Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Saturday, March 20, 2010
My blog has not been updated in a long time. It's pretty much dead. Sort of like how I feel some days.
In July it will be exactly 4 years since I graduated from University and came back to Dubai. I have exhaustively analysed my time here. Evaluated all my options . Hell I have even tried mediating on it to see what my 'inner spirit' might be telling me. Unfortunately, they all seem to lead to one conclusion.
I must leave!
I have made up my mind. Dubai might feel like home. I might want it to be my home. But the city doesn't want me. The country doesn't care about people like me.
I need to move to a place where I have rights. Where I can secure my future. Where I can settle down and start a family.
Bye bye Dubai. I hate to admit but I have given up on you. Sad thing is you never gave a damn about me. It took me this long to realize it.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
" But!! People will come while the money is flowing. Once an economic depression sets in ( and that is bound to happen
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My oh my have you changed. There is not a single aspect of you that has remained the same. You have mushroomed from a little town into a major international city. In the process you have lost your identity and character. Worst of all you have lost your soul. You are just an amalgamation of concrete, roads and hordes of people eager to make their fortune in this land.
You have lost touch with the people who truly care about you. The sons and daughters of this city. They have now joined the rest of the people in this city spell struck by money and blinded by the chance of making it big in the fastest growing city in the world. But step back and think about what you are doing to yourself Dubai. You are blasting ahead in the name of success and progress but oblivious to the things that are being neglected. Or maybe its just me. Maybe I have lost touch with you; with my home. For each day that passes you feel, sound and look less familiar and more distant. I feel I have lost my connection with you.
Am I the only localexpat that feels like this or are there other localexpat(people who grew up here) who feel the same?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
The chill out month.
That is what I call it. And I am not referring to month long stay in Amsterdam 'chilling out’ at their ‘Herbal Cafes’. I am obviously referring to Ramadan. This is a month where every thing gets chilled out. Your work, your social activities, your daily routines even your driving. I sure do enjoy the atmosphere .
It is month when people are that extra bit more charitable. When spirituality momentarily overtakes materialism in peoples lives. When people spend more time among family and friends. And it’s also a time when shisha cafes make a fortune off people like me who spend countless hours after iftar smoking their lungs into oblivion J
But it is also a month of hypocrisy.
I see it everywhere I look. Among friends, family and colleagues. It is a month where most people also become that extra bit more religious or conscious of religion to be precise. I know many people who live a very liberal life throughout the year. Engaging in all sorts of activities that are considered to be forbidden in Islam: Drinking, clubbing, not praying, engaging in sexual activities e.t.c. Then the holy month starts and initiates a complete transformation in people’s behaviour. I know people who only for the month of Ramadan they :-
- Stop drinking from 40 days before Ramadan and then have a reservation ready at Trilogy (a nightclub in Dubai ) for the first day after the end of ramada.
- Decide not to have sex with their partners during the holy month. Some even go to the extent of not having any form of physical intimacy with their partners.
- Give up listening to ‘western music’ and viewing ‘corrupting shows’ on TV and focusing on Quran recitals.
- Wear the Hijab.
- Pray regularly ( 5 times a day)
- Donate to charity
The piety list goes on and on and on. The remarkable thing is not the nature or the intention of the act, but its duration. And the blatant hypocrisy I see. Personally I an atheist and rather liberal in my religious views and a secularist at heart. What I am advocating is not an orthodox extremist view that would require people to maintain their religious fervour throughout the year. Nor am I advocating the opposite extreme end of the spectrum: not participating in any rituals of organised religion.
Choice and consistency.
If you want to practice your religion you are free to do so as long as you are not physically or mentally hurting others. Your level of devoutness is your own choice. Whether you go to a mosque 5 times a day or a brothel 5 times a day, I have no right to judge which is more excessive. You choose. And whatever you choose, be consistent. What is the point of giving up drinking or wearing the hijab just for one month. Keep drinking. You will never see a devout Muslim taking a off their hijab just for a month to go clubbing with you. If you don’t want to drink for a single month out of fear of insulting god, then what about the other 11 months of the year? You really think he wouldn't notice?
Don’t change your behaviour, either way, just for a month. Chose and be consistent.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Depression can affect most of us. It strikes when you least expected it. You probably don't even realise that you are going through it for a while. For some of us the only time we get any attention is when people finally hear our cry for help.
The cry may be a cut, a wound, a jump or drowning your sorrows in a handful of medication. But worst of all its how Middle Eastern society treats you. How you become stigmatised and branded for the rest of your life. How society judges you to be a danger to your self and every one around you. As if once you go crazy, you will never go back.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can penetrate the over enveloping darkness and reach for the flickering light in the distance until eventually radiates and douses you with a warm glow that brushes away all the pain and sorrow. The hardest part reaching out for it.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
STOP destroying the very soul of the city.
STOP tearing down all my memories
STOP demolishing all my past
Why do you have to change every single part of the city? Leave me something that I can connect with. Something that I can relate to.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Saturday, May 03, 2008
I arrived eager and full of optimism. At peace that I was finally home. Adamant that I will make it my home. Hopeful that I will be permitted to consider it my home. Keen to start a new career in the most dynamic city in the world. Excited to be in a land where anything seemed possible. Where no idea seemed too audacious and no feat was unachievable. A place where I could make something out of my life.
When I look at how far I have come from stepping off that plane and walking through Dubai airport, and how much of my expectations have come true, I have to admit that I am left utterly and thoroughly disappointed. Two years down the line and I haven't achieved a lot of the goals I had set myself. Mind you, my life isn't a living nightmare nor am I hungry and homeless. But I feel like I am running out of steam; tired of trying to establish a life here. I guess Dubai is not everyone's cup of tea. Even if you lived your entire life in it.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I’m tired of being treated like an illegal alien.
Unwanted and unappreciated.
Put through shit just to sort out my visa, just because of the nationality stated on my passport!
Paid less than others just purely due my nationality.
Considered an unwelcome temporary worker.
I am fed up of trying to cement my future in a land which will never recognise my rights.
I am starting to seriously reconsider my decision to come back ‘home’.
I am just so tired of trying to be recognised... Maybe I should pack my bags and leave.......
Friday, March 28, 2008
"Fitna is a film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Dutch parliament. The movie offers a critical view of Islam and the Koran. The name comes from the Arabic word fitna which is used to describe "disagreement and division among people", or a "test of faith in times of trial"." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitna_(film)
For those of you not familiar with the issue, Wilders has caused a huge international controversy with an apparent attempt at insulting the entire Islamic world with this movie that he just released on the web a few hours ago. Having watched it online, I honestly don't see what is the big issue.
Why don't we in this part of the world just ignore this person by not getting angry at such petty attempts to ridicule a religion? To insult someone, it is not the act itself that instigates it but the persons perception of that act, ie it is you who is getting insulted and not the person insulting you. Why don't we just view this as an attempt by a lone soldier trying to bring down the entire army of Islam? Is the Islamic world so weak in their beliefs and values that a 15 minute video could put a scratch on centuries of Islamic culture, heritage and civilization?
It really doesn’t matter whether you agree with Wilders views or not. As Evelyn Hall said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
Monday, March 24, 2008
That is a question that I am asked quite frequently by people and I also often ask myself. It usually ignites a long heated debated that rarely comes up with a clear answer. Then again, such a question cannot be answered in a simple sentence. Or can it?
I still clearly remember how on family holidays in Europe most people had no idea where Dubai or the UAE was. We would usually resort to mentioning its more famous neighbouring countries when questioned on its geographical location (mind you, mentioning countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia doesn’t always give people in Europe a good first impression). This is referring to the mid 90s and not a bygone era! Having witnessed its transformation from a small town into a major metropolitan city I have come up with multiple, complimentary factors that have catapulted Dubai into the international limelight. However, I personally believe that two factors stand out from the rest.
The UAE has stayed out of the international tit-for-tat bickering that have consumed most of the Arab world’s resources. Their efforts are introverted and focused on economic expansion and development. They are not infatuated with petty international political rhetoric typical of most Arab governments. They mind their own business and are more worried about the things going on in their backyard rather than being preoccupied with what’s going on over the fence.
Even more crucial than this is its miniscule local population that have lessened the social issues that have overwhelmed all other Arab countries. After all, looking after two children is a lot easier than taking care of twenty ?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A little poetry ?
“Where are you from?”
I come from a place so hypocritical but mine
A place where life was built on a desert of ghosts
Where I used to run free on a clean clear beach
And go camping in lonely mountains under the stars
My childhood memories no longer exist
They are but a dream to a place I cannot claim as mine
This little city, so small which I could hold in my baby hand
Has been snatched away from me in a sweep of pathetic modernization
“But this is my home!” my ears burn and my voice yells
So why is it fair to look at me like an ignorant tourist?
A westerner so easily fooled to believe this place is first world!
Money is your only right here and that is all
I have been disowned by a home which was never mine
An international airport for business matters only
In the past, everywhere I would look, peaceful, quiet spaces
Now all I see are buildings, injustice and superficial faces
Thanks Anonymous January 20,2008 10:51Am
Monday, November 19, 2007
Most people have no idea about what goes on in the public schools here. The list of the system’s shortcomings is so long that I don’t even know where to being. To summarise:-
- Most schools lack adequate, modern facilities. E.g., labs, computer equipment, sport facilities e.t.c .
- The curriculum is still based on the rote learning and memorising with hardly any emphasis on critical thought and understanding.
- The teachers are not trained and updated on the latest teaching methods.
- The teachers are salaries are terribly low. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
- The system is not structured in order to output students that are suited to job market requirements. This is a big factor in why many expats view locals as incompetent, lazy workers.
To give you a picture of how poor the standards are, I clearly remember a friend of mine who graduated from a public high school in Dubai and then went on to the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) to study finance. HCT is a government funded and organised tertiary education institution serving the local population. During that time I was in my final years of schooling and I had chosen Economics as one of my subjects in A’ levels ( the British high school system). What was thought to my friend in his 1st year economics subjects at university, was covered in my final years of high school!!
