Dubai Consumer Mirror

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Changing Shoes

They look pretty much like your everyday Nikies to me... look again [link]

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Monday, July 30, 2007

New 2010 E-Class tested in Dubai

A Dubai based member of spotted the highly camouflaged German sedan roaming around and getting stuck on the streets of Dubai.

Few years ago, before Daimler rolled out the new SL 500, I spotted the similarly camouflaged coupe several times wandering around Bur Dubai and Dubai Creek road.
When it comes to road testing cars, this place is becoming a hot spot, literally. [link]

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Guess who is back..

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Urban Gladiators

Stories like this one is like a breath of fresh air in this mixture of airborne sand and cement dust that's clogging our sights as well as our souls these days.

The rush to meet day's end is making plenty of people forget other's who are less fortunate in the sandlands; petrol pump attendees, laborers, delivery men, messengers, security guards, waiters, cab drivers .. and the list goes on.

Scorching prices in rent and daily consumables is making living in the city very difficult to the well paid white collar worker. I don't even want to imagine how is it like for those on the Dhs 500/month payroll bracket.

All what I ask you to do every time you interact with any of those urban gladiators is to pause for a split second, and think of yourself in his or her shoes.

Do it for a week and let me know ...

Note: Special thanks goes to the Gulfnews reporter, Wafa Issa for the story.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

PR Sexecutive

This is an email trail that landed in my inbox that I HAD to share with you.

A PR executive working on behalf of one of her clients, Durex. Apparently she was trying -admirably- to push editors of a number of magazines to review her clients range of sexual products and lubricants in a 'tried and tested' sextion, er... I mean section.

The problem was, in my opinion, is not that she was targeting the wrong kind of magazines: TimeOut, an entertainment magazine, Charged: IT "gadgets" monthly and Boat Owner ME, an exclusive title no boats, yachts and lifestyle water sports.

The problem was ... well... just read the whole thing :)

-----Original Message-----
From: PR Executive
To: Editor 1
Subject: Durex play line competition with magazine

Dear Editor1,

Hope all is well.

Your colleague, Editor2, asked me to get in touch with you regarding your "gadget" magazine called "Charged" .

We want to work a competition out with Durex and Charged magazine on the "New Durex play line".

Please find attached the latest press release and product shot from Durex on its new range of products "PLAY" and a product shot for your reference.

We would like to run a competition with Time Out magazine where we give out the entire 'play line range' for 3-5 winners atleast.

We could also do a "tried and tested feature" along with the competition from the Charged magazine team.

Would be great to get your testimonials. What do you think?

Kindly let me know your thoughts.

Many thanks
PR Executive

From: Editor 1
To: PR Executive
Subject: RE: Durex play line competition with Charged magazine

Hi PR Executive, Thanks very much for your email.

I spoke to Editor2 last week and he had told me you would get in touch.

I think your idea is a fantastic one - one that we would normally definitely consider for the pages of my gadget magazine "Charged".

In the past we have had several reviews of "adult" products and gadgets that we have rated and tested following an extensive period of use.

We would normally love to include a "tried and tested" feature using the full Play range with our testimonials.

However, the entire Charged team has recently taken a vow of celibacy for a local charity that looks after stray dogs.

You may have heard of it - Stray Away - No Sex Helps Rex.

This unfortunately means we won't be able to fully utilise any of your products for the next two months if we are to earn the 1000 dirhams we hope to raise.

I am, understandably, disappointed at this situation, but can give you the name of someone who would certainly be interested in your ideas.

Editor3, is Time Out's nightlife editor, so has been on various fact-finding missions regarding night time activities. He has also written a number of freelance articles regarding safe sex, so I'm sure would jump at the opportunity.

Alternatively, I understand Boat Owner Middle East magazine includes a monthly section called Naughty Naval Nights which I think would be ideal.

Contact the editor Editor4.

I hope this helps.


-----Original Message-----

From: PR Executive
To: Editor1
Subject: RE: Durex play line competition with Charged magazine

Dear Editor1,

Thanks for your email, Hope to work with you in the future once your current charity project is over. Wish you and the team all the best on it.

Will get in touch with the persons you have referred.

Kind regards

PR Executive

-----Original Message-----

From: PR Executive
To: Editor3
Re: Durex play line competition with Time out

Dear Editor3,

Hope all is well.

