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Issue 81


Bahrain Travel ban hardship

Monthly focus on Bahraini companies making a difference in the community.

This month featuring:

Bahrain and Pakistan


Strengthening relations


Highest economic development

Distinguished Women The successful and inspirational women who are making a difference in Bahrain. Bahrain BD2


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Gulf Financial Insider


Inside this issue... Made In Bahrain

12. Travel Ban

Hardship and Solutions

30. Dubai

Highest Economic Development

07. Proact

Dr Khalid Jassim Bomtaia

16. Distinguished Women

32. Bahrain

44. Dubai

20. HSBC

36. Facebook

45. Cars

24. Bahrain and Pakistan

38. Saudi Arabia

48. Fashion

Influential and Successful

Withdraws Free Airport Lounge

Strengthening Relations

Gulf Air Aviation Expertise


Women get vote

Mall Dress Codes

Jeep Wrangler

Men’s fashion

COMMENT I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear - Nelson Mandela


Gulf Financial Insider

The multi-award

magazine winning Arabian

n Review -The Arabia MADE IN BAHRAIN Issue 81


nies on Bahraini compa Monthly focus ce in the community. making a differen


This month featu


Travel ban hard


Pakistan Bahrain andrelat ions Strengthening


Highest economic development

omen DistinlganduinsispirahtionealdwomeWn who are The successfu nce in Bahrain. making a differe Bahrain BD2


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Beware of phone calls from ‘Michael King’ from Tower Consulting A complete stranger has been calling me and offering to double my money! I have been receiving unsolicited phone calls from a man claiming to be a certain Michael King from Tower Consulting in Hong Kong; though strangely, according to my phone system, his calls to me are being routed via Venezuela and on occasion New Zealand. Mr King is very friendly, and after a couple of introductory calls is now strongly advising that I buy pre-issue shares in a company called N-Squared. He assures me this company will be floated on the Frankfurt stock exchange in January and shares are definitely going to at least double in value – he

also admits to having invested most of his life savings in this once in a lifetime opportunity. But Googling N-Squared brings up ... nothing, which is most surprising as Michael King assures me they are a rival to Apple Inc., which is strange as the company has never even filed any audited accounts, and there are no news reports on it whatsoever. An illegal ‘boiler house’ operation has obviously obtained a contact list of Gulf based businesspeople. It’s hard to believe that anyone can still fall for these scams, but they obviously do. If Michael King calls you, I strongly recommend you tell him what he can do with his worthless investment advice!

Gulf Financial Insider



Nicholas & Rebecca Cooksey

Editor in Chief:

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P.O. Box 26810, Kingdom of Bahrain. Tel: +973 1782 2388, Fax: +973 1772 1722

Published by:


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Printed at:


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Senior Editorial:

Layla Crocker Tariq Hussain Wasim Khan Khalid Nasir

Ministry of Information approval no. TFI431© Copyright 2009. Arabian Magazines is a division of CG Arabia WLL. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written ermission of the publisher. All Rights Reserved. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.


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Awal Press, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Guest Correspondents:

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Issue 80

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Monthly focus on Bahraini companies making a difference in the community.

World’s biggest tower

This month featuring:


Euro Motors Fraser Suites

Expats quitting?

Somalia Pirates

Important Issues

Communication Matters Central Informatics Organisation and TRA President Dr Mohammed A. Al-Amer discusses Bahrain’s future plans. Bahrain BD2


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Abu Dhabi

I enjoyed reading about the new telecom projects in the interview with Chairman Dr Mohammed A. Al-Amer. I am pleased he was grilled about high roaming costs and found it ironic that even he was faced with the high charges. It seems like there is still a long way to go to ensure the problem is stopped as other countries need to get involved too. Even though I am angry with pretty much all telecoms, I was impressed by the way he came across. The company’s new initiatives focus on levels of high importance including cyberbullying which I have seen happen to others. Fingers crossed the DVD will be widely distributed to make people more aware of this problem. David Talbot



Gulf’s Property Market Qatar thrives as Dubai dives and all is not lost in Bahrain Bahrain BD2


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Ripped-off Reader It was very comforting to read the international roaming rate rip-off ‘horror stories’ most of which are just terrible and operators should be ashamed. Let’s hope the ceiling prices are introduced asap before this scam claims more victims. I can’t get over Batelco’s BD800 roaming charge for another poor victim, no doubt on a relaxing holiday in Dubai. The guy obviously arranged a limit before he went so isn’t that just pure theft?? It is disgusting they have been able to get away with it for so long. From now on I am using the wonders of skype, I refuse to pay these companies’ ridiculous rates. Flustered Fatima

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Gulf Insider October 2011


Why is there such a need for people to be so competitive in the world? I am referring to the article stating that Saudi Arabia is to build the world’s tallest tower. Surely this whole thing is just becoming ridiculous? It will have to stop somewhere as these buildings will start to become unsafe! Even a twenty

minute visit to the Burj Khalifa alone was enough to put me off heights for life. It’s just becoming an ego thing, we don’t need any more competitive skyscrapers thanks very much, the one in Dubai is high enoughVertigo-Sufferer

The Long Goodbye? Gulf Insider you really are a cruel lot. The ‘Stealthy Expat Exit’ article last month almost brought a tear to my eye! Having lost a number of my ‘expat’ friends in recent months who have returned to their homelands I really understood the gaping hole it leaves in one’s life. Despite only being in the sandpit for a short amount of time compared to most, many of the friendships I have developed here are more intense because you are making up for the lack of your immediate family. As cold-hearted as it sounds, after attending numerous upsetting leaving parties, the whole process would be far easier if they did sneak off quietly. I wouldn’t judge them anyway! Emma Jarvis

Preposterous Pirates I was shocked but fantastically gripped by the Somali Pirates story, more people should definitely write about this issue which is often kept on the down low. Most of these ‘pirates’ are obviously violent thugs intent on scaring ships away, they are a nuisance. I couldn’t believe the Ministry of Defence were forbidding the Royal Navy to confront these pirates. So what if you are being fired at? Don’t bother about protecting yourself, you will be breaching these criminals’ ‘human rights’ if you try fighting back. What is this world coming too? The Kenyan and Russian navy really do have the right idea….no wonder the pirates don’t even attempt to come near to their vessels anymore. Angry-but-still-fascinated

Made In Bahrain Monthly focus on Bahraini companies making a difference in the community.

Proact Gulf Insider spoke to Proact General Manager Dr Khalid Jassim Bomtaia about organising some of Bahrain’s most prestigious events and his thoughts on the Government’s 2030 vision.


hat do you find most satisfying about working in your industry?

First of all I would like to identify the industries we at Proact specialise in; consultancy and training in Total Quality Management (TQM), events management and public relations. The satisfaction comes from the fact that both are challenging on many different levels and are both rapidly evolving in many fields. The competition in both local and international markets is intense, making the working environment challenging and to be successful you are required to have wide eyes and innovative solutions. The nature of the clients is highly demanding, so the other challenge is to satisfy them. When did your company open? We started the company in October 2008. I believe that starting a business at the end of the recent crisis gives us a tremendous opportunity to be more involved in the market with new ideas and strategies. This is why we decided to take this risk as it has the potential to reap reasonable success for us as a company and the fields we are focused on. What projects are you working on at the moment ? The Bahrain Motor Show 2011, held

under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Hasan Fakhro, the Minister of Industry and Commerce. The event runs for three days from 22nd to the 25th December at the Exhibition Centre and aims to be the first international motor show which lives up to the high standards and values adopted by the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are also working on Bahrain’s first GreenTech Expo held under the Patronage of H.H Shaikh Abdulla Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Personal Representitive of His Majesty the King. He is the President of the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife. There are also several new projects that we will be announcing soon. What makes you different from your competitors? Having experience working in both public and private sectors has provided me with vast knowledge, and the academic specialisation for TQM in our industry gives me the ability to handle projects more efficiently and effectively. What do you think of the Government’s ‘Vision 2030’? The Vision 2030 has unified all efforts for the Kingdom of Bahrain around one target, taking Bahrain to the top regionally and worldwide. The vision has sparked all businessman’s ideas to draw up projects to make this vision a

Dr Khalid Jassim Bomtaia

reality. I believe we, as the private sector should be more creative and implement innovative ideas so the next generation can benefit. An analogy could be Bahrain is like a train track, the track is steady and the path is ahead so our role is to build as many wagons as possible to keep the train moving forward into a positive and fruitful future. How do you think businesses like yours can benefit from this initiative? In our case and in industries we specialise in, I believe having a vision like Bahrain 2030 will open many opportunities for us to participate in ongoing projects and add value. It is also a great chance to grab new business ideas. It gives me and my colleagues a great chance to grow as people, thanks to our wise leadership skills. In your opinion what is Bahrain’s greatest strength as far as doing business here in the kingdom is concerned? It is well known that Bahrain is known as a land of numerous business opportunities. The growth of the population and facilities provided by the government have created a solid platform for business to grow. There are several projects supported by the government that still need to be utilised however, for example those that are being provided by Tamkeen. GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011


Business Roundup

Bahrain Grand Prix Back on F1 Race Calendar The Bahrain Grand Prix has been added to next year’s 20race Formula One calendar, in a show of confidence that civil unrest in the Gulf state won’t stop the event a second time. The new calendar, confirmed by unanimous decision following a vote of the World Motor Sport Council members, sees Bahrain given a slot of 22nd April and paired with China. Abu Dhabi will host its fourth annual Formula One race at Yas Marina Circuit on November 4 and will be back-to-back with India. Bahrain’s season-opening race at Sakhir circuit was postponed in March after widespread political unrest in the country. Efforts were made to reschedule the race, but Bahrain was eventually dropped from the 2011 calendar in June. Bahrain’s motor racing circuit chief in June called F1 teams ‘temperamental’, saying he was disappointed at how they had turned their backs on the Bahrain Grand Prix. The 2012 season will start in Australia on 18th March, to be followed a week later by the Malaysian Grand Prix, and then a three-week gap to the China and Bahrain double-header. The United States Grand Prix, which will return to autoracing’s elite series for the first time since 2007, is scheduled on 18th November at the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas. The season ends the following week in Brazil.

Qatar, World’s Richest Nation Qatar surpassed Luxembourg as the world’s richest nation in 2010 and is set to pull away with wealth that’s almost twice that of the US, latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund show. The IMF’s Chart of the Day shows Qatar’s gross domestic product per capita at USD88,221 (BD31,000) in 2010, beating Luxembourg for the top spot, according to IMF data. “It’s the combination of wealth, growth and a small population,” said Managing Director at Sarasin-Alpen & Partners Paul Cooper. Qatar, the host of the 2022 soccer World Cup, forecasts economic growth of about 16 per cent in 2011 and projects a budget surplus of USD6.1 billion (BD2.1 billion) this fiscal year. The IMF estimates the Gulf nation will have the world’s fastest-growing economy for a second year. The country is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas and has reached its target of 77 million tonnes of annual production. Analysts polled by Reuters in June forecast Qatar’s real GDP to expand by 16.7 per cent in 2011.


Gulf Insider October 2011

Bahrain Expected to Avoid 2011 Recession Robust government spending aided by outside financial assistance will prevent Bahrain’s economy from falling into recession this year, Business Monitor International has said in a new report. The report said the recently released data showing the Bahraini economy expanding only 0.7 percent year-onyear in Q2 underscores the view that growth would slow sharply in 2011. In quarter-on-quarter terms, the economy rebounded from its Q1 performance during the kingdom’s uprisings, having expanded one percent between April-June, compared to a contraction of one percent in the JanuaryMarch period. “This data highlights that the economy did not experience a more prolonged recession which is encouraging,” analysts noted. BMI said it expected real GDP to expand by 0.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Although the key financial services industry posted relatively anaemic growth of 1.7 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, it avoided mass capital outflows from the domestic banking sector that had been predicted due to the unrest. The report added: “Given the recent announcement that Bahrain has been reinstated on Formula One’s 2012 race schedule, there would appear to be growing confidence that the country is past the worst of its troubles.”

