Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Falcon Roundabout in Fujairah Reminds People of High Values

The falcon roundabout in Fujairah is appropriately located near the airport.

Like other roundabout art in Fujairah this falcon is an Emirati icon.

It recalls the days when Bedouins trained their falcon to hunt down meat in the desert and it highlights the way that in contemporary life in the UAE, falconry is a heritage sport that is growing in popularity.

Old time Bedouin would have been flabbergasted if they had known that today’s falcon each possess their unique passport and a microchip to aid identification and to help counter the black market in falcon trade or what is commonly called ‘feathered cocaine’. They would also be amazed to learn of the astronomical prices that are being paid for the purchase of the finest falcon specimens.

Many Sheikhs of the Emirates (notably Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum) have shown a personal interest in the art of falconry and have done much to promote the sport and the care of falcons.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad al Sharqi in Fujairah is taking a practical interest in falconry and at a gathering of young falconers in Fujairah earlier this year at which his presence was an encouragement he was presented with a falcon.

Sheikh Maktoum’s support for traditional and modern sports was evident in the advertising material of the Maktoum Championships (2010) in which he appeared holding a falcon.

Some Fujairah businesses have adopted the word ‘falcon’ into their name (e.g. Falcon Resin and Adhesive Industry, Gulf Falcon Building Contractors), possibly to indicate to prospective clients that they possess the positive attributes of the falcon.

The falcon is an ancient symbol of strength, speed, focus, freedom and hope, which are all fine qualities to prize when one is driving around the golden falcon in Fujairah.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed—Leader With a Life Outside of Work, ETE, 24 July 2009.
Book Keeping Alive the Memory of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ETE, 3 November 2008.
The Falcon: An Emirati Icon, ETE, 26 August 2007.

A New Fort Roundabout in Fujairah Would Tell UAE’s Best Kept Secret, FIF, 19 September 2010.
Discover What Fujairah is about from its Roundabouts, FIF, 3 September 2010. Fishing Lures People to Fujairah and Still They’re Getting Hooked, FIF, 14 September 2010.
It’s Time for the New Date Roundabout in Fujairah, FIF, 18 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: “when one is driving around the golden falcon in Fujairah.”

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tasty and Reasonably-Priced Chinese Food at Oriental Restaurant Fujairah

It is always a good sign to see lots of Chinese people eating in a Chinese restaurant. Such was the case when we visited the Oriental Restaurant in Fujairah last night.

Pearlyn Sim is from Singapore and she manages the growing business. She has been in Fujairah running the Oriental for the last year. Her chef hails from Malaysia.

Growing Business
The steady growth throughout the year led to an extension of the restaurant after Ramadan 2010.

Restaurant Size
The Oriental’s ground floor has about 10 tables with a capacity for approximately 40 diners. Upstairs there is a family room where another 25-35 may dine.

Reasonably Priced
Most dishes are priced between AED 15 and 35 and one can order small or large servings.

Great Range
On the menu there are soups, tofu dishes, vegetables, egg, beef, chicken, mutton, prawns, fish, squid, crabs, noodles, rice and a variety of drinks (including Milo and Horlicks!)

Tasty and Fresh
Last night our party of four shared cereal prawns, chicken with special sauce, hot Plate Black Pepper Beef, sweet and sour chicken and Singapore Fried Rice. It was tasty and satisfying. The vegetables and fish are purchased fresh each day at the Fujairah Souqs.

Easy to Order
Helpfully, Pearlyn Sim has produced a menu with pictures of each dish with the names in Arabic and English.

A menu without pictures comes in Chinese and English.

Ordering Options
People wanting home or office delivery in Fujairah can phone or fax in their order to the restaurant.

People may also choose a buffet and enquiries can be made as to the menu items and the cost.

Ambience and Décor
The ambience is warm, friendly and casual. The décor is basic and designed to create an informal atmosphere.

Restaurant Location and Directions
Salam Road, Fujairah.
Coming from the city one goes through the Safeer Roundabout towards the Fujairah corniche and the restaurant is just a few shops down on the left (down an alley way) before one gets to Yarmook Furniture, the Old Etisalat Building and the Islamic Guidance Centre.

Find the Oriental Restaurant on Google Maps

View Oriental Restaurant Fujairah in a larger map

Take a Look at the Menu
To download the menu, follow this link.

Contact Details
Tel: 09-2221877
Fax: 09-2229591
P O Box 2716

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: A plate of delicious sambal prawns.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Check Out the Progress of Fujairah’s New Mosque

Details and photos of Fujairah’s new mosque were posted on Fujairah in Focus at the 20 day mark in the construction.

The builders said that they would finish this AED 190 million ($US52 million) construction in 800 days after which time 28,000 worshippers could assemble together in the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Fujairah.

Take a Look
Check out the progress at the 130 day mark from this photo album.

Geoff Pound
Contact Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or on email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com

Image: “Check out the progress at the 130 day mark.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Building Traditional Boats in Fujairah for Businesses and Schools

Abdullah Mohammed Sulaiman is a master builder of the shasha, the traditional fishing craft of the UAE’s east coast made from the date palm.

For years Abdullah and his friends built and rowed these boats to go fishing in Fujairah waters. Unfortunately the advent of fiberglass boats with outboard motors put an end to the shasha (shoosh pl.) for fishing purposes but a resurgence in traditional Emirati sport and culture has led to a revival of palm branch boat building.

Aided now by his sons and a small team, Abdullah prepares boats for rowing in the annual shoosh competitions organized by the Fujairah International Marine Club as a way of teaching Emiratis about their traditions.

Abdullah is also getting orders from businesses, museums and schools around the United Arab Emirates that want a shasha or some shoosh (plural) as part of a display of Emirati heritage.

Shasha Prices
There’s a simplicity about the shasha but master boat builders have learned many secrets over the years and much of the knack is in the preparation of the date palm materials. The boat is all made from local palms except for the frame and oars which are crafted from imported hard wood.

Here are the prices for the standard shasha:

2 metres in length (one rowing position with two oars) AED 2000.00
4 & 5 metres (one rowing position with two oars) AED 4000.00
4 & 5 metres (two rowing positions with two oars) AED 5000.00
7 metres (four rowing positions with four oars) AED 6-7,000.00

Prices for bigger shasha and bulk orders can be negotiated.

Take a Look
Some pictures of Abdullah Mohammed Sulaiman and the shasha building are posted in this photo album.

Michele Ziolkowski, The Shasha—Traditional Fishing Craft of the UAE’s East Coast, Tribulus, Vol. 10.1. Spring/Summer 2000.
Rowing Races are Keeping Alive Fujairah’s Traditional Fishing Boats the Shoosh, ETE, 10 November 2009.
Keeping Fujairah Heritage Afloat with Al Shoosh Boat Racing, FIF, 9 November 2009.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Master shasha builder—Abdullah Mohammed Sulaiman.

