Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When Opportunity Knocks, We Need to be Ready

Today, more colleagues have to bid goodbye. My time will come very soon. Time to be really realistic and logical. Nothing much can be done.

A CEO of a big developer wrote:
The key questions on everyone’s lips at the moment are: “When will the worst be over?” “When will we start to see signs of a recovery?” ”Are things starting to pick up?”

Even in the last few weeks, there has been talk that house prices are starting to go up again, that rental values are easing, and that retail outlets are reporting increased trade again. Could it be that we are really turning the corner that at one time seemed so far down the road?

I am not one for predictions. If I were, then I would be in the wrong business. However, what I do know is that the answer is definitely something we can all influence. We are the ones, today’s working army that will ultimately influence when the worst will be over. We need to get out and continue to do our best and get the global engine to full speed again. Worrying or feeling scared, whilst totally natural reactions, should not develop to a stage where they completely dictate our behaviours or instincts.

There is a mega merger going on in Dubai,

The assets under management by these holding companies are considerably more meaningful, but no easier to value.

Emaar has said that the combined companies will have assets worth a total of $52.85 billion. Not $52 billion, not $53 billion, exactly $52.85 billion - precision that suggests real mathematics and accounting is involved.

In its current trading statement, Emaar says that its assets are valued at $16.5 billion. The combined total for Sama, Tatweer and Dubai Properties is therefore $36.35 billion.

The value of Sama, Tatweer and Dubai Properties assets are therefore priced at more than double the value of Emaar’s assets.

My employer has just announced another restructuring exercise, the whole company is now didvided into 2 divisions, development and infrastructure/asset management.

However, time does not wait for anyone, when opportunity knocks, we need to be ready and move on.

Selling Scrap Gold

Selling scrap gold is an interesting area of gold most people have not been aware of until recently. Since the value of gold has risen more and more people are becoming aware that they can sell scrap gold and make a tidy profit from it.

But how do they do it?

What is Scrap Gold
Scrap gold can include any products that are made of gold or include gold in its manufacture.

Bent/Broken Jewelry
Bracelets or chains that are inextricably tangled
Broken and unwanted gold scrap
Casting gold and grain
Cluster Rings
Gold alloys
Gold bracelets
Gold bullion
Gold chain
Gold class rings
Gold Coins
Gold coins and bars
Gold dental crowns and bridgework
Gold dust and sweeps
Gold Earrings
Gold findings
Gold flake
Gold ingots
Gold nuggets
Gold Pins/Brooches
Gold screen and mesh
Gold sheet
Gold sheet,
Gold shot
Gold sizing stock
Gold solder
Gold sponge
Gold wedding bands
Gold wire
Gold-filled scrap
Goldsmith's bench filings and sweeps
Items with missing stones
Karat gold jewelry
Melted gold
Old gold watches
Placer gold
Polishing and buffing dust

The condition is immaterial. Old gold that cannot be restored to its former glory is ideal and the gold can be recovered.

Usually it would not be economical to repair such articles but they can easily be sold as scrap. One would not necessarily get the face value of the item, such as a coin for example, but one would get the gold value less a small margin from the dealer accepting your scrap gold.

Scrap gold can also be found in computer mother boards, old cell phones, scrap electronic boards. High grade scrap such as gold plated integrated circuits, gold plated connectors, gold plated fingers, pins, connectors etc.

How to Sell Scrap Gold
There are plenty of buyers for scrap gold. And they will jump over each other to get your gold!

The better ones will offer a special gold kit. This basically consists of a prepaid envelope and some kits may also consist of forms for describing the items you are sending in and various other details.

You simply fill in the forms and enclose the item with the form in the special bag and post it. It is advisable to make a copy of all the details you have entered on the form (a photo copy is a good idea) before you send it.

Usually the envelope is covered by insurance up to a certain amount by the company issuing the special kit. You can check out the details of this on the website. If you consider the gold you are sending is worth more than the insurance offered you might need to come to some other arrangement with the scrap metal merchant.

How Much Will You Get?
Generally speaking you will get the value of the gold the moment it is assessed by the dealer less a handling fee. It is important to note that the price a dealer may pay will not reflect the retail price of that item. It reflects merely the value of the gold by weight and quantity only. What that fee is, is difficult to say as it can vary with the type of gold and the quantity you are offering and the terms under which the dealer operates.

The dealer, when they have made an assessment, will advise you either by phone or email or letter, depending on your mode of communication, and you can then decide if you want to sell it or not. If decide to sell you simply advise them and they will send you a check. If not they will return the gold.

Before you send the item off it is a good idea, if possible, to get an idea of what the gold is worth.

How much gold is there in the item? what is the price of gold on the day? At the top of this web site are charts giving the current price of gold. That is pure gold of course 24 karat. Gold is generally priced at USD per troy ounce. If you have old and battered gold coins, weigh them. Apart from some minute alloy such as copper or silver, they will be mostly gold and if they are Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins, will be gold only.

The item you are selling may be of a lesser karat, such as a 18 or 22 karat ring for example, and so would be worth proportionately less as there is less gold in the ring.

Tips and Hints for Selling Scrap Gold

It is a good idea to remove anything of value from the gold you are sending in. With rings, for example, prise any stones out of the item or remove the gold from the rest of the piece so one can weight the gold separately. Keep in mind that other alloys such as silver, platinum and the stones may have a value also. If you can separate them, all the better. If not ensure it is clear that there is other precious metal there and get a price for that also.

The purer the gold with less of other extraneous matter, the better. I may pay to spend some time extracting the gold yourself if possible and can be done safely.

In any transactions with gold, it is prudent to make a complete copy of everything you do. Copy all forms you send off. Photograph the piece you are sending if possible. Make notes on phone calls made with names and dates. Keep all emails.

Ensure you understand the complete process with the dealer from start to finish.

What to do with the Money?
So you have sold your scrap gold and have received a check. As gold continues to increase in value against the dollar you might like to look at investing that money in some gold coins or bars.

That way you are likely to keep your funds. But of course that depends upon your circumstances and the reasons why you are selling scrap gold.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Curry bashings in Australia - could pose threat to OZ's education masala!

While I was in Australia for a vacation, there was a group of punks stopped and harrased me on a Sydney street.
They pushed and shouted at me, "You F**king chinese, go home!"
I shouted back even though I was only, well, 1/4 chinese, "You bloody convicts, go home to bloody England!"
I ran to the nearest Police station for safety.
It was late 80s! The anti-chinese migrant was high then and now, the indians after the arabs few years back.

Attacks against Indians in Australia.

A series of violent assaults against Indian students in Melbourne, Australia, has not gone unnoticed by the Indian press, Agence France-Presse reported:

Indian media have dubbed the attacks “curry bashings,” a term reportedly used by youths behind the violence in Melbourne’s western suburbs, where 30 percent of assault victims are Indian.

It is a grossly disproportionate figure in a city of almost four million with an Indian student population of less than 50,000.

According to A.F.P., there have been 70 attacks against Indian students in Melbourne in the last year alone – in addition to attacks in Sydney – prompting Indian students to hold demonstrations against the violence.

The Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police acknowledged an increase in attacks against students of Indian origin, and conceded that “some of these crimes are racially motivated.” However, he claimed “many of the robberies and other crimes of violence are simply opportunistic”:

We know that a lot of international students work and study late at night and are often travelling home by themselves on trains, equipped with their laptops and phones. Unfortunately, they are often just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to A.F.P., “curry bashing” could pose a threat to Australia’s $12.2 billion international education sector. China has already expressed concern over the safety of foreign students in the country. And, The Business Standard reported that 50–60 percent of Indian students who were planning to study in Australia may now choose universities elsewhere.

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s prime minister, said “I speak on behalf of all Australians when I say that we deplore and condemn these attacks. … These are senseless acts of violence. Those who carry out these attacks stand condemned.” Rudd also told the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, that “the more than 90,000 Indian students in Australia are welcome guests in our country.”

Attacks on Indians in Oz
By M. Nasir Jawed
IS Australia a racist country? The series of recent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney have led many to raise such questions.
There have been at least 70 attacks against Indians, students in particular, in Melbourne western suburbs alone. Melbourne a city of almost four million with an Indian student population of less than 50,000. Some of the 93,000 Indian students who study in Australia have taken to the streets of Sydney and Melbourne calling for more action by authorities to protect their rights.
Termed as “curry bashings”, a term reportedly used by youths behind the violence in Australia, the attacks have evoked all-round condemnation from Indian expatriates here in the Kingdom.
Bakhtiyar Khan, PR manager in Global Digital Creative, Riyadh, believes that the attacks may have another aspect to it. “Racism is basically a layer of frustration in an era of global envy, which is also a result of Australia’s economy that has moved into a state of recession,” he said. “It’s the handiwork of some disgruntled Australian youths, coupled with the involvement of local criminals,” Khan said, who is of the view that India, despite being one of the most multi-racial societies in the world, has minimal interracial conflicts.
Saud Al-Taher, 24, from the Indian state of Karnataka, deplored the attacks, describing them as “racial, criminal and dangerous”. “India should take every step to stop this,” he said.
Criticism of what is happening down under has been harsh and rampant. The issue of racism itself has come in for much introspection and inquiry, more so because Muslims have themselves been victims of violence in India since partition in 1947, as noted by some Indian expats.
Such outrages “are everywhere, even in India, which now finds itself a victim of racial violence in Australia”, said Al-Taher, who works with Saudi Bin Laden Construction Company in Jeddah.
What Al-Taher implies finds expression in one of the columns of India’s reputed journalists, Jug Suraiya, who says: “We are racist ourselves. And our racism is color-coded in black-and-white terms: white is intrinsically superior and desirable; black is inferior and undesirable.”
“In India, not everyone is anti-Muslim. But, the racial prejudice is there, in most places and in many forms – caste, color, region and religion,” said Amer Ali, who works in Jarir Bookstore, Jeddah.
The Indian government has come in for much flak for not taking enough diplomatic action to protect the lives of Indian students in Australia.
“There is not much diplomatic effort from the our government to stop attacks on helpless students. India must send a delegation there, take this matter to the UN, pressure Australia, and involve the international community in its campaign against racism,” said M. Shamim, 55, who runs a Photostat shop in Makkah.
“The incidents in Australia are an aberration and have been blown out of proportion,” said Majid Siddiqui, 52, who works with CEVA International Freight Forwarder in Jeddah. He said the whole thing is more about a law and order problem than a racial issue. “I don’t think Australia is a racist nation,” Siddiqui said. – SG

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson, 80s, New Zealand and Teen Years

When you said "Michael" in the 80s you were talking about the only Michael that I knew then, that Michael Jackson. I do not have any friends in Wainuiomata College (high school) by that name, or I can't remember to have one.

(Even though, there was another Michael Jackson that I used his text book in my computer science course as well).

My foster mum was a die-hard fan of the Beatles and she loathed Michael Jackson except for the two duets with Paul McCartney, "Say Say Say' and "The girl is mine."

Well, Paul was part of the Beatles. She taught me a bit on English literature by playing Beatles songs and lyrics. She could be racist. Michael was a black guy then (she always complained about the blacks using too English name like Denzel Washington)....until recently (when he converted himself into a white sister-in-islam....:)

80s - those years of growing up as a young man in New Zealand. 80s willl not be completed without 'Thriller' which was sold 50 million and those out-of-this-world moonwalking steps. "Beat It' was thrilling and exciting indeed.

His genius wasn't simply in superimposing the high-octane choruses of "Beat It" and "Thriller" with rippling otherworldly falsettos, guttural growls of pantomimed machismo, and his trademark piercing, glittering "he hee"; he was a master at painting a vocal landscape centered on innocence and embellished with idealism, vulnerability, sweet bursts of bravado and utopian visions of racelessness.

Another favourite single, "Billie Jean" - It's all about the amazing, snaky, best-bass-line-in-all-of-pop-music "Billie Jean," pumping out from my radio and foster family's TV.

For a while there in the summer and autumn of 1983 on Wainuiomata Street and ravines, the air was full of "Billie Jean." Michael wasn't calling himself the King of Pop yet, but that's when it happened, because 'Billie Jean's undertone of sexual predation and danger, made us feel delighted to be alive and sharing the same dangerous streets...whatever it meant then.

That was a memorable time in a great place that gave me some best years of my life, and that great pop album had an important place in my 'history'.

It is undeniably that Michael Jackson was the most important popular entertainer since Elvis; he shared some of the same pathologies, and they also shared the ability to reach across cultural boundaries and get you right where you are. Sudirman and legendary P.Ramlee were in the same status in Malaysia's context.

However, consequently, his subsequent albums did not have the same impact on me as 'Thriller'. Could be I was much older with new perspectives and had other priorities in life. 80s were over (but never forgotten) and I left New Zealand for good...

Michael Jackson's celebrity suicide

Born to stardom, he never knew what it was like to live or even behave normally

CNN's coverage of Michael Jackson's sudden illness in the minutes before his death was reported captured nicely the way the media has treated him. Nutty people were allowed to talk at length, including a guy who kept saying his concerts in London were in 2010. (They were scheduled for next month.)

Wolf Blitzer looked into the camera to tell us earnestly that the head of the concert promotion company had told them that Jackson was in "tip-top shape," and that he'd passed a health exam "with flying colors."

Funny how an impossibly pampered 50-year-old guy in top-top shape could just keel over dead.

We're supposed to live in an Age of Paparazzi. Isn't it curious how stars nonetheless manage to die right before our eyes?

They do it with our complicity.

Born not just to celebrity but to stardom, Michael Jackson never knew what it was like to live normally, or even behave normally. He was drafted into the family's musical act, the Jackson 5, while in elementary school, and taken to Motown records. He was taught how to live a manufactured image at the feet of Berry Gordy, who was quite good at such legerdemain.

If you're 9 years old and born to be a star, such training will definitely turbocharge the marketing of your record sales; as for the fact that almost all the money from those sales went to your teacher and not you ... well, that was his second lesson.

Trust, truth ... these were concepts Michael Jackson learned early on didn't have much worth. But of course he had his family, right?

