Why Dubai sucks

Why I left Dubai and won’t come back, part 1/2

I lived in Dubai for about 4 years – this is where I met my boyfriend. When we decided to quit our jobs in Dubai to start traveling full-time, we got two kinds of reactions from friends and family. The most common was “I wish I could do that as well, I am so jealous!“. The other one, a bit more rare, was along the lines “you have such a great life in Dubai, why would you want to quit all of that?!

There are several reasons why I would want to quit “all of that” Dubai has to offer. I was far from being unhappy in the UAE but there are a number of things that make this place only OK for a while and really NOT OK to live long-term. You can never belong.

Not your typical census in most parts of the world!

Not your typical census in most parts of the world!


In no particular other, here are some of the reasons why I left Dubai and won’t probably come back.


1. Human Rights VIOLATIONS

If you mention the word Dubai to anyone around the world they will automatically think of richness and fast development. It’s not the poorest place on Earth, that is true, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fair share of misery going on. Side by side with that misery there is violation of the most basic of human rights.

We could start with the most obvious of cases: exploitation of the labor force. Dubai has gone from nothing to what it is now (a great pile of concrete and glass) in almost no time. In a couple of decades, exploited workers coming mainly from Southern Asia have literally understood the meaning of the expression “sweat, blood and tears” to serve the so-called lifestyle that Dubai residents – locals and expats – seek. I can’t stay in Dubai earning a great salary knowing that, while I earn those figures, people around me are being exploited that way. The system is unfair and many tend to overlook that, lured by the luxuries they most probably would have never been able to enjoy at home: full-time babysitters, cooks, live-in maids, gardeners, drivers.

Human rights violations doesn’t necessarily mean that people will earn ridiculously low salaries in a place where things cost a fair share. It means humans living in boxes without AC or fans, when temperatures easily reach 50C and more. It means working 7 days a week and only taking holidays once every 2 years. These are the workers that will be building skyscrapers non-stop even though the law requires construction to stop when certain high temperatures are reached (on those days, funny enough, the radio would never announce the same temperature your car dashboard displays).



The International Declaration of Human Rights says: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment“. I think the above fits just right.

Also in the declaration one can read “slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.In Dubai, as a laborer, you are likely to experience a modern form of slavery. Although not legal, it isn’t at all uncommon for employers to apprehend the passports of laborers during their contract. This way, even if a worker is unhappy, he won’t be able to quit, change jobs or leave the country. To add to this, sometimes laborers get paid not monthly but at the end of their contract, making it even more impossible for them to make a move.

Laborers queuing for the ride back "home" (photo from

Laborers queuing for the ride back "home" (photo from

No wonder the UAE hasn’t signed most international human-rights and labor-rights treaties. Dubai proudly displays the tallest building in the whole wide world, but, at whose cost was it built? People tend to forget what’s behind the surface.


2. Religion is the mother of all RULES

For me it makes no sense that a country bases its law on its religion. While in some countries religion still plays an important role to create a social conscious and influence individual behavior, it’s in the Muslim world where religion presents itself as the mother of all rules.

In many points, the Sharia law fails to comply to the international declaration of human rights. This affects the equality of races, fair trials or punishment etiquette, to name a few.

Let’s look at some examples of cases that took place in Dubai while I was living there, where the law didn’t seem to be that fair:

A colleague at work has a friend who was driving on the highway when 2 guys decided to cross. The UAE’s roads are mainly highways and those don’t have pedestrian crossings. It’s not uncommon to see people attempting to cross these multiple lane speedways because not everybody has a car and, eventually, you have to move. So this girl, whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, tried to avoid killing the 2 men who miscalculated their crossing and, not only killed them but crashed against a road divider. The price to pay? A traumatic experience, a couple of nights in custody, a fine that would go towards the repairs of the road divider and AED 250,000 (USD 68.000 ) in blood money for the families of those that passed away. Lesson learnt? If you kill someone, even if they literally place themselves in front of your moving vehicle, it will be your fault.

Let's play a game: the first to spot a pedestrian crossing wins a prize!!

Let's play a game: the first to spot a pedestrian crossing wins a prize!!

Another interesting case related with women behind the wheel: a pregnant lady that was driving in Dubai had an accident. In the collision, she lost her baby and was accused of homicide of the unborn. I am not advocating that driving while being very pregnant is the most responsible thing to do, but accusing someone of murder as if it was intentional, doesn’t seem right. As if the event itself wouldn’t have been punishment enough for life.

Under the UAE’s law I was an out-law by living together with my boyfriend and not being married. In the neighboring Emirate of Sharjah, the police actually went door by door looking for unwed couples. This is extremely scary! Although in Dubai I haven’t heard cases of police checks, you never know when you’re going to have to interact with the police or if any of your conservative neighbors might put out a word on you. Tip: when referring to your significant other, always call him “husband” / “wife”.

If I would have ever become pregnant while living in Dubai, the first thing I would have done wouldn’t be booking a gynecologist’s appointment. Instead, I would book a flight out of the country before I got deported or suffered more serious consequences.

These are just a few examples of what happens when the law is based on religion. In Rome, do like the Romans. That’s why I don’t want to be “in Rome” so I don’t have to play by Roman rules.


3. You MUST have a religion

Even though the official religion of the UAE is Islam, there is freedom of religion. Still, this country only officially recognizes the following religions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Bahaism.

When I got a job and applied for my working visa in Dubai, one of the fields you had to tick in the online form was “Religion”. When the admin who was filling my form asked me what my religion was, I replied “atheist”. Such an option or “other” didn’t exist and, to get a visa, I had to choose a religion! I chose Christianity, although I have been fed up with my initial religion for years, but I guessed it would be consistent with my country of origin, and I knew even then that the UAE likes that.


4. I see your true COLORS, and that’s why I love you (not)

The UAE is a racist country, sometimes playing it subtle and some other times being too awkwardly open about it. This is not the UAE’s fault by the way. It is the collective prejudice of all the different cultures that get mixed up in Dubai.

Ever since I started dating someone from a different race, I noticed this differentiation way more than before. So much that sometimes, eating at a restaurant, after my Indian partner pays the bill, I have heard staff saying things such as “Thank you M’am. Please come again M’am”. As if ‘Sir’ was invisible.

Work discrimination based on country of origin is ridiculously common. Where else in the world would you read job ads that include sentences such as:
“Only UK/Australians”
“Seeking maid. Filipino only”
“Indians please abstain”
“Job position for Arabs only”


Your average Dubai job listing...

Your average Dubai job listing…

With work discrimination comes salary discrimination. There is an unofficial rule that the job market in Dubai seems to follow: a person should get double the salary that he/she would earn in their country of origin. This should be enough to justify someone to move but… how does this make sense when everyone living in the same city would have the same level in expenses?

This ad leads me to think that an European hairdresser makes more money than many Asians in higher positions

This ad leads me to think that an European hairdresser makes more money than many Asians in higher positions

This changes it all from here onwards. Depending on your race and country of origin, you will be more inclined to live in certain parts of the city that you can afford according to your job category. You will eat at certain places, you will use certain means of transportation. And you will feel outraged and, not so unlikely, be racist yourself, not by discriminating others directly, but by developing prejudices that will end up serving as fundament to racist and ethnocentric behavior.

If you ever have trouble with a local, it will probably be your fault. You don’t want to be in a car accident that involves an Emirati, even if he/she was the person colliding with you. In many cases, the law will tend to help the local person, in detriment of the other, no matter who’s fault the event was to begin with. Depending on your nationality and race, you might be better off. If you are white (specially US American or British) you will probably do fine. If you are from Southern Asia… good luck to you. For everyone else: it’s 50/50.

Add to racism the legally backed homophoby and you’ll understand that gays must remain inside the closet! Simply put, homosexuality in Dubai is a crime. If you can get into jail or deported for public display of affection being in a heterosexual couple, you can only imagine what would happen to you if you are gay. Jail time, deportation (if you are an expat), death penalty… you wouldn’t want to find out.



Once again, religion comes to play in a country that, just like its neighbors, bases its political ideologies in Islam.

Not being a democracy, the UAE doesn’t allow political participation of its residents or, even, citizens. More over, there are no workers unions and demonstrations are not allowed. You can’t possibly be an active participator in building the society you are supposedly a part of. For better or worse, you pretty much don’t have a say.


Read part 2/2 here!


Do you live in the UAE? Have you ever been to Dubai?

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  • Prashant Sharma Says

    Agree! Religion as the bedrock of a country’s legal system is absurd. Religion is the way an individual connects with God (if there exists one); why should it be used to administer a society/nation?

    • Manuel Cruz Says

      Because you have a wrong idea of what Religion is. Each Religion aims for a form of society, even atheism (actually a religion known as “humanism” that doesn’t label itself as such so that it’s morally acceptable to attack the others). The only way to achieve that society is through laws accepted by the community, and in fact each religion gets the kind of society they deserve. Western countries are great because they’re based on Christianity, meanwhile those that embraced humanism (communist countries) have had it pretty bad for a whole lot of reasons, the main one that their leaders don’t believe in divine punishment, and don’t see their citizens as anything more than workforce. Even animists value the members of their tribe above everything else, socialist humanism scores REALLY POORLY when it’s the predominant religion of a society, practically all genocides from the XXth century have been a result of socialist humanism trying to impose by force, as they see themselves morally superior to the rest of humankind.

      When you say “Religion shouldn’t take a role on the administration of a society” you are saying that a community shouldn’t follow their beliefs of what a perfect society should be, unless these beliefs are rooted in humanism instead of any other religion. In that case, you end living in a humanist society, and you get the kind of society you deserve.

      Unfortunately for you, humanism is in recession and it’s expected to disappear within one century, because humanists believe in Malthusianism (even though it has been proven wrong) and therefore don’t procreate as much as other religions. The other problem with humanism is that it defends Islam as a way to attack Christianity, and that tactic has backfired so much, that practically every socialist dictatorship in Africa has become an Islamic country nowadays due to mass revolutions (because humanist societies are THAT bad, in case you didn’t get the point, and also because Islamic societies are Conquerers by design).

      By the way, EVERYONE in the world except white people in Western nations are racists and don’t care at all about the racism issue. So it’s only a problem for US, westerners. In fact, many cultures (specially africans) believe that not being racist (putting your kind before the others) is actually a sin, and readily exploit this weakness on westerners because they think we are stupid. Western mentality has a lot of rules put in there to make ourselves feel morally superior to the rest of the World, and it’s a mistake to travel to other parts of the world and expect them to share our (patently flawed) mentality.

      Before you criticize other cultures, I suggest you to learn about “western mentality” to see the beam in your eye. I suggest you also to learn about “humanist religion” to grow a bit of respect for other people’s religions. Who knows? Maybe their barbaric god told them to live in those sand dunes so that one millenia later they would be sitting on oil and become filthy rich.

      • Bored Says

        Saying that atheism (or humanist philosophy, it doesn’t really matter) is a religion is like saying that being bold is a hair color. Please, stop being silly.

        • Zara Says

          hahahaa!! Your analogy couldn’t be any funnier!! :P

        • Manuel Cruz Says

          Humanism is a religion because it has all the traits to consider it one, so it is studied as such by sociologists. That humanism doesn’t call itself a religion serves more as a selling point than a definition. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Most atheists in the western world are actually humanists, and became humanists while in their student years because humanists spread their creed on (mostly public) colleges, specially in social fields.

          Students mistakingly make the connection of being humanist with having a higher degree of education. The humanist leaders, because of their socialists roots, see those below them as workforce to acquire status. As such, academia is filled with students that work hard just to have the leader sign their work, thereby benefitting of their work to raise his status. However, the student sees it as an honor because he worked hard in the pursuit of knowledge and for the common good. If you think all religions are a scam, this one is no different.

          The trouble with humanists is not that they pass their dogma and bullshit to students (that’s more or less what all religions do), but that HUMANISTS DISREGARD AS USELESS A WHOLE LOT OF IMPORTANT STUFF ( ), which I believe is the hidden reason behind their societies failing so hard. I’m a supporter of science, but I’m against most postulates of humanism and atheists because they are harmful (without realizing it, because they just don’t put any value to a lot of stuff).

          • Aschwin Wesselius Says

            To underscore what Manuel is trying to say, I ask people to watch “Agenda: Grinding Down America” (and yes, that should say “U.S.A” instead of America).

            Communism is everywhere and when you try to see it, you might start to get afraid, very afraid. I don’t say communists are behind everything but their agenda is rolling.

            And yes, I can relate to communism being a religion where they put Man in the place of God.

          • Henry Says

            believe it or not humanism was created by devote christians

          • Henry Says

            jesus was a socialist , sometimes i feel amazed about how christians , dont know anything about the religion they say they follow, jesus use to say: take from the rich , give to the poor , rich men will not enter to the kingdom of god etc,

          • Karl Says

            Henry, Jesus never said take from the rich, give to the poor. Ever. He wants th rich to recognize the poor, value them as beloved neighbors, and be concerned with their needs. He wants this for fhe good of the poor, and also the souls of the rich, because he cares for them both.

          • Claudio Says

            Humanism isn’t a religion.
            I’m italian and here we had a “little” experience with that.
            When we think about Humanism, we think to Galileo, Leonardo… that sort of things…
            And, oh! They were all christians, omg!
            I have the Pope in my city but even if there are some (too many) laws inspired by Christianity, nobody will say a thing if you are not christian; you can joke about God, you can do satire about Pope, women can drive, vote, divorce…
            Italian Constitution, even if Italy is the center of Christianity, doesn’t mention God at all.
            Why Christianity became so “liberal”? Well, because it gave birth to humanism! From the (renaissance) Humanism to the Age if Enlightenment, to Darwin and Democracy…
            Communism? Mmm… Communism rejects the concept of the individual, humiliates human nature. That’s not much “humanist”…
            So, please, let’s stop write b***ts.
            Communism is atheist but atheism isn’t communist at all.