UAE Improving According to Transparency-Corruption 2010 Survey

UAE Ranking
The United Arab Emirates showed a slight improvement in the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index being ranked this year 28th equal out of 178 countries in contrast to its ranking of 30th place in 2009.

The UAE again ranked second in Middle Eastern and North African countries after Qatar (19th) and one place ahead of Israel.

Survey Summary
The summary report made these overall statements about the 2010 survey:

Obstacle to Progress
With governments committing huge sums to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, from the instability of financial markets to climate change and poverty, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much needed progress.

The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below five, on a scale from 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). These results indicate a serious corruption problem.

To address these challenges, governments need to integrate anti-corruption measures in all spheres, from their responses to the financial crisis and climate change to commitments by the international community to eradicate poverty. Transparency International advocates stricter implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the only global initiative that provides a framework for putting an end to corruption.

Top and Bottom
Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are tied at the top of the list with a score of 9.3, followed closely by Finland and Sweden at 9.2. At the bottom is Somalia with a score of 1.1, slightly trailing Myanmar and Afghanistan at 1.4 and Iraq at 1.5.

Notable among decliners over the past year are some of the countries most affected by a financial crisis precipitated by transparency and integrity deficits. Among those improving in the past year, the general absence of OECD states underlines the fact that all nations need to bolster their good governance mechanisms.

Turning the Tide
The message is clear: across the globe, transparency and accountability are critical to restoring trust and turning back the tide of corruption. Without them, global policy solutions to many global crises are at risk.

The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index
The 2009 Corruption-Perceptions Index

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recommendations Flow from Death of Francis Crippen in Fujairah

In the wake of the death of Francis Crippen at the 10km Marathon World Cup swimming races last Saturday (23 October 2010) in Fujairah, family and friends have been demanding answers, seeking explanations and calling for improvements to the swimming regulations that govern future races.

It is a good thing that the Fujairah Police, UAE Swimming, FINA and now USA Swimming are all undertaking their independent enquiries to understand the facts and learn from this tragedy.

Here are some constructive lessons and recommendations to come out of this international conversation thus far:

1. Clear and Transparent Reporting
The initial reports that were published online in UAE papers on Saturday afternoon stated that Francis Crippen was taken from the waters and rushed by an ambulance to the Fujairah Hospital. To readers it seemed that hope was still alive but those at the site of the race knew that Francis Crippen was already dead. Even after a pronouncement of death had been made at the hospital it was still hours before his death was reported.

While the death certificate from the hospital was brought along to the Sunday Press Conference and read in Arabic it has still not been made available to the public for translation. The delay in releasing written documents gives greater scope for fictional stories to spread and gather momentum.

Numerous stories posted online around the world have been in conflict with one another which has heightened the confusion and accentuated the mystery surrounding Crippen’s death.

2. Translation
It was a helpful initiative by FINA, UAE Swimming and the Fujairah International Marine Club (FIMC) to schedule a Press Conference the next day (Sunday) at the Marine Club.

Those addressing media personnel spoke mainly in Arabic. Although a request was made for simultaneous translation it was decided that one of the four speakers would later address the English language reporters and writers, which Ayman Saad (UAE Swimming) did with three people after the main press conference. This was helpful but for an international body (FINA) representing a large international audience it is important for interpreters to be on hand for the translation of the written and spoken words.

3. Number of Competitors and Safety Officers
While Ayman Saad repeated the mantra that no accidents like this had happened before, that the UAE Swimming has staged very successful races and that FINA had checked all the safety boxes before the races were started, he was asked what lessons could be drawn and what improvements might be instituted in the light of the tragedy. Mr. Saad said one recommendation may be to insist on there being fewer competitors in the race. He said there were 81 swimmers in the two races, 56 men and 25women.

Furthermore, he said, “In our meeting with FINA we may ask for there to be an increase in the number of safety personnel on the course.”

To delay the swimming of one of the races so there are not two competitions being staged at the same time may be one way of increasing the ratio of safety officers to swimmers.

4. Appointment of Spotters
One positive recommendation is the appointment of spotters—one for each swimmer. These would be people on jet skis, equipped with radio contact, whose sole responsibility is to monitor the progress of their swimmer and to report if their charge is in trouble.

Mr. Ayman Saad said that normally when swimmers get into trouble and start to struggle they take off their goggles but when divers located the body of Francis Crippen he was still wearing his goggles. This fact suggested to Saad that Francis Crippen had submerged and died in seconds.

Spotters who monitor their swimmer’s every stroke would be able to relay quickly the news of someone getting into difficulty rather than leaving it to coaches and fellow swimmers to report much later when a swimmer had failed to cross the line.

5. Helicopter on Hand
During the long search by the coastguards the coach of Francis Crippen asked for a helicopter to be called. Major Ahmed Ebrahim Al Beloushi, the Managing Director of the Fujairah International Marine Club, said a helicopter was ordered from Dubai. As the helicopter pilot needed the standard 30 minutes to get clearance to leave Dubai, during which time the body of Francis Crippen was found, the helicopter never left the airport.

Consideration should be given to having a helicopter much closer to the site of future swimming races.

6. Temperature Regulations
While Ayman Saad said that the race complied with existing FINA regulations in regard to water temperature, he said there was a minimum temperature of 16 C degrees but no maximum level was stated. The water and air temperature regulations will need to be reviewed in the light of the fatality and the instances of other swimmers being taken to hospital following the race suffering from heat exhaustion.

Related to this must be a rethink of the time each year when the UAE races are staged and the time of the day when the temperatures are not likely to be so high.

Enhancing Safety of Future Races
No amount of finger pointing will bring Fran Crippen back but the careful evaluation of what happened last Saturday in Fujairah and the formulation of new regulations will improve all future races controlled by FINA and enhance the safety of the swimmers under their care.

Take a Look
Some pictures from the early stages of the 10 km races held in Fujairah are posted in this photo album.

Tears, Tributes and Talk of Francis Crippen in Fujairah, UAE, FIF, 25 October 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Some of the male swimmers rounding the buoy near the start/finish line.

Monday, October 25, 2010

All the Details on the Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition in Fujairah

Detailed information on the Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition was shared at a Media Conference last Saturday (23 October 2010) at the Fujairah Hilton.

This was followed by an outdoor meal during which some Al Saif swordsmen presented their skills.

Several Formats
This information is posted in several formats:
+ The following article below on Fujairah in Focus
+ Download in Arabic (PDF)
+ Download in English (PDF)

The art of heritage dancing is very famous in the United Arab Emirates. Dances may begin as private activities which pass through generations and become distinct types until finally these folk dances become an important part of social and national events.

