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I just sent a comprehensive quotation to a customer and strongly recommended that they do not buy what I quoted them!

How about that?

I fully believe that the customer is not always right. Most, in fact, are technologically challenged, and like children, they believe everything they hear from a “fast” salesman or from brochures and “tech specs” with which they are walloped ’round the side of their noggins with.

So much so, that this particular customer I’m talking about are seriously comparing a product that we sell for home users for BD 275 and one that is BD 51,000. I kid you not.

Morons.

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Half a million dinars for a water spout!

water spout costing half a million Bahraini dinarsHalf a million! And not a single red fils for budding businessmen and their small businesses.

Half a million! And businesses still have to finance the government to the rate of 5% on every project undertaken by way of that stupid “performance bond”.

Half a million! And the government itself does not have any faith whatsoever in the legal system; hence, applies the above 5%.

Half a million! And no bank, NONE, has any faith in the small business community.

Half a million! And they are still TALKING about venture capital.

Half a million! And the “development” bank don’t give a damn about the vast majority of businesses.

Half a million! And “islamic” banks won’t extend credit to small businesses even though they hold substantial security compared to miniscule requirements.

Half a million! And “regular” banks won’t even LOOK at small businesses even though they have been forced to deal with them for tens of years.

Half a million! While the Chamber of Commerce members are more concerned with religious issues and using their position there as a leverage for the upcoming elections, rather than helping small businesses prosper.

Half a million! And the Ministry of Finance has not closed the 2005 budget.

Half a million! And the Ministry of Finance won’t release payments due in December, and this is almost March!

Half a million! And no one gives a shit if small businesses get flushed down the toilet through no fault of their own.

But then what’s the difference? Half a million here or half a billion there? If you’re not “in“, you’re simply OUT!

So deal with it!

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Selective snail-mail

As if anyone actually uses the decrepit Post Office in Bahrain…

Well we do if we are absolutely forced, otherwise I have no problem of paying any of the courier companies multiples of what I would have been charged using the “services” of the post office.

Why? Because to send a letter (invoice or whatever) from Manama to Sitra for instance, a distance of probably not more than 20kms, expect that it would take a minimum of 14 days to be delivered! So now every business, well small businesses anyway, practically beg companies not to send cheques through the post, but call us to collect payments, pretty pretty please. But if you’re a government agency, they are bound to use the post office facility and send the cheque by registered post. That adds another week for the blasted thing to arrive in the office!

You get “the message” now that we (generally in Bahrain) tend to avoid the post office like the plague… but some people still use it, which you would think the post office authorities would come down from their towers to kiss the hands of those “customers” who actually choose to use their services.

Not so.

Especially if you are a political society!

Have a look at this

علمت «الوسط» من مصادر مطلعة ان «أحد مكاتب البريد منع رئيس الهيئة المركزية لجمعية وعد عبدالرحمن النعيمي من القيام بإحدى مراسلاته بسبب وجود اسم الجمعية على ظرف المراسلة، ليعود بعدها مكتب وذلك البريد ويسمح له بإرسال المظروف من دون أن يكتب عليه اسم الجمعية»، مضيفة ان «نادي العروبة تعرض للموقف نفسه، إذ منع مكتب البريد النادي من إرسال مجلته الدورية بحجة عدم وجود اسم النادي في القائمة المسموح لها بالمراسلات، وقامت إدارة النادي بمراجعة المؤسسة العامة للشباب والرياضة التي وعدتهم بمراجعة الجهات المختصة».

This article which appeared in Al-Wasat this morning states that when Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Nu’aimi, the God Father of the democrats in Bahrain (he used to head the National Democratic Action Society before stepping down recently) went to the post office to send a book to a friend in Europe, he was refused service!a because the envelope he wanted to use had the NDAS logo and address on it, that made it “an official communication from an unauthorised political party” as their name was NOT listed in the “authorised list” of those allowed to utilise the post office services!

A R E Y O U S H I T T I N G M E ?

