To not get why people hate Dubai so much?

(1001 Posts)
Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 22:18:45

What is there to hate?

I think it's a great place to have a holiday. Great restaurants, great service, fab shopping and spa treatments.

I do understand the problems of domestic and construction staff being exploited but this is not a problem unique to Dubai. I just don't get the vitriol, the 'it has no culture' etc.. I say get out of the bitter farm and play with the hay!

NoComet Mon 16-Sep-13 22:20:18

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

What Star said

LifeofPo Mon 16-Sep-13 22:21:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoComet Mon 16-Sep-13 22:21:37

Living in the country and having to drive everywhere and having oil heating they get far too much money off me already.

MinnieBar Mon 16-Sep-13 22:21:47

I hate the fact that people can't see beyond 'but it's a good place to shop'...

Ragwort Mon 16-Sep-13 22:22:11

I have never been there but from what I have heard (my DH travels there for work) it just would not appeal to me, I really, really am not into shopping & spa treatments. It sounds to me like a 'Steptford wives' sort of place, totally plastic and false. It is also incredibly expensive.

However, everyone has different tastes, I am sure you would hate my idea of a good holiday. grin

I know you can get servants to bring you stuff whenever you want and treat you like royalty. Who wouldnt want that.

sooperdooper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:22:54

I'm with mini, I don't get going on h

caramelwaffle Mon 16-Sep-13 22:23:09

Some places are built, and run, on slavery.

LifeofPo Mon 16-Sep-13 22:23:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tethersend Mon 16-Sep-13 22:23:43

I hear Chernobyl is lovely at this time of year.

sooperdooper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:23:49

I don't get going on holiday to shop in big shopping malls, I can do that at home, sounds soulless and boring

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:25:08

i have never been anywhere else where there is such a divide. the wealth there is incredible the attitude and treatment of migrant workers is appalling

i like more culture when i go away its like las vegas without the fun

MyLovelyMayoMammy Mon 16-Sep-13 22:25:25

Whoa. Calm down Phoebe. who wouldn't be caught dead there grin

Lj8893 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:25:57

I've never been there but it really doesn't appeal to me.

I like to go to places with some interesting history and culture.

I'm a massive fan of shopping on holiday but not the shopping scene Dubai appears to have.

SizzleSazz Mon 16-Sep-13 22:25:57

I didn't like the focus on shopping and spending, driving everywhere and the construction workers shuffling along in blue sack cloths. Oh. and I couldn't go on the beach on certain days because I am female hmm

Not my idea of a relaxing holiday when I can have fresh air, nature and a break from consumerism

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 22:26:47

I can see beyond the bling of Dubai. If you actually go into the Creek area, you see all the old trading traditions are still in place and it's culturally quite fascinating. It is not a moral vacuum. For that, you have to go to Saudi.

eurochick Mon 16-Sep-13 22:27:24

It's an environmental abomination, it's a cultural vacuum and the society is fundamentally sexist. These are not things that appeal to me in a holiday destination.

LadyLancaster Mon 16-Sep-13 22:27:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WilsonFrickett Mon 16-Sep-13 22:27:48

Shopping, slavery and sexism. What's not to like eh, op?

MinnieBar Mon 16-Sep-13 22:27:49

Never mind that women have few rights - and that by going there on holiday you're condoning and supporting that - as long as you get a bargain eh?

expatinscotland Mon 16-Sep-13 22:28:10

What Freudian said.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 16-Sep-13 22:28:35

I am a designer whore but I draw the line at Dubai. Dubai is not getting my money for all the reasons mentioned above.

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 22:29:15

Op, you sound a bit, erm, shallow

Fairy1303 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:29:52

Because it is capitalism to the extreme.

Because it is built on slavery.

Because there is genuinely no culture.

Much more besides. Take your pick.

SHarri13 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:30:42

I don't hate it but really can't see the appeal. The touristy bits just seem a bit tragic and soul-less.

Last month a woman was raped there and then in-prisoned, because she had, had sexual relations outside of marriage, if she is pregnant she will have to give birth, what's not to love about the place?

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 22:33:05

Of course, there is a wealth divide. But so there is in England! Compare Kensington Palace with a council estate in Margate. Compare the bankers with social workers in the UK. And we live in a democracy. The wealth divide in the US is even worse.

The fact is, the migrant workers in Dubai earn a lot more money than they would at home so they are, in fact, better off.

Also the desert outside Dubai is beautiful. I know I mentioned shopping and spa treatments (which I admit sounds shallow) but I simply can't afford to have those goodies here.

wimblehorse Mon 16-Sep-13 22:33:54

Have a friend who holidays there several times a year. Fine as she enjoys the restaurants, service, kids clubs/nannies, etc. She keeps trying to arrange us to go away there with them & doesn't get that even if we could afford to go there are a million places I would rather go to. Going to the same place again & again especially such a shiny fake built from blood one when there is a whole world to explore is such a missed opportunity IMO. Still, each to their own

Sallyingforth Mon 16-Sep-13 22:34:39

What is there to hate?
OP You know the answers already, or you wouldn't be posting here to ask for justification.
If you want to go than bloody well go, but don't expect us to salve your conscience for you.

caramelwaffle Mon 16-Sep-13 22:35:13

Someone living in a council house in Margate is free to come and go as they please. Even if she is female.

They may even have some wealth.

MorrisZapp Mon 16-Sep-13 22:35:23

You can afford to fly to Dubai, but you can't afford a spa treatment in the UK? Why not get those goodies here, and save the airfare?

BoffinMum Mon 16-Sep-13 22:35:31

Dubai is the cheap boob job of the beach world. Plastic, fake, ridiculously unsustainable and too hot. And Sharia law underpinning it all. Not a place I would go if I could help it.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:37:27

i know migrant workers earn more money than they would at home

but the are treated terribly, just because you pay a desperate person a wage does not mean you can treat them like an animal

i have cousins who have worked in the hotels there to send money home the were treated very badly, no sick pay, a contract that they could not get out of basically slavery

eretrew Mon 16-Sep-13 22:37:55

I've never been but it does look an interesting place to visit.

twistyfeet Mon 16-Sep-13 22:38:06

The migrants workers treated like slaves and living in appalling conditions 10 miles outside of the glitter and the bussed in to work outside in the 50 degree heat.
Bet you didnt see that side OP.

Beehatch Mon 16-Sep-13 22:38:18

This piece by Johann Hari might give you some clues OP. I know it is quite an old article, but these truths hold I believe.

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 22:38:57

Also, if you knew the history of Dubai, visited the creek and saw all the history of the trading routes between east and west, you would not say that it has no culture. That is just ignorance.

It's just that most tourists don't seek it out. I do.

Also, I have a friend there who was astounded by the plight of the Indian workers on the construction sites in Dubai. She decided to take her and her family to India for the summer to 'help out'. She came back thinking that the Dubai workers had a far better lot of it after seeing what some of the Indians had to live with living in slums, washing in rivers full of raw sewerage and sleeping 12 to a room. She is the most liberal person I know but she returned to Dubai thinking: "they have a far better deal here".

MorrisZapp Mon 16-Sep-13 22:40:07

Yup. Margate lady will have free healthcare, education for her kids, freedom, and her human rights protected in law. And a temperate climate. And the BBC. And no death penalty.

Sounds pretty good compared with Shariaville.

WilsonFrickett Mon 16-Sep-13 22:40:20

Please link to your evidence about wealth divides?

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:41:21

i could see workers queuing up for water, all shared a pipe from one tank from our 5* hotel

it is not even hidden how badly they treat migrant workers or woman of course

MrsOakenshield Mon 16-Sep-13 22:41:26

google 'ecology Dubai' and have a read. Then come back and tell us what's so good about it, other than the fairly shallow and vacuous things you've already mentioned.

zatyaballerina Mon 16-Sep-13 22:42:45

Slavery, racism, misogyny, homophobia, imprisonment of rape victims for being raped, jeez what could it be?

WilsonFrickett Mon 16-Sep-13 22:43:29

But your premise has nothing to do with conditions in India. Just because there is terrible poverty in one country, does not mean another country which perhaps offers money to a particular type of people is a luffly place. I feel incredibly sorry for anyone who is forced to be an economic migrant simply to feed their kids. But I feel more sorry for people who are forced to be economic migrants in Dubai and similar countries.

LadyLancaster Mon 16-Sep-13 22:45:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:45:27

yes India does have slums because it has a huge population the vast majority are very very poor

Dubai does not have a huge population and the people have a much higher standard of living. they do not want to treat their migrants workers well as it would take away their power and they see them as lesser humans who they do not have to treat well just pay them a basic salary

but why not they should be grateful hmm

SomethingOnce Mon 16-Sep-13 22:45:43

I know I mentioned shopping and spa treatments (which I admit sounds shallow) but I simply can't afford to have those goodies here.

Nooo, it's not shallow - those things are really important and y'know what? You're worth it.

And if you can't afford it at home, it's definitely ok to exploit others miserable poverty to get it abroad.

Lemonandrose Mon 16-Sep-13 22:46:20

Because there is more to a holiday than sunbathing and shopping?

JaceyBee Mon 16-Sep-13 22:46:32

My best friend lived there for a year for work. I went to visit her for a weekend. It is the most soulless, spiritually bereft place I have ever been. A monument to all that is wrong with capitalism. Nothing, nothing is off limits if you have the $$$. They have a whale shark in a tank in one of the shopping malls. A fucking whale shark!!

I asked to see the 'old town'. It's a piece of wall about 2ft by 5ft. That is all that remains! We did go down to the creek, in the souks and away from the main touristy areas but it's still nothing to write home about.

All the ex pats seemed like horrible, braying sloaney wankers. I guess it would be ok if you liked shopping (and were absolutely minted!) but personally I don't go on holiday to shop, that's what the internet is for!

I know this is a massive generalisation and I don't mean to be bitchy but I think the only people impressed by it tend to be very shallow and not particularly worldly or curious. Basically it's a godforsaken shit hole and it makes me fucking cringe.

wimblehorse Mon 16-Sep-13 22:47:09

take her & her family to India for the summer to "help out"
What, by running a charity project for Indian construction workers? Or on holiday...

Lisavarna Mon 16-Sep-13 22:47:38

"Also the desert outside Dubai is beautiful. I know I mentioned shopping and spa treatments (which I admit sounds shallow) but I simply can't afford to have those goodies here."

OP I think if you can afford to holiday in Dubai in the first place, then chances are you can well afford shopping and spa treatments and other "such goodies" in the UK/ hmm

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 22:50:43

Yes, you all have valid points. I get that. However, you could also pin those accusations on a lot of holiday destinations (Jamaica, Mauritius, Maldives) yet they don't draw the same vitriol.

I just don't get why Dubai gets so shot down.

I don't need anyone's permission to go there, Sallyforth. I'm just asking a question. I don't feel in the least bit guilty for going there.

Exploited migrant workers (who are sometimes victims of human trafficking) exist in this country too. Remember the atrocious case of the Chinese cockle pickers? They were in servitude as are so many others in this country.

JonahB Mon 16-Sep-13 22:53:08

I went for a work visit and loathed it. It's soulless. Shopping and restaurants that you can find in any major city are not an appeal to me. A beach isn't really a pull as you can find them all over the world. The only bit I enjoyed was the night we wandered into the migrant part of town that was full of life. I just can't see the attraction and would never pay to go. Each yo their own though. I know people who really liked it.

caramelwaffle Mon 16-Sep-13 22:53:45

You're not an intern doing a stint for TryDubai are you - Trying to sell the place to us poor rich saps?

ILetHimKeep20Quid Mon 16-Sep-13 22:54:22

I've been 6 times (breaking up travel to se Asia, much easier to deal with the jet lag when you take a night or two out half way) and it's fine.

I've worn a bikini on the beach (you can, any day you want) and never set foot in a mall. The deria creek area is bustling with tradition and ancient mosques (so hardly spiritually devoid). As big cities go it's not bad and conveniently located.

But people like to harrumph about something or somewhere don't they? Wonder where they all holiday that's so ethically sound.

I agree the ex pat thing is wanky, but there's wanker ex pat communities all over. Fact is a lot of ex pats are wankers and only living abroad as they wouldn't earn, and aren't worth, the money here.

zzzzz Mon 16-Sep-13 22:55:23

I love Dubai. I haven't really got involved in the shopping, but we have had several very happy bucket and spade type holidays there.

WilsonFrickett Mon 16-Sep-13 22:56:11

Yes op but their servitude was illegal. That is the difference. The Chinese cockle-worker case was completely shocking - over there it wouldn't be shocking at all because migrants have no rights. Here, if you are in the country legally then you are entitled to the same protection as a uk born person (give or take a few notice periods for benefits).

But you're mind isn't up for changing, is it?

ILetHimKeep20Quid Mon 16-Sep-13 22:56:42

The most extravagant and indulgent activity we done was a day at the water park which is aaaaammmaaaazing!

wimblehorse Mon 16-Sep-13 22:58:02

Partly because the other destinations you mention became luxury travel destinations over a longer period of time, due to their natural beauty rather than the mercenary drive for tourist dollars & the man-made feature to attract them at the expense of immigrant Labour?

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 22:58:35

i do not like the way workers are treated in many countries. i have travelled extensively and never seen such a divide and the show of wealth against the mistreatment of workers is just shocking

the difference is we have laws to protect people and people breaking those laws will be prosecuted (at times). in dubai the government and the people do not care about migrant workers they are lesser humans because they are desperate humans

not sure what you are arguing about, you like to go there you can happily turn a blind eye to the terrible exploitation because you enjoy the goodies you get there so what do you want everyone to agree with you

ILetHimKeep20Quid Mon 16-Sep-13 22:59:30

Where do you holiday Freudian?

zzzzz Mon 16-Sep-13 23:00:40

The UAE has some extraordinarily beautiful landscape. If you choose to spend your time in theme parks it IS unlikely you will see them though.

MacaYoniandCheese Mon 16-Sep-13 23:02:10

No culture? What about the Bedouins and falconry and the fascinating history of Islam and animal husbandry? What about the amazing feats of modern architecture and engineering and the souks and the serene and beautiful mosques? What about the oases and pearl diving and the serenity of the desert? What about the cuisine of the Middle-East and the lovely people? The world-class schools and the ability to secure the livelihoods of thousands of expatriate construction workers who may otherwise be unable to support their families?

cardamomginger Mon 16-Sep-13 23:03:17

I'm all for a bit of shallow every now and then. Great service, great restaurants, fantastic shopping, amazing spas. Yeah - what's not to like!?! But Dubai is not just a moral vacuum, it is the antithesis of morality. The entire edifice is steeped in the suffering and mistreatment of the as-good-as-slave workers who built it and who service it. Why would anyone want to pay money into that economy and into a system that perpetuates and depends upon such appalling inequalities?

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 23:03:45

last holidays were in spain, italy, turkey, australia and sri lanka

i have been to many countries where workers are exploited i do not deny that they are poor countries many people are desperate (thailand, india, cambodia, vietnam) but not like in dubai, it is not a poor country

Weegiemum Mon 16-Sep-13 23:03:48

Slave treatment of workers, totally sexist society.

I wouldn't even want to stop over there if I could avoid it.


FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 23:04:47

and the usa

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 23:05:39

Wilson - please don't assume anything about me. Of course my mind is open to what you're all saying. That's why I asked the bleeding question!

I first visited Dubai in 2001 so I have seen it change from a desert town to a booming metropolis. I can't say all the changes have been good but you have to applaud their ingenuity and capitalism. Dubai has no oil (not really) so they've had to build on tourism which they have succeeded in doing in most part, by creating a world-beating airline and a city which people want to visit.

British expats are as bad in Dubai as they are in Hong Kong, or the Cayman Islands (eugh!) or Nairobi in the 70s.

But why is Dubai singled out. That is my question. Why not Jamaica? Do you not think the locals in Kingston Town get pissed off that tourist money is spent at the Sandals resort only and not among the wider population of the city?

nowahousewife Mon 16-Sep-13 23:07:43

What wilson said, the cockle pickers were in an illegal situation and from memory their 'slavemasters' were convicted. In Dubai the government condones bonded labourers. Have you read the newspapers when you've been there OP? Have you not seen the advts from companies who's labourers who have gone AWOL? These advts have a picture of the missing labourer along with their name and passport number (which the company is holding) as well as other details, horrible.

Also what about the v young boys that get used as camel jockeys, what do you think happens to them once they are too big to ride camels?

Also find it a very boring place (and yes I've been to the creek, markets etc).

MrsOakenshield Mon 16-Sep-13 23:07:49

can I ask OP - did you google 'ecology Dubai'? Because it really doesn't make good reading, the effect that all their ingenuity and capitalism has had on the environment.

topicsactiveimon Mon 16-Sep-13 23:07:55

It's always seemed to me a shopping-and-spa kinda destination. And I don't like shopping and spa treatments.

Now Jordan... I love Jordan. You don't have to 'seek out' culture.

zzzzz Mon 16-Sep-13 23:08:28

It is a great place to visit (in my experience) with children with sn. Totally inclusive and great hospitals.

WetAugust Mon 16-Sep-13 23:09:19

Oh dear. You really don't get it do you OP? sad

AuldAlliance Mon 16-Sep-13 23:09:42

Just out of curiosity, why would Mauritius be open to the same criticisms?

FayeKorgasm Mon 16-Sep-13 23:10:59

'Goodies' really?

ILetHimKeep20Quid Mon 16-Sep-13 23:12:26

The op isn't obliged to agree with you, don't be sad!

Weegiemum Mon 16-Sep-13 23:12:37

I do think they are all as bad - just Dubai has made a mission out of exploiting this.

We try to "holiday local" when we go abroad - 3 years ago (for me + dh 40th) we went to the Dominican Republic. Off the plane, everyone but us got on a tour bus to an all-inclusive. We got a taxi - we'd booked into local apartments. We had Spanish lessons, snorkelling, surfing for us and the dc, scuba for dh and me. We ate out 1/2 the time.

Still was 1/3 cheaper than all inclusive even with water sports, ans we were in a much more "genuine" location - we even went to church with my Spanish teacher!

Terrortree Mon 16-Sep-13 23:12:42

As long as it's not you who is being abused or exploited, what's not to like?

Been there several times. Glad I never have to go again.

It is never a justification to say 'others do that, so why shouldn't I?'.

nowahousewife Mon 16-Sep-13 23:13:47

Of course Emerates is a good airline! It doesn't have to make money as it is subsidised by the government! Also are you aware of the way it recruits it's cabin staff?

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 23:14:16

...nor is it any justification to say "other places are bad too"

WestieMamma Mon 16-Sep-13 23:14:35

They put rape victims in prison. Why any right thinking woman would choose to go there is beyond me.

LittleTulip Mon 16-Sep-13 23:14:56

I don't understand the 'sexist' thing though? It's only as sexist as the next Asian/middle eastern country? Or probably less!

My last few holidays have been in Dubai, Egypt, China, India, Greece, Spain, Turkey. And you know what Dubai was fabulous. It is so much more than the shopping and the spas and the Michelin restaurants..although that does help wink

Foreign workers are exploited all over the world including here in the UK. There is also plenty of 'culture' you have to go looking for it.

I think most of those being judgemental on this thread have never actually been to Dubai/UAE and like OP says are just jumping on the we hate Dubai bandwagon.

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 23:15:00

I've been to Jordan many times. Love Petra. Aqaba is quaint but the diving is great. Lots of migrant workers there too. The whole of the Middle East is full of migrant workers on the same contracts as they are in Dubai. And that included Egypt.

Basically, I think people get harrumph about Dubai because it got too big for its boots. You want to hear about human atrocities and the tragic case of migrant workers, think about Saudi Arabia. Dubai is small fry in comparison.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Mon 16-Sep-13 23:15:25

Where's the need for justification at all?

topicsactiveimon Mon 16-Sep-13 23:15:42

OP, you're more than welcome to enjoy Dubai. (But have you tried Jordan??? grin) However, you asked why people hate it, and you've had a pretty steady stream of answers. So now you know!

caramelwaffle Mon 16-Sep-13 23:17:07

How, now? (did you see what I did there?)

WetAugust Mon 16-Sep-13 23:17:20

That's alright then - sorted.

Terrortree Mon 16-Sep-13 23:17:44

Oh, and an interesting fact from the UAE is that workers need not work when it is above 50 degrees C. According to the state, it never gets above 50 degrees C.

