Is Dubai World doomed?

29 11 2009

AMEDEO DEBACLE is nothing compared to panicky news that Dubai World may see troubling days ahead… but I doubt that this modern day Golden Oasis of the United Arab Emirates will crumble anytime soon — not by a long shot!

There is just too much at stake for the Islamic Financial World, particularly the Islamic Banking System, to let the multi-billion dollar dream of Dubai City to fall into pieces, just like that. The state-run Dubai World stunned the global financial world last Thursday when it announced it would need to restructure its debt, estimated at $59 billion, to pre-empt default and asked creditors for a six-month deferment.

The conglomerate has a host of companies under its fold with interests in a wide range of businesses such as realty, infrastructure, logistics and economic zones. It operates not just in the region but across a clutch of countries including Britain, the US, Europe, India, etc.

The total debt of Dubai as an emirate is estimated at $80 billion. And it’s banking on oil-rich Emiratey neighbour, Abu Dhabi, to come to its rescue…

A huge lotta money, of course. But wealthy friendly Islamic countries should pull their financial resources together to ensure that the Palm Islands dreams still remain afloat in the Arabian Gulf… All Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has to do is pick up his phone and call on Prince Waleed for expert advice or better still seek a much more experienced guidance from His Majesty? 😉

No worries! Doom or gloom, it’s still a Wonderful World! 🙂



Couch potato weekend

29 11 2009

AFTER A LONG, long while taking my eyes off the TV radar screen, I escaped from reality for the last 48 hours or so — switching channels! 😀

Live telecasts of the Hajj pilgrimage were fascinating and it was so amazing to see how this year’s Muslim pilgrims including Bruneians, numbering some 2.3 million from across the globe, braved the elements (rain or shine!) to fulfil their spiritual obligations. Frankly, my personal dream is to perform the Haj by walking all the way to Mekah from Brunei! 😉

Al-Jazeera came up with a series of documentary featuring a few of the pilgrims who made the cut from the limited quota of travel visas issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to each Islamic nation. Imagine out of 100-odd million Muslims in India, only more than 12 thousand Indian pilgrims could perform the Haj annually. And how lucky can we, Muslim Bruneians, consider ourselves to be given that two thousand Haj visas are allocated each year for a population of over 300 thousand (of which Muslims comprise only almost 70 percent). For this year, slightly more than a thousand pilgrims from Brunei Darussalam are performing the Haj.

One of the lucky Indian Muslims being featured in the Al-Jazeera TV program, by the name of Babu Khan and his wife from Delhi, could be seen ecstatically happy to have been successfully drawn to travel to Mekah this year. Babu Khan’s great love for Allah was exemplary! 🙂 With tears he expressed his utter and complete devotion to the Almighty by praising and thanking Him for the opportunity blessed upon him and his wife to become guests of Allah in the “Baitullah” this year.

Talking about love, Bollywood movies are full of it with box-office fantasies like Bobby and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (a couple of Indian films which I’ve seen over the decades). But that was a long time ago and not until yesterday did I come across another moving lovey-dovey Bollywood production (2007 release) entitled: “Namaste London” starring Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Rishi Kapoor and Upen Patel, to name just a few. It was quite a mesmerising movie to watch, actually — straightforward love story interspersed with typical singing and dancing Bhangra-style plus some great on-location shootings made in India and London. Oh yea, how could I forget this real classic Bollywood movie, “Slumdog Millionnaire” which made it to Hollywood fame this year! 🙂

Still, no Bollywood or even Hollywood classics for that matter could describe the Greatest Love of All as that expressed by the heartfelt love of the Indian Muslim pilgrim, Babu Khan as a simple servant of Allah, for his Creator. May he and all Muslim pilgrims this season achieve and accomplish the ‘perfectly-accepted’ “Haji Mabrur”. Allahuma Amin!


عيد اضحى مبارك SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL ADHA Minal Aidin Wal Faizin

27 11 2009

IT LOOKS LIKE a glorious and blessed Friday today as if thousands of Angels flew down to earth from the Heavens above. The Feast of Sacrifice is being celebrated globally and Bruneian Muslims will celebrate this grand Islamic festivity tomorrow (November 28, 2009).

Over two million Muslim pilgrims from throughout the world are now completing their religious obligation in the Holy City of Mekah-tul-Mukarramah in Saudi Arabia. It seems to mark a new era of Peace, Love and Kindness amongst Mankind in these tumultuous times of difficulty… at least that’s how I’d like to see it personally. 🙂


Between parenting and teaching

24 11 2009

IT’S THAT TIME of the year again when most parents start to worry about the future of their children, academically. I personally experienced not so quite pleasant Parent-Teacher relations this morning.

