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  • Monday, July 31, 2006

    The New Middle East

    This sums it up:

    Courtesy of sha3teely

    Posted by at 2 comments :

    UAE Population

    So finally the Census numbers are revealed.

    According to these new findings, the current population of the UAE is 3,769,080 which represents a population growth rate of 74.8% from the last census carried out in 1995. However, this does not take account of non-nationals who were not present during the census fieldwork period and those with invalid residency visas. This number is estimated to be 335,615 providing an overall population figure for the UAE, excluding visitors, of 4,104,695. The largest emirate by population is Abu Dhabi with 1,292,119 people.

    Some points of note
    1.Those not present and those with invalid residency visas were nearly 8% of the 4.1 milion. I suspect that number is actually larger.
    2. "Based on the census data 38.1% of the nationals are less than 14 years old. Nationals less than 20 years old are 51.1%." With the total number of nationals is 824,921, and with a crude estimate, you have 18,000 UAE Nationals joining the job maket, annually. The Emiratisation people must take note!
    3. The UAE National Guys to Gals ratio is almost 50:50. No excuse to marry a foreigner then!
    4. The Locals to Expats ratio is 1 in 5. If you exclude blue collar workers, that would probably be about 1 in 8. That would be a good number for a minimum emiratisation rate.
    5. "The census also does not cover visitors and members of the households that refused to cooperate or were not available in the UAE during the census period."....or were too scared to answer the door to complete strangers.
    6. The total male to female ration is roughly 7 to 3. That's the reason why there are a lot of oglers in the mall.

    Minus 2.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Sunday, July 30, 2006

    Abu Dhabi is now a Country

    I like Oxford Business Group's briefings. They provide good insight to emerging markets, especially Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but to announce that they have a new "Abu Dhabi Country Director" might start territory wars!

    Oxford Business Group (OBG), the UK-based publishing, research and consultancy services company and the name behind the authoritative Emerging Markets economic, political and business annuals, has appointed Tatjana Marinko as its Abu Dhabi Country Director.

    This takes Emiratisation in another direction!

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    UAE Newspaper Wars

    Campaign ME have a good article to see the state of play of the newspapers in the UAE, both the Arabic Dailies, and the English ones:

    Gulf News enjoys a substantial lead over its rivals with more than 50% of overall readership in the non-Arab expat category, followed by Khaleej Times (29%), Emirates Today (5.5%), 7Days (4.4%) and the Keralan newspaper Malayalam Manorama (4.3%).

    In probably an immature market, there two clear leaders as far as the English speaking papers go. Of course, this doesn't take into consideration the online medium, but I think that seriousness of Gulf News would win through. The question that is asked is whether the newer papers can steal turf over the old guard. Emirates Today, will probably gain market share, and with a new editor-in-chief coming into 7days, who will take whose market share? The Arabian Business Standard has unoffically been delayed again, from what I am hearing, but that will be an interesting conundrum. With long term existence from the Arabic Ittihad and new school understanding from ITP, will the Arabian Business Standard, take market share from Gulf News and Khaleej Times. That's when we will start to get real niche's as the papers start to differentiate themselves into more clear market segments. Hey, and maybe the quality will improve also.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Oil Bubble

    From 25 to 75 bucks a barrell in little over 4 years. This demonstrates the discrepency between demand that will always be certain and supply which is always problematic. The article from the Washington Post hypothesises speculatation only in the supply market, which is directly affected by the Middle East conflict. And, if this sort of high pricing continues, stockpiling will occur to obtain the later higher price. And this makes sense, even for the demand side to bid the prices higher, as I mentioned in my previous post, as supply will continue this way for some time. However, if there is some sort of resolution, there will be a temporary bursting of this bubble. Oil specualtion is the market to be in at the moment, or oil selling, of course.

    Washington post: Is there an Oil Bubble

    Posted by at 1 comment :


    around the occupied territories as deomonstrated by the Economist.

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Saturday, July 29, 2006

    Oil to reach $125 a barrell

    Accordng to Adam Sieminski of Deutsche Bank, we could be seeing $100 a barrel pretty soon. With the conflicts still going strong, the perception of the bulls is that will touch $125.

    "Market commentators still seem to view the prospect of $100-a-barrel oil as shocking," he says in a research note. The options market is reflecting a more blase attitude to this risk; $125 oil is the new target for bullish trades."

    But with Angola and Azerbaijan looking to increase their production over the medium term, there should be some longer term stability that is not fully dependant on the Middle East, although the Middle East will always play a big part in the "oil game".

    Posted by at No comments :

    Friday, July 28, 2006

    The Sheikh Zayed Road Pics Redux

    You've seen the before and after pictures of Sheikh Zayed Road, probably about a hundred times, but you haven't seen it like this (you need flash installed):

    Courtesy of SignalStrong

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    In tribute of online video

    courtesy of Veoh

    Posted by at 3 comments :

    There's a market for this in the UAE for sure

    Encorporate a shela instead of the headband, and you have a mega market in the Gulf.

    From Popgadget

    Posted by at No comments :

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Two Websites to Pass the Time

    With no more YouTube, I got a little desperate.

    Posted by at 3 comments :

    A rival for Dubai Creek and Steven Wilkins

    Just heard about a new book called "The Drive to Dubai" by Julie Till


    When his father is arrested in Dubai, Kareem has to move fast. He must show that his father is not a thief – and prove that his family is honest. For Kareem is going to marry the beautiful and intelligent Samira Al-Hussain, and she could never marry someone from a bad family.

    So Kareem and his brother get to work quickly – with a little help from Samira.

    If anyone has read it, let me know what it is like. Maybe Dallas Austin was reading the book on the plane in to Dubai.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Abu Dhabi's Economy

    Some numbers out today: Abu Dhabi's GDP for 2005: USD:82.14bn. That's huge. If we assume that 39.4% of the population lives in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and take the population estimate of 4.7m for the whole of the UAE, we get a GDP per capita figure of more than USD.44,000. That is a big number. Abu Dhabi still makes the bulk of the GDP in the UAE, a lot more than Dubai, and this predominantly due to Oil. But, with Abu Dhabi looking to focus on the non oil sector also, with the set up of a JV tourism venture, work starting on Shams by Sorouh, and the focus on the Industrial Zones, the capital emirate will still be a significant player, economy wise, no matter how large Dubai eventually becomes. And while the bombs keep falling, the oil price hovers around that 75 dollar mark, which will further increase Abu Dhabi's GDP for next year. I'm not sure that ironic is the right word to use.

    Posted by at No comments :

    E-readiness and the UAE Knowledge Economy

    Two interesting reports of note that came to my attention today, that are related. Firstly, the Economist Intelligence Unit e-readiness rankings for 2006. This places the UAE as 30th in the world and number 2 for the MEA region, after Israel. E-readiness is, to quote from the report:

    ...the “state of play” of a country’s information and communications technology (ICT)infrastructure and the ability of its consumers, businesses and governments to use ICT to their benefit. When a country does more online—or, as is increasingly the case, wirelessly—the premise is that its economy can become a more transparent and efficient one. Our ranking allows governments to gauge the success of
    their technology initiatives against those of other countries. It also provides companies that wish to invest in online operations with an overview of the world’s most promising investment locations.

    The e-readiness rankings are a weighted collection of nearly 100 quantitative and qualitative criteria, organised into six distinct categories measuring the various components of a country’s social, political, economic and of course technological development. The underlying principle behind the rankings is that digital business is at its heart business, and that for digital transactions to be widely adopted and efficient they have to thrive in a holistically supportive environment. E-readiness is not simply a matter of the number of computers, broadband connections and mobile phones in the country (although these naturally form a core component of the rankings); it also depends on such things as citizens’ ability to utilise technology skillfully, the transparency of the business and legal systems, and the extent to which governments encourage the use of digital technologies.

