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21 September, 2005

Hell's bells

Labour Ministry employees are in dire need of some better training. Ministry heads have had to send out a circular about ignoring incoming phonecalls:

This circular came after a bizarre phenomenon in the ministry's offices, which does not suit the leading role of the Ministry of Education. Some employees, it was revealed had gone to the extent of pushing their phones away from them so as to avoid answering calls from applicants. The brazen and deliberate ignoring of most incoming calls from anxious applicants soon turned into crisis proportions.

If you want to ignore your phone - don't just push it away - disconnect it! If the cord is welded in, a good pair of office scissors should do the trick. Otherwise adjacent Labour Ministry colleagues will be irritated by the constant ringing, and unable to concentrate properly on Minesweeper and FreeCell.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Dubai and lived there for 21 years. I am an Indian citizen educated in British and American schools in Dubai and went to University at a USnews top 25 ranked college somewhere in the U.S. Now I am working in Kuwait.

What I am curious to know is that since your site was blocked and unblocked means someone "important" saw it. So I hope to God someone "important" does something about your issues which are all valid points.

My question to you is...

Do you think the leaders of Gulf States do not know about the stupidity that goes on in their countries sometimes or just choose to avoid it as the good outweighs such things as no human rights for cheap labor, temperature never rising over 50 celsius so workers can work, pretending AIDS does not exist and having no criticism allowed of them in the media?

I learned as a young child even that you should take criticism well and deal with it like most mature people do. Ignoring your flaws are the worst thing and very childish

Dubai is not bad at all by the way I love it after I saw how things go on in Kuwait. Sometimes I wish the oil would run dry or alternate power would come, to teach people a lesson in Kuwait! See if the great amazing parts of Gulf culture can flourish again? The warmth and hospitality of the native people of what we know as Arabia.

21 September, 2005 03:01  
Blogger javaricho said...

Crude but effective. Big banks and telecommunications companies just put you on an automatic queuing system with such a complicated menu system you can waste hours on line without talking to anyone buty a machine. And still get nowhere

21 September, 2005 11:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question here must be - where would these people do the least damage to society? Sitting in a Ministerial Office not answering the phones seems like a pretty sensible place to keep people who might otherwise be roaming the streets in high-powered vehicles. The police and military obviously wouldn't want them as giving them access to firearms would just be asking for trouble, and they wouldn't last five minutes in a private company so, as long as there is one person in each office willing and capable of answering the phone, then why not stuff a ministerial department with such unemployables?

As to this being a bizarre phenomenon - I wonder how long the journalist has been in the Gulf Region.

21 September, 2005 11:20  
Blogger Razaldo said...

My father's company in Kuwait also had a similar problem. As soon as the CEO found it out, he installed a system which was hell for the operators - now the operators have to answer every call within four rings, failing to do so, a memo is sent to their immediate head and the operator has to respond within 10 minutes. Further more, as soon as the memo is sent, the operator receives an intimation via email and sms (there is no running away).
If the call is not attended to in 15 minutes, the department head is supposed to answer the call.
20 minutes and no response would result in the memo being sent to the CEO, and you are in deep trouble then...
Wonder if that will work in Govt. organisations though...hmm...

21 September, 2005 12:31  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Mukund - I think most leaders/senior government figures are well aware of problem areas and are taking quite dramatic steps to solve things. Witness Dr Al Ka'abi's recent action after the latest worker protest: the company was instantly punished and ordered to pay, and the workers given free transfer rights if they weren't paid.

The problem is that until recently, local education here left a lot to be desired - as the Education Minister himself regularly points out. So while there are a few people at the top who have been educated in a more international environment and syllabus, the majority haven't had that.

So it's a challenge for those at the very top to move and improve things as quickly as they can.

21 September, 2005 14:05  
Blogger Improve Dubai said...

secret, the reason to solve the problem of labourers was to reduce the embarrassment that the incident brought through media to the name of Dubai.

The matter has been there for a very long time now and if there was any one sincere enough around to the plight of expat employees, the incident wouldnt have occured at all.

21 September, 2005 14:23  
Blogger moryarti said...

Dubai Quality Award has a program called "Mystery Shopper" - were mock clients call up the target government department.

One of the criteria is how many rings doest it take before someone picks up. The report goes directly to the DG or CEO.

I know that takes place semi-government departments and the Free Zones .. but am not sure about ministries..

21 September, 2005 14:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can bring the modern world to the arabs, but that's no guarantee it will stick

21 September, 2005 16:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem here comes from the cultural differences, the country has grown so fast but the people didnt had the chance to adjust to that. So for you when you see all the glitter gold so you expect it to weigh the same! But it doesn't.

When I was in Europe I hated everything there.

no official in any counter would smile at you Nor are you suppose to greet them.

