Friday, October 31, 2008

Malaysiakini - Halloween di Mahkamah Tinggi Shah Alam

Seperti yang dijangkakan, Mahkamah Tinggi Shah Alam hari ini membebaskan penganalisa politik Abdul Razak Baginda daripada tuduhan bersubahat membunuh wanita Mongolia, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Saya bukan seorang yang arif dan ahli dalam bidang undang-undang dan tidak mengikuti perkembangan di mahkamah setelah sahabat saya, Zulkifli Noordin menarik diri dari menjadi peguam kepada tertuduh utama, Cif Inspektor Azilah Hadri dari Unit Tindakan Khas Polis.

Altantuya telah dibunuh kemudian mayatnya diletupkan dengan C4. Yang tinggal hanyalah cebisan daging dan tulangnya ditemui bertaburan di kawasan Puncak Alam.

Pembunuhan yang kejam dan pihak pendakwa, termasuk pihak polis gagal sekali lagi. Mungkin kebetulan kerana kes ini dikatakan turut melibatkan seorang pemimpin yang berkali-kali bersumpah tidak mengenali Altantuya.

Dalam keputusannya, Hakim Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin berkata pihak pendakwa gagal membuktikan kes prima facie terhadap Abdul Razak, 48.


Zaki memutuskan yang beliau mendapati tiada kes prima facie terhadap pengarah eksekutif Pusat Penyelidikan Strategik Malaysia itu.

"Prima facie" dalam bahasa Latin merujuk kepada kes yang mempunyai bukti yang cukup dan pada kadar minimum yang diperlukan untuk membolehkannya diteruskan dalam proses kehakiman.Zaki berkata seluruh isi kandungan afidavit Abdul Razak mengandungi kenyataan pembuktian tidak bersalah yang patut diterima dan diberi pertimbangan sewajarnya.

Kenyataan pembuktian tidak bersalah ialah kenyataan yang dibuat oleh defendan atau tertuduh yang cenderung membebaskan defendan/tertuduh daripada kesalahan seperti pertuduhan, atau kenyataan yang cenderung memberikan justifikasi atau alasan bagi tindakan atau kehadirannya.

Walau apapun, kes berprofil tinggi ini sedikit sebanyak terus memberi gambaran negatif bukan sahaja kepada keputusan mahkamah, tetapi terutamanya kepada keupayaan pihak pendakwaan. Banyak perkara yang boleh dipersoalkan.

Keseluruhan sistem dari politik, pentadbiran, undang-undang ke sistem keselamatan sudah terlalu kronik.

Begitulah, kita boleh mengagak perjalanan skrip seterusnya di mahkamah dan semuga kebenaran akan tetap terpelihara walau cuba disorok dengan sistematik dan licik.

UAE - Defining crucial element of national identity

Back home, the term 'Bangsa Malaysia' has been propagated to be our national identity. So far, 'Bangsa Malaysia' is merely a concept and a dream. what is it?
Diversity shall be our strength as we move forward into new century. However in reality, in all honesty, we are still struggling even to talk about basic things like social contracts. We are still haunted by certain tragedies played by those who want to keep their asses on seats of power. Those who keep equating ketuanan melayu as ketuanan umno and if umno loses power, malays lose eveything.
Malaysia is a great nation and could have been the top if those in powers were really working for the people, not for their own agendas. Then again, with the current transition plan and umno elections, we still have the same moulds of leadership, robbers, thieves with different themes and sadly enough, nothing will change, believe me!




Unlike nationals of other countries, the indigenous people of the UAE are less likely to be referred to by others or refer to themselves by their nationality.
During a public debate convened in mid-September by the UAE Federal National Council on UAE's national identity, Wejdan Al Mutairi, an Emirati student of Zayed University, lamented: "For nine months we have been hearing about the national identity. Nobody has told us what the national identity is".
Al Mutairi was referring to the first ten months after President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared 2008 as the Year of National Identity. The seriousness of such a question is that this Emirati adult does not have an answer to it 36 years after the UAE federation was established.
Since the launch of the UAE national identity initiative, I have followed up closely on many of the public campaigns that accompanied it. But I always felt that the crucial element of emphasising UAE's national identity was missing: It is the name of the UAE's indigenous people. I have been living in UAE since 1992 and I am still intrigued by the lack of national attention to how the people of the UAE should properly be referred to.
The unification of the seven emirates in 1972 was a socio-political move led by the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan before the "national" identity of each emirate began to take root. It is probably the names of these emirates that could be one of the reasons for the unlikely development of their respective unique national identities.
The people of every Arab state could be identified by the name of their state: the Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis, Saudis etc, and even the people of the smaller Arab states such as Qataris or Bahrainis.
Most likely such labels could not have been possible for any of the seven individual UAE emirates. Or at least there are no commonly used terms or words to identify the people of Sharjah, Dubai, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah or Abu Dhabi. There is no Sharjahian, Ajmani or Fujairi. The Arabic language does not accommodate such identifications; and even if it could, the names cannot be easily pronounced.
The name United Arab Emirates echoes the name of the United States of America. But the people of USA are identified as Americans, which is unique to them, not to people in Canada or South America. In contrast, while the UAE people are Arabs in the broadest pan-Arabist sense, they have not been drilled in a unique label for their national identity.
The United Arab Emirates is the only Arab state that has adopted a name that does not have a uniqueness per se, other than that it is a group of emirates. In Arabic and only as a short cut it is referred to as "Dawlat Al Emarat" (the State of Emirates). Another short cut is Al Emarat, which is the plural of emirate. As such the UAE did not adopt a name that is unique to its own identity. But Al Emarat appears to be a hesitant, shy name not many are embracing with zeal.
The term "Emiratis" is seldom used. This term could be problematic partly because of its political baggage as it refers to a type of the political system adopted by the state - like kingdom, republic or, sultanate, just as it is an emirate.
But regardless of the name's political implications, it is perhaps high time that UAE invest in its unique label Al Emarat for the sake of its national identity in the minds of its own people, its expatriate residents as well as the rest of the world.
Arabic and English media in the UAE, UAE Nationals and expatriates alike use a number of terms for identifying the people of the UAE. If not locals, it is nationals or "muwatineen". There is hardly any usage of the term Emirati. The term "locals", which is often used in the UAE English language media and is also heavily used by the non-Arab expatriates, has seeped into the Arabic media as well.
As is the case in the UAE, Arabic media, taken out of its geographic context, muwateen could apply to any GCC state as the term muwatineen (citizen) is commonly used across all GCC states when referring to their respective indigenous populations.
Perhaps the UAE English language media fares better only in the case of referring to "Emiratisation" of jobs in the private sector, whereas the Arabic media calls it "tawteen" (from watan, the Arabic translation of homeland).
And this perhaps stems from the peculiarity of the Arabic language, which does not accommodate the term "amrata" similar to "sa'wada" of jobs in Saudi Arabia. But we need not blame the media for this confusion in identifying the people of the UAE. The media is just riding the wave and any label goes.
This confusion about the identity of the people of the UAE persists at the cross-roads in its history. The UAE is a unique country in its population mix and the unstoppable influx of expatriates has indeed become vital to its well being. But precisely because of this, establishing and promoting a unique national identity of the people of the UAE is called for more than before.
The UAE government, the civil society and the Arabic and English media should unite in creating and promoting a national campaign for putting an end to the multiple names by which the people of the UAE are referred to. One name ought to be used and that is Emirati.
From a political, social and cultural research perspective, Al Mutairi's frustration "nobody has told us what is the [UAE] national identity" points to a serious national issue, not just limited to the way the people of the UAE refer to themselves.

