Ten things I hate about Dubai

Published: February 5, 2013


Now, I know that the title makes me look like a snob who gets to go places but is just so ungrateful. However, my trips to Dubai are really never out of willingness to visit, but mandatory – mum’s orders.

I cannot stand Dubai.

I was born in Dubai and spent my early years there. Now I have to visit twice a year to see my dad and brother, them being one of the few good things about the place.

Here are ten things that I don’t like about Dubai:

1. Malls:

I know malls are fun, but what if they were all you could go to? How many times will you go on the dhow cruise, the desert safari or the beach? After all, one comes back to the nearest dull (albeit air-conditioned) mall.

If you aren’t a shopaholic, Dubai’s not the place for you. I have lost the little appetite I had for clothes, window shopping and causeless mall-walking, and so my trips are spent reading a book with my hipster face on at Starbucks.

At first I thought that I hated pointless strolls in the mall because I wasn’t accompanied by friends. However, for two years, I’ve had some social life there and it isn’t much different – the same places, the same restaurants, the same bored me.

Even people who have never visited Dubai have heard of this – everything is too expensive. Another thing is that the price of the same article in two different shops is completely different. I’ve even had experiences where shops next to each other would charge double the amount for the same thing. I don’t understand the reason here.

2. Citizenship:

Oh hey, I have a nationality other than Pakistani. LOL JUST KIDDING, I was born in Dubai.

No one cares if you were born in Dubai or have lived there for 40+ years. You don’t get any extra benefits and if God forbid you’re a guy, you may want to pack your junk and leave as soon as you hit 18 and are no longer under a work visa. If you’re a girl though, Wallah you can under your dad/husband’s visa without having to work.

3. Fines:

This part my dad hates more than I do because he is always flooded with fines. He literally wakes up to a parking fine every morning. Poor man is already in his sixties, have some mercy!

You get fined over small things like parking your car so that the bonnet is slightly casting a shadow on the curb. As a Pakistani (who is able to do just about anything and get away with it), I’m not a fan of such a suffocating system.

These fines are not small either. You must pay 200 dirhams for the above mentioned example. That’s more than Rs5,300! I can safely say that Dubai has made a hefty amount of money just from parking fines (half of it coming from a certain suit-clad man in his sixties).

4. Extravagance:

It may be wrong of me to hate on Dubai’s extravagant nature because it is after all a tourist destination, but good God, do these guys have a hole in their hand!

I bet that a display of fireworks is happening right now in at least three places in just Dubai. Fireworks on New Year’s Eve, Christmas, or Eid are great, but must there really be fireworks all through the duration of Ramadan, the winter/summer shopping festivals?

But if they really have the money to spend, what can one say?

5. Shopping Festivals:

There is no such thing as a shopping festival in Dubai. The only thing you will see in the name of these “festivals” is a small area with rides for the children and a few kiosks on roadsides selling made-in-China ornaments and mobile accessories. These festivals were better at least seven years ago when fun events would be held at malls and there were real discounts on things.

6. Discounts:

There are discounts galore! Seeing a “70% off” sign displayed outside all stores is normal. However, when you step inside, you will find that everything costs the same as it always did. There is too much false advertising. Pierre Cardin stores alone have had a “75% off!”sign for as long as I have seen it in Dubai!

7. The heat:

The terribly hot weather may be one of the few reasons people resort to going to air-conditioned malls.

I should not have too much of a problem with it since I’ve always lived in Karachi. However, in the summer, Karachi is breezy by the night.

Dubai is just a darker, hotter, more humid hell hole by night. And forget about the afternoons! If you have somewhere to go in the afternoon, think twice before you sit your tush down on the burning leather car seat. I’ve had the experience of baking things nobody would want baked.

8. Snooty Arabs:

Would it be racist of me to say that the Arabs are kind of racist towards us South Asian folks?

They have their nose in the air and most of the times don’t prefer to interact with South Asians. There is no such thing as labourer rights too, by the way. Most of the labourers are Pathans from Pakistan.

My brother and his South Asian friends are often stopped by the police and told to carry all his identification documents at all times.

Why, habibi, why?

9. Strangled journalism and the media:

The United Arab Emirates isn’t the only country in the world where the media and journalists aren’t given the most basic of freedom. Hence there is less scope for what I would call real journalism, but if you are a fashion and tourism journalist, you may want to try your luck.

10. Terminal One:

The Terminal One is a huge airport in Dubai.

This isn’t the good kind of huge at all. After you’re done with the check-in counter, you basically have to cross half the distance to your destination city on foot, on escalators. No, I’m just exaggerating, but you have to walk a lot! I am asthmatic by the time I reach the departure lounge.

I think having to land at Terminal One may be one of the reasons my trips to Dubai start horribly.

And with that I am done with the ten things I hate about Dubai.

DISCLAIMER: You may not have had all the bad experiences as the author, but let’s not forget that she’s broke most of the time, which doesn’t work for Dubai.

