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28 May, 2006

Hell or high water

Fifty years ago, Rosa Parks made history by telling white man where to stick it. In 21st century Dubai, it seems her fight is far from over. Via Desert Idleness comes this disturbing complaint:

Dear Emaar

Last Friday I witnessed two houseservants walking in swimming costumes with a towel around them returning from using the Meadows 6 pool (the one totally surrounded by the villas). Are houseservants allowed to use the pools, personally I do not feel comfortable with this, if I go to the pool I like to be able to have a conversation and socialise with people I have something in common with.

If your security guys allow a few to use the pool then it will eventually be full with housemaids and their husbands etc. I am sure I am not alone in this feeling. Can you please advise Emaars views on this.


Well Yazzi, if the reassuringly disgusted responses to your complaint are anything to go by, you certainly have very little in common with anyone else at the SpringsMeadowsLakes. So you might want to consider removing yourself and your charming views - "Give a servant an inch and they will take a mile" - from the poolside instead.



Blogger Shaper85 said...

Wow. What an ass.

A quote from this spazzy yazzi:

So if anyone has ever been hit hard by racism its me. So I demand an apology or I will seek retribution from the local courts for such blatent language and anyone who knows me personally will know from the hardship and racism received from my own family I am the most decent and non-racist person on this planet.


29 May, 2006 00:10  
Blogger desertblog said...

The first episode in the newly released soap opera detailing the lives of New Dubai wives, entitled:
'How Meadows Madams deal with Swimming Servants'

29 May, 2006 00:29  
Blogger grapeshisha said...

Ban Yazzi from the pool....and from walking around in a swimming costume and towel.

29 May, 2006 00:38  
Blogger secretdubai said...

She may well not be racist. But she is [classist] for want of a better word - she clearly believes that these people are different to her, and she should not have to associate with them.

Now sure: if people display inappropriate hygiene or behaviour, they should be banned from the pool. Regardless of their class, status, wealth, ethnicity.

But is the maid bringing her husband over any different from someone's kids bringing schoolfriends from Jumeirah over to use the pool? Frankly who is likely to cause more disturbance, a large group of rich expat brats screaming and splashing around (and we've all suffered it) or a quiet little Bangaldeshi housemaid and her gardener, enjoying a quick dip on their one afternoon off a week?

I know who I'd rather be surrounded with when trying to read a novel in peace.

29 May, 2006 00:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanna be a classist? Own your own pool.

29 May, 2006 01:51  
Blogger marwan said...

The Darkies are coming!
The Darkies are coming!

Had no idea that I was supposed to go to the community pool to socialise. I'd eject those people faster than any houseservants, because I'd like some ruddy peace when I take a swim thanks.

Does she really think that everyone will converge on the pool willy nilly after that? Because they have nothing else to do?

It's only you on Friday, luv...I'm sure you wouldn't give your darliing little maid the day off.

29 May, 2006 04:41  
Blogger BreastImplants said...

Marwan is spot on; the point of a swimming well, to swim?

I won't even bother debating on the way people treat their maids. It's not very different elsewhere. Except in the UAE, where it's easy to find cheap, trustworthy househelp. After all, where can they hide?

I don't agree with the concept of a live-in maid; if you can't raise your own children or clean your own house, don't bother raising a family.


She might be a classist, but so could the others who were appalled by her admissions.
Call me a skeptic, but honestly how many of those people who supposedly treat their househelp like "family", would let their maids sit with them at the dinner table?

29 May, 2006 06:59  
Blogger marwan said...

I'd like to add, tangentially, that mistreated housemaids were the previous cause celebre in the UAE, before blue bottle labourers.

In this era of fad causes though (Palestine! Darfur! Something!) they have been cast asunder, to be mistreated, raped, beaten, and forgotten.

29 May, 2006 07:02  
Blogger GCCBee said...

Breastimplants -- what about ladies who actually want (or need) to work instead of just sitting around the pool with Yazzi? Are we not allowed to have that choice, which is enabled by live-in help?

29 May, 2006 09:05  
Blogger Lehihamra said...


"Oh no! You misunderstood me. It's not the servants swimming in the pool that bothers me, it's their habit of going to the pool at sunrise and drinking it."

29 May, 2006 09:06  
Blogger BreastImplants said...

LOL...since when has it become a crime to voice your opinion?

If you think you have a valid reason to hire live-in help, that's your call. No need to justify your position to me.
Though, I do know plenty of working families who turned out perfectly fine without it. Mine included.

And besides, I'd rather clean up my own messes, thankyouverymuch.

29 May, 2006 09:57  
Blogger Woke said...

Quite a fitting reply from M9Inhabitant in the same link.
"Scientists have recently discovered the presence of a gene in houseservants that causes a hormone 'X' to be released by their body. This hormone, while harmless to most, can have a bad effect on individuals with a gene called "B" in their body.
Gene 'B' is relatively uncommon among humans. However, once this gene comes in contact with the hormone X, it divides and multiplies rapidly in the body, quickly killing brain cells. Symptoms include lower mental capacity, increased psychological insecurity, bigotry, and increased irrationality when it comes to holding beliefs and opinions.
So far, a way to eliminate Gene B has not been found. However, given its relative rarity in the general population, it has been suggested that those found with Gene B should be isolated from the rest of the population and fed a strict diet of 'Brassica oleracea' or Brussels sprouts. This vegetable is highly nutritive and restricts the effects of Gene B. It also catalyses the replacement of brain cells. Until some signs of a recovery have been spotted, the individual should remain in strict isolation.
Geneticists first discovered Gene B in 1956, in a blood sample taken from an unidentified prominent far-right leader. It is commonly found in individuals harbouring considerably right-wing views. Studies have shown the gene has become less commonin the past thirty years, suggesting a link between its declining occurance and the arisal of a more egalitarian, equal society.
Further research has shown the hormone X's effects are nullified when in contact with chlorine, particularly in dissolved form."

29 May, 2006 10:02  
Blogger The Wanderer™ said...

Totally off topic, but has anyone been noticing the amusing and open war happening between our favorite no.1 newspaper and GN? Perhaps SD could share her views on it and we could all participate :)§ion=theuae&col=

29 May, 2006 10:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wanderer...I can't get your KT link to work...

29 May, 2006 11:41  
Blogger The Wanderer™ said...

It's the third article from the top.

29 May, 2006 12:40  
Blogger Keef said...

Wanderer: I blogged about that here

29 May, 2006 13:25  
Blogger SIN said...

Shaper85..this is the best response yet to Yazzi the yoyo...


Bring it on.... c u in court!

29 May, 2006 13:41  
Blogger SIN said...

And pray tell, while we are on the subject...what does a 'typical housemaid' look like? Is she branded like a bull, with the 'S' mark on her forehead for other more 'civilized' people to give her wide berth, or does she just have to be brown-skinned to fit the profile?
Does she have to be not so well-versed in English or just has to approach the pool area wearing a swimsuit that screams last summer in this pretentious brand concious society we live in to stereotype her further?
Any answers YAZZI?? Anyone?

29 May, 2006 14:06  
Blogger Frances said...

Totally agree!!
Does the staff in hotels frequent the pool with the guests?
No! I don’t think soooooo!

29 May, 2006 14:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The maids do not pay for the facilities, the people in the meadows do pay for the facilities.

29 May, 2006 15:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i totaly agree with you there, why should they take advantage of the facilities we paid for.

29 May, 2006 16:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely off-topic (again):

Dear Secret Dubai,
I want to join as 'Del' but your site says 'Del' cannot be used.
I think this is either because I have been using 'Del' anonymously or you have another 'Del' registered. I reckon it's the former.

Could you please press your Moderator buttons and allow me to join and post as 'Del'? I am asking in this thread because there isn't (or I cannot find) your 'Contact' link.


29 May, 2006 17:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we drive your ambulances. We connect your calls, we guard you while you sleep. Do not...fuck with us."

Tyler Durden, Fight Club

29 May, 2006 17:13  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Del - do you mean won't accept "del"? I don't have a personal site that people can sign up to, I'm just another blog on Blogger/Blogspot.

My email is [my username here] at gmail if you want to get in touch and explain more.

29 May, 2006 17:16  
Blogger Razaldo said...

Hey secy, your blog is mentioned on BBC !!!

So is one big construction site

29 May, 2006 17:28  
Blogger CG said...

Thankgod I don't have a housemaid and only servants. At least they know their place is not in the pool.......OH but pool? I wouldn't be seen dead there either.

29 May, 2006 17:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someones tell me what the difference between a slave and a house servant? All I can tell is one works for nothing and the other is paid next to nothing.

29 May, 2006 18:07  
Blogger Frances said...

Dear Anon 18:07
If you are a deluded expat you have a servant.
If you are non working expat women, you have a house maid.
If you are a down to earth expat you have a cleaner.
If you are Asian and you have and Asian working for you, then you have a slave.

29 May, 2006 19:37  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I engage the services of a cleaner (via an agency) every couple of months when things get so pit-like there are new life forms evolving in the kitchen.

It costs Dh25/hour, I usually hire them for a four hour shift, and pay them Dh140.

29 May, 2006 19:57  
Blogger Frances said...

Well that makes you a down to earth expat that can't count!

29 May, 2006 20:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo!!!

29 May, 2006 22:39  
Blogger Shaper85 said...


I laughed at that!


Congrats on BBC recognition!

29 May, 2006 23:39  
Blogger moryarti said...

Yazzi the Nazzi

29 May, 2006 23:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Britain isn't a 'housemaid' society. So why do Brits insist on having them here and then act as though they had a maid or a houseboy back home?
Only the super rich in the UK (and Gulf Arabs on holiday) have servants.

I have a cleaner who comes in once as week, but I had that in London also.

30 May, 2006 06:37  
Blogger rummyjohn said...

Del, (30 May, 2006 06:37),

Ranulph Fiennes once mentioned "the pillars of colonialism never crumbled, they were just transplanted like Abu Simbel".

Many expat Brits in the ME during the 70's and 80's rebuilt the fantasy that sustained many a pimply civil servant of yesteryear in the tropics... and why not, considering the sweltering hell holes these lands were, any distraction was legitimate.

So why do they have servants here and not at home? Same reason they drive Range Rovers while they're here I guess.

30 May, 2006 07:31  
Blogger One Nine Seven One said...

yazzi.... u r fcukin sickening.

30 May, 2006 09:13  
Blogger One Nine Seven One said...

..besides the residents of the Springs(of which I am one) and its related compounds have no reason to feel that they are apart of the aristocracy. The neighbourhood is nothing special.

30 May, 2006 09:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rummyjohn said...
So why do they have servants here and not at home? Same reason they drive Range Rovers while they're here I guess.

Good point well made.

30 May, 2006 11:48  
Blogger Del said...


30 May, 2006 11:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record..there are plenty of us (White, Western) expats here who clean up after ourselves and wouldn't ever in a million years think to hire someone to do it for us...we might be a minority, but we exist!

30 May, 2006 15:21  
Blogger Jassim said...

This argument has been skewed into being PC. Why is everyone debating if its white or wrong to have servants. Theres nothing wrong with this..the problem is how u treat them.

People are so simple minded these days and easily fall into their tribes of black and white opinions. Forget about anything grey...

30 May, 2006 17:22  
Blogger Jassim said...

simple minded dubai folks. yea we attract the best, to this emirate.

30 May, 2006 17:30  
Blogger Del said...

Frances said...
If you are Asian and you have and Asian working for you, then you have a slave.

Hmm. There's an Indian family in our apartments whose maid washes their car at 6.30 in the morning.
Talk about getting your money's worth...

30 May, 2006 17:40  
Blogger ReginaFilangee said...

ghad, all deluded expats brag about housemaids to their mates back home - it really is pathetic. It is as though to signify they have made it, they are somebody as they now have someone to clean up their shit. Bravo.
It's not because i am bitter as i am now back in the UK and have to clean my own rubbish - even whilst i was out there i decided not to have a cleaner. Why do something i can do myself.

30 May, 2006 19:00  
Blogger Del said...


30 May, 2006 20:42  
Blogger Del said...


30 May, 2006 20:43  
Blogger Frances said...

Del 456

Hmmmmm, see what I mean? Aye Del

30 May, 2006 21:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family employs a Filipina housemaid. We pay her 1500 Dhs a month. We pay all of the immigration and labour dept. fees etc. (unlike some who deduct them). We provide her with clean, comfortably furnished accomodation with her own TV, DVD, Satellite receiver and Internet. She gets paid public holidays and vacations, flights, private medical care and a bonus at Christmas.
In return she works a 45 hour week (which is considerably less than the breadwinner does). She is scrupulously honest, clean, hard-working and cheerful. We treat her with respect and earn the same in return. We pay her fairly and on time, she does a fair day's work. Everybody wins.

So, all of you self-righteous bleeding hearts out there, please tell me what is so WRONG about this arrangement? When did it become a crime to organise your life and finances while at the same time providing decent employment to another human being?

31 May, 2006 12:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with the way you treat your maid, obviously. The question is why do you need a maid at all? Why don't you clean up after yourself? Working people do it all the time. Why not use that extra money to travel, take a class, something?

31 May, 2006 15:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who are you to get someone clean after your mess, clean your toilets, do your dirty work?

31 May, 2006 15:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since when is cleaning your toilets decent employment? if you can't clean your own toilets, i don't see how you think getting someone else to is "decent employment"!

31 May, 2006 15:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I would never ask any employee to do something I was not willing or able to do myself. Every time you stay in a hotel do you clean the room's toilet yourself because you believe it to be beneath the dignity of the hotel staff? How about making the bed? Vacuuming the floor? I don't think so.

My point is that some posters here demonise everyone who chooses to hire domestic help. That is neither fair nor enlightened. It is not a question of hordes of exploiting expats forcing someone to do something they don't want to do. Our maid has had many offers of employment elsewhere and she has refused them all. Why? Because we treat her fairly and with respect - that is what constitues "decent employment". It is certainly not characterised by the tasks that you deem to be so demeaning or disgusting that they must never be carried out by others.

31 May, 2006 18:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me say that there are many (way too many) people who indulge in self-aggrandisement by hiring domestic staff/servants/maids/slaves (select whichever term makes you most angry) and horribly mistreating them. That is an indisputable fact.

On the other hand, there are also people who hire employees to look after their household and do so in a perfectly fair, unpretentious and civilised manner. I cannot understand the polarised mindset that would condemn someone for that but I guess that is getting too close to the crux of the matter - it is easier to make outraged generalisations than to present a reasoned argument.

31 May, 2006 18:43  
Blogger Shaper85 said...

@spoiled expat

I agree; my family had a servant with us most of the time and we treated them as if they were one of the family and paid them about 3500 a month with benefits.
Its not that one can't clean up after themselves, but if you get to a point where you can afford the convinience, why not?

31 May, 2006 22:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not alone in this, check out this for what my fellow residents in the Green Community think on this same subject..

01 June, 2006 22:28  
Blogger ycb said...

the issue is much bigger than sharing a pool,
Is slavery alive in Dubai in the 21st century? is it acceptable to treat labourers like dogs and maids like servants or slaves.

be honest. The swimming pool lady is not the only problem, she is only an extremely small part of it.

03 June, 2006 15:48  

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