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09 October, 2005

Strange property prophecy

Glamourous Jumeira media couple Kiki and Maurice have struggled through a hopeless home-buying quest for the past year, so it's no wonder that Kiki is starting to have nightmares. Sitting by the scented frangipanis under a sickle moon, by the flickering light of Ikea bamboo torches, Kiki reveals her dream:

"We had been invited to a glitzy, champagne event at Dubai Marina for the launch of an amazing underwater property development. It was like The Palm, but was being built under the sea - there were artists' impressions and small-scale models; it was all very beautiful. All Dubai's high society were at the launch, in ball gowns, everyone was very excited and couldn't wait to buy an underwater villa.

"Suddenly, a man's voice came over the loudspeaker: "All Dubai Property owners should go back and protect their houses."

"We knew instantly that the Dubai Revolution had begun - poorer people couldn't find anywhere to live any more, and were taking over. We rushed home - there were thousands of people in the streets - not just Asian labourers, but white, poor Europeans trying to force their way into people's homes.

"I was trying to lock the doors and windows in our villa, but this wild, tramp-like British woman with mad, bushy hair flying round her face, kept trying to get in. "We need your house because we don't have anywhere else to live!" she was shouting."


Fortunately, Kiki woke up, but the nightmare was not over: She realised that if property prices do not come down soon: "that woman will be me."

Labels: , ,

81 Comments:

Blogger 1Desi said...

Her vision is just as valid as it is hilarious! Is Kiki an alter-ego or the real deal? This post goes into my book of faves!

On a serious note, I've heard that in the past year, more people have left Dubai for Can/Aus/NZ than ever before. Some of my collegues couldn't bear the cost of living/education anymore and have moved their families back to their home countries.

I don't fancy an 'L.A. riot' taking place here but your message is loud and clear - they'd better do something about it... cause the prevelidged expats aren't - just take a look at the ridiculous cost of private schooling / healthcare/ living etc.

If only they'd open up and allow some more competition - the 'not-so-prevelidged' private sector would correct things in no-time.

09 October, 2005 09:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As with everything else about Dubai ( that word HYPE again), the scenario SD so eloquently visualised in her blog may occur sooner rather than later.

I agree with 1desi: many of my friends and their families have moved out to greener pastures. Dubai's USP and the Gulf's in general has always been an affordable lifestyle with safety , security all based on a reasonable tax free income. Well we all know thats not the case right now... If middle class people are going to have to struggle just to make ends meet and in fact take loans, use credit cards etc just to pay the bills, they may as well migrate to Aus, NZ, Can or wherever... not to say they won't struggle there.. BUT.. there is a huge difference.. they and their children CAN become citizens, they can own property ( none of this freehold/99 year lease nonsense which no one is aware of ), they'll have social security AND will be taken care after retirement.. and these are just some of the benefits which i've enumerated...

09 October, 2005 09:52  
Blogger kaya said...

OOh good one SD.Maybe we should all go back to the good old dys and live in portacabins.

09 October, 2005 09:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a semi-related note, does anyone know for sure what the law is on rental increases? I thought there was a 20% cap, but mine is going up by 25%. Anyone with any real information, please help!

09 October, 2005 10:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon at 10.22

sorry mate.. THERE IS NO LAW !

I had the same complaint , my rent has gone up 80 % in two years and when I decided to take up the fight against injustice ( silly me i know), I was quite bluntly informed that.. THERE IS NO RULE. Dubai is a free market, supply and demand , capitalism at its finest etc etc etc...

09 October, 2005 10:32  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Dubai is a free market

I can assure you that Dubai is not a free market. The position of landlord is restricted to only a handful of people, and the purchase of property is restricted to only a handful of people or a handful of places.

09 October, 2005 10:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well done Tim

I take it you didnt notice the dripping sarcasm in the post...
:)

09 October, 2005 10:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't understand the very basic factor, "Why a rent increase?" Everyone who owns is a local and the "Petro Monopoly" based on which every Gulf country is surviving has created mountains out of moles. Is there a sudden urge to buy BMW 7 series and Hummers.

I live in a one bedroom fully furnished house which I am pretty sure has been re-rented to me for 48K per annum against the actual expense of 25K per annum. Khalifa Committee in AUH is a big fake believe me 'coz I spent quite sometime to get an apartment and never did. Again the guys who do it are the locals who to my knowledge vacation 24x7. It took me over 5 months to get a letter from the sponsor for my driving license because the signatory was on an endless vacation.

i would rather pay tax than contribute to making even greater mountains out of moles. A tax structure would atleast ensure living standards of all irrespective of class or income. This non taxed income is a Myth.

