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Preview: UAE Community Blog

UAE Community Blog

A forum to unite great UAE web diarists

Updated: 2018-03-23T16:55:19.444+04:00


ABC Radio Interview With Radha Stirling, Detained In Dubai.


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TRA 2015


TRA in 2009 (on the topic of Skype):
"I don't see the TRA being anti-consumer," he said. "We opened up the market. We are trying to protect consumers. The TRA is a government agency. We have wider issues to worry about. Consumers only have their own concern to worry about." (source:
TRA in 2015 (on the topic of actual consumer protection):
"The TRA had said last year that as of May 18, only 55,555 mobile numbers had been successfully transferred out of 190,185 requests submitted in the first five months of the mobile number portability service’s availability. 
The regulator also said that the 134,222 rejected applications included some that had been resubmitted more than once by the holder of the number. 
In yesterday’s statement, the TRA said that a joint team would be formed comprising the TRA and the operators “to find appropriate solutions to customer complaints”.  (source:
Given that it is 2015 and du and Etisalat still do not have any real interconnection between their broadband networks (i.e. 0 competition) and given that roughly two thirds of all mobile portability (i.e. Etisalat>du or du>Etisalat) are failing (i.e. roughly one third competition), has the TRA really done a good job of worrying about the "wider issues" thus far?

New list of cancelled Dubai real estate projects... and refunds


The Dubai Courts has listed 166 real estate projects in its newly-issued project cancellation list. The Cancelled Real Estate Projects Committee is currently hearing 17 projects all of which were launched by Reliance Estate Development. Two projects by Khyool Investment – Abjar Tower and Faras 2 – have been liquidated and money has been distributed among investors. Read more ....

via Emirates 24/7

Not completely surprised at the so called new list of cancelled projects. I'm a lot more curious about the supposed refunds. I remember hundreds (if not thousands) of projects that were scrapped in Ajman half a decade ago and lots of people lost money. A few of them were people I knew. The same  could have been said for Dubai but it wasn't a complete washout like Ajman. I've personally never invested in freehold property here so have zero experience but do these refunds work now or is it just bad debts still?

Time to move onwards with this community?


Hi all.

Seeing how stagnant this blog has become (from what it once was) is a letdown after the amount of activity that occurred here previously.
Several attempts have been made at rejuvenating the website and increasing posting/traffic but nothing seems to have worked.

I have a proposal that I'd appreciate feedback on.

Moving the site to a subreddit.

  • Automated bot scans blogroll RSS feeds from a curated list and automatically posts them on the subreddit allowing users to vet quality posts from the crap
  • Problematic users need not be censored when they can just be down voted into oblivion
  • Users can manually post links or create text posts
  • Users wishing to comment can sign up for a throwaway account requiring no email address
Does anyone have any thoughts on doing this or moving to another alternative space?

UAE Football


Today's The National has a story about the lack of support that the UAE national team is getting from its fans: It must be asked: ‘Why are Emirati fans not showing up for games in their own country?’
“There is no support from our own fans, so how will the players be motivated,” Mahdi Ali asked on Tuesday, after a 4-0 loss to Uzbekistan in Abu Dhabi. “The other day, the Australians had more support for them than us in the stadium. I wish not to play any games at home but outside the country. It is really disappointing.”
My family and I attended the UAE v Australia friendly last weekend. There was a lot of support for the Aussies, though I'm not sure that there wasn't more support for the Emirates. But the stadium was very empty, especially for a weekend match against a team that just competed in the World Cup a couple of months ago.

One of the lines in the story really resonated with our experience: "One of the most important opportunities UAE football could embrace is tapping into the giant expat community and market, people who sometimes feel unwelcome at national team matches".

We went to the match with the intention of supporting the UAE. But when we got there, the security at the game made go sit with the Australian fans. We weren't made to feel unwelcome, exactly, but it wasn't the most welcoming environment either. And it was easier, by far, to get information about the time and place and cost (free!) for the match from the Australian FA website than from the English side of the UAE FA site (I will say that it is quite possible that the Arabic site might have had all details).

