Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sign of things to come?

THAT couple on the beach ....This story perhaps best describes the kind of issues that the UAE has been facing of late. While not all of us choose to relieve ourselves of our sexual frustrations on a beach after a boozy champagne lunch , I think it can be safely said this extreme example of lack of respect for local sensitivities typifies the struggles of a cultural melting pot in a sensitive region.But lets be frank here , if you decided to have a drunken romp on a public beach - ignored a caution from a police officer , then proceeded to hurl abuse and a high heeled shoe at him when he returned to find you have ignored his warning , then no matter what country in the world you are in - you will find yourself with a slap on the wrists. Add now to this the fact that you are in a region of the world where this behaviour is unthinkable .Enough has been said about the Ex-pat Dubai resident and her new husband, but leaving this case aside - can we expect now that the powers that be will finally be forced to employ a stricter set of rules and regulations for its expat residents. The amount of media coverage this case got ( including a wonderful little write up in the uk sun newspaper ) means that this is an issue that is rapidly gaining momentum and bringing with it negative publicity to Dubai as a tourist destination , not to mention highlighting to Emiratis their country has been colonized once more , only this time , they invited it into their society!There is a hedonistic quality to Dubai socializing - one which has been played out privately for many years - and the authorities have been very accommodating to people on the provisions that they discreetly lived their lives. If you want to consume alcohol - go through the correct procedures and consume it in hotels or at home . Be respectful of the culture and its residents and you cant go wrong.However , this event may finally be the straw that breaks the proverbial camels back. Have Western expats finally overstepped the mark in the ultimate insult to a culture - no longer respecting the boundaries imposed by their hosts? What will the fallout of what is becoming worryingly frequent behaviour be ?For years now, I have encountered the “if you don’t like it , leave !” response to my general grumblings about UAE . It’s a line that usually angers me , with its head in the sand attitude, nonchalance, and undying conviction that THIS system is the right way ! I maintain this view with issues concerning competence, organization , traffic…etc etc , but to IF you feel that the decency laws ruling this country will stretch your ability to keep it all in check - then for once, I will preach this right back at you “ if you don’t like it - leave “. Because trust me , its not worth it !With a local population that is feeling the effects of being a minority in their own land , and generations of perpetual immigrants living here but not calling this home - what does the future hold for the UAE? And exactly who will be paying the price for the massive changes occurring here on a weekly basis?

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