Travel

Malaysia – A peaceful and model Islamic state

After spending almost one week in Kuala Lumpur I can say without any doubt that Malaysia presents a wonderful image of Islam to its visitors from world over. I visited my Pakistani friend Khurram in a town Tronoh where you get amazed to see a newly established beautiful university UTP (University of Technology Petronas). Khurram and his loving wife both are doing there PhDs from the same university and have been living in Malaysia for more than five years.

Khurram told me that there are three main races living in Malaysia; Malay who are Muslims make 55% of the total population, Chinese (mostly Budhists) and Tamil Indians (Hindus). He added that Malaysian Muslims feel proud of their religion and their girls always wear Hijab to show their identity. Malaysian government is liberal and provides religious freedom to everyone living here. There is no street mosque in the Malaysia like Pakistan and other subcontinent countries, but you will find only large Mosques located on different parts of cities. Call for the Islamic prayer, i.e. Azaan is not read loud using the loudspeakers from these mosques, but only the prominent mosques are allowed to use the loudspeakers for this purpose.

Khurram also told me that also liquor is sold at the bars and hotels openly but Malaysian Muslims are not allowed to drink and Police take strict action if a local Muslim is found drinking or doing any major religiously prohibited act. Both Muslims and non-Muslims staff are found at the airports, railway stations, hotels and shopping centres. Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful and very developed city. It has modern transport system. Trains, monorail, busses, taxis and Uber are cheaper and easily accessible. There is a state owned free bus service GoKL that runs four routs which take you to important attractions of the city. People are very friendly and polite and most of them understand English. I loved visiting Malaysia and found it cheaper and better than Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I recommend all my Pakistani and Australian friends to visit Malaysia if they want to enjoy an affordable holiday excursion.

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Pathetic service by Etihad Airways and Pakistan International Airlines

Recently I had experience of traveling with Etihad Airways on my visit to Pakistan. When I booked my return tickets for Sydney-Lahore-Sydney including transit in Abu Dhabi, I was informed that Etihad arranged my flight from Abu Dhabi to Lahore through their partner airline PIA. I had planned two day stay in Abu Dhabi and Dubai during my transit. I left from Sydney by Etihad Airways flight for Abu Dhabi on the 7th of December 2016. It was a 14 hour long flight. I was highly disappointed to see the poor level of service from the crew. I turned crew service light on 3 times to ask for coffee, which had not been served. No one came to me at all. Then I requested a passing air hostess to serve me the coffee.

When I was about to take my flight from Abu Dhabi for Lahore I was informed at the airport that PIA cancelled the flight. I contacted Etihad Airways through telephone and requested the telephonic representative to provide me the information about the flight arrangements for Lahore. He told me that he had emailed my request to the concerned staff and they would contact me shortly. I received not even a single call or email from Etihad. Now I got worried because my wedding function was planned on the following day. In short I kept running between the PIA and Etihad offices and none of them put any consideration on my issue. PIA was not assisting the angry passengers properly and they were highly upset. Later on my request one PIA staff member advised me that I should have brought a new ticket for Lahore, through Karachi in business class as no seat was available in the economy class. I had to pay almost AED 1,500 extra for this journey.

After this bad experience I would never ever travel through Etihad and PIA. Both airlines provide pathetic services to the travellers. It’s far better to travel by Thai Airways or Emirates Airlines.

People using GPS and Google maps in developed countries

Google Maps

Dear Viewers, as you know I belong to Pakistan, one of the most grooming country in the field of telecommunications. We have many mobile phone operatorts with attractive packages and bla bla….. However unfortunately we are not using our talents in using the current Google and GPS applications the way people are using them in the develoepd countries. In Australia I am really surprised to see the way people make use of Google Maps and GPS on I-Phone 4G and other GPS compatible mobile phones.

The railway and bus authorities have provided their websites with trip-planner aided tools. You just enter any address in Australia from where you want to depart, your desired address of arrival and the time of your planned journey. You will get not only all information, but at the same time the map with the marked directions and approximate time required to reach the destination.