Been trying to reach Editor4 on the below, however, glad you can assist me on this..

As per our conversation, we want to work a competition out with Durex and Time out magazine on the "New Durex play line". As per our conversation, Please find attached the latest press release and product shot from Durex on its new range of products "PLAY" and a product shot for your reference.

We would like to run a competition with Time out magazine where we give out the entire 'play line range' for 3-5 winners?

We could also do a "tried and tested feature" along with the competition from the Time out team.

Would be great to get your testimonials. What do you think?

Kindly let me know your thoughts.
Many thanks

PR Executive

-----Original Message-----

From: PR Executive
To: Editor3
RE: Durex play line competition with Time out

Hey Editor3,
I have not heard from you yet with regards to the below.
Look forward to your earliest reply.
Best regards,

PR Executive


From: Editor3
To: PR Executive
Subject: RE: Durex play line competition with Time out

Really sorry. Can you e-mail my colleague Editor 4? He has done several articles on contraception and sexual enhancement aids in the past. He will sort it out

From: PR Executive
To: Editor 4
Subject: Durex play line competition with Time out

Dear Editor4,

I was in touch with a few of your work mates as you can see below till finally Editor3 informed me of the right man..being you:)

My clients are Durex and from the emails [above] we would like to run a competition with Time out magazine.

Look forward to your thoughts.

Best regards
PR Executive


From: Editor4
To: PR Executive
Subject: RE: Durex play line competition with Time out


My colleague, Mr Editor3, is relatively new to the team, so I will forgive him on this occasion for getting his sexperts mixed up.

The person you should contact is our colleague Editor2 who I believe has written many acclaimed articles of this nature in the past, notably 'Locating the G spot - it's as easy as ABC', New York Times 2004, and 'Cecil, Ted & Bubba and a pocketful of rubber', San Francisco Herlad 1998.

He's your man.


From: PR Executive
To: Editor 2
Subject: Durex play line competition with Time out

Dear Editor2,

It's taken a long journey to get here from the stream of emails below but I'm happy to hear from Editor4 about all the work you have done on sexual well being and HIV/AIDS social causes which I'm sure we could see how we can support you on any material or information you may ever need from DUREX.

Just to let you know Durex and have run a Middle East online sex survey last year which generated phenomenal results on the sexual habits of the Middle East region.

If you need statistics and more information on this, I can send across to you.

We will be conducting a new survey shortly this year as well. From my email [above] we would like to run a competition with Time out and Durex.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards

PR Executive


From: Editor2
To: PR Executive
Re: Durex play line competition with Time out

Thank you for your email. I must take up cudgels with my colleagues, who are labouring under the misapprehension that I am some kind of so-called "sexpert".

I am very shocked and horrified that they say these things about me.

I am a religious man and I do not discuss these things in private or indeed in public. I think it is all in very poor taste and to promote these products is quite contrary to the wishes and actions of decent minded Muslim individuals throughout the region.

And a Sex Survey? I can't believe such things exist in this country.

The very thought is upsetting in the extreme. I would very much like to read this sex survey. It would set my mind at ease.

I suggest if you wish to pursue this business, you take it up with my European colleagues who are much more "liberated" when it comes to such matters. I recommend you contact the gentleman who writes for our "gadget" magazine called "Charged", he is Editor1

With my best regards and hope that ultimately, you will find the correct recipient for your products, I remain



From: PR Executive
To: Editor2

Re: Durex play line competition with Time out

Dear Editor2,
With all due respect in no way are we offending religion.

Our main purpose is to promote products which are being sold all over the Middle East to educate people about "SAFE SEX" and social causes such as "HIV and AIDS" and that equals to "saving lives".... very much just like a "Drive Safe" message by wearing a seatbelt.

With regards to your misunderstanding internally within ITP, I'm afraid thats an internal matter and I should respect that and suggest that should be taken up internally with your colleagues.

Best regards

PR Executive

So, what do you think was the problem? :o)

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Where you on SZR last friday afternoon?

Nevermind those morons-on-wheels featured everyday in the now-almost-redundant-could-have-killed-someone page in Emirates today.