And for the Uzbekistan match, the English UAE FA site said that the match was in Dubai at 3:00 pm and not Abu Dhabi at 6:30, where it really took place.

It is the same with the club teams here. We went to one Al Ain FC match and had a great time. But trying to find out information in English about when, where, and how much is nearly impossible.

Have any other expats tried to support either the national team or a club team? What was your experience?

Darb - Transportation Portal


I'm not sure exactly how new the DOT's Darb website and app are, but this is an outstanding and useful tool. I wish that this had been available last year when I was still having to take buses and taxis everywhere.

Take the trip planner. Say that I want to go from Mezyad Mall to Zayed Sports City. I just drop icons at the mall and the bowling alley and voila:

You can also book a taxi by either dropping a pin on the map or typing an address:

There is a mobile app for Android and iOS that is just as handy.

Right now it is available in English and Arabic.

Kudos all around for this.



In an effort to renew interest in this site I have re enabled anonymous comments.

All anonymous comments as well as those that are non-member Google accounts will be submitted to a moderation queue in an effort to weed out the high number of spam comments.

If you have access to the moderation queue please be vigilant in what you allow to be published and avoid letting spam comments through.

As soon as I have free time I will:
1. Try to come up with a better system for users to register for posting access.
2. Go through the blogrolls and update them removing inactive blogs as well as SEO/advertising driven blogs (merely having ads would not in anyway affect your ability to get listed however operating a blog which seems to put commercial interest and paid posting above actual content will be disallowed)
3. Figure out a way to begin including or indexing other sources of content such as YouTube channels, Flickr (wow only a decade and it's now unblocked) and Instagram etc.

If you have any suggestions please feel free to comment.


Is Anybody Still Out There?


This is a graphical representation of exactly how much publishing activity has died off here.

It is pretty grim. I'm as much to blame as anyone, since I pretty much quit posting when I left and haven't added anything since I've been back.

On the bright side, by posting this I have doubled this year's output.

17th & 18th JAN- The New Muslim Summit in Dubai


A two-day conference- the First of its kind in the U.A.E. Featuring multiple languages, multiple themes and multiple delivery formats, new muslim summit is a landmark for Da’wah and Tarbiyah in the U.A.E., encouraging Muslims to “connect . engage . get inspired” [...]

American arrested for parody video in the UAE


MINNEAPOLIS — An American man who works in the United Arab Emirates has been held in a maximum-security prison for months after posting a parody video about youth culture in Dubai, a rights group and family attorney said Wednesday.
Shezanne Cassim, 29, of Woodbury, Minn., was arrested in April and charged with violating a 2012 cybercrimes law that boosts penalties for allegedly challenging authorities, attorney Susan Burns said. He was moved to a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi in June.

Video can be seen here:
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Expat Woman's Festive Fare Fair


Here we go. A festive bump for a lonely looking blog...

The Festive Family thingy has been postponed to Jan 25th 'cos of rain forecast for Dubai tomorrow. So it'll just become a family thingy...

New Blog


After being away for five years, I've moved back to the UAE (in Abu Dhabi, this time) and started up a new blog. If anyone is interested:

World of Jinn, Magic and Ruqya explained


In The Realm Of The UnseenWorld of Jinn, Magic and Ruqya explained Date: 29th & 30th March 2013Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PMVenue: Kalemah Islamic Center, Al Qusais, Dubai [click here for location map]Registration Fee: FREE (Entry for 15 years old and above only)  [...]

Books And Writing At The Archive


It's a shame not to use the UAECB now it has been restored by the Gods at Google!

I just thought I'd post a heads up about a new series of workshops being organised by funky art/workspace The Archive and the Emirates Literary Group on the subject of writing and publishing. Next Wednesday is the first in a series of four workshops which will deal with how to write a book, how to write poetry (in fact, essential if you want to hone your writing anyway), how to find your route to market (either through an agent and publisher or through self publishing) and understanding sales, distribution and booksellers.

There's more detail if you're interested over on the Fake Plastic Blog.