Read more by Imaan here or follow her on Twitter @SheikhImaan

Imaan Sheikh

Imaan Sheikh

An graduate with a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi, she enjoys reading, writing and listening to classical psychedelic rock. She blogs at www.imaansheikh.wordpress.com and tweets as @SheikhImaan (twitter.com/SheikhImaan)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Queen

    I agree with the last point, not only the Terminal one is huge, but also it is packed with travelers with laptops and notebooks sprawled on the ground with their luggage to check their emails. Its true that one has to walk a LOT!Recommend

  • http://farazhasan.wordpress.com Faraz H

    I’ve been wanting to write something like this ever since I moved out of Dubai 2 years ago. People still ask me why I moved out of Dubai. Now I can refer them to your blog because I agree with each and every point here specially points 2, 3 and 8! Its a nice place to spend your vacations specially when you have family there but when you live there, the novelty wears off soon enough and you are literally stuck in a concrete jungle gasping for air every time you walk from the parking lot to the next mall! Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Meh, I’ve never really liked Dubai. It was a fun place to visit back in the early 2000’s but I went there last year (after a period of five years) and everything had changed! Now it’s just mostly immigrants from South Asia roaming about here and there. This place was built by the sweat & blood of minimum wage labourers and the treatment they get is a disgrace!

    I wont get into their HR record, that’s another story. I expect this article to get some negative feedback, most Pakistanis can not tolerate criticism of their masters i.e. Arabs.Recommend

  • Anushe

    She’s broke most of the time- yea that explains the drunken rant I’ve just subjected my eyes and brain to. Why tribune editors, why? Why do you publish these less than average intelligence pieces on your blog site? Is this a site for a national newspaper or some place where the entire nations wannabe literary geniuses can come and rant about their sad pathetic lives? And as readers of sound mind, do we have to come across these worthless examples of seventh grade writing whenever we skim through?Recommend

  • Uzair

    I agree on all points. I have had short stays in Dubai while passing through, done the usual touristy stuff (malls, desert safari). In general the natives are indeed racist towards non-Arabs, that is a well-known fact about the region. In their eyes Arab > White folk >> asians >> africans.Recommend

  • Munis

    And no direct access to porn, you have to use a proxy for that Recommend

  • donny darko

    blogging for the sake of blogging! one word! *lame*Recommend

  • twistedtory

    What a sad and pessimistic view of life. I am a western woman who loves Dubai, though I don’t enjoy shopping or the mall culture. There are MANY MANY more things to do in Dubai and a thriving culture/counter-culture with a booming arts scene. I am lucky to have choices in this life; I voted with my feet and moved to Dubai. No place has ever felt more like home. My social life can be anything I want it to be and opportunities abound here, a lesson perhaps the author may wish to consider to get out of her rut.Recommend

  • Thefacts

    “But if they really have the money to spend, what can one say?”

    They dont, they almost defaulted a few years back, Their big brothers in Abu Dhabi had to step in and bail them out.

    11) Internet censorship
    12) Its a desert
    13) Combine number 2 and number 8Recommend

  • ABC

    I agree terminal 1 is soooo annoying.Recommend

  • omair shahid

    excellently put i have been to dubai only once but boy the heat really kills you i mean you cannot bear it have been living in karachi for long time but have never encounter this type of heat & all the malls i been to in dubai only dubai mall & mall of emirates is worth watching but only once after that you will get bored and the Arabian are like spotted child.Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Interesting article. Gives some good insight into Dubai. I visited dubai last august and having come from Europe, the heat was unbearable, even at night. There also seemed to be a serious lack of oxygen in the atmosphere!! Also, even in the air conditioned malls, I was feeling slightly hot. Can they not increase the power of the airconditioners and make the malls cooler, for we tourists who come from cold climates?? What I loved about Dubai is that it is truly multicultural. You see a Burkha clad arab woman in a mall and beside her is a western woman in mini skirts and no one gazes or stares at either of them. Impressive.Recommend

  • Syed Sami

    Quite absurd..
    Just look at the way the ruler has carried a barren land to a world class city.. We should take lesson instead of hating it.

    If one doesn’t follow the rules then he should be fined, be it an 18 year old or a 60+ fellow. If there is no culture of fine then dubai would just be like Pakistan..where rules are just stated in constitution and specification but are not followed and cannot be implemented..

    I have been in UAE for last 5 years and never been stopped by police for useless investigation, but I have read a story where a local policeman was fired just because he slapped an Indian on a small accident and guess what the other guy involved in the accident was a local and he was the one who complained against the policeman for his act..Surprising haan?
    Talking about media?? For heaven’s sake we know what free media is capable of..Just see whats going on in Pakistan because of this freedom..There is nothing such thing as freedom without boundaries..Thanks God they do not have free media or else all the world could see would be the negative side of the things..

