I have been singularly privileged to have had a ringside seat in the evolution of UAE banking and finance ever since I left Mama Chase's New York's global capital markets empire for the less exalted...

By Money Talks By Matein Khalid (Contributor)

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Published: Sat 20 May 2006, 1:03 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:50 PM

and unquestionably less kinder and gentler money maze of Dubai back in the Stone Age a decade ago. The same destiny that introduced me to some of the smartest, richest and noblest men in Gulf finance also ensured that I locked horns with my share of office jerks as I clawed up the snake ladder of UAE banking.

UAE finance is fertile ground for Homo Jerkicus. The six-month ban rule breeds little Stalins, Machiavellis and Mao dudes (rarely dudettes, as in New York. Women are generally minor accessories in the priesthood of big money here.) With egos and paychecks the size of the Bangladeshi GNP. These shmucks are usually ruthless megalomaniacs who love to make their underlings squirm as they grunt and chest-bash their way to Top Gorilla superstardom.

Yet did not the French philosophers tell us that to understand all is to forgive all? Bizarrely, I seem to attract office jerks like a magnet (birds of a feather? Quien Sabe?). I treasure the memories my bosses, colleagues and subordinates from hell gave me. Laughter is the ultimate antidote to exorcise corporate demons from the past, even though I sometimes wished them a Haitian voodoo doll with pins or a one way ticket to bachelor accommodation in Uranus, not necessarily with full facilities, as the UAE mass media so coyly terms corporate perks. So let me fondly remember the prize Jerko specimens of my recent past in sunny cities for shady folks.

Lord Haw Haw. He is to jerkdom what Mozart is to opera and Picasso to modern art. The worst thing that ever happened to this desi dude was that he happened to be born in Londonistan and somehow gate crashed into the ivory cloisters of Oxbridge in the Maggie moment of multiculturism bashing. As a fellow Macauley's child, I hired this Johnnie at a Dubai securities house where I was head honcho.

But Lord Haw Haw, with his monocle, cravat and phony Old Etonian accent proved a world class pain. He bullied employees (wog and nignog were terms of endearment for this cerebrally challenged Anglophile), harassed women during banking hours, took entire days to draft a letter and acted as if the Raj never ended and a Oxbridge sheepskin was a hunting licence not to work for life. I disagreed. So Lord Haw Haw was fired for the ninth time since he graced UAE finance with his presence on a visit visa he has renewed since 1994 via a 100 trips to Kish Island.

The classic jerk is as narcissistic as a Greek god, as arrogant as any Ottoman pasha-sultan, as ruthless as a Waffen SS General and a political as a Lebanese warlord. When Jerko Supremo is your boss, just take off, ban or no ban. One ex-capo of mine served time in a Levantine jail for bank fraud and I remember him as Jailbird Jerk.

Another ended up as the joke of the town after his teenage Lolita dumped him when self-styled Studley Dudley got axed from his Mount Olympus banking job when the tittle -tattle swept the town.

Jerko Classicos come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. Jerko Bigot surrounds himself with yes-men from his own country, tribe or creed. Jerko Kiss-Derriere leverages his Rolodex to financial glory. Jerko Dumbo uses dirty office politics to undermine those with the intellect and passion his Tamil Tiger accountant soul can never understand.

Spice Jerk, Scary Jerk, Thaali Jerk, Idli Jerk, Surly Sweaty Jerk is a misanthrope who plays the money game just to enrich Number One. When he gazes fondly in your eyes and mutters that I will treat your money as my own, he really means to make it his own. As the stock market bubble turns to a manic-depressive sell-off, I must thank all the Darth Vaders of UAE banking who tried to hiss, intimidate and bully me into silence and submission. You may win the rat race, King Rats, but you are still rats. Surely UAE banks can offer personality transplants as a executive perk?

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