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UAE

The multilingual merchants of Dubai’s Deira Souq


Salesmen at Deira Souq are capable of conversing with foreigners in multiple languages, most popular being Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi and English.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Twenty-two-year old Mohammad Yunous from Afghanistan has been working at his brother’s fabric shop at the Deira Souq for eight years. A class 9 dropout, Yonous is a nimble salesman who speaks eight languages.

“We get a lot of customers from Moscow. So apart from Pashto, Dari, Urdu, English and Arabic, which I knew before I came to Dubai in 2011, I also picked up Russian. I would carefully observe my clients and first picked up basic sentences in Russian that helped me haggle about the price. In a few years, I was very comfortable. Later, I picked up Spanish, Mexican Spanish and Italian as well. The customers are very comfortable when we speak their language and many are pleasantly surprised.”

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Salesman Mohammad Yunous from Afghanistan can converse with his customers in multiple languages.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

If you are planning to have a slice of authentic Arab open-air shopping experience, visiting the quaint old Deira Spice Souq across the Dubai Creek in Al Ras District is a must. Walking through the narrow by-lanes of the souq feast on the rainbow sights of traditional spices — indigo, sulphur, saffron — dried flower petals and intricately embroidered shawls and satin fabrics on display. More importantly, tune into the sounds of the souq and it will surprise you to hear a multilingual cacophony.

The young Asian traders from the spice souq, though mostly educated up to high school have been resourceful enough to pick up the languages of the world. The souq at peak time is buzzing with a cosmopolitan ethos where traders easily slip from Mandarin and Tagalog to German, Spanish, Italian and Russian. What’s more, the young boys have honed the art of translation to perfection as they have picked up different dialects of Spanish spoken in Latin American countries and Spain, or German spoken in Austria and Switzerland as opposed to pure German accent.

It is fascinating to watch this live multilingual experiment as young salesmen have fine-tuned an important sales pitch of being one with the client, giving him a totally relaxed shopping experience, speaking in his native language. Competitions is keen in the market as so many stock the same spices. But when a salesman shouts “Ni Hao Yao Zanghongua ma” in chaste mandarin (Hello, do you want some saffron) or “Por Favor pegue o’melhor indigo acqui” in fluent Portuguese (please get the best indigo here), the customers whose native tongue it is, are naturally attracted to that shop. The salesmen have perfected the art of wooing their customers through the lingua route and are winning hearts.

Trading pashmina and silk in Russian and Italian

“It is not only sound salesmanship to boost the sales of my shop but the right way to win hearts and loyal customers as we have so many visiting year after year for shawls and fabric. I love my job as it gets me the entire world at my doorstep and I love to switch from one language to another. It is said when you can haggle and bargain in the native language of the customer it appeals to his emotional self and he or she is compelled to make that transaction just because hearing one’s own language from a complete stranger strikes a chord,” said Yunous, who is taking time to learn Russian in great detail in the evening after he finishes his day.

A ‘linguist’ par excellence

Malik Ehsan Ul Haq, 24, from Rawalpindi, has completed his undergraduate in Arts from Pakistan part-time, as he works as a spice salesman at an Iranian shop at Al Ras at the tender age of 20. With his graduation degree in sales and marketing he could have chosen to move to another job. But Haq loves what he is doing and is passionate about his language skills. He has taught himself more than 14 languages. He speaks fluent Portuguese, German (all dialects), Italian, Spanish, English, Mandarin, Sindhi, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Pashto, Dari and French.

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Malik Ehsan Ul Haq, 24, from Rawalpindi, has completed his undergraduate in Arts from Pakistan part-time, as he works as a spice salesman at an Irani shop at Al Ras
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

“I am passionate about learning and picking up a new language is very exciting to me. In the beginning I would take down many words in a notebook, look these up on Google Translate and painstakingly construe sentences. Slowly I realised many words were common to languages with a Latin origin. I was able to make that connection and began speaking these fluently,” says Haq, who can hold forth for half an hour in any of the European languages and even Mandarin. “My study is deeper than just conversational and that has attracted my customers who are pleasantly surprised when I speak their language,” said Haq, who often gets repeat customers.

Walking deeper into the heart of the souq one finds similar spice shops lined up and manned by Asian salesmen, mostly from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From Kashmir with love

Anil Sharoom, 25, from Kotli in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, came to Dubai three years ago. But in this short span, the high school pass out picked up as many as four additional languages. “I knew Hindi, English, Urdu, and Kashmiri already when I came here. At the souq, I made efforts to learn French, Spanish, Arabic and Farsi too. It gives me great pride to speak to my French and Spanish clients in their language. They enjoy haggling in their language. Sometimes they bargain only so that they can hear me speak their language as they find it very delightful,” said Sharoom.