Didn’t the Ministry of Transportation ever hear of email services? Oh forget this “high technology” lark; what about the couriers? We have four major couriers fist-fighting for business, do you think they would refuse a political organisation or whoever else’s custom? Where are we exactly, the dark ages where messages have got to be sealed with wax and delivered on donkeys to their final destinations that you would intercept the messenger and kill the donkey?

Anyway, what did Mr. Al-Nu’aimi do? He changed the envelope to a plain one and the post office accepted his package!

Talk about judging the book by the cover, for this is exactly what the post office authorities did: they cared more about a logo than they did about the book which might have contained hugely more interesting, and potentially damaging information! (not that Mr. Al-Nu’aimi would do such a thing, I’m just giving an example.) In any case it is none of their business what a customer uses for an envelope and what s/he is sending through their service as long as the package and envelope meets with their packaging rules and regulations and that it does not contravene other laws (pornography, pedophilia, etc as set by local law.)

So yes, the Ministry of Transport is officially on my shit-list now, a veritable addition to the stable together with the Ministry of Information. It should have been added to the list quite a while ago actually, considering that it too is responsible for the communication sector, internet and telephony etc. but it has been (and always was) a very low profile entity that no one really cared about. It doesn’t add any value whatsoever for being in the government organisation. Can it, together with the Ministry of DisInformation. Guys, you cannot stop information, electronically or physically, to reach its intended recipient. So give up, for God’s sake give up and die a merciful and very much overdue death!

لعدم إدراجهما ضمن «تعميم المواصلات»
«البريد» يمنع مراسلات باسم «وعد» و«العروبة»

الوسط – مالك عبدالله
علمت «الوسط» من مصادر مطلعة ان «أحد مكاتب البريد منع رئيس الهيئة المركزية لجمعية وعد عبدالرحمن النعيمي من القيام بإحدى مراسلاته بسبب وجود اسم الجمعية على ظرف المراسلة، ليعود بعدها مكتب وذلك البريد ويسمح له بإرسال المظروف من دون أن يكتب عليه اسم الجمعية»، مضيفة ان «نادي العروبة تعرض للموقف نفسه، إذ منع مكتب البريد النادي من إرسال مجلته الدورية بحجة عدم وجود اسم النادي في القائمة المسموح لها بالمراسلات، وقامت إدارة النادي بمراجعة المؤسسة العامة للشباب والرياضة التي وعدتهم بمراجعة الجهات المختصة».

من جهته أكد رئيس الهيئة المركزية لجمعية وعد عبدالرحمن النعيمي الحادثة موضحاً «لقد منعني موظفو مكتب البريد من إرسال مظروف يحمل كتباً كنت أنوي إرسالها إلى صديق في دولة أوروبية، بسبب عدم وجود اسم جمعية وعد في القائمة المعممة إلى مكاتب البريد»، مشيراً إلى أن «موظف البريد أخبرني بضرورة تغيير الظرف أو إزالة شعار وعنوان الجمعية الموجود على الظرف، وأخبرت الموظف بأن جمعية وعد مسجلة وفق القانون وهي معترف بها لدى أجهزة الدولة، لكن الموظف قام بإعطائي قائمة الهيئات والجمعيات المسموح لمكاتب البريد إرسال رسائلها أو حتى استقبالها وذكر لي أن هذه القائمة عممت على جميع مكاتب البريد من قبل الإدارة، وبعد اطلاعي على القائمة لم ألاحظ وجود أي جمعية سياسية فيها سوى جمعية العمل الإسلامي التي مازالت مسجلة لدى وزارة التنمية الاجتماعية»، مضيفاً «إن ذلك يعدُ سابقة في البحرين، إذ لم يحصل مثل هذا في أي مرحلة من المراحل».
ويأتي ذلك بعد أن كانت مصادر مطلعة ذكرت لـ «الوسط»: أن وزارة المواصلات أصدرت تعميماً إلى جميع مكاتب البريد في البحرين، يمنع المراسلات التي تقوم بها الجهات والهيآت التي لم تسجل رسميا لدى أجهزة الدولة، مشيرة تلك المصادر إلى أن «الوزارة قامت بالطلب من وزارة التنمية الاجتماعية تزويدها بأسماء الجمعيات والهيآت المسجلة لديها، وإن الوزارة تسلمت القائمة من وزارة التنمية وقامت بتعميمها على جميع مكاتب البريد».
Al-Wasat Newspaper

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Bahrain Chamber of Commerce member urges boycott of Danish goods

I do not normally reproduce email threads here, in fact I cannot remember that I have done so before, but I thought that I have to share this particular exchange with a member of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry with you. It is an unfortunate situation which I had hoped that it would be quietly resolved. However the latest challenge included in the respected gentleman’s response forced me to “go public.”