Pip pip!

UAE Community blog is back


After the sudden Google outage, UAE Community blog is back.

We understand there were many other blogs affected, but the situation appears to be resolved now.

Wishing you all a very happy 2013, wherever you are.


Comments disabled


It makes me sad to announce this, but I am going to have to deactivate comments entirely on this blog. This means all previous comments are now unveiwable and no new comments are going to be accepted for the foreseeable future. I have disabled non-member comments. So all previous comments will now still be visible.Even though the blog employs Google's CAPTCHA service I recieve on average 2-3 emails every day from crappy companies based in the UAE trying to cash in using SEO techniques and thereby reduce the quality of content already on this blog. This is on top of the dozens of CVs (thanks but I don't even have a job at the moment and I have no idea where people got the impression that I was employing?) and marketing/SEO offers that I receive too.The number of legitimate comments is practically 0 and almost no posts/comments get made here anymore.Again, I'm sorry for having to take this stance; but I don't want to watch what was a pretty successful blog get completely destroyed by greedy companies flooding the comment section with crap solely aimed at making a quick buck.It wouldn't take much to get the blog active again, just a few legitimate posts a day from someone with a bit of passion. Unfortunately I am not based in the UAE anymore and I do not have the time to post anymore, I believe the majority of people that used to have some interest have all moved onto twitter/facebook.If anyone is interesting in taking the reigns of this blog I am more than happy to pass it on. You can email me with a proposal to sam@samurai-sam.comI am not interested in handing on the blog to someone with a commercial interest in it. This blog has been run ad-free for the past 7 years and despite the time needed to moderate the site (which numerous other people have also contributed to) its nice to see something in 2012 that runs without advertisements on every nook and cranny of the website.I would also like to take this chance to thank the numerous people who dedicated their time to this blog over the past 7 years--the people who posted, the people who commented and the people who sent death threats.Thank you for being a part of the 4000+ posts, the 28000+ comments and the 1,700,000 visitors.Also, thank you to secretdubai for starting this blog, and thank you to the many members/contributors. The UAE Community Blog held an important place on the internet in the UAE for at least some freedom of expression and had a profound impact on at least a few contentious issues. [...]

Survey for Teachers in UAE


Sorry, it wasn't working at first, but I've fixed it:

I don't know how many African Americans I have that read this blog but anyway, I thought that I'd put this survey just in case. Here it is. Thanks


Stories of Faith and Beyond the Book- Talk by Abdul Hasib


www.kalemah.orgPresentsStories of Faith: Reflections from the lives of the best worshippers in understanding the value of worship in IslamDate: Tonight, 28th August, 2012Time: After Salat-ul Maghrib, 7:15 PM (Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes, including Q&A)Venue: Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department, Al MamzarBeyond the Book: Practical Steps to Harvesting the Fruits of the Qur'anDate: Tomorrow, 29th August, 2012Time: After Salat-ul Maghrib, 7:15 PM (Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes, including Q&A)Venue: Kalemah Islamic CenterAbout the Speaker: Ustad AbdulHasib NoorBrother Hasib is an American with Afghan origin. He is a student at the Islamic University of Madinah studying in the Faculty of Islamic Law (Shariah). Further, he has previously held positions as a Khatib  and Da'wah Officer in various organizations and masajid in the U.S.Directions (Islamic Affairs Dept): Take the Shaikh Zayed Road to Sharjah and stay on your right. At al Mullah Plaza signal, take a left towards Hamriya. Then take  a right at the signal before Century Mall and keep going straight (till the end of the road), till you see  a  big building on your right – which says Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.  The talk will take place at the hall on the second floor in sha'Alla.Directions (Kalemah): Located near the Baghdad St. & Beirut St. Interchange in Muhaisanah 3 next to Qusais 2 minutes from the Qusais Police Station. Directions from Emirates Road: Sharjah - Dubai direction; take Exit 61 (Mamzar, Qusais) onto Baghdad St. At the 1st traffic signal, turn right onto Beirut St. Take the 1st right after the bus stop into 9A St. KALEMAH is the 4th villa on your right.This event is organized by Kalemah, under the guidance and support of the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department [...]