            To the article’s author: if you come in Rome, yes, do like romans. Almost always it means “do as you please”. ;-P

          • Zara Says

            Ciao Claudio!
            I like your interpretation of “in Rome do as Romans”! ;)
            Actually, we were in your city a couple of months ago and had a great time.
            Thanks for reading our article and taking the time to share your views!

        • angelika Says

          You are the one that is silly here.
          Not everybody needs to have a brain washed in the”reigion”.
          It was created in order to control people many years ago, and manipulate them,by playing on their emotions. Today we dont need it anymore.

        • Joe Brown Says

          Actually atheism is a religion even though its followers deny it. It has all the attributes of totalitarian religion

          • Dexter Says

            Atheism is literally not having a religion or belief. It doesn’t have any rules or guidelines, the term simply denotes that one does not believe in any deities.

          • Geoff Says

            Joe the only reason you see aethism that way is because in your religious mindset you only can see it as us vs them question. Most athiest don’t give a damn about what your religious following dictates, it plays no role in our daily lives,however our atheism seems to bother lots of religious people like you since it naturally questions your ideas around faith.
            Also if you actually listened to people Joe you would notice its 10 to 1 the religious folk bring up god, going around on a daily basis thanking god, saying god willing, or its gods will. There is no real atheist equivalent, we just live our non-fatalistic lives.

        • Jamal Quimbe Says

          Fact: atheism is a form of religion, just a different form. It is wrapped in pseudoscience, close-mindedness and faith in unproven and strange things. I was myself an atheist in past. You are offended already, right?

      • Rick Says

        Religion is an unnecessary accoutrement to society, and humanism is not a religion any more than off is a TV channel. Religions should be approached with ridicule and derision as they are as offensive to the mind as palm reading or astrology. Superstitious BS.

        • Zara Says

          Hey Rick, thanks for your comment!
          I dont’t believe in religion but respect whatever people might want to believe in. What I can’t seem to be able to understand (or even respect) is that religion is used as a fundament for law and governance, when I think it’s 2 completely different things!

          • alex Says

            Zara if u have so many problems with dubai then why dont u go to hell, I guess hell is the right place for for and by the way you are no one to judge anything about any country or relegion let people take their own decisions and move on in life …

          • ARTETA Says

            Hey Zara how you doing. After reading the above passage and the comments. Yeah it is very unfair that a country is helping their local people instead of concerning the problems of peoples which are from different country. Okay, it is quite understandable that UAE is a Muslim country and sees things according to a particular religion. But I should say that this particular rule should be applied to only the local peoples, not for everybody because people from overseas belong to different castes, different religions.

      • Greg Says

        You have made the best comment I have read in response to any article.

      • Aza Says

        awesome answer.

      • I agree with you 100%. I’m an African American, military retiree of 20 years. I find it offensive and hypocritical for any European or American to criticize these people and how they live. Dubai is the most modern beautiful city on earth. No disrespect to the lady who made this website, but the people of this nation know their history. Whenever you open your nation up to the western world with open arms, they find away to come in and take your culture under the banner of democracy. While stealing your money, land and resources. They see all the bombing that takes place around the Arab world, they would have to be fools to allow outsiders in so easily.
        As far as racism, any Caucasian person to say this is blasphemy. She might not be, but she is from a world deep rooted in racism and colonialism. Black people are being murdered in the streets by cops, just for being dark skinned. A citizen from Dubai might ask, what are you doing about racism and discrimination in Western Society?
        In America there is a disguise of economic prosperity. You might make a lot of money, then corporations and the economy jack there prices up on food, gas, electric, rent, goods and services. Most people live and work to pay their bills in a form of debt servitude.
        A lot of people are just jealous of this city and their residents, because they live by their religion and not through decadence.
        I don’t have a problem with these people. I just wish all the African Americans millionaires in sports and entertainment would look at what the Arab world has done in building this wonderful society. Love themselves more than their oppressor and try to do the same.

        • Zara Says

          Hi Steven,
          Thanks for reading and adding your views.
          Just a quick note: a white person has as much right as anyone else to comment or criticize racism. Just because my forefathers did a lot of shit that doesn’t make me unable to criticize them and whoever does similar bad stuff now-a-days. Also, I have not criticized the religious views / way of life of people in Dubai – what I do point out is that this approach is often hypocritical. Sometimes religion counts a lot and, some other times, when other interests are at stake, not so much.. it’s not very consistent overall.

          • James O'Leary Says

            A distinction needs to be made between Faith and Religion. Religious systems are oppressing to say the least(even Humanism & Atheism), which is why the modern day free thinking earthlings, shy away from it. But you will still get the minority group that believes(has faith)and they are no threat to anyone.

        • Felicia Says

          Hi Steven,

          I’ll be arriving in Dubai on 9/24/15. Any must try Restaurants come to mind? A sista loves curry lol. If nothing comes to mind, it’s not a big deal. I’ve done alot of research. Just thought I’d throw it out there.

        • Ab Says

          Caucasians will have the last laugh who do you think designed Dubai,obviously you don’t know your history.quit blaming whites for polluting ad destroying your dirty societies.bringing colored people into the modern world was a big mistake you can’t handle the freedom you need somebody to order you around or chaos ensues.whites were the only thing keeping you civilized SA Will retake our land and diamonds you idiots have sold out to Jews and China now Africans rummage through the waste you will look back on bettr times when Rhodesia and SA Were productive and full of wildlife now just slums fuck you we will fix the mess you have made someday and that will start with eliminating the problem.

      • Jonathan Canning Says

        Surely you can’t really neoliberal that stuff you wrote. Please get educated. The humanist system came from predominately Christian societies and are best shown in the EU where social education housing and medicine give it the best standards of living in the world. Conversely the racist/ fascist system practised by the US were inspired by the fanaticism of the Puritans, a group of nutters expelled from England for being too weird.

      • Hermit Says

        I have a great firsthand story to tell. You decide whether Dubai is really safe after reading this.

        I had time to kill before my flight, so I crossed the creek across and went to The other side:Karama or But Dubai I don’t know.
        I wanted a Bangladeshi approached me and asked if I wanted a massage? He said that it is safe and I followed for the kick of it…because so far, Dubai was boring. He took me in several gulley’s…finally to a metal door…place looked shady but I thought that Dubai was very safe, thanks to it’s laws….but was proven very wrong.
        It’s greatest strictness is it’s undoing as well.
        I was hesistent but the guy assured me that it was safe.

        Once inside, they asked me to choose a girl to fuck, I refused as it was not what I came for. Immediatly, 6 guys pounced on me strangulating me, grabbed my wallet took all money,leaving the cards and asked me to fuck a lady if I wanted to go out safe. I could not and they abused me for sometime took a photo of me with the prostitute and took me out warning that they will release the photo if I complain to the police.

        Once out, I went looking for police and approached a police car with two officers inside. I explained to them my situation, and asked them for help. They said that if I lodged a complaint I will be charged as well for prostitution. So it was better that I keep quite and leave but it was up to me. So I left with regrets of Dubai visit and am not not keen on visiting Dubai any more unless absolutely necessary. So my verdict, If things go wrong only God can help you. How much ever Dubai may develop physically, I cannot call it a Developed country. If people are afraid to complain to curb crime…crime will only flurish.

        If any Dubai police wants to take action, they can contact me for more information, on:

        • Zara Says

          Hi Hermit,
          Thanks for sharing your Dubai experience with us. Even though it sounds awful, I can’t say it surprises me.
          I don’t think the crime rate in Dubai is low because there are no crimes. It’s more like people have no guts to report the crimes because they are scared of the consequences. For instance, if you are raped and try to put a complaint, you may be accused of “having sex outside wedlock” and so you may end up in jail. Truly fucked up, what can I say?! Try to look at the bright side.. at least the cops didn’t take you in for charges of going to a prostitute, they just mentioned it but did nothing about it. They didn’t help you, true. But didn’t pursue anything negative further with you either. It sounds ridiculous, but it could have actually happened when you think about it…
          Folks who don’t live these experiences will never understand. Thanks again for sharing your story with us!

    • patel Says

      Then do not go and stay and make profit from a country whose religion you do not like. They are not asking you to come, you are going yourself. Stay in india then!

  • Pingback: Why I left Dubai and won’t come back, part 2/2 | Backpack Me

  • Javier Says

    Maybe agree, but you didn’t know about all these before going there? I still didn’t visit that country and I know more or less what is happening there. And you spent there 4 years. I guess that you could have a big image of Dubai just with your first months there.
    Also, I think there are more places like Dubai everywhere. Even in “Occidental countries”.

    • Zara Says

      As I mentioned, I knew a lot of “unpleasant” details about Dubai before moving there, of course, but not until you live there every single day and get to meet other people and their realities, you realize the depth of certain issues.

      I never mean to say that Dubai is the only “evil” place in this world and yes, there is a lot of shit happening in “occidental countries” too. The whole world has issues, different issues. Never meant the opposite… just that this post is about the particular case of Dubai and my experience and thoughts after living there.

      Also, it’s not that I just started thinking this way after moving out of Dubai, but while you are there it’s really not safe to express your opinions with this very same detail.

      • sara Says

        I agree on every sentence of this writer said about Dubai I have lived there for about 4 years and I couldn’t agree more

      • lokesh Says

        thans a lot ,your comment me help me a lot because there is some confusion in admission for master’s degree in Dubai and USA .My finaicial condition condition is not good that;’s why people apporach me to go for Dubai because it’s Tax free they say but after this blog and your experience i think i can’t leave in hell as a Indian .I’m thankfull to you

      • Knut Holt Says

        When I see pictures or videos from Dubai, it seems so utterly regulated and boring in all ways, as if living inside the concreate walls of a city building and never really be able to come out in free air.

      • Aziza Cloud Says

        You are very misinformed if you think you cannot express your opinions amongst friends.
        However, if you come to anyone in the UAE and say, “Your country sucks”, then you had better be prepared for the legal repercussions of this insult. So, basically, the law allows you to express yourself to others in a ways that is respectful of their beliefs and respectful of their country and respectful of their ethnicity.

        No, you cannot hit the streets in protest in the UAE, and that would be quite stupid to do so. You can simply file a complaint with the concerned authority. And if they lend you no ear, tnen file the complaint at (for Dubai). Or with the office which has oversight of them. That’s usually the department of legal affairs. If you’re talking about police or court, then the department of legal affairs has no jurisdiction; you’ll have to take the complaint to the Judicial Oversight Committee. And if many people feel the same way, they can each (not all, not altogether) submit a letter to express how they were harmed by a particular law or policy. Let the rulers know what’s up, and they will see about it. However, the Federal National Committee (FNC) makes the actual federal laws, so if they don’t want it, and it’s a federal issue, it’s not happening. In Sharjah, there are municipal elections. So the people of Sharjah have to decide if they care about what you say. But in the other emirates, the ruler’s governmental bodies decide if they care. In Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed takes a hands-on approach, so if somebody in the system messes with you unfairly, and it’s a huge issue, there’s a chance that the top guy, Sheikh Mohammed, will hear about it and take action.

      • Aziza Cloud Says

        This guy is just bigoted in favor of Christianity. Well… you can’t fight a bigoted idea. It will only burrow in deeper.

    • Johan Says

      Javier, NO amount of reading or study will surpass the actual experiential perspective of living in a country for a good number of years. And even so; one’s own experience of a country may be quite different from others’ experiences or impressions. Zara gave her observations and accounts of her time in Dubai as she experienced it.

  • rul Says

    What did u expect in a Muslim Country??
    Islam and Democracy are not possible together. Islam only recognizes Sharia, Islam Laws. The same will happen on Europe if we don’t stop this “people of peace” around the world.

    • Zara Says

      I knew the UAE was not a democratic country, but didn’t realize how flaky the law was until coming across many cases during my days in Dubai. I understand that, being such a young country, it lacks history and standards, but the way the law “adapts” itself depending on who is being judged, can be quite sickening.
      Here is a good and recent example of this: So, 2 guys are caught consuming weed. The Sudanese one goes to jail, but the Emirati one (having done the same thing) simply goes to rehab. Way to go UAE law! How fair..

      So, not all is that obvious. It didn’t take 4 years to figure out but it did take that amount of time to figure out the nuances of the situation, as it is not just about being “good” or “bad”. If only life was that straight forward!

      Thanks for commenting, Rul!

    • DNS Says

      Wrong Rul. There are some Islamic majority countries and Democracy.

      Where are you from btw Zara? Are you from another part of the Middle East, or are you Latino/Spanish?

    • patel Says

      islamophobe Muslim haters, why do such people go to Muslim countries if you dislike its rules and people. stay away from arabia and other Muslim countries then!

  • I lived for 2 years in Dubai and I left the city and the country because the racism and exploitation of workers. Im from France.

    • Zara Says

      That exploitation you mention is just one of the problems, I think. But definitely one of the most obvious ones and that should make the authorities and local rulers care and do something about it.

      • Zane Says

        Homosexuality thrives very well in Dubai !! You were soooo wrong when you mentioned homophobia as a problem in Dubai.. Dubai is a paradise for gay people ! You find the wildest gay parties there , and gays don’t need to hide at all ! It is very well tolerated even though the law does not accept it but everyone it turning the blind eye to it , just like prostitution in Dubai !

        • Zara Says

          WOW! This sounds very different than what I have observed with gay friends living in Dubai and certainly from things I’ve heard and read. Still, if law doesn’t back you up (and sharia law certainly doesn’t) there is no way you can feel 100% free living as you wish. I think Dubai / UAE still has a LOOONG way to go when it comes to accepting and not condemning homosexuality. Being gay is not just about going to wild parties and have sex, etc.. what about being able to introduce someone as your partner? Marrying, perhaps? Maybe Dubai is still “OKish” in the region, but I wouldn’t think of it as a paradise for gay people. Far from that..

