Secret Dubai diary Intrigue and adventure in the United Arab Emirates





iPhone RPGs

Dubai Info

Best role-playing games
Spiderweb Software
for Mac & PC





23 October, 2006

Biggles Sweeps the Desert

Pilot Biggles touches down in the sandlands, ferrying a planeload of rich elderly American tourists on a "Great Trade Routes" luxury air holiday.

"Every single one of them looks like Blanche from The Golden Girls, with extra Botox," he reveals.

As the lowly airborne bus driver, Biggles has to amuse himself while the gilded grannies enjoy tea at the Burj, shopping at Harvey Nichols, and other traditional UAE cultural experiences.

It has been five years since Biggles was last in Dubai, and he doesn't recognise a thing. The thick forest of skyscrapers on Sheikh Zayed road was then a thin copse, with DIFC nothing but the twinkle in a sheikh's eye.

Mall of the Emirates was just a hoarding in a patch of desert reading "Souq Al Nakheel" Conversely, in a kind of restoring-equilibrium-to-the-universe, Oasis Mall is once again nothing but a hoarding. Half a decade ago, the only buildings to the far south of Dubai were the lakeside buildings at Internet and Media City. Now, an army of vast towerblocks looms over them, stretching down to the gargantuan Marina edifices and the grim shadowy slum of Jumeirah Beach Residence.

In another five years, Dubai will be an entirely different city again. Biggles will instead be landing at Jebel Ali airport, with his geriatric flock enjoying the attractions of Dubailand and the Deathspire. The Burj Al Arab and Mall of the Emirates will be nothing but ancient relics, lying disused and deserted in the dust.

Labels: , ,

57 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read about your blog in the press here in Dubai and irregularly started to visit it, not out of curiousity for what you have to say, but rather to try and determine a pattern that links together all your intellectually idle posts.

You should focus your energy and dedication whilst you are amongst the glorious sandlands to your work and life (if you do have one), instead of writing about this and that (and I do question the authenticity of some of your stories, as few are so bizzare that it acutally gives the term "stretch of the imagination" a whole new meaning.

I am from Dubai (and a UAE national for that matter), and do accept criticism as long as it is contructive and forward-thinking.
In your case, sadly; your focus is on silly and trivial things.
But again, these trivial things give you a kick apparently.

Consequently, your thoughts, effort, dedication to whatever you have in mind is classified as Grade 3.

Could you harbor a tiny bit of jealousy and little more of envy?!! I wonder...ha ha ha

I am not here to mock you, as it is not my job to do that. You are doing it. A lot of people are laughing at you .

Ciao ciao

23 October, 2006 06:42  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

I read about your blog in the press here in Dubai and irregularly started to visit it, not out of curiousity for what you have to say, but rather to try and determine a pattern that links together all your intellectually idle posts.

Yes, trying to determine patterns in somebody's blog in which you have no interest of the actual writing is a fulfilling and wholesome pastime. Not intellectually idle at all.

I am from Dubai (and a UAE national for that matter)...

Let me guess. You are in a comfortable job with a handsome salary which requires no effort on your part to maintain, hence you have ample time on your hands to engage in aforementioned pastime?

23 October, 2006 07:39  
Anonymous fellow atheist said...

How incredible. Why are you people so extra-sensitive. If my skin was like you, no shaving cream would ever work for me!

Seriously though, both of you(anon) and the hopeless timmy boy. Look at SD's blog as a personal observational type of blog. It's not meant to meet any specific goal.

The only reason we read it, is because it either agrees with us or strongly disagrees. SD's prose is also a bit amusing, which makes it entertaining. Aside from that, I never reload the page thinking, "SD should be writing about A, B and C". That would just ruin the whole experience.

23 October, 2006 08:23  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Seriously though, both of you(anon) and the hopeless timmy boy. Look at SD's blog as a personal observational type of blog. It's not meant to meet any specific goal.

Well thank you for including me in this worthy piece of advice! I will from this day onwards be eternally grateful to you for advising me how to look on a blog whose presence I have been aware of for well over a year and into whose comments section I contribute regularly!

And let us not downplay the importance of having you point out that in blogging SD is not trying achieve any specific goal. After all, there was I desperately trying to figure out where this would all lead, and chewing my nails down to the quick in my angst. How wonderful it will be, my fellow atheis, to be able to sleep at night knowing that my mind is fully at rest.