A John Doe driver of a white Toyota Previa is the real deal:

Dubai - A Dubai resident has described his horror after a “cold-blooded” driver rammed him off the road and drove off almost killing him and his pregnant wife. Nawras Sawalha has now appealed for eyewitnesses to the incident to help him find the driver so that he can be kept off the roads.

“This crazy driver could have killed us or could kill other people. My aim is to track him down and save others from tragedy,” said Sawalha, a PR manager based in Dubai. The incident happened last Friday afternoon when Sawalha, his pregnant wife and his sister-in-law were driving towards Wafi City on Sheikh Rashid Road.

Sawalha told 7DAYS that a male driver, in a white Toyota Previa, started flashing his lights and driving a few inches behind his car. “He was trying to race past me. I had nowhere to move to due to the traffic. Before I could get out of his way he deliberately rammed into the rear of my car,” said Sawalha.

His vehicle careered off the road due to the force of the impact and smashed into three street lights and a traffic sign before coming to a stop at the side of the road.

The tyres exploded, the axle was broken and the car was almost completely destroyed, Sawalha said.“All of us, thankfully, were wearing our seatbelts which saved us from death. The driver was in such a hurry that he just drove off without bothering to see what happened to us. He was so cold-blooded about this. Not only does he ram us off the road, but then drives off without caring. He is a maniac,” said Sawalha.

The family was in such shock that no one could remember the other driver’s number plate so have been unable to file an official complaint with police.

They are now desperately seeking any eyewitnesses who may have seen the speeding car. “We want to appeal to anyone who may have seen the car or noted the plate number to help us locate this person.

He could have killed us all,” said Sawalha.

Seriously, if anyone was there during this incident and can provide any detail, call it in on the Traffic Police Hotline on 800 4353!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Camera Control

Okay, this just came out of the gossip bakery.

Word on the street these days is Dubai Studio City is seriously considering slapping a new "Photography Permission" legislation for ANY photo session that takes anywhere in Dubai by anyone.

This permission will take 2 days to issue and will cost the applicant a whooping Dhs 500.

So, if your average photo shoot in Dubai costs between $100 - $200 per hour (depending on the photographer) there is a very strong chance that -as of the September 1st this year- Dhs 500 (aprox $150) will be added on top of that.

Oh, and dig this. This permission is required even if photo shoot is within company premises and done by company employed photographer. There is also talk that police will have executive authority to make sure this "regulation" is implemented.

Meaning, if police spot you snapping away people or buildings, they have the right to ask you for the permission and take action if you don't.

One person described it as "Salik for photographers" :)

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Monday, July 23, 2007

An Orange fish

Check out this Orange TVC

Maybe the ad agencies looking after our Du & Etisalat can learn something or two about creativity ...

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Oh you shouldn't have...

An email invitation I received today in my inbox.

I am pleased to invite you to the next meeting of the [Bla bla bla] BUSINESS CLUB.

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend myself as I will be in the [overseas] but it promises to be a great event.


yeah sure ..

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Wealth Managment

I guess there was a good reason after all for dodging all those phone calls that offered "wealth management consultancy services". Every time I get such a call, my answer would be a blunt "Thanks, but no thanks".

About 3 months ago, one particular caller was very persistent. In fairness, he did sound courteous and sincerely professional; so I decided to give him a shot and find out what these financial "advisors" are all about.

He came over to my office and spent about an hour asking every sort of question about everything I own, owe and planning to own or owe. I was brutally honest and give the advisor accurate details.

I never heard back from him again. Should I be worried?

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Friday, July 20, 2007

From the producer of LOST

Anyone knows what is this about?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Staying in touch

One of the things I enjoy about this whole Web 2.0 business is how i am getting connected to many people I thought I totally lost touch with. These past few months when I was offline at home, I was online via my mobile and the most social networking "tool" I frequented was Facebook.

Facebook hooked me up to people I thought I’d never see or hear from again, people I totaly forgot about, people who ended up in places and doing things i'd never imagine them doing at all. Had some interesting stories with Facebook, most are funny ones. The most memorable one, i think is the one about my friend Mohammed Al Khayat.

Mohammed was a very close friend back in University. We spent about 3 of my college years being quite close. He was the kind of friends that you don't see often, but once you meet up, you'd spend hours catching up on stuff with. He was decent and from a very good family. A respectable and straight up kindda guy.