Jihad N. Fakhreddine is an expert on public opinion polling.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The situation is not rosy in the Middle East as well


The major exports from Malaysia to the UAE for example are construction companies and expertise. The growing number of Malaysian professionals and expatriates in the last few years is the testimony of the demand here for our expertises as well as worsening economy problems at home.

With the current global credit crunch turmoil, the UAE like other Middle Eastern states may no longer be regarded as a safe haven as no countries are immuned and everyone is affected. Hundreds of billions have already dissappeared from region's bourses.

Immediate action by UAE's central bank to set up an emergency funding of 50 billion dirhams (RM48.8 billion) was received with big relief to address the issue with urgency. This is to shore up the liquidity in its domestic money market and relieve some funding issues here.

It is said there is a correction process in the local property market. Some projects are already stalled and some properties on sale are not moving like before.

Top developers and analysts have warned that the financial turmoil affecting the world markets will slow the pace of construction and possibly hit prices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

There will be a slowing of real estate markets although Abu Dhabi and to more of an extent Dubai are media darlings, they are still relatively small markets on the global scale and are thus reactive and influenced heavily by global trends. Either the pace will drop or the prices will. Both cannot be sustained in this market condition.

The failure of Lehman Brothers and problems at American Insurance Group (AIG) in New York would lead banks to tighten their lending for new developments and mortgages. Less mortgages mean less sales and that developer profits, too, could take a hit.

Both developers and construction firms are now facing a tightening credit environment that would inevitably hamper their ability to raise capital to spur growth.

Thus far, a large portion of the profits of developers has been a result of free land granted from the government. As that slows, joint ventures are becoming more prevalent - and less profitable. There will be no collapse but certainly a slowing.

Likely in this situation, there will be also a significant slow down in spending on infrastructures as access to financing becomes increasingly difficult. There are some rumours already in the local market about retrenchment exercises in certain industries to sustain the bottom lines.

Not surprisingly, the prices of construction materials are also softening fast to reduce margin pressure. However consumer prices in the Gulf is predicted to continue to rise this year, despite weakening consumer demand and a strengthening dollar.

There is always blessing in this kind of situation. I have gone through the worst in 1987 (unemployed) and 1997 (retrenched) financial downturns and am ready for any consequences of this turbulent time.

We have to weather the storm with an open mind, calculated efforts and tawakkal as well as equip our plans with wise strategies (plan A, plan B etc) and come out stronger as survivors.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What will be the next Facebook or Google?

The view from Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s
new $8.5 million duplex Manhattan penthouse


Think.

Think differently.

Think outside the box.
It is economic downturn time again.

There are more opportunities out there to be grabbed.

Look around and shall work on something right now. There’s only one way to get an answer to this one: create the Next Big Thing yourself.
How? By religiously tracking consumer trends and coming up with a winning innovation that plays into changing habits, or even unlocks existing needs in completely new and profitable ways.
Overly simplistic? Maybe. But then again, there are people out there building, designing and starting Next Big Things on a daily basis.
Why not us?





Facebook is so last year -
welcome to the hit websites of 2008
Virtual pets, video diaries and travellers' logs could be the next stars of cyberspace

Moshi monsters, a new social networking website for children

That's 2008 - now is already 2009!

The Finnish school – a source of skills and well-being

Our education system is not really bad as we have produced good pools of professionals, government servants and leaders etc over the years. However, there are always rooms for improvements.
Our teachers are professionals and most, if not all of them, are committed and dedicated to their profession. My sisters (same mother) are all teachers and I have a lot of friends who are teachers, one of them is Manlaksam.
Rather than spending on purchasing helicopters, submarines or bailing out cronies' companies, we need to spend more in education and revamp the system if necessary. Leave politics out of the equation, time to really shake and move the earth for the better future.....education should be a source of skills and well-being for all citizens!
A day at the Strömberg Lower Comprehensive School
Here we go!
It’s a few minutes past eight. The dusk of the October morning has not yet given way to daylight, when the pupils of the Strömberg Lower Comprehensive School (age 7-13 years) start taking off their coats, caps and shoes in front of the coat-rack reserved for each group. An inviting, warm fire lit by caretaker Keijo Hämäläinen to cheer up the pupils is burning in the fireplace in the hall. Hellos and hi’s are being shouted along the corridors as pupils, teachers and the rest of the school staff greet each other. In this school, everybody knows each other, and the pupils call their teachers by their first names as is customary in Finland.
The boys fish Beyblade tops out of their rucksacks and set up a brief competition before the lesson starts. Each child finds his or her own group without hurrying; the groups are named after animals that live in Finnish forests: the Elks, the Bears, the Foxes, the Lynx, the Hawks, the Weasels, the Seals, the Eagle Owls and the Wolves. And there are the Beavers, a class for the most seriously mentally handicapped pupils, whom taxis bring to the door in the morning at the same time as the others arrive. The school day can begin.
Continue HERE

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Camel milk is the next big thing as VIAGRA!

Recently, the first camel milk chocolate was launched in the UAE. It was reported that Chocolate lovers could not get their hands off the trays filled with camel milk chocolates at the world launch. I have not tasted this product yet.

I have been drinking camel milk on and off for some time. Camel milk has a distinctive unusual taste. There are few camel milk products on the shelves and always sold out at the hypermatket near to my house.

Sometime in 2006, Sun reported that CAMEL milk could be the new Viagra if the claims of an Indian farmer who fathered a child at the age of 88 were to be believed.
Farmer Virmaram Jat, from the Indian state of Rajasthan, had put his virility down to drinking camel milk - causing a sales to shoot up.

However doctors and scientists in Rajasthan said it was unlikely the milk was responsible for his achievement. But a director of the National Research Centre on Camels said there was no scientific basis for the claim.



Camel milk is claimed by some as the best milk. It's like a magic elixir. It will cure anything. It can regrow your hair (one reason I drink camel milk..he he he). It can even make you smarter. It's a wonder more people aren't drinking camel milk. A shot of camel milk every day is like the Fountain of Youth and it gives all of those out of work lady camels in the world an honest way to make a living.

When men are out in the desert for weeks on end with their camels, they drink the milk. It is apparently thick and strong, so much so that you can survive on camel milk alone. The milk is highly nutritious, low in fat and lactose and has high levels of potassium, iron and Vitamin C.

But wait, there's more. A mixture of camel milk and camel urine can be used to treat cirrhosis of the liver. A drunk man who drank the vile sounding mixture for 30 days and was miraculously cured. He could return to drinking something a bit more appetizing than camel milk.


Please look it up on the Internet. The results are endless. Some people in India are on a big campaign on YouTube to spread the word of camel milk. They believe it could cure cancer and AIDS. Meanwhile, people in Ethiopia are touting camel milk as an aphrodisiac. Some guy in Australia is thinking about producing a line of camel milk chocolates (but Dubai has launched it!). Another woman is developing a cosmetic line with camel milk.

