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07 April, 2009

The dark side of Dubai

Probably the best article ever written on Dubai, by Johann Hari in the Independent. It covers everything from wexpats:

Daniel [a brain tumour patient] was arrested and taken away on the day of their eviction. It was six days before she could talk to him. "He told me he was put in a cell with another debtor, a Sri Lankan guy who was only 27, who said he couldn't face the shame to his family. Daniel woke up and the boy had swallowed razor-blades. He banged for help, but nobody came, and the boy died in front of him."

To indentured labourers:

He shows me his room. It is a tiny, poky, concrete cell with triple-decker bunk-beds, where he lives with 11 other men. All his belongings are piled onto his bunk: three shirts, a spare pair of trousers, and a cellphone. The room stinks, because the lavatories in the corner of the camp – holes in the ground – are backed up with excrement and clouds of black flies. There is no air conditioning or fans, so the heat is "unbearable. You cannot sleep. All you do is sweat and scratch all night." At the height of summer, people sleep on the floor, on the roof, anywhere where they can pray for a moment of breeze.

The water delivered to the camp in huge white containers isn't properly desalinated: it tastes of salt. "It makes us sick, but we have nothing else to drink," he says.

The work is "the worst in the world," he says. "You have to carry 50kg bricks and blocks of cement in the worst heat imaginable ... This heat – it is like nothing else. You sweat so much you can't pee, not for days or weeks. It's like all the liquid comes out through your skin and you stink. You become dizzy and sick but you aren't allowed to stop, except for an hour in the afternoon. You know if you drop anything or slip, you could die. If you take time off sick, your wages are docked, and you are trapped here even longer."

To Emiratis:

Sultan is furious. He splutters: "You don't think Mexicans are treated badly in New York City? And how long did it take Britain to treat people well? I could come to London and write about the homeless people on Oxford Street and make your city sound like a terrible place, too! The workers here can leave any time they want! Any Indian can leave, any Asian can leave!"

But they can't, I point out. Their passports are taken away, and their wages are withheld. "Well, I feel bad if that happens, and anybody who does that should be punished. But their embassies should help them." They try. But why do you forbid the workers – with force – from going on strike against lousy employers? "Thank God we don't allow that!" he exclaims. "Strikes are in-convenient! They go on the street – we're not having that. We won't be like France. Imagine a country where they the workers can just stop whenever they want!" So what should the workers do when they are cheated and lied to? "Quit. Leave the country."


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Blogger Macthomson said...

Your link to the Independent story doesn't seem to work.

07 April, 2009 13:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

07 April, 2009 13:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the correct link:

07 April, 2009 13:29  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Thanks! Wrong link in paste ;) Fixed now.

07 April, 2009 13:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, that definitely does not leave much to say. except that i've lived there, and left because i could not but look at the other side. i can live with problems when it cannot be helped, as is in many poor countries. but living with it in a place where it can be made to disappear with one decree, but is not conveniently done is like being part of it. as the others say, let the party continue for those who wish to be blind.

07 April, 2009 14:18  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

"Probably the best article......" possibly the most objective, I would say.

The reporter has done a good job meeting all sides (with the exception of the professionals from the Sub-Continent, who play a vital role in Dubai) and how cringingly embarrassed I am by the reaction and responses of many interviewees.

The "Burj, City couple" are examples of the noughties excess and as for the Double Decker participants! I do believe those types are in the minority and I fervently hope I am part of the silent majority.

Am I?

BBC's Panorama, yesterday, focussed on the woes of labourers:

07 April, 2009 15:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im sorry, get of your moral high horses, there are far worse things happening in the world, than some dirrty uneducated labourers and there living accomadations, the reason there toilets are full of shit, is because of there own disgusting hygiene habits, have you ever flown on a flight to dhaka(bangaldesh) from dubai, people shitting on the toilet floor, pissing in the sink, piss all over the toilet seat, people not understanding how to work a toilet so they do a dump by the emergency exit, im sorry, ok the living standards are shit and if i was living like that i would kill myself, but is it any better than what they have in there 3rd world countries? not really, there all single men living together what do you expect the labour camps to look like a 5 star hotel? single men=dirt! and dont just blame the emiratis, what about the 90% of the dubai population living in the biudlings biult by these 'slaves', complain as much as you want and act like you all have morals, but if you really cared you would not support dubai by living here. and seriously, there are far worse things happening in the world, iraq war, zimbabwe, occupied palestine, britains social spiral of decline, banks collapsing bla bla

07 April, 2009 15:00  
Blogger Kyle said...

Johann Hari is the only reason I read the Huffington Post.

One of the best & balanced writers in this day & age.

07 April, 2009 15:10  
Anonymous mohammed said...

Anon, I am pretty sure you didnt read the entire article before launching your rant. Dirty accomodation for labourers is one of the smaller issues.....

There are greater problems out there inlcluding a mentality that says "Screw the environment, as long as we are getting money".

Not to mention the expats who are thrilled at having "servants" around...

07 April, 2009 15:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD, why not post to UAE Community Blog?

Easier to follow comments for UAE based readers, who are blocked from accessing your pages!

07 April, 2009 15:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the dimwit anon above who thinks these people deserve to live in shit because they are full of shit : you need serious help, my friend. They come from poor countries where the governments are often helpless. but at least they have the freedom to do and say what they want there. nobody puts them in jail for speaking their mind. they have a legal system there. those countries are far superior to your in ways you can never understand.
In your country UAE, they come as guests to work. You are rich, you have governance,the least you can do is not lie to them, and not to treat them like slaves. thought lying, cheating and living a lie is prohibited by religion. or is it all based on convenience.

07 April, 2009 15:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

only 50 years back your dad and mom were all sleeping in the camel tent,grabbing food from one vessel with dirty hands, pissing and shitting on the same ground they were sleeping and raising their babies, and having a bath and washing their hands once a year if they found water.imagine how they would've smelt. you can ask them, they are still around.get off your high camel, friend.

07 April, 2009 15:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called slavery in civilized world (Dubai is not part of it)
I once asked a woman from Somalia why was she living among pagans in Europe, when she can live in a great islamic state like UAE. She told me "Racism, they are racists"...Oh, she was muslim too, covered from head to feet...

07 April, 2009 16:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Qatari tensions rise over press freedom"

Would these two articles be so alarming, if local Journalists were allowed to do their job unfettered?

07 April, 2009 17:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its amazing how everyone assumes a comment not slandering dubai is written by a local, do you really think they have a better life in india? india, the most racist country in the world, have you ever heard of the cast system? your all fools, what would the 1million labourers be doing if they were not in dubai? living in slums with no roof over there head drinking dirty water and taken shits in open drains, some people need to open there eyes and see the real world, and they come from poor countries where people dont lie to them? im sorry, how ignorant can you be? the reason they come here is cos they are brainwashed by the people in there home countries which promise them a better life, no one forced them to come here for fucks sake! and yeah maybe 50 years ago locals were living in tents and having a bath once a year, how long did it take them to become 'civilized' by western standards, when people in the uk now are a lot more fucked up in general, ie, racist, close minded, homophobic

07 April, 2009 17:57  
Blogger Kyle said...

Anonymous - 07 April, 2009 17:57 - To whom are you writing back at? And what's with the profanity?

07 April, 2009 18:36  
Blogger fynali iladijas said... will help to disable open commenting.

The article is well researched, well written, fair, objective, and whole.

Johann has not taken sides with anyone but with truth and justice.

I very much appreciate the work; a job well done.

07 April, 2009 20:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

07 April, 2009 20:49  
Anonymous Dubai=shit said...

Cannot agree with you more SD. This is a well balanced and well written article about Dubai. I live part time in Dubai and it is a horrendous place. Utterly devoid of human morality and decency and the local emiratis are to be blamed, completely. Sheik Mo is a terrible dictator, they usually are. Living for millenia as warring tribes has removed any form of empathy from their small cranium. Locals love looking down on people, as do all week-minded people in the world. Only difference is Dubai has institutionalized greed and slavery. It breaks my heart whenever i visit labour camps. Indians do live much better in the slums of Mumbai then in Sonapur. Everything in Dubai is fake. Sheik Mo should shoot himself in the head because his vision was so disgusting. Dubai's ultimate demise has happened. This article is proof of that. It has always been a shit-hole. At least other gulf emirats know they are shit holes, Dubai just tries to cover it up with PR toilet paper.

07 April, 2009 20:58  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

@fynali iladijas 07 April, 2009 20:32

I visited your profile and I received this message, "This blog is open to invited readers only
It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation." so possibly my question about your comment " will help to disable open commenting." is not needed!

So sad that you appear to countenance no debate, which is very sad and do share with us, what was Johann's job that you praise?

07 April, 2009 20:59  
Blogger Johnonymous said...

Hi SD, i thought that was a fantastic post!

Last night on my dinner here in San Francisco, I was happily surprised when BBC World featured tormented labourers of Dubai. It was a report from Ben Anderson.

I think Ben and Johann hits on the same issue. You should seen Ben Anderson's personal experience as he walked through a dysfunctional toilet on one of the labour camps! It's on documentary.

I just blogged the same. With a hint of my observation. Keep them coming!

07 April, 2009 22:45  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hello. I Suat.
I am journalist. and I would like English text.
In my own personal diary, I write the articles.

08 April, 2009 00:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear SD,

good post...but this is not news to dad has worked in al qouz for 15 years and he works in a company that used to be opposite a Labor camp.

I've seen with my own eyes...15 ppl living in a room, bunk beds with 3 living cramped with a tiny cupboard or shelf to keep their possessions.

Lets talk about transport in dubai, lets talk about the METRO.
Ah the Metro, shining beacon of dubai's infinite vision for improving the lives of the expats.

But while they build their precious metro, what about all the construction that has blocked so many roads, the poor condition of the roads after one section of the metro has been built, the poorly marked diversions that are inches from causing an accident.

Lets talk about Buses and the air conditioned bus stops..

my dad takes the public bus...he waits over an hour everyday for a bus sometimes two hours...because the buses are full...he needs to get to al qouz from jumeirah near safa park its a 30 min is it that Dubai transport chooses to put air conditioned bus stops in the the most unnecessary areas of dubai, but dont put them in al qouz where there are mostly labourers and blue collar workers. Its frickin hot...i actually go to pick my dad up from there...cos its so hot in summer and he cant get a bus...he wakes up at 7 am gets to the bus stop at 7.45 and catches a bus and gets to work at 10.30. and comes home by bus by 8.30 pm....if he's lucky....
And dont get me started on paid parking....who the hell decided to make the entire karama area paid parking...????
I actually park in zabeel park these days and that parking lot is nearly 3/4 full after 12 midnight on weekends...imagine the number of cars and the availability of doesnt add up...

sorry for the rant...but feels good to let it out..

THANKS SECRET DUBAI...KEEP WRITING!! sucks...for blocking this page....

hey etisalat i got two words for you!!! F U


08 April, 2009 02:12  
Anonymous Available Light said...

Johann did his homework and the result is a masterpiece, instantly showing up Piers Morgan's ingratiating and vacuous ITV1 documentary for the grotesquery that it is.

Message to Piers: if you're going to be heartless, don't also be witless.

For me, though, the most trenchant analysis of "the Dubai dream" remains Mike Davis's Sand, Fear, and Money in Dubai, which I believe is still available online, and is included in the book Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism.

Evil paradises. Need anyone say more?

08 April, 2009 05:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"UK distances itself from slanderous stories on Dubai"

Not too sure why "slanderous" is used!

08 April, 2009 07:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the worst journalism I've read in a while, worthy of the Daily Mail. Journalist shocked by developing nation that is making mistakes. If he'd written this 18 months ago, at least he may have got brownie points for challenging the general consensus. Please, someone let me know which country they have lived in where there is no shit going on and everyone lives equally and happily?

08 April, 2009 10:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon above, the point you should raise is, which country actually covers up all the shit, like dubai does. most other countries dont pay or influence publications to write lies.

08 April, 2009 14:12  
Blogger CG said...

It is an excellent article, but having seen the 'real' slums in the sub-con, I have to say that I truly believe that the majority of workers know exactly what they are coming to. Once when my Dad was hiring from India he made it very clear what they were coming to, and they were fighting to be chosen to come here. They said that they would accept anything, they just wanted to work in Dubai.

I am sure that some of the living conditions are atrocious, to us, but if you gave them a ticket and/or their passport, most would do a runner and live on the streets rather than return to their homeland.

You have to understand their mindset and the Nationals mindset too, to get to grips with the real situation.

08 April, 2009 16:08  
Blogger muscati said...

Majority of the comments begin with "well balanced" in their description of the article. It's anything but well balanced. First of all, it's an opinion piece. The author has a negative opinion of Dubai and looked only for people who share or reinforce his view. Where's the balancing part.

It's a damn good read, but it's anything but balanced.

08 April, 2009 17:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, after slumdog millionaire the whole world and their mothers are experts in slums of the third world. I'll give u that. So my humble question is, how does that give Dubai the moral right to enslave them, and treat them even worse, and pretty much starve them and work them to death? Are you by any chance suggesting that if your wife is from any of these third world countries, after marriage you would insist on treating her the same way she lived in those slums. That should anyways work, right? She couldnt obviously leave you and run back to her slums.

08 April, 2009 18:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in between all this shit, dont miss this gem from Dubai PR in Gulf News:

World's biggest fountain starts testing in Dubai

Test runs are underway on the world's tallest fountain in Downtown Dubai


08 April, 2009 19:07  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Not even the Government owned radio station, Dubai Eye,is reporting on the following story!

"Dubai Indicts Ex-Minister Kharbash In Deyaar Case-Prosecution"

This may explain to non-GCC residents our apparent acceptance of the status quo, does it? (When a Government broadcaster, does not report on public activity of Dubai Government Public Prosecutor.)

08 April, 2009 19:41  
Blogger Clara said...

HI... I am here now in Dubai. It's probably the best article yet about Dubai. That's probably the reason why your blog is now blocked.

I could only follow your blog through the Google Reader. Cool to have it, huh?

08 April, 2009 21:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if dubai just admitted "yes the economic crisis has hit us, we grew too fast and we are going to be down for a while", instead of "everything is fine, don't ask any more questions and you dare speak against us and we bury you alive stance" , no periodical would be as harsh as they have been in their criticism.

09 April, 2009 05:14  
Anonymous SiN said...

May their blood, sweat and tears forever lubricate the gears of our development.

09 April, 2009 10:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, so that they have a reason for there pathetic existence?

jeez, what a sadist..

09 April, 2009 10:13  
Anonymous SiN said...

The truth hurts.

09 April, 2009 10:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in fact, Israel treats its prisoners of war with more decency and humanity than Dubai treats its labourers

09 April, 2009 12:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ghobash to investigate BBC labour camp claims.
Salam Hafez.

DUBAI // The Ministry of Labour is to investigate claims made by a BBC documentary that labourers on some construction projects in Dubai are living in “inhumane conditions”.

The BBC Panorama documentary, “Slumdogs and Millionaires”, which was broadcast on Monday, showed an undercover reporter with groups of workers employed by First Group’s subcontractor United Engineering Construction and by Arabtec.

In one camp, where 7,500 labourers were said to be living in 1,248 rooms with poor ventilation, the documentary team reported “raw sewage flowing through the camp” and a lack of clean water.

Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Labour, is now investigating the “veracity” of the claims, according to a ministry statement.

