28 February 2008

Bahrain's Good, Bad & Ugly

The Good:

MANAMA: The financial performance of BMMI last year was one of the best ever recorded. Sales revenues grew by five per cent to an all-time high of BD59.7 million ($158.5m) compared with BD57m for the previous year.

MANAMA: Unicorn Investment Bank saw earnings rise by 82 per cent last year, to $122 million from $66.9m in 2006.

MANAMA: The National Hotels Company (NHC) posted net profit of BD5.827 million ($15.5m) last year. The results show an increase of a record 95 per cent, up from BD3m in 2006.

MANAMA: Nass Corporation net profit rose 23.41 per cent last year to BD8.251 million ($21.7m) from BD6.686m in 2006.

And so it goes on, and on, and on for a few more pages about how many corporates made so and so million and how net profits are increasing and bla bla bla and other things that don't really affect your average Bahraini dude.

The Bad:

COUNCILLORS, who initially blocked a new 52-storey tower block in Juffair, did a U-turn yesterday by giving it the go-ahead, despite protests from residents in the area. An application to construct a new Almoayyed Tower was submitted to the Manama Municipal Council, which initially vetoed the project because it was too high, not all the required documents were submitted and the residents objected.

Don't we already have enough towers in Bahrain? This isn't development; it's just plain ridiculous. The last Moayyed Tower we had, previously Bahrain's tallest building, is quite a disaster. Besides the really bad infrastructure, the area around it has become packed with traffic jam after another, as employees struggle to find parking and end up blocking the road with their cars. As if Juffair isn't congested enough already? And helloooo, the residents STILL object to it!

PARLIAMENT'S biggest single bloc, Al Wefaq, is still deciding whether to boycott next week's session, following a furious clash which halted Tuesday's meeting in just 10 minutes.

What are you guys, retards? How the %$#@ is boycotting an official session supposed to solve anything? I swear, we should burn the whole lot of you and replace you with people who know how to deal with things in a diplomatic fashion. I remember seeing videos of officials and so on in other countries fighting physically and riots going on inside parliment halls, and figured it was a bit of a joke, something we would never get here. But nope, I was wrong, as proved by yesterday's two hour Mortal Kombat-esque session. Gotta love our MP's.

BAHRAIN is in the grip of an obesity epidemic with more than a third of its Bahraini population overweight, officials warned yesterday. "The results of a new Non-Communicable Diseases National Survey have revealed that 35.9 per cent of them (Bahrainis) have an abnormal body mass index," said Health Ministry training and planning assistant under-secretary Dr Fawzi Amin.

Obesity epidemic, they're calling it. EPIDEMIC. I can picture us in the future, looking back at these times, and saying, I remember the disaster days of 2008, when we had the obesity EPIDEMIC. Life was difficult, it was rice and fried food everywhere.

The Ugly:

MANAMA: Bahrain's expatriate population almost doubled last year thanks to a major influx of manpower, according to figures from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The Economic Indicators report released yesterday showed the country's population reached 1,046,814 last year, 41 per cent up on 2006. The annual population growth among non-Bahrainis jumped to 82.5pc last year.

The population growth figure amongst Bahrainis also rose dramatically, from 2.3pc in 2006 to 15.3pc last year. Bahrain's population is now estimated at 529,446 Bahrainis and 517,368 expatriates. This compares to 459,012 Bahrainis and 283,549 expatriates in 2006.

This isn't growth, this is a disaster. Can you explain the ridiculous traffic rush that appeared over the past two years? Can you explain the unbelievable surge in land prices, and even though supply increases, they're still all filled up? Can you explain the increasing strain on resources? And hell, 459,012 BAHRAINI'S don't naturally shoot up to 529,446 BAHRAINI's in two years. There are two possible explainations here;

1- Bahraini's are very sexually active, in overdrive, infact, and can't afford a decent pack of, erm, birth control (because of inflation, of course)

Or 2- We've managed to nationalize quite a lot of foreigners.

Now I don't disagree with us throwing passports around, but hell, not like this. This isn't a population rise, this is an avalanche. And we have twice as many labourers here now? Shaky things are stirring. No, shaky things have been stirred, and now we're wondering what the hell is really going on with our country.

26 February 2008

Random Junk

Procastination loves me. I have a long list of things i'm supposd to do, and somehow that list keeps growing. I do this thing every now and then where I write all these down, and try to do them and cross them off one by one, but I end up losing the paper somewhere and completing like, one, out of ten items. Blah.