The next thing: camel milk
FAO sees bright prospects for camel milk

18 April 2006, Rome - In Tunisia, people will travel hundreds of kilometres to get hold of some. Herdswomen from Ethiopia and Somalia think nothing of riding a train for 12 hours to sell it in Djibouti, where prices are high. In N’Djamena, Chad, milk bars are mushrooming all over town. Half way round the globe people consider it a powerful tonic against many diseases. The Gulf Arabs believe it is an aphrodisiac.
From the Western Sahara to Mongolia demand is booming for camel milk. But there just isn’t enough to go round. State-of-the art camel rearing is rudimentary, and much of the 5.4 million tonnes of milk produced every year by the world population of some 20 million camels is guzzled by young camels themselves.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) thus sees bright prospects for camel dairy products, which could not only provide more food to people in arid and semi-arid areas, but also give nomadic herders a rich source of income.
FAO is hoping financing will come forward from donors and investors to develop the sector not only at local level but help camel milk move into lucrative markets in the Middle East and the West.
The potential is massive,” says FAO’s Dairy and Meat expert Anthony Bennett. “Camel Milk is money”.

Which City Has the Worst Drivers?


Depending on your experiences.....no one has exact and definite answer with universal agreement.

Is it Buenos Aires? Mexico City? Kuwait City? Rome? Los Angeles? Jakarta? Kuala Lumpur? Dubai? Mumbai? Paris? Ras Al Khaimah? Lagos? Cairo?
One of many things I have adopted and adapted from my days in New Zealand is driving skill, beside punctuality and work ethics. But over the years, I am no longer an examplary driver especially after living in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Environment can change us for the worse or better.
The question is, which city has worst drivers?
If I could answer without really answering the question directly, I will say Singaporean drivers driving on Malaysian roads in Malaysia cities are among the worst drivers. These Singaporean drivers feel so free from the 'fine' city and can break any laws as the RM is cheaper than SD!
There are good and bad drivers in every city. The number is however varied, either majority of them is bad or good. We cannot generalize and put every one in the same basket.
In Dubai, from my experience on the roads since 2000, we can categorize these drivers based on their nationalities but that could tantamount to racism. Dubai drivers are supposedly the best with the local stringent driving tests but unfortunately not so. It could be the stringent tests that make the drivers crazy on the roads since passing driving test for majority is like passing Phd!

There is absolutely no contest -- the worst drivers in the world are Nigerians. They even joke about it: "A Nigerian drives with one foot and one hand -- one foot on the accelerator and one hand on the horn!"
The roads in Nigeria are generally bad, built by corrupt contractors who have cut corners on materials and cheated on specs.

Nigerian "highways" are generally two-lane undivided roads where, at any moment, you can encounter the mother of all potholes, a herd of livestock, an intercity taxi coming at you in your lane at top speed in order to overtake a truck, or a swarm of people running all over the road because there is
1) an accident,
2) a small hamlet,
3) a roadside market and so forth.

Goats, dogs, chickens, and cows can dart into the road unexpectedly and if you hit one, you buy it -- for much more than it is worth. And the roads are used by pedestrians, bicyclists and riders of small motorcycles -- all of whom think they own the road.

Nigerians have no driving etiquette or training and anything goes -- especially cars that have not been properly maintained and are driven too fast with no anticipation of possible consequences of this speed and lack of safety.

Driving in a Nigerian city is particularly challenging. Never mind the crowds of people and the number of cars -- if you have more than ten cars, there is probably a traffic jam (in Nigerian it is called a "Go Slow" and it is part of a driver's life).
The problem is that a Nigerian driver does not feel responsible for cars to his side or behind him. With "blinders" on, the driver is only responsible for the space directly in front and if that space is not occupied one can go for it.
This leads to situations where cars get backed up in all directions because two cars from different directions have moved forward into the same space (like an intersection) and cannot proceed.

One of them has to back up for the other to get by, and even if willing, is now unable to do so because the driver behind -- seeing a free space in front -- has moved forward. Frustrated drivers don't like being blocked like this and will drive up on the sidewalks to get around; but in no time the sidewalks are also blocked. The Go Slow can be a driving nightmare and it once took me four hours to make a 7-mile round trip in the city of Port Harcourt.

I have traveled to 36 countries in the world and driven in most of them. Trust me, Nigeria has the worst drivers, by far.


London Times correspondent Chris Ayres devotes his opinion on the subject.

[T]his week I returned from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city whose entire population seems to be trying to break the land speed record in a 1984 Renault 9 GLS,” he writes.

“And I concluded that the lapses of concentration demonstrated by motorists in Los Angeles is far preferable to the sociopathic stare of the average Porteno cab driver, who considers it his duty to accelerate towards stationary objects (including human beings) at double the speed limit, before averting multiple homicide by stomping on the brakes or swerving violently.”
A poll of British tourists placed French just ahead of Italians and motorists in India, as the world's worst. Spain came fourth and Turkey fifth for the dubious accolade, in a poll by social networking site WAYN.com.

Inconsiderate or aggressive driving, failure to signal, making rude hand gestures and shouting expletives were the reasons.

Driving in foreign countries can be a great experience but it's important to make sure you know the rules of the road.

Other countries to make the top ten worst included Greece, America, Portugal, Germany and China. Famous French attractions like the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées which have no road markings also made France the worst country to drive in, with Italy coming second again.

Spain was voted third worst, followed by India and Greece. The average Brit has driven on foreign soil more than 10 times according to the poll, which revealed three quarters of British people are apprehensive about driving abroad.

According to the Brits:
WORST DRIVERS
1. France
2. Italy
3. India
4. Spain
5. Turkey
6. Greece
7. America
8. Portugal
9. Germany
10. China
WORST COUNTRIES TO DRIVE IN
1. France
2. Italy
3. Spain
4. India
5. Greece
6. Turkey
7. America
8. Poland
9. Jamaica
10. Ireland
There shall be a survey, which Malaysia city has the worst drivers?

The top 10 Resume Mistakes!

In search of new jobs or careers, CV is always the first impression that could be your best weapon to attack and win the attention of the potential employers.

I have received a lot of CVs from those who ask for my assistance in securing a job in the UAE but unfortunately, I am not a recruiter nor an recruitment agency and I do not have that luxury time to rec-do your CVs.

Keep browsing the Internet for better CV writing or seeking advice from experts. Your next and better careers may depend on this piece of sheet.

There are some good tips in applying for new jobs in the UAE from an agent:-

The top 10 resume mistakes and how to avoid them

The best form of defence is attack, and that's what you need to do to make sure your CV is a targeted weapon. That means no mistakes. Here's a checklist to run through.

1. Typos, bad English

A recruiter is looking for an excuse not to consider your application, and bad grammar and typos gives him an excuse to put your application in the special file marked the bin. A badly written CV shows you are disinterested or that you just can't spell. Either way, it's fatal. Check it yourself, and get someone else to go over your CV - it is easy to miss mistakes in your own copy.

2. Just the facts

Have you provided relevant contact details - have you entered the right numbers?

3. Don't be passive

Can you shake things up, can you solve problems, will you walk into your job running? If you can - great - you're what your employee is looking for. The question is: have you communicated this with your CV?

To do so you need to drop the passive verbs, and use active ones.

For example,

Don't write:

Managed a team of sales professionals for 18 months

Do write:

Built a highly organised sales team. Led it to record sales in three straight quarters.

Use: built, won, drove, inspired, sold. Don't use I.

4. Don't be vague

Your employer wants to be impressed, and to see that you know your business. Details help. State what you have achieved, with action verbs, and use numbers where possible.

5. Customisation counts

One size does not fill all. A senior post in particular demands that you understand the position, and that you tailor your achievements to that job in your CV.