I am awaiting the Chamber’s response to this now and shall reproduce it here if and when I receive it.

In the mean time, I urge you all, especially if you are a Bahraini businessman or woman, to please write to the BCCI expressing your views on this incident. That last thing we need in Bahrain at the moment is getting religion mixed like this in our business life as well.

Subject: FW: boycott Denmark – al mulaifi
From: “A Hakim Al Shammary”
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 19:29:36 +0300
To:

>
>حملة لمقاطعة المنتجات الدنيماركية::
أخي الكريم انظر إلى ما فعله الخنازير لديننا الحنيف و لرسولنا الكريم
سبوه و شتموه ..و هذا تقرير نشر في صحيفة السياسة الكويتية لـ الأستاذ محمد يوسف المليفي
يوضح لك ما الذي حصل لتكن على بينة

(my translation: Respected brother, look at what those pigs did to our good religion and to our Prophet: they swore at him.. and this is a report which was published in the Kuwaiti Al-Siyasah newspaper by Mr. Mohammed Yousif Al-Mulaifi which shows you exactly what happened so that you are informed.)


>
> …. various images encouraging boycotting Danish products and
> …. damning them etc which I shall not reproduce here as I do not agree
> …. with them nor with this boycotting campaign.
>
[arabic]

إذا لنقاطع هؤلاء الخنازير
و يذكر إن جمعية النسيم في منطقة الجهراء- الكويت سحبت من أسواقها جميع المنتجات الدنيماركية بعد مناشدة الأهل لمقاطعة المنتجات الدنيماركية
كما يوجد أيضا حملة كبيرة في المملكة العربية السعودية لمقاطعة المنتجات الدنيماركية
أخواني لو واصلنا مقاطعتنا للدنيمارك حتى الصيف القادم فيخسر اقتصادهم ما يقارب 38 مليار يورو بإذن الله
و بالمقاطعة سوف يبحث الدنيماكيون عن سيرة الرجل الذي يحبه المسلمون
وهذا قد يكون سبب لدخولهم الإسلام…

و هنا أرفق لكم بعض المنتجات الدنيماركية

(my translation: Therefore let us boycott these pigs. And you should note that Al-Naseem Cooperative in Al-Jahraa area in Kuwait has removed all Danish products from its shelves after they were asked to do so by residents, and there is also a large boycott campaign in Saudi Arabia to boycott Danish products.
My brothers, if we boycott Danish products to the summer their economy would lose approximately 38 million BILLION Euros Inshallah (Allah willing) and due to the boycott the Danes will look for that man that Muslims love and this might encourage them to embrace Islam.

And what follows are some of the Danish products.)
>
> ….
>
اتمنى ان تضعوا يدكم بأيدينا
و أن نقف ولو مرة صف واحد كالبنيان المرصوص
و ان نثبت للعالم انه أكرم خلق الله

و تقبلوا احترامي
وليد و وضاح النايف

(my translation: I hope that you put your hands in ours and stand, even for just this once, as one so that we can prove to the world that [the Prophet] is the best that Allah created.
Please accept my respect
Waleed Wadhah Al-Nayef)