The thing is, most of them are small items that don't take much time at all to complete, such as changing a light bulb, or calling the plumber to fix something. However, I have items that i've been putting off since the beginning of February.

That's February last year. Goddamit, procastination doesn't just love me, she's actually married to me. Anybody got an idea of how to kill her off?

- Ok, besides that, anybody watch the Oscars? Wow, now there's a show. Last night I realized what my goal in life was; it's to win an Oscar. I know that I probably will not rest and will not feel satisfied with life until I manage to get one. So from today onwards, that will be my ultimate goal in life, and every action I perform from today onwards will be just another step towards having that little naked gold dude hanging up on a shelf in my living room.

- I think i've come to the conclusion that life isn't about work. Work isn't really going to get you anywhere, and don't give me that crap about 'making a living'. When was the last time you've seen a millionaire who got there by being employed? Sure, there's the odd Wall Street banker and so on but overall, jobs don't really make you money. You need to go out there and do something different, figure out a new way of making money, start a business, sell drugs, you get the point.

- I'm trying to film a short 2 minute movie. A fun action sequence. Getting all the idiots who are supposed to act in it/help film it together in one place at one time CANNOT BE THIS DAMN DIFFICULT! God. We'll try for this weekend then.

- I went to this audition thing for a TV show the other day; they didn't tell us exactly what it was but it's supposedly some sort of game show where the final prize is around 10 million Riyals. That's a little under 4 million dollars. I told all my friends that, if I win, i'm going to ignore all of them, and go out and actually buy new friends. I hope I win, because they didn't seem to take what I said lightly. Also, I swear i'm going to be the biggest bum in the world if I win, just because I can.

- Would you guys STOP SENDING ME those stupid Friends For Sale application requests on Facebook?

- I'm working on another website, you might have seen the little logo on the top left of the page (BahrainTalent). Check it out; I haven't put anything there yet besides an introduction, but right now i'm rounding up a few people to get featured. Should be fun. If you produce music, DJ or anything else, you should also check it out.

- Happy National & Liberation Days Kuwait!

- My brain is full of ideas. They're really good ones. If you're interested, i'm selling each idea for $200 dollars. Contact me for my bank details.

That's all for today.

25 February 2008

As I write this i'm sitting in the car, i'm at a traffic light and i've been here, stopped for almost 10 minutes. The causeway behind me is packed, people are blasting their horns, irritated by having to wait this long.

And why? It's because some royal shaikh or something is supposed to pass by on the road infront of us, and so every single other road is blocked until they make a safe, uninterrupted passage.

Having to do this and cause one hell of a mess on the roads for everyone else, during rush hour no less, can only suggest two things. One, whoever is passing is worried about safety, meaning he might not be liked very much,or two, mr royalty is not supposed to experience traffic jams.

Lets assume the second one. Now why the hell not? Maybe if you guys actually felt a little bit of this ridiculous traffic rush we go through every single effin' day, you might go out there and use your 'powers' to actually do something about the roads.

Oh look, here they go, passing by with no jams or traffic, while we sit here. A good 15 mins after I first stopped, the traffic light turns green, finally!

'Being what you want to be' gone wrong

I'm a firm believer that you have the power to be whatever you want to be. If you want something strongly enough, and you have the willpower and persistance, you will achieve it.

However, some things are pretty much out of reach. If you are a 39 year old man, for example, you cannot be a teenage school-girl, no matter how much willpower and persistance you have.

"Girl" at school was 39-year-old man

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese man was arrested for trespassing this week after turning up at a high school dressed in a girl's uniform and a long wig, local police said.

Thirty-nine-year-old Tetsunori Nanpei told police he had bought the uniform over the Internet and put it on to take a stroll near the school in Saitama, north of Tokyo, on Wednesday, the daily Asahi Shimbun said.

When students standing outside the gates started to scream at the sight of him, he dashed inside the school grounds, hoping to blend in with the crowds of teenagers, the paper said. They also screamed, forcing the man to flee, losing his wig in the process. A school clerk pursued him and stopped him at a nearby riverbank, the paper said.

Police confirmed the arrest of the man in school uniform and wig but declined to give further details.
And with this, I say that you should almost always follow your dreams to be whatever you want to be, but not always.

