ramps. Portable diagnostic machinery and the most advanced specialist testing

46 l UAE Digest, May 2010

technology in the automotive industry.
When a car in Dubai is hooked up to
the diagnostic machine, the results are
whizzed down the internet superhighway
to the manufacturer’s headquarters in
Germany where experts not only diagnose
the fault(s) but also send back information
on exactly what must be done, which spare
parts must be used and where they can be
found in the Dubai stockroom.
engineering. With its new sporting and facilities here in Dubai, we have invested
elegant design, excellent comfort and the in our showrooms in Sharjah and Ras Al
highest standard in efficiency in its class, Khaimah, and a Body-and-Paint centre in
the new 5 Series is expected to open a Dubai’s Al Quoz Industrial Area. Within
new chapter in the model’s impressive the next six months, we will also be open-
success story. ing a satellite service facility in Deira,
Stathis I. Stathis, General Manager, which will provide a 24-hour Fast Lane
AGMC said: “AGMC has been the im- Service with the capacity for 30 to 40 cars
porter of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce per day.”
for 34 years and despite the tough eco-
nomic climate, it continues to see growth
potential in its business. We started out Stay Alert. Stay Alive.
in 1976 with only a three car showroom road safety campaign
and a three bay workshop. I myself was
sent over to Dubai from Cyprus with two BMW Group Middle East, in partnership
colleagues. with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi
I remember our first customer ar- (HAAD) and the Road and Transport
riving in the very small showroom. He Authority of Dubai (RTA), have launched
walked around the car - it was a 5 Series a ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ road safety
Each car that goes in for a service or - knocking on its sides and bonnet. Even- initiative. Based on the results of an
repair is tagged with an electronic barcode tually he said, “Is this Japanese?” He had independent survey to ascertain what
that, when scanned, will monitor the never seen a BMW before, nor had many motivates drivers in the region to take
location of the vehicle and the progress others, so we had a big job to establish the risk in their vehicles, the group has
of its service, its service history and any brand if we wanted to be successful. identified the use of seatbelts, and in
parts that have been replaced. This system During our early years, we used to sell particular, appropriate child restraints,
is linked to the internet so that customers around 40 cars a year. Today, we sell over as the first theme of its umbrella cam-
can track their car’s progress as it moves 3,000 cars a year. To accommodate this paign to promote and raise awareness
through the various servicing departments growth and an ever-increasing portfolio about various road safety issues. Road
from the comfort of their home or office. of new BMW Group products, we have shows have been held in Abu Dhabi
BMW is the first car manufacturer in the undergone a Dh80 milllion expansion and Dubai with over 4,000 child safety
Middle East to offer this tracking service. plan across all areas of our operations and booster seats being given away to quali-
The company has started a 24-hour will be employing an additional 80 staff. fying families.
drop-off service whereby someone is In addition to expanding our flagship
available throughout the day and night to
accept cars that have a problem.
The new BMW ActiveHybrid X6, Mini online design competition
BMW Gran Turismo and BMW 5 Do you fancy yourself as a modern day Thomas Edison and believe you have the ability to
Series models were also previewed at the dazzle the world with a new creation? You’re a creative genius but no one else knows it yet?
showroom opening. The arrival of the Well look no further; to celebrate the launch of the brand spanking new Mini Countryman,
new BMW 5 Series Sedan is the third new the creative website behind the brand, has launched a competition asking
BMW model to be launched this year and the public to design a new invention for the inside of the latest edition. Your mission is to
is a very different car from the predecessor create something useful that you can’t leave home without on the centre rail of the new car.
model in terms of design, comfort and

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 47


Riders cross the spectacular Rub Al

Khali or Empty Quarter

Crossing the challenging sands

By Linda Benbow

here we were on a Friday, of hugging and greeting, especially by Team X-Raid’s Tina Thorner navigat-
having lunch outside on the Executive Chef Pierrick Cizeron, who is ed successfully for Qatari Nasser Al At-
patio at The Warehouse, Le a member of the racing team. Then they tiyah in 2008 and Frenchman Guerlian
Meridien Dubai, quietly settled down to telling tales of the social Chechirit in 2009, while Andy Schulz
enjoying a chat with our chips, when a side of the week. They didn’t win the was co-driver for Novitskiy this year.
familiar, throaty, revving sound vibrated Challenge but they had enjoyed trying to. While Novitskiy’s eventual triumph
around the neat hedges framing a hidden Maybe next year, they all stated. A good in the cars category was predictable after
car park. Everyone jumped up from their bunch of lads. he took a comfortable lead at the end of
chairs to peep over the hedge but the noise X-Raid did the trick last month, win- the first stage itself, the bikes saw fortunes
from a powerful motorbike had moved ning the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge fluctuating all through the final day,
on to another place. Then it came around title for a third consecutive year driven by given that only minutes separated the
again, along with a friend or two. The three different pilots since 2008, while top five.
bike riders had arrived. Mark Coma overcame some intense fifth Laurent Rosso played it safe for the
And not any old bike riders, either. and final day challenges to secure his second day running to ensure that his
These were members of the French team fourth victory in the opening round of Team Fitech Nissan Patrol crossed the
– French Frogs – who had just completed the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World finish line to ensure him a second place,
a gruelling week of cross country racing Cup and FIM Cross-Country Rallies while Emirati Abdul Bari Bin Sugat
in Abu Dhabi’s desert. There was a lot World Championship. was pleased with his third place on the

