5 Things You Gotta Love About DUBAI

1. DUBAI’S WINTER = AUTUMN: If it’s the one thing you can only do in Dubai, then it’s going to the beach in December. Although the so called ‘winter’ in Dubai doesn’t bring any snow, it’s the one time of the year when outdoor activities don’t leave you dehydrated, raining with sweat and about to faint. Not too hot and not too cold: The Goldilocksperiod.

2. THE PALM, THE WORLD AND ATLANTIS: There seems to be a new building rising from each corner of Dubai every day. When the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab rose in Jumeirah, it was unbelievable! But now a new innovative idea emerges every month – from the tallest building in the world to the biggest shopping mall on Earth to an incredible water park. No need for separate holidays; visiting these places are holidays themselves.

3. BEACH: Whether it’s for an end-of-school party or just a place to tan and chill, the beach is undeniably the best place to do so. Although there are some debates about which beach is the best (I personally

prefer Jumeirah Beach Park but others will argue the case of Sunset Beach or JBR), whichever beach it is, there’s nothing better than cooling yourselves in the sea and lying in the warm sun with the breeze in your hair- or is that too poetic?

4. “THE MELTING POT OF CULTURE”: I’m sure everyone has thought about it once in a while. You’re sitting with a group of friends, either in your class, canteen or the food court at Dubai mall, when you look around and realise that you’re sitting in a racially mixed group. Ranging from Indians, East Asians to justwhite westerners, it’s surprising how easily we mix. Due to the blend of nations we’re exposed to, it’s hard not to mix. But because of this environment, we get to know and understand the different cultures.

5. DUBAIAN AND PROUD: The one good thing you get out of living in Dubai is the reputation of having lived in a country spurred by imagination. Just a few years ago, Dubai was an unknown place to people living in other countries, but now when you say “I live in Dubai,” the immediate reaction is a surprised face with a list of descriptions of buildings that they’ve seen on the news. You would be silently nodding and smiling, “yup, I’ve seen all those, no biggy.”

Organic Living in Dubai

When thinking about Dubai and the way people live here, ‘organic’ and ‘green’ are definitely not the first words that come to mind. In a country that was found in 2008 to have whopping per capita carbon footprint measuring 9.5 global hectares, the lifestyle enjoyed here is much more synonymous with fast cars, highways and air conditioning than recycling. However in recent years, citizens of the U.A.E have made significant steps to encourage sustainable living and promote becoming more eco-friendly and aware. One of the main focuses of those interested in sustainable living is, of course, what people in Dubai eat. Not only is eating organic food encouraged to attempt to minimize the amount of chemicals being fed into the ground, but the organic food producers and suppliers appearing in Dubai also try and make the importance of eating locally known. Living in the middle of a desert means that most vegetables are extremely difficult and costly to grow, and it is commonplace to go grocery shopping in the U.A.E. and end up with fruit and veg from all across the globe. When you think of the amount of energy it must take to fuel your weekly meals, it’s mind-blowing. However, various new markets and restaurants have come into existence recently to promote eating seasonally, sustainably and healthily.
One of the most prominent and popular of these is the Dubai-based company Ripe. Founded in July 2011, the company sources organic fruit and vegetables from local farms and makes them available to the public in affordable produce boxes. The boxes are available in two sizes and can be ordered online to be picked up at various pick-up points around Dubai. The contents of the boxes depend entirely on the season and each week the boxes are filled with a different selection of fresh, organic vegetables, often including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and mushrooms. Ripe was established both as a response to the increasing demand for organic produce in the U.A.E and to encourage people to improve their diets , and the company even includes a weekly recipe along with the produce boxes and online and works with a nutritionist to aid customers in leading a healthier lifestyle. The establishment of Ripe has had a knock-on effect as their markets held every Saturday morning at The Garden Center (where customers can also pick up produce boxes, pre-ordered or not), have allowed various other artisans in Dubai to gain exposure for their eco-friendly or dietary products. Some of these organic goods include raw, fair-trade coffee, local dairy products, bags made from recycled materials, low-fat, low-sugar ice cream, baked goods catering to those with allergies and even gourmet doggy treats! Situated in the leafy exterior of the Garden Center, the market is a relaxing and revitalizing experience and its increasing popularity means plans for a market in Abu Dhabi, visits to local farms and an overall expansion of Ripe and organic eating in the near future.
Ripe isn’t the only organic market that has popped up recently in Dubai, however. Every Friday from 9am to 6pm, a Farmer’s Market can be found on the terrace of the Souk Al Bahar (opposite Dubai Mall), next to the restaurant that organized it, Baker and Spice, offering all kinds of delicious treats. Baker and Spice itself sells a variety of freshly baked breads and cakes and chutneys and jams and local farms offer a plethora of fresh fruit, vegetables and even a wide array of spices. Baker and Spice, though London-based is a restaurant organic and health-food-loving Dubaians flock to. A mainly organically establishment, Baker and Spice made the conscious decision to source food from local farms rather than flying in produce from across the world, and the menu changes often, according to the season.
With these wonderful businesses and more such as the Down to Earth organic food store, located in Jumeriah, the Organic Café in various locations and the online health store, Be Super Natural, popping up all over the U.A.E., living a healthier, more environmentally friendly lifestyle through your choice of food is easier, and more delicious, than ever. Why not introduce make the effort to introduce locally sourced, organic food into your diet, feel good about yourself, and feel better about your effect on the planet? It’s a guaranteed win-win situation.

