Friday, October 17, 2008

Inside Dubai's Labour Camps

As early as 6 am today, I made my way to a community park near my house in Twar 3, to play tennis with my second son, Faidhi. Been long time I played tennis, like last time was 20 years ago. Faidhi is a beginner and I was never a good tennis player, or for other sports for that matter.

Surprisingly, there were already few groups of Filipinos there playing! And we had to wait for a while before the court was free. The adjacent basketball court was filled up by Filipinos as well.

Then by 8am we went for another tennis court in Mirdiff park. Faidhi was eager to play with his coach, a friend who is playing regularly with his family. Muhaimin played soccer with some Arab kids and I made a quick dash to our favourite mamak restaurant in Qusais for a breakfast with my wife.

Returning from breakfast, we drove along 'Sonapur', a labour camp area in Muhaisnah through Mizhar, on the other side of Mirdiff. The area was busy and bustling with activities on Friday morning. Their only off day.
Hundreds of them were seen walking across the emirates road highway to go to Lulu Village Hypermarket, which is where our mamak restaurant situated.
I have never been inside the labour camps and wonder how's life inside those bird nest-like buildings.
However, no one can deny that these labourers are the real 'builders' of modern Dubai and their contributions are not without recognition from the government. From year 2000, when I arrived in Dubai as an expat until now, under both UAE Presidents and HH Sheikh Mohamed, there have been a lot of improvements and progress in accommodating these labourers.
You can read an article from Guardian and view more photos here from Guardian, New York Times,
and Al Jazeera News.


manlaksam said...

Teringat masa lepas SPM,(1981)Pak Man kerja buruh di S'pore. Macam tu lah.Pak Man dapat rasa apa yang mereka rasakan.Tempat tinggal kami lagilah teruk. Bawah tanah!tempat parking kereta.

Zawi said...

Most labour lines in Malaysia are 'kongsis' which are really make shift shelters made of wood with zinc roof. Compared to what Dubai provides to their labourers, ours can be considered inhumane.