The French Frogs met for lunch at Warehouse ADDC goes to Team X-Raid

48 l UAE Digest, May 2010

been specifically designed for the legends
Bin Soughat and Yahha Al Helai
were involved in a tense duel for market, and is an 11-aside game played
second place in a pair of Nissan for 20 minutes each way, with unlimited
Patrols during the fourth stage roll-on roll-off substitutions. Its format
of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
2009. Al Helai finished the rally readily adapts to a four team tournament
in a second place overall along played with two semi-finals followed by
with his co-driver Khalid Al the Final. The London Legends Cup is the
Kendi. Ahmed Bin Soughat’s
third stage performance in the first such event and the three matches will
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge be refereed by Former Premier League offi-
2009 moved him up to 11th in the cials Dermot Gallagher and Steve Dunn.
overall classification in the cars’
category, moving into the fourth F40’s Technical Director Glenn
stage. Hoddle, the former England manager,
and ex-Spurs and Chelsea
coach, has announced cut
podium. rate ticket prices for adults
Bin Sugat’s late charge in the and a special ‘kids for a quid’
Challenge saw him eventually price to encourage families
driving past Yannick Comag- to visit together. He said:
nac on a final day that could “I have been involved with
have gone either way, but driver Football40 since it’s incep-
acumen and Nissan endurance tion and have been delighted
ensured the Emirati stood with to help shape a concept that
Novitskiy and Rosso on the we all believe will bring real
podium. opportunities for former
Francisco Lopez, languishing players at both International
at number 40 in the standings and Club level whilst at the
after the penultimate stage after same time creating events
he incurred heavy penalties, Vicky White steps onto the podium
proved his mettle by finishing ahead of all Colin Mercer, both riding a Suzuki
category pack leaders. LTR 450, worked in tandem through-
Obaid Echtibi finished on top in the out the five days to eventually finish
Quads category, largely because pack in the top three in the quads category.
leader for the previous four days Sebastian White’s achievement is commendable
Husseini was unable to capitalise on this for the fact that she was a late entrant
one-hour plus lead that could have eventu- following Suzuki’s offer to provide
her with a quad, which
however meant she had no
time for practice.
Glen Hoddle
The London
for the fans that will have real excitement
Legends Cup
and competition. For my part, I am also
A football40 tournament delighted to have accepted the role of
between the legends Of manager of the Football40 England team
Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and
and am looking forward to winning some
West Ham
trophies with them.”
Football 40’s first major David Sullivan, co-owner of West
tournament will be unveiled Ham Utd FC, hosts to the first major
at Upton Park on May 30th, Football40 tournament said “I believe it is
with Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs a fantastic idea to bring back the legends
Emarti Obaid takes top step of football in such a meaningful way with
and West Ham’s top legends
ally seen him through. competing for the London Legends Cup. a highly competitive tournament struc-
Local radio presenter Vicky White and Football’s answer to 20-20 cricket has ture. I just love the Football 40 concept.”

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 49

Osvaldo Ar- challenge. But with
diles, a World night golf, we hope to
Cup winner make golf more acces-
with Argentina sible, especially in the
in 1976 along summer months for
with Ricky those wishing to play
Villa opened in the cooler evenings”,
the floodgates Andrew Whitelaw,
for foreign Club Manager, Emirates
talent into Golf Club explained.
English foot- The Emirates Golf
ball. Ex-Spurs Club selected global
manager, and leaders in lighting,
one of Spurs Abacus, to provide the
all-time legends, on-course floodlight-
he is now Foot- ing system, with the
ball40’s man- environmental impact
ager for Spurs a key consideration in
and Argen- the system installed, as
tina. Ossie said: Whitelaw explained;
“Football40 “It was important a
is a wonderful lighting system was
new concept. installed to complement
For that reason, our existing world-class
I have signed facilities and bring out
up to manage the best of the Faldo
Spurs, and also course at night. We
Argentina in required a system that
Mini World ensured energy use and
Cup and light-pollution would
competitive be maintained at a mini-
international tournaments.” The Faldo, a 7,348 yards Par 73 mum whilst providing the best possible
championship course, opened in 2006 conditions for players to enjoy.”
Dreaming of Golf at Night, following the redesign of the Wadi Lower green fee rates have been an-
Course by golfing legend Nick Faldo, will nounced to encourage regular night play
so did we? Come out to
be brought to life in the Dubai evenings by the local golfing community.
play by the very latest in lighting technology.
Faldo Course lights up “Night golf has the potential to Team Abu Dhabi have
revolutionise the game within the UAE.
new team livery
Emirates Golf Club has officially launched Typically, work constraints and limited
night golf on the championship Faldo tee off times means securing a round on Power boat team to begin F1 season in
Course. Last month’s opening enables a quality course in Dubai is a constant Portugal
golfers to enjoy a full round of champion- Team Abu Dhabi’s new livery
ship golf in the heart of Dubai for the first
time, as the Faldo course becomes the
only fully floodlit 18-hole course in the
UAE. Open to public and members alike
with highly competitive rates for 18 holes
and 9 holes, the exciting development will
extend play until midnight every day of
the week, with players able to tee off as
late as 8pm for 18 holes and 10pm for 9
holes on the championship course.

50 l UAE Digest, May 2010

Gary Player gives a round of applause to juniors at the Gary Player designed, 18-hole Saadiyat Beach Golf Course which has
launched a number of tailored experience packages to cater for the whole family. As part of the club’s young golfer development
programme, it will be hosting free-of-charge Junior Golf Clinics, Fridays and Saturdays from 5-6pm and 6-7pm, for children to
learn more about the game from the club’s top pros.

Team Abu Dhabi will tackle the 2010 race boats have been shipped to Portugal, sure is bringing one of the world’s tough-
UIM F1 World Championship with team although Team Abu Dhabi drivers have est challenges to its renowned indoor ski
drivers Thani Al-Qamzi and Ahmed Al- been able to test in home waters during attraction. The Aprilia Ice Warrior Chal-
Hameli. The team has a new livery for the the closed season to ensure they are fully lenge will see participants pushed to the
boats that it hopes will help it to regain the prepared for the new season. limits of mental and physical endurance,
UIM F1 Teams’ Championship and clinch His Royal Highness Dr. Sheikh Sul- as they race to become the fastest man or
the UIM F1 Drivers’ Championship. tan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chairman of woman to complete the assault course in
“We have made these changes to be the Board of Directors of the ADIMSC sub zero temperatures.
consistent with the ambition of the club said: “They are at the business end of the Scheduled to start at 6am on Friday
and the continued development of Team championship and are always competing June 4, the Aprilia Ice Warrior Chal-
Abu Dhabi in UIM F1 racing,” said Salem for titles. Team Abu Dhabi are one of the lenge will span over two kilometres and
Romaithi, Assistant General Manager pillars of the UIM F1 World Champi- is designed to test the willpower, strength
of the Abu Dhabi International Marine onship. They have won many titles and and determination of contestants as they
Sports Club (ADIMSC). “The aim is to achieved a high level of success. That is push themselves to the limit, overcoming
see one of our own local Abu Dhabi team why I have renewed confidence in our 18 separate obstacles.
drivers winning the title for the first time. drivers, Thani Al-Qamzi and Ahmed Participants will have the opportunity
The team has already won with former star Al-Hameli, to continue in the same way to be sponsored by friends and family,
Scott Gillman and it would be the next this year. with the proceeds going to a chosen chari-
step for an Emirati national to win the table organisation. Aprilia Motorcycles
title.” Are you tough enough? will also be giving away an amazing
Romaithi confirmed that both Al- motorcross bike worth Dh20,000, to
Qamzi and Al-Hameli will benefit from Ski Dubai announces ultimate physical whoever raises the most money for charity.
the latest equipment and new boats for the endurance competition The competition is open to all and will be
2010 championship campaign, which gets held at Ski Dubai. Last day of registration
underway in Portugal on May 8-9. The Ski Dubai from Majid Al Futtaim Lei- is 21st May 2010.

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 51


Balcony view of a model of Abu Dhabi’s urban plan

A grand vision
The first ever lifesize model of Abu Dhabi’s urban landscape unveiled at

he first ever lifesize model of holders,” said His Excellency Falah Al of some of the planned changes to make
Abu Dhabi’s urban landscape Ahbabi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi’s streets safer, more vibrant
as envisioned through Capital Urban Planning Council. and pedestrian-friendly.
2030 was unveiled at last Its 1:2000 scale enabled the designers Developers also had the opportunity
month’s Cityscape event by Abu Dhabi to include significant details of various to interact with a virtual demonstra-
Urban Planning Council (UPC), the existing landmarks such as the Emir- tion of the Abu Dhabi Development
agency responsible for the future of the ates Palace and the Grand Mosque as Code (zoning code), the city’s regulatory
emirate’s urban environment. well as some of the iconic projects under framework for managing land use and
Measuring 23 metres by 17 metres, the development, including Sowwah Square, development as per Plan Capital 2030.
model marks a milestone moment for the Masdar, and the tower on Lulu Island. The Code, which regulates all types and
economic, cultural, environmental and so- The model was surrounded by a selec- scales of developments both existing
cial aspirations of Abu Dhabi as it brings tion of interactive digital totems which and proposed, will ensure that the city’s
together in a single format all the various enabled visitors to gain more insights varied planning and livability initiatives
masterplans and components for one of into the framework plans for the emirate as well as Estidama programmes are well-
the world’s most ambitious urban develop- and some of the more technical aspects connected and work together to create
ment projects. Displayed at the UPC’s of UPC’s work in creating a sustainable complete communities.
Cityscape stand, the model stretches from next generation Arab capital. Detailed
the Corniche on Abu Dhabi’s main island and interactive information on the 2030 Waterfront design
to Shahama, Mussafah and Al Falah on urban structure framework plans for Abu
guidelines for Al Bateen
the mainland and includes the islands of Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia on these
Saadiyat, Yas, Lulu, Reem and Sowwah, kiosks presented to visitors a holistic In its incessant efforts to safeguard the
which have been earmarked as key devel- impression of the scope of Vision 2030 natural resources and the cultural herit-
opment areas of Capital 2030. urban development initiative for the age of Abu Dhabi, as it realises the key
“This initiative is a visible demonstra- entire Abu Dhabi emirate. elements of Plan Capital 2030, UPC
tion of our commitment to deliver what Besides rendering information on recently unveiled the waterfront design
we embarked upon three years ago when the three broad masterplans for Abu guidelines for the Al Bateen area. The
UPC was set up by Emiree decree. It is a Dhabi emirate, UPC also showcased key objective for the guidelines is to pro-
model that will be constantly updated to information on other key developments, vide all property owners and developers
reflect progress on the ground and serve as including street design and infrastruc- along the waterfront with a framework
a great communication and promotional ture, and the recently launched Urban to contribute to the achievement of Plan
platform for all of Abu Dhabi’s stake- Street Design Manual with highlights Capital 2030 goals with regard to provid-

52 l UAE Digest, May 2010

ism market.
UPC has, in the recent past, also
unveiled coastal development guidelines
which provide direction for development
in the major coastal basins, extending
from Al Dhabiya Island to the boundary
with the emirate of Dubai.

Reem Island’s Marina

Master developer offered personalised
experience to home owners at Marina
Master developer Tamouh showcased its
Marina Square development on Reem
Island, featuring City of Lights, Meena
Plaza, and Danat Gateway projects during
Bateen area its fourth consecutive participation at
ing public access to the water’s edge. This integrate landscaping, pedestrian scaled Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2010. The company
will be achieved through dedication of lighting, public art and street furniture, used the platform of the international real
land for the design of community access way-finding tools and multi-modal trans- estate exhibition to engage Marina Square
and amenities along the entire waterfront. portation uses. home owners by sharing helpful insights
As per the new guidelines, the water- One of the key components of the that will guide them through the process
front is to be connected physically and Bateen Waterfront guidelines is the de- of moving into and decorating their new
visually to the circulation routes of the velopment of the waterfront promenade residences at Marina Square. Through
city. Primary pedestrian connections per- which will eventually become a destina- the interactive process, home owners will
pendicular to the waterfront and linking tion not only well connected with future acquire knowhow on ways to maximise
Bainunah Boulevard and the surrounding public transit options, but also a place the benefits offered by state-of-the-art
neighbourhoods will be identified and where all members of the community can architectural design and home-automa-
preserved for public use. These identified walk or bike and enjoy the scenic beauty. tion facilities that the apartments come
routes will provide minimum corridor Additionally, the community will have equipped with.
widths free of built constructions to the opportunity to participate in diverse Senior representatives from Tamouh’s
maintain unobstructed and sweeping retail, cultural as well as non-commercial marketing, project management and
views to open water. These routes will activities, while capitalising on the tour- customer service teams addressed queries
pertaining to community living, construc-
tion progress, delivery
timelines and handover
processes. The 400
square metre stand (No.
C10) at Hall No.3 in
ADNEC also featured
several bespoke presenta-
tions by the company’s
facility management arm,
Three60. Home owners
in the Marina Square
development had the op-
portunity to meet with
interior designers, gain
new ideas from Tamouh’s
specially made Interior
Design Handbook and

