21 November, 2008

"Emirates See Fiscal Crisis as Chance to Save Culture"

"“This is a blessing; we needed it,” Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, a political science professor at United Arab Emirates University, said of the fiscal crisis. “The city needs to slow down and relax. It’s good for the identity of our country."


“I hear this complaint over and over, but what is the solution?” said Abdul Ghaffar Hussain, a businessman and writer. “What should I do, go to the street with a stick and chase people out? You have to be reasonable.”"


I wonder, do all Emaratis feel this way?


khalid said...

i speak on behalf of myself and the people around me who have already voiced their opinion. yes the country needs to slow down and understand the long term impact of their past decisions on our local culture and identity.
khalid bin hadher
a proud emarati

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Thanks Khalid, your input is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

You want a short answer? YES. We all do.

This country has made GRAVE mistake in the past, and the vast majority of Emaratis of this (my generation) if not all do feel this way. Expect more changes that are not so foreigner friendly in the coming 2 decades. (as has been happening lately, the car limit of 15 years, the nationalization even in private companies...)

Anonymous said...

Cultural Identity ..

OK lets be honest here and get the fact right........

Emiratis cultural issue is really a sensitive topic... if ppl think the financial crisis is gointo save their identity... i think tats a mis calcualtion.....

even if the so called expats ie.Indian,Pakistani,Filipino,British,Canadians leave the country

there are many more ppl bound to come such as the Russians and the rich and affluent Kazahkis...

Emiratis could have save their identity if the stop being fussy about their choice of work and be more open minded ( for eg in oman an omani drives a taxi for a living, show me a place in the UAE where tat happens...)

they need to sort these things out before they talk and talk about Emirati Identity....

i clearly can see this happening..

Lili3 said...

I agree strongly to slowing down, even if it meant chasing people with a stick :D

Proud Emirati said...

I certainly do .......

khalid said...

dear anonymous (lets be honest)

I'm sorry you miss understood what we are trying to say here when we talk about culture and identity. and I'm sorry that you don't even understand what our people here are going through. you talk about our locals accepting jobs such as driving taxis and so on. well let me clarify this to you, locals travel from rak, ajman, uaq and shariah to Dubai and abudhabi to work in jobs that pay nearly nothing, they leave their families behind in homes that you wont accept living in just for the hope of one day bettering his life some how. now what you also need to know about those people is that the majority of them are well educated and have a degree or two to prove it, but unfortunately the fact that they are locals limit their chances of landing a suitable job in the private sector.
i my self have experienced this a few years ago while working for an institutions in Dubai. after working 3 years in a foreign bank, i tried to renegotiating my contract only to find out that i was underpaid for my grade. when asking the h.r department why, they said and i quote "you're local and have a house", my housing allowance was lower by far then anyone else in my department. why is it that expats think we all have homes provided by the government? i my self at that time was renting an apartment on shk zayed road and didn't have a house.
my dear sir. i don't want to sound raciest but don't you think we as locals have to have the rights to be offered the jobs before the expats arrive to take them away from us? can you justify why private institutions decide to import the know how rather than use the local knowledge? why private school hire unqualified foreign teachers and pay them huge amounts when they hire so few locals and pay less than half the salaries without benefits? what makes the expat workers worth more when the qualifications obviously show the difference? I'm not generalizing here but this is the fact.
you also have to understand that I'm proud to admit that our country was build with the help of foreigners and for that
i am thankful. but those foreigners understood what they where coming into and respected our culture and identity, they also appreciated it so much so they dedicated web pages to remember the beautiful experience they had co existing with us (link posted to such a web page).
i hope we can learn from these mistakes and try to fix what is salvageable before its too late.


khalid said...

sorry a typo in my write up. ( i tried to renegotiate my contract)

rosh said...

khalid, sorry for delay viewing comments. comment moderation is on.

i*maginate said...

Hey khalid, hope to see more of you around on this blog.

I agree with Anon on the whole. I can't be bothered to explain why - maybe someone else can :)

Anonymous said...

To Khalid..