There are many types of folk dances including: Al Ayalah, Military, Al Razfa, Liwa, Alhban, Tanboura and Alyoulah. Every one of them is characterized by special features and performed in a different way.

Almzafin is considered one of the traditional arts that abounds in the UAE and which reflect social values, morals and aesthetic qualities. It has technical features that depend on movement, rhythm, signs, symbols of significance and shared meaning that are common among the members of the group where it is popular.

Types of Sword Dance
There are two types of Sword Dance:

+ The first type is called Al Luqiya (‘The Meeting’). In this sword dance the swordsmen enter the field while throwing the swords high (Ghalie al Saif) before catching them. This movement expresses strength and courage.

+ The second type is called Al Raghad (‘The Play’), Al Tasarri, Al Halaqah or Al Mazafin. Two warriors perform a unique dance and jump while they play with their swords. Suddenly they will attack each other and the two swords will touch.

+ The Almzafin dance involves two warriors meeting in the middle, carrying their swords and doing battle. The sword symbolizes the strength of the swordsman and greatness is displayed in the mastery of the sword dance.

The Al Saif Traditional Sword Tournament
+ Almzafin is an ancient and unique way of recognizing the traditions of UAE Nationals, especially the people who live in the mountain who have kept this tradition alive.

+ The Sword Championships have been inaugurated to highlight and maintain these traditions through the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Fujairah—May God preserve him for his faith in educating the younger generations and encouraging them to practice this folklore and the ancient customs of the Arab people.

+ This event aims to promote UAE identity and to instill patriotism and pride in the arts.

+ These authentic sports are a means of communicating ancient customs, deepening the pride of Emiratis towards their national values and showcasing these practices to everyone.

+ The Almzafin tournament is an opportunity for young people over sixteen to learn and practice this traditional dance and perform it creatively. The annual tournament will help to spread this living tradition, so that a local and remote practice is eventually performed on the international stage.

Conditions for Participation
The following conditions have been formulated to govern participation in the Al Saif Competition. Participants must:
+ Be knowledgeable in the ways of Almzafin.

+ Be committed in the highest degree to the safety of their swords.

+ Be males, sixteen years of age and over.

+ Be committed to the timetable and rules of the competitions

+ Be committed to wearing national attire.

+ Be compliant with all regulations and laws.

+ Be committed to all standards of security and safety.

+ Be committed to public morality and the good treatment of others.

Criteria for Judging Al Saif Tournament
Judges will assess competitors according to four main stages, each of which are allotted a number of points making a total of fifty points.

1. Al Lakiya, Sword Walk, Khab A Saif: (10 points)

Lakiya: the entrance to the field of the Almzafin when the zafin (warrior) grips the sword strongly and displays pride and self-confidence

Eltsary or Sword Walk: Roaming around with the sword.

+ Khab Al Saif Sword refers to the vibration in the grip of the sword hand. The catching of the sword should be flexible. The zafin needs strong nerves to catch and vibrate the sword in the correct way without using his other hand.

+ The dancing by the sword involves the harmonious movement of the whole body while looking forward and moving the legs. The Al Zafin dance follows the rhythm of the song. The movement is wonderfully attractive especially when both warriors face each other with self-esteem.

2. Almzafin (10 points)
This category of the competition involves the rising and descending of the participants.

+ The Zafin (warrior) must show the other that he is prepared and ready to start (Almzavenh).

+ The Zafin rise from the earth for three consecutive times seeking each time to increase the height of the jump from the ground while the qubzat (right fist) holds the sword tight. The Zafin must not shift from the ground where he starts the jump and he must keep facing his opponent.

+ After three jumps the Zafin descends to the lowest level of the earth taking into account the trot sword. He must wait for the other participant to complete his three first jumps, before walking away from the other to finish the Almzafin. This configuration gives a sense of cohesion. It is allowable for the participants during Almzafin to rise together.

+ Almzafin involves coming together and drawing apart with non-random attacks on the other participant for three consecutive attempts, after which rotation continues in a walk and a trot.

3. Ghali (15 points)
This category involves the Ghali (the throwing) and the catching of the sword.

+ The Ghali Al Saif (throwing up of the sword) involves a vertical throw to the highest level. Participants may throw their swords at the same time.

+ The Ghali Al Saif should be repeated for three times after the beginning of Al Mazafin.

+ The jury may forbid a swordsman from continuing the Ghali Al Saif in the case of a competitor lacking control over his sword and endangering other competitors or the public.

+ Throwing the sword must be done in a limited area with the sword being caught no more than three steps from the place from which the sword is thrown.

4. Presentation & Originality (15 points)
In this category judges will look for overall presentation of the swordsman and his sense of originality. Here are some of the things a swordsman might include:

+ Making the sign of the sword and presenting the upper third of the sword while performing.

+ The swordsman must ensure adherence to the values of his national heritage by such things as the sword rotation in the case of Khab Al Saif, catching the sword after Ghali Al Saif and entering the field. All of these things may attract attention and suggest walking to the rhythm of war.

+ Special features to observe include the curvature of the sword in cases of the Khab Al Saif, dancing with rhythm and going down to the ground with the Khab Al Saif and rising again.

+ Holding the sword correctly, gripping of the sword and gesturing in the Khab Al Saif without affecting the movement of the dance.

+ Taking up the sword, walking with the sword in rhythm, changing the movement of the hand from the palm to the back of the hand with flexibility and without the falling of the sword.

+ Throwing the sword from hand to hand and using any of the hands for Khab Al Saif.

+ Balancing the sword upside down on the fingers while walking with rhythm and flexibility without the sword falling.

+ The scream at the beginning of Almzafin attracts the attention of the public and the other participants.

+ Holding the sword by the grip in the case of it coming down.

+ Creativeness will be considered as long it observes the previously mentioned techniques, and movements of the competition and takes into account the objectives of the game.

Mistakes to Avoid
+ The falling of the sword in the final qualifying stages will cost a deduction of 200 points.

+ A participant will be eliminated from the tournament in the case of deliberate and direct abuse or showing any inappropriate manners to the public or the Al Saif commission.

+ The falling or stumbling of a participant during his performance will cost a deduction of points.

+ Throwing the sword and receiving it from behind will cost a deduction of points.

+ The fall of the ghutra (scarf) of the warrior with it being picked up by another participant will involve a deduction of points for the owner of the ghutra and the other participant receiving double points.

Main Site and Location of Al Saif Activities
The main location will be the Fujairah Fort.

Other activities will take place at the following sites:
+ Fujairah Corniche.
+ Dibba Society for Culture and the Arts.
+ Center of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development at Masafi.

