Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mental Music

Run to the hillssss..run for your live

Is there a music called Mental Music? Huh you don't know? Well I made that one up..

Ever since I came to Dubai I have not been listening to music (except the radio in my car) like I used to back home. And my ears' muscle is getting stiffed and my brain's gel is frozen because of that. It has also been proven that I don't really enjoy listening to MP3 songs through the tiny earphones of my Ipod. I wanted better sound, crispy acoustic quality and material originality !

After Jumaat prayer, I went to Virgin music store and purchased a ticket to Iron Maiden concert. This purchase has been planned since last year. So it wasn't an afterthought. But 2 hours after that whilst patrolling the floors of the Mall of Emirates, I decided to spend more on music. I thought in order to stay sane I must be able to buy and listen to quality CD again.

I went to look for a nice Discman first. But Dubai is all about anything trendy and fashionable and gadget like Discman is considered obsolete already. Next in the search is a mini hifi components. After listened to a few models and brands I found that the price was not worth the quality of the sound. I also thought rather than buying a small off-the-shelf mini hifi (small because of the price), maybe I should look for a quality home theater system, which I found out produce better EQ and offer superb features. Plus the landlord's DVD player that I have at the my apartment has started to play hide and seek with me when it comes to pictures !

At the end I bought a new model of LG DVD + Receiver + 6 ways home theater system. The price was affordable and I like it sounds quality. To complement the purchase I also bought the Iron Maiden's Somewhere Back In Time and Nervecell's Preaching Venom CDs.

That night I fell asleep on my 2nd round of the Iron Maiden's CD. Now I look forward to build up a new collection of CDs in this city.

"Puas hati aku !"



Well actually I ran out of idea on what should be the title for this post. For the past couple of weeks I have been in deep thinking with myself on my life direction now. It has been 3 months now since I left Kuala Lumpur for Dubai. It has not been an easy choice for me to take and I am glad to know that so far I have managed to overcome all the challenges that came following the move here.

My wife now is in dilemma whether to quit the government job and join me in Dubai for good or keep her job and visit me during long holidays in a year. My wife and I have been discussing a lot about this topic and so far we have not reached a confirmed final conclusion yet. One thing for sure is that the current market condition and news about staffs lay off in all over the world is not helping us at all. But I can say that I am getting busier day by day in the office and for the first time in my career life, I felt grateful and happy for the workload.

One of the issues that keep on bugging us is the security of a government job versus the high return of unsecured expatriate job. To my Malaysians friends, I guess all of you are aware on how secure a government job is, plus the benefits and the pension scheme. On the other hand my job as an expatriate lawyer in UAE gives me the salary that my wife and I have been dreaming all the while. However being a new expatriate and a foreigner, my heart thumps everytime I read the news about lay off around the world, especially in Dubai.

But despite all the uncertainties I think I can rest on a notion that our life after all is just a brief transit in this world. Say that I am destined to live until 70 years old, I have only 38 years to live now. If I know this for a fact I will not in any way choose security over opportunity. I mean what the security is for? Why should I stay in my comfort zone and not see the vast world and its creatures created by Allah? In my opinion there is no security in this world but only opportunity. In my short experience in Dubai so far, I have met a lot of people who have been in any sort of situations in their pursuit of a better opportunity in this world. And they survive ! An opportunity in Dubai has come to me and I grabbed it. Next year or year after it, I dont know whether the same opportunity is still there or I will see a better one. My life is short but sure is long enough to be enjoyed.

Out of respect of one's career I will let my wife to decide about her job. As a husband I can always exercise my prerogative but I don't want to do it yet. Maybe my wife is also seeing a better opportunity by keeping her job..hahaha what do I know. But there are other factors to consider. I hope she knows...

Talking about Transit, 2 weeks ago I received a call from an unknown numbers at 12.30 a.m. I thought it was my alarm ring. It turned out to be an SOS call from a long time friend. He and a wife and 2 children were on their trip to Kuala Lumpur from Newcastle. They transit in Dubai for 24 hours and booked an airport hotel through online booking. However they didn't realise that the hotel is inside the airport before the immigration gate. As they wanted to see Dubai during the day they went throught the immigration counter and got their visit visa. But then they could not check in to the hotel unless they cancel the visit visa.

Syahmi, Shukriah and their 2 lovely angels
(the kids' English were better than mine)

Soon I have to address him Dr Syahmi..

Luckily my friend had my numbers and informed me 2 days before their departure that they intended to meet up with me in Dubai. So after he called, I came to their rescue and booked them another hotel. I could not spent more time entertaining them in Dubai because of the working day, which was regreted, but we managed to catch up for about an hour in the airport when I sent them off the next day. I wish them good luck for their Phd and pray that they will get more good opportunities in the future.

"Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends. The rest aren't bad people, they're just acquaintances"

Jay Leno

American TV Host, Comedian

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Quest For a New Cave

I wondered how did it goes for cavemen in the past if they decided to find a new cave as their home. Maybe they just go in to a cave, write some graffiti, shout a bit and declare that the cave is his. Or if somebody is residing in that cave, he either look for another cave or ask the resident for a duel. I sometime wished it could be that easy for me to find a new home everytime my tenancy contract is about to expire.

For the past 2 weeks I have been calling on agents and landlords, checking websites and newspapers and visiting apartments in International City in my quest for a new house by April 2009. At the moment the Dubai property rental market is in favour of the tenants because of the drop in rental rates for some areas due to more new houses available in the market and slow pace of recruitment for new expatriates. Thanks to the recession..well finally I found something positive about the recession didn't I?

For example when I checked the rate for a 1 bedroom apartment in International City (cluster areas) in October 2008, it was around Dhs80,000 to Dhs85000 a year payable by 1 or 2 payments. Nowadays the rate for the same type of property in the same area is between Dhs68000 to Dhs75000 a year payable by 1 up to 4 payments, and some even by monthly payments. But as Malaysian folks always say "murah tak murah la" if we compare to rental rate in Kuala Lumpur. But this is the uniqueness of Dubai, where they pay you very fat salaries with no tax but half of that salaries will go to the landlords, the Dubai's version of taxmen. But the good side is if I save up enough money then of course I can be the taxman myself, Inshallah...

Since this is January so I am not in a hurry, for I have another 2 months to choose and decide. At the moment I am sticking to International City residential area because it is quite close to my office (20 minutes drive), the traffic is smooth, plenty of shops and cafes, very near to the Dragon Mart shopping mall, a lot of multi-national hot chicks (wahh !) and the whole place is just a brand new! The downside is because of the sewage treatment plant next to it which sometime gag me with its smell. But the smell factor is really not that bad because it doesn't occur all the times and depends on which cluster I live in the huge area of International City. Anyway sometime I can't even smell my son's "pooh pooh" right under my nose..hehe

I just prayed that the trend will be better for the tenants in the coming months. Hopefully I will not have to do what I imagine a caveman would do in this situation.

"Home...I can't say where it is, but I know I am going home"

A music band

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Long Lost Friend

This posting is specially dedicated to all my friends who know this one guy.

I was enjoying my Mandi Dajaj lunch in a Yemeni restaurant called Zeina Restaurant in Safa Park when I saw a very familiar face entered through the door. I thought "it could not be him!". I called out his name but he didn't hear it. But I was very sure, the guy was my long lost friend.

I couldn't wait to guess anymore. So I stood up and walked towards him. He sat with his back facing to my direction, so he couldn't see me charging towards him with my hand full of mandi rice.

I patted his shoulder and said "brader kenal aku lagi tak?"

The guy turned around and I said "Amran bukan?". I like the feeling to have put a shock to someone's face, and his was full of it. And he replied "Alongggg... !"

Amran or An Ipoh as I used to call him is a long lost friend back in IIUM matricualtion centre. We had not met for at least 12 years, after he left to further his study in UITM. We never bumped into each other in Malaysia and at last we met here in Dubai.

Apparently An just arrived in Dubai for his first posting in his company. He is a Project Manager for interior design works in Dubai horse racecourse hotel. He will be in Dubai until his project finished. Probably he will look for opportunity for a permanent position in Dubai. After that day, I invited him to my house and we had a great shisha time until late at night, catching up on our lives for the past 12 years. What a great buddy session !

An is one of my friends who has a great entrepenuer skill since his student days. In fact he still owns a shop now back in KL. It is good to see him in Dubai and I wish him good luck for his new endeavour. Who knows he will open up his own business here in Dubai.

Busy managing a project..hah

The only way to have a friend is to be one

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
American poet


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