23 October, 2006 08:42  
Blogger G said...

Did you say rich Americans? Let the battle begin. Each person now defend your country and race, as SD has offended westerners.

23 October, 2006 09:40  
Blogger marwan said...

"I am from Dubai (and a UAE national for that matter), and do accept criticism as long as it is contructive and forward-thinking."

Correction: we accept criticism as long as no one can be held responsible in the end, thereby nullifying the point. And if we have to find someone responsible, we'll blame, in no particular order, The West for existing, Paris Hilton/Nancy Ajram for their salacious morals, Indians for doing our work and not accepting our bullshit on top, Indians who should feel blessed to live ten to a room in Bur Dubai instead eleven to a room in Kerala, the prostitutes for charging too much last Friday, blame you for the moonlit sky and the dream that died with the Eagle's flight, and last but not least, western expats like SD who call us on our injustices in the gentlest way possible but still get raked over the coals for it.

SD: We like silly and trivial things. We also like to laugh, and are glad there's someone like you to unearth the absurdity of our troubled lives.

23 October, 2006 10:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

guys write about the actual topic and try not to get into these stupid fights. Tim Newman .... keep wanking !

23 October, 2006 11:27  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

My my my! The weirdos, misfits, and nutjobs are out in full force today!

First we had some amateur psychologist who isn't interested in what is written, just the pattern they form; then we had fellow atheist preaching from his pulpit onto a reluctant audience with more condescending vigour than many a Southern Baptist could muster; and then we get somebody encouraging me to masturbate. And we're only 7 comments in!

All we need now is Al-Republican to come along thumping his dogeared Koran with the severed head of an infidel and the party will really get going!

23 October, 2006 13:09  
Blogger Hatem said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

23 October, 2006 13:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All we need now is Al-Republican to come along thumping his dogeared Koran with the severed head of an infidel and the party will really get going!

hehe chaap ur becomign a celebrity man.. they WANT u.

23 October, 2006 13:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and Tim.. and you could dress like a cowboy hee hawing all over and shooting these A-Rabs and MoZzlems with your toy gun.

23 October, 2006 13:17  
Anonymous screwed_mind said...

Could you harbor a tiny bit of jealousy and little more of envy?!! I wonder...ha ha ha

This is a typical one, a classic newbie….I wanna puke when seeing someone actually thinks others are really “jealous” at all of this. Jealous of what? Has concrete been invented here or there has been a breakthrough in architectural design of towers? Slaving others and luring investors is something that you should be proud of.

It’s like a circus, if you have the same clown show on and on, no one will pay again.

23 October, 2006 13:22  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I am from Dubai (and a UAE national for that matter), and do accept criticism as long as it is contructive and forward-thinking.
In your case, sadly; your focus is on silly and trivial things.


See - what you don't get is that this is my blog. It contains a huge mixture of things that interest me. From human rights and the plight of labourers (or perhaps they are "silly and trivial" to you?) to my own observations on development here, to quirky things that happen with my friends here. So there's your pattern: random stuff related to Dubai and the UAE, largely from a western expat's experience.

My blog is for me. I'm not trying to be Samuel Pepys, and no one is paying me for screeds of worthy insight.

I think what really gets you is not what I write, but the fact I can and do think and express these things. I think it probably also annoys you that so many people visit this blog, many of whom do enjoy at least some of my posts.

You should focus your energy and dedication whilst you are amongst the glorious sandlands to your work and life

Thank you for that extraordinarily pompous and patronising advice. This blog is part of my (non-work) life, and I have plenty of other interests as well. If my work suffered, I'd be out of a job.

23 October, 2006 13:28  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

23 October, 2006 14:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another nice post by SD. Good work.

23 October, 2006 15:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS IS REPLY TO SD ON HIS COMMENTS ON MY POST (FIRST ENTRY)

Technically a facet of a blog could be defined as an online journal, and since you claim your blog entries are personal it is concluded that your blog is by and for you.

But, the fact that you did, and do, interact with comments that readers leave behind terminates the premise of a private diary.

So, you contradict yourself.

I am not judging you.

The fact you are writing things - I am being polite here - (rambling others would say) does not annoy me in any way.

Freedom of expression is a healthy thing, as it encourages discussion.