Al Saif Championship Awards:
First Prize: Golden Sword plus a car and AED 100,000 dirhams.
Second Prize: Silver Sword plus AED 60,000 dirhams.
Third Prize: Bronze Sword plus AED 40,000 dirhams.
Fourth to Tenth place getters: Each will receive AED 10,000 dirhams.

Other Activities
+ Heritage Village
+ Lyrical passages
+ Entertainment events
+ Awards to the public

Calendar of Al Saif Competition Events

Fujairah Corniche
Friday 22/10/2010: Demonstration and Training

Friday 29/10/2010 Demonstration and Training

Dibba Society for Culture, Arts and Theatre
Friday 22/10/2010: Demonstration and Training

Friday 29/10/2010 Demonstration and Training

Center of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development Masafi
Friday 22/10/2010: Demonstration and Training

Friday 29/10/2010 Demonstration and Training

Fujairah Fort
Saturday 30/10/2010: Qualifying Round
Sunday 31/10/2010: Qualifying Round
Monday 01/11/2010: Qualifying Round
Tuesday 02/11/2010: Qualifying Round
Wednesday 03/11/2010: Qualifying Round
Friday 05/11/2010: Qualification Final
Friday 12/11/2010 Qualification Final
Friday 19/11/2010 Qualification Final
Friday 26/11/2010 Semi-Finals
Friday 10/12/2010 The Finals

Contact Details
Al Saif - Tel: +971 50 989 2000
Fax: +971 9 222 7183
E-mail: info@mhm.ae

More Information on Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition
Personal Website of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi
بطولة السيف Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition Facebook Page

Swordsmen Showcase Their Skills in Fujairah, FIF, 22 October 2010.
Al Saif Traditional Sword Demonstration and Training Commences in Fujairah, FIF, 20 October 2010.
Traditional Sword Competition to be Held in Fujairah, FIF, 30 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: One of the 150+ swordsmen who will be competing for these fantastic prizes—gold, silver and bronzes swords—which were on display at the Fujairah Hilton Media Conference.

Wayne and Coleen Rooney Should Head to Fujairah for Complete Refreshment

Wayne Rooney celebrated his birthday with his wife Coleen on a Dubai beach on Sunday after Sir Alex Fergusson had told him: “Get away, relax and come back refreshed.”

Sir Alex obviously is not aware that those in Dubai usually travel 90 minutes to Fujairah if they are really intent on refreshment.

The fact that Fujairah is not so well known as Dubai provides the clue to the anonymity that the Rooneys would enjoy in the eastern emirate.

Like Fergusson’s homeland, Fujairah is rugged, mountainous and the sensational sea views would provide the right tonic for a marriage yearning for enrichment.

If Sir Alex is shouting his champion football player and his wife this Middle Eastern holiday his Scottish frugality might relish knowing that everything in Fujairah is so much cheaper than in Dubai or the UAE capital.

Best wishes to Wayne and Coleen on their holiday in the Emirates.

They and all the Man U community should know that there’s a red carpet waiting for them in Fujairah.

Wayne Rooney Heads to Dubai for Birthday Celebrations, Express.Co.Uk, 25 October 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Best wishes to Wayne and Coleen on their holiday in the Emirates.

Taxi Fares Increase in Fujairah UAE

Taking a Taxi in and from Fujairah
If you travel by taxi around Fujairah you will have noticed a slight fare increase (instituted on 11 October 2010).

When the driver turns on the meter it now starts at AED 3 instead of AED 2.5 in the daytime and for night rides it has gone up from AED 3 to AED 3.5.

The minimum fare is now AED 5.

The meter is now calibrated to cost passengers AED 1 for every 750 metres whereas previously one got 800 metres for each dirham.

The starting rate for inter-emirate trips is AED 10.

The increase does not appear to have resulted in a salary increase for the drivers, many of whom say that there are too many taxis in Fujairah (700 at the last count) for the number of people wanting to ride by taxi.

The taxi fares are still very cheap and Fujairah prices are at the lower end of the UAE fare spectrum.

Interesting to reflect that only a few years ago Fujairah taxis were white and generally small, drivers were not in uniform, meters were not installed and one could ride anywhere in Fujairah city for only AED 5.

Going by Taxi in Fujairah UAE, FIF, 20 October 2010.
Fujairah Taxis, FIF, 13 August 2008.
Taxis in Dubai, Fujairah and Other Emirates, Experiencing the Emirates, 13 August 2008.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Watching a Fujairah taxi meter ticking over faster this week.

Tears, Tributes and Talk of Francis Crippen in Fujairah, UAE

Update and Pictures at this link. Several positive things happened today in Fujairah following yesterday’s tragedy when American open water swimmer Francis Crippen died during a 10-kilometre Swimming World Cup event.

Flowers and Tears
Most of those who had participated the day before as swimmers, supporters and race officials returned to the scene at the Fujairah International Marine Club.

The staff at the Marine Club took the mourners to the site where divers had found Fran Crippen, 500 metres out from the land and in water 7-8 metres deep. After the three boats linked together Valerijus Belovas, Fina's Technical Director, called for a minute’s silence before people dropped white roses into the water.

Words seemed inappropriate at such a time but through flowers, tears and hugs this floating community of grief signalled their love, expressed their thanks and made their farewells.

Locals Express Their Grief
Major Ahmed Ebrahim Al Beloushi, the Managing Director of the Fujairah International Marine Club, was at the helm of one of the three boats and he gave a spontaneous statement from the heart.

Ahmed expressed his condolences to all present and acknowledged the grieving family and friends in the USA and around the world. “We are also sad and in grief,” he said. “We are deeply sorry that this has happened here in Fujairah.” He then extended the hope that people would return to the UAE: “If you or your loved ones return, especially to pay your respects, we will always make boats available for you to come out here on the water.”

This afternoon's gathering on the water was a thoughtful initiative by FINA and UAE Swimming. Its spontaneity and informality was appropriate to unite those in grief and give a measure of closure. Later this evening in the lobby of the Nour Arjann Rotana (the sponsoring hotel) in Fujairah’s main street, Valerijus Belovas, expressed the observation that many of the swimmers and their supporters were opening up and talking more.

Press Conference
A media conference was held this afternoon by FINA and UAE Swimming at the conference room of the Fujairah International Marine Club. Numerous stories had been posted and reposted over night and it was helpful to elucidate more facts and have some questions answered.

Here are some points that arose from the reports:
+ Francis Crippen appears to have gone missing in the fourth round of the course.

+ From the time the swimmer's absence was reported by his coach it took 1 hour 10 minutes to locate his body.

+ No exact position could be given as to where Francis was lost so coastguard divers had to scour a large area in their search.

+ Later the coach asked for a helicopter to join the search but before one could be cleared for take off the body of Francis Crippen had been found.