Well done mate valid point u brought out..

u mentioned "people is that the majority of them are well educated and have a degree or two to prove it "

mate listen ya u must be kidding me if say that the locals are top of the pops..

for an eg lets take this..

name me 10 ok lets say 20 firm in the UAE that have a well so called educated local as an CEO or a chairman..

education doesn't gurantee ur a job mate .. what if uae is ur country good for you u should be proud...definately..

across a common self survey i find that all the top cream of the country managemnt come from either USA,NZ,SA,AUS and UK..

why cant ur leaders or the so called reformist( who brag abt national crisis) give those oppourtunities to the educated UAE.. i am sure they wont...

you locals have the right to get better job only if ur well deserved for that mate..

being a martians doesnt gurantee u a job even if ur in mars( jus a stupid eg)

get your facts right mate..


note : i have many emirati frnds as well i am jus being open minded and expressing my views...chill

Anonymous said...

WELL i would give any dear anonymous a clap and a perfect 10 out of 10
his views are picture perfect to wats happening in the UAE

all i can say in short is Emiratis are a closed group ... they need to be more open minded..

the world has become an open village why would anybody still be talking about NATIONAL identity and things like that..

for instance CANAda 79% of its population are foreigners ..if a big country like canada can lose its national identity but grow i dont see a point in Emirates doing the same.......

--- Rick

Anonymous said...

TO khalid read this buddy

u mentioned " my housing allowance was lower by far then anyone else in my department. why is it that expats think we all have homes provided by the government? " on your blog

these are the extracts from the NY times dated nov 12

""" The local population has largely been pacified by the largess of a gilded welfare state. For Mr. Ali and Mr. Muhammad(emiratis ), that meant free tuition and expenses for their university studies in Britain, including a monthly stipend of $1,258 while abroad.

Returning from school this year, they were given government jobs that pay $3,600 a month, which like all income here is tax free. When they plan to marry, they said, the government will give them each a piece of land free and about $200,000 to build a house, plus access to a 10- or 20-year interest-free loan. """"

wats this all about...... then pls clarify


khalid said...

dear sirs

the UAE has and still will in fewer and more isolated cases sponsor the education of students in foreign countries, a big institution in abudhabi will also secure jobs for those it has funded for 4 years preparing them for a specific job. it seems that biased government actions like this only happens in countries like the uae, or do they? British universities in England have subsidized tuition costs for British nationals and so do other countries. i only hope the UAE has this as a more common practice and subsidies all university studies for our locals. i also hope for more local public universities to open so we don't have to have our children sent to universities in other countries. i can tell you "MATE" that the only thing worth learning abroad is how not to fall into the same mistakes your countries and people did, we don't want our locals to go to other countries looking for better jobs because their country failed them.
i also would like to know in what circle do you keep your self in when you cant even name more than 20 locals who are CEOs of companies in the uae (and I'm not including the property development companies)
"ME MATE" let me ask you this. do you even know what a local looks like?
as for the land and 200k grant or loan you talk about, yes that was a practice which occurred years ago and i only hope the government starts doing so more and more.i my self have not had the benefits of such generosity but would not mind the assistance or investment of my government in their people.

and to the person who talks about how Canada has evolved. why aren't you working or living there then? why aren't you in Europe, Asia or Australia?
have a nice day

Anonymous said...

Everyone see things from their own eyes in a different way...and unless you look closely into all aspects of the stories, its unfair to place judgement....we need to be able to get deep into it to understand what really goes on.

I look at the Emirati's and i see a culture lost.... a country being led by people with too many other priorities. But whether that is really the fault of the countries leaders or the people..... i dont know. The people as a whole have to take responsiblity... they should of and could of done more. Most of them all just wanted to jump on the same money making, greed ship and sail off into some fortune.

Seems like they havent thought long term here about the future. Look at what they have done to the enviroment here! `Obviously not thinking of their childrens and grand childrens health. Everybody's hair is falling out, water is polluted, air is unbreathable! It really makes me want to cry. `The aluminium plant here so close to a residential area is unbelievable. They have destroyed the marine life here with their artificial islands.... its all seems so insane!

Anyway i believe in Karma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mohammed said...

Dear Khalid,

I appreciate your responses, but your reply to the question on Canada shows something;
why is it that whenever expats raise valid points or questions, one of the quickest responses is to the tune of "Why dont you leave" or "Why dont you work there"

Isnt it possible to answer questions without resorting to statements implying "Just leave" ?

In your case, the answer would be (and I know it even though I am not a local);

Its because UAE is not like Canada, and Emiratis have a more "restrictive culture".

See, such a reply would have made it clear to many people, but instead you ask the person why he doesnt move to Canada........

Anonymous said...

