Saturday, June 28, 2008

Salik – Taking toll on our life

Salik – a toll system launched in July 2007 to control traffic chaos in Dubai. The system has provided some level of comfort on the roads where it has been installed, but has created mayhem on the alternate roads as many commuters decide to take them to save money.
A lot has been written about the toll system from some people appreciating it to some raising concerns and calling it a money making tool.

I would like to raise one issue – If Salik was introduced to control traffic – I fail to understand what are we trying to control from midnight to early morning, when there is rarely any traffic on the roads?

Why is Salik a 24x7 charge? I believe, Salik should be charged only during peak hours or for limited hours, the way we are charged for car parking. If Salik was introduced to control traffic, what is the reason behind charging a commuter at 02:00am in the morning?

If Salik means open or clear, I am not very clear about the strategy behind this toll. Is it serving the public or the government interests? Can’t the interests be mutual?

The alternate routes like Floating bridge are open until 22:00 hrs only. What happens when some one has to travel to Bur Dubai after 22:00 hrs? He has to either take the longer route like Business Bay or pay toll at Maktoum or Garhoud Bridge (I am aware that Shingdaga tunnel can be another alternate route)

In the eve of rising inflation and costs in Dubai, any sort of concession offered by the government would be a relief. I would like to appeal to the Dubai Government to at least reconsider the timings for the Salik charges.

Has any one got a better suggestion, please feel free to Express.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dubai Property Saga

Recently I visited launch of a new property in Dubai. The launch was organized in a very high profile Dubai hotel, which had attracted many prospect buyers. Thanks to the print ads in the newspapers that generate enough curiosity amongst buyers, which ultimately leads to long queues at most of the launch venues. After being convinced by my colleagues that this was a good buy I decided to visit this launch in Dubai and reached there at a decent time. It was understood that the units will be sold on first come first basis therefore tokens were issued to maintain discipline. I managed to get a lucky token no. 111 (thanks to my colleague who had reserved one for me before I could reach). They had got token nos. ranging in the 90’s. Professional buyers had started queuing at the venue as early as 06:30 a.m. My friend was leading the commotion of 5 people including myself and providing us details of the property. There was a buzz about the various other developments that may come up around this property and how soon the price will appreciate.

Many people were gathering in the lobby to view the floor plans and making a note of the best units available. The rumor was that there are 128 units available for sale and the fact was only one unit will be sold per token. I got really excited about the fact that I held the token no 111, therefore fancied a chance of getting my hands on one small unit.

Finally around 10:00am the token numbers were called. People started to queue in to get into the sales zone were the sales men held units on there computer and a person was asked to choose the one they may be interested in. By the time token number 20 was called, it was announced that all the small units have been sold out. I was a little disappointed but decided to buy a medium sized unit (was trying to figure out my liquidity sources). Then determined I was and no one could stop me now (except my financial fitness). Some people decided to auction their tokens, to make some money out of it as they could not afford to but any thing more than a small unit.

By the time token number 31 was announced, most of the medium size units were sold but there was a mixed bag of only 50 medium, large and very large units available. Listening to this announcement all my determination had gone down the drain and I decided to make my way to the exit. My colleagues were equally disenchanted with the entire event and called it a hoax.

To clarify a total of 128 units were available and the condition was that only one unit will be sold per token. Had that been the reality, why were only 50 units left by the time 31st token was announced ? This means a total of only 80 units were available for sale or did many people manage to grab more than one unit?

Well, I am not a property specialist but would like to highlight such issues, where a lot of hype and expectation is created among the prospect buyers in Dubai who just end up wasting a lot of their time at the launches. This is because most of the units are sold well in advance before the property is actually launched. Or to be fair to everyone early bird gets the worm.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Text messages are one of the most popular ways of communication amongst youths. UAE mobile penetration is more that 150% (I wouldn’t know how many SMS’s are sent in a day over the UAE network, you can have a guess). SMS has certainly changed the way we key in several words since we are allowed only 160 characters per SMS. For example we can type “u2” for you too or “gr8” = great.

If you happen to log on to an Arabic chat room you might be lost by what you may read. The most surprising part is how the combination of numbers and letter is used to communicate with each other. The language is often used to send text messages, which is perhaps interpreted by the Arabs of the internet generation. It is referred as Arabenglish or Arabizi by the young Arabs. The language has taken its present form as Arabic has only 28 alphabets, which have sounds that are not found in English.

Some of the Arabic letters are replaced by the following numbers the sounds of which are not found in English:

3 =Ain
7 =Haa
5 =Khaa
2 =Hamza
9 =Sa'ad
6 =Ta'af

One of the alphabets will be replaced by a number which has a different sound, for example - Mashroha can be written as Mashro7a.

Some other examples: -

3 - Saeed = Sa3ed
7 - Ahmed = A7ed
5 - Khan = 5an
2 - Asaf = As2f
9 - Sabur = 9bur

Have you tried communicating with your friends in a different style? We would like to know.
Numbers in Arabic for you:


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