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01 November, 2005

Dreaming of Dubai

"A benevolent state police society" - Gulf News' Nicholas Coates' verdict on the sandlands in the BBC2 documentary Dubai Dreams. Other members of the editorial team echo his view:

"Here, journalists walk a tightrope."
"Dubai is not a democracy and there is strong control of the media."
"Toe the line, don't think you're in the West."
"We are aware of the social ills that exist, but we perhaps don't tackle them with the zest and gusto that a western paper would."


In the first episode, Dubai is seen through the eyes of expat snapper Paul Velasquez, who frets over the dire quality of various photos of "front page sheikhs" sent by UAE state news agency WAM, which Gulf News feels compelled to run:

"Technically it's terrible: bad quality, badly shot, amateur."

As he tussles with various authorities while trying to snap camels, the Burj, royal palaces and labourers, Paul admits he's "more bitter" and disillusioned than he was when he first arrived:

"It's not really a melting pot... it's like it's a pot, but there's not much melting going on."

Labels: ,

113 Comments:

Blogger Minkey Chief said...

I take it this didn't air/isn't going to air in Dubai?

01 November, 2005 04:02  
Blogger BuJ said...

My friend just saw this program (in the UK) and he was shocked. I think his reaction was quite negative. I would too if the first thing they show on Gulf News's Friday magazine is Beckham bending it with some women...

This is shown on BBC2 which is a local TV channel to the UK. I doubt you can get it in Dubai on sattelite. However try the beeb's website as you might be able to download it.

SD.. welcome back!

01 November, 2005 04:14  
Blogger Riddle Of The Sand said...

Yet another skewed view of the ME ?

01 November, 2005 04:21  
Blogger samuraisam said...

to get photographs of camels is easy, just look like a tourist, and go at 5 am in the morning. i got a large stash of photos of slaves riding camels as you can see from the banner on my site.

it is entertaining to go to any shopping centre and have the fat security guard start waddling towards you;
"you do not have permission to be here"
"well how come the tourists are allowed cameras"
usually ends there...

01 November, 2005 07:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt this will be aired in Dubai.

Also where is Nicolas Coates? He normally would come on to give his views every morning on Dubai Eye 103.80 firstly during 'THE GOOD LIFE' which was an abject dire programme except for Mr Coates'and more recently on 'Speak Easy' which is by far a much better show. Then suddenly one day Nanette wished him Goodbye... has he left, been replaced, because of controversy???

01 November, 2005 12:13  
Blogger samuraisam said...

iirc he got fired or quit or something after a disagreement with management, they covered it in 7days. i think it was either him or someone else, it happened quite recently, he dissed the management or something on air, and the radio cut off and pan flute music (the kind they play when someone dies) was heard for the next day.

It could've been someone else though, so dont quote me

01 November, 2005 13:30  
Blogger Emirati said...

While the west can go around bombing other countries, killing scientists to shut them up and blowing up iraqi civilians without a word by the puppet BBC, we are however subjected to what seems to be a concerted british media campaign against us.

01 November, 2005 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again.

Any criticism or points made about the Middle East are always twisted around.

Well done emirati. Keep up the us and them attitude. Yep the Middle East is perfect and the west is wrong. Sorry oh mighty one.

01 November, 2005 13:50  
Blogger Emirati said...

sod off anonymous. before you call me a hypocrite read my blog you child.

The fact remains that one too many british television station has aired programs lambasting dubai and costing it dearly in tourist dollars. when it comes to the west or east asia, they only skim into the good. When you are given a tour of paris it is never of the ghettos or the crime ridden areas or those areas which the government would not want you to see. However when it comes to dubai thats almost all you get to see. Every sinlge western documentary or commentary about dubai has always been pessimistic.

did any of those bastards in the BBC try to address the south thailand issue and the issue about the thai government massacring civilians in any of their documentaries about thailand ? of course not.

01 November, 2005 13:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll find they cover that stuff in the everyday news as well. Hmmm there appeared to be a riot in Paris which was all over the BBC today and yesterday.

Oh and some stuff called bird flu all over south east Asia which might just affect their tourism. But the poor old UAE is the only country getting negative coverage.

The BBC regularly criticises the UK, Europe, and countries all over the world in its documentaries.

Tell me which bit of the quotes shown are wrong Emirati?

01 November, 2005 14:21  
Blogger Emirati said...

Daily news is different than concerted dedicated programs daily news is universal because youre reporting an occurance a documentary reorganizes information and comes with a clean message. Ive yet to see any negative western documentaries about western countries.

When it comes to dubai though, its a manner of "sure ABC is nice, but we have the problem XYZ" instead of the reverse you are left with a feeling of pessimism

Something is also to the liking of westerners with regards to arabs, notice how popular the religious policemans blog is for its Self destructive criticism and overindulgence in scandal, something westerners who live here love to hear more than anything. Could this possibly be a subconcious thing that the arab is desert scum and we shall reveal him as such

How about a positive documentary about the UAEs massive foreign relief programs ? Or maybe Sheikh zayeds good with regards to his people. Oh wait that violates the fascist police state stereotype that you people have convinently built for yourself.

01 November, 2005 14:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Emirati,
not quite sure why you think it is unfair that tourists are being alerted to the fact that they will probably end up in an hotel overlooking a building site? If you went to the UK would you want to stay next to a noisy building site that operates half the night - I think not.
Annoyed expat who thinks many Emiratis might benefit from having a more balanced view of the world

01 November, 2005 14:37  
Blogger Emirati said...

Do you think its fair when an Emarati Tourist goes to London only to get mugged and beaten up ? Its part of the life there, get used to it.

I dont mind alerting them, but do not portray this place as bad and a despot zone and that this is being done intentionally. there also should be some inquiry about the hotel you decide to stay in. When i travel I always have someone check out the rooms or the lcoation of the hotel for me, and I dont end up like this of course.

More balanced ? compared to who ? Compared to you lot?

01 November, 2005 14:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emirati - ask anyone who works in the media. Arab, Western, Indian - whether there is a free press, and whether there is horrific self censorship or whether it is indeed a (benevolent) police state.

They'll tell you (even the Emirati ones) yes.

As I said earlier, the BBC makes countless documentaries about the problems of life in the UK, life in typical European tourist resorts, the problems of life in the US, or wherever. You just don't hear about them because they don't mention Dubai.

As for why they did it. Well, Dubai sets itself up as a target because of its saturation selling of it as some kind of perfect haven.