Business Roundup

Analysts: “Qatar May Sell 10% Porsche Voting Stake” German automaker Volkswagen looks set to abandon a merger with Porsche SE in favour of taking direct control of the sports car business, robbing investors in the troubled financial holding of their only reason to own the stock. At stake is ownership of Porsche SE’s crown jewel - majority control of the iconic Porsche sports car marque which analysts estimate produce BD515m in cash every year and industry-leading margins of about 20 per cent. Until last month, Volkswagen was set to seal a merger with the Porsche SE holding at potentially unfavourable terms this year in exchange for receiving the keys to the operating business and a bonus BD360m in additional annual synergies. VW tore up that deal citing unquantifiable legal risks, including a criminal probe into the holding’s former management team. Now minority investors in Porsche SE may be stuck owning non-voting

shares in a holding that has no access to underlying cashflows apart from annual dividends, when they had been counting on swapping their discounted stock for shares in Volkswagen. Analysts said VW’s hints about a new, third way was likely just a tactic designed to buy time and prevent an even bigger sell-off in Porsche shares, hurting a key mutual investor of both carmakers, the Gulf state Qatar. As part of a 2009 deal to recapitalise the highly indebted Porsche SE, Qatar agreed to buy a 10 per cent voting stake from the Porsche and Piech clans which it expected to swap for more VW ordinary shares via the merger. “Had VW said outright that the call option plan was the only remaining alternative, then the equity story behind Porsche SE would be completely dead and the share would fall not by a good 10 per cent but by 25 per cent,” the Frankfurt analyst said. “The logical consequence of the

merger being called off would be for Qatar to sell its 10 per cent Porsche SE voting stake back to the Porsche and Piech families, and Martin Winterkorn and Hans Dieter Poetsch resigning as CEO and CFO of Porsche to focus solely on their duties at Volkswagen,” the analyst added.

Gulf Insider October 2011



Dubai named as one of the worst performing property markets By Ray Clancy


ubai is one of the worst performing real estate markets in the world but the rate of price decline is slowing, according to a new global property report. The emirate’s troubled property market, which has seen prices fall by up to 64% in some locations, was the ninth worst performing market in the world last year, according to the Global House Price Index from Knight Frank. However, the results of a survey of the 50 biggest property markets in the world also show the rate of decline in Dubai has began to slow. Ireland was named in the report as the worst performing real estate market, with house prices declining 12.9% in the twelve months to June 2011. Dubai recorded a decline of 4.7%. An analysis of prices for the first six months of the year showed prices have moved slightly into the black and grew 0.1% between January and June 2011. According to Knight Frank, Dubai prices have declined 49.7% overall since the


Gulf Insider October 2011

peak in the third quarter of 2008. Top of the league was Hong Kong, with 26.5% annual growth, followed by India at 21.3%, Taiwan at 12.7% and Estonia at 10.6%. ‘Asia continues to be the top

The emirate’s troubled property market, which has seen prices fall by up to 64% in some locations, was the ninth worst performing market in the world. performing continent in terms of house price inflation, a position it has held for seven consecutive quarters,’ said Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank.

Last month, a survey of local analysts by Arabian Business found house prices in Dubai are expected to fall a further 15% by the end of the year. The Gulf’s worst performing real estate market over the last three years has seen rents and prices more than halve from their 2008-peak, but residential costs have further to go, analysts said. ‘Average sales rates are likely to be down around 10 to 15% but this will vary by individual property,’ said Matthew Green, head of research at consultancy CB Richard Ellis. Oversupply continues to be a key driver behind falling rents and prices, analysts said. Colliers calculated that around 13,000 units are due to come online by the end of 2011, followed by a further 27,000 properties in 2012. Dubai said that in June alone, it had cancelled 217 property projects as of May 31, following a review of more than 450 projects. The emirate said it expected a further 237 developments to be completed in due course. GFI

Business Roundup

Bahrain Landlords Slash Rents on Commercial Property

Revealed: World’s Cheapest Nations for Petrol Saudi Arabia has the cheapest petrol prices in the Gulf region but is behind Venezuela in a global list of the lowest fuel costs, according to a new report. Home to nearly a fifth of the world’s oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of petroleum and a major player on the global energy stage. With 90 per cent of its earnings coming from oil, it is hardly surprising that citizens only pay an average of around BD0.05 per litre at the petrol pumps. The list of the world’s cheapest petrol prices was compiled by British car insurance provider Staveley Head, with Venezuela taking the top spot, where prices only cost an average of just BD0.017 per litre. With President Hugo Chavez keeping prices low, petrol is cheaper than bottled water in some parts of the South American country. While four Gulf States are listed amongst the rankings, the UAE was notably absent. The news comes as Dubaiowned oil firm Enoc Group has been plagued by fuel shortages this year, with petrol pumps this summer forced to cease or ration resources. At one point, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) was ordered to “help solve” the fuel shortage in Sharjah after the UAE suffered its third shortage in less than a year. Analysts said the problem lies in government subsidies, which look increasingly unsustainable as soaring oil prices drive up the cost of supplying fuel to customers at a cheaper, fixed price. Enoc and rival state-owned retailer Emarat have suffered because they buy fuel at market prices and sell it at government-set rates. Enoc said in May it would have to meet an additional AED2.7bn (BD278m) in 2011 to cover the cost of providing subsidised fuel. Bahrain has the fifth cheapest petrol prices in the world according to the report, costing BD0.078 per litre. The Staveley Head rankings found that Norway was the most expensive country for petrol, costing BD1 per litre.

Bahrain landlords are slashing rents, offering lease-free periods and three-month contracts on commercial property in a bid to beat the recent lull real estate experts have said. Pressure on rental rates seen in the first quarter of the year has continued into the second, reports have said, as the market struggles to make a comeback and battles with oversupply. In its half-year report on GCC real estate, Global Investment House said the average office occupancy rate ranges from between 60 and 70 per cent, with about 300,000 square metres of built stock still vacant and 200,000 square metres of leasable space still to come online. “Rents in Bahrain Financial Harbour used to be between BD18 and BD22 per square metre but now they are going for BD10 or BD11,” said Director of KBH Properties Mushir Lathif. “If you really bargain they could give you the first month free. Also previously landlords only offered a twelve-month fixed contract but now you can get three or six-month contracts. They don’t want to lose you.” Bahrain’s property sector was hit hard by the economic crisis in 2008, which saw rents fall by a massive 30 per cent in the year 2009-2010.

Bahrain To Spend USD1bn More On Public Sector Salaries Bahrain has approved an additional budget spending of BD388.5m (USD1.03bn) over two years to cover wage increases for government employees, the state news agency BNA said. Of the total sum, BD96.9m will be spent in 2011 and the rest in 2012, according to a decree issued by King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. This will be used to improve the wages and living standards of state employees and retirees, as well as providing more funds to government bodies and bolstering reserves, BNA said. The king’s decree follows the government’s approval in August of extra budget spending worth BD325m to cover an increase in public sector salaries.

Gulf Insider October 2011



TRAVEL BANS – THE TRUE HARDSHIP AND THE SOLUTION! The mention of Travel Bans has become so common nowadays that people seem to be immune to the hardship and disruption they cause to peoples’ lives, but are business investors being put off? To investigate the real story of travel bans we interviewed the administrator of FACEBOOK page ‘Banned From Travel’ to find out.


ow many people are subject to a travel banned in Bahrain? There doesn’t seem to be any definite answer to that and even the authorities are trying to find out, but the figure 4,000 seems to be most commonly talked about, and I have heard recently that the LMRA are facing ten to twelve new cases per day. Who can place a travel ban on you? It is supposed to be a judge of the court, who has considered an official complaint against you – weighed up the evidence presented, and then once convinced that the money is owed, should asses the is a risk of the victim running away from the debt. However, the reality is that judge at this stage is only looking at the plaintiff’s side of the case, has not seen any counter evidence from the victim, and in most cases basis the judge of flight risk because the victim is expatriate! Whether they have lived in Bahrain for 20 years or not, own a business in the country, have family and a home there does not seem to come into it. I even heard an employer claim that all he has to do is phone someone at the airport to place a ban! How do you find out about the travel ban? Everyone that I know of (and there are 32 on my Facebook page that has a travel ban) has found out only when they arrived at the airport to travel.


Gulf Insider October 2011

What type of people have a travel ban? Mostly it is ordinary people of all nationalities, who are hard working but have got into difficulty in paying back bank loans or credit cards because of lack of cash flow. In a lot of cases an employee has not been paid by their employer and cannot keep up with agreed rental, credit card or loan payments to the bank. In other cases, there are business owners who have not been paid for work undertaken and cannot therefore pay debts - this is very common in Bahrain. What hardship does a travel ban bring to the victim? That is a big question – with a very big answer! First of all, the main issue is that you can be refused residency renewal. There is actually no law in Bahrain that says you cannot have your residency renewed if you have a travel ban, but somehow this happens. In some instances you are asked to get a letter from the judge in the case against you saying that he has no objection to you working in the country, but this takes time and money through a lawyer, and often are ignored anyway. If you have no income, then more debt mounts up and you face the risk of more travel bans. Plus you are unable to pay for lawyers fees to defend your case or claim monies owed from people who owe you. Other hardships of course, are that if you do not have your residency renewed, then you cannot get a work permit, if

you cannot earn you cannot pay back the debt! That is when the whole downward spiral starts! Perhaps it was just one credit card you could not pay but now, with no earnings, you cannot pay your rent (risk of another travel ban), or your car loan (yet another travel ban), or send money home to feed your family. If your family is here, you cannot buy food for them or pay for them to go to school, and if your CPR card expires then there is no way of getting state medical treatment. Then, when your driving license expires and cannot be renewed. The travel ban stops you from going home to see loved ones who are sick or dying, and has even meant that one person lost his divorce case and custody of his children because he did not turn up in court for the case. Loss of private pensions – because of non-payment, loss of time share investments for the same reason, even loss of property at home because you cannot pay the mortgage! In addition a fine of BD5 per day is placed on anyone who has not renewed their residency, whether they have tried an been refused or not! A three year travel ban means a fine of BD5,475, often more than the original debt? What has been done to try to bring a solution to this problem? Victims are often asked – can’t you go and speak to your embassy to resolve this? Let me tell you that members of the FACEBOOK page have had


communications with ambassadors, government ministers, human rights bodies, the United Nations, Amnesty International and more. There have been articles in local, regional, and international newspapers – including the London Times, Guardian, and The Scotsman Everyone is shocked and appalled at what is happening to individuals here in Bahrain, but still there is no solution! What advice would you give to people to avoid a travel ban? The risk of being placed on travel ban is very high in Bahrain, but the National Dialogue has promised reforms especially for expatriates facing travel bans. Until those reforms are in place, which includes a resolution to the travel ban system, many people when asked would quite honestly say - think twice about investing here if it means borrowing in Bahrain. For individuals, do not borrow money, but if you do have to borrow, take a loan from your home country. What worries you most about travel bans in Bahrain? Bahrain’s business reputation is being tarnished by this practice and the economy will suffer as investor’s shy away from a country with such practices. The sheer number of people being

held by travel ban and not allowed to work here this way is a gross violation of human rights. It is very concerning to note that international banks may be violating the International Code of Banking Practice by placing travel bans and that this is not being regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain. People are going through this because of non-payment by employers and the employer gets away with it. It is a big concern that some home nation embassies are unable to bring about a resolution for victims. The judicial system is too slow and people are travel banned for years, one man 25 years! There is no legal aid or social safety net for people suffering such injustices in Bahrain. What would you suggest as a solution to the travel ban situation for the future? Victims should be notified of an imminent travel ban by subpoena and have a hearing to contest it. Since everyone is innocent until proven guilty, if a travel ban is to be placed, then both the plaintiff and the debtor should be travel banned until the case is resolved. Restrict travel bans to debts higher than BD5,000. If the debt is due to non-payment of salaries, then the employer should

also be travel banned until the case is resolved There should be a fast track court for travel ban victims. Flight risk assessment should be based on personal status – not nationality, and if the victim needs to travel for work, this should not be imposed. Banks should do due diligence on lending and properly assess the financial status of individuals they are lending to. Banks need to include a compulsory insurance premium for all lending. This would only be valid for genuine emergency situations of course with valid underwriters assessing claims. Banks should agree in advance the terms of non-payment in writing. Banks should only lend for the term that an employee has a valid contract. If bank customer is paying any amount at all towards the debts, then no travel ban. Travel Bans should be restricted in time to 6 months. Debts in international banks could be transferred to allow people to work elsewhere. Travel Ban victims should be allowed to renew their residency and work permits so that they can work and pay off debt. If you agree with the solution – go to FACEBOOK page Banned From Travel and click ‘Like’ to support our cause. Have a heart Bahrain! GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011



Bahrain And The Arab Spring: Time For Some Realism For far too long it has been fashionable to downgrade the merits of stability in the Arab world, writes Lieutenant General Peter Pearson (retired).