    • La fraise Says

      I agree with my french partner. I’m also from France and I had to see how the racism can be awful in the UAE. I traveled and lived in a lot of countries, and I rarely saw this can of behaviors… The emirati is all powerful, and the Indian is barely considered has human. No one can say the opposite! This is just a fact. You said justice? Lol there is no such word, if you have a case with a local you can just forget about your rights. What about the Islam’s principles of justices, equality in front of Allah, respect etc… Well, when the money of hydrocarbons will not be attractive enough to attract western expertise, we will see how the emiratis will manage their country without the Western and Asian brains…
      By the way, I’m not trying to be hateful of anything, but the facts are what they are, and i definitely confirm that 98% of the expats are only there for money, and would leave the country as soon as they will fill their bank account. Me, I don’t think I will wait till this time, sometimes you feel really bad, and you just want to forget about money and leave this unfair place, and save your soul…

      • Zara Says

        You bring up a very valid point comparing the realities of “justice” in Dubai and what Islam should be all about. Around the world, people observe the type of behavior and social differences that happen in certain Gulf countries in think that it is Islam’s fault. It is not. It’s not about the religion per se, but about how society interprets that religion to fit their own interests on a given moment. That said, not everyone following the same religion partakes in the same type of unfair behaviors or thoughts. It’s important to make this clear and I wished people all over the world didn’t generalize as much as they tend to do.

  • juegos de chicas Says

    Really nice article, I like it.

  • pinger Says

    Sometime you can hate humanity … Who can be recording the dot 5 video and don’t try to stop them? Please some alien race, invade us now. It can’t be worse.

  • Fernando Says

    Wow! I just found your website through Meneame and it just so cool! I wish a lot of fun and nice trips all around the world.

    • Zara Says

      Hola Fernando! Thanks a lot!
      Hope you keep on reading and “traveling” with us! ;)

  • Whoever Says

    Was it taking 4 years to realize of it or the money you were paid was enough to buy your silence? It sounds after all, you’ve decided to justify yourself writing that, but you accepted to do that for four years and you made all what you’re critizing sustainable in that society… Good luck cleaning your soul…

    • Zara Says

      I actually didn’t know about all the above points before moving to Dubai. No amount of reading or researching could ever be compared to experiencing something in a place, in first hand.
       I did know a lot of generic things, for example regarding women’s status in society, how religion is important to the point of being the fundamental structure for the local laws, how there were some violations of human rights even… But only after living in Dubai for a while, I understood the depth of the issues mentioned in my post. Not everything is so “in your face”, there is a lot of subtle things that, when you observe and experience them in your daily life, end up becoming big things. For instance, after I started dating an Indian man, I could experience much more clearly situations of racism, subtle discrimination, prejudice, etc. It can be very deceiving when you see a certain reality from your personal perspective only and if you don’t end up mixing with other cultures much (real mixing, not only working together, etc..) you might even never look at things from other perspectives, which you might not have ever considered even existed. 

      It’s very easy to ignore issues that are all around you when they don’t affect you directly. At the end of the day we all have to make a living and some are willing to compromise more than others to earn big bucks. You’d be surprised at how many people in Dubai don’t truly think about the points mentioned: sometimes your life-style won’t allow you to come face to face with certain realities and it’s lot like you want to dig into them either, because it’s not pleasant. So, many people stay in a mind set that is pretty much “let me earn my salary, live my life and move on… What can I do anyway?” 

      “you’ve decided to justify yourself writing that, but you accepted to do that for four years and you made all what you’re criticizing sustainable in that society” You have NO IDEA of what I did or did not while living in Dubai, so stop judging based on assumptions. That’s a very shallow thing to do.  To “whoever” I say “whatever”!

      • Antonia Says

        Perfect answer to a very unpleasant comment! As we say we can not judge based on assumptions!
        we are all proud of you!!

      • Andreas Says

        to me it also seems as just a self-justification – I’ve been living in Dubai for 8 months now and see those things… I saw them already first month after I moved here. So I think it’s really a bit hypocritical after 4 years to say – I’m leaving because the country is exploiting these poor Indians and I can’t take all these money. That’s a bit ridiculous, sorry.

        • Zara Says

          ” I think it’s really a bit hypocritical after 4 years to say – I’m leaving because the country is exploiting these poor Indians and I can’t take all these money” – if you read parts 1 and 2 of my post you would see that I am talking about more issues here than “just” the exploitation of the labor force.

          • Joe Says

            Flat out I think you left becuese of the way your boyfriend is traded not becuese of all your other shit, you just covering up the main the way if you Oaky to do any job for anything you loss you respect.

        • Singh S. Says

          Andreas and Whoever are right imho

          all the unpleasant things of Dubai that are listed in this blog are in the web and under the sunlight since decades, no need to wait 4 years in place to discover that …
          but is always comfortable to spit them after coming back with a full wallet, for the same reason that those poor labors accept to go to work in Dubai despite they knows the situation, but they’re forced by India’s condition and Europe/NorthAm not letting them get a visa (so in the end UAE is the only country that wanna host them).

  • sergi el gran Says

    if you don´t like the contry go away. no one force you to stay

  • Phoenix Says

    and spain?

  • Ghadah Says

    Im sure we can all agree that every country has its own rules and social system. As an Arab who travelled and lived in London and the USA for more than 5 years, I had to adapt to their rules and life style, sometimes it was pleasant and at others it wasn’t but I always tried to keep an open mind and let others be. Thats what happend to me when it came to religion and social issues.
    As for human rights I can assure you that I learned that I must be careful and not help someone who slipped in front of me so I wont be sued just in case they thought I did it, and not to go pray in a mosque so I wont be under ‘surveillance’ . Where are my rights and personal freedom then???
    At this age and time its gullible to believe in democracy, it doesn’t exist, presidents and prime ministers say what you want to hear and promise things they know they wont manage to finish in time for the next elections, at least in Dubai Emaratis get grants and money from their government, and you as a foreigner get paid double what you would get in your country.

    We would all appreciate it if you would mention all the good things Dubai has offered you.

    • Zara Says

      With this post I never meant to imply that other countries (even democratic countries) do not have problems. There are issues all over the place.., sure! But this was a post about Dubai, that’s all! If you were to read other entries here on Backpack ME you’d realize that more has been writen and posted about Dubai and the UAE and it’s not all bad. This was a post about what it was: what I dislike about Dubai.

    • patel Says


      like living in their countries is heaven! if your own countries are so perfect then stay there, stop coming to uae, ksa qatar turkey etc

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  • Mona Says

    Hi Zara,
    is it possible to contact you via a private email?
    Can’t find it anywhere on your blog.
    would love to ask you some specific questions about Dubai.

  • Yassine Daoudi Says

    you criticize Dubai and connect it’s law with Islam as if it’s a religion that promotes racism and enslaving people ! in Islam everything is clear and simple, you should go and learn sharia before indirectly criticizing it by criticizing a UAE law that supposedly take it’s rules from Islam, UAE law is based on an old religion, the religion that Islam replaced, it’s called Arab Pride and Elitism, in this religion there is one rule, Arabs supremacy, being an Arab I like it slightly, but being a Muslim first makes me hate Dubai, and hate all the democratic countries that pretend to respect human rights when they bomb weak countries, and stay far away from the strong ones even if they do the worst inhuman things you can imagine

    and finally Atheism for me is the most stupid “religion” ;)

    • Zara Says

      I never said that “Islam promotes racism and enslaving people”. I did say that Dubai is a Muslim place and that those things do happen over there – the way each person connects the dots interpreting this is up to them. But that those things happen is a fact.

      • Angela Says

        I lived in Indonesia, primarily Islamic. There was a case a year back in Sumatra where kids at a punk rock concert were arrested, their hair cut/heads shaved, tossed into a swimming pool as a sort of ‘baptism’, then forced to pray.

        I thoroughly enjoyed your account of Dubai, having once considered moving there and decided against it after what I had read and my own experiences living in an Islamic country.

        • Zara Says

          That punk rock concert story sounds pretty hardcore!..

          I never get why some religious people want to force their beliefs on others and make them pray even if they know they are doing it by obligation and not devotion to whatever power from above… it’s such a theatre!!

          Thanks for your comment, Angela!
          I hope you are in a place you enjoy now! :)

    • Hasan Says

      Dear sir,

      With respect. Atheism isn’t a religion. It just tells us how stupid other religions are.

      • peter Says

        Technically, the No religion Atheistic views have turned into a religion. You can not deny that. Atheists believe in No god, but in self human power, and science, Humanism. Being good individual , basically having good morals. Same thing, its just a no god religion. Atheism – the no religion religion

        • Nona Yerbiz Says

          So in other words, atheists are believers in reality. I’m glad in your head that makes it a religion but in reality it doesn’t.

        • Katie Says

          To paraphrase a quote, ‘Atheism is a much a religion, as not collecting baseball cards is a hobby.’ Also personally I would not go to Dubai as Atheism under their law can be punished with death. As I understand it this is rarely used, but it is the law.

          • Zara Says

            Ha, LOVE that quote!!
            I didn’t know that atheism is punished with death in the UAE though, and I highly doubt this would materialize now-a-days. But, still, if that is indeed a rule, it’s scary enough even in theory!

    • patel Says

      lol so true!

  • nivk Says

    so why arnt you complaining about the fact that Americans and Europeans get paid the most money and get the best perks in the UAE and they do nothing , actually they get to to show how undeserving and lazy they are. have you had your grocery delivered to your house before ? how bad did you feel about it then ? did you have a maid there or got one to clean your house for you ? did you write about that ?

    here in the US:

    1)1. Human Rights VIOLATIONS
    Arizona’s Immigration That Law Violates Civil Rights
    2)2. Religion is the mother of all RULES
    how is that different than America , but i guess you don’t watch much news.
    3)You MUST have a religion
    Same in the US
    4)It’s NOT a DEMOCRACY
    same in the US , you get funded by corporations , votes mean nothing.

    the only reason i picked the US because i live here , where racism is very lively all through out the bible belt .

    i find you through this article to be very pretentious, it took me 3 months to hate Dubai and i left, not after i milked the cow .

    on a side note Arabs in Dubai are the best people i have ever meet there, and whats shocking is how racist Europeans are , you probably should write about that .

    • Zara Says


      I did write about the differences in salaries according to country of origin. I never meant to say that Westerners are not part of the problems that Dubai has (in my opinion), much on the contrary. They promote differences in people and yes, there are a lot of racists too.

      “Religion is mother of all rules. how is that different than America , but i guess you don’t watch much news.”
      There is no mention to “America” in my post, in no way I compared Dubai to the US – let’s call it US but it’s annoying that you guys call it “America” when that’s the whole continent and not just your country, by the way! I am not from the US so why would I write about Dubai comparing it to YOUR country? ‘Cause the world doesn’t end outside US borders.. There are inequalities and racism in the US, as well in many other countries across all continents – by saying there is racism in Dubai I don’t imply that racism is inexistent elsewhere. And the fact that there are issues in other parts of the world doesn’t make Dubai’s issues any smaller.

  • Ulrike Says

    I just left Dubai and moved to Australia, but I loved it there. Being a serial expat, I tend to look at the positive aspects of each country I live in and try to enjoy everything it has to offer. If you are going to start listing things that are wrong with each country, there is not one country in the world which is perfect.
    If you don’t like the religion, don’t go to a Muslim country; yes, the plight of the labourers is bad, but you can volunteer with a charity and help them out; racism unfortunately exists everywhere; not a democracy – no, but there are plenty of so-called democracies where the people are much worse off, etc etc.
    Would I go back to Dubai – of course! Just not in the summer… ;-))

    • Zara Says

      Of course, one needs to look at the positive aspects of a place – and I did while living in Dubai, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it there for so long!! But some things grow on you with time, both on the positive and negative side of things.

      To be honest, I don’t think volunteering with charities that help out laborers makes that much difference. Giving them clothes or food is not going to change the way they are treated and if individuals and charities take care of this problem in these kind of small ways, then the rulers might start feeling that this is not their job to do, when I think it totally is!

    • Simon Says

      Very well put…. I just arrived in Dubai to live. I have read a lot and understand what it is to be here, you come here doing the homework first.

      I am from New Zealand, which is a very liberal advanced country far different from the UAE. But I have come here to experience a different world and be part of another culture. Life is about experiences and learning, UAE is a great place to make the most of a new world – it is still developing here, both geographically and culturally. Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.

      Looking forward to the new adventure here. Yip, I like the idea about helping with a charity for the poor conditions some people live in but remember it is often the companies responsible for this and not the government. Some very cruel individuals that need to be sorted out

    • BlaBla Says

      Portugal is perfect… Go check it out :P

  • Nina Says

    I’m going to work in Dubai starting next week. And I’m very thankful that you have a given me a wonderful insight to the country that I will working in a few years, I think. Your blog has a lot of helpful information that will be very helpful with my stay there. I would very much like to read the next part of your blog about this. I’ll keep track of this. Although I have some questions to put to you but I don’t know how can I reach you. I hope you’re open about this. Good luck to your future endeavors!

  • Ben Says

    I wouldn’t enven consider moving to a country if I’m not ok with the law and social life. It’s not like Dubai’s drawbacks are a secret to anyone. And, yes, religious books contain a lot of fundamental laws for a good interaction between human beings, if you can read it with a

    • Ben Says

      * critical manner. We always want to give a meaning to our lives, for atheists what would it be? I’d say money by observing people around me. And that’s far worse than some religions.

      • Zara Says


        I agree with you that most religions / religious books do convey positive messages. That does not mean that those who follow the religions do apply those principles in their daily life! between talk and action, there is sometimes an ugly gap. Some do, and some don’t.

        I think that your views on atheism are extremely limited. Just because one doesn’t follow a specific religion, it does not mean that one doesn’t have values, sense of humanity, compasion, etc.. Or only thinks about money as you mention. You can have great values and apply them in your life without being limited by the frame of a certain religion. Values are universal and can be religion fee. Atheists do think more than about money – thinking otherwise sounds quite silly to me.

