Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: More "Adios Abu Dhabi"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

More "Adios Abu Dhabi"

I had a comment on my last post that said I was being "negative and bitter". Ok, maybe I was kind of tough on the UAE, after all, I lived and worked there for 3 1/2 years. Everything I said has passed through most expatriot's mind at one time or another. Maybe I got carried away by my new found freedom of speech and like a degenerate wino, I drank deeply from that bottle.

To be fair, the things I liked about the UAE are:

It is a very safe place, I could walk anywhere, anytime without fear of personal harm

Being of a Western persuasion, I received special service and attention, not that I consider that right but it just happened. I guess it was assumed I was of some importance.

Good infrastructure, at least in the cities. Roads were the best anywhere on Earth. The drivers are another story.

English spoken everywhere. After all it is the language of money and petroleum. No need to learn Arabic.

The Winter weather! Perfect Miami Beach style climate.

The things that bothered me about the UAE:

To me everything seemed "plastic banana", AKA fake. For example, The roads into the city from the airport are lined by nice date palm trees and lavish landscaping that extended perhaps 20 meters off each side of the road and then the natural landscape of the ubiquitous ugly beige sand began. The greenery is a facade to fool arrivals that this is a verdant country

Expatriot employee rights do not exist. Terms and conditions can be changed at any time. Unions are illegal and I won't even get into the Labor Camp abuse issues. Also, expatriots cannot ever become citizens and can be deported for the slightest of misdeeds.

No freedom of speech. I personally know of a popular local publication that was almost shut down because one of the contributing writers mentioned the body of water between the UAE and Iran as the Persian Gulf rather than the officially mandated UAE version, the Arabian Gulf. The editor was directed to remove all previously distrtibuted copies of the magazine and was threatened with a shutdown by the UAE government.

The Summer weather, 120F is excessive. Folks just stayed inside. The sky stayed a depressing light brown during June-Sept. Many people became alcoholics during this time.

Owing money is a criminal offence. Many dusty cars in airport parking garages due to this. People are forced to leave the country rather than being given the opportunity to pay back debts from abroad.

Sharia law insures expats will not get a fair shake in court.

Also, do not fall for the trap that Dubai is. With all the glitz and glamor, you are in a still in a Middle Eastern country and you do not want to run afoul of "rules" you may not even be aware of.

For example, prostitution  is prohibited but rampant in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The government and police turn a blind eye, but if you do something else for which you get caught, you are in a lot of trouble as the Ho charge will be added.

The UAE is trying and doing a good job for just being 35 years old, but the country is young and some things are going to be weird until lessons are learned. Again, there seems to be a huge inferiority complex and a real yearning to join/be considered a1st word country. The facades are in place but there is a long way to go before they are accepted as a leading global country and that bothers them.

The UAE has oil and money but it takes more than that to be a world player, more than shiny buildings and palm trees next to the road. I see the yearning to be accepted as an influential world power but the execution is ersatz and weak.

I am back in the US and there is a huge mess here as well but at least I can discuss it at will and theoretically my government says I have some self-determination....we shall see!











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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear you and I agree with most of your posting. Unless you are Emirati forget it. Every place has is issues, and that goes for the UAE as well.

I would say that what I really despise about this county is the point you make about the lack of employee rights. As for the other stuff, I don’t see it affecting me. I'd love to combine some of the great things about living here (amazing work-life balance, safety, winter weather, roads, a lot less traffic than where I am from,) with some of the great things about living back in the US (citizenship, basic civil rights (including the right to go into debt ) and of course,
unrestricted Internet!

I know when looking back on this part of my life I will say the positives definitely outweighed the negatives.

Good luck in your future endeavors Ace. And will you still be blogging?

BTW, the UAE just turned 40, how did you miss that?

Ace said...

Travel is the spice of life....ones that don't like it are easy to spot as they are usually being vomited from cruise ships.

Anonymous said...

hey! you should go on www.yadig.com and review the places you've been to in Abu Dhabi. it's pretty cool. check it out.

Louis Fourteen said...

Abu Dubai is a good place for a picnic, and most people around here do,And shopping here is very good,Uasy life is very short, so do all travel,Who has seen tomorrow,

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Nominate yourself for our three main award categories: Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Social Responsibility Award, Best Digital Video Award & Best Blog Award. If you are popular enough you might even get chosen for the People’s Choice Award! Apply now at www.du.ae/awards

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