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The dilemma of a tradeshow where cultures collide (#Sibos 5)

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Ernst & young

After the plenary opening, I trudge back to my hidey hole
where the 128 kbps dial-up modem is hidden, and upload my last blog post.

Unfortunately, I’m spotted by some burly security guy – yes,
it’s his porn channel access area – and told to move on so I go to the official
press area and ask if they’ll let me be a journo for five minutes.

“But you are a journalist, aren’t you?” they say.

“I suppose I am”, I say (removing my suit and donning jeans and
a t-shirt).

“Then you’re allowed in”, they say.

Things still don’t improve much, until the very helpful
media company who partner with SWIFT for SIBOS come by and say: “is everything
all right there?”

They probably noticed the way I was weeping into my laptop,
still unable to get a decent connection.

I explain my issue and the techies then appear.

“Nah”, he says.

“Nah what”, I says.

“Nah”, he says. “We don’t support that?” pointing to my
iPhone 4S (OK, it’s not new but I’m about to get an iPhone 5S or Galaxy or
summit, so shaddap).

“Well what about that then”, I say, pointing to my laptop
which is also unable to access online.

“What’s that?” he says, sneering.

“A new Lenovo Ideapad, like that Jane Bond girl uses in the advert”,
I say, twisting the cover over to show my dual laptop-tablet hot gadget.

He gets on the walkie-talkie and, five minutes later, comes

“Nah”, he says.

“What?” I says.

“Nah, we don’t support that either”, he says.

Obviously this is a very highly selective WiFi in the Dubai
World Trade Centre, and so I give up and start trudging around the showfloor to
meet the exhibitors.

The first thing I notice is the overwhelming number of
people milling about.

With 80,000 attendees – what? oh, sorry – with 8,000
attendees the Ernst & Young ...

Ernst & young

... and Aktif Bank ...

Aktif bank

... are overwhelmed (not so Aktif there though!).

It’s not like that everywhere though in that, as I walk around the
exhibit hall, I notice that most stands are empty, but then I hear a noise and some laughter.

There’s some glasses tinkling (after all, it has gone 3:00).

Ah yes, I find the haven in the desert: the Lloyds Bank

Why is this place buzzing?



Lloyds, SmartStream, BNP Paribas and a few others are maintaining
the traditional SIBOS experience of imbibement.

Imbibe early and all day (and night long).

That’s my normal SIBOS.

But this one feels different.

Then I realise, it’s the Islamic thing.

There is a conflict between offering tea and fruit or
G&T and nuts.

The latter is very European but the former is very Islamic.

Under Islamic culture, one really should not be partying and drinking openly and in public.

There’s the rub.

We’re in the Middle East for the first time.

To drink or not to drink, that is the question?

Hell, I’m a Brit, off to party …

More tomorrow.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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