    No wonder Pakistan is blessed with all the weather and a number of resources but sadly we could not take advantage of it. Why?? because we are busy screaming for human rights and freedom things the west has given us..I salute the rulers here for making it possible and managing a place like this where people from all over the world lives with harmony and peace, with few exception which would be found anywhere..Recommend

  • Anthony permal

    Bastakita, heritage village, free music performances under the burj, go karting, para gliding, sky diving, para sailing, kite surfing, cycling, art and crafts, jamjar painting workshops, art galleries, marathons, night walk groups, Dubai museum, Dubai fountain, sheikh mod centre for cultural understanding (brilliant place), Dolphin Bay, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, riding the Abra, underwater zoo, sega republic, the wildlife sanctuary, hatta rock pools, Jumeirah archaeology centre, star gate, tours of the gurdwaras and churches in Dubai as well as the Hindu temple in Bur Dubai, dancercize classes for girls, scuba diving.

    There’s more. Just thought I’d let you know malls aren’t everything in Dubai and that there’s tons to do if you just search any ‘things to do in Dubai’ list online. I’ve done 90 of this stuff and go regularly for some because they’re amazing. What exactly do people do in Karachi otherwise? Eat, sleep, visit friends and go for movies?Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hunain Hunain

    Pathetic :)
    But then since these are the reasons why the author hates Dubai one should have no issue but publishing it on a leading newspaper website which is read all over the world – Simply Bull***!Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    I hate Dubai for taking my friends away!Recommend

  • Saima

    Nice one.
    I wonder if the racism situation would be different if immigrants learned and spoke Arabic. It must be annoying to have so many immigrants in your land who don’t Ben bother to learn your native language. Not that Dubai is big on Arabic (like Saudi) but still. I can only imagine how much worse the racism in America would be if immigrants here refused to learn English. Recommend

  • http://Brisbane,Australia Raza Khan

    Very true! Too much show sha among Pakistanis in showing their wealth.Recommend

  • lili

    A delightful read and insight. I have myself noticed, in my travels to Arab lands, that they have invested money as it was something fashionable to them. Most of the buildings they have constructed no longer even depict Arabic architect anymore. Everything they do is so, commercial and tasteless. I agree with the writer here. Ain’t no place like Pakistan.Recommend

  • Kaleem

    Wallah, I agree with you. 2000 AED fine on pressing emergency button in metro station? For a moment, I thought to press it just before my return flight :)Recommend

  • lili

    Also i dont understand why some reviews here are so negative towards the writer. Shes merely writing about her experience. And few things people have mentioned above that according to them have been missed by the writer. All of these things can be done in pakistan.Recommend

  • seriously

    I just fail to understand why more and more people try to ‘act cool’ by hating Dubai, because its so ‘awami’.
    I mean c’mon, which city are you comparing Dubai with? Please don’t tell me with any in Pakistan, because I sure can list a very good analysis about that.
    If you want to compare it to other cities in the world, I sincerely think it is at par, if you think Dubai is expensive, has so many malls, fines, NYC or London can’t be behind.

    Please register the excellence of leadership here who has transformed this ‘desert’ into a global arena.

    I want to write a long reply counter arguing each silly and bogus point you have presented here, but I would just go because lol, at the end of the day, nobody needs your so called 10 points to judge a city as advance and metropolitan as Dubai, I am sure if it was located somewhere in Europe, you would look forward to it, but since its so near and you have been there quite a number of times, you are taking it for granted.

    ‘Don’t jealous’ please!

    Your truly,
    dubai loverRecommend

  • Pessimist

    And no direct access to porn, you have to use a proxy for that

    Well, that’s the final nail in the coffin for me.

    What a sad and pessimistic view of life. I am a western woman who loves Dubai,

    To put it bluntly, you are treated better because of your skin color & your country.

    She’s broke most of the time- yea that explains the drunken rant I’ve just subjected my eyes and brain to. Why tribune editors, why? Why do you publish these less than average intelligence pieces on your blog site? Is this a site for a national newspaper or some place where the entire nations wannabe literary geniuses can come and rant about their sad pathetic lives? And as readers of sound mind, do we have to come across these worthless examples of seventh grade writing whenever we skim through?

    I’m sorry this article is not as good as the ones you read in New York Times or even Financial Times. This is a blog written by a young writer who is expressing her views. This is not on front page neither is this in the editorials. Each blog caters to a difference audience, if you like it praise it, if not, then move on.

    Syed Sami
    Quite absurd..
    Just look at the way the ruler has carried a barren land to a world class city.. We should take lesson instead of hating it.

    The Ruler has just thrown about oil money carelessly. Dubai has been developed and built by immigrant workers from around the world. And how are they rewarded? I don’t know. They don’t even have citizenship for crying out loud! That should tell you all you need to know about the racist views held by these Arabs.

    For Anthony Permal:

    Dubai is a nice place to visit if you have a bucket load of cash. I would not want to live there. Recommend

  • http://sehersscatteredpearls.blogspot.com Seher

    I don’t know. I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s true, sometimes it feels like there’s nothing to do there, but if I were to publish something I’d make it positive and helpful to others.

    One part I did have a problem with was the racist comment that even innocently asked if it was racist after claiming Arabs are snooty. I am of South Asian descent and went to a local university with more than 90% Emiratis. These Arabs are not snobs, they are very respectful and generous. They don’t have their head in the air, rather, they walk gracefully. They don’t interact with non-Arabs not because they think you are nothing, but because of language barriers. Try approaching them with a smile and starting a conversation. You can’t expect them to come to you. They might have broken English, but they are very friendly. You can’t make judgment w/o being in close interaction with others. That’s like saying all Pakistanis are terrorists, or all Americans are lazy and fat. They’re not.