24 February 2008

My Faith in Humanity

I left the supermarket and walked towards the car, and saw someone coming closer as I got in. A young man, probably around the same age as me give and take a few years, came up to me and said 'excuse me?'...

He looked as if he wanted to ask for something, so I looked at him and asked what he needed. He said, 'i'm sorry for asking this' looking a little embarrassed, 'but can I ask you where you live?'. I figured he needed a ride somewhere, but I was already late and really didn't have much time to pick up a random stranger (considering that he wasn't a hot female). Anyhow, he continued, saying he had somehow ran out of money and his car was empty on gas, and he wanted to borrow some cash and bring me the money back later/tommorow.

Now, generally i'm the sort of person who likes helping people out. Unfortunately, I do that with a bit of naiveness, and that as life passed, I managed to go through a few situations that reduced my trust in the honesty of mankind. Once for example (a long time ago), an old man walked into the bank I worked at; he sat down, had a little chat with me, somehow managed to convince me that he knew my dad, and somehow also managed to convince me to lend him 10 dinars to buy food for his family, which he wanted to pay back the next day (some crap about his government check not arriving, bla bla). A nice, old man, and me being the naive guy who likes helping people, decided he seemed credible enough. Well, I never saw him again.

That's the problem; a few cases like this and I decided i'll stop believing people actually needed help. Doesn't that cause a problem, however, for the few people who really do need help? I honestly do want to help, but I don't necessarily want to get taken advantage of. So what to do?

I remember a case where a guy once stopped his car near mine and asked me for money; he was from another country and somehow spent all his cash, and needed enough to fill up gas to drive back home. I told this guy to go f**k himself. The fancy car he was driving also made his little story a tad unbelievable.

Anyhow; I looked at the guy infront of me, pondered a while, and checked my wallet; I had a single dinar, enough for a little gas to get him wherever he wanted to go. I figured that there is a chance he wasn't telling the truth, but it's only a dinar, and the difference it would make to him had he been telling the truth is significantly more than the annoyance I would get if I find out I was ripped off for a dinar.

He asked for my number, and I gave it to him; he asked where I live, and promised he'll pass by tommorow to drop off the money. I said, sure, whatever; i'm not really worried about the cash, but I guess by tommorow i'll know if I can renew my faith in the honesty of humanity, or if I should be a total ass about helping people from now on.

A Frustrated Hillary

Barack Obama has won 11 primaries and caucuses in a row, diminishing Hillary Clinton's chances of a victory. She still has a chance, mind you, if she wins both the upcoming Ohio and Texas primaries. Overall, however, the future doesn't look too bright for her, as both of these races seem pretty close.

So what do you do, when you feel in a moment of frustration? Lash out at the next candidate, of course; and so in a vicious attack, Hillary desperately tries to pursuade the people that Obama is, infact, an evil little liar. Nice. Way to get the people to get the people to warm up to you.

Look, you can almost see the horns sticking out of the top of her head.

But either way, stupid move, Mrs Not-President, stupid move. Even if you are going head to head against Barack, you're not supposed to show this sort of hostility. You're not credible, in the sense of talking crap about your opponent. Get your party to do the dirty work for you, while you go out there and smile, dammit, smile! Oh well.

Shame on you, Barack Obama? Didn't you hear the Akon song, Hillary? You're supposed to take the blame!

Obama '08 then, I guess.

23 February 2008

How to Become a Rock Star

"I have known some bitter people in my life who never did what they wanted to do, and I didn't wanna be that person." — Jonathan Coulton

A very inspiring story of a person whose decided they've had enough with their day to day job, quit, and pursued their dream of becoming a rockstar in a little under a year.

How to Become a Rock Star

Beautiful. Ok guys, anyone feel like quitting with me?

21 February 2008

Things that Never Happen to Me

I never get money accidentally put in my bank account by my bank. I've actually worked in a bank before, and i've seen it; these mistakes are more common than you would think, and yes, they happen a lot. But do they ever happen to me? Hell no! I got some money deducted from my account once, and it took a good month or so to manage to convince the bank that they screwed up and to refund me. But extra cash in my favor? Noooo...

Bank accidentally gives man $5 million

NEW YORK - A man was charged with withdrawing $2 million from an account after a bank confused him with a man who has the same name. Benjamin Lovell was arraigned Tuesday on grand larceny charges. The 48-year-old salesman said he tried to tell officials at Commerce Bank in December that he did not have a $5 million account

Lovell said he was told it was his and he could withdraw the money.

