Dubai Bashing Guide 101

Dubai Bashing is quite the classical rage right now, the Gone with the Wind of modern media of sorts, no pun intended. If you’re an aspiring journalist or a PMS enthusiast, here’s a small to-do list to get you started on the Dubai Bashing ride.

First, you need to be desperate. Why? There can be many reasons for you being desperate. You can be jobless and seeking out money, so a Dubai Bashing article sold to the highest bidder could be your break. If you’re lower caliber journalist seeking to join The Guardian, for instance, or a veteran with nothing better to write about, then Dubai’s fake sandy dunes are a good entry point to explore (note to idiots: the sand in Dubai is not imported. Dust storms are not sponsored by the UAE government in collaboration with the Iraqi’s). There can be a gazillion reasons to why you would want to bash Dubai. From post-getting-fired anger to your wife running away with someone else from Dubai, the list is endless. It all comes down to one thing though: You have an altered sense of perception. In layman’s terms, you need to get laid.

Second, you need a sponsor. Or more. Sure, magazines and self respecting online papers will pay you a nominal fee for your flamboyant efforts. If you’ve actually been to the UAE, the biggest sponsorship you can get is from the UAE itself. How? Ask yourself, how many years have you been living in the UAE? For what reason did you come to the UAE? Isn’t it to work, and make money, because there were no better opportunities? In your own country? And let’s be a bit frank, some of us don’t like being here except for the money, but since it’s your choice, what’s the UAE’s shimmering skyscrapers got to do with your bitterness? In any case, you’ve been here for several years, or a year with really high pay, and you got enough governmental sponsorship to bash it.

Third, you need a story. A really good one. Something out of a Bourne flick or The Sopranos or Godfather or The Simpsons. Did you row a boat by yourself – with your loot – to another country? If not, then you can merely take a bus tour of Dubai for 2 hours and you have yourself an in depth cover story with Pulitzer written all over it. Heck, if you’re that desperate, visit a labour camp and write the humanitarian crisis of the century article. Or make up anything believable. Aggregate 3000 foreigeners and send them off on a one way ticket. Make sure they all park their cars in the airport parking to make a statement. Include maxed out credit cards as well in the glove compartment. Attention to believable detail counts.

Fourth, get a thesaurus, and read as many descriptions of scenery as you can for inspiration. Everyone talks about shimmering towers, glistening whatever, empty roads that collect dust (strange, I still get stuck in traffic, and from the dust storms, everything collects dust. Try not to eat it), and most importantly do focus on the word luxury. It’s Dubai’s favorite word, and with your thesaurus, you can add -est to practically anything. Make sure to add credibility to your story. Quote Regina Filangi, Homer Simpson, and BumbleBee Shoeforts (these are all real names of real people living in their cars in Dubai because they, well, have been living a lifestyle they can’t afford, supposedly). Here’s a sample writing to get you started:

Beneath the biggest, blackest, dustiest sky in the world, where once stood tall the tallest buildings in the world, with their glamour and shimmering sparkling oddly-clean windows, lies the darkest most secretest truth of all: Dubai is nothing but a mirage, a place designed to suck you dry, chew you and spit you out from the rear. Dubai should add fakest to it’s longest line of all words ending with est, for a crapfest it is, a most crapfestest of all, er, ests.

– Aspiring Journalist with a rejected job application in Dubai

Finally, find a newspaper as desperate as you are and send it off. Wait for your paycheck. GREAT! Now use that money to buy a ticket out of Dubai. Don’t forget to park your car in the airport and stick a well crafted, most apologetic letter. Then write a followup article once you get home. And remove all the nice and fun photos of the Dubai is a Blast! album from Facebook.

Note: I am not blind. There are things that don’t make sense here, some of which decreases the life expectancy of a turtle. But there isn’t anything here that couldn’t be said about any other major city in the world. Sure, the weather is inhospitable, but it isn’t generated by the goverment. Yes, it’s expensive, but so is Paris and New York and a billion other cities. And, just like any other city in the world, if you can’t afford living in it, leave. I, myself, may leave sometime soon if I remain jobless for long.

Dear Schools: ENOUGH Bullshit!

It makes me sad to see the wasted amount of potential leaders, scientists, braniacs and people with inhuman levels intelligence.

Like Qwaider mentioned, schools have mostly become a social status – how much your family can really afford. We have grown a mentality where when someone says “I graduated from Oxford” is perceived as a God and one who says “I graduated from Damascus University” would probably be annihalated on the spot.

Lots of institutions, I am sure, do not offer an education up to par with the price tag. Here in Dubai there was a haitus over a recent (and, as usual, unexplained) price hike in one of the schools. The government eventually had to jump in and regulate price hikes the schools can get depending on their perfomance as a school – which seems fair but the means of measure might probably be flawed.

There were many truly dumb idiots in my university, and I don’t mean only academically (not smart vs intelligent) but the only reason they were on campus is because their families could afford it and they happened to pass the TOEFL test, on the third time. “Non profit organizations” feed on people with big wallets who are willing to pay anything for social recognition.

If that seems appalling, take a look at this story. This girl was thrown out of class because her mother did not have enough money to pay the fees because she is unemployed (the semester is almost over). The humiliation! To be denied education when you had nothing to do with it. I am appalled beyond measure, among with the hundred of people writing Gulf News an email right now or have commented.

In my job I got to see many people arriving, as we called them, “a package”. You get to hire someone with all sorts of three and four letter acronym certificates, but give them a task and they’d do everything written on the “Do NOT do the following” list at the end of every chapter given in the book.

So, what’s up?