Dear Khalid and Anon..
After gone through all yours comments what I'm feeling there is many points are to be discussed well.khalid if you people are live in Asia,should go out from the country to look for the job.You know why?This country is too small in all sense comapre to them.I'm not generalizing here coz if you think with wide mind you can get the points.Rulers are thinking about money making projects only,why u people can't influence them?If it is in Asia,atleast we have the right to question them..Here all the rules are changing everyday...
But some of your thoughts about the crisis is very correct even if you are a local.Something has to happen here in thease form to turned UAE back to it's good culture..
We all are respecting locals but the problem is almost everybody is very egoistic(mostly the local womans)and if approach them for a service(eg:in banks)they are treating us like.....
Anyway it's all revealing the culture....But people like yourself has to come infront of the society and prove yours culture through the behaviour and good services that you can simply offer.
God bless you all......

Mr DtP said...

Very interesting posts here - seems to be one problem is that no one has or possibly can define what is meant by saving 'culture.' Which bits do you want to consolidate or save? Then again, why worry, as you can always make up your own many peoples do.

Another problem is as someone put it, the gilded welfare state. You can you be too rich to be bothered to do anything when you can buy in people to do it? If this is the case - damn well enjoy it and don't fret about losing something you are not especially aware of. For what it's worth the decadence and all it entails is the culture and will be looked back on in 100 years as maybe a golden age or oneof many reasons why the planet cooked.

khalid said...

Karma is something i strongly belive in. what is happening here is a result of what we have put out ourselves. unfortunately the decisions made by so few to develop the uae at the current pace was driven only by greed and ego.
when we say we need to preserve our culture, i mean we need to stop the over development of properties, invest in good infrastructure, develop our public sector, create solid long term industries and provide a good and affordable lifestyle to all whom wish to live here.
Dubai has already made its mark with such monuments as the palm, burj and the world islands. i don't think we need any more projects to put us on the global scene.

Anonymous said...

I am a GCC national who lived in Dubai for 4 years and hated it. I love my Emarti brothers, but they have sold their soul to the devil but giving the expats a free hand doing what they want.

This might anger many, but I long for the frinedliness they lost, for the kindness that evaborated from the Emarties....... this not to say they are rude...... but they lost something that made them special...........due to greed

I hope this is an eye opener and they can now look back and learn that their own culture and values are more improtant than money and bowing down to the investors who did not respect them in their own land.

yanira said...

Thank you for your comments Khalid. It is great to listen to a national giving his own personal opinion. I know not everyone is rich and getting free loans from the government. I think you have the right to preserve your culture, which actually you can find if you step out of Dubai. For example the Beduines villages around Fossil Rock are filled with warm welcomed people, who would help you if necessary and talked to you in a very friendly way. Would you say the same about your people in the city? How many times have you been attacked by a Hammer in the highway? How many times do they answer back when you tell them good morning? They don´t even look at you!! I would love to live in a place with Arab heritage and culture, but the only thing I find in Dubai is construction sites, cranes, malls and destroyed beaches. It is because of the mosques that I realize I am in an Arab country. I wish you good luck because we are all helping to destroy such a nice place.

ColOman said...

Its amazing how people come to your house sleep in your bed, eat your food and then tell you 'your a fool'.

You should have set the rules before they came in and took over your house.

i*maginate said...

Can't be bothered to digest any intellectual comments here.

If identity is to be preserved, preserve it. NIKE's famous slogan: "just do it".

For heaven's sake, why all the blame and tit for tat. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Get with it.

i*maginate said...

Coloman, you have to think why these "rules" weren't established in the first place.

khalid said...

they were not set because of greed. EASY COME, EASY GO and now it going.

Proud Emirati said...

You guys cannot even learn the language of the country u are living in and refuse to adopt any of its custom and now u are not shameful to talk about us trying to preserve our culture?

What is this odd comparison between the UAE and Canada? In Canada the majority of the immigrants assimilated in the western culture, I cannot say the same thing about the UAE. There is no such thing called a global village, what is happening is turning the world into a western village. I am not a western and I don't want to be one.

Who is this anonymous who thinks that we don't have Emirati CEOs. What world are u living in buddy?

There are too many classic outdated posts from people who cannot see further than their nose, I wouldn't even brother replying !

Proud Emirati said...

sad but true ColOman

Mohammed said...