Bet you love your holiday, when you facebook that it's currently 52 degrees. Most people do.

topicsactiveimon Mon 16-Sep-13 23:18:02

Ah, x-posted. I didn't say I wouldn't go to Dubai due to the exploitation. I've travelled extensively and exploitation is pretty rife wherever laws allow it to happen (and sometimes even where they don't).

I said I'd avoid it cuz it seems boring to me. Not my cup of tea.

But that's fine if it's yours.

DirtyDancing Mon 16-Sep-13 23:18:07

Everything, including holidays are down to personal choice.

I am sure some of the people who replied that they hate Dubai have sat in a holiday complex in Mexico / Tenerife/ Spain (delete as appropriate) and not left it for two weeks. Very cultural. Dubai, like going on holiday anywhere provides the cultural experience you seek, and it's what you make of it.

I have been to Dubai and enjoyed it. I did a road trip to Oman and experienced the true UAE along the way (including great diving, the dessert, mosques and the beaches.)

Whilst we are discussing women's rights:

Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year. Rape Crisis Uk.
The UK has one of the lowest rates of conviction for allegations of rape in Europe.

WetAugust Mon 16-Sep-13 23:18:15

Do you work for the Dubai National Tourist Board?

duchessandscruffy Mon 16-Sep-13 23:18:56

I agree it just seems so soulless, even if you exclude the misogyny, slavery, homophobia etc. it just seems so greed centred, I don't know it's just somewhere I have no desire to go to. And it's so damn hot there!

Also I just don't get the whole shopping on holiday thing. I do actually love shopping as a 'leisure activity' at home but on holiday I just can't be arsed. I cannot understand these people that go to new yourk with an extra suitcase just to fill with....stuff.

nowahousewife Mon 16-Sep-13 23:19:39

little tulip there are no Michelin restaurants in Dubai, the guides do not cover Dubai.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 23:19:59

good lord are you really comparing womens rights here to dubai hmm

LittleTulip Mon 16-Sep-13 23:20:58

Plus Gary Rhodes restaurant at the Grosvenor House is reason enough to visit Dubai

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 23:21:28

Going all that way to hide from the heat in airconditioned hotels and shopping malls seems like a completely pointless exercise to me

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 23:22:27

Topics, I just answered the question about Jordan. Been there several times. I have been to every Middle Eastern country apart from Syria and Yemen. It's the same everywhere in terms of migrant labour. The main difference is Dubai's success and people somehow thinking it's ok to slag it off.

Of all the people who have replied, I'd love to know how many have been to Dubai.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 23:23:13

not if Gary Rhodes himself pops up its not

topicsactiveimon Mon 16-Sep-13 23:25:08

We x-posted OP. Reply below.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 16-Sep-13 23:26:21

me i have been

and i hated it for many many reasons

and i have no intention of returning

nowahousewife Mon 16-Sep-13 23:26:23

I've been there, but when DH and DS went there for a few days earlier this year, DD and I decided not to go with them so took ourselves off to New York. Now there's a place I can never tire of!

topicsactiveimon Mon 16-Sep-13 23:26:34

I have never, ever taken a package holiday either. I have never sat in a resort anywhere for 2 weeks. Again, not my thing.

Terrortree Mon 16-Sep-13 23:30:19

Lived in Jordan. Lived in Dubai. Jordan was (maybe still is) the fourth biggest recipient of world-wide aid. Dubai receives no aid. Please don't compare.

Jordan has the highest number of refugees in the world to support. Your average Jordanian is not wealthy. The support they provide for the region is unqualified. Most migrant workers are Egyptian - a country nearly as poor as Jordan. It is also a neighbour. Desperate times, desperate measures.

Petra is beautiful. Doesn't make the country rich though. It is wholly run and managed by one tribe. Jordan has many tribes, few are wealthy.

Your holidaying in a place does not mean you know the first thing about it.

But ignorance is a defence, right?

Cutitup Mon 16-Sep-13 23:36:28

Terrortree, I love your impassioned feelings about Jordan. When I last visited, it was before they received so many refugees from Iraq and Syria.

I apologise for the comparison.

Thanks for all the other contributions.

Esker Mon 16-Sep-13 23:36:29

Great article from BBC Own Correspondent. 'An Awkward Brush with the Dubai Expat Vodka Set'

Sorry not sure how to convert link on phone, but its an interesting read.

topicsactiveimon Mon 16-Sep-13 23:45:33

Terrortree who's slating Jordan? I loved it. (I should get a job with the Jordanian tourist board....)

demi43 Tue 17-Sep-13 00:00:06

There are just so many places in the world that would be higher up my list of places I want to see They're also probably a lot cheaper Just come across a raffle where prize is trip to Dubai and first thought was that surely most people would prefer travel vouchers so you could choose somewhere more interesting

Morloth Tue 17-Sep-13 00:05:07

I don't hate any of the Middle East.

As a woman with a choice, I will not go to any of those countries.

They can conduct themselves as they like, it is not my business and I am sure they don't give a fuck whether I go or not.

But I will not risk it.

I won't cover my head/body and I won't keep my mouth shut.

BadLad Tue 17-Sep-13 02:50:16

Also what about the v young boys that get used as camel jockeys, what do you think happens to them once they are too big to ride camels?

Are you sure this still happens? Certainly it used to, but all the racing camels I have seen in the last decade have used little robot jockeys after the outcry against forcing the children to do it.

Anyway, some of the criticisms of Dubai are valid, but I don't understand why it gets such bad press compared to the rest of the Middle East.

SmallTorch Tue 17-Sep-13 03:16:35

I hate shopping. I hate heat. I don't like people touching me at spas.

Without thinking about the politics, it clearly isn't the place for me.

GilmoursPillow Tue 17-Sep-13 05:21:17

Lived in the Middle East for years, still in the UAE (not particularly by choice).

<hollow laugh at shopping>. The kids and I get 30kg baggage allowance each so this year we returned to the UK for summer (because the UAE is un-fucking-bearable in the summer) with a total of 24kg. This was on purpose because our plan was to shop in the UK where most things, especially clothes, are CHEAPER (except booze, I buy that cheaper here).

As for oil, we all need it. If your country doesn't have it, you'll need to buy it from someone who does, but don't blame the oil countries for your high prices. We pay around 30p a litre for petrol. The reason UK etc petrol is so much more expensive is mainly due to tax.

There is some culture and history in Dubai but it's not what drives the tourist trade.

Yes, the labourer trade is sickening and I hate it, so I do what I can to try and help including spending a fair amount of time volunteering for welfare causes.

Racing camels have been ridden by robots for years.

OnlyThePurpleOnes Tue 17-Sep-13 06:07:15

The 'fucking whale shark' was rescued after it swam into shallow waters and couldn't get out. The government asked the aquarium to help, which it did. It was rehabilitated, and released about a year ago. Just FYI.

Driz Tue 17-Sep-13 06:12:32

Was this your first time out of the UK OP?

Mimishimi Tue 17-Sep-13 06:30:51

I didn't hate it and by the standards of some of it's neighbours, it's an okay place for women.

HidingUnderMyDuvet Tue 17-Sep-13 06:41:07

OP did you venture off the beaten track whilst in Dubai? I mean within the city itself.

I went when FIL was working there. He took us to all the usual sights, but DH and I being used to backpacking at the time were quickly bored with all the labels and shopping (not to mention couldn't afford any of it!).

One morning we insisted he drop us off in the middle if the old town on the way to work. He thought we were nuts, but wandering around there really opened our eyes.

I do not like that place. It is wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to start!

Lazyjaney Tue 17-Sep-13 07:51:23

Dubai seems to attract the tourists I try to avoid.

nulgirl Tue 17-Sep-13 08:04:06

Agee with lazyjaney- it seems to attract the kind of tourists that I would pay to avoid. The thought of going on a shopping spa holiday in the middle of the desert to a place where women/ migrant workers are so badly treated is my personal idea of hell. Why would I spend my money propping up/ condoning such a horrible system?

ZillionChocolate Tue 17-Sep-13 08:13:49

It's not for me. I wouldn't want to change flights there either due to their unreasonable drugs laws.

valiumredhead Tue 17-Sep-13 08:23:25

I'm still laughing at the idea that the poor OP can't afford spa treatments in the UK but can afford the flight to Dubaigrin

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 08:40:42

I don't get why Dubai is singled out like this either OP.

The migrant workers chose to go there to improve their lives and the lives of their families. They don't live in luxury by any measure we would go by, but it is better than they would have in their home country.

Not having sick pay is not exclusive to Dubai, many countries do not have sick pay, maternity pay or unemployment benefit, including many western countries like the US.

As for their strict laws on sex outside marriage, drink and drugs- they are made very clear so if you don't agree with them or cannot comply with them then don't go there.

I can totally see why it wouldn't be some people's choice of destination but it would be a boring world if we all liked the same thing.

Londonderrysue Tue 17-Sep-13 08:47:41

I hated it. We'd come from India and I just wanted to get the first plane out of Dubai. It seemed to be full of Brits on package holidays, like Spain but long haul. We stayed on the creek side, went round the old town, went to the water park, trip out into the desert. I wouldn't go back again.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 08:53:16

migrant workers are there as it is a means to survive and support their families, it is not like us going to work in another country because we want the experience/can earn more so we live a certain lifestyle

english people working in dubai are not living in such terrible conditions, are not treated so appallingly so why are migrant workers from asia - because they can because they are poor because they have little choice

mrsjay Tue 17-Sep-13 09:12:18

I hate the fact that people can't see beyond 'but it's a good place to shop'...

^ ^ that I don't go on holiday to shop I would never go anyway it is too far away but

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 09:13:10

That argument doesn't make sense freudian.

British expats in Dubai would very likely be wealthy in the UK as they are generally professionals and expert in a particular field, which is why they are sought after in Dubai.

The world is made up of people from all points on the wealth/ poverty spectrum.

Do you propose there should be equality for all?

And why single Dubai out? In places like Bangkok women work as prostitutes- why is that better than Dubai?

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 09:13:38

Freud I think that's a bit like comparing the life of a say Eastern European unqualified cleaner in the UK with an American Harvard Grad Banker. The difference is based on the job/qualifications not nationality.

That said some (many? Most?) migrant labourers and domestic workers are very badly treated. This is the same around the Far and Middle East, and although I have no direct experience, at least anecdotally in South America, and the US.

To say UAE has "no culture" is gobsmackingly obtuse. The dessert is unbelievably beautiful as is the art, cuisine, marine life. There is more to the see in the world than European art galleries and brioche.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 09:26:10

the point is there are all workers from abroad. i know that from the uk/us etc they will be professionals but it is how they are seen as people

have you seen how the migrant workers live? dubia is a very wealthy country that treats migrant workers like lesser humans

we have treated migrant workers badly and people have been prosecuted but it is not something that our government, the people of this country support

yes the sex industry and the child abuse that goes on in se asia is horrendous. thailand is a different country it is not a country where the tourist industry has been built on the sweat and tears of migrant workers but it certainly has it's problems

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 09:33:51

But the workers from all nations chose to go there as it is a better quality of life than they have at home.

Just because some workers living conditions aren't what we are used to doesn't make it entirely bad- they likely have to endure much worse at home,

And, again, why is Dubai singled out for this vitriol?

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 09:39:02

Before we (UK) gave HK island to the Chinese, there were serious discussions in the papers about how annoying the Philippina maids were, eating their Sunday picnics around town. The idea supported by many was they should be hurded into multi story car parks. Many maids rooms are so small beds have to be made to measure. Shower and toilets are often in the same cubicle (ie you are expected to crouch on your toilet to wash). No air conditioning. In a then BRITISH colony.

Have you seen how people live in sink estates in the UK?
How Mexican migrant workers are treated in the US?

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 09:39:23

because it is what dubai has been built on, it is what dubai still is

so a wealthy country can treat workers from very poor countries like lesser humans. well there will always be people that do that but on such a level with the government turning a blind eye but that is ok because they have it hard at home too

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 09:44:01

yes i have seen how migrant workers from mexico are treated in california it is not always good. many are illegal and are being taken advantage of. but that not what is going on in dubai it is all above board

and we are talking about dubai

this is what dubai in the last 20ish years has been about

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 09:45:45

But that is only because we have witnessed Dubai's rapid growth in the last few years.

Every resort type tourist destination buses their workers out to off site living quarters- not just Dubai.

Dubai had provided many Asian and Indian nations with a place to work which is relatively close to home- why is that so bad?

What do you propose they do instead? Go and be sex workers in Bangkok?

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 09:47:22

that they treat people like people not like animals

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 09:48:14

TBH I think the only reason Dubai is singled out, compared to other similar countries, is because it markets itself so aggressively as a destination of choice. More people are aware of it, more people go or know more people who have gone, and there are many British ex-pats who have formed their own opinions and then talked to people back home about it.

If you compare that to, say, Jordan (which is a completely different country in a completely different situation but that aside) - holidaying in Jordan is very far from 'mainstream'. Most people don't know anyone who has gone there, most people don't know anyone who has worked there, and the media isn't as switched on to stories about Jordan.

Dubai is 'singled out' because it's shit and because it's mainstream, imo.

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 09:48:22

I think you are very naive if you can't see that manual labourers have always been used in this way. Bristol is the result of the slave trade (real slaves). The sugar you so happily sprinkle on your cereal is farmed by underpaid over worked labourers. The sugar snap peas from Africa, the shrimp from Thailand, the rubber from Malaysia....

The Arabs I know are not sexist monsters. On the whole they are educated, and well mannered. As I said up thread, Dubai has proved to be very open and welcoming to my children with sn. I'm afraid I can't say the same of London.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 09:50:35

Dubai had provided many Asian and Indian nations with a place to work which is relatively close to home- why is that so bad?

because they work with no rights, no protection, no health and safety, etc etc. And that is sanctioned at the highest govt levels. In other countries, yes, illegal immigrants are at risk of being treated very badly, but in Dubai this is legal. Fine to ship people in to work, but treat them properly.

thebody Tue 17-Sep-13 09:51:39

I have friends in Dubai and have visited there.

beyond shopping, drinking, spa bathing and partying there is most else to do.

I am not sure it's the most explorative country in the world but its dam boring.

many countries treat workers, women and children badly. many do.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 09:52:14

i am not naive

the discussion is about dubai

i am well aware of the appalling way workers are treated all over the world the poverty that many suffer

but i can not support a country that is so wealthy yet treats migrant workers like they are animals and that is fully supported just because they have a nice hotels and shopping malls

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 09:54:47

freudian please can you explain how living in adequate accommodation, earning a decent wage, having food provided and in many instances having access to the Internet etc is 'being treated like an animal'

These people are not being whipped morning, noon and night. They are not malnourished. They have beds and clothes. They are not slaves.

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 10:00:46

But wilson many countries do not have those rights.

Have you ever seen the bamboo scaffolding in use in even built up cities like Hong Kong?

My point, and the OP's is why single Dubai out?

Things could be improved but that is true of many countries yet it is only Dubai that provokes such a righteous reaction.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 10:01:16

In many cases they have their passports taken away and have to work several years for "free" to cover the hiring "cost". They cannot leave. Some of the places these workers live is shocking.

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 10:06:49

Do you know that for a fact or antecdotally portofino?

Hotel workers I have spoken to in Dubai get several weeks off each year to return home to their families.

They don't go home more often as the costs involved reduce the money they have to take home.

abayababe Tue 17-Sep-13 10:07:53

yes you are all so right about the migrant workers in Dubai, they would all be so much better off back in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka in the factorys of the great British Marks and Spencers who pay these people 50 quid a week....yes 50!
But Im sure none of you shop in M&S, GAP, Next, Primark, or own an Apple device for that matter otherwise you would be hypocrites.....

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 10:11:01

I haven't read the thread, but I used to live in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Obviously, the UAE is not the only country which is a dictatorship, has at best a dubious human rights record, a corrupt police force, and a heavily censored press, is an environmental disaster, openly treats the lower echelons of its migrant workforce appallingly (and I defy anyone who has been out to the labour camps in the desert and seen the filthy, overcrowded, flea-ridden conditions to say, 'oh, but they'd have been poor at home too!'), to mention only some things. The combination of tax free income to expat workers, the linkage of residency visas to and heavily subsidised lives to its own citizens - and brutal crackdowns on any dissent - keeps a lid on any trouble.

It is also not the only country where female genital mutilation is legal. There was a particularly horrible case while I lived there where a foreign woman who had divorced an Emirati man let their young daughter visit him after the split. When the child returned to her mother, she had been genitally mutilated. The mother went to the police, but all the father had to do was to produce documents to show the procedure had been carried out 'properly', in a clinic, under anaesthetic. He had done nothing wrong in the eyes of the law.

The point is that it not of course the only country to practise such abuses, but it is a country which is heavily dependent on marketing a sunny, unproblematic version of itself to attract Western tourists to replace the oil income when that dries up. People tend not to think twice about going there for some sun and shopping, so this campaign is alarmingly successful.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 10:13:12

Of course they are paid so much more in Dubai abayababe hmm

Pay amounts are relative, rather than fixed. A 'good' wage in the UK is different from a 'good' wage in India and of course that's different again from a 'good' wage in Dubai.

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 10:16:21

Well said abayababe

I don't doubt things could be improved in Dubai but I dont agree with the sanctimonious out pourings it provokes.

Blu Tue 17-Sep-13 10:16:26

If other people actively choose not to go to Dubai, Maldives, etc due to a range of reasons, politcial, cultural, various preferences, what business is it of yours?

I can't think of anything worse than a holiday in a hot city, where I have to make a special effort to circumvent what I see as obscene bling and materialism to find some traditional culture. It is an irrational way of life, horrendously wasteful of resources (I hate places where I have to use aircon, and don't start me on the water supply), and it doesn't ofer a holdiay that suits my tastes. I don't want to go anywhere to enjoy myself in 40' heat.

You sound very bossy and patronising with your 'play with the hay'.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 10:18:00

oh the works that you spoke to when in Dubai

Do you think they were honest with you would you really want to hear about how their passports are taken away, how they live many to a room while you are in luxury think that just may spoil your holiday a little amd get them the sack

Ask my cousin she will tell you a very different story and plus being a very attractive young woman she was constaly hassled (which can happen anywhere) but because she is Asian no one cared her employers certainly didn't

abayababe Tue 17-Sep-13 10:20:46

wilsonFrickett, I not arguing wtih you on that point, people have taken the moral high ground on here, while supporting the "slave trade" that most of the hight street retailers exploit in India and the subcontinent, its not just Dubai, so unless you "grow your own jumpers" wind your neck in.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 10:22:43

Workers committing suicide.

Report from the Emirates Centre for Human Rights.

Nice shopping eh?

CuChullain Tue 17-Sep-13 10:23:59

@ Bearbehind

Have a read here:

And I quote:

"Millions of migrant workers enter Dubai and are unable to leave the country since their passports are usurped by construction companies and they are paid half the amount of wages they are promised before the contract.

Furthermore, their living conditions are extremely deplorable. Workers are deprived of even basic sanitation facilities and live in tiny, dingy apartments with at least a dozen other people."

Some other links highlighting the shite treatment of migrant workers.

Google throws up loads of articles highlighting the appalling conditions that Dubai migrant workers have to put up with.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Sep-13 10:25:51

OP, YADBU. The people who do not like Dubai have given plentiful and adequate reasons for their dislike of Dubai. If you do not get why people hate Dubai so much it is because of your own refusal to accept that other people have differing opinions to yours and that is very unreasonable.

abayababe Tue 17-Sep-13 10:25:56

Sadly, suicide is increasing the world over, how can you point the finger at Dubai alone????

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 10:27:02

Um, because the OP is talking about Dubai.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 10:27:23

abayababe please don't tell me to wind my neck in. I'm contributing to a debate. I'll say what I like, thanks.

Theas18 Tue 17-Sep-13 10:27:43

Anywhere that jails a woman for being a rape victim y'know just might attract my criticism....

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 10:28:36

As someone succintly posted about - the place is BUILT on slavery.

TheBigJessie Tue 17-Sep-13 10:30:07

What's all this "hypocrite" stuff? Do two wrongs make a right now? Doesn't "how easy it is to avoid condoning [activity]?" count in the moral equation?

Besides, I always try to buy second hand, and when new, fair-trade, and I use my Good Shopping Guide (produced by these people ) to identify the best supplier for any new purchases.

