Gold in Bone dry Lands

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I have never been to Dubai. I would like to visit it but I don’t think I would like it. I imagine that I would find it artificial and the weather too hot to be healthy. One of our sister students Dee is British and grew up in Dubai. She doesn’t particularly like the UK and considers herself to be from Dubai. Our sister and fellow students from Bremen have to do an internship in their second semester somewhere in the Arab world and some of them are going or planning to go to Dubai.

Dubai is obviously part of the Arab world geographically but in what sense is it culturally a part of it? What I recently realized is that the emirate of Dubai is completely run by foreigners. The government, the police, the army and the judiciary are- quite obviously- native ‘emiraties’ (what do you call people form the Emirates?) but anyone else from the taxi driver who drives you to a restaurant where the waiter is foreign and the manager of the hotel you’re staying at to the shop assistant in the mall and your housekeeper, if you got one and your co-worker, all will be foreign. Now, I understand that if you have sh*t loads of money why would you do stuff yourself if you can more than afford to have someone else do it for you . But to allow all the (wo)manpower in your economy to be foreign is that a wise thing to do? What about your pride and sense of nation? Nations adapt to influences from abroad all the time, but has Dubai really adapted to the holiday bikini-on the beach-party hardy-shop -till-you drop- long-live-hedonism image Dubai is actively beaming into the world to draw those wealthy tourists in to replace oil revenue from other emirates – Dubai is pretty dry-that is going to dry up some day in the not so far future.

Locals and foreigners in Dubai don’t interact. Local women wear the niqaab and will therefore not be seen sunbathing at the beach if the weather allows it. If foreigners determine the image of your country while you or not adapting to that image will that be sustainable on the long term? Is that not asking for the next Ibn Laden to rise and commit some atrocities in that part of the world? And besides all that; who wants to live in a permanent air-conditioned environment? That’s asking for health problems!

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About Lemba

Non-conformist Writing Soul and Language Geek from the Lowlands with a South London accent, currently living a nomadic, location- independent lifestyle. While executing the Big Fat Writing Plan I’m invading cyberspace with my views on 'expat living', travel and other lifestyle choices, current affairs and other randomness. Welcome to the Dark Fairy Zone.

2 responses »

  1. Nice writing and interesting observations. I thought I would stop by your blog considering you visited mine 🙂

    I agree that Dubai is artificial and rife with ‘build for the sake of build’ mentality…whereas there are other places in the Middle East that maintain a balance between progress, growth and culture/tradition.

    But, I think you would be surprised by the amount of Emiraties that do actually interact and socialise with foreignors in Dubai. Have you ever been there for a visit? Just because the local women won’t/can’t swim in the ocean or meet in bars doesn’t mean they don’t interact with expats. It’s not as exclusive as you may think.

    A similar situation occurs in Oman with the manpower, although we do have Omanisation (where there are rules to Omani’s getting preference for roles that they are supposedly skilled in – though this isn’t always a good thing for succession of the country)…some expats (predominantly Filipino and Indian) are cheaper labour than the Omani Nationals and to be honest, do much of the work that Omani’s do not want to do…its fact of life that you won’t see an Omani sweeping the highways or picking up rubbish at the park/beach, because Omani people think it is below them. But they do hold the key positions within Ministries, Justice and Defense and therefore hold the power in key decision making for the country.

    • Hello Ms Delirious 😉

      Thank you for visiting my blog and your comment.
      I have never visist Dubai but would like go to see if my idea about it is correct and if Dubai is not as exclusive as I think it is I might be pleasantly surprised. An American friend of mine who recently visited the emirate absolutely loves it and told me that the expat community does not only consist of Westerners but there are many Arabs from other countries as well.
      And what cheap labour matters, I guess that’s the same the world over. In New York many taxi drivers are non-Americans and Brits waiting tables and tapping pints in London are in the minority.

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