    Also, thank you Anthony Permal for your list, will be sure to check out those places when I visit UAE in a couple of months inshaAllah!

    -Atlanta, GARecommend

  • Maddy

    I would like to highlight the point how racist these UAE folks are….first of all if they get stuck on a point they will never listen to you and will do what they have decided whether its right or wrong….further other point is nationality, yes one have always this feeling that he has to go back ultimately to his home country whether he spends one month or 40 years here…..moreover for Pakistanis specially their attitude is changing and in coming years things would be difficult for people coming here from Pakistan…..yes the job market is very bright here but why to spend your whole life in a country which have nothing to give you back at the end of the story….. You with your family have to go back…Recommend

  • Faraz

    Just got my first parking ticket… and realy reallly agree with the author on point no.3…:PRecommend

  • Syed Sami


    First of all Dubai as a state does not have oil and they do not depend on oil money. There are 7 states in UAE and only Abu Dhabi has the oil and is the capital.

    The fact that how much the people are getting in return is also out of question as no one forces them to come and work..they come out of their own will and being an engineer and working closely with labors I know many who does not want to leave even when they are paid less.
    The ruler has not thrown it away recklessly he is making much more money out of it and it is benefiting the people living here including all the immigrants. It is just an irony for us that even after having so much of natural resources in Pakistan, we does not have the sincerity and vision like these leaders to lift our nation. The world is investing in Dubai just because the trust is created by the rulers.
    Calling a nation racist would not be a good idea based on few examples of racism. Believe me even the most racists of the Arabs can’t be compared to what happens in Pakistan in the name of casts and Sects..Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.

    Life seems so good in Pakistan after reading No.3.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    For Syed Sami:

    I accept my mistake on the oil part. If my knowledge is correct, Dubai is where it is because of Abu Dhabi’s oil cash right? Had it not been for their cash during the global recession, Dubai would have been toast!

    Anyways, you seem to be confused about my post. There is no doubt that the rulers of Dubai have done a good job economically. What you seem to protray, and what should be the norm, is that this economic success will lead to a better quality of life. That is not true. The people responsible for building the infrastructure of Dubai i.e. the labourers, have been poorly mistreated by the State and their contractors. There are countless stories of abuse of these people. Plus can someone tell me, why can’t you get citizenship in the UAE? Does that not reflect amongst the superiority mentality that the Rulers have? Yes, there is racism in Pakistan, but that does not justify the racism in the Dubai, which is supposedly a developed country.

    Btw, one last thing, and I ask as a question, the levels of investment in Dubai have surely decreased haven’t they? Like I said, it is not the same it was about six or seven years ago. Recommend

  • Dxb

    I have y moved to Dubai and I am single working woman. The only thing not likable about Dubai is that you cannot enjoy if you do not have a company of friends etc. However, I really think the writer is a bit immature in her aproach towards life in Dubai. No one has told you to go to the malls and window shop. Go to the beach during pleasant season for walks..there are libraries, pubs, beach parties, and if nothing else then go out for movies. I am not sure where this lady belongs to but if she is comparing life in Dubai with one in Pakistan, I really think she needs to stay more in Pakistan to understand how tough life is there. I find a lot of ease here. People are nice. Locals are even nicer, until you try to show your actual aukaat which a lot of Pakistanis do. Bitter truth but majority crimes are done by Pakistanis. No one gets rude to you unless you do something to make them angry
    About the fines, I really find her comment funny. Why are you even worried about fines if you follow the rules? .At least, people here stop to give way to the pedestrians that you can never see happening in Pakistan! The safety standards are for your own good and fines are imposed in order to protect the people. Pakistanis have issues everywhere since they are not held accountable for what shit they do in their country, when they go abroad, they start complaining. No wonder why we are still living in dark ages.

    I really do not understand why as a nation we have become so sarcastic about rest of the world. Try developing good habits and stop criticizing others.Recommend

  • roadkashehzada

    come on, give the devil his due. some of the points are not valid i guess
    about the nationality thing, imagine they start giving nationalities to expatriates and in few years, it will be governed by some indian, not against indians but then local guys will loose their identity.so may be they r right in this.
    and when people think they r racist towards pakistanis,come on, consider racism of any rich pakistani towards his countrymen. or racism of certain government officers towards common man. they are not racists towards pakistanis as a whole its just a matter of haves and haves not. they still are happy to host pakistani feudals. they dont do strip search like many white countries.
    about terminal 1, few days back i came from pakistan and uae national staff was more considerate and helpful to my kid’s needs than our very own pakistani staff.
    about traffic rules and fines, i have been driving in pakistan for years and i dont know wht to do if i hit my car and i m with my family. i m sure if the guy is more powerful, he ll catch me from my collar without any justification before my family.
    apologies for incoherent reply. in the middle of workRecommend

