Saturday, May 26, 2007

just talkin

A few weeks back I had lunch with (a really) nice Indian lady and her colleagues – all of whom are new to the UAE. We sat down, placed orders and got talking about the firm, business opportunities in the UAE, generic topics on life in in the UAE, in NY, our backgrounds etc all.

Most seem surprised to meet someone who'd lived in the UAE for a while – primarily ‘cause they feel most souls in the UAE are "new" i.e. arrived in the past 6 years or less?

Anyhoooo – the Indian lady seemed quite inquisitive about life in the UAE (her family & she moved to the UAE 3 years ago). She asked me about life in the good old days – ways of living, growing up back then, the structure of the city, the country – lifestyle etc all. Our chat went on for a while, before it took a turn along these lines....

Mrs B: do you like living in Dubai
rosh: yup I like living in the uae

Mrs B: do you think you’ll move back to Dubai from NY?
rosh: hmmmm, I don’t know, and if I'd answer that? 'cause there’ll probably be a lot of rhetoric attached to my response (smiling)

Mrs B: say everything being equal - would you consider moving back?
rosh: yes of course?

Mrs B: but isn’t NY better in almost all aspect?
rosh: I wouldn’t say that – each place has it’s pluses & cons.

Mrs B: well I am from Bombay and I think Bombay is so much better than Dubai
rosh: really? Why? what makes you say that?

Mrs B: well – you see we’ve got everything there. We have all kinds of food, festivals, the city is so much developed, it's real – the ambience, the party life and just so many things to do and live for.
rosh: well I’ve been there just once in ’86 when I was just 10. It was just for a day and a half.

Mrs B: oh you’ve been to Bombay just once and that too 21 years ago?
rosh: yea....?

Mrs B: so you don’t know what you are missing you see (smiling ear to ear totally surprised)
rosh: perhaps, but then I think we’ve got the best of everything right here in the UAE.

Mrs B: oh no – you don’t know the other side. It’s so much better there. The quality of life, cost of living – the food – everything is so much better. The city has a soul of it’s own. People value life, and you are so free – there is nothing to worry about, you’ve got your own home, things are so cheap…blah blah blah

rosh: (now getting a bit cheesed off) – and …… you don’t think that's not here in the UAE?

Mrs B: oh it’s not that - it’s just that there is much more in Bombay and life is better in every aspect. You should visit and you shall see what you’ve missed out. There is much Dubai has to catch up with Bombay – the city’s soul is unparallel….blah blah blah blah ….kids have so much fun, they grow up to be more mature and aware of life and peoples, they can actually play "cricket" (?)…..plus it’s my home …..blah blah blah ….

rosh: (now a bit more cheesed off) – pse don’t mind me asking you this – given all your sentiment I think Bombay is quite a lovely place…

Mrs B: oh yes it is…

rosh: ……and it holds the best of everything you are looking for?

Mrs B: oh yes it does – "Bombay runs thru my body" (or veins or something along those lines)

rosh: ……pse don’t mind this innocent question? so…. how come you are in the UAE with your family? I mean surely you couldn’t be happier in any place than Bombay and listening to your sentiments, it seems like such a happening place and I’d love to visit sometime.

Mrs B: (a bit embarrassed) – well..... I was just being honest about the city you know, we are all sentimental about our homes.
rosh:…….sure apologies I understand. Pardon my question if it was direct or seemed rude, that was not my intention. I am curious to know why people would continue to live and work in the UAE if there is a better home – that’s all?

Mrs B: well it’s a good place to make monies and after a while we shall go back.
rosh: oh oki? that’s good to know.....

Mrs B: I must apologize if my comments seemed insensitive. I didn’t realize you being raised in Dubai feel for the city, the way I feel for Bombay
rosh: ….awww not a problem, not a problem (smiling). If I may - it’s UAE, not Dubai and I was raised in Sharjah..... there is so much more to UAE than Dubai (smiling)

After work, on my way to the hotel – I sort of felt a bit bad on my chat with Mrs B – ‘cause I didn’t think she had bad intentions. However I realized this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard similar comments/sentiments...it got me thinking, and even a bit angry.