To ColOman,

i understand where you are coming from and while I also dislike moaning, whinging expats, your analogy isnt exactly true. None of us are eating "your food", nor are we staying in "your house" as guests.

And when did expats ever "take over"?

The fact that people like me, who are born here, Muslim, fluent in Arabic, law abiding, and well-educated, are made to feel at every step that we are "foreigners", and the fact that the foul mouthed chav is welcomed to Dubai more than me (because of my passport), shows there is no danger of expats taking over.......

When long-time , benign expats like me are told "This is my country and the police will support me even if its my mistake", you know that the power sturcture lies exclusively with locals here.

I feel that this drumming up of "expats taking over" is inaccurate.

Let there be rules supporting local culture (decent clothing ) be enforced with the zeal that the "One Villa" rule or the "No VOIP" rule were enforced. That will solve a lot of the problems

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how people come to your house sleep in your bed, eat your food and then tell you 'your a fool'.

You should have set the rules before they came in and took over your house.

Yep. Best post in this whole thread. Excluding the guy who cant spell for chit and uses MATE in every other paragraph.

This will be a subject of a VERY GOOD essay... for now go checkout my bitching on mutual funds in the UAE and the origins of Emaratis:


Anonymous said...

OK lets bring it on

i can answer why saving emirates identity is not an issue for the many emiratis except u foolish lot (proud emirati and khalid and that Anonymous dude)

the major businessmen of the uae dont give a damn about emiratization and all that coz all they want is to make money and be a money spinners eg nakheel,dubai world,dubai holding, and many more to list ..

all they want is to make money with all this man mads island the UAE has nothing to declare as its true heritage .....

as for proud emirati who stated u can learn the local language ..
as a matter of fact i speak arabic fluently but u emiratis should learn english first......... then talk about cultural identity

regards......happy surfing

rosh said...

"Emirates See Fiscal Crisis as Chance to Save Culture"

And what happens when things are back on track? That's got to be one of the silliest headline/thought/excuse I've come across?

Khalid, I agree with most things you've said, and I think you've said 'em quite well. However, how does slowing growth "preserve" culture?

Like some people on this blog, culture "loss" has been debated to death and beyond. A culture spreads, evolves only if it's allowed to, and people made aware. If it remains enclosed and distant, it stands risk of erosion. Why do you think American pop culture is quite prevalent in UAE and globally, yet folks who've lived in the UAE for decades aren't aware of local customs? Takes two to tango.

That said, the constant debates are helping bring about awareness. Folks like you should continue to help build culture awareness. There are positive/warm aspects people don't know of the UAE. A small effort, shall have lasting impact. Good luck.

Coloman: people are not GUESTS, they are professionals. So they aren't quite exactly sleeping in your bed, staying at your home or eating your food. Everything has a price in the UAE/GCC/wolrd - no freebies. So come up with something more bright & sensible, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

ROSH tats was a good and sensible post

good work ...

ColOman said...


I am not Emarti, I am Omani. I was guest in thier counrty, or what used to be their counry. So please do not assume I am saying it because I am Emarti, I am pissed off too, seeing how expats asume they know better than Emartis, be greatful for being allowed to live and earn a living in the UAE

rosh said...

Col, pse stay in topic.

ColOman said...


You are exactly what the Emartis dont want....... its amazing and you lived in the UAE all your life....... how Ironic that you dont understand its people till now

Proud Emirati said...

^^ again, exactly :)

rosh said...

Col, (and sidekick), you know nothing about me, so again, stay within topic. Do you want past irony, or discuss underlying causes, and options best forward?

Anonymous said...

Actually, most top level businessmen DO care about Emiratization. So much so that top "pioneers" of this movement (HH Sh. Ahmed Bin Zayed, HH Sh Habroosh Al Suwaidi, HE, Shaikh Khalifa al Kindi, HE. Al Abbar, HE. Mohamed Al Suwaidi...) spend millions on training, extra allowances, incentives, and schooling to see it happen.

You're going to tell me that you know more about emiritization than the heads of Emar, NBAD, Abu Dhabi Investment Council, and ADIA? Dont make me laugh.

I should learn to speak Snglish? again, what am I typing in? If you can speak Arabic you speak it very poorly, with poor pronounciation, and I highly doubt you can read and write it.

I can do so with your language... much better than you (trust me)

As for the no Emarati CEOs. All the people I listed are CEO's, Managing Directors, or Chairmen of large UAE based companies (In HH Shaikh Ahmed Bin Zayed's case, he is a highly educated man, and head of the LARGEST FINANCIAL ENTITY ON EARTH.

