Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Not again, not another dark side of Dubai

More negative rants about Dubai from UK media, the city that has been my home since 2000. I love this city for its imperfections. Yes, every city has its dark side. Even cities like Singapore, a 'fine' and squeaky clean city has headaches on its own.

Read the readers' comments of this article for better grasp on Dubai. There shall be more balanced views, especially from an ordinary expat like me. I have seen the bad but the good is much more paramount. Don't forget that Dubai is a host to more than 150 nationalities who are here to live and work or do business while making money, a lot of expats are already millionaires in their own currencies....last but not least, there are some good points from the article which can be addressed accordingly by Dubai government.

The dark side of Dubai

Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging. Johann Hari reports

Construction workers in their distinctive blue overalls building the upper floors of the new Burj al-Arab hotel


Construction workers in their distinctive blue overalls building the upper floors of the new Burj al-Arab hotel

The wide, smiling face of Sheikh Mohammed Рthe absolute ruler of Dubai Рbeams down on his creation. His image is displayed on every other building, sandwiched between the more familiar corporate rictuses of Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders. This man has sold Dubai to the world as the city of One Thousand and One Arabian Lights, a Shangri-La in the Middle East insulated from the dust-storms blasting across the region. He dominates the Manhattan-manqu̩ skyline, beaming out from row after row of glass pyramids and hotels smelted into the shape of piles of golden coins. And there he stands on the tallest building in the world Рa skinny spike, jabbing farther into the sky than any other human construction in history.

But something has flickered in Sheikh Mohammed's smile. The ubiquitous cranes have paused on the skyline, as if stuck in time. There are countless buildings half-finished, seemingly abandoned. In the swankiest new constructions – like the vast Atlantis hotel, a giant pink castle built in 1,000 days for $1.5bn on its own artificial island – where rainwater is leaking from the ceilings and the tiles are falling off the roof. This Neverland was built on the Never-Never – and now the cracks are beginning to show. Suddenly it looks less like Manhattan in the sun than Iceland in the desert.

Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out. This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history.


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