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 53

Saadiyat is another key
milestone in that plan.
This space will enable
us to host exhibitions
from around the world
and to foster a greater
engagement with the
arts on a local level, in
the lead-up to the open-
ing of the museums in
the Saadiyat Cultural
District in 2013,” said
HE Sheikh Sultan bin
Tahnoun Al Nahyan.
The Saadiyat
Story adopts the latest
museum technologies
and employs a variety
of interactive mediums
to engage with visitors;
touchscreen catalogues
Sheikha Lubna Al Qaisimi at The Saadiyat Story to encourage independ-
ent learning, audios from architects for
choose a design format that appeals to nations in Abu Dhabi, has announced each of the museums, films documenting
their individual taste. the official inauguration of Manarat key conservation methods and the vision
Tamouh is scheduled to commence Al Saadiyat visitors’ and art exhibition and progress of Saadiyat Island, and a
delivering homes in this development centre on Saadiyat Island, by HE Sheikh ‘virtual book’ technology that has never
from May to June 2010 to the commer- Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chair- before been deployed in the region. Its
cial investors, who will then manage the man of TDIC, along with key dignitar- final chapter allows visitors to view a real-
handover to ultimate homeowners. ies and diplomats. time video feed from the major construc-
Spread across an area of 66 acres with Located in the Cultural District of tion sites on the island.
a built-up space of more than 827,000 sq Saadiyat Island, Manarat Al Saadiyat Designed to offer a rich educational
metres, Marina Square will house more is a purpose-built 15,400 square metre experience for all visitors irrespective of
than 8,500 residents and have 6,550 visitors’ and exhibition centre, designed their age, culture or level of appreciation
parking bays. It is set to bring an exciting to showcase the island’s numerous for arts and culture, Manarat Al Saadiyat
marina lifestyle to the capital, topped with projects and to host art exhibitions from is open to all visitors from 10am to 8pm
a vibrant pedestrian culture through its around the world. Home to three major seven days a week for free.
multifarious gourmet restaurants, luxury art galleries; Arts Abu Dhabi Gallery,
retail outlets, a boutique mall and a five- Contemporary Art Gallery, and Uni-
star hotel. The mixed-use development versal Art Gallery, Manarat Al Saadiyat
will offer a selection of residential units also offers a central events space, sales
including studios, one, two, three and centre and a 250-seat theatre. Al Zarouni: “Investment
four-bedroom apartments, townhouses The inauguration celebrated the projects help achieve
and villas. opening of The Saadiyat Story, a new
and permanent exhibition documenting
social justice”
Manarat Al Saadiyat’s the historical and cultural milestones,
as well as the vision of Saadiyat Island,
visitor centre
through an interactive narrative of nine
A permanent exhibition telling the story chapters. Project for medium and
of Saadiyat Island “The priority for TDIC’s dynamic limited income class
Tourism Development and Investment cultural programme is to foster public Burooj Properties, the real estate arm of
Company (TDIC), the master developer understanding of art and culture, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, has unveiled
of cultural, residential and tourism desti- the official opening of Manarat Al its new investment project located in the

54 l UAE Digest, May 2010

City of ‘Mohammed
Bin Zayed-1’, announc-
ing that 20 per cent of
construction work has
been finalised and that
the project is expected
to be complete by end of
2010. A great opportu-
nity for investors looking
for a valuable return on
their investments, the
Mohammed Bin Zayed
project includes 11 plots
with five residential vil-
las on each, catering to
the growing residential
needs of the medium and
limited income class in
Abu Dhabi. Ownership
of plots is exclusively re-
served for UAE citizens.
Twenty per cent of construction work has been finalised at Mohammed Bin Zayed project
Says Adel A. Al Za-
rouni, Managing Director of Burooj Prop- division of the Harrods Group, partici- favoured by Middle Eastern investors who
erties: “It is really important to focus on pated for the first time ever at Cityscape appreciate grand houses or apartments
developing real estate projects that cater to Abu Dhabi 2010 with large lateral space, period features
the needs of the middle and lower income Harrods Estates showcased their and immaculate interiors as well as pre-
class, and it’s also important to place these prime residential property portfolio in mium services such as first class concierge
projects in various areas in the emirate to Central London at the exhibition. The and 24-hour security.
achieve a balanced growth rate and social company was established over 100 years
justice by enabling people to freely choose ago and continues to offer a comprehen-
the location of their homes,” he added. sive range of property services with the
He noted that such investments may highest standards of customer care. It
provide good results, especially consider- specialises in the sale, let, acquisition and
Sharjah’s Al Nujoom
ing that the medium and limited income management of some of the most exclu- Island project to
class constitutes a big portion of the sive properties in Central London. go ahead
community who are looking for luxurious Over the last few years, it has seen a
residential units with reasonable rental steep increase in the number of Middle Salah Butti Obaid bin Butti, Director
prices, and taking into consideration that Eastern buyers in traditionally favoured General of the Sharjah Planning and
projects catering to the needs of this class areas in London such as Knightsbridge Survey Department has said that the
are fairly few in number. and Mayfair. Supported by the strength emirate’s government has not can-
Burooj Properties is currently research- of the Harrods brand, the company has celled nor suspended the Al Nujoom
ing available financing methods with successfully developed strong brand Island project at Al Hamriya.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank as well as other awareness in key international markets, “We are going ahead with it and
banks to finance the project, of which the predominately the Middle East, Russia the plans for the first 1,000 villas were
total cost amounts to Dh150 million. The and India, with the result that interna- approved by the department and will
total available construction area comes to tional clients now account for 87 per cent be finished in 18 months,” he said.
213,000 square feet. of sales and lettings. The project features Andalusian-style
Prime property in Central London architecture and comprises residential,
Harrods Estates’ debut will remain in high demand and will con- commercial, retail and hospitality fa-
tinue to achieve growth as there is rarely cilities including parks facing the Gulf.
at Cityscape
an oversupply of property in this area.
Harrods Estates, the luxury real estate This category of property is particularly