n recent years, it has become fashionable to downgrade the merits of stability. The benign outcome from the fall of Communism across Eastern Europe in 1989 was a product of a unique set of circumstances in nations that had previously been more democratically advanced than their Soviet oppressors. Moreover, the newly liberated countries had as their model decades of democratic successes in the western half of the continent. By contrast, religion remains the most potent political factor in the Middle East. When the Shah fled Iran in January 1979 after months of demonstrations and civil disobedience, the result was – to the astonishment of virtually all observers – the world’s first theocratic Islamic republic. The Iranian revolution led to the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, one of the bloodiest conflicts of the post World War II era. Neither side got what it wanted. Since then, Iran has pursued its interests in the region with more subtlety, recognising the sensitivity to Arab feeling of Persian power, but with considerable determination and ruthlessness. One unintended consequence of the removal of Saddam Hussein has been increased Iranian influence in Iraq. Furthermore, through Hezbollah, Iran has become the most powerful external power in the Lebanon. And, there is little doubt that it is actively assisting the Assad regime to hold on to power in Syria. As President Obama observed


Gulf Insider October 2011

in his speech on the Middle East two months ago, Iran stands up for the rights of protesters elsewhere yet represses its people at home. That applies particularly to Bahrain, which, together with Iraq, is unique in the Arab world in having a Shia majority, where Iran has most to gain from instability. The ruling Al Khalifa family has, for the most part, managed a difficult balancing act, perched just off the shores

Bahrain is the most progressive of the Gulf nations. It has led the way on freedom of worship, women’s rights and establishing a welfare state. of the leading Sunni power in the region and across the Gulf from Shiite Iran. In many respects, Bahrain is the most progressive of the Gulf nations. It has led the way on freedom of worship, women’s rights and establishing a welfare state. Politically, Bahrain has representative institutions, but power is concentrated in an appointed upper chamber. One of the uncomfortable features of democratic politics in countries with sectarian

division is that it creates incentives to deepen those divisions. The United Kingdom found this true for a number of decades in Northern Ireland. It is still not widely appreciated how close Bahrain came to falling into a sectarian abyss earlier this year. In February, after protesters were forcibly removed from the Pearl Roundabout, during which three protesters and one policeman died, the Bahraini government made an unconditional offer of political dialogue. Security forces were withdrawn from the streets and talks led by the impressive Crown Prince began. On the ground, radical elements, sensing the opportunity to overthrow the regime, exercised an effective veto, by erecting roadblocks manned by armed vigilantes across the capital’s main streets. There was an uncanny similarity to the so-called ‘No Go’ areas in Northern Ireland in the early 70s. The Sunni community felt itself under siege. Sunni gangs put up road blocks into Sunni areas. Bahrain was on the brink of disintegration. It was only after four weeks of concerted negotiations, which failed to achieve a solution, that the state of emergency was put into effect. It gave the vast majority of law abiding Bahraini citizens renewed confidence that their freedom of movement would no longer be impeded and that they could live their lives without threat. At this point, it’s worth considering what would have been the consequences


if Bahrain had deteriorated into civil war: Iran would have been emboldened; Sunni Arabs in Gulf states, notably Saudi Arabia, would have felt increasingly insecure and almost certainly taken action; the world economy would have taken a knock from the impact of higher oil prices; the West would have lost a firmly western-looking ally; and extreme Islamist elements in Pakistan and around the world would have felt emboldened. Instead, Bahrain’s security forces intervened and other Gulf states, led by the Saudis, occupied key strategic installations. Even as order was being restored, sadly at the cost of two dozen lives, the reality of sectarian violence loomed. Reporting was one sided. For example, it never reached the public domain that Sunnis needing medical treatment at the Salmaniya hospital were pre-screened out. Some arriving in ambulances were attacked. Sunni migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent were also attacked. Four were killed and one had his tongue cut out. With a Shia population on its Gulf coast, there was and remains little

prospect of Saudi Arabia acquiescing in the establishment of a Shia-dominated state on its doorstep. A transition to full democracy would in reality be a transition to something very different. In his brilliant book on the art of war in the modern world, General Sir Rupert Smith argued that the paradigm of industrialised warfare between nation states has given way to what he called “war amongst the people”.

A transition to full democracy would in reality be a transition to something very different. Igniting Shia-Sunni tensions in Bahrain would inevitably have repercussions across a region that is geo-strategically the most fragile and dangerous in the world. Once started, it could be years and more probably decades before a new equilibrium is found. As Clausewitz wrote, the only decisive victory is the

last one. Sometimes, perhaps, it’s more prudent to hang on to what you have and make the best of it. Bahrain’s rulers will have learned the lessons from the earlier part of the year and will, no doubt, reflect on how best to take forward their country. In the future, it will be seen as a major watershed in that nation’s history from which there was no going back. Its government has taken the unprecedented step of inviting UN human rights experts to find out what happened at the Pearl Roundabout and afterwards, learn from the mistakes of the past and turn a new page. A stable Bahrain with laws and practices that are fair and acceptable to all bar the extremists would not only be in the interests of all the Bahraini citizens but, clearly, of the wider region and beyond. GFI

Lieutenant General Peter Pearson (retired) served with the British Army in the Far East, Northern Ireland, Europe, Bosnia, Kosovo and Cyprus before becoming Deputy Commander of NATO’s Southern Command in Italy.

Gulf Insider October 2011



DISTINGUISHED WOMEN Gulf Insider tracks down successful and inspirational women who are making a difference in Bahrain. The four prominent women discuss their influences, their career path and empowering other women.


ahraini fashion designer Sima has studied fashion in Milan, Florence and Paris and held her first fashion show outside Bahrain in Rome in 2007. In the same year she took part in ‘Mission Fashion’, a popular reality TV show in Lebanon and featured in the Al Asalah fashion show in Muscat. On following in her footsteps:“I think the most important thing is to read everything you can about fashion, biographies, magazine articles, everything. Train your eye by visiting museums and art galleries. Look at as many modern and historic art books as possible and notice paintings from centuries ago have been copied or adapted by modern designers.

Sima Ahmed

Sima Ahmed is the successful owner of Sima Fashion Company specialising in bridal attire and runs fashion and design workshops for aspiring and talented female designers.


Gulf Insider October 2011

On empowering women through designs: “I make sure to spend time with my clients to get to know their personality and style before I create any sketches. I want her to feel comfortable in my luxurious and feminine designs so she can exude confidence. I feel I empower and educate women with a passion for couture. On reaching her goal: “Becoming a fashion designer is a lot of hard, exhausting work with long hours involved. Working on weekends and holidays can be perfectly normal when a collection is being prepared. Believe in yourself, have self-confidence, but also be realistic. Assuming you have a great deal of talent is still not enough to ensure success. There are certain things

you need to succeed in any field but in fashion you need good manners, attitude, punctuality, passion, concentration and most importantly a sense of humour. You need to work especially hard in the beginning and if you really want it, never, ever give up! On women in business: “Bahraini women are more publicly active than in most Arab countries and are highly educated and well represented in all of the major professions. A quarter of Bahraini women hold jobs outside the home. On her biggest achievement: “Professionally I can say I have achieved a lot. I have opened my own shop in Muharraq, but I still have goals that I wish to accomplish. I am also very pleased to have done my first fashion show in Rome and to be selected by the British Council to teach fashion at their ‘Designing Culture’ project. My visits to fashion capitals all over the world have also been amazing achievements for me. Personally to have my family together and to be around them is the biggest achievement for me. My family are my biggest influences and have given me a foundation but I have generally made my own decisions along the way in business. On her future plans: “I have so many plans and to be honest I don’t know where to start first! I can say that one of them is to start on day wear clothing for women involving the hijab. GFI


Fetooh Al Zayani has a career spanning three decades in the regional and international insurance, re-insurance industry and in business development roles at regulatory bodies in the GCC region. She was voted as one of the top ten most influential individuals in the GCC insurance market in 2009.


hrough her roles with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and regional operators Fetooh has been instrumental in attracting business to the region, driving innovation and advocating the Gulf insurance market on the global stage. In January 2010 she was presented with the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ at the Gulf Insurance Review Awards. On her career path: “During the period 2003 to 2006 I was the Head of Insurance and `reinsurance Business Development at the DIFC followed by an MD role at the QFCA between 2006 and 2010. In both roles I was responsible for developing the commerical and marketing strategy for insurance and reinsurance. Prior to that I spent 22 years in the Arab Insurance Group (ARIG), managing the largest aerospace reinsurance portfolio in the MENA region. I currently act as the International Insurance Society’s Ambassador for Bahrain and have a few board and advisory positions. On women in business: “I strongly believe that women can do better than men in the same business or position. A growing body of research demonstrates that women’s “risk-smart” leadership is perfectly suited for the current world economic environment. Prominent research groups explain that women tend to include diverse viewpoints in decision making and are more likely to work through differences to form

coalitions, complete objectives, and bring disenfranchised communities to the table. On her achievements: “On the professional front I was honoured to be invited by both DIFC and QFC to be one of the founding team members where I had the opportunity to develop the vision and commercial strategy for their insurance and reinsurance sector. of focus. It is heart warming to see these centres becoming well established and world renowned and having attracted blue chip global players in all sectors. Personally, my major achievement is raising four wonderful children who have done extremely well in their studies. My only regret is that I was too busy with my career which involved a lot of travelling, especially in the last 7 years. I had to commute weekly to Bahrain to see them. On her greatest influence: “I can say that my father was my biggest role model. His support for my studying abroad in the early 70’s, trust and open-mindedness, allowed me to make decisions about my life, helped to build my personality and contributed to my success both professionally and personally. On following in her footsteps: “Believe in yourself, your abilities and follow your passion. I strongly believe that you can only thrive in what you are doing if you enjoy doing it. Money and position should never be the object. Not every woman wants to be in business but it is really

Fetooh Al Zayani about feeling fulfilled and understanding your purpose in life. On women being taken seriously in the workplace: “Women will command respect and be recognised if they demonstrate professionalism and seriousness in their work. I have never felt that being a woman restricted my ability to progress in my career. I don’t think that the problem is men’s perception of women, it is rather women’s own perceptions of women or themselves. On future aspirations: “I will continue to entertain projects that contribute to developing the regional insurance industry. My personal wish is to spend more time with my family to make up for the prolonged absences in the past. I would also really like to be more involved with charity and community work. GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011



Bahraini Laila Hussain works for the American Women’s Association (AWA). Since becoming a highly active and devoted member she has helped to raise thousands of dinars for charities all over Bahrain.


aila has worked as the Community Service Chairperson of the AWA for 12 years and has been a member for 16 years and coordinates charity work, helping to organise events and arrange for volunteers to assist with different care homes and centres. The founding goals of the AWA were to give back to the Bahraini community to change the lives of many people. On women in business: “I know that women are capable of taking on positions with lots of responsibilities as much as men are. I feel that everyone should follow the career path that they feel suits them best, whether it is in business or any other field. Everyone can be successful in any career they chose to follow, as long as they always work hard and believe in themselves. On her biggest achievement: “Helping to organise the bi-annual Cherry Tree Trot Race in 2010, our biggest fundraiser event was so rewarding. It was one of our most successful events and we managed to raise over BD50,000 for our community service projects. As a mother, my biggest personal achievement is raising my four boys. Three of my sons have all graduated from prestigious universities in the UK and my youngest son graduated from St Christopher’s School this year.

Laila Hussain


Gulf Insider October 2011

On her greatest influence: “My influence in my life are my parents. They raised me to be independent, strong and to always think of other people who are less fortunate than us.

