Scout still dreams of desert friendships

SHARJAH // The friendships Alan Sanderson made here as a teenage volunteer in the Trucial Oman Scouts in 1968 made such a lasting impression that he would love to reconnect with the men he met all those years ago.

The British electrician from Newcastle came out to serve in the Scouts, the military force that preceded the UAE army, when he was only 19.

He was based on the Umm Al Qaiwain border "about two miles from Sharjah Town" at Ras Al Makab, where he worked with Mohammed Rafiq, a jeweller and electrician from India, an Arab electrician by the name of Saeed Azziz and a Baluchi electrician, Lal Mohammed.

"They were the best people I ever met in my life, they were the friendliest and they would do anything for you," said Mr Sanderson.

"They were genuine and honest people."

Mr Mohammed and Mr Sanderson were tasked with inspecting batteries and generators at camps in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Hamham, Manama, Masafi, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.

Their driver, Busti Khalifi - a nickname that Mr Sanderson translates as "big chap, big lad" - had such mastery of the Land Rovers and Bedford lorries that he could make the "tech tour" across the untamed terrain in an average of 14 days.

Mr Sanderson's first tour began three days after his arrival in Sharjah.

"I had to learn Arabic within three days because my Arab driver, Mr Khalifi, he could speak no English at all. The technician could speak a little bit of English but he said, 'Why should I, when there's two Arabs and one English guy?'"

Each squadron had about 300 men from across the Gulf and Asia. In those days, patrols engaged in diplomacy and "checked that there were no illegal wars going on and try to help them sort it out between villages".

"There were little problems, 'he's feeding his goats in my ground', just little silly things.

"But, you know, out there little silly things grow in proportion because there are lots of rulers," said Mr Sanderson. His responsibilities included the delivery of letters and city luxuries such as cheese, biscuits and cigarettes to the villages.

Before long, families would bicker over the honour of hosting Mr Sanderson on his visits.

"I got on great with the lads," recalled Mr Sanderson. "I got very close to them."

On one trip, Mr Sanderson rescued a man and his lorry full of ripe tomatoes stuck in a washed-out wadi after the rains.

The farmer came to his workshop the next day to repay him with four boxes of tomatoes. The next week he returned again and again.

"That's one of the reasons I just like these people. They were as honest as the day was long," said Mr Sanderson.

Mr Sanderson went on to work in half a dozen other countries but no place has held his heart like the Trucial Coast, as the UAE was then known.

At the age of 62, Mr Sanderson dreams of returning to the UAE, which was founded a few months after he left the area.

"I have never been back. I would love to go back but obviously now it's so, so expensive," said Mr Sanderson.

"If I ever win the British National Lottery or anything, it's my first port of call. As a matter of fact it would be my only port of call. I would love to see what Sharjah and Dubai are like.

"It's the best place I've ever been in my life."


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

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Artist: Kokoroko
Label: Brownswood Recordings
Rating: 3.5/5


Romelu Lukaku's goalscoring statistics in the Premier League
Season/club/appearances (substitute)/goals

2011/12 Chelsea: 8(7) - 0
2012/13 West Brom (loan): 35(15) - 17
2013/14 Chelsea: 2(2) - 0
2013/14 Everton (loan): 31(2) - 15
2014/15 Everton: 36(4) - 10
2015/16 Everton: 37(1) - 18
2016/17 Everton: 37(1) - 25

Company profile

Date started: January, 2014

Founders: Mike Dawson, Varuna Singh, and Benita Rowe

Based: Dubai

Sector: Education technology

Size: Five employees

Investment: $100,000 from the ExpoLive Innovation Grant programme in 2018 and an initial $30,000 pre-seed investment from the Turn8 Accelerator in 2014. Most of the projects are government funded.

Partners/incubators: Turn8 Accelerator; In5 Innovation Centre; Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme; Dubai Future Accelerators; FHI 360; VSO and Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3)


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

While you're here
Ipaf in numbers

Established: 2008

Prize money:  $50,000 (Dh183,650) for winners and $10,000 for those on the shortlist.

Winning novels: 13

Shortlisted novels: 66

Longlisted novels: 111

Total number of novels submitted: 1,780

Novels translated internationally: 66

Most polluted cities in the Middle East

1. Baghdad, Iraq
2. Manama, Bahrain
3. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
4. Kuwait City, Kuwait
5. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
6. Ash Shihaniyah, Qatar
7. Abu Dhabi, UAE
8. Cairo, Egypt
9. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10. Dubai, UAE

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report


1. Chad
2. Iraq
3. Pakistan
4. Bahrain
5. Bangladesh
6. Burkina Faso
7. Kuwait
8. India
9. Egypt
10. Tajikistan

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
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Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Director: Nag Ashwin

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

Rating: ★★★★

The specs

Engine: four-litre V6 and 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: six-speed and 10-speed

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Torque: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier

ICC Academy, November 22-28

UAE fixtures
Nov 22, v Malaysia
Nov 23, v Hong Kong
Nov 25, v Bhutan
Nov 26, v Kuwait
Nov 28, v Nepal

ICC T20I rankings
14. Nepal
17. UAE
25. Hong Kong
34. Kuwait
35. Malaysia
44. Bhutan

UAE squad
Chaya Mughal (captain), Natasha Cherriath, Samaira Dharnidharka, Kavisha Egodage, Mahika Gaur, Priyanjali Jain, Suraksha Kotte, Vaishnave Mahesh, Judit Peter, Esha Rohit, Theertha Satish, Chamani Seneviratne, Khushi Sharma, Subha Venkataraman


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Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

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