He graduated one semester ahead of me and on my last graduating-senior semester, I was overloaded with a massive 21 credit load that I needed to complete to graduate. So, we didn't see much of each other.

Two years after graduation, I visited Egypt and I took my little black phonebook that had all college years telephone numbers I had. Back then, mobile phones where a privilege which I couldn't afford, all my numbers were stored in my little pocket size notebook.

I called Mohammed's home but I couldn't get through. Something was wrong with the numbers I had I guessed.

Mohammad was also a good friend of a girl I used to date back in college. I tried calling her, but the conversaion got really awkward. So, I dropped that whole search campaign.

About a year ago, I got my hands on an Alumni Directory. I looked up Mohammed's name and contact details but they were identical to the ones i had in my little blackbook. It seems the area he lived had the codes or numbers changed and no one was able to get me the proper numbers. I tried googling his name, but I always got really odd hits.

Few months ago with this whole Facebook business started, I found 3 of his high school friends. One was in Canada, so he didn't know anything about Mohammed and the 2 other guys who didn't hear anything about him as well. "You know how it is bro, everyone went his way after graduation," one of them told me. "i don't see anybody of my college friends anymore."

I agree.

Last month, while in London, I was in a really boring business meeting and trying to find a way to amuse myself during one of its sessions. I logged on facebook using my mobile and found a 'Friend Request' from a girl who used to be one of Mohammed's close group of friends.

She also happened to live in the UK. I told her i was in London and called her on the phone:

Me: Hi!! What an amazing coincidence... did you know that I am here (In the UK)?
Her: No.. I saw your name on one of my friends facebook profiles.. Its been ages, how are you?
Me: Great... I love this facebook thing. Its awesome! Btw, I’ve been looking for Mohammad Khayat for YEARS! No one knows anything about him .. are you guys in touch? Is he on Facebook?
Her: (voice changes) Oh ... i am sorry to tell you this but Mohammed passed away few months ago. He died in a car accident with his sister and niece. He was driving.. I am sorry

My heart still sinks every time I recall that conversation. But I am not sad. Actually, I am relieved in an odd kinda way. I am sure he is in a better place now.

I only wish, sometimes, that I tried harder, or maybe if Facebook was more popular a year ago or so. Maybe he'd known about my news, about me getting married and having a child.

Friends, are as good as much as you know about them and their news. When you know what they are up to and are in constant touch with them. And when if discover a friend has passed on or passed away, they have given you the best gift any friend can have, good memories you carry with you forever.

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After six agonising months

Etisalat people just hooked up my Internet an hour ago, i am officially back in business.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Screwed by Salik

I am still waiting for Etisalat to hock up our building. Its been almost 6 months now and we are still on Etisalat's to-do list to get telephone and Internet. Unbelievable!

Yup, you guessed it right. Salik is the reason why i re-surfaced today.

I didn't want to comment on Dubai’s latest money collection scheme. Though I did stick the orange tags on all our cars, this toll system is not supposed to affect me or my wife's travel to work.

My trip to work is a 5 minutes drive that doesn't involve having go on Sh. Zayed Road in the first place. My house is actually (and geographically) located outside the so called "Salik-Zone".

This morning I discovered that I could never be more wrong.

As I drove out of my house heading on my normal route out of Barsha northbound toward Jabal Ali, I noticed the short/tiny side road that I take every morning was way too active than it usually is.

Then it all got revealed: a 2KM long queue of cars lined up all the way to the end of the road.

It was Sharjah deja vou all over again.

Knowing the way around my own neighborhood, I took the first turn out of that street. Few lefts and rights and I am forced into to getting on Sh. Zayed Road, on the opposite direction to work and straight under the first Salik panel, forcing myself into a U-trun, under passing the second ugly pale-orange panel in the opposite direction again. Total damage: Longer trip plus chucking Dhs 8.

So, here is the deal:

Before Salik:
My trip to work took up to 5 to 6 minutes max. And I don't have to get on Sh. Zayed Road anyways.

Thanks to Salik now, I have 2 options:
(1) Pay: Forced to get on Sh Zayed Road, my trip is 15 to 20 minutes longer and it costs me Dhs 8 /day more
(2) Don't pay: My trip will take at least 30 to 45 minutes longer to get to work.

If RTA is reading this, I hope you are proud.

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