Saturday, September 27, 2008

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Dubai oh Dubai...

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

Our Special Ramadan Offers

Is it me or has Ramadan become too commercialised this year?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Here we go all over again

Thought I'd repost something I wrote about Ramadan last year, as it is applicable to ever Ramadan I have been through.

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

The black dog

'The Black Dog' is what Winston Churchill called. It is dark, hollow, tragic, mysterious, crippling but worst of all its soulless.

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

Back to looking for work!

Why is it so hard to find a job in a boom town?

Is it because of my education, personality, nationality, skin colour, age or is it just that I don't know the right people???

Saturday, May 03, 2008


It is really strange how time changes so many things. I look back at my life upon returning to the UAE and fast forward almost 2 years to the present. A lot has changed.

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

Maybe i should just leave??????

I’m tired.

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’. Maybe all these people who keep saying ‘ if you don’t like it just leave’ do have a point.

I am just so tired of trying to be recognised... Maybe I should pack my bags and leave.......

Truth is ... there is nothing...

I am an atheist and ‘my god’ does it feel so good to finally say it. ;-)

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"."

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

What has made Dubai into such a major Arab and international city ?

"What has made Dubai into such a major Arab and international city ?"

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

Anonymous Poetry

A few lines left as an anonymous comment to this post

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