Citibank is laying off 50K workers... ADIA pays between 30 and 130K a month... hum...

Back to topic. The idea that any external happening, financial crisis or otherwise, will help us "save" our culture is laughable. I agree with that 100%

WE need to save our culture. and this generation is doing so as best it can. Remember, we dont only have people of different cultures apposing this, but of the SAME as well.

Who remembers the bright HARVARD educated ex-minister of labor who came into the ministry to clean it up?

He was removed by the powers that be because his change was too "Radical." So the apposition isnt just from foreigners.

A country is SUPPOSED to take care of it's people. But an issue arrises when its people take advantage of that generosity.

Yes, My medical is paid for me, thank God since my medications cost 34995 a MONTH. My tuition was and is paid for me. But I also put what I learned to very good use. Some dont. Some dot even bother to better themselves, why should they if the government is paying?

We as Emaratis need to step up. I was all but KILLED by an Israeli manager when I a1st started my career. most people in my situation left the bank. F**k this they said. If you always look for the easy way out you will end up looking for the government handouts. Today I AM the manager because of my drive. That a person has to come up with on his own.

Next you need to realize that if you arent from here than you dont have a right to meddle in policy. I see so so so many foreigners bitching about this or that. These are our laws. If you dont like it, leave. You wont of course. The fat check you receive is enough to overcome my country's "short comings"

It also proves that your country is worthless, since it cant even take care of it's own.

A dress code! Long pants and ankle length skirts for women, long sleeves. You dont have to cover your haid, thats fine.

Guys... If I see one more Lebanese dude in an open buttoned 70's style shirt Im running him over.

Also, Emaratis... dont bitch about culture if you are running around in jeans, or a kandoora with a baseball cap on. The Hamdaniya and the 3agal is there for a reason. Again, the foreigners didnt make you forget how to dress yourself.

Stop being hypocrites. Arabs were NOTHING without their religion. Heathens of the earth. Foreigners didnt make you forget your religion. The HUGE amounts of money you can make off of alcohol/call girls.... did. Stop that.

As you can see, some reasons for our current situation are indeed because of the foreigners. But alot of it was our father's own doing. SO STOP THE CYCLE.

And finally. Culture CHANGES. Im not saying our past shouldnt be preserved. But things do change. the UAE 50 years ago is not what it was 200 years ago. Things do change, evolve.

Case in point. Im very very patriotic... I also play Swedish Death Metal, I own 4 guitars. I love it.

Most call me a devil worshiper. lol. No, I have meshed that passion for music with my culture.

About being close minded. No, I, and most Emaratis are very open minded. but the fact remains this is OUR country and we want what WE want, and dont really care what YOU want. Its my right. You have that same right where ever you are from.

Um... Yeah. Im sure I left something out... but Im tired, and have a 16 hour day ahead of me tomorrow. Good night everyone. Tusbi7oon 3ala 5air.

Mohammed said...

Rosh, I think its apparent how ColOman is misunderstanding you and trying to judge on behalf of all Emiratis......

So let go........long-time expats like us feel for the UAE, but we are misunderstood by the newer expats and also by many Emiratis ....and Omanis:)

misunderstanding by the latter is much more painful and sad, but you cant make someone see light when he keeps his eyes shut.....

khalid said...

(the major businessmen of the uae dont give a damn about emiratization and all that coz all they want is to make money and be a money spinners eg nakheel,dubai world,dubai holding, and many more to list)
sir, please research the decision makers and majority shareholders of these companies, then take this from me..... WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AGAINST THIER POLICIES.. if you had a chance to speak to any local you would have known this. not every person wearing a dish dash, talking arabic and driving a merc is a local. so get your facts right.

khalid said...

dear yanira

i would love to share my culture with you and anyone willing to spare some time to understand what we are and what we need to get to. thank you for your comments.

Wael said...

Greetings everyone,,

In support of Mr. Abdula's statement, I truly believe Dubai (and the UAE in general) needs to regain its true identity..

The countless projects in this city are based on marketing themes and gimmiks, such as the Atlantis, the Forbidden City, The Palms, The Uptown among many other mega projects based on the interest of the Western ideology (Polo, Golf, Racing, etc..) which we unfortunately fall for and favour.. Even Ibn-Batuta's name was eventualy used to market a mall instead of an attraction..

