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12 July, 2005

Chapter and verse

In response to Dubai police's request to tourists not to "violate the very fabric of society", a brilliant young poet offers the following verse:

I am the very model of a Dubai expat criminal
I thumb my nose at social cues, both blatant and subliminal
My fondness for a drink or two is rather undisputable
And leads me into acting in a manner quite unsuitable

I scatter hugs and kisses upon anyone deserving them
I care not for the country's norms, far less about preserving them
In taxis and on pavements I behave with impropriety
And often violate the very fabric of society

And often violate the very fabric of society
And often violate the very fabric of society
And often violate the very fabric of societiety

Labels: ,


Blogger SquirrleyMojo said...

is that a hiccup at the end?

12 July, 2005 05:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dubai's so called secretive diary,

I wonder if you are covering the stories from west when they want to ban the Islamic Hijab in their respective countries?

A tourist must behave like a tourist and respect the culture and the traditions of the country they visit! Like the Romans say: Do in rome as the Romans do! something like that.

No body expect the Tourists to wear abaya or disdasha! but ateast out of respect they must wear clothes. If you know what I mean.

PS. Try minding your teenage girls half dressed that are out in the night at the clubs and Mercato! rather than venting out your jealousy behind a pc.

12 July, 2005 12:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balushi -

No country in the West has called for the hejab to be banned outright - in France it has only been banned in schools.

12 July, 2005 14:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Says who?

12 July, 2005 14:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Says a journalist who has taken quite an interest n the progress of this debate.

If I'm wrong, I'd be very grateful if you could point out which Western countries are currently in the process of imposing an outright ban on the hejab.

12 July, 2005 15:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say...

take it easy balushi :)

no western country has banned the abaya.

on your other point, i agree, it's important that you respect the culture/traditions of the country you're visiting.

although i hate drawing analogies, but it's like when you're a guest at someone's house. you try to be a minimum inconvenience to the host.

13 July, 2005 06:34  
Blogger Mr Smith said...

I wholeheartedly agree with respecting ones surroundings, without doubt - but with regards to which females we see clubbing, isnt the comment a little bit of 'do as i say, not as i do' !

13 July, 2005 10:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol, mr. smith

13 July, 2005 10:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, if youre sick and tired of seeing a drunk (minority) of emaratis, you could always go and relocate to Saudi, where hashish is easier to find than tobacco.

13 July, 2005 13:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Author of 3rd grade level poem

If you hate Emaratis so much to spend time to write a poem lamblasting them, then maybe you should stop being a hypocrite and start packing your bags.

13 July, 2005 13:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are sick and as pathetic as your post ,at least have the decency and respect the culture and the people of your host country that is allowing you to live here and make your money, you should buy a one way ticket and leave , Will make sure that we dont have to put up with sick blogs like yours on computer screens in our country,goodbye cos this is the last we will be seeing of you.

13 July, 2005 18:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one another blog you mentioned how much you miss our late president and having not met him personally,

well i will do you a favor and send them in Abu Dhabi this poem trashing his people with your compliments .
You are probably in a coma and think you are residing in little britain.

13 July, 2005 18:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or should i have addressed you as
Miss Secret Dubai

13 July, 2005 19:17  
Blogger Brn said...

I didn't read this poem as attacking Emirati nationals but as attacking tourists who don't respect the culture. Maybe I'm the one who is misreading it though.

13 July, 2005 20:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relax guys,

First of all, Miss Secret Dubai Diary is NOT the author of that poem.

Secondly, the poem (if you can call it that) is ironic. It's a joke on the melodramatic English you get by translating from Arabic ("violate the very fabric of society" sounds like a mass raping of textiles.)

Only if the poem is taken literally, (which most second-language English-speakers will) is it offensive.

But please, fellow Emiratis, keep an open mind. You're good at that; be proud that you know their language, while they don't speak a word of ours ;)

13 July, 2005 20:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chill-out people and have sense of humor. Nobody is offending your country or your people.

Secret Dubai probably has one of the most thoughtful blogs about the UAE. Many of her/his postings are about the plight of women which we all agree needs improvement, and how impressive the young cadre of rulers are.

Besides, what is wrong with pointing out ridiculous rules. No country is immune from bad laws. I live in California and I know what bad laws/rules are all about.