      • Anonymous1128 Says

        You think that just because someone is atheist all they think about is money? What an arrogant and misguided belief. I think Zara is being polite, but I don’t have to be polite. If you actually read her blog, I think you might see that there is quite a bit that she cares about MORE than money, human rights and equality being some of them. Your post just proves that if you are religious, you are unfortunately an example of religious intolerance.

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  • Golam Says

    I like this article, I can relate as I was a victim of inhuman to this Islamic place. Their islamic constitution was very discriminating and inhuman. I hope their certain rules will be ammended soon to this place. There are detainee who were sufferring form slavery from their local boss’s. Like for instance, one pakistani guy, a retaurant waiter, was accidentally messing one local lady to her black abayat with an iced tea trown into her while serving. The poor pakistani, kneeled to the lady asking sorry. The local lady had called the police. When the police arrived the local lady tells everything to the police and lied. The police beat the pakistani guy and charged of harrasment and convicted and put into jail. This is a clear inuman and racist country, specially their ladies act like super princess or majesty of all, as if they are th emost high. Fuck!

    • Zara Says

      It is true that it doesn’t always happen, but many times the law and social perception in Dubai is biased and racist. LIke they always say: “be careful… don’t ever get into a car accident with a local”. ‘Cause people know that, as a matter of fact, the law will be applied differently depending who is involved.

  • Interesting inside from a booming market in Arabia. I was already thinking that these Arabic states were places where foreign people are easily mistreated.

    I think that you have written a very nuanced article, showing that Dubai is way off from being a respectful country. Thank you for article.

    Power to the peaceful!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Menno!
      There is indeed a lot of dust, sweat and tears under the glitz that Dubai is commonly known for.
      Not everything is bad, of course, but there is a lot of crap going around!…

  • Jj Says

    I am living in Dubai for 6 years. I like it. This is a place where people come to make moneu and then they leave. It is not a democracy. It has certain rules based on Sharia law but they are not enforced. You can do whatever the hell you want as long as you are not too obvious and decent. The police will only come and check on you if someone reports you. So act decent and French kiss at home. Yes there is racism and discrimination and rightfully so. When you have so many cultures in one place it is only normal to be able to choose who you hire who you work with.
    People who complain about all this lack of democracy and bla bla in Dubai forget to mention that there is almost no crime here, it is safe and we don’t pay taxes. You come here to make money so live with the rules or gey out. It is that simple. Nobody is brought here by force so if you stay it means you accepted thw local rules and you’re fine with it. Don’t like that you can’t stick your tongue down your bf’s throat in public while wearing hotpants that reveal your buttocks ? Don’t come here then. It is really that simple.

    • Zara Says

      You are right when you say Dubai is the kind of place people go to make money and then leave – I think it is the case for most people, anyway.

      But I don’t agree with all with what you said “It has certain rules based on Sharia law but they are not enforced” or that people can do “whatever the hell you want as long as you are not too obvious and decent”. This is absolutely not true. Yes you can drink at home, yes you can be more sensual in private… but this is not all there is when it comes to personal and social freedoms and (what I consider) basic rights.

      I also don’t agree with the part when you say “Nobody is brought here by force” – it wasn’t certainly my case, but MANY people are brought into the country with false contracts and work conditions agreements that do not meet reality when they arrive. This applies to laborer’s living conditions, to ladies who end up in prostitution and human trafficking networks when they were supposed to be performing other jobs, etc.

      Not all that glitters is gold. Dubai is a great money-making place for some, but certainly not for all. There is a TON of injustice happening.

    • LJ Says

      Ji, I often hear this “lack of crime” thing as it were a justification.
      I kindly invite you to compare things like murder rate: UAE (and GCC) countries have roughy the same as Western Europe (I am assuming GCC reporting standards are the same as WE, something quite unlikely btw)
      Rape/sex crimes, it is impossible to compare as the standards are so different, but anecdotal evidence points that it is higher in the GCC. Not to western expats (usually, remember the french kid, and a few gruesome ones that I have heard in a very small city) but I have heard of quite a few maids who got raped when going to Spinneys after dark in places like Greens. And I am not going into maids raped by the family members nor prostitutes raped by the police after arrest)

  • muk Says

    what more in saudi?a (not so)good place for job but no freedom of everything including laughing…

  • Mishi E. Says

    I just left dubai with one of the same reason as yours. I Love your blog! FANTASTIC! Big clap clap to that! your so brave!! No wonder, why they call DUBAI as THE CITY OF SIN!!!

  • Mishi E. Says

    When I was there,, I feel like I’m living in hell (include the weather) and specially the cruelty of the pipol. note! not only in dubai I would say the entire middle east country where arabs live. coz I also work in Kuwait before! much more WORST than Dubai.

    • Zara Says

      It’s not about where Arabs leave, Mishi. It is not Arab people’s fault, or at least not only.
      It is everyone’s fault – everyone who is part of the “multi-cultural society” that exists in Dubai.
      The UAE is probably quite “advanced” when compared to other neighboring Gulf countries though…

  • Chris Says

    A well written article but you seem to have enjoyed the less crazier aspects of Dubai (tongue in cheek.) I am in the Middle East far more than I care to be and while Dubai is the most liberal of them, they are all the same in the end unless you are wealthy.

  • kaushik Says

    Zara don judge me on this but work conditions for indians in india is not that great either…

    to be honest its much worse, india has a contrast or extreme riches with the likes of ambanis(forbes 4th world richest) and murthys…and poor(70% of population)per capita is as low as $100 ..u think that the people who get expolited here would get great jobs back in india?? no! certainly not…. the very fact that they moved to UAE would be to earn better than what they did back here.. and no i am not saying that whats happening in DUBAI is right but i just want you to know that this will continue to happen as it has happened in past… history repeats itself….remember the pharoahs who used slaves to build pyramids? many died of starvation and heat….same stuff happening now and it will contnue to happen..
    we can to a certain extent stop this…educate people and make them aware of whats happening…ironically a week ago i have recieved a job offer from one of the banks in dubai…now i am reconsidering:)

    good bless!!

    • Zara Says


      I never said work conditions for Indians in India are better. I know this is not true in every case and, worse than that, I guess they don’t always have jobs – otherwise they wouldn’t be looking to go abroad, without their families and all… Still, this is no justification for what happens in the UAE. Because the UAE is a country with a lot of money and resources and exploiting people shouldn’t be a necessity. Still, as you well said, “history repeats itself” – and this is how it has happened in big empires and civilizations. Still, I repeat, the UAE should learn from the past and do better. They should do better as time goes by, I guess. But it’s sad to see there is no international pressure in order to do so – the Gulf has something the West wants, so the West keeps quite for the sake of their own interests!.. Sad but true.

      • Adex Says

        I have lived and worked there but i can tell you that its one the worst mistake i have ever made..It was a wasted agonising one year for me..If you are not expat or emirati then you are a second class citizen..No minimum wage,No pressure group(workers union)And its a crime for workers to go on strike this means workers have no right at all..The system is so delibrately wrong on migrant workers..Your employers have the right to hold your passport and have all the power on you indirecty owns you..The government of UAE knows about this practises and turn a blind eye..Dont even try to go to a labour court thats when you would see the full scale of institutional hypocrisy coz in dubai court they dont speak english even if they know you dont speak arabic

        • Zara Says

          I’m sorry you read you had a negative experience in Dubai, Adex!
          What you say is very right: as a worker, you are in the hands of your employer. For better or worse, they always get to control the situation. And, in general, this is obviously not fair for employees!

        • Eddie Says

          All those people in Immigrants in UAE are Expatriates whether earning million dollars or on Minimum wage. They are all offering one kind of services or the other in exchange for wages. I don’t really get your distinction between so called expats and others. Unless of course you are referring to white peoples and other ethnic backgrounds. Kind of subtle racism in which everyone indulges in not just the Arabs.

    • patel Says

      well said kaushik, if india was so nice, nobody would leave! uae is full of indians, yet they have the cheek to criticize and complain. don’t like it don’t come here, go back and stay there in your bollycrap slums!

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  • Niaz Says

    its pathetic to read the story, First analyse who u are and then move about with the country, any country outside my home country i have always felt problamatic, but dont fuckin give such bull shit out of your story. you prostitutes always mean money and luxury. Live as if u die tomorrow. Analyse wat is life and death and then talk more. avoid this foolishnessss my dear friend.

    • Zara Says

      Oh, so you’re that kind of guy who thinks all western girls are prostitutes?!..

      I don’t think I can have a rational argument with a guy like you. I’m all about money and luxury, so as you’re giving me none of these things, I shouldn’t be wasting my time with you..

  • Hasan Says


    I am an Australian citizen with a South Asian background. I’ve done my Masters in Civil Engineering from New South Wales University in Sydney. I also have few years work experience in Australia. Can I expect a higher salary in Dubai than most South Asians or will it be equal?

    • Zara Says

      iI really depends in the company and how you manage to negotiate your salary package. Some companies do pay better based on nationality – but also depends on the nationality of the company itself. So as sick as it may sound, you might get a better pay just because you’re coming from Australia, in some cases yes..
      Do let us know when you find out! :)

      • Hasan Says

        Thanks for the quick reply Zara. I’ve been to Dubai a couple of times for very short visits. A friend of mine settled in Dubai proposed that I should give Dubai a try. But I seriously doubted that there exists a country with the pay scale dependent upon on your nationality or colour of skin. I also found the question about religion bit funny as I’m myself Atheist or at the very least an agnostic atheist. But I guess if they ask me that I should say Muslim since it will be consistent with my name :D Dunno if they’ll like it or not :)
        And I will sure let you know. I’ve this blog bookmarked :)

        • Zara Says

          I don’t think you should worry much about the religion question. At least for me, it only mattered (a bit) when I had to fill in paper work to get a resident visa – it’s not that people will care much at an individual level, it was just official paperwork. I had a lot of people asking me my religion, just while doing small talk, and I always said I had no religion as such and that didn’t seem to change anything.

          Good luck then and keep us posted! ;)

  • Timea Says

    It’s so funny to read all the comments because the only people getting offended are the people who practice a religion. Then they try to tell you that your religion is stupid. Hence why the “none of the above” box or “it’s not for me” would have been my choice.

    Living by freedom and enforcing happiness in life is how I try to live and will only ever worship the only thing that creates and maintains life which is the sun.

    Excellent article and thank you for sharing a side that clearly has been hidden under a luxurious rug.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for your comments Timea!
      Religion and religious preferences are a very sensitive subject – it’s true that many people practice their religion without caring about other people’s beliefs but it’s also true that some other religious people try to enforce their religion and views on life on others. Everyone should be free to believe and practice (or not) whatever the hell they want! Even if that is worshiping the sun! :)

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  • Abhishek Says

    Hypocritical to say the least. As another guy already stated, you’re going on about all these issues after ”milking the cow”. The dream trip you’re having aroung the world has been funded/initated by the money you guys earned/saved in Dubai (squeezed from labor force you feel sympathy for and the biased muslim economy you find digustin).

  • Zara Says

    Abhishek: by that logic I could have been in Dubai “milking the cow”, as you say, for much longer… and then take the money to travel around the world even more, no?! Different life circumstances and a relationship kept me in Dubai for about 4 years – it wasn’t just the fact that I was busy squeezing the cow’s tits.
    Unfortunately Dubai didn’t make me that rich that I could be living it up the way you probably think I do.
    I never mentioned anything about a “muslim economy” – if anything, I did mention that I don’t appreciate the fact that the law is based on Muslim principles (or any other religion). “Muslim economy” is a concept I am not familiar with.

  • ijlal Says

    I agree with the racism part
    ive been living here since i was 3 (Im almost 16)
    I mean TO START OFF WITH the PHILLIPINAS, it seems as they cant see anyone else except their countrymen
    and then ,not all, but some of the locals who know nothing AT ALL are extremely racist towards all asians!!!! SOO Frustrating even when theyre abusing someone from another country i feel extremely sad and try to helpout the abused !!! this is not a way forward for a developing country
    even tho it isnt aloowed in our religion (ISLAM)

    • Zara Says

      Ijlal, racism in Dubai can indeed get quite frustrating.
      I think the best one can do at an individual level is be equal to everyone, no matter where they come from, their financial background, race, etc.. we all have to do our best within our friends circle and only then society, at a larger scale, can become more equal too.
      Hang in there!! :)

  • OMG Says

    I will be arriving in Dubai to work for a year from the USA. Being that I am completing my dissertation in the USA, I have some books on Homosexuality and therapy, will I be detained in the airport in Dubai if I bring these books. If I had my books shipped to dubai in a box, would the box be opened and checked. I need this books to finish my dissertation and just dont want any problems. Please advise.

    • Zara Says

      Sorry, but I have no idea about what happens to be boxes you ship into the country.
      As per the things you bring on your luggage… it could only (potentially) be a problem is someone opens your luggage, but it’s not like normally they’d check item by item.. so the likelihood of authorities finding something they might not like is fairly small, I’d say.

  • Vik Says

    Ok..I’ve read all the above comments and i must say…as a guy who was born and spent the first 15 years of his life in Dubai…and who knows people who spent over 35 years of their lives there…slogging their asses and working day in day out only to be told one day that “You’re too old Mr. X. Your services are not required anymore. Thank you for your time..”. The people of Dubai live in a shell…and having lived in Asia and studied and worked in Europe my suggestion would be – Travel…move around and see the world..and then come back ‘home’ to Dubai…You’ll be surprised at what you have written here.

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  • Mona Says

    A friend, Aydin Momtaz, an Iranian expat living in Dubai, recently tackled a topic about Dubai and I fully support it. While you raised valid points, I still love Dubai. I’ll copy below parts of his message.

    “Yes, I know some of you will say it’s all fake and argue these are only the sheen over the sh!t, but while you mentioning that, please remind me where on earth you have no sh!t and which government is dealing with it by improving it as days go by?