On helping local charities and ‘giving back: “It is so rewarding working for the Bahraini community and being involved with charity work is something I enjoy doing the most. We support over 30 different homes and centres including disabled homes, institutes for the blind, elderly homes, autistic centres and we have a scholarship programme for underprivileged children. I started visiting different homes such as the childcare homes and orphan centres when I first started and realised the difference that one volunteer can make. Now I always encourage my children to get involved and help out. On encouraging other women to follow in her footsteps: “There is always something that you can do for your community, even if you can only allocate a few hours a month, a little can go a long way when helping those in need. I would strongly encourage all those that can afford to do so, to volunteer in their free time. There are people and places in need of your help and offering this help can improve the quality of living for so many. On her future: “I am going to continue with my community service projects. My aspiration is to have as many people in my committee working and organising more fundraisers to benefit those that are underprivileged. Our next big target will be the 2012 Cherry Tree Trot Race.” GFI


Paola Livadiotti is a successful businesswoman with a wide portfolio of activities involving interior decorating, real estate, clothing, jewellery and accessories design and media relations.


financial person by trade, Paola used to work in London as a broker. Born in Lebanon, her grandfather owned the biggest textile shop and was known all over Europe. He sold his luxurious materials to celebrities such as Sophia Loren and from a young age she recalls herself playing with the materials in his shop and pretending to cut and stitch them. On early influences: “My mother was a very successful model for many designers including Christian Dior and Nina Ricci. She modeled all over the world and used to bring me back many beautiful designer clothes when she travelled, which developed my love for clothes. After the war I moved to Italy with my mother and she greatly influenced me to become involved in fashion.” On empowering women through her designs: “I dress conservatively but love to look smart and I use expensive materials in my clothing designs including cashmere, lace and linen. It normally takes about two days to make a dress. I love working with crystals and pearls to make my designs look really feminine and I enjoy seeing women looking after themselves. I am a perfectionist. My designs are aimed at the working woman, affordable yet glamorous. Women should always feel good in what they wear and never lose touch of their femininity, whether it’s using colour, texture or fabric. On her achievements: “Personally, I love being a wife and a mother. I didn’t

spend a lot of time with my mother as she was always travelling so I make sure to put my son first and my work second. He is my main priority. My designs are a big achievement, sometimes people stop me in the street and ask about my clothes, they are stunned when I say I make them all myself.” On business inspirations: “I really admire Moschino who experiment with colour and breaks the black and white barrier. Elie Saab is also Lebanese and uses material combinations that are so feminine and beautiful, I think he really empowers women to feel good about themselves in his designs. When I lived in London I enjoyed buying famous clothing brands but noticed many wore black or white. I hated the blandness and always opted for bright colours which I now incorporate into my designs.” On her future plans: “I find making people happy very rewarding, it can only take a fraction of a second to be polite and kind. That is why I would like to provide a service to women where they can come for a sort of makeover or fashion advice to give them extra confidence. I would also love to eventually have my own clothing line. Whether it is selling items in a shop or online. It would be great to have a huge customer base with designs selling out and having to order extra stock. I would love that recognition. On following in her footsteps: “I encourage people to follow their dream, everything starts with a dream. Nothing is impossible and you have to work hard and fight for it. Nothing comes easy. GFI

Paola Livadiotti

Gulf Insider October 2011





SBC Corporate Customers have had the privilege of free access to airport lounges taken away. The service has been offered since July 2009 as an added feature for corporate card holders via free Priority Pass membership. HSBC have caused some controversy when they announced this last month without providing any explanation why. The decision also caused some anger and confusion amongst customers who further felt they were not told soon enough in advance. “My statement came on 12th August when I became aware..., it sounds like the decision was made very quickly and was not planned,” said a cardholder, who received his statement almost two weeks late. Another affected customer said. “when I joined, there was nothing mentioned about the free lounge access just being temporary. I was led to believe this was a permanent part of the service”. An HSBC Corporate Communication Spokesperson confirmed that the Free Priority Pass service had finished for corporate account holders and that although customers would continue to receive a Priority Pass card, they will now


Gulf Insider October 2011

be charged USD27 (BD10) per person per lounge visit. But HSBC Private account holder privileges which include free airport lounge access in many airports will however remain the same. When asked why the free service has been stopped we were told “Initially, the

HSBC Spokesperson confirmed the Free service has finished for corporate account holders. cost was met by HSBC for this, however, we are now moving to a policy where each visit is charged to the user on a pay-foruse basis.” The reasons why this decision was made, why the free service was being withdrawn from Corporate Clients but not private account holder was to fit in with HSBC guidelines from around the world, to “follow suit”. According to the spokesperson, this action is being taken to harmonise the Bahrain offering with

other regions. Only Bahrain offered free access to airport lounges so are now bringing this in line with other markers. When asked if the idea was primarily to save costs, the question was not answered despite being asked by Gulf Insider numerous times. In response to public complaints, an official HSBC statement has been issued saying; “After careful review of the Corporate Card proposition, HSBC has renewed the free annual membership to Priority Pass to all corporate cardholders, however from now on individual visits to lounges will be charged back to the card. This change was communicated first to customers in the June statements issued in July and our website and terms and conditions were updated on 26th June. We would like to announce that we have now extended the effective date to 1st September and as such can confirm no cardholders will be charged for lounge visits in the month of August. Customers who have any questions should contact their relationship manager in the first instance or the corporate customer service.” GFI


Doug Casey on the future of the world’s economy ...

Doug Casey

Anthony Wile speaks with legendary investor Doug Casey who for nearly three decades, he has been correctly predicting major budding trends in the economy and financial markets.


ou say you believe the world is heading into a ‘Depression’? Doug Casey: Yes. There is no question in my mind about that. Governments all over the world have created trillions of currency units since 2007 in the mistaken idea that it would create prosperity. The Americans – but also the Europeans, the Chinese and others – have papered things over for the short run mainly by inflating the stock markets, artificially depressing interest rates, and slowing the fall of the real estate market. All that extra currency has made people think they’re richer than they are, and has encouraged extra consumption – which is a large part of the problem. I think in five years the dollar will have lost its reserve status. It may be more like two or three years. I hate to put such a near-term time frame on something that’s so momentous in size. But I don’t see any way out. Is there any way of stopping this from occurring? Doug Casey: A big part of the problem is that people have been consuming more than they have been producing. So the way to get the economy back on track is for people to produce more than they consume and save the difference.


Gulf Insider October 2011

High interest rates encourage that. But the government is opposed to high interest rates. Let’s say interest rates go from the 2% level they are now to a 12% level. That’s going to mean that interest payments on the whole US national debt – which has basically been financed short term and has to be rolled over annually – will go from say USD300 billion per year (2% of $15 trillion) to USD1.8 trillion per year.

I think in five years the dollar will have lost its reserve status. It may be more like two or three years. The deficit, therefore, must increase by another USD1.5 trillion dollars a year if you do the single most important thing to slow down this train wreck. So, I think they have actually gone beyond the point of no return. What do you think about QE3? Will it happen? Will it help? Doug Casey: It’s happening now. It

has to happen because how else is the US going to finance a trillion-and-a-half dollar federal deficit? And that deficit is going to go higher. Gold has made quite impressive moves. Did the recent increase to over USD1,900 an ounce shock you? Doug Casey: I hate to buy things that have run up as far and as fast as gold, or silver for that matter. That said, I fear that over the next year or so they are going much higher. Gold is the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously somebody else’s liability, and nobody is going to want to hold dollars or any other currency. Gold is going to be driven much higher by fear, greed and prudence – a deadly combination. Gold will turn into a mania, a bubble. Of course, everything else in the world has been driven to high levels. The stock market’s not a bargain by any parameter I can think of. Real estate hasn’t reached a bottom in the US, and it’s just started collapsing in places like Australia, Canada and the UK. The bond market is a terminal short sale. What can you buy? There is virtually nothing you can buy other than some commodities and gold at this point. So, gold’s going higher, if only for a lack of reasonable alternatives.


The war in Libya against the Gaddafi regime – how do you feel about that situation? Doug Casey: There’s going to be a dozen different rebel groups, tribes, clans, liberal parties, Islamist parties, foreign stooges and god knows who and what else. Chaos and repression is likely to dominate the area for a long time because they have a lot of oil and other resources. These people aren’t used to producing anything, so they’ll fight continually to steal resources from each other. Meanwhile, meddlers from the US and Europe are going to talk about democracy in Libya. How will the growth of the internet change global politics? Doug Casey: Well, the internet is the best thing that’s happened since Guttenberg’s invention of moveable type. It’s the most powerful weapon that the average man has. I’m of the opinion that most people are decent human beings. They may be misguided, they may have been corrupted, but they are essentially good. So power to the people is also a good thing. Furthermore, the internet

allows you to hook up with people everywhere in the world with whom you really share values. What are your thoughts on China’s economy at this time? Doug Casey: I think they are in a massive bubble centred on real estate, and it’s going to collapse. Apart from

Gold is going to be driven much higher by fear, greed and prudence – a deadly combination. that, their exports to Western Europe and the US are likely to collapse simply because the West will have to cut back consumption so much. As a result it’s likely there is going to be chaos in China. Now that’s the short run. In the long run, this century is going to be the Chinese century. The cat’s out of the bag; the average Chinese has tasted

some freedom, is hard working, and wants to be wealthy. He will succeed. In the long run, China is going to become the epicenter of economic and political power in the world and they are going to be joined by Korea and Vietnam and, of course, Japan and Singapore. They don’t suffer from much of the destructive cultural baggage that the West does – Marxism, democracy, and dogmatic religion were Western imports, after all. The East has a long commercial tradition. And they don’t have welfare systems or aggressive foreign policies. I hope they come to integrate the best things from the West – individualism and a respect for personal freedom – to a greater degree. Those are the big things. Any emerging markets you consider worth looking at from an investment point of view? Doug Casey: I was just in the Middle East and one of the countries I visited was Egypt. I am buying, with some friends, real estate in downtown Cairo. I believe in buying when blood is running in the streets. There is some real value to be had there. GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011



Strengthening Relations Recently appointed Pakistan Ambassador to Bahrain Jauhar Saleem has a diplomatic career spanning two decades with postings all over the World. Gulf Insider spoke to him about his main priorities to benefit the country’s future and to strengthen ties.


ou arrived in Bahrain in June for a full three-year term. How do you feel about the upcoming challenges and pressure of responsibility in your new position? First of all, I am so happy to be here. Pakistan and Bahrain are brotherly countries with long-standing traditions of cordiality and historical ties. We enjoy multifaceted cooperation in diverse field. But I see so much potential for further strengthening the mutually beneficial interaction in all areas. I look forward to working together with my Bahraini brethren towards that end, particularly in the area of economic cooperation. Also, there is a hundred thousand strong Pakistani Diaspora here from all walks of life, which is contributing to Bahrain’s economy and society. I am excited about working with the Diaspora to make their stay here even more worthwhile , both for them as well as the people of this beautiful country. What main priorities will you first undertake as the new Pakistan Ambassador? One needs to become acquainted with the people, in the first few months especially. Meeting with the leadership of the country is of paramount importance, then come the senior officials, business leaders, opinion-makers, active community members etc. Since I am also keenly interested in cultural exchanges and expanding of educational ties, therefore, I will be meeting many in these areas too. Together with all my interlocuters in Bahrain I will be striving to build upon the excellent tradition of political, economic and cultural ties that


Gulf Insider October 2011

our countries so happily enjoy. Bahrain is a unique country with tremendous potential and we value our friendship. I am very interested in enhancing cultural and educational exchanges. There are world-class universities in Pakistan with a lot of potential for collaboration such as faculty and student exchanges and affiliations. How long have you been in the diplomatic service and what have been your other postings? I have been in the diplomatic service for a long time, almost 20 years. As a member of the Pakistan Foreign Service, I have served in Brasilia, Ankara, Washington and Sarajevo. My last posting was as ambassador to Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia. I also served at the foreign office in Islamabad in the Middle East, US and Europe divisions, besides a stint as the head of Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Lahore. I served as the Director General for Europe and Eurasia for three years before being nominated as ambassador in July 2007. You mentioned that both countries share common perspectives on a host of issues. How will you contribute to the further solidifying of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Bahrain? There are many different areas which we are working on together. Top level exchanges can catalyze strengthening of cooperation. Just a month and a half after my arrival in Bahrain the President of Pakistan made an important visit to Bahrain and I feel it has really set the tone for my tenure. Strengthening of

institutional mechanism for bilateral cooperation, increasing trade and commerce and enhancing mutually beneficial interaction in different fields is all important. Improving upon these areas will further solidify relations. Also I would like to contribute to the productivity and usefulness of Pakistani Diaspora here and also towards making their stay here even more comfortable and constructive. This is an important link between both countries and I hope to further strengthen it. Also I would be working towards increasing business, cultural and educational exchanges. How have you worked with the expat community over recent months of unrest in the country, updating them with information and making them feel safe? I am very keen to maintain a close link with the Pakistani Diaspora here. In fact I am pleased to have been already named as one of the most open and accessible ambassadors that have been posted here from Pakistan. The embassy had been working with the community during the crisis to protect the Diaspora. During the height of the crisis, the embassy in collaboration with the Pakistan Club provided a safe haven to around 1,000 people who felt threatened. We also endeavored to keep the community informed. I make an effort to meet as many delegations of Pakistanis as possible and I have an open-door policy. We have even designated Wednesday as the community day when people could visit the Embassy and talk to me personally without formalities.. It proved quite an

People education for me during the crisis, Pakistanis are a very brave people, ready to face challenges. Their bond with Bahrain is not transient, some have remained here for decades and were not scared enough to run away, they are here for the long haul. How do you feel about Bahrain as a whole and had you visited before you joined as the new Ambassador? I visited Bahrain in the 90’s on an official assignment, and have beautiful memories. The people are so warm hearted, well-educated and have great affection for Pakistan, they are probably the friendliest in the Middle East. Yes there have been problems like faced by many countries at one time or the other, but I have come here with a very positive frame of mind and view of the country. Since I visited last in the 1990’, Bahrain has grown immensely in terms of economy and infrastructure and it is great to see the country moving forward. How will you step up trade, commerce and investment between Pakistan and Bahrain after recent events? The trade between Bahrain and Pakistan has amounted to around BD75m a year however I believe this figure is far below the potential and it can be largely increased. The understanding of business opportunities also needs to be enhanced. I have met and invited leading businessmen here to an upcoming business expo in Pakistan which will provide excellent opportunities for both parties to step up these factors. You mentioned that Pakistani professionals and workers in Bahrain are significantly contributing to the economic development in Bahrain, both in public and private sectors. How will you continue to help and encourage Pakistani businesses and workers in the region? Many countries have discouraged workers to come here after the crisis, however Pakistan and Bahrain are not just fair-weather friends, we have been with this country for a long time. In the healthcare sector, in particular, I would like to see more Pakistani doctors as is the case in the US, UK and Ireland. There is space here for many more Pakistani professionals. How can the Pakistani community continue to sustain and strengthen their reputation here in Bahrain? Their reputation is of dedication, loyalty and bravery, they are a very resilient community. During the recent problems, their reputation was further strengthened. Hardly any businesses owned by Pakistani Diaspora have left. if anything numbers of residents has actually increased. All people need to do to sustain their reputation is to continue to work hard and do a good job.

