Category Archives: Work


It’s been a sightly insane week this week for us… career wise.  Watch this space!



Richard recently visited Bahrain for a couple of days business.

Here are some of the photos he took.

Al Budayyi Street View.

Al Budayyi Street View.

Streetscape, Al Gabbayyi.

Streetscape, Al Budayyi,

Street View, Bahrain.

Street View, Al Budayyi.

Sun setting over beach, Bahrain.

Sun setting over beach, Al Budayyi.

Waterfront homes of Al Budayyi, Bahrain.

Waterfront homes of Al Budayyi.

Oh this won’t last!

Had to laugh at this article explaining that Dubai Bank is going to make the Abaya mandatory for ALL female staff from now onwards.

If you read it carefully you will notice the memo was released by an HR Manager and so far none of the bank officials have been able to confirm it.

My bet: As soon as the officials in Dubai hear of this the bank will be asked to issue a statement correcting this misconception. It will go down as one of those ‘Dubai rumours’.

I mean, even Sheikh Mohammed’s wife doesn’t wear the Abaya for official functions!

The whole thing is ridiculous.

Dubai Bank says all female staff must wear abayas

By Bassma Al Jandaly, Staff Reporter
Published: August 21, 2009, 22:50

Dubai: All female staff at Dubai Bank, Muslim and non-Muslim, must wear a shailah (head scarf) and abaya (black cloak covering the whole body) starting this Ramadan, Gulf News has learnt.

A memo sent to staff on Thursday says the bank has decided that all Muslim and non-Muslim female staff must wear a shailah and abaya.

A Dubai Bank official who would not reveal his name said a memo was issued to this effect by the human resources manager, informing employees that starting from the first day of Ramadan all female employees must wear a shailah and abaya regardless of their religion.

“Our bank is Islamic and must follow Sharia in all respects, which will satisfy our clients,” he said. While the decision takes effect beginning first of Ramadan, it has become a rule and part of the dress code for female employees at all times.

Gulf News contacted Dubai Bank on several occasions, but officials would not comment on the memo. (Editor: Yeah, I bet they wouldn’t.  It seems to have been unofficially released and someone will be asked politely to get their house in order and issue a statement saying it was ‘a false rumour’).

Gulf News has learnt that the proposal on the dress code was made by the bank’s Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board in June and it was endorsed by the management. A circular was then issued on Thursday.

The Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board’s proposal, a copy of which has been obtained by Gulf News, says the abaya should not have any embroidery or decoration on it and must not be coloured.

It says any female staff who does not adhere to this dress code should be advised by the human resources department at the bank to follow it.

If the staff member insists on not abiding by the law then the matter should be brought to the notice of the executive member of the Sharia supervisory board who can decide upon action to be taken against that staff.

The bank will encourage employees to wear a shailah and abaya by providing staff with them. The head of the human resources department has been instructed to ensure that employees adhere to the dress code.

The bank has given employees a grace period until after the Eid holiday after which it will become mandatory.

The proposal, signed by Shaikh Mohammad Taqi Usmani, Chairman of the Fatwa and Sharia Supervisory Board of Dubai Bank, says the move will gain customers’ confidence and help market the bank’s products.

Many customers, the proposal said, choose a bank based upon its appearance before considering other aspects. The dress code is essential in determining the bank’s identity as a Sharia compliant institution.

Strange Days

So they ask my husband to take a pay cut the day after we buy ourselves a coffee machine.

Timing is everything!

Anybightme, here is a picture of the shiny new toy.  I can highly recommend this if anyone is thinking about getting a home machine.  It took us about a week to get it working well, but now we are making some kick-arse coffee!

It also makes great Chai Latte.

The Giotto Rocket Espresso Machine

The Giotto Rocket Espresso Machine


I have now been in Dubai for over 6 months and still no sign of improvement on the job front.

My plan B is London.  Just wondering at what point I am going to crack and get on plane to go search for a job there?

