Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Shu Man-Chu"?

When I first started working here in Abu Dhabi, I was quite proud of my work experience in Canada, where everyone at work had great understanding of different cultures, and rules and regulations were in place to ensure a harassment-free work environment. In fact, not only I was proud, I was maybe a little snobbish about it, thinking that I have seen it all.

Well, it didn’t take long before things started to bother me at work. A month ago, an Australian joined our team and we got along fabulously well. Then a few days later he walked into my cubicle calling me “Shu Man-Chu”! Now that did not sit well with me. In Canada, everyone knows how taboo it is to address co-workers by hinting his/her ethnic background. A few days later I jokingly mentioned my annoyance to the Australian colleague, who, to my surprise, was very offended that I didn't like it. You see, his logic is that it was a show of endearment and friendship. This was further confirmed after I confided with another Australian friend – apparently Aussies like to give each other politically-incorrect nicknames. Other examples of Aussie nicks include "Baldie" (for a girl!) and "Little Man". Q also reminded me that the Dutch are also famous for being very un-PC.

So after this and a few other incidents (such as an English colleague giving me fashion critism on my work outfit and calling another girl colleague ‘fat’. *GASP!*), I have come to a better understanding of the work environment here: Not only it is multi-cultural, but also multi-national! As much as confusing, it is also great fun and eye-opening experience. I just have to grow my skin thicker!

To end this blog posting, maybe it is best that I pull a survey and enlist everyone’s input: Do you think Shu Man-Chu makes a cute nickname for work?

Friday, March 14, 2008

More on UAE Driving

Our friend Richard suggested that we should blog about the "Arabian Airbags", so here it is. They are commonly known as referring to those infants who parents hold them in their arms while sitting in moving vehicles. Sad really. I suppose every city has its ugly side just like its grand side.
Anyhow, now you know.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque - for the mailinglist

So I used a new feature in that last posting which does a neat trick of showing a slideshow of the pictures I took. But as it turned out, that doesn't show up on the e-mail people receive whenever we update the website!
So for those who didn't click to find the pics on the actual blog, here are the pics, the 'old-fashioned' way :)(still, the gimmick in the previous post is really cool, check it out by looking at it on the blog itself!)

Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque

Here's a short photographic impression I shot with my old Panasonic compact digi on the newly opened Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque in Abu Dhabi. I'll have to come back and do some 'proper' shots with my DigiSLR and Hasselblad soon!

Observations on driving in U.A.E. - part II

By all means, don't just take my word for it... the frontpage of our local newspaper Gulf News today said in big letters: 'Fiery Deaths in Fog'.

(image courtesy of Gulf News)

Yesterday, Sara and I wanted to visit Dubai. 40k's out of Abu Dhabi we ran into traffic, very heavy traffic. My immediate thought: it must be an accident, because there is no other reason why it shouldn't be moving. There's nothing out here, Dubai is still at least 40kms away! So I turned on the radio and listened to reports of one of the biggest accidents in the history of the U.A.E.! At least 3 killed, 350 injured, at least 60 vehicles involved in the crash! One of the main reasons why this crash could happen was that, even though heavy fog reduced visibility to less than 50 meters, people were still speeding! A recipe for disaster :(
Click on the picture for the full article.

(on a lighter side, finally, after having waited for almost 3 months, we have our car back! and yes, it looks like new! and now starts the selling...)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New lens!

I purchased a new lens for my camera, a lens with a serious high drool-level :)
It's a Canon 135mm f2 L (thanks again, Twyls, for bringing it over for me!). The first couple of shots I made with it turned out like this:
I'm very pleased with the results! Gotta love the depth-of-field it gives!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Very cool demo

(nerd alert!!)

So for once, something that has absolutely nothing to do with Shu, me, Abu Dhabi or our travels...
A serious cool demo on the use of online images! I was very impressed with it, and some parts of it are already usable online!
Click on the image for the demo:
(thank you, Os, for the tip!)

(nerd alert off)

Ok, a short update on us, Shu is still in the Philippines, backpacking southern Luzon, together with Sara. And I, meanwhile, am back in Abu Dhabi. Even back to work!
The trip was excellent! I got to see parts of the Philippines I hadn't been to before, did plenty of diving (I can recommend going wreck diving in Subic Bay, I dove the LST and El Capitan), on a sourer note, I dropped my dive computer and the glass has a slight crack in it... So I'll need to get that fixed!
And then there was the family reunion! Not planned as such, but when people discovered that my parents were going, just about everybody starting to fly in! Serious fun!

Pictures, as usual, will follow!