    To end consumers, who face conflict with Etisalat regarding pay mechanisms, service provision, blanket banning of sites such as flickr, youtube, myspace and the like, this ranking doesn't appear to be make sense. But, looking at it from a broader sense, things are starting to come together in the e-economy. Of course there is a long way to go, but this ranking probably fits about right. What is sad is that the UAE could be even higher, but was hindered due to a relatively low score in connectivity rather than factors concerning infrastructure. What this means is that access and affordabilty are low scoring. It also takes into consideration Voip, which is currently not allowed in the country. Some would say that the weighting is skewed because of the high score that the UAE received in business environment, but in totality, the core accurately places the UAE,especially is you look at those placed close to it.

    The other report worth looking at is the one released by Madar Research (free sign up required to obtain the full 116 page report). The report, entitled United Arab Emirates Knowledge Economy 2006, provides an overview of the UAE and the separate emirates, in relation to institutional, infrastructural and human resources components of a knowledge economy. There is also a "roadmap" recommendation that the UAE is likely to take to position the country amongst other global players.

    The report is actually very well written, and puts ICT in context amongst all the major factors in the economy and in comparison to the region. The precursor concerning the UAE context is succinct and to the point and provides an excellent overview to anyone wanting a snapshot of the country, talking of the general themes of economic diversification, construction, budgets, free trade and the like. And while the bulk of the report centers on the knowledge economy, it is worth a look. The reason why I believe it to be good is that it sticts to the facts, and doesn't really look to have an agenda, apart from providing good quality research. And, in places, it is critical where it needs to be, from a point of pointing out discrepancies where the UAE could do better. Despite all this positive gusto, this report demonstrates very clearly that there is a growing divide between the two powerhouse emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai with the others. However, if you have a few minutes to spare, this is a worthwhile read, especially for the information junkies, like myself.

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Who likes who in the Middle East?

    While the UAE is pretty passive in its allegiances (i.e. you won't see any active play, although there may be some things going on behind the scenes), being in the Middle East means that you should really know what is going in. For years I have struggled with who is linked to who, who gets on with who etc etc. And then, as if by magic, Slate produce this amazing Middle East Buddy List showing the relationship between the various parties involved. Ingenious.

    Click here to view the interactive version of the diagram below:

    Posted by at 5 comments :

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    Residential Predictions

    Does anyone really know what is going on with demand and supply of residential units in Dubai? It is notoriously difficult to predict the current state of affairs, with a variety of small and large scale projects being announced. Add to that the changes, delays, and cancellations, and you may find it a little difficult to find a base case to start from. Furthermore, similar sounding projects all focused around sun, sand, water, and the like, it seems as if someone is joking with you so that you don't know what the state of play actually is.

    I don't know who Prime Research are, but they have published some interesting numbers on residential unit completion:

    2006 - 40,000
    2007 - 52,000 (65,000)
    2008 - 63,000 (66,000)

    In isolation you would be forgiven if this doesn't mean anything to you. But let's thrown in this paragraph from menareport:

    Prime Research's base case demand and supply forecasts imply a shortage of c.a. 12,000 residential units in 2006, followed by a supply excess of c.a. 6,000 and 33,000 units in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Rents and prices are thus expected to follow an upward trajectory in 2006. The marginal imbalance foreseen in 2007 leads us to believe that the general perception of a severe correction in the medium term is incorrect. Adjustments in prices are likely to vary from segment to segment, with a continued shortage in villas and medium to low end apartments expected to support prices in these sectors. Within the high end apartments segment, fundamentals, such as location and quality, are expected to determine the extent, if any, of correction. Rents, on the other hand, are more likely to witness a downward adjustment as a result of increased vacancy and greater acceptance of mortgage finance.