I like Dubai, but I also don't walk around with my eyes closed. Every big city has serious problems, Dubai is no different.

If you want the plaudits, you have to take the brickbats. And every person - including you - is entitled to have an opinion. I'm sure Shaikh Mo is taking it in his stride, so should you.

01 November, 2005 14:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emirati, have some sympathy with your point of view - the Arab world has rarely been accurately reported in the West. But as someone who stays very in touch with UK TV, I have to refute at least one of your claims. Some of the most negative reporting in the BBC these days is not about the Arab World but about the US. BBC reporting of the Gulf War was regarded throughout the world as being balanced and fair, something which actually brought them into conflict with the UK government. Blair even attacked BBC coverage of the Katrina Hurricane as being "full of hate" 8http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4257190.stm)for the US.

Accepting or rationally debating criticsim of your own country needs to be done quietly and sensibly, don't make the mistake of totally identifying with where you come from. Don't get too sensitive. Those of us who live in the Emirates and love the life know that negative points will turn into positive ones over time, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be mentioned.

On your point about the loss of tourist revenues in the UK, hard to take that one seriously really. Put it this way - a few tourists from the UAE refusing to buy plastic copies of Big Ben down the Edgeware Road will probably worry Britain a lot less than the withdrawal of British custom for Dubai's booming property sector will worry Emiratis. After all, property-rich and property-hungry Britons form a large percentage of the market in Dubai.

Lastly, it might be sensible to watch the programme before commenting.

01 November, 2005 15:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"After all, property-rich and property-hungry Britons form a large percentage of the market in Dubai."

You got to be kidding, Brits probably arent even 1% of the buyers in the local property market. Maybe 5 of your mates bought a villa in the springs so you think that.....

For far too long Brits (whingeing POMS) have had far too much influence in this country while being only a small part of the population. Thank god there is a bigger influx of western expats from other regions that are more appreciative of foreign cultures and willing to mix.

01 November, 2005 15:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon1

What a waste of TV license money.

At least the producer and his team had a nice holiday in Dubai courtesy of the British taxpayer. And for what? for a 30mn infodoc about dissing again Dubai.

So what did we learn from the program?
1- South African photographers have ponytail when they hit early 40's
2- Media is under gvt control
3- Camels and children jockeys
4- Uhhh. Gulf News
5- Uhhh. Gulf News Editor
6- Uhhh, Gulf News again
7- Ahhh. Bekham on front page. Yeah baby, this needs an editorial meeting to discuss the subject. Good thing they did not go into an extraordinary board meeting as well.

For crying out loud. Any cretinous moron can produce a better infodoc.

What is the message of this stupid plotless putrid program?

Is it one week in the sorry life of senile Paul Velasquez with a ponytail?

Come on BBC get a grip and stop wasting taxpayer money.

Oh. I almost forgot. It is a six part series.

Pass da buckets.

01 November, 2005 18:17  
Blogger sandsOfTime said...

Emirati, as a fellow national I can see your point of view. However, I am actually encouraged by the negative press we have been getting because it means our profile has risen high enough that we actually merit attention. Lets face it, we do have restrictions on the press (which seems to be easing), we do have problems with human trafficking and money laundering, we do have problems with labor abuses, we have environmental problems due to all the massive construction, we have demographic problems. We are a people and country in transition, and change is always ugly in the beginning. But in the long run, we will benefit from the fact that our problems are no longer brushed under the carpet and instead faced head on. Thank God Emirati that we do have good leadership to lead us through this period of change, just look at our neighbors to the North and South of our borders to see the alternative.

01 November, 2005 20:07  
Anonymous Sandinista said...

Emirati, you do seem to have an enormous chip on that shoulder of yours. Or is it some sort of inferiority complex?

Either way, there's no reason for this sort of 'human rights abuse' to be swept under the carpet. When you have workers striking just to get what they're owed (around 200 bucks a month), it's absolutely pitiful - sickening, in fact.

01 November, 2005 21:02  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

While I don't agree wholeheartedly with Emirati, I do see where he is coming from. Indians have long been used to photographers and TV people coming in from abroad and pointing lenses straight at the slums and the dirtiest places they can find, pretty much ignoring all the rest. Yes, there's poverty, yes there are slums, yes there are armless people begging on the streets, but why not point at least some of those cameras at the good bits?

An example: you almost never see a snake charmer in India today, but so many documentaries hunt one down and devote breathless minutes to him. It's a cheap way out, you're cashing in on the exotic, affirming the stereotypical images, ignoring everything that contradicts what you'd chosen to portray.

I've worked in the media in Dubai and what many of you seem to be missing is that things have improved so much in the last one or two years. Gulf News has actually run some pretty hard-hitting stories - several of them have criticised government policy. Soft sections of the paper used to be so careful about showing alcohol and skin, they've all relaxed a little.

Okay, so it isn't free-speech heaven, but how about recognising that Dubai has taken two or three big steps towards thinking about getting on the road to it?

Has this documentary inserted itself into Dubai today and compared what it sees with a Western ideal? Or has it come in and followed the changes in freedom of expression in the last few years? Whichever it has chosen is a valid route, but surely you can see why the first route would annoy anybody who is excited by Dubai's rate of change for the better?

01 November, 2005 21:29  
Blogger Emirati said...

now first of all no one has a chip on their shoulder. I certainly do not want anything swept under the carpet because that is counterproductive. drop the hostility because it is also counterproductive.

Yes, I do want these problems solved and Bringing some nagging South Afrikaner with a Pony tail will certainly not solve that. What the Journalists need to do is to be more daring, and they wont because theyre all afraid for some reason.

If this punk actually gave a hell about free speech, he would be advocating it himself in his work. No you will not be jailed. Self Censorship is something the government is trying to fight actually its encouraging people to be far more critical about things.

And journalists will be protected. Remember the incident in Sharjah ? Sheikh Saif personally intervened when 2 gulf news journalists were arrested there and ordered them out, he also ordered a Shakedown of the involved factions which lead to his arrest.

I doubt that stupid biased and uninformed documentary covered that.

What this punk is doing, is trying to make some popularity for himself. He is jumping on a bandwagon.

With regards to his job, he is just afraid of being fired as are most of the people who practice journalism here, they care not about free speech or journalism, they care about just keeping their jobs and that, my friends shows you that the pursuit of free press has always taken a back seat to the pursuit of wealth and that when push comes to shove journalists will abandon freedom of speech faster than rats abandoning a sinking ship.