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 55


Arabian Travel Market

By Linda Benbow

ah, what fun it is to be an Day, to be held on Thursday 6th. Travel as key emerging markets for the hotel
armchair traveller. Flicking Agents’ Day was first introduced in 2007 group. After opening four new properties
through brochures, darting and is designed to foster the latest top in 2009, - Fairmont is relaunching two
about on the internet from class travel and tourism education among iconic properties this year – The Savoy in
one page to another, watching happy travel agents through a range of seminars London and The Peace Hotel in Shang-
people on holiday in foreign climes on the and entertainment features. hai - while aiming to open five additional
television. And now, once again, the Ara- Another addition, ‘Jobs Hot off the new destinations for 2010. Fairmont
bian Travel Market has arrived in Dubai Press’ is a service which will deliver- via executives noted that despite the chal-
where the undecided have an option to Bluetooth- new jobs directly to your lenging international economy, the hotel
become strolling travellers as they wander phone. Run by, all visi- group is growing at a healthy pace, with
between exhibits and stands showing tors on Careers Day will be able to take plans to open about five new properties
enticing pictures of sun, sand, sea, slopes advantage of this exciting new service. per year, including mega-projects such as
and snow in a multitude of countries. Rotana, a hotel management com- the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, Saudi
The exhibition of colourful informa- pany, is the official sponsor of registra- Arabia.
tion, nationals from the many countries, tion for the tenth year running. Just one The brand blends the history and tra-
shows, ceremonies and other enticements of the many sponsorship opportunities dition of its landmark properties with the
give an entertaining atmosphere to the that ATM offers, allowing companies to contemporary elements of their newly-
intense business of choosing where to expose themselves to over 2,000 exhibi- built hotels which then become iconic as
go for a holiday. Last year I received a tors and 15,000 visitors from around the well – these brand hallmarks are resonat-
neck and head massage at the Thailand globe. ing with clients travelling to the newer
stand, stretched out in an individual first Ahead of the ATM, Fairmont Hotels properties in the Middle East and also
class cabinette on the Emirates airlines & Resorts outlined its growth strategy regionally-based clients heading abroad,
stand and said “G’day” to many Austral- in the Middle East and North Africa where the company addresses the specific
ians. There were cultural dance shows needs of guests from Arab countries such
at many of the ‘country’ areas; and as halal food and family suites.
roaming robots singing and dancing One of the most eagerly anticipated
amongst the crowd. developments for Fairmont in 2010 is
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the opening of the Makkah Clock Roy-
which runs from the 4th to7th at al Tower, for which more than 2,600
the Dubai World Trade Centre, has
expanded its web presence to increase
further its networking and knowl-
edge sharing opportunities. Reed
Travel Exhibitions - the organisers
- have invested heavily in the show’s
online activity, introducing Twitter,
Facebook and Linkedin accounts in
addition to its regular web site. The
all-year-round web presence allows
visitors, exhibitors and the media to
interact with one another prior, dur-
ing and after the event.
This year will see the return of
both Travel Agents’ and Careers
Mohammed Al-Arkobi, Vice-President and General Makkah Clock Royal Tower
Manager of Makkah Clock Royal Tower (left) and Kent
Cooper, Vice-President, Regional Hotel Sales MEA
56 l UAE Digest, May 2010
Muslim staff members are currently being museums, commercial outlets, archaeo- East Coast hope that leisure tourists will
hired to service the monumental hospital- logical sites, etc. - were organised to continue to come even with the present
ity complex in Saudi Arabia’s most sacred increase awareness and identification of economic condition.
destination, with more than 850 rooms as Sharjah as a destination. Siji Hotel Apartments feature 78
well as serviced residences. In addition to Al Diar Siji Hotel (ADSH), a tastefully furnished apartment units fitted
pilgrimage bookings, Fairmont antici- five-star business hotel managed by with quality finishes, fixtures and high-
pates that the region’s growing meetings, Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) end furnishings. Each of the 1-, 2-, and
incentives and conferences business will will showcase its newly-opened luxury 3-bedroom apartments has generously-
be a major draw for the Makkah Clock serviced apartments. With the opening sized bedrooms, fully-equipped modern
Royal Tower property. of Siji Hotel Apartments (SHA), Al Diar kitchens with all appliances, as well as
In a special ceremony held at Sharjah Siji Hotel management hopes to increase living and dining areas, in-room entertain-
Millennium Hotel to celebrate the
completion of the first advanced training
for tourist guides, which was organised
by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism
Development Authority (SCTDA),
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi
stated that tourism is one of the main
contributors to the economic growth
and domestic product of the emirate in
particular, and the UAE in general, and
has become, over the last few years, a
major contributor to the payment balance
and the national income.
Al Qassimi said: “The initiative comes
as the authority seeks to enhance the qual-
ity of tourism packages on offer to develop
the tourism sector and strengthen its com-
petitiveness factor. To this end, SCTDA
has started collaborating with Skyline
University College to make the tourist
guide training programme available to all
tourism companies. The programme will
become mandatory in the coming period
and all tourist guides will be certified by
SCTDA who will supervise the pro-
gramme to ensure that laws and regula-
tions based on transparency, are adhered
to. This should provide a kickstart for the
support of the Sharjah tourism sector and
the emirate’s leading tourism packages.”
Since its launch, the training pro-
gramme has seen a large amount of inter- Al Diar Siji Hotel
est from the biggest destination manage-
ment companies in the UAE, including tourist influx to Fujairah as it provides ment including flat screen LCD satellite
Arabian Adventures, Orient Tours, Al additional accommodation options to TVs, and broadband internet connection.
Khalediah Tourism and the Sharjah leisure guests, corporate travellers and Le Méridien Al Aqah in Fujairah is
National Travel Agency. During the first families. Fujairah is now becoming a participating at the event for the seventh
advanced training programme, guides more popular tourist destination in the consecutive year. This year it will be show-
were provided with the latest information UAE, and with alternative choices of casing its newly launched Teens Club
and updates on the tourism sector in the less expensive accommodation which Al Aqah; the latest leisure initiative that
emirate. Field visits to various important also gives more options like bringing and caters to guests aged between 13 and 16.
tourism sites in the emirate - including cooking their own food, hoteliers on the The club is complete with the latest-tech-

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 57


Le Meridien Al Aqah

nology facilities, including an internet walking. Tabler, CEO of TDIC. “The island show-
centre with safety screening to ensure the Desert Island Resort & Spa by cases its unique environment through a
websites are teen-friendly. The facilities Anantara, developed by Tourism range of exciting activities. The opening
also include video games, Wii challenge, Development & Investment Company of the 64-room boutique resort managed
cinema room, DVD library, mini-gym, (TDIC), a master developer of cultural, by award-winning Thai hospitality group
aerobic room, squash court, a book library residential and tourism destinations in Anantara Resorts has ensured that the
and billiards room. Abu Dhabi, has been voted one of the island is firmly placed on the global tour-
The club offers a variety of scheduled world’s greatest hotels by Conde Nast ism map.”
activities and is supervised by qualified Traveller, as published in the magazine’s As the largest natural island in the
entertainers to ensure teens have an ideal Gold List 2010.. UAE spanning over 87 square kilome-
opportunity to make new friends and Located on Sir Bani Yas Island, just tres, Sir Bani Yas Island is a nature-based
socialise during their holiday. The club is 250 kilometres southwest of Abu Dhabi destination like no other. Home to sev-
located in the resort’s basement level, near in the emirate’s Al Gharbia (Western eral million trees and plants, and a vast
Spa Al Aqah, so it gives parents an ideal Region), the resort attracted over 25,000 range of birds and marine life, the island
chance to pamper themselves while their guests from around the world in its first also includes the Arabian Wildlife Park
teens have fun. year of operation. The island, origi- where there are around 23 species of free-
The hotel will also be announcing its nally the private retreat and royal nature roaming animals. The park has hyenas,
summer package and promotions for the reserve of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al giraffes, cheetahs and the Arabian Oryx,
coming season, offering value for money Nahyan, the late founder and President which has been classified as extinct in the
to both local UAE residents and overseas of the UAE, reopened to the public in wild since the early 1970s but is being re-
tourists. October 2008. released into the Arabian Peninsula after
To offer some time-out during the “Over the past year, Sir Bani Yas extensive rehabilitation and breeding
busy exhibition, visitors can receive a Island has established itself as an upbeat programmes. The island’s bird sanctu-
complimentary foot massage from the destination for those who seek wildlife ary houses a vast variety of species from
Spa Al Aqah therapists to relax and adventures and pure natural habitat in a emus to pink flamingos and ostriches,
re-energise them for the rest of the days’ luxurious and tranquil setting,” said Lee while the surrounding sea is equally rich
in marine animals as it is frequented by
Desert Island Resort & Spa dolphins and sea turtles.
The Desert Islands Resort & Spa by
Anantara is the perfect hideaway for
those seeking nature-based adventure,
combined with the ultimate in luxury
and pampering. The island’s natural
surroundings offer a beautiful backdrop
for outdoor activities such as wildlife and
nature drives, biking, hiking, kayaking,
archery and snorkelling.
Further developments on Sir Bani Yas
Island are already moving forward with
future plans, including two new nature
lodges, dive & sports centre, conference
centre and an equestrian centre to open
in 2010, providing guests with stunning
views of the island and up-close-and-
personal animal experiences. In 2011 two
more lodges are set to open, bringing the
total number of lodges to four.