> From: Mahmood Al-Yousif [mailto:mahmood_at_nospam_gbps.tv] > Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 8:55 PM
> To: hakim_at_nospam_alamaltravel.com
> Cc: ayfc_at_nospam_fakhro.com; ebrahim_at_nospam_maza.com; nazar_at_nospam_tcgme.com; jehad_at_nospam_bukamal.com; aluser_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; adel_at_nospam_maskatigroup.com; bahprogp_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; ahk_at_nospam_ajmkooheji.com; alhawaj_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; osharif_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; adel_at_nospam_awalgulf.com.bh; atahoo_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; samirnas_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; adel_at_nospam_hajihassan.com; aldaaysi_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; nkkanoo_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh
> Subject: Re: FW: boycott Denmark – al mulaifi
>
> Abdulhakim, with all due respect, you are not paid, nor were you elected to the Chamber of Commerce board of directors to defend religion, you were elected to look after the interest of businesses and businessmen; therefore, I would appreciate it if in future stances you would kindly separate business from your personal views or your religious beliefs.
>
> What you are doing here, although good intentioned, is improper from a business sense and by your actions, you will increase unemployment in this country and others as well as close businesses.
>
> Please re-evaluate your motives and your job within the board of the Chamber, to which I DID elect you to. I also hope that your colleagues at the board would also heed this advice.
>
> You should all work toward CALMING the situation, rather than exacerbating it.
>
> Regards
> Mahmood Al-Yousif


> A Hakim Al Shammary wrote:
>
> Brother Mahmood,
>
> Thank you very much for your response.
> I get this opportunity, to express my gratitude for those who chose to elect me for the board of the BBCI [sic] > This is to inform you that, I don’t mix business with my personal views or my religious beliefs.
> But, like any other ordinary person, Muslim or Non Muslim , I have to defend my religious beliefs,
> my prophet, my country, my family, my neighbours and my good people like YOU ,…..etc etc etc
>
> Being board members doesn’t mean that, we keep quite against what is done against our basics, and beliefs.
>
> Kindly be informed that, my reaction towards that, was based upon my personal religious beliefs, and not as a board member.
>
> Do you thing that, being a board member, means that I have to adopt another religious beliefs, or act negatively towards it.
>
> Do you thing that, the boards member in the Northern or Western Hemisphere, and the ASEAN ,will accept insults against their religious beliefs ?
>
> Finally, I accept your points of views, hoping that you will do the same.
>
> Best Regards,
> A Hakim Al Shammary


From: Mahmood Al-Yousif [mailto:mahmood_at_nospam_gbps.tv] Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 3:31 PM
To: hakim_at_nospam_alamaltravel.com
Cc: ayfc_at_nospam_fakhro.com; ebrahim_at_nospam_maza.com; nazar_at_nospam_tcgme.com; jehad_at_nospam_bukamal.com; aluser_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; adel_at_nospam_maskatigroup.com; bahprogp_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; ahk_at_nospam_ajmkooheji.com; alhawaj_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; osharif_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; adel_at_nospam_awalgulf.com.bh; atahoo_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; samirnas_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; adel_at_nospam_hajihassan.com; aldaaysi_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh; nkkanoo_at_nospam_batelco.com.bh
Subject: Re: FW: boycott Denmark – al mulaifi

Abdulhakim, thank you for your reply.

I respectfully do not agree with your assessment of the situation. Nor do I need your help or defence of my person or beliefs. I am content with both.

What disturbs me, and as I am sure quite a number of other businessmen, is your incitement to boycotting businesses and products due to your personal beliefs; coming from an elected member of the board of directors of the main organisation formed to defend business and businesspeople in Bahrain. This action that you have adopted will negatively affect businesses as it will directly affect the available employment opportunities of your fellow citizens. It is your primary function within the Chamber to which you were elected to primarily defend against these losses.

I do not care at all what the [board members of their respective chambers of commerce I assume?] ASEAN, American, European, Western and Northern Hemispheres do or how they would handle insults to their religions. That is not my concern, nor should it be yours. I would hazard an educated guess; however, seeing that they are in secular and democratic societies, they would have just shrugged it off and went on taking care of business. After all they are free to express their opinions, guaranteed by their constitutions, as we are in ours. If they were to have been offended, I am sure they would NOT have collectively penalised a whole country for the error of a small group of people. And they most certainly would not have put their own lives and that of their citizens at risk of unemployment for appeasing their own personal beliefs. They would have chosen an intelligent route to demonstrate their displeasure within the law and without effect to their country’s economy.