Your blog is strictly FREE entertainment....:)

23 October, 2006 15:50  
Blogger Shaper85 said...

Back to the topic though, its nice to see that they are enjoying their free time rather than being locked away in some geriatric home.

23 October, 2006 16:00  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Technically a facet of a blog could be defined as an online journal, and since you claim your blog entries are personal it is concluded that your blog is by and for you.

That doesn't mean that I don't mind - and even welcome - people commenting. It just means they can't complain if they find my blog boring/offensive/trivial/irrelevant, because they didn't pay the piper, as it were.

What I don't understand from your first post is:

(1) why you are wasting your time reading and commenting (twice at least now) if you find my blog so trivial

(2) what you actually think I should be writing about, if the myriad of topics I have written about so far are all "intellectually idle" and "silly and trivial"

(3) why you think it is somehow your role to do this. Do you really think that after five years of blogging, some anonymous person dropping by with a rude, stupid (and frankly ignorant) critique of my blog is going to effect significant change?

Believe me when I say I have no jealousy or envy for you or your country. I think the weather here is much better than the UK, but other stuff (such as money, fast cars, designer clothes) truly doesn't turn me on. Those that know me offline can bear witness to this. After five years here, I don't find this country any more or less "good" than any other. Crime is quite a bit lower than Europe; but oppression/human rights is quite a bit worse. Tax is lower - good, there's no minimum wage - bad.

I honestly can't find a single thing to be jealous of here except for the sunshine. And by that I don't mean there aren't things I enjoy and admire here, just that I can take them or leave them.

23 October, 2006 16:32  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Back to the topic though, its nice to see that they are enjoying their free time rather than being locked away in some geriatric home.

Yes - and what is also I think quite significant - is that these people are visiting the Gulf (as well as Jordan and Cairo) despite a lot of paranoia in America about this part of the world. Regardless of whether they get a very "authentic" cultural experience, they are useful ambassadors for this region when they go back home and tell their relatives that people here are peaceful and friendly.

23 October, 2006 16:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD

I am not complaining, I am merely commenting.

I can't give any suggestions regarding the topics you should be writing about. Your blog is a manifestation of your thoughts and point of view.
Now, the point is whether these "thoughts" are sound (as far as my culture is concerned) is a different thing altogether.

"why you think it is somehow your role to do this" - you should ask yourself this question...

If you put your yourself on a pedestal then automatically people will knock you off...

Carry on Blogging

23 October, 2006 16:54  
Blogger Hatem said...

Guys, sorry for going off topic (but not too much), watch this: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/10/23/fernandez.statement/index.html
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A senior State Department diplomat apologized Sunday for having told the Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera on Saturday that there is a strong possibility history will show the United States displayed "arrogance" and "stupidity" in its handling of the Iraq war…….."This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department. I apologize," the statement said.
Wow, we (Arab – Muslims) never receive such apology after being insulted in public speeches like half of the above sentence! Instead, they say that we misunderstood their words and they feel sorry for us. Sometimes they say it in a full page, but nothing related to apologize.

23 October, 2006 17:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, we (Arab – Muslims) never receive such apology after being insulted in public speeches like half of the above sentence!

And said apology makes Hatem cream his pants.

23 October, 2006 17:14  
Blogger secretdubai said...

If you put your yourself on a pedestal then automatically people will knock you off...

But I haven't! That's entirely your imagination. I am just another blogger.

Now, the point is whether these "thoughts" are sound (as far as my culture is concerned) is a different thing altogether.

It is a different thing altogether, and one that is completely irrelevant to me and my blog. This is my blog, my thoughts, my culture.

23 October, 2006 17:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i fail to see how the above comments relate to the "Biggles" post. I guess no matter what you write SD, you will always be bashed by a bunch of pathetic losers. i am a new visitor to your blog and i do enjoy your posts whether i agree or disagree with them. but i do believe that everyone is entitled to his opinion. keep it up. i will be starting my own blog soon and i do hope you would check it out when it's live. cheers

23 October, 2006 20:15  
Blogger Shaper85 said...

Regardless of whether they get a very "authentic" cultural experience, they are useful ambassadors for this region when they go back home and tell their relatives that people here are peaceful and friendly.

If by "people" you mean the service workers who are just doing their job at the Burj Al Arab or wherever. In my experience, I've found the environment to be quite anti-American, and for that matter, somewhat anti-western too. I was at the American University of Sharjah for awhile and although there was no overt display of anti-Americanism, there were underlying discontent with US foreign policy, among other things.