This entire unemployment issue among locals and the resultant emiratisation drive, could be have been reduced if a proactive approach had been taken. Locals who attend public schools are put through an outdated, inefficient system that does not provide them with the right tools and knowledge to meet the requirements of the UAE’s booming job market. I’m just glad that Shiekh Mo has finally addressed this by ordering a complete revamp of the Ministry of Education and the curriculum. Better late than never!
Monday, October 29, 2007
When I was too young to fast my mother/aunt/grandmother would prepare my meals for me and chase me around the house in an attempt to make me eat my lunch/breakfast etc. But once we were outside before iftar I was continuously reminded that I should not eat in public for my actions will insult others who are fasting. If this confuses a child then you can imagine how as an adult I am still perplexed!
Why is it illegal to eat in public during Ramadan? More importantly, is there any mention in the Holy Scriptures regarding this restriction? I have been through the Quran and the Hadith ( sahih bukhari) but I still haven't found any references to this. If I have missed something PLEASE do refer me to the right sections/paragraph/text/book.
Are peoples faith so brittle that they will be tempted to break their fast just because someone else is eating in front of them? Is the mother that prepares lunch and breakfast for her children tempted to break her fast? Definitely not.
Will fasting be an impossible feat to achieve if people ate in public? Then the millions of Muslims in India, Europe, North America who do not have this luxury must have thrown in the towel.
Is the act of consuming food during daylight hours really an attempt to mock a Muslim's efforts and entice them to succumb to their basic instinct to eat?
Or is it a way to control the masses and ensure that Islamic principles are adhered to and that deviance from it does not manifest itself on a macro level?
I am still confused!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
That is pretty much the reaction most people I meet through work have when I tell them how long I've been here. On a corporate level it fascinates me that an outright majority of people I interact with have moved here within the past few years. But the funniest is when they talk about the good old days of late 90s. I just crack up and laugh when they think that was a long time ago and how they know how the 'real' Dubai was like loool.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Dubai has, what I think, the highest concentration of half-castes anywhere in the world. I do apologise if any of you got offended by the term half-caste, it was only recently that I found out that I could be considered as a derogatory term. But I have never considered to be so and in fact did not know of any other words that I could use. This is one indication of the multi-ethnic aspect of the city. This characteristic of the society is also extended to the dating scene. In school, and even now, I knew a lot of people who were dating someone who are not from a similar backgrounds, be it religion, nationality, ethnicity or a combination of them. Personally, I have never dated someone from similar scio-ethnic backgrounds.
Some end in a break up and some eventuates into a marriage. But what do you think would happen if we spice up this typical scene. What if a female emeriti were to date a Subcon. What if, they wanted to get married? I asked the same question in a previous entry but here is one response from moviemania, a female Emarit blogger, on her blog:-
.....we were just discussing this and my mom said mixed culture marriages never work.
"Well, they are difficult, but I mean.. It's easier if an Eastern person marries someone from another Eastern culture. Like, I could marry an Indian person, I don't see their culture as too different from ours." I added.
"What? No, never! I would never allow that to happen! Indian? Are you kidding! They're different!" my mom snapped back.
In fact this behaviour, albeit it a xenophobic, is not limited to one ethnic group. I have notice a similar pattern across the sociological divide in Dubai. This conflict seems to extend from the cultural gap that exists between the generations: Parents who moved here decades ago and their localexpat children. These kids, just like me, have probably attended an ethnically diverse school where in some cases you had students from over 50 nationalities attending the school. I still remember how race and ethnicity had a small influence on who you would date (or wanted to date) at school. The main factor was ‘’popularity’’ and “coolness’’, typical of most high school kids around the world ;-) Growing up in such an environment has left its mark on me even to this day. I have rarely considered race, ethnicity, skin colour or religion to be an issue when selecting my dates, friends, colleagues or any individual that I have to interact with.
Mind you, I am not ignorant of the fact that culture and background does have a significant influence on the relationship between people. But what it shouldn’t do is be the sole determinant or as one of my friends put it: The filter. The vast majority of people have a filtering system whereby they prejudicially filter people they interact into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘like’ and dislike’(also called negative stereotyping). Here is a scenario typical of numerous companies in UAE:-
- At work
Assistant 1:Hey, I just got this application for the vacancy we have in the office should I show it to the boss
Assistant 2: They meet the criteria?
Assistant 1 : To me he does.
Assistant 2: Where is he from?
Assistant 1: Syrian.
Assistant 2: Oh don’t bother. You know that the first thing he will consider is the nationality and then reject the application without even bothering with his qualifications just because he can’t stand Syrians.
As much as I recognise how ubiquitous prejudice and negative stereotyping is among all cultures of the world, I can’t help but hope and believe that this should not be the case. I believe that prejudice and negative stereotyping should not play a role in forming first impressions or relationships. I hope that this will be so.
Because even I recognise that what I am preaching is truly unattainable.