Jauhar Saleem

What are your future goals for the Embassy during the next three years? Future goals include enhancing commercial cooperation in a big way. I am also keen to see the Pakistani Diaspora being even more active in the local cultural scene. I wish to see the youth more active and involved. A student counseling center will be set up in the embassy to show young Pakistanis what opportunities they have during and after their studies in Pakistan. People-topeople interaction needs to be stepped up to further promote the spirit of camarderie. The importance of getting to know the media is also high as we need their support and they also effectively educate people. GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011





orldwide mainstream house prices marginally avoided falling into negative territory with prices rising on average by 0.1% in the three months to June 2011 and by 1.7% over a 12-month period. This weak performance shows the extent to which many of the world’s economies are struggling in the wake of the 2008 and 2009 global crisis. Lending still remains constrained, confidence is low and households’ disposable incomes are waning. The overall fall in these prices can also be partly attributed to the absence of the double-digit annual price growth which was observed in China, Singapore and India during much of 2009 and 2010. There are clear signs that Asian policy measures, aimed at cooling asset price growth are having some success. Annual price growth in Singapore stood at 6.7% in Q2 2011, down from 37% a year earlier. Similar patterns are emerging in India and China, which both recorded quarterly


Gulf Insider October 2011

price falls in the three months to June, of 1.7% and 0.1% respectively. Despite these more muted results, Asia continues to be the top-performing continent in terms of house price inflation, a position it has held for seven consecutive quarters. A key component of Asia’s 8%

Asia continues to be the top-performing continent in terms of house price inflation, a position it has held for seven consecutive quarters. annual growth in Q2 2011 has been Hong Kong’s strong performance. The Hong Kong market has displayed greater resistance to anti inflationary measures, but evidence suggests

the tide is starting to turn. In Q2 2011, quarterly price growth reached 3.5%, down from 10.1% last quarter. The world’s luxury markets appear to be insulated for the moment from this new weaker phase. In fact, global economic and political turbulence has underlined their ‘safe haven’ qualities in the eyes of the world’s wealthy elite (see Prime Global Cities Index for more details). Looking forward it is difficult to be positive about price prospects in the developed world’s mainstream housing markets. Ongoing low interest rates and other market support measures are likely to spur increased sales activity rather than price growth. The latest edition of the Global House Price Index Q2 2011 was produced by Commercial and Residential Property company Knight Frank’s Residential Research team. GFI

This research was complied by Knight Frank. For more information call +973 1710 4929 or +44 (0)20 7861 5133


growth 11, of 1.7%

all other e on months

falling into negative territory with prices rising on average by 0.1% in the three months to June 2011 and by 1.7% over a 12-month period. This weak performance shows the extent to which many of the world’s economies are struggling in the wake of the 2008-09 global crisis. Lending, for most developed Results Q2 2011 economies,for remains constrained, confidence •is Global pricesdisposable rose 0.1%incomes growth low andhouse households’ in three months to June 2011, arethe waning.

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in terms of house price inflation – a position it has held for seven consecutive quarters. A key component of Asia’s 8% annual growth in Q2 2011 has been Hong Kong’s Data Fall from peak strongdigest performance. The Hong Kong market The Knight Frank Global Largest has displayed greater resistance to anti- fall from peak in each world region House Pricemeasures, Index toQ2 2011* inflationary but evidence suggests established in 2006 is the the tide is starting to turn. In Q2 2011, World Region Country % Date definitive quarterly means price growth reached 3.5%, down change Peak for investors and from 10.1% last quarter.

developers to monitor and Asia Pacific Japan -41.7% The world’s prime or luxury markets appear compare the performance be insulated for the moment from this new South America Colombia -0.6% oftomainstream weaker phase. In fact, global economic and residential markets across political turbulence has underlined their ‘safe Middle East Dubai -49.7% the world. The haven’ qualities in the eyes of the world’s index is compiled on a Latvia -63.6% wealthy elite (see our Prime GlobalEurope Cities quarterly basis using Index for more details). official government North America US -32.3% Looking forward it is bank difficult to be positive statistics or central * to latest available data about price available. prospects in the developed data where

• House prices declined in 23 of the 50 RESIDENTIAL RESEARCH

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regions, here prices declined by growth inthese Q2 2011 has beenresults, Hong Kong’s Despite more muted Asia 0.9% and 0.1% respectively in the strong performance. The Hong Kongcontinent market continues to be the top-performing last 12 months The Knight Frank Global House Price Index

Data digest

has displayed greater resistance to antiestablished in 2006 is the inflationary measures, butdefinitive evidence means suggests Figure 1 for investors and developers the tide performance is starting to turn. Into Q2monitor 2011, and Global compare the performance of mainstream Unweighted average global house price change quarterly price growth reached 3.5%, down residential across the world. The from1510.1%markets last quarter. index is compiled on a quarterly basis using The world’s prime orstatistics luxury markets appear official government or central bank to be insulated for the moment from this new 10where data available. weaker phase. In fact, global economic and political turbulence has underlined their ‘safe 5 haven’ qualities in the eyes of the world’s wealthy elite (see our Prime Global Cities Index0 for more details). Lookingfrom forward itpeak is difficult to be positive Fall -5 price prospects in the developed about

Largest fall from peak in each world region to world’s Q2 2011* mainstream housing markets.

Asia continent

-10 Ongoing low interest rates and other market WorldQ1Region Country % Date of Q1 Q1 Q1 Q1 Q1 support are likely to spur 2010 increased 1995measures 1998 2001 2004change 2007 Peak sales activity rather than price growth. 12 month % change % change Asia Pacific Japan 3 month -41.7% Q1 1995

Source: Knight Frank Residential ResearchQ3 2010 South Figure 2America Colombia -0.6%


Q1 2010



Regional analysis Middle East Dubai


Q3 2008

North 9 America US


Q1 2006

Unweighted average house price change, Europe -63.6% Q2 2007 by world region Latvia


to8 latest available data

7 6

12 month % change

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5 4 3 2 1 0 -1 -2

Asia South Middle Africa Europe North Pacific America East America

Source: Knight Frank Residential Research

Residential Research Liam Bailey Head of Residential Research +44(0)20 7861 5133

world’s mainstream housing markets. Ongoing low interest rates and other market support are likely to spur increased Knight measures Frank Global House Price Index sales activity rather than price growth.



Annual Six month % change % change Figure 2 1 Hong Kong 26.5% 14.0% Regional analysis 2 India 21.3% 4.2% Unweighted average house price change, 3 Taiwan 12.7% 2.5% by world region 4 Estonia 10.6% 7.6% 5 9 Israel 9.7% 0.5% 6 France 9.1% 2.1% 8 7 Slovenia 9.0% 9.4% 8 7 Poland 8.5% 0.2% 9 Singapore 6.7% 3.1% 6 10 Norway 6.5% 8.8% 11 5 China* 6.5% 0.3% 12 Malaysia 6.5% 1.4% 4 13 Jersey 5.6% -0.2% 14 3 Indonesia 4.8% 3.6% 15 Turkey 4.7% 3.1% 2 16 Switzerland 4.5% 1.9% 17 1 Belgium 4.2% 2.2% 18 Canada 4.1% 0.7% 0 19 Iceland 3.8% 3.5% 20 -1 Sweden 3.4% 0.6% 21 -2 Colombia 3.3% -0.6% AsiaFinland South Middle Africa 2.9% Europe North 22 2.1% America East 23 Pacific Lithuania 2.5% America 8.8% 24 Austria 2.4% 4.0% 25 Germany 2.1% 0.0% Source: Knight Frank Residential Research 26 South Africa 1.9% 4.2% 27 Luxembourg 1.1% 0.8% 28 Denmark 0.6% -1.1% 29 New Zealand 0.0% 0.9% 30 United Kingdom -1.2% 1.2% 31 Italy -1.4% -0.9% 32 Australia -1.9% -1.2% 33 Netherlands -1.9% -0.9% 34 Latvia -2.0% -3.1% 35 Malta -2.6% -3.5% 36 Hungary -2.7% -4.5% 37 Portugal -2.8% -0.3% 38 Slovak Republic -2.9% -1.1% 39 Japan -3.3% -1.7% 40 Croatia -4.5% -0.8% 41 Greece -4.6% -1.1% 42 Dubai, UAE -4.7% 0.1% 43 Spain -5.1% -3.9% 44 Czech Republic -5.1% -3.7% 45 United States -5.9% -1.2% 46 Bulgaria -6.4% -3.9% 47 Cyprus -7.7% -3.3% 48 Ukraine -7.8% -1.6% 49 Russia -12.1% -12.3% 50 Ireland -12.9% -8.5% 12 month % change

by extent the

% change


growth are having some success. Annual Price growth is strongest inatHong price growth in Singapore stood 6.7% in Kong, which growth in the Q2 2011, downsaw from26.5% 37% a year earlier. last 12 months Similar patterns are emerging in India and China, bothprice recorded quarterly price termswhich of house inflation – a position •infalls North America and Europe remain the for three months to June, quarters. of 1.7% it hasin held seven consecutive the weakest performing world respectively. Aand key0.1% component of Asia’s 8% annual

Quarter % change 3.5% -1.7% 1.7% 8.0% -2.1% 0.5% 4.7% -1.4% 1.4% 3.6% -0.1% -0.8% 2.4% 1.3% 1.3% 0.6% -0.3% 1.0% 2.7% 0.2% 0.4% 1.1% 4.8% 2.5% 0.2% 2.5% 0.7% -0.9% 0.6% 0.2% -0.4% -0.1% -0.8% -1.8% 0.6% -1.9% -2.0% -0.6% -0.8% -0.7% -1.5% -0.5% -1.4% -2.0% 0.1% -1.6% -0.9% 0.0% 1.6% -4.2%


Q1 1995 Q3 2010 Q3 2008 Q2 2007 Q1 2006

Latest data if not Q2 2011 Q1 2011

Q1 2011 Q1 2011

Q1 2011

Q1 2011 Q1 2011 Q1 2011 Q1 2011 Q1 2011 Q1 2011

Q1 2011 Q4 2010 Q1 2011

Q1 2011 Q3 2010

*Based on Beijing and Shanghai

Recent market-leading research publications

Gulf Insider October 2011


Strange shapes

Ancient mystery: The stone wheels are thought to be 2,000 years old

Thousands of strange ‘Nazca Lines’ discovered in the Middle East

By Ted Thornhill


eru’s Nazca Lines, the mysterious geoglyphs etched into the desert centuries ago by indigenous groups, are world famous – and now thousands of similar patterns have been found in the Middle East. Satellite and aerial photography has revealed mysterious stone ‘wheels’ that are more numerous and older than the Nazca Lines in countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The structures are thought to date back 2,000 years, but why they were built is baffling archaeologists and historians. ‘In Jordan alone we’ve got stone-built structures that are far more numerous than the Nazca Lines, far more extensive in the area that they cover, and far older,’ David Kennedy, a professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Western Australia, told Live Science.