Google has developed 360 deg. view system for countries like Australia, UK and USA. You can see all areas around a point in the map. So you reach the area virtually. GPS software applications in cell phones provide you with maps (pointing your location with movement) and information about the important landmarks and other features (like petrol stations, hospitals, markets etc.) nearby. I am delighted that life has become so easy in these countries. However I strongly wish that our Pakistani people be also introduced with such technologies so that our very talented youth can be involved in the deisgning of such software applications and maps, which will not only be helpful for their country fellows but at the same time provide them with the opportunity to use their skills in the development of Pakistan and elimination of poverty. I am hopeful that such things will bring a great wave of change in Pakistan.

Message for New Year (2011)

Self contemplation and evaluation to find out self “STATUS” (2011)

Self contemplation and evaluation to find out self “STATUS”

 “Where we have to go and where we have reached?” be pondered for a little while in your leisure time

 

kyaa kuchh tum ne khoyaa hai aur kyaa kuchh tum ne paayaa hai

aa’eene meN waqt ne chehrah mohlat kaa dikhlaayaa hai

Zehn meN dhuNdlee taSweeroN kaa halkaa saa ubhraa hai aks

nazaroN meN guzree yaadoN kaa dilkash manzar chhaayaa hai

tanhaa tanhaa chalne waale thakkar aaKhir baiTh ga’ey

milkar chalne waaloN ne manzil kaa khoj lagaayaa hai

azm aur himmat , nek iraadoN ke saNg chalte jaaow tum

seedhe raste ne qadmoN ko manzil tak pohNchaayaa hai

kyaa kuchh karnaa thaa tum ne aur kyaa naheeN kar paa’ey ho

furSat ke iss pal ne aakar aaj yehee samjhaayaa hai

“Khayaal” Zaraa dunyaa se haT kar sochow kal ke baare meN

kuyN bekaar see dunyaa kaa kaaNdhoN par bojh uThaayaa hai

Ismail Ajaz Khayaal

Effects of recession on travel industry

I was travelling from Dubai to Lahore. It was a Boeing 777 of PIA, which has a seating capacity of around 400 passengers. However, I was surprised to see that about one-third of the seats were occupied whereas rest of the aircraft was empty. On the other hand, price of the ticket was much lower than what I had paid in December 2008 for the same route.

Dubai and other UAE Emirates are occupied by a huge number of Pakistani expatriates and usually it takes lot of efforts in getting the air tickets in reasonable time. Due to the ongoing economical recession, now there are very few people travelling between UAE and Pakistan. Dubai airport was also 10% occupied as compared with its occupancy in the recent past before this recession. We can’t say that when this period will end but let us hope for the best.

Dubai Metro: An amazing project

dubai-metro

These days I am working on Dubai Metro project. The project will ease the traffic flow in Dubai and roads will experience less traffic as compared with the present situation. Amazing fact about this project is that the trains will be driver-less. There are two main lines: Green Line and Red Line. A consortium named as DURL (Dubai Rapid Link) has been formed for carrying out the construction of the tracks, depots and stations. The Metro will start operating from 9-09-09. After this service, Dubai will attract more tourists as they will enjoy the sight seeing in a relaxed (without experiencing traffic jams) manner.

Global financial crisis hitting Dubai in the worst manner

Dubai, which was once considered to be the world’s fastest growing city (emirate) is one of the worst targets of present global financial crisis. All the sectors have badly affected. However development and real estate sectors have suffered more than any other. Engineering jobs are in real danger as many state owned developers like Nakheel, Tameer, Tatweer, Samaa Dubai and Emaar have to pay millions to the contractors and consultants. Ongoing projects are being closed due to the unavailability of funds.

dubai

Our project Waterfront, under Nakheel, is also going to be stopped within a week or so due to the same problem and our company (a well established contracting group) is facing great problems in recovering due money from many clients, due to which they dont have enough funds to give us the salaries and as a result we are going to lose our jobs. Many families already have flown back to their countries. However racism can be seen here as well; as European and Australians, who get very high pays, are the last ones to be fired from their jobs. Whereas hardworking Pakistani, Indian and Fillipino people are being fired immediately. Another problem faced by the job losers is that they are afcing great difficulty in selling the household items and their cars. Due to present uncertain situation noone is purchasing these things.

Dubai Shopping Festival is also suffering a lot and number of foreighn tourists has reduced to almost 10% due to which the business is suffering a lot and big shopping malls are found empty. Nobody knows that when this situation will end and Dubai will come to its normal once again…..

