Thursday, November 13, 2008

The oldest profession in the newest playground - Dubai!

Mimi Chakarova wrote:
Men outnumber women 3 to 1 in Dubai, and the variety of places to purchase sex is abundant -- from the brothels where Vika described being sold and resold and the back alleys where migrant workers pay for a few minutes of pleasure, to the mainstream Westernized nightclubs, often inside upscale hotels, where women from all over the world congregate according to their nationalities awaiting the next client.
In a Muslim country, where prostitution is illegal, we decided the only way to get a closer look at Dubai's barely disguised sex trade was to visit some of these clubs and capture for ourselves the city's night secrets.

More HERE and HERE

Restoration of public confidence in Dubai

For the first time in years, Dubai's fast-growing economy is showing signs of slowdown - something its residents are not used to. In the real estate sector, which is driving the emirate's economic growth, selling activities have come to a near halt.

Speculators, who used to trade in 'paper projects' and 'artist's impressions', are feeling the pinch while others are looking at cost-cutting measures. A lot of people have burnt their fingers and the rest are waiting to see what happens. Investors are holding on to their cash and banks are reducing personal loans.

In the absence of clarity, wild rumours are flying at lightning speed - much faster than news while the real news is becoming a casualty - damaging consumer confidence.
Rumours of real estate firms firing employees did perhaps more damage to Dubai than the release of the news of actual redundancy.

Damac - one of the largest private sector developers - showed some courage in informing the public of reducing headcount by 200, or merely 2.5 per cent of its manpower base, that will now calm the rumour mills.

This comes amid indications that the major players are also reducing manpower as part of cost-cutting measures. Emirates airline reported an 88 per cent decline in its half-yearly net profit. The news bolsters public trust in the airline.

Restoration of public confidence amid such a slowdown is the need of the hour, as Dubai gradually faces the impact of the global meltdown. It is therefore, important to take stock of the situation, revise plans and keep the public informed.

UAE third most optimistic nation globally

Surveys in this part of the world sometimes does not reflect the real situation on the grounds. However, surveys can be good indications on certain current issues that matter.

How optimistic are you on our leadership? What about on global turmoil?

It was reported that the UAE is the third most optimistic nation in a world sinking into pessimism in the wake of the global economic slowdown, according to the Neilsen Consumer Confidence Index for the second half of 2008.
According to the index, the UAE ranked the third most optimistic nation globally, moving up from its previous fourth position six months ago, while most of the other 51 countries covered in the survey struggled with the worldwide economic crisis.
India and Denmark topped Nielsen's global consumer confidence index in the latest round of the survey, which polled 26,202 online consumers in late September this year.
Generally, emerging markets were doing much better than the rest of the world.
Next year's global growth will be a 100 per cent induced from emerging markets. To give a better picture, the first eight months this year have seen around 600,000 job cuts in the United States, while the UAE created 600,000 additional jobs in the first four months.
Despite being affected by the current global conditions, consumers in the UAE and other developing markets are aware that their medium-to-long-term prospects remain strong.
Out of 52 countries surveyed, UAE consumers ranked third most optimistic for their local job prospects and the state of their personal finances.
Consumer confidence in the UAE remains quite stable as the economy is driven by strong domestic growth, particularly in the FMCG and retail sector.
According to Nielsen, the FMCG market in the UAE increased 26 per cent between August 2007 and August 2008.
This indicates high single-digit real growth even after inflation and population growth are factored in.
Consumer confidence in the UAE dropped by only one index point in the past six months and, more significantly, recorded only a two-point decline in the last 12 months.
While UAE consumers haven't entirely escaped the affects of an economic slowdown, it's clear that they have not suffered the serious consequences the global credit crunch has inflicted on consumers in other parts of the world.
There are two positive aspects to the global crisis in the UAE. One is the inflation dropping and the other is the cooling down of the overheated empolyee turnover. Does that mean that consumer confidence in the UAE could have increased during the month of October? Keeping in mind that the study was conducted at the end of September, not much can be said on what happened in October.
It has been a very difficult month for the whole world. A lot has happened and a lot has changed in consumer confidence. The UAE might rank number one if the same survey was conducted today, despite possibly achieving lower points. Again, the reason is that the rest of the world is decreasing more drastically.
Many countries experienced double-digit declines in consumer confidence, including the US, UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.
Growth will continue in this region, in contrast to the rest of the world, according to the report.
If anything, it is believed that growth will shift from a nine per cent rate to six or seven per cent, but it is still growth. In addition, international companies who do not have a presence in the region will be coming here soon, where the market is about growth and new products, as opposed to cost management in more established markets.
The 'if' scenario
Marketers will have to start looking at offering more value to consumers if the market experiences any impacts of the global financial crisis.

