Camel racing and beauty contests are about prestige, money and fame.
Camel racing and beauty contests are about prestige, money and fame.

Region's first female camel race competitor born to the job



ABU DHABI // Fatima Al Hameli started her professional career as a camel breeder when she pitched her tent beside the great sandy track at the Al Dhafra Festival.

She had arrived to stake her claim in the Arabian Peninsula's biggest camel beauty pageant.

Fatima marched up to the organisers and asked to enter her dusky camel Sudan into the competition.

"They said, 'No, you're a woman. It's forbidden'," says Fatima, who is now in her 50s. "I said, 'Women are the same as men, what's the problem?'"

In a country where women enrol in the army and run for election, the camel track is one of the last areas in which they are unseen.

Fatima was granted entry that day. It was her first foray as a professional camel competitor - and the first for an Emirati woman.

"She's a strong woman," says Fatima's daughter Afra, 28, who studied translation at university. "She likes to be the first in everything."

Camel racing and beauty contests are about prestige, money and fame.

"It's like a social power, to have so many camels," Afra says. "It's a man's domain."

Successful camels and their owners become household names. Events are heavily filmed, photographed, televised and broadcast live on radio.

The formal rules of racing and beauty contests are new and there is no rule that forbids women from competing. But social conventions make it a challenge.

"In all the Gulf, in Qatar, in Dubai, in all the Emirates there were no women, none," says Fatima. "It is forbidden."

A Qatari sheikha once participated in a race but on the rare occasion that women's camels are entered, it is under the names of male relatives.

"I have asked the women I know if they will come with me, but they said they can't because of their husbands and they are shy of the camera," Fatima says.

"I keep encouraging my friends and the women I know that they own camels but they say they can't."

Women like Fatima are raised around camels from childhood.

Born in the desert oasis of Liwa in the Empty Quarter, she started to tend camels with her father when she was 10.

At 12, she crossed from Abu Dhabi to Liwa astride her own camel, Saffron, in a four-week trip with her father, brother and cousin.

After marrying at 15, she would cross the Empty Quarter annually with her husband to hunt and graze camels at Umm Al Dhalooa ("the mother of the ribs") and Uruq Al Shaiba ("the old man's veins") in Saudi Arabia.

They navigated by the stars and would herd their camels by honking the car horns as they drove alongside.

At their home in Abu Dhabi city, Fatima kept camels in her back yard "in secret". Now she keeps 100 camels in Liwa and four on a small farm, or ezba, "close to home" in the centre of the desert between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.

There, she hosts a women's majlis every night among the white dunes.

Her friends from Abu Dhabi, Al Wathbah and Baniyas arrive in 4x4s, wearing beautiful dresses. They unroll carpets and lay out cushions and lavish feasts for all of the guests.

Every meal is served with fresh camel milk from Mabrooka, a five-year-old mother.

"I love it; I love it from my heart," says Fatima. "The day I can't see my camel I can't live, I feel empty."

Yet until she made her demands at Al Dhafra three years ago, she was not recognised as a professional owner.

Sudan did not take home any prizes at that first festival but the experience encouraged Fatima to enter a camel auction last year. Those she bought - Tayara ("Airplane"), a female, and Captain, a male - placed at their first race in August and Fatima had offers of Dh2 million.

Supported by the sheikhs, she now receives a personal invitation to auctions. The Emirati celebrity camel race commentator and auctioneer Saif Al Kitbi calls her a "dear sister".

"I expect more women to enter this area after Ms Fatima's participation," Mr Al Kitbi says.

Fatima's recent camel purchase at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition will be trained for races in August next year.

"I did it once and I will do it again," she says. "I have a licence for racing."

She has already decided to go to Qatar for an auction in January and one in Al Wathbah this spring. "In March, I hope that some women will participate with me," she said. "I encourage any woman to enter with me."

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Past winners of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2015 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes-GP)

2014 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2012 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)

 

FROM THE ASHES

Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

Spare

Profile

Company name: Spare

Started: March 2018

Co-founders: Dalal Alrayes and Saurabh Shah

Based: UAE

Sector: FinTech

Investment: Own savings. Going for first round of fund-raising in March 2019

Tori Amos
Native Invader
Decca

The specs

Powertrain: Single electric motor
Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Sreesanth's India bowling career

Tests 27, Wickets 87, Average 37.59, Best 5-40

ODIs 53, Wickets 75, Average 33.44, Best 6-55

T20Is 10, Wickets 7, Average 41.14, Best 2-12

Generational responses to the pandemic

Devesh Mamtani from Century Financial believes the cash-hoarding tendency of each generation is influenced by what stage of the employment cycle they are in. He offers the following insights:

Baby boomers (those born before 1964): Owing to market uncertainty and the need to survive amid competition, many in this generation are looking for options to hoard more cash and increase their overall savings/investments towards risk-free assets.

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980): Gen X is currently in its prime working years. With their personal and family finances taking a hit, Generation X is looking at multiple options, including taking out short-term loan facilities with competitive interest rates instead of dipping into their savings account.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996): This market situation is giving them a valuable lesson about investing early. Many millennials who had previously not saved or invested are looking to start doing so now.