But I guess as tourists, they are shielded from this reality, which is fine - its not like it would be a difference if they knew how much they were reviled.

23 October, 2006 20:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am from Dubai (and a UAE national for that matter), and do accept criticism as long as it is contructive and forward-thinking.
In your case, sadly; your focus is on silly and trivial things.


You're joking, right? You do know that the government has already blocked this blog once because of an hard-hitting, in-depth Gilbert and Sullivan parody, don't you?

SD walks a fine line with this blog. If she started publishing serious, direct social criticism, this blog would be blocked again within the week. Fortunately, she is a master (mistress?) of irony so many of her most "trivial" posts are actually the most pointed. To misquote a phrase, "He who has a sense of irony, let him read between the lines."

23 October, 2006 22:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am just another blogger." - I am bored with this nonesense,,,

I do have the utmost respect for your culture's values, morals and outlook on life. Yet I don't see the link between it and your blog.

A feasible excuse possibly.

You have every right to express your point of view and thoughts.

I have spent around 20 mins of my day today posting, and I do feel the full and profound satisfaction of "talking" to you, the quality of your feedback did not impress me.

2 words: get lost

23 October, 2006 23:26  
Blogger secretdubai said...

2 words: get lost

Erm - unless I'm suddenly trapped in some hideous parallel universe where everything is reversed - this is actually my blog, and you are the visitor.

So I rather think it's your role to get lost.

I'm staying right here, with my views and my thoughts and my blog.

Adieu.

23 October, 2006 23:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At my signal, unleash hell...or so it seems. You go girl (ooops SD are you female?).

24 October, 2006 00:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is everybody waiting to take a punch at each other ! it is SD's blog , she / he can write whatever the hell she likes. If you don't like it then Sod off !! it is simple as that. people should also comment on the posting and stop attacking each other . for F**k sake grow up ! stop acting like street kids fighting and swearing at each other . who cares if someone is a wanker ... you telling me you never had a nudge at it yourself !!! SD keep blogging, your doing a good job ... the bigger you get the more you will be attacked

24 October, 2006 00:28  
Anonymous Johannes Fuller said...

Secret – your blog acts as an interesting platform for the airing of different views. Your “teasers” (intros) at the beginning are quite benign and usually taken from newspapers such as the KT or GN (7 days as well, I think).

I don’t find anything offensive in this.

I have noticed that there are some fairly cocky posts from Westerners (at least they appear to be Westerners) who very typically think they are superior – the Great White Hope. I feel such superiority complexes hide their inferiority back home.

One thing that such arrogant types need to remember is that this region doesn’t attract very many top notch Westerners in the first place. For instance, top class researchers, scientists, historians, political analysts etc don’t come here. Who would leave a research facility in Munich or Grenoble to sit around on Dubai’s beaches (unless the allure of tax free $$ becomes temptation beyond endurance)? In the intellectual vacuum lots of poorly educated and less experienced people have “recreated” themselves here. So the technician back home in London becomes an engineer here. He gets a dozen Indian and Pakistani (Western educated at times) professionals to work for him. He looks down on them, thinks he is Her Majesty’s Viceroy during the Raj. Visit virtually any firm here and you’ll see this happening, though slowly the locals are realizing they’ve been taken for an expensive ride by many a white faced moron.

Frankly, cultured and sophisticated Westerners are a rarity in this region. Secret that doesn’t refer to you, but it is a fact. Most of us couldn’t possibly dream of this lifestyle back home, yet we Westerners act proud and arrogant here. So we mock local traditions, culture, religion – though we haven’t really read up on anyone of these subjects. I am sure more than 90% of Western expats have no clue about Islamic or Arab History, yet they make facetious and superficial remarks which will certainly offend some.

It would be great if your blog would get more posts from intelligent people rather than opinionated and arrogant colonialist types who are just here to make a buck with no affection for this region or its people.

24 October, 2006 00:40  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Your “teasers” (intros) at the beginning are quite benign and usually taken from newspapers such as the KT or GN (7 days as well, I think).

It's a truly sad day, isn't it, when my blog has become nothing more than a teaser for the kind of "debate" (=flaming, mudslinging and general outpourings of anger and hatred) we've seen around here in the past few days? Half the things I write about aren't even intended to spark debate (this certainly wasn't, nor was the moon poem) but I suppose so long as comments are enabled, it is a possibility.

