Monday, November 19, 2007

The public education system

The public education system is an aspect of the UAE society that I have always said needs immediate attention and a drastic overhaul that has been long overdue.

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 Locals who attend public schools are put through an outdated, inefficient system that does not provide them with the right tools and knowledge to meet the requirements of the UAE’s booming job market.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

Don't eat infront of me. Can't you respect my religion

I should have written this during Ramadan but for some reason I never got around to doing so.

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

WHAT! did this place exist back then

"So you've been here your whole life. WOW! I didn't think people came out here twenty five years ago" LOL ;-)

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

Utopia! Impossible but we can still dream about it.

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.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


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 am rather liberal in my religious views and a secularist at heart (for those ignorant people, this DOES NOT mean that I am an atheist or anti-religion). 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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And the award for the funniest joke of the year goes to...

Ladies and gentlemen.

It is my honour to present to you the winner of the funniest joke for the year 2007, Mr.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) for his hilarious article called:-

Salik System is clear success, says official

A big round of applause for the biggest joke of the year!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I wonder...hmmm

I wonder what would happen if a female Emarati married a Bangladeshi ?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Blood, Sweat and Tears

The human rights watch report on the abuses of labourers rights in Dubai provides an insight into the conditions suffered by hundreds of thousands of people. Where statistics and numbers have failed, aljazeera's documentary has managed to take it one step further by not only providing a visual representation of this injustice but, more importantly, providing a human and personal touch to it.

Part 1

Part 2

I have to say that I was really touched after seeing this.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Be Right Back=BRB

I have decided to take a bit of a break from blogging for the next few weeks. But I will be back into it within a months time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I've been tagged!

So there I am one fine sunny day, minding my own business and casually checking my blog WHEN evil rosh decides to TAG me! Now the thing is I actually didn't know what it meant until I had a look around the net. I guess I have to state my '8 simple pleasures' , so here I go:-

1) Driving off into the desert and watching some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.

2) Sitting at one of three cafes that actually serve great espressos in Dubai with a cigarette in one hand and typing away a new blog entry on my laptop with the other.

3) Walking through the old souk at Al Ras-Deira. It is the only place in Dubai that hasn't been completely transformed since my childhood.

4) Reading four different news websites every morning( BBC, Al Jazeera, GulfNews, 7 Days)
as well as the plethora of blogs that I read on daily basis. It is my equivalent to having a cup of coffee in the morning.

5) Chocolate!!!!!!! I am a self confessed chocoholic. Dubai actually has an acute shortage of places that sell exceptionally good chocolates and pastries. My favourite has to be French Bakery near defence roundabout. Amazing cakes, chocolates and icecream YUM!!

6) Dancing. People paint or sing to relax, I love dancing. I used to dance a lot more before I started working. But with the right music you can leave me all alone in the corner of a dance floor in my own 'dance bubble'. But nothing beats dancing with a girl whom you can grace the dance floor together in perfect harmony.

7) Meeting new people from different backgrounds is a necessity for me. If I am stuck with the same group of monotonous, routine, narrow-minded individuals for a significant period of time I will go insane! :-) I guess every time I do meet someone from a different culture, not only do I find it adventurous and exciting to meet someone who doesn't think like me but, more importantly, I find it extremely educational.

8) JABAL AL NOOR! they have the best juices, the funniest names for those juices and some amazing sandwiches. Amazing food for dirt cheap prices. The countless number of times we have been broke and the only thing we could afford was cafeteria food. You can never go wrong with Jabal Al Noor ( tranlated into English : Mountain of Light ahahha)