13 July, 2005 20:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i might've misread..
but i read "emarati criminal" as a tourist/foreigner who doesnt live by the emirates' laws.

erm. there's no reference to emiratis themselves. anywhere.

13 July, 2005 20:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoever wrote this poem was being sarcastic as the actual meaning of it is asking the tourist to do what our guys don`t comply with ,it`s not emirati criminals who cut ques ,drink,womanize (with the ones who make themselves available),speed drive,have it their way etc. Criminals are locked behind bars. Read her blog word by word its so obvious ,there are far worse comments hidden in there.

13 July, 2005 20:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry secret Dubai

You are entitled to free speech but that does not include slandering our people.

13 July, 2005 20:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous who lives in california

what is so thoughtful about about her writing somewhere in there

professional intelligent women as opposed to stupid arab local jewellary laden housewives .

we can totally understand your malice and jealousy of our women otherwise we would have been irrelavent to you.

13 July, 2005 20:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i feel that some of you're reading too much into the poem.

//I scatter hugs and kisses upon anyone deserving them
I care not for the country's norms, far less about preserving them
In taxis and on pavements I behave with impropriety//

these are factual events that have been in the news. and it was foreigners, NOT emiratis, who were involved in each case.

the news clippings...


13 July, 2005 20:59  
Blogger Emirati said...

1. I made the origional posts, this one is not mine

"sorry secret Dubai

You are entitled to free speech but that does not include slandering our people. "

2. I ask my countrymen and women to direct their anger at the origional smart-ass writer of the poem, secretdubai did not author this poem, she only made us aware of it, which is why i think (despite her reaction to it) we should thank her

13 July, 2005 21:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

she was being sarcastic about the police too in the previous post about the police arresting the indian who was driving in a weird way, hitting flies ,as i know for sure(friend who work there) that he was totally drunk at 3 past midnight and tried to bribe the policemen , he is a wealthy businessmen.
ok secret dubai ,got the message ,everything here sucks and as you mention this is a third world country at core , DO US A FAVOR and BUTT OFF to your first world country.
Happy hunting for a job there

13 July, 2005 21:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


we ask you and others to report anything you see inappropriate about our people to the authorities or itisalat.They cant have their cake and eat it .Free speech yes, slandering us, no.

13 July, 2005 21:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

13 July, 2005 21:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not only about emiratis, i am sure there is no long lost love between them and other middleasterners either, maybe report all online insults about arabs ,arabic, islam ,traditions.........

13 July, 2005 21:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the person from california

she\he writes about how impressive the young cadre of rulers!
no wonder she calls them sheikdom cars ??????????racing down shk. zayed rd. very immpressive indeed.

13 July, 2005 21:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to: a few college students,

Name calling hardly advances dialogue and threatening to report blogger to the authority damages the perception/reputation of your country.

As someone else mentioned, Dubai Secret did not author the poem, if you can call it a poem, but merely published it on the site.

Also, if you had read thoroughly the postings on the site you would see that the amount of effort Dubai Secret put to promote local bloggers with especial encouragement and emphasis on local bloggers.

to: desetdweller

Have you read about the posting regarding both the minister of education and minster of labor? How about the official who ordered Sharjah authorities to back down on their harassment of a local reporter? All posts have had nothing but praise for these wise and smart leaders.

Lastly, I hope this does not poison the well, so speak, and exchange of idea however absurd they are would not be taken as an insult. Lets all take a deep breath

13 July, 2005 22:37  
Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl said...

if society had a strong fabric, why worry?

13 July, 2005 23:35  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Wow - I am overseas, or there would have been a speedier response.

As pointed out, I didn't write the poem, and as also pointed out, the humour is aimed more at the Khaleej Times and its bizarre hyperbolic, quaint phrasing.

I am going to edit the poem to "Dubai expat" because that is who it is really targeted at. Hopefully the author won't mind!

14 July, 2005 05:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh really california anonymous,

calling arab women stupid jewellary laden housewives is praise! or is she going to edit that post as well ! if you see it as praise then i doubt verymuch that english is your mother tongue and you are in cali.