If consumers go into a trend of 'downtrading' to economy brands and cutting down on consumption rates, and if they get better options at 50 per cent lesser costs, then marketers will be facing a challenge. Consumers will look for more promotions and deals, and will seek less expensive brands.
Danone, for example, has come up with a six yogurt pack offer for €1 (Dh4.6), that costs less than the normal pack. It is an economy pack requiring less packaging material and thus has reduced production cost, giving the consumer better value. This is a good example of what the marketers in the region could be doing.
However, until the end of September, such changes have not been seen in the Middle East. If such changes happen, then a second measure will have to be taken by manufacturers and marketers. They will need to be effective on their marketing spending, to make sure they reach the precise target audience in the best way possible.
It is not to say that today's world, marketers should cut down expenses. Only if sales start growing down do they need to act accordingly.
The results
The UAE scored 110 points on Neilsen's Consumer Confidence Index of the second half of 2008, ranking third, while India (114 points) and Denmark (112 points) came in first and second respectively.
The index reveals that the UAE lost only one point compared to the first half of 2008, compared to seven-point fall registered by both India and Denmark.
Of the UAE's online consumers, 60 per cent said they were not currently in a recession. Another 23 per cent of the respondents, answering a "yes", said they believed the recession would be over within 12 months.
Finland topped the list of people who did not think their country was facing a recession, with 84 per cent saying they did not.

Consumers in developing markets are significantly more optimistic that a global recession will not last more than a year.
One in two Indians, 45 per cent of Vietnamese and around a third of Russians and Chinese expect the global recession to end within a year.
However, for now UAE consumers are keeping a careful eye on the economic situation and we are seeing consumers make some changes to their spending patterns and shopping behaviour.
One in four UAE respondents identified increases in food prices as their number one concern in the next six months, but the economy remained the biggest concern of the consumers – 12 per cent.
Other concerns included work/life balance.
Obviously, compared to the first half results, consumers seem to be less concerned about work/life balance, marking a slowdown in work pressure.
In addition, 17 per cent of UAE consumers said they were concerned about job security. War was almost their lowest concern. According to the Nielsen survey on global recessionary tactics, one in two UAE consumers said they will cut back on buying new clothes and try to save on gas and electricity bills during an economic slowdown.
Forty-three per cent of consumers said they would reduce spending on out-of-home entertainment and 42 per cent plan to cut their telephone expenses. Interestingly, 11 per cent would cut down on smoking while six per cent do not intend to take any steps whatsoever.

Ramai Rakyat Malaysia Di berhentikan Kerja di Dubai - Malaysiakini

Lanjutan dari entri Reality Bites.

Dalam akhbar perdana termasuk Malaysiakini, masih belum kedengaran pemberhentian kerja oleh syarikat di Malaysia dalam kemelut ekonomi dan kewangan dunia.

Bursa saham merata dunia juga merudum dan ramai kehilangan kerja.

Mungkin ada benarnya daya tahan ekonomi Malaysia seperti yang diwarwarkan oleh Najib? Atau masih belum ke tahap yang memerlukan pekerja diberhentikan?

Terbaru di UAE, terutama Dubai, beberapa syarikat hartanah dan broker besar telah memberhentikan pekerja dalam usaha menangani masalah kekurangan jualan. Termasuk sejumlah rakyat Malaysia yang baru bekerja dan belum disahkan dalam jawatan.

Buat mereka yang tentunya menerima berita pemberhentian kerja dengan persoalan yang lebih besar. Tidak mudah lagi untuk mencari kerja kerana majoriti syarikat berhati-hati dan mengambil sikap tunggu dan lihat akan perkembangan ekonomi dunia.

Saya pernah menerima nasib yang sama dan semua itu adalah rahmat dan ada hikmahnya untuk kita menilai. Allah mahu memberi ujian dan memberi rezeki yang lebih baik.

Sempat membaca beberapa tajuk utama akhbar:-

Emaar shares down 8% as firm confirms jobs review

Dubai's Emaar Properties plummeted 8 percent on Thursday, dragging the index down more than 4 percent.The Gulf Arab region's largest property developer by market value, said on Thursday it was reviewing its jobs policy in light of the global financial turmoil.