58 l UAE Digest, May 2010

Cheetah cubs born on
Sir Bani Yas Island
Successful breeding and conservation
programme saves species from extinction

As its mission of wildlife and nature conserva-

tion continues to evolve, Sir Bani Yas Island,
recently welcomed four cheetah cubs as a
result of a successful breeding programme. As
the cheetah is classified by the IUCN (Inter-
national Union for Conservation of Nature) as
extinct in the UAE, and vulnerable worldwide,
the births are of particular significance to the
continuation of the species globally and local-
ly. Following the birth of the first ever hyena
cubs in the wild in the UAE, this is yet another
success for Sir Bani Yas Island in protecting
and re-introducing previously extinct animals. Safira with three of her cubs
The cheetahs on Sir Bani Yas Island are from captive bred popula- from their original birthplace in a small cave in the mountains, which
tions. The mother and father of the cubs, Safira and Gabriel were is known because Safira is fitted with a radio collar and can be
raised in His Excellency Sheikh Butti Al Maktoum’s Wildlife Centre, tracked and monitored by the conservation team on the island.
and the Sharjah Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, re- Visitors to the island will soon be able to see the mother and her
spectively. The cheetahs were brought to the island as part of TDIC’s cubs venturing into the 4,100-hectare Arabian Wildlife Park, which is
conservation efforts which include breeding, re-wilding, releasing the only one of its kind in the region bringing guests closer to nature
into the Arabian Wildlife Park to become an integral part of the natu- by taking them through guided tours and educating them about
ral population control for hoofed species on the island. Arabian free-roaming animals that inhabit it.
Survival rates for cheetah cubs are very low both in the wild and The flagship species on Sir Bani Yas is the Arabian Oryx that was
captivity, and according to the conservation team, Safira, the cubs’ introduced in 1971 and was an unprecedented success, as the animal
mother, is doing an impressive job of taking care of her cubs, even was declared extinct in the wild by 1972. Now, there are around 400
though she was raised by humans. She has not yet moved the cubs Arabian Oryx on the island roaming freely in the park.

Rosewood Corniche
As flowers flourish, gardens become
colourful, and families appreciate quality
time outdoors before the Middle Eastern
summer heat kicks in, Rosewood Corniche
in Saudi Arabia invites guests to enjoy a
sumptuous spring break at the Red Sea for a
fraction of the price. With clear blue skies,
ideal temperatures and green scenery for a few
more precious weeks, spring is a favourite time
among the Kingdom’s residents. Whether
for Jeddah’s outdoor activities, shopping or
simply gathering around a meal, it is also
perceived as especially valued family time.
Families will be in honour at Rosewood
Corniche, Jeddah’s premier hotel and will
enjoy great discounts on rooms and suites
until the end of June 2010. Prices include
complimentary buffet breakfast with breath-

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 59

taking views on the Red Sea at Habsburg The hotel also receives a large number over the pilgrimage, underlining the
restaurant, in-room check in, VIP of guests from Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, growing demand for premium residential
amenities and personalised butler service, Malaysia and Indonesia. and leisure facilities in Makkah.
complimentary garment pressing for two Tourism contributed 47 billion riyals The first phase of the 41-storey hotel,
pieces of clothing and free unlimited – 2.7 per cent of gross domestic product which was opened in 2009, has 283
internet access. Children below six years – to the Saudi Arabian economy in 2008 well-appointed rooms with a full set
joining their parents will stay free of driven by religious and business travel. of amenities from wireless Internet to
charge. “Recent studies predict that interna- 24-hour concierge services. The hotel’s
Designed for both business and tional tourism expenditure will grow to location within the Abraj Al Bait Tower
leisure travellers, the hotel is ideally $10.74 billion by 2013. We are therefore also gives guests access to a wide range of
positioned on Jeddah’s Corniche which looking at targeting pilgrims from coun- lifestyle facilities. Five world-class res-
runs parallel to the Red Sea for over 20 tries like the USA, UK, Canada, South taurants offering varied dining options, a
miles and provides convenient access to Africa, Pakistan, Senegal and Nigeria. six-storey shopping mall, health club and
the city’s business and leisure areas. As a Swiss hospitality brand, we enjoy a a prayer hall that can accommodate 3,000
Over 40 per cent of the people who strong reputation for service excellence worshippers are also part of the hotel and
check in at the Mövenpick Hotel & Res- and a loyal following in these markets,” residences complex.
idence Hajar Tower Makkah are from said Omar Boujlid, General Manager, Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB)
the GCC, with the biggest contingent Mövenpick Hotel & Residence Hajar recent brand evolution from ‘Uniquely
coming in from Saudi Arabia, followed Tower, Makkah. Singapore’ to ‘YourSingapore’ is to be
by visitors from Kuwait and the UAE. These on-going efforts of the Saudi showcased at the ATM. The brand evolu-
Arabian government tion underpins the country’s strength
Movenpick Hotel & Residence Hajar tower Makkah
to expand tourism as a travel experience that can be easily
infrastructure personalised due to the concentration
in the holy cities of sights, sounds, tastes, culture, and
have received a attractions.
major fillip with At the centre of the brand evolution
the opening of the is an interactive website www.yoursin-
five-star property that has been developed in
in Makkah, where response to the rise of digital and social
demand for high- media, and the shift in the way that
end hospitality is in people plan and book travel: from passive
a state of continual content consumption to active engage-
growth. Located a ment.
few steps away from ATM attendees will be able to
the Holy Ka’abah experience the new www.yoursingapore.
and overlooking com website and view a wide range of
the King Abdul multimedia, elaborating on Singapore’s
Aziz Gate, the rapid transformation, and get a sneak
Mövenpick Hotel preview of the STB’s latest commercial
& Residence Hajar at the Singapore pavilion.
Tower offers the Jason Ong, Area Director for the Mid-
most convenient dle East and Africa, Singapore Tourism
and comfortable Board (STB) said:
accommodation Last year Singapore saw a 2.7 per cent
for pilgrims and increase in visitors from the Middle East,
families arriving in with a total of 117,000 visitors arrivals
for Haj or Umrah. from the region. STB is predicting record
The recent Haj tourism numbers for 2010, forecasting to-
season saw the ho- tal annual visitor arrivals to hit between
tel running to full 11.5 million and 12.5. The opening of
capacity, despite two new multi-billion dollar integrated
the swine flu scare resorts – Resorts World Sentosa and
that cast a shadow the Marina Bay Sands – are expected to

