View Full Version : Atleast we are not Dubai

04-21-2010, 01:24 AM
At least we are not Dubai

By George Fulton
April 21, 2010
George Fulton is a freelance broadcast and print journalist.

We haven’t got a lot to be thankful for these days in Pakistan. But at least we are not Dubai. Fed up with loadshedding, bombs, and TV cynicism pervading Pakistan, I recently escaped to Dubai for a holiday. Big mistake. Huge. Ten days later I returned, gasping for Karachi’s polluted, but far sweeter, air. Dubai may have the world’s tallest building and the world’s largest shopping mall, but it also has the world’s tiniest soul. It’s a plastic city built in steel and glass.

It has imported all the worst aspects of western culture (excessive consumption, environmental defilement) without importing any of its benefits (democracy, art). This is a city designed for instant gratification a hedonistic paradise for gluttons to indulge in fast food, fast living and fast women. It’s Las Vegas in a dish dash. You want to eat a gold leaf date? Munch away.

You want to drink a Dhs 3,000 bottle of champagne? Bottoms up. You want a UN selection of hookers at your fingertips? Tres bien. Let’s start with the malls. These cathedrals of capitalism, these mosques of materialism are mausoleums of the living dead. Slack jawed zombies roam around consuming food, clothes and electronics in a desperate attempt to fill the emptiness of their existence.

Whilst at the Mall of the Emirates the azan goes off. Nobody appears to move to the prayer room; everyone’s too busy performing sajda before Stella McCartney, genuflecting before Gucci, and prostrating themselves at Prada. With Dubai, one recalls F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

The people are modern day Gatsbys, buying shirts that they will never wear and books they will never read. Like Fitzgerald’s roaring 20s America, Dubai is a moral failure a society obsessed with wealth and status. Everyone is trying to keep up with the Jones’ or the Javaids. You see the goras with their perma-tans, streaked highlights and their flabby cleavages.

The upwardly mobile South Asian man prances around wearing a silly shirt with a large picture of a polo player on a horse, whilst their women wear oversized sunglasses and carry oversized handbags. And the Arabs walk about with enough gold bling to blind you at ten paces. But not everything that glitters is gold. And Dubai is not only morally bankrupt it is also financially bankrupt.

Lately, Dubai, and its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum have been compared to another piece of literature — Percy Shelley’s famous poem Ozymandias, which illustrates the inevitable decline of all leaders and the empires they build. Shelley finishes it thus: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains.

Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away With $80b of debt and a stock and property market that has tanked, the comparisons with Ozymandias are apt. Abu Dhabi may have bailed them out but can Dubai survive as a regional hub in the long-term? Or will this city of hubris built on sand and folly sink back into the dunes a desert mirage that evaporates once the public relations people, the speculators and the tourists disappear?

So for all you naysayers that bemoan Pakistan and its numerous problems please temper your pessimism. Take time to celebrate our cultural, religious, linguistic plurality and richness. Stop the cynicism coursing through your corroded veins. For all its inadequacies, at least we have a democracy.

For all its irresponsibility, at least we have a robust media. For all the police corruption, at least we are not a police state. For all our littering, at least we have paper wallahs. Remind yourself that at least we have a heart. At least we have a soul. At least we are not Dubai.

04-21-2010, 04:51 AM
^ Not entirely untrue, I confess.

The more earthy and rustic you are, the less Dubai appeals. Dubai is the kind of city for people into bling, bling, and those who do naff things like wear big Nike prints on their T-Shirts and branded flip flops (I mean - who gives a flying monkeys about what the label says UNDER your shoes or whether your undershorts are Gucci or CK).

Dubai is plastic ... in expat circles they call it a third world city with a first world veneer. It's good fun for about 10 mins. The "problem" the way I see it, is that half of Karachi and Mumbai consider Dubai a glossy extension of their own cities and the social elites of these cities are just as complicit in the exploitation that goes on here.

Yes, and the sad thing is, it is that very Karachi/Mumbai crowd who do the bling, bling, Nike T-shirts and "branded" flip flops. Very desperate, and very naff.

04-21-2010, 07:18 AM
^ They consider it all that becuase it represents everything that seemingly good about life which really isnt the case. That was the purpose of putting this article here, we think we have it bad and we look towards dubai and all these glossy arab cities as "modern and developed" but really we have something that could never have, culture, heart..ive been to dubai and other emirates and i see these huge buildings and whatnot and really it jus feels weird..its hard to explain

but yeah lol im one of those guys who is "branded" from head to dad hates it, i had some time off from university so decided to pay him a visit in his him some stuff from louis vuitton, he hated it haha

04-21-2010, 07:44 AM
^ we're not samima i just doesnt have a vibe that you usually feel when you goto a different city. I mean its awesome but only for the first two nights

Master Khan
04-21-2010, 08:22 AM
And don't forget about the imported prostitutes from Russian, America etc.
I been living there for 8 days and near my hotel there were many.

04-21-2010, 08:58 AM
Sleeping in dubai for rich

For poor

Eating in Dubai for rich

For poor

Recreation in Dubai

For poor

11-22-2011, 01:27 AM
"If son of Adam were to possess two valleys of gold and silver, he would long for a third. Son of Adam, your stomach is but an ocean or a valley that cannot be filled in with anything except dust."
they have been cursed to live so close to the house of God and still be so far away from humility and virtues of islam.

11-22-2011, 01:58 AM
^ that quote is so true if you see the luxurious hotel just beside the Kaaba

11-22-2011, 02:00 AM
as for the article i agree with all the wrong things in Dubai, however there are many wrong things happening in pakistan also, especially concerning the gap between rich class and the poor, so its not only in Dubai, its pretty much in every muslim country and third world countries if you think about it. Though the gulf region should be blamed for the misuse of its wealth, i mean they dont even help themselves develop let alone helping other countries. They have no future once the oil is gone, this is a given.

11-22-2011, 02:37 AM

It saddens me how there's this race towards wealth (don't get me wrong, money/wealth has its pros as long as it is used right) and forgetting about many other things in the world ... in relation to the grand hotels being built by the Kaaba, they are destroying many historical places in order to build these grand towers... which is also helping in the increase of costs for Hajj and Umrah.