His angry father beat him and his eight siblings with some determination, reputable biographers have told us. (Untrustworthy La Toya said that she and Michael were sexually molested, too.) On tour at age 10, Michael tried to sleep as his older brothers banged groupies in the motel rooms they shared. Then all the kids watched in wonder as their father took up with another woman and had a child with her.

Love, marriage, sex ... Michael Jackson learned early that those didn't mean much either. The Jackson 5 had a three-year run, not bad for a kid act. When the family, which realized it hadn't made any money, left the label, a vengeful Gordy exacted as a price not just a brother -- Jermaine, who, married to Gordy's daughter, stayed at Motown -- but even their name. When they moved to Columbia, they couldn't use the name the Jackson 5.

Michael was all of 14.

In five years he collected himself, extracted himself from his father's control and recorded two albums that would change the music industry. The best was the first: 1979's "Off the Wall," a groovy, irresistible stunner. Blithe and implacable, sparkling and protean, it displayed a lean talent, feline in his sexuality and relaxed in his blackness. The round-faced, broad-nosed charmer looking out from the album's cover reeked not just of charm but confidence and, for the last time, normality.

Three years later, "Thriller" would take what became an epochal step forward in terms of commerciality. Viewed now, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see Jackson's evolving physiognomy is symptomatic of an insecurity we didn't think to question at the time.

His celebrity's toll on his own and his family's life became considerable. For some unaccountable reason, after "Thriller" he still lived at home, as his family busied itself with intrigues and cockamamie plans. One imagines him sitting in his room ignoring the knocks at his door as offers of millions came in to the family from across the country and around the world to do just about anything -- anything, that is, that Michael would do too.

With the exception of Janet, his youngest sister, who somehow managed to extract herself and create her own extraordinary career, virtually every member of his family managed to blemish their reputations; among other things, more than one of the boys, their father's sons, were charged with beating up their girlfriends or wives.

The story from that point is a bleak and unrelieved one. Superficial things: Michael's ludicrous trappings and entourages; the fetishization of the armed militias marching around in his videos; tales of his supposed bizarre doings leaked to tabloids; the grasping grandiosity of his public appearances. Jackson had a flair for exploiting the tabloid celebrity he had, but that was a skill he shared with Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton, and it probably shouldn't be listed among his unique abilities.

More serious things: mismanaged tours; declining songwriting skills; ever-more erratic album releases.

Even more serious things: an entirely transfigured physical appearance, morphing from an engaging and handsome African-American man into a misshapen Eurasian woman; his skin bleached, his face resculpted; his nose, finally, needing to be practically taped onto his face. He left his race behind and, in a sense, his family too. (The nose, which seemed to have borne the brunt of his obsession with plastic surgery, was his father's.)

The master of crossover had seemingly crossed over for good.

And finally, a black moral hole, and a descent into a double life as a sexual predator. You've heard about not taking candy from a stranger; Jackson's candy took the form of literal amusement parks. There were nights of fun and sleepovers and inappropriate touching and ...

Accusations were leveled many times; most cases were settled; one case, gone to trial, ended in an acquittal in Santa Maria in 2005.

In the obituaries, writers will savor Jackson's talents, which were unquestioned; his ambition, which was otherworldly and a thing of awe; and his heyday, which lasted really just a few years, and encompassed perhaps two and a half albums. Others will reflect on the tragedies visited upon him and those he visited on others.

I think it's fair to classify Kurt Cobain's death as one brought on by medical problems, specifically the roiling interaction of depression and addiction. Jackson's death is in this sense more purely a suicide, just as Elvis Presley's was some three decades ago. Like Presley, Jackson at some point stepped through a door, closed it, and turned the key. What went on behind the door we'll never know.

By Bill Wyman

Transcript of 911 call in Michael Jackson death

Jun 26th, 2009 | Transcript of 911 call placed from Michael Jackson's Los Angeles mansion at 12:21 p.m. Thursday:

Operator: Fire and paramedics 33. What is the address of the emergency?

Caller: Yes sir, I need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir.

Operator: OK, sir. What is your address?

Caller: It's 100 North Carolwood Drive, Los Angeles, California, 90077.

Operator: You said Carolwood?

Caller: Carolwood Drive, yes.

Operator: OK, sir. What is the phone number that you're calling from?

Caller: (REDACTED)

Operator: And what exactly happened?

Caller: We have a gentleman here that needs help and he's not breathing yet. He's not breathing and we're trying to pump him but he's not. He's not.

Operator: OK, how old is he?

Caller: He's 50 years old, sir.

Operator: 50? OK, he's not breathing? Not conscious.

Caller: No, he's not breathing. He's not conscious sir.

Operator: Do you have him on the floor? Where's he at right now?

Caller: He's on the bed sir. He's on the bed. We need them.

Operator: Let's get him on the floor. We're already on the way. I'm going to as much as I can to help you on the phone. We're already on our way. Did anybody see him?

Caller: Yes, we have a personal doctor with him, sir.

Operator: Oh, you have a doctor there?

Caller: Yes, but he's not responding to anything. He's not responding to CPR or anything.

Operator: Oh, OK, we're on our way there. If your guy is doing CPR and you're instructed by a doctor, he's a higher authority than me. And he's there on scene. Did anybody witness what happened?

Caller: No, just the doctor, sir. The doctor has been the only one there.

Operator: OK, so the doctor saw what happened?

Caller: Doctor, did you see what happened, sir?

(Someone spoke in the background but the words were not intelligible.)

Caller: Sir, if you can please.

Operator: We're on our way. I'm just passing these questions on to my paramedics while they're on the way there, sir.

Caller: Thank you sir. He's pumping his chest but he's not responding to anything. Please.

Operator: OK, OK. We're on our way. We're less than a mile away from Cedars and we'll be there shortly.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Burqa is also 'chic' ..just like those revealing.......

So the French hate how we dress? Oh, the chic of it …

Hissa al Dhaheri

  • Last Updated: June 25. 2009 9:10PM UAE / June 25. 2009 5:10PM GMT

When the heat is sweltering outside your air-conditioned room, the desert is endless and an oasis is nowhere to be seen, that’s when the inner Arabia in you needs to soar out.

Wake up and indulge yourself with an intoxicating aromatic coffee, wear harem pants or throw on a kaftan. The gaiety of the layered material of those garments will allow the air to filter through your soul, encouraging you to rise beyond the dunes.

Culturally embellished garments are the new trend, and you don’t have to travel far to follow it. Depending on your budget you might find a piece that appeals anywhere from a street-corner store to a high-end luxury boutique at the mall. Those culturally inspired treasures have evolved through a long trip, from Arabia to the West and back again.

Harem pants, or women’s trousers with a dropped crotch and draped gatherings at the waist, create the illusion of a silhouette. We have seen their comeback on the couture catwalks of Milan, Paris and New York. They swept across the world after a famously chic French fashion magazine editor embraced them: first the streets of Paris, and now a world trend.

This fashion development is a milestone. Trousers for women did not become a fashion item until maybe the mid-20th century. Now we have trousers actually named after women, or at least how women were once referred to. Harem is a Turkish word derived from the Arabic haram, which means “forbidden”.