    What does this mean? Crucially, if the numbers are to believed, and in my opinion, they look reasonable, supply is beginning to meet demand. With further completions due in future years, this should mean that rents and prices should stablise. Your landlord wont be able to charge you the excessive rents of recent years. Well maybe he will, but they are unlikely to increase in the same way as they have over the previous years. For the average Joe, this is good news as if your rent is too high, you will move elsewhere. This is all well and good, but is it too late?

    Posted by at No comments :

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Reconstructing Lebanon.

    When the war in Lebanon passes, there will be a massive reconstruction project to rebuild the beautiful country. If you look at Iraq, the US have been in there and are positioned to gain the contracts that will make them the megabucks. Lebanon will be different. It is a smaller state. There is already a emocracy in place, and there is no real influence by the United States.

    What this means is that the Arab states will team together with the Lebanese, to create a booming city and country, that will finally reach that status that it deserves. Personally, Lebanon, to me, was one of those places which should have attracted more tourist interest, and given 5 years or so, it will attract a heavy influx of foreigners.

    Remember Libya? The tourists are now starting to seek out places that were once considered no-gos. Beirut, which in recent years, was known as the party capital of the Middle East, will, one day, be that again.

    In the meantime, some sort of ceasefire must be reached, whether that is tomorrow, or in weeks to come. After that, expect a time of consolidation, some diplomacy, and then for the rebuilding to start. Companies from the UAE, I have no doubt will be first in to invest. Emaar is perfectly placed as are some of the hotel chains.

    And one day, Lebanon, will be all that it was, and more.

    Posted by at 2 comments :

    Dubai Freehold

    Old news, but worth highlighting. This summary diagram by Gulf News is a great overview:

    Yet the issue still remains unclear. What exactly is freehold? And how does freehold differ from oter markets? And what about Dubai Marina and Emirates Hills? So many questions. And so few qualified responses.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Enforcing Commercial Contracts

    ...takes 53 procedures and 614 days in the UAE. That forms part of the package that places the UAE as 69th worldwide in terms of cost of doing business, according to the World Bank.

    There is mention of the free zones again, with the benefit of 100% ownership, tax free status etc. What I am hearing these days is that the freezones are too expensive for the smaller company, and that now, if they don't discount the UAE altogether, they look to operate out of the freezones, unless the have managed to weave through the loopholes of getting the RAK freezone licence, and operating from Dubai. Now that's a commercial contact worth considering!

    Download the full report from the World Bank (PDF)

    Posted by at No comments :

    Number 2

    Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid is the new number 2.

    Beware! This Number two does not have an eye patch.

    Full story here.

    Posted by at No comments :

    UAE is now more civilised

    When speaking to one of my UAE National friends, we discussed the speed of growth of the UAE, and how it has become a worldwide hub, in nothing short of record time. But, he said, how do you change the mentality of the people. After all, this is the first generation post civilisation. A generation back, we were Bedu roaming the deserts living hand to mouth.

    Indeed, he brings an interesting point. We talk of growth, but no naion has seen that kind of transformation, ever. From nothing, to world beating buildings and tourism, and an economy make up that is envied all over. No country can claim that type of transformation change.

    And so, it is good news that you won't have the uncivilised big ban stamp across your passport, unless you are a proper criminal, of course.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Abu Dhabi laughs at Aliens

    This is particularly strange. A large water pool of the letters "HA", in Abu Dhabi.

    There is specualtion that it means hectare. Whatever it is, it's a lot of money to be spending. My take is that it is part of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority's new way off attracting holiday makers. "HA...you've gone too far away from Dubai. Now you are in Abu Dhabi...and there's no going back!" Cue laughter from Doctor Evil.