Angry 'cause there are so many new people moving into the UAE and whilst the vast majorities do respect the place – they are here for the short term, for short term gains i.e. sole intention of monetary benefits – nothing wrong with that. But (like the local population) it does put 2nd/3rd generation expat kids who’ve choose to be in the UAE, despite better career options elsewhere in a pickle?

Most return to the UAE because they feel this is their home - the place they grew up and would prefer to be here no matter what. Hence (say everything being equal i.e. in terms of education/experience) - these souls have such little help or zero preference whilst in the job market compared to hundreds of newer expats who moved into the UAE yesterday?

Point being - I wish there is a process wherein primarily the "local" pool is exhausted prior to hiring externally – because we did have many more who appreciate the place and work not for just the livelihood or short term - but also because they sincerely care for the place, want the best for it - and help better the nation's progress in the long haul.

34 comments:

localexpat said...

as you said it... you read my mind

BuJ said...

hmmmm

rosh said...

hmmmm what BuJ?

am just talkin my heart out - it holds no offence or limitations to those newer moving into the UAE.

Like anywhere else in the world, I wish internal resources are exhausted prior to external hiring.

For example, in the United States or Canada - a firm hiring foreign workers have to go thru a due process with immigration services, and prove to them - there is no other Citizen or resident available, hence they have to hire a foreigner.

Likewise I think it would be nice if we in the UAE had a similar process.

I could go on with a few examples of what forced me to think this way - but shall leave it for another post :)

IYM said...

Home is where your heart is..

Jawahir Jewels said...

i think everyone has the right to do whats best for them... but i can see where ur comeing from ...

also ur on and yet u dont visit me what the deal and iym ... oh well ur choice its just good to know ur still alive ...

BuJ said...

all that in reply to my "hmmmm"?

tayyeb..

hmm

rosh said...

lol BuJ :) .....guess I just got talkin away again. There is much to say, it's sensitive and have to worded carefully. Often the tone never comes across as intended.

please don't mind me - am just talkin away what's in my heart, that's all.

tayyeb? :)

IYM said...

Tayyeb !! :)
Say 'Zain'.. that's the Emarati version of Tayyeb.. Zain ?!

BuJ said...

Tayyeb indeed! Tayyeb is better coz it also means "yummy"!

Rosh.. I'm with you on this.. I was just biding my time with the "hmmm" thinking that so many indians will be asking for your head after such a post.

Frankly you have a point and I don't see anything wrong with your post. Plus you're expressing an opinion and that is your right. Don't let em/me stop you.

Have a top day.

rosh said...

aww sorry - you know I actually thought of Zain and then thought I've heard people respond "tayyeb" as well....?

OK Zain from here on - zain? :)

oki now you've got me thinking a bit. this had nothing to do with Indians or any other nationalities in particular.

It just so happened the conversation with the nice Indian lady combined with another pair of incidents got me thinking - that's all.

To any new readers out there - I think it is fanstastic many talented people come into the UAE and help grow it prosper - there is nothing wrong with that.

I also wish internal resources are exhausted (or given preference) primarily prior to hiring from external.

This is what every country does too - be it the US, India or any western/easter nation.

zain - tayyb?

bklyn_in_dubai said...

the obvious thing that jumps out is that, legally, you have no standing different from mrs. bombay. so the local pool is no pool at all.

which brings me to a question i've had about dubai (sorry, UAE) for some time -- how do you deal with a place that treats you as disposable? you stay in nyc long enough you'll get a green card (difficult, but doable). but in dubai unless you buy freehold...

or to put it another way, how can you continue to love a place that has little but contempt for you? (is that a fair characterization?) is it like being in a relationship where the one person is too in love, and the other not enough, so that the latter can crush the other without hardly a word from the crushed lover?

IYM said...