09 April, 2009 14:45  
Blogger Nature Strikes Back said...

'Sultan' has published a rebuttal ....

09 April, 2009 15:03  
Blogger Dubai Photo Story said...

Hey... the only time I get to access your blog is when I travel outside the country!!!

Would you consider adding to your blogroll??


09 April, 2009 18:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that when the foreign press was busy singing the praises of Dubai and the Shiekhly vision, it was all acceptable and taken at face value. A testimony from credible international media to the amazing progress Dubai has made.

BUT when the same press starts waking up to the underlying dark truth: it is all "Dubai bashing", "journalist masquerading as XXXXX" :)

09 April, 2009 21:50  
Anonymous I'm your #1 fan said...

Dont you just love how Her Royal Majesty SecretDubai censored most of the stinking cr*p the expats said? british lady who was talking about the her treatment of her housemaids? Or the degratory way the "Philipinos" and "Indians" where mentioned?

Instead she opted to talk about the most "sanitized" and "sympathy provoking" story of Daniel and his brain tumor.

What gives SD? You will only strengthen your credibility by being 100% objective and truthful...

Yes, and I am pretty sure ill get my ass censored as well...

Knowing that, i will try to appeal to good graces of the Queen of the blogosphere (I know there is still some good in you queenie, i noticed a glimpse of it in your April Fool's day post). So there... with hope and some luck the supplication of a long time fan won't be the coup de grace that will censor his royal a**.

09 April, 2009 23:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow... what a loser

09 April, 2009 23:55  
Anonymous #1 Fan :) said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10 April, 2009 00:00  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 April, 2009 09:28  
Anonymous Repentant Fan said...

I offer my humble and sincere apologies for my improper conduct and foul language.

It may not be much but please accept it.

If its at all possible i humbly request that the last comment i posted would be deleted by the moderators.


10 April, 2009 10:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm LOVING all this negativity on the UAE. It's about time the world turns against this joke of a country and sees it for what it is. There's nothing worse than a liar that gets away with his false claims, and that's exactly what the UAE has done up until now, and news agencies around the world have too willingly bought into the lies. "Oh, it's so modern ... a balance of the Muslim and non-Muslim world where everyone gets along ... tremendous achievements and progress ... Arab renaissance ...". I don't see how anyone can spend more than a couple of days here and not see it's just a third world country with lots of money. This is a plastic country with no substance, culture, values, or originality.

10 April, 2009 17:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sultan Sooud Al Gassemi:

If you think Dubai is bad, just look at your own country

Say that I’d written that in first world Britain there are 380,00 homeless

Friday, 10 April 2009

I called a British journalist friend of mine and said: "I'm going to write an article about London, the same way your compatriots write about Dubai." By the time I was back at home I had come to my senses, it's not fair to London, a city so dear to my heart, or Londoners to be judged by the actions of a few. It's easy to generalise about a country when figures are manipulated to sensationalise and sell papers.

Say for example that I had written an article that states that, in wealthy first world Britain there are 380,000 homeless people, many of them mentally ill, starving and abandoned in sub-zero temperatures to live on the streets.

Say then that I wrote an article that states that Britain, the so called "jail capital of Western Europe" sentenced in 2006 alone a staggering additional 12,000 women to prison and that up to seven babies a month are born in jail where they spend their crucial first months.

I could have written an article that stated Britain, victor in the Second World War, had given refuge to 400 Nazi war criminals, with all but one of them getting away with it. Or one stating that the number of Indians who died while serving the British Empire, to build your Tube and grow your tea, is so large it is simply unquantifiable by any historian.

Or say I write an article about the 2.5 million-strong Indian volunteer army who served Britain during the Second World War, where 87,000 of them died for their occupiers' freedom and yet until recently those who survived continued to be discriminated against in pay and pension.

I could have written an article that stated that, in civilised Britain, one in every 23 teenage girls had an abortion and in 2006 more than 17,000 of the 194,000 abortions carried out in England and Wales involved girls below the age of 18.

I could have written an article stating that Britain, the human rights champion, not wanting to get its hands dirty, had resorted to secretly outsourcing torture to Third World states under the guise of rendition by allowing up to 170 so called CIA torture flights to use its bases. Or that Britain's MI5 unlawfully shared with the CIA secret material to interrogate suspects and "facilitate interviews" including cases where the suspects were later proven to be innocent.

I could have written an article that stated that the Britain of family values is the only country in the EU that recruits child soldiers as young as 16 into its Army and ships them off battlegrounds in Iraq and Afghanistan, putting it in the same league as African dictatorships and Burma.

I could have written an article that states that Britain either recently did or has yet to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict or the UN's International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families .

I could have highlighted the fact that liberal Britain is responsible for the physical and racial abuse of hundreds of failed asylum-seekers at the hands of private security guards during their forced removal from the country .

I could have written about the countless cases of slave-like working conditions of immigrant labours such as the 23 Chinese workers who lost their lives in 2004 as they harvested cockles in the dangerous rising tides in Morecambe Bay.

I could have written about how mortality rates from liver diseases due to alcohol abuse have declined in Europe in recent decades but in Britain the rate trebled in the same period reflecting deep societal failures.

I could have written about how in "Big Brother" Britain maltreatment of minors is so serious that one in 10, or an estimated one million children a year, suffer physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.

Or that according to Oxfam 13.2 million people in the UK live in poverty – a staggering 20 per cent of the population in the sixth richest nation in the world.

I could have written all that, but out of respect for Britain, I decided not to. Because when you stitch together a collection of unconnected facts taken out of context, you end up with a distorted and inaccurate picture: something that Britain's Dubai-bashers would do well to learn.

The writer is a journalist based in Dubai

10 April, 2009 21:12  
Blogger Kyle said...

Anonymous at 10 April, 2009 21:12:

Thanks for reposting Mr. Sultan Saud Al Qassemi's write-up (I hope I've spelt his name right).

Just to set the record straight, please tell me something I don't know because I do know about all those things that have been written about England. And you know how I know about them? I believe it's got something to do with what one would call 'transparency'. And that transparency could be in any form i.e. word-of-mouth, underground news or mainstream media.

One can even write further extensively, with stats if they please! But one thing is for sure, I won't jump to attack the writer for desecration but rather admit that these problems do exist and that they need a fix, the sooner the better.

I apologize if I sound harsh here but it is what it is!

10 April, 2009 23:20  
Anonymous Repentant said...

thank you

11 April, 2009 00:39  
Blogger Lara Dunston said...

But The Independent's Dark Side of Dubai story is a parody, surely? Or an April Fools story that missed the deadline? C'mon, it can't be for real.

Regardless of what you think about Dubai, just look at this as a piece of media. If it was submitted by a first year journalism student, it would receive an 'F'. No balance, no objectivity, it's laden with travel media cliches, contains gross exaggerations, it's full of historical and factual inaccuracies.

I've written for The Independent Travel section before and they have much higher standards than this, which is what leads me to believe it's a joke, a parody of all the other Dubai-bashing articles. I'm just hoping it's a series. I can't wait to see him tackle the USA, or the UK, or even Australia next.

11 April, 2009 05:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Mr. Sultan Sooud Al Gassemi:

I am surprised that you acknowledged the fact that you are a journalist. If anything, it goes to show how delusional people like you are.

Does everything has to be spelled out for you guys? All of that tirade about "what you could have written.." misses the point that it ALREADY has been written. These stories were covered multiple times in multiple outlets. No one cried "why are you bashing Britain", no idiot stood up to claim that those Chinese ere better in off UK than they were in China, no self-righteous bastard said why don't they just go back?

It is the hallmark of an arrogant group of people who rose in life too fast for their own good.

To set the record straight, I am not British, I once belonged to the "Asian working class" of the UAE and now reside in US. As much as I find the British and their class oriented society annoying, there is no match between UK and UAE. To compare the two is not even a bad joke.

11 April, 2009 13:25  
Blogger Nature Strikes Back said...

Absolutely! I just saw the article as published in the Independent and there were a load of comments posted there that made exactly that point.

11 April, 2009 13:25  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Oh folks, are we not taking this so seriously, that we are starting to lose sight of the trees?

Dubai is a success, a developing success, with warts and all.

Just view today's National article: where my posted comment has yet to be approved!

But for a flavour of deprecating Brit' behaviour, here is a quote:
“Personally, I absolutely love the place, but then I like all that over-the-top stuff – the idea you build a ski-slope in the desert just appeals to me. But we have a free press and, though people in Dubai might not like it, Hari’s piece was beautifully written and well-researched and sourced.”

As said by Roger Alton, Editor of The Independent.

(Previously posted here: )

11 April, 2009 14:17  
Anonymous Repentant said...

I am curious to hear what SD thinks about this so far...

11 April, 2009 17:14  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I am curious to hear what SD thinks about this so far...

Anyone who has lived in Dubai for any length of time, whatever social or ethnic circle they move in, will have heard stories like this. The point is that people get unfairly screwed regardless of their background - though it's far worse for South Asians - and there is no compensation, no justice.

A country that jails sick people who couldn't pay their bills is a fucked up country. A country that jails people whose cheques bounce due to bank screw ups/company payroll errors/delays is a fucked up country. A country that still criminalised homosexual behaviour yet claims it is "tolerant" and "open" is a fucked up country. A country that knowingly hires millions of indentured worker-slaves and lets them fester in subhuman, shitty conditions while its rulers float around gilded palaces and luxury hotels is a fucked up country.

The UAE has its merits as every country does. Dubai has plenty of merits. But its track record in human rights - for a country that claims to be "westernised" and modern - is fucked up. I am sick of hearing Dubai apologists. The emirate has had YEARS to sort this stuff out, particularly the labourers' shitty living and working conditions, all the while courting foreign tourists and property buyers and workers, and here we are in the year 2009 and it's still going on.

So far as I am concerned Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Khalifa both have blood on their hands for the atrocities perpetrated in their sheikhdoms that offend all sense of justice, human rights and basic decency.

11 April, 2009 17:53  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

piff paff anyone?

11 April, 2009 18:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said SD. But sadly things wont change in Dubai. Humans are a commodity here, full stop. Many of my friends living in Dubai completely agree with the article, especially about the part that we stop looking at the slaves, its so true, they are like ghost, poor souls. Sadly, none are willing to give up the lifestyle of cheap help that they got used to in Dubai. This is why i have always maintained that Dubai is a regression from everything we experience in the civilized world. Reminds me of everything bad in Victorian England.

11 April, 2009 22:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Johann Hari is an award winning journalist known for astute, incisive political journalism. Seeing the local newspaper hacks try to whitewash his observations and rebut him with a "what if we said the same thing about your country" does nothing but reveal them as chickens flailing with their heads cut off, which is an apt metaphor for Dubai in this economic crisis.

12 April, 2009 08:36  
Anonymous ella said...

excellent article

@ CG

I am sure you have seen worse slums in Asian sub-continent, that is not the problem.. Also it is true that majority of the workers going to Dubai thought they knew what they are coming to. . They knew, theoretically, that they would make much less money then other people in emirates and they would make more money then they would in their own countries. However I do not think they were prepared for some of the differences between what they knew and what they found, - . . more expensive life, harder work, worse living condition and lack of friends and family who they left at home.. There is also one other aspect, these people were quite prepared to weather difficult condition but when they come to emirates and seen the difference between their life and other people life ........ it is one thing theoretically knowing something and another experiencing something.
And this is similar to experiences of some East European work emigration to UK or with muslim emigration to Europe - when one see people living much better then you do your appetite for better conditions - work condition, pay condition - grows..
And finally and most importantly - emirates are rich enough to give better working condition to their guest workers.

12 April, 2009 10:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and ella, if i could just add, no one told them they will have no rights to open their mouth to speak, they can go to jail and be deported for raising their voice against salary not being paid or rotten food, and best of all, no one told them they will have their passports confiscated, and they will be slaves for next 2 years. and best of all, no one told them that it will take the entire 2 years of contract, to just pay for their tickets and commissions they paid to get to dubai. and also, no one told them that they will get half of what they were promised, since half is cut for food and acco. how is all this for objectivity.

12 April, 2009 14:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here is a good reply from Johann Hari, to famous journalists like Dunston who does not even know what goes on in the country she claims to report on. She does not think any of it is real. She must be doing hollywood paparazzi journalism.

Johann Hari: How to spot a lame, lame argument
Independent readers have just seen a classic example. Last week I reported from Dubai, pointing out that this glittering city was built on what Human Rights Watch calls "slavery" - bitterly poor people who are conned into going there and forced to stay by a medieval dictatorship. Amongst others, I interviewed an Emirati man called Sultan al-Qassemi who passionately defended this system, saying that it is absolutely right that these workers are blasted with water cannons, arrested, and deported if they try to strike against their slavery-style conditions.

He did not react to my article by responding to the many criticisms I made of Dubai. He can't. He knows they are true. Instead he wrote a piece for the Independent asking: But what about Britain? He listed many things wrong with Britain - homelessness, detention without trial, the abuse of trafficked workers - and cried: talk about them instead!

As it happens, I have criticized all these things about Britain myself, in the British press, and in publications across the world. The difference is - Sultan doesn't oppose the appalling things about his own country. He cheers them on - and all he can do to distract from this shameful fact is to try to change the subject.

The best way to respond to what-aboutery is to state a simple truth. Say it slowly: there can be more than one bad thing in the world. You can oppose American atrocities, and Chinese atrocities. You can be critical of Israel, and of Islamism. You can condemn Dubai's system of slavery, and the fact people are detained without trial in Britain. You can stand independent of governments - including your own - and criticize anyone who chooses to abuse human rights. The world is not divided into a Block of Light, and a Block of Darkness; you don't have to pick a tribe and defend its every action.

So whenever you hear the cry "But what about?!", you can reply: what about we ignore this crude attempt to change the subject, and focus on the subject in hand?


12 April, 2009 14:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With only our beloved "SD" uttering profanities, this has the stamp of being a debate, a notably intelligent one!

Anybody here have any comments on this:

I sense Johann is going to become a "British Treasure", with the passage of time!

12 April, 2009 17:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like Dubai PR has now re recruited travel writers who have accepted their kindness and hospitality in the past to write rebuttals on behalf of the country . Would've thought there would be some intellectual barriers in place for this sort of stuff. they labourers under discussion are neither enjoying the hospitality, nor are the travelling anywhere :-)

12 April, 2009 18:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facebook group called secret dubai started as a tribute to SD please join in and contribute

13 April, 2009 10:22  
Blogger Lara Dunston said...

To Anonymous@12 April 14:51 who wrote "Lara Dunston does not even know what goes on in the country she claims to report on. She does not think any of it is real. She must be doing hollywood paparazzi journalism."


Anonymous@12 April 18:20 "looks like Dubai PR has now re recruited travel writers who have accepted their kindness and hospitality in the past to write rebuttals on behalf of the country...

Of course I know it's real. Read my comments again. My criticism is of Hari's story - not of the issues themselves. Why can you not separate the subject from the *handling* of the subject?

And why should someone who is criticizing poor writing, bias, and lack of research, be seen as someone who is an apologist or in denial?

I've never even met anyone from Dubai Tourism nor enjoyed their hospitality (unlike many other writers I know). I write about what I want to write about. If you have read any of my books or my blog, and if you read my comments properly, you would see that while I love Dubai, I recognize that it is flawed.

But it's still possible to hate certain aspects of a place and love it at the same time. Australia, my country of birth is a very flawed place, but I still love it. I've been here in Australia since August working on books and I'm appalled by the treatment of our indigenous people here. Many live in conditions so inhumane, conditions many Australians wouldn't allow their dogs to live in, and yet white Australians turn the other way and pretend that this doesn't exist - the racism is also endemic and it's palpable on the streets of some towns. These things anger me and make me angry that the Australian govt has not done enough to improve the situation, but I still love Australia - just as I love Dubai.

I also try to do what I can to help. I do indigenous tours and interview indigenous artists and I write a lot to promote indigenous businesses and indigenous art, because these people need to succeed in their enterprises and projects so they can help themselves if the govt is not going to do anything about helping them.

FYI, I have lived in the UAE since 1998 and have an equal number of Emirati and expat friends; I worked closely with my Emirati students on their award-winning documentaries that examined the issues few people want to examine. Several made docos about the deplorable conditions that construction workers and taxi drivers and other workers live in long before the BBC or Hari came to 'cover' these stories. For the first doco made on the subject, back in 1999, my student filmed inside their very depressing accommodation and accompanied workers high up on floors where they worked without safety equipment. I entered her work into foreign film festivals and she subsequently won awards for that documentary. So don't think I don't know what's going on, nor that I don't care, when I've done nothing but encourage and support my students to tell these very kinds of stories.

Read my posts and you'll see that I'm no apologist, nor in denial. My criticisms of Hari are textual - his article is poorly written, it's so melodramatic it reads like a parody, and its full of factual and historical errors. To be given so much space and he goes and wastes the opportunity to do a proper investigation is a shame. He also admits to hating the UAE. For that reason alone he should have been pulled off the story. If you begin with a bias it's impossible to be objective and fully explore the issues, which is why he has produced a piece that is shallow and one-sided. Think what could have been possible had a more intelligent writer with greater research skills, someone of the calibre of Robert Fisk, been given the assignment.

As for Hari himself, most writers in the industry know that he's provocative for the sake of being provocative. Read his body of work and you'll see he's not consistent in his viewpoint. His stories get a huge number of hits and that's why he's given so much space.

On the subject of space, thanks SD, Sorry for the novel! :)

13 April, 2009 12:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you dont expect a story with " dark side of dubai" to be covering all the good sides of dubai, do you? and if i may, enough has been written about the good, fantastic, world's biggest, world's tallest, world's coldest, world's fatasticest for the last few years on dubai. i dont particularly remember you criticising any of that on balance and moderation. now that one...i article has come out which is critical in a fair or unfair way, the whole world and their grandmothers have a problem with it.or is it just an opportunity for some to pile on for some shared glory riding the tiger. nobody here is really that bothered about the style of writing , it is not exactly claiming a booker prize entry is it. as for factual and historical errors, now that would be a start. could we look at that numerically, rather than an emotional response on who went where. as for fisk..i would'nt even go there if we are looking for objectivity or nuetrality, since that is what is claimed as ideal to cover any subject.

13 April, 2009 13:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the now famous sultan says in his rebuttal...i would not criticise London, for its underbelly, since i love it. Damn the people suffering there. similarly, his message is, please dont criticise dubai. forget its underbelly. you are not suffering,just about 1 million workers are suffering without rights and basic comforts. it is not you, it is not me the sultan, nor is my sultan kids who are suffering. so why should we bother. let us just hide our heads like ostriches, and let is go on. did these guys even read the koran and see what is written about taking care of the weak and poor. now he will say, yeah we are caring for them or else they will starve to death in some slums. wow. thank you for your concern. 25% of the world lives in slums, will you please take them all and put them in your labour camps since you are into charity.

13 April, 2009 13:15  
Blogger Kyle said...

So don't think I don't know what's going on, nor that I don't care, when I've done nothing but encourage and support my students to tell these very kinds of stories.

Hey Lara:

I found these lines very interesting in your reply. But still, nothing did materialize much from their telling such kinds of stories, did it?

While look at Mr. Hari, look at all those emotions he stirred with his amateur writing skills? So, I guess his raw approach must have been productive, after all, no? Besides, I didn't see his article as an attack on anyone but more so a reminder 'lest we forget' all those topics addressed by him.

Of course, I don't foresee much to come out of his writing but the damage continues unabated, which no amount of PR can reverse except by those in power.

13 April, 2009 13:22  
Anonymous Sam i am said...

Hey Lara, you said "Emirati students on their award-winning documentaries..." Where can we watch them, please link. Let the world see all that talent thats being hidden away in Dubai. As for the way the article was was written, it was written well as it got the point across. The best writers don't follow the rules of grammar, prose and punctuation to the letter. I think you just want to sound smart, which means your not.

13 April, 2009 15:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think you just want to sound smart, which means your not."

That is not a smart thing to say, so i am guessing you're dumb...

Look how people like sam and I, transform a seemingly good debate into something so trivial.

13 April, 2009 22:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Lara

Your criticism of Hari's writing skills comes across as an attempt to change the subject, which you then attempt to cover up with another often used red herring defense of Dubai in the form of "well things are equally bad in [insert Western country's name here]."

The fact is, none of the so-called journalists in Dubai is willing to address Hari's observations head-on and offer up facts to the contrary. And that is because all of it is true! So the journalists are left to say things like "well other countries sucks" or "his writing sucks" or engage in utter denial of the reality.

Face it - the Dubai bubble has burst. Accept it and try to use this time as an advantage to encourage your local friends and expatriate friends to drive much needed changes in the system and society.

14 April, 2009 02:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No country/city/state would openly criticize itself. not in the way you describe at least.

I live in state of Arizona, and if you do not know much about it, then let me tell you that it has the reputation for being one of the most dangerous places to live in the U.S. due to drug smugglers, biker gangs, gun runners, illegal immigrants, violent street gangs and the occasional crackpot.

Why just the other day there was an extremely horrible case that involved a teacher who killed her 8 year old student.

As extremely distressing as that sounds It does not say much about us as a society...And to pass judgment based on the wrongdoings of the few is not fair.

We are just like any other society, and just like every other society we have "bad apples".

While it may be easy to attack other peoples, or scream at life's unfairness. but It is hard to "be the change you want to see".

I humbly implore you to reflect on your life; where you are, and where you want to be and what is stopping you?

Do you want to really want to "drive much needed changes in the system and society"? if so what is stopping you?

It begins by the actions of a single human. but do not that fool you, it wont be easy nor would it be quick... change does not happen overnight and it always comes with inconvenience.

14 April, 2009 09:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lara Dunston wrote: " would see that while I love Dubai, I recognize that it is flawed."

Flawed? Passports withheld, basic human rights abused, rampant corruption by high officials, brutal treatment of workers, incompetent judiciary, gagging of the press, suppression of dissention... dictatorship.

Lara, stick to the beaches of Koh Samui will you.

14 April, 2009 10:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Flawed? Passports withheld, basic human rights abused, rampant corruption by high officials, brutal treatment of workers, incompetent judiciary, gagging of the press, suppression of dissention... dictatorship.'

yes flawed fool, just like every country in the world, every city, can you think of a perfect country? with better human rights? honestly? are you saying the USA has better human rights? or the UK???? COME ON get real! the problem is, people have to start realising you cant expect every country to be the same as the UK, cos who would want that the UK as a whole is on a spiral of decline, who cares if they take your passport, its not like they steal it of you, you give it up voluntarilly, and please dont winge about the labourers, they know exactelly what they get themselves into, and the reason they live in shit, is cos they have no hygiene what so over, imagine a bunch of men living together in a house, yeah its gona end up pretty thilthy after a while, if thatw was a bunch of women it would be alright, now imagine a bunch of men with no hygiene...guys let get real, the world is not a fair place, but there are more important things going on, and come on, they have a better life in Dubai, than they do in india, cos there UNSKILLED, what would they be doing in india, nothing whatsoever, they would be living in a country with a corrupt government and a class system in which they would be below the bottom, atleast people winge about them in dubai cos no one gives a shit about them in india

14 April, 2009 10:31  
Anonymous pi31416 said...

Anonymous said...
"yes flawed fool, just like every country in the world, every city, can you think of a perfect country?"

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold! Here is Anonymous's logic and self-justification at work.

— Johnny, you musn't shit on the dinner table.

— But mommy! Sally just pissed in your soup!

Thank you for your attention, and don't forget to spit on the wall before leaving.

14 April, 2009 10:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

India never hid its head in the sand claiming all was bliss. It never did, never has. If you follow the Indian press, 24/7 all they do is highlight the ills of the system.. fancy that happening in dubai? India never went on a PR overdrive claiming the biggest, fastest, thinnest, heaviest, largest, smallest, costliest, tallest etc. etc. Didn't see you complaining then.. so why now??

14 April, 2009 10:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice thread...

An informatinve and a provocative display of emotions!

14 April, 2009 11:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 10:31.

I gather from your invective that Dubai is above criticism. It's the typical regional argument of "I throw one ball over your fence and you throw two balls back". I am not defending western democracies, nor am I promoting that Dubai follows the same.

But what I am stating is that there are serious violations of basic human rights in the UAE. Until you recognize that fact (which I suspect you never will, because it suits your lifestyle) then your defence of the status quo is as meaningless as it is shameful.

14 April, 2009 12:18  
Anonymous MT said...

truth is all these countries saying 'we do not hide our heads in the sand' wud simply LOVEEEEEEEEEE to hide their heads in the sand. tell me which country likes bad press?? dubai has managed to work a good PR machine which others have failed to - learn from them.

thats the way the press works. if they want to go after someone they can rip them to shreds and if their pockets are full to the brim all the world is sunshine and clear blue skies.

now that the world needs to access indian's 1 billion strong population u can trumpet the 'worlds biggest democracy' day in and day out. but if india were to fall outta favor suddenly the caste system, religious riots, pathetic infrastructure all would come to the fore like they were never there in the first place.

today we talk of post taleban afghanistan as a 'democracy' :-) lo behold the press never talks of the president ruling only kabul and the rest of the country being run by drug-running warlords. nopes. but tomorrow when the case against karzai has to be built u can bring all these things and keep repeating them like ther is no tomorow. the press can even turn the taleban into heros trumpeting their drug eradication policy in the late 90s.

my point? well calling the johan hari article as well balanced is well a bit of a stretch. its a mash up of facts and dramatic text. infact its a mash up of negative facts mashed up to malign the city. it wud have been balanced if he came and talked to me. an expat who was born and brought up here and loves the relative peace and good infrastructure.

yes infrastructure! wat is referred to by writers as concrete jungles and asphalt watever.. its called infrastructure. and ur own country's infrastructure is on the brink of collapse. the press cud have talked abt dubai and its superb roads network and the ever improving transport system. [IMPROVING being the key word)
but no the press can chose to present the same investment in infrastructure to talk about being a fake concret junlge blah blah blah. ur choice of words can turn the same thing into either an amazing asset or a major problem.

the people living in the parkiing lot are not part of dubai's slavery system??? those blokes were like a majority of jumeira janes living life to the full. dubai did not force them here? dubai did not dupe them with a contract that promised they wud get paid 4 times a more talented indian wud get so they can party around day in and day out? when the going gets tough dubai is to blame. but when its all handy-dandy its zinc and barasti every night!!! dubai DID NOT ask them to take a loan so they can live in dubai marina. many more ppl are living WITHIN THEIR MEANS. don't blame DUBAI for ur stupidity and excess borowing. u bought that culture from ur OWN home country which taught u to buy today and pay tomorow. u are not forced to TAKE A LOAN. yet in ur HOEM country u ARE forced in order to have a 'credit history'.

no body complained about debtors prison when they wer borrowing like mad to boy their SUVs so y suddenly cry foul when u can't pay back. u wer GREEDY to want that SUV u cud never afford back home. GREEDY. Dubai is greedy? WELL SO ARE YOU!!!! so don;t complain of debtors prison when u realise uve been lving beyond ur means.

dubai has a debtors prison coz its full of expats. and these expats will borrow money and when the going gets tough book a flight to go back home. who is gonna follow them back to get the money. don't compare ur home country to dubai. the chances of ppl running away with debt FROM their home country is less than the chance of ppl running TO their home country with debt. debtors prison is necessesity in dubai based on the demographic makeup.

quite honestly i hate how laborers are treated. its inhumane. its not defendable. but as someone above said back home they wud live worse. i know so many of them personally. one fella who worked as an office boy with us did not get paid for 3 months. decided to leave his current sponsor - the labor agency that shipped him here. our office staff chipped in to ensure he did not get into financial trouble. u thik he wud have realised dubai was a terible choice. u think he'd resolve never to come back here. no ppl. no. u can proclaim to live in the ideal world of mr hari who thinks the labor here wud never come baq but the fact is they wud. the fella we helped get back to kerela, india now has called us a couple of times asking if we can get him a position back in dubai - ANYTHING. to all the ppl of dubai and the 4 hours tourists here, dubai is a globalized city. don't luk at it singularly. the labor suffering here came here coz baq home they are in terrible terrible state.

the fact is the loans they take are a reality. and most are duped into thinking they wud get paid more. but plz. DUBAI does NOT dupe them. their own countrymen dupe them. their own governments fail them. their own ppl fail to tell them they are being lied to. the agents take huge sums to get them a visa. those illiterate guys don't know a thing abt how much they wud get paid. they see a contract with 1200 on it, not realising the 1200 has 600 housing and food allowance they won't get coz their company will feed and house them. (in pathetic conditions i agree. no questioning hari's claims there)

u think if dubai govt were to go around 'freeing' these 'slaves' they wud all fall at ur feet kissing u for the help. u think if dubai shipped all these laborers back they wud be the happiest men alive. the reality is they have no choice but to stay. they have massive loans they need to repay as a result of being duped NOT BY DUBAI but by their countrymen back home. dubai cannot do much except improve the places they live in. but dubai cannot take responsibility to keep every toilet clean and teach sanitation to thousands of workers. its not logistically possible. REALITY IS filth in all bachelor accomodations is directly propotional to the literacy of the residents. go to the shared accomodations in many parts of dubai wher bachelors live and they are quite honestly SHODDY. dubai is NOT to blame for lack of someone's personal hygiene. sorry hari. uve taken a sad fact abt laborere's living conditions and somehow placed all blame on dubai for it.

i just loved the drama in the gay section of the article. the whole 'everyones-gay-coz-ther-is-only-one-kinda-hole-available' justification to somehow paint many saudis as gays. :). anyway tribute to haris attention to detail, even knowing the natonality of the big biceped gay the saudi fella dances towards. atttention-to-detail or merely post-writeup-dramatic-touchups.

and when hari talks of lifestyle. i want to know. WHAT PERCENTAGE of dubai's populace lives that lifestyle???????? really? id like to know? to generalize that as a dubai lifestyle - is that being well balanced???? uve just ignored 80% of the population that lives there. the middle class. the ones who have regular jobs and regular families. who have regular issues like rising rents and inflation and finding the elusive parking spot. u know hari, the population that u ignored, the regular bloke who reads ur article about gay bars and the dubai lfestyle and goes: "REALLY, i heard these things are here but EVERYONE IS DOING IT????"

as for haris comments on the atlantis - well hari - most ppl in dubai won't probably ever live in the rooms u talk about. MOST WONT. oddly enough MOST WHO WILL won't be FROM DUBAI but from the rest of the world. so i don't see it as a problem with dubai as much as i see it as a problem with super-rich-crapping-money ppl all over the world.


