Monday, October 20, 2008

Crass stupidity

I can't believe the crass stupidity that goes on here.

Where do we get these management people from?

Have a look at this photograph. I was told by a security guard that I was not allowed to take it.

A secret military installation? A royal villa? A bank vault?

No, it's apartment blocks.



Jumeirah Beach Residence of course.

The security lady was very polite, I was polite in return (no point shooting the messenger, she's only obeying orders) and told her it was a public area and they were just apartment blocks. She said she had instructions to stop people taking photographs, it was not permitted.

Google Jumeirah Beach Residence and you're given 104,000 websites to look at. The developer Dubai Property's own website comes up first and it's full of photographs, as are the others.

But they've instructed the security guards to stop people taking photographs.

I can take photographs of the White House, of Buckingham Palace, of the Ministry of Defence, but I can't take a photograph of an apartment block.

Unbelievable stupidity.

I was on the Plaza level, which is a retail section. Plenty of shops are open and at all the staircase entry points the passing public is directed to it:



A public retail area surrounded by apartment blocks and the management has decided that taking photographs should be prohibited.

I've run into this stupidity before too.

In one of our hypermarkets I took this photograph:



A security guard there also told me photography wasn't allowed.

I simply can't get into the mindset of management who come up with this nonsense.

Do they think it's an invasion of the curry powder's privacy?

Do they think I'll sell the photographs to a terrorist organisation which has sacks of spices high on its bombing target list?

What the hell is in these people's minds that they come up with this level of stupidity?

17 comments:

Incedere said...

Crass stupidity? Perhaps, perhaps not.

I ran into the same situation in Spinneys. They had these new dispensing machines for dal, nuts, and other items. My wife wanted to know what they had, so I tried to take a snap, but a security guard nearly wrestled the phone from my hand. I made a big stink about it, enough that I am sure most people made sure to avoid the aisle, muttering "a$$%&*(" as they moved on. But eventually a manager came out, and tried to explain that it was company policy, it's their property, and something that I think related to the idea about their prices being confidential information. At least that is what I think he was getting at.

Speaking with some long time residents of Dubai, I got the impression that these "no photographs" policies in hypermarkets came about due to a few perverts taking snaps of women, which ended up causing bad publicity for the stores when mentioned in the media.

As for the buildings...

From the developer's point of view, it seems like a sensible move, seeing as how most of the apartments look vacant. Very few have curtains, and the place looks like a set from an end-of-the-world movie. 28 Days Later: Dubai.

Seeing as how property values are on a cliff edge, and credit for speculative real estate investments has dried up, pictures like that would put the lie to all the happy good times blather that passes for economic news here.

So yes. It does make sense. By this time next year, it probably won't be a security guard making an objection. It'll be someone from CID asking you over to their place for a chat.

samuraisam said...

I run into the same situation everywhere. It's annoying.
I've never actually been told by a police officer that I cannot take a photo, just security guards who imply that my camera is too 'big'.

IMHO its because the greedy companies want to charge everyone for shooting permissions.

Anonymous said...

Dont blame the guards, most of their are like drones, and cant process questions apart from "what time is it?" ......

One reason for over-enthusiastic photography policies might stem from the fact that many of the "managers" or decision makers come from environments where the state and secret police are hypersensitive to anything that can be interpreted as anti-state activities. Baathist countries were the number 1 culprit in general....

However, over last few years, even so-called first world countries have become sensitive to picture-taking so its an overall worldwide trend.

incedere, talking of rosy markets and what not, many people here actually feel the govt should not allow prices to fall, and should act against people who predict prices to fall (again, a product of Baathist or despotic mentality, where "thinking" of wrong things is punishable by law or torture).

However, time will tell the direction where markets will go...

Mars said...

i think its stupid too, even though incedere makes a valid point.

Seabee said...

Incedere prices are not confidential in supermarkets. They're on public display and anyone, including the competition, can simply walk in, see them, and note them down. And they publicise the prices in their own advertisements anyway.

Pervets? That's an obvious different thing from aiming your camera, withut hiding the fact, at vending machines or spice bags!