Obtaining citizinship is totally different from love-crushed-lover relationship.. it has numerous legal implications and I'm sure our beloved government is taking good care of it..
Afterall, we don't really want 'disposable' people to be part of our equation; especially if you happen to know that more than 90% of crimes in UAE are conducted and committed by 'disposable' expatriets.
What I don't understand is why poeple seem to forget about the long list of expats who became legally UAEians ?!
And to those who don't like how our government functions; please feel free to check out other places on this globe.. there are so many options out there..
And Rosh please don't change your 'belongings', you might become a legal UAEian one day.

rosh said...

"the obvious thing that jumps out is that, legally, you have no standing different from mrs. bombay. so the local pool is no pool at all."

It's not about legality of status. Point was - someone internal i.e. an individual familiar with ways of working in the UAE, has UAE experience, aware of it's culture and hence has a "background" (to avoid the legality term) - should be the first option prior to hiring from external -i.e. outside the current pool of resources in the country.

Ofcourse assuming everything being equal in terms of job pre-requisites’ between two individuals.

One amongst the multiple reasons I wrote this post was given a conversation with an ex-employer in Dubai, who made a comment that the Dubai practice of this firm (the world’s largest accounting firm) had an employee turnover of 70% in 2005. Most choose to use UAE as a stepping stone to re-locate somewhere else.

"how do you deal with a place that treats you as disposable" –

I have never felt "disposable" my entire time growing up in the UAE. Like many 2nd/3rd generation expat offspring’s - I have felt this is our "home". Citizenship and residency status change for some of us and for many remain constant.

Some choose to make that change, some don’t. For instance my brother’s fiancé (of Pakistani origin) was naturalized a UAE citizen last December – likewise my best friend (of Indian origin) and his fiancé (of Lebanese origin). I chose not to change my passport – but remain a UAEian. Similarly I chose not to be an American Citizen, but remain a resident. Likewise a family friend an American Citizen of Lebanese Origin - chose not to take up the UAE passport since he wanted to keep his American citizenship.

Point is – after a while you realize, home is where the heart is and papers/passports make only so much difference.

Yes, a due process of continued stability and recognition is most needed/important. I am more at peace today, realizing that with time, things will change for a stable tomorrow - hence more patient for the process to take it's time.

"or to put it another way, how can you continue to love a place that has little but contempt for you?"

In a way I find it amusing you feel there is much "contempt" for all expats in the UAE. Ofcourse there are ignorant apples in every basket – but you ought to know more about the true people & soul of this country. I sincerely believe, if you are honest enough to know the truth - there is much research you ought to do, to understand this country, its nature – and ways of working, it's people and it's limitations.

Re: being in an unbalanced relationship - it's not just about giving & receiving. It's also understanding the partner, it’s limitations and background. I don't think any other mature or young nation has given so much to foreigners for a brighter tomorrow.

bklyn_in_dubai said...

rosh --

very interesting that you know so many people who were eligible to take a passport so recently. of all the muslims (arab and subcons) who were like you long timers, i only came across one who managed to get it. a couple of arabs who worked for the gov't had their applications languishing for over ten years. and they knew others like them. not surprising since it's an ad hoc process.

contempt isn't the right word; i should have said oblivious. or they just don't care. no matter what you feel for the uae, the uae, as a state (locals are a different matter), legally does not recognize you. you are just as easily deported as mrs. bombay (if for whatever reason it came to that); the only mitigating factor i imagine would be any accumulated wasta you have.

interesting thing about employment -- many people i know said that it was a great disadavantage to say you grew up in uae, that employers would pay you a lot less (this was from brits raised in dubai). one guy i was with at a mall, he was on the phone with a recruiter in london about a job in dubai. that way he'd get a better package.

localexpat said...

" how do you deal with a place that treats you as disposable?

how can you continue to love a place that has little but contempt for you? "

only an anthropologist could come up with such a question. I LOVE IT!

To give you my answer: Its like being an geopolitical orphan with this being the only place you know of and, more importantly, feels like home. What else can we, the localexpats, do?

To a certain extent it does feel like a relationship where you are showering the other with your love only to be bitch-slapped in return.

but what else can an orphan do?

rosh said...