A lot (not all) of the ppl feeding these excesses come from your part of the world. period.

As for the Filipinos and their sadness with dubai. let me enlighten you. a large number have lost their jobs in the recent downturn. hari wud have u believe they are all running with a smile to the airport passport in hand. fact is filipinos are so keen on coming here their president CAME to dubai and proudly announced that 40,000 new jobs are being created for filipinos in the UAE.

So hari, care to write to Mr. Arroyo and enlighten her not to send her countrymen to so called 'slavery'??????

hari, uve taken unrelated facts - gays, jobless expats, labors and mashed them up with a touch of drama to come up with an attention seeking article about dubai. if u had done this 2 years back id credit u with being opinionated and questioning the status quo, but now uve proven ur just following the pack.

14 April, 2009 12:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr. Hari ought to have reflected on where Dubai stands viz the other GCC states like a Kuwait or a Saudi etc on these highlighted issues.
Some of those states could be far far darker than what Dubai is made to be...
A article on those lines will perhaps give this whole episode a sense of balance.
Dubai is work in progress.. every 'developed' country has had a phase in its lifetime where things were far murkier viz. its civic society. Perhaps when Dubai is 150 years old, it would have reached a critical phase in its life cycle where it can afford to banish these ills rather than overlook them.

14 April, 2009 12:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how come all the work in progress argument is given by the minority who are benefiting from the system? would you have given the same argument if you were the labourer, or the maid, or if it was your son whose passport is confiscated and enslaved?

MT, the global econometric expert, who has been kind enough to illuminate us on KERELA, there is no such state in india. it is KERALA. kerela is a vegetable. as for your argument of one idiot from there calling for a job back in dubai, let me help you. that state is full of idiots. it does not mean they do not have a chance to live well in kerala, or in india. they are just too stupid to look for a job there. do you know how much this idiot makes as a labourer in dubai? after expenses he makes 100 dollars a month. in kerala, if he is to learn to work as a electrician, or a plumber, or a driver,mason or hundreds of other jobs for which now no one is available there ( because all these have vanised to gulf to be slaves, so hat their families can claim their son is a sheikh in dubai). and for any of those jobs, he can make anywhere upto 400 rupees a day , that is atleast 8000 in a month, and that laides and gentlemen, is 200 usd. so they come to dubai for half the salary, because they are imbeciles. and thy live in the hope they can rip off the some emirati and become a multimillionaire overnight. if you are willing to work, india today has enough jobs. sorry to rain on your parade MT, and all other indian economy bashers, no need to quote statistics at me. this is the reality. of course there will be news of people committing suicide and living in slums in india. well, let me use your argument, people in finland had highest suicide rate, and which country doesnt have slums ( we are talking country here, not some hotel like dubai or qatar)

14 April, 2009 13:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MT, that was one lengthy diatribe. okay, you made your points about the filth, and labourers from poor countries begging for jobs in dubai.them bein cheated by their won countrymen. now let us hear you justify the following.

1. workers being enslaved, and passport being confiscated on arrival,and kept with emirati sponsor. many who want to leave are not allowed to leave. let us hear your enlightened argument denying this.

2. workers are promised a certain amount, and on arrival, they are given much less, and often not paid for months. okay, these are private companies maybe, how come the govt does not provide any solution for this other than mouth some platitudes, and put labourers who strike in come the workers rights are protected only in the PR articles and not in reality. And MT, did last years strikes where labourers dared jail sound like they were desperate to get into dubai, or they love being in dubai?

3. 30 people in one small room like your bedroom, on bunkers nailed to walls. does it sound like bachelors are filth, and emirates is desperately trying to make them live better. i am sure the workers did not insist we need to sleep in one room with 30 others, and have only one toilet amongst us, and be fed bad food? c'mon. there is a limit to your bullshit about bachelors are dirty. they may be. but what we are talking about is their enslaving here.

4. as for they have no choice back home, why dont you give them back their passports and tickets, and then claim this. half might want to stay, another half may want to come in fresh, but all we are saying is, dont prevent those who want to leave from leaving. and we know there are enough of those. even u would agree

i could go on and on, but speaking about other countries is not the point here. what can be done here is the question. obviously, if it was your mother working as the maid here, and your father was the labourer, we would have seen a dramatic shift in your point of view. that is all we are saying. you lack humanity.and you are not giving jobs to save people from slums. you are using that opportunity to enslave them, to make your own lifestyle palatable. now dont give more bullshit to make it smell like french perfume.

14 April, 2009 13:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the responses to MT especially about Kerala. Superb reply and thanks for pointing out the fact that people can earn more and live better back home in India. It is true also about Philippines which I am told is a beautiful country and some of the shopping malls in Manila will put Dubai to shame!

14 April, 2009 14:02  
Anonymous MT said...

anon @ 14 April, 2009 13:29:

firstly, great points u raise. and very valid ones at that.

abt passport being kept of employees, this thing is not specific to laborers. any seasoned expat would tell u that even the largest companies in the uae keep employee passports as security. as the guy before u said: dubai is a hotel. and like most hotels that keep ur passport dubai's PRIVATE companies keeps it too. if uve been here long enough ull know of the many multitude of cases of ppl who have committeed fraud and skipped the country overnight. companies now keep passports as a deterrent to ensure employes don't abscond. i don't support keping passports, but i do understand y companies here do it. dubai LAW states its illegal, wats being done is by private firms and its illegal. period. don't blame the state for it.

as is the case with most ppl from the subcontinent, they are unaware of their rights. not just in dubai but in their own countries. it is the responsibility of THEIR governments to ensure their workforce going abroad know what they are getting into.

and do also remember the real concern if ppl were given their passports and many absconded and lived illegally in the country - not out of choice, but coz they HAVE to repay the debts they took to get here. that wud cause crime to spiral. don't look at passports with this single minded approach. ther is more to it that one can argue for and against the policy.

all other problems u have highlighted are TRUE. Very TRUE. and i agree they exist. anyone who has not had their head stuck in the sand wud agree with u. but my argument is that this is NOT some government policy. the GOVT does not dictate that laborers shud not be paid or that laborers shud be stuffed 30 in a room. this is dictated by private firms. not all companies engage in keeping their laborers in shamefully bad labor accomodation.

its market conditions that dictate the situation u talk of. ive seen these issues prop up time and again only recently as unsustainaible construction work lead to overwhelming demand for labor within limited resources. during my early years here everyone had their families here. it was affordable. slowly but surely ppl had to send their families home as growth lead to inflation that lead to prices ppl cud not longer afford. today multiple families are living in a room with wooden partitions.

same is the case with labor accomodation. companies have to make do within their budgets. can't dole out lavish spaces for ppl to live in. think: if regular middle class ppl were a few months back finding it hard to find a decent space to live (one family one villa rule) how hard is it for companies to find spaces for their laborers.

now as prices come down u will see improvements. slowly things will fall into place as developments slow down or rather come to sustainable levels. its only a matter of time.

i responsed to haris article wher he raises many differnt unrelated things of which labor dealings is just one (though major) problem. i still believe that unless source governments shape up themselves ppl will continue to try and come here to escape hardships back home.

again anon, i don't deny the problems u have raised. but i do believe if u sit down and think of how this can be solved, the responsibility wud lie majorly with the unscruplous agents duping ppl into coming here.

14 April, 2009 16:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MT, thanks for your reply to comments, that was a rather civilized reply without letting it degenerate into name calling. I stand by everything I have written above, and if the govt of dubai, or the govt censored media would come back to criticism like you did, people like me would just go away knowing that things would improve slowly but steadily. as of now,i see no signs from Dubai that they accept comments positively and things will improve, and sultan's reply just showed how much they think of the intelligence of people who come to work in the middle east. I stand by everything Hari wrote, yes it was showing the bad side of Dubai, what do you expect in an article called Dark side of Dubai. Whatever he wrote happens, happens every day in Dubai, it was not a prejudiced view, it was not a mish mash put together to be spiteful of Dubai.It was well researched, and well written. People have the right to agree or disagree with him, as you did. It is the real view of the dark side of Dubai, like the 1 million articles before him sang praises of Dubai. Some balance is in order, dont you think.

14 April, 2009 17:00  
Anonymous MT said...

let me share with u one of the cases i came across relating to labor. maybe if u read this u might understand y i believe home govts have more a responsibility than dubai.

i knew this 30 smthing guy from kashmir who happened to be a cook at our hostel. he left due to some medical reasons and i met him a couple of years back in ajman. his story is smting like this:

medical expenses (he had some respiratory disorder) had lead him get into some debt and he was unable to work to pay it off. when he finally recovered he needed to pay off the debt which was accumulating interst fast. he was introduced to one of the many agents who find u jobs in the gulf in exchange for a certain fees.

basically these are the guys who bring in labor in bulk at the request of contracting companies or labor supply companies. companies tell them we need X number of ppl and we shall pay them X amount etc etc etc. go get me some labor.

Now herein lies the problem. These agents have a easy job. Its not to difficult to con a man who is barely educated with promises of earning in Dirhams and lots of that too. their sales pitch is smthing like this "u pay me 30,000 rupees, ill get u a visa and a guarenteed job in dubai where u will earn 1200 dirhams and easily be able to pay off all debts plus the 30,000 ull pay me"

for every 1 smart man there is who is cynical there are 10 who are desperate for a better life. They will borrow from their village rich man, family, friends, sell watever little jewelery hoping to recover it all very soon. thats wat my aquaintence did. he sold and borrowed to pay this agent. He got the much loved UAE Visa - a VISIT VISA at that plus he had to pay for his own airline ticket.

So now this man with approximate 46,000 in debt heads off to dubai only to realise his company is in ajman. something by the name of shattaf. its not a major company working on the palm or nething, its a small time contractor who works on villas.

When he has landed here, his passport is taken away and he is sent to his accomodation which is nothing much to write about, though not as bad as those mentioned in press reports. he says its simple, relatively clean though a bit cramped.

Anyhow the problems begin there. the company tells him he is supposed to be charged 400 per month for this visa. 300 per month for his residence and 250 per month for his mess (food). In the end this man was being given 250/- per month.

I still remember his words when he said that i came here thinking i wud be able to pay back all my debts and have a better life, now after my 3 year contract ill only be able to get back the money i paid to get ppl, lets analyze the situation. where did things go wrong.

1. the agent lied.
2. the company did 2 illegal things: took his passport and asked him to pay for visa fees which is the company's responsibility.

the agent lying is not the responsibiity of the govt of uae. its not even the responsibility of the home govt of the employee. the agent is a simple con artist who gae a bag full of lies to get a guy on a plane to certain doom only to get his commission. the agents makes his money sending ppl over. now tell me is it smarter to get the guy TO dubai and solve his problem or to STOP the problem at the point the agent is getting this fella to board a plane?

id say it is the responsibility of the local govt to setup an office that oversees all overseas employment work much like what the filipinos have (or so i hear). they cud have gotten this person in, told him his rights. told him he might have the following deducted. told him if he wanted to arrange his own accomodation is impossible since he is a bachelor. told him who to contact in case he felt his rights were being violated. u see they shud basically have told his person what he was getting into. this kashmiri man's govt FAILED to eduacate this person.

now coming to the second responsibility. the laws being broken by the company. sadly ppl, ther is nothing u can do about it except probably ensure the company pays the 400 this man is getting deducted. but u see companies have learnt to play around.

in all certainty this man is going to suffer. if the labor ministry tells to pay the 400 the company will send him home for being a pest and reporting to the ministry.

if the labor ministry fines the company for getting him to work on visit visa, the cmpany will most certainly close down and the guy will have to go home.

basically if the guy goes to get his right, he will surely end up on a plane back home where he STILL has to pay 46000 back.

and that my friends was the reason this man stayed on. knowing full well he was going to have nothing in 3 years time, he still stayed on since he has too much of a loan to be able to go back. and MOST labor in the uae shares a similar story.

to the labor, living in dirty accomodation is NOT their bigest concern. i tell u coz ive known some. their concern was and will be money. coz they came here to support family and they need to get paid for that.

im am NOT justifying putting 30 in a room. plz don't take it as me saying if they can take it, let them suffer. not at all. my concern is that for every labor who spends 3 years here like the kashmiri man and returns swearing never to come back, ther will be 10 to take his place coz they won't give up unless they have given it a try.

We gotta educate ppl at the source. that man is now back where he came from. Forced back when the company could no longer get projects. He went through a lot mentally just worrying about how he will pay his loans back.

14 April, 2009 17:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai is a classic case of 'as you sow, so shall you reap'

MT - You say it ain't official government policy? I think you are wrong - most countries that provide manpower to UAE tried to implement a 'minimum wage' policy -However very strong pressure from the powers to be in UAE ensured those bills never become labour law.. ..if it did, that would be the death knell of the super profits made by the powerful local family run enterprises here.

14 April, 2009 17:16  
Anonymous MT said...

Anon @ 14 April, 2009 13:15

Kerela or Kerala i don't think the ppl of that state shud mind a spelling error since as u put it they are all 'imbeciles'.

thank you for putting into perspective the human urge to migrate for work and a better life so aptly and concisely.

considering ur argument abt y ppl migrate id say indians are the biggest imbeciles in the uae, followed closely by ur gud friends the pakistanis since these 2 countries have the largest migrant population here :)

and phhhulleeezeee! im not even gonna bother quoting stats to u. this is not a discussion abt the indian economy. but what is happening in dubai can and is happening everywhere including india. while hari can draw a comparison between the atlantis and the laborers who built it, the same can be done abt mr. ambanis extravagance in a city wth the world's largest slum - but the world's press wont come to that till india bashing is in fashion.

my point is, dubai bashing is in vogue today. when it bounces baq, the brits will be back to their partying ways and the world will have forgotten all about the gays, the evicted expats, the over-the-top hotel rooms and the labor that built it.

haris article is well researched no doubt and among the crop of 'dark side' 'doomsday' artciles its probably the most accurate. but i still believe he took facts and dramatized them a tad bit too much.

does anyone think its got to do with gordon brown coming with his begging bowl and going back with nothing much :-/ [ok ok maybe too much of a conspiracy theory] but i think its an opinion that prompted the british to issue a rebuttal relating to the press coverage of dubai.

14 April, 2009 17:23  
Anonymous MT said...

anon @ 14 April, 2009 17:16

maybe. u cud be right or u cud be way off the mark regarding the pressure from the uae. i can't confirm or deny it can i :)

but even then, the filipinos managed to bring legislation for minimum wage for filipino maids. i guess its upto the local govts to decide whether to allow their citizens to be ripped off or not.

14 April, 2009 17:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ MT - lets not get carried away and compare your little Dubai with an India or for that matter a Pakistan..

from a camel to a mercedes in under 50 years is no mean acheivement !! especially with all the 'hardwork' done by the locals in bringing about this buzzzzzzling city ! But let us not get ahead of ourselves please.. just incase you've forgotten...50 years back you and your folks where eating and shitting in the same tent by the coast... ..the way things are, your kids are likely to be doing the same..

14 April, 2009 17:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"from a camel to a mercedes in under 50 years is no mean acheivement !"

Well India has been around for 5,000 years now and its people still live in the exact same living conditions...