  • Umair Waheed, IBA, Khayban e Hafiz

    @ Imaan: Where do you live now? Is it better than Dubai?Recommend

  • I am a Khan


    It appears you live in the US and may have studied with the Emiratis there. One point to be noted is that the arabs are generally a bit friendly when they are in the west. But back home in their own country, they are different people. Again there are exceptions to the rule in every group of people, but this is the general trend.Recommend

  • Muhammad Zohaib Khan

    pyare cardin…one of my colleagues call by this name …it is still 75% off ..its name should be changed to 25% shopRecommend

  • The Khan

    Dubai is the Las-Vegas of Middle East. It’s the place where rich Pakistanis from Gulf states (particularly Saudi) , Pakistan, NA and Europe come and show of their wealth.
    Right now, the number of real estate buys in Dubai is around 12% (third highest) for Pakistanis and it expected to double. Expect Dubai to turn into a playground for rich Indians/Pakistanis in near future while Emiratis get extinct. Just like what they did to Mississagua Recommend

  • Stayhomemom

    I’ll start with good things like Imaan did.
    I moved to Dubai back in 2003 just after my marriage, 2 years that I spent over there are still part of beautiful life, I am living. Truth be told, my hubby came to Dubai in 1996 right after getting his engineering degree, started from scratch and worked his way up, changed financial condition of his family and friends. Within 24 hours of eating my walima dinner, I had landed in Dubai, my hubby drove me home in his shining sports coupe, Dubai felt real good, just the right surprise package, slowly unwrapping itself. So, firstly Dubai/ UAE is good place to earn money if you are the right candidate. Secondly, If you are little religious (which I became later in my life) It’s good place to fly from, for Hajj and Umra, I always feel comfortable getting prepared over there, in my short term stay.

    Now the dark side of story.

    I moved to Tempe Arizona in 2005, and have been living there since then, trust me guys life’s just 180 degree what gulf/dubai has to offer. Some reasons I’ll quote down will account for why we didn’t plan our first child until we moved out.

    1)Three types of people live in dubai, i) Labor Campers, they earn from 600-1500 AED per month. ii) Bedspace people, they earn 1500-4000, iii) Western Guys and Emiratis and highsalaried guys yet with less superior nationality. Its is biased!

    2) No greenery, no natural parks to play, no lakes, no epic sites for romance.

    3) Kids, have no culture, families have zero or non existent social life in “most” cases.

    4) Not much for women, they get fat, have to drive on long routes. Here I dont do mch, yet we are growing energetic every passing day.

    5) Most people lose work-life balance in Dubai, (fortunately my hubby never had this problem, atleast after marriage)

    6) No libraries, back in that time Khawateen digest would run out too soon for shops in Diera. Infinitely they have: Cheap gasoline, Cheaper hotel rooms, Cheapest massage centers and prostitutes.

    7) Kempinskis hyatt pullman, all are way more expensive than rest of the world.

    8)No periodic construction for Dubai, it still is empty, three major roads cover all dubai. With comparision to Vegas Development and planning, Dubai is a failure.

    9) Everything Man made, you’ll get bored soon from, true for all: Ferraris to Burj Al Arab.

    10) There are no places in malls to sit, From Blue Water to Ontario, malls in west are LIKE bazaars!

    11 – 20, I share with Iman.


  • Saleha Minto

    @Anushe: You are right! a newspaper web blog is not the place for 7th grade writing… AND certainly not for 7th grade mentality where kids most condescendingly use adjectives like ‘broke’ and *’pathetic’ and get away with it.

    PS. It sounds as if you are not broke (like many usurpers who sit upon undeserved wealth handed down by the archaic practice of inheritance causing the penning of articles such as above) you might want to invest in therapy to get rid of the above confusion.

    PPS. I predict that you will respond, either with more rudeness or a ‘holier than though’ (quote) rant (unquote).

    PPPS. I’ll be impressed if you don’t. Recommend

  • Saleha Minto

    @Syed Sami:

    Exactly how many ‘examples of racism’ are required before it is a ‘good idea’ to call a nation racist?Recommend

  • shoaib

    I have more Emariti friends than Pakistanis and they are great people! Do you know that the founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zahid said ,”Pakistan is my second home” and he deeply respected Pakistan and Pakistanis? media freedom or no media freedom, UAE today is far ahead of Pakistan and our leaders should learn something from them. I know some of you would say ,” they have oil and that’s why they are prosperous etc etc..” but so do we! we have plenty of our own natural resources and still cannot get rid of minor problems like power cuts and gas shortages. Recommend

  • Ali S

    This article is further proof that any Arab-bashing will be happily lapped up by any so-called Pakistani ‘liberals’Recommend

  • Ms.Somebody

    Wallah…I totally agreee to all the points. Living in Dubai since last 6 months..and i’ve already experienced all these things…But well you can’t ignore the fact that there’s still so much more to do here.. :)Recommend

  • Ali Tanolii

    South asians are Mesicans of north america in Dubai. and u forgot to mention the late paument for pathan and south indians labourers some time six to eight months..what a islam and great mosques they reminds me mughals of india..Recommend