Gulf Insider October 2011

Hidden: Thousands of people have probably walked past the structures and not realised what they were

Strange shapes

Local knowledge: The Bedouin call the structures the ‘work of the old men’ He added: ‘People have probably walked over them, walked past them, for centuries, millennia, without having any clear idea what the shape was.’ The local Bedouin, a nomadic people found in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, Egypt and Israel, call them the ‘works of the old men’. They are often found on lava fields – but don’t fall into any pattern, according to Kennedy, whose research into them will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal Of Archaeological Science. He explains that they come in a huge variety of forms, some being ‘kites’, structures that funnelled animals, some being seemingly random meandering lines of stone and others being rectangular. None are believed to be aligned with the stars, which has added to the mystery surrounding their purpose. They were actually first discovered in 1927 by an RAF pilot called Lt. Percy Maitland, but it wasn’t until Professor Kennedy and his team began studying aerial and Google Earth photographs that their true extent was revealed. A final count has yet to be completed, but Kennedy is certain they run into the thousands. GFI

Baffling: None of the Nazca Line-like patterns appear to be lined up with astronomical phenomena

Similar: The ancient and mysterious Nazca Lines in the Nazca Desert in Peru

Gulf Insider October 2011



UAE Ranked in Highest Stage of Economic Development The Global Competitiveness Report 2011/2012 issued by the World Economic Forum, has ranked the UAE as 27th on the global list for competitiveness for the second year in a row.


he report classified the UAE as an innovation-driven economy and reached the highest stage of economic development that a country can achieve. This classification is based on factors that promote innovation in economic development and the UAE was the only Arab country to be classified in this category for three years consecutively. Other countries in this stage of economic development include Japan, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore. According to the report, the UAE has ranked among the top ten countries in more than 20 global competitiveness indicators, and has scored advanced positions among the other 142 countries that the report has featured. The UAE ranked fourth globally in quality of air infrastructure, seventh globally in quality of roads infrastructure and quality of infrastructure ranked a very good eighth. The UAE development model shows that priorities for the country should include further investment to boost health and educational outcomes.


Gulf Insider October 2011

Raising the bar with respect to education will require not only measures to improve the quality of teaching and the relevance of curricula, but also encouraging the population to attend schools at the primary and secondary levels.

The UAE development model shows that priorities for the country should include further investment to boost health and educational outcomes. Commenting on the report, Secretary General of the Emirates Competitiveness Council, His Excellency Abdullah Lootah noted that the UAE continues its drive to build a world-leading destination for business and foreign investment. He

added that the Emirates Competitiveness Council will closely review the findings of the report and identify ways to improve performance in key areas of importance to the country. He also pointed out that achieving high ranking in global competitiveness reports is not an end in itself but that it is an indicator of the performance of social and economic sectors. He added the report gives the UAE a chance to compare the performance with other countries with the goal of promoting long-term economic growth and the well-being of the people of the nation. The UAE seeks to compete with the leading countries of the world on the basis of its knowledge capital rather than dependence on natural resources. The visionary leadership of the country has recognised the importance of competing on the basis of knowledge to maintain growth and momentum over the long term, clearly stated in the UAE’s Vision 2021. The vision document focuses on strengthening the partnership between the government and the private sector in order to achieve the vision of the national


knowledge-based economy. The efforts of the country have been reflected through several other international reports. UNDP’s Human Development Report placed it first among Arab countries for intellectual property rights, 15th worldwide and first in Arab countries in their report for the overall quality of life. Qatar reaffirms its position as the most competitive economy in the region by moving up three places to 14th position, sustained by improvements in its macroeconomic environment, business sophistication, and innovation. Its strong performance in terms of competitiveness rests on solid foundations made up of a high-quality institutional framework where it ranks 14th overall. Low levels of corruption, high efficiency of government institutions, and high levels of security are the cornerstones of the country’s solid framework. Saudi Arabia maintains the secondbest place in the region and moves up to 17th in the report, due to the country seeing a number of improvements to its competitiveness over recent years.

Improvements to the institutional framework, a better assessment of the security situation by business and stronger private institutions have all contributed to a better positioning in this year’s report. Development targets state health and education must be improved

The UAE seeks to compete with the leading countries of the world on the basis of its knowledge capital rather than dependence on natural resources. to the standard of other countries with similar income levels. There is some visible progress with the quality of education increasing quickly but according to the report, the areas need boosting.

The Global Competitiveness Report ranked 142 countries along twelve key pillars of competitiveness. These included institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods and market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size and business sophistication and innovation. The Global Competitiveness Report is published annually by the World Economic Forum since 1979, and is a tool that helps countries benchmark their economic performance relative to that of other economies. The information can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses as well as obstacles to sustainable economic growth and prosperity. GFI

You can read the full Global Competitiveness Report 2011/2012 on the World Economic Forum website at

Gulf Insider October 2011



Aviation Expertise Captain Nasser Al Salmi started his career with Gulf Air in 1988 as a cadet pilot following his training in the UK, returning to Bahrain the following year to commence flying duties where he now resides with his family. He was appointed the Gulf Air Chief Operation Officer in December 2009 and speaks to Gulf Insider about how he got to where he is today.


ou started at Gulf Air over 20 years ago as a cadet pilot. What made you choose this career path and how long did you train for? From day one, I have always wanted to be a pilot. My cousin was in the aviation industry and he always spoke about his job and encouraged me to get involved. I trained for about two years, spending 14 months in Oxford, UK after applying for a training scholarship. I found it hard work studying with all of the exams involved, however I knew it would be worth it in the end. In those days the national airline of my country, Oman, was Gulf Air and I was lucky to be selected into this airline. What do you think you would be doing if you had not chosen to be in the aviation industry? It is hard for me to say, as I have never thought of another profession. l was born and grew up in Oman and around the age of 14 I realised clearly that I wanted to be a pilot. If I had to choose, I would say maybe an engineer. Pilots have many simultaneous responsibilities, how do you cope with multi-tasking and the pressure of being responsible for so many people’s lives? Pilots are trained for their tasks, responsibilities and also how to cope with the pressures of flying. The pressures


Gulf Insider October 2011

are both mental and physical and can be trained for in a simulator where scenarios are played out to make sure the pilot is competent. This training occurs every six months, all pilots should be able to cope with the pressure otherwise they could lose their job. Every pilot experiences pressure in the air due to bad weather and when I found myslf in similar circumstances I guided the plane away from the storm and calmly reassured passengers concerned. I guided the plane away from the storm and calmly

All pilots must be trained for handling both physical and mental pressure and should be able to cope with it. reassured passengers, luckily no one was injured they were just concerned. What do you find rewarding and challenging about your job, what are your strengths and weaknesses? It is a great reward to see the smiles on peoples’ faces as they meet loved ones at their destinations. My biggest strength is my ability to take my team along with me to perform the task at hand. A weakness would have to be

my compassion, it can lead to me being used at times. You have attended several specialist management training courses, explain what you have learnt from them. I took on my first management role as Assistant Chief Pilot in 2002, and went on to become Manager A320 Fleet Training, Chief Pilot A320 Fleet, Acting Head of Flight Operations, Acting Vice President Flight Operations and then Chief Pilot. Flying an aircraft alone does not expose one to other facets of management. The purpose of these courses is to ‘fill in the gaps’ and allows you to get a bigger picture of all of the functions and divisions. They have taught me about the financial side, commercial and training. Some courses can last two or three months and I attend conferences every few months, there is always a need to expand a person’s knowledge. With your job you obviously get to travel all over the World. Where is your favourite destination and why? I love Paris for its fantastic architecture and culture. You can always find something new to explore there and I have been well over ten times. After being the Director of flight operations involving aviation safety, pilot management and crew logistics you were recently appointed Gulf


Air chief operating officer. How do you feel about the new role and responsibilities that come with it? Most of the additional responsibilities came in the technical field so I have taken time to understand that department more thoroughly. Obviously the new position comes with more responsibilities but I would never get involved with anything and move forward if I didn’t think I could handle it. What has been your biggest achievement career-wise and in your personal life, are there still goals you wish to achieve? My biggest career achievement has to be where I am today in my current position. Personally, I am very proud that I have a happy family of a wife and two daughters.

Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that Gulf Air have in the pipeline? Gulf Air would like to expand into our niches, so we are constantly trying out

Through hard work and honesty, benefits will follow. I advise people to follow these rules [throughout their lives]. new markets with innovative products. Next month we are introducing live TV on board with full internet connectivity.

We also have new aircrafts and new marketing strategies in the pipeline. What is your management philosophy and what advice would you give to someone who wished to follow in your footsteps? I believe that only the best personnel should be selected for tasks and they should be allowed to work independently in order to achieve their best. Through hard work and honesty, benefits will follow. I would advise people to follow these rules in their work and personal lives. My staff are motivated by being awarded monthly and yearly employee awards. It is so important to meet and interact with staff and to let them open up to you. I have always had an open-door policy. GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011



Why do the Gulf’s UK expats return to UK? By Annabel Kantaria


he UK’s getting a hard rap in the press lately, what with its austerity measures, its broken prison system and its rioting “feral underclass”. In a slightly voyeuristic way, we expats love reading all that stuff, because it makes us feel good about the decision we made to leave. But the return of the Gulf’s British expats at the end of a long summer always brings with it a tidal wave of positive emotion about the UK. While many people are overjoyed to be back in the Gulf, having missed the sunshine, the blue sky, the optimism, luxury and relative ease of life here, there are also plenty who return reluctantly to the Gulf, crying on the plane and talking wistfully about how lovely it was to see some clouds and rain. They wax lyrical about life in the UK: How they loved it so much they didn’t want to leave, how cheap things were in Tesco, how clean the air was, what amazing “real” things the kids did (what, no indoor snow?), how they froze on the beach and went to France for the day. They get misty-eyed talking about long bike rides, clean air, walks in the country, pub lunches, antique shops, theatre and cricket on the village green. But are these holiday pleasures reason enough to turn your back on a tax-free salary and what is, for many, a very comfortable life in the Gulf? Given that recently listed Dubai as the number one “destination that expats


Gulf Insider October 2011

regularly leave to move back home”, Blighty must, despite its grim reputation right now, hold some attractions for Dubai residents – so what exactly are they? 1. Education – The number one reason I hear for people moving back to the UK is for their children’s education, especially at senior school level. They want to be close to children in boarding schools; they want a better quality of private education; they want smaller schools; they want their children to have a better

The return of the Gulf’s British expats at the end of a long summer always brings with it a tidal wave of positive emotion about the UK. chance of getting into university; or they want their children to be classed as “home” students rather than “overseas” students when it comes to paying university fees. 2. Family responsibilities – An expat life is a life disconnected from family. People move back to care for sick or elderly parents, to keep their children in touch with extended family, or simply because they miss their family.

3. Children – Many Dubai expats move back because they want their children to become more “streetwise”, to “live in the real world”, to connect with their roots and to learn about “real life”. They want them to experience a depth of culture that they feel is missing in the UAE. Above all, they’re petrified of bringing up expat brats. 4. Weather – Specifically, “seasons”. This is a funny one because we do have seasons in the UAE – they’re just not as pronounced as they are in the UK. But many British expats here speak of missing the falling of the autumn leaves, the scent of bonfires in the autumnal air, the crispy frosts and blue skies of clear winter days, daffodils poking through the hard earth and the promise of spring. 5. Plans gone awry – Whether it’s a midnight skip to escape debt or a court case; redundancy; or a crime resulting in deportation, some expats, however wellmeaning, have no choice but to leave. 6. Mission accomplished – Disciplined expats who came to Dubai on a plan to save enough money to buy a property in the UK, put the kids through university and/ or provide for their retirement leave simply because they’ve achieved their goal. Others leave because their contract’s over and they never planned to stay longer. Living overseas was a means to an end and nothing more. Mission accomplished; time to go home. GFI


Citibank Announces Exclusive Tie-up with Etihad Airways


itibank has announced a new joint venture with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. With this joint venture, Citibank credit cardmembers will receive up to 15 percent off fares to a range of Etihad’s destinations across Asia, Europe and Africa including Paris, Milan and Tokyo. Speaking at the occasion, Consumer Bank Head of Citibank Navneet Kampani said, “The tie up with Etihad Airways comes in line with our commitment towards offering our customers the highest level of products and services, for their personal and/or business needs”. The discount on fares is valid for bookings from 20th September till 31st August 2012 and for outbound travel on or before 31st August 2012.

From left: Bashayer Dhaif - Assistant Marketing Manager, Sonik Kapur - Marketing Director and Cards Business Head, Navneet Kampani - Consumer Bank Head, Husam Alaseeri General Manager - Etihad Airways, Chris Binnion - Etihad Airways Representative.

General Manager of Etihad Airways Husam Alaseeri said, “We are proud to partner with Citibank. The joining of our strong and respected brands creates a unique opportunity to offer exceptional value to our customers. I am sure many

in Bahrain will enjoy the benefits of this new partnership”. GFI

Citibank, N.A. has been in the Middle East for nearly 50 years and currently offers consumer-banking services in Bahrain, UAE and Egypt.

