Monday, April 14, 2008

making up minds

Think, I have finally said something I have always known, but perhaps never chose to believe. Fellow blogger Proud Emirati had this post @ UAECB on demographic imbalance.

Just a heads up, it could be a touchy debate.

Though not a simple task given any stretch, I believe it shall be for the better for all (citizens & those expatriates) should the government put forth honest thoughts & prospective plans in order to have a demographic balance. Personally, in my mind, I believe the concept of constant temporariness, which has forever been attached to the UAE, shall be removed to a large extent. Below is a response to Proud Emirati's post @ UAECB.

"Indeed true PE: do the powers, believe in all this? I think whatever can be done to minimize the drastic imbalance is quite fine - after all, one shouldn't feel alien in one's own home.

That said, on one hand you've got all this crazy construction and the world's largest airport with Emirates beefing up it's fleet - on the other, you've got to tackle imbalance. Simple math, dictates imbalance is set to continue.

There isn't much the govt can do, unless they decide, to slow down growth and the economy. It is your leaders who wish to grow and propel the economy - I think it's a brilliant idea. However, bottom line, your govt or the UAE cannot do so, without external help. Think of it this way - an economy with say a million people isn't much of a market for major businesses to operate. People and their spending power make an economy.

"I don't think that expatriates should feel threatened because..."

You need to partly realize, end of the day, people shall move to work and make a living where they are comfortable. To be quite honest, the concept of "constant temporariness" what makes the UAE least attractive. For instance, I was born there, I was raised there - and I moved out 7 years ago. There have been opportunities, and I shall admit, plenty of heartfelt sentiments to return - however, I haven't given in. Am fine where I am.

What am saying is - take a stand, implement it, and be honest about it."


the real nick said...

Rosh, wishful thinking is just that, wishful.

The residency laws cannot be changed beyond the status quo: job-sponsored, or property(investor) sponsored, always contingent on law abiding behaviour. It is the one and only way the local populace can control the beast they've unleashed.

Sheikh Mo's mentality has been described to me once with a metaphor by someone who knows. The sheikh is a keen horseman. He himslef is not actually doing the galloping and jumping, but he's holding the reins.

In other words, Dubai is Mo's best horse.

That makes Sharjah its arsehole, :)

rosh said...

Wishful thinking, perhaps so?That said, wishful thinking has brought about practical ways to life.

The point to this post (and comment @ UAECB) is to help clarify, what clearly is it they wish to do. I don't think many folks completely get the sentiment. It's important to have some sort of attachment to a place where one grew up, it matters - even if the place is a cattle farm. That said, if there isn't a chance in hell that shall happen, it'd help a whole lot of people to move on. Do not entice with a fudged pretext of an "opportunity" to purchase a "home" a chance for residency etc and throw in demographic concerns.

Personally, I think it is most unfortunate, that, most UAE folks, are quite oblivious to sentiments of those who've lived there for generations. Most have such little grasp of sentiments of the 2nd/3rd generation offspring's, and am not saying it's anybody's fault.

the real nick said...


I think Emiratis know exactly what they want but are afraid, or too polite, to say it openly. They want sustained progress and money through foreign skills and labour without permitting rights to be acquired. The jackpot is theirs, and not to be shared.
For me personally that's fine, I don't care much for the place. It's a workplace for me.

I'm afraid, you better get used to having no real home unless and until you decide to settle down and start a family in a place that accepts you as a citizen and fully paid up member of society.

The UAE never will.

rosh said...

Am aware, all but quite aware. And if so - then let it be, which is what am trying to say - make it transparent.

Re: "Jackpot". Pardon, it's quite insensitive & demeaning to assume, people living there are doing so, for some holy Jackpot. Personally, I find that insulting. I respect what you say - that said, unless you've got something that isn't quite oblivious on something personally sensitive, please spare me details, I haven't heard before.

I apologize for being on the edge, nothing else ticks me of as much. Sort of hard to explain, not impossible to overcome. There is no reason for someone like I, who's got this fantastic career going, perhaps in one of the world's most amazing cities - has his own home, freedoms I haven't had before and a whole bunch of people to call friends, take the time, effort to debate - 'cause emotionally, there is a whole lot attached.

the real nick said...


I understand you were born and brought up in the UAE and know a lot of locals, defnintely more than I do - which means that you may be too close to the issue to judge objectively.

If you find the 'jackpot' remark insensitive because in your experience you have encountered mostly hardworking and welcoming locals then you obviously do not see the bigger picture. The entire development of the UAE mover the last 40 years or so is founded on and funded by oil revenues, even though Dubai today makes it seem as if Sheikh Mohammed and his elite management entourage have singlehandledy invented the Emirates on the back of his visions. Bullshit. The 'seed' trillions are oil money; money for the dredging of the creek to construction of Jebel Ali etc. It is a jackpot to discover oil, in a poor and troubled region at that.