Prosecutors said the bank — which advertises itself as America's Most Convenient Bank — confused Lovell with a Benjamin Lovell who works for a property management company.

The lesser-funded Lovell gave away some of the withdrawn money and blew some of it on gifts, but lost much of it on bad investments, prosecutors said.

A bit of a philosophical twister there; if the bank puts money in your account, and you spend it, is it your fault? Reminds me of one time when one of my staff members accidentally transferred 1,807,902 dinars (it was supposed to be 1,807.902; he missed the dot) into somebody's account. Thankfully we got a call the same day from the head office screaming at us at why we transferred that much money in favor of some average Joe. To say the least, we reversed the incorrect entry very damn quickly.

I don't even know why the guy from the above story was still in the country. Dude, 2 words; AIRLINE TICKET!

19 February 2008

And my previous post meant...

Some seemed baffled by the little riddle in the previous post. In reality, it's not a riddle. It's all about our life, and it affects us all.

All i'm saying is, you might be stuck in a mundane life revolving around your job. You might hate your job because you have too much work to do (or too little), or if the work is too difficult (or too easy). You might hate your life because you feel that you're not contributing anything, that you're just wasting away, doing nothing useful for yourself or for mankind. You always wanted to be great when you were younger, and now you've grown up and realized this isn't the reality you envisioned. You're stuck in a routine of life, day in, day out, and life somehow became tasteless.

But this isn't a dead end. No. Life doesn't have to hold you back from your dreams, from doing what you want, from feeling useful, from feeling great. It won't be easy, but achiveing it is very, very possible. You have the choice, either to get up off your ass and move out of your comfort zone, your regular routine that, although tasteless, tiring and mundane, is safe and is what you're used to. It's tough to shake that off.

Society dictates that we have to have a specific type of job, to get a specific type of title, make a specific amount of money, and so on. But when you look around you, are these really the rules we have to follow?

I'll give examples. Once I met a street painter; she worked on the side of a busy road in Boston, and we had a little chat. Turns out she has a law degree from a highly reputed university, used to work in a big shot company, had the classy apartment, the fancy car and so on. But somehow, she wasn't happy, and something was missing. A few years of stress and unhappiness later, she decided to quit her job, give up the fancy life, sell the car and move into a tiny apartment. Why? She wanted to do what she loved for a living; painting. Although her life was completely changed, she couldn't have been happier, and the sparkle in her eyes proved it.

Another example; a friend of mine was a big shot supervisor in a company; he recieved a pretty good salary, but was always under stress, and was at work most of his day. Responsibilities to take care of one day, business flight here, meeting to catch there, etc etc. The depression showed on his face whenever we would see him (which was rarely), and he didn't look happy at all. One day, all of a sudden, he made the decision to quit, started working a job which paid a little under half his previous salary, but with much easier timing, and hardly any stress. We see him more nowadays, and he's happy. He does a lot of charity work, too, and has joined a number of voluntary organizations. He loves life, he has time to do the things he enjoys, and he has time to spend with the people he wants to be around.

I'm sure the decision for both the above cases was not easy. Far from it. But the result was joy and satisfaction. All i'm saying is, you weigh out your options, you figure what you want from life, you make the choice.

18 February 2008

You make the choice

Meaningless life. Mundane work. Tiring commute. Suffocating uniform. Wasted time. Dead imagination. Uninspired existence.


Passionate creativity. Satisfied self. Beneficial innovation. Realised dreams. Joyful occassions. Great achievements. Beautiful legacy.

It's your life, you make the choice.

Top 10 Bathroom Signs

The problem with these is, if you really needed to go and saw one of them, you'd probably start laughing and wouldn't be able to hold yourself:

I feel I need to go just by looking at this... (Legoland, Denmark)

German sign. Now these guys encourage strict standards.

Best thing Wi-Fi has given us so far; toilet internet. Shame you can't use it here though.

Sign in Korea. Is this sort of thing normal over there?

But i'm real thirsty! What to do...

Sorry. Had a heavy lunch...

No pissing on the floor. If that's your sort of thing, why even use a toilet in the first place?

Toilets were made for pissing. For everything else, get a room.

So that's why women spend so much time in the bathroom!

Afghanistan sign!

17 February 2008

A Number Plate or a Big Mac?