This morning, I've started listening to a program on Dubai Eye based on the British Pound and the suggestions the speakers had to say to the 'people in UAE' about investing in UK.. Note, this was on >>>DUBAI<<< eye!

Even Radio 90.5, Arabiya (notice the analogy here!), is USA based and did broadcast the whole American elections speeches and not one single speech of an Emirati official..

I truly think what is happening is a new-age 'colonisation', which Dubai fell for and tripped helplessly..

Prof. Abdul Khaleq, Khaled and the proud Emiraties should hang on their Heritage and Traditions even louder and feed it thru the community, to awaken self-esteem and confidence back to the Emirati generations..

This being said, people like the 'Anonymous Mate' will soon show much more respect to a civilization built on ethics, pride and honour and will get to know that Ibn-Batuta is the very founder of navigation much before Columbus was even born, as much as Ibn Sina was the founder of medicine itself, and not just another mall..

Khaled and the bunch, I support you and pray you build along a blessed form of Dubai city..

*back to listening to Abu Rashed!*

ColOman said...


We cant be all misunderstanding expats......

by the way I am half expat...... so please!

hemlock said...

during my drive to liwa, i passed an emirati driving a tractor on the road, who waved a salam.
i havent seen such a simple beautiful thing in a long long time.

the further you move away from dubai (city), the nicer people become. locals of RAK and UAQ are warm and welcoming, and my emirati friends have embraced me as one of their own. im very lucky to have stumbled across such down to earth, humble people.

that said, the emiratis have had their share of problems, and while we want to believe "we" have so much to offer, and "we" have sacrificed while the locals are getting a free ride, the reality is every expat living here is a mercenary who traded everything (including fundamental rights) for money.

this slowdown will be a blessing for UAE. they now have the resources and the time to look inwards and fix their house.

khalid said...


i couldnt have said it better if i tried. simple yet so true, thank you

Anonymous said...

hemlock said...
during my drive to liwa, i passed an emirati driving a tractor on the road, who waved a salam.
i havent seen such a simple beautiful thing in a long long time.

the further you move away from dubai (city), the nicer people become. locals of RAK and UAQ are warm and welcoming, and my emirati friends have embraced me as one of their own. im very lucky to have stumbled across such down to earth, humble people.

that said, the emiratis have had their share of problems, and while we want to believe "we" have so much to offer, and "we" have sacrificed while the locals are getting a free ride, the reality is every expat living here is a mercenary who traded everything (including fundamental rights) for money.

this slowdown will be a blessing for UAE. they now have the resources and the time to look inwards and fix their house.

I owe you a bucket of Harees for this post! And yes, I can cook rather well.

Anonymous said...

hemlock, well said, and nice visual.

i*maginate said...

i got the worst bucket of harees ever delivered to my home from RAK. That says a lot.

And to be convinced not to go to the Awafi festival by a RAKawy - well that says a lot.

Whatever. Does this exchange of ideas actually contribute to anything?

khalid said...

salam hendrix (blessing in tragedy)

you made my day this morning with your post. i cracked up in my office for hours bout the 70s shirt thing. god bless you for your support inshallah. hope to see some more wise words from you soon.

Wael said...

As Hendrix mentioned,, you ought to develop and civilize your traditions as time goes by!

The 70's open-shirt has become one of our traits truly.. Gather this and the million'n'one bad habits we *proud* Lebanese have got, it's what makes us 'traditionaly' interesting!

..and we truly know you all love us so much! You really dont have to shout it loud!

Cheers.. Mate.. Dude.. Ma'Man!

Back to topic.. Everytime i see an old emirati walking in my disctrict, I respectfuly approach him and greet and discuss about the old UAE.. Their eyes have so much to say! I wish there were more of them!


rosh said...

"..Their eyes have so much to say! I wish there were more of them!"

Waled, that is one of the nicest/honest sentiments I've read - it's true. They are fewer & far between these days.

Hemlock, you should camp at Dibba Al Husn, perhaps at a farm. RAK with construction craze, glitz and sunbathing tourists is losing charm. Also (this is aside topic) re: mercenary, there are thousands in UAE since birth, who've given up better options and return or remain *home*. So, please, could you not generalize.

Guys, there were a few comments awaiting moderation that were published, however, do not show up on this post - am not sure what happened.