14 July, 2005 12:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 July, 2005 12:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 July, 2005 12:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

california anonymous

I work in Dr Alkabi `s ministry of labour and i assure you that calling arabic women stupid(she must have looked it up and edited it but i printed the whole blog earlier) and the other horrible stuff about us that i read in another blog would be considered anywhere near free speech unless you version of free speech is to make fun ,joke, slander ,trash us while being guests in our country .I assure you that is not what they(officials) had in mind.

14 July, 2005 12:57  
Blogger secretdubai said...

A few repeated comments deleted ("college students" - you might have connection problems/need to browser refresh after posting).

I am surprised that out of all the zillion things I've posted in this diary, the one that people get most upset about is a satirical poem sending up a turn of phrase!

Sorry to those offended. I think your comments are interesting for people to see, for several reasons:

1. How easily things can be misinterpreted, and how quickly offence can be caused
2. How an immediate reaction is to "inform the authorities" - not all people here are ready for free speech, despite their leaders calling for it
3. Poetry appears to be more powerful than prose in stirring up emotions - good thing I'm not Shakespeare!

Thank you also very much to all those who wrote kind and supportive words here.

14 July, 2005 13:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well then ,,,,i suggest you take up our leaders call for free speech and make sure the next time you meet any to tell them what you wrote " there are intelligent women,professional women ( i suppose refering to yuor self),stupid (burqa) arab jewellary laden housewives ..."
i am sure they will be thrilled.

14 July, 2005 15:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lighten up, people - this is not a personal attack on anyone!

If you don't like what you read here, then stop logging into this blog!

One of the greatest assets that one can have is the ability to laugh - especially at oneself.

What some of you are proposing here is a form of censorship - telling someone to stop writing something on their "personal" website blog. The censorship should be a decision that you make for yourself and only you. Choose to read it or not, but there is no guarantee that everything you read will please you – on this blog, on any website, in any book, on any radio station – in any type of media where other people express their opinions.

At least acknowledge that you are privileged to have the choice - read the blog or not - because the way that Etisalat is cutting access to everything, you may not have that choice for much longer.

What would you find to complain about then?!

We all need to read and learn about positive and negative things that affect us - it's how we learn - and how we grow as human beings - not Arabs, not Westerners, not Asians - just as humans.

Secret Dubai - I guess that this is a lesson - satirical humour set to Gilbert & Sullivan's song from Pirates of Penzance does not translate well across to non-Western nationalities who know nothing about them.

For those of you who wish to read the original song - here's a link to it

At least it will show that the English are able to laugh at themselves.

If I had 1 dirham for everytime my culture was made fun of, I'd be a rich person!

But I'm richer for knowing that I can laugh at what is said, not take everything so seriously, and still have the sense to make up my own mind as to what is important to me without trying to change other people.

Grow up - your country and the world needs you to be worrying about more important things than a blog entry.

14 July, 2005 21:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok listen up people,

I am an Emirati living in the US, and I am appalled by the ignorance of some of the local posters here.

If you have a difference of opinion, that's fine. We'd all love to hear it. But for the love of God, let's stop it with these silly threats. Seriously, you're embarrassing me as a local. Some of you are beginning to sound like Americans post 9/11 (ie "If you don't like Emerica, you can giiit out").

Name me one country that ever got to the top by censoring differences of opinion... Soviet Russia? Nazi Germany?

Censorship is never the answer. EVER. So shut the hell up, grow the fuck up, and continue working on educating yourselves, instead of threatening to tell the teacher just because some Brit is being a silly wanker.

As for the expats, maybe if some of you took your heads out of your colonial asses and made a conscious effort to make friends with the "bints" and "dishdashes" of the country, you would avoid misunderstandings such as these and maybe even learn a thing or two about the country outside of "Joo-bye".

This has been Abu S3ood.

15 July, 2005 04:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

speaking of women & after reading a few snippets here and there got me wondering

what the hell is an intelligent profesional woman(like yourself) doing in the land of the stupid arab women ?
weren`t you releived to get to frankfurt airport away from the bad weather, desert, horrid driving and back to the first world.
i guess most of you like when it comes to dinning ,outing in 5 star hotels (jumeirah),living in homes ( i know one who couldnt afford an apartment in the UK) driving fancy cars ,living an exceptional lifestyle , doing your nails in wafi ,etc. but when it comes to the arabs then you hate it.