Monday, July 02, 2007

You know you lived in dubai long enough when

You know you have been here for a while:-

  1. You remember playing games in Sindbad
  2. Dixie Cola was a rival to Pepsi. In fact coke wasn't around when i was a kid.
  3. You remember Al Ghurari Centre and how it was the only shopping mall around
  4. You remember the opening of the first McDonalds at Al Ghurari Centre and the crowds that flocked to it
  5. You remember Naif as a residential area and not a 'Black Market'
  6. Trade Centre was a TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL building and could be seen from miles around
  7. Chicago Beach!! and the was stretches of open beach right next to it. Now its Jumierah Beach Hotel and the Madinat Jumeirah complex
  8. The Shindagha Tunnel would often leak and they would regularly close it down for repairs
  9. When you'd travel abroad NO ONE knew where Dubai was and you would always have to say things like: " Its next to Saudi or Iran"
  10. Sharjah was the happening city and families would go there for their parks
  11. Sharjah had that flyover right at the beginning of the city onto wahda street which would make me and my friends 'stomachs tickle' every time you would cross it. We nicknamed it 'tickle bridge'.
  12. Dubai Sharjah highway had a very famous and popular site now dwarfed by all the construction. The KFC and Hardeez restaurants which became a family hangout spot.
  13. You know you are a kid from dubai if you remember the biggest toy store back then: Dhadabai ( dunno if i got the spelling right) . There was a huge store located opposite present day Hamarain Centre/ JW Marriott.
  14. channel 33 used to air a hindi film at 10:30 on thursday nights
  15. there was a falcon roundabout just as you come out of shindagha tunnel and a flame roundabout near present Danata
  16. The expo centre in Sharjah was the most happening place in the late 70's and 80's. Everyone would come from all over to watch the circus, shop, eat, the ice creams.
  17. All the local TV channels would have "prayer intermission". A notice which would appear for a few minutes on the screen before the daily prayers.
  18. The cartoons, remember Grundaizer & Jungar and Captain Majid
  19. Sharjah fish and vegetable market pretty much remains unchanged thru the decades.
  20. Al Ain fun city was Disney land! Al Nasr Leisureland ( and you could ice skate) was next, followed by Al Jazeera Park in SHJ.
  21. Gulf News back in late 70's was in the format of today's tabloid section.
  22. Junior news and Young times? I used to love Young times!
  23. Hardrock cafe was the first and ONLY 'sky scraper' on SZR you saw when coming from Abu Dhabi
  24. The road to Abu Dhabi was two-lane and had speed humps
  25. Desert Springs Village was in the desert and had a licensed bar
  26. It took 15mins. from Deira to Safestway via Shindaga
  27. Safestway was originally called Safeway but had to change its name

Continue the list people... i will add them from the comments

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Poor thing, at her age she will become a SPINSTER!

Hmmm what should I make of this:-

"Up to 50 per cent of Emirati women face Maryam’s fate(a spinster), says Eman Abdullah, president of the International Women’s Cultural Forum in Dubai."

And the reasons for this:-
  • "Khalfan Al Mhriz, Family Counsellor at the Dubai Courts, said one solution is for women to be willing to be taken as a second wife."
  • "Raya Al Mhrzi, a sociologist in Abu Dhabi’s Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Department and a member of the Marriage Fund, blamed fairy-tale ideas about marriage.
    Women, she said, have become too demanding, and high dowries, lavish ceremonies, clothes and jewellery become prohibitive."

  • Get ready for the most ridiculous :-
    "Dr Mohammad Wafeek Eid, a psychiatrist at Al Musa Medical Centre in Dubai, said most spinsters suffer from anxiety, depression and multiple psychosomatic complaints, including headaches, epigastric disturbances, abdominal gases and discomfort. "They tend to be suspicious and they make those around them uncomfortable. They are somehow viewed as abnormal because they do not go through motherhood – spinsters are the object of social pity. They feel they are unfulfilled, incomplete," he said."

  • Almost as ridiculous as the previous one:-

    "Eman Abdullah, president of the International Women’s Cultural Forum in Dubai, said spinsterhood is a "dangerous" phenomenon.
    It waters down the Arabic language, destroys local customs and traditions and creates an unstable and unhealthy family life, she said."

OH MY GOD! Almost every single reason stated places the blame on the solely woman's shoulder. Call me a new-age-pussy-whipped-metrosexual-male version of a feminist if you want, but this is one of the most insulting articles about women I have ever read.