Public Holidays and the Islamic Calendar

Islamic Calendar (Source: University of Cambridge)

Islamic Calendar (Source: University of Cambridge)

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar which has 12 lunar months in a year of about 354 days.

Because this lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, Islamic holy days (public holidays), although celebrated on fixed dates in their own calendar, actually shift 11 days earlier each successive solar year.

It also means that the exact date of a public holiday cannot be determined until approximately a week before the event.

Generally, this means that planning to take a long weekend away is not an opton, although some people try to do this anyway. Take a look at what happens when they announce the date of the public holiday, and then change it at the last minute. I always find the Comments underneath the articles interesting. Parfticulary as the media here is very ‘conservative’ in expressing its views of government activities.

Holiday change angers workers

By Wafa Issa Staff Reporter
Published: March 03, 2009, 23:06

Dubai: Residents working in the private sector feel that the shift of the holiday marking the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) birthday from Monday to Saturday is “discriminatory” as it strips them of a holiday that those in the public sector will enjoy.

Malcolm Kemp, a manager at an Abu Dhabi-based telecommunications company who has his weekends on Fridays and Saturdays, said: “Again, the poor private sector is stitched up regarding the forthcoming public holiday. The decision discriminates between the public and private sector. The Ministry of Labour is sadly out of touch if it assumes that most people in the private sector only have Friday off.”

While the public sector will celebrate the holiday on Sunday, the ministry had announced that, for the private sector, the holiday would fall on Monday. But a circular issued by Minister of Labour Saqr Gobash on Sunday shifted the holiday to Saturday.

Some in the private sector have a one-day weekend, which falls on Friday, while others have a two-day weekend that includes Saturday. Those who have a two-day weekend would therefore miss out on the holiday if it falls on a Saturday.

Gobash had earlier told Gulf News that the change had been made for practical reasons.

“We did not want to cause an interruption between the public and private sectors, so we decided to change the holiday by connecting the weekend with the holiday,” Gobash said.

Asked why the holiday was moved to a Saturday rather than a Sunday, given that many companies in the private sector have their weekends on Friday and Saturday, Gobash said: “As far as I know, the majority of companies in the private sector have only one day off, which is Friday. (Sophie: This is news to me! Everyone I know has Friday and Saturday off for the week-end.) Having the holiday on Sunday would have caused another interruption…” Gobash said.

Ganesh Prabu, a manager at a service company who also has two-day weekends, said the ruling “is a glaring example of discrimination between the public and private sector employees. It is unfair just to give the public sector a connected holiday, while we in the private sector get deprived of the holiday”.

However, Mohammad Omar, a sales engineer at a contracting company who only has Friday off, said: “I am happy that I will have Saturday off this week because I am always missing out on my friends’ gatherings as they all have two-day weekends”.

Khuram Anees, an employee of a consultancy firm, said that the holiday should be held on its official date regardless of what day of the week it is out of respect for religious occasions.

However, Dr Omar Al Khateeb, Assistant Director-General for Islamic Affairs in Dubai, told Gulf News that according to Islamic tradition it is not compulsory to have a holiday on the date marking the Prophet’s birth. What is important is that it is a collective celebration of the Prophet’s birth and a manifestation of love and respect for the Prophet.

“Although it does not really matter if the holiday is given a day or two in advance or after the actual occasion, it is still preferred [that it be held] on the same date of the Prophet’s birth as the feeling would be much stronger,” said Al Khateeb.

Your comments

Being a Muslim i wana say that its an Islamic holiday its should be on that date because those Muslim who wants have to pray
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 15:08

Private sector holiday on Saturday is not justified as the occassion of birth of Prophet falls two days after.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 15:00

I believe holiday should be observed on the actual day. How can one alter such a thing?
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:45

It’s not a question of holiday but to perform the precious ocassion on the correct day. Milad is on Sunday not Saturday.
Mustafa Motiwala
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:45

I think it’s a bad idea by changing the date, because it causes confusion. The date should be decided first before declaring it.
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:40