60 l UAE Digest, May 2010

attract Middle East visitors who are looking for world-class accom-
modation, entertainment, shopping and dining experiences.
Resorts World Sentosa began operations in January and fea-
tures South East Asia’s first Universal Studios Theme Park which
brings to life the best movie-themed attractions packed within
seven zones ranging from Hollywood, Far Far Away to Sci-Fi
City and The Lost World. The park features 24 thrilling rides and
attractions, including the world’s only Madagascar theme park,
creating a fun-packed destination for both the young and the
young at heart.
Meanwhile, the first-phase of Marina Bay Sands, launched on
April 27, sees the opening of 963 hotel rooms, part of the designer
shopping mall and convention centre, as well as six celebrity chef
restaurants and a casino, offering a luxurious experience for all
Just two weeks after launching a brace of GCC routes with
flights to Muscat and Kuwait City, flydubai, Dubai’s first low-cost
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
airline, has announced a further two routes – Assiut in Egypt and
Istanbul, Turkey – to bring the airline’s network to 15 destina-
tions. Priced from Dh350, flights to Assiut, the largest town in
Upper Egypt, are three times per week and start on Monday, May
Travellers will be able to visit Istanbul, European Capital of
Culture 2010, with flydubai’s uncomplicated, low fare service for
as little as Dh450 from Thursday, June 17. Flights to Istanbul will
be five times per week.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, said: “The addition of
these new routes is in line with our commitment to make travel to
key destinations in this region more accessible and more afford-
able. Assiut currently has very few direct links to the UAE, so by
offering this destination, we are fulfilling our promise to make
travel a little less complex, a little less stressful and a little less
expensive. Although Istanbul is well known to many, there is such
a demand for short breaks to the city and to the country in general Assiut, Egypt
that we anticipate strong demand for our quality, low-cost service.”
The largest town in southern Egypt, Assiut is known for its
agriculture, especially grain and cotton. It is also home to one of
the country’s largest universities and has much to offer tourists.
Steeped in heritage, Assiut was founded in the Pharaonic era and is
located 400 kilometres south of Cairo.
The flydubai model is simple, with customers paying only for
the services they want to receive. The ticket price includes all taxes
and one piece of hand baggage, weighing up to 10kg, per passen-
ger. Passengers have the option to purchase checked-in baggage
in advance at Dh60 for the first piece and Dh150 for the second,
weighing up to 32kg, subject to availability. Checked baggage at
the airport is also strictly subject to availability and passengers
are advised to book online early to secure the space, as only pre-
purchased baggage can be guaranteed. A nominal payment of Dh5
allows customers to select their seat and Dh100 secures the extra
legroom positions. Bookings can be changed for a small fee, plus
any difference in the fare, and food and drink can be purchased on
Istanbul, Turkey

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 61

Destination Oman
By Manju Ramanan

flydubai recently took a group of journal- first 10 months and this new route will the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean.
ists on a single day trip on its first flight to only serve to strengthen ties between The Sultanate is known for its culture and
Muscat, Oman, for lunch at the Shangri the UAE and Oman, which was always tradition and everyone who has visited will
La Hotel there. When the flight landed at going to be a natural choice of destina- tell you there is something magical about
Muscat International airport, it was given tion. Oman is a unique destination Oman.”
a traditional welcome of He continued: “While business ties
water being poured on the grow ever stronger between the Emirates
aircraft. and the Sultanate, many passengers will
The flight makes also be looking to visit Oman for a chance
Muscat the third GCC to unwind and indulge in one of the
destination for Dubai's region's most fascinating locations. Oman
first low-cost airline, has seen a vast increase in tourist numbers,
after Doha and Bahrain. attracted by Unesco world heritage sites,
Kuwait is yet another natural wadis and extensive white beaches,
destination the airline and has won a reputation for capturing
will be flying to within the essence of the region. The latest Oman
the next 48 hours. A VIP Tourist Report quotes a 17.5% year-on-year
delegation from Oman, rise in tourist arrivals during the first five
headed by the Undersec- months of 2009, and while visitor numbers
retary for Civil Aviation are recorded at just over two million per
Affairs, HE Mohammed year, the Sultanate hopes to increase that to
bin Sakhar Al-Amri, met Cake cutting ceremony in Muscat 12 million by 2020.”
the flight, which included “With flights to Kuwait, we are widen-
HE Mohammed A. Ahli, Director- that combines ancient history and a ing our network to 13 locations,” he added.
General, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority modern economy with a very friendly, The airline’s existing routes include
and flydubai's Chief Executive Ghaith Al welcoming population. This is a 10,000 Beirut-Lebanon, Amman-Jordan, Damas-
Ghaith. year old society that for centuries was cus and Aleppo-Syria, Alexandria-Egypt,
“flydubai has enjoyed an excellent on the essential trade route between Djibouti-Africa, Doha-Qatar, Khartoum-
Sudan, Baku-Azerbaijan,
Shangri La Hotel, Muscat Bahrain, Kathmandu-Nepal.
FZ043 and FZ045 leave
Dubai at 06.25hrs and
16.25hrs respectively, arriving
in Muscat at 07.25hrs and
17.25hrs local time respectively.
The return flights, FZ044 and
FZ046 leave at 08.10hrs and
18.10hrs and arrive at 09.10hrs
and 19.10hrs local time. The
flydubai model is simple, with
customers paying only for the
services they want to receive. Its
flights operate from Terminal 2
of Dubai International Airport
and the twice daily flights to
Oman cost from Dh250 one
way including all taxes.