Read the job specification carefully. Look for key words in the text the reveal the kind of personality being looked for, and what the employer expects the right candidate to be able to deliver.
6. Don't be dull

No one wants to know your duties (I attended the weekly sales meetings); they want to hear your achievements (Used leads from the weekly board meetings to add ten active clients to my roster).
7. Don't be flabby

Tell your story - but don't make your CV too long, or cut it down so much it says nothing at all.

8. Mission statements

If you are going to write a mission statement avoid MBA style buzzwords, and generic meaningless phrases. Be clear and precise as to what you are looking for.


Who isn't a "Team player", who would claim not to have "Project management skills"; if you're not "Results orientated" - you have problems; "People management skills" is a pre-requisite, not a clincher.
9. Design

Make your CV pleasing to the eye. How your CV is presented tells a story about you. Are you visually aware, do you care enough about the job to present the information well? Your CV is sending signals to your employer. Make sure they are the right ones.
10. Don't put it off

If you see a job you're interested in, don't delay putting together the application - do it the same day and send it the same day. Thousands of jobs have been lost because the applicant never got round to sending in his CV.

More than 10,000 vacancies NOW

Project Manager, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Senior Infrastructure Project Manager, Bahrain
Principle Geotechnical / Geological Engineer, Dubai, UAE
Principle Bridge Engineer, Dubai, UAE
Structural Engineer, Dubai, UAE
Graphic Designer, Dubai, UAE
Delivery Director, Dubai, UAE
Project Director, Dubai, UAE
Cost Manager, Azerbaijan
Design Manager, Azerbaijan

Browse and Search in kerjadubai
For tips on CVs - HERE

Monday, October 27, 2008

UAE Visa Runners - Desperate and destitute on Kish


All foreign nationals in the UAE on visit visa must leave the UAE for 30-days if they want to change to work/residency visa.
This recent change of immigration laws does not hamper the influx of jobseekers from all over the world to take the risks of looking for new employments. Especially Filipinos who are desperate to get away from worsening situation at home.
Some of these jobseekers are unfortunate to be stranded when their employers either delay the applications or abandon them altogether. The number is growing into thousands.
The most popular destinastion is Kish Island in Iran. Kish is a free port whereby no visa is required and the sleepy town is booming with this business of 'visa runners'.




Kish, Iran: There is a donation box placed on a counter at the Rodaki Restaurant with a handwritten sign on it in Tagalog which says, "Help those without visa." The box has only a few dirhams in it.

Nearby on a wall are notes left behind by those who were helped in their desperation.
"Fifty dirhams. Thank you for your help. Honario David," says one note. Another just lists a mobile phone number and a plea, "I need help," it reads.

Mohsin Iraj, a harried front-desk staffer at Farabi Hotel 1, picks up a bundle of passports, most of them belonging to Filipinos and a couple of green-coloured ones of Bangladeshis, and starts counting them. "Thirteen", he says finally. "These people do not have any money, they cannot pay for their room. What can we do?" he asks.
At an internet cafein the hotel sits a young Filipina chatting with someone, and crying. She said the agency told her that her visa application was rejected in Dubai. She has been on the island for 33 days.

More HERE

Shah Rukh Khan Forgets His Datukship in Dubai

There was no single word mentioned during his sold out show in Dubai about his Melaka datukship but of course, Melaka people are waiting for their idol for official ceremony to be live telecast soon.
I would imagine SRK would be introduced to the audience as, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Datuk Shah Rukh Khan!"


It's a fact that when Bollywood's top hero Shah Rukh Khan associates himself with a movie or a brand, more often than not, he delivers the goods. The Khan-led Bollywood dance extravaganza Temptations Reloaded 2008 was no different.

The thousands of Bollywood fans, who descended upon the expansive Dubai Festival City Arena to watch a sizzling live show on Saturday night, were treated to some spectacular theatrical song and dance performances.

More HERE

NO Arab university among the top 400 in the world

The failure of Arab universities to make it to the Best 400 list is indeed a source of frustration for a region that pins big hopes on the potential contributions of higher education to national development.

University of Sharjah, where my wife works as a part-time tutor at
School of Medicine and Dentistry
A glimmer of hope amid the university gloom

The publication of the THES-QS World University Rankings for 2008 brings unhappy news for aspiring institutions of higher education in many regions, including the Arab world.

According to the rankings, not one Arab university is among the top 400 in the world. The THES-QS report comes on the heels of the Academic Ranking of World Universities compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Institute of Higher Education, which offers an equally dismal assessment of Arab universities against global benchmarks.
While the findings of both reports have raised concerns about the implications of an apparently uncompetitive higher-education sector in the Arab knowledge economy, new developments in the region seem to show some promise of a better alignment between Arab universities and international higher education standards.
Although global university rankings such as those developed by THES-QS and Shanghai Jiao Tong are still in their infancy, they are increasingly viewed as providing credible benchmarks for higher education quality. The rankings, which focus heavily on the opinions of thousands of academics and recruiters, have become the most relied-upon international university grading system.
The THES-QS report draws on a wide range of assessment criteria, the most outstanding of which is research productivity. The report reveals weaknesses in Asia’s arts and social sciences programmes, but notes Europe’s distinction in engineering, IT and the natural sciences. In total, the United States remains the pre-eminent nation in higher education distinction, with 37 of the best 100 universities.
The failure of Arab universities to make it to the Best 400 list is indeed a source of frustration for a region that pins big hopes on the potential contributions of higher education to national development. But for academics and higher education policy makers, the grim realities of the region’s higher education landscape provide clear clues as to why things are going astray.
During the past five decades, as Arab universities became caught up in extensive quantitative expansion to accommodate the increasing demand for university education, their research programmes were bound to falter. One study found that the ratio of Arabs working in research and development is 318 per million, compared with 3,600 in industrialised countries. The number of annual scholarly publications in the Arab world in 2007 was estimated at 15,000 titles: in 1996 it was 8,171, which was at that time far lower than scholarly productivity in Belgium alone (13,913 titles).
The same bleak picture applies to innovative activities in science and technology: one international report reveals the number of registered patents in some Arab countries to be far lower than the international average. From 1980-2000, Arab patents registered in the US amounted to 171 from Saudi Arabia, 15 from Jordan, 52 from Kuwait and 77 from Egypt: those originating from South Korea alone during the same period came to 16,328. Even when viewed in terms of budget allocations for research, in Arab countries it does not exceed 0.02 per cent of GDP, while in industrialised countries it ranges from 2.5 to five per cent.
If we add bureaucratic complications to this funding deficiency, it is easy to see why Arab universities’ endeavours to be globally recognised have failed. These unfortunate facts have been frequently noted by two internationally recognised Egyptian scientists – Osama El Baz of the Nasa space programme, and Ahmed Zuwail, the 2005 Nobel laureate in chemistry – as they described their research experiences in their home country.
But despite the gloomy face of research in the region, there are hopeful signs of change in a new breed of dedicated knowledge institutions that envision the promotion of research as their prime target. And what is interesting is that these new players are coming from the Gulf region, mainly born out of a convergence of sound political vision and financial abundance.
Examples include the Sharjah-based Arab Science and Technology Foundation, the Dubai-based Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, the Emirates Foundation in Abu Dhabi, and the Qatar Foundation. The creation of a research-friendly environment in the region has also received a boost from massive funding allocations announced in Algeria this year ($60 billion), and 2.8 per cent of Qatar’s GDP.
The good news is that such initiatives will surely contribute to the development of research productivity in the Arab world. The bad news is that this is not happening within institutions of higher education, which should be the natural incubators of research and development.
The frustrating absence of Arab universities from international rankings will continue to prod those institutions to improve their performance, especially in research productivity.
I believe Arab universities have an excellent opportunity to enhance their standing against global benchmarks by creating more synergies with emerging knowledge institutions that enjoy huge political and financial support.
Against a gloomy backdrop of diminishing higher education budgets and bureaucratic hindrances, collaborative networking with potential partners in the region at large opens up the most promising window of opportunity for Arab universities to go international.