    Full source from Google Sightseeing

    Posted by at No comments :

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    The 2006 Lebanese War

    I am neither qualified enough nor does my blog cover such issues. There are those who are more knowledgable on the issue, and those who can speak more from the heart. However, this is a world issue, and an issue of grave consequences, one that affects everyone. When the history books are written, 2006 will be the year that Lebanon was devastated and hundreds of innocent lives were taken away for an over zealous reaction that has escalated out of proportion and has bubbled over into a brutal war. One can only hope that the bloodshed and carnage stops sooner rather than later. My heart goes out to all those that that have been affected, including all the Lebanese people, those that have been uprooted, and all who have lost loved ones. We must also spare a thought though for the Palestinians as well as the Iraqis whose situation has been overshadowed by events of the last week.

    I don't wish to generalise on the issue, as the situation is as complex as one could imagine, with egos taking prominence over negotiations, but taken simply, the Lebanese people are the ones that have been attacked over this matter. Not putting a price on lives, but the Israelis and Hezbollah have together lost less lives that the Lebnese civilians. What I do welcome is the news from the UN that these acts can be considered as war crimes. A long time coming, I would say.

    I leave you with a quote from Louise Arbor, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

    Indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and unacceptable targeting of civilians... Similarly, the bombardment of sites with alleged military significance, but resulting invariably in the killing of innocent civilians, is unjustifiable

    When did the humans forget about humanity?

    Posted by at 2 comments :

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Dune Bashing in Dubai - The Game!

    I don't really have the patience for this type of thing, but if it's your cup of chai, here is the link: Dune Bashing in Dubai

    It's free, and you can add it to your site, if you so desire.

    Posted by at 2 comments :

    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Dubai Life Issue 2

    The second issue is out, with a focus on the contruction industry covering a variety of viewpoints, including "what happens when construction stops"! However, I like the Dubai Life Shorts, which I think could be built on, for the next issue. The fact that India has now overtaken China as the biggest exporter to Dubai, primarily due to gold is astonishing.

    Dubai Life Issue 2 - worth a moment of your time.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Qualified UAE Data

    Amongst chaos, gravitas and reasoning are king. For me, one of the must reads, if you are focusing on the UAE industry, is the biannual (sometimes more frequent) reports that the IMF produces concering the economy. It will be the closes you get to an accurate high level overview of the economy. Add the EIU data and some other sources, and you have a pretty good overview of which way the UAE economy is going, how well it is being managed, and areas of risk. Contrary to this, one of the major criticisms that the IMF has, concerns that of qualified statistics. Whether there are non qualified people in place, that the whole area is looked at as secondary, or providing accuracy in a time of change will provide conclusive evidence one way or the other - is not my place to judge.
    "The U.A.E.’s economic statistics suffer from numerous structural weaknesses. Data shortcomings continue to impose serious constraints on economic monitoring, analysis, and policy formulation for both the authorities and staff."

    I do think that transparency and accuracy are areas where the UAE could improve to assist those looking to invest and help the UAE reach its ambitions.

    There's no need to summarise the points. You're either interested in the report, in which case read the whole thing, or you're not.

    Staff Report for the 2006 Article IV Consultation
    United Arab Emirates: Statistical Appendix

    Posted by at No comments :

    VOIP in the UAE

    Etisalat bears the brunt of all the attacks on the banning of VOIP. With chatter this week regarding the banning of the actual ports used by Vonage, there appears to be a knocking down of any competition, one by one. I have long thought that by offering a tailored product themselves, or offering a JV solution, teaming up with skype for example, could reap big time benefits as those not used to talking overseas, would plump doing so, perhaps even upgrading to an "always on" line. What we must remember though, that while banning or ports and sites is to do with Etisalat, the service offering of VOIP rests with the TRA. In any case, there must be something going on behind the scenes if Cisco is in in discussions with offering the service with the duopoly.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    Al Ain Hili Fun City

    Al Ain needs to completely close this down. It is shocking.

    See all the pictures from Theme Park Review

    Posted by at 3 comments :

    BBC Podcast: The New Arab World

    22 minute overview of Dubai. Worth listening to.

