Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ignorance about Dubai

With all the publicity that Dubai's had internationally over recent years it astonishes me that there's still a huge lack of basic knowledge about the place.

While a few people, to their credit, are trying to get the facts by asking questions on forums, the questions reveal this lack of basic knowledge.

On various forums in recent weeks I've seen, for example, questions about which areas tourists to Dubai should avoid because they're unsafe, about whether women can go out on their own, about whether women can drive.

The ignorance about Dubai shows up in some of the answers too. Inevitably there are replies from people with no knowledge, who make no effort to get any. The internet is full of them.

I've seen adamant statements that women can't drive in Dubai, are spat on if they go out on their own, that bikinis can't be worn anywhere including the beach, that it's a place to be avoided at all costs. Spoken with great authority but total ignorance.

One of the very basic misunderstandings seems to be where Dubai actually is. It shows up regularly in the questions. I'd have thought it was pretty clear after all the exposure, but obviously not.

It's just come up yet again on what I think is one of the best forums, Expat Forum, with a question asking whether it's difficult being a single American woman living and working and Dubai.

The reason for the question is explained: " I've just seen a few things that make it seem like you'll need a male co worker with you at all times during meetings."

As some replies pointed out, Dubai is in the UAE not Saudi Arabia.

After all the exposure Dubai's had, people still don't even know which country it's in, whether it's a country in its own right, or perhaps even if there are different countries making up the Gulf region and if they might have different societies.

There's still a lot of work to be done by Brand Dubai.


Duffy said...

Indeed. How many times have you pointed out on this blog that every official declaration is met with a "clarification" only days later which is completely contrary to the original declaration. Either that or it further obfuscates the matter.

Jules said...

I agree. Huge amount of ignorance. Just before I moved here people told me stories of hands being chopped off and living in compounds. But what annoys me most is when people think Dubai is a country!

Robert W. said...

I live in Canada and agree that most of the world doesn't know much about Dubai. We know it's a Middle Eastern city but most probably couldn't name the country.

Other than all the massive construction going on, there is little else known about this amazing city.

The Man said...

Completely agree, it's shocking to hear some of the wrong ideas being thrown about regarding this place.

But most of this stems from basic ignorance and stereotyping. I'd go so far as to say that many of these people, who believe that women can't drive in Dubai, etc., will not even bother listening or paying attention to those who say otherwise, let alone visit the place to be rid of such ideas!