Dubai – a real cosmopolitan city uniting Asians and Europeans

If I say that inspite of the traffic and accommodation issues, Dubai has become the favourite place for Asians and Europeans, I am not telling anything wrong. Tax free good income, peaceful environment and beautiful shopping malls have made Dubai a place where people dream to live. Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, Tennis queen Maria Sharapova and many other have their own houses here and visit this great city for shopping and relaxing.

Burj Dubai - world's tallest structureDubai has its own very unique culture. It is  a fusion of Arabic, Indo-Pak sub continent and European cultures. Local Arab people have a loving and welcoming nature in general. People live here peacefully and respect the privacy of each other. Sheikh Zayed Road can be termed as one of the most beautiful boulevards in the world. It has countless number of beautiful buildings. Dubai’s latest landmark Burj Dubai, which will be the tallest building of the world after its construction in 2009, is located on Sheikh Zayed Road. Other attrations in Dubai include Burj Al Arab (the only 7 star hotel in the world), Mercato, Ibn-Batoota Mall, Dera City Centre, Wild Wadi, Mall of Emirates and Jumeirah Beach. All of these places attract millions of tourists round the year.

Dubai has three very good reasons for Mulims to live here:

1. You will get Halal food everywhere.

2. Muslim showers are provided in all toilets.

3. All the shopping malls have their masjids, so you cannot miss the prayers.

Yesterday I completed my first year in Dubai and I am very happy to see the development of an Islamic city which also has become a favourite place for non-Muslims.

Airbus A-380 – a wonderful aeroplane

Qantas - A380

Qantas - A380

Recently, Airbus – the aeroplane manufacturing company has introduced the world’s most luxurious passenger aircraft, A-380. This is a wonderful aeroplane and I think that it is equiped with the maximum facilities to provide a real comfortable and memorable journey to the travellers.

Big airlines companies like Emirates and Qantas have purchased this aircraft and have started their flights. This amazing aircraft has four classes, i.e. Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class Suits. Travellers of the Busniess class and First Class suits will can convert their seats into flat beds. Also, they and the passengers travelling in the Premium Economy class can enjoy movies and music on large screen LCDs, internet, telephone and many more. Business Class passengers can have their meetings onboard in the business loungs alongwith the computer presentations.

Even the Economy class is not a bad option. They are also provided with internet, SMS, telephone and laptop connectivity facilities like other classes. In short A-380 can be termed as a ‘plane of dreams’. For more information on the features of this great aeroplane, please visit the following website:

http://www.qantas.com.au/info/flying/A380/index.

Traffic issue in Dubai and Sharjah

Eng. Irfan Rashid

Photo taken by: Eng. Irfan Rashid

Yesterday it took me 3.5 hours in reaching my home in Sharjah from Jabal Ali in Dubai. I got too much upset and started thinking that if this was the life for which I had left my country. This is unfortunately an everyday routine here. In Dubai rents are too much high and even execuvite employees cannot afford to live there. They have to live in Sharjah. So around 80% of the population living in Sharjah works in Dubai. Due to lack of better public transport system, people use their cars or companies’ transport for reaching their offices. Schools in Dubai also get maximum students from Sharjah. So if you have to reach your office or school well in time, you have to leave around 5:00-5:30 am, otherwise you will stuck in traffic and it will take you hours to reach your office. Another confusing rule here is that a taxi of Sharjah can drop passengers in Dubai but cannot take passengers for Sharjah. Same is the rule for the taxis of Dubai. So people who dont have their cars are facing a great problem here. Taxi drivers dont take them happily to the other city as they have to come back empty and most of the time it take hours to come back due to heavy traffic.

Dubai government imposed a road tax SALIK on two major bridges and Sheikh Zayad Road to reduce the traffic in these areas, but it aggravated the situation further. On the roads where this tax is not charged, rush increased many times. Similarly, on the roads where SALIK is charged (4.0 AED per passing) traffic pressure is still there as people have to go for their own vehicles due to poor public transport system.

In my opinion, both Dubai and Sharjah governments should sit together to find some solution for this very serious problem, otherwise people will start leaving these cities. Dubai government must take serious action to control the high accommodation rents so that most of the working class can afford living in Dubai and bottle neck between Sharjah and Dubai can be improved.