    Yes, I know you are going to say it’s all about money, but tell me, which big city is not?
    Yes, I know you are going to talk about censorship. So please tell me in which place people talk freely and are actually heard and really considered?

    Yes, I know you are going to say there is no history in Dubai and they try hard to pretend there is history. But hey, tell me how many places you know who have a rich history and were built in less than 20 years?

    Yes, I know you are going to talk about Gay and women’s rights and barbaric view on rape and rape victimes. I agree, but please, tell me, in which place there is no rape and there is zero discrimination towards homosexuality? Tell me where do you think rape victimes are truly taken care of? And where rapist and sexual molesters are truly punished by the punishments they really deserve?

    Yes, I know you are going to mention the poor maids and laborers and sickening conditions of labor camps. I agree, but please tell me which city got to its glory without hard and extremely unfair conditions to those who built it. Just because you don’t see it now in those places, does it really mean it never happened there? Why you don’t mention it as part of its history when you brag about how much history and culture that place has?

    Yes, I know you are going to say there is no culture in Dubai, so please remind me which city you think is the most cultural and how long did it take it to reach that standard for you.
    Yes, I know you are going to mention you are not allowed to have sex in public beaches. So please, tell me where are you legally allowed to have sex on its beaches and I’ll move there!

    Yes, I know most of you won’t be reading what I wrote and just going to mention all the things I mentioned.

    And no, I’ve not forgotten my heritage. I am proud of my background. I am Iranian-Spanish and I say it with absolute pride. I’m not fooling myself, I know to most, this is not heaven or the promis land, but hey, I tell you this, this is Dubai and this is why I like it so much!”

    • John Says

      This is brilliant and goes to the core of the matter. Yes all the things you mentioned, all the problems and issues exists in all countries as well, the fascinating thing about Dubai is that it brings everything to an extreme proportion. All bad things are zoomed out, Dubai represents many of the ills of humanity in one single place, a hub of immorality and perversion, a modern version of the pre-islamic Arabia. There is no rule of law, just rules for the rich and the poor; for the rich almost everything is permitted, for the poor almost everything is interdicted.

      • Zara Says

        Thanks for all your comments John. You are right. Many of the evil things that happen in Dubai, happen elsewhere too. But Dubai takes it to the EXTREME. That’s exactly what makes it so bad.

  • Mona Says

    In addition to that, remember Dubai is creating history at the moment. It has evolved within the last 20 years the same way others have done within a century. So yes, it is not perfect. The exploitation of human rights is appalling, but hello slavery in the US a hundred years ago!

    • Zara Says

      Hi Mona,

      I get where you’re coming from, but I’d have to disagree with a lot of the points you quoted above.

      I understand other places are far from perfect too, if not now-a-days, also when the cities where building up, societies where developing, etc.. Using slaves in a more obvious or subtle way has happened throughout history, true. But Dubai has tons of money so they don’t “need” to exploit people this much in order to develop their city. They could still afford to do so and pay people better and, specially, treat them more humanly. They just choose not to do so because they don’t consider everyone human at the same level.

      Also, if shit has happened (and still does) in other parts of the world, Dubai should observe and learn from other’s mistakes. Otherwise, they shouldn’t associate themselves with the adjective “modern” as many times as they currently do. Being “modern” is not just about having futuristic looking buildings!..

  • Charanjeet Singh Says


    The Editor,

    Discrimination with me in Dubai (A serious issue for Human rights Association)
    UAE Withhold my original medical reports of suspected tuberculosis.
    Brutal law of deportation on an assumption based T.B scar in United Arab Emirates.

    Respected Sir,

    Let me introduce myself. My name is CHARANJEET SINGH, an Indian national. Former resident and an Ex-Banker in Dubai..Year 2003 to 2006 I was working in India in a multi national bank. And since April 2006 to October 2011 working in U.A.E without any issue in my health..

    3rd March 2013, I came back to Dubai and joined a new job in a law firm in D.I.F.C. (Dubai International Financial Centre), On 4th March 2013, i appeared for medical test at D.I.F.C.
    18 days later i.e. on 22nd March 2013 at Al Muhaisna medical centre that comes under D.H.A (Dubai Health Authority) suspected that i have old T.B and I was deported immediately. Countless others are getting deported just due to a scar in their lungs.

    Neither I, while working and staying in my home country or Dubai, nor my parents had any kind of T.B infection in their lifetime.

    To prove myself I have already done skin test (Mantoux) twice and both times it was Negative.
    First time at Dubai when i noticed nurse writing on my medical card as negative, U.A.E did not issue me any report so that I can prove you my test reports nor they give it to anyone from any country and second test at A.I.I.M.S.
    I went to A.I.I.M.S (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) hospital at New Delhi and done all my checkups i.e. Skin test (Mantoux), Chest x-ray, Blood test, 3 times Sputum test and a Chest C.T Scan too on special advise by senior doctor to have a close look at the scar.

    D.H.A does guess work on T.B on the basis of mere x.ray film. Telling you the fact as it is.

    Based on my test reports, A.I.I.M.S issued me the Certificate stating that I do not have any active T.B. Senior doctors (A.I.I.M.S) asked me why did they deported you when there is no sign of T.B in our body??

    I really felt humiliation from U.A.E and felt depressed about this brutal and outdated law of deporting the patients just like a prisoner after he completes his punishment. I never expected this kind of behavior from U.A.E as happened with me.

    D.H.A was not ready to give me anything about my sickness in written. Why it was concealed from me??? What does this reflect?

    Present circumstances reminds me the malpractices of untouchability existed five decades ago, where in an individual was deliberately excluded from social interaction permanently.

    If U.A.E health authorities are really scared from heart to help these patients, at least they should not treat them like prisoners, deporting them back to their home country with permanent ban to enter U.A.E just because of a small suspected scar.
    This is the beginning of discrimination by gulf countries with expatriates excluding Arabs from gulf regions and i am sure the situation is going to be worse very soon if changes are not brought to their laws. I believe and I know it is discrimination.

    How about D.H.A staff? Will be they be deported permanently if they are infected with Active or Old T.B?? clearly mentions this is absolute discrimination and it is major issue of Human rights.

    Assuming the current scenario in the future, i will never suggest 53% Indians of UAE’s total population to work and visit U.A.E whether they provide double pay of what your are getting in your home country.

    Finally, they will be the culprit if they still go and get deported in case they are sick with any kind of scar in their chest in the mid of their growing career just and just because of U.A.E’s adamant laws.

    These harmless scars may come on anyone’s body, will leave a huge impact on their career just and just because of U.A.E outdated laws. Today it’s my turn; tomorrow could be the ignoring readers from different countries.

    I have lost a lot because of their law, I wish from my core – no one should face the same in their life without any reason.

    I request U.A.E to remove sickness from U.A.E instead of removing the sick.


    Your support will be highly appreciated to write something for this moral cause.

    (Charanjeet Singh)
    Mob: +91 9560728263
    New Delhi [India]

    • Zara Says

      Hi Charanjeet,

      I am sorry to read about your story in the UAE.
      Once cannot expect fair treatment in a place that does not follow a democratic system.

      All in all, I’d say you’re better off somewhere else rather than the UAE.

      All the best!

      • Kshira Says

        “Once cannot expect fair treatment in a place that does not follow a democratic system.” I don’t think democracy is the solution to this issue.
        Ahem! I am not so sure all Democratic countries are necessarily “fair”. Democratic and liberal countries forcing liberalism on people is not fair either. What about France banning hijabs(veil)? How is that fair to the women who choose to wear hijab? How about involvement of Political entities/regimes in SriLanka against Tamils? Ultimately it comes down to living in a country whose values you find acceptable. There is no “one place” that will be fair and acceptable to all. Because what seems fair to you may not be fair to another person. Sadly.
        I studied Democracy in America in my senior year. (I highly recommend you to read For the most part it is tyranny of the majority.
        I feel that racism and egalitarianism are not established by political/social structures, but by values taught at home as well as through quality education.(India is democratic but it is far from being free of power greedy politicians who oppress minority. Also there is much racism at the social level and it is evident in how people treat their “servants” and “lower class”/poor people. It is terrible. I don’t think Democracy alone can fix that.)
        Also no religious or non-religious law preaches inequality and racism. Infact almost all religions (if not all) preach equality of human beings before God). Unfortunately there are negative side effects of all political systems since the reality is far from the theory of these systems.
        I still appreciate living in a Democratic society (USA); there are actual measures to enforce protection of minorities and equality but I think I would attribute it more to American values and the education. “Where there is knowledge there is freedom”. If there is a country based on religious laws/social structure and values, but there is real and proper education and intolerance towards injustice (no partiality) then it is bound to have more respect to other human beings compared to “democratic” societies that are overrun by corruption and lack of education.

        • Kshira Says

          By the way… I completely agree that it doesn’t justify what’s going on there. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Unfortunately I don’t know if the alternatives are as better as they appear to be. :-(

  • Penelope Mccarrel Says

    I like what you guys are doing. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys. I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website. :)

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for your positive comments Penelope!

      • King Richard Says

        I understand the complaints of laws and control, our country ( USA ) has seen drastic control factors increase about the freedoms of our daily lives-
        no standing, closed beaches and parks after certain hours, the strict driving laws, and religion is based on what has been handed down from inspired and many events seen in the past, to believe is like hearing about history in school. But – to ignore the basic function that my life was not created by something is absurd , if I look at anything in this world it was ” made ” which if I drive a car, (made) eat food- (made)
        all substance of life science states was- MADE, so who created this?
        Simply our creator, and the so called laws handed to the majority of all religions are the exact same “principles”. They may have different names and book titles, but the same basic laws of teaching. Which are our guide
        not to be our dictatorship as some have used them. But the actions that all mankind should embrace God as our “creator” and that those who reject God are saying: – “I wasn’t made”, that the teachings project a way of life that gives us tolerance, understanding , and caring about each other- In all those words just said, I can’t find not “ONE” fault, the only thing GOD requires for us– we must decide, his Kingdom, or Satan’s?
        And proof that these places are real , have been retold over and over and over throughout the thousands of years of people who died briefly, and lived again to tell what they saw. That is called in a court of law- a “Witness”. Hundreds of thousands have said the exact things- so doubt all?
        Last to the woman who condemned Dubai- I agree that human rights are important, but we have in The USA over 5,000,000. people behind bars. Treated like animals caged, and without reform for many, and little hope of ever having a normal life again, I believe Jesus said it well- “He without sin throw the first stone.” But , – to change an ill means to take a medication , or give the person something to fix the illness- so as a method of fixing the ill of this situation – introducing the ill is not the answer- but repairing the ill is the answer, so speak to those who
        are ill and make “them” aware not those who are healthy. And one law I agree with which our nation has seen the increase of women with children without husbands because of the “live together” nature rather than commitment of bonding our lives and hearts in what GOD said should be done. But – principles being rejected- but as we see GODS plan is better- because he is all knowing, and we now see the great burden placed on millions from women who require financial help because they do not have a man who stayed and who committed his life through marriage. Last- marriage has been made into a – “well if it doesn’t work out – I’ll get a divorce, that is mans ruling, not GODS PLAN once again- and because man drifts from GOD , he finds life harder, complicated, and confused, the answer: SEEK & and ye shall find, Knock and it shall be opened- GOD is my dear friends, your friend , and you can stray , you can say no- but he knows us all, and in the day you stand before him – he will show you how many times he tried for you, and how many times you turned away. Finding him is like a great journey, and I regret that those of you unwilling to try is the reason you fail to find him, I have had my days when life becomes cruel and harsh, and people around me cause me heartache, but I
        know that I have a silent friend who is always aware, and he let’s me know
        in the greatest of ways, when suddenly what was my trial and test is achieved and sometimes in the weirdest ways. I believe we all need to grow up though, and that includes me, we need to say- That is different and unless it really is harming us directly we need to try and understand the view of others. Those who hate, well they are people who have been hurt deeply, and only wish harm in one form or another on others. But my hope is that one day all mankind will desire friendship over hate, and seek each other as family , and treat each other as the golden rule.
        Which is – love each other,share with each other-
        and all the misery goes away. May 2017 be this movement.

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  • Charanjeet Singh Says








    • Zara Says

      Best of luck with your “fight”, Charanjeet!

      • Charanjeet Singh Says

        Thanks a million Zara .My fight is not especially to come back or work in Dubai , it is a fight for others who are cheated by their personal laws.There is no such discriminating law in any other country especially gulf regions. U.A.E is scared to invest money on patients who spent their 40 to 50 years working in UAE. No citizenship – No medical security – instead of medical support, an expatriate is kicked out if he is not well – only running horses are required in U.A.E – India is The best when it comes to medical support for any national – free of charge medical be it a national or expat.It was a major mistake to start my career in U.A.E. They will not understand others situation.

        • Zara Says

          Hi Charanjeet!
          I understand that your fight’s goal is not to come back and work in Dubai – if they treated you as they did, why would you want to be there anyway?!

          People who spend all their lives in the UAE know what they “signed up for” – let’s not forget the UAE is NOT a democracy, citizens’ opinions barely count.. so you can image residents’ opinions will count even less.

          My only suggestion to anyone born there or stuck there for whatever reason, would be: if you have the means to go somewhere else.. get the hell out of the UAE!

          • Charanjeet Says


  • Zara Says

    Charanjeet: if all Indians were to come out of the UAE that would be the end of that country as we know it!

    • alex Says

      Yes zara excellent answer ..if all indians come out of uae they and their family will die due to hunger u are a fucking bitch, guys you all wating time reading zaras fucking article instead of asking her go ask your parents they will guide you in a right way..

  • Realist Says

    you know this is nothing new right? Indians and southeast Asians, in general, are treated bad everywhere including “advance, liberal and open minded countries” like New Zealand, Australia, America etc. It’s just a reality that indians have to accept. On the other hand, you have been very fortunate to have been born white and I can’t stress enough how much the world values white people. You should count your blessings and be thankful for what you are because you are never going to be discriminated against the way indians have to go through. You guys have opportunities like back packing and taking a year off but indians can’t do that. The idea of leaving their low paying jobs does not even come to mind. These are opportunities that the world has given to white people and you should be very grateful. So please stop pretending like any if this affects you.