Iran bans TV programs of half-naked men and Western cooking


ran has banned TV programs showing half-naked men and love triangles, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, in the latest sign of a conservative crackdown on media. It was not clear what prompted the ban. Iran TV, which has a monopoly in the country, dedicates large parts of its schedule to religious shows and announcements from the government. But viewers were gripped a few years ago by a locally-produced soap opera called Forbidden Fruit which told the tale of an old man who decided to leave his wife after falling in love with a young girl. “Based on a new instruction, the broadcasting of programs that show tempting love triangles is banned,” Fars said. Exceptions would be made for shows that explicitly condemned such

entanglements, it added. “Showing half-naked men in Iranian and foreign productions is also banned,” the report said, adding that producers were urged not to show “unnecessary mingling” between the sexes. The statement did not say how the restrictions on partially-clothed men would affect Iran TV’s sports coverage. Since the 1979 revolution brought strict Islamic law to Iran, TV shows and films have had to comply with religious values by avoiding scenes that show intimate relations between men and women or flout Islamic dress codes for women. The restrictions have pushed many Iranians to turn to illegal satellite channels for uncensored entertainment and international news. Iran outlawed satellite dishes in the mid-1990s, saying it wanted to curb what it called Western efforts to corrupt

its population through the spread of immoral programs. The ban was largely ignored under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s predecessor Mohammad Khatami who tried to increase social freedoms after he was elected in 1997. But hard-liners pressed for renewed restrictions after Ahmadinejad took office in 2005 and Iranian police launched a new crackdown on satellite dishes earlier this year. Iran’s hardline rulers often accuse the United States and other Western countries of seeking to overthrow clerical rule through a “soft” or “velvet” revolution with the help of intellectuals, websites and satellite channels. Earlier this year, local media reported Iran had also banned programs showing how to cook western dishes. GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011



No more anonymous ‘defriending’ New Facebook feature will allow users to know who doesn’t like them.


ith a slew of cosmetic changes and tweaks, Facebook users could be forgiven for getting a little frustrated over the last few days. But the social network’s new Timeline feature looks set to really enrage users after it emerged the ability to anonymously ‘defriend’ people will become a thing of the past. Using the new feature, which is set to be rolled out in the near future, users will be able to see all their entire Facebook history - including their shifting friends lists. Along with every picture, message and app used, Timeline will allow people to see which of your previous ‘friends’ at some point decided to end the relationship. Speaking to BuzzFeed, community manager at Mashable Meghan Peters said: ‘There is a way where you can go in to a certain point in time and basically, if you look at your friends’ tab, maybe from three years ago, and you see the ‘Add Friend’ button from someone in that list, that will basically tell you that they have defriended you since you became their friend. ‘I think that people will definitely be upset by it. ‘I mean, it always hurts to know that someone isn’t your friend anymore.’ The Facebook is trying to evolve from


Gulf Insider October 2011

an Internet hangout where people swing by to share tidbits, links and photos to a homestead decorated with the memories, dreams and diversions of its 800 million users. In what may be the boldest step yet in the company’s seven-year history, Facebook is redesigning its users’ profile pages to create what CEO Mark Zuckerberg says is a ‘new way to express who you are.’

Users will be able to see all their entire Facebook history - including their shifting friends lists. It is betting that despite early grumblings, its vast audience will become even more attached to a website that keeps pushing the envelope. To that effect, it is introducing new ways for people to connect with friends, brands and games while also sharing details about their lives from the mundane to the intimate. ‘If you look at Facebook’s history, obviously they are not afraid of making change,’ said Sean Corcoran, an analyst with Forrester Research.

‘They have done a lot of big changes in the past and people have gotten upset. But most of the time Facebook has been right.’ Zuckerberg introduced the Facebook ‘timeline’ along with new entertainment and media company partnerships last month in San Francisco, at the annual ‘f8’ conference attended by about 2,000 entrepreneurs, developers and journalists. The event was also being broadcast to, at one point, more than 100,000 online viewers. The changes seek to transform how and how much people share things online, just as Facebook has been doing since its scrappy start as a collegeonly network. The overhaul also presents a new challenge for Google Inc, which has been scrambling to catch up with the launch of its own social network, Google Plus, four months ago. The timeline, which will eventually replace users’ current profile pages, is reminiscent of an online scrapbook filled with the most important photos and text that they have shared on Facebook over the years. It’s where people express their real selves and merge their online and offline lives even more than they are doing now.


The new timeline

• feature is reminiscent of an online scrapbook, with the most important photos, text, music and video that users have shared or will share on Facebook over the years. • The timeline can go back to include years before Facebook even existed, so users can add photos and events from, say 1995 when they got married or 1970 when they were born. • It is intended to replace the current layout, but critics have said it may alienate some of the ‘older’ Facebook generation. • The redesigned pages have a more magazine-like photo-heavy feel, with a large ‘cover photo’ at the top of the page. • On the right of the page there will be a timeline that breaks down all posts from a person’s time on Facebook and allows viewers to jump back to people’s earliest posts with a break down month-by-month. • For the first time, the site will allow you to add photos and content from before Facebook existed in a new ‘Way Back’ section. • Zuckerberg said the new profile page had been designed so that, ‘you can tell the whole story of your life on a single page’. GFI

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote during the Facebook f8 Developer Conference at the San Francisco Design Centre.

Gulf Insider October 2011


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia bows to pressure to reform and grants women the vote The world’s last bastion against female suffrage bowed to the forces of change when Saudi Arabia granted its female population the right to vote for the first time. - By Adrian Blomfield


he historic decision came after King Abdullah, the Saudi ruler, conceded that a study of Muslim history had shown that women were capable of rational thinking and decision making. “Muslim women in our Islamic history have demonstrated positions that expressed correct opinions and advice,” he told advisers. Even in the Middle East, where women’s rights have lagged behind much of the rest of the world, Saudi Arabia has stood out as a reactionary citadel against the march of feminism. Women have been denied the most basic of freedoms, forbidden from driving or leaving the country without the permission of a male guardian. King Abdullah’s ruling appeared to show that even Saudi Arabia was not immune to the climate of greater openness and freedom being swept across the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring. The announcement will not necessarily give women a powerful voice in the


Gulf Insider October 2011

country. Saudi Arabia holds no elections beyond municipal level, with power almost exclusively restricted to the confines of the royal family. But the decision to allow women both to vote in and contest municipal elections is an unprecedented gesture towards equality in Saudi Arabia.

Women will be able to run as candidates to the municipal election and will even have a right to vote. In what could prove an even more significant step, the king also announced that women would be allowed to serve in the Shura Council, whose role is purely advisory but which nonetheless constitutes the most influential political

body in the country outside the royal family. Until now, women had only been given a symbolic presence on the council. “Because we refuse to marginalise women in society in all roles that comply with Sharia, we have decided, after deliberation with our senior clerics and others, to involve women in the Shura Council as members starting from next term,” the king told the body. “Women will be able to run as candidates to the municipal election and will even have a right to vote.” The king has been seen as a cautious reformer. Female activists in Saudi Arabia hailed the decision and vowed to step up their campaign to extend women’s rights in the kingdom. “This is great news,” Waheja alHuwaider, a Saudi writer and activist, said. “Women’s voices will finally be heard. “Now it is time to remove other barriers like not allowing women to drive cars.” GFI


Airports ‘wasting billions’ on needless security checks for passengers By Dan Milmo


irports are wasting billions of pounds on unnecessary security checks for travellers who pose no threat to planes, according to the airline industry’s global body, amid growing support for an airport screening regime that gives preferential treatment to low-risk passengers. The International Air Transport Association, whose members include more than 200 global airlines, said main airports were struggling to cope with mounting layers of safety regulations that now cost the financially troubled industry USD7.4bn a year to implement. Tony Tyler, director general of IATA, said: “We spend a huge amount of resource on screening people who quite frankly do not need it. “We need to find a better way of doing it. Apart from the cost, we are putting our customers through an immensely complicated and, most of the time, unnecessary, hassle. And airports are creaking at the seams to find the space and capacity to deal with this,” he added. Tyler backed a programme being developed by the US Transportation Security Administration, where lowrisk passengers could be given less stringent checks if they supplied information including frequent flyer details and travel records. He added that governments should pay for aviation security, not airports, airlines and ultimately passengers. The post 9/11 crackdown has imposed multi-million pound security costs on airports and airlines, but the losses in terms of passenger revenues and the


Gulf Insider October 2011

impact on tourism runs into billions, according to experts. Tyler says global airlines suffered three “lost” years in the wake of the attacks, with passenger numbers not returning to 2000 levels until 2003. Revenues also slumped over the same period, with annual turnover not exceeding the 2000 level until 2004. Strong profitability remains elusive, however, and the industry has made a multi-billion dollar loss in seven of the last 11 years. This year it expects to make a profit of $4bn but that represents a global profit margin of just 0.7%, with

Apart from the cost, we are putting our customers through an immensely complicated and, most of the time, unnecessary, hassle. much of the industry’s financial strength drawn from low-cost carriers. Nonetheless, the industry is in comparatively stronger financial health than it was in 2002 when it reported a net loss of USD11.3bn. (High oil prices caused a $16bn loss in 2008). The aftermath of the attacks saw some carriers sunk by the slump in traditionally profitable business-class and long-haul travel, with the likes of Swissair and Sabena going bankrupt. US carriers were hit the hardest and have made a

collective annual profit only three times since 2000. “The desire to travel for all kinds of purposes has turned out to be a basic human need,” said Douglas McNeill, analyst at Charles Stanley Securities. Global airline passenger numbers have risen from 1.8 billion in 2000 to an estimated 2.8 billion this year, showing that despite the travails of security and fuel costs the airline can at least rely on strong demand. McNeill added: “The risks have been mitigated pretty effectively by new security measures, although they have not worked perfectly. There has been the odd close call on the way, such as the shoebomber and the freight packages that originated from Yemen (in 2010). “But overall the security systems achieved what they set out to do. The day after 9/11 it was far from clear that the airline industry could withstand the terrorist threat, but it has.” However, stringent security checks including demands for pre-flight information have reduced the appeal of the US to foreign travellers, cutting its share of the market. “These increased security measures have deterred some visitors and others have complained about how difficult it is to get a visa. These factors have contributed to a decline in arrivals share. The US accounted for 7.3% of global arrivals in 1999, which fell to 6.2% in 2010,” said Michelle Grant, Euromonitor’s travel and tourism research manager. In some areas at least, and with Asia now the engine for global economic growth, the US may never recover. GFI

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MSA is used by educated Arabs world-wide, who speak both MSA and their local dialect. When conversing with someone of the same nationality, they will often switch back and forth between MSA and local dialect. When different Arab nationalities converse they typically use MSA for the sake of clear communication. Speakers of MSA are able to effectively converse in any Arabic country, and find it relatively easy to adopt to the numerous local dialects spoken in particular regions of the Arab world. The course consists of 30 half hour lessons. You simply repeat each lesson until you have absorbed about eighty percent of it, which usually takes 2-6 days. You then move on to the next lesson. After completing the 30 lesson course you will be able to speak conversational Arabic! Pimsleur is what language learning should be: quick, fun, and easy! The course is so convenient - you can learn alone or with a partner at home, while driving, during your lunch break, whenever and wherever you choose.

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Massive Bridge

Crossing the Red Sea Egypt Approves Massive Bridge to Saudi Arabia. - By Volkhard Windfuhr


gypt has given the nod to plans for a gigantic bridge across the Red Sea. It would provide the first direct road link between Arab North Africa and the Middle East - but the project could upset Israel and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia hope to construct a giant bridge spanning the Gulf of Aqaba for road and rail traffic. Officials at Egypt’s Ministry of Transportation have confirmed that the project, under discussion since 1988, has finally been approved. Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has reportedly put General Abdul Aziz, the chairman of the Arab Road Association, in charge of overseeing the project’s implementation. The Gulf of Aqaba runs along the eastern edge of the Sinai Peninsula. Plans call for the 32-kilometre (20-mile) bridge to cross the narrow Strait of Tiran from Ras Nasrani, near the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, to Ras Hamid in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Parts of the bridge would be suspended.


Gulf Insider October 2011

A Boon to Travel and Trade

For the Arabs, the massive construction project would be a triumph. For the first time since 1948, when the modern state of Israel was founded, Arab states in North Africa would have a direct road link

This area of the Red Sea is highly important to Israel and Jordan as it provides them with access to the Indian Ocean. with fellow Arab states in the Middle East without having to cross Israeli territory. It would also reduce dependence on sometimes perilous ferry crossings over the Red Sea and Arab ports on the Mediterranean.