    BBC Podcast: The New Arab World

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Zidane and the Headbutt

    He has obviously been to one too many bullfights in Madrid. There is also a rumour that the Burj Riot Team have enlisted Zizou's services for next season. An undignified end to the career of a legend. Mais pourquoi, indeed.

    Posted by at 7 comments :

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Continuing the Bling

    Where would the UAE be if it didn't target the upmarket niche? The UAE is becoming synonymous with those things that are finer in life and will continue to target this market, in line with others. You need only look at the high end hotels with a focus on 5 star. The fact that the Harrods 102 convenience store is considering Dubai in the same breath as London, Paris, and Berlin speaks more of the target market that the Emirate brings in, tourism-wise, than Al- Fayed's previous links with the UAE. Couple this with the Sorbonne and Gugenheim both hoping to open in Abu Dhabi, which looks to be solely focused on this one area, the UAE is looking to capture that luxist, high-end, opulent market, whether it be business culture or otherwise. That's proper blinging.

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Friday, July 07, 2006
    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Dubizzle in Dubai

    Probably worth a view if you have never been to Dubai before, with a guide from the guys at Dubizzle. Love the drunk food scene at the end with him scoffing a cheese manakish.

    7 minute video from Current TV

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Waselly and the Dubai Dot Com Boom

    Hot on the heels on brownbag.ae comes Waselly which aims to corner the food delivery market. It's almost as if Dubai Cyberspace is emulating the dot com boom of the late 90s in the West, with companies popping up providing various services in a growing arena. Let's hope that the lessons learned from some of the failures of that era have been built into the business models of these operations. It's all about revenue generation and profit, not just about customer base. Just like, in football, it's all about the goals you actually score and winning, not just about posession.

    Posted by at 3 comments :

    Grapeshisha Jobs!?

    I get numerous emails a month from the website asking random and diverse questions. Some I can help with, some I can't. For some strange reason, people increasingly seem to think that I offer jobs and send me their CVs. To do what? - I don't know. Grapeshisha is just a hobby, an information resource. That's it! Here's one such email that I received:

    > A reader has a question from the website.
    > It was submitted by (removed)
    > on Tuesday, July 04, 2006 at 18:23:49 UK time
    > Name: xxxxxx
    > question: hi xxxxx here
    > i want to do job of a teacher
    > CV
    > xxxxx d/o a.d sial
    > date of birth=07-07-1966
    > domicile=xxx
    > city=xxx
    > country=xxx

    > PLZ
    > I GOOD
    > UR TRULY
    > XXXXX

    I'm truly what? One bit of advice: Never let UR head down, sort out your CV, and be real, plz. U good? No, me good.

    Posted by at 2 comments :

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    AME Info bought out!

    Wow! I didn't see that one coming. A good deal for both Emap and the founders, HSBC and other shareholders of AME. AME have a good brand and have almost established the marketplace for information in the MENA region. Their advertising revenue must be huge, and Emap have bought into a market leading position that can no doubt be taken further with their resources. Some critics of AMEInfo blast it as a press release machine. I think it's a bit more than that! And the fact that they started off just selling CDs with company details on it back in the day shows how far they have come.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Mohammed is a terrorist

    From AP:
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Money transfer agencies like Western Union have delayed or blocked thousands of cash deliveries on suspicion of terrorist connections simply because senders or recipients have names like Mohammed or Ahmed, company officials said.

    Racial profiling gone ridiculous. With Mohammed being the most popular name in the world, this "Terrorist Prevention Strategy" is simply outrageous and racist against Muslim peoples. While prevention measures do need to be in place, all this will do is fuel the hawala market, which is the probable transfer of choice for terrorist networks (although also used by generally law abiding individuals). I'm pretty much fed up with the all Muslims are potential radical terrorist. It's like saying all Irish people are potential IRA members.

