FELDA introduces new frozen products at Gulfood 2014

Felda Gulfood

Malaysia’s Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), the world’s most successful land development and resettlement agency, introduced new products at Gulfood 2014, to be marketed to major retailers in the UAE.

The products will be marketed under FELDA Best”, which was developed as the one brand to internationally market products made the FELDA settlers. The first range of products to be marketed internationally is a selection of Malaysian Traditional Frozen Food Products.

The launch was attended by Tan Sri Haji Mohd Isa Dato’ Haji Abdul Samad, the Chairman of FELDA Group and Y.Bhg. Datuk Faizoull Ahmad, Director General of FELDA. Both reiterated the importance of promoting frozen products made by SME’s in Malaysia and to meet the increased demand of Malaysian food products in the region.

Felda Gulfood 2014

The list of deliciously sweet and savoury food products available for export that will be promoted at Gulfood this year are Aloo Curry Puff, Sweet Potato Cake, Tapioca Cake, Doughnuts, Sambal Fried Bun, Red Bean Fried Bun and Aloo Fried Bun.

The officials also announced that they would be supplying three local fruits, pineapples, bananas and rock melons to local supermarkets they are currently  in talks with.

For visitors to the Gulfood 2014, FELDA’s stand located at Sheikh Rashid Hall, stand R-180 on the right of the entrance to the hall.


Dvorak’s Rusalka coming to Meydan IMAX

So… Little diva is super excited again for her next Opera showing. The fabulous Meydan Theatre presents the Met Opera’s fifth installment, Dvořák’s sumptuously melodic opera, will be held tomorrow February 23rd. 

It is now a mother daughter ritual to venture to the Meydan IMAX on a week day, have sinful food and indulge in the world’s best Opera in screen.

Renée Fleming sings her first Live in HD performance of one of her signature roles, the lovelorn mermaid Rusalka, in Dvořák’s sumptuously melodic opera. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a cast that also includes Piotr Beczala as the handsome Prince Rusalka yearns to love; Dolora Zajick as the cackling swamp witch Ježibaba; Emily Magee as the Foreign Princess, Rusalka’s rival; and John Relyea as Rusalka’s father, the Water Sprite. “

We certainly can’t wait. The show begins at 7.30pm. We normally get there 30 minutes earlier to have snacks and drinks, get to the seats. Show ends at 11.30 and its the best few hours you will spend for entertainment. See you there!
STUDENTS: AED 125.00 – One ticket (complimentary drinks)
REGULAR: AED 150.00 – One ticket (complimentary drinks)
MET Opera Dvorak Rusalka

Saying goodbye is always hard

Shereen Shabnam FotunerN

Little diva, NJD with my Fortuner in Al Ain.

I’m having an emotional week of letting go of the one thing in my life that stays consistent and has been possibly the most reliable and useful thing I’ve ever bought – My 4×4 Fortuner. Most people would say its just a car but those who know me well know that I develop a special relationship with every car I drive. And despite regularly driving multi million dollar cars that most people can only dream of, I still came back to my trusted 4×4 and feel right at home.

I fondly remember days when I got up late and dune bashed from Sharjah into Dubai – starting the day with that kind of adrenaline injection first thing in the morning again is something most people see as a chore but to me, dune bashing was the norm and despite being an SUV, the 4×4 function in the Fortuner is awesome.

While I bought the car for its looks and the fact it was really higher than most SUV’s, the main decision maker was the fact that it had this perfect extra space between the boot and the back seat that was ideal to fit in a shoe rack. For a chick that lived in Sharjah for many years, i needed a wardrobe in my boot for after work events in Dubai. At one time, I had close to 80 pairs of shoes and still had space for all little pink tool box, magazines, gym bag +++ other stuff that women lug around for convenience.

I also believe like animals, cars have souls. I felt that with my first car which was a VW…then it was a CRV – also an awesome SUV. Both cars were in accidents and totally scrapped but I emerged without a scratch. In both incidents, my cars didn’t let me down and responded really well to the stupidity of some drivers one can find sometimes on the roads here.

I am certainly going to miss my Fortuner but am happy it is going to a really nice British family who I know will cherish it as much as I did. I am currently driving a really hot little red number in form of a 2014 Elantra Coupe – amazing car, looks fabulous and a lot more comfortable than most sports cars I drive. I guess I needed something hot and sexy to cheer me up until all the paperwork gets done for my next car which is a Porsche Cayenne.

The last time I drove a Porsche Cayenne was while racing on the YAS Marina Circuit and had a tough time with one of the Belgian International Porsche examiners who thought I was too hard to handle – i nearly failed the tests I had to go through on the tracks with 7 models of Porsche. I hardly remember the feel of the car now except that I enjoyed the Panamera the most – I hope that Panamera will be my next car – it would be awesome taming the beast of the tracks.

Saying goodbye is certainly hard and I can’t wait to start a new relationship with the Cayenne – I hope it brings me nice new memories of travels to other Emirates, Oman etc. Can’t wait!




All You Need is Love to make a difference

I once worked for an incredibly inspiring individual… I will go as far and say that most of my good professional and ethical qualities in me exists today because of the motivation and guidance he gave me during the few years I had the privilege to work for the regions most creative thinker, Stuart Cameron.