The First Annual Pre-Ramadan Retreat in Dubai


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13th July, 2012
Al Boom Tourist Village

More details here


Residency Visa Fiasco


The latest residency visa fiasco reminds me of past and other ongoing attempts to regularise the system of managing and monitoring just who is in the country and where they come from. Getting this right seems important given the increasing concerns about events elsewhere in the region and a possible outbreak of hostilities affecting a large eastern neighbour. Anyone like to comment on what is happening with the different rules between and within emirates on how you renew your igama?(image)

Gulf News removes gulf bits from Guardian on the Arab World


Links to the Guardian reporter's tweets about how the article was edited:Jane Kinninmont ‏ @janekinninmontHere's my original article and here's the Gulf News version that deleted all mention of GCC states Reply  Retweet  Favorite3hJane Kinninmont ‏ @janekinninmontGulf News also deleted a line noting that in Arab world only Saudi Arabia, UAE & Qatar lack any kind of parliaments. #censorshipExpand Reply  Retweet  Favorite3hJane Kinninmont ‏ @janekinninmontMy article talked about cosmetic reforms in Syria, Mubarak-era Egypt and Bahrain. Gulf News has reprinted it without the para on Bahrain!Expand Reply  Retweet  Favorite3hJane Kinninmont ‏ @janekinninmontToday's Gulf News has reprinted a piece that I wrote for last week - but has deleted all the bits about the Gulf! [...]

He's Still Standing


(image) Elton John was in good form tonight at the Yas Arena. It was 2 and 1/2 hours of the man and his piano, while he was accompanied on a few numbers by his longtime percussionist. The performance was reminiscent of Elton John's famous and historic 1979 tour of Russia. He had the same percussionist with him and amazingly performed many of the same songs.

It was very much a 1970's affair with most of the songs performed from his 1971 and 1972 albums. Not quite "60 Years On," although he did sing this song, but certainly 40 years on.

Elton John sings with as much passion as ever, although there is a recognizable quiver in his voice which was not discernible when he last performed in Abu Dhabi in 2008. On the other hand he seems to be becoming ever more the piano maestro. I doubt that there is anyone in the world who can work the piano and vocals together as skillfully as he does. Elton John IS the piano man.(image)

GeekFest Sharjah


Just in case you have been travelling to remotest Baltistan over the past week and didn't hear about it already, GeekFest is taking place over at the Al Maraya Art Centre, which is at Al Qasba, the funky canal-side recreation area down by Al Tawun.It's a big space and there's loads of room, but there's also plenty going on, too.The event will 'start' at 7.30pm and the talks start at 8pm, each lasting for 15 minutes - there's a talk from creative community website TripleW, from manga Geek Qais Sedki, art collaborator Alex Tohme and amateur historian me. There are workshops, too - on photography for post-processing by ace lensman and digital tinkerer Catalin Marin and one on origami from JUKI, the Emirati/Japanese collective. We'll also have a team from Sharjah Museums on hand displaying images and chatting about two important new exhibitions that have opened in Sharjah this week, British Orientalist Owen Jones and Sudanese artist Ibrahim El Salahi, the painter of 'Africa's Guernica'. There'll also be an exhibition of photography from Mohammed Azimuddin and if that's all not enough, there's GameFest, powered by tbreak and megamers and a technology showcase from Nokia.GeekFest Sharjah takes place at the same time as the Al Qasba Food Festival, so there's an unusually wide selection food and drink and there are a couple of surprises as well.What's not to love? And please, Dubai types, spare us the moaning about traffic. We do it every day. It's time you lot came up north and explored the boonies!BTW, Al Qasba's easily reached by turning off the Dubai-Sharjah highway towards Al Taawun and it's really not that congested. Honestly!More details over on the blog if you fancy more info. No registration, no limitations, no rules - just pitch up when you like and enjoy yourself! Oh, and I've promised not to do any readings from or talking about Olives!:)Cheers! [...]