Fancy a car!

Fancy a car! Are you considering financing a car ? Want a start-up pack of ideas on getting a loan?

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Buying a car is an important decision for the family. You may consider financing your car by applying for a car loan or an auto loan from a bank or a financing company. The financer will transfer the money to the dealership. Then you have to pay back the car value in addition to the interest amount during the period of the loan (tenor). Some financiers may require a down payment. The financer will hold a lien on the car as collateral.

Car loan advantages
  • Financing your car by a loan would achieve the following benefits:
  • You will not pay an ample amount of money upfront. Instead, manageable monthly installments will be paid.
  • The real monthly burden will be declining while your future income is increasing and the inflation is reducing the real value of installment.
  • Keeping your savings aside for rainy days and not to use to buy the car.
  • You can also enjoy a bit better car than what you can afford by cash today. Please keep the monthly installment in line with your income.
On the other hand, car loans have many disadvantages:

  • Obtaining a loan implies paying an extra money as interest this ranges from 4% - 6% of the car original price per year. In addition to the loan processing fees
  • When a loan is obtained, the car lien will prevent you from disposing the car or traveling aboard unless the financer consent is obtained.
  • If you want to pay off the entire balance of the loan, an early redemption fees will be charged.
Get the best deal

Try to do and achieve the following:

  • Decide on the tenor as per your needs and family size. Remember that selling the car earlier during the financing period entails early redemption charges.  
  • Search local newspapers and industry magazines for financing deals.
  • Financing products vary according to the car age, your age, and the level of your proven income. Make sure you are comparing relevant deals.
  • Make sure you know the processing fees and any hidden charges i.e. filing charges.
  • Be aware of the money illusion represents in paying less monthly installment if you paid a down payment. What you save by paying a down payment is the interest amount of it. If the down payment is 20% and the annual interest rate is 5%, then you will be saving 1% of the car price per year. Consider this in your calculation.
  • Try to get other services the financer is offering such as a free credit card or a free account.
  • Apply for a limited life insurance cover i.e. the insurance policy will pay off the car outstanding debt in the unlikely events.
  • Consider selling the car once you pay off the loan. The selling price would equal or exceed the interest amount you have already paid. Practically, you may end up buying the car on installments for free.
To sum up, car loans have many disadvantages but with proper understanding to the terms and by getting the other services the financier provide, a good deal is achieved.

The eyes of truth are always watching you

How the mechanisms of reading your thoughts have been evolving from a simple questionnaire towards observing-on-the-go.

Surveying people is a widely use method to identify qualitative attitudes toward a product, a concept, or even an idea. How have the used techniques been evolving in terms of sampling and observing? How does everyone become observed? 

A simple form of surveying is a Focus Group where a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a certain concern. Questions are asked in an interactive manner while the moderators are taking notes and recording. Another form of surveying people is asking a larger size of the community using a structured questionnaire. Practitioners of such methods are proud of recording and observing every single word and gesture in action, but are ignoring Reactivity Effect.

Postmodern psychology argues the Reactivity Effect which stimulates individuals to alter their performance or behavior if they are being observed. The closer the observation is, the higher the deterioration in the quality of data and the bias towards the prevailing norms and acceptable practices in the society.

The observation techniques evolve to encounter that effect. Innovative methods have been designed and varied depending on the objectives of the observation. The first evolution wave focuses on hiding the observer from the scene. Mystery shopping is a good example. It models as normal customer performing specific task such as buying or browsing, and then report back the clients' behavior as well as the clerks. Surveillance camera can also help to assess how customers buy their products. The above methods are more suitable to retail products or services. Your hands on goods and your walk in the store's corridors are observed and understood.

The second evolution wave managed to increase the distance between the observer and the scene. It focuses on analyzing the results in order to predict the originating behavior. Innovative methods were adopted. For instance, analyzing the garbage of certain residential area gives solid indicators of the products in use, brand awareness and consumption timing. This method, however, is more applicable to physical products. Another interesting example is graffiti analyzing. Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked. Its analysis conveys indicators of the un-told and un-expressed attitude and desires in a certain segment of the society. If you are alone in a toilette, and you graphed an innuendo, somebody else will capture it and cross analyzed it with other incidents and will realize something hidden in the subconscious.

Recent developments in technology have opened a wide space to observe more larger number of people remotely. Our payments over cards trace our spending pattern, timing and type of products and services we acquire. Mobile sets signify the holders' location while the calls log tells whom the holder has called and when.

