Thursday, December 10, 2009

One Final Indignity

This news story is old new by now, but for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to close the tab on my browser holding this story.

A little over two weeks ago, there was a bit of an incident in International City. International City is Dubai's attempt to create a multicultural gated(ish) community where professionals would go to love and commute into the city for work. For some time now International City has attracted more than a few expats of my acquaintance, mostly because the rents were dirt cheap (by Dubai standards) and the location seemed safely remote and out of the hustle of the city proper. Unfortunately, what most of these penny-pinching expats did not realize was that the entire development was created with a sewage system that could only handle, at best, 30% to 40% of the full population of the development. This led to a situation where, for a good period of time last year, large swathes of International City, especially the English area, were literally bathing in exposed sewage that had spilled out of the overtaxed pipes.

As if the constant stink and threat of cholera were not enough, the residents awoke recenbtly to discover that their area had been flooded by another form of sewage - organized crime.

It seems the ethnic gangs gave taken up root here in Dubai, which somewhat reminds me of Vancouver and Toronto back in Canada. There you can find Chinese gangs, Vietnamese gangs, you name it. Now you can find the same in Dubai. As the Gulf News told it -

"A police officer was moderately injured on Saturday evening during police raids on flats that were operating as brothels in International City.

Dubai Police managed to arrest members of Asian gangs, mainly Vietnamese, who were involved in running brothels in the development. They were also involved in inciting violent incidents among their competitors including, murdering an Indian man and seriously injuring another at the China cluster on Friday. Both men were among the competitors involved in the same illegal operations."

The police action, as the article states, was prompted by an escalation of violence where 20 gang members broke into an apartment, most likely stash house, for a shakedown. In the process they killed an Indian man, and subsequently attracted the attention of the police who, in their raid, discovered that at least 52 units in the International City Chinese sector were being used as brothels.

52. Not 5 or 2. 52.

It's not a sign that a problem is starting, it's a sign that a problem is well established and growing. Thankfully the police seem to be on top of the problem and dealing with it with alacrity.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

As Time Slips Past at the Afternoon PD

some are dependent
some are independent

the technique will change
across a varied range

to incorporate flexibility
with mixed ability

pay attention
to retention

matching implementation
to execution

enhancing invention
which all,
of course,
goes without mention

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The View from Festival City

I was in Festival City on Tuesday, the day before UAE Day, but it felt as if the celebrations had already begun.

It's not the best photo ever, but I was pretty darn proud of it. I thought of sending it in to the Khaleej Times or Gulf News, but thought better of it when I realized that do so would probably entail more effort than I was willing to undertake. So there it sits above, on this lonely blog.

As we walked along outside, however, we found that things had started to really come together at Festival City.

People were out in force, and the Disney Princess stage show brought huge crowds into the mall. We only caught the tail end of the 4pm show.

Luckily we there were a few attractions outside to keep us occupied until 6pm, or at least 5:30pm.

Eventually it was time for the stage show. I had managed, even arriving a half hour early, only to get a spot about eighty feet from the stage, but luckily a kind local offered to let my oldest daughter sit with his wife and children in the pit in front of the stage.

I can't say I understood what the story was supposed to be, but the singing and dancing Disney characters were a revelation for my daughter, who has not been able to talk of anything else since.

I think Disney hit it out of the park with their Princesses brand.