Now do I get to tell you that willingly, knowingly choosing to support slavery and human rights abuses over going to Butlins is wrong? Eh?

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 10:31:04

They may or may not be telling the truth freudian although I find it hard to believe they would make up the bit about Skyping their families most days.

My point, and the point of this thread, is why are you beyond reproach for holidaying in Sri-Lanka and I'm frowned upon for holidaying in Dubai?

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 10:34:06

theas18 as I understand it the woman was jailed for being drunk, not for being raped.

Lovecat Tue 17-Sep-13 10:35:20

OP, I went to Dubai in 2001 and DH and I were actually quite unnerved by how shiny, soulless and empty it was THEN, so God knows what it's like now if you think it's got worse...

I don't like shopping and I don't do spa treatments, we only went there because it was an airmiles freebie. Would never, ever go back. Sure, the restaurants were amazing, but it was too damn hot to step outside the hotel. I spent most of the 4 days we were there lying in the kids pool under the big sail shade there, reading propped up on my elbows, as it was the only way I could be outside and not expire from the heat.

Also I felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable there. There's a real undercurrent there if you're a woman - I hated being on my own there, even if DH popped to the loo when we were in the hotel bar I found myself being 'cruised' by the locals like I was a prostitute (I hasten to add I was very respectably dressed, the aircon indoors was too damn cold to not wear sleeves!).

And to top it all, on the plane home some Saudi couple were sitting in our seats and even though they were in the wrong place WE were made to move (to single seats nowhere near each other) with no explanation other than 'they need them' - they weren't seats near a loo or an exit, or with extra legroom, just 2 together, for 2 fully-functioning adults who were incredibly rude and arrogant but had the attendants dancing over them like they were royalty.

So no, we won't be going back.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 10:37:08

No bear it was extramarital sex, perjury and consuming alcohol without a license, if you mean the Norwegian woman who was jailed recently?

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 10:38:06

So they Skype last time I used Skype (2 days ago) it was free

Sri Lanka is a very different country it is poor Dubai is not far from it but it has it's own problems the biggest is poverty (which yes the west exploits that is being highlighted and changes made though not enough)

The discussion is about dubai and why the vitriol and many have explained why

FreddieStarrAteMyHamster Tue 17-Sep-13 10:44:36

Because Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey resided there.

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 10:44:50

Yes but animals don't generally have access to computers or Skype do they, so these workers are not all being treated like slaves.

I completely understand why some people dislike Dubai but this dicussion isn't just about Dubai, it is about why Dubai is so singled out for this vitriol, which no one seems to have a very good answer for

Lovecat Tue 17-Sep-13 10:45:39

Oh, and there was NOTHING to do there if you didn't like shopping. We tried looking for stuff to do; they weren't running the desert safaris because it was too hot, the only bus from the hotel went to the Gold Souk, the hotel concierge told us it 'wasn't safe' to go anywhere else, especially not on foot, and as we were only there for 4 days we ended up vegging in the room or by the pool. It was incredibly restful, but incredibly boring. The local paper was delivered free to our door and we scoured it for something to do but all it seemed to be was a puff-sheet for the shops.

The human rights abuses are very well hidden while you're living it up in your 5 star hotel, but they're there - you can see it in the attitude towards the workers, like they were less than human. We thought that if they were like that in public, God knows what they were like behind closed doors. I'd never go back.

culturemulcher Tue 17-Sep-13 10:47:32

Yes, you all have valid points. I get that. However, you could also pin those accusations on a lot of holiday destinations (Jamaica...)

OP the last time I looked, Jamaica had a female Prime Minister.

And speaking as someone who has lived and worked Kingston, I can tell you that Jamaicans would be horrified to think that someone was comparing human rights in Jamaica to those in Dubai.

The thought of choosing to spend my money supporting a regime like Dubai is abhorrent.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 10:49:24

have you looked at the links Bear

No my cat does not have access to Skype he can not use a computer

CuChullain Tue 17-Sep-13 10:50:37

Lots of whataboutery strawman arguments on here.

Just because shite conditions in place X are not as bad as the shite conditions in place Y does not exonerate place X from criticism.

In the case of Dubai, it is, in my opinion worse as they are a phenomenally wealthy country who, if the political will was there, could bring in legislation and standards that protects workers form being exploited by unscrupulous employers and recruitment agents. Instead of this though, they imprison and fine journalists who highlight any of these issue and deport workers who have the audacity to ask for better working conditions, you know, simple things like being paid what they were promised, not having to sleep in a toilet or given adequate training and protective clothing to carry out potentially dangerous jobs. UAE is ranked 41 in the UN Human Development Index, Pakistan and Bangladesh (where most of the Dubai’s cheap labour comes from) are ranked joint 146, it is not as if they can’t afford, they just choose not to give a shit.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Tue 17-Sep-13 10:50:54

Live there.

You won't meet any nationals. So you won't be in a position to judge whether you like the 'real' Dubai or not.

There is no indigenous culture apart from a couple of bastakia buildings that were saved by non-nationals.

Oh, and some camel stuff for tourists. And the odd falcon.

And the traditional UAE sport of sand surfing.

When I lived there many moons ago it was peopled by not-very-bright Brits on the make who got themselves into marvellous knots justifying the slavery and racism, backed up in no small part by the majority population of subcontinentals.

Ghastly plastic place.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 10:57:31

I am an expat living in Dubai which apparently makes me a "braying, sloaney wanker..." grin This is news to me since I was raised by a single mother in a council house...

OP, I believe the reason that people are so critical about the UAE (without actually knowing the first thing about it, as is clear from this thread!) is the fact that British ex pats pay no income tax. It's also one of the main reasons I moved here - I decided to spend a few years paying off my mortgage, which would have been impossible with the punitive tax rates in the UK. When I tell people where I live, I get the kind of wrath normally reserved for the likes of Vodafone....

The UAE is far from perfect and a great many of the comments above about migrant workers are true (but the more hysterical ones are not!) The fact is, it is their country and they have chosen to follow Shariah to some extent and to encourage foreign investment and tourism. It isn't our place to criticise this any more than it would be their place, as immigrants to the UK, to tell us to bin our own legal system and follow Eastern cultures and traditions. I firmly believe that ex pats should do everything possible to improve the lives of other people in their adopted country which is why I volunteer for a charity donating to and visiting work camps and fundraise for mistreated animals. I wish I could say that every ex pat did the same!

The fact is that Dubai is growing exponentially and will continue to grow with or without Western tourism - making snippy comments about their lack of culture and misogyny is not the best way to effect change.

Leopoldina Tue 17-Sep-13 10:57:40

personally I wouldn't dream of going to the Maldives either. I'm not a "rape the natural resources and play golf in an air conditioned desert" / "export everything to a dying ecosystem" sort of person. It would make me feel madly uncomfortable.
And while I was feeling madly uncomfortable about the appalling exploitation of the natural resources so that a tiny few rich people could have a cheap spa treatment, I could spend time pondering the stoning and imprisonment of rape victims. Or persecution of homosexuals.
A real holiday experience!
so all in, plenty to hate before you even scratch the surface of extreme vulgarity and what the other holidaymakers.

Fairy1303 Tue 17-Sep-13 11:05:26

Young girl - lets hope you don't get into debt!

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 11:10:27

Some of the attitudes on this thread demonstrate exactly why there is no will to improve human rights abuses in the UAE.

When (if you are Emirati) your education is paid for through to doctoral level, your housing, fuel and water bills are heavily subsidised, even your wedding is paid for by the government, and, should you wish to work, a well-paid,not too demanding sinecure is available via the government-sponsored 'Emiratisation' programme, why would you put yourself in danger by criticising the status quo for those less fortunate?

Ditto, if you are an expat who earns a high, tax-free income several times what you earned at home, can afford a villa with a pool and a maid and gardener and a private education for your children, and your residency visa is linked to your employment, and your bank account will be frozen the moment you are fired...? Why would you raise your voice, when you are doing fine, and anyway, it's not your country?

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Tue 17-Sep-13 11:15:47

Larry well said.

Younggirl don't get in road traffic accidents with a national either.

CuChullain Tue 17-Sep-13 11:15:55

Are you suggesting most people criticising Dubai are doing so because they are jealous of its tax regime?

Several people on this thread have stated that they have been to Dubai and they have articulated their feelings on the place, are you arrogantly suggesting they don’t know the first thing about the place because their views do not reconcile with yours. If you love the place then great, good for you! Many people on here are just pointing out that in their view it is a plastic soulless artificial construct with a piss poor humans right record and ecological disaster in the making. I have been to Dubai several times in a work capacity, my first visit being back in 1998 and my last visit being in 2012 and I have to agree with many of the negative sentiments being espoused here.

EspressoMonkey Tue 17-Sep-13 11:40:15

Never been to Dubai. But expat friends of ours have just found out that their next posting is Dubai. In my friends words "who wants to live in a place where the British lower middle class descend to experience having wealth and class?"

LadyLancaster Tue 17-Sep-13 11:50:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DeepPurple Tue 17-Sep-13 11:54:17

I live in Dubai. I love the place. I don't understand why people that have never visited feel the need to slate it so much.

Young boys do not ride camels as one poster said hmm they use robots now as it was deemed too unsafe for humans to do it. The place and the rights of the workers has changed massively.

Once upon a time the migrant workers lived 12 to a hot tin box with no air con. Now they have to have a/c as a minimum. Still not paradise for them but a damn sight better than it was.

In the UK if you find yourself homeless you can't get a job to support yourself, there is a huge drugs problem, a legal system that simply does not work, child abuse, illegal workers being kept in hideous conditions... Need I carry on?

No place in the world is perfect, the UK included. I'd love it if someone could enlighten me as to where they go on holiday that is perfect.

You do not get put in prison for being raped. I really wish people would do their research. The case that is being referred to is one where a female got drunk and was raped. She did not have an alcohol licence so she was put in prison for being drunk without a licence. For 24 hours. Her attacker was brought to justice far quicker than he would have been in the uk. Within weeks he was behind bars and will serve a very hefty sentence. Dare I ask how many months years he'd serve in the UK?

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 12:06:13

DeepPurple, the ban on child jockeys was only introduced in the mid 2000s because UNICEF kicked up such a stink that the UAE powers that be were afraid it would damage tourism.

Not some kind of moral awakening on behalf of the authorities, who would otherwise have happily continued trafficking in Pakistani three year olds and forcing them to live in horrific conditions, often sexually abused and half starved by their trainers.

The boys who were 'liberated' by the introduction of the robot jockeys were supposed to have been repatriated and compensated, but large numbers went unaccounted for, and were never returned home. I came across suggestions of mass graves in the desert, and rumours of child jockeys still being used at more obscure tracks, only who was going to break that story - a censored press? A police force where all the high up positions are in the gift of the royal family?

I doubt you are actually congratulating the UAE on the demise of the child jockey...?

DeepPurple Tue 17-Sep-13 12:07:51

I also take comfort in the fact that there is very little crime. If a drink driver injures someone they will get a very severe prison sentence, not the rap on the knuckles that you would in the UK. There is barely any violence - the violence that occurs is usually from British tourists.

There are no drugs. Again, the penalty is very severe.

Women do not get stoned and do not get treated badly. In fact, any official building has separate queues for woman and separate waiting areas. They get served first.

There are rules that seem very outdated but are there as respect for the culture. No kissing and cuddling in public for example. Easy enough not to do though right? Cover shoulders and knees in public. Everywhere is air conditioned so it actually gets a little cold.

Maids that have worked here for many years tend to own several properties in their home country. Sure, there are plenty that are mistreated but most are treated well by their sponsor families.

DeepPurple Tue 17-Sep-13 12:09:13

I'm not congratulating anyone Larry. Just stating the fact that it doesn't happen anymore. People trot that out at every opportunity and it is simply not true now.

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 12:18:43

Deep, there are many, many documented cases of women imprisoned for 'extramarital sexual activity' when they have been raped. The Norwegian woman who was 'pardoned' recently got a longer sentence than her rapist.

The crime statistics depend on what counts as a crime. Yes, there are far fewer burglaries/property crimes because the underclass is kept out in labour camps in the desert. There are huge numbers of largely unreported crimes of domestic violence against maids, not protected by labour law, by their employers. This is just a much a 'crime', it just happens not to concern you.

And you are being naive indeed about the drink driving issue. In virtually any circumstances, an Emirati driver will get off lightly, no matter what he or she has done. I knew of endless instances where an Emiratibdriver was clearly at fault, but the witnesses vanished, the CCTV mysteriously got wiped, the foreign driver was told no such car number existed, even though police at the scene logged it.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 12:19:20

CuChullain - calm down dear... ;-)

I did not say that I loved Dubai - I said that it had problems but that imo it is better to try to change things as a resident and from an informed viewpoint rather than make snippy remarks from a safe distance. I actually do think that the tax status of ex pats gets people's backs up, based purely on reactions of friends and former colleagues, which is what the OP was asking.

Irrespective of your views or those of anyone else on this thread, Dubai and the UAE as a whole is booming, and that state of affairs will continue. I believe it is possible to live here and be a responsible citizen, for the reasons explained in my previous post. It's a shame that not everyone does this.

Like it or not, the future is in the East - there are much better ways to influence and shape the way the region develops - hopefully into a more liberal and tolerant society - than simply sticking one's nose in the air.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 12:23:18

Women do not get stoned and do not get treated badly. In fact, any official building has separate queues for woman and separate waiting areas. They get served first.

If you can't see why that's treating women badly <sighs>

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 12:26:14

Lady Lancaster - we are talking about the UAE, right? If it was Saudi, you might have a point. Women are not stoned here, can drive, own property etc. As someone said upthread, we are given preferential treatment in queues etc. But thank you for illustrating my earlier point about people's lack of understanding so perfectly :-)

In the workplace, I have seen fewer examples of egregious sexism here than I did in the City. Sorry if that does not conform to your world view.

DeepPurple Tue 17-Sep-13 12:31:28

Wilson - how is it treating women badly? Muslim women do not like to wait with men when they are unaccompanied so they have a separate area. They are served first so they aren't kept waiting. I'd say it was unfair on men rather than women!

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 12:37:12

Deep - I totally agree. Many of these responses do not take into account the different culture of the Middle East and the role that women play here. Most Emirati women I know would tell me exactly where to get off if I suggested they were somehow oppressed or subjagated by men. Why assume that our culture is "better"? It's their country!

TheSmallClanger Tue 17-Sep-13 12:40:07

It is patronising and othering, and the whole "served first" thing smacks of women being shunted out of the way as quickly as possible.

Someone on another forum once described Dubai as being "the Trafford Centre with sand dunes". That's really stuck with me. One of my oldest friends went to live there with her stuck-up abusive wanker of a husband, and since she's become a card-carrying stereotypical ex-pat and a full-time cheerleader for her adopted dictatorship. She is now openly racist and has this irritating habit of talking about things like Harvey Nichols shops and jazz festivals as if they are some special, wonderful thing only available in Dubai, when you can get all that in Manchester.

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 12:48:12

This is a classic Dubai case, which happened recently. An Asian van driver knocked his vehicle into the car of an Emirati senior official. It doesn't seem to have been serious in that no one was hurt, and neither vehicle was badly damaged. The Emirati punched and hit the Asian driver repeatedly at the scene, and was filmed doing so by a bystander, also Asian.

Only after the video went viral did the police trace the Emirati and charge him with assault. He will almost certainly pay a small fine, period. But - this is the good part - the bystander who filmed the evidence of the assault? He's facing two and a half years in jail for 'invading the official's privacy' and defamation.

LadyLancaster Tue 17-Sep-13 12:48:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyLancaster Tue 17-Sep-13 12:52:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 12:53:34

Yes, that case is disgraceful (although I am not sure that the van driver's ethnicity makes a difference?) I don't think the consequences for the Emirati are clear, as yet, but I doubt he will escape with only a fine. There are strict rules concerning privacy here - filming someone without permission is treated very seriously. In this instance, we might think that the end justifies the means, but the laws under which the passer by is being punished have not simply been plucked out of thin air.

DeepPurple Tue 17-Sep-13 12:53:39

Young - that's exactly it. I don't think any Arab women you would meet here feel that they are some sub class. They would be offended at the suggestion!

TheSmall - you can see it as trying to get rid of women first or that they are not expected to be kept waiting. It's the latter. Before Dubai found oil, women were seen as the backbone of the family. They held the family together whilst the men went off pearl diving for months on end. They are very well respected within their families and they are looked after. Yes, they do have little say in money matters or who they marry but that is typical of the Muslim culture the whole world over.

As a woman who is sponsored by my husband, I need his permission to get a driving licence. However, if it was me that had got a job and he hadn't then I would be his sponsor and I would have to give my permission for him to have a licence. It's not a man/woman thing but a sponsorship thing. I think this is often misunderstood.

Some expats here are very shallow and are here for the money and the shopping. Some are just normal folk who happen to live/work here. Same as there are superficial people in the UK.

DeepPurple Tue 17-Sep-13 12:56:41

Lady - speaking as an ex UK Police officer, I think you will find that a vast proportion of women the whole world over wouldn't report rape. Especially inter marital rape.

A typical British woman will be assaulted 27 times by her partner before reporting it for the first time.

Yay for British women!

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 12:58:37

Yawn, here we go again.... Nobody was imprisoned for being raped. The law requires anyone consuming alcohol to be in possession of a licence. The woman in question did not have a licence, therefore she broke the law. Don't fancy an Emirati prison? Don't break the law. Especially by getting as blotto as this woman seems to have been.

FWIW I don't agree with the law, nor would I condone the introduction of a law to this effect in a country of which I was a citizen, but (lather, rinse, repeat) it's their country and whilst we can (and should) try to positively influence and foster the creation of more liberal rules, it is not our place to tell them they are uncivilised and barabaric, which seems to be the undercurrent of a lot of the posts here.

TheSmallClanger Tue 17-Sep-13 13:01:43

Bollocks to being "the backbone of the family". That's not rights, it's just massive responsibilities disguised as respect and esteem. Without financial independence and autonomy in personal relationships, it doesn't add up to much. Not really.

stargirl1701 Tue 17-Sep-13 13:02:30

I wouldn't go to a place where if I was raped I would be arrested.

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 13:06:05

The only thing I can liken this thread to is people who are vegetarian on principle but who think it is perfectly acceptable to buy leather shoes etc.

Dubai might not be perfect but trying to justify not going there but going to countries like Sri-Lanka as ok because they are poor is bollocks.

Fair enough, if you only want to travel to country's with impeccable human rights records (although I fear your travelling options will be somewhat limited) but it is the height of hypocrisy to issue santinmonious comments whilst consuming goods from and travelling to other countries where people are treated in a less than ideal manner.

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 13:10:32

Young, the Norwegian woman was given 16 months for extramarital sex, perjury and drinking alcohol without a licence (the way that virtually every tourist in a Dubai hotel does but to which the authorities turn a blind eye unless its a matter of trying to smear a rape victim).

The perjury charge was after she claimed her statement (which she said was in Arabic and which she was coerced into signing without an adequate translation) was not what she had actually said.

And yes, I think the ethnicity of the three men in the video assault case is the crux of the case. I will eat my hat if the Emirati goes to prison.

DeepPurple Tue 17-Sep-13 13:10:43

Well said Bear.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 13:17:54

I think that if you get into that sort of intoxicated state in the company of people you don't know well, then you are exposing yourself to a great deal of personal risk irrespective of what country you are in.

The law here is what it is. Nobody forced her here at gunpoint. It seems to me that the same people who complain about people wearing the niqab in public buildings in the UK, or the call to prayer on Channel 4, are exactly the same people who think that Westerners should be able to walk into an Islamic state wearing hotpants and down vodka shots to their heart's content.

Respect for other cultures works both ways.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 13:22:31

Some of these expat arguements that it's "not that bad" make me rage. You see what you want to see. I am an Expat in Brussels vs Dubai, and I love it - all is rosy my garden, so to speak.

BUT even here, in country not known for it's appalling human rights record there are big issues that could give me a totally different opinion. My child does not have SN and is not excluded from mainstream education, for example, I am not from an ethnic minority, I dont wear a head scarf and work in public services etc. I am not an illegal immigrant living in the train station.