    • Zara Says

      Yes, I know this is nothing new. But experiencing something in person vs reading about it / watching something about it on TV is substantially different. By living something personally, you are allowed a much more in depth insight on things.

      By saying that Indians (and others) are not treated well in the UAE I am not saying they are treated better in other countries – my point was to make what’s wrong in the UAE stand out, independently of comparisons. If you do something wrong, just because others do it too, that doesn’t justify a bad behavior.

      I know I am privileged because I am European – if you read a little further on this blog, you’d come across other instances where I make that very clear. If you’d read the About Us page ( you’ll see that the other half of this project is Ashray, an Indian guy. While it’s true that most Indians can’t just “pack and take a year off” as you say, it’s also true that some can (as fruit of their own work).

      I am grateful that I have certain privileges just because I happened to be born as a white person or have an European passport, but I think it’s very wrong of you to state “please stop pretending like any if this affects you” because it seriously does. Not only because my husband is Indian, but because I care about the society I am a part of, and I care about how I can contribute to make things right or wrong.

      Your comments sounds almost as if you’re saying “please don’t give us your charity”.. so I guess you missed the point.

    • Chait Says

      I think in terms of blanket statements yours take the cake ! So Indians are treated badly everywhere, how much have you travelled to make that assertion. I think if you are Indian, you suffer from many of the self-flagellation tendencies which many Indians suffer which is: I am to blame for any misbehavior towards me. Unless that behavior is changed, you will never fight it. Discrimination has to be fought, and some progressive countries like US, UK, Australia and even India provide you sufficient tools (legal/governmental) to fight that discrimination. The UAE and the middle-east don’t, because for them its not even wrong.

      I praise the author of this blog, she did not have to go through the humiliations herself, but she felt it was wrong and spoke about it. It takes courage and self-conviction to do that. Bravo !

      • Zara Says

        Thanks Chait!
        Just because one doesn’t suffer a problem on their own skin, doesn’t mean one should become indifferent – that’s exactly the problem in Dubai.. the lack of humanity and their everyone seems to be too focused on their own shit.
        Anyway.. thanks for your comment! :)

        • alex Says

          Zara I guess some one fucked you in uae and didn’t pay you for it …I guess this is why you hate uae

          • Zara Says

            Alex, thanks for proving my point that EVERYTHING is about money in Dubai and the UAE. If you’re over there, I guess that is also your way of thinking by now and that is why you are reflecting it on me.

            I am not telling anyone here what they should or shouldn’t do, but I am free to express my opinion (even if negative). Particularly over here, considering this is my own blog! People are free to interpret what they read as they wish. Also, our comments area is an open place to debate ideas in a healthy way. Trolling and insulting is not welcome.

  • Antoine Says

    Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  • Shilpa Says

    I sort of agree with point 8, that if you live in JBR, marina apartments, the perception is that your living a great life. Another point you missed out on mentioning is UAE’s absolute stupidity in choose candidates for higher positions in a company and their payscales. The arabs seem to have no brains in looking into educational qualifications. Having been living in UAE all my life, i find this one thing completely outrageous.

    • Zara Says

      This reminds me of a story I once came across: someone in Dubai was outraged because a guy who apparently used to work as a butcher in New Zealand became the HR manager in some company. I think he got the job although he was not the most qualified guy for it.. but he certainly was the “whitest”. I bet a butcher from Asia or Africa would have NEVER gotten that same job.
      I can’t say this is the “Arabs’ fault” as you point out, because in many cases it’s Western people behind company’s decision making. Whoever is making these kind of choices, is just silly and discriminatory. Too bad on them.. they might be missing out on really good talent out there!

  • Elle Says

    Good and accurate article.
    My fiance is currently deciding if he wants to stay in Dubai after the first week there for a job. He is Indian. I am Australian. He is not in a menial position, but white collar. He was told it is company policy to take your passport. This became the beginning of a dispute and his questioning whether to stay. In part of the discussions he said he knew it was illegal for them to hold an employees passport. They could not care less. Everyone does it is the reply. Employees have to give 3 months notice. 3 months!!!! If not you have to pay the employer 1.5 months of your wage. And remember they hold your passport to ransom. And this is for workers who are paid so little that they can rarely save much from thier wage. It is expected that you will be happy with living in accommodation where you share sleeping space with others. You are from a poor country you are little better than an animal you should be used to bad conditions. Here we offer bad conditions among shiny new buildings – you should be grateful. Long hours, poor pay – you will get used to it. That is the answer. Seriously – You will get used to it. People get used to domestic violence as well. You can get used to anything. Does not mean you should. Does nt mean it is moral or ethical or even humane to expect it.

    I was aware this would be the case but I have been horrified at just how exploitative it is. And how cavalier the attitude of employers is. They act like they are doing workers an enormous favour and how much it costs them for visas etc. As if this is not factored in to the costing of hiring a virtual slave labour force from poor countries. It angers and sickens me.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Elle,

      I am sorry to read about the shitty situation your fiance is going through in Dubai. Not a surprising one, unfortunately.
      As you say, one gets to know that Dubai is not the most just and fair place in the world while abroad.. but it’s only once you are there that you get to appreciate the twisted nuances of life and work in the Emirates.
      As you say, employees seem to accept anything that comes their way, like employers taking their passports (even though this is, I believe, illegal). There isn’t much one can do, it seems. No one stays around long enough to influence the system (not that you can do much at an individual level).. people come, make some money, and then go. And that’s exactly why nothing can change for the best in Dubai, because when you do not belong, you do not care.

      Hope your fiance’s situation improves and things work our for the best! Good luck!

      • John VanD Says

        Unfortunately this is the case many places in the world. The rights of the working class including white collars and consultants are gradually eroded. Its not only a trend in Dubai but you can see it almost everywhere. Incompetent people are hired for positions where there are obviously much more qualified and experienced candidates that can fill up the vacancy. Very often jobs are actually filled in even before the vacancy is advertised and HR carries a lot of interviews just to justify their time on their own job. Yes, they will spent weeks on reading CVs, calling people, invite them and test them in interviews, for positions that are not real.
        So in the present corporate world where money and capital are flowing and
        many positions are not vital for running the business, competence is not that important, following orders is gold. Hence I AM NOT surprised they hired a former chef as an HR manager. Besides an HR manager is not a key person in the organization, an HR department runs well without him/her plus a former chef( as oppose to someone that has worked in HR all their life) can cook some delicious dinners and everybody appreciates that. Yes, in principle a HR manager could be replaced with everyone or everything even with a nice plant.
        So in this sense what happens on the jobmarket scene in Dubai simply reflects a more generral trend in the corporate world.

  • xyz Says

    There is job for male prostitutes right

  • John Says

    I Just wished i was born in the West instead of being a Lebanese living with these brainwashed people 18 years

    • Zara Says

      Not everything in the West is good and not everything in the East is bad.
      Dubai should not be taken as a representative example of the whole Middle East. But I’m sorry you had to put up with Dubai for 18 years!..

      • John Pierre Says

        You are right not a problem :) and i was actually born in it but raised in Sharjah

      • Jean Says

        Its true, but Whole world is better than middle east zara because they have more features like trees nature etc in middle east whats there?! Nothing only fuel and sand and materialistic life thats whats only there!

  • John Says


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  • Ahmed Says

    Here’s another perspective from an Indian Software Engineer who has worked in USA, India, Saudi and UAE.

    A very interesting blog and a must read.

  • Shaun Says

    I’m only working in Dubai for a few weeks and I can see what your saying, I couldn’t get my head around the Indians on our site working for 30 dib dobs a day, and the fact a McDonald’s costs 30 dibs,
    There must be a whole underworld I havnt seen.
    The shopping malls remind me of a scene from Star Wars where there are different types of aliens from different planets,
    I can’t work out where Dubai will be in 20 years? Who are they aiming all these empty buildings at?? Who will come and why??
    Its a strange old place,
    Strict Islam with prostitutes and a bacon double cheese burger.

    • Zara Says

      “Strict Islam with prostitutes and a bacon double cheese burger.” – this is one of the most hilarious yet accurate ways to describe Dubai I have come across!

  • Archana Says

    Really really nice thought provoking article. Hope the Asians understand and leave the country as soon as possible. We are better off in our own countires then living in this **** called Gulf.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Archana!
      I agree with you – sometimes, it’s better to have a little less money and stay in your own country, with those who you love and who love you back.. making more money doesn’t always mean being happier!

  • abdul sami abdul latif Says

    People should not get confused with the concept of religion, it is a set of rules formed to run a society in a way that is thought best for the society, imagine you think of a new organization, once you get to the basic formation, the immediate step would be to write the code of practice, religions have come the same way. Human nature is to find something new, so now the new group has formed called aethiests though they do not know that they also have some rules and customs which they think are right/wrong.

    • John VanD Says

      Abdul Sami, I would tend to agree with you however the point is that in Dubai as in Other gulf States, rules are mainly theoretical, they rarely are applied in practice in they way they should. All the racism and exploitation found in Dubai are strictly against islamic principles. The same with the justice system who favors the locals to anyone else( even if you are a Saudi and get into a car accident with a Dubai native, its always your fault). And the same with prostitution which is officially ilegal but unoficially widely accepted.

  • Zara, I first read part 2, now I read part 1. I totally see your point. But, OMG, these posts cause so much controversy… I love reading these comments! People got so passionate that now I feel I’m watching Jerry Springer.

    Nice one! ;-)

    • Zara Says

      Glad you enjoyed to read these 2 posts, Pedro!
      Controversy is the word! I love to have inspired some hot debate in here! ;)

  • Rhea D Says

    People like you need to understand one basic rule of life, that is, nothing and no one and no place in this world is perfect. I m sure you have ur flaws as well and i m guessing, alot of them. I personally love Dubai because this place offers me safety and security for myself and my family. I dont need to surround my house with a million security systems in the fear that some maniac tired of the growing unemployment in the down ward spiralling economy of the country, will decide to raid my house to steal things that he can live off. I dont walk on the streets in Dubai being scared that at any minute I might get mugged or stabbed or shot. I dont need to pay high taxes to a useless government which in turn gives my hard earned money for free to some loosers who dont wish to work and live on unemployment benefits. You talk about human rights? Western countries cant even offer a safe and secure environment for their people to live in. Any time in the day or night you or your family can robbed or stabbed. That is not violation of human rights? Dubai offers a community where people can live and work peacefully. If you commit a crime you will be punished. This place is way better than those useless western countries where people walk into schools and stab children or shoot them just for fun. No wonder thousands of expats who have lived and worked here now want to thank Dubai for the amazing life they had here in Dubai.

    • Zara Says


      If you happen to get raped in Dubai/UAE by a man other than our husband you WILL go to prison for having “extramarital sex”. This is just an example.. but think about that for a moment and then, if you’re still up for it, let’s talk again how “SAFE” this part of the world really is.

      • Rhea D Says

        If you happen to go out and about alone after 6 pm in UK then there are 90% chances u will get mugged or stabbed. In fact when i lived there for 3 years my friend got mugged twice, once in the morning 10am. Another time 4 black guys pushed open his door while he was in his apartment in one of the most secure student accommodation called Victoria Halls. And when he calls the police they ask him the most stupid question, that is, “are you getting beaten up right now?” and the police didn’t come to his rescue. And after that he was harassed and bullied everyday by those same guys and no one would take his complaint on that. Oh, and one other time some people broke into my another friend’s apartment in the same accommodating and stole his stuff. While I was studying there someone in Birmingham University found a dead student at 5pm. My cousin was studying there and at noon in broad day light some people robbed the bank just outside his lane. The only news we hear about western countries is about someone stabbing someone or shooting someone or some other financial mess. Thats all that happens.
        This year UAE has ranked #1 in the world for treating women with respect. It has also ranked #1 for lowest level of violent crime, the lowest homicide rate, the lowest undernourishment rate.
        It has ranked 14 in the world for Human Rights

        It is a country which is improving daily. It is not a country that is plagued by unemployment or is busy getting the whole world down because of some financial mistakes it has made. It is a country that is busy each day detecting its flaws and improving on them. It is a country which has taken the hit for recession created by some other country and it has come out a winner.
        All i know is i don’t get scared to go out of my house at any time of the day here. I don’t have to worry about my house being locked or someone might rob it. I am a free human being here, free to go down my house at even 3am all alone and grab a cup of coffee. And I think that is true right to live. Thats Human Rights. Human rights violation is when people get scared to leave their homes and enjoy the evenings because they might get mugged. Dubai gives its people the right to live and the security to live freely.
        Every country has some flaws but a basic thing a country should provide is security to its people which UAE does and US and UK fail to do.

        • Zara Says

          “If you happen to go out and about alone after 6 pm in UK then there are 90% chances u will get mugged or stabbed.” – 90% chances, really?? Where do you even get these stats from?!

          I get what you say about feeling safe roaming around Dubai. But keep in mind that the quality of life you may experience there is not necessarily the same for everyone else around. And yes, there is malnourishment in the UAE: just look at the labor force in any building under construction all around! Those guys die all the time because they are weak and over exposed to the heat.

          Also, I’d recommend that you use non UAE based newspapers as source of information – at least for the sake of contrasting. Neither Gulf News nor Emirates 247 are particularly known for the unbiased / uncensored info. The articles you are sharing here are rather propagandist.

          And last, but not least: the “Western World” is more than just the USA or the UK. You keep on focusing on both of those countries for the sake of contrasting with Dubai / UAE, as if the world ends within them. There are other countries our there, where things might be a little more balanced. Why not looking beyond the obvious?

