28 September 2009

Bahrain's Top 50 Power List

Arabian Business is a magazine that's been running for quite a while, and one thing they're good at is picking out and identifying whose who. They've brought us the top 50 richest Arabs a few months ago, and are now down to tackle our own little island with their top 50 most influential people.

This list confuses me a little. It's not the 50 richest, nor is it the 50 in the top positions of power. I guess it's a little bit of everything, fame, fortune, etc. Royal family members are not included apparently because that skews the list, so here you have it.

It's a pretty interesting list. Talal Al Zain tops out at number 1, being CEO of Mumtalakat (which is essentially the holding company for the governments assets, namely Gulf Air, Bahrain International Circuit, major shares in Batelco, National Bank of Bahrain, etc). CEO of that? That's a lotta frickin' power.

Esam Janahi holds the second spot, mainly for his role as Chairman of Gulf Finance House, as well as being on the board of a bunch of other companies. A regular employee just over a decade ago, Esam pushed forward with GFH to create one of the biggest Islamic investment banks in the region back in '99; we're talking about initiative such as energy cities in countries all over the world, economic development zones, and those two emerald green towers you see from almost any spot in Bahrain. And that's hardly scratching the surface; GFH has done a LOT, with many investment banks in the country and region opening to try and follow course.

The Kanoo's make an obvious appearance in the top 10. So do the Moayyed's, although not the one you would expect; Mona Almoayyed, President of Bahrain's Businesswomen Society, MD of Y K Almoayyed, and achievement spanning being the first woman to be elected to the board of the Bahraini Chamber & Commerce. Lovely.

Number 5 gives me a bit of a shiver when I read his history; Menir Kirdar, who originally escaped from Iraq as a child hiding in a rolled up carpet, is founder of Investcorp, one of the earlier investment banks in the region holding over $13 billion dollars worth of assets, with regional office in London and New York. A bit of a step-up from that rolled up carpet, huh.

The list goes on to cover CEO's, Chairman's, and other people holding up major positions. A few names hold special interest, however. Milan Macala, Coach for the Bahrain football team makes #10, and with good cause. Bringing Saudi to their knees and bringing us that one step closer to the World Cup, Milan is revered as one of the best coaches in West Asia. Will that hold true against New Zealand? Let's wait and see.

Artists also manage to make the list, as we see both Qassim Haddad, probably Bahrain's most famous poet, Al Shaikh, one of our most influential composers, Balqees Fakhro, artist, and Haifa Hussein, actress whose gone on to be featured in TV shows all around the region make the list. I don't necessarily agree with all of these, as I do believe we have more deserving and influential artists, but it's always good to see that this list is not just about business.

What do you think of the list? I personally have a bunch of names I would take out and a few more I would put in there (I would also rank myself at either 27 or 28 somewhere on this list), but generally this gives a good idea of whose who on our little island. Check out the actual list and let me know what you think!

1 Talal Al Zain
2 Esam Janahi
3 Abdulla Ali Kanoo
4 Mona Almoayyed
5 Nemir Kirdar
6 Anwar Abdulrahman
7 Khalid Abdulla Janahi
8 Abdul Rahman Jawahery
9 Steve Harrison
10 Milan Macala
11 Dr Jawaher Al Mudhaki
12 Ahmed Al Noaimi
13 Dr Mohamed Nedal Alchaar
14 Jawad Habib Jawad
15 Khalid Rashid Al Zayani
16 Alan Horne
17 Hassan Ali Al Majed
18 Samer Majali
19 Dr Osama Al Ali
20 Rashid Mohammed Al Maraj
21 Qassim Hadad
22 Khamis Al Muqla
23 Jamil A Wafa
24 Farouk Y K Almoayyed
25 Jassim Al Jowder
26 Akram Miknas
27 Mohammed Dadabhai
28 Peter Kaliaropoulos
29 Mohamed Al Qaed
30 Fouad Rashid
31 Martin Whitaker
32 Fahad Al Rajaan
33 Stephen Rothel
34 Hassan Ali Juma
35 Adel Hassan Bin Ali Al A'Ali
36 Bob Vincent
37 Abdulla Ahmed Nass
38 Khaled Al Sheikh
39 Murad Ali Murad
40 Fathi Al Mohamed
41 Ahmed Al Ameer
42 Faisal Jawad
43 Haifa Hussein
44 Khalid Abdulla Al Bassam
45 Nooruddin A Nooruddin
46 Balqees Fakhro
47 Atif A Abdulmalik
48 Ammar Ali
49 Majid Al Sayed Bader Al Refai
50 Yousof Saad Kamel

ArabianBusiness.com - Bahrain Power List

26 September 2009

Fayez Enta Fayez

Ramadan's over, and I must say, the amount of crap on TV this year was beyond me. We get a whole lot of crap every year, true, but this year just blew the Guinness record off this thing... Everything from drama shows which have no relevance to reality, supposedly funny prank shows that end up repeating the same prank every day to different people and get boring after the second viewing, to to to... It keeps going..