Internet users are also being observed. The unique interaction the internet space makes the user at ease in expressing his needs and desire. Mouse clicks and cookies vote for the topics of interest, and cascade the issues of concerns. E-trace infrastructure offer comprehensive data. The amount of collected information is absolutely powerful and touches everyone's life. The generated reports are vital to market research companies and opinion making centers.

Never think that you are anonymous on the internet. I will even know that you reading my article. The second part of this article will highlight the reality of the privacy policies and give you a facility to find out what others know about you. Keep your eyes "of truth" opened.

Bassel Nadim

How many Nadims?!

How many Nadims around the world? I mean how many people have Nadim as a surname.

In my last visit to Damascus I counted 33 Nadims in my close family. Well, I tried a fancy attempt to count how many Nadims worldwide. Rest assured there is no hidden agenda, a treasure, a Nigerian well, or any outstanding debt. However, if you are a Nadim then you will be invited to Nadim Cyberclub once established.… not bad emmm!

This is not my first attempt to count Nadims. The first try was 25 years ago when I looked for Nadims in the thick phone directory searching for new family members who may have more interesting kids to play with. The second attempt was in the year 1999 when I purchased a CD for all phone directories in Syria, I found many Nadims living in the eastern region.

The same “searchophopia” attack came back again. I decided to explore the top 3 virtual networks the Facebook, Linkedin and Windows Live. It was not an easy job to read hundreds of profiles to exert some information. Actually, the Facebook does not facilitate people search by surname. As a result, I found myself reading more that 500 profiles in order to filter out non-Nadims. I discovered a secret, Facebook search engine only provides 500 unique results only and then repeat the rest of the results. Linkedin and Windows Live have the facility of searching by surname, they were more efficient.

My search shows they are 110 Nadims approximately on Facebook, 70 Nadims on Linkedin and as much as 421 Nadims on Windows Live. Initially there are 601 names of which 44 were recognized as duplicated, let’s say 100 duplicated names instead, so it will end up by 501 registered Nadims. Assuming that each Nadim represents 5 off-line Nadims, then it is estimated that there are 2500 Nadims globally…. Yureeka

Most of the Nadims are residing in the France and India. Considerable members are located in the UK, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Canada, UAE, Iraq, Iran, and Italy. Few of them are living in UAE and Brazil. Nadims are working in different professions mostly in media, art and legal services.

I have really enjoyed reading the profile of some people who are holding similar names to my family ones: Marwan, Hanan, Anas, Rasha, and even Bassel. I also found Nadim Farouk and Nadim Ammar... yet not counted, but they hold the revised names of my father and brother, consequently.

I wonder from where did those Nadims come from? What is the individual story of each one of them? What are their dreams and passion? May we have the chance to communicate and expand Nadim family website forever.

Nadim 147

لا تحلفيني بالشنب

بالرغم من التيار العام في حلق الشوارب، أو تربية السكسوكة بأشكالها، إلا أنه ما زالت الشوارب رمز الرجولة عند الرجل الشرقي. ازداد الادراك اللاواعي للشوارب مع عودتها إلى الأحداث الاجتماعية اليومية في الدراما السورية. في مسلسل أيام شامية يضع محمود الفوال شعراً من شواربه رهناً لدين قدره 15 ليرة ذهبية و هو أغرب رهن في عالم التمويل. كما لعب شكل الشارب دوراً في تجسيد شخصيات ذاع صيتها مؤخراً فمن شوارب أبو شهاب الملفوفة حادة الأطراف، و شوارب رئيس المخفر أبو جودت المتعالي الكثة، إلى شوارب البائع الهندي الطماع الهتلرية الشكل في كرتون فريج الإماراتي.

لكن الصيت للشرق و الفعل للغرب! فقد تأسس في أمريكا من عدة سنوات معهد الشوارب الأمريكي و هدفه جعل الشوارب صيحة من جديد و خلق مناخ تقبل وتفهم لحملة الشوارب في العالم. و قد بين تقرير حديث للمعهد صدر مطلع هذا الأسبوع أن أصحاب الشوارب يجنون دخلاً  4.3 % أكثر من زملائهم حليقي الوجه دون تبيان عن أي وظائف يتحدث عنها هذا التقرير. للمعهد أيضاً دراسات خاصة عن أشكال الشوارب المتعددة و حددها في عدة مجموعات منها: سلفادورية، انكليزية، حدوة، كونفو، أميرية، رفيعة، طويلة... كما له نشيد خاص و برنامج جوائز سنوي. إن باب الانتساب مفتوح للجميع بغض النظر عن طول شاربه.

ما زالت الفرصة سانحة لنا في الشرق لتأسيس معاهد للسكسوكة أو الذقن أو اللحية أو السوالف أو حتى معهد شوارب منافس و أصلي. كما نقترح دبلجة مسلسل أيام شامية ليكون مرجع رئيسي للأعضاء حول العالم.

Memories remain… plastic bags too

A plastic bag was thrown!? This was in 1999 on the tree opposite to my family’s balcony back home. My life has been evolving, the tree has been growing, and people shadows have been passing and passing over that place. Only that plastic bag remained.

Plastic is not biodegradable, it may take up 600 years for full decomposition, that’s why they are increasingly occupying our space, water, land and surroundings.

There is more than 150,000 ton of plastic waste being recycled in UAE every year, not sure about the entire quantity that being used and left astray everywhere. The government has highlighted this concern in its strategy and started two recent major initiatives aiming at reducing the negative environmental impacts of plastic bags waste. The first one was a three-year campaign launched by the Ministry of Environment and Water. The second was by Ajman government with a vision of replacing plastic bags by fabric ones, and to observe plastic production.

War on plastic bags shall start from hyper markets; I am usually given 2-3 bags for a purchase of AED 15 (US$ 4). I feel proud of carrying these flourishing bags in my hands, yet I start to feel anxious. Few months ago, a major retailer in UAE has introduced environment-friendly bags for AED 1 each, and in order to reduce the financial burden on consumers, checkout clerks tend to put too many goods in one bag, thus ending the shopping experience from holding too many free “flourish” bags to few paid ones. Customers went unsatisfied and pressured the movement back.

Having presented that example, we have to imagine the huge efforts required to convert consuming habits. I am proposing a mechanism to sustain awareness and gradual transformation of shopping “rituals” in that regard. Retailers will charge a little amount of money on providing plastic bags. This would help reducing the quantity used, and generate extra income that will be divided between the shop and the government. The later will use the fund to expand awareness campaign and highlight participants’ names as partners in scheme.

It is hard to see one-use-off plastic bags sharing our space forever. Memories remain… plastic bags too.

Shisha-free Community

How many of us get annoyed by shisha smoke or by the coal pot passing dangerously while dinning out?. Despite the governmental initiatives to cut off “shisha emissions” plenty of restaurants still serving it to satisfy the demand, sadly!.

Several restaurants, however, keep themselves away of the coal and focus more on the menu and the cousin experience. It is our duty to praise them, the page’s right side bar shows some examples of shisha- free restaurants. Share yours too and keep the ball rolling.

A New Cyberspace

It was my dream!! In 1991 I wrote a fiction story called the Jumper, a man who was able to appear in any place of the world by implementing the quantum physics theory. In the year 1997, I was too much existed to learn about emails, your address whenever you go around the world. It was my first virtual world action in 2002 when I had created my own cyberman server using some tools of Yahoo. Few years later, I carried out several attempts to have myself published, the most successful one was Live from Dubai Blogging powered by the good old guys at Sony Ericsson. Now, I am inspired again to enrich my cyber world and mobility by integrating blogging power, Blackberry and Windows Vista to be as close to you as far as the globe is!!! I will fly!

مبادرات الانعاش الاقتصادي في الإمارات العربية المتحدة

نشرت جمعية المحاسبين و مدققي الحسابات الإماراتية في مجلتها "المحاسب" في ابريل 2009 مقالاً لي عن مبادرات الإنعاش الاقتصادي في الإمارات العربية المتحدة. استعرضت المقالة السياسات المتاحة للسلطات الاقتصادية في التعامل مع الأزمة الراهنة بشكل عام، و من ثم تناولت ما قامت به دولة الإمارات من مبادرات اقتصادية عبر السياسات النقدية و المالية لمعالجة منعكسات الأزمة المالية على اقتصادها المحلي.

I have a baby!

God granted me and my wife Roula a baby boy today..



The Islamic Finance and the Financial Crisis

I spoke in the Islamic finance forum in Dubai in April 2009. My paper reviewed the reasons for the crisis and how such an event would not take place if the financial sector was following the Sharia rules and AAOIFI standards. The paper, nevertheless, has argued the sufficiency of the Islamic finance standards in sustaining the so called crisis-free economy, and has highlighted some issues that shall be considered in the post-crisis future debates.

Download the full paper