Several people have suggested I switch comments off, but I hate non-interactive blogs (and websites in general). I feel people should be able to comment, sometimes to post more information, or ask for more information, or to agree or disagree if there is an argument to be had.

But when an inane poem wishing for a longer holiday gets 150+ tangential comments of venom (including some really lovely supportive ones as well - thanks so much to all the balanced, kind people here who aren't constantly offended by every comma and full-stope) it makes me kind of despair. The problem is I also hate censorship, so I don't like deleting stuff just because it disagrees with me.

However in retrospect, I should have deleted the "whore" comment. Because it wasn't a comment or an argument, it was just a flame from a drive-by troll. Had I deleted it and not reacted to it, we might not have got quite the carnage that we saw. So in future, that's what I'll do to troll comments.

The problem is with comments like the first anon in this post, whose words are polite, but whose actions in dropping into an unrelated thread with his unrequested, anonymous comments are frankly quite rude. Were he a regular commenter here, with a recogniseable nickname, I might take him more seriously. Were he someone that emailed me these thoughts, I would probably take him more seriously still. As it is, he has ruined the comment section of yet another blog post taking it off on yet another me-bashing tangent.

So do I delete people like that in future? He has a right to his opinion, and to express it, but it does rather get in the way of everything and everyone else.

24 October, 2006 01:08  
Anonymous Numb said...

I do sympathise with you SD. It must be terribly frustrating having to see your comments section smeared with extremely vulgar and ignorant comments. I think many of the people that comment here take themselves far too seriously, and most definitely pander to an audience that they wish they had for their own blogs.

Sad as they are, even when they severely disagree with what you write, they still don't bother moving on. Instead, they harangue us, or indulge in increasingly vitriolic exchanges with other self-important commentators.

Personally, I think you've been far too indulgent. If a comment is expletive ridden, or tangential to the topic at hand, or spinning off into non-issues, please delete it. This includes my little piece here.

This is after all your blog, one of millions of other blogs, and not Hard Talk on BBC. If you don't like it here , then, as the emirati commentators are fond of saying, leave!

24 October, 2006 04:36  
Anonymous unJane said...

Why not add him to the annoying posters column on the left hand side? That way, you haven't censored him and he hasn't spoilt the dialogue, causing the rest of us to lose the thread of your post.

24 October, 2006 07:41  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Johannes,

I think you've made a terrible generalisation about the westerners that come and work here. We are not all losers who can't hack it back home. There are many talented people that have come here to see another part of the world and if they have come here to make some tax free money what's so wrong with that? Even researchers/academics/doctors etc have to pay bills.

There are even people here who might have some debts to pay, maybe from their student days and have come here to speed the process up so they can get on with their careers debt free.

24 October, 2006 08:52  
Anonymous Zoggy said...

Dear Miss Fuller:

I assume that, unlike the rest of the expats here, you are cultured, sophisticated, well educated, hard working and top-notch, who left her high-paying, highly-respected job in Europe to take a pay cut here so that you can spend your spare time respecting local culture.

Any claim that you are merely insufferably arrogant would be misguided, right? There is no evidence (such as a blow-hard blog comment) that you are a superior-minded narcissist, is there?

I have encountered exactly none of the people you describe. There are, of course, plenty of people here with a deluded sense of their own value, who employ many educated sub-continentals while living a life of tenured leisure. But very few of them are from the UK.

24 October, 2006 13:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello SD ! Reading through your articles reinforces the notion that the more things change the more they stay the same. Not much appears to have changed since I was in Dubai. In fact things look desperate in some ways (rent, traffic..).
I am pasting below a letter that a friend of mine tried unsuccessfully (2 times I think) to publish in KT some three years back when she lived there. The backdrop was some 10 fold increase in fees imposed by the health authorities, at a time when she was heavily pregnant (and not the most cheerful !). The letter is not relevant to the present topic and way too long..I know. Still, I think it is interesting as an early insight into the 'times to come'.