When I asked my two kids the day before yesterday when were their reports cards going to be handed? Their reply was one of confusion. My young daughter said this coming Saturday and her only elder brother who goes to the same school wasn’t sure. Probably that’s because their mother had pampered them to an early four-day vacation away to Manila last week before their school holidays even begin. But at around 9.30 am today my son informed me that I was supposed to see my kids’ class teachers to get their end of year reports respectively.

I came to their school around eleven this morning and their teachers were not in their classrooms anymore. So my son had to get the reports without my seeing the two different teachers while I toured a mini-exhibition in another classroom. I saw their school principal accompanying the School Board Chairman and some other key school committee members out of the school hall after a graduation ceremony for Form 5, Form 3, Primary 6 and Kindergarten students respectively. And there I was, a father of two of the school students, being left to his own device. I should’ve just looked for both my children’s school teachers personally to give them a piece of my mind but I thought to myself, “No big deal!”.

Then my son passed me both report books for him and his younger sister. I only went through each one of them, carefully analyzing them, back home. Here’s the Marks breakdown for my Form 4 son’s year end report:
Chinese II: 63.17 ; Bahasa Melayu: 76.20 ; English: 79.80 ; Mathematics: 73.41 ; Biology: 70.60 ; Physics: 77.50 ; Chemistry: 71.90 ; Additional Maths: 45.50 ; Principles of Account: 84.40 and Physical Education: 74.00… Okay, not that bad SAVE for his Additional Mathematics which was deplorable, to say the least.

However, his 11-year-old sister is struggling a bit this year, I gather from her year-end school report. Now, as a parent I have something to worry about since both of them will sit for important public exams next year.

The question remains: How could parents and teachers work closely together to help with troubled students like both my kids? And they’re my only two children, if I may add. I guess that’s where hope and prayers come in. 🙂



22 11 2009

HOPING is one thing and praying for what we hope for is quite another but both intrigues are still intertwined.

On top of hope and prayers comes the most crucial element in the chemistry of {EUREKA!} success which is WORK, Work, work (doesn’t matter either we work hard or we work smart or both).

Apart from these three critical success factors, perfect TIMING could be another dimension contributing to any success story, I guess.

What’s timing got to do with one’s success? Well, most people would call it luck but to me it’s all about good timing or being at the right time, at the right place… In short, “Timing is everything!”.

Great traits such as patience, perseverance, determination, will-power and survival instincts play key roles, too, I suppose. These behaviours slowly but surely mould a person to have strong characters of Faith, Integrity, Honesty, Belief, Do or Die Spirit, etc. The list is endless but the real character of a successful human being lies way, down deep within his innermost heart of hearts i.e. SINCERITY!

Sincere in intentions to be a great Man and to do all good things in life — that’s basically what will drive any human being to the pinnacle of success in this borrowed life and the Hereafter, I think. Me? I’m a goody-two-shoes and good-for-nothing simpleton. Deep in my heart, I strive to be a good person. Although it’s a heck of a big struggle…

My life has been one hell of a struggle, anyhow, and I still have a long, long way to go but that’s life. I shall live life to the fullest and will try to overcome all obstacles that life has to offer. Personally, I’d like to think of myself as a determined guy who’s pretty strong-willed to take up any challenges which come my way — come what may! 😉

As of now, I have nothing but HOPE and hope is what I will work with to achieve success by means of prayers… No two ways about it! 🙂 If God works in mysterious ways, then I shall work my own way about it. I don’t know — call me stubborn, hard-headed, foolhardy, whatever — I love to do things MY WAY and mine alone. Merely my own principle but not being selfishly self-centered or egoistically egocentric (as if I know what those big words really mean!) Hahahhaa 😀 Anyway, here’s to My Way as sung by the ever-versatile, Good Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra, R.I.P.

Yeah, you can sing it again, Frankie, you and I always do it our ways, don’t we? Hehehhe 😉

I listen to others, no doubt, and I try to be as good a listener as possible. And of course I firmly believe that listening is an art of prime importance in human interaction vis-a-vis effective communication. Much more important is the primary need to regularly, constantly and consistently communicate with the Most Powerful Creator of the whole Universe every second, minute and day of our lives!