These issues don't affect me, I go round in a little expat bubble of loveliness. But I DO know they exist. All the arguments from the Dubai lovers seem to play down the human rights issue totally - what the eye doesn't see etc.

As was clearly stated already, the difference between Dubai and other countrries is that Dubai is fucking rich and CAN afford to pay and treat its workers properly. The fact that it chooses not to is the problem. Nowt about tax free expats and camels. It knowlingly exploits human beings for profit, and then glosses over it. The fact that people fall for the shit never fails to astound me.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 13:24:34

Jesus wept Young you didn't just blame that woman for getting raped because she had a few drinks, did you?

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 13:26:43

Yes, a nice bit of victim blaming.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 13:31:34

Having just re-googled the case, I'm also shock that her rapist was also pardoned. I guess the only way to pardon her was to pretend the whole thing didn't happen.

Lovely, lovely country.

Panzee Tue 17-Sep-13 13:32:21
CoteDAzur Tue 17-Sep-13 13:38:09

"The law here is what it is. Nobody forced her here at gunpoint."

I bet she was encouraged to go their by girlfriends like the OP who think only about the spas and the shopping, though.

OP - YABU. See above for why.

Kamchatka Tue 17-Sep-13 13:42:19

I would never go to Dubai:

I've known several people from there and thereabouts - men, including policemen - and what they casually dropped into conversation made my skin crawl.

Human rights
The sheer vulgarity
The type of Brits who like it are not my kind of people (this is my least strong conviction tbh)

Just no.

TheSmallClanger Tue 17-Sep-13 13:57:12

Yes to the horrible casual language. My old friend always refers to "a Filipina" un-necessarily, as in "you'd just get a Filipina to do that" when I would refer to "hiring a cleaner" or "going to a nail salon". It's either that or "an Indian" when she actually means "a gardener" or "someone to clean the swimming pool". It's very dehumanising and makes her sound like a braying wanker, regardless of the good qualities she still has somewhere.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 13:58:21

Wilson - not at all. I just happen to think that women who get smashed in the company of men they hardly know are pretty irresponsible and stupid. Especially so in a Muslim country where alcohol is illegal unless you have permission (and yes, they do turn a blind eye to tourists). None of us know the exact truth of what happened that night. Happily, the woman in question was pardoned.

The point that you are missing whilst frothing at the mouth over 'victim blaming' is that these are the laws in an autonomous, sovereign state. It doesn't matter what what you or I think - they don't care. The situation will continue no matter how many superlatives you use, and there are far more constructive ways to respond than the often ill-informed, melodramatic vitriol on this thread.

ophelia275 Tue 17-Sep-13 14:00:05

It's the epitome of everything that is wrong with this world.

kilmuir Tue 17-Sep-13 14:03:31

Fabulous place. Have been twice and would go again

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 14:05:07

Ophelia - if you really think that, maybe you should try to get out more? Or at least watch the news occasionally. No genocide here, it's peaceful, there is enough to eat, no bombs dropping.....

MrsOakenshield Tue 17-Sep-13 14:10:22

I've only dipped in and out of this thread, so apologies if this has been covered - but those loving Dubai and defending its culture and human rights - what about the ecology issue - no-one seems to be defending that, and for me, that is the biggest reason why I wouldn't set foot in the place.

I would be interested to hear some views on that.

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 14:15:26

Young, Marte Dalelv, the Norwegian woman, was in Dubai on a business trip. She didn't choose to go to Dubai as a tourist, she was sent by her employers. She had drinks with her colleagues in a hotel, she didn't get drunk with virtual strangers. It was one of those colleagues who dragged her into a hotel room and raped her, a scenario that could have happened to any woman anywhere.

She did nothing wrong: she was unfortunate enough to encounter a rapist. She was doubly unfortunate in that the judicial system where her rape took place criminalises rape victims. Yes, the UK has a pitiful record on getting rape cases to trial, but at least the justice system does not proceed to accuse the rape victim of herself committing a sexual crime.

Malelv's royal pardon after being given a 16 month sentence is an insult, designed to silence her and get her out of the country for fear of further consequences before it gets any more negative rap in the international press. She has not been exonerated, she is simply a criminal left off the hook - along with her rapist! - by royal generosity.

Yes, the UAE is a sovereign state. Yes, it is 'another culture'. Neither fact requires the rest of the world to respect or condone its human rights abuses. There are cultures that do not merit my respect.

Can I mention something I said further up the thread again? Female Genital Mutilation is legal in the UAE. Do we have to 'respect' the cutting out of little girls' clitorises?

CoteDAzur Tue 17-Sep-13 14:20:30

"The point that you are missing whilst frothing at the mouth over 'victim blaming' is that these are the laws in an autonomous, sovereign state"

The glaring point that you are missing is that (1) we know that law, and (2) the point of this thread is why people hate Dubai.

One of those reasons why is the one you mentioned: They have medieval laws. Nobody wants to be subject to medieval laws. Many of us use our heads and figure that some shopping and spas are not worth being subjected to medieval laws.

badtime Tue 17-Sep-13 14:32:16

"The point that you are missing whilst frothing at the mouth over 'victim blaming' is that these are the laws in an autonomous, sovereign state."

This thread is about why people have a problem with Dubai. People have explained why they don't like Dubai. Similarly, many people disapproved of the laws in 'autonomous, sovereign' apartheid South Africa and Soviet Russia*. Bad things don't suddenly become okay just because they are permitted in another country.

Furthermore, it is entirely possible to disagree with a law in another country but accept their right to have that law (e.g. I disagree with the French ban on hijab).

* I considered a Godwin, but decided against it.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 14:39:55

Larry - The reason she has been let off the hook is because she broke the law, as it stands, in this jurisdiction. We can both agree (I hope!) that the law is unfair and draconian, but as a matter of legal procedure this was the best possible outcome for her once she had been convicted. As I said, neither of us know exactly what happened that night, and it may have been a case of mixed messages and inebriation or she may have been unfortunate enough to meet a rapist.

Cote - I am fully aware of the point of the thread, thank you. As the OP says upthread, it is interesting that Dubai prompts such a strong reaction in people whereas places such as Oman, Morocco or Indonesia do not, even though their laws are equally draconian (if not more so). Your opinion - and mine - is irrelevant. The UK itself is increasingly irrelevant. Everything is now made in the East and the region has an exponential number of young people who all need education, jobs, training, healthcare, content, etc and will have significantly more influence on the world than our creaking old democracy, sadly. Maybe that is a factor behind the negative sentiments too?

theodorakisses Tue 17-Sep-13 14:40:12

young girl never respond to these threads, it's pointless. The MiddleEast isn't perfect and I have been here for years but neither are so many other places, the UK is one of the last places I would live in. Just hide it and let the armchair saviours of the world do their work.

Slipshodsibyl Tue 17-Sep-13 14:42:31

The ethnicity of the men is indeed the crux. There is a very clear and acknowledged hierarchy. Gulf Arabs, then Arabs from the Levant, then Caucasian expats, and last those from south east Asia and the Indian sub continent. There is a large groups of wealthy and successful Indian people who might even get nationality and they are different. Different races are paid vastly differing salaries for the same job.

caramelwaffle Tue 17-Sep-13 14:42:54


caramelwaffle Tue 17-Sep-13 14:45:38

That was not to you Slip

Rape. Having your anus or vagina ripped to shreds and being left bleeding, crawling on the floor.

Then "it is your fault!"

Thank goodness for people who care.

Slipshodsibyl Tue 17-Sep-13 14:47:12

Actually, Dubai has plenty of laws (not all of which are palatable in the west but there are cultural and religious differences in our societies). A problem is correct and consistent enforcement of those laws. That rarely happens when a dispute involves people from different positions in the hierarchy.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Tue 17-Sep-13 14:49:17

Theodora - I think you may be right! Ah well, there are none so blind etc. wink

Slipshodsibyl Tue 17-Sep-13 14:50:03

Mrs Oakenshield Ecologically, Dubai would appear to be unsustainable. Gulf states are buying land from unreliable African governments in order to ensure food security.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 14:50:37

it may have been a case of mixed messages and inebriation or she may have been unfortunate enough to meet a rapist.

I believe her.

CoteDAzur Tue 17-Sep-13 15:00:11

" because she broke the law, as it stands, in this jurisdiction"

She can't have broken the law because crime assumes actually doing something. She wasn't doing the doing, she was being raped, obviously against her will.

This is not about crime and punishment. It is about the subjugation of women - don't try to seek justice when you are raped if you don't want to be jailed. Being raped is your fault, anyway.

Oh wait. That's what you were saying earlier...

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 15:14:18

You still bringing up Sri Lanka up Bear

My father is originally from Sri Lanka so I visit family and the tourist industry is very different but yes SL has problems mainly poverty and a civil war

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 15:19:10

"it may have been a case of mixed messages and inebriation or she may have been unfortunate enough to meet a rapist."

I'm pretty sure if she didn't want it she "met a rapist"! confused

LadyRabbit Tue 17-Sep-13 15:26:18

Its appalling human rights record and atrocious treatment of the workers who enable its existence notwithstanding, I avoid Dubai like the plague as a holiday destination because of the type of people who choose to holiday.

It's basically a really expensive Costa Del Sol with people who think they're living the high life but don't realise that the high life happens in private villas on private islands reached only by private jets.

badtime Tue 17-Sep-13 15:27:23

'there are none so blind etc.'

That, at least, you have got right.

LadyRabbit Tue 17-Sep-13 15:27:29

*choose to holiday there.

Jesus. I will marry the person who invents a phone with psychic auto correct even if it makes me a bigamist.

complexnumber Tue 17-Sep-13 15:29:01

Personally, I much prefer Oman to Dubai, it just seems to have more class and respect for people.

I know that there are migrant labour issues, but other things (e.g. the majority of under graduates are female, I think) just make it a nice country.

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 15:35:16

LadyRabbit that says more about you than "the type of people who choose to holiday there". Yik.

thebody Tue 17-Sep-13 16:05:36

I found it hot, soulless and boring. you shop, eat out and swim and that's it really.

its like the raj life style of the English in the last century.

a refuge for those who want a soft life, servants and loads of money.

such people are shallow by nature.

thebody Tue 17-Sep-13 16:06:15

I found it hot, soulless and boring. you shop, eat out and swim and that's it really.

its like the raj life style of the English in the last century.

a refuge for those who want a soft life, servants and loads of money.

such people are shallow by nature.

trafficwarden Tue 17-Sep-13 16:40:27

There are many valid points being made on this thread but I have to take issue with the subject of FGM being legal. The legal system is in it's infancy and the reliance on Sharia Law means that many aspects of it are unpalatable to many of us. The health authorities, at least in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, DO NOT condone FGM and it is banned in government hospitals and clinics. And having worked as a MW there for 5 years, witnessing over a thousand births and being privy to countless conversations with women and HCP's, I never saw or heard of ANY Emirati women who had been subjected to FGM. Not one. It is not part of the present culture and is deeply frowned upon. It may be theoretically legal but even the WHO has no data to say it is being practiced.

Longdistance Tue 17-Sep-13 16:47:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

BlingBang Tue 17-Sep-13 18:09:22

Never been but probably will visit one day though not my first choice.

We chose to live in Singapore over dubai which has its own issues. Love Singapore but still not blind to its faults. I think people have a valid point in that dubai is very rich country but still seems to encourage abuse and racism with its policies and practices.

My husband goes often on business, he witnessed a western barman being slapped by a local. The barman just accepted it as part of the job, something he had to put up with.

reallyslummymummy Tue 17-Sep-13 18:18:17

I have seen most of the comments here.

I have never had an urge to go to Dubai. Reasons being:

I don't like shopping;
I don't like spas;
I don't like in your face opulence.

Also, why would I want to visit a place where being western and a woman brings such risks? I would feel really vulnerable in such a place.

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 18:34:34
zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 18:36:03

Sorry the first link was trying to work out if that "no tax" thing really was such a bonus.

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 20:13:18

I am gobsmacked at the assertion that Dubai is such a villan because it is rich and can afford to do better.

I clearly hadn't realised that human rights breaches were acceptable if your country was poor and you can't afford to do any better.

I think the best phrase on this thread was 'armchair saviours of the world'. It sums up so succinctly the hypocritical views expressed on this thread.

Fine, if you want to preach for all breaches of human rights to be abolished them go for it, but don't just preach for those that suit you as and when.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 20:29:17

where have I said that human rights breaches were ok if the country is poor hmm

What your do not seem to be getting is that migrant workers are treated appallingly and that is supported by the government, the country has wealth a lot of it yet because these people are desperate they are allowed to be treated in such a way. Many countries do not have the same attitude or the wealth many people suffer because lack of money along with a number of other issues as corruption. Dubai openly treats migrant workers terribly because they see migrant workers as lesser humans

go and enjoy yourself there and maybe stay away from threads like this that point out what is so so wrong about the place

BlingBang Tue 17-Sep-13 20:30:15

I think the fact it is so rich does mean it should set the bar higher in how it treats it's most vulnerable workers.

Are you trying to say there isn't accepted racism and casual mistreatment of workers who aren't in a position to speak up or protect themselves?

I've lived in countries which imports foreign workers and their is often racism and mistreatment. Why can't this be talked about? If people don't acknowledge and talk about it, it's hardly going to improve.

We talk all the time about this countries failings, we aren't perfect either.

Bearbehind Tue 17-Sep-13 20:35:41

freudian I wasn't talking about you specifically.

I was extrapolating the logic that if Dubai is so bad because it can afford to do better then it must be ok for poor countries who can't afford any better to treat people in a way we find below standard.

Please don't patronise me about my choice of holiday destination when yours is entirely on terms which suit your own argument.

borraxohastaelalmanacer Tue 17-Sep-13 20:47:06

It drives me bloody crazy when people slag off Dubai and say "I haven't been there but..."

Some of the ideas about Dubai are laughable. Just because your culture and religion is different, doesn't always make someone else's wrong.

Cultural vacuum?! Over 200 different nationalities live in Dubai. When I get on the Metro I hear languages from all over the world. If I head into Al Quoz, I can see artwork from across the region, if I go to Bur Dubai I eat food from dozens of different countries. In my office of 35, we are from 11 different countries. Oh, and my female CEO is from Saudi - try telling her she's a victim of sexism. Try stepping outside of the expensive resort and visit the desert, go to the gold souk by the Creek, go and watch some camel racing with the locals, have a traditional Emirati breakfast in the old town, visit the pearling museum, visit the falconry hospital, you get the picture.

And you know what? The UAE is only 41 years old. It's new. It's still learning. But improvements to labour laws, banking regulations etc are being made by the day. Most of the reports you read about poor conditions for labourers are several years old - things change, international treaties are signed.

I really don't get why it's so fashionable to slate it.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 21:00:55

Poor countries are just that -poor. Not buying certain clothes or trainers because the workers get paid low rates just hurts them. At least they get work and pay making the things. This is wrong but it will take time to change.

Dubai is RICH, super Rich. It can let expats live tax free. It can let emiratis have free Uni education, healthcare, a wonderful standard of living. It could therefore treat its foreign workers properly. Let them get proper wages, housing, healthcare, protective legislation. But it chooses not to.

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 21:08:58

"I really don't get why it's so fashionable to slate it."

Because it is acceptable to be anti-Islam and specifically anti-Arab in the UK. I find it extraordinary that people can complain it is too hot (erm a dessert, a bit like saying a loch is too wet), or that it is lacking in culture when they don't look beyond their hotel. I you went to London and didn't leave your hotel you would find it pretty grim too.

The problems with rights and protection for vulnerable migrant labour forces are rife throughout the world. Cultural differences in attitudes to women are just that differences. Some more difficult to accept than others but there is no onus on other cultures to become acceptable to westerners.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 21:11:09

Who has mentioned anyone being anti-Islam?

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 21:11:53

Of course one of the reasons the reports we read about poor conditions for labourers are several years' old is because there is no free press.

People slate Dubai because it is a very rich country which has no excuse for not doing better. And because, as it's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, we play our part in normalising this when we visit in our millions. Of course other countries have problems. But if I choose to visit a very poor country my money may actually do some good. Not the case in Dubai.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 21:14:24

As far as I recall the mentions of Islam and sharia law came when talking about the woman being raped, where the opinion seemed to be overwhelmingly be that she should have known better hmm

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 21:19:30

"Who has mentioned anyone being anti-Islam" .....I did. hmm. Where you under the impression that the UK was pro-Islam or pro-Arab?

Larrygogan Tue 17-Sep-13 21:21:17

Trafficwarden, I know FGM isn't condoned in government hospitals, but it certainly takes place in private clinics. It's interesting that you didn't come across a single case, but it doesn't entirely surprise me, if you were working in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I started doing a bit of research when I lived there, working as a journalist, and my findings suggested it was primarily in the other, more rural emirates, and also that it was strongly tribal.

There was an article by an Emirati woman in a student magazine at the women's college at Al Qusais which was reprinted in The National last year, so is probably googlable. She surveyed 200 Emiratis and found over one third of female respondents had been cut.

I don't think there is anything at all 'fashionable' about criticising Dubai. It's a bit 'five minutes ago' if anything. And yes, things like banking regulation and business law are changing. What doesn't seem to change, however, is the blinkeredness of those benefiting from a corrupt system.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 21:31:44

I don't live in the UK, and my dd's 2 best friends are Muslim. My anti-Dubai arguments don't come from a criticism of Islam. They come from a criticism of Dubai's human rights record. Built on the profits of trafficking/drugs/money laundering and a continuing reliance on exploitation and slavery of workers, whilst the rich live it up and pretend it is all lovely.

merrymouse Tue 17-Sep-13 21:34:26

The point that you are missing whilst frothing at the mouth over 'victim blaming' is that these are the laws in an autonomous, sovereign state. It doesn't matter what what you or I think - they don't care.

But those laws are a pretty good reason not to like Dubai, which is what the OP asked.

Tinlegs Tue 17-Sep-13 21:37:11

No freedom to look up / watch what you want on the Internet (censorship)
No respect for women
Racism and locals are paid more and cannot be fired.
A huge motorway and some tower blocks and a few malls
NO solar power evident anywhere, but huge consumption of electricity / power.
Expats who get fired / made redundant and run up debts can be imprisoned.
Victim blaming in any case of rape or assault.
Huge problems of alcoholism amongst expats (bored, perhaps?)
Poor treatment of workers and limited employment rights, even for the Westernerswho flock there, never mind the Asians who are treated like animals.
Men there on "single postings" with a wife and children elsewhere who see the place as somewhere to get a shag and that any single woman in a bar is fair game.
Oh, and it is full of the worst types of holiday makers - orange tanned, braying and consuming everything in sight.

And I have been twice, and my sister lives there. Never again......

sherazade Tue 17-Sep-13 21:40:09

I love dubai. but it 'grew' on me. I avoid the malls like the plague and instead frequent parks and the very clean, safe and family friendly beaches.

What I love is the women's only beaches and women's only beach cubs/ water park nights. That swings it for me.

zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 21:43:18
zzzzz Tue 17-Sep-13 21:45:04

The rest sounds very like china, Singapore, Malaysia, most of the Middle East....

thebody Tue 17-Sep-13 21:47:18

can I just say in my time in Dubai ( and couldn't live there but long visit) me and teen dds felt a lot safer and had a lot more respect there than in London.

just my experience.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 21:48:41

no the UK is not pro islam or pro arab

strangely dubai is not pro islam either though it is an islamic country as islam believes that wealth should be shared and of good treatment of people that work for you. i know many arabs who are dislike dubai for the same reasons many do on here

raisah Tue 17-Sep-13 22:04:18

It's racist aswell as sexist & other things. I was continuously asked to leave my bag & passport with the security guards when out shopping. When asked the reason; the arab security guard said it was because I was asian. The white shoppers where not requested to do this.

When out for a meal, it was the same experience all over again. I was at a well known american coffee chain, when I went to sit at a table seat the waitress came & moved me. When I asked why (as I didnt see any reserved signs) she said the window seats were rederved for international visitors. I said that I was a British visitor, she smiled and said "but you are not white". They are openly racist towards none white tourists.

Cutitup Tue 17-Sep-13 22:05:35

OP here - I've just returned to this thread after being on it last evening. What a lot of comments!

For people who don't like Dubai because of worker exploitation, I ask: do you own an i-phone? Do you shop on the high street? Would you acknowledge that most of your goods come from the East where workers are horrendously exploited and often slave in factories far from home for next to nothing? Where suicide nets exist in factories? All for clothes on our high street.