14 April, 2009 18:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

guys guys....india bashing was always in vogue, and it has never stopped. as a democracy, they can take it, will take it, and even celebrate a movie like slumdog millionaire which basically shows only the dark side of india, those who literally live in shit. but that is openness, and confidence for you. there is no false pretense that they were born in mercedes, and when they shit it smells like french perfume. anyways, that is not what this debate was about. it is about, HOW RIDICULOUS DOES IT GET WHEN A COUNTRY THAT CANNOT EVEN MANAGE 2 0R 3 MILLION LAW ABIDING EDUCATED EXPATS WITHOUT PROBLEMS, POINT FINGERS AT OBVIOUSLY KNOWN WEAKNESS OF DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES WITH POPULATION OF 1 BILLION. IT IS ONLY JUST ABOUT SOME 300 TIMES MORE. are there problems there, of course, do you want to write about it, you are welcome to, you can even come to delhi and present it to the president, criticize him, and the country personally, and walk out and take the flight out with absolute freedom. :-)

14 April, 2009 18:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are all you emiratis getting huffy & puffy when people bash your country?

You want to be a world player then this is part of the game. You wanted Dubai to be the spotlight of the world and now it is!

While I would agree Dubai bashing is now in fashion (a lot of the issues raised have been rampant all over the middle east for decades now in some form or other), these are real issues!

So please, stop acting like they don't exist and start pressuring your leadership to fix them. What most of the problems come down to (and the reason why they're not solved) is that they're caused by an elite who can do whatever they want and quite frankly don't care.

One decree by Sheikh mo' and a lot of these problems can be solved. Stop get pissed at outside people and put some of this energy into making your own country better. After all, it is you in the end who have to live in it!

14 April, 2009 18:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol @Anon 14 April, 2009 18:27

14 April, 2009 18:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"they can take it... and even celebrate a movie like slumdog millionaire...only the dark side of india"

wasn't slumdog millionaire written and directed by the brits??/

"Why are all you emiratis getting huffy & puffy when people bash your country?"

Who is getting "huffy and puffy"?
I am just stating the obvious to the oblivious, confused and the unreasonable.

14 April, 2009 19:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

moron at 19:11, nowhere did i claim that the movie slumdog was made by indians!!! it just said indians celebrated slumdog millionaire. incidentally it was a movie set in india, acted by indians and trashed them. india could have done without it, still they celebrated something that was inherently creative and had empathy for them.guess creativity and stuff like that goes way above your head, and this region. Also did not know that Indians needed your highness's permission to celebrate a british made movie.

Okay here is the new royal decree in Dubai : If you need to celebrate anything, it needs to be made by your country. Makes me wonder about a lot of things that dubai claims and celebrates, especially the german cars they drive, the russian women they pay to screw, the japanese metro, the european dress they wear, the toilet paper they use, the shoes they wear, the planes emirates uses, all these are what Dubai PR writes about and celebrates every day. None of these are made in or by Dubai. Let the celebration begin!!

14 April, 2009 20:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MT your arguments are a bit EMPTY. They are all lame arguments. The stuff that goes in Dubai with the compliance of the govt. is indefensible. So accept them and fix them. And as far as India is concerned there are over a billion people and the million Indians in the UAE are a very small fraction of the population even if most of them are misguided fools.

To the moron at 18:27 India has made a lot of progress and produces everything it needs as result of years of industrialization. So please do not compare your little gated community of a country to the subcontinent.

14 April, 2009 22:47  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

I am Anon 18:27,19:11

To 20:08,

Moron you say?

touched a nerve I see... only a lesser person would resort to petty insults of character. please build your arguments on something a bit more concrete than contempt and mere taunts. let us further our discussions in a more meaningful way.

I honestly do not want to sound harsh, but I do realize that this is the internet; often people act in a way that they will never be caught dead acting like in real life. I know that there are many good people here, hint: with good manners :)

I also found this was funny too:"...guess creativity and stuff like that goes..."

Stuff like that?


Come on!

You were starting a good sentance, why butcher your creative commentary with generic lingo? But what really made me laugh was how I imagined your Indian accent would sound like when you said that word. -no offense intended dude. really!

And about the remark how we drive german cars and what not. You do realize who we are talking about here right? and, No, I am not bragging, please do not think that I am. here goes:

Here are the facts: My country holds the fifth largest proven oil reserves in the Middle East and the fifth largest proven natural gas reserves in the world.
And the fact the wealth produced from hydrocarbon contributes only 1/3 of our GDP. That is something that inspires awe in our allies, and envy in our enemies. In other words, part of our population has more money than is prudent. a small part I might add. small but loud... and obvious.

Side note: contrary to popular belief, not all of us where born with a silver spoon in our mouths, many of us natives come from noble families, I come from The Noble House of Al-Bufalasah. The very same clan same as the Al-Maktoums. but the similarity ends with the historic lineage. My family had to work to get by, both my father and mother worked themselves to exhaustion and illness so that my siblings and I go to the best schools and universities and have a real opportunity.

But whatever displays of extravagance you will see Is due to the fact that there is lots of money to throw around. hence the inflation of our currency...Prudence aside, don't you think that it this is a natural consequence that those who have the means would surround ourselves with the best, biggest and most expensive?

That is, given the means, wouldn't you? ( money does not equal happiness... i know, but that is beside the point i am trying to make)

We have free healthcare; sure, not the worlds greatest doctors... free public education; not the best curriculums, but still... free enterprise; sure someone gets 51% for mere "sponsorship", it is protectionist, but if it wasn't we would be extinct. and "Our" country will cease to be...

But we are a safe haven and stable anchor in a region touched by wars and famine. Our society is open compared to others nearby, Yet we still live by our tradition and instill our ancestral ideals in our children.

There will ALWAYS be societal misfits, its only natural. they give us a bad name and we hate it...but the silent majority of people I am speaking for, are good people, they have dreams and ideals, they have problems and challenges as well. but many among which are devoted to their families, rulers and country... or in the very least want to make something of themselves.

Having said that, we realize that we have problems, lots of them and lots of them, problems that are complex and are needed to be dealt with. That is why there are blogs like this, -God bless your heart SD- sure, they may be repressed in the mainstream, but do not think they do not influence us. they do garner a listening, albeit silent audience.

But here is the real deal, this is the what it boils down to:

we have yet to achieve the critical mass of educated and informed citizenry needed to solve our own problems and further our progress.

Ok, here is the part where i give my personal speculations, (skip through it if you are short on time):

I do not know what will that take, time? effort? war? but i realized that we cannot sit idle. I know that the entire world is currently engulfed in a massive societal upheaval, that friction generated by that will cause everything to change, for good or ill. But know this, I am filled with certainty that will be of benefit to my society in the long run.

We know that we are not perfect, no one is perfect but the creator of the heavens and earth.

And with that I would like to end, and apologize for this short novel of sorts. and any racial slurs.

So ends the 100th comment...

p.s. to Anon 22:47: I am not MT... and WHY you think what you think is More important than what you think.

15 April, 2009 00:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im sorry, firstly, i highly doubt any emiratis have even commented on this board, just because you defened dubai doesnt mean your local, and also, MT seems to be making the most sense out of everyone on here, please cut the crap and stop the record about passports being taken away, its life, they know exactelly whats going to happen when they come here, its no fair but it happens, life isnt fair, deal with it

15 April, 2009 01:17  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

Go ahead, be paranoid.

ماعندي اي شيء اثبته لأي حد؛ صدق الي تباه

Transliteration: Ma'indy aye shay athbitah l'ayhad. sad'deg elay tib'ah.

Translation: I do not have to prove anything to anyone. believe what you will.

15 April, 2009 01:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Unsung Patriot, Indian accent? LOL. So what? This is not about creative commentary or poetry it is based on the evidence of the continuing double standards in your tiny little country which is lucky to have oil and gas reserves. But other than that you guys are pretty lame at producing anything much. Glad you acknowledged it.

15 April, 2009 09:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I come from The Noble House of Al-Bufalasah" . Quote- Unsung Patriot.

Wow you are one self centered prick. Does that make you some special human being? Pompous and arrogant for sure. Not surprising. So what is the world supposed to say, your forefathers had a hard life so the injustices towards poor expat labor and all the other crap that goes on there is acceptable?

You dont need to prove anything to anyone because there is enough proof out there about the shit that goes on in Dubai.

15 April, 2009 09:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unsung Patriot

UAE GDP by sector Agriculture (1.6%), Industry (61.8%), Services (36.6%) (2008 est.)

Industry includes mostly oil. And since most of your country is expats who do think contributes to the GPP most? Locals??

15 April, 2009 09:36  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

Ah, they attacks continue...

You either haven't been reading or you did not comprehend what I was saying. I will explain again. this time i will make it short. it seems the more lengthy a post is, the more likely people lose track of the point. No matter, I shall try again.

I humbly, respectfully *implore* you to understand that I am not providing justifications for my society's ills, rather I am d trying to clarify what I said in my previous post (post #100) by answering the misconceptions accrued by the last three anonymous fellas.

To Anon @ 9:21,

Be that as it may, we have been blessed by the having the hydrocarbon reserves it has right now. The point i am trying to make is that the wealth was much better managed than some of our "richer" neighbors (i.e. saudi arabia) we successfully invested in our infrastructure and diversified our economy.

To Anon 09:29

You took my words out of context. Never have i said I was a "special" person, I have said nothing of the sort. You are putting words in my mouth and you know it. Stop with the personal attacks will you.

Ad Hominem is a tactic that serves it widen the divide of misunderstandings.

If you go back and READ what i was saying you will understand full well what my point was.

It is not very difficult, just read the very >Next> sentence after the one you quoted! better yet, i shall repeat it for you and spare you the trouble.

Me in post 100, abridged slightly for the sake of brevity:

"(I belong to) the Noble House of Al-Bufalasah...same clan same as Al-Maktoums...but the similarity ends with the(last name)...My family had to work to get by, both my father and mother worked themselves to exhaustion and illness so that my siblings and I (have the best education we can, to get a real opportunity in life)"

here is it again; in other words:

(sorry for the caps, but i cannot risk wasting more time clarifying further misunderstandings)

Also, just to comment about what you said about the boys in blue, don't you think my heart doesn't go out to them?? sighs, never mind i have a personal story that i will leave for another day...

To Anon @ 09:36:

My apologies, I should have cited my sources:

Here you go:

hope it helps!

To answer your last question: Logically, One would expect that the people who contribute to the GDP would be proportional to the workforce demographics of the U.A.E. population, that is we natives, a minority in our own country contribute the least.

(Publice Service Announcement: :P, To the people who want to follow up on what i said; please avoid personal insults, i personally do not mind them, but for the sake for the readers, please practice good manners- Have a nice day!

15 April, 2009 10:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all fairness, it is a start albeit a small one when the natives of Dubai bother to acknowledge the ills existing there.. unfortunately that cannot be said about some of the other GCC countries like Kuwait etc.
Dubai's ills pales in comparision.

Most expats from the Indian subcontinent/darker skinned have it best in Dubai.. wouldn't even want to know of the crap these people face elsewere in the GCC. Dubai has provided these people the closest they can get to a level playing field in the Gulf.
No denying that.
I ain't gungho about Dubai.. but I've seen what a Kuwait and a Saudi looks like. And I am glad I ain't anywhere there.

15 April, 2009 11:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the greatest Noble House of Al-Bufalasah. Noble? excuse my ignorance, since when did desert dwelling underachievers drinking camel milk become noble? on what parameters was it judged? when other civilisations were busy creating art and poetry and epics, you guys had your fingers up your nose trying to get the sand out. grabbing half cooked meat with dirty hands from a common vessel that last saw water in the rain the year back. Noble? My ass. My noble driver probably has a longer lineage.

15 April, 2009 13:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, since there has been lots of claims here on the great achievements of the noble families of UAE here, let us please take some noble help and fill in the blanks here please:

1. The most celebrated musician and composer of UAE who recently sold a million album is ..... Noble no bin one

2. The famous UAE scientist who recently won the Nobel prize again...Noble No al one

3. The famous UAE painter and artist, who sells all over the world for millions is guessed it..NO-One

4. The famous UAE company that makes at least one automobile is...again...Mr No-one.

5. The UAE scisntist who led the nuclear and atomic research is....Mr No One again.

6. The famous UAE fashion house and perfume brand that the world Mr No bin one again.

7. The famous UAE movie makes who just won Oscar, and is know for cutting edge creativity...again the Noble No Al One

8. The dance form of UAE from which evolved all other world dance forms One bin stick

9. The worlds leading UAE technology brand that leads IT ...Me no know

10. The UAE army's leading nuclear missile is...bin no one

i could go on an on about th greatest contributions in art science culture genetics ...but i guess like some noble soul said, the essence is in brevity..:-)

15 April, 2009 13:26  
Blogger Johnonymous said...

The Al Falasi (Bu Falasa, whatever) clan were nothing but mere settlers who were given the chance to manage a piece of land by civilized occupiers. There's nothing noble about this. Nothing magnanimous whatever.

These people who manage Dubai are nothing but rent-seekers.

They make policies that allows (or somehow, indirectly) exploitations of many ways. In the end, these local people will earn great returns without exerting real efforts.

That's how I define rent-seeking, Dubai style!

Profitable? Yes...

Sustainable? No...

15 April, 2009 13:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

berhaps yes...berhaps la'a..chill, have a bepsi!

sorry about the local accent mate, i can almost hear it ringing in my ears.

here goes the reinvented UAE PR spin machine. Al Hamdulillah, they have discovered where the real problem is with Hari's article. It is appointing a new white washing agency.

From today's National newspaper:

Ironically, the British press onslaught coincides with Dubai’s appointment a couple of weeks ago of a firm of London communications specialists, Finsbury, with a brief to counter negativity about the emirate, especially in the business press.

Certainly, they could have done little about the onslaught in so short a time, but it underscores the level of attention and sophistication Dubai is using to deal with the issue.

15 April, 2009 14:03  
Blogger Kyle said...

Time out!

A slight deviation from the current madness hereWatch until the end :)

15 April, 2009 15:02  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

@Anonymous 15 April, 2009 14:03

"Ironically, the British press onslaught coincides with Dubai’s...."

I didn't spot too many "city types" in today's English language newspapers covering yesterday's Presidential visit to Dubai.

Does anybody know if that was a "Finsbury" tactic or UAE inspired?

Plus, I think the bankers are very happy with Dubai, earning ten times more on the re-financed loans they are providing Dubai Inc with!
So paying Finsbury to appeal to Bankers sentiments is, in my opinion, wasted money.

15 April, 2009 15:44  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

Anon @ 13:08

First off, You are missing the point...

And No, I will not excuse your ignorance. The "parameters" to judge nobility lie in the very language you are speaking. not in tracing lineages as you seem to think.

From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

A: possessing outstanding qualities, illustrious
B: famous, notable
C: possessing very high or excellent qualities or properties
D: possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals

I embodied some of the those traits in the way I conducted myself here. but I do not expect that there is any objective arbitrator present here. Regardless, I will not waste my time enlightening you any further. Because your ignorance is not an excuse.

But all of the above is beside the point.

Do you know what you are doing? I'll tell you...

You see, You "latch onto" certain adjectives i speak, such as the word "Noble".

and you seem to be completely oblivious of the context in which the word was spoken in... and miss the point the I was trying to make by saying it... Even though i have repeated that exact same point three times: First, in detail, then in gist for brevity and finally in ALL CAPS just to avoid this from happening.

So on that, the basis for your arguments are built upon. That is, you turn whatever preconceived notions you have about the adjective "Noble". try to stick something about Dubai in a few sentences to ground your tired, dry and often foul remarks.

