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 ?


Anonymous said...

Dear Local Expatriate,

I have just recently found your weblog and enjoyed reading it. I have been in Dubai for about a year and will be back to my home country, Canada, in 2 months. As you mentioned in one of your posts, I could not really get to know any Emaratis ( specifically Emarati women) or their culture at all during my stay here. I have tried to know the Emarati culture by searching the web for any kind of resources but the more I searched, the less I found. I even contacted one of Emarati female blogger but nothing came out. I just feel that there is a kind of insecurity feeling in these girls towards me as an outsider woman. At the end, I approach you to see if you know any willing Emarati woman who is interested in sharing and opening the Emarati culture and thoughts with me through the Internet. I would really appreciate that.

Sarah S.

liminallounge said...

First, I too, enjoy your blog, and am glad to see you posting again. I love the title because it captures so well the experience of you and others in this world who draw on multiple cultural frames of reference simultaneously, or as they wish, making them a "local expat."

Secondly, I'd like to echo what this woman has just said about how difficult it is to meet Emiratis. I've been glad for your blog as one Emirati's thoughts. This is the first time I've moved to a country and not gotten to know the locals or had to adjust to the local culture. I would like to, but there seems to be no opportunity. Is that the way they want it or the result of simple numbers?

noora said...

I must say i enjoyed your analytical insight in this post.
"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."

I agree in general.

I am also responding to sara who commented on this post. I am an emirati lady who would love to share all kinds of thoughts about the culture. If you get to read this, or if local expat has your address, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Would love to hear from u.


Anonymous said...

Dear Noora, thank you very much for responding to me. That is great. I would send you an email pretty soon.

Dear Local Expatriate, thank you for giving me the opportunity to post a comment, almost irrelevant to the topic, in your blog. I wish you all the best and keep reading your new and old posts and comments.

God bless you,

rosh said...

It's true, what you've said. I think a few leaders can bring about a whole lot of difference.

Nice to see you back.

auditors said...

Good luck this weekend. Be sure and get the word out as often and in as many places as possible.
Dubai Auditors