Month: April 2015

Strict safety norms should be enforced

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Strict safety norms should be enforced
Reader is concerned about workers ignoring safety measures when at construction sites.
Abu Dhabi
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is being celebrated tomorrow, April 28, and our highest priority should be oriented towards the principle of prevention of danger.
A look at some of the maintenance activities being carried out by the staff of some companies that work on the installation of advertisement stickers on high rise buildings within the capital made me write about this important safety issue. They use the suspended scaffolding to paste these stickers on the windows. However, observing them at close quarters I noticed that most of them were not wearing appropriate safety gear.
My fear aggravated when I noticed that a group of construction workers who were working on seven-storey building were carrying out their jobs without wearing any safety gear. This was alarming and there was no way I could reach out to them and inform them to adhere to safety measures.
These two observations highlight the need for stricter enforcement of safety norms. We do note that companies have strict safety guidelines in place for the welfare of their workforce. However, there is always an exception. Some companies even hire part-time workers, and it appears that safety is not a matter of priority for them and precautionary measures are sidelined. This is dangerous as even a minor miss may end up in loss of life or permanent injury to the worker involved.
Through this report, I request the concerned authorities to consider this matter and enforce stricter rules for workers who engage in jobs at high altitudes. The need for a standard acknowledgement and acceptance to conform to safety standards is essential when permits for such jobs to be carried out are issued.
Let ‘Safety First’ be on everyone’s mind at all time. Keep reminding each other and remembering with a strong inner sense the three key notes: ‘Safety for me, for you and for everyone’ as a mantra to achieve better safety results.
— The reader is an operations manager based in Abu Dhabi.

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ISC – Nucleus UAE Open Youth Festival 2015

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India Social & Cultural Centre (ISC Abu Dhabi), the premier socio-cultural organization for expatriate Indians in UAE, is organizing  UAE OPEN YOUTH FESTIVAL 2015 on 7th, 8th and 9th of May 2015, with a large number of School students’ participation from all over UAE.
The show will be setting a new standard in this form of competition and it is designed to be one of the most challenging competition ever to be held in the UAE.
Contestants will compete in 18 arts field at 5 simultaneous venues within the ISC premises over these three days.
These performances will be evaluated and judged by prominent Judging panels from India.
Results will be declared immediately after each programme is completed through ISC website and official electronic media associated with the event.
Kindly provide enough circulation to find the talents in UAE.
Godfrey Antony
Hon. Literary Secretary

Application form:

Application form can also be obtained from:
India Social & Cultural Centre
P. O. Box: 816
Abu Dhabi
Tel:  02 – 6730066
Fax: 02 – 6732899

Short Take: Action pack – Gulf Today Dt 25 April 2015

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Short Take: Action pack
It was a short notice invite for a presentation. I couldn’t say no to it when I looked at the presenter’s name and details of the invitees he was speaking to.
The audience were a group of students in their final year of graduation coming from the prestigious French Petroleum university to learn about the finer aspects of the industry in the region.
The presenter was Sultan Al Hajji, a self-made Oil and Gas industry senior in the region. Educated in the US and France, he started from a junior level in the industry and progressed along to one of the senior most level within our company.
In his presentation he talked eloquently about the industry aspects and about the UAE and how and where it stands in the technological and economic forefront of developments happening worldwide.
At the end of the session, while answering the queries of eager students who were extracting more treasures from him, he came out with a gem of an action pack for them.
It was about the importance of networking for students as a means of improving their professional vistas to a greater horizon. He said to them to work hard as there is no alternate option for success.
At the same time, he told them to identify their primary and secondary interest levels and start networking with the right choice of contemporaries, seniors and experts to consistently update them with what is happening around them.
Sharing knowledge and expertise is the pathway to a successful career ahead. Identifying right mentors and right network to be in is essential for students.
Later, at some point of time, whenever these like-minded and networked contacts catch up with each other, it will prove that they all carried the same zest for success in life.
Moreover, it will not be a surprise to see that many of them may be knowing each other, due to their focus and path they opted for their personal and professional success.
Looking at the students’ expression at the end of the session, I felt it would be an everlasting action reminder and impression they would carry along from this visit to their future ahead. 
Pearls of wisdom like these are very rare to get these days.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Short Take – Gulf Today
Dt. 25th April 2015

La Femis Gulf Film Programme 2015 – learn film making in Paris at La Fémis

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If you know any UAE national student interested in Film making, kindly share it with him or her to apply for this scholarship.