Top Tips for University Students

1. Buy a watch! And wear it! Time management will be useful if you want to meet those all-important deadlines, attend lectures and tutorials (plus, don’t forget you need to know what time you’re going out!)
2. Download Skype. Over 90% of all first-year university students will experience home-sickness at some point therefore it is always hand to have a quick connection to mum and dad when things get tough. Whether you’ve turned al your socks grey in the wash or just have a cold, Skype is the perfect way to receive a cyber-hug from loved ones to cheer you up.
3. Avoid credit cards! Next to football fans, the loudest group you will find on your campus may be those soliciting credit card applications. When it comes to credit cards, loans, overdrafts and other similar financial aid, banks and companies are not offering you them out of the kindness of their hearts. For example, my friend tried to apply for a loan but the bank said he had too good a chance of paying it back in time. In other words it was not to the advantage of the bank, because they would not get the extra benefits of missed payments, interest etc. It was a rare show of honesty but it summed up their attitude. Students are easy targets for them because they know they are typically short of money. And this all comes from the biggest shopaholic!!! 🙁
4. Speaking of books, they are typically very big expense so buy used ones where possible (Amazon, eBay etc.) and then sell them on when you’ve finished with them to cut some of the costs. You will very rarely need to keep the books once you are finished the course anyway. It is always beneficial to have your own copy of a book but do also consider whether you can make do with taking what you need out of the library instead (don’t rely on this approach however, libraries have limited numbers of copies and it’s quite possible you could miss out). There is also the option of sharing a book between small groups of friends.
5. Think VERY carefully before getting a car. Are your friends going to use you as a taxi to drive them everywhere as its cheap? How much will you actually use it? Do you have enough money to spend on petrol and the extortion that is insurance? Be wise!
6. Don’t be afraid to stay close to home… One of the perks of being around a college campus is that there are no shortages of opportunities for free or low-cost entertainment. Check out bulletin boards and websites at student unions or near the campus bookstore to stay up on the entertainment offerings around campus. Many times schools will offer free outdoor movies, or guest speakers.
7 Look out for coupons, freebies and offers that local businesses will aim directly at students. Not only will this be one hundred times cheaper to save those all-important pennies, but it is also likely to attract other students so can be a great place to meet people. Those local businesses will aim directly at students. Not only will this be one hundred times cheaper to save those all-important pennies, but it is also likely to attract other students so can be a great place to meet people.
8. Have fun! University is a time to learn and a time to have fun! Make the most of it since, as soon as you start work, you’ll wish you were back there!

Islamic Art – An Inspiration

Art is the mirror of a culture and its world view. This statement applies no less perfectly to the art of the Islamic world. Islamic Art represents the Muslim outlook on life, their spirituality and the universe as a whole.

The Muslim belief is of one God – ‘Allah’. He is the All Knowing, Most Merciful and the Loving. The beauty of this simple belief of one Higher Being brings the Muslims together in harmony. This has given Islamic Art its sensational spiritual nature.