SD, your posts are amazing. Wish the officials see sense in implementing the various issues and suggestions discussed here.

09 October, 2005 11:24  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

I take it you didnt notice the dripping sarcasm in the post...

Oops! Guilty as charged! Sorry!

09 October, 2005 11:37  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Is Kiki an alter-ego or the real deal?

No - she's very real. I wish I'd had a tape recorder when she told me the dream, because the way she described it was way more detailed and terrifying than I've managed to convey.

09 October, 2005 11:44  
Anonymous el condo said...

To Anon at 10:22....

Yes there is a law, and you are literally GUARANTEED redressal. The cap is 20%, as you have stated.

All you have to do is approach the Rent Committee at Dubai Municipality, and file a complaint. You rent will be immediately frozen at the existing level until disposal of the case. The Rent Committe will in no way allow an increase of over 20%, provided you are continuing in the same premises.

All those whom I know who approached the Rent Commtittee can testify to this. Also, a Rent Committee official said this to my colleague who went there: "We basically exist to protect the rights of the tenant, not those of the landlord. As long as you come here, you can be virtually certain that the case will be decided in your favour." (Not the exact same words, but basically that.)

So Anon, I advise you to waste no time and approach the Rent Committee. (P. S. There is no sarcasm in this post, and I hope I have not given inaccurate information. If you like you could get their phone number from the phone book and check with them first.)

All the best and apologies for any E&O's.

09 October, 2005 12:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will the powers that be see what everyone else seems to be rudely aware of?

When are they ever going to do something about it?

Is this a grand plan to force people into buying freehold property rather than paying affordable rent?

Are the authorities aware of the mass migration out of the Emirates, or the just don't give a s@#t?

Could this be a way of getting rid of lower income expats and pave the way for a society for the rich and famous ( like say ... Monaco )?

What the hell is going on in the Emirates ??

Surely the stock market is a relatively new concept to this part of the world, But on what basis does the market grow at a ridiculous and unrealistic margins ?

The generally accepted theory of " what goes up must come down" works for alot of things ... Will it work on the boom in Dubai ?? And if so .. any ideas when ??

So many questions ?????

So few answers .....

What happened to the Emirates ?? and when exactly did it happen ??

09 October, 2005 12:04  
Anonymous julia said...

Ahhh…the more I read the posts, the more I think these sheikhs are such geniuses. They have done this in, like past 30 years? All the flashy buildings are built by cheap foreign labors, most investment money also come from foreigners…and the local UAE people just getting richer and richer with vacations all the time, when foreigners can not even buy their lands. Emirate Airline is getting awards all the time, flying all the tourists who are eager to drop their currencies so the locals get free phone call, education, healthcare, etc. The Dubai sheikhs are smart cookies!

09 October, 2005 12:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes there is RENT COMMITEE.. and yes they will listen to your grievances and yes they may 'freeze' your rent at the existing rate. BUT........

After all this do you seriously think your landlord/real estate agent is going to just take things lying down. your leaking tap will take weeks to fix, your plumbing will go down the drain quite literally, your electicity connection maybe cut off ( GOD FORBID, but it has happened). you will face an increase in 'maintenance fees' which by the way are supposed to take care of all the above...and you may even be forced to pay the rent in ONE CHEQUE payment.

however as el condo says.. give it a try... one never knows ! good luck !

09 October, 2005 12:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is true that they are trying to drive less priviledged out of country to make the land more exclusive. Consider the fact there is no youth hostel in Dubai

09 October, 2005 12:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To El Condo...(this is anon at 10:22)...I took your advice just now and called the rental committee and I asked a local lawyer (the one and only Dr. Habib Al Mulla) and the rental committee said there is NO law or decree of a 20% cap and Al Mulla agreed. So it is unfortunately all a freaking lie...they can raise my 45% if they desire....The person you mentioned...any chance you could give me his name? I would love to speak to someone who did have some satisfaction with DM and find out how they did it!

09 October, 2005 12:41  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

All the flashy buildings are built by cheap foreign labors, most investment money also come from foreigners…and the local UAE people just getting richer and richer with vacations all the time, when foreigners can not even buy their lands.