It became standard terminology only with the Ottoman Empire, although interestingly enough the Turks never called these trousers harem pants. They were called “sherwal” or “serwal”, and were actually worn by men in the Mediterranean: macho men, to be specific. But how can such a loose and unstructured item of clothing with the crotch dropped down to the knees be incorporated into the rational, structured lines of the western male wardrobe? The answer: feminise it. The crotch was dropped both literally and symbolically.

Kaftans, on the other hand, those beautiful, naturally flowing garments, are the ultimate laid-back feminine dress. The fashion industry might have got its inspiration from the traditional Moroccan women’s dress, or from our Gulf jalabiyas. This loose-fitting garment allows for an ease of movement seen as a necessity for both men and women. Although kaftans were adopted by the western fashion industry as a “feminine” piece, they were worn by men as well: indeed, in the Persian and Ottoman Empires, exclusively so.

The kaftan and the “serwal” pants are now widely available in the West, the former having been turned into a dress and the latter into harem pants. When the western fashion industry adopted these garments with a largely male cultural heritage, they became strictly feminine. So, is the only way for the West to adopt our culture by feminising it? Does that mean that the West does not want to adopt any masculine aspects of our culture, believing that the East is essentially feminine? What about other aspects of our “feminine” culture that the West is now rejecting: for example, the hijab and the burqa.

Could it be that they are rejected because those garments are too “feminine” to be adopted? Or is it because they do not accord with mainstream fashion in the West? Maybe one day they will be adopted as a fashion statement, just like the Palestinian keffiyeh – which used to be a symbol of resistance and is now a trendy item sold everywhere in the world.

Or is it because the hijab is too similar to the elegant headscarf so beloved of French women? Perhaps the French have got all confused that their “chic” symbol is not exclusive to them. They knot the scarf, et voila, instant sophistication; while we knot our scarves, et voila, instant submission. It seems France wants to recapture its national fashionista symbols and status. It is certainly losing them, as many quintessentially French brands are no longer truly French (Louis Vuitton’s creative director is the American Marc Jacobs, while the driving force behind Christian Dior – not to mention a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honour – is the British designer John Galliano). So I guess we shouldn’t be too harsh on the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, for wanting to be the “fashion police” on a national scale.

The fashion industry is certainly a most flamboyant and irrational one. What is “in” fashion, or what falls “out” never makes sense. Yet I can’t deny our addiction to this rollercoaster irrationality. We become vain and vanity becomes us.

Of course, I may have this all wrong, because politics is not my realm. And excuse my over-sensitivity, as I am a vain, irrational woman. I thought fashion, my only outlet for escapism, was immune to the business of cultural politics. But it seems otherwise, and I am mourning that.

Hissa al Dhaheri is a sociologist and cultural researcher, and holds an MA in Gulf Studies

Sheikh Mohammed joins Facebook

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid
Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai.


Status Hubungan:
Hari Jadi:
15hb Julai


2 album

Lihat Semua

My Family
Dikemaskini 14 jam yang lalu
Everyday Encounters
Dikemas kini pada hari Rabu

Mahmoud Habboush

* Last Updated: June 26. 2009 12:23AM UAE / June 25. 2009 8:23PM GMT

ABU DHABI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai – and now Facebook friend.

After snapping up one of the personalised web addresses the social networking site launched earlier this month – http://www.facebook.com/SheikhMohammed – the Ruler offers a rare personal look into his life.

Sheikh Mohammed has used the internet on several occasions to interact with the public, including fielding questions online. This year, journalists quizzed him on local and regional issues during an online forum.

“One’s experiences and personal history shape who they are,” he writes on his page. “And by sharing the lessons I have learnt during my lifetime I hope I can continue to have a positive effect on others, especially young people.”

And unlike, for instance, the US president Barack Obama, Sheikh Mohammed appears to be accepting friend requests.

Debbie Weil, a corporate social media consultant and author of The Corporate Blogging Book, said that high-profile people were reaching out more and more to the general public.

“Very public figures, celebrities, politicians are doing this for the same reason that everyone else is,” she said. “There is this pleasure in connecting, in putting something out there.”

In the page’s various sections, Sheikh Mohammed expounds on his beliefs, interests and even his reading list.

Politically, he says: “Contemporary challenges prompt us to think in innovative ways to achieve sustainable development.”

And in the section on religion, he describes a message of tolerance: “As a Muslim, I honour all religious traditions, and respect people regardless of their faith.”

Sheikh Mohammed also has a lengthy list of favourite activities, from poetry to athletics.

“I am passionate about sports, particularly endurance racing,” he writes. “I enjoy and love horse riding with my family members. I enjoy the outdoors, especially the Arabian desert experience.

“I often go to cultural gatherings. Writing Nabati (traditional Arabic poetry) has been a lifelong passion.”

His bookshelf includes works such as The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun, a 14th-century Arab polymath accredited with major contributions to political theory, sociology and historiography; the autobiographies of former US president Richard Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, as well as that of former French president Charles de Gaulle.

“I was brought up in a family that believed in the importance of visionary public service and philanthropy and I have tried to live these values in my everyday life,” he writes in the “About Me” section. He also cites family life as being immensely important.

One of his two photo albums, which comprises 11 images and was uploaded only yesterday, features moments with his family. The first picture is captioned: “Celebrating with my children after a victory in an endurance race in the UK.” Another: “My angels, daughters Salamah and Shamma.”

Ms Weil, who spoke at a social media conference in Dubai in December, said sites like Facebook allow public figures to tap into a welcoming community and easily manage any negative feedback.

“Clearly he is a very engaging, people-orientated kind of guy,” she said. “Being on Facebook seems like a perfect fit with his personal brand.”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vacancies in Prawn Farm & Factory in Saudi Arabia

National Prawn

A vertically integrated global leader in the aqua culture industry with current production

capacity of over 15,000 tonnes of shrimp per annum, having 26 different nationalities

working under the flag of National Prawn Company with a total workforce of more than

2200 is looking for highly talented professionals with a proven track record of past

experience in the following positions.

MPS System Officer

Diploma in Electronics and Communications with 3 years experience, well-versed

with Electronics Flow / Bench.

Process Engineer

Diploma in Industrial Engineering, with 3 years experience in the food processing

industry’s analysis and streamlining the process flow.

Senior Officer - Process Control

Postgraduate / Graduate in Science or equivalent. With 5-8 years of experience in

process control activities.

Food Engineer

A graduate in food processing industry with 5-7 years of experience.

Production Analyst

A graduate, with minimum 5 years of work experience as a Production Analyst.

Manager – QC

Postgraduate / Graduate in Science with 7 years of experience in quality control


Manager - Process Control

Postgraduate / Graduate in Science or equivalent, with 5-8 years of experience in

process control activities.

Senior Electrical Technician

Diploma / ITI in Electrical or Electronics, with 3-5 years of experience in the food

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Razing the City of the Dead to breathe new life into Cairo

While in Egypt, this city of the Dead had impressed me...there were people living in cemetery and the area was bustling with activities. I was informed, every family had its own cemetery area and whoever members of the family would be buried there.....Muslims and Christians have the same way...it is more a culture than anything else as pyramids are also tombs...


The Egyptian government is studying plans to move the historic Cairo cemetery of Arafa – a neighbourhood in which residents include both the living and the dead – to a location outside the Egyptian capital.

The proposed plan would turn 6,000 hectares of cemetery known as the City of the Dead, which is used as informal housing by tens of thousands of people, into a large public park.

While officials from Egypt’s ministry of housing say the plan would answer the capital’s gaping need for green space, critics of the project, particularly the living residents of Arafa who have made their homes on and among centuries-old graves, contend that the city’s plan will deprive them of hundreds of thousands of their living spaces among the dead.
But in a country where monuments to the long deceased loom as large in the public consciousness as they do on the urban skyline, it is the welfare and final wishes of the dead that elicits as much concern as their living neighbours.

“We’ve heard a lot but where are they taking the people? Lots of tombs are still being built and lots of permits are still being given. It would be impossible for them to demolish this area and build a park,” said one elderly woman, who lives with her husband and one of her daughters in a one-room apartment here that adjoins a private mausoleum. Like many of those interviewed, she refused to identify herself for fear of retribution from government officials.

“Of course I would say no. We’ve been living here for years. It’s a quiet and nice area. Why would they want to move us?”

The answer, said Mostafa Kamal Madbouly, the chairman of the general organisation for physical planning in the ministry of housing, utilities and urban development, should be obvious to anyone who has visited Egypt’s capital.

International urban planning standards dictate that ideal cities should contain about 12 square metres to 18 square metres of green space for each resident.

Most decent cities, said Mr Madbouly, have no fewer than 12 square metres and exemplary cities, such as Vienna, can hold as many as 120 square metres of park space per resident. Cairo’s park space index comes in at 0.3 square metres.

To reverse the green deficit, Mr Madbouly and researchers from Ain Shams University in Cairo have spent the past three years identifying underused or abandoned spaces within the city that are eligible for conversion into parks. Arafa, along with several abandoned factories and underused public infrastructure, emerged as possible candidates.

And now may be the best time to act. Cairo is in the midst of launching a sweeping urban comeback under an initiative called Cairo 2050. By that eponymous date, the ministry of housing, which is leading the project, hopes to have revitalised a city that was once called “Paris on the Nile”.

The team of urban planners intends to offer facelifts for the city’s thousands of historic buildings, lending a new shine to everything from medieval-era Islamic mosques to stately colonial homes. Perhaps most importantly, the ministry is hatching plans to reduce smog, traffic and noise by opening road access to densely packed slums and creating incentives for Cairenes to settle in “satellite cities” that have already sprouted in desert land far from the Nile River.

And if the ministry gets its way, Arafa’s legion of corpses will follow them. Those residents who lack a pulse, said Mr Madbouly, will be moved to two new cemeteries to the east and west of Greater Cairo – spaces that, once completed, will add 17,000 acres of new graveyard to the largest city in the Middle East and Africa.
The living residents, who Mr Madbouly estimates number between 100,000 and 120,000, will be given new housing in areas that the ministry has not yet determined.

Despite the lack of specifics, it is a plan that might appeal to many Arafa residents who have been trying to leave for years. Mahmoud Abdel Rhadi, 39, said he has already applied to the ministry of housing for a new home for himself and his family. The ministry classified him as a “severe case” and promised to find him a new dwelling. That was nine years ago and Mr Rhadi has not heard anything since.

“We found ourselves living not a very good life, without good housing. If we found something better, of course we would leave,” he said. “Our income is very low. If everything were provided for, we would move. You can see how things are here.”

Indeed, the residents of Arafa live in poor conditions. Their access to essential utilities is limited within the cemetery and most rely on mosques and public water sources on the edges of the community near the raised highways that contain Arafa. They live in tiny flats that were built as shelters for holidays and burial ceremonies, when the families of the deceased convene for prayers and meals with their lost loved ones. The residents also suffer from the kind of social stigma one earns from living in a cemetery.

“It is really a unique problem. If you go through the United Nations reports, you will find that this is the only place in the world where you can find living people living in the same place as the dead,” said Ayman Ashour, a professor of architecture and urban planning at Ain Shams University who is assisting the ministry of housing in evaluating the Arafa park project.

“They suffer from a lack of infrastructure, a lack of services and of course, there is no quality of life. We as Egyptians refuse to continue this.”

Yet for all Arafa lacks as a living space, its benefits are just as obvious. It offers ample open space, privacy and quiet – qualities that would recommend any piece of real estate but which are particularly rare in the congested Egyptian capital. And its homes come free of charge: almost no one pays to live among the dead.

“This neighbourhood is really pretty. We’re happy with what God gave us,” said the anonymous elderly woman, who said she has lived her entire life in Arafa. “The people who live here and the people who control the graves are good people. Nothing bad ever happens here.”

But even as they vow to remain in their homes until the day they are buried there, most residents said they have no illusions that the government will halt its plans on their behalf. In Egypt, many here said, only the voices of the wealthy are heard – even if those wealthy people happen to be deceased.

“A lot of people are objecting. The rich people, they have their families buried here. They’re objecting to this,” said one elderly resident of Arafa who asked to remain anonymous.

“This 2050 thing is in their imagination. This cemetery was founded hundreds of years ago. How can you rase hundreds of years of history in a very short time?”

Others have been asking the same question. Arafa’s billowy sands have hosted Egypt’s leading lights for centuries, including the celebrated diva Om Kolthum. The burial ground also claims several historic mosques and monuments that date to the early part of the last millennium. Such heritage sites will be preserved, upgraded and incorporated into the proposed park, Mr Madbouly said.

But it is the families of the more recently deceased who present the most immediate obstacles to the housing ministry’s proposal. Cairo officials continue, even now, to issue new permits for new graves, pushing the cemetery against the limestone Moqattam cliffs that loom in the background. “Personally, I completely refuse this solution because all of my family’s dead are in the graveyards of this area, and just like millions of Egyptians, I am used to visiting them on holidays,” wrote Samir Gharib, chairman of Egypt’s National Organisation for Urban Harmony, in an opinion article published in Al Akhbar newspaper on June 3.

“I even visit my late wife’s grave not just on holidays, but whenever I feel nostalgic about her. Has there been any social and cultural study conducted on the owners of these graves to explore their opinions and to try to convince them of this solution? Or will this plan be implemented regardless of people’s opinions?”

Mr Madbouly and Mr Ashour said the project is in its nascent stages and that the housing ministry and Ain Shams University are, indeed, conducting surveys of Arafa residents and families of the deceased to gauge their support.

Mr Madbouly said while he has heard very little resistance to the project, even if support were universal it will be a long time before Arafa becomes a park. The recently deceased must be interned for at least 10 years before they can be excavated.

If all goes according to plan, the housing ministry will stop permitting new burials within the next two to three years.

In other words, it could take anywhere from 12 to 13 years before guests can enjoy a green Arafa.

For those who live here, such a span amounts to nearly a lifetime. For those who are buried here, it is the blink of an eye. And for the Egyptian government, it is perhaps somewhere in between.

“If we get better housing, of course no one would say no. But you know how their day is a year,” said the anonymous woman, referring to the authorities who have, in the past, threatened to move Arafa’s residents but never followed through.