One very special memorable show was from our neighboring Kuwait. We love you guys, but you didn't have to throw this on us. Yup, Shejoon Al Hajiri, otherwise known as Shoojy with her own competition quiz show, unbelievably fake tan, ridiculous laugh, and overall annoying everything. Here's a very short clip so you have an idea of what i'm talking about (don't want to give you anything longer as it might result in brain damage)

And now that Ramadan is over, everything is back to normal, except that ringing in the back of my head every time I try to do anything; fayyyezzz entaaa fayyyeezzz walla faayyyeeezzz AAAARRRRGGGHHHH SHUUUTTTT UPPPPP!! Luckily for me, Thee Project, a heavy metal/rock/alternative band had the cure. They had a concert about 2 days ago at BIC, and performed a little suprise tribute to Shoojy as part of their show. Enjoy.

I was rolling on the floor in laughter! Amazing stuff, and hey, the ringing in the back of my head is gone! Lovely :D

Spread this to anyone whose having trouble sleeping or still faces Shoojy nightmares. For more info on Thee Project and the Reflux concert they performed at, check out Bahrain Talent

19 September 2009


Eid mubarak everyone! And although its supposed to be a very happy
occassion, we all need to be very careful this Eid.

Swine flu never scared me that much, but the way our Ministry of
Health is taking care of it (ie, badly), it starts to become a real
problem. Now, with eid tomorrow, the regular way to greet family and
friends is with a lot of hugging and kissing.

Not Good.

The person you're hugging and kissing might have come in contact with
someone who came in contact with someone who came in contact with
someone who has the flu. And then you go around hugging and kissing
your whole family, eventually meaning a bunch of you are going to fall
sick. And yes, that is going to happen if you don't watch it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to ruin your Eid. Just use common
sense, and avoid very close physical contact. Its less depressing not
hugging and kissing family members than having to say byebye to them
at the hospital.

Spread the word. No hugging and kissing this eid; let's keep it a
happy, disease-free occassion.

Spread the word.


16 September 2009

Swine Flu or Not, a Necessary Ordeal?

Swine flu doesn't scare me much. It's nothing more than a pretty bad flu with more severe symptoms. The chance of death isn't as big as the media makes it out to be, and with the right precautions and action taken, along with some common sense, it should come and go with no issues.

What scares me isn't Swine Flu; it's how we're dealing with it here. We're putting our health and lives in the hands of the Ministry of Health, who keep saying they have everything under control. Do they? Do they, really?

I haven't experienced anything first hand, so i'm copying a letter from a dear friend whose had that experience, hoping it might increase awareness for what's going on.



One cannot appreciate the severity of the situation until faced with the reality of it in the emergency room. For the past few months we have been watching the news on TV from the comfort and luxury of our homes and taking it for granted that the Health Officials have got it under control. Little we knew that the situation was far beyond control!

5 days ago, Ali, our baby boy of 12 months suddenly got high fever, we immediately took him in to a private hospital’s emergency section where they performed some test and confirmed “viral infection”, prescribed some medicine including Tami Flu and sent us home.

The symptoms only got worse the next day and we again went rushing to the same hospital. This time, they examined our baby and prescribed anti-biotic and sent us home again.

Things did not get any better that evening, when our baby’s fever did not come down and this time, he was starting to vomit. We decided enough was enough, and rushed him to the emergency at the Salmaniya Hospital where he was examined and put on IV fluids, and transferred by ambulance to Kanoo Medical Center as a “suspect” case of swine flu.
In the span of a few hours of us being there at Salmaniya, there must have been dozens and dozens of walk-in cases of children with exactly the same symptoms as our baby. It was indeed an outbreak; there was no doubt about it. Whether confirmed cases or not, no one could tell because the Ministry had earlier issued instructions to all to stop testing for H1N1 and immediately start the Tami Flu treatment.

Now here’s where our cry-out for concern comes in.

Upon arriving at Kanoo Center, we noticed that there was no senior in-charge of the whole facility and were told that doctors were not available as they were all too busy at Salmaniya. The facilities may have been new, but the services and support to maintain an acceptable level of competence and hygiene was nowhere to be seen.

Apart from the fact that we did not see the General Consultant assigned to our boy show his face through-out our stay there, he never showed up even after repeated requests by us to see him, which is legally our right.

The cleaning staff was not available when required; it took them 2 days to even replace the bed sheets which were soiled from vomiting. The nurses were helpless without up to date directives from seniors who were nowhere to be found.