Muhammad Ayish is a professor of communications at the University of Sharjah

Police Report


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Touring for the faithful

I performed hajj in 2000 while I was temporarily squatting in Riyadh. It costed me about Rm1,200. I followed the Indonesian pilgrims consisting of drivers and maids in Riyadh in a convoy of more than 10 buses.

It was an eventful trip. I never attended any hajj courses. Fortunately, our trip leader was an Indonesian lecturer in Madinah University who gave me a crash course along the way.

Among those Indonesian brothers, Abdulrahman (his name after hajj, could not remember his Javanese name) was very close to me. I only found out that he was a bomoh while in Arafah as one of the bakal hajahs fainted and 'meracau.'

I was actually an 'illegal' pilgrim as no hajj visa was stamped on the (red) passport, except on a piece of paper to be attached to the passport. The official at hajj department in Riyadh could not turn me down as 'tetamu Allah' even though the application date was close two weeks earlier.

He said with encouraging tone, "Brother, you are a guest of Allah, go and may Allah take care of your trip!"

Alhamdulillah, it was another rezeki. I made my way to Makkah peacefully and in every road block, the Saudi Police just let this Indonesian convoy pass without any inspection.

If they made a thorough check and inquired about my visa status, I would have been detained and jailed.




On a rocky hillside in the middle of the Arabian peninsula nearly a year ago, the Abu Dhabi freelance writer Aliyyah Rizvi-Bokhari joined several million of the Muslim faithful taking part in the haj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

At the same time, half a world away on the Japanese island of Shikoku, henro (pilgrims) clad in simple white cloaks were walking a circuit of the 88 temples associated with the eighthth-century monk who introduced esoteric Buddhism to Japan.

In the Pyrenees, late season peregrines, or pilgrims, were making their way out of the snowcapped mountains on their way to the northern Spain resting place of one of Jesus’s apostles. Meanwhile, in India, Hindus were bathing in the Ganges River at Benares to expunge their worldly sins.

READ HERE

Serikandi Bahasa Melayu

Nik Safiah Karim jadi pakar bahasa Melayu walaupun mendapat pendidikan Inggeris sepanjang zaman persekolahan

BERBICARA mengenai tokoh bahasa, Profesor Emeritus Datuk Dr Nik Safiah Karim, tidak banyak yang perlu diulas, kerana masyarakat umum sudah tahu dirinya, kelebihan, semangatnya dalam memperjuangkan bahasa.
Soal sumbangannya dalam bidang bahasa tidak perlu dipersoalkan kerana anugerah sebagai Profesor Emeritus oleh Universiti Malaya (UM) serta anugerah Pingat Emas Tun Fatimah yang disampaikan Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Siti Aishah pada 2002 sudah menggambarkan segala-galanya.


Seterusnya di SINI

Hummer Merah Tiba-tiba Muncul

Memandu ke pejabat pagi ini tenang seperti biasa sepanjang Al Khail road. Trafik tidak banyak ketika sampai di persimpangan menuju ke Safa Park. Berbaris kereta untuk ke kanan. Jam dalam 6.50 pagi.

Dalam ketenangan itu, di lorong kiri (kami memandu sebelah kiri di sini) tiba-tiba ada sebuah kereta menciluk masuk ke kanan. Saya juga berhasrat demikian untuk memotong queue.

Saya cuba mengelak dengan sedikit ke kiri.

Tiba-Tiba sebuah Hummer merah muncul dari lorong kecemasan, lorong paling kiri.

Berdentum belakang kereta Toyota Fortuner 4.0 liter yang baru diberi syarikat setelah menggantikan Ford Explorer dua minggu lalu.

Lelaki Arab tempatan (Emirati) yang memandu Hummer merah itu memberi isyarat untuk berhenti beberapa meter di depan.

Berdebar saya turun dari kereta kerana pertama kali mendapat kemalangan jalanraya setelah lama memandu di UAE. Apalagi dengan kereta baru yang diberi syarikat.

Setelah berhenti, lelaki Emirati itu segera melihat kesan di sebelah kanan Hummer merahnya.

Saya mengucapkan salam.

"Kamu tidak memberi lampu isyarat untuk ke kiri!"

Dia nampak marah. "Untuk perbaiki ini mahal tahu, ini Hummer!"

Hati saya menyumpah. "Dia langgar kereta, masuk ikut lorong kecemasan, dia salahkan kita!"

"Saya mengelak tadi, mana tahu ada pula kereta Hummer di lorong kecemasan!"

"OK, tiada apa-apa. Sedikit sahaja, khalas!"

"Bagaimana kereta saya yang awak langgar?"

Kami melihat kesan dentuman di sebelah kiri Fortuner. Sekadar gesekan. Terkejut juga, ingatkan sudah remuk dan renyek kena bantai dengan Hummer merah yang garang itu.

"Boleh dibersihkan!" Kata Emirati berbadan besar itu.

"Tidak panggil polis?"

Kalau panggil polis, tentu dia kena saman, sebab mencilok ikut lorong kecemasan.

"Kamu dari mana?" Tanyanya.

"Malaysia!"

"Oh! Malaysia, nama saya Ahmad Al XXXX" Katanya sambil menghulur tangan. Baru mahu bersalam. Mungkin baru tahu yang saya bukan orang Filipina.

"Saya Mohamed!"

Dia memeluk.

"We are brothers! Selesaikan di sini sahaja OK? Brother?"

Celaka kau Arab, bayangkan kalau Fortuner yang langgar Hummer dan pemandu Fortuner itu Filipino atau India atau Paki.

Sudah tentu masuk penjara hari ini!

Dari nama keluarganya, sudah tahu Ahmad ini orang besar-besar dan rupanya dari google dia salah seorang jutawan korporat Dubai! Tetapi memandu macam samseng dan orang mabuk, mahu cepat ke mana pun tidak tahu.

Mungkin hari ini rezeki dia.....terlepas dari saman, mungkin juga kalau Polis datang, saya yang kena saman sebab saya ini hanyalah orang luar yang menumpang rezeki, manakala Ahmad adalah jutawan dari keluarga ternama di bumi bertuah ini!

Itu rezeki saya agaknya, dilanggar jutawan terkenal!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ayah Pin Turun ke bumi untuk Pemilihan UMNO?

Akhbar KOSMO melapurkan Kelibat Ayah Pin di KL?


Sekitar tahun 1998, saya bertemu sekumpulan Melayu yang bercerita tentang keajaiban seorang manusia dari Trengganu dan mengenai Rijal alghaib (Lelaki Ghaib). Saya mengenal salah seorang dari mereka melalui kawan-kawan dalam Pemuda UMNO masa itu dan individu ini pernah menjadi rakan niaga kepada Zahid Hamidi (seperti dakwaan dialah).

Dalam satu pertemuan selepas maghrib di Masjid Bangsar, seramai lima orang ahli kumpulan ini bercerita kehebatan masing-masing kononnya diberikan 'kuasa' dalam melakukan beberapa perkara, seperti 'time machine' untuk kembali ke mana-mana zaman. Ada yang boleh ke mana-mana dengan sekelip mata. Ada yang boleh mengetahui gerak hati seseorang. Ada yang boleh buat duit dan mengambil duit dari ATM tanpa akaun bank! Bermacam lagi.