True, but their actions are far from that of genius. They are losing control of their country, being so completely reliant on outside personnel for pretty much everything. The demographics are stacked against them, and it there is going to come a time when all of this becomes unstuck, especially when you consider the amount of outside investment Dubai requires to keep itself going.

09 October, 2005 13:33  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

@anon: Consider the fact there is no youth hostel in Dubai

There is actually, it's up near the Police HQ...

09 October, 2005 13:42  
Blogger black feline said...

this is a free market at its purest! basically its demand and supply..im not the least bit perturbed...let the british lady lives in the dormitory for a change..

09 October, 2005 14:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black feline: I am not British, but boy that's classy. I would live in a dormitory in a heartbeat if it were large enough to accomodate my husband and coming baby. DO you have the phone number of said dorm?

09 October, 2005 15:15  
Blogger waterboy said...

Tim,


True, but their actions are far from that of genius. They are losing control of their country, being so completely reliant on outside personnel for pretty much everything. The demographics are stacked against them, and it there is going to come a time when all of this becomes unstuck, especially when you consider the amount of outside investment Dubai requires to keep itself going.


That's what the Emiratisation policy is for. The looks increasingly to be one of crowbarring Emiratis in at the middle management level until such time that the education system starts producing locals with the kinds of skills that multinationals want. Once the education system starts churning skilled locals out, I'd fully expect the market to suddenly become a lot less liberal - Emiratisation quotas will increase, and the costs of hiring skilled workers from abroad will increase. So quite a lot of these multinationals which have put their MENA HQs in Dubai are going to find their MENA ops run by locals.

In essence, the public sector is in the process of outsourcing its rentier clientelist model. I'm not saying that it's necessarily a bad thing, but it's never made explicit.

09 October, 2005 15:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is "rentier clientelist model"?

09 October, 2005 16:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai..a good old fashioned 'gold-rush' town.

What are those towns in the old West called now?

..ghost towns

09 October, 2005 19:08  
Anonymous mohamed Elzubeir said...

For those with rent issues, I have gone through the entire ordeal with the Rent Committee and have documented in 4 installments:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Keep in mind that there ARE no rules. You are likely to get a rent freeze but there are no guarantees. There are considerable fees to pay (3.5% of annual contract + fees) when lodging a complaint. And yes, you will piss off the landlord quite a bit. Hope the above links help.

09 October, 2005 23:26  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Anon 9:52 and Julia have it nailed.

I am an expat brat who grew up here and loves the UAE but I kind of wonder these days why I choose to stay here instead of going back to Canada (especially when so many people are gagging to get in there).

Used to count the advanttages/reasons for being here on two hands, now it's down to sun-shines-all-year since my formerly OK-new-car is all dented up form door dings and sits in 1st in traffic 80 percent of the time slowly gathering huge commuting milage (alas I am not into high society like SD:) ). Added irony: I hardly ever make it to the beach.


So I worked hard, finally found the right job in a great company in Dubai (still an 80% slime ratio as far as companies here go - and both my previous jobs were in Brit companies!). Am earning OK now but I'm more miserable in the UAE now than when I was a fresh grad 3 years ago on 6k and sharing a flat etc.

I think my sentimental country loyalties may be tragically cross wired. Life is good here as long as you're spending but nobody cries if you vanish after 20 years with nothing.



PS I really wonder how families can possibly survive here and save anything with 20k+ per child per year for school fees in an average cost (GEMS or Choueifat etc) school.

PPS The Golden Expat Days are defenitely over (unless you own your own business and can successfully exploit others)...now you are lucky to leave here with your shirt and your sanity.


///end bummer

10 October, 2005 01:12  
Blogger black feline said...

to the non british:

try al quoz industrial park..it's walk-in..each room is big enough to take in 10 persons..unless you have a giant for a baby..toilet and kitchen..communal. All my workers..from bangladesh, india and china have no qualm at all..going to Bur Dubai..bus number 12X...only 2.5Dhm..check it out! Oh..all rooms are ACed.

10 October, 2005 07:29  
Blogger black feline said...

Karama is another good location to rent a sizable one room unit...with kitchen, living space, a room, bathroom...and a nice balcony..it's only about 1500 dhm per month...make 2 checks payment for the 1st year..it's all about network and connection..so stop whinging..

10 October, 2005 07:39  
Blogger The Lady said...

A lot you are missing the fact that as many people as there departing these sunny shores, there's a truckload more of unwary new expats coming in.

And so the Dub-town circle of life continues...