01 November, 2005 22:51  
Blogger Emirati said...

Now if were going to begin to talk about solutions, its going to have to be one which has had a long time coming.

What we need to do is to begin to Emiratise the Writing Staff of the local papers. We have plenty of highly educated highly competent nationals here that would be able to write articles without any fear at all. No one at all can take a heavy handed approach with us. Now the question is are those newspapers ready to accept them ? Are those journalists ready to give up their jobs ?

01 November, 2005 23:02  
Blogger sandsOfTime said...

Emirati, already happening. One of my colleagues has two national daughters working in Gulf News as reporters. I know that there is alot of interest among nationals studying in AUS (American University of Sharjah)in entering journalism (and would like to add that their english is excellent).

01 November, 2005 23:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emirati,

I think you're missing the real reason that the press tends to pick up on negative stories from the Middle East. Journalists don't need to "expose" Dubai's accomplisments -- The Dubai government and tourist board are doing a brilliant job of that already.

Good journalists are a contrary breed. They are trained to be most interested in whatever it is that you don't want to talk about. All good PR people know that the best way to handle a PR crisis is to get all the ugly details out in the open as fast as possible. Journalists quickly lose interest when you've nothing to hide -- there's no story for them to uncover. If, however, you're evasive and try to hide things, they won't leave you alone.

When any country -- in the Middle East or elsewhere -- attempts to control the press, it's just an invitation for those journalists who can't or won't be controlled to write the very stories that the government doesn't want to read. That's not "Western bias," that's human nature.

02 November, 2005 01:11  
Blogger BuJ said...

Some very interesting views here, although it would be great if people stopped using "Anonymous" and use a more unique identifier because it's manifest that there are more than one of you.

Keep it going!

02 November, 2005 03:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who wants westerners in thier country anyway, look at what they do to other poeple, this a blessing in disguise

02 November, 2005 05:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emirati, I work in the media here and would LOVE to have an Emirati on staff. However, THEY DON'T APPLY. In all my years here, we've not had one single Emirati apply for a writing position. Most likely it's because journalists don't make shit for salary. From what I understand, educated Emiratis will always go for the money jobs.

US journo working in local media

02 November, 2005 09:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We have plenty of highly educated highly competent nationals here"


Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

- TP

02 November, 2005 10:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Self Censorship is something the government is trying to fight actually its encouraging people to be far more critical about things.
And journalists will be protected. "

To an extent, Emirati, but only to an extent. The government - both Dubai and Abu Dhabi - says it wants an atmosphere of open media. But only if the media remains under control. As soon as journalists turn even the lightest fire on the government, especially institutions related to the Dubai government, they are on shaky ground. All sorts of threats - personal or commercial will then come raining down. Frredom to create, yes, but only if one contributes to the great marketing effort.

- A. Hack

02 November, 2005 12:04  
Anonymous Webmaster said...

A question to the Emiratis ( quite a valid one especially today)

Given the vast discrepancies between the private sector and public sector considering salaries, perks, public holidays etc, do you think young Emiratis will want to join the private sector?

A classic example being a 5 day holiday declared for Eid Al Fitr for the Govt sector and a 2 day holiday for the private sector which is rendered redundant because the second day is anyway a Friday.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not critising the difference, all i'm asking is what young locals think about this?

I work in the Jebel Ali Free zone and for my company govt holidays are just like holidays for us.. why you may ask? well operation wise, nothing can be done, ports, customs etc are closed.. so what exactly is the point of me coming to work??? ( besides contributing this weblog i mean :)
Eid Mubarak to you all

02 November, 2005 12:05  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

ok heres the thing. What I find quite sad through the interacting comments in this post and various others is that alot of people continuously show a high level of xenophobia which really reflects the situation in Dubai. Someone once told me that Dubai is not realy a melting pot, its a tossed salad. Think about it. You go to the US you gotta must embrace some american culture, you go the france, brazil, japan, england, egypt etc same story. Now how much is a different question. But the reality is when anybody moves here, they almost have to make no changes at all. Lets stop calling locals lazy at work/heroes on tar, lets stop calling anglo saxons snoby white people who are here for the money, lets stop calling sub conts dumb and illiterate, lets stop calling lebanese fake showoffs living beyond their means. Our expectation of our selves should impede us from making such obscene and unhealthy generaliztions. I think this city is beautiful, I also think this city as many problems, but were here and its home. Should we not contribute to its growth? its only 50 years old, so the best is yet to come. But the most important thing is for us to accept each other, stop stereotyping and lose the insecure defensive and offensiveness only then will this city develop a unique identity that we will all be able to relate to.

02 November, 2005 12:06  
Blogger A Yahya said...

@ the smart primate. Finally some optimism. So tired of the constant bigotry against the Locals and other groups and this country(sometimes its tongue-in-cheek but most times its just bitter stereotyping).

The UAE is very young and still trying to find its way, so people stop knocking this place and its people!

Its very easy to complain because anyone can be a critic, but I bet half of you groaners couldnt even offer any solutions. I personally think there is alot of jealousy going on and people dont like the rate of progress occuring here.

Critism is a healthy thing, unconstructive critism is not. If this place is so bad and the people are so mean then you can always go home, please just leave. You will be easily replaced. If HOWEVER you want to stay, then how about opening your mind by making an effort to integrate. I dont want to sound cheesy but everyone needs to try this. Experience has shown me that most stereotypes and pre-conceptions of a race or social group of people can be destroyed ONCE you get to know individuals from that group oneONone.

02 November, 2005 12:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you intellectual primate.. however there's one HUGE HUGE Difference.

Even with the new freehold/residency rules, very few.. a miniscule minority lets say see this as a PERMANENT place of abode. most view either as a working jaunt which will last for a few years or as a step towards permanent migration to USA/UK/AUS/NZ.

so the reasons you mention to integrate are'nt really a necessity. let's take the simple case of 'learning arabic' in schools. Children question why they have to learn ( and in such a terrible way too) when THEY KNOW FOR A FACT that their language skills hardly improve , its just a matter of passing to get through to the next grade and finally they will hardly use it in later life where they go to study/settle down

02 November, 2005 12:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear Hear

-TP

02 November, 2005 12:45  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

Nomaadic, you've made valid points, but dont you think its time people stopped waving the 'if you dont like it leave and you will be replaced' phrase? How will Dubai ever attract quality people if they are snubbed right off the plane as exchangable?