  • Ahmad Bilal

    The quality of this article sucks, ET needs better bloggers.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Dubai has a lot to offer……….you just have to open your eyes and find it.
    Remember Dubai is a very young city and for a city to develop a soul it needs…… time.Recommend

  • ahmed

    Bah! dude whats your father doing there in Dubai then? and as u mentioned you gotta travel two times a year to UAE to see your father, well that’s not the case, u have to travel two times because u still hold a UAE visa under your father’s sponsorship which automatically gets expired if u don’t enter the United Arab Emirates within SIX months of your exit from UAE so 2 times a year, i.e. once every SIX months, If uve got so many problems then why do u have to keep the visa? Are they mums order to? As far as Arabs are concerned, maybe u haven’t come across the real ones, the real ones aren’t much seen in the city these days, but they are amazing people. Your father pays fines because he violates rules, I’ve been living there since my birth and I never saw any one wrongly fined! So please people at Tribune don’t just let any post any thing just for the sake of blogging, a few blogs of this kind could ruin your image overseas! Recommend

  • haider


    your friends are always with you :d Recommend

  • Khan

    Poor you.. you don’t like Dubai? There is a lot more to Dubai/UAE. The night life, the social life.. which obviously you don’t have hence only visiting malls and walking around aimlessly. There are plenty of “fun” things to do.. the concerts, the clubs, the bars and best of all you have the freedom to dress and do what you feel like while still being a “conservative” country. Yes, they impose fines, don’t break the rules are you’re all set to go.
    But my favorite part about the UAE is, how they do not give their nationality to everyone. That keeps the country theirs. With many benefits to the locals. Stop hating It wont do you any good.Recommend

  • Rothschild

    Move to Singapore, Dubai without racism.Recommend

  • Usman

    Basically , she does not know about dubai at all ..Recommend

  • Twinkle

    If this is an example of Pakistani free press, you can keep it. Never read such a load of ill-informed drivel in a national paper before.Recommend

  • Milind

    The author is correct to highlight her reasons for disliking Dubai, but I’m afraid she has her priorities wrong. Racism, lack of free press, slavery (of 3rd world labourers), lack of educational facilities should top the list.

    For details on ills in Dubai you can search for “The dark side of Dubai” by Johann Hari..

    However to be fair, the Dubai rulers do provide rule of law, order, security, basic facilities to the ordinary folks… Additionally fundamentalism that grips its neighbours (Yemen) is not present, as the rulers are clear about their priorities.Recommend

  • http://sehersscatteredpearls.blogspot.com Seher

    @I am a Khan:

    Nope, I went to UAEU.Recommend

  • Syed Sami

    @Saleha Minto:

    When the laws of the country enforces racism, then you can call a nation as racist.


    You are right in mentioning that Abu Dhabi did bail them out, but I know many people who consider Dubai as a country..Why?? Because Dubai has built itself to be at the top.. There are many more investments in Abu Dhabi just because of the name of Dubai and its accessibility. After all that is why the decision for the union is of importance. There are other states like Sharjah, Umm ul Quain etc whom are being looked after by Abu Dhabi too but no one has the stature as Dubai. People may call Dxb artificial, but the fact is they have created the environment of peace that anyone would prefer.

    The other thing about treatment of labor, I would like to tell that there is a very clear labor law which clearly defines the responsibilities of the labors and the employers. Do you know that if a labor is being mistreated and he approaches the Labor ministry, they would immediately call the owner of the firm, be it any multinational firm or whatever and he is asked to come to court. I worked at a site in Karachi where a labor died during work from a stone falling on him, his family was paid 25000 rupees and from the next day the work was on routine. If that would have happened here, the site would have been immediately sealed and the Project Manager would be detained and the case would be open till blood money of 180,000 Dirhams are not paid to the family. The fact that labors are paid less can be explained that contract is signed between the employee and employer and if they both agree on the terms how can government interfere. The problem here is that the labors are not aware of their rights and that is not the problem of the government, they cannot go door to door and make them aware.
    I can list many more examples of the rights of the labors as per the UAE labor law and have personally seen them being enforced without any discrimination. Recommend

  • Syed Sami

    The level of investment has decreased when the world was effected by recession. You are right.
    But the investment has again been picked up. I have been through this recession and lost my job too. But all these years I did not see them inflating the prices unreasonably to cope with the financial crisis.
    The investment has again started to flow in and the trust was created because the leaders injected money into the market personally.

    Talking about the nationality issue. I guess it is their call and looking at the total area of UAE, it would not be possible for them to give nationality to many people. Definitely they would have analysed the situation. It is clearly mentioned in their law so it is not a surprise to anybody, neither they force labor to come here and work, so we cannot call them unfair on that account.
    Many other countries have very tough rules for immigration that cannot be met by people from middle and lower class, so it is not the correct parameter to calling them unfair.Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    @Pessimist: “If you have a bucket load of cash.”