        • Sarah Says

          Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for gathering up sources to justify your facts. Dubai is the safest place to live and raise a family, no doubt about that. Living in France I was always paranoid about how to hold my bag so I won’t get robbed. Even the bank wouldn’t give me more than 300 Euros a day when I wanted to close my account because they know how unsafe it is..took me about a week of going to the bank everyday to collect 300 to finally close the account, delayed my flight a week!

          • Zara Says


            Dubai might be a safe place to live and raise a family. But that is if you manage to gather your family there with you when you get a job in Dubai! Just because you are that lucky, it doesn’t mean that everyone residing in Dubai is. Currently, you need to earn over 20,000 Dirhams (more than USD5000) if you want to sponsor a dependent family member in the country. Furthermore, you need to have a house bigger than a 1 bedroom apartment. I have friends in Dubai who simply can’t bring their old parents over, for example. So things are not as straightforward and lovely and you paint them regarding family live in Dubai. Not everyone around you in Dubai is as privileged as you may be, and I’d say it’s important to acknowledge that.

  • Rhea D Says

    First of all, the workers come here with their own choice to get a job, earn money and feed their family. I understand earning and supporting one’s family is a difficult concept for some people to grasp. But they are not dragged here by anyone, they come here by choice and the country provides them with opportunity to earn money and keep their family alive, unlike other countries with increasing unemployment rates and crime rates which are a result of unemployment.
    The news link I pasted must be from a UAE newspaper but the ranking is not done by an Emirati, its done by an economist from Harvard University. And I guess that makes it more reliable because it is not from the middle east.
    Let me tell you one thing. I own a Portfolio Management Company that deals in international currency and commodities market. These markets are stirred by Europe, US and UK economic health. Each week US releases unemployment figures and each week these figures are made up, which causes a lot of small investors to loose their monies, Luckily a lot of investors like us have figured this out. And this is not the only thing. The USA fakes a lot of news regarding their economic health and if they can fake this, donna how much more they fake. So its not only the gulf news channels that hide some news but it happens in a lot of places. The problem with people like u is that you only see the flaws of countries in the middle east and ignore the flaws of the remaining “Western World” and thats because you are narrow minded. Every places has flaws and every place has positives as well. Learn to recognise both for each country since you are travelling and writing this blog. When you write a blog like this it is important that you don’t have a bias opinion and instead put everything down the good and the bad.

    • Zara Says

      Workers come to Dubai out of their free will, correct. But in many cases (MANY cases) they are fooled as to what their conditions regarding work / accommodation / remuneration will be. And although illegal, it is very common practice in the UAE for companies to keep an employee’s passport, making it impossible for one to live at any given time if desired. This is a type of modern day slavery that I personally do not approve of.

      • Rhea D Says
        There you go. A country which is improving on their flaws. You are only aware of Dubai during 2000-2010. I hope you update yourself and get your facts correct before writing about anything.
        It is very common for people to write only flaws for countries from Asia and Middle East but to ignore all flaws of countries from rest of the world due to their lack of knowledge about any issue.

        • Rud Says

          the article in all the UAE newspapers does not reflect the reality. you know very well that no one apply this rules. keep fooling yourself.

  • Rhea D Says

    I don’t see this woman being charged with having sex outside marriage after she has been raped. Instead the case is taken to court and the accused arrested just 3 days after the complaint was lodged.

    • Zara Says

      The article ends saying “The court will reconvene on June 5″ but I see you’ve already decided the sentence for them!

      • Rhea D Says

        But they have been arrested and not the lady.. seriously u really need to get complete knowledge about everything happening in the world before attacking one particular country and seriously stop being bias. I understand some people are so blinded by the western world that they think every country is middle east and asia is only worth criticism. But these are the people who have very little knowledge about anything. Anyways I am bored of you, My suggestions widen your knowledge on all matters concerning the countries you write about.

        • Zara Says

          “some people are so blinded by the western world that they think every country is middle east and asia is only worth criticism” – allow me to remind you that this was a post to comment on why I ended up leaving Dubai and what I think of the place. These are my personal opinions and it is my absolute right to express them, particularly on my own platform, that is, my blog. It was never about comparing countries (Western or not) it was about pointing out the things that I didn’t like about Dubai. You were the one coming about with comparisons. Now if you don’t like the results of those comparisons (which YOU started!), then it’s better to move on. You read my opinion, I read yours. We conversed for a little while, but no one has to “win” or change their minds. Sometimes, just exchanging points of view might by enough.

  • Dear Zara,

    After a long time i am on your forum again . congrats for keeping your blogs in an active mode.
    I have updated my petition which clearly shows the medical malpractices are happening in U.A.E on clear cut basis on the person wish of doctor.My reports are the best evidence.
    Anyone going to visit or work in Dubai, he or she should make it sure that they will not get deported if in rarest case they have any kind of scar in their chest.Be it t.b scar or any kind of scar. if it is there forget about Dubai.Director of TB department himself says what the gulf is doing is very much wrong.Ridiculous laws.Gulf is not a safe place to work where in at any moment of any one’s life get sick , he will get deported.Dubai is like a golf course if a horse is not well they will kick him out instead of treating him.You may google about Dubai before you go for work. Do not trust my words.. trust google search you will come to know.Thing 100 times before you proceed.

  • zeefu Says

    Can you visit Palestine too and write a blog post on the discrimination of Palestinians by the jews. They have been suffering more than 60 years of torture … the torture the indians etc are suffering in Dubai is nothing to that of palestinians suffering from the jewish occupation

    • Zara Says

      The Israel-Palestinian conflict would require way more than a blog post!!
      But we shouldn’t demean the issues that happen in certain countries by simply thinking that there are worse things happening elsewhere. There is always someone worse out there, but also better.. and every country should aim comparing themselves with good examples out there, and offering better life for its inhabitants, independently of what happens elsewhere.

  • Rasha Says

    After 4 years of a massive salary and a TAX FREE lifestyle you decided to stab the country in the back. Oh how white of you. You know what else is really white? Your “empathy” for foreign workers; white savior alert people!! While I agree work conditions are harsh for Asian labour workers, you proved to be completely ignorant of how global economy works and how it classifies people. I’m not saying it’s fair, but that’s the way it is and I am pretty sure you didn’t complain about it when you could afford to travel the world with the money you made in Dubai. These workers are coming from extremely poor countries with very low job opportunities. If every Indian here were to make as much as an average European did, the country would be in massive debt. Just compare the numbers before your dumb comparison. These workers are able to support several families back home with the little they save in the UAE. They are at least welcomed to work unlike your countries, oh great white savior, which most likely wouldnt even grant them tourist visas.
    As for the example you brought up about your Indian partner, did it ever occur to you that 90% of the Indians are in Dubai to work and rarely dine or spend? Is there not a slight possibility that according the waiters and waitresses, the European is usually the spender thus you were the one greeted more?
    You are simply one thing: an ingrate. You should have stayed in your white euphoria and pain half your salary to tax.

    • Nona Yerbiz Says

      Tax free? How’s the sand farm going to work out after the oil is gone and nobody cares that Dubai gets consumed by the desert again?

      • Zara Says

        You are so right Nona!
        Everybody “loves” Dubai while the tap is free flowing… one day, when it dries, we’ll see how much of that love is left to go around!

    • Zara Says


      Your comment stinks of racism and entitlement. First you assume that, just because I am white, I used to have a massive salary in Dubai (gotta love the stereotypes!) Then, you go on making assumptions about my personal finances and how I spend my money.

      “did it ever occur to you that 90% of the Indians are in Dubai to work and rarely dine or spend? Is there not a slight possibility that according the waiters and waitresses, the European is usually the spender thus you were the one greeted more?” – independently of whatever races/nationalities tend to dine out or spend more, whenever you are in a restaurant you are paying the bill just like anyone else. Therefore, staff should treat you and address you accordingly. Because Indians will have to pay as much as Europeans or Arabs, whether they do it more or less often. That is no justification whatsoever. And the fact that you seem to be OK with it is sad. It’s how Dubai rolls in fact… “it’s not right, but it’s just the way it is”. What kind of mentality is that? If everyone was like that since the beginning of time then we’d all be a primitive bunch of people still, never attempting to change anything around us!

      As for “stabbing the country in back” as you say, I have no ethical issues doing so to a country that stabs many of its inhabitant in the back merciless every single day.

  • Vishal Says

    I am offered to work in Dubai as Software Developer. After reading your article I am all in dilemma about whether I should go for it or simply reject this offer..

    • Zara Says

      Hi Vishal! It really depends on what you’re after: saving money, quality of life, what type of place you picture yourself living in, etc.. whatever your decision might be, we wish you good luck!

    • Sarah Says

      Don’t base your decision on this blog. It’s just one persons bad experience.
      This country is extremely safe and great to live in. I’ve lived in Europe as well and the only thing I liked there which you don;t find much of here was the freedom to express yourself sexually in public and the open mindedness. Other than that, living here is easy an simple. Everything comes to your door with just a phone call away. As for the things she posted, you don;t have to engage yourself, nor will you ever be put in such situations. Yes some people get paid 10-20 times more than other people, but thats the balance of this country. Indians have allowed themselves to be cheaper on an average world wide scale, so why would they hire some one like me who wants a higher salary when they can get some one to do it more cost efficiently. Yes I do feel sorry for the Indians who construct this city in the heat but keep in mind they do not speak english nor arabic and are normally uneducated so what other choice do they have honestly? IF they had a better option they wouldn’t be here.

      • Zara Says

        “IF they had a better option they wouldn’t be here.” – you do realize that many of the people who come over to Dubai to work in construction are “promised” different working and living conditions than those they end up experiencing in the UAE, right? Because if you don’t know that, then you still have a lot to observe and learn from the country you seem to love so dearly. So a little beyond the surface. It’s not pretty, but it is what it is!

        • John VanD Says

          To be honest Zara, after so many years indians have been working on construction projects in Dubai, I guess the vast majority of them know what is going on, they know the difference between what they are promised and the reality. But many will still take the chance, many are still willing to risk it, because in a hierarchical society like India this is one of the few opportunities for poor people to earn and save some money.

  • Rahul Says

    Hi Guys!
    Seems like a lot is being discussed over here. I am Indian by nationality earning somewhere around 1.2 Million (INR) yearly.

    1. How much should I ask from Dubai for a decent living? I have been offered Senior Software Engineer designation but the compensation part is still in negotiations.
    I am married

  • Rahul Says

    Any help would greatly be appreciated!

    • Zara Says

      Hi Rahul,

      We haven’t been in Dubai for almost 3 years so we wouldn’t be the best people to advice on salaries. It’s better to contact people on other platforms (Expat Forums, for example?!). Whatever you decide to do, we wish you good luck!

  • bawa Says

    I have been living in dubai for 10 months now in jebel ali camp . I get better salary here compared to what i got in india , i am an engineer by profession , it is my third year in professional life after finishing college – i dont know if you have had this experience , i am having health problems in dubai which seems like diabetes in early stage .. i saw doctor at aster clinic and everything came normal now i am planning to quit my job because i am not okay here .. but i am scared to go back also because job search is difficult in india . But health is the first priority , i am waiting for some time to see if my condition improves .. though all reports are coming normal i m not feeling well something is wrong and i have started to feel like going back to India .

    • Zara Says

      Hi Bawa,
      I’m sorry to read about your health problems. Make you to have yourself checked properly and do what is best for your health. Without that, nothing works. Take care!

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  • Prashant Says

    Seems like a depressing place to be in. I wouldnt want to live there even as a tourist, you never know when there might be a regime change and when they might haul your ass off to jail or be sacrificed at the altar of Arab chauvinism . I advise everyone else to steer clear of the middle east, there’s loads of interesting places in Asia and rest of the world!

  • Well athiesm is a religion, it is simply a religion that doesn’t believe there is a god or supreme diety. Neither do all Buddhist, many athiest are buddhist and vice versa. There is no such thing as “no religion” it would be the absence of any belief which virtually no able bodied human has.

  • Dman Says

    Thanks for the great article. Just wanted to say that my friends have had similar experiences in the KSA and from what I understand this kind of discrimination is rife in the Middle East. Wish you guys luck on your journey!

    • Zara Says

      The phenomena of discrimination of workers, particularly from Asia, is definitely not limited to the UAE / Dubai. From what I read and hear from people who have worked in neighboring countries, this happens in several Gulf countries. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Dman!

  • Ghezal Says

    Hi Zara! I just read this and felt like I had to respond.

    I’ve been to Dubai before as well. I left the place with no strong desire to ever return, and still don’t care too much for it. I’m not a fan of shopping (I detest it, actually – what a waste of my time!), but I love the desert and ocean, so it has that going for it. However, I did notice your first point very early on when I went, which is the main reason I couldn’t fathom staying longer. The classism is very, very evident in Dubai. I sort of wondered where my family and I were placed in that bracket, given that we’re Westerners of Asian (and European ancestry) heritage, yet also Caucasian. It was there that I was most confused about it, haha! We weren’t treated poorly at all, but I was still uneasy about the whole thing. It just bothers me that Dubai’s so idealized by so many job-seeking Westerners, but maybe eventually they’ll see through it all, too.

    As for religion – that’s a tricky subject. I think some countries take it too far, and I think every country should have a state-religion separation. However, that’s my view as a Westerner who grew up in a country with no official religion, nor any long-standing history with one religion. I will say that most Muslims don’t agree with lack of freedom in how they live or decide to pursue their faith. In 1990, my parents left their birth country because of a pseudo-Islamic movement (or “war”) making it too difficult for them to live there anymore. Luckily, that meant I never had to experience that. I sometimes struggle with differentiating between state fundamentalism and actual religion, but I have to remind myself that problems pertaining to lack of religious freedom comes from fundamentalism rather than the reality of things. In Islam, it says over and over again that people have free will, and that there’s no way you can force anything on them. It’s funny how stuff like that gets overlooked by so many insane extremists of all religious backgrounds. In any case, I don’t blame you for not wanting to live with those rules. I wouldn’t want to, either, and I’m not even an atheist!