In the UAE, the show-off factor is at high levels. Since everyone drives BMW's, Benzes and Bentleys, showing off how rich you really are depends on what number plate you have on your car (and these go for quite a bit of money, sometimes more than the car itself). The government figures this can actually be quite a good opportunity for extra revenue, and therefore auctions out the supposed "prestigious" numbers, which sometimes fetch ridiculous bids.

This Saturday, a record has been broken for the world's most expensive number-plate. Abu Dhabi plate number 1 has been sold for AED 52.5 million (thats $14.2 million US dollars) to Saeed Khouri.

Damn dude.

So, lets just suppose Mr Khouri decided not to buy the number-plate, what could he have gotten instead? Here are a few options:

1- Private Island:

For $14 million, you could get your hands on this beautiful 373 acre island in Panama, which makes an excellent prospect for either investment (ie, turning it into a resort), or residential development to harbor the ultimate lavish life-style.

2- Two Private Jets:

For $14 million, you could get your hands on a stunning pair of these luxurious Learjets. The utmost pinnacle of luxury, and the ability to fly wherever you want, whenever you want. And hey, when one runs out of gas, you still have the other one!

3- Eighty Bentley GT's:

For $14 million, you could get your hands on eighty Bentley GT's. Picture a ride of the utmost luxury, for you and the rest of the neighborhood!

3- Five Million & Six Hundred Thousand Big Mac's:

For $14 million, you could get your hands on 5,600,000 McDonald Big Mac's. To put this in perspective, that's a Big Mac every day for every single day of your life, for ONE HUNDRED AND NINTEY ONE PEOPLE. Yummy.


Quick weekend in Dubai, some pics, few words:.




Ugliest doll in the world. Seriously.

More traffic:

Drive slowly? Really?

Hip shaking African Dude:

Chinese Section, Global Village:

Vietnamese Goods:

Nice towel:

And yep, you guessed it, more traffic:

14 February 2008

A Weekend Off

Going to Dubai for a quick weekend getaway. See you back here Sunday!

13 February 2008

A Saudi Valentine

So Saudi is pretty strict in general, with just about everything. They have something called "The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" which is supposed to be some sort of religious police. What they are, however, is a bunch of old bearded guys that drive around in GMC's looking for anything that might resemble people enjoying life.

Their tasks include walking around the popular shopping malls to make sure no flirting is going on, making sure women are fully covered and reveal no form of their body at all, driving around during prayer time and arresting (beating) kids who aren't at the mosque praying (wait, shouldn't these guys be praying during prayer time?).

Their tasks don't end there, and the list goes on and on. Now, however, they've managed to put their greasy hands on the event called Valentines Day. Valentines Day? OH LORD, the blasphemy! No, no, no.

Last Valentine they banned all florists from selling red roses, but no goddamit they had to top it this year; so they went around and banned every single flower and gift shop from selling not only red roses, but ANYTHING red. Yup. If you wanted to buy a red box, for example? Well, tough. Want to wrap a gift in red? Nope. Want to just buy a red string? Nu uh, that ain't allowed either.

I have nothing for or against Valentine. I think it's a stupid occassion, but hell, if you wanna go ahead and celebrate, go the f**k ahead. I ain't bothered. But to totally ban everything red 'just in case' some guy wants to buy his wife a flower? This ain't just about Valentine's day. This is about a bunch of retarded morons trying to impose rules that not only make for a really crappy quality of life, but end up causing half the problems that the youth of Saudi face today (who would otherwise grow up as really intelligent, hardworking people). Thanks for really screwing up Saudi, guys.

So no wonder you get people like Bin Laden coming up out of Saudi; I guess when you're totally sexually repressed, blowing things up doesn't seem like a totally bad idea.

12 February 2008

Don't like your Job, eh?

I know most of you probably hate your jobs. I hear the complaints from people day after day; people who want to leave, applying to other jobs, hating the work they do, complaining about their life and having to wake up every day, don their suits and drive off to work in the heavy stressful traffic. Whether it's a bank, company, university, or so on, work is tough.

I feel how you feel. I know it's tough. It is.

Sometimes your boss doesn't listen to you, especially when you try to contribute something useful,

Bosses reportedly locked over 1,000 protesting workers inside their labour camp yesterday.

and sometimes your office isn't great. Or perhaps your working conditions aren't perfect; maybe your computer isn't the latest model, and maybe you don't get your own parking spot,
on strike for the past two days demanding better pay, hot water, better medical facilities and other basics such as lights in the toilets

and through all that tough work, your pay still definately doesn't cut it. Right?
the workers were being paid a basic salary of BD45 every month, but it comes to a total of BD60 after overtime

Ah yes. Life sucks, doesn't it.