10 October, 2005 07:50  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

That's what the Emiratisation policy is for.

Which is going to fail in exactly the same way the Saudification and Omanification and Kuwaitisation projects did or are doing. Crowbarring locals into jobs they don't want in the first place achieves nothing positive.

10 October, 2005 09:28  
Blogger KJ said...

In sept the rent of our apt was increased from Dhs33000 to 40000 & now in oct again to Dhs 45000!!!!!
How can we stop this madness!!!

10 October, 2005 11:00  
Blogger black feline said...

kj,

think out of the box..downgrade to dormitory..OR ship out..you cant have the cake and eat it

10 October, 2005 12:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although Blackfeline was a little crass in his/her comments, they are basically correct. NO ONE CAN STOP THE CURRENT 'BOOM', whether you can consider it ARTIFICIAL or REAL.

DUBAI is marketing itself as a 'destination of dreams'

a few points to note...

You are not paying rent just to live in dubai.- RATHER "you are buying a product to enhance your reputation of living in one of the safest ( hardly any crime is there?) fastest( err possibly said tongue in cheek but you know what i mean), most cosmopolitan cities in the world"

If you decide to invest your hard earned savings in real estate-have no fear " you are fulfilling a life long dream of owning quality accomadation , with a residence visa albeit one renewable every 3 yrs and can live in it unchallenged for 99 years "


You are not paying extra for gas/ petrol. - rather "you are powering your car or 4 x 4 with liquid gold and should be proud and thankful that you've been given such an opportunity to drive in such a fantastic network of roads and bylanes at a speed of 20kms /hr on a good day"


If you have children and they are of educating age, have no fear. you can get a high quality eduction paying fees which would make a normal person in another place question your sanity. But what do they know? Besides Degrees here are recognised (???!!?) all over the world.. really they are !!

If you still feel the above lifestyle does'nt suit you, just wait for a few years until all the mega construction projects come up, the streets become one huge car park and a normal first grader expenses will exceed your monthly salary.... still by that time you'll be able to take said first grader to DubaiLand to see the dinosaurs or the skislopes at the Mall of the Emirates... silver linings everywhere !

cheers !

10 October, 2005 12:26  
Blogger black feline said...

thank u for the expansion..absolutely correct..crass and brevity will be my new mission.
Really...thru my observation..most of the expats here are spoilt and wimps..u dont see those construction workers screaming and beating their chests over trivial matters when they have all the right to do so given their circumstances..i think we are pathetic ...ask yourself.. eating lesser steak for a week..is it going to kill u?... come on..get real..Dubai or any of the emirates DO NOT owes u or me a living!No one points a gun at your numbskull to come over here...and i dont think it's goin to make any difference to the policy makers here with all your tantrums and threats to call for an exodus from this place...u have it so good..for too long.

10 October, 2005 12:43  
Blogger Jassim said...

"How can we stop this madness"

Do what the indians did. Block Shk Zayed Rd. Imagine seeing 3 or 4 hundred europeans americans etc protesting at high rents and bringing traffic to a stop on shk zayed rd?

It will be very humilitaing for this Emirate coz it could make the international news and force the Govt to stop the landlords increasing rent.

But really i'm joking. Coz non of you would ever do it coz u have to much pride. Plus westerners expats especially europeans, love to bitch and moan and write blogs and articles and sit in coffee groups and book clubs and bars and complain about 'arabs this', 'UAE that' and then after go home to their nice villas and appartment and watch tv and continue to live a nice life but with high rents.. because they have to much pride to go on the street or to the muincipalites and protest and complain face to face.

They just bitch and moan, bitch and moan 'Dubai this' and 'Locals that'..and it goes on and on and nothing changes *yawwwns*

khaleejiONE.BLOGSPOT.com

10 October, 2005 12:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that idea! I am American and we love to protest. And besides that, we have no pride. I would do it in a heartbeat, especially if it means I don't have to drive home in my 1996 Polo to my tiny studio apartment in Karama and watch my 13-inch TV with no satellite. LOCAL HERO and BLACK FELINE...STOP generalizing about us! Oh, and PS...Obviously not all of us only complain about Arabs...they happen to be the only men I like to date!

10 October, 2005 12:59  
Blogger black feline said...

what have i done?well...if u are willing to change your mindset and lifestyle..that's a good sign...God bless u..and im sure your mummy will be very happy that her prayers are answered.And..i suppose sex is colourless..opposite attracts..which is perfectly normal..thru the ages...and in this cosmopolitan global village..an eskimo marrying a New Yorker..what's new? ..nothing to brag about..