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Anil Sharoom, 25, from Kotli in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, came to Dubai three years ago.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Another ‘linguist’ in the making

20-year old Mohammad Yunous from Rawalpindi came to work in the Deira Spice Souq last year. But he was quick enough to pick up the nuances of Italian, German and Spanish that he comfortably converses in along with his knowledge of Urdu, Hindi, Pashto, English and Farsi.

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20-year old Mohammad Yunous from Rawalpindi came to work in the Deira Spice Souq last year.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

“Knowing at least five languages is almost mandatory if you want to be a good salesman. Our clients who are fascinated by the exotic spices are usually European so in addition to English one must know Italian, Spanish, French and German. One gets multiple benefits, For instance, Spanish is spoken in Spain as well as in Latin American countries, Portuguese is spoken in Brazil and Portugal, German in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and French is spoken in Middle East, Africa, France and Canada. So with additional knowledge of three or four languages a salesman can virtually get to converse with most of the clients coming in from the West. I am also trying to pick up some Asian languages such as Mandarin and Tagalog,” said Yunous.

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Walking deeper into the heart of the souq one finds similar spice shops lined up and manned by Asian salesmen, mostly from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News



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UAE

How Dubai-based Pakistani family of merchants overcame COVID-19 challenges


Shabbir Merchant, managing director of Champion Neon, with his sons Shazil (left) and Shoaib.
Image Credit: Supplied

Seyyed Llata/Gulf News

Dubai: The invaluable lessons passed on for generations have kept a family business running and growing despite the insurmountable challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

COVID-19 changed the business landscape in the UAE and across the world. Health was not the only casualty as many sectors suffered losses or were put on hold while many people lost their jobs and other means of livelihood, noted Dubai-based Pakistani businessman Shabbir Merchant, managing director of Champion Neon, a leader in the signage industry which he started back in 1989.

Merchant said his business suffered badly. Signages and print advertising were down. Before the pandemic, sales were between Dh15-20 million but in the last six to seven months, he has tapped his reserve and personal funds to pay off suppliers and staff.

“Thankfully, things are now getting better; and because the UAE government has taken bold steps – with lots of precaution – we are seeing business picking up and improving in the coming months,” added the 61-year old entrepreneur.

Aside from the improving business climate, Merchant also credits the support and vision of his two sons in finding solutions to counter the economic slowdown. “We also now offer value-added solutions to all businesses that are essential for the current challenging times and will aid the business continuity in the long term,” he told Gulf News.

Shifting gears

Merchant said his two sons, Shoaib, 32, and Shazil, 27 – both educated in top universities abroad – have taken the reins running the business during the pandemic. “They managed everything hands-on, while I was directing things from home,” he added.

His sons saw business opportunities amidst business adversity. They shifted gears – from print signages to LED screens – Champion Neon has incorporated safety and hygiene solutions in their business portfolio. “Solutions are being designed with a major feature of being “contactless” – a term which is more important than ever before,” said Merchant, adding: “With a keen interest to support companies across the UAE, Champion Neon launched its ‘Covid-19 Support Solutions’ to promote safety and hygiene for workplace employees, customers and visitors.

Merchant told Gulf News: “Our initiative #ChampionCares has received tremendous response from the industry and we launched five types of solutions initially, “iSanitize – Smart Sanitizing Solution”, Automatic Dispensers, IR Face Scanners, Safety Signage and Protective Shields. Our team constantly worked to add more solutions, including Advanced Thermal Scanners for automatic temperature detection, Protective Sneeze Guards, and Foot-pedal Sanitizer Dispensers.”

“The need for safety and hygiene will continue in the long-term and we will continue to offer innovative, value-added solutions to our clients to ensure their business continuity and brand presence,” he underlined.

Perseverance, honesty and loyalty

Merchant said he passed on the valuable lessons he learned from his father to his sons. “I told them they have to do their work honestly and be loyal to their customers. They also have to handle their finances judiciously and be kind to their staff. Customers should be happy and satisfied with service running round the clock to avoid any miscommunication,” he narrated.

Merchant himself got his knack for doing business from his father. In a previous interview with Gulf News, he said: “My father started a business in Lahore with a partner in the signage industry. Gradually, he became a pioneer in Pakistan, selling neon sign boards.”

“My father was strict about money, he was a disciplined man and he taught us the value of it.

I remember my father telling me how tough life was in those days. He moved to Pakistan with no money in hand. Life was not easy. I am his sixth child of a total 10. So, responsibility was taught to me at a very early age. My siblings and I watched our father work hard for a living and so we learnt to do just that. His values are ingrained in me,” he underlined.