For people who don't like Dubai because of the 'braying expats'. Do you not feel embarrassed to go to Spain/Prague/Portugal/ A.N-other/and see the shameful sight of British tourists who won't deign to learn a word of the local language and who drink so much that they fill the town centres with their awful hen and stag parties, partially dressed and showing off dreadful tattoos, and who puke and piss on the streets?

For the people who think Dubai is culture-less. Do you leave your resort in the Maldives or Jamaica to explore the country outside of your all-expenses resort? (yes, of course some of you do - pls don't answer that question!)

Dubai was not built on slavery. It was built as a trading route. As with most trading routes and, for example, gold rush towns, it attracted workers who were keen to make a profit/living.

So, I ask very sincerely to all you eco and conscientious shoppers and tourists, where can you reasonably go on a nice holiday and assuage your guilt at the same time?

caramelwaffle Tue 17-Sep-13 22:08:52

That's interesting raisah - I wonder if those who are saying they absolutely love the place are White (?)

Tinlegs Tue 17-Sep-13 22:10:36

Scotland? That's where I go on my nice holidays and assuage my "guilt". If I want to travel further afield, I try England. I also go abroad but would not choose Dubai, or many other countries, as places to spend my hard earned money.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 22:14:23

Sorry, Dubai was built onnthe proceeds of crime and worker exploitation. Most of the other points have been covered above.

People going on holiday and behaving atrociously is the fault of no one, or at least the repressed UK culture.

merrymouse Tue 17-Sep-13 22:17:07

So, I ask very sincerely to all you eco and conscientious shoppers and tourists, where can you reasonably go on a nice holiday and assuage your guilt at the same time?

I like Wales.

Fairy1303 Tue 17-Sep-13 22:18:39

"Dubai was not built on Slavery" - so targeting the poorest of migrants, promising good wages, removing passports upon entry and paying a fraction of the promised wage thus rendering them unable to reclaim their passports and becoming stuck, working for the employer, in Dubai, with no way of getting out, is not slavery?

No rights at all to even a basic standard of living for migrant workers forced to stay.

It is fucking disgusting and honestly I think your 'oh but you all buy from primark' argument is just you trying to assuage your own guilt.

pamish Tue 17-Sep-13 22:20:52

Dubai, where a hundred thousand slaves pour sand into the sea.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 22:27:21

I like to go to France personally. I know they have proper rules re wages and working hours there. Went to Cuba once. That was hard. Understanding that taxi drivers can earn more than doctors as they get access to dollars. Giving toiletries and hair bobbles etc to bar staff and room service. Made me sad.

fatlazymummy Tue 17-Sep-13 22:30:45

Cornwall's very nice.

SomethingOnce Tue 17-Sep-13 22:38:24

Places with no death penalty - rules out the US.

Cutitup Tue 17-Sep-13 22:46:52

Fairy, I said Dubai, historically, was not built on slavery. That has nothing to do with what it became.

The fact is that a lot of labourers have great jobs there. They often live in labour camps with up to 12 nationalities, each one catered for in their choice of meals. They often have cricket pitches and volleyball courts. They have recreation rooms which show films from their home countries. They have clubs, music groups, religious meetings, the internet and access to comfort, water, A/C, and decent living quarters.

That is a fact for a large number of forward thinking labour camps in Dubai. Let's not forget that Dubai is a young country and growing at a huge rate. The best thing we can do is to encourage this humanitarian approach to providing labourers with good living conditions.

A large number of British expat women in Dubai do an enormous amount for charity and help with labourers who need assistance.

The labourers wouldn't go there if it wasn't a better option.

BlingBang Tue 17-Sep-13 22:47:00

Think it can be good to travel to a lot of places - even places with a lot of poverty and human rights issues, I probably will visit Dubai one day, might even really like it - doesn't mean you can't acknowledge the not so nice sides.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 22:50:40

Also they "often" have their passports taken away and have to Work for free for years. Lets not forget that eh?

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 22:54:02

Your last post CutitIp made me think of Nazi propaganda. They used to make similar assertions re. The Jews. That wasn't strictly true either.

gordyslovesheep Tue 17-Sep-13 22:57:26

better option from starving to death in a slum ...yeh that's a real choice - anything is a better option than that - doesn't make it fair or right - it 's much better for the people making money out of their low pay and long hours

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 23:04:26

Living in a labour camp is oh so lovely don't you know? We have volleyball and a music group. That totally takes my mind off my family, who are 1000/ of miles away. I am just helping to build a 7 star hotel so that rich people can come stay, complain about the heat and go shopping. I'll put up with sharing a toilet with 30 people so I can send, oh no nothing, back home as I have t work for 2 years to pay off the debt to the recruiter....

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Tue 17-Sep-13 23:06:59

Do you work for the Dubai Tourist Board, OP?

The fact is that a lot of labourers have great jobs there. They often live in labour camps

You can't possibly work for the Ministry of Irony.

Bluestocking Tue 17-Sep-13 23:07:09

Has anyone mentioned the money laundering yet? Everyone from Al Qaeda to the Russian mafia launders their dirty money through Dubai.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 23:09:57

I did, a little while back.

conkercon Tue 17-Sep-13 23:11:41

Portofino that is exactly what I thought. Would never visit Dubai for many of the reasons that have been mentioned. But the main reason is because I am a woman. Not going somewhere where my rights are less than that of a man.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 23:14:22

labour camps

They look lovely and cosy buggers should be grateful I say hmm

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Tue 17-Sep-13 23:16:26

I had a colleague who was from the Philippines. His son became dangerously ill. Our boss, Indian, refused to return his passport because he wasnt due leave for another 18 months.

Our receptionist, British, was offered an interview at Cambridge. Our boss drive her to the airport himself.

It was a cruel and inhumane existence for the majority.

I'd like to know how many pompom wavers know any UAE Nationals socially?

I've heard their off the record opinions of most expats. It's not pretty. But they get good PR advice.

Bluestocking, yup.

Portofino Tue 17-Sep-13 23:17:10

My reason for not going to Dubai is their appalling human rights record, and the fact the place is built on the proceeds of sex and drug trafficking. Conker, to be be fair, you don't have to travel very far to have less rights than a man.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 23:19:56

Porto complete hijack but I found Cuba very interesting. Yes, you do have the issue that only those with contact with tourists can earn dollars, but when you look at markers like healthcare and literacy it does really well. And 'musician' is a profession, just like any other registered profession which I loved yes, I also do shallow so if someone has talent they can just do music and draw a state wage.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 23:21:07

and I went to Spain this year yes is hate seeing Brits be loud and drunk abroad or treating people with disdain

did not see any such behaviour

FreudiansSlipper Tue 17-Sep-13 23:23:48

I found Cuba depressing. I have been to far poorer countries but I felt the people had given up hope. It's a beautiful country but has a sadness behind the flamboyance sad

AmberLeaf Tue 17-Sep-13 23:28:14

I love all the justifying on these threads, as though all the things that make Dubai good for you cancel out how utterly shit it is for others.

AmberLeaf Tue 17-Sep-13 23:29:09

That is my question. Why not Jamaica? Do you not think the locals in Kingston Town get pissed off that tourist money is spent at the Sandals resort only and not among the wider population of the city

You cannot even begin to compare Dubai and Jamaica.

WilsonFrickett Tue 17-Sep-13 23:29:29

Were you there recently Freud?

conkercon Wed 18-Sep-13 00:04:18

True Portofino. I am reading a book called The Land of the Invisible Woman at the moment and while it is written by a female expat in Saudi and not Dubai it has had quite an impact on me.

merrymouse Wed 18-Sep-13 00:56:44

You're still not really selling it to me OP. They have shopping, restaurants and spa treatments in pretty much every city in the world. Labour camps where expats do charitable work isn't really moving it on to my list of places I must see.

BadLad Wed 18-Sep-13 03:23:46

So many expats in Dubai now. I remember when being a white person in Dubai was very unusual and had people gawping in surprise and touching my blond hair to see if it was real.

Older Emiratis for the most part are really nice people - they remember what it used to be like. Sadly, they are becoming fewer and fewer needless-to-say, and those who only know the rich days and therefore tend to be more arrogant are the majority.

crumpet Wed 18-Sep-13 04:00:30

The camel racing industry in the UAE is hardly one to admire as a cultual activity what with the tiny child slave jockeys strapped on and all...

FreudiansSlipper Wed 18-Sep-13 08:44:26

WilsonFrickett it was 2006

even then there were rumours Castro was dead as it was always old footage shown on the nightly 2 hour programme dedicated to him i think the country will change once he has died or it is official

my diving instructor was a surgeon earned more money teaching tourists to dive and that i am guess was still very little

DeepPurple Wed 18-Sep-13 18:01:37

Crumpet - we already went over the camel racing up thread. They don't use humans anymore and haven't for a long time. They use robots.

Cutitup Wed 18-Sep-13 18:11:53

Thanks for the recommendation for the book, In the Land of the Invisible Women. I have just ordered it from Amazon.

MacaYoniandCheese Wed 18-Sep-13 18:23:04

Me too!

juliandickgeorgeandann Wed 18-Sep-13 18:34:48

I live in Dubai. Agreed there is an awful lot of tackiness (so what?). However, the crime rate is really low because the punishments are harsh and moral standards (alcohol restrictions, public decency, respect for women etc) are very high in the Gulf Region. There is no fear of walking home at night here, or worrying about your teenage kids getting into trouble, or your little ones playing out safely. There are low paid workers here but in a lot of cases if they don't come here they will literally have to sell their children to avoid starving to death, and this country gives a financial lifeline to whole families (if it didn't they would not come, they're not stupid stop being so patronising mumsnetters). The UK won't accept them. Mumsnetters getting each other all whipped up into a frenzy when you haven't even been here is very annoying. Get off the high moral ground and take a long hard look at some of the truly terrible things that happen in the UK before you judge a different culture so harshly. Back off judgey mumsnetters.

stargirl1701 Wed 18-Sep-13 19:01:52

A woman was arrested after reporting a rape to the police. How can you possibly get past that?! I would not go to a place where that is a possibility.

peachmint Wed 18-Sep-13 19:11:47

People also get arrested for kissing or drinking alcohol in public. Why would you want to go there?

Portofino Wed 18-Sep-13 19:33:25

I fully understand the low pay and why people would move there for work. I fail to understand why these workers can not be treated humanely. Why they have their passports confiscated and live in shit conditions. Why they cannot leave freely. Dubai can afford to offer these people a decent standard of living but chooses not to. It treats them as slaves. Respect for women? Which women? Emirati women, maybe.

AnyFucker Wed 18-Sep-13 20:08:13

Respect for women ?

Are you having a fucking giraffe ?

< crump >

KnitFastDieWarm Wed 18-Sep-13 21:06:10

'The fact is that a lot of labourers have great jobs there. They often live in labour camps'

Hahaha! That's the best most stupidly, achingly unintentionally ironic thing I've read for a long time

OP, your privilege is disgusting.

AmberLeaf Wed 18-Sep-13 21:12:46

There are low paid workers here but in a lot of cases if they don't come here they will literally have to sell their children to avoid starving to death and this country gives a financial lifeline to whole families

So things have to be dire for them to come.

if it didn't they would not come, they're not stupid stop being so patronising mumsnetters

No they are not stupid, they are desperate as you just outlined.

MmmmWhiteWine Wed 18-Sep-13 23:33:34

"Respect for women" in Dubai....yeah, right!

LessMissAbs Wed 18-Sep-13 23:48:35

Well, OP, like a lot of people on holiday I guess, I like to hire a car, take myself on a drive around the local area, maybe stopping off at a few sites of stunning natural beauty. I like to keep up my exercise regime, so a run in good weather in vest and shorts to top up my tan is a must too. Or doing some mountain biking.

I mean, France provides all that. But Dubai? Seriously? Unless you are in TOWIE, or paid to be there?

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Thu 19-Sep-13 04:44:35

moral standards (alcohol restrictions, public decency, respect for women etc) are very high in the Gulf Region.

You can always get booze if you pay the right person. Black markets are not moral.

Respect for Emirati women, maybe? Not Philippine or Subcontinental women. Not a scrap.

There is no fear of walking home at night here, or worrying about your teenage kids getting into trouble

I have personally been threatened by UAE Nationals and spat at by a taxi driver walking through Satwa at night.

I know plenty of teenage kids who've got into drugs in Dubai.

Mumsnetters getting each other all whipped up into a frenzy when you haven't even been here is very annoying

But I have worked, lived in and visited the region over two decades. I have three relatives who have lived there since the late 1970s.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 08:13:40

Two types of shallow taw.

1. Brits in Dubai do seem to lose their sense of perspective and become a cliche colonial monster. I hated living there, mainly pissed leather faced skinny bitches who treat people as commodities. Doha is quite different. So they are twats.

2. The Mumsnet armchair warriors who sit in their surburhan little houses and make themselves feel clever by pontificating on subjects they know nothing about and they do absolutely fuck all to do anything to change things. They also, deep down DO feel they are superior because they think that the UK is more civilized than all of these horrid Muslim places (the richer the more hated of course, nobody gives a flying fuck about Bangladesh) and that is as bad as thinking you are better because of your skin colour or caste.
Twats indeed.

RibenaFiend Fri 20-Sep-13 08:41:23

I had a stopover in Dubai airport en route to Singapore. I had been travelling for hours, I was exhausted and bleary eyed and very confused by the sudden bright lights! I inadvertently went through to arrivals rather than the onwards flight area and when I asked for help, as my passport had been stamped I was lead off by a group of security who asked me
"Where is your husband"
"I'm unmarried"
"Where is your father? Who will speak for you"
"I am travelling alone, I have got lost in your airport and I would greatly appreciate it if you could direct me back to my joining flight"

I fully appreciate that these men were doing their jobs but they were so aggressive towards me and dismissive when I tried to explain what had happened that I was actually afraid and intimidated.

I refused to sit down when I was told "you sit" and politely replied that I'd just sat all the way from England and appreciated the chance to stretch my legs.

I was 22, frightened and intimidated in an area that's predominantly for tourists. I refuse to go back there and I never left the airport.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 08:42:53

3. those who say fuck it and go because it suits them and bugger the consequences for others.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 08:45:43

Yeah right, that happens all the time in 2013, the airports are full of imprisoned women who are not accompanied by their husbands. Utter bollocks.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 08:48:56

Amber, go check the labels in all your clothes and chuck away all the ones who used slave labour to make them. Check the device you are using to read this thread was made in a factory where people are paid a fair wage and work a 40 hour week. Then get in a lather over a teeny Emirati nation who have absolutely no effect on your life.
I think that means you are a number 2 .

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 08:52:12

No it doesn't.

Ive said before on here, I am too poor to have such principles about where clothes are made and by who. I buy my children clothes in Primark because that is what I can afford. Id rather someone in bangladesh was working in a clothes factory than selling themselves and that is the difference for many.

I buy clothes like that out of neccesity, going to dubai to get rich on tax free earnings is very different to buying cheap clothes because that is all you can afford.

merrymouse Fri 20-Sep-13 08:54:57

Mumsnetters getting each other all whipped up into a frenzy when you haven't even been here is very annoying

Well start a thread on "why don't people like" somewhere else then.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 08:58:06

I completely disagree. Principles are principles and many people take steps to maintain their principles even when they are poor by, for example buying clothes second hand so you are not directly funding it etc.
It is a bit hypocritical to play the poor card just so you can slag off other people and feel superior.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 09:00:53

The women in Bangladesh who sewed your knickers are hideously abused and treated as lower class citizens whose lives are disposable, I lived there for 3 years. But because its shitty and poor, nobody cares about the corruption or abuse. Arab bashing is such a leftist cliche.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 09:02:29

I've heard it all now amber. I can't actually believe you are saying that it is fine to treat people in a manner which you find unacceptable if it results in you being able to buy clothes you can afford.

So your santinmonious preaching stops when you get to your front door? That is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

As for the poster who went through immigration rather than to the onward flight area- I don't think you should be travelling alone regardless of your gender- you have to miss an awful lot of signs to get that wrong!

BlingBang Fri 20-Sep-13 09:04:12

Amber, you say you are poor - if you or your husband got offered a job in Dubai with private schooling for the kids, private health, a chance to pay off your mortgage and have savings etc - would you not be tempted? Also don't think it's fair to stereotype all the expats that live there - that's just ridiculous.

I have formed an unfavourable opinion on Dubai from what I have seen and heard. Have never really wanted to go and did turn it down as a place to live but probably only because we had the choice of another Asian country. I will visit one day and try and look at it with fresh eyes though before I totally condemn everything about it from my armchair in front of the telly.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 09:55:11

But this thread is about why people don't like DUBAI. Shitty things go on everywhere in the world. Its not a competition to see who has it hardest.

No-one is bigging up Bangladesh and saying what a wonderful place it is, are they? That is the difference here.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 10:05:08

It isn't though portofino it's about why Dubai is singled out for slating when other places aren't.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 10:05:22

It isn't though portofino it's about why Dubai is singled out for slating when other places aren't.

Fairy1303 Fri 20-Sep-13 10:07:46

No, it's 'Dubai s such a wonderful place, full of spas and good restaurants, I can't understand why people hate it so much'.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 20-Sep-13 10:13:08

please name another country where the tourist industry and ex pat life has been built on the reliance of desperate migrant workers, relies on migrant workers that are treated so appallingly

of course there are many problems worldwide

dubai is an extreme country a country of contradiction, such vast amount of wealth, an outwardly strict islamic country yet such awful treatment of people who are seen as lesser humans

it made me feel ill seeing the wealth that so many (including myself) enjoy when over the road men are working and living in such a degrading way

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 20-Sep-13 10:17:35

My SIL loves Dubai.

Says everything you need to know about her and the place.

Nouveau, tacky vileness.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 12:34:06

Principles are principles and many people take steps to maintain their principles even when they are poor by, for example buying clothes second hand so you are not directly funding it etc

Buying clothes second hand? and where were those clothes made? or does that not matter if they are second hand?

It is a bit hypocritical to play the poor card just so you can slag off other people and feel superior

Im not 'playing the poor card' I am explaining why I don't have the option of buying ethically sourced clothing.

I can't actually believe you are saying that it is fine to treat people in a manner which you find unacceptable if it results in you being able to buy clothes you can afford

I didn't say that. I am saying that when you are poor your choices are limited, so too are the oportunities to exercise any principles you hold.

Amber, you say you are poor - if you or your husband got offered a job in Dubai with private schooling for the kids, private health, a chance to pay off your mortgage and have savings etc - would you not be tempted? Also don't think it's fair to stereotype all the expats that live there - that's just ridiculous

1. I don't have a husband, I am a single parent [how would that go down in dubai?]. 2. I don't have a mortgage, I am a social housing tenant. 3. I don't currently work as I have a disabled child whos care needs prevent me from working.

If I was offered a job in dubai with all of the benefits you mention, no I wouldn't take it. My answer would be no without any hesitation. Even if I did have a mortgage etc my answer would still be no.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 12:46:36

Other countries are POOR. Sadly global economics mean that in some countries people get low wages. But at least they GET wages. "Ethically" refusing to buy what they make means they then starve? Helpful, non?

Dubai is RICH. Astoundlingly so. It offers a luxurious and tax free lifestyle to Emiratis and Expats - and treats its labourers like shit, when IT DOESNT HAVE TO.

It could afford to have decent labour laws and protection for employees. It could provide proper medical care, resaonable wages and suitable accommodation for all workers. It could ensure that they don't have to work for free for years to repay the recruitment costs. BUT THEY DON'T GIVE A SHIT. It doesnt have to be like it is.

If you are happy to sit in your ivory tower built by slave labour, then fine. I would not be.

grovel Fri 20-Sep-13 13:01:03

Dubai is a bling-besprinkled turd.

Otherwise it's OK.

LadyRabbit Fri 20-Sep-13 14:37:27

Oh grovel that is the greatest description of anything bad, EVER.

Please may I steal it for future use? Please say yes!

Teapigging Fri 20-Sep-13 14:55:29

Dubai is singled out for slating because it promotes itself aggressively as the perfect luxury tourist destination, blame-free bling shopping and spas, Sex and the City meets on-trend a la carte Islam-lite.

Bangladesh does not do this.

