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.