+ Major Ahmed said that the Fujairah location was a late decision of UAE Swimming and FINA when the organizers at Sharjah decided they were unable to stage the swimming event. Ahmed and his team had five days to ready the Fujairah course and facilities. The responsibility of the Fujairah International Marine Club was to provide logistical support, including the provision of jet skis, boats, buoys, pontoons, ambulances and doctors. “None of our staff were out on the water,” Major Ahmed stated. “Oversight of the running of the race, including matters of safety, was in the hands of FINA and UAE Swimming.” All these matters had been clearly stated at the Press Conference prior to the Fujairah swimming races.

Water Temps
When asked whether the water was too hot for the swimming of the race, Ayman Saad, Executive Director of UAE Swimming, said FINA had a minimum temperature (16C) below which the race could not be run but no maximum temperature.

They had tested the heat of the water at 8.30am at which time the temperature was 29C (85F). Twice during the race the temperature was checked and it had risen to 30-31C (86-88F). These temperatures appeared to the organisers to be acceptable for the staging of the swimming race.

Safety Team
Boats and jet skis were available for referees and organizers but the total number of people responsible specifically for safety was nine which included four divers on two boats and three certified life guards. Prior to the race UAE Swimming officials went through all safety procedures with FINA and concluded that all measures were in accordance with the regulations that govern races under the control of FINA.

Cause of Death
The death certificate in Arabic has yet to be translated into English but officials said that an examination of the body of Francis Crippen had revealed nothing wrong with him medically: "He was tiring as he swam around the course and he appeared to have lost control." According to the Public Prosecution of the Ministry of Justice in the UAE the death of Francis Crippen was due to “intense exertion.”

Tribute from Coach
Earlier in the day, Jack Fabian, the coach of Francis Crippen was reluctant to talk extensively with journalists, saying that official statements were the prerogative of USA Swimming.

When asked at what stage of the race Francis told him that he was unwell the coach said that he had not said this. He was on the pontoon with other coaches and supporters who were holding out food and drink for the swimmers and all that Francis said was, “I’m thirsty.” The coach said, “There was nothing unusual about this.”

When asked to describe Francis Crippen, Jack Fabian said, “He was wonderful—an exceedingly generous person.”

Take a Look
Some pictures of the memorial gathering in Fujairah waters and the press conference can be found in this photo album.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Some of the swimmers and supporters sharing their grief and showing their love and respect for Francis Crippen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Swordsmen Showcase their Skills in Fujairah

The public demonstration of the Al Saif traditional sword skills got under way tonight at three Fujairah locations—the Fujairah Corniche, the Masafi Cultural Centre and the Dibba Cultural Association.

The Fujairah city demonstration was conducted in two parts, firstly adjacent to the bull butting arena and later after prayers on the park alongside the Tourist Night Souq.

The demonstration, before a large and appreciative crowd, was preceded by games for the children and the not so young. It was good old fashioned entertainment designed to warm up the spectators for the main event.

The young swordsmen danced with their swords and were accompanied by older men doing the traditional Emirati dancing and stick waving.

The sword dancing was energetic and the music pulsating. Spectators got a good opportunity to witness the dueling and some sword throwing and catching.

The demonstration and training phase continues next Friday at the same time (5pm) and at the same three Fujairah locations.

After this demonstration phase the qualifying rounds will commence with the Al Saif Traditional sword competition culminating with the finals on 10 December at the Fujairah Fort.

Take a Look
Some pictures of the entertainment and sword demonstration at the Fujairah corniche.

Al Saif Traditional Sword Demonstration and Training Commences in Fujairah, FIF, 20 October 2010.
Traditional Sword Competition to be Held in Fujairah, FIF, 30 September 2010.
بطولة السيف Al Saif Competition, Facebook Page.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: And so the sword dancing begins.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Al Saif Traditional Sword Demonstration and Training Commences in Fujairah

New Phase
The inaugural Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition moves into a new phase with the announcement of two public demonstration and training events.

Simultaneous Events
The first Demonstration and Training event will be held this Friday 22 October 2010 at these three Fujairah locations:

1. Fujairah Corniche (next to the bull butting arena)
2. Masafi Cultural Centre
3. Dibba Cultural Association

These events at the three locations will be held simultaneously commencing at 5pm and extending until approximately 9pm.

Take Two
On Friday 29 October 2010 these three events will be repeated at the same hours and locations in order to give the public more time to enjoy the sword entertainment and to give the competition contestants further practice and training before a live audience.

Next Phase
Following these two Fridays of demonstration and training the competition will get underway with the qualifying rounds. The organizing committee is due early next week to announce further details about the qualifying round locations, times and matchups.

Finals at the Fort
As previously reported, the semi-finals and final of the Al Saif competition are expected to be held in December against the backdrop of the Fujairah Fort with the final scheduled for 10 December 2010.

More Information
More information about the inaugural Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition, generously sponsored by the Fujairah Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, can be found at these links:

بطولة السيف Al Saif Competition, Facebook Page.
(Click on LIKE to receive regular information)
Anna Zacharias, ‘Not Everybody Can Shake the Sword’, The National, 10 October 2010.
Traditional Sword Competition to be Held in Fujairah, FIF, 30 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Some of the men from the shihuh (highlander) tribes gathered recently at the Fujairah Fort to display their skills. Inset: The sponsor of the Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition, the Fujairah Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, looking pleased with the development of this cultural and sporting event. (Photo courtesy of Al Saif Traditional Sword Competition Facebook Page)

Wael Al Sayegh Shares His Poetry in Fujairah

Wael Al Sayegh, the Emirati writer, visited Fujairah earlier this week.

Hosted by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Wael shared poems from his latest book, ‘There Is An Elephant in the Majlis’.

Having been born in Edinburgh, raised in Dubai, received his Masters degree from the University of Glasgow and now working as an inter-cultural consultant, Wael’s poetry reflects influences that are both local and international.

The medium this Emirati poet uses is free verse which allows readers and hearers to experience creativity and a prophetic voice that is particularly incisive when addressing issues to do with the Emirates and the Arab world.

Wael Al Sayegh formerly published two books of poetry in English—‘A Poet’s Oud’ and ‘I Often Wonder’—but ‘There Is An Elephant in the Majlis’ is written in both Arabic and English.

Taste an Elephant
Enjoy this poem from Wael’s latest collection:

The Prisoner of Tradition
Her black eyes
are a sea
of unexplored emotions.

Her slender body
A dormant volcano of dreams and hopes.

She is the prisoner of tradition.
A slave to a people
who have long forgotten
the importance of the flesh.

The colour of her skin
is yellowed now
deprived of the kiss of the sun.

Wael's books are available at Amazon or at any Magrudy's book store in the UAE.