Although religion does and will always have a higher platform in our lives, there are other organisations which are concerned with its defence and propagation. My contention is that, as businesspeople, we should leave that specialty to its specialists. The Chamber is not in that particular market.

Abdulhakim, if you feel that strongly about defending the religion, more than what you were elected for to the board of directors of the Chamber, and as is evidently clear from your reply, you cannot separate the two issues from each other, I suggest you choose which stream is more important to you and spend your energies developing that stream, in the proper and appropriate venue and organisation.

Let me remind you again that you were elected to look after our business interests, not our spiritual ones.

Best regards
Mahmood Al-Yousif


> A Hakim Al Shammary wrote:
>
> Dear Mahmood,
<> As you mentioned,
>
> After all they are free to express their opinions, guaranteed by their constitutions, as we are in ours.
>
> 1.They are free to express their opinions, Regardless to the BAD reaction to their business ! ! ! Nobody protest.
> 2.Guaranteed by their constitutions, as we are in ours ! ! !
>
> Don’t you think that, we do have the same freedom, and the same guarantee?
>
> So, what was wrong, with somebody like me, to express my opinions, which was guaranteed by our constitution.
>
> Why don’t you allow me to practice what are you preaching ? ! ? ! ?
>
> Do you think that, being a board member, I am exempted ?
>
> Finally,
>
> why , Smart gentleman like you, doesn’t go public with his opinions, since it is guaranteed by the constitution.
> unless you feel that these ideas are against the public opinions.
>
> As mentioned previously, I accept your points of views, hoping that you will do the same.
>
> Best Regards,
> A Hakim E. Al Shammary


Mahmood Al-Yousif wrote on Tue, 07 Feb 2006 09:46:52

Abdulhakim, let’s keep this professional.

I did not attack you personally, so I would appreciate it if you would afford me the same benefit.

You are free to your opinion and welcome to it; my contention however is that your opinion is at variance with what you were elected to do and your current position as an member of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hence I see now, especially after these remarkable exchanges and further amplification of you position, that you are not the right kind of person to fill a position on the board of an organisation that is created to primarily look after our business interest, and I shall ensure that I shall go public with these exchanges immediately; my holding off from doing so so far was not out of fear nor hesitation as you seem to imply, but simply a professional consideration that differences of opinion should be discussed and mutually agreed solutions sought. This concept seems to escape you too, unfortunately.

I most definitely do not remember in your various electioneering slogans and hoardings anything which stated that you were seeking a position on the board of the BCCI to defend our religion, nor that you will take it upon yourself to hurt, rather than help Bahraini businesses because of PERSONAL beliefs and stances; further, you do not seem to be able to separate religious views from those appertaining to business and its environment.

Based on these facts, and that I am an active and paid up member of the BCCI, I hereby register my deep concern regarding your views and unprofessional attitude, and officially ask for your resignation from the board forthwith. You have gone against the very essence of the presence of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and have fully reneged on your contractual obligations of your voters and the business community at large.

As this conversational exchange has been copied to the full board of the BCCI, I would appreciate an official response from the respected board as to whether its existence is the prorogation and defence of religion, or is its main function growing the economy and ensuring that Bahraini businesses are well represented?

Best regards
Mahmood Al-Yousif


A Hakim Al Shammary wrote on Tue, 7 Feb 2006 10:37:02:

Thanks for your kindness, and wish u all the best, take care.

Best reg.

A Hakim

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Light at the end of the tunnel

Remember this? Well, leading businessmen had their inaugural meeting in which they announced the formation of their charity organisation and agreed on its objectives, which I am extremely happy to note is not just limited to traditional giving of alms, as the various charities and Islamist societies on the island have been doing for ages, but the businessmen’s version will include not only that but building of further education sponsorships, building of cultural calls, health and medical centres, sponsor cultural programs and above all fighting poverty by providing training and education to those in need.

رجال الأعمال يتفقون على أهداف وآليات جمعيتهم الخيرية

المنامة – عباس المغني
اتفق تجار ورجال أعمال على أهداف وآليات عمل الجمعية الخيرية التي تمثل دورهم في تنمية وتطوير المجتمع، في اجتماع لهم بمبنى غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين يوم أمس.