"very interesting that you know so many people who were eligible to take a passport so recently."

I know a few more than you - because of my embeddings in the UAE society. Unlike you I am not a visitor.

"of all the muslims (arab and subcons) who were like you long timers, i only came across one who managed to get it"

I know a few such individuals you are talking about. So you know some of these individuals were extended citizenships right before and after independence from the UK - most declined 'cause they wanted to return to respective home countries. Some though extended citizenships did not wish to give up the "other" passport and till today hope to inject wasta to have both.

By no means, is the process close to perfect or transparent. By no means is it similar to the US or most EU nations - I am aware of that.

7 years ago expats (besides a selected few and GCC) could not own land or property. 20 years ago we didn't have free zones or inter-racial marriages. 30 years ago - there was no UAE.

How old do you think is this country? I urge you to be more positive. Keep exploring - you shall find baby step sized changes. Look at Bahrain.

I don't think it is a disadvantage to grow up in the UAE - growing up here, you've got the best of both worlds - the east & the west.

Deportation happens all over the US. INS officers are pretty powerful. Today, you've got guantanamo bay.

rosh said...

"To a certain extent it does feel like a relationship where you are showering the other with your love only to be bitch-slapped in return."

LE - I don't know how you can say that? Have you been bitch-slapped since birth, because you haven't had a citizenship? What about the entire positive you grew up with in this nation?

If you want it so much, hire a good PRO & a lawyer and apply in Dubai. There is a strong possibility you being Arab, and assuming a Muslim - will be granted one. The only hitch could be you are not 30 yet?

However, if you've been bitch-slapped - do you think a citizenship paper is going to remove that ill feeling? Look at the entire picture and not just selected views.

BuJ said...

me no expert but the door for naturalisation is wide open in dubai.. and i know at least 5 families personally who have got it (of pal/syrian origins).. and i heard of many more.

you do not need a lawyer but you need the following:

1- min 25 yrs continuous residency in DUBAI.. they are really funny if ur residency was moved to shj or AD even though it's one state.

2- property/business in dubai helps a lot.

3- muslim helps

4- arabic language is a MUST.. but if ur not arab but can demonstrate an ability then u should consider applying.

5- some wasta wouldn't harm.. especially after you have applied (in person).

bklyn_in_dubai said...

LE -- what else can an orphan do? too good!

Rosh -- i'm not trying to knock your claim to be UAEian, nor the UAE in general (in spite of the tone of my last few postings on my blog, and in spite of what i may think of state security division. but i think worse of the NYPD in any case.)

my point is that, whatever you feel for the uae, legally you have no special standing. there is nothing like a green card to give you some protection over and above anyone else on a 3 yr visa, or a tourist visa for that matter.

you are very clear in how you interpret that and what it means for you -- you think it doesn't matter, and i came across many others, especially of your parents' generation who first came here who felt even more strongly an attachment and loyalty to the uae. of course, many others feel more of an ambivalence, like localexpat.

as for passports, there is a mechanism and you and buj know many people who have gotten it, but think of the many people who, according to the being muslim/speak arabic/be here 25 yrs meet that criteria who have applied and not received it. i don't know how many, and you don't cuz there are no public records. that's part of the point that it's ad hoc. (in the us now it can take forever and a day, but it is a bureacratic process that can be followed up on and questioned, unlike here.) and yeah, they gave passports away like candy in the early years and few took them cuz, well, what was the point then? and i met a few folks in that situation whose parents regretted it.

and who said anything negative about growing up in dubai? from everything im told, dubai and sharjah were awesome places to have grown up in. i'm a little jealous, though i wouldn't trade growing up in nyc for anything.

point of curiosity -- when you say you are a resident of the us, do you mean green card? i only ask because, well, what's the point of that, if not to hedge your bets? which is something common i observed, that even if uae is your home as a long term expat, lots of them -- especially subcons and non-khaleeji arabs -- made a point to get residency in countries like us, canada, australia, uk. backups, just in case.

anyways, if i come off as hostile, apologies. just trying to fuel a very interesting conversation.