Anyonymous, to a certain extent you are right. Alot of people who move to Dubai dont settle in Dubai. The challenge is to make them stay. To make this city flourish and nourish them. We lack much in Dubai, but as I've been branded the optimist (touche nomaadic) we can achieve much as well. What this city lacks is not vision but rather the execution of such a great vision.

02 November, 2005 13:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IP .. whilst I agree with you that the challenge is "to make them stay" ... that does sound utopian does'nt it? given the glaring inequalities between local vs arab expat vs white vs brown..in terms of everything from social standing to individual freedoms to personal worth ... and i've not even started on the regular price hikes of everything right from food to rent to petrol to basic consumer necessities.. all this mind you without a modicum of social security or EVEN job security even for all the expats.. why would they stay??


having been here for the last 11 years, i'll raise my hands and wholeheartedly agree that Dubai has improved in many ways.. but has actually gone backwards in many ways as well.. there is less of cordiality, there is less social awareness, there is hardly any civility in daily life. children hardly have any open spaces to play. people hardly have places to park their cars.

it's easy to say ... let us all make sure that we improve, but will the system allow us?

02 November, 2005 14:10  
Blogger nonpretender said...

Melting pot, hardly! I came here a year ago and have never felt more disillusioned.

02 November, 2005 14:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disillusioned? How? In what way? What did you expect? Dubai is just a city like anywhere else in the world. Why do people think it's supposed to be utopia?

--US expat

02 November, 2005 14:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

because dubai relentlessly markets itself as utopia, a cosmopolitan, melting pot - the so-called city that cares.
it isn't

02 November, 2005 14:58  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

The UAE generally and Dubai specifically is quite a unique model. It is not too advanced so that the rest of the middle east/arab world or what have to relate to it and it is advanced enough for the west to relate to it as well.

anonymous, there is much where dubai is yet to make strides at. Dubai is yet to address many issues:
improve its healthcare and educational system.
Address hte issue of the bidoons (those with no nationalities living in satwa and qusais.
Develop a Door-to-door postal system , which in turn would entail the redesigning the confusing Address layout.
Provide more rights to labor workers, they're rights are abused daily (thank you 7days and Emirates Today)
Empower the association for protection of consumer rights to enact its charter, hence putting an end unnecessary price hikes.
Finally, salaries in private and public sectors should have some coorilation to inflation.

I agree with you anonymous, there is much to be done and if we achknowledge Dubai's shorcomings then to some extent they will be addressed or so I would like to hope.

last thought: Dubai's executives didnt expect it to explode this much this fast, so we gotta bear in mind they're up to their neck with expansion. Thank you 9/11. Thank you Bush. Thank you Oil.

02 November, 2005 14:59  
Blogger Garthicus said...

Well in fairness, as already discussed, the government does enough in promoting the 'great' side of Dubai, so what if the beeb want to produce a 6-part doc about the place? They have the right to free speech so why not use it?

I for one will be tuning in next week for the next episode, which I read, is about property in Dubai.

I giggle to myself at all the poor fools who will be attending the Dubai property exhibition, which is on here soon in Dublin. It's going to be the usual Palm vs. World vs. Arabian ranches exhibition blah blah blah and I for one will be boycotting it.

There are too many things wrong with the UAE, far too many that outweigh the good things that exist. And please don't attempt to lecture me on 'typical western snob, doesn't understand that it's a young country blah blah' I've lived all over the world and travelled all over and really SEEN places, from India to Peru, from Kenya to the South Pole.

The UAE is by far the most fake, two faced place I have ever been and after 2 years there, I'm delighted to be out of there..

Oh and I can picture the replies already '2 years, why did you stay for that long if you hate it that much'

Well, I did stay, it was my choice and yes, I didn't like it so I left and no, I haven't been replaced.

02 November, 2005 15:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good or bad publicity is still PUBLICITY...believe me, it always works for the good. how do you think 'has been' actors jumpstart their careers again?...I think the what the article is saying ....

Dubai could have been a perfect place IF....so its not that bad, actually I think its positive

02 November, 2005 15:39  
Blogger BarfUser said...

Folks looking at the Emirates need to understand that although the U.S. (for example) is presented as a perfect "melting pot," that process has been long and quite imperfect. Resistance to both acculturation and intermingling between cultures (not to mention races) was a very long and bitter process. It's really only been in the last 25 or 35 years (out of a 225-year-long history) that this intermingling has been encouraged. And it's something that is constantly fought against - you need only listen to the rantings of conservatives there to understand that lots of folks HATE multiculturalism. The UAE, on the other hand, has a much shorter experience and comparisions really shouldn't be drawn.

Having said that, though, Emiratis need to recognize that theirs is now a multicultural country. The fiction that all these guest workers, once their time is done, will go "home" is belied by the hundreds of thousands who have not "gone home." Why not? They live here. This is their society. Don't believe that? Go into the industrial areas of Sharjah, the souks, the neighborhoods across Dubai and Shj. and look at who predominates there.

As for the sentiment that "The UAE is by far the most fake, two faced place I have ever been" ... you've not been many places that are new, have you? Come with me to Las Vegas or Sacramento or Phoenix; I'll show you fake and two-faced. Don't worry; the Emirates will do quite nicely without you and your crap attitude.

The Emirates are doing something incredible. Some of it sucks, some of it is fake, some of it is stupid, some of it is ridiculous. But it's all pretty amazing.

02 November, 2005 15:51  
Blogger nonpretender said...

garthicus-- 'The UAE is by far the most fake, two faced place I have ever been and after 2 years there, I'm delighted to be out of there..'

My sentiments exactly! I have been an expat in other parts of the world and never have I come across such blatant hypocrisy from both the people and the government, superficiality, materialism, just general fakeness.
It's not just the place, it's the people and this general spirit of greed and pretences.
Thank God this is not my country, there is absolutely nothing to be proud of it. And anyone that sweeps in now and tells me there's much to be proud of building tall towers and fake islands has proved my point - all you can boast about is material things, absolutely nothing else to this place.
Me? Disillusioned? You bet I am!

02 November, 2005 16:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...so much bitterness on display here. I believe a place is made up of its people and their attitudes, not architecture. I have lived in many parts of the world, all part of an effort to branch out from my own culture. There are a lot of crap people here but if you make the effort you can also meet some very interesting and fun people. It's all a matter of who you choose to hang out with and where you choose to hang out. Key word being choose. Clue No. 1: The interesting and fun people I refer to are not at Waxy's on a Friday.