وقال رجل الأعمال المعروف فاروق المؤيد: »تم خلال الاجتماع إقرار أهداف الجمعية ووسائل تحقيقها وإقرار النظام الأساسي إلى جانب تكليف اللجنة التأسيسية بمتابعة إجراءات إشهار الجمعية مع وزارة التنمية الاجتماعية«. وتم اختيار 6 أعضاء للجنة التأسيسية وهم فاروق المؤيد، جمال فخرو، محمد الكوهجي، جواد يوسف الحواج، جمال الحسن، محمد بوزيزي. وأضاف »هناك اقتراحات لاختيار اسم للجمعية له دلالات واضحة تعبر عن دور واسهام التجار في المجتمع كاسم جمعية قطاع الأعمال للتنمية وغيرها من الاسماء، سيتم دراستها من قبل اللجنة«.

وأشار إلى ان الجمعية تهدف إلى تنفيذ برامج للتنمية الاجتماعية ومحاربة الفقر بما يساعد في تحقيق برامج التنمية المستدامة للمواطنين وتقديم جميع أشكال الدعم للمحتاجين من أبناء البحرين للمساهمة في النهوض بمستوى معيشتهم. وأوضح أن الجمعية ستقوم بتقديم المنح الدراسية والتدريبية للبحرينيين بهدف مساعدتهم في توفير فرص العمل لهم إلى جانب إنشاء المراكز الاجتماعية والصحية والثقافية لخدمة المواطنين البحرينيين في جميع أرجاء المملكة.

ومن جهته، قال رئيس غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين عصام فخرو: »إن الغرفة ترحب بتشكيل الجمعية وإنها لن تتوانى عن تقديم كل دعم ومساندة لجهود تأسيس الجمعية، وتحقيق أهدافها«. وأضاف »أن الغرفة مفتوحة لاجتماعات الجمعية متى ما دعت إلى اجتماع«.

وأشار إلى أن مشروع الجمعية يعكس رغبة قطاع مجتمع التجارة والأعمال في تطوير اسهاماتهم في خدمة المجتمع البحريني.

وأوضح أن الجمعية ستحظى بالتفاف ودعم مجتمع التجارة والأعمال، وتوقع أن تكون الجمعية من أبرز مؤسسات المجتمع المدني الفاعل في خدمة المجتمع البحريني
Al-Wasat Newspaper

The founding members of this new society are Farouq Al-Moayyed, Jamal Fakhro, Mohammed Kooheji, Jawad Al-Hawwaj, Jamal Al-Hassan and Mohammed Buzizi, all of whom well known on the island and I wish them luck in their new and worthy endeavor. I, as well as many on the island of course, remain at their disposal to grow this society and bring our community out of the pervasive poverty and into secure jobs and community wealth.

Good job.

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Resumé Killers

I get fed up of seeing resumés that are so inflated, or cookie cutter-y that I dread receiving another one. I now tend to ONLY look at the name, age, education level, and contact telephone number, because I can almost guarantee that the rest is either crap, or irrelevant crap.

I am sure many of you have had this experience, maybe even been guilty of bloating your own resumé. Well, for goodness’ sake, look at it again and just make it factual. Employers aren’t looking for the perfect match for the job because that is an impossibility, so just keep it simple and tell your prospective employer how you can contribute, or if you don’t want to go to that extent, at least be honest about your skill set.

And another thing, avoid these 25 words like the plague, because as sure as dammit, they might kill your chances of getting a job.