You know what happens next??

The other Anonymous people build on your misconception. like a complex pendulum (look it up) furthering the divide, generating more disharmony..

Some build meaningless top ten lists... while others demonstate a blatant ignorance of history... some even go back to the same broken record and repeat the same tired rant...

*sighs* You know, I think this is why humanity is resorts to wars sometimes. problems get compounded by obstinate ignorance.

I could compare your mental gymnastics to that of a nine year old. If you have been around any, you will know what I am talking about... actually, I think you are even worse, since nine year olds often feel shame when they commit wrongdoing. unlike yourself who keeps going regardless.

I wish if i remained silent. I wish used that fire to better myself, rather than engage in tit-for-tat "debates". But if i do not speak for my people, who will?

To the Moderators: If it is at all possible, I kindly request that hope that there would be proper moderation to steer us back to the topic, maintain a standard of common respect/decency and prevent us from going on meaningless tangents for re-explaination.

Thank you.

15 April, 2009 15:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 15 April, 2009 13:26

Not enough to satisfy your long list, but proof we can go to West and win prizes, and females to boot!

15 April, 2009 15:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

got the response I wanted. point i wanted to make was, inherited nobility means jackshit on net. there is no respect for being born to nobility in some medieval 2 bit kingdom. far from it. unlike your slaves, here people tread with no fear, and respect is given where it is deserved, not by wise decrees you are used to.
here nobility goes to challenging, morally correct points of view, and holders of such. and i don't have any claims on it either. Also dont expect too much fuckin censorship here, I know you guys are used to your parents and govt holding your hands and censoring everything. This space you are writing on, Secret Dubai, is banned in your country, the paragon of virtues.

15 April, 2009 15:57  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

Glad to hear that.

Actually you can read this blog on google reader, and there are a few special links that cannot be blocked... such as

besides, anyone can bypass the proxy,

The primary reason you do not see many natives here, nobody likes to hear their hometown trashed. but you are right, (...for once :P) this does demand thick skin.

15 April, 2009 16:11  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

Oh, and i was just calling for good manners, not censorship... you can say the facts, and get your point across but why the rudeness and/or contempt?

15 April, 2009 16:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Natives of the UAE aren't used to non-natives getting back at them with what they actually feel... subcontinental expats have always been told to be 'grateful' for the opportunities UAE provides them..

'rudeness' & 'contempt' - perhaps this forum is a great neutralizer..
..a great level playing field and a reversal of roles..

15 April, 2009 16:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a country that 60 years ago was rag bag of inter-warring camel thieves? Read Wilfred Thesiger's "Arabian Sands" and see how far they (think) they have come.

16 April, 2009 01:26  
Anonymous Dune Punk said...

Well, I guess these sand punks have serious problems of accepting mistakes. Yes, indeed they are interwarring camel thieves, pirates and pearl smugglers.

Clan against clan...
Companies against companies...
Afro-Emirati and Arab-Emirati...
Emirates against emirates...

16 April, 2009 05:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my vagina hurts

16 April, 2009 12:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont know why i am putting this in here...interesting point to ponder on anyways

ISLAMABAD: Members of Pakistan's minority Sikh community living in the restive Aurakzai tribal region have paid Rs 20 million as "tax" to the Taliban after militants forcibly occupied some of their homes and kidnapped a Sikh leader.

The Taliban had demanded Rs 50 million as 'jizia' - a tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic rule - but the militants finally settled for Rs 20 million.

16 April, 2009 12:57  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

"Live from Dubai's labour camps"

At least Arabtec should be applauded for such "relative" openess and disclosure.

Groundbreaking journalism for UAE, I think.

16 April, 2009 13:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"here is it again; in other words:

Yes most of you do nothing at those well paying govt jobs and you have enough money coming in from the sponsorship of a business run by an expat !! So most of you drive up the costs and expats work their asses off.

16 April, 2009 13:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'To answer your last question: Logically, One would expect that the people who contribute to the GDP would be proportional to the workforce demographics of the U.A.E. population, that is we natives, a minority in our own country contribute the least.' Unsung Patriot

Exactly the point so treat your expats better. Because you depend on them.

16 April, 2009 13:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unsung Patriot your definition of the word Noble from MW is meaningless. Because you are in reality pirates and smugglers who treat south asians like dirt.

16 April, 2009 14:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corruption starts from the top!

Sandarabs will never change!

16 April, 2009 16:16  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

@Analymous 16 April, 2009 16:16

"Corruption starts from the top!"

You exaggerate, the article clearly states it is "Brother-in Law"!

16 April, 2009 19:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rupert, your funny-bone's in action today! Do you know anything about this case?

16 April, 2009 19:35  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

@anonymous 16:16

My apologies a slip of the finger! lol

16 April, 2009 19:43  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

@Anonymous 16 April, 2009 19:35

Me, know anything?

I would happly share it with a person of substance; shadows are so elusive, sometimes abusive, as well!

16 April, 2009 19:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this Blog commenced on 7 April, 2009, now those folks over the pond are joining in.'s_lesson_to_america:_how_the_middle_east's_shangrai_la_became_a_hell_on_earth/
What is the opposite term of speed-reading?

16 April, 2009 21:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opposite = American smart ass!

16 April, 2009 21:47  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

To the Anon who said this: "Yes most of you do nothing at those well paying govt jobs and you have enough money coming in from the sponsorship..."

How long have you been in the UAE? that is, assuming that you have ever set foot here in the first place.

I am guessing that it was after February 2008, when the federal government decided to raise the salaries by 70%.

When I was growing up, My family was living from paycheck to paycheck. Both of my parents had full time jobs. My father risked life and limb in two wars, He selflessly served his country for 34 years, and retired before the salary hike. My mother taught in a public elementary school, after she earned her masters in educational psychology from Germany. all the while, they were raising six children and financing our education in the best private schools in the country. We lived in a modest home with three bedrooms. and We had a good life. almost all of the people at that time early 80's to the late 90's lived the same way.

Sponsorship is an economic policy put in place to protect the sovereignty of our country. Very much like the proposed wall put between Mexico and the US

To the Anon who quoted me and said: "...Exactly the point so treat your expats better. Because you depend on them."

I would not have it any other way. Progress will come from effort and time... we have no control on the latter but we all are in control of our efforts. Beside the its a mutually beneficial dependence.

If everyone just did their part. be it writing by writing provocative articles, speaking out against injustices perpetrated against those who are wronged, and actively helping the people who toil in the hot sun.

Simply put: Just do what you can, with what you have, it the time given to you.

To the Anon who said: "Unsung Patriot your definition of the word Noble from MW is meaningless. Because you are in reality pirates and smugglers who treat south asians like dirt."

What if I called your people cow-worshiping degenerates and and illiterate paupers? How would that make you feel?? I am putting you in my shoes right now.

Just to let you know, we have a driver from kerala. he is has been working responsibly for us for 19 years now. He would not stay for one year if he was treated like dirt.

Also know that trading insults would not solve any of our problems.

But I am certain that civility, respect and good manners go a long way to achieving what I assume is our common goal.

17 April, 2009 08:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all the focus lately on the poor treatment of South Asians, it would be refreshing to see a documentary focusing on a day in the life of various employed Emiratis, where they are followed around at work. I would love to see how they spend their days. Showing up late, playing around on their mobile phones, surfing the web, chatting it up with their friends, taking plenty of tea and coffee breaks, leaving early, maybe not even showing up at all, ...

I thought I knew incompetence and laziness before coming here, but this place and these people have really taken it to a new level. Based on my interactions with locals here over the past several years, they wouldn't be hired even for the most mindless, meaningless jobs anywhere else in the world. I don't blame it on them, but rather the higher powers that have created this welfare state that lacks merit and proper incentives.

17 April, 2009 08:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What if I called your people cow-worshiping degenerates and and illiterate paupers? How would that make you feel?? I am putting you in my shoes right now. "
Unsung patriot.

It would not make me feel anything coming from a community of people who are totally unproductive and have no achievements of their own. India is too vast a nation to be hurt by your little oasis in the desert. Because this nation of cow worshippers are miles ahead of you pirates, and a few of us produce more than your entire GDP.

17 April, 2009 09:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To the Anon who said this: "Yes most of you do nothing at those well paying govt jobs and you have enough money coming in from the sponsorship..."

How long have you been in the UAE? that is, assuming that you have ever set foot here in the first place." Unsung Patriot.

Guess you are used to making assumptions. I have lived there long enough and I am never coming back nor will I advice anyone in India to spend their productive years in a place like the UAE or any of the GCC countries. At the most it is a stepping stone to a life in the west for a south asian. Everything else sucks.

17 April, 2009 09:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. The most celebrated musician and composer of UK who recently sold a million album is .....
...erm, robbie williams? thats it, oh yeah then we have girls aloud and all those other 'amazing' bands, but no one outside england has even heard of them

2. The famous UK scientist who recently won the Nobel prize again...
Was there one?

3. The famous UK painter and artist, who sells all over the world for millions is guessed it, no one?

4. The famous UK company that makes at least one automobile is...again...they have all closed down

5. The UK scisntist who led the nuclear and atomic research is....Mr No One again.

6. The famous UK fashion house and perfume brand that the world shop? ie top shit? ok there is alexander mcqueen and the old ginger women, but lets be honest, none of it compares to milan

7. The famous UK movie makes who just won Oscar, and is know for cutting edge creativity...ok to be fair there r some good movies from the uk

8. The dance form of UK from which evolved all other world dance forms ...chav rave dancing?

9. The worlds leading UK technology brand that leads IT ...Heat magazine

dont bitch about dubai and what it hasnt done in 30 years, when in the last 30 years, the uk has produced, jade goody rip, chavs, uneployment, poverty, racism, british expats in dubai, a corrupt government, crap dirty hospitals, i could go on and on, what celebs does the uk have, everyone one big brother and simon cowell for good measure, what literature has britain produced in the last 30 years, harry potter, heat magazine, ok magazine,etc! dont bitch about emiratis being lazy, when english people r the laziest people in the world,just go to any major city in england, and u can see them all walking around, pyjamas still on, claiming benefits

18 April, 2009 00:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

with saddam gone (no more free oil to his western friends) England is gonna get worse, it's hard to believe but true hahaha

18 April, 2009 03:49  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Anonymous@00:07 - you are completely missing the point. It's not about what the UK has or hasn't done, or what any other country has or hasn't done.

It's about the fact that Dubai/the UAE is wilfully abusing human rights, particularly the rights of South Asian labourers.

The (unelected, unappointed) sheikhs are surrounded by enormous wealth, power and privilege and yet they sit back while these men live AND DIE in appallingly unsafe conditions, squalour, poverty, lack of proper food or medical attention in many cases.

And the sheikhs regard themselves as wise, benevolent, religious, visionary men. They are not. They are evil slavemasters.

18 April, 2009 04:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

secret dubai get a grip, do you still live in dubai, if you do you support the slavery, so shut the fuck up with the moaning about how the sheiks are sooo terrible and evil because, labourers and housemaids are abused. you sick acctually, people are starving an africa, people are being made homeless all over the world, loosing there jobs, peoples countries are being invaded iq iraq for meanless purposes, wars all around us, people dieing, and all you talk about, are men, who HAVE jobs, HAVE food? those labourers i see on construction sites sure dont look like there starving to me, there treated like shit but thats life, people are treated like shit in every country in the world, and trust me, although its hard to beleive, if they were bank in the subcon, they would be in a far worse situation

18 April, 2009 12:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some numbers on the biggest problems the world currently faces:

Several Billion people will be affected by global warming.

800 Million people are starving.

2 Billion people lack sanitation.

1 Billion people lack clean drinking water.

940 Million illiterate adults.

2 Million die of AIDS each year


18 April, 2009 15:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I come from The Noble House of Al-Bufalasah. The very same clan same as the Al-Maktoums.Unsung patriot.So, your family are indolent inbred Bedouin gangsters, too.

18 April, 2009 17:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every Country has a dark side, every person has a dark side!

and the point is?

18 April, 2009 18:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Dubai didn't have a dark side or at least ones we didn't know about.

I guess, this post is that point to prove your point.

How's that for a point?

18 April, 2009 18:10  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

This has been an amazing post, in terms of comments, well done SD for bringing this to a wider audience.

I would just like to share something with you.

When I left the UK Margaret Thatcher had just finished her period in power, and I had little respect for her, to me she was socially destructive and divisive.

Travelling around Arabia and CIS my view of her is not so parochial, as she was revered wherever I asked what people thought of her: "A strong leader", and she is still regarded in that light.

This article from the FT may help explain the role of Regional leaders and the psyche of the Region.

This quote, I think sums up the quandary facing "Democrats":
"Yet the west’s only realistic choice is to foster, or at least not actively obstruct, the right of Arabs to decide their own future, in whatever form they wish."

18 April, 2009 18:25  
Blogger Unsung Patriot said...

To Anon @18 April, 17:35


Hardly the proper description for our ambition and optimism which towers high into the skies. casting shadows on the bitching, pessimistic and ill-mannered cowards, such as yourself, who seems to have nothing better to do than complain and moan... Just like a pack of barking, toothless dogs.

To restate the obvious:

Yes, My genes are far more superior than your entire ethnic group. The blood that courses through my veins is infinitely more pure than the crud that flows through yours. The merciless desert that we came from and the nutritious camel milk we drunk saw to it that only the greatest and biggest would survive. In that order ;)

Is that the response you are trying to invite? Well, there you have it :)

On a more serious note, I do have a sincere suggestion: Why not say something constructive? If you can't think of anything then may I suggest you stay silent?

-I must say, I am a bit curious about this odd fixation that the anonymous seem to have about my lineage (i could swear that there was probably was three separate comments made about it)... ...Probably just a case of an inferiority complex shared by these Annoying'mouses.-

Here is why I wanted to comment:

I found this website, thought I might share it with the people who really give a damn and want to do something of meaning:

I sure hope he gets to read them comments, not some two-bit PR rep.



18 April, 2009 18:53  
Anonymous Repentant said...

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

"This has been an amazing post, in terms of comments,-"

AGREED! SD should dedicated a post for all time best comments or something of the sort!

18 April, 2009 19:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i just got what patroit meant about camel milk..

18 April, 2009 19:10  
Blogger Cyber Monday Deals said...

wow. thanks for the insight. i never realized how off it is over there.
Cyber Monday, Gunvault Safes, Umbilical Cord

18 April, 2009 20:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the recent posts suggest that since bad stuff is happening everywhere, we shouldn't focus on the UAE's dark side. This mentality is typical of this part of the world where everyone hides their heads in the sand and pretends bad stuff doesn't happen. Instead of tackling problems head on, justifications are made to continue as is and maintain the status quo. Doesn't it make more sense to solve the easy problems here before tackling the difficult ones abroad like starvation and sanitation? We're talking about a country with so much money and drive that no project is too ambitious or too expensive. Sheikh Mo says he wants something done, and immediately it is done. Why the fuck then can't they solve such a relatively simple problem like the poor treatment of workers? It's simple - because they don't care.