“Whatever we have now – money and houses – we’re not going to take that with us when we come back here again.”


‘Living around the dead helps me see how we will end up. It makes me feel closer to God’

Call it Egypt’s answer to the duplex. In Cairo’s Arafa neighbourhood, seven members from among three generations of the Ibrahim family live in a stately stone dwelling. In the courtyard next to their two-room home, they have planted a grapevine and several ficus trees that offer shade for about a dozen chickens.

By Cairo’s congested standards, their living space is roomy, quiet and private. Better still, the Ibrahims never pay rent, nor do they quarrel with their closest neighbours: the 15 men and 10 women (the numbers are approximate because the Ibrahims have not been keeping track) buried beneath them. “We have been put in this position. We’ve tried to change it as much as possible. But everyone finds something that helps satisfy them with how they live,” said Sunna Mohammed Ibrahim. “Living around the dead helps me to see how we will all end up. It makes me feel closer to God.”

Faced daily with the evanescence of human life, it is perhaps easy to understand why the Ibrahims are not at all vexed by the ministry of housing’s proposal to uproot – both literally and figuratively – the millions of living and dead in this community. For this family and thousands like them, one thing has always been clear: men and their plans come and go, but the dead of Arafa will always remain.

We’ve heard about projects for building institutes and religious centres,” said Sayyid Mohammed Ibrahim, 35, who said he was born in Arafa. “They come and they study it and they take measurements, but it never gets done.”

Instead, the ranks of the living in Arafa have expanded since the Ibrahim family first arrived about 30 years ago from Monofeya, a village in the Nile Delta north of Cairo. Before they moved to Cairo, Mohammed Ibrahim, Sunna and Sayyid’s father, had commuted between his home village and his job as a nurse at Muqattam Hospital near the cemetery.

At first, Mr Ibrahim and his family rented a small one-room flat. But when his family expanded, he began to quarrel with his neighbours. The owner of the hospital in which Mr Ibrahim worked recognised the young nurse’s disagreeable living conditions and offered his own elegant family plot as a solution.

“So he came here where there’s plenty of room and no neighbours,” said Om Mohammed, 66, Mr Ibrahim’s wife.

Like many of the graves in Arafa, the Ibrahims live within a high stone wall that encloses both their house and a burial pit marked by a large tombstone. The elaborate style was inspired by the graves of the Fatimid Dynasty, which ruled Egypt and much of northern Africa during the early part of the previous millennium. Centuries-old graves of people who claim to be direct descendents of the Prophet Mohammed can still be found throughout Arafa. Egyptians have been living in such graves for nearly as long – historians say the practice dates back to the 14th century.

What is now the Ibrahim family home was built originally as temporary accommodation to allow the family of the deceased to linger at the grave on religious holidays, such as Eid al Fitr.

The transition from burial ground to permanent home was surprisingly fluid, said the Ibrahims. The original enclosure came complete with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a small kitchen, all of which are connected with electricity and running water. Aside from planting trees, the Ibrahims made no permanent structural changes. Yet, despite the continuous presence of a seven-member family, the host family continues to visit its dead. As recently as two years ago, said Om Mohammed, their hosts buried yet another relative in the plot. As the family buried their dead amid mournful tears and the requisite religious ceremony, the Ibrahims simply sat by and watched. Neither party felt awkward.

“They still remember that they have people here. That gets passed down from generation to generation,” she said, referring to the family who owns the burial plot. “The family comes here sometimes. They come and sit here for five to 10 minutes and then read from the Quran.”

It is an anonymous intimacy unique to only the most densely populated places in the world. But while the Ibrahims seem well-adapted to their strange environment and its occasional intruders, they have had difficulty convincing others. Outside of this quiet cemetery, the idea of living among the dead is as foreign to the average Egyptian as it would be to almost any cultural sensibility.

“The people who live in those apartment buildings, they also look at us as substandard,” said Sayyid, gesturing toward the nearby informal housing units whose residents, like those in the City of the Dead, expanded dramatically when Egypt urbanised during the 1980s and 1990s. “I feel like I’m better off here because I can move around as much as I want, but they only have maybe two rooms.”

Life in a graveyard may be just a different sort of squalor. But the shame of the Ibrahims is nevertheless more acute. Particularly for the women in the family, no-rent circumstances have come with a high social cost. Sunna still smarts from an episode during her university years when she reciprocated for a girlfriend who had invited her as a guest. When the young woman came to Sunna’s graveyard dwelling, she was shocked.

“I prepared for her really well and it cost me a lot to have her over. But as soon as she came she was very frightened. She didn’t stay for long,” Sunna said. “I felt very embarrassed. I didn’t do it again and I never mention anymore that I live in the graveyards.”

Both Sunna and her younger sister Fathia, 27, are now married and Sunna has two sons.

All three of the adult Ibrahim children have also earned bachelor’s degrees at prestigious universities in Cairo. But despite their accomplishments, the day-to-day humiliation remains difficult to endure.

“If someone wanted my hand or my sister’s hand in marriage, he would hesitate a thousand times. So we have had to accept whatever is available to us. We have all had to cut through rock to get to where we are right now,” Sunna said. “People living in the city think we’re twisted or sick for living with the dead. But I have gotten used to it. It’s my home.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nude & Prostitution - YES but Abaya - NO in France

Abaya not welcome: Sarkozy

PARIS (AP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out Monday at the practice of wearing the Muslim burqa, insisting the full-body religious gown is a sign of the "debasement" of women and that it won't be welcome in France.

The French leader expressed support for a recent call by dozens of legislators to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full-body garment in France.

In the first presidential address in 136 years to a joint session of France's two houses of parliament, Sarkozy laid out his support for a ban even before the panel has been approved—braving critics who fear the issue is a marginal one and could stigmatize Muslims in France.

"In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Sarkozy said to extended applause in a speech at the Chateau of Versailles southwest of Paris.

"The burqa is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement—I want to say it solemnly," he said. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic."

In France, the terms "burqa" and "niqab" often are used interchangeably. The former refers to a full-body covering worn largely in Afghanistan with only a mesh screen over the eyes, whereas the latter is a full-body veil, often in black, with slits for the eyes.

Later Monday, Sarkozy was expected to host a state dinner with Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani of Qatar. Many women in the Persian Gulf state wear Islamic head coverings in public—whether while shopping or driving cars.

France enacted a law in 2004 banning the Islamic headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols from public schools, sparking fierce debate at home and abroad. France has Western Europe's largest Muslim population, an estimated 5 million people.

A government spokesman said Friday that it would seek to set up a parliamentary commission that could propose legislation aimed at barring Muslim women from wearing the head-to-toe gowns outside the home.

The issue is highly divisive even within the government. France's junior minister for human rights, Rama Yade, said she was open to a ban if it is aimed at protecting women forced to wear the burqa.

But Immigration Minister Eric Besson said a ban would only "create tensions."

A leading French Muslim group warned against studying the burqa.

