Thursday, April 23, 2009

The party's over in UAQ

The handful of nightclubs in Umm Al Quwain have been ordered to close at the end of the month following complaints about noise and bad behaviour.

The police are all in favour of the ban, the police chief saying: "When the work in these nightclubs is over at sunrise, drunken people commit many accidents and get involved in fights."

In that context I loved the comment by a Swedish tourist in The National's report: "Many people come here because they believe this emirate is tolerant of other cultures. I wish they would learn from Dubai’s growth. It’s the only place where every culture thrives in harmony."

I don't know about you but for me one of the nicest things about the UAE is that we have so little of the drunken yob culture that's rapidly gaining ground in some western countries. That's a culture we shouldn't tolerate.

It's the old problem of human nature, give an inch and they take a yard as the old saying has it. Because some people behave badly the law has to step in and it's spoiled for everyone.

I always like the example of the ban on chewing gum in Singapore. All over the world countries spend tens of millions of dollars on street cleaning because people don't dispose of their gum considerately. It's not hard to do, but people being people they don't do it.

The Singapore government decided they had better things to do with their money than spend it on cleaning the gum from the footpaths, so they banned it. Over the years the law has attracted a lot of criticism from people outside Singapore, comments of the 'draconian police state infringing on people's freedom' variety. The fact is, if people had done the right thing the law wouldn't have been introduced.

That's what's happened in UAQ. Bars and night clubs were permitted, some operators and customers obviously didn't behave as they should. According to one resident who lives near a nightclub, and it doesn't surprise me, the nearby streets were filled with: "...scantily dressed women at night, interrupting all passers-by as if we were all their customers."

So down comes the heavy hand.

By the way, it's not an all-encompassing ban. Restaurants, including those serving alcohol, can continue to work normally but with a deadline on closing times and hotels will still be able to serve alcohol to non-Muslims in their rooms.

Naturally there are the objections that the ban will harm tourism to the emirate. I like the response of Police Chief Col. Sultan Al Shweikh: "We don’t want nightclub tourism. Tourists can come to see the emirate’s attractions and its people."

There's more detail in the reports in Gulf News and The National.


ZeTallGerman said...

Well, as a resident of UAQ I can say that more people from Dubai who do venture up north to the little emirate do so to visit DreamLand Aquapark (so far they've always served alcohol there), Skydiving at the Aeroclub, and mostly to purchase cheap, licence-free alcohol at the Barracuda Resort and some other small "hole in the wall" shops. Looks like these will remain open, even under the new regulations. So expatriates can still buy "in bulk" for house parties and private use at home. I personally won't miss any of the "night clubs"... never been to one in UAQ!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea and hope they will close all nightclubs in uae.