It felt nice when i heard the holiday news on Sunday. We would have three days Holiday. I was planning to visit my country and meet my family. But i think we should take care of those private sector people who have only Friday off. So good luck to you guys…..Happy Weekend….:)
Asif M. Qasim Bughio Ali
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:30

I am happy for the 2-day rest. i only have friday as off-day to do all chores, thus, i really appreciate this saturday off. we cannot please everybody but i think the authority has just addressed what is good for the majority.
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:15

Well, I am a working mother, my son’s nursery is off on sunday and i have to work, i dnt have anyone to take care of my child!!! and this is always the case, The purpose of a holiday is to celebrate the occasion and by this it lost its meaning
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:15

Work on Saturday, Jobless…etc all this is fine and understood!!! However, we were told earlier that the holiday was on Sunday and planned accordingly to travel, visits..etc. Its not fair to take that away. I think that once a holiday is announced then it should be carried as stated without change.
Posted: March 04, 2009, 14:06

Honestly, I am not at all in favour of moving the holiday from its original date i.e. Monday to Saturday. It makes no sense to celebrate any Islamic occasion before the original day.
From A Reader
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:52

I couldn’t agree more! You can’t have a day off for one sector and not the other.
From A Reader
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:51

It surely became an unfair practice between public and private sector. Both sectors? employees are working. We rarely get holidays, and we are not even getting those. People are staying with infants, who are in day care all day. We were thinking we would be getting an off, but even that isn?t there now!
Binsi Thomas
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:45

Actual birth date of Prophets Mohammad?s (PBUH) birthday is on 12th of Rabi Al Awal h. corresponding to 9th March. The holiday should be on the same day otherwise there should not be a holiday at all.
Mohammad Miyan
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:44

Holiday should be given on the day of the occasion not before or after, if the holiday is on Saturday, people who already have a holiday are unhappy, and if the holiday is on Sunday everyone is happy.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:44

It is a good decision. Most of the private companies only have Fridays off, so let them celebrate the Saturday off.
Prema Rajendran
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:41

Holiday should be on the actual date for both Public and Private sector to preserve the original spirit and historic value of the occasion.
Syed Mazhar
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:40

It seems that Saturday given as a private holiday is really good because as I know, a majority of the private sector companies have only Friday off, so it would be good for them to have Saturday off as well. Those who have Saturday as there week off, please excuse us because we also want to celebrate with our family a 2 day weekend.
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:32

I think the change of date for the holiday in celebration for the birthday of Prophet Mohammad is not reasonable unless it can interfere with more important celebration or occasion. I think we should celebrate on his exact birthday date as a sign of RESPECT.
From A Reader
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:26

The holiday should be held on the day it should be (The prophet’s birthday). How can they change such a thing. It’s totally bizarre and discriminating to me!
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:24

Nonsense! I am currently working as a Design Engineer, for the Dubai Metro Line. Those from the private sector working in the construction industry usually rest on Fridays. A lot of times, we even work on Fridays. Now look, who is out of touch? Don’t be a frog in a well.
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:22

It is unfortunate as many countries bank on the commercial aspect of public holidays to boost spending with in the economy. I would think that the global crisis would lead authorities in the UAE to decide otherwise.
Umica D
Posted: March 04, 2009, 13:21

I only have Fridays off and I’m glad to be getting an extra day off this month. And I have to agree with the authorities in saying that most private sectors do have only Friday as an off.
Posted: March 04, 2009, 12:54

You can’t expect the government to please everyone. If you keep Sunday as a holiday, those who work on Saturday will have an interruption in their work week. If you keep Saturday off, those who already have a Fri/Sat weekend will complain. With a majority of the working population having only 1 day weekends, let them enjoy Saturday off. Those of us with 2 day weekends shouldn’t complain!
Posted: March 04, 2009, 12:51


My husband drive to work at the client site in Abu Dhabi every day.  Poor thing is exhausted because its 1:45 mins commute each way.

Generally I’m the most understanding girl on the planet when it comes to these things but its 9pm and he still isn’t home.  I’m starving and I’m pissed off.

This is getting OLD.