In Islamic Art, tessellated shapes are frequently used to symbolize this harmony. Muslims are thought to work together or fit together, similar to the shapes in the patterns. As if to send a message that following Islam is easy and balanced.

The Qur’anic calligraphy found in the mosques is an important aspect of Islamic culture because of the Muslims’ profound love and respect for Allah and the Qur’an. The arabesque and calligraphic character of the words reinforce this spiritual atmosphere the art projects.

History of Islamic Art
Islamic architecture and decorative arts are alive from all over the Islamic world, from North Africa to Asia. Islamic Art can come in the forms of architecture, embroidery, decoration and jewellery. Nowadays the Islamic patterns and designs are also translated onto rugs as well as pouches.

“God is Beautiful and Loves Beauty” –said by the Prophet Mohammed (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) some 1400 years ago.

The United Arab Emirates
As a Dubai resident we are surrounded by Islamic artwork and not only gain appreciation towards it but for the artier ones among us- inspiration. Islamic artwork really portrays this peaceful and truthful nature of the religion. It evokes what it is really about; harmony and balance. From the stunning architecture of the Jumeirah Mosque to the rich dark blue calligraphy found on ornamental plates in bazaars, we always feel rather spiritual when admiring Islamic Art.

Fastest Animal on Earth – also One of the Most Unfortunate

What’s the first animal that you think of after reading the title? Hopefully for the majority, it would’ve been the cheetah because that’s the mammal I’m going to talk about. (I’m pretty sure some people, in an attempt to prove their ‘superior’ knowledge, chose the peregrine falcon or some other weird animal not known to most people. In that case, you are right, but I am focusing on land animals.

The cheetah is easily able to reach a speed of 110~120km/h, having a strong advantage over other animals when hunting. Unlike other predators like the lion or leopard, the cheetah can run from afar after having spotted their prey, thus giving them a 40~50% chance of catching their prey.

The cheetah’s fast speed is a result of generations of natural selection. The main prey of a cheetah is the gazelle, a small and quick animal whose agility cannot be matched by most predators. The cheetah has evolved over time to target this ‘niche market’. To inhale more oxygen, their lungs have increased in size, allowing them to breathe 150 times /min instead of 60. To speed up their blood circulation, their heart, liver and arteries have increased. To become faster and more flexible, their leg bones and spine have become thin and long. To reduce the wind resistance, the jaw and teeth have become smaller and their weight has reduced by 40~50kg

Ironically however, the cheetah’s ill-fate arises from here. Although they sacrificed everything to achieve the speed they wanted, because of this, they are nearing extinction.

The rate of success of their hunt is high but, due to their small body size, half of what they catch is stolen. The leopard, to prevent its catch from being stolen by hyenas and lions, takes its meal up a tree, but the cheetah doesn’t have such abilities and is therefore forced to retreat quietly, unable to do anything.

Another, more serious reason, is their heavy dependence on gazelles. Because gazelles are a cheetah’s main energy source, a small decrease in the number of gazelles will have a huge impact on cheetahs. Due to industrial developments in Africa, areas of natural habitats are diminishing, consequently leading to a fall in the population of gazelles and high competition amongst the cheetahs. It is a side effect brought on by specialisation.

It is undeniable that specialisation is necessary. But to concentrate only on the fire in front of your feet instead of looking far and wide cannot really be called specialisation. True specialisation happens after thoroughly reading the world changes and specialising according to those changes.

Being able to run quickly is important, but being able to run in the right direction is more significant. The faster you run in the wrong direction, the longer the return will be. The sadness of having to leave what you catch evidently does not only happen in the animal world.