Anonymous said...

From here this culture angst seems like two old bald senile blokes stuggling to define a comb. No one can really say what UAE culture is, least of the Emiratis I meet. Not much of a surprise as it did not exist until 37 years ago and is struggling to assert itself beyonf its inextricable Arab identity.

For what it's worth to a non-Arabic speaking outsider (at a disadvantage already and ready for the brickbats) for UAE culture you must throw in lashings of Islam, homage to the tribal systems and traditions, mix liberally with free market economics and mad initiative drowning welfare handouts / spreading of the nation's serious wealth take your pick. Add loads of expats to do everything, extract any remaining local initiative and leave the culture to flounder looking for something conservative to hold on to or ignore.

I think the kandora and baseball cap sums it all up - a culture somewhat confused as to what it is and where it's going.

If the UAE were a person it would be a bit like an excessively rich trust fund teen. Then again there are a lot worse things to be.

...but I could be wrong

Please note - this is not meant to be seen as a blatant slag off, simply an observation made over a few years, of a country I am very happy in...mostly.

hemlock said...

khalid: ive been privileged and have had access to emiratis - which has helped me see beyond tinted range rovers =)

ABIT: you do realise i will take you up on the harees offer? im not coy when it comes to thareed/harees =D

rosh: people who consider UAE their home wouldnt crib about how things are done "back home" where they come from. i think i was referring to the
... professionals. ... they aren't quite exactly sleeping in your bed, staying at your home or eating your food. Everything has a price in the UAE/GCC/wolrd - no freebies
people who've chosen to give up their countries for tax free salaries, higher living standards, and go back "home" every "summer"

i love living in the UAE. but when i will go have my residency renewed at the end of three years, along with the blood tests and the tagging and the fingerprinting, it'll remind me not to get too complacent or take this place for granted.
if anyone chooses "home" over a "better option" guess which option seemed better to them when making that decision.

rosh said...

Hemlock: my response was to Col's *blanket* generalization. It's frustrating to read someone who've lived a few years assume all *expats* are in for comforts & cash and aren't positive.

"..people who've chosen to give up their countries for tax free salaries, higher living standards, and go back "home" every "summer".."

True. However, folks like I do the opposite. Friends and I work & live elsewhere - pay taxes, and go *home* every holiday. Don't assume all *expats* are the same, that's all am saying.

As for cribbing, I won't disagree. However, whilst you choose to see it's all negative, there are those who see some positive for the better, including local friends.

khalid said...

hemlock: again i say it will be my pleasure to show you and introduce you to our beautiful culture and humble people.

to every one else who asked repeatedly of what culture we are trying to regain and protect, i bring this to your attention

"Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate")[1] generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance.
Culture can be defined as all the ways of life including arts, beliefs and institutions of a population that are passed down from generation to generation. Culture has been called "the way of life for an entire society." As such, it includes codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, games, norms of behavior such as law and morality, and systems of belief as well as the art."

you might have realized that i have used the definition of culture from the pages of wikipedia, i do this to remind you that the meaning of such word has been defined taught and understood by everyone regardless of age race religion or ethnicity. so my question to you is.. which part of culture don't you understand? OUR culture is different to yours and the fact that we might not agree doesn't mean that I or you are wrong.

dear sirs

I don't go around to your house and tell you how to deal with your family, i wouldn't even want to involve myself with such private things unless i was asked to by you. so please don't try to tell us what we should believe in or what we should forget.
thanks for your comments anyway. we locals know what SOME of you expats think of us.

p.s i will answer the anon who wrote about our culture and country being only 37 years old after a good night sleep inshallah.
good night

Anonymous said...


God i hate him. Well, not hate... dislike. He's alot like Elvis... WAS a king at one point.

Im a huge fan of Kris Norris of Darkest Hour, Michael Amott of Arch Enemy, of course Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, James and Kirk of Metallica... back when they werent douchebags, The guys in Atreyu, As I Lay Dying... and of course... The Gods of Thunder themselves, IRON MAIDEN!!!!

Not Hendrix. *shudders*

LOL at Wael. I hope you know I didnt mean any disrespect. My fathers business partner (or 32 years) Is Lebanese, 54, and STILL wears the Fezz shirts!

My words come from a very central viewpoint. Im 1/2 American, and my fiance is half welsh. I see things from both sides, and as much as people on the many sides of this conversation would like to think that they are right... you are almost all wrong.