MANAMA: A striking worker pleads his case for a better deal through the fence after bosses reportedly locked over 1,000 protesting workers inside their labour camp yesterday.The men, who are working on the $6 billion (BD2.26bn) Durrat Al Bahrain project, have been on strike for the past two days demanding better pay, hot water, better medical facilities and other basics such as lights in the toilets. Meanwhile, in a separate strike around 250 employees at Mohsin Haji Ali Group also downed tools yesterday demanding better pay and living conditions.

One of the workers, who didn't want to be named, told the GDN that their salaries were very low and that they lived like animals. "There are no proper facilities and no good beds. We have tried repeatedly to make the management aware of our problems but to no avail," he said.

Another employee said he and some others have developed a skin disease by living in the cramped conditions. "Ten people share a room and the quality of the beds is pathetic," he said.

Sources said the workers were being paid a basic salary of BD45 every month, but it comes to a total of BD60 after overtime. The workers claim that the company cuts BD5 every month as air ticket money for the "protection against us wanting to leave mid-contract".

Company officials would not comment on record, but one official told the GDN they would call the police if the strike continued today. "This is illegal and we will take all possible steps to thwart such actions," he said. He claimed the workers were "paid fairly", but added that their living conditions would be looked into.

10 February 2008

Shoulda Been a Kodak Moment

So i'm standing in line at Hardees (Fast-food joint; think one step up above Mcdonalds), and ordering. Right behind me are three 20-something girls, all dressed up and so on.

I finish ordering, step aside and give them room to order. One of them has a seriously big butt. I don't mean big ugly, I mean big as in nice. Still, I avoid staring.

I turn away and see the guy sitting at the table behind us. Probably in his forties, sitting alone on a table, facing the counter. Facing the girl's butt. Holding a huge burger with two hands and biting into it. Staring.


Biting into the burger again. Still staring. His eyes never move off the booty.

Staring. A bit of mayonnaise has splurged on the side of his mouth now. Disgusting. He's still staring. Eyes huge, wide open. Staring like he's watching the final deciding goal of the World Cup.

Totally hilarious scene. I'm so disappointed I didn't take a photo of that.

9 February 2008

It's how good?

You gotta love KFC. It's really good.

So damn good, actually, that they sometimes need to use expletives to describe how good it is:

(Click for large size)

8 February 2008

Bahrain Metal

If you enjoy the local music scene, or just want a good laugh, check out Thee Project 666. They're two of my friends, actually, who have come up with a metal/rock/punk/whatever band, fusing the whole Bahraini culture thing into Metal.

Listen to it, it's a bit nuts, especially if you focus on what they're singing about. Example;

Kredit: A song about a guy (desperate lover) trying to call a girl he just met, but doesn't have enough, well, call credit.

Cubicle: If you ever watched Saudi TV back in the 80's/90's, the tune for this song should be very familiar

Chai Chai: A cover version of the famous Sultaneez song. If you're Bahraini, you must have heard the original at least once in your life, and you MUST hear this.

There are a few more, so stop reading and go check it out (even if you're not into metal, you have to hear it just for the sake of it):

Yes, that is a mehyawa bottle. Ahem.

7 February 2008

We Still Wait.

PS. I wrote this about a month ago but for some reason I never got around to posting it; that's why the below event looks a bit late

We, the people of Bahrain, wait for our turn.

This week celebrates the vision of Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoom, and how he pioneered the vision to turn Dubai and the Emirates into a global powerhouse. Less than 15 years ago, Dubai and the Emirates was hardly known to the rest of the world; nowadays, they are synonomous with success, luxury and the new age of globalization.

I personally oversaw the growth of Dubai; back in 1996, I visited Dubai, a city with semi-empty shopping malls, huge markets, roads too big for the minimal traffic, and lots and lots of desert. It made you think; why would you build something so large for a non-existent market?

It didn't take long for the answer to surface. By 1998, I was studying in the UAE; the empty malls I had seen were all full of shops and shoppers, the roads were filling up, and the desert making way for huge new developments. By the time I left in 2003, Dubai was so ridiculously busy that serious expansion was needed, and the expansion was underway. We, the people of Bahrain, wait for the same success.