The Dummy Wears Prada

Many people like to believe that fashion defines life. The glitz and glamour of this magical world leaves millions in a state of awe, love and aspiration. Legendary figures have supposedly emerged from seemingly simple concepts: Mary Quant the acclaimed inventor of the mini-skirt, John Galliano who revolutionized couture, Balenciaga the brains behind handbags. Undoubtedly, fashion is the epitome of success. Or is that just the magazines talking? Having the privilege to have grown up in a superficial, fashion-indoctrinated, egocentric world, has led us to believe that “fashion is who we are”, that “fashion is our only solution to happiness.” Well, I have a question: when the world undergoes substantial political changes, meteorological abominations, and economic crises – does the solution really lie in… polka dots?
Why is it that designers are regarded as moguls and geniuses? Why is it that girls pay thousands of dollars to be decked out in designer clothes from head to toe to end up looking like Karama regulars? The last time I checked, a visit to Forever 21 with leftover pocket money could end up with me looking like a mirrored image of Natalie Portman at the Golden Globes: totally ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Valentino had some intention for that dress – in the October collection for Halloween! If the brainwashed airheads we continue to surround ourselves with rest their minds of their endless clothing-oriented desires for even a moment, maybe then they would realize the importance of fashion is just about the same as the importance of Lindsay Lohan’s trips to the Betty Ford clinic. Non-existent.
Do we even need fashion? Are clothes really that important? Victoria’s Secret sure doesn’t seem to think so! Why does this undying need for clothes within us refuse to wither away, when most modern day runway shows consist of half-naked models running up and down a dressed up and overrated platform? How does society never fail to feed its unswerving strive of keeping up with the latest trends? Underneath all of the labels and our brand named façades, lie what is really important. Of course, mankind will continue to be blinded and led astray by the wrath of fashion, couture, and clothes (or lack of).

Ask the average female teenager what her idea of a good time is and the answer is simple: all expense-paid shopping sprees! What more could a girl ask for, right? Visiting mall after mall, entering shop after shop and devouring all clothes in sight – it all seems so carefree and fun; they’re right. What’s more fun than dragging your blistered feet in skyscraper stilettos around a three-story building, running into every room that gives you another opportunity to cause serious damage to your parents’ bank account? What’s more fun than carrying a buckled Chloe Paddington that weighs more than the entire contents of the bag itself, with agonizing shoulder pains and sweaty palms struggling to hold the plastic handles on the carrier bags?
After personally experiencing such a shopping trip as described, when my sister forced me to accompany her, I realized that I have underestimated the capability of these mall-going girls. Not only can they multitask by holding their overstuffed shopping bags in one hand and their too-small-to-be-dogs-let’s-call-them-accessories in the other, they have actually managed to mindlessly emulate models’ outfits from designer catalogues to perfection.
It is unfortunate, yet safe to say evolution seemed to have reached its peak a very long time ago as we, evidently, are continuing to devolve at a rapid rate with our senses of individuality being the first factors to deteriorate. People no longer desire to possess self-inspired confidence, wearing clothes that reflect their individual personalities. Instead they choose to lie dormant in outfit choosing (the only aspect of fashion that involves brain activity) and prefer to look like walking and talking versions of Donna Karan manikins.
Some say to really appreciate the couture behind fashion, one must fully understand the ingenious behind the designer. I say it doesn’t take a lot of brain to add red soles to seriously overpriced and occasionally tacky shoes, Mr. Louboutin. Frankly speaking, who looks at the bottom of shoes anyway? I know for a fact the only thing interested in the soles of my Shoemart pumps is the chewed up gum on the pavement, finding itself a brand new home. And maybe if I’m lucky, it will be strawberry flavored.