10 October, 2005 13:11  
Anonymous candy popper said...

Anon @ 12:59:
You like to date Arab men?

Erm...WHY???

10 October, 2005 13:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Feline, you are becoming incoherent now.

I think its time for your medication. Hurry up now !

10 October, 2005 13:14  
Blogger black feline said...

thank you...and after u.

10 October, 2005 13:18  
Blogger black feline said...

candy,
its pretty obvious...written all over the walls..sexual.

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

I like dating Arab men I suppose because they are sooo different from American men. For example, they open the door for women. They usually pay for dates or they will at least offer to pay. American men RARELY pay for any of the woman's portion. Dates are always split 50-50. So it's a nice change. Also, I find that Western men are less sexual than Arab men. The Arab men I have dated are so sexually charged and I have to admit they are simply better lovers. I should clarify, however, I have only dated 4 Arab men (one Egyptian, one Emirati, one Iraqi and one Bahraini).

10 October, 2005 13:27  
Blogger black feline said...

BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 October, 2005 13:28  
Blogger Jassim said...

@ anonymous who only likes arab men

Phew, I am so glad you are a female *wipes sweat from his brow*

10 October, 2005 13:35  
Anonymous candy popper said...

Damn...you're a bit of the village bicycle, aren't ya?

Furthermore, why do I have so much trouble believing you are, as you say, an American? Must be your interesting disposition.

10 October, 2005 13:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Village bicycle? I have no idea what that means, although I think I can figure it out. So having dated four different men over the last four years makes me some kind of slut. Ok, whatever. I guess I am a slut then. Why don't you think I am American? I was born and raised there...lived there for over 25 years. And left because I could not take it anymore.

10 October, 2005 13:54  
Blogger Garthicus said...

Well, my wife and I left after 2 years, back to Ireland and I can honestly say that we haven't regretted it one bit. Sure we miss Lifco delievering the paper and cans of coke and the cheap taxies. And sure we miss tax free salary. But what use is tax free salary when the bit that would have been taxed is going on rent??? My landlord pulled some mean stunts on us before we left, one being not returning our cheques (even though we gave him 1 months notice) , then bouncing one and deducting DHS500 for the privilage AND never returning our deposit as he knew we were in a rush to get the cheque and purposely took his time. I am now calling him from Ireland looking for the money and he is practically laughing at me. B$£%rd!! It's not the money, it's the principle, it's better off in my pocket than his.

Anyhow, that's just one of the many many many things I don't miss, the whole UNCERTAINTY of the law, what you are due, what you are not due. I think that some day, some how that the huge bubble is going to burst and I'll be laughing....

Anyhow, off to the pub now, might just stop in the shop and buy a copy of playboy, read it on the street with a can of beer in my hand, get a McPork from McDonalds and make a quick phone call to Israel... Ciao!

10 October, 2005 13:59  
Anonymous candy popper said...

Honey, I never said you were a slut, but proclaiming to the world the ethnicities of various men you have been with, doesn't do you any favors.

As for the expression, you may need to rent out Austin Powers again.

10 October, 2005 14:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what if I have named the nationalities of four of the men I have dated...No favors? Sorry I just don't get what you mean. With whom am I trying to curry favor? I was honestly answering your question about why I like Arab men. Why did you ask if you didn't want to hear my answer? Austin Powers huh? I see you have excellent movie-viewing taste. That just got your name stricken from my oh-so-long potential date list.

10 October, 2005 14:11  
Anonymous candy popper said...

That just got your name stricken from my oh-so-long potential date list

That works for me, as:
a. I'm not Arab; and
b. I'm not a lesbian (or did the name not give it away?)

This has now turned lame, so let's not waste any more space on SD's blog eh.

10 October, 2005 14:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your forgot:

c. You have no sense of humor.

10 October, 2005 14:23  
Blogger PurpleBrain said...

Back to the point (sort of) there was an article in 7Days back in July/August where someone (Minister, Ministry, Committee or otherwise) announced a cap on rent increases at 20%. I wish I had kept the article, perhaps it is still accessible on their website?

It is also true to say that if you successfully challenge your landlord and get your increase reduced or reversed they can add 'Not Renewable' to your contract so you are out after the term of the contract. This means the landlord can charge what he wants to a new tenant and you, as a new tenant elsewhere, get to pay a huge rent as well as moving costs.