VERSAILLES, France - The Islamic burka (Abaya) is “not welcome” in France because it is not a symbol of religion but a sign of subservience for women, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday.
“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” he said.
“That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.”
“The burka (Abaya) is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience,” he told lawmakers. “It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.”
Abaya is called Burka in the Subcontinent and Chador in Iran.
Sarkozy told a special session of parliament he was in favor of holding the inquiry sought by some French lawmakers into whether Muslim women who cover themselves fully in public undermine French secularism and women’s rights.
But the president added “we must not fight the wrong battle, in the republic the Muslim religion must be respected as much as other religions” in France, which has Europe’s biggest Muslim population estimated at several million.
The proposal to hold an inquiry has won support from many politicians from both the left and right, but France’s official Muslim council accused lawmakers of wasting time focusing on a fringe phenomenon.
“To raise the subject like this, via a parliamentary committee, is a way of stigmatizing Islam and the Muslims of France,” Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM), said last week. – AFP

A comment:
These are double standards of few European countries specially France, if Burqa is banned then they must also banned the NUN garments too as they too wear the same attire and not just this but all religious attires, is it not religious one?, when USA President Obama does not have problem with Burqa why France is afraid of do they want Muslim ladies to dress half or full naked dresses like European ladies, and degrade the value of Women’s, I don’t think this is wise decision

Temporary marriages are forbidden in Islam, declared grand mufti of Saudi Arabia

No to temporary marriages

RIYADH: Temporary marriages are forbidden in Islam, declared Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, while answering a viewer’s question on Channel One of Saudi TV.

Thinking the mufti was delivering a verdict on “misyar” marriages, many newspapers and websites were quick to point out that the mufti’s ruling was contrary to a fatwa delivered by 60 Islamic scholars at a Muslim World League meeting sanctioning misyar marriages.

Misyar is a form of marriage that fulfills all legal requisites of a normal union, but spouses are not committed to living together in the same house and the woman can give up some of her rights, such as monetary support.

The misunderstanding was perhaps caused by the channel running a banner on the screen saying that the grand mufti forbids misyar marriage, whereas he was only discussing temporary “misfar” marriages, in which men marry while staying abroad with the intention of divorcing their wives when they return home.

In his television broadcast, Al-Asheikh condemned temporary marriages, saying they were forbidden in Islam and only undertaken for pleasure. The concept of marriage involves settling down and making a home and temporary marriages do not allow this to happen, he said, adding that this could result in an uncertain future for children born from such matrimonies.

Speaking later about the mis-understanding, Al-Asheikh said, “My answer was regarding temporary marriages with the intention of divorce.”

While emphasizing the need for men to care for their wives, Al-Asheikh said he does not forbid misyar marriages as long as the legal conditions that constitute a marriage are met. He, however, added that he does not feel such marriages are suitable for women wanting to lead healthy married lives.

On the other hand, people who view all types of nontraditional marriages as corruption in society claim the grand mufti has finally admitted misyar marriages are inappropriate and children born from such unions have bleak futures.

Misfer M., a 36-year-old banker, said forbidding misyar and similar newly introduced marriages is the only way to ensure young people abide by religious regulations with regard to marriage.

“New types of marriages are giving young people an easy way to evade responsibility and legalize strange relationships. It isn’t right that people, even Islamic scholars, justify them,” he added.

Some people say there is no harm in misyar marriages, as long as they meet the requirements of Shariah. Maram, a 42-year-old hospital employee, is divorced and has two children. Maram lives with her children, elderly mother and a young sister, and is responsible for their care.

“No man will accept sharing this responsibility with me,” she said. “I am also unwilling to increase my responsibilities by taking on a conventional husband with full time responsibilities.”

It was because of her particular situation that Maram agreed to a misyar marriage in which she meets her husband during the week and keeps her weekends free for her children, mother and sibling.

Nojoud, a teacher and mother of a five-year-old girl, says there is nothing wrong in misyar marriages. The 28-year-old was recently divorced following a troubled six-year marriage. “I don’t expect my family to accept it as it is frowned upon by society. Provided its name change, it is a very convenient type of marriage for women in my situation,” she said, adding that her ex-husband has remarried and left her with their child.

“A full-time marriage for me means responsibilities in addition to my job and daughter. Such a marriage would most likely result in me neglecting my child,” she added.

Experts mention several reasons for the increase in new forms of marriages. These include increases in dowries and living expenses, leading to an escalating number of unmarried women; rise in the number of divorces; the inability of men to bear the responsibilities of having families and running homes; women willing to be part of polygamous relationships; career women finding it difficult to make full-time family commitments; and the unstable nature of work for men.

Debunking myths about entrepreneurs

Successful entrepreneurs are a rare breed because they face a myriad of obstacles. But one fundamental flaw in the system makes it even harder for entrepreneurs to realise their dreams.

According to Joe Tabet, Managing Partner of Melcion, Chassagne & Cie, a group of international senior business advisors dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, many highly-motivated entrepreneurs would have trouble working with institutional investors – which is counterintuitive because these investors are usually seen as primary financiers.

Entrepreneurs have the hunger for creating businesses, but also a strong need to be flexible and in control of their destiny. This naturally generates tensions with investors who need predictability and accountability, which often creates problems.

"Most investors do not realise that there is a disconnect between investors and entrepreneurs; they end up fighting with the entrepreneur, saying that they are impossible to manage, which results in destroying value for everyone. We do believe there is a philosophical and cultural mismatch to start with," Tabet told Insead Knowledge on the sidelines of the Global Entrepreneurship Forum held recently at Insead's Europe campus in Fontainebleau. Tabet is also the author of Hors Piste!, a book that debunks many myths about being an entrepreneur.

For example, Tabet thinks entrepreneurs should not be obsessed with raising capital from prospective venture capitalists (VCs). Rather, his advice is to avoid overfunding the company from the start, because it is a recipe for disaster.

According to a Harvard study on the Inc 500 (fast-growing companies ranked by Inc Magazine), less than five per cent have raised VC funding, and 67 per cent have less than $50,000 (Dh183,500) in capital. Entrepreneurs should look for financing in a much broader sense, tapping into other sources such as clients or suppliers, before giving away any equity.

"If you look at the VC model, from the entrepreneur's perspective, it looks more like gamble, and the chance for the individual entrepreneur to make money once they enter the VC game is probably as low as winning the lottery."

"We have observed that many entrepreneurs are kicked out of their own company in the year following a major investment round; all this makes the chance for the individual entrepreneur to succeed in that game quite tiny. In many cases, it's pretty much like Russian roulette… entrepreneurs often get 'killed' by investors because of this mismatch."

Another myth Tabet debunks is first-mover advantage. Citing e-Bay and Google as examples of companies which were not the first to move in their space, he says they were still able to achieve phenomenal success despite not being "new" as such.

He also gives kudos to Swatch, which he says was not that innovative from a pure product perspective; it just tweaked the formula and made wearing watches made of colourful plastic very hip.

"I like the notion of small giants; those are companies who identify a niche market, who secure their place in their eco-system, pretty much like the Blue Ocean strategy concept – you don't want to be where everyone else is."

Tabet's advice is to find a niche market and focus on customers. "I think the more you understand your customer and your eco-system, the more likely you will succeed as a new company."

"If you have the right people with the right mindset, who are smart enough and open-minded to adapt to the market needs, you come up with solutions that are faster to generate revenue. This is how entrepreneurial companies gain an advantage over larger firms," he adds.