Some people buy their certificates (fraud), some people buy it in the sense of paying for the education and not learning. Others pay loads of money on false promises – regardless of potential. And then you get the group of people who cannot afford education but have so much potential if given the chance. The idea of “poor people are dumb” stems from the fact that they were never given the opportunity to be educated at any age.

There’s a huge debate on whether education should be free, and whether it becomes socialism if it is, or if the quality is rendered abysmal when the government pays for it.

This is not what I am talking about here.

I am talking about the opportunity to educate people, and to have a better responsibility of selecting candidates to enroll based on their potential and wit rather than wallets. There is a social responsibility towards the community and towards education. I understand the schools have operating costs and wages to everyone working there, but come on. Throwing a girl out of class for 500 dollars? “If we allow one we should allow all” – I understand, but throwing the girl out in the middle of her class, in front of everyone, isn’t the way to solve this issue.

I would really love to see a private university or college or school dedicate a class that’s free for all, general education. If every school in the country does that, imagine how many kids would learn something new every term. Granted, they might not end up as “intelligent” as those who are paying and are getting a full education, but in the long run the average level of knowledge in the population will go up.

Or am I too utopic?

Dubai Cares Children of Gaza Campaign

I just got this from my friend. If you’re in the UAE it would be great to join:

Subject: help package 50,000 basic school kits and 50,000 hygiene kits for the Children of Gaza

Dubai Cares is joining a united front of UAE-based relief and charitable organizations to pledge humanitarian assistance and mobilize the UAE community to help the children of Gaza.

There are approximately 275,000 students of primary school age in Gaza and Dubai Cares is asking for your help to support them in this time of need.

Here’s how you can help. Dubai Cares is currently recruiting volunteers to help package 50,000 basic school kits and 50,000 hygiene kits for the Children of Gaza. Approximately 150 participants are needed each day for this event as we are aiming to assemble approximately 10,000 kits a day . We would be honored if you could join us.

Dubai Cares will supply all of the items required for the kits and we need your help to pack and prepare them for shipping to the children of Gaza.

Date: Wednesday, January 14 through January 20, 2009
Venue: DIFC – Emperor Hall
Weekdays: 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday January 16, 2009: 2:00 -6:00 p.m.
Saturday January 17, 2009: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

You are welcome to join us anytime. Please bring your friends and family to the venue during our working hours and we will put you to work. You can also help us spread the word by forwarding this email to others who you believe may want to help. We will have snacks and beverages available.

Should you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at: gaza /at/ dubaicares /dot/ ae

We hope you will be able to join with us to show solidarity for the children of Gaza.

If you want a map to DIFC:

map-to-DIFC

From UAE to Gaza

Throughout the past few days people in the UAE have been very procative in their efforts to do whatever they could towards Gaza. I am very pleased with the contributions of the people around me, be it monetary, supplying food or even a lending hand.

While my friends and I shopped, a few of the guys from the group have been in the Aramex warehouse sorting up supplies and boxing them, and they told me that within the few hours they were there they filled up 7 giant lorries and send them away, and the warehouse still had a long way to go. Collections to the Aramex campaign are ending tomorrow though I believe you can still go to the warehouse and help with whatever you could.

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keep this shopping list with you

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If you want to be part of the Gaza Aid Package Project – Dubai, go visit the Facebook group.

Meanwhile, people took it to the streets across Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaima and thousands of people joined in a peaceful march (approved by the Ministry of Interior) for hours demanding something be done about the crisis. High profile people also joined in the rally. Images from Gulfnews.

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During the rally, the Red Crescent had its campaign running to receive donations via drop boxes or through SMS, and while it ran from 2 PM to 9 PM it was able to generate a whopping 315 million AED (roughly $86 million). UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also pledged to build 1200 homes for the Palestinians in Gaza and the ruler of Umm Al Quwain His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla ordered that the mosques of Gaza to be renovated.

It’s truly heart warming to see this kind of reaction taking place around you, but the question begging to ask itself is: Is it really enough?

Remember that the world needs just a little compassion for it to be different for the better. Every day I wake up amazed at how the majority of the population are bonding together for one cause. It shows you a great deal that if there is a time for us to change, there is no better time than NOW.

Let’s just do all we could as civilians, to help other civilians less fortunate than us.

Quote of the Year & More Ways to Help Gaza

Quote of the year nomination goes to Shimon Peres:

We are not in the business of public relations or improving our image. We are fighting against terror…

So let me get this straight: bombing a school/UN-shelter is now considered fighting against terror? It’s clearly obvious they’re not improving their image but will they be able to handle the consequences? However the Quote of the Year award goes to Tzipi Livni:

Is there a humanitarian crisis? There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Of course she can’t comprehend what a humanitarian crisis is as she is barely ISO-certified as an organic life-form.

I am not going to brood over the matter, but you can go to Qwaider’s blog for more opinions on the general subject.

The Universal Street amaze me at their commitment to help the cause. As demonstrated in NY (read about it in Batoul’s blog).

 

 

MORE WAYS TO SUPPORT

Another venue of relief opened in Dubai as 50 pharmacies now have medicine-for-Gaza packages. You can read more about them in moryarti’s blog. However you can take the list and buy it at your local pharmacy outside the UAE and donate it. Don’t forget the babies – pick up baby formulas!

There is also another rally in Dubai Mamzar Park this Friday at 4 PM. Mamzar Rally Event.

UPDATE: For anyone who can donate some time, UAE Aramex needs help in their warehouse sorting out all the donations. They are located near Dragonmart area and need as much help as possible. They are working from 9am – 12 midnight, so please go any time until Jan 11/12. Map of Dragon Mart