Basically, all I have to remember and hold dearest to heart is the plain truth that Allah the Almighty and His Messenger (Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam — peace be upon him) will give me the strength to go on… Insya Allah (God Willing). Why all my ramblings? Just talking about HOPE, guys, and to hope is to enliven the dream into reality. Nothing is impossible! Simply hope for the best and the best is what you get and deserve as long as you give it your best shot! 🙂


Singing my blues in Star Hill…

22 11 2009

LATE NIGHTS are to blame for my incessant coughs now after a bout of flu and fever i.e. hay fever to be more precise. I just couldn’t help it when surrounded by musically-inclined companions during my last trip to KL, dining out in Bukit Bintang food joints would end up with some entertainment fun to cap it all.

In one karaoke outlet, I managed to revive my long-lost microphonic voice belting out a couple of oldies… starting with my all-time favorite (Deep Purple’s “Soldier of Fortune”):

And wrapping up my one-night stand with the Eagles’ “Hotel California”, another evergreen fave of mine:

But my music-loving teenaged kids wouldn’t want to hear their 40-something father sing the blues. I bet their latest heart-throb would have to be this new Canadian singing sensation, 15-year-old Justin Bieber! He’s one of those rare talents who was discovered on YouTube not too long ago, by the way:

And much closer to home, this young Malaysian lass, Zee Avi who is making waves in the US music scene (her real name: Izyan Alirahman aka KokoKaina, who actually hails from Miri!) was another YouTube discovery…

Fancy that, people, why don’t we all sing our hearts out on YouTube? Who knows we may just cut a lucrative recording deal with big $$$! 😀


Unlimited rewards through sacrifice?

21 11 2009

BUSINESS AS USUAL in Malaysia despite all the economic doom looming in the open Global airwaves… Kuala Lumpur was still as vibrant and dynamic as ever when I departed the Malaysian capital after a few days of business-cum-leisure trip last week. It certainly is growing to become a metropolis in every sense of the word.

For comparison’s sake, I had the chance to make a day-trip to the island republic of Singapore a few weeks back but generally speaking, the positive vibes I observed amongst the Malaysian populace couldn’t be felt in neighbouring S’pore or even in our own country’s backyard, for that matter. What could be the driving force of such positivity and dynamism in Malaysia which I personally found wanting in Singapore or Brunei and even perhaps in other ASEAN countries?

Is it the new leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak? Or could it be the mere fact that the Malaysians I established contacts with during my recent stay were all energetic and open-minded lot?

Having said that, I won’t be surprised if Malaysia were to regain its status as the re-emerging Tiger economy of Asia sooner rather than later. Now, how do we Bruneians copycat such vibrancy — 101?

That, my friends, is a billion dollar question which needs an answer fast! No hard and fast rules, maybe, but a winning solution must be found, just the same. I am no economist and neither am I an academician. However, my instincts seem to be telling me that all businesses, no matter what, should lead (whatever visions and missions they may have) to the ‘holy grail’ of economic success. Failure is no longer an option! In fact, to fail is to die in vain… 😦

Both on a personal and national level, to succeed in business in these trying times, one definitely shouldn’t rest on one’s laurels — that’s for sure. More importantly, in whatever business one is involved in, one has no choice but to innovate and be more creatively adventurous. In a nutshell — no venture, no gain! As cliched as it may sound but the truth remains that business is evolving like nobody’s business today.

More so in the near future, global businesses will rapidly capture the world market on a much bigger scale than a tsunami. What kind of a global industry am I referring to? I have yet to discover myself, frankly.

I may or may not know what I’m writing (or talking in my head) about because the raw deal is that I have to go for it, whether I like it or not! The law of the jungle dictates that it is the survival of the fittest. And in order to survive, a lot of sacrifices have to be made along the way. I may not favor the negative affluence that goes hand in hand with economic progress, socially. Still, it is a sacrifice although there has to be limits to everything in this world, being temporary in nature.

It is undoubtedly much easier to walk a tightrope than to try to balance between one’s worldly and spiritual pursuits. However, one simply has to strike the right balance, one way or another. I guess the best classic example of a true sacrifice is what Prophet Abraham (Nabi Allah Ibrahim Alaihi Salam) had to endure when God the Almighty ordered him to slaughter his own beloved son, Prophet Ismail Alaihi Salam as a ready sacrifice for the sake of Allah.

To this day, that miraculous sacrifice is being celebrated annually by all Muslims throughout the world as “Hari Raya Korban” or the Feast of Sacrifice. The Eid ‘ul Adha or more commonly known in Brunei as Hari Raya Haji or Aidil Adha will be celebrated globally on 27 November 2009.

To all Muslim brothers and sisters in Islam: