Posts Tagged ‘Ras Al Khaimah’

Response to “We stay united, says Shaikh Saud”

Posted on: May 6th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

I greatly admire His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

I was fortunate to live and work in Ras Al Khaimah for five years. I was honored to tutor two of his nephews. I met and became friends with people of all nationalities and religions.

While in RAK, I taught at the HCT Women’s College, started my own business, and was the corporate trainer for RAK International Airport.

As a Human Resources consultant and trainer, I prepared and conducted seminars for Ras Al Khaimah government and private organizations.

(The parents of a young Muslim woman ex-pat from Jordan allowed me to teach her how to conduct a 1-hour Motivation and Communication workshop. (Allow me to again offer a sincere thank you to government organizations in RAK who permitted her to conduct five workshops (for which she received my MacBook Pro!).

Those five years allowed me to experience the professionalism and friendship of the citizens with whom I interacted; the court, both hospitals, RAK Tourism, the Police, my Emirati sponsor (she and her family looked after me!) and all of the wonderful people at the RAK International Airport.

The one constant during that time was the leadership of Shaikh Saud. Echoing his many comments, I certainly support the commitment he, his family, and the citizens of Ras Al Khaimah, have made to protect their culture, their history, and their voice.

Justice Louis Brandeis (Dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928).) opined: (précis) All leaders must be on guard, regardless of how honest, sincere, loyal, and honorable, against the “insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

The United Arab Emirates must cease to listen to and follow the advice of those “without understanding.”

My greatest regret about my time in Ras Al Khaimah was my inability to help Emirati students overcome the UAE education system staffed by ex-pats “without understanding”.

The reality is that  “behind closed doors”, UAE citizens and their leaders were both denigrated and patronized. Sycophants promoting their own agenda are the bane of trusting and honorable leaders. My friends, my students, their parents, and RAK leaders deserve more.

A country must wrest control of their future from the experts (and consultants) who appear to be erudite and wise but are in fact unethical and immoral.

As the UAE continues to further trust its ability to analyze, choose and implement decisions, ways will be found to fulfill their commitment to preserve and protect their Arab culture.

I hope one day I may return to RAK to renew my acquaintances and to admire the changes and progress taking place.

Thank you to His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, for allowing me to experience a very meaningful five years.

(As an aside, please note: my daughter, using a picture I took in 2008, created the image (attached) of the RAK International Airport covered in snow. If this does not come through, please contact me and I will send separately.)




Ode to Ras Al Khaimah

Posted on: April 17th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Ras Al Khaimah is “deservedly” enjoying, and will continue to enjoy, its reputation as a tremendous Tourist, Business Convention, and Education destination.

Ras Al Khaimah was my home for almost five years. In that time I witnessed incredible growth in both the infrastructure and confidence of the city. I watched the Cornish develop from a very small walkway (where I walked at 33C at 6:30 AM in 2007), to a fantastic, busy, multi-use venue in 2011. I was honored to teach at the Cove Rotana and saw first hand the quality and commitment of hospitality sector. My work at Injaz, RAK Tourism, the HCT, RAK Airport, Al Nahda Women’s Association, SAQR and “SAIF” hospitals and many other places, allowed me to experience the vitality of RAK citizens. It was difficult to leave.

Some further comments: While in RAK I live in three different locations, I witnessed quite amazing improvements in streets, sidewalks, lighting, and general environment (flowers, walkways).

I had the honor to tutor two of Sheikh Omar’s sons and feel strongly that the RAK leaders are dedicated, enthusiastic, and realistic as they strive to develop RAK’s potential. I do, however, encourage them to continue to be skeptical of those who would take advantage of their goodness and trust.

My work with the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport gave me insight into RAK’s potential as a flight destination. There have certainly been “growing” pains with both the airport and airline . . . but to give credit where credit is due, they don’t give up

 It is hard to explain to my friends in Canada (I returned a year ago) the speed of change in the UAE and RAK in particular. I took thousands of pictures, posted some on Google, and shared them with my family and friends in Canada. I have to explain to them now, however, that what they see in my pictures will not accurately reflect the RAK of 2012.

On a personal note (to underscore the “community” of RAK), I was fortunate to meet, work with, teach, and (quite wonderfully) become “a brother and uncle” to a number of Muslim ex-pat families. A Jordanian family living in Ras Al Khaimah brought me into their home (if the appropriate sense of that phrase with a Muslim family) and I helped their daughters with their English.

One daughter conducted (free) five of my Communication workshops for both professional and youth groups. She is now in university in Jordan. She received a big bouquet of flowers after her first workshop, and my old MacBook Pro when she completed the five workshops. My friendship with her, her three sisters, parents, and brother I consider to be one of the cherished benefits of my RAK stay.

One of my sponsors is a Emirati national. She works for a bank. Her father and brother were instrumental in solving some of my challenges. Another ex-pat family from Palestine brought me into their family, worked with me on a business start-up, and introduced me to Iftar! 

I enjoyed getting to know many Indian ex-pats. I attended School student performances and graduations, and for a brief four days, was basketball coach for a group of tremendous high students. (I was 58 at the time and keeping up with them was “good” exercise!)

I also was more than fortunate in getting to know ex-pats from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, every GCC country and many from Africa, Europe and North American. 

Ras Al Khaimah is a good place to visit, to live, to raise and to educate children. It is not just a tourist destination. This makes RAK more than just a name on the map. I am proud to recommend RAK as a Holiday Destination from Canada (for the winter months!) although I think their might be value in having a week in Spain, before coming the UAE so as to decrease the effect of a 7 to 8 hour jet lag.

Overall, despite some challenges, I regard my time in RAK as one of the highlights of my life and I support, encourage, and will follow the city’s progress.

Shukran.

Tom Pattillo
tom.pattillo@gmail.com