Just wanted to share a few of my latest stories. One is a sort of tongue-in-cheek wrap up of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit last week — my first editorial column since The Daily Texan in 1991.
The folks at the Laureus World Sports Awards might have assumed that by persuading the likes of Hugh Grant and Gwyneth Paltrow to show up to the Emirates Palace, they had the upper hand in Abu Dhabi’s swoon quotient.
But for me, the main attraction turned out to be across the emirate on Yas Island in the form of an average-sized man wearing a blue suit, his brown eyes slightly bulging from behind wire-rimmed glasses.
“There is no difference with going into a store and stealing Pringles or a handbag and taking this stuff,” said James Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation’s European and Asian operations and heir apparent to his father’s media conglomerate. “There should be the same level of property rights whether it’s a house or a movie.”
Forget perfect smiles and rock-solid abs. Give this writer some tough talk about protecting the words she creates – not to mention her livelihood – any day.
“Content is no different,” he added, with the kind of hang-’em-at-high-noon swagger that makes me homesick for Texas. “They’re not crazy kids. No. Punish them.”
To misquote Bonnie Tyler, journalists need a hero. And, there, at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, they were.
After years of being told by ruthless bosses that our service is as easily replaced as that of a line worker in Detroit, my heart beat faster listening to Mr Murdoch’s call to arms. “We need enforcement mechanisms and we need governments to play ball.”
I also write another “Final Analysis” column for Personal Finance illustrating the resurgence of the rich here in Dubai.
Buyers from South Asia, China and Russia are all perusing his catalogue, interested in a sun-filled pied-à-terre.
These are not starter homes. My favourite, and the priciest on luxhabitat’s listings, is an 8-bedroom, 37,500-square-foot villa in Emirates Hills on sale for Dh95 million.
In addition to the usual luxury accoutrements of smart-home technology, irrigation system and golf views, the house features a chess set in the front yard. No word on whether the home comes with staff to move the more than life-size kings, rooks or knights around the board.
“In most of the cases, these homes are owned by people with a strong financial power, so they can afford to not sell it, and wait for better times,” Mr Font says.
Those times, it seems, are now.