What about the men? To me its seems this is a classic example of a change in sociological role of the sexes, resulting from the modernisation and liberalisation of the society. Female Emarati roles have changed in society, however male Emaratis "prefer the traditional image of a housewife whose only role is to run the house, take care of her husband and children and nothing else". This is perfectly summed up by

"The marriage I want should be based on equality, understand-ing and love – something I haven’t found with the men I have met. Sumaia, 38, Emirati businesswoman"

Additionally I DETEST the word spinster. The horrible connotations attached to those words conjure up images of desperation, failure, an anomaly in society that people pity. Women do not HAVE to be married to have a successful life in a financially developed society.

And one more thing:-

"Legally, Emirati women are allowed to marry foreigners, but UAE traditions discourage them from marrying expats – only 500 Emirati women married expat men in the last seven years, according to a recent forum."

Yes that is correct. But that is ONLY 1 of the reason. If a female Emarati marries a non-Emarati:-
  • Her husband will never be granted the citizenship
  • Her children will not be granted the citizenship and will not be legally considered as Emarati
  • Her children and husband are not entitled to all the benefits of being a national.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Its an epidemic

A few months back I wrote about the intricacies of the job market in Dubai for graduates. I had a gathering a few days back with some friends from high school and everything I had said in that entry seems to have come true for most of them.

It has been almost a year since most of us have graduated, if not more. Out of 12 people there(excluding myself), only 4 of them had found full time jobs! From those four people 2 are working in the family business and the other 2 found jobs through wasta! What's even more shocking is that most of them studied at some of the top Canadian, US, UK or Australian universities.... All of them had, at some point, experienced discrimination from at least one company during the interview process.

These are people who spent their entire lives here. Yet, not a single one of them was able to find a job based on their potential and abilities.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I don't know the answer to this one

why is society so segregated based on culture and ethnicity?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I can't believe this

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of:-

"An Indian man in his early 20s, ripped open his stomach in a suicide bid after his sponsor refused to send him home."

"A case will soon be filed against Kumar for trying to commit suicide, police said."

WHAT THE????? oh well its Sharjah after all.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

I must be halucinating!

I can't believe this! After all these years of every tom, dick & harry ( in our case: Jasim, Abood, Abdulla) tell me that my views are too extreme, irrational and immpractical:-

"The demographic figures ( of UAE) alone are frightening and raise serious issues regarding national identity, citizenship, residency, multiculturalism, sustainability and, ultimately...."

"Coexistence strategy could well be a new social contract whereby the local Emirati minority willingly accept to share power with the overwhelming foreign majority.

The first step is to grant residency which will eventually lead to a permanent citizenship...........with brand new national identity that is neither Arab nor local but rather multicultural and global in essence."

Dr Jamal Al Suwaidi Director of the government-run Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR)

AMAZING... seems like i needed a PHD for people to take me seriously

Sunday, April 01, 2007

good bye everyone( April Fools)

I have had a great time writing in cyberspace and an even greater time reading your responses.
However, I have to stop writing.

An incident took place recently that involved the authorities and I have offered to end my blog in return for my safety and security. Unfortunately, I cannot elaborate on it any further.

Take care everyone.
(have a look at the comments section)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Put yourself in their shoes for a sec

OK! I have had enough! I am really fed up of ‘local-bashing’ in every single medium of communication that exists in this society.

I have nothing against serious constructive criticism being provided or engaging in a mature and respectful debate . It’s when I hear random racists outbursts which have absolutely no purpose other to incite pain and hatred and further deepen the dark and murky pool of ignorance, bigotry and prejudice that I wonder whether its just a selfish effort to empty out ones closet full of psychologically disturbed and irrational thoughts.

I have nothing against talking about what an individual perceives to be a serious issue with regards to the citizens of this land. By all means please bring them into the open so that we can recognise them and, more importantly, resolve the issues. Some readers of my blog might accuse me of being a hypocrite and claim that I am racist towards emaratis as well. I beg to differ! If you read my blog and cannot tell the difference between random rants of hate and anger and constructive criticism then there is no point in trying to argue my case ;-)

What many people don’t do is to place themselves in the other persons shoes. EMPATHY! EMPATHY! EMPATHY! EMPATHY! EMPATHY!EMPATHY!

