Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shoot the Difference!

I have a reason to be proud of myself. I appreciate the amazing progress I am managing to make… I do what I’m good in doing..

Last week, I enrolled in a 2-week Basic Digital Photography Session , hoping that i could not just “focus-shoot-click” with my Sony DSH 6MP camera, rather learn how to use the aperture, shutterspeed, focal points, ISO, etc. (This is one reason why I posted very seldom in my blog lately!)

All the while, I thought my valuable 3-year old camera is enough to make a good start, but seeing the high quality Canon and Nikon (mostly SLR ranging from US$1,500 to as much as US$10,000 (a 21-megapixels Canon ) that my co-enrollees own, I feel sooo insecure! I though of backing off then. But because I know most of the “Camerades” and my desire to learn how to shoot rightly, I sacrificed my week-end appointment and continue the session.

Our last session was intended for workshop and actual shooting. Supposedly, the original plan was to go to Old Diriyah for an outdoor session, but since it was closed for renovation, the group decided to hold an indoor shooting. 2 Harley Davison bikes, as well as models were provided.

Most of my co-enrollees rolled up their shoots focusing on the subject… and the models. They were so excited to take their best shots, looking for right angles, come closer to the subject and adjusting their cameras.

When I shoot, I always want something different.. a shot that will result on telling a story to the viewer. I just let my colleagues shoot-and-click on some angles without any thoughts of an art.. Me? I stayed afar and when I saw a chance to put my idea in a picture, I took my camera and shoot. Most of them had taken a hundred shots, while I took only few but self-satisfying shots.

After the actual session, I choose the best shots and rushed to the photo studio for printing.

It was judgment and critics day the next morning. When I arrived, there were almost a hundred entries ready to be posted on the wall. I have seen good quality shots, of course taken by a high-quality cameras, but no one has ever make the viewers caught their attention and dig out stories from those pictures, except for my entries. A good-looking critique-cum-judge who is a top advertising mogul in Saudi Arabia, had good reviews of my work. It was so obsequious for a famous advertiser to reward my shots with an inspiring assessment.

The result? Out of a hundred shots, my 2 entries won!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Jailed Saudi blogger Fouad Al Farhan has finally been freed after more than four months behind bars without charge, a colleague said on Saturday.

Al Farhan was arrested in Jeddah on December 10 for online criticism of government policies, including detentions without charge and trial of prisoners of conscience.

It is believed to be the first arrest of an online critic in the kingdom.
During his ordeal at Jeddah’s Dahban Prison, Al Farhan was kept in solitary confinement and subjected to daily questioning, according to his family.

Authorities allowed Al Farhan's father-in-law was allowed a short visit on January 5 and his mother was permitted a brief telephone call on February 12, according to local media reports.

Al-Farhan’s blog - 'Searching for freedom, dignity, justice, equality, Shura and all the rest of lost Islamic values' - has posted a letter, allegedly from Al-Farhan, which states he believes he was arrested because he “wrote about political prisoners in Saudi Arabia”.

His arrest and imprisonment has sparked the launch of several campaigns and appeals for his release by international and Saudi NGOs, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Meanwhile, the first conference in the Middle East on blogging and consumer-generated or social media, as the region addresses how to catch up with Europe and the US in terms of platforms, adoption and available content, will be held in Jordan in June.

iBlog…iMedia will highlight the role of blogs and social media in changing the media landscape, bringing together international and local commentators, marketers, bloggers and media owners to examine how companies can contribute to, and gain from new developments.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saudi Visa Checking at the Airport

In many cases, the passport department has stopped affixing the usual exit/re-entry stamp on passports. They only mention the visa number and the validity of the visa - all jotted down by hand. This could create problems with the airlines while returning from your country, as the counters check the visa at the time of check-in.

To avoid this problem, go the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior website:

And then:
1. Select English
2. Select E-service (3rd tab on top)
3. Select passports (on the left hand column)
4. Select Query exit/re-entry visa
5. Enter Iqama number (family Iqama number is mentioned in the passport)
In the same window enter passport number or visa number
6. Another window will open up showing all the details of your exit/re-entry visa.
7. Print this and carry with you. You can show this document if the airline counter questions your visa.

Incidentally you can also view other details like traffic violations, visit visa application, etc. on this site.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Basic Photography Workshop

Friday, April 11, 2008

Expats to blame for Saudi unemployment

The huge number of foreign workers in the kingdom was making it difficult for Saudis to find work according to a survey conducted recently.

The World Bank puts the Saudi Arabia's unemployment rate at around 12%.
Saudi Arabia, like all other Gulf Arab states, is heavily reliant on foreign workers to fuel its booming economy.

Around a third of the 27 million people living in Saudi Arabia are expatriates, with the percentage of expatriates that make up the kingdom's workforce even greater.

The high number of foreign workers in the GCC is commonly attributed to the fact that Saudis and other Gulf nationals are often unable or unwilling to do the work of expatriates.

Respondents also blamed unemployment on a lack of vocational education, with over half of those surveyed saying it was a contributing factor.

According to recently released government statistics, around 90% of unemployed Saudi men lack the appropriate education even for minor jobs.

A further 23% of respondents said unemployment was due to excessive "fussiness" among graduates in choosing jobs.

Over 56% of those surveyed said they would consider moving abroad to find employment.

Saudi Arabia, like other Gulf Arab states, has been implementing numerous schemes to both encourage nationals into employment and force companies to hire more nationals.

Saudi Arabia, like other Gulf Arab states, has been implementing numerous schemes designed to encourage nationals into the workplace and force companies to hire more nationals.

However, these efforts have largely been unsuccessful in reducing Gulf states' reliance on expatriates.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

OFWs need not to pass by Labor Assistance Center at the Airport

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh announced thru its Press Release No. APV-30-2008, that pursuant to POEA Advisory dated 19th March 2008, exit clearances of Overseas Filipino Workers, leaving for work overseas, shall no longer be validated at the Labor Assistance Center (LAC) at the airports. effective March 24, 2008.

Instead, OFWs should present directly copies of the POEA Exit Clearances to the airlines counter, terminal fee counters and the Bureau of Immigration counters. However, LAC shall remain open 24/7 to handle issuance of balik manggagawa overseas employment certificate on one (1) day validity, week-end processing of seafarers for immediate deployment and processing of other documentation requests at the airports.