And I am not an 'armchair warrior'. I used to live in Dubai.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 15:15:19

It is well known that buying clothes second hand at least means that the disposable clothes are reused by less fat greedy bastards. I love this thread, full of hypocrisy and middle aged armchair activists who barely travel further than the next street to buy their Guardians.
Armchair wankers.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 15:18:25

And by the way, my husband has recruited many single parent teachers in Qatar the only faff is obtaining family court reports to say that the biological other parent has given their full consent to their child being taken out of the UK.

BlingBang Fri 20-Sep-13 15:38:46

Well the thread did ask why folk dont want to go to dubai. If spending that kind of money then you choose where you want to go- I dont want to go to Blackpool orm magaluf either If I have a choice.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 15:46:14

Such are the lengths that people will go to justify their greed, that you have resorted to telling me how I should dress my children, calling me a fat greedy bastard and middle aged [the cheek!] when what we are talking about here is greedy people of a whole other level, not people who can't afford expensive clothing.

No clothing I buy is 'disposable' I don't view buying clothes in primark as buying disposable fashion items, I buy clothes for my ever growing children. They also get passed on to anyone who wants them, be that via friends or charity shops.

I don't buy or even read the guardian BTW.

And by the way, my husband has recruited many single parent teachers in Qatar the only faff is obtaining family court reports to say that the biological other parent has given their full consent to their child being taken out of the UK

Thats nice, but I'm not qualified to teach, I'm unskilled.

Consent from my childrens father would definitely be a problem though, he is descended from slaves, so he'd have a problem with his children living somewhere that was built on slavery as much as I would.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 15:56:09

I love that you think I am greedy. I don't live abroad for money, I live abroad because I think the UK is a festering fuckpit with third world healthcare and useless education amongst the many other things. Some British expats may be unsightly or poorly behaved but having lived in Poole for a short while, the inpats are pretty shit as well. We barely got paid in Bangladesh or Africa and had to use savings to live.
And yes, generally teachers do have educational qualifications, even us thicko greedy expat types like my husband.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 16:06:15

I love that you think I'm fat, greedy and middle aged!

I'm happy with the education and healthcare systems here. They have looked after me and mine well enough.

You have lived in africa and bangladesh and you are calling Britains healthcare and education system third world? ok.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 16:13:05

Yes I am. Even those places had better and faster access to healthcare. What about all the other countries you have experienced? What were they like?
MNers love to give it out and randomly slag people and places off but can't take it back.
Still a number 2.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 16:20:17

Don't flatter yourself, you haven't given anything for me to take back.

I wouldn't want to live anywhere other than Britain for many reasons. I've experienced other countries and this one is where I'm happy to be.

Still a 3.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 16:22:52

Good, you stay there and enjoy your life, it sounds ace and I will stay here and enjoy mine.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 16:23:41

Sorry amber but I can't get over the irony of, as you said, an unskilled parent of multiple children living in social housing who's principles only extend to their front door, lecturing others on their choice of holiday destination.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 16:24:20

It is and without a smudge on my conscience I will.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 16:26:59

Carry on, and the delightful irony that my tax free job does not mean I am subsidising it.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 16:27:24

Bearbehind, sorry?

Multiple children? you make it sound like I have 7. say what you mean please.

Yes I live in social housing...and?

What is ironic about that?

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 16:29:13

I don't know how many children you have but, as you refer to them in plural, I have referred to multiple.

If you don't see the irony, I'm not pointing it out.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 16:30:03

No please do, if you are going to go down that route, please be transparent and don't back out now eh.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 16:37:51

You are trying to lecture people who do things you don't agree with when your principles extend no further than the end of your noses when push comes to shove.

If you have no skills which could enable you to work in Dubai then it is very easy for you to dismiss it but, if you were in a position to do so, I do wonder if your principles might take a back seat once again, ie it would be a better life for my children etc, as you seem to be using similar excuses for purchasing goods made in factories with poor conditions.

As I have said before on this thread, if you chose to live a life where you only consume products from or travel to countries with exemplary human rights records then fair play to you but you cannot pick and chose your principles and, most insultingly, lecture others, when they make other choices.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 16:44:31

There is a difference between letting your principles slide out of neccesity ie being skint and letting them slip [or not having them in the first place] because you want nice things/higher standard of living.

FTR I am not lecturing anyone, I am expressing my opinion, there is a difference.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 16:48:07

I am not skint because one of my principles is to take full responsibility for myself and my family. I would not expect taxpayers to feed, clothe and house me. I have always made provision for the future and always, always worked to ensure it.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 16:50:09

And I also paid shitloads of tax as well.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 16:50:24

If you genuinely think that then fair enough.

I disagree, I think it is hugely hypocritical.

You either have principles or you don't or at least you don't spout the principles that suit you to others, whilst disregarding those principles which don't fit your lifestyle.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 16:51:50

Ah that's nice for you, best hope you don't have a disabled child like I did then, that can scupper things somewhat.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 16:54:54

How do you know I don't? Because I don't live the same lifestyle that you do? Maybe access to safe and timely healthcare is more of an issue than you think. Just because I am rich doesn't mean I was born lucky.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 17:03:07

You do have a disabled child then?

My child was born disabled, safe and timely healthcare wouldn't make any difference unless someone pioneers brain transplants.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 17:16:49

I am truly sympathetic and I suppose it brings this down to how we all want to do what we believe is best for our families.
But I do want to add that writing off an entire country of people and thinking it is ok to slag them off is rascist and snobby. The only unpleasant and greedy people I ever met in Dubai were the leather faced alcoholic Brits.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 17:22:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 17:41:20

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Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 18:06:25

Theodora, I have reported your posts as you seem to be making a very personal attack on amber leaf, who is entitled to her opinion. You on the other hand seem very defensive and desperate to justify stuff.

Bear, amber gets no choice at all in where the UK market sources it's cheap,clothing. NO CHOICE. Going to Dubai on the other hand involves plenty of free choice. I doubt anyone is forced there at gun point.

And you cannot compare Dubai with Bangladesh FFS.

babydubai Fri 20-Sep-13 18:23:19

Oh dear, another Dubai thread... If you have ever been to Dubai as a tourist at a so-called five star hotel, defending the place is utterly pointless, ladies (and gentlemen). As a tourist visiting Dubai for a week or two and not living here for more than a year, I would find this place abhorrent.
For the posters that got their opinions from ridiculous articles written in Vanity Fair, The Times or even BBC that sensationalise the whole place - please come and visit before you state your "I have read all these terrible things about Dubai so it must be true" opinions. You are no better than someone who has read a few articles from "The Week" and think they know what goes on in the Middle East.
I would not want to come to Dubai as a tourist unless you stay with someone who has not sold their soul to the devil named brunches and shopping and maids. They can show you real Dubai. Slave labour, you say? Have a look at Hong Kong, China, India not to name others. I cringe every time I fly Emirates into Dubai and that awful promotional advert appears and it's all apparently about five star hotels, cringe worthy desert trips, luxury shopping and yachts. I wish my life was like that (don't we all!) but, sadly it is not. Most us expats are hardworking people that budget every day for groceries (they are expensive here), electricity and water bills (about 400 pounds a month), rent and schooling (no wonderful local comprehensive for us as it does not exist).
If you come to Dubai as a tourist in the summer and then complain about the temperature, well, you are just silly. You should get your Lonely Planet out and read it. Between October and May it's lovely by the way. On another note, it's a lot cheaper flying from the UK to Dubai than other way around and we have to save all year to get to the UK For a few weeks in the summer to escape the heat (or anywhere else for that matter). That's why the OP can afford the spa treatments. I certainly could not.
Yes, Dubai has its drawbacks, but accusing the place you have never been to in such a vehement way is just ridiculous. Don't come here on holiday, but also do not express your opinions from reading a few articles.
Yes, it is crazy. Yes, it looks like it has been built on steroids. But to say that Dubai has no culture or identity... How many of you have been to a play, an art exhibition or a concert in the last month? I do it pretty much twice a week. In the UK, I did not.
And for those who will say, "why do you live there then? Come back here!" Well it's all about personal choice, isn't it. The same way that the OP likes coming to Dubai for holidays and the same way that I choose to live here so that my children know what a mosque is, learn bit of Arabic and meet so many wonderful people and cultures that choose to settle here which will make their lives more enriched than some Daily Mail readers on here.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Fri 20-Sep-13 18:28:59

Teapig has summarized the debate excellently.

Dubai is singled out for slating because it promotes itself aggressively as the perfect luxury tourist destination, blame-free bling shopping and spas, Sex and the City meets on-trend a la carte Islam-lite.

Bangladesh does not do this.

Spot on. Bear, I don't know what you think 'irony' means, but there is no irony in Amber stating her opinions about Dubai's tourist economy. As Portofino says, Amber gets no choice in how budget items are sourced and there is plenty of free choice in going to Dubai on holiday.

This thread has degenerated into Dubai-fans mocking someone for living on a low income. Which tells you a lot about them, and holidays in Dubai.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 18:31:15

Not at all, just defending myself and others from unpleasant accusations. I am not in anyway attacking anyone, simply responding to hatred and vitriol. I don't care enough about this to attack anyone. MNers attack anyone who doesn't agree with the extreme views if the harpies. I will not be bullied. The way that an entire nation (indeed race) can be spoken about in such derogatory tones just because they are rich is completely unacceptable. If this were a thread about anywhere else you wouldn't have said some of the things on here.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 18:32:24

Not mocking, simply reacting with equal tone. If you give it, learn to take it.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Fri 20-Sep-13 18:39:59

You are mocking her about her circumstances.

And care to point out what exactly Amber has said that is hate-filled or racist?

I can't see anything.

Haggischucker Fri 20-Sep-13 18:40:29

Haven't read whole thread but it's somewhere I'd like to visit, along with Maldives as my husband is a water engineer and seems to think that neither place will be around for many years to come!

All the terrible stuff aside it is a mean feat of engineering to build on what is essentially sand dunes, I especially fancy the 7 star hotel (being of the hospitality persuasion) but only for a one night stop over as I hate shopping!

I doubt I'll visit tho as husband is dead set against not from a moral stand point but more of a health and safety one!

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 18:49:12

I can't see anything hate filled from Amber. I can see other posts saying she is not allowed principles, or to dislike what Dubai stands for because she buys her pants in Primark, how very dare she? She should only be buying pants crotched from hair of ethically reared llamas within a 20 mile radius of her home before she allowed an actual opinion don't ya know?

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 18:50:45

I personally would live off the state rather than live in Dubai. At least the UK "mostly" treats its employees in a humane manner.

BlingBang Fri 20-Sep-13 18:53:14

Babydubai - the China/India argument doesn't stand up because many of the local populace in these countries are very poor. The point people are making is that the local population in Dubai is seen to be rich but is reported to treat it's immigrant workers poorly when it could treat them much better. This shows a disdain for those workers from Asia they bring in to do the dirty work. People have every right to point the out and talk about it.

BlingBang Fri 20-Sep-13 18:54:58

Would probably rather live in Dubai with a nice lifestyle and private education for my kids than off the state. Am not a martyr. I suspect many would as well if they actually had the chance.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 18:55:42

Yes, just go to any hospital or hotel, the cleaners are all so happy, all are legal and have work permits and are treated to wonderful housing and pay. In Dorset where I worked, the cleaners used to sleep in the mortuary store in the basement.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 18:57:08

So a bit like Dubai then?

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 18:57:20

Acceptable is it?

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 19:00:46

I have not seen workers treated that way here actually. But I actually do live in the Middle East so what would I know better than a lot of people who get their knowledge from reading the good old British newspapers

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 19:04:50

Well the link I posted earlier was from the Emirati Human Rights people. Presumably they know what they are talking about? I have not based my personal opinion on articles in the Daily Mail. You know nothing about me or any other person who has posted their opinion, but you we only have an opinion because we read a sad newspaper report one time. How patronising.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 19:13:06

Yes, it's amazing what one can learn from Googling a subject. Getting a but bullish yourself now, shall I report you?

babydubai Fri 20-Sep-13 19:18:32

BlingBang - not every Emirati is rich and living off the migrant population. Even in Dubai. Depends which family you belong to, etc. I have seen plenty Emiratis at their wits end because they cannot afford even basic services or rent.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 20-Sep-13 19:25:56
Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 19:27:22

You do know I work in Brussels for an large organisation focussing on Corporate Social Responsibility? "Walking the supply chain" we call it.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 19:29:36

For example looking at where slave labour is used, looking at where children are employed, that sort of stuff.....

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 19:37:19

Funnily enough I don't know much about people inside a computer. Good for you for doing something rather than bellyaching from Sutton. Still, loads and loads of corporations have appalling records, you cannot possibly be saying that the Emirates are the worst. What about US companies? What about Apple etc.

LtEveDallas Fri 20-Sep-13 19:37:33

All those posters that like Dubai - can I ask, are you white?

My friend lives and works in Dubai. The package he was offered for his 3 year contract was very good, and allowed for flights for his wife and 2 children 4 times a year.

He's been gone over a year now, and she (and the children) have been ONCE.

She is mixed race black/Asian and obviously the children are mixed race. Husband is white. They were all treated terribly one their one and only family visit. It was so bad that despite being booked for 3 weeks, she left after 10 days when my friend paid to change the tickets. My friend has since tried to return to UK, because his wife refuses to join him again in Dubai, but unfortunately the financial penalty for him breaking his contract is too much for them.

She was abused, her children were 'shunned' and my friend was told that black women were 'useful but not for marriage' shock

I've never been to Dubai, never had the urge, but I would be interested to hear if my friends experience is unusual, or is Dubai particularly racist? I have no preconceived ideas, but was extremely shocked by this story.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 19:38:20

I can link to some white papers outlining how western companies can best balance their commercial pressures with avoiding sweatshops and ensuring an ethical relationship with their 3rd world suppliers if you like? But heck, it IS Friday and I have wine.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 19:41:07

Ah - the US now. We have moved on from Bangladesh at least....I'm off to take my dd to bed and enjoy the weekend.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 19:41:44

CSR is a massive part of my job in the oil and gas industry here, including our latest outsource projects. You can't just hate an entire nation because they happen to have oil and money.

theodorakisses Fri 20-Sep-13 19:43:29

Me too, this has been a tedious and silly day and I am out of here.

ubik Fri 20-Sep-13 19:44:30

Dubai is crap

You can't even shag on the beach

HeadsDownThumbsUp Fri 20-Sep-13 19:46:22

"you cannot possibly be saying that the Emirates are the worst. What about US companies? What about Apple etc."

Theodora, you're kind of missing the point here. Yes, there are lots of companies with unethical supply practises - and unfortunately there are subject to many commercial pressures which made improving pay and conditions difficult (not least shareholder resistance, as well as consumer demands).

But this thread is specifically about why many people dislike Dubai as a holiday destination, and as other posters have pointed out repeatedly, it is largely because of the way in which Dubai markets itself as a luxurious retail destination where holiday makers are offered a concentrated level of personal service - and if the principle reason for visiting Dubai is to benefit from the labour and services of underpaid migrant workers, then many people will find this concept unpleasant.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 20:00:58

Ubik - you cant even hold hands on the beach if you're not married.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 20:02:06

That might not be right. Certainly no shagging if you are not married.

cingolimama Fri 20-Sep-13 20:18:30

Amber, could I just say that, though you say are unskilled you sound generous, curious and really intelligent? Precisely the kind of person I would like to know, and the kind of person we should have running organisations. Forgive me for perhaps making presumptions about your difficult situation with your disabled child, but I'd really like to encourage you to think about possibly re-training, because I feel that whatever you set your mind to, you'd be great at.

AmberLeaf Fri 20-Sep-13 20:45:44

Thank you cingolimama that is very kind of you to say and I'm flattered smile

I was studying/retraining a few years back, but had to stop due to problems with my sons care.

I do hope to get back into it in the future, fingers crossed.

Thank you and thank you too to the other posters who have shown support for me in their posts.

Portofino Fri 20-Sep-13 21:06:32

Individual consumers can't do much to change stuff With regards to manufacturing I fear. Samsung in Korea makes screens for everyone for example. Not just their branded product. Many IT products are made in factories we would not be happy to work in. We need government intervention to insist on foreign working practices.

Individuals CAN choose not to go to Dubai though.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 07:49:17

headsdiwnthumbsup I was not mocking amber because she is on a low income. I was making the point that it is very easy to have principles about something which you are unlikely to actually have to make a conscious decision to stand by or not as the situation is unlikely to arise.

The real test in the strength of a persons conviction in their principles can only be made on the choices they actually make, like chosing to consume goods made in factories where conditions are not ideal when your principles disagree with you doing so.

It is probably fair to say that many people discard their principles when necessary but it is supremely hypocritical to attempt to justify this, even the grounds of having no other choice, whilst chastising others for their supposed lack of principles.

Stones and glasshouses....

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 09:34:36

That's total rubbish Bear. You cannot compare Amber buying cheap clothes with not liking Dubai. I repeat again, Dubai is rich and can afford to treat its workers properly. It doesn't. That is the issue. It is just derailing the thread to keep on and on at Amber's principles. As I said already, she has NO choice where the UK market sources its clothing.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 09:44:22

It might be rubbish in your opinion but I disagree. This thread isn't just about why people don't like Dubai, it is about why it gets singled out above other places and, to my mind, it is because people pick and choose their principles to suit their situation.

BlingBang Sat 21-Sep-13 10:38:15

I think what bear is saying that it's easy to mock and be principled when that thing is out of your reach. Like private schools for example, many are against them on principle - but wonder how many would change their minds if they suddenly came into a shitload of money.

DalePie Sat 21-Sep-13 10:43:06

Dubai is okay if your basically ignorant of the problems there.

- They treat women like complete rubbish.
- You can imagine how they treat gay people.
- They are basically trashing the environment there.
- Indian slavery.

Unfortunately, there are many shallow and vacuous people in the world. For that reason Dubai will continue to do well for itself.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 11:05:07

I think that's total horseshit, bear. You basically saying that poor people aren't allowed to have principles and that we can only make personal judgement about things that we, personally, can afford.

Right now, I can't afford to fly to China and spend £3000 eating rare Tiger penis. Does that mean I'm not allowed to have an opinion on the ethics of eating an endangered species? I will be able to afford to do that in October, when a financial arrangement falls into place - will I suddenly be entitled to an opinion then?

I agree that it is derailing the thread to harp on about Amber's principles (and your view that she is too poor to be entitled to them). If you don't agree with her opinion about Dubai, then try explaining why you think she is wrong, instead of attacking her background and finances.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 11:49:25

I am not 'harping on' about anyone's principles in particular, my point is much more generic.

I have not 'attacked' anyone's background or finances, I have simply pointed out the irony of people who's principles do not even extend as far as their everyday lives, thinking it is appropriate to condemn others for their choice of holiday destination.

I have not tried to argue that Dubai is perfect but it is a young country that is constantly evolving, unlike many of the embittered arm chair warriors on this thread.

blingbang has totally understood the point I am trying to make and her private school analogy is perfect in trying to illustrate why I find so much of this thread so hypocritical.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 12:04:06

Your point may be 'generic' but it is still nonsense.

Your position is that nobody is entitled to hold an opinion or a principle unless it is about something which they, personally, can afford.

This is ridiculous.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 12:12:14

That is not my position at all. My position is that you can have what ever principles you like as long as, whenever you have to opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to them, you do so.

As soon as you try defending your decision to ignore your principles, for whatever reason, in my opinion, you loose your right to condemn others for not upholding principles you are not likely to be tested on.

I have no problem with people who completely abide by their position on human rights in all aspects of their lives commenting on where I go on holiday but most of the santinmonious bullshit on here is beyond hypercritical.

nkf Sat 21-Sep-13 12:12:24

You know why people don't like Dubai. But you feel differently. Don't ask such faux naive questions. It's childish.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 12:36:19

It is your position.

As you've just made clear. What do you mean by "principles you are not likely to be tested on"? What does that mean, other than 'choices you cannot personally afford'?

And for what it's worth, you've still said that people should demonstrate their principles whenever they "have the opportunity to do so". And I would say that limited means significantly restrict peoples' opportunity to do so.

And as I said either, the factor that distinguishes a holiday in Dubai from other goods and services is that Dubai markets itself as a destination where holiday makers can receive a level of personal service that they can't afford at home. (Due to the fact that we have relatively high standards for employment conditions). The whole edifice is built on this concept. Many people will find it distasteful and it is not analogous to other goods and services.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 12:48:12

Lets face it- we are never going to agree on this.