I left the city for 3 years. When I visited again in 2006, the city had doubled in size. The levels of growth have been so extreme, that I failed to recognize most of the city I was once knew like the back of my hand.

Prosperity for it's people, wealth for it's inhabitants, growth for it's citizens. Sure, there were the nuisances; the extra traffic, the rush, the stress, but still, the benefits far exceeded the negatives. Prosperity, wealth, and growth. That is what Dubai has provided to it's people. I feel a tear of happiness for my Emarati neighbors; it's a beautiful thing to feel so content, beautiful to have a leader so great help turn your country into the paradise that it is. And that is what we, the people of Bahrain, were waiting for.

Now I ask this; Bahrain, a country that only twenty years ago, was so far ahead of Dubai (and the rest of the Gulf countries) in terms of development, education, infrastructure, and so on, is where today? Dubai has managed to grow with the help of it's leaders, and with it grew the rest of the Emirates. We still see poverty in the nooks and crannies of Bahrain. Sure, we see development, we see a few new towers and buildings, we see new shopping malls, we see Formula 1 tracks, and so on. But real growth? Somehow, it all feels synthetic. It all feels synthetic because the local people of Bahrain have not felt this growth; the unemployed still exist, and more than the numbers shown through the official media. The low wages still prevail. The people are still not prosperous. Dig a little deeper and you will see discontent, sadness, and anger.

Why? Dare I ask why? Or should I try to answer?

We as the people of Bahrain have been looking and waiting, waiting for opportunity, waiting for hope. But over the years, we see others grow, and we keep waiting. It has still not been given to us; the children of this country are made to find their chance outside this little island, all over the rest of the world. Those of us who stay here suffer injustice, let-downs, and discontent. Yet, we wait for our chance, that one day may come and pull us out of the deep hole we have been pushed into.

We still wait.

Blowing Up a City

Don't you love the creativity of some people? Geoffrey Fryatt, a resident of the city of Brisbane, Australia, lost most of his life-savings in a fraud carried out by his financial advisor. This drove him over the edge, and so the guy decided to drown out his woes with a few drinks.

Well, after (more than a) few drinks, ol' Geoffrey decides to get all terroristic, and goes out in the street with a knife and the detonator to a large store of chemical bombs, horrifying neighbours and screaming out "One push of the button will blow up half of Brisbane!"

Freaky. So the police are called in with the elite paramilitary force, wishing and hoping that they could bring him down before he could press the button on the detonator and cause horrible destruction to their lovely city. After a very tense stand-off, the police finally opened fire with rubber bullets, knocked out the detonator, and saved the day.

Did they find the store of chemical bombs, however?


Because the 'detonator' was actually a TV remote.


5 February 2008

The Evolution of TV

I've been trying to buy a new TV for the past year, but every time I decide on something, it seems a newer model comes out. By the time I re-think my decision and decide on the newer model, and even newer one comes out. Bloody hell. Plasma, LCD, 720p, 1080p, HDTV, etc... Was it always this tough to keep up with the TV trend?

Well, besides Facebook, TV's are probably the number one time-waster in today's world, and probably the reason you don't have any friends (or need any friends, actually). The TV companies are also trying to make TV's cooler day by day to make sure all you all want one; after all, they weren't always cool. Take a look:

Early 1900's:

TV's weren't totally electric back in the day. They were semi-mechanical, had huge bodies, but the screens were tiny:

1928 G.E. Octagon

You see that little round piece of glass all the way at the top of the TV? Yup. That was the screen. Ah yes; i'm sure the full theatre experience was overwhelming.

1928 Baird Model C

Anyway, moving on - as the years passed, the screen stayed small, but at least the size of the whole TV was more compact, so now you can put it on a table. Or on your lap. Or take it with you to the bathroom if you really didn't want to miss Desperate Housewives.

1930 Baird Televisor

Pre World-War II:

In the few years before WW2, the fully electric TV was perfected, and with this, many countries started broadcasting. Although still expensive, TV's relatively became a lot cheaper, and because no one had internet yet, they became more wide-spread. It was a great time to be anti-social.

Electric TV's didn't need all the space that the mechanical ones did, so the units were smaller and much more manageable:

1939 Andrea 1F5

1937 Cossor 437T

And then came the second world war and all TV production stopped, and many channels stopped broadcasting too. It was a time for people to go out and make real friends again, as the war went on.