Here it is :

While it is commendable indeed that the distinguished editor makes it his daily duty to comment on various aspects that are right or wrong about the world at large, it would be only fitting if he dwelt once in a while on issues at home. What better place to highlight local subjects than the front page of a respected newspaper ! Below is a letter I had written a couple of months back, which never got published, for obvious reasons. However, I believe it does touch upon some relevant topics...so tone it down..chop it up..whatever..but do give these issues some light of day. We can all worry about the world’s problems in our own time..how about airing some of our thoughts first ?!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As the Dubai Summer Surprises events draw to a close, my vote for the most attention grabbing, soul stirring and novel ‘surprise’ has to go to that sprung by the powers that be at DOHMS. The bullet in the back of the head sort of surprise ! I mean, it had everything that DSS stands for - it was for the whole family..my husband and I have both spent many silent evenings wondering what is happening, it was spectacular and grand..a quadrupling of basic charges and the simple addition of a zero at the end of delivery expenses, it was slick and well managed..a princely 15 days of notice period and accompanied by a full color brochure (that masterpiece nearly moved us to tears), it had elements of uniqueness..for example, you pay another cool grand if you are silly enough to produce twins (any refunds in case, heaven forbid, the baby is too small or worse ?), it helped the economy by creating more consumer expenditure (!), and of course it gave many of us much to keep our minds occupied with in these summer months.

On a serious note, the manner in which this decision to exponentially increase charges or impose fresh charges for selected medical services has been implemented is a cause for worry. Whoever signed on the dotted line at DOHMS could not have been unaware that expecting mothers cannot travel in the third trimester. So the idea behind giving only 15 days of notice was obviously to maximise immediate revenue, to profit from those who could not plan trips home now. If charges have to be increased to give better service that’s fine, but where in the world are decisions made like this, without consideration earlier and with no hearing afterward. I did read some letters in these columns on this issue and some reports on page 3. But it was just brushed aside ultimately by the concerned authorities. Okay, today not everyone is affected by the extreme increase in dentistry and gynae charges. But tomorrow will it be the turn of pediatrics, orthopaedics, radiology, oncology, cardiology and what have you ? I would bet on it. Makes one wonder what the grand plan is. Will government healthcare be made totally unaffordable by the time the Health City comes up, so that we all go to fancy private clinics and pay with expensive private health insurance ? And while all this happens, will the venerable DOHMS continue to inflict the ever increasing health card charges on us.

For all expatriates here, this episode raises some disturbing questions on the larger picture of their status here. It is not an isolated case..in recent months there have been a number of policy decisions which have caused problems for expatriates (such as the residential area parking meters in Karama)..but each time the affected have been shouted down by the concerned authorities, with a ‘I will brook no nonsense in the running of my department efficiently’ attitude. Dubai’s eminent folks frequently cite places like Singapore as role models and in fact as places which Dubai has left behind in the march towards progress. Fact finding missions go to such places to study the infrastructure and Dubai then builds bigger and better. However, I would urge the authorities to also have a look at the medical and educational facilities a place like Singapore provides to locals and expats alike. A thought that comes to mind is .. has Dubai become just too commercial ? Every Government department seems to have become a profit centre. Today school level private education in UAE is the most expensive in the world because it is treated not as a social responsibility but a revenue earner. As a result many expatriates just cannot afford to have their families here. The government gave further free rein to increase fees recently. Now medicine is moving on the same lines. Maybe all this would be ok if affluence levels were also going up. But the sad backdrop to all this, which cannot have escaped the decision makers, is that expatriate effective income levels are spiralling downward. The government does not step in to fix minimum wages (unlike in Singapore) and employees generally have little recourse against exploitation. Plus all government services keep becoming dearer.

In conclusion, I would like to quote the erudite Mr. Al Abbar from his recent HardTalk with BBC’s Tim Sebastian. When pointedly questioned by big Tim about expatriates not having any voice in the UAE, he said something along the lines of “well 80% of our population is expatriates, so they must be coming here because something is good about the place”. For expatriates this line of thought, if shared universally by the people that matter, is truly worrying. For what it implies is a belief that the expats are going to be around anyway, and what difference does it make if they like or do not like what we do. We’ll get more ! However, it does not work that way generally. Expatriates do form a part of the populace and a contented populace makes for a bright future for the nation. Today Dubai is offering up enticing freehold property to one and all, accompanied by residence status. One shudders to think what will happen if one day, in keeping with the spirit of the DOHMS bombshell, those will have shelled out their life’s money in buying a house are told to start paying 50 grand per annum to maintain resident status instead of the current 5 grand. It could happen you know, going by the current mathematics used in decision making !