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The Arab ‘A List’ has been published

ITP Business, following in Forbes footsteps, has just published a list of top 10 billionaires of the Arab world. Knowing how secretive these families and individuals are, as well as the fact that their finances are closely guarded secrets, the absence of tax (and hence tax records and returns), I would call into question how they got their figures and would not regard them as accurate with any certainty.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at the top 10 compiled by ITP Business:

1. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud
Saudi Arabia
US$26 billion (Last year: US$20.15 billion)

2. Nasser Al Kharafi
Kuwait
US$9.4billion (US$9.2 billion)

3. The Bin Laden family
Saudi Arabia
US$6.9 billion (US$6.5 billion)

4. The Olayan Family
Saudi Arabia
US$6.82 billion (US$6.8 billion)

5. The Hariri Family
Lebanon
US$5.4 billion ($5.2 billion)

6. Abdulaziz Al Ghurair
United Arab Emirates
US$5.2 billion (US$4 billion)

7. Sulaiman Bin Abdul Al Rajhi
Saudi Arabia
US$4.85 billion (US$3.35 billion)

8. The Kanoo Family
Bahrain
US$4.7 billion (US$4.5 billion)

9. Mahdi Al-Tajir
United Arab Emirates
US$4.3 billion (US$3.8 billion)

10. Abdullah Al Futtaim
United Arab Emirates
US$3.8 billion (US$2.2 billion)

Total wealth between the top 50 familias? US$139.4 billion!

A few more questions to ponder: (a) I would like to know what contribution to science and scientific discovery did these families contribute to? Almost all these families main revenue generating activity is property, and in the case of the Kanoo family which seems to be the exception, services.

(b) with all the wealth, do they contribute to charities and say sponsor their countrymen for scholarships etc? I know (again my experience is mostly Bahrain so I would appreciate input from the other countries mentioned above) the “big” families in Bahrain contribute quite a bit to the local charities, and in the case of the Kanoo, Al-Moay(y)ed and Al-A’ali families don’t limit their contribution to just giving cash, but manage their contribution so that the best good can come out of them. For instance both Kanoo and Al-Moay(y)ed have built hospitals and/or specialist hospital wings and schools while Al-A’ali has built whole villages giving away housing to needy families and offering full scholarships (I hear that scholarships have stopped now since the old man passed away?).

(c) Why is there only ONE royal in the list? I am sure that if a king or amir were considered he would eclipse the WHOLE list without lifting a finger!

Regardless, more power to them all. I wish them all the best of happiness with their wealth, and hope that they all would contribute some of that wealth to the good of their communities.

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Watch’em Sweat!

2006 is oh so close I could almost smell it! Why, You ask? Elections of course! The time to boot out all of the jokers in parliament and hopefully replace them with better people who won’t chase capital away from the island, who will recognise terrorists and call them as such, who won’t object to Nancy Ajram and create riots, who won’t object to staging a play (arabic) because its name has the word “Falujah” in it.

And to back all that up? The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, awakening from a deep slumber shook by Farouq Al-Moayyed put the ante of BD 1 million as cash prizes (arabic) to who they choose to run for parliament with a good economic agenda!

That by itself got our dear MPs to shit bricks, the first of which actually had a heart attack a couple of nights ago and had to be hospitalised. While we wish him a very speedy recovery and Insha’Allah a very long and fruitful life, we will be happy to see the back of him, and his ilk in order to make way for people who care about this country and not use the parliament as their personal pulpit to restrict personal freedoms, and who are not ineffectual fools in the face of continuous government harassment and coercion.

All in all, the past few days especially seem to have been loaded with press releases, posturing, positioning and jostling in a clear indication that the election fever for 2006 has already started…

Let the Games Begin!

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no power, but I still have the internet!

Thank you Batelco for having an independent power supply, and for me to have bought a good UPS for the office, now I can surf while the WHOLE OF BAHRAIN has no power!! It went out about 20 minutes ago (around 9am) all of a sudden, so I wonder who screwed up…

No matter, heads will NOT roll for this one, it’s an all too common a scene in the summer here… And of course no one is to blame for the fiasco they call the Ministry of Power and Water.

The traffic lights are all out, so we expect some gruesome accidents and death on the road before the power comes back on. But because so many people get frustrated, the accidents will continue even after it is established. We’re not the best drivers in the world when there are traffic lights, so just imagine the situation now. Anyway, frustration will rule, traffic signs are going to be completely ignored for a few hours after the power is established, and we will hear of a few more accidents and deaths tomorrow in the local rags.

And of course the traffic dept will not be blamed, and no heads will roll there either.

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