Coming from working in one of the top 3 PR companies in the world, I was spoilt and very narrow in my thinking. With this company, octOpus, I was forced to run the entire PR department on my own – from client relations, writing stories, media relations, analysis reports, radio deals etc and I was flustered.

But seeing that I could work hard, my ex boss, Stuart Cameron pushed boundaries and made me realise that I couldn’t just write and issue press releases and that I was capable of doing so much more – we handled some of the best PR clients competing with agencies that had 30 odd people and we still delivered more than they ever could according to some very delightful clients.

Stuart also introduced me to CSR and told me that while it was ok to make money, it was far better to encourage clients to become socially responsible and that if one day he will become a millionaire, he will run an orphanage or help children get education and develop positively.

He stayed true to his word. Today, I am proud to say that apart from going on to become a millionaire (He is a marketing and advertising genius so how could he not), he has put his time and effort into helping provide education to Burmese migrant children in Mae Sot.

Mae Sot is a border town on Tak Province in Thailand, which is the major land gateway between Thailand and Burma. There are more than 30,000 stateless Burmese children in Mae Sot. This is only 10% of the 300,000 estimated children living on the entire border area. These stateless children are recognized by neither Thailand nor Burma and thus have no access to state services or schooling. They rely on financial help from non-government organisations to get a decent school and education. As a mum who struggles with the rocket high cost of school fees in Dubai, I refuse to make compromises on my child’s education at any cost so I can imagine how difficult and unfortunate it is for these children who don’t get any education because they don’t have the means for simple school education.

“Every bit helps.” This is why big Stuart (as he is fondly called since we were surrounded by Stuarts in the office) has gone out of his way to support one of the schools on the border called “Good Morning School.” For more than three years now, Stuart has been actively involved in promoting sustainable education for migrant children.

He has visited Mae Sot more than twenty-five times and with his team in tow, they have achieved a lot of remarkable projects on ground. Applying Stuart’s management acumen, he assisted in the restructuring of the grassroots organisation that manages the network of migrant schools on the border called BMWEC (http://bmwecmaesot.org), by putting in a reliable accounting system and a process that ensures checks and balances.

In a town, where resources are scarce, sustainability is key. Stuart has made it his mission to achieve this at Good Morning School. With the help of the local community, the school has now evolved from a small bamboo hut into a proper concrete building with 10 classrooms. It also boasts of a pigpen, a fishpond, a crop garden and a deep well. All these are learning tools for the children and income-generating projects that lower the running costs of the school. Stuart’s only hope is that this model of sustainability will be replicated and applied to the rest of the migrant schools on the border. Stuart did not stop there.

He went ahead and set up a charitable organisation aptly called ‘All you need is Love’ (AYNIL). AYNIL, unlike other charities, has a “dollar for a dollar” policy. This means that no administration cost gets deducted from each dollar you donate as it goes directly to a specific purpose, which you can choose as a donor. AYNIL is now a recognized as separate charitable organisations in both the UK and the US, widening its reach and ability to put up fund-raising activities to support the children. Everyone can help in their own way via http://allyouneedislove.org.uk/ or http://www.allyouneedislovecharity.com/.

Both are information portals that deliver a channel through which individuals can donate their time and/or money or, support the delivery of an evolving educational program for Burmese migrant children. If you are more of a hands-on person, you may help support the community by spending time in Mae Sot. AYNIL aims to match volunteers with real skills to real needs in community-based organisation AYNIL is partnerships with.

You can never do enough good…so on top of all these, Stuart went ahead to direct and produce a documentary called “All You Need is Love” too. It aims to provide funding to the charity for the years to come as half of the profits will go directly to the charity. All You Need is Love will feature the children of Mae Sot. It will not only highlight their plight but more importantly their resilience amidst the political conflict and civil unrest on the border. If you watch the trailer through this link: http://youtu.be/LOQu7z3fwPk, you will surely feel the power of the positive and of the human spirit.

As a mother I feel for these children in Mae Sot and I am sure there are many people out there who do as well. If you want to know more, check the documentary site on http://www.allyouneedislovedoc.com. You may also visit their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/aynildocumentary or follow them on Twitter @allyouneeddoc for updates.

One day, when NJD is out of school and on her own, I hope to make time and get resources to make a difference to these children together with her as well.

If you are interested in helping through All You need is Love, get in touch with me and I will arrange for you to meet up with Stuart and his team.

‘Joy of collecting’ is new theme for Bahrain Science Centre

Shereen Shabnam cars

Its always fun to do things for Bahrain Science Centre because each month we have a new activity to work on. The themed activity during February 2014 at Bahrain Science Centre, part of Ministry of Social Development is ‘Joy of Collecting ‘. The goal of this theme is to encourage children to make collections of interesting objects.

Collecting is an educational activity as it encourages children to acquire and learn about objects from different cultures, ages and countries. Although ‘collecting’ is not strictly a scientific activity, it is an educational activity that promotes curiosity, inquisitiveness and innovation.

During the month, children will be encouraged to collect items that are simple, interesting, not too common or expensive, that are not alive, and are found all over the world and samples of personal collections will be displayed in different galleries at the centre .

Interested visitors can download the weekly programme on the website www.bahrainsciencecentre.com for more information. The Bahrain Science Centre is located in Building 334, Road 109, Block 801, Riyadh Avenue, Isa Town, Kingdom of Bahrain and can be contacted on 17686466