TheNational@7: A truly national conversation with our regular letter writers

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Ramesh Menon, Indian, living in Abu Dhabi
I’ve been writing letters to The National since its inception and have always found its best qualities are to raise important issues and to reflect the pulse of those living in the UAE. Letters to the editor bring important topics to the attention of the relevant authorities and there have been several instances when quick action has been taken on issues raised in this way. These include pedestrian problems, road safety, labour welfare, consumer issues and others. I am always optimistic of a positive outcome when I raise a community-related issue through the letters section of The National.

TheNational@7: Citizen journalists answer the call

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TheNational@7: Citizen journalists answer the call

The sight of two window washers working untethered on a narrow 13th-floor ledge of an Abu Dhabi high-rise was shocking.
They were equipped with the proper safety gear but had detached themselves from their safety ropes, leaving them at risk of falling to their deaths on the bustling street below.
The startled witness to this casual disregard of safety was Ramesh Menon, a technical officer at an oil firm who recorded it with his camera then alerted both the building management and also The National.
The effect was swift and emphatic: the window washers’ employer had its contract with Abu Dhabi Mall cancelled with immediate effect.
But because it was also featured in The National, publicity about the incident sparked a debate among those living here about the sometimes lax culture of safety in the UAE, including an editorial calling for zero tolerance towards those who take safety shortcuts as well as a flurry of letters to the editor on the subject.
What it also demonstrated in a wider sense is the way in which The National is an active part of our community. The newspaper does not just inform and entertain those living in the UAE – that flow of information goes both ways.
In Mr Menon and countless other ordinary people going about their lives, the newspapers’ eyes and ears in the community extend far beyond those of our reporters.
This is what the American playwright Arthur Miller was getting at more than half a century ago when he defined a good newspaper as “a nation talking to itself”.
Anyone who wants to know the hot topics of UAE society need only see how our readers express themselves, either through letters or on The National’s social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.
Rising rents and the general cost of living, the plight of children caught in conflict zones, driver behaviour on the country’s roads, animal cruelty, the property market’s fluctuations, whether mothers should be compelled to breastfeed new babies, gratitude for the UAE’s accommodation of followers of other faiths, the process of Emiratisation and concern with the welfare of those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder are all topics on which The National’s readers voice strong views.
We have learnt to listen and take heed when an issue ignites our readers, shaping our response with the input of the community.
In the best cases, this dialogue can both highlight a problem and lead to its solution. In the window washers’ case, it meant there did not need to be a tragedy – for the negligent window washer or any innocent pedestrian walking below – before action was taken.
The same dynamic applied when another reader’s tip alerted us to theplight of two puppies – one with a paw deliberately hacked off and the other with damage to its foot pads – that were abandoned in the desert outside Dubai and left to die.
Our readers were shocked by this wanton act of cruelty, but it ended happily for Stumpy and Bernard, as the two puppies were named by their rescuers. Readers donated more than Dh7,000 – enough to pay for their medical treatment – and this included Dh3,000 from an American reader who saw the story on The National’s website.
The best news came from a couple who read The National. Hank Harrington, a helicopter pilot with Dubai Royal Air Wing, and his wife, Lynn,adopted the puppies, who will have a large garden to play in when the couple relocate to Britain in six months.
These are but a couple of examples of the wave of instances of what has been dubbed “citizen journalism”.
This mirrors the changes that have taken place since The National’s first edition was published seven years ago. It seems like ancient history now, but social media networks, microblogging sites and smartphones were all in their infancy on April 17, 2008.
Facebook had only 80 million members then, compared to 1.4 billion now; Twitter members were collectively sending an average of just about 1 million tweets per day, a fraction of the 50 million now; and the iPhone had been launched in the United States less than a year earlier. Today the UAE has the highest per capita use of smartphones in the world.
These forces combined to enable those living here to interact with The National in a way unimaginable to previous generations of journalists. Now, when there is a multicar pile-up on a foggy road or a major fire in the UAE, we receive images from readers in minutes. Comments on The National’s website come from every corner of the world.
This is as it should be, when a newspaper is having a dialogue with the community it was established to serve.