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. unemployment rose at the fastest pace in 16 years in October after companies from banks to builders cut jobs as the economy slid into its first recession since 1991.
The number of people receiving jobless benefits rose 36,500 to 980,900, the highest level since March 2001, the Office for National Statistics said today in London.

Are joblessnext to need a bailout?
Obama vows action as jobless rate jumps to 6.5 percent.

Further jobless increase expected

Another big rise in UK unemployment is expected in official figures out later.
The jobless total is expected to pass 1.8 million, reaching its highest level since 1998. The total was 1.79 million in the last figures up to August.
It comes after a day of job cuts. On Tuesday, Virgin Media and Yell axed a total of 3,500 and GlaxoSmithKline said it will close its Kent factory in 2013.

Morgan Stanley plans broad job cuts

* Cutting institutional securities, asset management jobs
* Bulking up retail banking operations
* Shares fall 9 pct as markets remain disrupted

Sony plansmassive job cuts

Consumer demand has been falling. Japanese electronics giant Sony is planning to cut 20,000 jobs - 13% of its global workforce - over three years as part of a massive restructuring designed to see off its rampant rivals.

Dalam situasi sekarang, kadang-kadang apa yang terjadi, sama ada musibah atau tidak, ada hikmahnya. Ujian dari Allah datang dalam pelbagai cara. Kita teruskan usaha dengan sebaik mungkin.

Reality Bites - Fears grow over realty jobs in Dubai

Latest - There are already Malaysian casualties in the current turmoil....and we are not yet in the rock bottom!

We are keeping the latest updates on Malaysians who are being laid off. As per now, the number is increasing and strong rumours circulating about more pending retrenchment exercises by real estate related companies.

New Entry - HERE

Gulfnews reports:

Dubai: Fears over widespread job losses are creating panic in Dubai's property market as developers and brokers are laying off hundreds of staff as part of cost-cutting measures due to the slowdown in sales.
On Wednesday, a number of banks suspended lending to expatriate employees of leading real estate companies, fearing large-scale layoffs as personal loan applications multiply daily.
According to information available to Gulf News, Emirates NBD, the region's largest lender has suspended retail credit facilities to expatriate employees working with a few real estate firms due to possible restructuring.
The bank has suspended banking services to employees of a dozen companies such as Tamweel PJSC, Amlak, Damac and its subsidiaries, Daman Investments PSC, Emaar, Nakheel, Sama Dubai, Dubai Properties, Union Properties and KM Properties.
'While Lloyds TSB has stopped loans for purchase of apartments and dropped its loan to value ratio on villas in the UAE to 50 per cent, earlier this week HSBC doubled its minimum salary requirement for a personal loan from Dh10,000 to Dh20,000.
Adding to the gloom, UAE stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as the Dubai Financial Market General Index slumped 5.48 per cent and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange Index tumbled 5.66 per cent, shattering investor confidence further. UAE markets have lost more than Dh90 billion in capitalisation in the past four days.
To allay the fears, the UAE Central Bank said on Wednesday it was looking at ways to support real estate lending as banks exercise greater caution during the credit crisis.
"The board discussed proposals to introduce fin-ancial vehicles for dealing with real estate loans, to ensure their continuity, in consultation with the Ministry of Finance," the bank said in a statement.
Banking industry sources said the package could comprise soft loans similar to the Dh120 billion the government offered to banks in September and October.
The Dubai Land Department on Wednesday said property buyers will lose 30 per cent of the sum paid for any property in case of cancellation, default in payment or breach of purchase contract, in what is seen by analysts as a desperate move to protect developers and punishing speculators.