By all means dont subject yourself to this torture and be at liberty to leave.

15 July, 2005 08:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" then what would you have to complain about !"

you suggest that you live in our country , call us stupid & happy reading. Very funny!

You seem to miss the whole point which is reading this coming from someone residing here ,anyone who is living in the comforts of their homeland or elsewhere ,by all means write whatever your heart desire about us.By writing arab women stupid she is not being any better and by far setting a far worse example than those she is calling names in their own country.

15 July, 2005 16:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like all hell broke loose here , was tempted to read more,oh my what did i come up with
" the other day,,,,, a dishdash masturbating holding a bra at debenhams"

does this kind of comments really serve any purpose? dont think so.

15 July, 2005 19:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's got to be said, living abroad you always wonder at the eccentricities and the quirks and the contradictions of the culture that you're immersed in. All cultures have them - all the different Western, Asian, African, Arab, whatever cultures - and the thing that always struck me is how much I learnt about myself and my home country in the way that my cultural background and the cultural background of my hosts sparked off each other.

Because the fact of the matter is that there will always be things that take a while to understand, and there are things that will always seem alien, and the very visceral reactions that we have to things are just part of the learning process. Often those reactions can get expressed in the way that other people don't like, but at heart all they are is an attempt to understand and an attempt to extract the basic underlying truth from the situation.

So everyone's sparking off each other here and some people are evidently getting quite upset about it. There's blatantly been a misunderstanding - but the real question is: is it better to condemn and shut out the voices you don't want to hear, or is it better to listen to them and see if you learn something about yourself and about your interlocutor in the process?

On a more pragmatic note - expats in the UAE get a lot from living there, but Emiratis get a hell of a lot from the expats living there. If all the expats left, the country would have pretty major economic problems, like it or not. So perhaps it'd be worth bearing that in mind when you tell people to take it or leave it.

16 July, 2005 04:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i said it before somewhere else ,expatriates come here on specified contract as forgieners temporarily residing in the country , they are paid for their services and in many cases far more than acheivable back home especially westerners who gets put on pedestals (obviously there is a fault in the system that assumes that all westerners live like kings in their first world industrialized country which is totally untrue ).these contracts never claimed to offer them a chunck of the country or be part of it`s legislative system etc.Having said that most emirati respect foreigners working here and their efforts but sometimes some westerners are given too much leeway that they forget themselves and think they own the country or something .You knew before you came here the differences ,it`s your choice to make ,but again you come here only for the money.Free speech and criticizing certain situations and laws is totally acceptable ,like her account of the labourer who is paid peanuts to labour his life away, i work in this field and the emirati in most cases is the sponsor ,the invester running the show is asian or foriegn and ensure everything in his power to exploit his own people beginning from the recruitment agencies back in their homecountries , feeling sorry aint enough , is that the emirati people`s fault ?address it to the concerned dept.`s , perhaps westerners here or the british like yourself(who worry about human rights) could offer a tiny winy amount to fund those miserable labourers from their exorbitant packages.

Comments about stupid arab women ,burqa pornography ,srcasm about dishdash ,traditional dress, the people , their customs are tasteless ,insensetive , and inconsiderate ,they serve no purpose at all .What is supposed to be learnt from them ,these are the identity of a different nation and not bound to change.

So yes again if you dont like it leave other forgeiners who know the boundaries and limits of being in another country(as we know ours when we are abroud and see it written on immigration and visa paperwork a) can gladly fill in.

16 July, 2005 08:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


what is the misunderstanding here? generalizing & calling a whole race of arab women stupid as opposed to intelligent ,professional others like herself!
it was written in black ,i dont see any misunderstanding whatsoever.

i see many of those defending her going round the bush.

Those stupid burqa jewellary laden housewives from the gulf dont reside in britain nor are you part of their household.

may i remind you it`s you who is living here.

16 July, 2005 08:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog secretdubai, keep up the good work!
Would love to see an entry or two on the much-talked about superficiality of the people here though ;-)

16 July, 2005 11:28  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I think this is the quote people are getting their knickes in a twist about:

There is a difference between "ladies" as in women: working women, professional women, intelligent female humans, and "ladies" as in stupid, jewel-encrusted, tart-fashion-bestrewn vacuous arab housewifes.