10 October, 2005 14:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

It would be interesting to know where the "Glamourous Jumeira media couple Kiki and Maurice" live back home?
Do they live in a Villa? Castle? Detached? Flat in Mayfair? Townhouse in Wilmslow?

And there was this bloke from Gillette in Isleworth who was posted in Dubai and he stayed in a villa as a change from his semi back home, he and his wife ate steak each day which they cannot afford back home, the first dinner they attended was a laugh with his wife wearing weird open shoes and some kind of gown, he bought a Nikon, an automatic Beemer and a 42inch plasma screen.

Two years later they were transferred back to Isleworth. They cried on the plane until it landed in Heathrow.

Why don't you ouesterners just admit it that you never EVER had it so good and will never dream to have it so good.

Ouesterner working in Dubai are split in two types:
1- The educated professional mature person with top credentials and top pay.
2- The reject who cannot find a proper job back home who is either single or with wife and baby, with a taste for the Irish Village and a four wheel drive to go chase the sand and the barbies.

It is the latter who bless this type of sites, the poor bugger who thinks he/she knows it all because of the colour of their skin and come here to dispense their insufferable drivel.

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

Purplebrain, I too remember the 20% cap dealio. But alas, it has been abolished. I was told this yesterday by the lawyer who heads up thw DFSA, plus the rental dispute committee at DM. So, it is true. They can hike it up as much as they want, full stop.

10 October, 2005 15:11  
Blogger The Lady said...

and yet once again, my dear SD, it has come down to race...

how truly sad.

10 October, 2005 15:12  
Blogger sandsOfTime said...

Yikes SD! The comments here are developing such a sharp, biting edge. With regards to rents, I encourage you to read the latest edition of Arabies Trends magazine currently on sale as they have an excellent article on the property market in Dubai and why rents have remained so high. To the woman who dated four arab men, good on you. I have an American girl friend whom I adore and will eventually marry.

10 October, 2005 15:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Sandsoftime...Arab men are the best! Funny you mention the Arabies Trends article as I honestly just read it yesterday...good insight there.

10 October, 2005 15:16  
Blogger secretdubai said...

It would be interesting to know where the "Glamourous Jumeira media couple Kiki and Maurice" live back home?

They live in a 15th century chateau in the Loire, with sizeable estates in Tuscany, Northumberland, and the Scottish Highlands. They have a small but stylish pied-a-terre in Manhattan, apartments in London and Paris, but I have a feeling they recently sold the Malibu penthouse as the private island in the Bahamas enjoys a better climate.

;)

10 October, 2005 15:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mohammed Elzubeir: I just read your experience with DM. GEEEZZUS. It sounds like it was really worth it. I have a question though...what was the increase you were fighting? Also, I noticed your episode was in 2004. I honestly think the rules are now in favor of the landlord, right?

10 October, 2005 15:57  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Why don't you ouesterners just admit it that you never EVER had it so good and will never dream to have it so good.

Probably because Westerners have had it so good, and will do so again. Western expats have lived the life of Reilly in dozens of places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei before these places became more expensive and modernised and they came to Dubai.

Dubai was simply the next place on the list for an easy life, lots of opportunities, tax free salary, and cheap living, and those times are coming to an end with the development of the city, as it did in Singapore and Hong Kong.

All most Western expats will do is clear off to the next place such as Baku, Almaty, Doha, Kuwait until such time that those places become intolerable and they find somewhere else.

Economic immigrants have always played an enormous part in the development of a city, and it is true to say that many move on once the city has reached a certain level of development.

I for one haven't got too much interest in sticking round Dubai if the economic climate changes against me. Sure the climate is okay and it's kinda fun to live here and the standard of living is miles better than I had at home, but there are plenty of other places besides Dubai where I could get this.

10 October, 2005 16:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

Naaah,

SD said:
"They live in a 15th century chateau in the Loire, with sizeable estates in Tuscany, Northumberland, and the Scottish Highlands. They have a small but stylish pied-a-terre in Manhattan, apartments in London and Paris, but I have a feeling they recently sold the Malibu penthouse as the private island in the Bahamas enjoys a better climate.
"


Nahhh, if they don't have the Updown Court in Surrey.
Then they are just working class rif-rafs.

10 October, 2005 17:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon1: so why do U hang around online with the rifraff then biach?

