Friday, February 12, 2010

The opulence of Dubai

In Deira the other day I thought of the image Brand Dubai has generated overseas.

A picture's been drawn of luxury, opulence, wealth, the biggest, the tallest...

Walk through Deira though and you see the Dubai that isn't publicised overseas. From the stories I'd guess that most visiting journalists never see it and don't even know it exists.

We don't all drive around in luxurious cars or 4x4s...




It's not all, and only, huge marble-tiled shopping malls...



It isn't all high-end designer label boutiques...



We don't all live in super-luxury apartments or villas...



It's not all fancy jobs with huge expat salary packages, maids and gardeners...


It's a pity there's no balance in the stories.

10 comments:

siddiq said...

reality, good and bad, day and night
Rich and poor very complex world

Anonymous said...

Seabee - I thought you used to be in marketing? Do you really think that the photos you shoot of Deira and similar areas in Dubai should be part of 'Brand Dubai's' marketing campaigns? Do you suppose that anyone behind 'Brand Dubai' wants to publicise Deira? What is the purpose of 'Brand Dubai's' marketing campaigns? In brief, to lure western and wealthy tourists to holiday in Dubai and to attract western and wealthy expatriates to work in Dubai. Is publicising Deira to the demographics from whence these tourists and expats come going to assist with such campaigns?

As for the stories written by visiting journalists (i.e. the western media) - why would you expect them to pay more than passing attention to Deira? For all its charms (which you share with us on this blog) would articles on Deira really interest western readers and sell more magazines and newspapers? Just as western readers are not particularly interested in reading about inner city Karachi or downtown Cairo, why should they be interested in Deira? And have you ever considered that there may be a separate media campaign extolling different virtues of Dubai to newspaper readers in Lahore or Kerala, which might perhaps cover Deira or areas like it in the way you think 'Brand Dubai' and the western media should be doing?

So your statement that [i]t's a pity there's no balance in the stories, in my opinion, says more to me about you and your state of mind than anything about 'Brand Dubai' or the western media's coverage of Dubai. Me thinks you are a tad ashamed to be living among the very people who 'Brand Dubai' has deliberately attracted to Dubai. Can I ask why you and Mrs Seabee do not live in Deira? Surely you could afford to? After all, you enjoy visiting it, having meals there, shopping there etc. (and you certainly post a lot about it and other poorer areas of Dubai). Instead you have chosen to live in an area of Dubai (the Dubai Marina) with plenty of nearby huge marble-tiled shopping malls, with many high-end designer label boutiques, next door to (or probably in the same building as) super-luxury apartments with your car parked alongside luxurious cars or 4x4s and, no doubt, you and/or your wife have fancy jobs with huge expat salary packages (or run a business whose customers are predominantly those with such jobs) and I challenge you to deny that you do not employ a domestic servant. To the inhabitants of Deira, your standard of living is probably indistinguishable from that of the wealthy expat living in the penthouse of your Dubai Marina apartment block. Your use of the collective we in your post, in an effort, perhaps, to exhibit some solidarity with the inhabitants of Deira in opposition to the archetypal 4x4 driving expat, is probably quite laughable to such Deira folk.

By all means continue to post about Deira, Satwa and other areas of Dubai that are not otherwise covered by the western media sources generally available to western readers such as myself - I for one do enjoy seeing your photographs of these areas and reading your descriptions. But be aware that when you use such posts to try and suggest that these areas and their inhabitants are worthy of equal coverage to the glitzy parts of Dubai (in which you spend the majority of your time) you simply reveal (at least to me) that you are personally uneasy about your own circumstances which differ greatly from those of the residents of Deira and that you are implicitly explaining away your own relatively privileged lifestyle in Dubai by railing against the neglect of areas such as Deira by the Dubai publicity machine, the western media and no doubt many of your interlocutors in the Dubai Marina.

Seabee said...

Anon@4.06 that's a long comment, longer than my original post, and I won't answer it line by line.

It does require an answer though, because you've based your comments on totally false assumptions, and you have seriously misrepresented me. You've misread what I'm saying, presumably to support your preconceived ideas.

You also somehow believe you're qualified to psychoanalise complete strangers, forming and stating firm opinions on how they live, how they think, what motivates them.

It would seem that you base your knowledge of Dubai and its residents on the biased, highly selective, sensationalist pieces presented by tabloid journalists.

