Sunday, April 30, 2006

Good News and Khaleej Whines

Reading newspapers in the UAE can be an enlightening experience. According to Good News , the government is doing so much for the people that when all the labour related newsreports that is cropping up with an invisible tagline 'hope they dont read it and ask us to close shop' are .."fishy aims behind the organised campaign against the UAE." I am not sure if the UAE has instituted some journalism awards for fearless reporting, but if there is, I'm sure this guy will be on the shortlist.
Talking about 'fearless reporting', your favourite no:1 newspaper in the UAE (shut up you idiot, it is your favourite no:1 newspaper, we know) has no time for such insights. They are busy with injecting some social responsibility into the mindset of UAE citizens.
And I do not know how much difference this would make for the underpaid, overworked construction workers in the UAE, but give it a try.
Thanks to Secret Dubai Diary for some references.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In Excess

The Lagoons is the latest property offering in the land of excess which is 'strategically located' in the 'heart of Dubai' aimed at 'a self-sustainable community' providing 'lush greenery' and 'tranquil waterfront' where 'nature may flourish' and 'encourage modern living'. Enough cliches to choke you to death.

Every development in every seemingly uninhabitable part of the city trumpets such adjectives through glossy brochures and hyper expensive 3-d renderings and animations. Every apartment, every villa, every bedroom features 'luxury at it's best' if they are to be believed - never mind some hapless residents in Dubai Marina who paid an astonishingly high price only to look out from congested apartments to noisy neighbouring airconditioners in the balcony and some Emaar 'green-communities' turning to 'water-logged communities'.

The lack of proper regulations and guidelines in a comparitively immature Dubai real-estate market has meant that for every high-class development executed with proper planning, there are 100 developments coming up which are over-hyped, makes no business sense or doesnt meet any requirements and makes a variety of false claims.

No wonder, some investors view Dubai with suspicion. With promises like these, they have to think 10 times to see if the projects are for real.

Dancing in Dubai

So the question is, 'Why is Saif Ali Khan dancing in the US?'. I seriously have no idea. I am sure the Gulf News Tabloid writer is among the 5 million people in Dubai who waited with bated breath to see this son of a Tiger dance to a remix featured in the Bollywood Top 3750 list.
We have all heard of the British tabloids being the most nonsensical ever to appear on print- so what if the UAE newspapers cannot impersonate the page 3 nud*s or celebrities smoking pot. They have found different ways to capture the attention of disgruntled readers. Here the gulf news writer has found a scoop where Mr.Saif was found dancing in a stage show in US after 'walking slowly, smiling weakly and speaking softly' in Dubai. So the writer asks you a genuine question. Are you Angry? Upset?

So we should be. If all the UAE newspapers refrain from publishing such enlightening articles in the name of a tabloid interlaced with spoon-fed PR crap we would be much less angry and upset. Saying that, Gulf News is one of the betters newspapers in this region, especially compared to "your favourite No:1 newspaper in the UAE." where every article is a masterpiece by itself and worthy of 8 pages of review. I heard Uncle Sam is looking to graduate from 'physical torture' to 'mental torture' in Abu Ghuraib. It wouldn't be a bad idea to make the colonels read out Khaleej Times to the prisoners as the part of the procedure.

Beam me up Scotty! (There's no intelligent life here)

Greyworldwide's Middle East & Africa homepage starts with an awkward animation that appears like some infected flies converging towards a piece of mud or perhaps something far worse."Constantly growing, very much alive. Just like the amoeba" is their dreary explanation that accompanies the same.

Lack of imagination is very much part of Grey's latest marketing campaign for National Bonds Corporation which shows 'retouched' ordinary people looking at yachts, lamborghinis and oversized villas with a not so captivating tagline "Stop dreaming. Start saving" (For those who have not yet managed to read what it says it is nothing as mystical as it lead you to think) in the most illegible typefaces ever used in an advert. The logo is even more baffling with a series of red and brown circles pointing upwards accompanied by 'National Bonds' written in red Eurostile font. How, one of the world's leading advertising firms can get away with such nonsense is beyond comprehension.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Plug 'n Pray

Holy Corporation wants install a new religion into your mind.

Before you start scratching your head, they do say in their website "Plug'n'Pray kits are not yet available... ;-) but you can become a Plug'n'Pray supporter: buy a Plug'n'Pray Tshirt". The wink says it all.

USB Twigs!

Here is some imaginative stuff from a Dutch design house, OOMS. The usability remains a question and the so-called design houses never makes things that are cheap. But check out their other products, some of them are quite cool - especially these handmade 'USB twigs' as they call it.
Thanks to Inhabitat for spotting them.

Why are we corrupt?

The Rang De Basanti magic is fast fading. Few indian motorists gave diabetic 80-year old ministers a second look while manouvering the unending array of potholes. Decades of our indifference and apathy has made corruption and bribe a necessary evil in our country. On one hand you curse a corrupt building contractor who used sub-standard materials to cut corners (and make potholes), while on the other hand you are paying the electrician a 100 rupee 'tip' to make sure he fixes the power connection in time for the cricket match telecast. It is time we realise that corruption is not something inflicted upon us by the government, our predecessors or the beureaucracy- it is very much within ourselves.

What Martin Luther King rightfully pointed out in the context of racism can be extended to how we look at corruption in our country – “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” The very definition of honesty and values is being redefined in our nation. Every time ambition, greed and pure necessity drives me and you to do something that makes corruption gather more foothold in our society, we need to pause and give it a thought. Everytime we accept the loss with silence, which perhaps the outside world will never come to know of or appreciate, a precedent is being set towards a society which regards giving bribe as a criminal activity.

So, those of you who watched the Aamir Khan starrer with clenched fists might as well not let the new sense of resposibility be dampened by a coke bottle (marketed by the very same man) that is on your left hand. It is going to be difficult, because for some, such forays means more headlines and for others the incentives are far less enticing.