I remember at the Frankfurt airport when i went to DuestchBahn counter to validated my train ticket, and as customery in our places I asked the lady "How are you?" and she starred at me as If I cursed at her. jeeez give me a break

21 September, 2005 19:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so balushi, would u rather have crap service with a smile, or efficient service with no smile?.. cos that's the difference between here and the west

21 September, 2005 22:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I believe that such a judgment gives a wrong signal. This culprit should have been given a more severe punishment. He should not get less than two years for kidnap alone, I assume that the public prosecutor will definitely file an appeal in which a stronger punishment will be requested."

Dr Fatma Mohammad Al Khumeiri, Head of Pathology at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Dubai police, said: "I cannot comment on the judgment. The judge must have seen different circumstances.

"However, I haven't seen any true rape cases. It is a rare crime in Dubai. I have seen many women claiming that they have been raped. Such incidents have happened with the victim's consent. In general, a rapist is considered socially sick and needs rehabilitation."

Dr Al Khumeiri described the UAE law as adequate in terms of sentencing rapists.

(what kinda crap is this ?)

21 September, 2005 23:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

u think thats bad ? i know of an air hostess (first class) who answered the emergency loo buzzer in mid-flight. a teenage blue-blooded princess ordered her...ur not gonna believe clean her uhm..backside after she had crapped....

needless to say the utterly flabergasted, to say the least, beat a hasty retreat....

21 September, 2005 23:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"so balushi, would u rather have crap service with a smile, or efficient service with no smile?.. cos that's the difference between here and the west"

Mr Anonymous, please try to put a name! even a 123 is good.

This is what I mentioned to you that its the cultural difference, we Officials have Human feelings they are flexible and they listen.

In europe they don;t listen.

A friend of my from uk visited thailand, she was robbed at a knife point luckiliy her passport was at hotel but she lost every single penny she had along with credit cards.

She went to the police and got the pappers for the insurance and everything went well.

When she arrived at the airport to come home to Dubai, when the Officials at the thai airport told her that she has to pay the airport tax! for her and her kids.

Then she explained the thai officials that she doesnt have any money and she was robbed and then took out the police papers to explain them but they didnt listened to her!

so she asked to meet the airport manager and then he refused to even talk to her!

She had already told the thai officails that she will pay the Tax as soon as she reaches Dubia, The money was about aed 300. she started crying while pleaing for help from the officials infront of her 3 grown children, and then she told the official Must I start begging?
The thai official told her: If you want to beg so beg but it wont change a thing.

It was then 1hr for the flight departure, the official then told her to contact the British Embassy but she knew they cant help at such a short notice.

So she started asking for money from passengers manily european expats bound for the same flight to Dubai, she explained her situation and she even showed them the police papers to them but no one helped her. she told them that she will pay them as soon as she reaches Dubai with them. she still no one helped.

Then she saw an Arab family(uae), which she knew were also going with her to dubai, she went to the man and told him that she needs 300aed to pay for tax and she will pay him back in dubai, with out giving her the chance to explain the situation the Arab Man asked his wife to hand 300dirhams and He gave it to her!!!

she ran to the exchange center and boarded the flight and she didnt even had the chance to thank the man, and then on the flight she looked around for the gentleman and found him, and she she asked him for his adresss and name! so that she could pay him back.

But the man refused to give his name and contact and told her that Its enough that you are going home.

She always wants to write this Incident to Gulf News but somehow she told me that she hasn't.

A request to My Humble fellow citizen in Arbain Gulf, Please never be like those cold whites. lets Keep our tradition and teaching of Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) alive, and always keep our Human touch alive in no matter what we do.

22 September, 2005 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thailand is in asia I am aware, but it only shows how great the people here are.

22 September, 2005 10:06  
Blogger moryarti said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

22 September, 2005 13:02  
Blogger moryarti said...

Try missing your ride in Germany train station... no one will ever help you. All the signs are in dutch and even the station officials - once they see that you are not German, they start blabbering in dutch and give you Noe-nazi attitude like you are the scum of earth.

Whats even worse, I once gave sh*t to a UAE cabin crew member and reported her big time.

On a flight to the UK, there was an old arab lady visiting her kids in London. She spoke very little English and had a hard time with the flight attendants because of that.

Anyhow, upon leaving the plane, the old lady was queuing in front of me. as she passed by the exit of the plane, one blond attendant tells the other, "look at this stupid arab lady, she is coming to London and she doesn't know how to speak English"

that was it - i was furious! I turn around and tell her: "you work for an arab airliner, you bosses are arabs and you live in an arab country - do you speak Fking Arabic?"

Her shock was multiplied by the fact that i got her name and i stood outside the plain asking for the Emirates London station manager to report her .. i also made it a point to send a really nasty letter to Emirates in Dubai and i had pleasure in every second of it.