Emaratis have a lot of issues to deal with. I of all people love pointing them out. But I don’t hate them. Half of my social network is made of emaratis.

Racism is an amalgamation of a lack of education/information and lack of desire to educate oneself.

So next time you start saying “ All emaratis are fucking lazy bastards who don’t want to work”, ask yourself: “ why is that?” And then realise that there is a difference between that statement and its much more mature minded cousin: “Why does a stereotypical emarati have a tendency to be work less than a stereotypical expatriate?”

One aggravates the blazing flame of racism. While the other has an educationally inquisitive nature which will set you on a path of cultural understanding that will dowse that blazing flame of racism within.

If you still don’t get what I am say, then I give up ;-)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Love conquers all. ( yeah right!)

Arab version of Romeo & Juliet ..... I just hope it doesn't end like the play.
I found this to be a really touching story.

Side note: can you imagine having a Gay Mardi Gras like the one in sydney in the arab world? LOOL it just cracks me up every time I try to imagine the reaction people on the street would have

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Residency Visa-Its been a while since i wrote something ;-)

Well as promised another controversial entry! To be honest, I am starting to run out of really shocking things to lambaste the conservative, artificial and controlled bubble that most people in Dubai live in. But here goes

The current system which allows non-UAE nationals to live in this country basically revolves around a sponsorship system. To those who are not familiar with this, it basically means that to live in this country you will either need to be directly or indirectly ( through your working spouse/father e.t.c) sponsored by company or UAE national. Almost all companies (except for ones based in free zones but I am not going to talk about them for the sake of simplicity) are either completely owned by UAE nationals or at least 51% of it. Your existence in this country is connected to some UAE national or another.

Furthermore, the UAE has some really ridiculously draconian laws regulating the labour market. Im not going to bother listing all of them as it will take up too much of my time(UAE Labour Laws ). To put it shortly, UAE labour laws have granted employers a metamorphic rod to whip workers in any way they please. Labour has minimal rights. They are basically slaves in the hands of their employers. Additionally, because it is a legally cumbersome effort to change your job, there is minimal labour mobility. A lot of the problems with worker not being paid for months at a time or being abused by forcing them to work in hazardous environments could be easily resolved in most other countries. You would just quit your job and go to somewhere better! Here you have to suffer through it, complain to the Labour Department and hope that someone in there wakes up on the right side of the bed and is willing to take your case (one of 100s submitted daily) seriously.

How about evolving the system?

Get rid of the sponsor system. I have seen SO MANY injustices being made due to this system.

In its place issue residency visas that last the same duration and needs to be renewed in the same way as current employment visas. The residency visa is issued by the Immigration Department and is not attached to a single company or UAE national. The Department will decide who to let into the country based on the shortage of particular labour that exists in the nation. This visa entitles you to work at any company and entitles you to full job mobility. Since we know one of the main reason we have the sponsorship system is so that this country does not have to bear with unemployment issues, the residency visa will be nullified if someone is unemployed for 6 months. Currently there is minimal unemployment in a working population of 2.7 million people ( 1.33% or 15% if compared to the UAE nationals working population of 240,000 -according to FT ). These people unemployed are only UAE nationals as any expat that is unemployed will loose their visa and either leave the country or find another job ( if they are not blacklisted!).

OK bring it on with the comments!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

HEY!! where the hell have you been?

I have to apologise to all of you if I haven't posted anything new for the past two months. what's my excuse? Basically, I have started working in a job which pretty much takes up most of my time.
I am hoping to write up some more controversial entries in the coming days

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nice Comment!!!

This is a comment made on the previous post. I just found it so fascinating that I think it deserves to be posted as an entry.

SevenSummits said...

Dear All,
Certainly Local Expat was not asking for a terminology debate and in addition I believe that his quest was indirectly quite clear. So assuming we all got the point, the second part of the question would be: Do you really tolerate an honest response?