10 October, 2005 17:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? If they(Kiki and her hus)have all these properties, they would not be complaining about the rent increse! I think they rather own one nice but simple apartment back home...but SD has very nice ideas of where to buy properties. She can certainly be a travel writer.

10 October, 2005 18:06  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Well thanks above anon chav for proving Anon1's point for him :p

I think that encouraging accountability, meritocracy, fairness and, yes, a decent quality of life for everybody, both expat and non expat alike, is in the country's long term interests.

Otherwise the people determining Dubai's future will increasingly be a bunch of short term focused, callous, come and go and get rich quick opportunists who won't give a toss about contributing anything good to the host country at all.

In 50 years these 10-20 boom years will seem like nothing but what is around here 50 years from now is largely shaped by people's attitudes today and what they leave behind. If the good people are forced out by booming costs of living, then what is the incentive for excellence and what are the chances that the future UAE will be any good if it isn't built on a solid foundation?

10 October, 2005 18:07  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I think they rather own one nice but simple apartment back home...

Sadly... speaking 100% truthfully here... they don't own anything. Hence the nightmarish struggle to get on the property ladder.

10 October, 2005 20:11  
Blogger Balushi said...

the dooms day is comning nearby and you guys are wasting time on the internet!

I am going to playing football now, I will come back later

10 October, 2005 21:40  
Blogger Balushi said...

ok nobodys wants to play with me tonite!

Well for your topic secy, I think u must remove that Word verification thingy as many good posters can post becoz of that!

10 October, 2005 22:20  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I think u must remove that Word verification thingy as many good posters can post becoz of that!

Spammers can't post because of it. Any humans clever enough to read, write and type should be able to manage it ;)

10 October, 2005 22:54  
Blogger black feline said...

with such names: kiki and maurice..i really doubt their claim..living in a chateau..sure..and a cellar with 5000 bottles of wine dating back to the 15th century..come on..get a life! sista SD...pardon me...dont mean to patronise..but with your intelligence..u sound like licking up to this pair of baron/baroness from space!

11 October, 2005 07:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, 50 years from now ...

All that is being built now will crumble. How do I know? It is crumbling already, after one year!

Luxurious properties? Marble sink counter is not luxury. Plastic entrance door to 10000 sqft house is not luxury. Peeking into your neigbour's bedroom is not luxury. Getting stuck in traffic if you want to get a newspaper is not luxury.

All the money we are paying now will be either spent in a new pyramidal scheme developments or sitting in some tax haven bank generating interest.

Maybe only the rich will be here ... but who is going to clean and collect the garbage?

I propose a new spelling for the place we are in: DoBuy

DoBuy knows what it does. If you are not a part of the slave manual labour force, you have to pay. If you can't pay, bye.

And to all the racially biased people here: this place will change when your passport stops being the only qualification you need. Sadly, that is never going to happen. Profession? Ha!

As the Irishmen recently said: yes, I will gladly go home to my one bedroom appartment, because I will be able to WALK to the shop, get my papers, WALK to work, meet friends, go to a proper theatre, see a good exhibition, pop in on family (if they still remember me), won't have AC, will keep my windows open without a ton of sand getting in, work and play to live.

Not live to work and pay.

DoBuy, good luck.

11 October, 2005 08:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Feline: What planet are you from? You have absolutely no capacity for sussing out a joke, do you?

11 October, 2005 09:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual this well written blog has degenerated into an us vs them, east vs west, blue vs white, westerner vs local vs asian etc etc etc.. SPAT.

It's quite clear that the recent changes to Dubai's socio-economic landscape is hurting 90% of the population whether local or expat. Yes not all locals live in villas , drive Beemers or Cayennes and own million dollar turnover businesses. and YES quite a few of them are dismayed at the changes taking place in Dubai. However while the transient expat population has the choice to leave , what choice do these locals have?
something to chew on perhaps...

11 October, 2005 11:16  
Blogger black feline said...

anonymous,

im from planet earth..which shithole r u from

11 October, 2005 12:31  
Blogger desertblog said...

Black feline I believe you missed the crucial last line of SD's post detailing Kiki and Maurice's property interests.

;)

11 October, 2005 16:07  
Blogger black feline said...

so I got a A-..shoot me!

12 October, 2005 08:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone read about the DAMAC chiefs quote in the Gulf News? He compares Dubai to Hong Kong, L.A, Singapore....hahahahah. Dream on dude. Dig up on the history of these nations!!!