62 l UAE Digest, May 2010

T he 400-square metre
India Pavilion will focus
on the country’s Wellness
Tourism, with 28 tour operators/
travel agents and three state
governments showing their
wares, explaining why this is the
preferred destination for many.
Tour packages can be arranged to
Kerala, Rajasthan, Goa and Delhi
among other places.
Medical tourism is a growing
sector in India. Advantages
include reduced costs, the avail-
ability of latest medical technolo-
T.W. Sudhakar, Regional Director, India Tourism
gies and a growing compliance reproductive techniques, such as IVF, and
on international quality standards, as well is almost 30 per cent lower to that in a full range of Assisted Reproductive Tech-
as the fact that foreigners are less likely to western countries and the cheapest in nology (ART) services have made India the
face language barriers in India. Most esti- South-east Asia. first choice for infertility treatments.
mates claim treatment costs in India start 2) All medical treatments and investi- 4) Your package will include pick-up
at around a tenth of the price of compara- gations are done using the latest, techno- from the airport, accommodation at a 4 or
ble treatment in America or UK. logically advanced diagnostic equipment. 5-star hotel, ground transportation to and
The most popular treatments sought 3) The cost of infertility treatments is from doctor’s appointment and hospital,
in India by medical tourists are alterna- almost a quarter of that in developed na- medical procedure, travel reservations, trip
tive medicine, bone-marrow transplant, tions. The availability of modern assisted itinerary and much more.
cardiac bypass, eye surgery and hip replace-
ment. The country is known in particular
for heart surgery, hip resurfacing and other
areas of advanced medicine. Wellness options
The natural beauty of India fuels rapid
recovery and there are organisations that Ayurveda
make it all happen for you. They have Ayurveda is a holistic healing science which contains practical
and scientific information on various subjects beneficial to
tie-ups with major hospitals and medi-
humanity like health, philosophy, engineering, astrology etc.
cal institutions. You can contact them at Ayurveda has developed a tradition of medicine and a system, furnish the of treatment based on the inherent ability of the human body
essential details and the rest of it will be to rejuvenate, to heal, and to restore its natural balance.
undertaken by medical tour experts. Yoga
India is a perfect destination for medi- Yoga is considered to be the ultimate way of attaining enlight-
cal tourism that combines health treat- enment. Proponents of yoga see daily practice as beneficial
ment with visits to some of the most allur- in itself, leading to improved health, emotional well-being,
mental clarity, and joy in living.
ing and awe-inspiring places of the world.
A growing number of tourists are flocking Naturopathy
in large numbers because of the superlative Nature Cure believes that all the diseases arise due to ac-
cumulation of morbid matter in the body and if scope is given
medical care, equipment and facilities.
for its removal, it provides cure or relief.
It excels in providing quality and cheap
healthcare services to overseas tourists. Panch Karma
Panch Karma is a purifying therapy to enhance the metabolic process through food and herbal
In 2004, some 150,000 foreigners visited
medicines. It is used in deep-rooted chronic disease. As the wastes are eliminated from the
India for treatment, and the numbers have body, the person becomes healthy.
been rising by 15 per cent each year.
India is in the process of becoming
The principles and doctrines of the Siddha system, both fundamental and applied, have a close
the “global health destination” owing to similarity to Ayurveda, with specialisation in Iatro-chemistry. According to this system, the hu-
the following advantages: man body is a replica of the universe and so are the food and drugs, irrespective of their origin.
1) The cost of medical services in India

UAE Digest, May 2010 l 63


Moolah and the muck

By Con Clude

t’s like a soap opera on Indian chan- fiction? And the whole truth is not out in the UAE. Some of my relatives, after a
nels – first were the IPL matches yet. Money, power, glamour and success 15-year stint here, have packed their bags
along with the glitzy IPL Nights; are a heady mix indeed! and taken up new jobs in Delhi. They
then skeletons came tumbling out were the last persons we imagined would
of cupboards, making news more interest- Dash from ash go home, as they were happy here with all
ing than a Bollywood masala film. It was a forced holiday for thousands four members earning good salaries. But
The Indian Premier League (IPL), of people stranded due to the volcanic recession took its toll and two of them
which started with a bang three years ash arising out of Iceland. Not everyone lost their jobs. Wary about getting good
ago, has had its fair share of excitement, was happy being stranded and told they jobs back home, they were pleasantly
glamour, competition and controversy. could holiday, as it came with a heavy surprised by the jump in salaries.
But nothing could prepare anyone for price tag. Many people took whatever One colleague too has left after two
the scandals rocking the league ever since transport they could and managed to interrupted stints in Dubai. Her husband
Lalit Modi (until recently IPL Chairman) reach England from the UAE through a is waiting to join her after he completes
tweeted on a proposed IPL team. He just variety of modes – plane, train, ship and his project in September. He wants to
let off steam over the way buyers of Kochi bus. It wasn’t exactly hop, skip and jump start his own consultancy; while she is ex-
franchise went about their job. as everywhere they encountered people pecting their second child. He is keen to
While the secrecy of the franchise who had the same bright idea as them. return, unmindful of the hurdles ahead.
bugged him, lack of control over the But it must be a big relief to reach home, Both of them arrived at this decision after
wheeling-dealing got his goat. All the despite all odds. evaluating both sides of the coin.
while, he merrily deluded himself he The airlines complained they incurred Another ex-colleague has already put
was invincible by moving in a rarefied huge losses, despite not being obliged in his papers at the newspaper he worked
stratosphere of cricket legends, Bollywood to pay for passenger stays, since it was a for the past seven years. He was offered
babes, feisty cheerleaders and exuberant natural occurrence. At such times, people a decent raise, but stuck to his guns, and
crowds. should take it easy and consider it an act is now winding things up. He says his
Sadly, reality has devious ways of of God over which they have no control. colleagues were shocked when they heard
catching up. Modi’s descent began when What’s the point in grumbling? Why the news. They did not see it coming,
he decided to stretch his might and catch can’t we let things just be? Why should because he kept the news of his prospec-
federal minister Shashi Tharoor on the airlines keep counting their lost dollars tive job in India under wraps until the
wrong foot. While Tharoor had to pay for every time a calamity occurs? Why do we offer came.
his public indiscretions by relinquishing revel in making ourselves miserable all Others have their own stories to tell.
his ministry, Modi (at the time of going the time? Is there a shortage of miseries? With the Indian economy doing well
to press) still appeared defiant, threaten- Take a chill pill, folks, and simply even in the downturn, many Indians
ing to rip open a can of worms that could flow with the tide of things! Is that so are going back home. When people you
unsettle powerful people. difficult? know announce their departure, you feel
Bollywood film-makers may be salivat- a sense of emptiness. But that’s life! We
ing at the prospect of a blockbuster com- Going home expats are passengers here who have to
ing on a platter, but as always, who could You hear about it more often these days – get off at their stop when the time comes.
imagine truth will turn out stranger than expats finally going home after a long stay And it’s coming sooner than ever before.

64 l UAE Digest, May 2010