Merchant was born in December 1958 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was an 18-year-old lad when he first set foot in the UAE in 1976. He recalled there were no skyscrapers, big hoardings or gigantic signage boards in the city back then. His first job was to help his older brother, Hanif Merchant, in running his signage company.

Eventually, in 1989, Merchant started Champion Neon from a small office in Deira. Then as the economy grew, so did his business. His business is now based at a 65,000-square-foot facility in Dubai Investment Park (DIP).

Fighting the pandemic with hard work

2020 was supposed to be a banner year for the company but, as everybody has experienced, the coronavirus pandemic happened. But Merchant is optimistic that hard times will be over soon

He said robust business will be back. Whatever he has lost in the past months will return because he has put his trust and faith on his family and staff. He noted hard work and collective effort have led his business out of the doldrums and the same values will result in further expansion.

Merchant said he is also thankful for the dedication and loyalty of his over 150 employees who come from different nationalities, including Indians, Pakistanis, Filipinos, Nepalese, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans.

“They (staff) have made the real difference. Their loyalty and hard work have helped the company grew and withstood the challenges of times. They have treated the company like their own family,” Merchant concluded.



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Headlines UK

Battle of Tollense Valley 4,250 years ago was a massacre of 1,400 Bronze Age merchants 


Fresh analysis of Europe’s earliest known battle has thrown up the possibility the 1,400 people who died at the site, in Germany’s Tollense Valley, were not warriors engaged in a brutal melee, but ambushed merchants who were ruthlessly slain. 

Human remains at the site in North East Germany, near today’s border with Poland and 80 miles north of Berlin, were first found in 1996. 

Experts have since tried to explain how 1,400 people perished in this one event, when the region was sparsely populated throughout the Bronze Age.

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It was believed to be the oldest  one of the biggest and most brutal battles fought in the Bronze Age, and now archaeologists believe the battle of the Tollense Valley 3,250 years ago was an ambush and massacre 

Experts believe that the site in what is now modern-day Germany featured around 1,400 people and they were likely traders and merchants

Experts believe that the site in what is now modern-day Germany featured around 1,400 people and they were likely traders and merchants 

Previous theories centred around a great battle for control of a bridge over a river near the Baltic sea.

But Detlef Jantzen, chief archaeologist for the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, says he site is more likely that of a merciless slaughter. 

He now believes that the victims were made up of diverse vendors passing through the region, at least some of whom were travelling in a large caravan.

He says they were likely set upon by bandits, who robbed and murdered them. 

WOODEN WEAPONS FOUND AT TOLLENSE 

Among the weapons found in Tollense is a wooden club in the shape of a baseball bat and another stick comparable to a mallet.

The ‘baseball bat’ is made of ash wood, which is well known for its strength and elasticity while the mallet is made from sloe.

The findings led archaeologists to conclude the site could be the earliest Bronze Age battle site ever found.

‘There is no doubt that such hammer-like, wooden weapons could cause heavy lesions,’ the researchers said.

‘Wooden clubs are sometimes reported from bogs in northern Germany [and] clubs have been found at Wiesmoor and Berumerfehn.’

The archaeologists continued that wooden clubs of various forms are also reported being used by Native Americans, for example, for hunting and warfare, but the Tollense Valley represents the first prehistoric site in Central Europe where such weapons have been found in association with human bones. 

Research into the remains of the dead reveals some of the people had skeletal deformations only brought about by a lifetime of carrying heavy loads. 

Mr Jantzen believes either merchants or their slaves would have spent a lifetime lugging around their wares, leading to extreme stress on their lower spine and legs.  

‘The picture that is emerging does not necessarily correspond to the picture of a warrior, but rather to the picture of people who spent their lives transporting things,’ Mr Jantzen says, The Times reports. 

‘For this reason we have wondered whether there is another possible explanation for this violent conflict: rather than a warlike battle, an ambush scenario upon a large group.’ 

This theory explains why among the 1,200 human remains buried at the site,  from 145 different people, there are women and children as well as men. 

Had this been a true battle, historians believe it would have been waged between male warriors only. 

Since the 1980s, several pieces of evidence of a battle have been found in river sediment at the site, including daggers, knives and skulls.

In 1996, an amateur archaeologist found a single upper arm bone sticking out of the steep riverbank with a flint arrowhead embedded in one end of the bone.

A systematic exploration of the site began in 2007, after archaeologists unearthed an enormous ‘battlefield’, as well as 140 skeletons and remains of military equipment.