Wael Al Sayegh, Personal Website.

UAE Nation of Poets, ETE, 26 August 2008.
Poems Give Most Revealing Glimpse of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ETE, 11 May 2009.
Poems from The Desert by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, RBM, 11 May 2009.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: Wael Al Sayegh (courtesy of his website).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Renovating the Beaches of Fujairah City

A letter arrived recently posing these questions:

“Please can you tell me how far/how long are the beaches in Fujairah from the cruise terminal? Is it worth getting off the cruise ship? I have read conflicting reviews!”

There is much more that can be done to showcase Fujairah tourism and heritage sites especially for the significant number of cruise ship tourists who only spend a few hours in the emirate of Fujairah.

But how ready are the Fujairah city beaches, not only for temporary tourists who don’t have the time to get to the Al Aqah coastline but for holidaymakers and residents to enjoy?

Hilton Solution
One solution is for people to use the beach at the Hilton Hotel where the charge to use the beach and all recreational facilities (swimming pool, gym etc) for part or a whole day is AED 100 for an adult and AED 75 for a child.

Public Solution
As Fujairah is staking its tourism future on the magnificent coastline of the emirate it is timely to develop the public beaches for residents and tourists, keeping in mind the many activities that people like to enjoy on the sea and sand.

Why not begin by renovating a good length of the beach that runs parallel with Al Faseel Road from the private residences (north of the Hilton) that have beach access, towards the Beach Motel?

Attractive Features
Adapt the features that make the Khor Fakkan beach so popular with residents as well as tourists and then add some more:
+ Ample parking
+ Shops where people can buy water and refreshments
+ An abundance of grassy areas for picnics
+ Lots of large trees that give shelter for sitting and walking
+ Walking paths as well as a long beach to walk on
+ Barbeque areas for beach cooking
+ Changing rooms, toilets and showers
+ Play activities for children
+ A variety of tables and chairs, park benches
+ Good clean sand
+ A beach and park area that is thoroughly cleaned
+ Designated areas for swimmers and jet-skis
+ Opportunities for people to hire boats, ride on horses etc.
+ Umbrellas and deck chairs for hire
+ Other?

Enhance the Valuable Assets
We are more than half way there with the safe waters and the sensational views of the sea and the mountains.

To provide shelter from the searing sun, opportunities for refreshment and some basic equipment would enhance one of Fujairah’s most valuable assets and make it more accessible and attractive to all.

What would you recommend if you were in charge of developing this and other Fujairah beaches?

Take a Look
Have a look at these pictures from the popular beach at Khor Fakkan.


Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: “These old tables and chairs have had their day. They are unsafe and have sunk into the sand to the point where they are unusable.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Four Actions to Make Fujairah Residents Breathe Easier

Two recent articles and a reader’s poll in The National took my breath away.

Firstly, Anna Zacharias wrote about residents in the Fujairah quarry village of Tawaian in which numerous children and adults have developed asthma, apparently due to quarry dust.

Secondly, in another article Vesela Todorova reported the UAE statistic that “man-made air pollution may have been responsible for more than 600 deaths in 2007.”

Thirdly, a reader poll was established by The National (early October 2010) asking,
“Have you experienced problems with air pollution since moving to the UAE?”

This poll is not statistically accurate but its conclusions are sufficiently alarming:

YES, it is a major problem 65%
, it has not been a problem 20%
Sometimes, but it does not bother me 15%

Action Commended
The National articles were balanced in their reporting and recognized the important work that the Fujairah Municipality had done in its monitoring of dangerous quarry sites, its insistence that companies do more to contain the dust and its decisions in closing down businesses that failed to comply with the stricter regulations.

Action Required
To build upon the good work by the Fujairah Municipality these four measures might make Fujairah residents breathe more easily:

1. Regular independent evaluations of Fujairah quarries to monitor the emission levels of pollutants in the air. The independent nature of these reports is essential as the Fujairah Government has a vested economic interest in the quarry business. The evaluations would extend to the investigation of vehicle exhaust emissions, industrial chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions, desert dust and all forms of air pollutants, not just quarry dust.

2. Develop a comprehensive network of air monitoring stations on the ground and install the latest state of the art satellite systems to monitor pollution, detect unlawful polluters and effectively control our air quality.

3. Establish on the Fujairah Government web site a pollution gauge to allow people to check up-to-the-minute levels of air contamination. Devise a system of public alerts to warn people of days when there are hazardous atmospheric conditions.

4. Institute a major study as soon as possible that will work with the hospitals and all medical practitioners in the emirate to investigate the impact of air pollution on the health of Fujairah residents and to bring back its findings and recommendations to be made available to the public.

Vesela Todorova, Air Pollution a Factor in Hundreds of Deaths, The National, 7 October 2010.
Anna Zacharias, Move Us or Move the Quarries say Residents, The National, 7 October 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: “These four measures might make Fujairah residents breathe more easily.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Longing for a Swimming Pool Complex in Fujairah

Fujairah does not generally imitate other emirates but news of the opening of the multi-purpose Dubai Sports Complex stirs up yearnings for a swimming pool complex on the east coast of the UAE.

A set of Olympic-sized pools would encourage the many east coast swimmers and help prepare them for national and international competition.

As the new Dubai complex is soon to host the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships, a facility in Fujairah that meets international standards would also attract major competitions to the East Coast.

A multi-purpose water complex in Fujairah would boost competitive swimming and diving and become an attractive amusement asset, both for residents and tourists to the east coast.

Fujairah Swimming Championships and Future Hopes, FIF, 1 November 2009.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fujairah Drive-In Cinema Delay Due to Expansion

The drive-in cinema being built in the mountains of Fujairah had been planned to open at 10pm on the 10th day of the 10th month in ’10.

The reason given for the delay was “to increase its capacity.”

In an interview with the National some new details were revealed while others “remain a closely guarded secret.”

The Fujairah drive-in is now due to open ‘within a year’.

Will it now open at 11pm on the 11th day of the 11th month of ’11?

Anna Zacharias, Drive-in Cinema for Fujairah Delayed, The National, 11 October 2010.

Drive-In Cinema Opens in Fujairah at 10pm on 10/10/10, SFS, 2 June 2010.

Cinema Complex at Fujairah’s Lulu Shopping Complex, FIF, 15 June 2010.
Shooting of the Film ‘DAM 999’ in Fujairah, FIF, 16 May 2010.
The Dubai Film ‘City of Life’, FIF, 12 May 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Chinese Restaurant Puts Karaoke on the Fujairah Menu

The new Chinese restaurant, the Zhonghua Huiguan, opened for business a few weeks ago but the eating areas and the Night Club were officially opened (see report and photos) on 8 October 2010.