I know this is difficult for people here to understand, but many of us outsiders are under the assumption that all people are created equal and deserve basic rights. It's painful to see people treated like animals; I prefer to sacrifice my higher standard of living here so that I can go back home and live amongst equals, and I will do just that shortly. (I'll also share my story with everyone back home - negative word of mouth can be a bitch)

The comment about SD supporting slavery in the UAE by living here is completely mindless. What do you think the purpose of her blog is for? Raising awareness about the current situation is about all that can be done now. What more can she do? If the govt is blocking her blog as we speak, imagine what they would do if she were to take more active measures.

The suggestion that all criticizers of the UAE remain silent is classic. You know, freedom of speech is much more indicative of how modern a country is than how many big buildings it has. Now that I'm speaking of how modern and developed a country is ... UAE apologists, do me a favor. Look into any list on developed countries and see where the UAE is. A lot more goes into making a country developed (mostly social welfare) than high GDP. Even when looking at GDP, though, a country whose impressive GDP is heavily reliant on exploitation of natural resources is generally excluded from the list. So either way, only you all would consider the UAE to be modern. You can't buy your way into modernity through oil and speculation.

18 April, 2009 20:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree Dubai has several issues that need further addressing.

That said - in the GCC, Dubai is perhaps the closest those of us hailing from the Indian subcontinent can come about getting a level playing field in most apsects of civic life.
I think most of those Dubai bashers still living in Dubai take that privelage for granted.

Try living for a few months in one of those other GCC countries and then you'd value what Dubai is. I learned the hard way.

You need to lose an eye to value sight.

19 April, 2009 09:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Several Billion people will be affected by global warming.

800 Million people are starving.

2 Billion people lack sanitation.

1 Billion people lack clean drinking water.

940 Million illiterate adults.

2 Million die of AIDS each year'

and yet people still talk about the 'slave' labour in dubai, and the poor women who lives in her range rover, and how everyone in dubai is basically a slave, i mean were all slaves right, none of us chose to come here, none of us get paid...stop being so spoilt SD and open your eyes to real problems, or have you no heart

19 April, 2009 14:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

19 April, 2009 21:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Several Billion people will be affected by global warming.

800 Million people are starving.

2 Billion people lack sanitation.

1 Billion people lack clean drinking water.

940 Million illiterate adults.

2 Million die of AIDS each year'

Anon @14:59 April 19

Wow that is just great let all the abuse and shit that happens in Dubai with the approval of the Govt carry on. The world has bigger problems after all!! You are a Selfish local obviously.

19 April, 2009 21:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Several Billion people will be affected by global warming.

800 Million people are starving.

2 Billion people lack sanitation.

1 Billion people lack clean drinking water.

940 Million illiterate adults.

2 Million die of AIDS each year'

Anon @14:59 April 19

Wow that is just great let all the abuse and shit that happens in Dubai with the approval of the Govt carry on. The world has bigger problems after all!! You are a Selfish local obviously.'

maybe im someone with a brain, who realises there are bigger issues than 'slave' labour in dubai. God, im sure you think every housemaid in dubai is abused, and every labourerd lives in his own crap, and every prostitute was FORCED to come here to screw, and every expat has been brainwashed, and every local is greedy and abuses people, get real

20 April, 2009 01:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buildings are huge consumers of just about everything, accounting for:

• 40% of total energy use and 71% of electricity consumption
• 36% of greenhouse gas emissions
• 30% of raw material use
• 30% of waste output and
• 12% of potable water use

More numbers...

20 April, 2009 04:27  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

"The piece has prompted a rash of comment in the blogosphere, with many Asians seemingly welcoming Hari’s critique of Dubai society and a majority of British expats seeking to rubbish it. One suspects that there may be a degree of “astroturfing” (orchestrated commenting by Dubai’s army of PR people) involved."

SD how do you identify nationality of your correspondents, obviously something they can do in Europe these days?

Are you part of Dubai's army of PR people?

20 April, 2009 19:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shithead @ 18 April, 2009 00:07

don't know what made you come up with a list of claims about UK's under achievements. i posted the earlier comments on the underachievers of UAE since there were claims on the contrary. I am not from UK, nor do I give a shit about their discoveries in art and science or whatever else. though i do have a sneaking suspicion their military might could shove it right up yours. so much for eternal achievements.

point remains, all you asian assholes ( me included), dubai might be heaven for you because you have only seen the shitholes in kerala or bombay. that just makes you a pathetic underachiever worth nothing more than being ball bearers of emiratis. it does not make UAE the heaven on earth, comparing UAE to Saudi or Kuwait to say UAE is heaven just shows the number of visas ever stamped on your fucking passport, nothing else. Spend some money if you ever made any, travel some more, you will find the world a larger place, and a better place too. and yes, in most of those places, if anyone so much as touches your passport, they will go to jail.

and yes, UAE still remains the terrible, small, sad place it was before this post started, and will continue to be so. It is a place where they could have treated people better, but the people who come to work there insist on being treated like slaves. in fact, if they are treated well, they might get a persecution complex. I think i am finally coming around to unsung patriot's point of view. if these slaves insist on being treated as slaves, then why disappoint them. UAE is living upto expectations. Of the slaves. and the masters. as for the rest, devil take the hindermost.

20 April, 2009 21:58  
Anonymous Sheikh Mohammed said...

Rupert Bumfrey, I am from Saudi Arabia.

21 April, 2009 00:24  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

@ SM 21 April, 2009 00:24

A great shame the soubriquet "BD" is missed, on your acronym!

Should I be quaking in my boots at your declaration, hidden behind anonymity?

Get a real profile and behave like a real person, not a sad psychopathic patient, who would get treatment in the community, in the west, as opposed to being a shame on it's family, as, unfortunately, is the case in Arabia.

Watch and remember how the "P" will be in your life! But there again you let MS rule you.

Finally, backtrack on the thread and try to understand "irony", but "dichotomy" may be appropriate for your psyche.

21 April, 2009 01:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muscati said: "It's anything but well balanced. First of all, it's an opinion piece. The author has a negative opinion of Dubai and looked only for people who share or reinforce his view. Where's the balancing part."

فديت مسقت واهل مسقت انا

21 April, 2009 02:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, very cryptic statement, Rupert... it leads to one thinking that you have a hideous personality. Is this some kind of P method?

Rumours said that you were maintaining several images of disrobed little boys with you in the frame. Is that true?

Tell me... are you having difficulties getting out of the closet?

Hide! The CID is about to knock your place...

21 April, 2009 03:58  
Blogger Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

A small step forward, in terms of disclosure.

"Couple admit they beat daughter"

21 April, 2009 08:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dubai PR writes so muh shit, it was like a self fulfilling prophecy. the idiots kept reading it, and churnign out more, quoting their own earlier quotes. and the rest of world just love the 1 million paid write ups. and no one had any problem about balance, when in reality it was always a shit dump. now that someone with a negative opinion ( wonder of wonders, la mumkin, how can anyone have a negative opinion of dubai after all the million articles, very unbalanced ones) wrote something, it suddenly becomes a case of , oh he is looking to trash dubai, and is looking to reinforce. yeah he is, take it, and keep smiling. thats what a bit of press freedom could do for you. now imagine what the choas wouldve been if there was freedom to write this in the gulf world.

21 April, 2009 12:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cabinet Defers FNC Debate on the Impact of Global Downturn
Adel Arafah 22 April 2009 Khaleej Times

ABU DHABI - The UAE government said on Tuesday that it has decided to deny, for now, the Federal National Council (FNC) a chance to debate the global financial crisis and its impact on the country’s economic health.

Minister of State for FNC Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash told the council that the government had opted to delay rather than reject the discussion, which although against the constitution, was common practice.

Gargash said the scale of the crisis was quite serious and that the cabinet ministers were concerned that any comments made during a council debate might negatively affect the economy.

Some members of the council called the cabinet decision unconstitutional.

Council member Abdullah Nasser said the government’s stance towards the crisis showed a lack of transparency.

22 April, 2009 16:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just take a look at the hipocrisy over there. These two rape cases were reported in the Gulfnews online on Aril 22, 2009. Two sets of punishment 4 the same crime. If u r not Emirati u r out of luck!!
The luckless filipino waiter's fault was that he had sex with a minor who posed a major, he still got 3 yrs and the Emirati got a suspended 6 monthsfor raping his maid..what a sham of a place!!

22 April, 2009 22:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yes and is it any better in the uk where, lets see, do drugs, no prison, attack someone who breaks into your house, you go to jail, kill someone, 15 years, if your good you get out early...hmmm? no other way you can spin it

22 April, 2009 23:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is it that you fuckin middle east morons have the part of their brain that is supposed to question things never works? whenever there is a problem, why is it that the first thing they can do is the kindergarten stuff of, but see, the guy in the next bench is worse than me. do you have no sense of independant judgement and morality, that everything needs to be comparative, and if someone else is worse, then i can do it too but to a lower degree? god! what you will never get is, whatever happens in a place like UK or US is widely written in their own media, doest need fucking blogs to bring it out. And also, there is happens becos bad elements exist everywhere, and they do get punished most of the times there. here it happens with the governments protection, and no one is allowed to write about it. what you are comparing is the sick individuals of US & UK, to you own sick government. Nice work dude, get some education.

23 April, 2009 13:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is by default comparative and it has nothing to do with geographic location. it is about human nature.

We ask ourselves..

What is the alternative? what is out there that is better/fairer/more effective?

we look at the good/bad aspects and then do what? ...we draw comparisons, try to find patterns to inform our conclusions.

Most people cannot make past the comparisons.

23 April, 2009 14:09  
Anonymous Annoyingmouse said...

effective communication is paramount!

23 April, 2009 14:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you dont need comparisons to know when someone is tortured. you would obviously know it if it was your wife or mother or son who was undergoing the torture. since it is not, you can sit in your ovory tower and mouth platitudes about the need for comparison and what is better out there and confusing stuff like that, and hope you have managed to make others as confused as yourself. and yes, it is indeed to do with the region, nowhere else have i seen people follow blind points of view like camels as here.

23 April, 2009 16:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the poor idiot is confused, very confused.

this isn't the torture post...

and learn how to spell!

23 April, 2009 18:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

poor idiot above thinks labourers are in heaven in dubai, and not undergoing torture. get a life.

23 April, 2009 18:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and for all the Hari below so you can give even more arguments about how everyone hates Dubai for no reason.

This story below is 2 years old, about an author who tried to write about labourers in dubai.

'You must come with us'
Syed Ali was in Dubai interviewing expatriate workers for a book. The day before he was due to leave, six strangers arrived at his flat and took him to the police compound. A 13-hour interrogation lay ahead ..

23 April, 2009 18:44  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would like to point out that the piece is not only about the living conditions but about teh fact that the UAE is misleading the world to think they are what they are not... I lived in Dubai as a young girl and things seem to have not changed much, maybe only the Landscape. So we were able to bring Bibles into the country but tehy had to be scensored, my father worked for Dugas, it was a must. we had a part-time maid from Sri Lanka, she worked for one of the Royal family but was there for me as I became a woman at 11, she was engaged to a man back in her home country. She was an indentered servant and was not aloud to even call him! So we aloud it in our home, no matter the cost. My parents even gave her the money to leave Dubai and go back home to get married. Everything is true that these people probably don't live so clean themselves, and that tehy do have cast systems, but the UAE prides itself as being the french riviera of the middle east, a modern country, one that has become better then their surrounding countries... and it hasn't!

Yes, this story was biased, but rightfully so, how could anyone write about such things and make it sound non-biased. The US does not treat Mojados badly, they shouldn't be here! I am Mexican decent, but I came about it honestly. We were never treated badly, UK, yes they know they have a problem, they even allow reporters to write about the stories and yet remain in the country as happy citizens. AND they don't block the content! yes there are many things that should be covered, and they are being covered. however, it does not mean that we should ignore the mistreatment of people in this country!

Prime examples: the torture by Sheik Issa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They are trying to cover this up and say the police followed all legal prosedures! I'm sorry but we should not being doing business with this country! On Moral values! To show them that it is not ok to torture people that it is wrong! AT LEAST THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAD THEIR LIMITS, no pain must be inflicked, a towel behind the person neck to keep from getting wiplash, etc etc... This pig of a man, Issa, ran this poor guy over and over and over because he felt he had been cheated! Quit bringing up old stuff from WW2, we have evolved since then! You can't change the past, but we certainly can change the now and the future! I wont get off my high horse... I have good character, I don't cheat people, I don't use my emotions to get my way, I don't abuse anyone... I was taught we are all important in God's eyes, so we should all treat everyone as they are important. and I pray that God touches these men's hearts, whoever these men are and shows them that what they do is wrong.

Dubai was a success... follow link...

Don't kid yourself, the difference between the UAE versus the USA and UK... the USA and UK have gone through back economic times, the UAE came from sand to something big and will go straight back to it bacuse it believes its own lies!

I am no reporter, so I apologize for my emotional rants... I'm just shocked that some people think this should not be given any thought! God Bless you all! OH and try and take the time to just be nice to someone, we are loosing our manners ya'll! Help an old lady across the street! Peace!

23 April, 2009 22:12  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm sorry but the Adan person is making me so mad just thinking... so if Adan is still reading, shall I turn a blind eye if your parents were mistreated, would you? I mean there are worse things in this world going on after all? Sorry dude! Your folks might have been filthy people 50 years ago but een so, 50 years back had your parents been tricked into going to another country, UAE, USA, UK, doesn't matter... and had tehir passports taken away and told you can't protest, you can't seek help but if you don't like it leave... but if they couldn't seek help and they didn't have a passport how could they leave? I kick my shoes at you if you still think that is fair! It's called slavery, I hope the dirty scratches your eyes! how heartless you are!

23 April, 2009 22:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you need more writers saying the same things. as for dubai apologists, it is not just hair who is lying eh?

'We need slaves to build monuments'

It is already home to the world's glitziest buildings, man-made islands and mega-malls - now Dubai plans to build the tallest tower. But behind the dizzying construction boom is an army of migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports

26 April, 2009 15:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and if you need fotos of the labourers...must be fake yeah?

26 April, 2009 15:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai Real estate...

27 April, 2009 18:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The noble thief makes sense haha

02 May, 2009 18:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bahrain's decision to scrap sponsorship rule elicits mixed response

By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Published: May 05, 2009, 12:12

Manama: Bahrain's business community and the federation of trade unions on Tuesday expressed concern over a move to scrap employment sponsorship system for expatriates.

Majeed Al Allawi, Labour Minister, on Monday said Bahrain would implement a new labour law from August 1 that allows foreign workers to switch jobs without their employer's consent. "This is the end of the sponsorship system, which does not differ much from slavery," the minister said.


06 May, 2009 15:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have visited labor camps in Dubai on several occasions. I figured out that this would the most appropriate way to separate the facts from the fiction in the stories I have been reading. In short, the living conditions in the camps were adequate. All of them were equipped to allow a decent stay for laborers and they all were in a far better condition than the ones I visited in other countries. The main issue was the lack of space where for example a room for 6 had 10 workers or even more. This however was a temporary condition due to lack of availability and it was always a matter of weeks before you could see these laborers moving to new bigger camps. The issue of availability was common for all expats: When I first moved to Dubai, apartments were thin so I had to share a villa with others and wait 6 months till new apartments were ready for rent. That's the situation from my perspective. If you, however ask the workers about how they feel, their answer would be different: they consider their living conditions to be quite good as most of them come from the poorest parts in Asia where as you know, the most basic living requirements are not available due to extreme poverty. In these camps, you will find proper sanitation and the laborers do get 3 meals a day and are paid 10 times higher than what they get back home. You need to keep in mind however that unlike Sheikh Mohammed have been portrayed lately in the media, the man is not an emperor who owns Dubai. He is the ruler of Dubai and Dubai is a liberal city where many local and international companies operate, recruit and manage their own labor force. This means that there may be possible cases where the workers are abused by one of these companies without the government of the UAE being aware of it. In 2006, Sheikh Mohamed issued directives to penalize any company that exploits or abuses workers, yet, this will not exclude the possibility of such incidents taking place especially in camps owned by smaller companies. Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohamed issued new directives to accelerate the improvement of these camps and I have been hearing that the situation has in fact improved dramatically as strict regulations have been set.