It, and all that stems from it is controled and shared, or not, by a handful families - the very ones who pass laws and decrees such as on residency. So, yes, the jackpot is being shared amongst the locals themselves, at varying degrees, such as free utilities.

rosh said...

Nick - firstly I apologize for that bit of an outburst (there are a few things going on) I know you mean well.

I understand what you say. The point trying to get across (and its quite stale now) for many like I, that tiny place has quite a lot of value, and it has almost nothing to do with this so called Jackpot. You know, none amongst us really care or had any share of this pot - most of my friends and folks worked hard to make a living and most of us are quite successful, spread across the world today.

Some amongst my friends have accepted new homes - whilst some, like I are unable to do so. After a point and into your 30's it'd be nice to go home, even if perks and pay are lower and certain freedoms perhaps non existent - 'cause it feels like home.

That's all I am saying. Throwing around jackpots comes across a tad demeaning.

Thanks for your pennyworth - I do value what you say.

the real nick said...


No need to apologize since no offence was taken.

Look at the bright side. Unlike many others for whom the UAE is a beacon of hope to escape poverty or turmoil back home, in Bagladesh, Sri Lanka, rural India, Lebanon or the Phillipines, you, or I, can chose to live almost anywhere and make a decent living.

I would say whilst most of the expats in the UAE do have home countries, i.e. they were born outside the UAE, but very few of them actually want to live there.

You do not have to pin your hopes on the Gulf countries.

rosh said...

Ah! Mr Nick, perhaps you aren't getting what am conveying. Economics has NOTHING to do with this debate and I really don't need to pin hopes on anything/anywhere - as far as am concerned, it's a free world.

I would love to have the option of visiting this home mom bought me into as an infant - walking in her garden, spending time with them, caring for them, spending time with my friends, neighbours, the high school, shwarmah outlets, local church etc all - just being around the neighbourhood I spent growing up, without it all dependent on some silly work visa. It's like you visiting your family home, and each time you visit, you need to make sure you do not exceed 60 days without a visa extension.

Anyway, whatever, am done with debate - it's not gonna change in my lifetime, there are plenty of native sentiments involved and life is too short, so I've come to accept the way things are and possibly the next 100 years! So there am done.

BuJ said...

Rosh, sometimes spending too much time at UAECB can be counter-productive.

S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
i*maginate said...

real prick needs new post

BuJassem said...

You're very true about this:

"constant temporariness"

rosh said...

Hey thanks BuJ: it's like you can never "settle". You've got to be on your feet to move somewhere, anytime, any day - no remote guarantees towards anything being stable. Your friends, your home, neighbourhood, your present - almost everything you've know since birth can just vanish away anytime. And in case you forget and unconsciously settle into some sort of normalcy/stability - there are always reminders.

You've lived in one home for almost 32 years - it's rented, never yours, can't buy it even if you are willing to pay twice as much.

Why? I do not understand why?

Apologies - am ranting again, need to better control this Pandora's box thingy.

BuJassem said...

Mr Rosh :-)

I agree with you on all of that. The bare bone options are:

1-Settle in the UAE and be aware of the "temporary" nature of all things, although you might never actually be asked to leave.

2- Settle elsewhere, but this means you'll be away from the land and people you love.

Pandora's box indeed :)

have a top day

rosh said...

"although you might never actually be asked to leave"

Mr BuJ: I just want to add - the above may have held true in the old UAE, when we were a bit more socialist society.

In today's super capitalistic globalized DXB/UAE - one cannot count on stability or permanency all dependent on a job visa. Am with Mergers & Acquisitions practice - perhaps there is more permanency & stability when you are floating in space than having a guaranteed job under globalized capitalism - unless of course you are doing your own business.

rosh said...

BuJ: firstly, mucho shukrans for your thoughts and the time :) The bare bone options, aren't actually "options". In my opinion you can't tell someone, well, it's either your life and future or your memories of life which made you what your are :)

That said: personally, am fine - perfectly fine as possibly can be. If there is anything as an alternative home - I couldn't have asked for anything better than the horribly lovely NYC :)

You know, my thougths & life is nothing - absolutely nothing compared to many fellow beings, for instance, the brothers at Palestine or the far less fortunte in Africa/Asia. At times though I feel a bit ashamed debating this topic like a spoilt brat, I do so only 'cause it troubles me within.

All said, I do worry for the future generations similar to me and the UAE. I do worry, when the monies and oil are exhausted, and people move away with savings - whom shall be there to help her stand and walk the real world.