Antara ahli kumpulan ini pernah menjadi orang besar sebuah gergasi telekomunikasi. Mereka semua tidak bekerja kerana hanya bekerja terus dibawah Allah! MasyaAllah!

Sewaktu berbual itu, salah seorang mereka berkata,"Ada Rijal Al Ghaib hadir bersama kita!"

Dia pun bercakap sesuatu kepada yang ghaib itu dan 'menterjemah' kembali kepada saya setiap soalan dari Rijal Al Ghaib.....naik meremang bulu roma. Allahualam. Menurut Rijal Al ghaib yang hadir itu, salasilah keturunan saya dari Shaikh Sayyid 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani. MasyaAllah!

Ketika itu saya tidak terdengar pun mengenai Ayah Pin. Teringat yang salah seorang dari mereka pernah memberikan telefon untuk bercakap dengan seorang 'tukang kayu' dari Trengganu. Tukang kayu yang hebat kerana pernah sendiri pergi ke langit sana.

Saya membuat anggapan kemudiannya, setelah kisah Ayah Pin menjadi hangat selepas tahun 2000, mungkin itu Ayah Pin, hanya Allah yang mengetahui kerana saya sudah terputus hubungan dengan kumpulan ini sebaik berhijrah ke UAE.

Saya akan ceritakan pengalaman hampir setahun dengan kumpulan yang semua ahlinya mahu jadi Rijal Al Ghaib ini. Malah ada membantu mereka berniaga dengan memberi maklumat mengenai dunia IT.

Kini Ayah Pin dikatakan muncul kembali, apakah kena mengenai dengan pemilihan hebat dalam UMNO? Setahu saya, berkenalan dengan kumpulan tersebut, mereka semua adalah ahli UMNO yang setia dan percaya Dr. Mahathir itu diterima oleh kerajaan langit, manakala TG Nik Aziz dikatakan ditolak oleh kerajaan langit!

Video dokumentari Ayah Pin.


KUALA LUMPUR - "Ketika itu saya lihat kira-kira 60 lelaki berpakaian serba hitam mengiringi seorang lelaki yang memakai topi berjalan sambil tunduk.
"Mereka dilihat memasuki tiga buah bilik di sebuah premis karaoke di ibu negara dan tidak membenarkan sesiapa masuk serta menampal kata-kata aluan meraikan kedatangan pemimpin 'Kerajaan Langit'.



Demikian cerita seorang lelaki yang mendakwa menyaksikan sendiri kemunculan semula seorang lelaki ala Ayah Pin berdekatan tempat kerjanya di ibu negara kira-kira sebulan lalu.
Menurut lelaki yang ingin dikenali sebagai Shah, 40-an, ketika itu, dia yang sedang bertugas ternampak kelibat seorang lelaki yang dikelilingi oleh puluhan pemuda pelbagai kaum pada 24 September kira-kira pukul 11 malam.
"Mereka terus memasuki premis karaoke tersebut dan menempah bilik yang dikhaskan untuk kumpulan mereka sahaja tetapi apa yang mereka lakukan di dalam bilik itu saya tidak tahu.
"Kira-kira tiga jam selepas itu, mereka keluar dan saya yang tidak berpuas hati telah pergi ke dalam bilik itu dan melihat banyak botol arak bersepah-sepah,'' katanya di sini semalam.
Tambahnya, dia yang pada mulanya tidak mengetahui mereka merupakan pengikut kumpulan ajaran sesat itu sehinggalah dia ternampak kata-kata aluan yang ditampal pada dinding di premis yang sama.
Menurut Shah, antara kata-kata itu termasuk 'Selamat ulang tahun God grandfather yang ke-4... Selamat sejahtera dan gilang gemilang dari Kawalan Bumi dan Kerajaan Langit'.
"Huruf-huruf itu ditempa dengan gabus dan ditampal pada sekeping papan sebelum dilekatkan pada dinding premis karaoke tersebut,'' katanya.
Ujar Shah, melalui pemerhatiannya, kebanyakan lelaki yang menyertai kumpulan itu datangnya dari pinggir ibu negara terdiri daripada Melayu dan India.

Apple After Steve Jobs....

Steve Jobs may be a celebrity CEO, but he doesn't jump out of airplanes or traipse around Africa with bundles of cash. He is always in character and always on message, so much so that when late-night TV parodies him, he's invariably rolling out some new iProduct . Jobs gets called mercurial, egomaniacal, a micromanager. If that sounds a little like a CEO doing his job, maybe that's because he is—and a mighty fine one.



This week saw Apple launch its new line of laptops. Sleeker, speedier, meaner. And a little cheaper. They have also slashed the price of the existing entry-level model to $999, the first time an Apple laptop has been sold for less than $1,000. The discount could have been in response to Morgan Stanley's late-September report, in which it issued a revised recommendation for Apple that saw its share price tumble by 17.5 per cent.

But Apple has other problems. At the launch, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004, joked about his health in an attempt to alleviate concerns over blog rumours that he had suffered a heart attack. He then handed off parts of the presentation to other executives, possibly to dilute his guru status and demonstrate that other able helmsmen were available should he have to step down.

But while stories of Steve's death have been greatly exaggerated – Jobs' own words after Bloomberg mistakenly posted his obituary in August – his gaunt appearance has prompted many to question Apple's future without him.


His hands-on, somewhat irascible style has shepherded a series of aesthetic gadgets into the marketplace and captured enough hearts to maintain a healthy balance sheet, so few would deny Apple's reputation is securely anchored to Jobs' charisma.
Steve's strategy has always been to target the man in the street. The "cool" factor that accompanies Apple products is an attribute you just can't sell to a business, which wants to know the answers to such banal questions as: "What is the cost of ownership?"
Steve's consumer base, meanwhile, is drooling on their collective hush puppies as they cry: "Wow, it glows in the dark!" This is a marketing strategy more suited to a fashion house than a technology giant, but it has served Team Steve amply.
It allowed Apple to turn a glorified Walkman (iPod) into a chic fashion accessory and whipped up a nerd frenzy over the iPhone ("Wow, touch screen – cool!").
Jobs has built a brand that will outlast him. He has never shrunk from firing those who didn't measure up. So presumably, any new organ-grinder will have a focus on Stevosity and steer the ship into the wind, releasing market-pleasers such as new laptops, which have custom-designed graphics processors and glass touch-pads that allow multi-finger gesture controls ("Wow, etc.").
Here's a selection of some of the most insanely great things the man has said, organized by topic: innovation and design, fixing Apple, his greatest sales pitches, life's lessons, taking the fight to the enemy and Pixar.
On Innovation and Design:

"It's rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing."-- At age 29, in Playboy, February 1985
"I've always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do."-- BusinessWeek Online, Oct. 12, 2004
"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it."-- Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998
"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."-- BusinessWeek, May 25 1998
"It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track or try to do too much."-- BusinessWeek Online, Oct. 12, 2004
"(Miele) really thought the process through. They did such a great job designing these washers and dryers. I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years."-- Wired magazine, February 1996
On Fixing Apple:
"The products suck! There's no sex in them anymore!"-- On Gil Amelio's lackluster reign, in BusinessWeek, July 1997
"The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament."-- Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer
"If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."-- Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996
"You know, I've got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can't say any more than that it's the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me."-- Fortune, Sept. 18, 1995
"Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could -- I'm searching for the right word -- could, could die."-- On his return as interim CEO, in Time, Aug. 18, 1997

Deepavali and Gold Rush in Dubai

It has been unusual traffic jam in Dubai with Gitex and gold rush. The traffic jam was very annoying indeed. I could not understand it until I read the news!
We had an open house at Consul General of Malaysia's residence at Barsha and caught up in the jam. By looking at the standstill traffic along Sheikh Zayed road for several kms, I thought Dubai was in disaster zone!