You've misinterpreted what I was saying, or trying to say, about the promotion of Brand Dubai. I'm not suggesting anything other than the fact that I think the older, more traditional, areas of the city should be included in the picture, not New Dubai exclusively which is the way it's been projected by our own promotions and by visiting journalists. Many tourists, not just those coming to Dubai, want to see the history, the culture of the places they're visiting.

While they've enjoyed seeing the amazing new developments, all the visitors I've shown around have most enjoyed the traditional areas - of which they were totally unaware. They've all said the highlight was the abra ride across the Creek. That's much the same as me seeking out and enjoying the historic parts of cities I visit overseas, which I always do in preference to the modern areas.

We've never met, you don't know me yet you come up with the bizarre statement that I'm ashamed of living where I do. Why on earth would I live somewhere that I was ashamed of? Do you? Does anybody?

Why do we not live in Deira? Or Bur Dubai? Because I can't buy property there. Foreigners can only buy property in designated areas of New Dubai. If I could have bought in the original city I would have done so, somewhere near the Creek would have been my preference.

"I challenge you to deny that you do not employ a domestic servant." Another very erroneous idea planted by tabloid writers. We do not employ maids, gardeners, drivers or anyone else, nor do we have cleaners coming in. We do not employ any domestic servants of any kind. The nearest I get to that is to pay someone to clean my car once a week.

Incidentally, I've just had lunch with three other couples, westerners as it happens, none of whom employ any domestic servants either.

"Your use of the collective we in your post, in an effort, perhaps, to exhibit some solidarity with the inhabitants of Deira" What a ridiculous proposition. The use of 'we' is not sinister, it's nothing more than the correct word to use when talking about all of us who live in Dubai, as in "We don't all drive luxury cars".

"you simply reveal (at least to me) that you are personally uneasy about your own circumstances which differ greatly from those of the residents of Deira and that you are implicitly explaining away your own relatively privileged lifestyle in Dubai by railing against the neglect of areas such as Deira by the Dubai publicity machine" What a very strange way of interpreting what I write about the old traditional areas which I prefer to the new - as I do, I must say, in many many cities around the world. I'm saying no more than that, I'm not in the least uneasy about living where I do nor do I feel any need to 'explain away my privileged lifestyle' - any more than I do back in Oz.

Dimple said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr. Hala Hashad said...

وتنصح عيادة كايا للجلدية، الرائدة في مجال العناية بالبشرة، باتخاذ عدّة خطوات للانتعاش والراحة ما بعد العطلة، واستعادة التوهج والاشراق لبقية الموسم.

الهالات السوداء حول العين: إن أول خطوة للتقليل من هذه الهالات السوداء هي الحصول على قسط كاف من النوم خلال الليل. ويمكن اتخاذ اجراء سريع وهو استخدام "كونسيلر" جيد، ولكن للمزيد من المعالجة التي تستمر لفترة أطول يجب استشارة طبيب جلدية.


الدكتورة هالة حشاد
(عيادة كايا)

Kaya said...

ونحن في عيادة كايا للجلدية نؤمن بضرورة تبجيل هذا اليوم تقديرا ً منا لإنجازات النساء وذلك من خلال توفير هذا العرض المميز لهنّ في جميع عياداتنا المنتشرة في كافة أنحاء دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة.


- الدكتورة هالة حشاد
(عيادة كايا)

Greeneye said...

I just found your Blog and love it. I agree that its a pity that the workaday and vibrant areas such as Deira and Satwa cannot be represented alongside the temples of bling. Dubai is more interesting and complex than the malls and 5 star hotels can ever reveal.

Kaya said...

هذا الشتاء للحصول على بشرة جميلة, ان تذهب لكايا متقدم الوجهي. أنها لا تقوم بتكرير الجلد عن طريق إزالة اماكن السوداء وتجاوزها الملمس, ولكن تجدد أنها كذلك من خلال تشجيع أعذب, تنظف الجلد إلى السطح, في 55 دقيقة فقط وتستطيع أن ترى آثار فورية!

الدكتورة هالة حشاد
(عيادة كايا)

joye said...

thats really a good shared posting about dubai.
Book your tickets to dubai

Dubai Property said...

That's too much shocking for me to see that such places are also there in Dubai. There is discrimination between poor and rich everywhere on matter it is Dubai or India.