    Disagreed. Your comment is a bit ignorant. When I came to Dubai, I didn’t then and don’t now have a ‘bucket load of cash’. Even in my meagre income back then I was able to enjoy a full, healthy and eventful lifestyle of entertainment and enjoyment. In fact, a lot of what I mentioned above in the list of things to do in Dubai cost less than 10 dirhams per person. Some are even free and are much more entertaining than anything that costs over 100 dirhams.

    To say what you said is to say that because Karachi is so expensive today, good entertainment can only be enjoyed by people with lots of money in Karachi.Recommend

  • nej

    I have lived in Dubai for 18 years(born in dubai)……….and i do agree with most of the things mentioned in the article………and worst thing about this country is that they never give u nationality………..my father worked in Dubai for 35 years and after retirement he had to come back to pakistan………………… and Pakistan as u all know is going through hell these days :PRecommend


    Amen to the rant sister. I’m so sick of the place that I don’t want to venture outside my room its so depressing. What’s worse, now I can’t even channel surf on the TV or play on my X Box without seeing a passing reference to Skiekh Zayed or Burj Khalifa. yuck!!

    Most things in Dubai are too artificial. too expensive, and/or too time consuming (like Terminal One) to be worth the time/effort/money.

    The only plus is you can watch movies at the cinema in relative bliss (which you can’t get in KSA).

    End of rantRecommend

  • Syed Sami

    Did someone tell your father 35 years back that they will give nationality and then they denied later on??
    The fact is that even after this people come and work here because they prefer working in Dubai over their own city and country.Recommend

  • Syed Sami

    Why my earlier comment was not published ET? What is wrong with you guysRecommend

  • Zubair

    My thoughts exactly on Pierre Cardin. He must have set the discount when he was born.Recommend


    @Rothschild: Whhaaaaaaaaattttt!! Waammbbbbuullance to your rescue! S’pore has a pathetic record of racism and an equally horrible record of how the S’poreans treat their domestic help! Recommend

  • Javeria

    Sheikh ‘Zayed’ you mean… :/Recommend

  • Laila Dharamsey

    I hate Dubai too, well said!Recommend

  • Candid 1

    Sounds like a very jealous rant. Just because these guys have created something out of nothing, and Pakistanis have destroyed everything into nothing in their country, you are unhappy.

    Pakistanis should learn to obey the law, then maybe you can enjoy Pakistan without the fear of being blown up or shot at, and won’t have to visit Dubai ever.Recommend

  • naeem

    Yeah move there! Bugger-all to do except shop and eat!!Recommend

  • Sterry

    @Usman: No one in West has any respect for Dubai or any of the Gulf states – it’s only poor third world nationals who fool themselves into thinking the big buildings and spending is worthy of praise. I have seen thast many of the Westerners who get jobs in the UAE are the ones who wouldn’t qualify for a job in their native countries. They go there because the arabs are so eager to find a Western face; In the end all of the Westerners want to leave after milking money out of the arabs. It’s pointless to talk about Dubai begging for money from its old rich neighbour in Abu Dhabi but all of these countries will be nowhere in 50 years because the land is inhospitable and when the oil runs out in the UAE, no more foreign interest will be found in a place which is just too hot to live. The weather in Pakistan is much more agreeable than in the Gulf.Recommend

  • Milestogo

    At least Dubai is more islamically aware than Pakistan – no terrorism, no Shia / ahmedi issues and so on…Recommend

  • Hi Hi hey hey

    got 1200 dhs fine – i know i was mistaken. no complaints
    no free media – so sissy writers don’t get a chance to publish their litter.
    racism – not one incident that i could relate to local arabs during 8+years of stay in dubai.
    prostitution – abundant and cheap
    artificiality – yes everywhere and everything
    parks – many, quite beautiful but hardly natural at all
    A/C capsules – thats lifestyle unfortunately

    the only worst thing is to see liberal pakis dressed up like * thinking it does them any good.Recommend

  • Hira

    Use terminal 3 instead of terminal 1 !!Recommend

  • No longer in UAE

    I agree with the writer having lived 3 years in UAE. Racism is so blatant and in your face, a colored person feels better in Australia than in Dubai. Not talking about everyday racist remarks, those are few. Most Emiratis I have met are very nice people. It’s the institutionalized HR policies of public and private organizations that pay people according to passports. Even the Arabs tell me that, which is why many of them want to get a western passport – in order to get higher wage. UK white guy will be paid more than Indian guy even if they come from the same University. Period. Arabs who get higher wages are the locals.

    I remember for one of the film festivals, Abu Dhabi Week was advertising for amateur film critics, and the ad explicitly stated USA/European/Locals only. So south Asians, Filipinos, other nationalities are incapable of writing? Or their opinions are not respectable enough? A lot of what happens in the UAE is chargeable under anti-discrimination laws in western countries, except they don’t have them. I wonder if this is why some western people love the place so much.

    Anyway I voted with my feet too and I left. Recommend

  • Adnan Khan

    Well if your dad has parking fines issue… RTA (Road Transport Authority Issues) 3 Months Parking Card Card Valued Type A – 90 Days for 700 AED & Card Type B – 90 Days for 450 AED or you could also put parking ticket in advance from your mobile phone by sending SMS on 7275 (Yourplatenumber Parkingzone Hours) It’s simple not as complicated as you mentioned you need to google information before you upfront put on a national newspaper.