Obama’s Family Moving To Washington

Home sweet White House: Obamas ready for move

Countdown to QE2 arrival begins....Shipwrecked in the sand

QE2, the world’s most famous ocean liner, has now departed from Southampton, UK, on her ultimate voyage to Dubai. She will arrive at Mina Rashid in 15 days, and will then undergo a transformation that will see her become a centre of culture and luxury on the eastern trunk side of Palm Jumeirah.
On arrival in Dubai on Wednesday 26 November, QE2 will be greeted at The World islands by a flotilla of local yachts, boats and leisure-craft led by a Royal Navy Frigate. Local yacht and boat owners are encouraged to take part in the ‘royal’ welcome and accompany QE2 through the Arabian Gulf to Mina Rashid.
Those interested in joining the flotilla should register their interest at
Yesterday’s QE2 Southampton departure was marked by a farewell visit from HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the fly-past of a Harrier jump jet, which hovered and bowed to QE2 just 500 feet off her stern. People from all over the UK turned out in force at Southampton docks to bid bon voyage to this most beloved of British icons.
Manfred Ursprunger, CEO of QE2 Enterprises, Nakheel Hotels said:
“The arrival of QE2 is one of the most anticipated events of the year and Nakheel is proud to be the custodian of such a historic treasure. Plans for QE2 include her transformation into an ultra-luxury floating hotel where she’ll form the centre-piece of a luxurious residential, entertainment, marina, and hotel development off the trunk of Palm Jumeirah. A heritage museum displaying artefacts from QE2 and of local maritime history will also feature in the precinct.”
QE2 was purchased last year by our parent company, Dubai World, and we have already commenced construction on a luxury marina development on Palm Jumeirah. QE2 will form the pinnacle of a palatial pier that will stretch 300 metres out from the trunk into the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
QE2 is arguably one of the world’s most famous ships. She has circumnavigated the world 25 times, crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and carried more than 2.5 million passengers including kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents, astronauts and many international celebrities.
She survived a 95 ft wave during Hurricane Luis, carried 3000 troops to the Falklands War and rescued 500 passengers from a burning ship. She is a record breaker for both speed and endurance, has featured in countless films and television shows and draws crowds to every port she docks in.

The majestic vessel had planned to make a dramatic entrance to Southampton Water at dawn, to mark its final visit to its home port before it sails for Dubai and a new life as a luxury floating hotel. Unfortunately, the QE2's arrival was marked by drama of a slightly less regal kind when the ship ran aground on the sandbar and had to be towed free by a flotilla of tugs.

Bahasa Melayu terus mengemis...51 tahun selepas merdeka

Dr. Mahathir dalam ucaptama pada siri syarahan Perdana ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ di Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana berkata, parti berasaskan kaum masih diperlukan kerana rakyat Malaysia belum bersatu sepenuhnya sehinggakan rancangan kerajaan untuk mewujudkan Sekolah Wawasan telah ditolak.
‘‘Hendak buka sekolah yang membolehkan anak-anak kita (pelbagai kaum) belajar bersama-sama pun ditolak, jadi macam mana kita hendak ketepikan kaum, anda tolak Sekolah Wawasan bermakna anda mahu kekalkan perasaan kaum", katanya.

Saya tidak menghadiri syarahan Perdana itu, menurut sorang blogger, Bangsa Malaysia without Bahasa Malaysia? Dr M also chided those who clamour for a Bangsa Malaysia but are unwilling to give due regards to the national language.

51 tahun selepas merdeka dimana United Malays National Organisation berkuasa ke hari ini, kita masih sahaja dalam dilema dan situasi yang sama. Dr. Mahathir sendiri 22 tahun berkuasa sebagai Perdana Menteri dan hari ini beliau masih tidak melihat kesilapan diri sendiri.

Istilah bahasa Melayu sendiri ditukar kepada bahasa Malaysia dan pengajaran Sains dan Matematik diajar dalam bahasa Inggeris dibawah Dr. Mahathir.

Walauapapun, bagaimana pemimpin hari ini. Di manakah anak-anak Timbalan PM, Menteri-menteri termasuk Menteri Pelajaran bersekolah?

Kejayaannya sebagai wahana perpaduan rakyat Malaysia diperlekeh

BAHASA Melayu terus dihambat masalah, seolah-olah bahasa yang tidak bermaruah meskipun kedudukannya diperakukan dalam Perlembagaan Negara melalui Fasal 152, Penyata Razak 1956, Penyata Rahman Talib 1960, Akta Pelajaran 1961 dan kemudian Akta Pendidikan 1996 [Akta 550]. Selepas haknya sebagai bahasa ilmu untuk pengajaran dan pembelajaran bagi mata pelajaran Sains dan Matematik dinafikan bermula 2003, kedudukannya kini diperkotak-katikkan lagi apabila kertas Lukisan peperiksaan SPM diterjemahkan ke bahasa Mandarin dan Tamil.

Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Datuk Wee Ka Siong, dilaporkan dalam The New Sunday Times bertarikh 30 Oktober lalu sebagai berkata: “Kertas Lukisan peperiksaan SPM akan diterjemahkan ke bahasa Mandarin dan Tamil pada tahun ini kerana pelajar di 65 Sekolah Menengah Cina di Melaka gempar menerima kertas terbabit ekoran tidak memahami bahasa Melayu.”
Seterusnya di SINI