As for JBR, as I said in my rant, photographs of the apartment blocks appear on tens of thousands of websites and in print media all over the world. Just have a look at some.

There's no valid reason for it in these places so, yes, the policy is crass stupidity.

Abid said...

I ran into the same situation at Lulu's.

You can't blame the security guards...they are simply doing their jobs.

Duffy said...

This problem is not unique to Dubai. Bloggers in the US and UK have run into the same thing.

D said...

Definitely stupid... I understand the part about perverts taking photographs, but like you pointed out, pointing a camera at curry or nuts is not the same.

Confidential prices? Just send one employee to a competitors market and note the prices in your head; whadya need a photo for?

I've been told not to take photographs in the KV foodcourt, goodness knows why...

Seabee said...

Ah yes D, KV foodcourt is another highly sensitive area. Something to do with national security I expect.

samuraisam said...

the whole of kv, media city and internet city requires permission for photography issued by tecom...

This is except for the security guards who began taking photographs of people who were smoking during ramadan. They began taking photos of me (I was next to someone who was smoking, I do not smoke), the first thing I asked them was where their tecom permission was, but they didn't care too much.

Seabee said...

To the best of my knowledge, UAE law does not allow people to be photographed without their permission. And obviously sensitive or military locations can't be photographed.

But I know of no law which prohibits photography of bog standard buildings or streets, beaches, cars, shops, the Creek or anything like them.

Are places like the Tecom zone above and beyond the law of the land?

i*maginate said...

To the best of my knowledge, UAE law does not allow people to be photographed without their permission - true. I can't stand it when ppl don't understand or know about this cultural sensitivity.

Re: pics in supermarkets, once these ladies with their mum tried to get in a bi*tchfight with me so I took their photo and showed it to the manager of the store, and he didn't say anything, he just ran after them. But yes, not being able to take pics in these kinds of places doesn't make sense. Ref incedere's point about the properties looking empty, this must be the reason. Even though the websites you mention, seabee, that show the properties, I assume they are not taken at night, when one can see so many empty flats! And no, incedere, come this time next year, they will be more full as singletons are conveniently banned from villas :)

Seabee said...

i*, you're absolutely right, in daylight you can't tell whether the apartments are occupied or not, the windows simply reflect the sunlight. Daylight photos are used on all the websites because they give the best impression of the buildings.

But even at night it can be deceptive. My building is 100% full, but there aren't lights on in every apartment on any evening.

I don't think there's a conspiracy going on here, the management is not that bright, it's just stupidity.

Seabee said...

Duffy that's true. In the UK earlier this year we drove through the tollgate on Dartford bridge - an old, insignificant, irrelevant tollgate. Like a twenty year old Salik, with cash payment booths. Mrs Seabee had her camera on her lap and the toll collector suddenly screamed, red in the face, "NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS!" as though it was some important military installation. It was part of the paronaoia I was very aware of there.

i*, you're absolutely right, in daylight you can't tell whether the apartments are occupied or not, the windows simply reflect the sunlight. Daylight photos are used on all the websites because they give the best impression of the buildings.

But even at night it can be deceptive. My building is 100% full, but there aren't lights on in every apartment on any evening.

I don't think there's a conspiracy going on here, the management is not that bright, it's just stupidity.

emma said...

We were stopped from taking photos at a restaurant in dubai city center once and their reason was that we might be stealing their decor design.

ZeTallGerman said...

I've never understood the paranoia of restaurants and supermarkets in the UAE. Once, I had to do a price survey for my company, meaning that I visited various supermarkets and compared the prices of certain items. As I had an obvious folder & flipchart, I thought I'd be professional and asked permission from the store manager. He said "no", without any logical explanation. I told him that at least I had to decency to ask, I could have just jotted down the prices secretly on my shopping list. He had no comment to that. Idiots.

Anonymous said...

I am emirati and the guards and other workers are almost indians . So they also dont know that there's no problem with taking photos . In other meaning, you can do whatever you want you dont have to lestin to them unless if they are cops

You can call it stubidity beacause they answer something they dont know