24 October, 2006 13:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon on 24 October, 2006 13:47
The Letter is very hard hitting as such has not chance of making it to any newspapers. Thanks to this blog at least a few people have read your friends views. These are proving to be correct as we find out each day. Hope she and her kid/s are happy and well.

24 October, 2006 16:58  
Blogger MuFi101 said...

SD...

I dont need to tell u this, but some your postings are the most interesting things i get to read online these days.

I dont mean to suck up to SD, but i think each n every blog of hers does not mean to offend anyone, has nothing to do with race/culture, but to sometimes, and i mean SOMETIMES point out insecurites or frustrations out of living in Dubai, which my friends, are very real.

Its a question of everyboby knowing whats goin on, but no one doing anything about it. I dont think SD is out to reform anyone, but tell me, is'nt it fun to read these things on SDs blog we WISH the newspapers would publish.

Most bloggers who attack SD say that all she does is try to change, reform, bitch about everything in the UAE, but the fact remains, most of it is true, somthing you n me sould be addressing in any case, eg. the labour camp conditions, rents, traffic.... the list goes on...

The rest of her blogs, believe me, are just entertaining. Just plain n simple entertainment. No educating, reforming, of mocking. If its viewed with that perspective, then discussions on this blog would be worth addressing in the first place.

If u think SD is wrong about something, then the way u post ur comment explaing a certain issue should FORCE out a fair discussion, because not everyone may be right. Calling SD a whore n all that and resorting to cheap namecallin defeats the issue alltogether. The person who makes such comments loses respect of other bloggers EVEN if he or she has a point.

Ive been reading this blog for about 3 years now, no problems here. I havent commented not because i feel tring to make 1 point causes 10 unwanted responses, but if i had commented on all her blogs. i'd say 'GR& BLOG SD"

SD, Ure style is great, with you all the way SD

t/c

*phew*

24 October, 2006 19:27  
Blogger Sandman said...

Zoggy,
wake up and smell the coffee! my arse they are not from the UK !! stop sitting under the palm trees and daydreaming !

24 October, 2006 23:56  
Blogger Xinu said...

Have just begun perusing your blog and I must say I admire your the way you write about Dubai.

You're respectful of its culture (whatever's left of it and shows up during Ramadan) but you also have a keen insight into the myriad inconsistencies in the way Dubai functions.

I was born and raised in Dubai (well, Sharjah actually) as a Muslim expat from the subcontinent, but now live in the U.S., so I have both an insider's and outsider's perspective, which is what you bring to the table. That kind of a balance is tough to achieve so hats off to you on that.

Though I must admit I wish I could say about your often-rude reader base, but I suppose if you took off every off-color comment, you'd be no better off than the list of censored books :)

Keep it up!

25 October, 2006 07:21  
Blogger The kaapi editor said...

Errr Zoggy... I've found that the case of the inept white boss lording it over the team of (often highly skilled) Indians is anything but rare. The case of temp worker in Britain coming over and becoming senior manager / design chief / editor / insert any senior role here is extremely common - in my experience.

DISCLAIMER FOR THE TOUCHY: Please, please note the "in my experience" and the "I've found". I'm not talking about the West and Westerners in general, I'm not saying that all white people are useless. So let's try and have a discussion eh, and not have somebody come in and tell me things about my forefathers?

25 October, 2006 09:17  
Blogger Al-Republican said...

Hi Timmy (Tim Newman)!

Nice to know you are missing me, but unfortunately I didn't get the beheaded kaafir's head neither my "Koran" :P

Perhaps Al-Pashtuno can oblige since he is so good at speaking on my behalf.

Just for the record, I hope you don't think of me while you are busy following Anon's (@ 23 October, 2006 11:27) advice! hehe.

Cheers!

P.S. How is America treating you?

25 October, 2006 10:32  
Blogger Insipid Chagrin said...

Oh woe is SD. Now, to bring matters to a head, you're also irrelevant and intellectually idle.

I've decided - someone needs to hold a seminar or what have you on property rights online.

Last i checked, the blog is SD's, registered to her fair and square.

It could be meant for entertainment, sililoquizing, downright wanking, or even debating the endearing qualities of the Lumbricus terrestris, but no one has the right to come up and hark at the sheer poetic idleness behind it.