Drop in prices sparks gold rush



Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Thousands of people jammed the town centre Thursday night and Friday afternoon as they rushed to buy gold with prices plummetting to as low as Dh 80 for a gram of 22 carat gold.
A combination of lower oil prices, financial meltdown, profit-making and the upcoming Diwali festivities had played a vital role to push gold prices down by 20 percent, a major gold jewellery dealer said.
"The volume of sales increased 400 percent Thursday night,” said Tushar Patni, Chairman of Golden Jewellery Group of Abu Dhabi. He said sales at each sales amounts to between 30 to 50 Kilos of gold in one shift ", he explained.
Gulf News witnessed the rush to buy gold which lasted until midnight. Gold shops owners said that the buyers are all expats who wanted to cash on this "golden" opportunity.
"I think it is a one-off chance to invest in gold", said Baqir Akbar, a Pakistani IT engineer who has been working in Abu Dhabi for two years.
"I could maximize the returns of my saving through buying into cheap gold", he explained.
Patni agreed saying that expats who missed a similar opportunity two months ago are determined to grab this one.
"We had similar drop in the gold prices in August down to Dh 84.", he said. "Some people were not financially ready and a lot of them were away on holidays and they missed that opportunity."


Those who bought gold then made a profit when the prices went up again to Dh 104 a gram after that short period.
There are about 125 gold shops in Abu Dhabi, 85 of them are members of the Gold Jewellery Group.
The drop in gold prices will also be short-lived and retailers expected it to last for a week before picking up again.
"We expect this low price to last for one week only", Patni said. "Gold shops will have a special sales day on Sunday. At the end of next week prices can go up and those who are now buying gold can make a profit".
‘Our raffle barrels were full’
In Dubai, the famous Gold Souq and gold shops were also swamped by buyers. Swapna Nair, general manager of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, said she expects the same huge rush on Danteras, when Indians have to traditionally buy gold on that day.
“This is biggest drop in price for a long time,” she said. The last time prices dipped down was during the Dubai Summer Surprises, to Dh 84.5 per gram.


“Our raffle draw barrels could not turn (beacuse of the vouchers inside). The large population of Indians in the UAE makes a lot of difference (to the sale of gold),” she said.
A gram of 24 carat gold is presently selling at Dh 86. Indians prefer 24 carat gold jewelery.
Nair said it was very difficult to predict gold prices in the near future as it depends on many factors. “Oil prices are down, so gold prices are down. But the dollar is strong,” she noted.
The Dubai group has 750 traders as members.
Diwali celebrations will start on October 28.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

One of great persons that I have met in person is Steve Jobs, twice, first in San Francisco and second in Los Angeles. Two different functions and years, one was for Apple Computer products and another for his movie making venture, Pixar Animation studios.
(Well, to name a few, I saw Bill Gates in a conference in Las Vegas and toured near his mansion in Seattle, Bill Clinton in our sales office, Kofi Annan somewhere in Dubai)
I love Apple computers from the first time I used it in Wainuiomata College, Wellington in 1983. Later at the university, Apples were also used extensively. I was hooked.
Both Steves of Apple have changed the world we live through their innovations and entrepreneurships.
In june 2005, Steve jobs addressed new graduates at Stanford University. His inspiring speech is still relevant during this hard time for some of us who are unfortunate victims of current circumtances.



This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

Abu Dhabi - Your new career destination


The world economy is tumbling down and there is a new destination for those who are affected with the financial turmoil. The capital of the UAE and world's richest city, Abu Dhabi is the place to be for your next career moves.

Abu Dhabi government has just lauched a new website Jobs Abu Dhabi.

It is an e-Gov initiative that provides job seekers and employers convenient access to a comprehensive online job market.

Jobs Abu Dhabi is a collection of private and public sector jobs currently advertised in the Abu Dhabi Emirates. Job seekers can search for available positions, post searchable CVs, and access valuable employment resources. Employers can search for candidates, post available positions and manage recruiting.

Build your CV Post your CV online where employers can find you.
Search jobs Find a job in seconds and apply with the click of a button.
Therefore make your way to Jobs Abu Dhabi now!

Menganggur dan dibuang kerja

Dalam keadaan kemelesetan ekonomi dunia semasa ini, dua berita yang memberi kesan besar kepada ramai orang ialah, pembuangan kerja dan pengangguran.

Kesan sistem kapitalis ini memberi akibat yang cukup membebankan, terutama buat mereka yang bekerja makan gaji dengan pendapatan yang tidak seberapa.

Saya pernah mengalami pengangguran, sewaktu pulang dari New Zeland tahun 1988 dahulu, negara mengalami kemelesetan ekonomi. Walaupun dibawah biasiswa kerajaan, tiada tawaran kerja.



Adalah memalukan untuk balik kampung sebagai penganggur terhormat. Saya ke Kuala Lumpur dengan menumpang di beberapa masjid dan hotel-hotel murah dalam mencari pekerjaan. Kemudian menumpang di flet Kerinchi bersama YB Zulkifli Noordin.

Sebagai menampung kehidupan, saya mencari rezeki dengan menjadi penulis sambilan, pagi di majalah Gila-Gila, petang di Berita Harian dan malamnya mengajar Bahasa Inggeris di sebuah sekolah swasta di Chow Kit.


Dapatlah menampung perbelanjaan. Kemudian saya bekerja di sebuah kilang besi milik usahawan Cina di Butterworth, sebelum sekejap di Utusan sebagai kadet wartawan dan Lion Group selama dua tahun sebagai salesman PC pertama buatan Malaysia. Bekerja dengan orang-orang Cina juga memberi pengalaman berbeda.

Masa itu juga NST menawarkan kerja tetapi menolak kerana perbedaan pendapatan yang ketara. Dua kali menerima tawaran tetapi saya tidak berhajat untuk meneruskan kerjaya sebagai penulis dan wartawan.

Setelah ekonomi negara kembali berkembang, saya bertukar kerja beberapa kali kerana industri IT kekurangan graduan berkelayakan. Kemudian kerajaan memanggil saya untuk berkhidmat sebagai penguasa kastam. Saya bekerja sehari sahaja (itupun ambil cuti dari pekerjaan waktu itu) dan meletakkan jawatan 24 jam kemudian kerana sudah biasa dengan corak kerja sektor swasta yang lebih mencabar dan pendapatan lebih besar.

Pernah berniaga sekejap sebelum menjadi staf TV3. Mungkin bertaraf muflis dalam keadaan terumbang-ambing (tiada pendapatan dan menggunakan kad kredit). Pengalaman berniaga secara kongsi menterjemah pengorbanan dan setiakawan.

Sebagai salesman yang pernah dihalau dan dijerkah sebagainya, banyak memberi kesedaran terhadap kemampuan diri sendiri dan ego. Menebalkan muka dan memaniskan wajah walau dalam kepahitan mengajar erti kesabaran.