The only time a pediatrician showed up was on the 3rd day where we shortly discovered was an intern junior with no senior guidance or shadow. She kept asking the nurses about our boy’s case and could not even give us a straight forward answer when we asked her important questions about our boy’s condition. She was quick to make an exit after feeling a little under the spotlight and never showed up again.

What concerned us the most was how patients were being brought in to the center as “suspect” cases but not being given the serious consideration that comes with the “title”?

Adult “suspect case” patients were brought in with obvious respiratory problems, and put in the same room within only a meter from our boy... only to be tested a day later to confirm their diseases. How could that be justified in a situation where a serious out-break is present which is considered to be more dangerous to children below the age of 5 than adults?

Baby cribs were not even available so mother and baby had to share a bed the whole time while being on IV drip lines throughout.

While on medication, our boy developed other symptoms such as rashes, dipping of the body temperature and yellowish skin tone, and when we put our concerns forward to the nurses, they could not diagnose and no doctor was available to address these concerns.
Can you imagine the state we were in the whole time? NOT KNOWING anything, not being able to speak to a doctor who can answer the simplest questions we had such as “what is wrong with our boy?” or “is this normal?”

When a doctor came to visit on the 4th day, and decided baby Ali needed to have a swab test done for H1N1, knowing very well that the results may take up to 24 hours to come out, Ali was ordered to be discharged the nest morning and no instructions were given to anyone of us as to what to do next! We are yet to get the results, and have not been put on any preventative medication!

My question to the Ministry of Health is:

If the Ministry are under-staffed as we have witnessed “beyond any reasonable doubt” and cannot handle such situations. Then why quickly step up and take complete charge of this situation leaving the general public in limbo as to what to do, where to go and how to go about it?

There are so many private hospitals and clinics in Bahrain that are at this moment in time not authorized to admit or even diagnose suspect cases. What are those hospitals with their luxurious facilities and staff doing right now? Why are they being sidelined when there are obvious shortages at the Ministry facilities?

It is easy to mimic other countries at times of urgency, but do we have the resources, competence and experience to deal with it?

From first-hand experience, I can now say NO! We are far from being able to handle, manage and control a pandemic of any kind. And this should concern every resident of Bahrain that has the right to ask “why?”

Ahmed Baqer

9 September 2009

Metroing About

Car breakdowns.. Traffic jams.. Trying to find a parking spot.. Running out of gas.. Crawling through the traffic.. Car accident blocking the road.. Not being able to drive until you get your license.. Road rage.. Flat tires.. Traffic fines.. No parking zones.. Headache of annual car registration.. Scratching your car.. Getting lost.. Overheating engine.. Road construction.. Potholes.. Expensive repairs.. Running to the parking meter every two hours to put some more coins in.. Annoying drivers.. Blocked roads.. Dead battery.. Getting locked out.. Losing your keys.. Car theft.. The list goes on..

Almost 70 years ago, we discovered oil in the region. There has been milestone after milestone in development.

Today, a new one has been set. Dubai Metro, opening 09/09/09. It's been a long time coming, a little (ahem) over budget, and while talks all over the GCC have mentioned trains, metro's, etc, nothing material has emerged. Dubai has taken action, and has made all the above an obsolete choice for those who wish to use it. May this set the pace for the rest of the region.

Well done Dubai, even with the current situation of the World, you continue to astound.

Metroing About

Sent via BlackBerry® from Batelco

7 September 2009

Swine Flu FAIL

People who think they know it all are pretty amusing (click for large size).

2 September 2009

Mr. Smooth @ City Center

We were all excited when Bahrain City Center was finally opened to the public. Yup, a big new mall, new shops, restaurants, and new outlets full of fun, woohoow!

A little under a year after the mall has opened, it's most striking feature (I think), is actually none of the above. It's one of the traffic warden dudes who works there.

If you've been to City Center on more than one occasion, you must have an idea of what i'm talking about. Always there, on the far exit of the parking lot, slowly guiding the cars out with a smooth, slick motion? Always smiling? And looks pretty damn cool while doing it?

Yup, it's 'that guy' from City Center! If you don't already know him, he's always standing there and smiling. What he's smiling about, we can't really tell, but he alwaaaays manages to make our day, no matter what's been getting on our nerves or stressing us out.

Now this is a guy whose happy; if you can't take that as an example in your life, I don't know what else to tell you. Maybe he escaped from a brutal warzone where everyone was fighting and killing each other, and this job is a perfect heaven in comparison. Or perhaps he's on some sort of Opium or Marijuana or something. I dunno. Either way, he's happy, and that's something to look up to. Check out the video, and enjoy!