    Yeah I am living here since 6 Years.. Agree on that This place is different when you visit here or then you start living here.. For people who come here first time i upfront say It’s Alice in the Wonderland.. Becuase life changes totally when you start actually living here.. you have all places to go but social life is almost ZERO. On sales you could get 75% off actually if you goto Zara Men a shirt costs you 195 AED in normal days cost 140 AED on sale even for 100 AED the only issue is finding the right size as Philipinos are crazy about Brands they rush and empty all the stock.. It’s easy to get best of sales who wear L, XL or XXL size. I went last week to American Eagle and in sale I got T-shirt for 25 AED which cost’s 200 AED. I think Author seriously needs to be in Dubai at right time and right places.. Are you the Sharjah or Ajman girl who calls herself a Dubai Girl.
    Yeah not to forget Awami Pierre Cardin, Bailman and Ted Lapidus are made in same factory with different Labels.

    11th Point would be of the Food Courts after few months either you have BK-Burger King of KFC it tastes same. You cook food with Zubaida Apa recipes with Shan masalas still you won’t get the taste you get in Pakistan.

    It’s safe to roam around even at 2 in morning and best part no one cares or stares at you. You could walk into a mall with weirdest hairstyle of flippers unlike in Karachi you dress up to the best to go out depends on the preferences.

    Racism is somehow valid.. If i live in Karachi in upscale neighbourhood as a first class citizen Immediately i land my passport makes me a third class citizen, which is few thinks you need to compromise on. Locals are down to earth people don’t immediately judge them by looking in malls. You go on desert your 4×4 gets stuck the Badoiuns are very friendly and respectful all you need to do is interact. The khachra arabs full of attitude are Lebanese, Egyptian and Palestine just stay a mile away from them and if the yell at you, yell at double volume would solve the problem.Recommend

  • Sab33N

    Thanks a lot. Couldn’t agree with you more :)Recommend

  • A traveling woman


    Haha glad to see I’m not the only one who would include no porn access to my ten things I hate list… I opt for a VPN. Recommend

  • Le’ Shuwarma

    Fly Emirates and shift from, Bur Dubai / hor al anz to a better locality, maybe then you’d like Dubai better. And am really hoping that you don’t live in Ajman or Sharjah …cause wannabe Ajmanities like you can only write such a lame blog on Dubai.Recommend

  • Girl

    ok this might sound stupid but I dont like the volumes of make up the general public wears (while shopping for example)Recommend

  • Historian 1

    Dubai is boring for typical middle class pakistani ladies. It is a paradise for pakistani gents. winkRecommend

  • RTX

    You tend to read them all as it’s a habit but Tribune should have a criteria of establishing what is worthy of being posted.
    Take Dawn, the leader, and the kind of articles and blogs it publishes, which reflects a very mature and professional attitude towards the readers.
    These articles are the ones to be published in entertainment magazines or children’s pages, nothing commendable for a pro journalist.Recommend

  • Ammar

    Vegas on steroids.Recommend

  • Maryam

    I love Dubai!Recommend

  • BigotNot

    “There are MANY MANY more things to do in Dubai and a thriving culture/counter-culture with a booming arts scene.”

    Counter culture?Recommend

  • Bang

    Its a concrete jungle !!!!Recommend

  • Nazma

    If she hates Dubai so much, why does she still come here? Surely it would be better for her dad to go and see her wherever she is instead of giving her a ticket, which she obviously doesn’t appreciate, to come to Dubai. And the way she sounds, bet she must be moaning about her self created ills of Dubai to her dad throughout her trip. Better to keep her negativity away from a wonderful place like Dubai.Recommend

  • observer

    @Syed Sami:

    When the laws of the country enforces racism, then you can call a nation as racist.

    Does the fact that non-Arabs are not granted citizenship, even if they are born there or have contributed to the economy for 50 years, qaulify for this?

    Or bloodmoney, which is higher for Arabs than non-Arabs? Recommend

  • adnan

    these 10 things are not so bad, dont you think?Recommend

  • Vyas

    lol..pretty interesting…but given the kind of world we live in..i think a fatwa is heading your way..good luck..habibi…cheersRecommend

  • Nazma

    I have been living in Dubai for 11 years and have never got a fine or a parking ticket even once. What does that say about respecting the rules?Recommend

  • no one

    here is a comment from dubai racistRecommend

  • Sohail

    Nicely written blog. Totally loved it and can relate to what you’ve written fully. I was also born in Sharjah and my father served in Sharjah Police for 25 years. He was the only South Asian foreigner in the whole police department at that time so guess what.. he had to wear a white belt with his police uniform where as his other local arab colleagues wore black belts! Talk about the ever flourishing brotherhood in the Islamic ‘Ummah’ :D

    The racism practiced by Nazis seems like just a hoax when it comes to arab racism and hate for their fellow non-arab muslims. Recommend