Whatever. Does this exchange of ideas actually contribute to anything?

Nope. Not really. The powers that be will do just that, be.

About the old guys. My late grandfather (he died 2 Ramadan's ago at the age of 96) would tell us LONG ass stories about everything. At the time we all just listened out of respect and obligation... I wish I had asked more.

Anyways, Khalid, check this site out: http://www.purevolume.com/ablessingintragedy

Anonymous said...

As for cribbing, I won't disagree. However, whilst you choose to see it's all negative, there are those who see some positive for the better, including local friends.

ONE word in that paragraph that proves you are full of... you know.

And no, I'm not telling you what it is. But you have lost any credibility and/or footing you thought you had.

psamtani said...

I am not a local, but I was born in Dubai, and was there until I was 17 years old. Without a doubt, the country needs to slow down. There was a deeper spiritual Dubai that has been completely lost to the world. My father came to the country before air conditioning, fancy cars and fancy roads.

You could still hear the Azaan five times a day from wherever you lived. People did not define their success by what they earned and you didn't need to pay 60% of your income on rent.

I was an expat myself, but not by choice, but rather by birth. It is heartbreaking to see the local culture being replaced by what is essentially Las Vegas style materialism. I live in California now, and I can say that most Americans are in fact much more down to earth and less materialistic than the majority of people who live in Dubai today. This is shocking to me, as for me Dubai was a land where you could lead a simple, happy life, stay close to your family and friends, and socialize. Now when I go back to visit all I hear about is money, money, money.

When we were kids our regular haunt was Al-Wasl park (in Satwa), and 10Dhs/week was more than enough pocket/lunch money. We knew all our neighbours, including the Arabs, and were friendly with all of them, and they with us. I pray that Dubai turns around and recognizes what it has lost. For the sake of celebrity, the city is losing its spirit.

khalid said...

blessing: thats some great guitar playing. keep it up

Mohammed said...

A question for all Emiratis;

I personally feel there should be enforcement of laws (with regards to respecting your culture) such as wearing decent clothing, drinking not allowed on Friday mornings etc.

However, I also feel that laws in cases involving loss of revenue, e.g. campaign against internet telephony, private taxis, private satellite decoders, villa sharing etc. are enforced with 100 times more enthusiasm by the authorities.

Should people depriving businesses and landlords of even more profit, be prosecuted so much more diligently than people disrespecting the culture ?

IMO, culture is as important as revenue so both should be prosecuted , in fact if a tradeoff is needed, then more effort should go towards preserving culture,as money comes and goes and comes again, but culture doesnt always return.

Do you take the same view?

Wael said...

Thanks Rosh..

I'd really like you to try it: just approach any old emirati man and greet him with a simple Salam, and you will get nothing but the sweetest smile and a discussion that will take you back in good old times!


BuJassem said...

if there was a female version of proud emirati.. i think i would be in love!

guys.. i think you need to take up a hobby.. stamp collecting.. or better still.. reading history books about this part of the world.. honestly!

BuJassem said...

imaginate.. i'd pay a lot of money if you can send me some of your excellent harees to the UK.. pleaseeeeeee

i'm seriously homesick!

BuJassem said...

Coloman.. shwy shwy 3ala Mr Rosh..he's one of the nicest guys out here.. seriously!

sometimes he writes when he's tired, and thus it can be misunderstood.. bas he's a top bloke!

salams guys

i*maginate said...

khalid bin hayder = Boudoir?

khalid said...

its bin hadher and not really boud but some how involved.

rosh said...

Khalid, my initial comment, on being more open is sort of discussed here by fellow citizens (the link is GN, hence the content has probably been massaged & edited)

There's more I can say from personal experiences, however, that's another post. This is not criticism of any sort. As someone born, raised in your country, I sincerely believe, culture, just like anything else, grows and evolves through interaction, integration and open door policy with those living amongst you. This does not imply your culture is inhospitable or cold (I've had some incredible experiences and people who shall remain with me) - perhaps, just conservative. I believe, like most communities which make up the UAE, conservative societies do not integrate beyond a point. Hence, given the above, quite honestly, slowing down growth has little to do with spreading and strengthening your culture across different communities which make up UAE today. Also, sincere apologies if this sensitive topic was taken to a slug fest of sorts.

i*maginate said...

Sorry, Khalid, mistyped.

Thanks for the response anyway.

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