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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Extreme competition ... Cricket world cup semifinal today

This afternoon as I walked into office I was surprised to see complete darkness and all lights switched off …. Not on account of the Earth hour and the seats empty and no conversations on the phone or within the office. For a moment I wondered if a holiday has been declared and then it struck me that is a world cup 2nd semifinal between India and Pakistan is underway and hence most employees are taking extended lunch break or afternoon off to watch the live telecast.
Die-hard fans of Indian cricket in our office have been planning for this day immediately after India beat Australia in quarter finals ... wah bhai kya bahana soocha hai!!!! One of them has loose motions from 1pm this afternoon the other has a site meeting hence would switch off the phone and so forth….LOL. Some Indian companies have declared half a day off so as to allow their employees to watch the match in peace.
Entire India would have come to a standstill and this match is being termed as Mother of all matches as it is with our arch rivals Pakistan. The general feeling is that even if India does not win the final it is ok as long as they have beaten the Pakistani team. What a sentiment man… it’s too much for me to comprehend this sentiment. I believe that India should do its best in all matches irrespective of the outcome and am sure if this is the attitude then we would have an interesting match at hand.
All the best to the teams participating in the Semifinal ………………….Chak de India ……….Indiaaa Indiaaaaaaaa

So much protests here.....Is it good ????

We from India have seen so many protests during our life time and have got used to the same but then protests in Oman is something new and I can vouch that no one expected this to happen in years to come. But then it happened and in fact the early glimpse of these were during late January 2011 in the Ministry area and also in Oman Air at Seeb airport  and these both were termed as one off instance. The protest gathered momentum after the incident at Sohar and after that it has been free for all and at any time. The latest one was by Shell petrol and today it is back to normal.  Government has given in to most demands by the protesters and now it is the turn of the Omani’s working in the private sector to organize the protests so that their demand are met. Most demands by them are quite legitimate such as increments on regular basis, taking on responsibilities… hope it is with accountability !! and so forth.

Some demands such as lesser working hours(similar to Government employees working timing)  and 5 days a week does not gel with private sector companies since they need to work 6 days a week to ensure they meet the bottom line. So also the construction and contracting industry since the time lines for the project are pretty tight and the same can be achieved only if they work minimum of 6 days for 10 hours. All over the world the average working hours per week is considered as 48 hours and if this criteria is followed then I suppose the daily work timings will be roughly nine and half hour without considering the lunch break in the event of 5 day week scenario which seems to be inevitable ….. this does put in lots of tensions on the expat workers who have to work the entire office hours and also work on Thursdays as usual without getting any benefits.
Now you must be wondering as to why an expat has to work on Thursdays without benefits while everyone else are enjoying their week end…. Well it is because he has a Damocles sword hanging over his head all the time and he would not like his boss to label him .. not a hard worker ( well most Indian companies I know say that people who really work hard are the ones who put in long hours of working ) A wrong sense of judging a person’s capabilities.

Beyond a point these protests would be meaningless and ignored like it is being done in India and the very reason would get diluted and nobody is going to care....  Is that what you want !!!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Redundancy ……. How much do you provide ?????

Most people have a definite plan of action in their lives plus a redundant plan B in the event the main plan does not work out for whatever reasons thereof. Similarly is the case with most projects in this world especially if there is a potential to harm the environment and human lives. But then my question here is that how much redundancy does one plan in this case…. Is it one two or three????.
The current events in Japan has really raised this question in my mind and I would like all person reading this note/blog  give their comments for I am still confused. The designers of the Nuclear Power plant at Fukushima Daiichi did have three redundancy systems in their reactors to prevent the condition what is prevailing now and yet each one of them failed…..main power to the cooling system failed due to earthquake, then the tsunami took out the backup power generation system, cooling system to reactor by using water from condensed steam failed to provide sufficient water to immerse the fuel rods and finally pumping of sea water to cool the reactor failed. 
This only goes to prove the Murphy’s Law “ When shit has to hit the fan … it sure will “