Note that it does NOT define the professional women as expats, or non arabs. It refers to any working women. Nor do the arabs refer specifically to Gulf women. The phone was being targeted at "Arab" women by the manufacturers.

I have no problem with someone - man or woman - wanting to stay home and look after their kids. But anyone - man or woman - who stays home and has a hedonistic life of beauty salons, designer clothes, jewels, and does zero work thanks to their zillion servants and nannies (and there are plenty of paleface Jumeira Janes who fit into this category) is stupid and pointless.

Particuarly in a country where there are so many educational and employment opportunities.

So sue me. Jewel-encrusted vacuous bimbo parasites of ANY nationality - I think you are a stupid waste of space.

16 July, 2005 12:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excuse me, but you need to make your identity known and your whereabouts if you want to be sued.if you havent noticed you are a secret.

16 July, 2005 12:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i agree with you , why get all worked up about a silly british trying to vent her jealousy and frustrations (zillion nannies ,servants),you all have better things to do .

16 July, 2005 12:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brave but quite not, you are still an unknown living in dubai behind a computer screen.

16 July, 2005 13:03  
Blogger zaratul said...

Y r women wearing heat absorbing black burqas & men peaceful whites.Ever wondered.
Wats stupid in tat.............

16 July, 2005 13:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, irony and humour is wasted on Dubai.

It's a pity... for such a cosmopolitan city and one that's determined to be sophisticated, you should loosen up and learn to laugh at yourselves. Everyone's so touchy.

I agree with Secret Dubai - it's a great little ditty, one that does Gilbert and Sullivan's old Major General proud.

Kudos to Secret Dubai for one of the most interesting, well-written blogs about Dubai. If only the rest of the media was this readable.

16 July, 2005 15:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


29 July, 2005 17:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow.. _this_ is what cause all this hooya!? You've gotta be kidding me.

Hrmm.. arresting a man for kissing his girlfriend in public, but no one seems to be bothered by the prostitutes working the streets harassing those who walk by? Unbelievable. I have complained about this to the authorities on numerous occasions, but I see no action being taken...

but the Egyptian guy was ARRESTED? Jeezuz.. and he's kissing HIS GIRLFRIEND GOODBYE?! Ah, must have been the alcohol.

Quite frankly, things like that piss me off and should piss off anyone, local or not.

And to those people who think expats come here for the money and only and asking them to leave if they don't like it.. yes, absolutely. You're also forgetting as someone pointed out that without expats your very existence would not be. Tough life, eh? Let me see locals build those new interchanges on sheikh zayed road, or run the gazillion companies here.

secrety dubai diary, as others have pointed out, western-centric culturally-loaded satire will be wrongly interpreted. Since this blog is getting major exposure locally now, I would strongly suggest you place disclaimers and references to explain the cultural connections in future posts.

I used to complain about things when I was in the States and Americans used to express the same sentiment here, "if you don't like it, go home".. and my answer is, "well, the good outweighs the bad", which is the case in Dubai.

I think I'll remain anonymous for this one :)

01 August, 2005 00:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just read the entire litany on your post "Chapter and verse"..curiously I have two things on my mind after reading your post 1) Cat fight at the petrol station 2)The lady finding her husband with his Moroccan secretary...

just so i do not mis understand what were these comments defending again???

02 August, 2005 10:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Message to all that think that Dubai has a fantastic reputation overseas as a paradise of tax free living and good shopping: you're wrong.

The locals have got too confident in recent years that there will always be a stream of willing westerners wanting to come over and join the party. They've cut benefits and salaries, especially in the education and healthcare sectors. In the meantime reports of tourists being arrested for having codeine in their bloodstream really don't help. I still meet people back in the UK who like holidaying in Dubai BUT in the last year or so I've met those who seem to be aware of the place's poor human rights record and wouldnt come anywhere near it.

In response to those who are shrugging off critisism of your country from foreigners, please listen and take them in. We all have to take critisism now and again.

20 August, 2005 20:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe the post was editied before, but i dont see any hint of targeting arabs in the poem.
But yes, criticism needs to be accepted. People like to criticise others, but when it comes to themselves, they find it insulting. This attitude is damaging the arab image in Western countries. arabs are looking like illiterate people.
Emiritis need to show maturity

18 July, 2006 13:10  

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