IYM said...

I don't really understand what's the big deal about being an expat ? Just live with it..
We all ( locals and non-locals ) cannot survive these days without a decent job and a profession to support us financially..
All we need is a passport to travel around with.. that's it..
So, if you have a passport; be it a UAE one or an X-nation one; then that's what you need to have some peace of mind..
The rest really depends completely on what you want to make out of your life.. career or no career.. to be or not to be..
And again, even us UAE citizins have to work really hard and take shit all the time from locals and non-locals alike just to prove that we're good enough.
So please stop living in this big 'delusional bubble' of being a local versus not and just focus on your career..
We're all paying the price very hard.. just take my word on this.

Anonymous said...

rosh, now I get you. you are what they used to call a 'teacher's pet' at school. No offense some people are just born that way. rock on, Dude! :)

xpat xtraordinaire said...

rosh you are relentless, very well said by the poster above me... and iym, revise your attitude and that sinful grin. passports are not just legal documents that allow you the previlige of travel, as you make them out to be... whether it that or a permenant residency status, a lot of things come with it. at least be honest about that.

rosh said...

brooklyn - thanks for the last post. I see your points, respect 'em – but differ from some views.

This debate can get lengthy for a single post. To put it across briefly - my sentiments/logic is very similar to IYM's. I couldn't have said it better. From my opportunities to have traveled and to have worked across a few nations, I have come to realize or see things from a larger perspective.

In today's world of globalization -I think, an average education + pretty damn hard work + tons of perseverance will take you more places than any passport. After a point, it really doesn't matter to be honest.

Having said that - I agree in the UAE we didn't have the stability of sorts in the early years. Even though I never realized this whilst growing up - the feeling actually "hit" me when I saw things from the outside i.e. why not have a green card process in the UAE, why am I not naturalized in spite of being born/raised here and so on.

There are plenty of debates with fellow uaeians (both locals and native expat offsprings). A common sentiment most (not all) of us agreed upon is - yes there should be a due process towards naturalization, however in due course. One needs to understand this country, it growing years (it is still in it's infant stages) and it's local demographics.

Personally, I won't be happy if ALL long term expats are naturalized - primarily because we'll just out number the locals and more importantly, such immediate large scale naturalization is impossible for any nation to handle/take on – from any perspective.

So you know, not all long term expats think like localexpat or myself. For instance, (god forbid) say Iran walks into the UAE or another foreign nation (say the UK or India) declares war - how many of the long term say - UK or Indian expats would stay back and fight against their own "home countries", inspite if naturalized UAE citizens? I suppose you can see why it gets complicated for this young country.

I firmly believe a large scale naturalization process shall bring more negative than positive for all citizens. It's just too much for any nation to take on. Just view American sentiments with the latest immigration bill? I say give it time - things will change, look at Bahrain today. However I do wish there is a due permanent residency process for long term expats. To cut it short - today we have some added stability, even if that's via homeownership

Sans a green card/naturalization -I think I've had the best of everything an average child needed his growing years. I am not going to claim "suffering" or being "unfortunate" or an orphan because I wasn’t naturalized. Primarily because my life, my past, the growing up memoirs in the UAE matters most - it matters far beyond another man made border or document. I refuse to be bitter, and forget the opportunities this nation extended to my (then) young folks when they moved to the UAE.

Re: resident of the US, yes means I have a green card. Unlike UAE, the US work visa expires after 6 years and cannot be renewed indefinitely till retirement. It has been 5 years since the GC and am eligible for naturalization. I chose not to, because it really makes no difference at this point. I am not an American, and I don’t think being naturalized will make an American.

rosh said...

lol anon 6:20. I was many things whilst at school - but never a "teacher's pet" :(

:)

bklyn_in_dubai said...