It is not about what people can and can't afford it is about ramming principles and righteous bullshit down people's throats then finding excuses not to adhere to what you profess to believe in when it suits you.

I have never seen Dubai advertise a level of personal service you can't afford at home. You can pay handsomely for butlers etc but you could do that anywhere in the world and you are unlikely to be able to afford it in Dubaii if you can't at home, it is a very expensive place.

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 12:56:38

15 posts by me, 11 of which were me defending myself while comments [several snidey] were made about my financial position.

Ramming principles and righteous bullshit? not from me.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 13:08:01

I didn't specify you amber my comments are genetic to the trend on this thread.

Also, not having the opportunity to demonstrate your principles is not restricted to what people can and can't afford, lots of factors like geography, religion or culture can prevent someone actually demonstrating what they claim to believe it but it is much easier to accept their opinions if they do stand by them were they can or just keep quiet and don't chastise others where they can't.

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 13:26:08

You absolutely did specify me bearbehind.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 16:23:41

Sorry amber but I can't get over the irony of, as you said, an unskilled parent of multiple children living in social housing who's principles only extend to their front door, lecturing others on their choice of holiday destination

You went on about my specific posts about my situation.

Don't backtrack when your posts are still here to read fgs.

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 13:28:58

You went on for several posts about my specific posts about my situation.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 13:31:38

You quoted me on a post above amber and I didn't specify you at all in that post.

You are not the only one on here with an opinion I disagree with and therefore not everything I write from here on in is about you specifically.

Tasmania Sat 21-Sep-13 13:36:59

Never liked Dubai.

Nothing to do apart from superficial and materialistic things like going to clubs and restaurants. Or the mall. Too hot and no shelter to do anything outside (apart from the water park maybe). Not the most environmentally friendly place.

A lot of people are very much in 'show off' mood, too.

My parents don't like it either. They actually went on a luxury trip to stay at all the different mega-star hotels with gold everywhere. There were families there with kids who had literally no manners (eating food with bones and throwing them on the floor). Reason? Staff told mum that at home, those kids were used to having someone silently clearing up after them, so they behaved the same in the hotels. hmm

My mum was so p*ssed off that at one point, she actually gave a kid what we call 'the look', approached the mum, and told her off.

If my kids were ever like that, they'd be off to the strictest, most spartan boarding school on the planet by tomorrow.

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 13:38:17

I would like to respond to some of the things on here that are about the Middle East generally and share my knowledge of Qatar where I have been for a long time.
The term "labour camp" has been stopped and accommodation has to have no more than two men to a room and free wifi as well as unlimited ac. This is quite new and I have witnessed this happening.

In my company, calling the administration assistants "tea boys" is a disciplinary offence.

Employers should not hold passports and from 2014 it will be illegal.

There is a helpline for anyone to call to report people being made to work between 11 and 3 in the hot months and also to report people being made to work un safely (for example a man in the bucket of a bulldozer painting a wall which I reported myself and the police came straight away)

As we are considerably richer than Dubai, maybe they will follow suit...

It isn't perfect but I am pleased with the progress that has been made.

Often it is the long standing expatriates and regular holidaymakers who resist this change rather than the locals. I still know people who bemoan the introduction of these measures and are blatantly seeking to be superior beings. Most people do not, they just get up, go to work and treat all people with respect.

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 13:47:11

Yes you did specify me, you named me in your post that I quoted.

Bearbehind Fri 20-Sep-13 09:02:29

I've heard it all now amber. I can't actually believe you are saying that it is fine to treat people in a manner which you find unacceptable if it results in you being able to buy clothes you can afford

You specified me and included my name in your post, so I responded.

Im sure there many opinions here that you disagree with, but it was me and my personal situation and how that entitles me [or not] to an opinion that you and others singled out.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 14:01:25

No, you quoted me by saying Ramming principles and righteous bullshit? not from me yet I did not mention you at all in that post.

I was accused of trying to derail this thread by focussing on your situation yet here you are trying to make it all about you when it really isn't.

I'm bowing out now to leave all of those people, who can't accept that things move on and that Dubai is one of the fastest evolving places in the world, to continue to attempt to make themselves feel superior by slagging it off whilst doing exactly what suits them in many other areas of their lives, whether it is in line with their principles or not.

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 14:05:21

Considering you had been bleating on about my lack of principles when it suits me, then said;

It is not about what people can and can't afford it is about ramming principles and righteous bullshit down people's throats then finding excuses not to adhere to what you profess to believe in when it suits you

So that wasn't about me and my posts? yeah sure and yes you and others did derail the thread.

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 14:37:28

Bear, would you be happy to work in a domestic capacity in Dubai? Would you be happy for one of your children to do so? In a hotel, house, spa?

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 14:48:20

Dubai hotels??? Look at your own bloody hotels, how many UK 5 star hotels have legally employed cleaners?

This is getting really unpleasant and you are ganging up on Bear in the same way you report others.

let it go already, you are clearly the superior beings. The rest of us are stupid and you are great.

Hmmm, thats what the twattish colonial expats think about their fellow humans as well.

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 14:48:39

Ever eaten a cockle????

Tasmania Sat 21-Sep-13 15:02:59


British expats in Dubai would very likely be wealthy in the UK as they are generally professionals and expert in a particular field, which is why they are sought after in Dubai.

There are varying levels of 'professionals'. A lot of those who get big jobs in Dubai would not have gotten them, if they had chosen to remain in their countries. Basically, there are a lot of people there who earn in a month what they may earn here over half a year - if not even an entire year.

BlingBang Sat 21-Sep-13 15:06:36

And let's slag off all expats while we are at it, nice.

Isthiscorrect Sat 21-Sep-13 15:10:56

I am quite offended by some of the comments in this thread on a personal level. We live in Dubai, Ds is neither a spoilt brat or rude. Dh is one of only 6 people in the world who does his job and here is an ideal location for all the travelling he does. The school I work in has 51 nationalities and all staff are looked after. Not equally I here you say but then that wouldnt be the same in the Uk as they are not equally qualified. Neither myself or my friends have time to lord it about shopping with leather skinned faces. Such gross generalisations about expats and locals shows a real level of ignorance.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 15:50:45

theodora thank you for your support

amber just read some of my very early posts on this thread, I was saying the same thing about hypocritical principles (for all the good it has done me) long before you joined in so really don't flatter yourself by thinking everything I write is about you.

portofino what a stupid question. We are talking about people who chose to move to Dubai to improve their lives and better provide for their families. I would not improve my life by becoming a housemaid. Are you now trying to promote equality for all, regardless of qualifications etc? That would work really well wouldn't it?

LtEveDallas Sat 21-Sep-13 16:03:08

Could anyone answer my question about racism?

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 16:08:47

"portofino what a stupid question. We are talking about people who chose to move to Dubai to improve their lives and better provide for their families. I would not improve my life by becoming a housemaid. Are you now trying to promote equality for all, regardless of qualifications etc? That would work really well wouldn't it?"

I can't believe you actually wrote that!

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 16:15:49

Apparently it is stupid to take a minute to try and imagine yourself in someone else's shoes.


HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 16:16:58

Have also just learned that there is no point in trying to discuss issues of inequality with Bear, because s/he hates the very concept of equality. Ok.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 16:24:03

Er, did I say it was stupid to imagine myself in someone else's shoes? No.

What I said was that the workers, including British expats, who come to Dubai chose to do so because it improves their quality of life. It is just naive to think that that quality of life will suddenly be equal for everyone regardless of the skills they have and, as been repeatedly pointed out Dubai is still evolving and improvements are being made all the time but that clearly doesn't tie in with your tunnelled view of the place.

caramelwaffle Sat 21-Sep-13 16:25:17

LteEve has asked, more than once, a very important question that I believe should be answered.

Those who have posted on the thread that they believe Dubai to be a wonderful place: are you white?
(or Emerati?)

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 16:27:24

heads are you reading a different thread to me.

Please lay off with the additional comments about what I do and don't think. I have said what I think.

I do not hate the concept of equality but would love to hear exactly how you think equal standards of living for all people every where would work.

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 16:28:58

I work with lots of my other halves in the UAE. 53% are Indian.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 16:34:02

Bear, it was a simple question, asking you to put yourself in someone else's shoes for a second, and ask yourself if you, honestly, would be happy to work in a domestic capacity in Dubai. If that level of empathy is beyond you, and you cannot see beyond your own circumstances then I don't know what to say.

I'd also like to know the answer to LtEve's question.

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 16:47:50

amber just read some of my very early posts on this thread, I was saying the same thing about hypocritical principles (for all the good it has done me) long before you joined in so really don't flatter yourself by thinking everything I write is about you

You should have kept it general then and not stooped to trying to make a dig at me because I live in social housing.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 16:49:37

I can see that domestic workers probably have a better life than they otherwise would have in their own countries and I am not naive enough to think that quality of life is similar to mine.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 16:57:49

amber your housing status was not the main point of my comment, so stop trying to make it so. Continuing to go on about it is not contributing to the thread in any way.

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 16:58:07

They don't have a better life in Romania, otherwise they wouldn't work illegally in the UK as invisible cleaners

LtEveDallas Sat 21-Sep-13 16:58:38

Theo, did you see my other post then? What do you think about it? Would you say it was possible? I don't disbelieve my friend, but I have to say the bit about black women being used for sex only (which was implied) really surprised me. I know racism exists, of course, but something that blatant in this day and age - I'd rather believe my friend was exaggerating.

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 16:59:19

They don't get social housing

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 17:03:03

Not really, this thread is boring and silly and was apparently about slavery in Dubai about Asian people people used as slaves to serve us silly old fools

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 17:04:04

Bear, why did you even mention my housing status then?

Back peddling is so pathetic.

LtEveDallas Sat 21-Sep-13 17:04:39


Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 17:06:55

Let me just ask the nice man who owns Ryanair if he thinks he is above all the plebs?of course he does, he is exploiting your split principles that you hate carbon footprints but it is ok as long as it is shit.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 17:10:35

Not nearly as pathetic as continuing to focus on one thing, i can only assume, in order to gain sympathy.

It was relevant to my comment in that i do believe it is easier to have principles which you know won't ever be tested but it was by no means the main point- that was your willingness to drop your principles as soon is they don't work for you.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 17:13:26

You two sound nice.

XiCi Sat 21-Sep-13 17:19:48

The main reason that there is such vitriol spouted about Dubai is that a fair number of Brita have made the difficult decision to become an ex-pat and are making a lot of money out there and, god forbid, enjoying their life

Its jealousy and spite

There are hundreds of countries out there with worse human rights records probably including a fair few that MNetters regularly holiday in but they don't feature in threads like these because there aren't many brits living there doing well for themselves

Its that old Brits can't wait to kick down success story

AmberLeaf Sat 21-Sep-13 17:20:16

I don't need or want sympathy Bear.

Your post about my housing status was out of line and showed how you view people that are in your opinion 'beneath' you. Not unsurprising given your views on Dubai domestic workers.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 17:36:56

If being an ex-pat is so great, then why do you think it is a "difficult decision"? Companies out there pay British workers handsomely because they have to, in order to get them to relocate. Living abroad has ups and downs, pros and cons. I think everybody understands that, and it's not a question of jealousy.

Anyway, the threat isn't about relocating as an ex-pat, but about Dubai as a holiday destination. Yes, there are lots of countries where not everything is fantastic, but Dubai markets itself as a luxury holiday destination, and has invested heavily in a showcase built environment to promote its image - constructed by people subject to very punitive working conditions. This differs somewhat to other holiday destinations which have different USPs. Lots of tourists will find it hard to square luxury and indulgence with the way it relies on the migrant labour economy.

I am still surprised that no one has answered LtEve's question, and that Theadora was dismissive about it.

caramelwaffle Sat 21-Sep-13 18:31:20

It's clearly not "jealousy and spite" when indeed quite a few of the MNetters who do not like the place and have said so on this thread are in actual fact well off (some, very wealthy)

caramelwaffle Sat 21-Sep-13 18:37:59

Others do not wish to put themselves in a position of having extreme racism perpetrated against them for the sake of a holiday.

twistyfeet Sat 21-Sep-13 19:10:01

Dont you live in Qatar Theo? My brother spent 5 years living in Qatar, Bahrain and Dubai. He said they are all very different but he couldnt stand Dubai for many of the reasons Mumsnetters have listed. Must email him this thread.

CoteDAzur Sat 21-Sep-13 19:17:21

XiCi - Erm.. I live in a tiny town where there are more billionaires per square km than anywhere else in the world. Dubai is definitely not wealthier.

It is not jealousy. I just don't want to go anywhere where the laws are against me as a woman. Ever. Simple as that.

grovel Sat 21-Sep-13 19:43:41

Dubai is a bling-festooned turd as I commented above. The interesting point is "who are the flies that feed off it?".

Tasmania Sat 21-Sep-13 20:10:42

Are you in Monaco, CoteDAzur?

I like Monaco, I love New York... but just really can't deal with a place like Dubai...

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 20:33:32

If it makes you feel better to think that I have the opinions I do because I think some people are beneath me amber then you carry on

In this situation I actually have the opinions I have because I can't abide the hypocrisy of those who believe they can criticise the choices of others whilst doing fuck all to demonstrate any better behaviour themselves.

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 20:55:35

Yes I do live in Qatar as I said.

Theodorakiss Sat 21-Sep-13 20:59:51

By the way not avoiding answering any questions but the 6th form common room is closed, it's a Saturday.

LtEveDallas Sat 21-Sep-13 21:04:06

What on earth does that mean? Theo, we've alway got on, on other threads. What on earth is going on here?

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 21:12:29

So would you be happy for your daughter to work as a maid in Dubai, then Bear? A response that it is better for those that do it than where they came from is not an answer to that question. If my dd wanted to travel the world and do basic jobs to fund her travel, would you recommend it?

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 21:15:04

I am an expat to be clear, one who has moved to improve life for my family. I am not jealous of anyone, unless they have a yacht. I quite fancy a yacht.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 21:23:26

No portofino I would recommend she was a prostitute in Bangkok- stop making incomparible comparisons.

Regardless of what we want to happen, different people have differing standards of living. In Dubai things are evolving, and the quality of life domestic workers have is an improvement on the life they would have at home. Just because it isn't the life we are fortunate enough to enjoy, doesn't make it insufferable.

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 21:30:24

Why is it incomparable? I have worked as a chambermaid in my time. Honest pay for honest work and all that. Where do prostitutes come into it? hmm

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 21:34:24

If it not bad for workers in Dubai, then why would you say it's better for my dd to be a prostitute?

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 21:44:54

portofino get your daughter to do an honest days work in a sweat shop in Bangladesh if it makes you feel better about yourself.

I don't see any point in me continuing this debate any further.

It would seem the armchair warriors are far happier sitting back in the comfort of their own chintz and preaching about things that are actually rapidly changing, without even acknowledging those changes, than they actually are about doing anything that might remotely inconvenience their day to day lives.

Bearbehind Sat 21-Sep-13 21:58:17

Oh, and for the record I have yet to see a female chambermaid in Dubai but I'm sure that will only add fuel to your sanctimonious fire.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 21-Sep-13 22:05:52

I'd be happy to think that things are changing. Just as plenty of things have changed in the UK over the last 100 years. But they took time and effort to change. It didn't happen automatically, or by magic. And it didn't happen by people shrugging their shoulders and saying 'oh well, just because it isn't the life we are fortunate to enjoy doesn't make it insufferable'.

Also don't see why it is 'incomparable' to imagine a relative working in the service industry abroad.

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 23:31:00

But bear, you have not spent anytime telling us about the changes, how things are improving, why we should not have such a bad opinion etc. you have just laid in to posters who say Dubai is bad. If it is so great then tell us why. It shouldn't need to get personal. And we are not talking about fucking Bangladesh!

Portofino Sat 21-Sep-13 23:50:13

Just to summarise:

I am an expat who isn't living in council owned housing, I have one child child, by one father. I have a perfectly nice life and and only feel jealous of people who have a nice yacht.

I do not like Dubai and what is stands for because it promises luxury at the expense of its workers who are treated extremely poorly.

The workers may be indeed be grateful for the opportunity, but Dubai is a rich country and could afford easily to protect their rights/pay better but it chooses not to.

Bangladesh is a poor country and western govts need to ensure ethical purchasing strategies are in place. Bangladesh does not promote itself as a luxury holiday destination.

Bearbehind Sun 22-Sep-13 05:46:14

Thank you portofino, you have just perfectly illustrated my argument on this thread.

Do you realise how glib and smug it sounds to say I have a perfectly nice life and and only feel jealous of people who have a nice yacht, even in jest, given your argument on this thread?

I have not tried to argue that Dubai is perfect, although it is a country that is younger than many of us and is rapidly developing and it is a place where it doesn't take 100's of years to change things.

My point throughout had been that it is hugely hypocritical for people to single it out for such a slating when they do nothing to demonstrate any kind of commitment to those views in their everyday life.

I love to see what you would chose to do if someone offered you your yatch on the condition it was moored in Dubai.

LtEveDallas Sun 22-Sep-13 06:11:08

Ok bear, seeing as you are still posting and seem to have knowledge of Dubai. Could you answer my question about racism? How are mixed race marriages received, and is my friends experience unusual?

Bearbehind Sun 22-Sep-13 07:05:56

ltevedallas I have not answered you question as I am white and my husband is white so I have no experience on the acceptance of mixed race marriages, and unlike others, i do not find it helpful to answer questions when i do not have the experience/ knowledge to do so.

What I do know is that even if mixed race marriages are not well accepted in Dubai, then that is not exclusive to there and is not a reason to single it out for criticism above all other places.

I know a mixed race couple where the Balinese wife was so badly treated when they moved to Belfast that they had to leave.

Bearbehind Sun 22-Sep-13 07:42:12

^^ argh- typo- I do realise that Dubai is not a country!

LtEveDallas Sun 22-Sep-13 07:49:27

Fair enough bear, just thought living over there you would have seen how other races were treated.

Bearbehind Sun 22-Sep-13 08:20:21

Er, where did you get the idea I live in Dubai from? I have frequently holidayed there but I don't live there. Please don't make me sound naive and blinkered about something which I have had minimum exposure to, therefore am unable to comment on.

LtEveDallas Sun 22-Sep-13 08:42:03

Crikey, you are touchy, and all I've been is polite hmm

I'm afraid I assumed you lived there because you posted knowledgeably (and rather defensively) about it. I thought you had more insight than just a few holidays, that's all.

Rosduk Sun 22-Sep-13 08:47:15

It's interesting that many of you point out the migrant workers have gone there to better the lives of their families.

Many of these workers are drawn to the country with a promise of a 9-5 job and decent wage - pay thousands of dollars for a visa, get themselves in debt only to get there and live in squalid conditions for less pay than promised, shuttled to work overnight so westerners don't see them, work 14 hour shifts 7 days a week to pay off their debt which can take 2 years before they can even start sending their pittance wages to their families. They often don't choose to stay there, their passports are seized.

They are probably too scared to stand up for themselves, I personally know an English businessman sent there to work for 3 days and was imprisioned for a year in Dubai for telling airport security to 'fuck off' under his breath as his female colleague was being hassled in the airport.

I understand that similar conditions may be seen in other countries, however, Dubai is well known for glitz and glamour, Spas and lavish lifestyles. It is marketed that way to westerners deliberately ignoring the way this man made monstrosity was built on the blood and sweat of migrant workers.

We all know many in India, Mexico, China and many other countries live in squalid working conditions, it's horrendous, but it is not deliberately hidden to ignorant westerners like in Dubai.

Bearbehind Sun 22-Sep-13 09:01:46

I didn't mean to be touchy, sorry blush, but you seemed to imply I was too blinkered to notice things like poor treatment of mixed race marriages when I have never said I lived in Dubai and made it quite clear that I was unable to comment on something I have no experience of.

I have spoken to some of the people who work in the hotels in Dubai about their lives and their families at home and that is where my knowledge comes from. That might not be as insightful as it could be but it is still more informed than those comments made by people who have only read and heard about the place.

