Saturday, January 25, 2014

What a difference!

We plan to visit Dubai less in future so we decided to lease out our apartment in Dubai Marina.

What a difference between the way it's done here and there.

A neighbour recommended a real estate agent, who we contacted in mid-December. She brought a few people round, one family wanted it, the lease is signed, deal done.

Apart from the speed and efficiency, the financials are the big difference.

The owner pays nothing to the real estate agent. No fee, no advertising cost. Zero. Not one cent.

The tenant pays the agent's fees and lodges a security bond.

But best of's one cheque from the tenant for the full year's rent in advance. It's in our bank. Amazing.

The process also highlighted the difference between a high cost country like Australia and our cheaper competitors. That's something that's always in the news with offshoring of jobs and Aussie companies manufacturing overseas.

We had the apartment painted. That's a very large lounge, two big bedrooms, study, corridors. All with 4 metre ceilings, so there's a fair bit of wall to cover.

Six painters came in at 10am and left, job done, at 9pm. They removed all the picture hooks, filled holes and made good the walls, supplied all materials, cleaned up beautifully. Total cost for materials and sixty-six man-hours of labour was, at today's exchange rate, A$376.

There's an added factor too. The painters were all Indian, working in Dubai because they can earn very much more than they can back home.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Aggressive language

The Premier announced measures to tackle the problem of alcohol-fuelled violence, to the predictable uproar from vested interests.

The measures are a partial response to the problem, much more needs to be introduced, we need more detail and the earlier closing needs to extend state wide not just a small city strip.

I drink my fair share of alcohol and I'm a night rather than morning person, but I can't see the need to have licensed premises open virtually all night. A sensible closing time imposed on all outlets would be a huge help.

But the restrictions proposed on alcohol sellers is only a small part of the answer. We need some more complicated long term responses too.

As I said in my post four or five weeks ago, society is becoming more aggressive in all it does and says. So we need an ongoing educational programme pointing out the stupidity and dangers, and unacceptability, of deliberately deciding to drink to oblivion.And we need the media to stop the headlong dash they're on to find aggressive words and phrases to replace perfectly good descriptive words we already have.

A letter to the Herald this morning points out that the current Australian Tennis Open no-one has been 'defeated' nor have they 'lost a match'.  They have been 'dumped out', 'sent packing', 'bundled out', 'ousted', or they've 'crashed out'.

Similarly, nothing is available to win any more, whether it's a raffle prize or a seat in parliament - it's 'up for grabs'.

This unnecessary aggression can easily be taken out of the equation. We've had a change from most of the media, which is now not using the the phrase 'king hit', which glamourised the cowardly unexpected punch to the head which has caused so much mayhem. It's been replaced with either 'coward's punch' or 'single punch'.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cowardly thug charged with murder.

I'm pleased to see that the cowardly thug who killed Daniel Christie on New Years Eve has been charged with murder.

Shaun McNeil had already been charged with three counts of common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm over a series of (alleged) assaults on New Year's Eve.

Here he is, in a selfie he's obviously proud of;

A murder charge is the right approach to these thugs. Unlike the other cowardly thug, Kieran Loveridge, who killed Thomas Kelly but got away with four years after doing a deal to plead guilty to manslaughter.

One requirement of a murder charge is that the perpetrator intended to kill. But the other is that he 'acted with reckless indifference to human life'. And that's certainly the case with these unprovoked, unexpected, random attacks.

Let's hope this one goes down for a very very long time.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cowards, all of them

Yet another innocent teenager has died after being punched by a drugged up alcohol fuelled neanderthal.

Daniel Christie, 18, was on life support after being punched on New Years Eve and today his family made the decision to turn off the machines as there was no hope of him recovering.

So we have a repeat of another distraught family saying it mustn't be allowed to happen to another family. We have a repeat of public outrage. The media is saying enough is enough, it's time for action.

In fact it's already way past the time action should have been taken.

For many years the alcohol selling industry has pressurised governments, donated money to political parties and basically has them in their pockets.

Alcohol ads are all over just about every sporting event, the local papers are dominated by full page bottle shop ads, bottle shops and drinking establishments are spreading like wildfire, opening hours extend so far into the night that many people are getting out of bed to start their day as others are staggering home from bars.

It should never have come to this, but it shines a spotlight on our political system and the people in it and what it reveals isn't pretty.

Politicians focus is on keeping their jobs, the power and the rewards that go with it. They run the state for big business, big business looks after them.

If public opinion is strong enough to suggest they may be voted out next election, then we'll see some kind of action. But whatever it is it'll be far too little far too late.

There's no way we'll get it but we desperately need politicians who have vision, who anticipate problems and take action to prevent them happening.

What we have instead is an increasingly violent culture, increasing self-obsession, increasing use of drugs like steroids. So our politicians throw petrol on the fire by making it as easy as they can for alcohol to be available easily and cheaply day and night.

It ain't rocket science to work out what actually should have been done.

But they don't have the guts. They're cowards, the politicians who've allowed us to reach this sorry state, cowards just like the neanderthals who think a good night out is to get blind drunk and randomly attack without warning a complete strangers.

I'm sick of the lot of them.

Friday, January 10, 2014

What's sauce for the goose...

I'm back in Oz now, where we have a bit of an uproar about a female member of the Sydney Cricket Ground being refused entry to the Ladies Stand because some officious jerk decided her dress was too short and broke SCG dress rules.

Here's a selfie of the dress, hardly an eye-popping ultra mini:

I'm not going to get involved in the argument about the vagueness of the rules, whether they're appropriate or whether the dress was inappropriate.

But the incident hits on a point I rant about endlessly, the fact that no rules seem to be applied to the way men dress, only to women.

The point is made in one of many letters in todays papers about the incident. In it, Noel Beddoe says "I was fortunate enough last weekend to attend two days at the cricket as the guest of a member. Several men in the general members area were wearing shorts exposing several centimetres of flesh above the knee. None were ejected".

In Dubai many of the shopping malls have posters on the doors pointing out that respectful clothing is required. There's a drawing of a woman wearing a dress with shoulders and knees covered. Nothing about men dressing respectfully.

Far too often I see men in singlets and football shorts on city streets, in shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants. It's little more than being in public in their underwear.

On the sports field or the beach - or in the privacy of their own home - they're appropriate, but in other public areas  they're not.

I'm in favour of dress rules, BTW, but they must be written to include the half of the population that isn't female.