Planners believe that tolls paid by millions of Muslim pilgrims on their way to holy sites in Saudi Arabia could make up for the roughly USD5 billion (€3.6) the bridge is expected to cost. They also believe the bridge will significantly increase the number of pilgrims. Five years ago, then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak abruptly put the monster project on ice shortly before construction began in response to security concerns voiced by neighbouring Israel. A spokesman for the Saudi government simply said: “We won’t let anyone discourage us from our construction plans. The Strait of Tiran lies in international waters.” This area of the Red Sea is highly important to Israel and Jordan as it provides them with access to the Indian Ocean. Western diplomats view the announcement as being strategically timed to bolster Egypt’s weak government. GFI


Back to nature in the UAE By Annabel Kantaria


hile the UAE may be best known for man-made tourist attractions such as Ski Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Khalifa, it’s actually a little-known island off the coast of Abu Dhabi that’s currently vying for the world’s attention as the global New Seven Wonders of Nature competition draws to a close this November. Abu Dhabi’s highly protected Bu Tinah Island – the region’s largest and first UNESCO-designated marine biosphere reserve – is one of just 28 finalists in a competition that began in 2007 with 440 sites of outstanding natural beauty. The two-kilometre square island is home to coral reefs, mangroves, dolphins, ospreys, Socotra cormorants and endangered Hawksbill turtles as well as the world’s densest population of dugong, or sea cows. It’s the only candidate from the Arabian Gulf to have reached the finals, where it’s competing for the public vote against sites such as Mount Vesuvius, Table Mountain, The Matterhorn, the Maldives, the Great Barrier Reef, the Dead Sea, Uluru, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Grand Canyon.

Bu Tinah Island

UAE residents were encouraged by Thabit Al Abdul Salam, Director of the Biodiversity Management Sector at the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi to “give something back to the country that has given so many benefits to them” by voting for it in the competition.* Earlier last month, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Global Destination Cities ranked Dubai ninth in the world in terms of inbound visitors, attracting more tourists than Amsterdam, New York and Shanghai. It saddens me that the majority of these visitors will make no effort to see much more than Dubai’s malls, beaches, hotels, bars and restaurants. Perhaps some will venture into the desert on an arranged desert safari, but the UAE has far more to offer in terms of natural attractions. Here are my top picks: 1. Canoe the mangroves of the Khor Khalba Nature Reserve – it’s home to rare birds, fish and plants as well as masses of hermit crabs. 2. Drive Wadi Bih through the Hajar mountains, starting east of Ras Al Khaimah. Here you’ll step back in time as

you follow dramatic gorges and stumble across ruined villages, terraces that date back to the Bronze Age and surprisingly lush meadows on deserted plateaux. 3. Explore the natural rock gorges and swim in turquoise waters at the spring-fed Hatta Rock Pools in the Hajar Mountains (and take your litter home with you). 4. Camp out in the bird hide at Ras Al Khor, which lies within a stone’s throw of Burj Khalifa. It’s the UAE’s first “Ramsar Site”, a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and, in winter, provides a haven to 20,000 migrating water birds, not least spectacular flocks of bright pink flamingos. 5. Take a drive through the UAE to Liwa and feast your eyes on the rolling sand dunes that are just at the edge of the Rub’ al Khali desert (Empty Quarter) – at 650,000 sq km it’s one of the largest sand deserts in the world. GFI

To vote, UAE residents can SMS “Bu Tinah” to 3888 or visit

Gulf Insider October 2011



What’s the dress code in Dubai’s malls? A group of ladies describing themselves as “Arab women” have provoked debate this week by placing a post called “Dress in Dubai’s malls” on a public forum. - By Annabel Kantaria


n it, they complain about the “disgracefully revealing” clothes that some women wear in the city’s malls, as well as “an increase in the number of couples exhibiting affection,” such as a woman kissing her husband’s neck on the escalator. They also complain about the “scantily dressed mannequins” in the windows of lingerie stores, saying such “immodest scenes” are putting them off visiting malls altogether (if you think this is a ridiculous argument, you may never have witnessed the strange sight of groups of single men salivating around the windows of the lingerie shops). The counter-argument – from some, though not all, Westerners – runs along the lines of what does Dubai expect if it encourages tourism from countries that don’t share its values, and professes to be an open-minded destination, where one can drink alcohol, dance in clubs and flaunt one’s flesh on the beaches? Interestingly, though, a post in response to the “Arab women” notes that most of the worst offenders are actually expats, not tourists. “The tourists apologise and seek to


Gulf Insider October 2011

buy a t-shirt or shawl to cover,” writes the anonymous Australian expat, who appears to work in a mall. “The offending residents are frequently rude, aggressive and sometimes violent towards our staff, which is even more unacceptable.” It’s an on-going debate that occasionally comes to a head. A year ago, a British

Interestingly, though, a post in response to the “Arab women” notes that most of the worst offenders are actually expats, not tourists. tourist stripped down to her bikini in Dubai Mall after being confronted by a woman said to be Emirati, who told her that her low-cut top and leg-revealing outfit was indecent. Although the tourist was initially taken to the police station, the matter was dropped.

Yet, the UAE needs its holidaymakers, and particularly Brits. Last month, Visa reported that British tourists spent more money in the UAE in 2010 than any other nationality, with a spokesman from Visa predicting that the UAE would enjoy a cash boost from a heavily increasing number of international tourists over the next five years. The problem arises when Westerners, while well-meaning, don’t always understand what’s offensive to a UAE national. Bra straps showing, men in shorts above the knee, thighs and shoulders on display, see-through fabrics – while we may think we’re perfectly covered, others may not. Most of Dubai’s malls have signs at the entrances warning shoppers to dress decently but implementation falls largely to the mall’s largely powerless security guards. It lacks both consistency and force. But last year’s clash in Dubai Mall and this week’s post from the “Arab women” highlight an issue that clearly needs some sort of resolution: How can Dubai reconcile its need for Western tourists with its need to upkeep its own identity? GFI


Delivering Open-Air Fun Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are still very popular in the Middle East due to their ‘go-anywhere’ attitude.


he Jeep Wrangler needs no new introduction, seeing as it has been around for over six decades. It’s still popular in all corners of the world including the Middle East because of its ‘go-anywhere, do anything’ attitude. The Wrangler delivers a lot of fun which most of its rivals would love to emulate. Meanwhile, Jeep has kept the model’s flame alive by making significant improvements while retaining its ubiquitous character. The four-door convenience and Wrangler’s unique open-air design and unmatched off-road capability, makes the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited the only four-door convertible SUV on the markets. Wrangler Unlimited offers more space and versatility to customers who always wanted a Wrangler. The two-door Wrangler comes in regular and stretched wheelbases. Jeep introduced the revised edition of its classic icon and also its first fourdoor version as a measure to broaden the family appeal of the car. The new edition is more refined with aerodynamic

tweaks, but importantly it’s much more comfortable and has been endowed with many new convenience features. While maintaining its legendary off-road capability, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited features a spacious interior

The Wrangler delivers a lot of fun which most of its rivals would love to emulate and Jeep has kept the model’s flame alive whilst still retaining its ubiquitous character. that takes comfort and convenience to new lengths. Its interior space provides room for five adult passengers and delivers more cargo storage and seating configurations than ever before.

Only one engine is offered which is the 3.8-litre V6 developing 199bhp and peak torque of 315 Nm. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, with a four-speed automatic with overdrive also offered. The four-door Unlimited comes with either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and this version of the Wrangler opens the brand to even more customers, especially those with families, as now there is functionality to go along with its carefree demeanour. Standard safety features include side impact door beams, anti-lock brakes and an energy-absorbing steering column. Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is also standard, which aids the driver in maintaining vehicle directional stability in severe driving manoeuvres on any type of surface. GFI

Find the Wrangler and complete Jeep range at the Ahmed Zayani Showroom on Sheikh Salman Highway, Zinj or Tel. +973 1723 8822 or 3684 8944 for more information.

Gulf Insider October 2011



Master Of Mirage For the first time in Bahrain, French designer Georges Karam introduces his series of amazing paintings featuring imaginary mirage-like cities. The collection is inspired by the artist’s time living in the Middle East and reflects the colours and emotions which come from the desert and the sea.


ebanese-born Georges graduated in 1985 with a degree in interior design before enrolling at the Atelier des Beaux-Arts in Paris taking part in drawing and painting classes. He collaborated before establishing his own design studio with some of the most recognised designers on the international scene including Alberto Pinto. His furniture collection for SOCA, France, is a testimonial of his capacity and creativity. His portfolio includes the Dilmun lounge at Bahrain International Airport amongst other prestigious private projects in the kingdom. “Everything is interaction. This was the point of my departure on my quest as an artist for this series of acrylic on


Gulf Insider October 2011


canvas, trying to explore with my brush the interaction linking these elements and to extract the essence lying in between; concrete versus water, light versus shadow. I am an aesthete, a beauty seeker above all; I have no other pretention or message to portray in my work. My ultimate goal is to find beauty wherever I look, everything else is vain and always will be. My experience as a designer has given me the necessary tools in order to be able to express my art. Sea and the City and all what are in between, whether it is the early hours of dawn, the blurring heat of the day or the glittering lights of the night, there is always beauty to be seen.� GFI

Gulf Insider October 2011




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Gulf Insider October 2011



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Gulf Insider October 2011


Last word Personal observation and comment This month by Dave Smith

The Trouble with Golf

I enjoy playing golf. Okay, maybe ‘enjoy’ is not the correct verb. Each time I tee up I think, ‘This could be the day. Today’s round will be the best round I’ve ever played.’ This may come as a shock to non-golfers, but it typically doesn’t work that way. Best described by author John Feinstein as “a good walk spoiled,” golf is perhaps the world’s most frustrating sport. For those readers who have never picked up a club with the intention of becoming the next great golfer, consider yourselves lucky. When my non-golf-playing friends mention wanting to learn golf, I simply tell them that they’re too smart for the game. After all, they’ve avoided golf this long and should continue to do so with a focus on other sports. Maybe tennis, for instance. In addition to good exercise, tennis (like golf) is also a good sport for conducting business, and it seems much less wearing on one’s mental make-up. If I were ever bright enough to quit golf, I’d try tennis. But I’m a golfer through and through; and tomorrow’s round could be the best I’ve ever played.

In Praise of Café Society

It strikes me that one’s life is greatly enhanced by living in what might be called a ‘café society’. By that I mean a place where, by tradition, the locals allocate a certain portion of each day to sipping favourite beverages and nibbling light meals while parked at small tables out-of-doors. I don’t believe I have ever seen a person rush his or her refreshments while sitting at a café table. Perhaps there is a corner of the brain that finds comfort when meals are taken in the open air. Or perhaps the mere act of sitting signifies that you are about to engage in an act of leisure. And, so seated, you relax. In addition, I have always felt there is a sense of elegance sophistication, even - inherent in café sitting. Time we spend in better society - and feel that we are deservedly there - rarely fails to improve our self-opinion, it is only natural that we feel elevated by the simple act of supping al fresco at one’s favorite café. Also, by custom and necessity, café tables tend to be small and usually round. This limits the nature of the food served to modest portions and excludes from culinary consideration large and sloppy dishes, the sort that when consumed leaves a body feeling sluggish and the mind heavy.


Gulf Insider October 2011

The Truth on Why Celebrity Diets Don’t Work for Non-Celebrities

Yesterday, I was standing in a checkout line at the grocery store surrounded by candies, celebrity magazines and diet tips. Of course, one of the magazines was advertising a celebrity diet. I’ve always found these diets incredibly silly, not because the advice is necessarily bad, but because the whole matter of economic incentives is left out of the equation. Celebrities don’t stay in shape thanks to special techniques or a superb personal trainer. Rather, the profit motive does most of the work. In order to continue making millions every year, celebrities must stay incredibly fit. If you were offered a million dollars per year to stay in shape, you’d soon see the pounds falling off rapidly. The average person simply doesn’t have the same incentives as actors and actresses. Most Hollywood denizens don’t stay fit because of fabulous diets - they have a very powerful monetary incentive that keeps them on those diets. The rest of us can cheat; we don’t have a movie shoot coming up in a few months. But isn’t health and a long life enough of an incentive? Yes and no. As a doctor friend of mine once said, “You want to know the quickest way to lose weight? Diabetes.” Essentially, his point was that he’ll tell people over and over to watch their weight and exercise, but most don’t get it until they receive a life-threatening diagnosis. When faced with a very real direct incentive, people start exercising.

Under the Patronage of H.E. Dr. Hassan Bin Abdulla Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce. Bahrain Motor Show 2011 is going to be held on 22nd - 25th Dec 2011 at Bahrain International Conference and Exhibition Center.

BMS envisages to set up the largest Auto show of the Middle East with international quality, adding to the pride of Bahrain in the International Business community and supporting to fasten the propelling of automotive sale of the region by providing a single roof for everything related to the automotive business availing the national and international buyers a fair chance to compare and evaluate all the possibilities before making a decision about choosing a brand of vehicle or providing any automotive support. Car Dealers | Finance Providers | Insurance Providers | Auto-parts | Auto Related Services For further information, please contact the event manager Mr. Mahmood Al Reefy

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October Issue of Gulf Insider