Portofino Sun 22-Sep-13 09:42:41

Bear, I made the comment about having a perfectly nice life as one of the "arguments" repeatedly put forward is that people are disapproving of Dubai because they are jealous. I was pointing out that I am not jealous of anyone. Posters have put forward a list of valid reasons why they don't like Dubai, and the counter arguments are:

Other places are worse
You are jealous
If you buy Primark pants you are a hypocrite
Better to live in Dubai than live off the state in the UK
Reading stuff about it means you are ignorant - how can you possibly know what it is like and form an opinion just reading news reports etc.

And then all the derailing and personal comments. No-one seems to want to counter the issues:

Human rights abuse of the immigrant work force
Sexual and domestic abuse of female workers
"crimes" for which westerners can be imprisoned - being in debt, kissing, sex outside marriage, being raped, having a car accident with an Emirati etc etc
Sex trafficking
Money laundering

And you have to remember that staff in hotels are likely to put a positive spin on talk about their situation, because they are hardly in a position to do otherwise - they would risk their job by being less than complimentary about the set up.

BlingBang Sun 22-Sep-13 09:43:13

I don't think it's surprising that those who holiday or live there feel defensive considering what they have been called by some on this thread. I think if you are going to visit or live in a country you should do it with some kind of understanding as to how it works and any shortcomings there are but the derogatory remarks are shit and no wonder the issue of others hipocracy was fired back.

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 09:46:19

These arguments about Dubai remind me of the arguments people used to have about South Africa. People who went there loved it. The lifestyle, the servants, the jobs, the sense of superiority. And they hated people despising the place for its criminal justice system, its human rights record and its vulgarity. Different places, different people, same old same old.

caramelwaffle Sun 22-Sep-13 09:48:53

Portofino has written out quite a list. I don't suppose gay or lesbian couples would have a totally relaxing time either.

Tasmania Sun 22-Sep-13 20:26:38

nkf's South Africa comparison is very much spot on...

Tinlegs Sun 22-Sep-13 20:41:16

Is Qatar as bad? I don't know it at all. Have visited Dubai and lived (as a child in Bahrain and Saudi. However, the worst teacher I have ever worked with is now teaching in Qatar having had a 100% failure rate in his classes in the UK so, the expensive education expats are paying for might be really shit.

A number of the people I know who have moved there / work there would not cut it in the same industry in the UK.

Portofino Sun 22-Sep-13 22:00:19

Caramelle, yes I missed daring to be gay. That would not go down well either. I can understand the cognitive dissonance of those that have moved there I suppose as it does seem to offer a level of fabulousness that life in say Manchester might not offer. But why would you go on holiday somewhere where you can't kiss your husband in public? All the luxury in the world can't whisk away its faults IMHO.

Portofino Sun 22-Sep-13 22:04:38

Tinlegs, I fear The ME is not the only recipient of shit teachers. We did a boot fair at the British school of Brussels. The older children were selling coffee and bacon rolls etc. Not one of them worked the change out correctly. My friend tutors kids from this school in maths. Fees are 25000 euros per year.

Tasmania Sun 22-Sep-13 23:16:40

It is normal for many countries that actively try to attract expats for one reason or another (e.g. they don't have enough qualified people themselves, and people would not necessarily want to move there without compensation) to make do with someone who would not have been good enough in their country of origin.

I don't think that in the ME, there's a lot of competition for people from the UK. Even the British School in Brussels mentioned above has their hands tied when it comes to recruitment. They would both not have the kind of pool you could choose the best from, when compared to a Fortune 500 company in Manhattan or something.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 07:11:45

portofino I'd love to know what country you live in and where you holiday that allows you to have such superior views of your principles above others and gives your the right to comment on others cognitive dissonance?

Portofino Mon 23-Sep-13 08:50:01

I dont have a superior view. I do not like Dubai and what it stands for and have explained my reasons why quite clearly on this thread. Nobody seems to have addressed any of these actual points - and bear, your bugbear seems to be other peoples principles. This is a discussion forum - I am entitled to my opinion. You are free to refute any of the points I made and tell me I am wrong about them.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 09:10:20

Funny that you didn't actually state which country you live in and where you holiday though. Seems to me that it is because your choices might actually be open for critisism and that your comments might just turn out to be entirely hypocritical.

I have never argued that Dubai is perfect, only that those who choose to visit or live there should not be criticised by people who don't actually demonstrate commitment to their beliefs in any way other than chastising people on an Internet forum.

LtEveDallas Mon 23-Sep-13 10:00:58

Funny that you didn't actually state which country you live in and where you holiday though

No need for more Passive Aggressive posturing Bearbehind. If you read the post before its pretty clear where Porto lives, and if you have been on MN for some time you would know that, so I'm not sure why you need to post something like that, hinting that Porto is not being forthcoming. This is an interesting discussion that doesn't need the smoke and mirrors you are hiding behind.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 10:06:48

No smoke and mirrors from me, I have no idea where she lives, hence I asked her the question and she didn't answer.

That isn't being passive aggressive, it is asking a question and not getting and answer.

You managed to summise that i lived in Dubai when I don't, I have not seen any indication from portofino about where she lives so asked her rather than just guessed.

geekgal Mon 23-Sep-13 10:07:30

I'm bisexual, female and Jewish - there's no way on this earth I would ever holiday in Dubai.

LtEveDallas Mon 23-Sep-13 10:31:32

Bear, if you had just wanted to know where Porto lived you could have said "Porto, where do you live" and if she didnt reply you could have said "Porto, did you miss my question, I'm wondering where you live"

How much nicer and easier that would have been. The sarcasm and PA'ness was really not required.

(Oh and I explained why I thought you lived in Dubai, so no need to bring that up again either)

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 11:32:13

lteevedallas I really don't think you are above accusations of passive aggressive behaviour with comments like I thought you had more insight than just a few holidays, that's all but this tittle tattle is really not contributing to the discussion.

I am genuinely intrigued as to where those who despise Dubai so much find it acceptable to live in and travel to. Dubai is not perfect but I am struggling to think of any holiday destinations that are.

If portofino does live where you alluded to then I concede she is completely beyond reproach for that as its only crime, in my opinion, is being the most dull place I have ever been to.

Serious question- which sunshine holiday destinations are acceptable in the opinion if those who are so vitriolic about Dubai?

FreudiansSlipper Mon 23-Sep-13 11:38:56

most countries

i would not visit north korea

i would stay away from some countries at the moment due to problems there (egypt, afganistan, iraq)

i can not think of another country that is like Dubai that prides and promotes itself on being a wonderful holiday destination yet treats those that they rely on to offer this to tourists so appallingly

Portofino Mon 23-Sep-13 11:43:54

Sorry - I mentioned that I was in Belgium several times on the thread already. It's not a secret. grin at boring. Nowhere is perfect.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 11:44:36

Not even places in South Africa, India, China, Vietnam, some Caribbean Islands?? They all offer luxury holidays- what do they do differently then?

FreudiansSlipper Mon 23-Sep-13 11:47:29

i have gone off on a tangent as it is unlikely that i would ever visits iraq or afganistan annd many other coutries

i am not keen on the Caribbean and the separation of wealthy tourists and locals

but like i said i can not think of a country that is comparable to Dubai for reasons given a number or times. there are many countries that have problems, bad human rights records including france but is is not the basis what their culture is based on that is all what i see of dubai, vast wealth, bling and the exploitation of desperate people oh and a few markets

BlingBang Mon 23-Sep-13 11:49:19

I don't particularly want to live there or choose it as a holiday destination for many of the reasons covered. Just think the criticism of those who do is out of order.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 23-Sep-13 11:51:39

South Africa is going through huge changes the recent history dictates how people are still living no one can deny that people have been exploited and still are but things are changing

India is a poor poor country and has a huge population it offers everything but not at the expense of just the desperate the same for Vietnam

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 11:51:40

Sorry portofino- I missed that blush

I really am not trying to be obtuse but I am genuinely trying to gauge where it is and is not acceptable by some to holiday.

I have not countered your arguments about Dubai because I can't but, in my opinion, there are worse places and Dubai is evolving which can't be said of everywhere.

BadLad Mon 23-Sep-13 11:52:51

How are mixed race marriages received, and is my friends experience unusual?

DW and I (white male, Japanese female) have never had any problems at all; however, we have only ever been visiting, so not much experience of dealing with the bureacracy there.

My parents neighbours are a mixed race family - the man is white, his wife is black and the children are therefore mixed race. They have been there for quite a few years, and seem to like it. The wife has told me that once or twice there have been some rather red faces when older, white people from her husband's work have visited. When she opened the door, their first assumption was that she was the housemaid, and asked something like "Is sir in, or madam?".

I have heard of quite a few instances of black people and Indian people, especially men, being rather rudely turned away from nightclubs apparently on account of skin colour. I don't frequent nightclubs in Dubai, so I can't comment on the veracity of that.

It is normal for many countries that actively try to attract expats for one reason or another (e.g. they don't have enough qualified people themselves, and people would not necessarily want to move there without compensation) to make do with someone who would not have been good enough in their country of origin.

I don't agree with the implied assumption here that all expats are living abroad because they couldn't succeed in their own country.

Portofino Mon 23-Sep-13 11:53:20

They are not RICH countries that import immigrant labour and treat them like shit.

BlingBang Mon 23-Sep-13 11:53:49

What about Singapore? Built on migrant workers like Dubai and maids often treated badly. Anyone been there?

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 23-Sep-13 11:57:22

Bear, not everyone has to like Dubai.
There have been many posts detailing why people don't like Dubai.
Not liking Dubai does not make one a hypocrite, jealous or a racist.

It is ok for people to have different views to yours. I am shock that your need for validation of your choice is leading you see those of a different viewpoint as wrong.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 23-Sep-13 11:58:07

I have been to singapore and had the offer to live there a few years ago

all the trappings some (not all) ex pats love, housemaids, nanny, great shopping, spas etc it is not the life i want i just does not appeal

i was not keen on singapore but it is more diverse than Dubai though i agree it has a bad record for treating migrant workers badly but it is not purely built on that

LessMissAbs Mon 23-Sep-13 11:59:47

Tasmania It is normal for many countries that actively try to attract expats for one reason or another (e.g. they don't have enough qualified people themselves, and people would not necessarily want to move there without compensation) to make do with someone who would not have been good enough in their country of origin

Agreed. Tends to happen when you exclude 50% of human beings in your country from the employment market.

Would I be able to hire a car and go for a little drive, exploring the area, if I went to Dubai?

Would I be able to go out running on my own without wrapping up as if for winter?

If not, it sounds worse than not being on holiday, and I won't go. I can get good restaurants and spa treatments anywhere.

One thing you can do in Dubai is watch top class horse racing. Unfortunatley, connections to the Saudi Royal Family have become tainted by recent massive drugs abuse in racehorses, and threatened to withdraw their "support" of British racing in retaliation. I can't support that either.

I can therefore see no reason to visit Dubai.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 12:04:30

dione I have never said everyone has to like Dubai and I do not require validation for my choices at all. I have visited Dubai frequently and will continue to do so.

Please can you point out anywhere where I have said other people's opinion is wrong?

I am asking why some people find it so necessary to slate it without offering a reason why other places are not singled out in such a fashion.

The only answer seems to be that Dubai is rich, therefore by definition that must mean poor countries can behave as they please because they can't afford to do otherwise and that is not an opinion I agree with.

TheSmallClanger Mon 23-Sep-13 12:06:24

I agree with LesMissAbs.

Almost everything that Dubai prides itself on is available in other places (shopping, spas, indoor ski resorts, horse racing, restaurants) with better human rights records. If I wanted to go to historic mosques and bazaars, I would visit Istanbul.

For the record, I don't like the sound of Singapore either, or Bahrain.

Leaptheditch Mon 23-Sep-13 12:09:37

I don't holiday anywhere that makes me uncomfortable because of human rights infringements that are impossible to legally challenge. I stick to countries that show attempts to legislate according to principles of equality and that tolerate protest and challenge.

Dubai like others fails on all counts.

BadLad Mon 23-Sep-13 12:09:55

Dubai has made enormous progress in the welfare of its workers. When he was first there, my father was shocked by an incident on his site. A truck full of labourers arrived, and they were getting out of the truck rather too slowly for the liking of the resident engineer. So this resident engineer climbed into the cab - it was a tipper truck - and raised the back, so that they were all tipped out onto the ground.

In the old days labourers were transported standing up in the back of open top trucks. Now by law it is not allowed to ferry them around in this way - they have to have seating and a roof. But there is still an awfully long way to go. Outside their villa a year or two ago, my father saw some labourers employed by the municipal government no less. They were digging a trench in the sand to put pipes in, and, had the trench collapsed, they would have suffocated. My father called the municipality and insisted that escape ladders were put in.

I have to agree that there isn't much culture there. Somebody has mentioned the concerts and art exhibitions that take place. How many of these are exhibitions of local work? How many Emiratis attend them?

In fact, the Emirates is doing its best to erase much of the memory of what life used to be like. Look at photos from the time, and you will see that the majority of people wore loincloths, rather than the white robes that many locals now wear, and they didn't live in nice Arab towns in the shape of the Madinat shopping center, they just eeeked out a rather miserable existence.

BadLad Mon 23-Sep-13 12:13:03

*Agreed. Tends to happen when you exclude 50% of human beings in your country from the employment market.

Would I be able to hire a car and go for a little drive, exploring the area, if I went to Dubai?

Would I be able to go out running on my own without wrapping up as if for winter?*

Lots of local women work in Dubai - the Government is trying very hard to get more women into the workforce. The obstacles come from husbands / brothers / fathers, rather than from officialdom, but things are changing for the better.

And you would be able to do both of those things in Dubai - the very thought that you couldn't is ridiculous. Perhaps not in Saudi.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 23-Sep-13 12:14:17

Nonsense Bear. What you are indulging in on this thread is spectacular Whataboutery, as opposed to rational argument. Places are slated all the time. The OP asked a question about Dubai. People gave their answers. No one has said that poor countries (or rich countries) can do what they please.

I find your insistence that people divulge personal, real life info on this thread very strange.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 12:19:48

If you actually read the OPs posts you would see that her point, like mine, was about why it was singled out above all others.

I hardly think it is requesting deeply personal information to ask which countries a person lives in and travels to.

Do you have anything to add to the thread or have you just come to have a go at me?

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 23-Sep-13 12:29:03

It isn't singled out above others. As posters have said, they wouldn't be happy in Apartheid South Africa either.

Do you need to know where everyone who has disagreed with you lives/spends their holidays? Are only those who live and holiday in Nordic countries allowed to hate Dubai?

BadLad Mon 23-Sep-13 12:34:26

I am surprised that Dubai gets so much tourist trade - as far as I can see, everything that it has is available better elsewhere, although I love the restaurants.

It is a place where some expats can have a great life, even if the population explosion there is making it worse and worse. The time taken to get from say, Jumeirah to the other side of the creek gets longer every year. I dread to think what the traffic will be like in a few years.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike the place, although some of the ones on this thread are bollocks, like the thought that women can't go running without being wrapped up like the michelin man. I regularly see women running around Safa park in T-shirts and running shorts.

However, said running around Safa park is a good example of the greed and profiteering on the place. It used to be a pleasant job - around the outside of the park, not actually going into the park, just around it. Now they are introducing a toll system, to make people pay for their jog.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Sep-13 12:38:09

I can virtually guarantee that a poster who said they were going to Dubai would get a far harder time than someone going to South Africa, Malaysia or Hong Kong.

Dubai is singled out, very few people on here have denied that.

Oh, and of course i don't need to know where everyone who disagrees with me goes on holiday but i do think it is rather pertinent when being criticised for my choice of holiday destination- surely you can see that?

BadLad Mon 23-Sep-13 12:54:46

Dubai is in the press more than many other Gulf countries, therefore people think about it more and are more likely to comment on it than worse but lower profile cases.

I don't remember the outcry against this for example ever reaching the levels of outcries against Dubai.

Granted, Saudi doesn't usually issue tourise visas, let alone market itself as a holiday destination, Mecca pilgrims aside, but I often wonder why there isn't more outrage against the goings on in Saudi Arabia.

starwarslegoboy Mon 23-Sep-13 12:58:48

I didn't realise that Dubai was hated so much. I do wonder at the virtiol, there are plently of places in the world that have less than perfect records.

I lived there from 1999-2005, worked as an IT consultant/engineer in a fairly male dominated industry, had my first son there, returned to work. It certainly is not perfect, but where is. If I can address some of the points made

1) The kissing in public thing is a not really true. I daresay there is some law about modesty, but I frequently kissed DH in public and almost always held his hand when we were out at night. Funnily enough, it i very common to see men holding hands, as a sign of friendship. Homosexuality is not looked on kindly, at least in theory. But there are gay club, as my visiting gay friend explored. TBH, it's like most things in Dubai, if you are a little discrete about it, they don't give a shit, but if you wave it in their faces they feel that they have to 'do' something. Same thing for sex outside marrage. We had a large number of friends who were co-habitating and it was not an issue. But they did not shout from the rooftops about it either. And they weren't all white either.

2) Confused by the being arrested for rape charge - appears to be a 'new' thing and certainly does not correspond with my experience/lknowledge and appears to be contested... I certainly would not condone, but I had never heard of it

3) The construction industry is far from perfect in it treament of workers. It did improve even in my time there and H&S improved too. There was a strike which was largely hushed up and which the police broke up, rather roughly I believe. While I do not condone this, I can't stand on my hobby horse after Thatcher's treatmen of the miners not so long ago. Additionally, the conditions for the construction workers in the UK were grim not so long ago, but McAlpine turned out to be a Lord. I think the point that the UAE is a new country is very relevant. That is not to say that bad treatment is ok or should be condoned, but let's not get all prissy, given our own history.

4) It is most certainly tacky in places. I worked on the original Dubai Marina plans which is pretty tame compared to the newer projects. But there are also ome lovely, tasteful places to go. And there is culture if you are minded to look for it. It's a lovely place for kids

5) You would have to be nuts to go in the summer.

6) My DH was often offfered work in Saudi and my job, by merit of being underwritten by UK Govt, meant that I was asked on many occasions to work in Saudi, even though as a woman engineer, it would not normally be allowed. All of which we refused, as I do believe that life in Saudi is grim. But I don't feel that I was selling my soul in Dubai, or that I was not respected. I earned more money than DH for a while, at least until I had my son and went back part time initially, but that's not limited to Dubai surely?

Anyway, bit of an essay here, but while not perfect, we enjoyed our time there. It is not equal, certainly not. But many of the people, from India, Sri Lanki etc were able to work and send money home to their families, earning more than they would have at home, which is exactly the reason we were there: to earn a bit more than we would have at home. And UK would deny entry to most of the people.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 23-Sep-13 13:01:25

there are outcries about Saudi

how many people go to saudi unless it is for Hajj and a few working there

there is plenty of resentment against saudi from other arab countries is not often discussed on here unless it is in relation to the treatment of women, Dubai is as it is a popular holiday destination is

and Malaysia and Hong Kong and are different cultures to Dubai there are not filled with 5* hotels and exclusive apartments blocks for one set of people and for the other set cramped, dirty hovels

starwarslegoboy Mon 23-Sep-13 13:14:24

Most of my Brit colleagues who had been based in Riyahd made swift requests to be relocated to Dubai after snipers starting stalking the Western compounds ad a few westerers were shot, including one of our guys. Never made the papers either.

DH used to go on business and hated it.

If I had gone on a business trip to Saudi I would have had to say in a woman's hotel and not allowed to even sit in the lobby for a coffee, with or without my male collegues. Fuck that.

I do think that there is still a lot of confusion between the UAE and Saudi.

BadLad Mon 23-Sep-13 13:15:42

how many people go to saudi unless it is for Hajj and a few working there

Well, yes, I said exactly that. I made the point that there are almost no tourist visas issued.

But people are treated much worse there than in Dubai, yet the outrage is much lower. I often read on here things like "I won't set foot in Dubai", rather than "I won't set foot anywhere in the Gulf".

I appreciate that there isn't much that anyone here can do about Saudi. After all, the UK economy relies so heavily on selling them weapons. But I would like to see the problem discussed as pertaining to the Gulf as a whole, so that people who don't know much about the Middle East realise how widespread the problems of poor treatment of people are.

Same thing for sex outside marrage.

Considering that most nightclubs in Dubai are full to the brim with prostitutes, it really isn't the case that there is no sex outside marriage. I know several cohabiting unmarried couples there.