I am not saying that all Westerners are racists or anything, I am just saying that don't take a single example or incident and apply it to the entire nation, race or nationality.. cause if you tell me a story, i can list you 100.

The general trend is, arabs are more warm blooded and emotional then Europeans.

Sometimes it drives me nuts, true, but i rather live in a community that is more bonded then one where rapes and muggings take place in public places while everyone is passing by minding their own business

22 September, 2005 18:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moryarti, Have you been to europe before? I mean further north?

Do that! You will love even the foul smell in Dubai! Trust me.

I was stuck in the platform in Frankfurt and couldn't read any signs or anything, I went to one of the employees of DeatshBahn on the platform and asked him as how I can go to frankfurt Habptbahnouf? The man told me: GO TO INFORMATION!

and information was miles away and lot of stairs to climb! and the man even saw me carry tons of luggage.

This is them for you! But we dont them to change let them stay as they are.


22 September, 2005 18:17  
Blogger Garthicus said...

Well.. my own experience.. I recently changed jobs, sorted NOC blah blah blah. When my visa was cancelled I called the department of immigration to see how many days grace I had before I must leave the country for a visa run (as I was setting up a new business and knew it would be a while before my own visa was sort'ed) anyhow, the lady on the phone said 60 days sir' hmm, 60 days, that seems a little long to me. I asked her repeatedly was she sure that someone whos visa is cancelled and had a NOC can stay for 60 days, she became irritated 'of course, this is my job to know these things, of course it's 60 days' End of conversation.

Of course after living in Dubai fpr 2 years and knowing the various government departments I knew I'd have to get at least a second opinion. So, I called again, this time getting a man, much the same story.. of course you get 60 days blah blah...

Happy enough with this statement I called internet city (my sponsor) yes sir, 60 days till you need to leave Dubai. Happy that 3 answers all saying 60 days, I stayed in Dubai.

All was well until travelling back to Ireland, I was departing Dubai airport when a cloaked lady who was on the immigration desk began to shout at me 'Problem with your passport.. go to the man at end of building NOW!! NOW! GO NOW!!' So crapping myself went to see him.

After scanning my passport, looking at my face, the screen, my face, tapping a few more keys, my face, the screen he said 'You've overstayed, now you pay a fine' Well, turns out I had to pay DHS700 (not a whole lot by International standards but for some people in Dubai it's a whole lot of money)

I explained to him that THREE people told me 60 days, he laughed 'Never trust government people on telephone' stamp stamp stamp, some recipts in Arabic and I'm on my merry way.

Moral of the story (besides the fact i should know better than to only have called 3 people).. the Government departments are staffed by incompetent, useless, lazy locals who want nothing else but to get you off the telephone..


22 September, 2005 18:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"your culture is worse than culture is better than yours..."

seems Dubai's tranquil multi-cultural veneer might be cracking...personally I think the whole world has become increasingly course and impolite in this day and age, whether you wear a cowboy hat, a bowler hat or a dishdasha. Best to be patient wheresoever you are.

22 September, 2005 18:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

German officials tend to adopt that attitude I agree. BUT although the officials and the men at the 'help' desk who were unhelpful with their German babble, we encountered friendly German passengers.
We were in a small town on the outskirts of Munster and had to get to Munster by train but couldn't get the tickets out of the machine coz, you guessed right, the information was in German.
The German lady passenger saw my mother feeling helpless and she shouted out to the ticket collector on board the train to let us on it (the last one of the day) and we jumped on it with her madly gesturing us to do it.

we were grateful for the kindness of such Germans during our stay there. I guess even they realise what a pain it must be for tourists to have to struggle with German everywhere.

22 September, 2005 21:07  
Blogger black feline said...

ladies and gentlemen,

i have learnt a trick of how to deal...sorry...i mean communicate with the locals here..remember the movie SHREK 2...puss in boots, the adorable feline with claws? it works for me me all the time..i swear...look helpless and loss for the 1st impression..and once they put down their your fangs and claws appropiately. Mark my words...its a bliss..which is why i dont have any problems in particularly with the locals here.One time i was at a local bank and the lady officer in charge looked like an executioner from hell...i told her nicely but firmly why she looked angry? any problems? moment she literally soften and gave me a smile..though it was rather faint. It really works!..all the time.

22 September, 2005 21:22  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I think the "trick" of dealing with people with any nationality is to be as polite and pleasant as possible. People with public-service "counter" jobs generally spend their days dealing with a stream of frustrated, rude, and unpleasant customers.

So regardless of their nationality or yours, if you can smile and be friendly and respectful, regardless of language problems, you will usually get better service and give them a better day. They are far more likely to prioritise your issue or problem if you speak nicely to them.