02 November, 2005 17:31  
Anonymous Caviar said...

intellectual primate, I like your attitude. Let's improve this place, both the good and bad documentaries will help out. I dont see it as negative documentary, because its going to raise voices and things will change, but it takes time. This place will get better when people stop stereotyping and discriminating and become more active in the community.

One documentary will not do, we need more :) One young aspiring national is trying to do just that and we must support and fund these type of people and encourage and and the same time critique them. Criticize to improve. I had the pleasure of meeting Nayla Al Khaja of http://www.dessartpro.com recently and self censorship is a big issue, but this is middle east and you have to respect the culture as well. Young minds needs encouragement and guidance, send them your ideas, thank them for their efforts, go out watch their films/art/articles/etc. They can't think of everything, this is a multicultural society, we need everyone's viewpoint and to work TOGETHER. Media is a powerful thing and lets use it to the betterment of society and encourage different views, both negative and positive.

You can make your own documentaries and release them on the internet, learn about how torrents and video blogging work. Now go and produce :)

02 November, 2005 17:39  
Anonymous Mohamed Elzubeir said...

I haven't seen the documentary but I think anyone who starts off with the "The West portrays us as scum, but we are so high class, why ... " is very quicly losing my attention.

Dubai is nowhere near being a melting pot and is nowhere near being a free market economy.. but then again, Dubai is nowhere near any of its neighbors. I like it for what it is and hope to witness it change for the better. Because, after all, there is always room for improvement.

Off-topic: In any case, someone mentioned the need to introduce door-to-door postal system. I was just talking about that with a friend.. I am extremely disappointed that a new country like the UAE did not make use of the fact that it is so new, to organize its streets and layout to allow for an easy address/block based system.

It is really a shame that no one saw that coming.

02 November, 2005 18:30  
Blogger Garthicus said...

Nonpretender-

Thanks for agreeing with my comment and BarfUser don't make me laugh, I've been to Las Vegas it is PURPOUSELY fake.. Arizona I didn't find too bad.

What i mean by fake is the 'come to Dubai, we love everyone, we're so friendly and kind and have a wonderful Government and great hotels and and and and' yet on the other hand 'oh by the way, we'll sell you an apartment but it's not really yours oh and even though you can buy alcohol here.. don't expect to be overindulgant on it and yes, you can have a hooker but God forbid you're an unmarried Filipino couple who piss off their landlord.. then we'll throw you in jail!!' So welcome to Dubai.. what a place..

I'm glad the Emirates will do just fine without me and my crap attitude, at least it's a real attitude and I'm not being the Dubai Stepford Husband...

Nonpretender... we're not in the minority, we are the majority.

Here is my list of things I was going to do upon leaving Dubai:

I had a list of things to do when I arrived into Dublin airport.

1) Buy a 6 pack of beer (without using a licence)
2) Buy a copy of playboy
3) Buy a ham sandwich
4) Sit in a park and drink beer and eat sandwich
5) Remove my top and sit bare chested
6) Play music with offensive lyrics at full blast
7) Read playboy
8) Use my mobile phone to call Israel
9) Have a piss in the bushes
10) Laugh my ass off that I'm not in the Middle East any more

02 November, 2005 19:36  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Garthicus... oh dear. Just when I thought you had a good point going there.

02 November, 2005 21:38  
Blogger BrainSyke said...

UAE lovers must visit my blog

02 November, 2005 23:05  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

03 November, 2005 05:52  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

And just about anybody who posts on this site must visit www.bloodyindian.com.

03 November, 2005 05:54  
Blogger CG said...

Minkey chief, your site is trash.

03 November, 2005 09:55  
Blogger Minkey Chief said...

Sorry you didn't find it funny cg. Loved your blog!

03 November, 2005 10:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garthicus, please be aware that points 4,6,9 are illegal in Dublin and God forbid you smoke a cigarette in a public place. I do agree that you'll be able to read Playboy which indicates that you are under 18 in which case most of the items you mention are not a legal option for you. Good luck finding your own personal paradise.

03 November, 2005 13:49  
Blogger Garthicus said...

Minkey Chief,

Sorry... I should have written my comment in two pieces, one as the top part logged in as myself and one as anon saying what I was going to do as I arrived back in Ireland.

Of course I was joking. But I whole heartily stand by my first segment!

I'll watch that programme on BBC2 next Monday and if anyone wants a copy, please let me know and I'll get it to you somehow.

To back up my point of being a two faced place, you wouldn;t see this happening to a John or Sally Smith:

‘I was humiliated’
Thursday, 03 November 2005
7DAYS

Asked to strip more than ten times by his supervisors at a petrol station, 23 year-old Rafiq Khan took the plane back to India and swore never to return to Dubai.

Khan joined the Emarat petrol station on Jumeirah Beach Road in April and was later transferred to Al Hasha. Khan said it was the strip searched at the end of a shift to make sure he didn’t have money on him that disturbed him the most.

“I was not being paid too much but was prepared to live with what I got. However, it was the strip searches that were disturbing me,” he said.

Emarat said the company has taken the allegations seriously, but admitted that supervisors are allowed to strip search staff if they are convinced the person has money on them.

“Body search is part of the procedure and we will continue to do it. However, a supervisor should ask the staff to take off all his clothes only if he is sure that the staff is guilty,” said Abdulla Al Noman, the retail sales operations manager at Emarat

The random body searches involve checking the socks, belt or cap for any money hidden by the staff. The strip search is done, in private, only if there is strong evidence of cheating against the staff, said Al Noman. The employee is asked to take off his clothes, which are then checked.

“I wanted to celebrate Eid here,” said Khan before he boarded his flight. “However, I could not take the humiliation anymore and decided to give in my resignation,” said Rafiq.

Several other staff members also told 7DAYS they had been strip searched. Khan said that he was asked to strip to his underpants, then supervisors would search his clothes.

“I have seen people being asked to strip completely. They are given a towel to wear and then their under clothes are searched,” said Khan.

Emarat staff are banned from accepting tips, but the company also said the searches are to ensure staff have not overcharged customers and pocketed the difference.

“In 90 per cent of the cases we do find some money from the staff during the checks. But the strip check is the last option after the staff has denied taking any money but the supervisor is still sure that he is the culprit,” said Al Noman.