Creative Writing Tips

It’s a funny thing, but you mention “creative writing” and you can almost see people’s faces fall. I’m not sure what it is- I mean, proper grown-up writers with their names under columns and on the dust-jackets of shiny hard novels don’t get this kind of stigma- but it’s definitely there. You dance? Amazing! You can paint? Paint me something! You can play the flute? How pretty! You write? … and the faces fall and in the awkward silence you can hear their brains whirring as they try and think of something to say.
Maybe it’s because people are scared of bad writing. But when there’s so much of it about (most of the best seller lists seem to be full of badly-written, fast-paced, well-plotted dross) you’d think people might have become immune to dangling clichés, both in construction and plot. You’d also think people would be more willing to read badly-written, fast-paced, well-plotted dross written by somebody they know rather than a stranger. Not at all- though the theory seems to be that if somebody at an editing house/ press office thought it was good enough to stick into print and sling a hard cover at, it’s good enough for me. And like I’ve said- it isn’t. It really isn’t. You can do better than that yourself. But you try, and people will give you that funny look again. (Try it. It’s got a lot in common with other looks- the look that JC people give you when you say you go to DC. The look someone might give you if you owned up to a keen and pressing interest in collecting odd and esoteric objects.)
Maybe it’s because writing is such a solitary thing. You can’t write together- well, you can, but it’s hard to get anything good out of it. Most collaborative writing smacks nastily of School Project- and most of those that require me, at least, to sit down with somebody else and WRITE end up with me and the somebody-else having a stand up row or a sit down gossip, and neither way do we get much done and down. But writing’s boring to watch. A great deal of writers haven’t got a lot to say off the printed page and written word; and a great deal of writers would rather write than talk (that’s why they’re not actors). And people tend to avoid people who are into solitary pursuits. Saying that you, by choice, sit on your own with a pen-and-paper/computer/typewriter /whatever floats your writerly boat is like announcing to the world you’d really rather sit on your own with a pen-and-paper/computer/typewriter /whatever floats your writerly boat THAN TALK TO THEM. Yes, we know that’s not true- but I’m writing an article about creative writing and you’re reading it. Probably on your own. Probably on a computer screen. You can kind of see where they’re coming from. So we’re going to have to do something about that, too.
Maybe it’s because people are scared of the horribly emotional cliché of the Teenage Writer; laboured rhyming couplets that don’t scan and don’t work as a poem. Yes, there’s a fair few bad teenage writers- one quick drag of the internet finds more bad teenage writing than you could ever hope to need- but there’s a fair few amazing teenage writers at all. Though to classify these writers as teenage is demeaning and ridiculous- nobody ever calls Keats a teenage writer (though some of his work definitely fits the stereotype- laboured rhyming couplets that don’t scan- and I may be risking near death from the English department for typing that) and he died at 25. Vast chunks of his poetry were written in that teenage bracket, and he isn’t alone. It’s the job of this little quarter of the magazine (eighth, sixteenth, maybe even 32th now, in these busy busy technological days) to weed out the bad, and fill it with writing above and Keats. Writing that will defy the stereotype. Writing that will change the minds behind all those looks.
So let’s start now. If you’re in the creative writing section, chances are you’ve got a passing interest in creative writing. So we’re going to do this together. What are we going to do? We’re going to, in Dubai College at least, attempt to change the way people look at creative writing. So that means: writing something people want to read, making it less solitary and getting rid of the cliché of the Teenage Writer. Is this even possible? Can we do that? In the words of Barack Obama and Bob the Builder, YES WE CAN.
And here’s how. I’ve never run something like this before, but here’s how I imagine it should go. Write the next line to this story. Or two lines, if you prefer. As much as you like, up to 100 words. Send it to me. I’ll pick the ones I like best, adhering strictly to the No Teenage Writing and No Bad Writing theories. The techie people will put it on the website. We should in theory end up with a work of artistic and sociable genius. So heigh ho, let’s go…
The day I fell down the cellar steps was the first day of the rest of my life. If I hadn’t fallen down the cellar steps, my head going bump bump bumpity bump on every single stair, my whole life would have been completely different-

…and off you all go. There may even be prizes for anybody who gets something up here (I say prizes. We have no budget as such, so it will just have to be the everlasting love and respect of the editorial board and maybe some chocolate if you’re lucky).

Rob Miller Interview

Within D.C, there is an abundance of talent. Round every corner is a boy or girl who could very well grow up to be a world leader, a talented musician, an artist or a sportsman. Without exception, one extremely talented student within our school is Rob Miller: a fantastic singer, guitarist and songwriter with a unique style who deserves to be heard. Rob is extremely humble about his talent which makes him all the more special and he was kind enough to talk to the newspaper about his original songs and his feelings towards music in general.

How old were you when music began having an impact in your life?

I must have been about 13 and a half because, for Christmas, my parents and I went half and half on a new guitar. I started off with having some lessons but didn’t really take to them so I decided to teach myself. I focused on looking at learning the basic chords and things like that and then for the harder pieces, I watched the artists playing on YouTube videos so that I could pick up the music that way.

Was there something in particular that influenced you to start?

Can’t say that I am sure what influenced me in the first place but I had always had it in my mind that I wanted to play an instrument and the guitar appealed to me. My neighbor had a broken, 3 string guitar and you could say that I just really enjoyed the instrument even when it was broken like that.