Untuk berjaya dalam perniagaan tentunya tidak mudah dan memerlukan daya tahan mental dan ikhtiar dalam persaingan. Juga kaitan dengan politik dan orang politik yang hidup mencari untung atas angin.

Salah satu pengalaman pahit sebagai salesman ialah melihat betapa rasuah dikalangan pegawai-pegawai kerajaan dan swasta agak meluas dalam tahun akhir 80han dan awal 90han lagi. Mereka tidak takut meminta habuan sekiranya saya mahu menang tender.

Setelah menjadi penganggur sebaik tamat pengajian, saya kembali menjadi pengganggur setelah dibuang kerja 24 jam. Pengalaman ini menjadi sebahagian dari rencah kehidupan. Saya pernah dipulaukan rakan-rakan sendiri yang tidak mahu 'badi' malang saya sama menimpa mereka.

Ada sebab setiap sesuatu. Saya bukan manusia sempurna dan mengakui bahawa ada melakukan kesilapan dalam pekerjaan. Sudah tentu kesilapan juga pengajaran untuk dijadikan panduan.

Saya berfikiran positif setelah menjadi penganggur kali kedua. Jalan terbaik sewaktu reformasi ialah untuk berhijrah dan mengambil risiko lebih besar. Destinasi pertama ialah Saudi Arabia dengan pertolongan seorang kawan bekas staf TV3. Terimakasih kepada beliau.

Akhirnya setelah mengerjakan haji dari Riyadh, saya ditawarkan bekerja di Dubai. Pernah ditawarkan untuk bekerja di Eropah dan kembali ke New Zealand. Mungkin rezeki masih di bumi Arab buat masa ini.

Pengalaman saya mungkin tidak seberapa dengan mereka yang terlibat kini dengan krisis ekonomi dan menjadi penganggur setelah dibuang kerja atau masih belum mendapat pekerjaan sebaik tamat pengajian.

Kemelut ekonomi semasa turut membuka peluang baru yang mungkin kita tidak terfikirkan sebelum ini. Allah tidak mengubah nasib seseorang sebelum dia mengubah nasibnya sendiri.

Paling penting, tingkatkan usaha, doa dan tidak mudah putus asa. Mencari idea dengan berfikir diluar kotak biasa atau menggunakan pemikiran lateral.

Tawakal dan sentiasa beringat pesan Rasulullah saw melalui sabdanya:
Ingat lima perkara sebelum datang lima perkara:
1. Waktu sihat sebelum tibanya waktu sakit
2. Waktu muda sebelum tibanya waktu tua
3. Waktu kaya sebelum tibanya waktu miskin
4. Waktu lapang sebelum tibanya waktu sempit
5. Waktu hidup sebelum mati

Dalam keadaan semasa, mana tahu ditakdirkan Allah yang rezeki anda di UAE!

Selalu menjenguk ke kerjadubai!

Semuga tulisan ini membantu mereka yang kini tidak pasti untuk bertindak dalam berita pembuangan kerja menjadi menu harian.

Seterusnya - Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Learn from the Bill Gates of Ghana

Brash, ambitious, and optimistic, Herman Chinery-Hesse has already accomplished what many considered impossible -- building a thriving tech business in his native Ghana. His new goal: to spark an entrepreneurial revolution in Africa by bringing e-commerce to the most remote corners of the continent.
Continue HERE

Catatan Mengenai TASIK UTARA- PLENTONG 1974

Tulisan Hishamudin Rais membawa sedikit kenangan.

TASIK UTARA- PLENTONG 1974 - 2008

PUTAR KEBELAKANG - Pada September 1974 lebih kurang satu bulan sesudah Barisan Nasional mendapat kemenangan besar maka Kampung Barisan Nasional di Tasik Utara pun diruntuhkan. Ini berlaku dalam bulan puasa. Ramai di tangkap. Para peneroka bandar ( ketika itu hanya dipanggil setinggan dan penduduk rumah haram ), mahasiswa dari Universiti Malaya dan University Singapura telah juga di tangkap. Saya di tahan remand satu minggu. Berpuasa di penjara Air Molek.



Saya menulis sebuah cerpen '30++' baca di sini berkaitan tragedi yang sama dengan meletakkan Hisham Rais sebagai idola perjuangan mahasiswa. Ada bertemu Hisham beberapa kali sewaktu melaungkan anti-kerajaan dan anti-Mahathir.

Cerpen ini ditulis ketika reformasi sedang hangat dan saya bersama-sama ke jalanraya memprotes dan kemudian berhijrah ke Teluk (Saudi dan UAE).

Cerpen yang tersiar dalam suaraAnum itu bersama interviu oleh Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, editor ketika itu dan kini YB Pakatan Rakyat di Selangor.

Arkib interviu di SINI

Memperkenalkan Bos Besar Palm Jebel Ali


Pada tahun 2003, seorang orang besar dari Dubai Port diserapkan dalam Nakheel, yang ketika itu masih lagi baru.

Namanya Marwan dan dia dilantik sebagai Pengarah Pembelian dan Kontrak. Orangnya masih muda.

Pertama kali saya bertemu dia, adalah sewaktu meminta persetujuan untuk membeli secara terus kebel telekomunikasi untuk projek Palm Jumeirah. Bermakna bukan secara tender.

Saya telah membuat kajian selama tiga bulan dengan membandingkan harga pasaran ketika itu dan membuat rundingan terus dengan sebuah syarikat antarabangsa yang kebetulan, membuat rundingan terus dengan bekas majikan saya, Dubai Internet City.

Syarikat kebel itu memberi potongan harga 80% dari harga pasaran.

Oleh kerana nilai pembelian yang tinggi, selain untuk Palm Jumeirah, juga untuk lain-lain projek Nakheel, saya mengambil keputusan untuk membuat pembelian terus. Ini memendekkan masa dan mengurangkan politiking dalam rundingan. Lebih penting, kami membeli melalui Dubai Internet City. Lagipun saya tidak mahu membuat pelbagai tender dan membuang masa dengan mat-mat pemasaran yang akan menelefon dan mengajak keluar.

Setelah menanti Marwan tidak sibuk dengan pelbagai mesyuarat, saya terus masuk ke dalam pejabatnya dengam memberi salam.
Sebaik saya masuk dan melihat wajah saya, Marwan bertanya, "Mohamed, kamu ini dari Malaysia kah?"

Saya dengan bangga berkata, "Ya, rakyat Malaysia!"

Marwan berkata lagi, "Jarang bertemu dengan orang Malaysia di UAE. Saya sukakan orang Malaysia. Muslim yang baik!"

Terharu mendengar kata-kata Marwan.

Setelah membaca lapuran saya, Marwan bertanya, "Bolehkah saya percaya kepada kamu?"

Saya menjawab, "Sudah pasti, lapuran ini memberikan kajian terperinci dan diaudit oleh pihak kontrak, dan kita sama memberi sedikit bisnes kepada Dubai Internet City, yang juga kepunyaan kerajaan Dubai. Tiada hanky-panky!"

Marwan memandang kepada saya dengan tersenyum.

Dia terus menandatangani lapuran itu. Saya bukan sahaja menjimatkan 80% wang syarikat, malah menjimatkan masa dari membuat tender.

Tahun 2006, beliau dilantik menjadi Pengarah Urusan Palm Jebel Ali, dan dia membawa saya bersama ke pengurusan projek. Alhamdulillah.

Marwan adalah kawan baik Syed Mukhtar Al Bukhary dan sering ke Malaysia untuk melihat projek peribadi mereka, sebuah universiti di Kedah.