In fact, Tabet says his firm has noticed a correlation between companies which do not have VC funding and higher levels of creativity. "They struggle, but they end up finding better, more robust and sustainable solutions than funded companies. In my opinion, the real competitive advantage that entrepreneurs have to secure their success, is to focus on what the money cannot buy; whatever money can buy, is a commodity."

While he is not against the idea of entrepreneurs teaming up with external investors, he says it is important that both sides understand their own strengths and weaknesses – and anticipate conflict.

VCs, for example, are very good at investing in innovation and fast-growing companies; what they need to realise is that they are not always on the same side as the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are very good at starting up businesses. But they are quite bad at mastering the capitalistic game. Tabet says there is one part of their life cycle they do not manage well: "Very few entrepreneurs manage their own personal exit and anticipate it; those who don't do it – unfortunately in most cases, will see it happen to them without them being in control anymore."

By Insead Knowledge

Monday, June 22, 2009

If the Virgin Mary wearing a veil How do I prevent the headscarf in Italy?

(From an Arab paper- loosely translated by Google with some amendments...)

The Italian interior minister, "Giuliano Amato," he could not oppose the wearing of Muslim women in the country of the veil, because it is a clear and simple that the Virgin Mary the mother of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him had put the veil on her head, too.

The holiest woman in history, as it is one of the four women are fully human beings as stated in the Quran. The four women who are secured; our Prophet's wife Khadija, and his daughter, Mrs. Fatima al-Zahra, together with the mother of Prophet Jesus and the wife of Egypt's Pharaoh.

Italy's interior minister was facing a secular extremist tendencies, which calls for addressing the phenomenon of the veil that has spread among the Muslim women in Italy until the Italian women who became Muslim women, and considered to be a serious breach of the culture of Christianity.

Giuliano Amato told them: "If the Virgin Mary not wearing a veil, let me ask a woman to reject any hijab!"

Italy's interior minister revealed another disaster to the secular extremists, the trend is the emergence of new cultural demands, including "tweaks" in the paintings that show the Virgin Mary Ms. taking the veil on her head and demanded the abolition of this scene and the dissemination of the palettes which is open without a veil!

Italian battle is not a joke, but the truth conveyed by the Italian media and the world, and ignored much of the Arab press, and the story of the call to change the image of Mrs. Mary superstitions is not a western culture, which separates religion and the size of ethnic or even cultural, but it has a famous history,

United States suspended some of the churches to the massive statue of an alleged prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, a completely black and the black body, because these churches are the churches Negress, according to the vision of the owners Zenjia Christ was black, and pictures or paintings or statues scattered in the body of white and blond hair and eyes are blue as falsification of the white race.

Also, some of Mexican descent in the United States and put statues of our Lord Jesus, peace be upon him on the features of their churches in the Mexican people, and now the Italians turned to Ms. Mary the Virgin in order to remove the veil from her head

And do so in the form of disgrace, so that they do not form an excuse for Muslims to wear the veil on the heads of their wives and daughters, of course, the Italian Interior Minister said this requirement is an inappropriate and cultural extremism, according to him, and that can not respond personally to him, and therefore it does not have any logic or argument, or religious cultural ban in his country.

اذا كانت مريم العذراء محجبة كيف امنع الحجاب في ايطاليا !؟

· أعلن وزير الداخلية الإيطالي "جوليانو أماتو" أنه لا يمكنه معارضة ارتداء المرأة المسلمة في بلاده للحجاب ، وذلك لسبب واضح وبسيط وهو أن السيدة مريم العذراء والدة نبينا عيسى عليه السلام كانت تضع الحجاب على رأسها أيضا ،

وهي أقدس امرأة عرفها التاريخ ، كما أنها واحدة من أربعة نساء هن الأكمل في بني الإنسان كما ورد في القرءان الكريم وفي أحاديث نبينا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم النبوي والنساء الأربعة هن : ـ أمنا خديجة زوجة نبينا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وابنته السيدة فاطمة الزهراء ، ومعهما أم نبينا عيسى عليه السلام السيدة مريم العذراء وزوجة فرعون مصر المسلمة آسيا .

وزير الداخلية الإيطالي كان يواجه النزعات العلمانية المتطرفة التي تنادي بالتصدي لظاهرة الحجاب التي انتشرت بين النساء المسلمات في إيطاليا حتى النساء الإيطاليات اللاتي أسلمن ، واعتبروا ذلك اختراقا خطيرا للثقافة المسيحية .

جوليانو أماتو قال لهم : " إذا كانت العذراء محجبة ، فكيف تطلبون مني رفض أي امرأة تتحجب ، أو حسب نصه الحرفي ( إن المرأة التي حظيت بأكبر نصيب من المحبة على مر التاريخ وهي السيدة العذراء تصور دائما وهي محجبة ( .

وزير الداخلية الإيطالي كشف عن كارثة أخرى لدى المتطرفين العلمانيين ، وهو ظهور تيار ثقافي جديد بينهم يطالب "بتعديل" اللوحات التي تظهر السيدة مريم العذراء وهي تضع الحجاب على رأسها ، ويطالبون بإلغاء هذا المشهد ونشر لوحات لها وهي سافرة بدون الحجاب ! .

المعركة الإيطالية ليست نكتة ، ولكنها الحقيقة التي نقلتها وسائل الإعلام الإيطالية والعالمية ، وتجاهلتها كم كبير من الصحف العربية ، وحكاية الدعوة لتغيير صورة السيدة مريم ليست بدعا في السلوك الغربي ، الذي يفصل الدين على المقاس الثقافي أو حتى العرقي ، بل إن لها سوابق شهيرة ،

ففي الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية علقت على بعض الكنائس الضخمة تمثال مزعوم لنبينا عيسى عليه السلام وهو أسود تماما وعلى هيئة الزنوج ، لأن هذه الكنائس هي كنائس زنجية وبحسب رؤية أصحابها فإن المسيح كان زنجيا أسود البشرة ، وأن صوره أو لوحاته أو تماثيله المنتشرة في جسد أبيض والشعر الأشقر والعينين الزرقاوين هي تزوير أوربي من الجنس الأبيض .

كما أن بعض ذوي الأصول المكسيكية في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وضعوا تماثيل لسيدنا عيسى عليه السلام على كنائسهم في ملامح شخص مكسيكي ، والآن استدار الإيطاليون على السيدة مريم العذراء لكي ينزعوا الحجاب عن رأسها

ويقدموها في صورة مخزية ، حتى لا تكون صورها حجة للمسلمين في ارتداء الحجاب على رؤوس نسائهم وبناتهم ، طبعا وزير الداخلية الإيطالي اعتبر هذا المطلب غير لائق وتطرف ثقافي حسب قوله ، وأنه شخصيا لا يستطيع الاستجابة له ، وبالتالي فهو لا يملك أي منطق أو حجة دينية أو ثقافية لمنع الحجاب في بلاده .

هذا وزير الداخلية الإيطالي في قلعة الكاثوليكية ، فكم يتمنى المسلمون أن يكون وزير الداخلية التونسي في بلاد الزيتونة قلعة العلم في الإسلام قد استمع