Thursday, October 02, 2008

Better off in Dubai

We talk very often about the sub-standard accommodation which the lower paid, labourers in particular, endure in Dubai.

There's no doubt that too many are not housed appropriately, but while I in no way condone people being treated in any way other than decently I believe that it's important to always put things in context. People from different parts of the world have a different view, different culture, different standards, different expectations from each other.

(I'm struggling with this a bit, I need to be very careful with the words so that what I'm trying to say is not misunderstood).

I couldn't live with ten or more people in a small room. I couldn't live in a broom cupboard. I couldn't leave my wife behind and see her only for a few weeks every two years. But I'm from a prosperous western society and inevitably I look at things from that background.

But as I posted here back in January, people do and can live in a way that I and most, if not all, westerners wouldn't accept.

In the conversations I posted about then I asked 'why stay here under those conditions, why not go home'?

The answers were 'it's better in Dubai'.

Mrs Seabee has just come back from a business trip to India, the camera chip full. A lot of the photographs are of the modern buildings, the five-star hotels, the smart offices reflecting the booming economy.

But she also took a lot of street scenes, which help to explain the 'it's better in Dubai' answers.

The shots were taken from the car as she was being driven through Mumbai and New Delhi.

Thousands of people living on the streets, under bridges, in doorways, in drainage pipes. And in hovels cobbled together from cardboard boxes, bits of corrugated iron, plastic bags. Surrounded by garbage.

She asked her driver about the people who lived like this and he told her that a lot of them were construction workers.

Here's a handful of the shots showing accommodation in which people in Mumbai and New Delhi are living. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them, to better see the awful reality:

They help to give the view from a different perspective, to make some kind of sense of why people are prepared to live here in a way that I couldn't. Living in a broom cupboard in Dubai is actually better than back home.


dave said...

It's good that Mrs Seabee took the time and had the inclination to take these photo's. It shows she is also concerned about their living conditions.

So many others would have driven by without a second glance......

sea life said...

OMG, I´m very impressed, now I understand them much more :(

Ali said...

Yes.. I remember when I visited India as a child and saw those conditions, broke my heart to be honest...

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Anonymous said...

This is partly true. Some people live like this in Dubai, purely so that they can (and do) liv elike kings back home. It really is a choice for a lot of people here.

Keith said...

Thanks for the visit to my page. I can appreciated what you are saying; that most of these people have known no other way of life, and to them living like that is the norm.

My quality of life now that I am a single pensioner is poor by western standards (can't afford to run the heating in the winter etc.) but by Indian standards I live like a king!