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Office Rents in Dubai

    Supply and demand tells the story for now. Dubai is the 9th most expensive place in the world for office space. The problem is that once the supply increases, the suppliers of such office space will hold their levels as best as they can to maximise return on thier investment. And Dubai will probably stay in the top 20. That may make sense for the opportunity that exists here, but for the ethos of creating a business friendly environment, that makes it difficult for an entrepreneurial small company, which is what Dubai should be capitalising on. From people I have spoken to, companies are considering the following:
    1. Moving out to less prominent areas.
    2. Setting up in other emirates
    3. Shifting their operation away from Dubai and just keeping a satellite operation in place to benefit from the other benefits that Dubai brings.

    (graphic from Emirates Today, data from CBRE)

    "Cost of Living in Dubai", or strictly in this sense, "Cost of Office Space Leasing" can really be to the detriment of the UAE, in general, and that would be sad.

    Posted by at No comments :

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    I smoked it my way

    My Way (lyrics by Frank Sinatra, sentiment by Grapeshisha)

    And now, the end is near;
    And so I face the final curtain.
    My friend, Ill say it clear,
    Ill state my case, of which Im certain.

    Ive lived a life thats full.
    Ive traveled each and evry highway;
    And more, much more than this,
    I smoked it my way.

    Regrets, Ive had a few;
    But then again, too few to mention.
    I did what I had to do
    And saw it through without exemption.

    I planned each charted course;
    Each careful step along the byway,
    But more, much more than this,
    I smoked it my way.

    Yes, there were times, Im sure you knew
    When I bit off more than I could chew.
    But through it all, when there was doubt,
    I ate it up and spit it out.
    I faced it all and I stood tall;
    And did it my way.

    Ive loved, Ive laughed and cried.
    Ive had my fill; my share of losing.
    And now, as tears subside,
    I find it all so amusing.

    To think I did all that;
    And may I say - not in a shy way,
    No, oh no not me,
    I smoked it my way.

    For what is a man, what has he got?
    If not himself, then he has naught.
    To say the things he truly feels;
    And not the words of one who kneels.
    The record shows I took the blows -
    And smoked it my way!

    Grapeshisha will continue to smoke but will stoke the coals from pastures new.

    Posted by at 5 comments :

    The Speed of the Brown Bag

    The concept is simple. BrownBag.ae will deliver to your door a variety of goods, including food, cigarettes, music, magazines etc. for 10 Dhs and within 1 hour. Numerous companies in Europe and North America have tried it, some have failed and some have done OK. However, as we well know, traffic in Dubai is somewhat of a problem, so is it really possible? I assume they either have a depot approach or have tied in with a number of stores (as it appears they have doen with Virgin). If not, they may fail like many others before them. I hope it works out - bringing tested models to the UAE is good for the country, but I do worry if their revenue model is sustainable, but if it is backed by "The Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders", that shouldn't be too much of an issues if things fall through. I suspect that within 6 months, the approach will be tweaked and that it will gain some success. Good Luck to them.

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Halal Betting

    If I was a betting man, I would have had money on a Brazil/England Semi-final, at the beginning of today. As it has transpired, both teams go home. Amongst the unofficial betting rings that exist, there are a few that have made significant money. I don't bet though - it's haram. However, with all the interest in the World Cup, I am sure that by the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, there will be Sharia Compliant "Guessing" of Winners, and more obvious than the Postcard Millionaire or Random Soccer Games that exist in the malls. Grapeshisha will be bidding to be part of the Sharia Board equivalant if Halal Betting is put into place.

    Posted by at 1 comment :

    itoot & dot1ne

    Even though my blog never made it to itoot, I think that what they have done is a great service to the Arab blogging community. Saleh from dot1ne has interviewed the guys from itoot in his first podcast which may turn into an in interesting series. The sound quality is a bit patchy, as Saleh admits, but it's an an ear into what one group of people are trying to do, which makes for an interesting listen.

    Check out the interview here. It's 40 minutes, so be warned!

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