Monday, April 30, 2007

Bahrain eContent Award Competition (2)

So I saw yesterday Bahrain again by daylight and of course by sunshine. I looked around from hotel room facing a busy street crossing (oh, yes they have traffic jams around 19.30h over here) and an imposing mosk (see photograh). But this was all there in 2005. But my friend Waheed told me the story that when the Gulf Hotel was built, it was built on an peninsula. These days it is surrounded by reclaimed land and this reclamation program is still continuing (which is a good thing for the Dutch construction companies working in the Gulf).

In fact I am surprised how much the skyline has changed. Especially the new financial centre is pressing its mark on Manamah, the capital of the kingdom of Bahrain. The peaks of the financial dominate the skyline now; it was still under construction in 2005. But the buildings are now finished and look like sails of ships leaving the harbour.

The ISOC chapter have their own offices. In a residential area they now have a venue with meeting and training rooms. It is a comfortable venue. It is also a sign that ICT is taking a more important place in the country and in the region. I heard that Google had been talking with Bahrain companies in order to establish a data centre for the Middle East; only proble formed the telcom connections due to a monopoly position of the incumbent telco Batelco.

But it is not only the waterfront that has changed. But also Manamah has changed. I saw more security on the streets and in shops. And this is not surprising in 2005, when I was here for the first time, and later uproars and riots have been seen by the Bahraini. The cause of the uproars and riots are not completely clear, but they have to do with poverty and employment and religious factions (Shi'ites mainly from Iranian origine and Sunites; in fact I saw a taxi carrying a Hezbollah logo).

The Bahrain society exists of poles: from the very liberal to the dogmatic. Kids can be clothed like youths in Amsterdam, London or Paris: sexy and provoking. But on the other hand you may see women with burqas, with a slit giving way to the eyes too look around in society like a periscope.

The jury deliberations will continue today. The jurors will finish the first round of eliminating the projects which scored low. When that process is finished we will have a plenary, discussing the results of the first selection. We also will have the panels changing to other categories and another set of projects. Once that is done the jurors will concentrate on the new set of projects. Advantage is that they can spend more time on the projects.

Blog Posting Number: 739

Tags: ,

No comments: