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30 July, 2006

Living legends

An interesting article in 7Days on UAE urban legends makes a very salient point:

"When I was growing up in Abu Dhabi, there were many more stories," says Francesca, a media professional.

"Because nothing reached the papers when there actually was a murder, you believed stories of women disappearing from the beach."


Control people's access to information, keep the public ill informed, and gossip, rumourmongering and conspiracy will flourish. Are you listening?

The most important debunked myth is the never-help-with-accidents one. "Expats are often warned never to get involved in an accident. If a victim dies, you will end up in prison even if you had merely stopped to help. Lawyers and police forcefully deny it." A relief for the many good samaritans of the sandlands.

But by far the best, juiciest (and hopefully most true) legend:

Secret tunnels
According to hoary expat lore there is a tunnel connecting one of the city’s most prestigious hospitals with a nearby bar of ill repute. The story goes that a notorious figure now pursued by international justice was a customer at both institutions.

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44 Comments:

Blogger trailingspouse said...

Now wouldn't that be a great premise for a blog? Legends, rumours and hoaxes of the UAE! When are you starting it SD? :)

30 July, 2006 07:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its really difficult to help in accidents considering how the authorities are like here. it will very easy for them to make an excuse like this "had you waited for the medics he/she wouldnt have died". maybe you pulled out a guy from a car that can blow up after crash..i dont know, i heard only locals can help...i saw a couple of indians who got hit and no passerby helped...

30 July, 2006 08:02  
Blogger marwan said...

Here's another one from the good old days:
The Hyatt Regency has a secret floor, accessible only by one lift. My Dad was invited once and it apparently houses all manner of sin, including topless bars and what have you.

Of course, my Dad is probably not a good source, since he wouldn't be able to distinguish a 'regular' lift from an Allo Allo style secret passage.

He still believes it exists adamantly, and without any proof to then contrary, who am i to contradict him?

30 July, 2006 08:19  
Blogger Taunted said...

Right, Taxi for Taunted to The Hyatt Regency please sir!

The amusing bit about this is the Superman was flying down SZR, and 7days had to put a disclaimer out!!

But did you know in RAK, Massage Parlours are really brothels, erm, actually that's (allegedly) true!

30 July, 2006 09:28  
Blogger samuraisam said...

did you know sheikh zayed road was orginally meant to be a formula one racetrack?

I kid...

30 July, 2006 10:30  
Blogger hannibal said...

in 2004 so goes the legend, it was expected that rents would stabilise ( due to a large number of those freehold thingies coming up) .....in 2006, it seems that rents have tripled or quadrupled...

urban myth or fact?

30 July, 2006 12:08  
Anonymous ntsb said...

Hmmm- interesting article. Email during the First Gulf War, huh? Something doesn't mesh.

30 July, 2006 12:23  
Blogger Vikram said...

Sigh, good old Dubai dont we all just love it.

30 July, 2006 12:58  
Blogger SIN said...

How about the spooky ones...
The Case of the Bleeding Tree in Nad Al Sheba
The Haunted House in Mirdiff
The Howling bridge enroute to Abu Dhabi
The white lady outside Bur Dubai Cemetary
The disappearing hitchiker on Maktoum Bridge
The crying caves of RAK (GN report on that one)

God, I've lived here too long.

30 July, 2006 13:26  
Blogger SIN said...

Marwan, I heard of a similar tale years ago, but it was the Trade Centre.

And dear anon at 08:02:
The law in the UAE (don't ask why i know this) stated several years ago that if you do not help an injured victim from immediate danger (let's say collapsed in the middle of a road) and that causes the victim to die, you can be held for negligence.
And if the victim will not be caused bodily harm, and the victim is in his senses and allows you to move him, you can't be held responsible.
But if the victim is unconcious and you are not certified in First aid and you move the victim without him being in immediate danger and that jostling causes him to die, well, yes you are responsible then.
Does this make sense?

30 July, 2006 13:33  
Blogger Earthbound Misfit said...

Urban Legend City - Now under construction.

Be part of an Urban Legend....

Come live in a mystical place where, people are treated equally, internet is not censored, human rights are respected and rents are fair.

Located round the corner from Unoriginal city and right opposite Herpes Village

30 July, 2006 14:12  
Anonymous Al said...

the thing even if the victim was willing to be moved from the accident site to safety he can turn around the story. what if he had complications after the accident and wanted cash, the good samaritan is a perfect excuse...you know how these fuckwits around here. even in minor accidents, before the police comes they'll admit its their fault but the moment cops came, they'll lie and lie..

30 July, 2006 18:51  
Blogger marwan said...

A slightly newer one: Pathans are fifteen bucks (if you know what I mean).

Though I wouldn't want to ascertain the truth of that one either.

30 July, 2006 20:35  
Blogger i, Bobo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

30 July, 2006 22:06  
Blogger i, Bobo said...

Remember this one? About two years ago emails started floating around the world containing the picture of a woman that the email claimed had been transformed into a goat (or was it a rat?) for blaspheming either the Koran or the Prophet. Apparently the content of the email also made it into a couple of Friday morning sermons right here in the UAE.

Then it turns out that the picture is actually art, that some artist in the Midwest created it -- I don't remember all of the specifics.

I just remember laughing pretty hard...

30 July, 2006 22:11  
Blogger MD said...

what's the howling bridge in AD? i always hear Azan (call to prayer) when i pass by taweelah. there's a mosque around but nobody else can hear it and it's not prayer time and yet i still hear it so loud.

:S

there are haunted villas in shj too where apparently many local families with shady secrets who have killed their wives or whoever, have buried them IN the house, beneath the tiles and all.

30 July, 2006 23:30  
Blogger MD said...

oh wait...the most popular one. when the servant killed the entire family in karama and how people who lived in the flat after that, heard kids in the bathroom and conversations in rooms :S

30 July, 2006 23:32  
Blogger samuraisam said...

sin: "The crying caves of RAK (GN report on that one)"

That was caused by a bunch of teenagers in the caves that decided it'd be funny to make some spooky ghost sounds; funnily enough the whole village got scared enough that they deserted the village (as reported in GN); later on the kids got caught or confessed (as reported in GN)

30 July, 2006 23:44  
Blogger BreastImplants said...

oh wait...the most popular one. when the servant killed the entire family in karama and how people who lived in the flat after that, heard kids in the bathroom and conversations in rooms :S

Freaky, but true...

The kids went to high school with me. The girl and I were in the same class; the biggest bully I knew.
We couldn't stand her.

I can't remember if it was KT or GN who printed a cover story of the murders; victim profiles, map/photographs of the crime scene, modus operandi et al.
Pretty gruesome stuff.

Another urban legend:
Apparently, Amnesia, the seedy nightclub at Hard Rock holds parties for high ranking honchos who prefer close encounters of the other kind.
And from what I heard, they like them young.

31 July, 2006 00:23  
Blogger anonymous lurker said...

these are all about the burj....

1) the reason it was built on an island is so there could be gambling.

2) sz found out and bought it from sm for 1billion.

3) sz sold it back to sm for $1 (maybe 1 dirham or 1 pound) with the promise there will not be gambling in his life

4) the gambling bays are built but have never been opened.

5) the reason it's open on top is because it started to sink during construction so they aborted the rest of the construction and closed the top.

31 July, 2006 00:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any legends re the burj appearing as a cross?

31 July, 2006 01:58  
Blogger marwan said...

Re: Burj as cross

Apparently, from the seaward side, the burj resembles a cross with the restaurant forming the horizontal.

Urban legends?
- After the initial discovery, it has never been photographed from that side.
- Planes are not allowed to approach the airport from that angle, so that passengers won't notice it.
- The architect was fired by Shk Mo as soon as it was discovered.

Any others?

31 July, 2006 06:54  
Blogger G said...

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Middle_East/United_Arab_Emirates/Dubai/Dubai-1857296/Tourist_Traps-Dubai-R-1.html

on this page, scroll down to the pic of the burj al arab and click on it, then u can see the view of the 'Cross' of the burj al arab

31 July, 2006 07:57  
Blogger kaya said...

urban legend:
You must keep your livestock under lock and key in UAQ/RAK.

31 July, 2006 10:24  
Blogger marwan said...

G: Well, that's a cross all right.

Is it something to be concerned about? Maybe. I'm more bothered that that is one butt ugly angle of the Burj.

31 July, 2006 11:04  
Blogger MD said...

Re: Burj cross

they issued number plates with the burj on it...but after the discovery, the number plates were changed AGAIN :) the new ones, as u see, don't have the burj on them. apparently, the architect intentionally built the cross ("largest cross in the world in a muslim country") :P

31 July, 2006 11:43  
Blogger SIN said...

MD, the murdered family in Karama were cousins and aunts five times removed...or something like that. Was very young then, but i do remember dad reading the report in KT about the family which moved in after, left a few months later as the ghostly actions and sounds scared them witless..
Who knows how true that is...

PS: Thx Samuraism for the correction. Apparently missed the GN report on the kids confessing :)

31 July, 2006 12:14  
Blogger secretdubai said...

The Burj cross thing is ludicrous. Of course it has a cross bar, because beam and cross beam is the basic unit of construction. The cross=a gallows, because it was the quickest, basic unit of construction to erect and hang a person on.

Here's that photo. It barely resembles a cross at all.

It's like trying to claim Muslims don't like the colour blue because it's associated with Mary (I just totally made that up). Besides which Jesus is recognised and respected in Islam, and while Muslims don't believe in his divinity (and possibly his resurrection), as far as I know they don't deny his crucifixion.

Any cross-paranoia is just bearded Muttawa nonsense (like in Saudi, where crucifix chains were banned).

31 July, 2006 12:50  
Blogger SIN said...

Are u serious? Crucifix chains are banned in Saudi? So let's say you are Hindu and are wearing 'OM', that's banned too?
U learn something new everyday...

31 July, 2006 12:58  
Blogger snow white said...

Then there's the story about the underground club out in the middle of the desert, equipped with the latest technology, and regularly filled with ladies of negotiable affection.

Re the Sheikh Z Rd: plans were submitted a year ago to run a F1 race on the highway, like in Monaco, but I'm not sure whether they've been approved. And, for the lucky residents who live on SZR, they would have to pay the equivalent of a tax to be able to watch the race from their apartments.

31 July, 2006 12:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD-

We don't deny the crucifixion, quite true, but we do deny that Jesus (AS) was the one on the cross.

As per Muslim belief, Jesus (AS) was replaced by another person and Allah made this person (who played a focal role in turning Jesus to the Romans) appear like Jesus. The second coming of Jesus (AS) is actually not a Resurrection, but him descending down from the heavens to continue and complete his life and mission (speading monotheism and worship and submission to the One True God).

Incidentally, this story matches with those found in the Gospel of Barnabus that was only leaked to the public in the beginning of this century. The gospel of Barnabus was one of the many gospels that didn't make it in the Bible during the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Apparantly, all the hundreds of books/gospels were placed on a table in the King's room overnight and the Holy Spirit was summoned to come and weed out the "dubious" gospels from the actual ones. The existing Bible today is made up of all the books that remained on the table that historic day. The others that fell to the ground due to "divine intervention" are not part of the bible (bible being greek for "library") anymore.

Urban Legends anyone? :)

31 July, 2006 14:57  
Blogger al-republican said...

Oops, I logged in as anonymous by mistake above :P

I bet you all knew it was me :P

31 July, 2006 14:59  
Blogger BreastImplants said...

SIN,

Like I mentioned earlier, the murdered children went to high school with me. They weren't cousins or aunts; father, mother (who incidentally taught at my high school), the two kids; a boy (who was about 8 or 9) and a girl and the grandmother.

I was about 13 at the time, or maybe an year older. It was all everyone could talk about at the time, considering the girl and I were in the same class.

And what is so surprising? KSA isn't really known for its tolerance; correct me if I'm wrong, there are no licensed churches in Saudi like they do in the UAE.

Why would they go easier on pagans and idol worshippers?

31 July, 2006 15:04  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Thanks Al Rep. But either way, the cross is presumably not the Great Image of Atrocity to Muslims that some myths would have us believe.

31 July, 2006 15:06  
Blogger al-republican said...

About Saudia, it's not just the cross that is banned there. Lockets, chains, amulets of any religion are banned in the Land of the Sauds.

More recently, the French banned such chain and lockets, too.

31 July, 2006 15:07  
Blogger al-republican said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

31 July, 2006 15:21  
Blogger SIN said...

U r right Breastimplants, KSA hasn't been known for its tolerance. I guess, while you hear about the 'big' things, sometimes the smaller issues that you don't hear about take you by surprise.
And as far as I know, I haven't heard of any liscenced churches or temples there either. But i would luv to know if any such do exist there.

31 July, 2006 16:35  
Blogger Cokey said...

Saudi Arabia has No Cinemas !

31 July, 2006 17:30  
Blogger Cokey said...

Breastimplants thinks she got big boobs!

31 July, 2006 17:31  
Blogger Cokey said...

SD is an educated laborer!

31 July, 2006 17:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey umm can some1 write down the story of the haunted house in mirdiff? and is it true there are demons in umm al quwain?

04 September, 2006 21:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the ghost/demons in Mirdif are true. my friend used to live there but wasn't bothered because she's a born-again Christian and can't be bothered with those entities. The problem is, you can't really cast out those ghosts/demons unless you own the place (they can technically be "subdued" or "shackled"). Anyway, she's in Qatar now but she has lots of stories of those poltergeists trying to bother her but they would stop once they played their praise and worship songs ....

15 May, 2007 00:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the ghosts/demons of mirdif are true. my friends used to live in that house. she's not affected though because she's a born-again Christian and once they start bothering her, she just plays praise and worship songs with her guitar and "they" stop

15 May, 2007 00:16  
Blogger Nipun said...

hey people i went with a group of firends to investigate the white lady outside the burdubai cemetary, stayed there for 4 hours 12am-4am and welll nothing showed up , i can only assume i was looking around in the wrong place.

well please can anyone give me the full address of the haunted house in karama, the address of the haunted mirdiff house and some more information on the hitchhiker on maktoum

01 April, 2008 14:21  

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