Post World-War II:

During the war, families couldn't buy much, and therefore managed to save up quite a bit of money. As soon as the war was over in 1945, people went out to buy things, and TV's were placed on the "gotta have it" list. The real boom in TV's happened in the next few years.

TV's now were more portable than ever, and most looked like little radios:

1948 Admiral 19A111

1948 Philco 48-700


The fifities signalled some very interesting developments for the TV; design-wise, they started looking more like TV's we would recognize today, and started reaching sizes where you don't have to squint your eyes to see the image. Also, some color TV's finally started to creep in with the rest of the bunch (yep, all the TV's above were, infact, black and white):

1953 Philips ATX100

1957 RCA 21 inch

But of course, most TV's were American or European built, (some made in Russia and Brazil). But after the destruction WWII caused in Japan, an empire based on technology was rebuilt in the far east, and hence came the first real Japanese made TV:

1953 Sharp TV3-14T

Visual radio, they called it.

Anyhow, with the whole boom in television making, the number of households with TV's just in the US increased by almost 1200%. By the beginning of the 1950's, only 8% of US households had TV's, but by the end of the decade, this number shot up to 87%.

The remote control was also finally created, turning an already lazy device into a total couch potato maker. This magnificent invention was hailed with words like "MAGIC" and "SPACE COMMAND" and so on :) The first design looked more like a gun, click below for some really funny ad's:

Remote Control AD 1

Remote Control AD 2


Lots happened in this era; color TV's became more and more popular (expensive color TV's were actually introduced in the fifties, but most people stuck to their cheaper black and whites then), more countries started broadcasting, and home video recorders were also created. TV's were now a regular part of the home; take a look, some of you might remember some of the models below, or something close at least:

1960 Sony Portable

1970 Keracolor - You might remember this (supposedly) futuristic design if you've ever lived in the UK in the 70's

1973 Philco 13inch - Look at those dials!

1974 Sony Color 19inch - Love the rabbit antenna!

1974 Zenith - This wooden look was actually considered fashionable back in the day

1975 Sony Betamax - The first home video recorder

Remember these betamax video tiny tapes?

1979 Portland 19inch


Yup, the TV was finally starting to look like the design we are familiar with today. Remote control slowly started becoming less expensive (it used to be an extra $400 or so just to have a remote control) and became really popular by the end of the 80's/early 90's. TV's also had this wooden look which was supposed to be classy, but that was soon replaced with the wood/silver (well, grey) look, and later in the 90's again replaced with the plain black plastic look.

1980 Magnavox 19inch - clicking those buttons; CHAK, CHAK, CHAK!

1984 Zenith

1991 Sony Trinitron

1995 Elite Projection

Projector TV's also started appearing as consumer demanded bigger screens and the full theatre experience. They were actually introduced to the market in the middle of the 80's, but only really took off by the mid-90's as their prices came down to reasonable levels. They still weren't very clear to watch though in bright rooms. Anyhow, the TV had reached a milestone in 1996, as by that time there were a total of 1 billion TV's world-wide. Whew.

In 1997, Pioneer introduced the first Plasma TV to the market, and suddenly having a TV wasn't just a necessity, it was actually 'cool'. Plasma technology was around for quite a while, but only in this year was it actually sold to the public.

1997 Pioneer 50" Plasma

2000-Modern Day:

Having a TV was now cool. Plasma TV's, then LCD screens, then HDTV's and so on, slim enough to put in your room and make all that old furniture you have look stylish. Yup, TV's were the one thing you needed to make any home look modern - see the difference:

boring home...

Extra Cool Modern Villa!

And so it goes. Personally, I can't tell the difference between your average plasma, LCD and HDTV. Maybe it's just a conspiracy to get us to pay more for the same stuff. Nevertheless, LCD TV's have now become the mainstream, and cover 50% of all the TV's to be shipped globally in 2008, and they come in all shapes and sizes:

42 inch LCD

12 inch LCD

Sizes? They also keep getting bigger; so far the largest LCD screen has recently been unveiled by Sharp at a whopping 108":

Dude, that's a big TV.

And I guess the coming years will be even more exciting! That's all for now; we've pretty much covered the past 80 years of TV, so hopefully i'll be doing the next of these reviews in 2088. Stay tuned!

Ref: Tvhistory.com, Wikipedia, & About