Chairman's Ramadan update
Ramadan Kareem to you all,
Last year I wrote about my own personal experience over the now 10 Ramadans I have enjoyed in the UAE.
Not being Muslim, like many of my AusBG family, Ramadan initially for me was a difficult time to adjust to – especially if you are new to the region and the culture. It can be difficult from a practical sense in the adjustment to our everyday patterns of eating and drinking, particularly whilst going about our regular work activities. It can also be an adjustment for those new as they might find it, as I did 10 years ago, a silent and lonely time. Not having my family in the region and being such a family focused month, it wasn’t as social for me as it seemed to be for my Muslim friends and colleagues when I was first arrived.
Ten years forward and the month is one I await eagerly. Why? Well, this is personal, and of course, it is different for everyone, but I now find it a social time. People ensure they are around during this special month – it is certainly not the time to aggressively do business but it is a great time to connect with people.
Secondly, it is a time of reflection, purity and abstaining. It might come as a surprise for some but this month is not just about abstaining from food and drink in daylight hours – It is when people try to refrain from anger, negative thoughts and statements about others, and in turn - renew and refresh. Staying positive can be challenging as people find themselves hungry and a little more tired than usual.
Finally, while people refresh their mind and go without the everyday things we can all take for granted, it is also a time of giving – particularly to others who are less fortunate. The giving can also extend to your friends or your neighbour. I had an Australian friend many years ago who made lamingtons for her fasting neighbours which she left on their door step at Iftar time, in return, she found a delicious Emirati chicken dish at her front door the next night. From that simple gesture, a friendship began.
So now I look forward to this month for the spirituality, the gratitude and the connectivity. And we hope that you can also. The AusBG family doesn’t want you missing out on the opportunity to experience these things and the fun side of this special month.
As such we are hosting a couple of events to bring us together. The first event is this Tuesday May 30th 7pm, together with Australian Ambassador HE Arthur Spyrou we invite you to a very special Iftar at The Marriot Downtown, we will be having a special guest Emirati speaker and will be joined by some Emirati Australian University Alumni as we all break our fast together.
We are also collaborating with the other business groups of Abu Dhabi for a Joint Iftar on June 12th which in the spirit of Ramadan will be to benefit the SOS Children’s Villages fund. June 13th for those of you in Dubai there will be an Iftar hosted by our sister group ABCD and HE Arthur Spyrou Australian Ambassador.
The following newsletter is packed with information on previous events the Saudi Update, VAT Readiness and Joint Business Groups Sunset Cruise, and also insightful notes from HE Arthur Spyrou and Senior Consul General Middle East Gerard Seeber details all the great things Austrade has been up to this year. We also will be hosting an Australian Superannuation event in July which will help you to understand the changes that are particularly pertinent to some of us who are living abroad.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our various Iftars over the coming weeks and wish you and your loved ones a Ramadan Kareem filled with all its blessings