He promised the company would investigate any reports of abusive supervisor

03 November, 2005 14:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

with the sir name Khan...

03 November, 2005 14:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Coming from nonWestern/non Arab point of view, I always find it amusing that Arab world talks about being "improved" just because it is being Americanized.
I personally find a foreign beautiful because it looks different. If all the places have same style of buildings, why visit?
Mr. Trump`s hotel in Dubai? hahaha..from the picture, it looks like a beetle :-) Cute but hardly a place I want to spend my dear cash. If I were going to visit and stay in Dubai, I would prefer staying at one of more Arabian looking hotels.
Wonder who intend to stay at that beetle hotel...so much for the "famous" brand!

03 November, 2005 15:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I listened to the promo video clip of Dubailand and the narrator spoke in American Engligh(sounded like a white American guy)...I speak American English but I find British English attractive. More sophisticated? Anyway, good luck to UAE people : -)

03 November, 2005 15:53  
Blogger Punk Dervish said...

59 comments.God bless your blog.Happy festive season!

03 November, 2005 19:49  
Blogger The Sage said...

Just to add to the argument here is a link to a realted issue:

http://www.7days.ae/local-news/tragic-toll-grows.html

04 November, 2005 00:02  
Blogger U_Badi said...

Secret Dubai,

We need to get a discussion going on the underlying but ever present mild paranoia that runs rife through expat communities.

Do an amusing article on it.... pls pls pls!

04 November, 2005 13:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garthicus:

What a small world! I just moved from malahide to Sutton and was thinking of a place in applewood village myself, damn Irish house prices though feckn ridiculous!!! anyhow glad you managed to escape from thr circus aka the uae...though ive lived there half my life;mum's family from there,dads from saudi I can think of no place more phony and downright hypocritic !-bar saudi of course but thats another kettle of fish... I mean for fuck's sake strip searching gas station attendants and then calling yourself the city that cares?!?! Or residents complaining about labourers getting a midday break?! "well they'll mess up our gardens looking for shade" just to highlight the differences between "here" and "there" I am just about to do what would be unthinkable in the uae...go to amnesty international's annual conference at the NCI..such a basic freedom is denied in the "utopia" ! anyhow if u happen to have a copy of last week's bbc doc. ill take you up on ur offer. just send an email to kabourmi@hotmail.com
Mohammed Alkabour

04 November, 2005 19:00  
Blogger BuJ said...

anyone know where SD is hiding?
also anyone know where's Emirati these days? his blog's deleted again (or moved)!

05 November, 2005 00:27  
Blogger Mubeena Mohd said...

Negative publicity is good for viewership.. more copies sell, more attention is attracted to the journalist, and he/she is praised for exposing the "truth".

If I personally come across a negative write-up about something related to my sense of self, I don't react badly. This is not easy to do, but one can train oneself to become numb and build a wall around yourself that says 'Not Allowed to Enter'. However it is in fact amusing to come across alternative views especially when they are blatantly false.

I commend the BBC program to uncover the other side of the (gold) coin. We must always strive to get as many sides of the truth as possible and hope we reach close to the actual picture. By the way, there are 3 sides to a story: yours, mind, and the truth.

What individuals choose to believe is their prerogative.. I for one want to stop taking sides and just listen to all the perspectives in order to gain understanding on what makes us who we are. So ask yourselves: What's true for you? Your truth defines your self.

05 November, 2005 08:25  
Blogger Jassim said...

The arab world in the international media is 99% all of the time about war, injustice, terroism and these things, when it is alot more than this.

Dubai and the UAE is one of the few positive shining lights in this region but programs like this only re-enforce some sterotypes about the Arab people and world.


If you read on my two blogs I will critise the UAE and Locals when it is necessary.I havnt seen this program, but to me what it sounds like it is saying is 'Ignore the progress you see there : The rights for women, the level of freedom, the level of progress materialy and socially. All the tall buildings, new roads all mean nothing. They are still arabs at the end of the day.'

And if any arab..especially those 'Uncle Tom Gulf Arabs' have written on this board in favor of this form of 'constructive' critism like on this program, then you are either ignorant or just plain stupid. I think both.

05 November, 2005 10:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local Hero, the more the west criticises your country, it means the western governments have less control over your economy; and the more praise they give it means your government has become a bigger puppet of theirs, you should start worrying if they start praising he he!! I know I'll get slated for this.

05 November, 2005 11:50  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

this post has been disected in so many ways I can almost begin to feel its fatigue. SD, we need a new post! Thanks.

05 November, 2005 12:51  
Anonymous NobodysSeenTheShow!PlsUpload said...

Hang on though! Garthacus/anyone... can somone upload the tv show? (episone 1 as well) perhaps at www.savefile.com or something?

Thanks

05 November, 2005 14:09  
Blogger samuraisam said...

it looks like it is a series according to the BBC2 website;

"Property: Dubai is now one of the world's property hotspots. Property agent Paul McCutcheon is there to cash in, buying a villa for a fellow Geordie who's never even visited Dubai. [AD,S]"

05 November, 2005 14:48  
Blogger samuraisam said...

Yes its a series

05 November, 2005 14:49  
Blogger samuraisam said...

also, you can download the TV show off that link, though i cant get BBC's stupid thing to work, so best of luck to anyone that can.

here the link is again

05 November, 2005 14:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secret Dubai, is it taboo to talk about Dubai royals? Why there isn`t much mention about Sheikh Mo or Sheikh Hamdan or Princess Haya? They all are quite good looking aren`t they? , do you not find them attractive? I think you met one Sheikh...? How about Sheikh Hind?

05 November, 2005 15:56  
Anonymous trailingspouse said...

Samuraisam: The reason you probably can't get the BBC download to work is that it is a trial for UK residents only. You have to apply and then be registered before you can download the necessary software. If you change the regional settings on your computer (in Control Panel) to the UK you can then access the registration page www.bbc.co.uk/impregistration/. I have just applied, using my in-laws' UK address. Will let you know if I am accepted for the trial and can get it to work. Apparently the trial is limited to 5,000 participants.

05 November, 2005 18:25  
Blogger samuraisam said...

i wouldnt bother if thats the case, they'll probably check what IP is being used to download hte content, and if its not UK based, it won't work.
but its worth a try (:

05 November, 2005 19:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone's able to get to it, it'd be lovely if this found its way on to, say, bittorrent ;-)

06 November, 2005 05:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buj

I think SD also writes that grapeshisha thing, if I remember correctly - so she's maybe working on that also. Or she is in London.

