Thursday, July 21, 2011

Emiratis Do Things BIG! Or at least Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Does

In light of the announcement yesterday that Somalia is officially a famine zone--again, I feel I should bemoan the luxury of a wealthy man carving his name on his property in letters so large that it can been seen by satellite. However, I find myself admiring the ingenuity and engineering (both from the same Latin root ingen---ingenium innate talent, ingeniare to innovate) of the feat. I was truly impressed on learning that the excavated letters fill with sea water when the tide rises.

Below are 2 articles on Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan who likes to build big things, and now has had built a large nameplate. The online version of the Globe and Mail article has the name upside down, though the print version doesn't. I prefer my nameplates right side up, so I have used the image from the Daily Mail article, which also had a better version of the photo used in the Allvoices article, and so has replaced it.

I wanted to juxtapose the 2 articles below because of the opposite metaphors of peeing one's name in the sand, and carving it. The Daily Mail uses the more neutral "writing". Also from the Daily Mail article, more examples of Sheikh Hamad's personal largesse and philanthropy:

Anything's possible: Hamad, 63, ordered workers to write his giant name in the sand


Hamad dreamed up the idea and had his workmen toil for weeks to craft the enormous piece of sand graffiti. It is not known how much it cost to make.

However, the sheikh boasts a personal fortune second only to the Saudi king's.

Hamad, also known as the 'Rainbow Sheikh', is a member of the Abu Dhabi Ruling Family.

He is understood to have some 200 cars including seven Mercedes 500 SELs painted in different colours of the rainbow which he stores in a giant pyramid.

The Arab sheikh has a taste for doing things on a large scale. He built the world's largest truck - eight times the size of the Dodge Power Wagon, with four bedrooms inside the cabin.

Hamad constructed a motor home in the shape of a giant globe which is exactly 1 millionth the size of the actual earth.

Alongside his lavish displays of wealth he has become a well-known philanthropist in medicine and supplied a complete kidney stone operating theatre to a public hospital in Morocco where he continues to fund its staff.


Using Google satellites, an Emirati sheik makes a name for himself
Globe and Mail Update
Published Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2011 7:03PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Jul. 21, 2011 2:29AM EDT

It’s the oil-sheik equivalent of a boy peeing his name into a snowbank.

Sheik Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, a super-rich member of the Emirati royal family, has had the letters of his name excavated into a desert island he owns near Abu Dhabi.

Visible in Google’s satellite view, each letter is half a kilometre high, and the entire word measures more than 1.5 kilometres from start to finish. When the tide rises in the Persian Gulf, water rushes into the coastal calligraphy to form a salt-water canal.

The Arab sheik, worth more than $21-billion, has a penchant for big ideas. Past projects have included the world’s largest truck, a replica of the classic Dodge Power Wagon at eight times the original size, with four bedrooms in the cab. He’s also had constructed a trailer in the shape of a globe at exactly one-millionth the size of the actual planet.

Photo Gallery: Google giants


Carving a name " Hamad " clearly readable by satellite

Sand Carving Name 'HAMAD' Read by Satellites
Abu Dhabi : United Arab Emirates | Jul 21, 2011
By Putu Karya

Carve a name in the sand is probably a common thing done by people when it was playing on a sand beach. However, what if a very large carved names, even visible from satellites?

" Hamad," as five letters clearly visible from satellite cameras at the Al Futaisi Island, Abu Dhabi.

Posts Hamad is the name of the owner of the island. He was a wealthy Arab sheikh named Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Ahyan (63).

Hamad said measuring 1,000 square feet, from the letter H to the letter D reaches a length of 2 miles or approximately 3.2 kilometers.

Instead of carving a name in the sand would be quickly destroyed the waves swept away the sea water. Hamad article is actually form the water flow.

Not yet known how the total cost spent Hamad to carve his name with a very great man. However, as reported by Dailymail on Thursday ( 21/07/2011 ), carving a big name that is one dream that is aspired Hamad.

Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Ahyan which is also known as " Rainbow Sheikh " is an oil tycoon in the UAE. (RHS )

Putu Karya is based in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, and is Reporter for Allvoices


I shall return to the topic of Somalia--in time for Ramadan zakat plans, and other forms of charitable giving. For now, one can contemplate the idea of a nameplate so large it is visible to astronauts.

Your comments, thoughts, impressions?
Which is your rhetorical preference: peeing, writing, carving? Why?