Facilities Offered
Here is a summary of the many new facilities of this new Chinese eating and entertainment establishment that is occupying the first floor of the Fujairah International Marine Club.

+ Five private dining rooms (of different sizes) equipped with ‘lazy Susan’ in the middle of the round tables.

+ A public dining area with four tables (each with four chairs), most of which have a wonderful view over the Arabian Sea.

+ All up the restaurant can serve 70 people at one time.

+ The items on the menu (see links below) are predominantly traditional Chinese dishes, along with other Asian delights.

+ The restaurant has been stylishly decorated with traditional Chinese wall paper and there is a centrally placed chandelier for lighting.

+ Each private room comes with a karaoke music system that has a screen, speakers, microphones and a computer from which you can select the song you would like to sing to other guests in whatever language you desire.

+ In the restaurant there is an extensive drinks menu (see link below) which are served from a small bar. The menu includes popular international beers, traditional Chinese drinks and spirits with which to help you to sing with gusto!

Bar and Night Club
Through the swinging doors (and going in the direction of the stern of the ship) one enters the Night Club which can easily accommodate 100 people. This consists of the following facilities:

+ A huge bar

+ A stage for the band and dancers

+ A sizeable dance floor

+A seated area to the starboard side of the ship

+ Two karaoke rooms (large and smaller size) off each side of the Night Club for a more private singing and dance experience under coloured lights.

+ The kitchen for the restaurant and Night Club is off the Night Club on the port side.

Coffee Bar
Going further to the back of the ship beyond the Night Club is a coffee bar. On the port (left) side one can exit to an outside barbeque. On the starboard (right side) this goes out to a coffee drinking area.

Al Fresco Dining and Balcony Views
Going beyond the external coffee area with intimate nooks one comes to the huge balcony area. This will be great in the cooler months for outside dining and shisha and it doubles as an observation deck that will be used by the Fujairah International Marine Club on race days.

All in All
There are many parts to this new eating and entertainment establishment in Fujairah. It has places for public and private dining, a Night Club with entertainment but many smaller rooms and areas for a more intimate experience.

Take a Look
Check out some of the photos in this photograph album.

Download the Menus

Take a look and download the food menu and the drinks menu from the Zhonghua Huiguan Chinese Restaurant and Night Club but be aware that the items and prices will change. Some of the names of the dishes get lost in translation.

Location and Contact
The Zhonghua Huiguan Restaurant and Night Club is located on the first floor of the Fujairah International Marine Club.
P. O. Box 2099
Tel: 971 (0)9 2249718
Fax: 971 (0)9 2249318

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Image: One of the dining tables in the public eating area which has sensational sea views.

New Chinese Restaurant and Night Club Opens in Fujairah

The formalities were few last night (8 October 2010)—the traditional dragon or lion dance, the cutting of the ribbon by the Manager of the Marine Club, Ahmed Ebraheim Al Blooshi and then the joyful walk to the restaurant, up the external stairway that was lined with colourful flower displays and red balloons.

After inspecting the various areas of the Zhonghua Huiguan, guests enjoyed a buffet and a range of beverages.

A feature of the decorations on Friday night was the ice sculptures (designs of birds and fish) and sculptures etched from pumpkin.

A bigger than usual team of waiters and kitchen hands roved the restaurant obviously delighted to have got the establishment officially launched.

A group of Emirati dignitaries were present at the opening which was marked by large numbers of the Chinese community from Fujairah and throughout the UAE.

After people had enjoyed the food the entertainment got underway in the Night Club. Singers (mainly in Chinese) and dancers generated a happy atmosphere amid the flashing colours and strobe lights.

Proverb and Pictures
As the Chinese proverb goes, ‘One Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words’, take a look at some pictures from the opening of the Zhonghua Huiguan Restaurant and Night Club.

Congratulations to the manager, Youzeng Bao and his team on the opening of the Zhonghua Huiguan in Fujairah.

Location and Contact
The Zhonghua Huiguan Restaurant and Night Club is located on the first floor of the Fujairah International Marine Club.
P. O. Box 2099
Tel: 971 (0)9 2249718
Fax: 971 (0)9 2249318

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Image: Some of the guests who celebrated in one of the five private rooms in the restaurant.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why Sheikh Mohammed Visited Fujairah this Week

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, made quite a splash when he visited Fujairah on Wednesday of this week.

The excitement was palpable at the news of his visit. Cleaners, gardeners and teachers worked overtime to ready themselves for his arrival.

Why did he come and why does he spend his valuable time visiting the remote and little known emirate of Fujairah?

1. Fujairah is His Patch
His Highness is not only the Ruler of Dubai, he also serves as Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE. Fujairah is part of the overall territory for which Sheikh Mohammed has some responsibility.

In a recent interview in Kentucky, Sheikh Mohammed sought to convey to international viewers that the UAE is more than Dubai. He said:

“When I talk about Dubai I talk about the whole UAE. The whole UAE is the country.”

When the Dubai Ruler visits Fujairah he is giving substance to this conviction and declaring that Fujairah is an integral part of the United Arab Emirates.

2. Transacting Business
Some aspects of Fujairah life are the responsibility of the federal government of the UAE, under the authority of the Supreme Council.

One purpose of Sheikh Mohammed’s visit was to inspect the growth of the Higher Colleges of Technology, to see first-hand the development of the two Fujairah colleges and to consider the proposal for an extension to the Women’s College. This decision is a work in progress but the favourable inspection by the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister must be a significant step in this process.

3. Encouraging those Doing Valuable Work
The visit of His Highness to the Centre for Rehabilitation of People with Special Needs of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Fujairah was consistent with the example of other UAE Rulers in highlighting the value to society of those who are especially challenged.

Sheikh Mohammed met one of the Emirati teachers at the Centre, Salma Al Ka’abi, who had not allowed blindness to prevent her from gaining a degree and being trained to teach children with special needs.

His Highness recently told an American journalist, in relation to the global recession, “Life would be boring if there was no challenge.” He saw Salma this week as a person who had encountered many challenges and had overcome them to achieve her ambitions.

Sheikh Mohammed called Salma an “example for every young Emirati citizen” and addressed her in these personal words:

“Salma, you are an example not only for blind girls, but for all young people in the UAE in their ambition and their will and determination to succeed. I admire your spirit and your power. This is the spirit we want in all the youth in our country.”

4. Learning from the Children
Sheikh Mohammed went to the classrooms of the Centre for Rehabilitation of People with Special Needs and observed the children demonstrating their skills.

Many of the photos of His Highness in his photo albums show him with children—not just his own but the many youngsters that he meets around the UAE.

He once made the counter-cultural statement, “I learn from the youngest and [I] am still at the beginning of the road with no arrogance.”