On a separate note, I decided last year to volunteer with Dubai Cares, a very young organization conceived and launched by Sheikh Mohamed aiming at providing primary education to underprivileged children around the world and providing them with a sustainable and improved quality of life. Dubai Cares is the “baby” of Sheikh Mohammed and is managed very closely by him. This organization therefore is a true reflection of how this man thinks and acts. I first took part of 3 successive events to renovate a school for orphans in the Emirates. Since the first event I attended, I realized how uncommonly serious this organization was in delivering results and inflicting change. For perspective, I have worked previously with some of the foremost philanthropic organizations around the world. Dubai Cares was different. Like the rest of institutions in the UAE, it reflected how this country operates: first set a bold vision then work relentlessly and assiduously to achieve it by assigning the work to the best and the brightest. The achievements of Dubai cares have been phenomenal: launched in late 2007, Dubai Cares “has reached more than 4 million children in 20 countries. It is currently building and renovating 2,072 schools, training 22,370 teachers, helping establish 3,157 Parent Teacher Associations, creating 489 libraries and distributing 1.3 million books written in the local languages of the countries in which they are distributed”!! Just a couple of months ago Sheikh Mohamed asked Dubai Cares to react to the massacres in Gazaa. In less than a week, an event was organized during which 200,000 hygiene and school kits were assembled by 8,000 volunteers and sent to the children of Gazaa.

Dubai Cares is just one example of Sheikh Mohamed local and international honorable contributions to humanity such as the 10Bn $ endowment he created for promoting higher education in the Arab world, his resolution on a green energy city, his support to Arab and non-Arab small-business entrepreneurs, his unconditional support to organizations for autistic children and for the disabled, his work on improving the labor laws and cancelling the “ban” system and his truly exceptional role his in promoting the role of women in the Arab world. You will be amazed to see the very senior roles that women occupy in the UAE. Just recently, Reem Al Hashmi, a 29 year-old Harvard grad with an exceptional career track, was appointed as a minister of state in the UAE cabinet. Reem does not come from the royal family. She's a self-made woman who proved to be an exceptional talent and was then appointed a minister.

I can write many more pages about Sheikh Mohammed’s accomplishments. I only wrote about him because he’s the man being bashed lately by the British media. I can also write tens of pages about the virtues and the profound characters of Sheikh Zayed or Sheikh Mohamed ben Zayed or Sheikh Khalifa ben Zayed. And these leaders are no exception because as you live in the UAE you realize that these character traits belong to most Emirati men and women you meet: courageous, tolerant, good-hearted, generous and visionary. This is the heritage of the people of this nation.

When you visit Emirates Towers in Dubai, you will often see Sheikh Mohammed passing by, walking alone with no bodyguards around him. You can approach him, talk to him and entertain with him a casual discussion. You can also see him driving his own car in Dubai, alone, unattended. How much trust a man has to have in his people and in the people residing in his country not fear anyone for his life? Is it how a dictator or a righteous man would behave?

Finally, all of you reading the sleaze in the articles that were lately published please take some time to examine with a critical eye what’s been said. If my words are not enough, please buy the latest book published by Sheikh Mohamed, “Poems from the Desert” as it reveals the very essence of this man. The following is an excerpt of the foreword written by Paulo Coelho in the book. Paulo Coelho is one of the most accomplished thinkers and writers in modern literature, a man, I believe, is far more credible than fame-seekers and sleaze-sellers like J. Harry. Therefore, if you don’t find credibility in my words, please read his:

“Ortega and Gasset once wrote: “I am myself and my circumstances”. I knew the moment I laid my hands on the collection of poems by His Highness that I was in front of a testimony from a political, public figure but also in front of a human being – with all his passions and yearnings. [...]

What an act of courage – I said to myself while turning the pages of this book – to present his soul bare to the world. Poetry is a mirror that reveals, without concessions, the very essence of a human being. And here I am reading the words of a man that has to play in the political arena, of a man that – by the necessities of his position – has always to be temperate and to reconcile. […]

Writing is an act of courage. But it’s worth taking the risk, and His Highness’s poems help us to understand better the soul of a man and the heritage of the nation.”

06 May, 2009 19:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'I can write many more pages about Sheikh Mohammed’s accomplishments.'

Anonymous at 06 May, 2009 19:49

Dude, since you claim you can write more pages, why don't you start your own blog and post a link for us to visit, read & post comments?

Besides, yours is not meant to be a comment but more of a blog post.

Damn, I'm starting to hate these PR mouthpieces ever more than before and especially those that spam.

06 May, 2009 20:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 06 May, 2009 19:49

"Dubai's glitz lost in grim life"

"There has been a lot of press on how the recession is affecting the professional expats," notes Paul Dyer, a researcher at the Dubai School of Government. "But ... [low-skilled laborers] and their suffering have become practically invisible to us."

06 May, 2009 20:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 06 May, 2009 19:49

People like you live in your own warped world, obsessed by your own material possessions and lifestyle, and thinks humanity as defined for you starts and ends with uae borders, and your excellency.

For the rest of humanity, the world means something else. it is not just about taking care of only people of your own passport colour. It is not about singing praises of your lordships achievements forgetting or ignoring so many wrong things going on in your country that is staring you in your face, and getting rewarded for it. All civilised countries today went through this circle, and got out of it some 500 years back atleast. they got rid of their kings, sacked the court jesters and poets like you who were paid to sing for the king.

some places are slower, some places never get to civilisation. dont know where you belong.

07 May, 2009 11:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon above06 May, 2009 19:49

so you think the labourers make 10 times more in dubai than back home? so back home you mean to say they make about 40 dhs..? 10 dollars a month? many of them can make that much a day working as labourers in their own country. atleast in kerala, from where atleast a good 40% of these labourers must be coming from. so it just goes to show how much you actually know, or you are lying. both are stupid. and you did not address anything about the legal injustices meted out to these labourers, not the lack og protection they get, and how they are slaves who cannot even leave and go back without their passports. yeah we know, you address 3 points amoing 100, and hope you have confused everyone so they forget the other 97. tough luck buddy.

as for the sheikh starting a dubai scares charity, or write a book, big shit man. nobody said he didnt do these two. he can do more and much more than write books, make movies whatever. we are rather more concerned about the basic rights of workers. and if no one is in control over dubai, i wonder why everyone writes only good things about him.

07 May, 2009 14:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Damn, I'm starting to hate these PR mouthpieces ever more than before and especially those that spam."
06 May, 2009 20:05.
PR mouthpiece? you think i am being paid for writing? I am an employee working for the private sector. I have no links to Dubai or its government and I am not Emirati. I wrote this post because i was enraged by the amount of unfairness in what's been said and written. I understand your attitude because your only source of information is articles written by the likes of J. Harry. Mine is different. I have been in Dubai for more than 2 years and know the reality of what's happening because of the nature of my work. Have you asked yourself, what if all what's been said and written is a PR campaign to destroy the image of the city? Have you asked yourself, why now, why after all these years?
So…for you I am a “PR mouthpiece”, because I wrote the reality of what I’ve seen in Dubai? But J Harry is not? A journalist who came to Dubai for few days with a pre-conceived opinion about the city and then looked for the expats with the most tragic, heart-breaking stories to make his article emotional? Cheap!

“People like you live in your own warped world, obsessed by your own material possessions and lifestyle, and thinks humanity as defined for you starts and ends with uae borders, and your excellency.”
anon 06 May, 2009 19:49
I have no material possessions. I am junior employee who makes an average salary. Most of the money I make I spend to support my parents back home, support myself. Your comment is ridiculous.

“as defined for you starts and ends with uae borders, and your excellency”
anon 06 May, 2009 19:49
I am an ex-pat working in Dubai. I am not Emirati and I am not a minister or an ambassador so both smart comments you made do not apply to me.

“It is not about singing praises of your lordships achievements forgetting or ignoring so many wrong things going on in your country that is staring you in your face, and getting rewarded for it.”
anon 06 May, 2009 19:49
As I mentioned earlier, it is not my country, I do not sing praises and I am not getting rewarded for anything. As you can see, my post was anonymous.

“All civilised countries today went through this circle, and got out of it some 500 years back atleast. they got rid of their kings, sacked the court jesters and poets like you who were paid to sing for the king.”
anon 06 May, 2009 19:49
He’s not a King, ignorant. He’s a Sheikh and a ruler. Kings and queens you can find in Britain, Holland, Sweden, Spain, Canada, Australia, Jordan, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. Please direct your “500-years” speech to them

“some places are slower, some places never get to civilization. dont know where you belong.”
anon 06 May, 2009 19:49
This one I can’t comment on. It’s beyond my league and I believe it should become a historical quote to be used by the generations to come. Please make sure you send it to

“so you think the labourers make 10 times more in dubai than back home? so back home you mean to say they make about 40 dhs..? 10 dollars a month? many of them can make that much a day working as labourers in their own country. atleast in kerala, from where atleast a good 40% of these labourers must be coming from. so it just goes to show how much you actually know, or you are lying. both are stupid”
anon above06 May, 2009 19:49
You could have avoided the word “Stupid”. It doesn’t help in getting your point across. I know what is being paid, at least starting 2008. The numbers mentioned in the media (150$=540 DHs) are not true. Laborers get at least 700-850 per month + accommodation and food. Most of them practically send the entire amount back home. Starting late 2008, most workers are getting paid 1000+. I am not making assumptions. I know the numbers.

“as for the sheikh starting a dubai scares charity, or write a book, big shit man. nobody said he didnt do these two. he can do more and much more than write books, make movies whatever. we are rather more concerned about the basic rights of workers. and if no one is in control over dubai, i wonder why everyone writes only good things about him”
anon above06 May, 2009 19:49
Everyone writes only good things about him? I have only seen him being bashed lately with lies and fake accusations. And even if they did, can’t you find a man who deserves only good words. In any case, yes, you may constructively criticize Sheikh Mohamed but not portray him as a "ruthless dictator" using lies.
On what you said about the rights of workers, I told you what I know from what I’ve seen and I told you that further improvements are on the way. You can decide to ignore it and I understand: Good news does not sell nor entertain.

07 May, 2009 17:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 07 May 2009 1722

You do not rebutt the link I posted and you find time to also post here

Alas you give the distinct impression of being PR, yet on the other hand PR would never resort to anonymity, or would they?

07 May, 2009 18:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PR anon

You could have avoided the word “Stupid”. It doesn’t help in getting your point across. I know what is being paid, at least starting 2008. The numbers mentioned in the media (150$=540 DHs) are not true. Laborers get at least 700-850 per month + accommodation and food. Most of them practically send the entire amount back home. Starting late 2008, most workers are getting paid 1000+. I am not making assumptions. I know the numbers.


"Gotham Lingaiah, a farmer with a fifth-grade education, says the recruiting agent who came to his Indian village two years ago promised riches in Dubai. His extended family borrowed from friends and neighbors to scrape together the 14,000 dirhams ($3,800) for secure passage, a visa, and work in Dubai. Mr. Lingaiah calculated he could repay the debt in two years and then start sending his earnings home.

When he arrived last year, however, he was sorely disappointed. Instead of earning 1,500 dirhams ($408) a month as promised, he was making 330 dirhams working long hours. But living sparingly, he sent a little money home every month. "

do you have anything to say about the above, PR King?
I am from the place you claim to know how labourers live. I know how much they can make there. so dont even think of starting a debate on that. As for your 2 years of excellent work in dubai, for your info, I know my friends, i know people who work in the construction site in my neighbourhood here in dubai who make 550, minus food. You dont know their language, and you have no friggin clue what they are saying behind your back, I do. Or else you wouldnt have written they make more than 1000 dhs.
Now just go away pls, we like debate here, not lies. If liars like you ( or idiots , dont know where you belong)just go away, this place would probably make an effort to improve. the reason it is still in shit is becos people like you are here to lie.

07 May, 2009 20:33  
Anonymous Al Murr said...

Greed is the problem here.

people are willing to forsake morals for money.

Just like that recruiter who deceived his own countryman to make money out of the commission he will get.

Just like that poor farmer with the 5th grade education, who borrowed from his relatives and friends because he was blinded by greed.

And just like those corporate executives of construction companies who sit in air conditioned boardrooms looking to make a bigger profit, while these workers slave daily in the simmering heat.

Money is truly the root of all evil. When will we learn that money can never buy happiness, stability or success? And when will we respect our fellow man?

08 May, 2009 20:38  
Anonymous tina4all said...

This gentelman has a point..."Good news does not sell nor entertain". every1 is writing in this blog because ever1 enjoys reading the bad news about dubai and commenting on it... n i agree with him...why now did people start criticising Dubai? Is it when they stopped making money...?
Paulo Coelho is ma favorite author. I will buy that book he recommended for the prince of dubai but i am sure that a man who built 3,000 schools for poor kids is someone i will not judge without being sure of the information i am reading about him and the stories i have been reading about what happened to these expats in dubai, are stories that can happen everywhere, it does not mean the man is bad...


08 May, 2009 21:25  
Anonymous Allfortina said...

Brilliant writing. I'm your hugest fan.

Wanna go for a drink?

08 May, 2009 21:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why now did people start criticising Dubai? Is it when they stopped making money...?


09 May, 2009 01:15  
Blogger Kyle said...

('And when will we respect our fellow man?')

When Hell freezes over!

09 May, 2009 07:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this blog!

Stupid ass me was soon to book a 2 week holiday and hadn't a clue after all the WEstern marketing.

Would have brought my Melatonin and OTC drugs without a 2nd thought after travelling to 25 countries.

Wow!!! Had no idea the place was a GIANT trap!

10 May, 2009 23:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no human rights in UAE, A sheikh can make changes n edit in country law at anytime, police never catch local citizens, if ever they catch they released afterawrd a year or few months only even any kind of crime, they use to treat as slave to Asian Bangladeshes, Indian and Pakistanis. Do you know club dancer girls stay as prisoners after their club duty hours until club opening. So I have a question to the worldwide Human Rights Organization that where is the human rights in UAE? UAE is a jail itself for the expatriates. All expatriates passport are holding by local companies, A local or police man can hit on the face of any Indian without asking. They really treat others like dogs. Many Western male / female and filipinos got rape by local and all those local who rape are free, they just spend few months in jail. Therefore court always didn't mentioned criminals full name to the media. Worldwide tv channel never show any crime report on UAE, like usually they show on UK, India and Pakistan. I just want to say F.c.u.k Dubai - UAE

11 May, 2009 02:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11 May, 2009 02:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just wanted to say we have touched the 200th comment. calls for some celebration SD. first time, isnt it?

and not a sign of resolution of the workers issue. things continue as it always did. and newspapers here still say uae is an oasis for foreign investment. even amid the economic collapse, when anyone with any sense is getting out.

11 May, 2009 12:44  

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