Dave

06 November, 2005 10:08  
Anonymous PleaseUpload said...

Like someone said, would be nice if we had some bittorrent seeders for the episodes...

06 November, 2005 10:35  
Blogger SID said...

Dave
what is the grapeshisha thing?

06 November, 2005 11:55  
Anonymous Webmaster said...

I see my question regarding 'whether young emiratis would join the private sector given the discrepancies between public and private sectors as regards work, pay, holidays, perks etc' has'nt been answered..

forgive me if you are 'still' on holiday though ! :)

06 November, 2005 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sid

I think I may be mistaken on the grapeshisha.com thing. I think it is someone else. Some random newsletter about the uae - interesting though.

Dave

06 November, 2005 13:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD is out of town. Give the girl a break! She works too hard.

06 November, 2005 14:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like it or not, Dubai wants to portray itself as a modern free city, but we all know it's not.

Just go on a friday evening to DIMC to observe all these wannabes pissed and pretending they are on E or speed. And the retinue of locals who are (not) CID enjoying themselves trying to get into any panty they can.

Free press? How come we never hear of the political agendas, or municipality developments before your car ends in a ditch.

Yes Dubai wants to project itself as a modern free city, but also wants to protect its own locals as the chosen people of todays' world.

Emirati, I read your blog, but this is not about being Arab, its about poor policy making the one that makes all locals look greedy and behave like dogs.

06 November, 2005 15:54  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

webmaster I just joined a the private sector. less holidays, more work, yet some solid experience is the punchline. It is a process, but more will join in time. Its only natural that people, anyone really would prefer a job with more free time.

anonymous 6/11 15.54, whats with all the hostile language? I dont understand this bitterness. It seems to me you just want to make quick accusations. I find it very dissappointing how judgemental and borderline racists many people are.

06 November, 2005 17:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn`t it sweet that everybody seems to love her? : )

06 November, 2005 18:01  
Anonymous Caviar said...

I know many young emiratis and the answer is simple. Most of them don't need to work, they can open up their own businesses and hire people like you and me. Well, the well off ones at least. The rest will be placed in the private sector through the agency Tanmia.

If you want to live here, you have to slow yourself down, it takes time to change.

06 November, 2005 18:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is secretdubai single - i feel as if i am having a relatinship with her. i see her everyday, and when she goes away, i miss her so much.

06 November, 2005 18:17  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

caviar, just a note. tanmia is a total failure in allocating emiratis in suitable jobs with learning curves.

also, as an emirati joining the private sector, he/she is fighting a very strong negative stereotype by boss and peers.

06 November, 2005 22:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well good and so he should!!

Female locals do at least have the business accumen that local men don't.

As to the content of my posts primate I am entitled to my opinion and as it stands now it is not very high when it comes to locals.

I work you work, they get the perks and the glory. Why should I feel otherwise, when I get folks who can't even put a report together appointed as GM's and directors.

And when I hear Al Tajer's speech about employing locals stating that these people do not need any admin training because they are meant to become managers.......

Why don't we call the Harvard Business School or Yale and ask them to close their doors because Mr. Al Tajer has just found a quick answer to all their concerns.....

Hey Primate spare me the rethoric.... It is not because we live here that we have to believe or accept just about anything because it suits them.

06 November, 2005 23:10  
Anonymous Caviar said...

Primate, I agree with you. I did some work for Tanmia, and the other day I got an email from one of the employees asking me for job openings elsewhere, and she actually had a decent position there.

07 November, 2005 01:29  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

anonymous, the main reason emiratis' position in society attracts so much criticism is their privilege. now while I agree with you Mr. Al Tajer's comments are utterly unrealistic, counterintuitive and counterproductive, I think no one can accept outright judgements like: "Female locals do at least have the business accumen that local men don't"! at least I cant. I cannot accept them not because they are not frequently true, but rather because they are generalizations and until you conduct a survey that relatively indicates such demographic notions then I will not take such comments into account. We must refrain from making such obscene comments. When judging locals' competency and dedication there is more to be taken into account. This country's educational system is extremely weak and literacy levels the equivalent of the baby boomers generation is quite low. I have faith in the new generation, alot of faith. but one cannot blame them for growing up in an environment that did not give them a run for their money. Now to each his own, but nevertheless, its an evolutionary process that has occured in every soceity during a boom.

Now in regard to the perks and the glory as you say: let me redefine the situation. This is country that has suddenly become wealthy. luckily, the late president, unlike many other states, shared the wealth with what limited knowledge and education he and his compatriots had. Now to say the emiratis are spoiled is well taken piont, to say that emiratis shouldnt hold executive posts when they dont have the necessary experience is also a well taken point, to say that emiratis need to be trained is also a well taken point, but to say that emiratis shouldnt be paid a certain amount by their government simply because you dont approve of that package is not a well taken point, also that these executive public positions should be filled by non emiratis is a sensitive question because regardless of the fact of how much expats contribute to the country it is the emiratis who are leading the emirates and that is a fact that everyone must understand and accept. Everyone is welcome and yes there isnt total freedom here, and there are some legal loopholes and shortcomings, yes Emarat has oppressive policies and should allow its staff to keep tips, labor workers are oppressed and need more protection. These are obvious problems that need to be addressed, but the explosion of Dubai beyond everyone's expectation and I mean everyone, is due to 9/11's by-product of capital flight. Also, $60/barrel prices can come in quite handy when surplusing budgets are based on $25/barrel. Hence things are moving too fast beyond anyone's comprehension. Everyone is trying to catch up with this, the emiratis are just as much. But culture is important, individuals make choices, its a process. Perhaps expats are being a bit harsh in their expectations of locals, before oil not much was going on here, not much at all. So when someone moves here and they have a multiple of hundreds of years of success and failure in their history which their society has evolved through and developed its view of human capital deployment in order to achieve societal efficiency, bare in mind it is not the case here. So expectations should be more in sync with one's current setting, not prior.

once again to each his own..

07 November, 2005 03:00  
Blogger sandsOfTime said...

Intellectual Primate, Well said.

07 November, 2005 09:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon: SD is on a well-deserved holiday. In her absence, try some other Dubai blogs. She will be back soon.

07 November, 2005 10:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD is like good dark coffee in the morning. Without my intake, I don't function correctly. There are other blogs which are good, but they have a slightly different aroma.