Countrygirl said...

When i've read this article my thought was wow what a way to throw away money....if he wants to be remmbered he could open some more schools, hospitals whatever. I cleary remember that i few years ago i saw a tv programm about his cars and total lack of taste.

Wendy said...

I think it's disgusting in oh so many ways. Why is he called the Rainbow Sheik? Does he show up for gay pride parades??? LOL!!!

jaraad said...

I am not sure what to write, Chiara. This is really very bad. It is disgusting.

Susanne said...


Chiara said...

Thank you all for your commments!

Countrygirl-it is immediately striking no matter what one thinks subsequently. I agree, it would be more noble to spend more of his money in philanthropic pursuits. At 63 he is still relatively young, and many get more philanthropic as they grow older. He definitely likes colourful cars!

Wendy--LOL :D I'm thinking he isn't in any Pride parades! His collection of 200 cars of the same model but different colours, and his collection of 7 rainbow painted cars with rainbow painted guns (for hunting) are the reasons he is called the Rainbow Sheikh--as far as I understand it.

Jaraad-It certainly is extravagant and ostentatious, especially in light of current needs in the world. On the other hand, it is his money, his land, and his excavation project. I just find it amazing someone would think to do this--like a giant vanity plate for the universe to see. Maybe he will make a giant zakat contribution to a more humble cause. One can only hope.

Susanne--Wow! just about sums it up! :D

Thank you all again for your comments!

misschatterbox said...

My husband was born and raised in Emirates. I remember when I first went to Emirates and heard about the wealth of Emirati (or Saudi for that matter) sheikhs and businessmen I was just amazed. That soon turned to disgust. My husband and I have friend who have married into the royal family and the corruption, arrogance and total lack of accountability is horrible.
The extravagance in the Middle East seems like an Aladin's Cave of Wonders at first, but it's so hedonistic and self-glorifying. In Emirates people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the best number plates! (they are auctioned) with less numbers indicating high status and wealth.
All of the massive towers and engineering wonders (like Hamad's name) remind me of the Tower of Babel! Or ancient Pharoahs and Roman emperors who erected these huge monuments to themselves. Something not quite right about it all....

Wendy said...

Chiara, has anyone ever really thought about why he has all these rainbow coloured toys apart from the fact that he can??? LOL!!! To me he's making one heck of a statement in a pretty universal way!

Chiara said...

Misschatterbox--thank you for your comment, and my apologies for the delay in getting back here. I have been aware of your following the blog via the Google Friends component of the sidebar, and I thank you for following.

It is great to read your experiences, and to frame this vanity plate in the context of others in the UAE.

I do hope that more philanthropy occurs as time goes on. Some projects that seem self glorifying are beneficial to a broader group, or at least a broader/more direct one than the astronauts and Google Earth aficionados.

Somehow this all reminds me of the Medici, whose excesses became part of the national cultural treasures of Italy and to the greater benefit of all.

Thanks again for your comment, and I hope you will comment on new and older posts of interest to you.

Chiara said...

Wendy--I had a very clever reply prepared days ago, but I only got back here now, and I only just caught your drift this moment.

I'm sure that the reason is a celebration of colour in a desert climate! :D

Majed said...

Few lapses are God-given right to every human being,and those very long suffered Bedouins sure are allowed few more lapses than others in bonus,having endured centuries of hunger, thirst and harshness of the environment yet being always thankful to almighty God for everything and never having for once questioned the wisdom of God for giving them such a difficult life, on the hand other people do not have to announce what they do in charity, at least Muslims are required to conceal, may be he is doing much more than people happen to learn about and may be not.

Talking about human lapses reminds me of The great Indian emperor of the Mogul dynasty Shah Jahan who was fascinated with great architectural works and have built the Taj Mahal complex and many other still standing great buildings,buildings which are considered by many to had bankrupted the empire and initiated its fall,empires eventually fall for one reason and other but what they leave behind that counts,and we all know Shah jahan 's lapses ended up as world heritage and wonders.

I know people might think, I say thing just for the sake of saying things,but to tell the truth this all the juice I can extract out my little mind.

Anonymous said...

You're all just jelous as hell. Ive got nothing else to say, you come to the gulf to work, and get the kind of money you will never dream of in your shitty countries. And in return you write such comments on the people that YOU WORK FOR. Miss chatterbox, shame on you..


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