22 September, 2005 21:32  
Blogger said...

black feline...i done the exact same thing to a filipino store clerk in Abu Dhabi once. I asked a her a simple question: 'Is there a problem?' (because her face looked 'constipated')Instantly her attitude quickly changed like I had wispered a magic spell via these words.

I am sorry to say this...but whether in the UK or UAE, sometimes the only way to get something done quickly is to get a nasty attitude with that person...

Which is a shame...coz I am normally such a calm, quiet and easy going person...

22 September, 2005 23:55  
Blogger testuggine said...

Do you know if it is possible to write emails to the offices of government officials - for example the minister for tourism? If so, how would I get hold of such email addresses? Thanks!

23 September, 2005 16:33  
Blogger secretdubai said...

You are usually best off emailing to their PR representatives, unless you can find feedback forms on government department websites.

23 September, 2005 17:43  
Blogger testuggine said...

Thanks that's helpful. Government officials are not very open for comment and communication generally are they!

23 September, 2005 17:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Happy that 3 answers all saying 60 days, I stayed in Dubai.

'You've overstayed, now you pay a fine' Well, turns out I had to pay DHS700" Original comment by Garthicus

Mr Garthicus, There is a Flaw in your story.

FYI a fine for over-staying one day is 100aed since you overstyed 30days that means you have incurred a Fine of 3000aed Not 700aed.


23 September, 2005 19:11  
Blogger black feline said...

ya sure genius...he left the country didn't he? wht r u going to do about that? blow your whistle? or u could pay the balance...LOL

24 September, 2005 11:33  
Blogger 1Desi said...

One wise man's comments...
I am not saying that all Westerners are racists or anything

Another wise man's comments...
Please never be like those cold whites.


Wake the fk up and smell the coffee! Its comments like these that have ruined the world we live in today. Its wierd, i've noticed the same racist, offensive, stereotypical nonsense here in doobai, as I have in NYC, Paris, Munich, Sydney and Mumbai....

On the flip-side, I've also met some of the most cosmopolitan, hospitable, and polite people in each of the places listed above.

Its not about what your colour, country, $ex, etc. is ... and its fkin stupid to generalise in the way some of you folks do.

We're the ones responsible for the nonsense... each and every one of us... young and old - teachers and students, masters and presidents...blah blah

Its just the human condition.

24 September, 2005 11:47  
Blogger 1Desi said...

On a lighter note, I wonder what the world would be like if pot was legal and international law required it to be consumed 3 times a week!

Some people are tinking - Brazil and Kallocain - I'm thinking more on thh lines of Monty Python and Saturday Night Live


24 September, 2005 11:59  
Blogger secretdubai said...

>>I wonder what the world would be like if pot was legal and international law required it to be consumed 3 times a week

Like Yemen.


24 September, 2005 12:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Does it really matter how much he was fined - if he says it was AED700, why argue? Furthermore, I was always taught at school that people in Germany predominantly spoke German, especially in places like Frankfurt. Maybe some people in the very west of Germany speak Dutch, but not in the ret of the country.

24 September, 2005 12:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but not in the ret of the country. "

What is ret?

24 September, 2005 14:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"blow your whistle? or u could pay the balance...LOL "

bf, I am talking about the flaw in his story! I am not Santa clause to pay for his fines.

24 September, 2005 14:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been to Germany last month and had a lovely holiday. Although most signs at Trains stations in Germany are in German you can still get by them by looking at symbols and carrying a map. They also have an automatic ticket info and kiosk at the stations that has an English option. Most German staff at info counters do speak a bit of English. I admit that I also did my bit of research about the cities and the tourist attractions.

24 September, 2005 15:01  
Blogger black feline said...

ok..u win this time...for spotting the life threating mistake..well done!

24 September, 2005 16:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm beginning to wonder if you're actually one of the people mentioned in the article 'Hell's Bells. You seem to have all the time in the world to criticize - maybe you have too much time on your hands? Pushed any phones away recently?

24 September, 2005 22:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous, the thing is that i want to say nice things but my english is very poor so its sounds not nice but when i will talk you will make song out of my words, its not my fault that i am not son of queen of england! isnt it?

24 September, 2005 23:23  
Blogger Garthicus said...

Balushi it WAS DHS700, I didn't say that I stayed EXACTLY 30 days over the limit, it was something like 21 days and the fine per day is something like DHS25 to DHS30 per day not DHS100 like you said.. This is the amount I was fined. Period. Perhaps the guy was feeling generous that morning or perhaps tired as it was 5 or 6am!! If you want I can e-mail you a copy of the receipts...... which are in Arabic by the way. So in theory the fine couldhave been DHS100 and he could have pocketed the DHS600 himself ha ha!!

27 September, 2005 14:45  

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