07 November, 2005 10:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seeing that sd is not around, has anyone seen the grapeshisha labour camp pictures? Horrific!

Sima

07 November, 2005 10:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking of coffee, Im glad that I can function with it, now that Ramadhan is over. Phew!

07 November, 2005 10:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Emiratis earning whatever they want.

My only problem is the discrimination.

Why should an emirati get paid more for the same job?? Dont give me that crap about it is their country. Everybody should be paid equally regardless of race or religion.


I thought Islam says that all men are equal. And also the people here were proud of their adherence to Islam. But obviously when it comes to certain things they are better than others.

Damn Hypocrites.

- Ahmed

07 November, 2005 11:32  
Blogger The Devil's Advocate said...

Anonymous said:

I have no problem with Emiratis earning whatever they want.

My only problem is the discrimination.

Why should an emirati get paid more for the same job?? Don’t give me that crap about it is their country. Everybody should be paid equally regardless of race or religion.


I thought Islam says that all men are equal. And also the people here were proud of their adherence to Islam. But obviously when it comes to certain things they are better than others.

Damn Hypocrites.

- Ahmed

Ahmed,

I am very sorry that you are on the wrong side of this stick but economically even if an expat gets paid the same amount of Dirhams he is not getting paid the same relative to the economy. Why?

Flight of capital. When the government pays a local more than an expat they kinda expect most of that money to be "re-invested" in the UAE. Giving locals the ability to educate their kids highly, go on horizon expanding vacations, making life decisions that aren't dictated by hunger or suffering is way of creating a better future for the country.

Expats are (with no offense intended) a hole in the bucket. What you pay them doesn't stay within the borders unless you force it too (hence high rents for example).

It's an intelligent game and expats are in general getting the shaft.

I can't help agree with it. It's pure free-market economics and so capitalistic in it's nature that it'd make Greenspan smile.

What would make it fair (for me) would be a more transparent and fair naturalization policy. But then there's the whole tribes issue and things get complicated...

07 November, 2005 13:56  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

Devil's advocate, that was quite englightening. As to the natuarlization issue, it was discussed at length last month on emirati's site, but bless his heart he deleted his whole blog!

07 November, 2005 15:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, folks, folks, let's not forget whose country this is: if you're not an expat, it's not yours. You don't get to set policy, nor do you get to participate in the political process here (erm, okay, so hardly anyone does, since it's held in the hands of a tiny aristocratic oligarchy).

Now, it's true that discrimination has been built into the system, and by my ideals that's not a good thing. On the other hand, they never pretended it was any different, did they? When or if they decide to loosen things up, they will - in fact, compared to, say, Saudi Arabia or even Oman (where they're busy trying to pry expats out!), things here are staggeringly looser. And I suspect they'll loosen up even further.

Also, did anyone notice that they actually responded to work actions? That they're trying to get workers their wages from venial employers? That instead of the traditional way of dealing with unhappy workers - violence and repression - the government here has moved against -->employers<-- ... this is extremely radical, given the governmental traditions they have to draw from. Sure, sure, some with "wasta" will get by, but that's some serious progress.

Finally, we in Dubai see only the most privileged Emiratis. Go on up to the "Appalachia of the UAE," Ras al-Khaimah, if you want to see another aspect of life here; there are poor Emiratis, and although their standard of living tends to be significantly higher than that of, say, India, it's still not great.

Overall, we should congratulate the Emirates for doing something radical with their wealth: improving the lives of their citizens. Oh, and giving us expats some pretty damned nice jobs: remember where the money comes from!

07 November, 2005 15:52  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

kodus. muchos kudos.

07 November, 2005 16:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of BBC's biased coverage (sic)...check this out:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4413888.stm

07 November, 2005 16:18  
Blogger sandsOfTime said...

I actually found the article to be pretty objective, showing both the positive and negative aspects of Dubai while putting them in context of the country's history. Not bad at all

07 November, 2005 17:03  
Blogger Intellectual Primate said...

Perhaps anonymous actually thought the article baised 'for' dubai instead of against! On the contrary, I agree with sandsoftime, this is by far not only the most neutral but also an accurate and fair portrail of dubai. They're mentioned the main issues: rent, labor rights, lack of freehold legislation, and stock market faux pas. I like this article! If only journalism could be like this all the time. Kudos to BBC, Muchos Kudos to Clark Stevenson.

07 November, 2005 17:55  
Blogger BuJ said...

Dave,

Thanks for that info about the grapeshisha.com thingie.. but what does that have to do with SD being away?

Interesting site by the looks of it :)

08 November, 2005 02:28  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Some people thought Grapeshisha was me because I posted a link to it on UAE community blog, but it's not me. Though I wish it was, because it's really clever. If I ever get blocked again I might have to do a newsletter version of this place as they can't proxy emails.

08 November, 2005 06:01  
Blogger secretdubai said...

And by the way - thanks for all the lovely comments here. I was feeling enormously post-holiday-depressed, and reading the comments back at Cell Block G made things seem much better.

08 November, 2005 06:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intellectual Primate / Sands of Time..I was being sarcastic actually...I agree with both of you...the article was actually excellent!

08 November, 2005 07:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

secretdubai

Would you like to comment on the fact that the pictures that grapeshisha posted got banned?

Jay

08 November, 2005 10:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting read.

I know someone who runs a film production company that has made many promotional films for the government and private sector. There is always an intro lauding the incredible growth of the country, region etc... before getting to the actual meat of the film.

Only very recently it seems that you now need to get government permission to film in certain places and establishments and one of the requirements is that they see the script beforehand.

They're scared shitless about negative publicity - it's not seen as part of the process - it needs to be seen in the perfect light.

I have to say that I often use the analogy of Dubai being a gold plated turd. Looks great on the outside yet scratch the surface and it's a little bit smelly.

Why am I still here? Because everywhere in the world has it's good points and bad points -Dubai is not and will never be any different - I just wish that certain people would stop pretending that it's perfect.

09 November, 2005 13:22  
Anonymous anonymouse said...

the ban on the grapeshisha pictures has been lifted. Obviously the right people are reasonable enough to realise when a mistake has been made.

09 November, 2005 19:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please

Please

Please

Can someone provide the videos on a torrent or something?

I really want to watch this documentary!

09 November, 2005 19:59  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I never had the problem of the photos being blocked - it must have happened before I got to see them.

09 November, 2005 20:24  

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