You have already made so many positive steps towards getting yourself heard. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Touring and performing for live audiences?

Well obviously I would love to tour and get the chance to perform my songs in front of people but I think my music will stay as more of a hobby and an interest- performing at open mics and such. It’s up to people to decide how good I am but I’m not counting on anything like that and I’ve never been sure if I’m quite good enough. I doubt I’ll ever stop playing because it’s my way of unwinding and having fun but my music hasn’t influenced my decisions about Universities or anything. I have my own recording equipment so music facilities didn’t play any major part in my choice.

Those who know you are aware of your love of Newton Faulkner- any favourite songs by him?

A pretty impossible question but I would have to say at the moment, the final track on his new album called ‘I’m not giving up yet’. I think it’s special because normally he uses loads of different instruments on his album like strings and bass and such but this song is just on acoustic guitar which makes it work so well. It’s just such a meaningful song and has a great vocal spectrum which actually makes it quite hard for me to sing.

You have a big fan base within Dubai. How many are there exactly?

On YouTube, I have just over 250 following my music and then on Facebook, over 500. It’s not as much as other YouTube artists but I am very pleased with the support I get from people both in and out of the school community.

What is your new C.D made up of?

It’s made up of my own original material, so, songs where I have written the original music and the words. I am planning on releasing a cover album but that would be for free. It would be a good way for people who don’t know me to hear what I can do for free and then decide whether or not they would want to spend the money on my original work. It’s also because I wouldn’t feel right making money from songs that other people have written.

What is your favourite song that you have covered?

I recorded the duet ‘Falling Slowly’ with Tara Mehranzabad which was really good fun and we put in lots of different things like piano and strings, so I would have to say that was my favourite.

And what about your songs; do you have a favourite?

Out of my songs, if any it would have to be ‘Love Song for No One’. It’s probably because I just had a lot of fun doing it. It was played with me on Guitar and Dylan Price on Drums and it started off as a bit of improvisation and just ended up sounding really good.

Rob’s C.D has been released. It’s called ‘Good Enough’ and can be purchased on Amazon and there is no doubt that he has what it takes to affect people with his music and this is not the last we have heard of Rob Miller.

The dangers of self-fulfilling prophecies

While the nineties was a period of unrivalled prosperity for most countries in both the developing and developed world, the Japanese economy entered an alarming state of paralysis that flummoxed most policymakers at the time. Japan, in the three decades prior to the slump, underwent a stunning economic transformation from an agricultural nation to the world’s second largest economy with a well-educated workforce, a stable government and excellent technological expertise. Yet throughout the nineties, Japan experienced stagnant growth punctuated by deep recessions. How did such a great economy end up enduring a period of seemingly never-ending malaise?

The short-term trigger was undoubtedly the bursting of the stock market bubble and the collapse of land prices in 1991.Growth plummeted from approximately 5% to just above 0%. However, bubbles have always been a prominent feature of the business cycle. It was bound to burst eventually and lead to a fall in real GDP and employment. All the central bank had to do was to cut interest rates and embark on rounds of quantitative easing if necessary. It was the standard policy response to a fall in growth and it had worked in the past. Japan tried. The Bank of Japan cut interest rates almost to zero, but the economy did not respond. An ageing population more likely to save for the next generation coupled with a widespread pessimism about the future meant that the Japanese public was in no mood to borrow and spend even though the interest rate was near zero. Japan had entered what is known as a ‘liquidity trap.’

A liquidity trap is a situation where the interest rate is so low that people only want to hold cash as opposed to owning assets. They know that the interest rate can only go up and when it does the price of assets will fall. Thus, everyone wants to hoard cash-liquidity preference is absolute. When an economy is in a liquidity trap as Japan was in the nineties, monetary policy has no effect on the real economy. Expanding the money supply will not lead to an increase in real GDP. In 1998, the Bank of Japan pumped $500 billion into the economy to no avail. Thus, there is only one way to boost the economy in liquidity trap conditions: expansionary fiscal policy.