The special needs children in Fujairah last Wednesday would have heartened the Sheikh in terms of their development and their humility to learn.

5. Monitoring the Investment in Education
From the videos and the reports of the teachers, His Highness saw a wide spectrum of the educational life of the Fujairah Colleges, including the new engineering educational initiatives.

A consistent study of his speeches and decisions illustrate the Sheikh’s commitment to education and his desire to restore Arabs to the historic position of international prominence that they once held.

Since becoming a leader of the Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed has invested in infrastructure, business, property and tourism but he has talked about his most critical focus:

“Investment in education means investment in the lasting peace and security, which our people undoubtedly deserve.”

6. Making His People Happy
His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed, has become known as the visiting Sheikh. The popular 60 Minutes Video depicts him as an approachable person, often rolling up in his Mercedes 4WD at one of his projects without scores of bodyguards.

He likes to meet people where they live and work. He delights in arriving at remote places unannounced so as not to create anxiety with days of preparation and as a way of showing his genuine concern for ordinary people.

His Highness expressed his conviction that:

“The first responsibility of a leader is to make his people happy and then to provide them with the required security, stability, comfort, progress and development.”

Judging by the smiles on the faces of the children at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of People with Special Needs, the warmth of the handshakes and the cameras clicking at the HCT Colleges, it was obvious that Sheikh Mohammed made many Fujairah people happy this week.

7. Catching Up With His Family
The Maktoum and Al Sharqi families are closely connected. His Highness, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, the Ruler of Fujairah, is married to Sheikha Fatima bint Thani Al Maktoum.

Furthermore, Sheikh Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Fujairah, is married to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s daughter—see this video that captures the gathering of the clans at this important event in 2009. The Dubai Ruler now has a grandson in Fujairah, thus giving him a further reason to visit.

The Crown Prince of Fujairah accompanied his father-in-law on Wednesday’s visit to the north-eastern emirate so this would have been a good opportunity to re-warm family ties.

8. Enjoying the Beauty of Fujairah
From his statements and the photos of Sheikh Mohammed it is evident that he has a soft spot for Fujairah. A photo on his web site shows him with other UAE leaders swimming in the Fujairah waters in a break between meetings held in this emirate.

Sheikh Mohammed travelled in a helicopter to Fujairah this week, not only to save travel time but to allow him and his team to enjoy the sensational mountain views. Pity about the hazy skies last Wednesday but the helicopter hovered over the Fujairah coastline before coming in to land.

9. Mentoring His Successor
Sheikh Mohammed’s son, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, accompanied his father to Fujairah this week. From photos and videos it is obvious that he was curious to learn from people and to encourage those that he met.

Sheikh Hamdan doesn’t just ‘come for the ride’. He serves in significant ways in his own right but he is also undergoing an intentional mentoring period knowing that one day he is likely to be Ruler of Dubai, most probably with UAE-wide responsibilities.

When asked what it had been like to watch the recession affecting Dubai and what he had learned, Sheikh Hamdan replied:

“I think it’s a great opportunity to sit with my father and see the decisions that he takes in this difficult time. It helps me a lot for the future and I think it is important for me.”

His father confirmed the closeness of their relationship:

“We work together…and he knew what I was going to do because he’s the Crown Prince. He has to be hands-on.”

10. Fujairah Matters
One of the many endearing qualities that Sheikh Mohammed possesses and for which he has been recognized, is his down-to-earth personality and the way he does not let titles (including his own) get between him and people.

Many times he has affirmed this conviction, “It does not matter what your title is, it’s about what you do.”

This statement relates not only to the way Sheikh Mohammed sees people but the way he views regions and countries.

No matter how Fujairah is perceived by its citizens and by others, the main message that His Highness conveyed this week is that Fujairah is a significant place. Fujairah matters.

More on the Fujairah Visit
Mohammed bin Rashid Tours Fujairah, WAM, 7 October 2010.
Mohammed Tours Fujairah, Meets Citizens, Photos, Emirates 24/7, 7 October 2010.
Mohammed Takes Stock of Educational Programmes, Gulf News, 7 October 2010.
Mohammed Tours Fujairah, HH Sheikh Mohammed’s Web Site, 6 October 2010.
Mohammed bin Rashid Tours Fujairah, UAE Interact, 7 October 2010.
Shaikh Mohammed Orders Plan to Create Jobs for Graduates, Khaleej Times, 7 October 2010.
10 Min. Video, Arabic Commentary, HH Sheikh Mohammed’s Web Site, 6 October 2010.
4 Min. Video, Music Background, HH Sheikh Mohammed’s Web Site, 6 October 2010.

Sheikh Mohammed Says the Whole UAE is Back, FIF, 27 September 2010.
Sheikh Mohammed on the United Arab Emirates, FIF, 31 August 2010.
Sheikh Mohammed Called ‘Sheikh Mo Mentum’ at the US Horse Racing Sales, ETE.
More on Mohammed the Facebooking Twittering Sheikh of Dubai, UAE, ETE.
Make Sure to Connect with Sheikh Mohammed’s Correct Facebook Page, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Gets Public Page on Facebook and Thousands of Fans, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Showered With Birthday Greetings and Facebook Gifts, ETE.
Connect With Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid on Facebook, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Gains Too Many Friends on Facebook, ETE.
Follow Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai on Twitter, ETE.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Judged One of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, ETE.
Poems Give Most Revealing Glimpse of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Hailed as Most Powerful in Horse Racing Industry, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed Pays Record Price for Aussie Horse Racing Deal, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Ambitions for Middle East, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammad Models Rare Style of Leadership, ETE.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Leadership is Honoured, ETE.
New Website for H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ETE.
Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed on 60 Minutes Video, ETE.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Image: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is interviewed by Sindiya Ibrahim at Fujairah’s HCT Women’s College. (Photo courtesy of WAM)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Abu Dhabi—Fujairah Oil Pipeline Better Late than Never

The Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Project was reported as recently as 25 September 2010 to be gushing black gold into Fujairah bunkers by the end of 2010.

Reuters has now been told by ‘sources close to the project’ who ‘did not want to be named’ that the pipeline has a snowflake’s chance in hell (or words to that effect) of being finished in 2010 and that the second or even the third quarter of 2011 was a more realistic date.

Reasons for the Slow Down
The delay of the 370 km pipeline is due to design changes, the need to incorporate additional oil metering facilities and because the technology is new, it is taking longer to effectively operate the whole shebang.

There is no word about whether or not there were lateness penalties to pay.

Abu Dhabi to Fujairah Pipeline to Be Finished End of 2010, FIF, 25 September 2010.
Abu Dhabi Banks on Fujairah Amid Threats from Iran, FIF, 16 September 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.

Image: The delay of the 370 km pipeline is due to design changes…