12 October, 2005 10:12  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

However while the transient expat population has the choice to leave , what choice do these locals have?

Without a system of democracy in place, sadly very little.

12 October, 2005 10:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon @ 10.12

last time I checked LA was'nt a nation. As far as history is concenrned modern HK and Singapore are relatively 19-20th century creations as well.

Dubai aspires to be like those cities and certainly is moving forward at breakneck speed towards supposed 'utopia'

the question here though is " utopia for whom?"

12 October, 2005 11:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

utopia for....mmmm...money droppers who love to have fun, I suspect.

12 October, 2005 19:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of economic immigrants...it's true that as life here starts to defeat the purpose of being here some of us will move away, either back home or to some new 'up-and-coming' location that can offer what Dubai used to.

I'm british arab. I'm here because I believe in reversing the brain drain from the middle east and I wanted to move to an open society that could meet my professional and personal tastes. If I had the option I would be in Syria, or Iraq, or Palestine, but for one reason or another I can't.

Relative to other Arab countries Dubai has developed and advanced incredibly and it's an open society that does what it has to embrace the globalised era.

There's corruption here sure, but you can't find a place on earth, east or west, where there isn't. As an arab it's not as blatant here as say, Cairo, where a traffic policeman will literally halt mid-day traffic, walk up to the nearest car and demand a drink and a cigarette from the driver.

There's a road infrastructure here that's incredible. ok it's log-jammed but that's because when they built it they weren't expecting anything near the success they've had in developing the city, and at least they're quickly and proactively doing something about it. One single roundabout in Damascus has absorbed four years of construction work to build an underpass and it's not yet finished. When public funds are skimmed by public representatives till there's nothing left to pay with, what do you expect? Incidentally Britain isn't a shining example of efficiency, as much as I love London what the hell can get done with workers taking tea breaks every five minutes? If that's what riles you then I suggest moving to Germany or Japan, their efficiency is second to none.

Ok rents are sky-rocketing. It's because landlords know that when Jumeirah Beach Residence completes construction supply will ease demand and rents will decrease (at least for flats across the city). They're simply trying to make as much money as they can now because they know they can't later. There's no formal cap on rent reviews because the authorities are trying to create a free market economy and they're leaving it up to supply and demand to determine your rent, but you can breathe a sigh of relief if you're living in an apartment, you won't be complaining so much in a year from now, if you live in a villa, give it about two. And so what that the property boom will bust? The market's cyclical and the city's planning on sticking around for a good long time.

Don't get me wrong I'm no advocate of day to day life in Dubai. Traffic sucks and one of my favourite gripes is that we come to Dubai for a better quality of life but we end up working so hard that all the spoils of Dubai can't really be enjoyed. Tourists reap all the benefit but for those of us actually contributing to this city's development it's mainly 'look but don't touch'. I can't remember the last time i managed to go to the beach but working till past midnight seems to be a regular thing.


There are legitimate criticisms of Dubai though.

Racial inequality - I'm a british born syrian so I guess I have it easy. Brits (westerners) have it on a silver platter, arabs (non-GCC) have to earn it, asians sweat bullets just to climb out of the scrapheap.

dirty driving habits - hey if a speed hero is trying to force you out of the fast lane and you're already doing the speed limit, don't move!!

laziness - emiratisation is the right of the people when they're demographically dwarfed by expats...that's fair. But if they're given a mid-management job, can't get laid off for underperforming, and are privately wealthy, what's going to motivate them to acheive real success?

The list goes on. At the end of the day nobody's pointing a gun to our heads...we're each here for our own reasons. I'm no fan of the cliché that if you don't like it leave, but i'm sure that if you don't you will pack your bags of your own choice anyway.


Personally I hope some other arab governments and societies can look at what Dubai's managed to acheive and take notes.

02 November, 2005 10:13  
Anonymous Mz. Sydney said...

Dear All, I have read top to bottom & you all have given great insite to this very interesting world. Makes me think very carefully about the job offer currently on the table. Rent however is always high in any big City, question is, what is the cost of food? Thank you for the fine read and loved the 4 men & a bicycle story, how did that get sooo off the track. Amazing that I can sit here in Sydney & view into your lives for a flicker in time. Best wishes to your community. Char

25 November, 2005 13:36  
Anonymous Dubai Property said...

I'm thinking about going to Dubai and now I'm looking for information about this city and this country. I found much useful information about life in Dubai. Very nice blog.

23 August, 2007 12:47  

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