My thank you note:
It was surprising to see a special mention about me in the 7th Anniversary edition of The National! Safety First. Let the mantra within us be “Safety for Me, Safety for You and Safety for ALL”.
Thank you The National team. 

Date Palms – nation’s hidden treasure

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A nation’s hidden treasure and a Passionate Photographers delight!
Follow the story at Our Story of the Date Palm Trees

Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Do you hear the tinggggg?

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Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Do you hear the tinggggg?
Dear Friends,
I am thrilled today because my memories are taking me to my childhood days, when I lived at my ancestral home at Oorakam near Trichur within a big joint family amongst a group of children of various ages within the family and surroundings. Not like these days, gifts and pocket money were occasional and we had to wait for either Onam, or Vishu to get a pair of new dress or some money within our pocket for utilising for our own dream requirement. Money those days remained within the boundaries of maximum of a one rupee coin, which was by itself huge. It came to us only during Vishu when we get Vishu Kai neettam (gift of coins by eldest member of the family).
At our home, it was the right of Appettan, who is my grandmothers brother and eldest male member of the family to give this customary gift to all other family members including children. He keeps several coins with him of various denominations within the boundary of one rupee and distribute it to all according to age and his liking. Whatever the denomination we were all thrilled to get that precious gift from him on that auspicious day and very happily wait for it after our daily religious rituals.
Once we have this gift, all the boys group themselves and then go and get a rubber ball or a smaller football, to replace the existing old ones for us to play with. Those days, we used to get a medium 8 to 10 cm diameter sized for a nominal amount, and mostly, it was the only luxurious play item we all shared.
On some odd years, we had special appearances during these Vishu season by other senior male members of the family who were working outside of Kerala. So, as a mark of affection, they also discretely gave us additional coins of bigger denominations, even one rupee itself. This made a huge difference to all of us. We will then group ourselves and run to Devassy’s shop which is in the nearest town, that is Cherpu for a bigger ball, say about 25 cms diameter in size. The generous contribution means a lot. Bigger in size, bigger in temper, and the more reach it has. The “tingggggg” sound it produces when hit makes a huge thrill to all of us and the thrill of it keeps us grouped and cheerful for many days to come.
I am experiencing that odd gift and that tinggg thing in my mind today, by the visit of three little princess who came to see vishukani and get vishu kaineettam from us.

Education in all fields is mainly a self interest process. Many times due to various reasons, we do not get time to study a subject. But a systematic self learning process will take us to greater heights in those fields interesting for us. It is our responsibility to share and teach the new generation what we experienced. 
Let them learn to observe the characters, the nature, and be self sufficient to progress in life ahead. 
God bless you all and enjoy your week ahead by liking what you do and doing what you like.
Ramesh Menon
15th April 2015

Happy Vishu

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Safety rules are being breached

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Safety rules are being breached

I have seen workers in harnesses installing billboards or putting stickers on high-rises. But when I looked closely, I noticed that most of them did not have adequate safety gear. This has happened on more than two occasions.
Once, I was frightened for a group of men who were working on a seven-storey building without any protective gear whatsoever. I am sure that these are not stray cases. People will continue to flout the safety rules if such lapses are not reported.
At the same time, strict enforcement of rules is necessary.
It’s mostly smaller companies that ignore the rules as they engage contract or part-time workers. 
They need to be monitored all the time.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit The National online.