Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oprah arrives for Dubai biggest party ever!

More depressing news in the papers today. More people lost their jobs. Few Malaysian expats here also are already unemployed.

A South African lady friend (but not Charlize Theron look-alike) who was my comrade during Palm Jumeirah project and now working as IT big boss at the latest 5-star hotel on the Palm, sent a SMS, haven't received your invite to the opening of Atlantis?

Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron and Denzel Washington will grace the red carpet as they arrive in town for arguably the biggest party Dubai has ever seen.

Yes, ever! Said A-listers will be joined by, among others, Lindsay Lohan and her friend Samantha Ronson, Lily Allen, Mary Kate Olson, Misha Barton, Priyanka Chopra, Janet Jackson and beau Jermaine Dupri, Jessica Simpson's ex-husband Nick Lachey and his current girl Vanessa Minillo, former basketball superstar Michael Jordon, the model Petra Nemcova, and Theron's husband Stuart Townsend.

The one-night celebration is due to bring the world's first man-made palm island to a complete standstill as the VIP guests are chauffeur-driven to the venue. Palm residents have even been urged to return to villas and apartments by 2pm to avoid being denied entry to their homes. At a cost of $20million (Dh73 million) the lavish party will play host to around 2,500 celebrity and royal guests and a number of VIPs from the UAE.

I will not be there for sure, enough of entertainment extravaganza. Even when I was in TV3, I hardly joined those Pesta Lagu finals, except when M. Nasir was running for juara. The biggest shows I have seen were ones at Kodak theatre in LA and MGM hotel in Las Vegas.
But if I were there at the party bash, I would like to meet Robert De Niro, Denzel Wahington and of course Oprah, if not Michael Jordan.
These are the real big names in my favourite list.
The rest can queue to meet me, he he he!
(Note : Paris Hilton did not come as this is not a Hilton hotel....)

Islam defends everybody but not the necessary the judges do!

PUTRAJAYA: Islam does not discriminate against any race or religion so non-Muslims do not have to fear if common law and syariah courts were to be merged as suggested by a former Chief Justice.
Syariah Court Judge and Syariah Judicial Department director-general Datuk Ibrahim Lembut said such fears among non-Muslims were unwarranted.
“Islam will defend everybody. The impression that merging the two court systems will override the rights of the non-Muslims is wrong,” he told reporters after attending the International Seminar on Comparative Law at Marriott Hotel here on Tuesday.

The question is not about Islam defends everybody or merging of the two courts but the judges who interpret the laws and make their judgments. Judges are humans and some of the syariah court judgments are questionable. There are a lot of confusions especially divorce cases, post-divorce maintenance and children custody. Most of the victims are wives or mothers and most of the ex-husbands got away due to weak enforcements.

Then again, I may not the best person to talk about this matter.

There is a current syariah court case (Shah Alam) involving a friend here who her daughter is being taken away (abducted) by her former husband since few months ago. There case is still pending and she has not been allowed to meet, and recently even to talk to her only daughter (aged 10) by the father who is now re-married but away working in Africa. The unfortunate girl has not been going to school, in fear that she would be abducted by her mother to Dubai.

The mother and her current husband (convert) has been trying to get assistance from some authorities in Malaysia ever since at least to communicate and meet with her daughter. Upon knowing her restless efforts, like talking to welfare department, the judge was annoyed. The judge postponed the divorce settlement hearing early this month into a later date in January as a reprimand to the mother!

This is really not fair and any delay will delay the justice. The mother and daughter have to endure the suffering because the judge was annoyed, according to the lawyers.

Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done, especially in Syariah cases.

Sebelum Subuh Ke Pejabat

Beberapa hari lalu, Dubai One TV menyiarkan pengalaman wartawan bersama ribuan lain yang tinggal sekitar Sharjah dan bekerja di Dubai. Sharjah adalah emiriyah bersebelahan Dubai (seperti Selangor dan KL atau Putrajaya).

Sewa rumah di Sharjah masih murah berbanding Dubai dan hanya beberapa km dari Dubai. Tetapi oleh kerana jumlah trafik yang ratusan ribu, kesesakan jalanraya menjadi kronik.

Ramai yang bertolak dari Sharjah dalam 4 pagi untuk memastikan tidak terperangkap dalam kesesakan di kesemua jalan masuk ke Dubai. Dari klip di One TV, memang cukup parah kalau terperangkap selepas jam 5.30 pagi!
Lebih parah kalau terperangkap di dalam bandar Sharjah pagi-pagi buta kerana aliran dan sistem jalanraya di Sharjah boleh dianggap amat teruk rekabentuknya.

Seorang teman ekspatriat Malaysia, Affandy yang menetap di Ajman keluar rumah dalam jam 5.30 pagi untuk tiba di pejabat dalam pukul 7 pagi.

Tentunya ramai yang sama berbuat demikian untuk mengharung kesesakan di kawasan popular dengan kesesakan teruk di Sharjah, iaitu 'National Paint Roundabout' yang kini dinaik taraf masih menjadi 'National PAIN'
Emirates Road di dalam sempadan Dubai ada tujuh lorong sehala (bermakna 14 lorong dua hala), tetapi hanya tiga lorong di Sharjah dan Ajman.
Ini menyebabkan bottleneck sebelum masuk ke Dubai dan kalau petang, masuk ke Sharjah di 'National Pain' yang menjadi gerbang masuk ke Sharjah.

Seorang staf saya di pejabat, juga tinggal di Ajman, keluar rumah 4.30 pagi. Farouk dari Pakistan memang sentiasa pagi tiba di pejabat.

Pada hari ini, saya menumpang Farouk kerana kereta syarikat yang diambil balik oleh krisis ekonomi dua minggu lalu, diberikan balik. Saya menyewa kereta buat sementara.

Dalam jam 4.40 pagi, saya sudah menanti di lebuhraya Emirates (Road) yang hanya beberapa meter dari rumah saya di Twar 3. Pada tahun 2004 dahulu, sewaktu menanti kereta baru dari syarikat, saya pernah berkongsi kereta (syarikat) dengan kawan-kawan yang tinggal di Sharjah. Juga menanti mereka di tepi lebuhraya awal pagi.
Pertama kali tiba di pejabat dalam jam 5.30 pagi dan solat subuh. Memang dingin juga pagi-pagi di musim sejuk.

Rupa-rupanya sudah ramai yang ada di pejabat. Paling awal, Mustafa tiba jam 4 pagi!
Nampaknya, hari ini pastinya mengantuk di pejabat!