yeah ok, this dialogue is winding down but one last point i want to differ from, and this is a general one. the line of this country being a young one, in infant stages blah blah is so tired, and such a transparent government line that gets trotted out when it suits them. the uae is one of the wealthier countries. wealth came fast, and unlike say saudia or nigeria, the sheikhs have done a good job of spreading the wealth to locals. everything economics-wise has developed at light speed, but things in the social realm have gone at a snail's pace. why, because their understanding hasn't kept up? please. these are shrewd people at the upper echelons. it is to their, and to the big-scale ecnomic actors' advantage that social changes such as labor rights (lower level of course, but also of pros -- how many of you hold your own passports, especially the subcons?)be held back as long as possible. this business of culture being flooded if they let in too many expats is just so much fig leaf dressing. the population is 90% expat in dubai, and whether you naturalize them or not is immaterial to cultural flows. they will drag their feet on things like minimum wage (this country is literally built on the low or no wages paid to expat subcon laborers), residency for long term expats, freedom of speech/press/movement. and they'll be able to drag bc too many people are invested in the faustian bargain -- we'll give you a better economic life if you forego all the other stuff. and most people are willing, even the laborers. and the ones that protest end up in jail then deported.

IYM said...

Watch your mouth Xpat Xtraordinaire.. I'm not the one who should get an attitude lesson.
You guys don't get the truth. Well, this is our reality.. just live with it.
Are we causing any major damage to you guys by not giving you our citizinship ? I don't think so..
I really don't think so.
Most of expats in UAE are happy with their quality of life.. just be content.
This country is a very giving one and will continue to be the same. I hope you know this.

Anonymous said...

iym you go girl! some people just want it all, and want it all in their own selfish ways.

rosh, it is people like you (both local and expats) whom our country needs. we want those who will stick with us thru thick and thin and not because we have some oil today and sand tomorrow.

to those expats who think the uae is a huge labour camp, please don't come here, if it is so bad for you. we have many honest people who work tirelessly to improve life for all.

IYM said...

Thank you Anon for understanding..
I said what I said out of personal experience. Although I'm a UAE citizin, but here in Canada I'm an expat ( doing my postgrad training ). I respect their rules and abide by them. And I care less about critisizing how the Canadian governement functions towards us because simply I'm content with what I have over here. Why to fight for some rights that are not mine to start with ?
I can apply for Canadian citizinship but I do NOT want to because I'm loyal to UAE; my birth place.. my career plans are all for UAE where my ties are .
And yes we do need ppl like Rosh to stay with us and nourish and flourish our economy like we're doing, not for anything but for just being loyal and respectful to our culture and people.

rosh said...

"the line of this country being a young one, in infant stages blah blah is so tired, and such a transparent government line that gets trotted out when it suits them."

What makes it tiring for you? This IS a young nation, 36 is a young age. You are an American today - 40 years ago, the black community was treated inhumanely. 100 years ago there was slavery.

Today, yeah it's all corrected to an extent - however United States arrived at such realization via time and thru due process - not when it was "36yrs" old!

Likewise your own home nation - India. I don't even know where to begin in terms of governmental corruption,illegality, "purchasing power" of most people with influence - and zero value for an Indian life IN India.

"the uae is one of the wealthier countries. wealth came fast, and unlike say saudia or nigeria, the sheikhs have done a good job of spreading the wealth to locals."

The way you talk about it seems -all else out there "give it all away" for free to foreigners? Have you visited Bur Dubai - check out filthy rich Sindi community or the Iranian community or the Guju community. These folks have made plenty of wealth. The thousands of expats who have had the chance to make better livelihood here - ofcourse all of them worked hard at it, however the opportunity existed as well. Plenty of young enterprenal and educated Indians & Arbas have found fantastic career opportunities right here in the UAE.

"everything economics-wise has developed at light speed, but things in the social realm have gone at a snail's pace. why, because their understanding hasn't kept up?"

Yes true - and this is partly a reason I say, it is still young. Never judge a book by it's cover - is it?