That's just how blogs work - an extension of personal opinion into the public domain. No one asks anyone to be here.

Really, gratuitously deconstructing someone's blog is the ethical equivalent of inviting yourself into someone's kitchen for a glass of water, and then criticizing the wallpaper.

25 October, 2006 12:26  
Blogger Dubai Entrepreneur said...

Insipid Chagrin,

That was funny! Although, truth be told, that in a blog, you are actually inviting people over for a glass of water. So, expecting those who will criticize the wallpaper is a part of the deal.

With that being said, you also have the option to make it a role that no one speaks (to criticize or oherwise), but then you lose the opportunity to engage your guests in what could potentially be beneficial to all parties.

Unfortunately, in life, you rarely get to have it both ways :) Nevertheless, your comment did make me laugh, so thanks for that!

25 October, 2006 12:33  
Blogger Insipid Chagrin said...

My my my! The weirdos, misfits, and nutjobs are out in full force today!

Newman's being customarily hospitable.

But more seriously, hasn't SD's blog seen quite the traffic spike in the past few days? Everyone is out in full force.

25 October, 2006 12:36  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I was born and raised in Dubai (well, Sharjah actually) as a Muslim expat from the subcontinent, but now live in the U.S., so I have both an insider's and outsider's perspective, which is what you bring to the table. That kind of a balance is tough to achieve so hats off to you on that.

Thanks Xinu - I am glad not to be offending you at least! It is interesting that the local people I know who read this and like it have generally worked or studied overseas. For those that haven't been much outside the region, I think it's either too shocking, because criticism isn't part of the culture here, or they miss the humour/satire (such as it is!)

25 October, 2006 13:52  
Blogger developer said...

SD I am spectator of your blog for almost a year and let me express my thought that your blog is excellent. I hope some harsh comments on your blog wont let you back off.

25 October, 2006 17:27  
Blogger Sandman said...

hey SD keep the anon. Let them say what they want and as good old george bush says .... BRING IT ON !!

25 October, 2006 18:12  
Blogger secretdubai said...

hey SD keep the anon.

I can't for now - someone dropped by and posted a completely unrelated, obscene comment about one of the rulers. The exact same comment was posted on at least two other blogs, not just mine. I think someone is deliberately shit stirring to try and get Blogspot blocked or something. Give it a week or so, and I'll switch anon commenting back on.

25 October, 2006 19:20  
Blogger flic said...

This is great, SD. Your comments sections have recently (and seemingly gradually) morphed into a strange kind of forum/discussion board/chat room. Interesting!

25 October, 2006 20:33  
Blogger Al Pashtuno said...

Nice to know you are missing me, but unfortunately I didn't get the beheaded kaafir's head neither my "Koran" :P

Perhaps Al-Pashtuno can oblige since he is so good at speaking on my behalf.

Not many know ur a focking canibal who eats ppll that explains why thers no head you focking gay fanatic dick-face! I speak only aginst you and not on your behalf I will rip ur ass in2 shreads and feed it to your lovegoat u stupid crusader of mind twisting truth u shitface. dont ever take my name or ur just asking for trouble.

25 October, 2006 20:47  
Blogger Al-Republican said...

Hahaha Al Pashtuno!

I love it when you talk dirty! :P

Keep it coming and perhaps I dare to challenge you to give me your best shot :D

By the way, I love you too :D You are the camel of my eyes! :P

25 October, 2006 22:03  
Blogger Al Pashtuno said...

hey camelballs read my profile ur 2 die 4 sure now

26 October, 2006 00:13  
Blogger Sandman said...

Al-Republican & Al Pashtuno put a bloody sock in it , nobody is keeping a tally and going to declare a winner so get a life ! and if you don't have anything useful to say about the topic that is being blogged then shut up !

26 October, 2006 00:35  
Blogger Al Pashtuno said...

ur blog is called manners hhahahahahahah

26 October, 2006 00:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't for now - someone dropped by and posted a completely unrelated, obscene comment about one of the rulers. The exact same comment was posted on at least two other blogs, not just mine." I have the same problem, check it at my previour URL
http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18255514&postID=115536424317490125

26 October, 2006 05:17  

Post a Comment

<< Home



next issue is no. 12




Google Secret Dubai
iopBlogs.com, The World's Blog Aggregator
 Blog Top Sites

Powered by Blogger




StatCounter stats