Being in the field of engineering I know that we normally provide one redundancy or maximum two but now for critical operations in most parts of the world are surely going to demand multiple redundancy so as to achieve a failsafe mechanism in the face of all odds… quite a challenge to most designers and engineers .
There is going to be a huge amount of money spent for these redundancy which may never be operational …. Your take on this please !!!!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fury of Nature.... continues this year

As 2010 ended we had all prayed that natural disasters be a thing of past for this year .. 2011 but then it was not so with flooding in Australia, then the earth quake in New Zealand and a combined jolt in Japan.. a severe earth quake measuring 8.9 on Richter scale plus a devastating Tsunami. Mother nature is takings its revenge against the atrocities the mankind has committed on this planet and the occurrences are sudden and immense. The mankind cannot take things lightly for these are indications of future events that are going to take place on this planet !!!

Increased movements of Teutonic plates , global warming leading to melting of ice in Arctic and Antarctic,unusual climate world wide only are an example of what is in store for us in the years to come. God help mankind and hope that the world population does not take this for granted for i am sure all of us are going to be sorry for our actions which has percolated to this levels

I leave you all with two pictures of the natures fury unleashed in Japan... RIP to those who have lost their lives in this disaster and i am sure Japanese people are resilient enough to pull through this difficult times. Thinks of what each one of us could do to appease the the anger of this nature !!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

North Africa and Middle East protests ….The Jasmine Revolution !!!!

Unemployment, poor living conditions, inflation  and lack of political freedom spurred the protests against the government in Tunisia . We in India have seen similar scenes quite often in India but then it have never been culminated to such a extent that the government collapses and the country is in disarray . The catalyst to this movement in Tunisia was due to a self immolation by one person in December  2010 and in January 2011 within a span of less than a month the president of the country Ben Ali  who held on to his power for over 20 years had to flee to Saudi Arabia leading to a regime change there.

Within another 30 days another massive anti government protests in Egypt which started as a peaceful demonstration at Tahrir Square, Cairo and other parts of Egypt took an ugly turn when pro Mubarak supporters clashed with the protesters and in the end jolted the rule of Hosini Mubarak which he held for over 3 decades leading to a regime change.

Libya also witnessed anti government protests from the mid February onwards and is now blown to a fully fledged civil war between the government forces and rebels looking for a change of regime . Libyan episode has till date seen over 7000 deaths and is still going on with armed fights between pro and anti government  forces. Migrant labor from most Arab world and third world countries are fleeing the country through the Tunisian border and through sea and air helped by their respective governments.

Meanwhile in other parts of the gulf such as Bahrain, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia inspired by the happening in the Tunisia , Egypt and Libya also had protests against the government in various magnitudes and the “ Arab leaders started shaking in their boots “ as stated by the famous Middle East foreign correspondent Robert Fisk . Some of the gulf countries ( Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait) immediately channeled lots of funds to be distributed among its population to appease the protestors so as to avoid any violent incidents and also have stated that necessary reforms will be in place to address the issues raised by the protesters

In Oman the violent incidents that happened in Sohar (looting and burning down of a super market by the protestors) was orchestrated by outside parties as per the authorities but then even this day there are still over 1000 protestors camped in the square and we as expats are not able to comprehend what is going to happen. Similarly at Salalah, the southern city of Oman people have put up tents and are camping in front of Wali’s office from last Friday awaiting for their demands to be met by tomorrow as informed by some local Omanis, in spite of the benefits been announced by the Sultan immediately after the Sohar incident. Army has been deployed along the border to UAE and in Sohar too. The latest news from Salalah is that people have noticed movement of Army to the region too. . An uneasy calm is prevailing in the region and it is wait and watch time before it turns to a full blown confrontation.

A sea of change is happening in the Middle East and the whole world is watching with bated breath the future of the region and its impact to the global economy. The media which has played a major role during the protests termed the protests as Jasmine Revolution… may be an analogy to waft of smell from the Jasmine flower spreading around  similar to the protests that is spreading country to country in the region !!!

Last year was termed as the Year of Calamities , I only hope that 2011 is not termed as the Year of the Protests as similar incidents are happening in China as well and in other regions of the world. Looking forward to a peaceful end to all these protests since it is the ordinary people like you and me who have to suffer and put up with hardship in the event the protests turns violent.