These included wooden clubs, bronze spearheads, and flint and bronze arrowheads.     

The Tollense Valley site in north-eastern Germany was one of the biggest and most brutal battles in Bronze Age Europe

The Tollense Valley site in north-eastern Germany was one of the biggest and most brutal battles in Bronze Age Europe

Among the weapons found in Tollense is a wooden club in the shape of a baseball bat and another stick comparable to a mallet

Several bronze weapons (pictured) were found at the site, including spear heads

Since the 1980s, several pieces of evidence of a battle have been found in river sediment at the site, including daggers, knives and skulls. A systematic exploration of the site then began in 2007, since which archaeologists have unearthed an enormous battlefield, as well as 140 skeletons and remains of military equipment. Pictured are some of the artefacts found

Experts have long scrambled to explain how 1,400 people perished at this one event when the region was sparsely populated throughout the Bronze Age

Fresh analysis of the bones reveals some of the victims carried heavy loads for most of their life, deforming their legs and lower spine

To understand more about the fighters, the researchers previously conducted a chemical analysis of the skeletons, looking for elements like strontium, which can leave a geographically specific signature in bones

Isotope analysis has previously found the people who died came from all over Europe and were not a local group. 

While unable to pinpoint the exact location of the people who died, the previous research did find that a large swathe of the victims came from Southern Europe. 

This had been attributed to a marauding, cohesive army, but now it is thought to be a diverse group of tradespeople. 

Although Germany at the time was not as sophisticated as its contemporaries in Mesopotamia and Ancient Greece, it did have trade and elements of cultural influx.

Amber from the Baltics was sold as far south as Egypt and metals found in what is now Germany originated from the Middle East. 

‘All the metal here comes from elsewhere,’ Dr Jantzen says. 

‘But it wasn’t just the metal that came here: there were also glass beads from Egypt and Mesopotamia, and even a silk veil from the east Mediterranean. 

‘These are luxury goods we have found here and they have a very long journey behind them.’

The time when the battle took place was also right in the middle of a huge cultural shift in Central Europe, as people arrived from the Mediterranean.

Professor Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist who worked on the project, told Live Science in 2017: ‘It’s not by accident that our battlefield site is dating to this period of time.’



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Headline USA

“We have located you and your whole family”, CJNG thus threatens merchants | The NY Journal


“And don’t even try to complain to the authorities because they will notify us there,” the CJNG wrote in the narcomensajes

“We have located you and your whole family”, CJNG thus threatens merchants.

Photo:
Video Capture TH3PR3D4TH0R Mxx / Courtesy

Drug dealers of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) allegedly requested through flyers delivered to homes, the payment of the extortion or else they will burn businesses or kidnap relatives of the owners.

“There is no point in trying to leave or hide; we have completely located you and your whole family ”, says a flyer addressed to a merchant, which was accompanied by Photographs of the facades Y addresses of the business and land of one of those threatened, as well as photos of his wife and children.

… Read more Chapito sends a message to AMLO and treacherous // VIDEO: Narcos persecute people who cross the US-Mexico border// VIDEO: Police vs narcos in Michoacán// Photos of Chinese Anthrax dead in the morgue

“And don’t even try to play live and go to complain to the authorities because they will notify us as soon as possible. be there some your or your movement family“Warns the steering wheel.

The message gave the merchant a period of 24 hours to communicate to a telephone number, otherwise, they will interpret that he did not want to “negotiate”Or come to an agreement.

One of the main sectors affected by this crime are the pubs, restaurants and establishments of tacos.

In the last two weeks alone, two businesses were attacked in the municipality of Celaya, in the state of Guanajuato, in Mexico.

As we informed you, the restaurant was barely burned and shot “The three brothers“. According to reports, two dead and one narcomensaje signed by Los M Group, formerly known as CSanta Rosa de Lima cartel (CSRM).

While on September 10, the bar “The Castle“, Was attacked with shots and with Molotov cocktails.

Last week, in the municipality of Irapuato, five people were shot to death in the taqueriaHe Brother in law“.

For its part, the chain of tacosThe Gaspe“With 20 years of history, it also announced the definitive closure of its four branches.

Also some bars have been forced to close in recent months due to the wave of violence such as The Chopería, Micheladas college, Drink City Pub, Bar La Shula, Beautiful Sweetie and the restaurant bar Kike’s House.

Official data register only 13 victims of extortion in the entire state, as these figures are based solely on the complaints filed, despite the dozens of cases that have been made known on social networks.

Despite catching José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, aka he Tag On August 2, the violence did not stop in Guanajuato, because in addition to the high number of daily executions, the entity suffered this wave of extortion.

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