Unfortunately for the Japanese people, its government became increasingly smug in the face of the crisis. Even though growth fell short year after year, the government refused to intervene. It instead simply revised down growth targets and claimed that the continual growth was a vindication of its economic policies, never mind that growth remained almost stagnant and more machines and workers were left idle as the output gap grew. The government finally agreed on a stimulus plan when it was clear that the suffering seemed to have no end. They borrowed money to build roads and bridges and jobs were directly created, giving the economy the boost that it so desperately needed. However, in 1997, the Prime Minister bowed down to the deficit hawks in the Ministry of Finance and increased taxes, just when another round of stimulus was needed. This offset the jobs created and promptly sent the economy into recession.

The indecisiveness over fiscal policy combined with years of ultra-loose monetary policy set the stage for another trap; one which Japan has not come out of till this present day. Once the people of a country start fall into the deadly embrace of deflationary expectations, it soon becomes embedded in psyche of the whole nation and a deflationary spiral ensues. Once an economy gets sucked into a deflationary trap, it is doomed to years of stagnation; in the case of Japan the stagnation has lasted for two decades. In the early nineties, the stuttering economy actually caused prices in Japan to fall significantly. The central bank’s attempt to keep deflation at bay by keeping interest rates close to zero had the opposite effect. Keeping interest rates low for a long time signalled to the people that the economy was likely to remain underemployed and prices were likely to remain subdued or even fall. Therefore, the private sector came to expect deflation in the future and their expectations were fulfilled as prices kept falling, partly due to the reluctance of the government to intervene to boost growth and reflate the economy. People just hoarded cash because they believed that prices would fall even further in the future. The increase in savings depressed aggregate demand and growth causing another fall in prices…Japan is still trying to find a way out of this trap.

The UK is fast-tracking its way to a Japanese style-malaise; some would say it is already there. Policymakers are trying to offset the fiscal tightening by monetary easing, quite inexplicably ignoring the very existence of a liquidity trap. No matter how much money the Bank of England floods the market with, the real economy is just not going to be stimulated unless the government abandons its austerity measures and starts spending. Inflation has plummeted in the last six months and while that can only be a positive development, it needs to be stabalised. It cannot be allowed to fall further as deflationary expectations might set in. With both the private and public sector de-leveraging at the same time, the risk of a self-fulfilling deflationary spiral is uncomfortably high. 2012 will prove to be the pivotal year. At the moment though, policymakers in the UK refuse to learn from the Japanese experience and are condemning its people to at least a decade of hardship.

It’s Hairspray!

The stage is set. The cast is- almost- ready. The front of the auditorium is an eye watering shade of violent pink. With Hairspray, Dubai College’s senior production, just around the corner, it has become not uncommon to encounter people wandering around school whistling jazzy numbers under their breath and sporadically bursting out with phrases like “Cos’ you can’t stop the beat!”, rather startling anyone who happens to be in the vicinity.

The story of Tracy Turnblad, a plus-sized teenager who gains a coveted spot on popular TV program, the Corny Collins show, and brings about an end to racial segregation on the show, is heartwarming. Bursting to the brim with foot tapping songs, dance moves straight from the swinging 60’s and dialogue like “Hope I didn’t dent your ’do, little darlin’,” Hairspray promises to be a musical that will be remembered in DC history.

As the guitarist of the orchestra, it’s been an exciting experience to say the least to watch a versatile Mia Bazzoui as the excessively cheery Tracy, and her mum- played by Sam Bullock- settle down in their characters’ shoes to provide excellent entertainment. Spellbinding performances from Florence Prosser, the delightfully evil villainess, or Adam Melone, Rory Blincow and Yassine El-Ashmawi, the male leads, have been the causes of one too many time where I’ve missed cues to begin playing because I was too busy pondering the hilarity of hearing classmates suddenly develop nasal American accents.

The teachers are, of course, the driving force behind the production; Mr Zambonini, Mr Crawford, Mr Jones, Mr Penson and others have been working extremely hard to bring the show up to scratch, patiently enduring our tantrums- and sometimes not so much!

Accepting people who are different from you forms the key theme of this often over-the-top, musical. Tickets, priced at AED 50 each, are available at the box office and waiting to be snapped up for shows on the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th of March- it’s time to blow-dry your bouffants and usher in the 60’s!