"please. these are shrewd people at the upper echelons. it is to their, and to the big-scale economic actors' advantage that social changes such as labor rights"

Yes, but let me ask you this - do you come from a country that's just into giving away it’s resources and rights with a large sized heart AND a huge mother Teresa smile? This is the ways of working across the globe - everyone has a price for everything. There is never a free lunch. Given that you live in Brooklyn - perhaps you should know better?

"how many of you hold your own passports, especially the subcons?)be held back as long as possible."

Oh phuleazzze! It is against the UAE law to hold passports of foreigners - WHO DO YOU THINK holds the passports? Let me be honest here (since you are an Indian American). There are plenty of Indians in the UAE, most (not all) Indians treat Indians pretty shabby. I know of Indians who hold back passports of people (indians) they bring into this country. I know many who collect monies for visas and travel into the UAE, promise the moon & honey and leave the helpless souls stranded in the UAE. Read my earlier post on "this moved me" – and you shall see who else is involved in taking advantage of these helpless labourers.

I realize the country needs to have stronger streamlined process and laws in place - yes that is a weakness. I really wish the enforcement for such crime is immediate.

So you know ,passports are NOT held back in every firm and across the country. Firms and people with ZERO ethics hold back passports. My passport has never been held back by an employer in the almost 3 decades I’ve lived here.

Be objective in your views. Please don't come into this country - have an unfortunate flow of events, perhaps, partly given your ways of working - be hurt/bitter about it -and use a Fulbright scholarship as a pretext to walk all over this nation, that would be plain unfortunate/wrong. Inject the objectivity, fairness & ethics you are capable off.

I won't deny there is much work to done in terms of human rights, equality etc and be at par with most EU and Americas. I shall not deny all things are fair either - however, like in most place - it's a totally different setup in the UAE as well. Give it time, and let her grow, have time to see the world and adapt.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rosh,
Its extremely interesting to read your blog especially since first of all I am in your situation, born and raised in the UAE, not a national even though my father has been there for 30 years now and is a significant part of the Sharjah industrial economic success. Being Christian of course doesn't help and being originally Palestinian with a Jordanian passport makes it all a little more confusing when having to explain to other people where you're from. It's like you have to explain an essay.

Anyway so right now I'm doing my masters in Paris and the topic I am writing about is how Expats who are born and raised in the UAE, or if you like "UAEians", identify themselves. When asked where you come from what do you answer? What has this done to your sense of being patriotic? Are your feelings stronger for your country of origin or for the UAE? Does this feeling of not fully belonging to the UAE make you feel like you dont belong anywhere or like you are a citizen of the world? Do you think it causes you a sense of anxiety that you can't get rid of? Or do you fee l like a true cosmopolitan?

Others feel free to input on this...
and Rosh I hope you don't feel like I'm taking over this opportunity and using up your blog. If you like we can have this conversation over email.

Cheers

ghassan said...

rosh i can understend your comment. i am a second generation expat adult in dubai. I hope to have permanent residency in the uae, because I do not know any other place any better. it is not a perfect place but am happy. i do not want a citizenship or benefits that come with it, because we are foortunate living in uae.

brooklyn you are talking some valid points but I ask you to please be sensitive on how things work in dubai. this is not the usa, it is the uae and as an american you should be sensitive to different cultures and how things work in the arab world.

i thnk criticism is good as long as it with good intentions. but it is sad to hear visitors talk garbage (when they do not know the entire story) with no honesty and only to make it all look bad.

many long term expat arabs (like me) iranians, indians and westerners are proud of dubai. locals don't walk over me just because i am not a citizen. i love my local friends and my home, it is not perfect but i love it anyway.

BuJ said...

Rosh.. I like your use of "Fulbright scholarship" :-)

IYM said...

Welcome to UAE Ghassan..
May our country flourish and nourish with us (locals) and with good quality expats like you guys..
God bless you..

rosh said...

Thanks anon 8:11AM, feel free to write to me @ lostuaeian@gmail.com and I shall share my thoughts in more detail.

Ghassan, thank you for your kind words. This indeed is a beautiful place, and we are blessed to have grown up here :)

BuJ - heh :)

IYM, god bless you too walla :)