The specs

Engine: 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 715bhp

Torque: 900Nm

Price: Dh1,289,376

On sale: now

SERIE A FIXTURES

Friday Sassuolo v Torino (Kick-off 10.45pm UAE)

Saturday Atalanta v Sampdoria (5pm),

Genoa v Inter Milan (8pm),

Lazio v Bologna (10.45pm)

Sunday Cagliari v Crotone (3.30pm) 

Benevento v Napoli (6pm) 

Parma v Spezia (6pm)

 Fiorentina v Udinese (9pm)

Juventus v Hellas Verona (11.45pm)

Monday AC Milan v AS Roma (11.45pm)

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Seven tips from Emirates NBD

1. Never respond to e-mails, calls or messages asking for account, card or internet banking details

2. Never store a card PIN (personal identification number) in your mobile or in your wallet

3. Ensure online shopping websites are secure and verified before providing card details

4. Change passwords periodically as a precautionary measure

5. Never share authentication data such as passwords, card PINs and OTPs  (one-time passwords) with third parties

6. Track bank notifications regarding transaction discrepancies

7. Report lost or stolen debit and credit cards immediately

Opening Rugby Championship fixtures: Games can be watched on OSN Sports
Saturday: Australia v New Zealand, Sydney, 1pm (UAE)
Sunday: South Africa v Argentina, Port Elizabeth, 11pm (UAE)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

What it means to be a conservationist

Who is Enric Sala?

Enric Sala is an expert on marine conservation and is currently the National Geographic Society's Explorer-in-Residence. His love of the sea started with his childhood in Spain, inspired by the example of the legendary diver Jacques Cousteau. He has been a university professor of Oceanography in the US, as well as working at the Spanish National Council for Scientific Research and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Biodiversity and the Bio-Economy. He has dedicated his life to protecting life in the oceans. Enric describes himself as a flexitarian who only eats meat occasionally.

What is biodiversity?

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, all life on earth – including in its forests and oceans – forms a “rich tapestry of interconnecting and interdependent forces”. Biodiversity on earth today is the product of four billion years of evolution and consists of many millions of distinct biological species. The term ‘biodiversity’ is relatively new, popularised since the 1980s and coinciding with an understanding of the growing threats to the natural world including habitat loss, pollution and climate change. The loss of biodiversity itself is dangerous because it contributes to clean, consistent water flows, food security, protection from floods and storms and a stable climate. The natural world can be an ally in combating global climate change but to do so it must be protected. Nations are working to achieve this, including setting targets to be reached by 2020 for the protection of the natural state of 17 per cent of the land and 10 per cent of the oceans. However, these are well short of what is needed, according to experts, with half the land needed to be in a natural state to help avert disaster.

EXPATS

Director: Lulu Wang

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sarayu Blue, Ji-young Yoo, Brian Tee, Jack Huston

Rating: 4/5

Brief scores:

Toss: Rajputs, elected to field first

Sindhis 94-6 (10 ov)

Watson 42; Munaf 3-20

Rajputs 96-0 (4 ov)

Shahzad 74 not out

PRESIDENTS CUP

Draw for Presidents Cup fourball matches on Thursday (Internationals first mention). All times UAE:

02.32am (Thursday): Marc Leishman/Joaquin Niemann v Tiger Woods/Justin Thomas
02.47am (Thursday): Adam Hadwin/Im Sung-jae v Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay
03.02am (Thursday): Adam Scott/An Byeong-hun v Bryson DeChambeau/Tony Finau
03.17am (Thursday): Hideki Matsuyama/CT Pan v Webb Simpson/Patrick Reed
03.32am (Thursday): Abraham Ancer/Louis Oosthuizen v Dustin Johnson/Gary Woodland

If you go

The flights

There are direct flights from Dubai to Sofia with FlyDubai (www.flydubai.com) and Wizz Air (www.wizzair.com), from Dh1,164 and Dh822 return including taxes, respectively.

The trip

Plovdiv is 150km from Sofia, with an hourly bus service taking around 2 hours and costing $16 (Dh58). The Rhodopes can be reached from Sofia in between 2-4hours.

The trip was organised by Bulguides (www.bulguides.com), which organises guided trips throughout Bulgaria. Guiding, accommodation, food and transfers from Plovdiv to the mountains and back costs around 170 USD for a four-day, three-night trip.

BABYLON

Director: Damien Chazelle

Stars: Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jean Smart

Rating: 4/5

How to keep control of your emotions

If your investment decisions are being dictated by emotions such as fear, greed, hope, frustration and boredom, it is time for a rethink, Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, says.

Greed

Greedy investors trade beyond their means, open more positions than usual or hold on to positions too long to chase an even greater gain. “All too often, they incur a heavy loss and may even wipe out the profit already made.

Tip: Ignore the short-term hype, noise and froth and invest for the long-term plan, based on sound fundamentals.

Fear

The risk of making a loss can cloud decision-making. “This can cause you to close out a position too early, or miss out on a profit by being too afraid to open a trade,” he says.

Tip: Start with a plan, and stick to it. For added security, consider placing stops to reduce any losses and limits to lock in profits.

Hope

While all traders need hope to start trading, excessive optimism can backfire. Too many traders hold on to a losing trade because they believe that it will reverse its trend and become profitable.

Tip: Set realistic goals. Be happy with what you have earned, rather than frustrated by what you could have earned.

Frustration

Traders can get annoyed when the markets have behaved in unexpected ways and generates losses or fails to deliver anticipated gains.

Tip: Accept in advance that asset price movements are completely unpredictable and you will suffer losses at some point. These can be managed, say, by attaching stops and limits to your trades.

Boredom

Too many investors buy and sell because they want something to do. They are trading as entertainment, rather than in the hope of making money. As well as making bad decisions, the extra dealing charges eat into returns.

Tip: Open an online demo account and get your thrills without risking real money.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 646hp
Torque: 830Nm
Transmission: Two-speed auto (rear axle); single-speed auto (front)
Price: From Dh552,311; Dh660,408 (as tested)
On sale: now

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