First of all we all know about stereotypes and of course are all aware that not every UAE national "has the same character". However it is generally accepted that certain societies or nationalities have special "general characteristics", such as in development policy we can identify something like a "special African culture", certain aspects that are common to all "black" African societies in Sub Saharan Africa. (To all anthropologists - please cool down! We are not into details here) "Individualism", "existence of civil society", "gender equality", etc. are just a few keywords of this debate.

Here are just a few honest observations I made and of course these are still subject to further investigation:

First most striking aspect one will notice as a tourist:
As a typical "lonely planet" traveler, one of my favorite pastimes is to go out there and explore different cultures. The best recipe to learn and understand all those positive and negative curiosities about a different society is to mix with "locals". Now with an open mind going to e.g. Brazil, Ghana or Singapore it will take you less than 24 hours to interact with "them" and exchange your different viewpoints. In Chile you can read a huge signboard "a tourist is a friend" and it seems to be true, the average Chilean will welcome you with open arms and will proudly say: "You came such a long way to see my country?"

You will experience the exact opposite, if you will visit the UAE. The segregation aspect was already mentioned and the average tourist will certain not have any chance to get into contact with the real "locals". He/she will also not have a chance to learn and see anything about Emirati culture or find e.g. a real "Emirati cuisine" restaurant. The picture in fact is distorted and "belly dancers" as well as "shisha places" will give a completely wrong impression. On the other hand one will also get the feeling of outright "hatred", especially from local women. Honestly something I have never experienced anywhere in the world. Certainly being a tall blond German, I have received many curious and astonished stares during my travels and with a not so glorious past even had a few clashes in the States with non-forgiving Jewish citizens. (However dialog has often worked wonders)

So to answer your question: As a tourist the image of a UAE national and the culture is highly distorted. (and therefore not so positive!)

As a foreigner that has professional contact with highly educated UAE nationals (Ph.D.), I have come to the following conclusions.

Each and every "male" UAE national I encountered up to this point was very polite, friendly, considerate, helpful, etc., but even thou they stay in contact I never felt the closeness of real friendship, as I have with many other colleagues from around the world. (from Niger to Iran)
Deep inside, I feel that I am the just tolerated "foreigner" - I still need to explore this phenomenon and analyze, if this is just a general superficial attitude or a sign of serious intolerance?

However the most outstanding characteristic I noticed among UAE nationals was "the pretence" – double standards all the way. Maybe in general it can be considered a characteristic of Arab societies in general, but in a way I felt that the UAE are the hotspot of this. (Kuwaitis for example seem to be much more open minded) Maybe it is a sign of a "lost society" – a society caught between dysfunctional cultural traditions and an artificially induced modernity that did not bring the necessary socio-cultural development with it.
This notion certainly brings me directly to the next point: DENIAL!
Nowhere I heard the sentence "No, this is not true, not us" as many times as in the UAE. (Anyone who doubts this, just have a look at some of the answers to certain blogs – especially when it comes to taboo topics)
Or if it is not complete denial – we can move to "BLAME".
Another standard response in the UAE is to find someone else to blame: We all know the usual suspects – no need to go into details! I keep on being told that "the Hollywood lifestyle" …. - don't people get the message that this is just fiction, an artificial movie dream world – often sarcastic - that has nothing to do with real everyday Western life? Maybe the educational system should start to introduce the idea of "creative individual thought – to question the public opinion"

Finally "lack of curiosity" should be mentioned: When you take a longer bus trip in Peru for example and the seat next to you is empty, other customers will takes shifts to sit there and to torture you with all those questions they always wanted to find an answer to. This is good and broadens our horizon! But in the UAE people don't seem to have any questions or maybe they already have a stereotyped answer in place.

Now in the UAE you can take a bus ride (from e.g. Al-Ain to Dubai) and find interesting people to talk to from Pakistan, Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc. – they all have exiting stories to tell, just like from every taxi driver. However better not ask them this same question.

My wish would be that you guys would really mix with the rest of us. The world is more beautiful when cultures intermingle – need a proof – go to Brazil!

Emirati woman:
You would not even want to know – I am still recovering from the shock! (Will take some time!) Anyhow I don't believe that was the question and that you were referring to Emirati males.