    • Zara Says

      Hi Ghezal!
      Thanks a lot for reading and taking the time to comment. It is always nice to read about other people’s opinions and experiences in Dubai!

  • Richa Says

    Exactly my thoughts completely and accurately penned down!! I am an Indian and have experienced the racism wherein people with an American or British passport are preferred and also in my profession, applications from Asians are outrightly rejected when applied for work in upscale areas.. Isn’t this sad :( nevertheless, I am proud of who I am.. :) only such racism tends to give a mental setback but eventually we learn to live with this..

    • Zara Says

      Hi Richa,
      It’s true that people who suffer from racism around them tend to learn to live with it. But there are certain things that no one should have to get used to. All the best!

  • pravin Says

    i got job calls from dubai from iast few days. ithey just ofer m double salery accomodation. but after read this i have to think 10 times before move …thanks..

  • Well i never been there, but looks like a wonderful place and im sure it is. Some counties just have rules you have to follow , just like here in the USA. On another note, you don’t believe in GOD?
    Sad to hear that, hope that changes one day.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for your comment.
      Obviously all countries have rules one must follow – it’s just that in some cases those rules are more inclusive of all types of people than in others.

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  • Vince Says

    Interesting thread. To comment on the classism/racism issue…I lived in oman for several years in the late 80s. My parents were expat physicians. Back then alotta these Gulf states were newly oilrich and thus an influx of foreign professionals as well as blue collar. And like dubai…omanis became the minority in thier own country. To get to the point, i think for Arabs…a certain level of elitism arises when 60-70% of the population essentially works for you. South Asians unfortunately getting the brunt of this.

    The real tragedy is that it is now 2014 and it seems not much have changed. And now youve got a generation of overly pampered people engrained with the idea theyre above reproach. I find it mindbogglin that 30 years later these gulf states havnt developed the human capital to run and build thier own cities….and still so dependant on expats on even ssomething so fundamental like raising your kids.

    • Zara Says

      I guess societies do take many years to change / evolve. But in 30 years I wish there would have been some improvement at least… Let’s see how things will go in the Gulf in the future. I am very curious to see how people coming and going will manage to shape the area, not only economically like they do now, but culturally too.

  • Ashwin Sharma Says

    Agreed with you to some extent. But what I felt over the years after travelling to US, Europe, UK and Dubai that every country is having its likes/dislikes. I haven’t found a perfect country yet. If you talk about racism I have felt that thing more in US and UK than in Dubai. Although US is the most developed country in many senses but still people there treat people of other countries especially Asians little bit inferior. Especially after 9/11 people in US are not get so familiar with the Muslims in US. This thing is at its highest in Australia and UK(London).

    When I went to Europe people were used to be little bit harsh if you can’t be able to speak in their regional languages. They insist on you to speak in their language and not in English.

    All I can say is most of the points of yours are true but this is world, I mean you have to make some compromises. You will never get a prefect scene anywhere. I met with a person who was working with a construction company in Dubai as Mason. He is working in his 7th year and still having no plans to go back. As per him “yes, there are harsh treatments in respect money and work, still I am able to save reasonable amount for my family, and conditions are still not so poor as we get bed to sleep, food to eat and what else we need?”

    • Zara Says

      “conditions are still not so poor as we get bed to sleep, food to eat and what else we need?” I find this extremely sad. I know there is no “perfect scene” anywhere in the world. But that doesn’t mean that humans shouldn’t fight to enjoy better conditions in the societies they are a part of. Settling down and allowing others to abuse us, just because we haven’t had any better, is recipe for disaster. We should aim at improving as we go… but just accepting anything that comes our way.

  • john Says

    It’s not surprising that she didn’t draw a parallel between the “wrongs” in Dubai and the “wrongs” of where her other significant came from. The whole thing looks like a coward Indian fighting, by hiding behind a woman.

  • Michael Says

    Dubai promises a lot, but there’s another side to the story, unfortunately many just aren’t willing to talk about the darker side and worse feel they are obligated to protect their way of life.

    I noticed this when I started blogging on Dubai, and besides this getting into general conversations on the net.

    One of the main issues I have with the place is that people are quickly boxed by their race. It’s a racist and elite place. What’s going on there is nothing short of a modern day feudal system.

    However, I’ve thought about this long and hard. The majority of the workforce there are Asian (Filipino) and Indian. They, the workers end up going over there and getting exploited. Worse they’re demoted to 2nd class citizens. And what is worse is how they just accept it.

    The only solution is to abandon that sandpit. If the majority of the workforce weren’t so weak and accepting then maybe there would be change.

    So I hold both parties responsible, the “slave masters” and the “slaves” who so easily accept their fate.

    As for me I want nothing more to do with Dubai.

    • Zara Says

      You raise such a good point, Michael!
      The problem only exists because on one hand you have the oppressors, but on the other the masses that allow themselves to be oppressed. I guess money speaks louder and people are willing to put up with shit for the sake of sending money back to their families. Furthermore, they always look at it as a temporary situation and, therefore, “easier” to endure. It’s a very ugly situation.

      • Gaurav Gupta Says

        Nice article Zara. I guess the poor are oppressed everywhere – Dubai, Qatar, Southern Asia, Philippines, Singapore. They have very limited choices. As you mentioned they take decisions that get them the most money and keep them going so their children can get educated and break the poverty trap. Thanks a lot for sharing. I was thinking of applying for a job in Dubai. Your article provided valuable inputs.

        • Zara Says

          Hi Gaurav,
          Thanks for taking the time to comment. You are right, the poor are always at the bottom when it comes to having choices.
          Best of luck with the job in Dubai!

  • Jimmy Shipley Says

    Well about me, my name is Jimmy Shipley, 28 years of age. i live in Ghana, i am looking for a job in Dubai or any other country and if you want to help me for this you can call me on 00233576148810 i work had and i am going to work had for you if you want me to work for you

  • fizan Says

    zara call me 00923324953070 this is my number….i want to share something with u

  • Sul Says

    I think it’s important to note that the UAE is still a developing country. In reality, the only people that are living the “good life” are expats who are educated and are paid well based on the jobs that they have and the rich Emirati population, which is quite a small group of people compared to everyone else (I believe they are about 12 percent of the pop. I’m not entirely sure). The city was built on the back of exploited labourers. There are very few cities that can develop as quickly as Dubai can without exploiting thousands of people at a time. If they decided to pay labourers fare wages, now that would just delay their development process, now wouldn’t it? It’s a sad reality, but that’s just how it is. This is a very interesting post however. It was only after I left Dubai for a visit that someone pointed out that the reason I enjoyed myself so much and the reason as to why I was treated so well was because of my Canadian passport. I didn’t know Westerners were given such preferential treatment; this was my own ignorance though. It seems so obvious now that I look back on my trip haha.

    Dubai does have its perks however, but I think everyone is blinded by the luxurious facade of this city to realize the injustices that do occur. I doubt it’s going to change anytime soon, but with issues like this, it does take a while. Heck, living in Canada, as much as I’d like to think it’s a wonderful, glorious, injustice free place, I would be very stupid to say that it is. I know it sucks having a “it is what it is” attitude, but I’d be a hypocrite to say that I feel bad for these people that work hard for a barely livaeable wage, then continue to buy clothes that isn’t conflict or sweatshop-free, ya know?..

    And to people commenting about how other more developed countries are no better either, of course that is correct. I don’t think the author of this post is trying to downplay the fact that injustices occur elsewhere. This is just in regards to her experiences in this city particularly. As a Canadian, I see issues in my country everyday that are ignored; there are problems everywhere.

    Anyway, sorry that this is long haha. But I appreciate this post as it shows that Dubai isn’t some paradise as many like to think. Very interesting read. One thing I will say that I liked about Dubai was that it was safe (at least to me). I don’t know if a lot of people could relate, but I felt safe I guess with walking out at night alone, without feeling like I could get mugged or stabbed or something haha. I’m always paranoid walking in my city because there is always some news story about people getting shot or stabbed or whatever. But when I was in Dubai, I didn’t have that same paranoia lol. It was such a nice change.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Sul!
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a well thought and balanced comment.
      You are right about everything you mention. No place is perfect, but that doesn’t mean Dubai’s issues should be downplayed just because they are not the only ones doing bullshit in this world.
      What you mention though is very true – I have also always felt safe in Dubai. No matter where and the time of the day / night. I guess super strict laws do have some benefits for the majority of the population after all.. well, at least in this context!

      • pushpanjali Says

        Hi Zara…
        My boyfriend have planned to work in Dubai/abudabi…….even though he dont wish..he s desperately in need of money since he have lot of take care of his family and buy a home in bangalore..etc etc. he is a multimedia developer(Graphic & web designer)…ll it be good decision to move if he get good opportunity and good salary!!??? all your repiles wuld be helpfull for me…

        • Zara Says

          If your boyfriend needs the money, Dubai tends to be a good place to go, work, save up and, like most people do, leave afterwards. I am sure he’d survive just fine, even if it turns out not to be his favorite place on Earth. It’s all a matter of priorities. Best of luck!

  • Mel Says

    Hi Zara
    This is a real experience of life in Dubai as a working expat, yes its true that the class system is imposed upon you. Most expats are just forced to accept this class treatment and ultimately de-sensitize themselves to it. I was forced to do the same for the 38 years until I had to leave after the GFC of 2008. I just have a question for you. Are you afraid of any threats towards you should you one day decide to visit or return to the U.A.E or the neighbouring countires? You now being a dictatorship the government does not tolerate criticism against their ways unlike in a democracy.

  • Interesting thought, however I think no. 4 happens in many places, just not as openly. I’ve been living in Holland and to my surprise job situation was a bit similar to what you’re describing – they only hired Dutch people, or only cheap Polish workers. It doesn’t say that in the ad, but you quickly find out about it at the interview – if you’re even lucky to get one…

    • Zara Says

      Hi Anna! It’s true that there is hiring discrimination in many parts of the world. The thing is that,in Dubai and the UAE, it is all more blatant because there are no laws against that type of discrimination. I am not saying other places are perfect, of course, but Dubai certainly isn’t setting a good example on this front.

  • Dr, Jack Says

    If you don’t like Dubai then take a hike? all of you are here because you forgot that your country is full of shit..The U.S white cops killing black kids at the age of 12 and 18 (Tamar and brown) and it’s all over the news, in France they discriminate against colored people and women who chose to wear hijab, in India Hindus are killing Muslims in Gujarat by thousands using machetes, in South Africa the Europeans kept the black under poverty line and kept Mandela in prison for over 27 years for expressing his freedom rights, in the UK you pay tax to the queen while living in a flat the size of an animal cage, all of you got tax free salaries in Dubai and got too comfortable and started biaatching about your guilty-conscious, get a life and shut your bitch ass with that bullshit. If you don’t like it leave (but you wont because your a money slave). There’s shit everywhere and your shit don’t smell like roses, you low life ass!!

    • Zara Says

      Dr. Jack,
      A hike has indeed been taken… and there is no turning back.
      On the other hand, I’d like to mention that a person should be able to criticize a place, independently of comparisons. Say I beat up a person and run away. And then someone else murders another person. Just because I would get compared to the person who committed a bigger crime, would that make me innocent of my own faults? Dubai makes mistakes. Independently of the mistakes that other countries do too. That was the point of the entire article. There is a lot that could be fixed in there.

  • DR. Jack Says

    Dear Zara,

    Telling from your comments since 2012 I trust that you’ve been in Dubai for 2 years( or even more because you’re under 2-5 years contract if you’re employed) why didn’t you leave within your first month or even your first year (are you that clueless about your surrounding to quickly figure out the status of your environment?) or you just go places without research?? or maybe the money was good and you turned the other cheek and used “Fake it til you make it, strategy”. I don’t know what’s your whole situation is all about!! but judging from your comments you tend to express your self as 1960 HIPPIE!! very unrealistic, well guess what, I been to SF (home of the original hippies and met many ex hippies and neo hippies wannabes) and most of the hippies turned to straight capitalistic opportunity- hungry dosh-bags, you talk (via text of course) as if you in an acid trip or you don’t live in this Earth because there is injustice everywhere and there’s no perfect place!! I’m curious of your ideal choice of perfectly balanced place??, I’m also curios about your origin ( If I had to guess it would be a middle class East Indian) But only you know!. Ciao and good luck!!

    • Zara Says

      “I’m also curios about your origin (If I had to guess it would be a middle class East Indian)” – With these racially and culturally biased tendencies, you’d fit SO WELL in Dubai!

      I am Portuguese, so I guess these bullshit assumptions of yours turn out to be empty after all.

      • Dr Jack Says

        The bloodline of slave masters who slaved over 10 million Africans and shipped them to Brazil (go defend those black poor Brazilians that your great granddaddy enslaved) .. I thought you might be Indian because I was acknowledging your namaste gesture (I thought you’re enlightened), but you’re fake anyway and prejudice runs in your DNA like Niagara falls.. If Bob Marley was a live he would spit on your face while singing “redemption song”… It’s crazy how the off springs of slaves-masters act like a rebel with no cause and turn the other cheek on their own evil doing through out history! If was portages I would be ashamed too, but I wouldnt attack others to feel good about my self!! you have “post slave master offspring syndromes” ….get a life you shit factory.

  • Britney Bailey Says

    This was really helpful. I’m looking at perhaps moving to Dubai for awhile and these are some great things to keep in mind. But do you have any recommendations on where to find jobs or the site that you used to get the initial photo post of the job search. I want to see what I’m up against.

    Thanks! xx

  • Supesh Says

    Dude, its very simple i also not a local infect i am a asian, one should not come here only to earn good tax free money, thats it.

  • Vince Says

    I’ve read a lot of dumb shit in my life but by far this one stands on the top. Congratulations and I’m very glad you’ve left dubai, I hope you do not step foot in the Emirates ever again not because the points you’ve made were correct, but because you put so much time and effort to come with such a biased blog post that is actually funny to read. No hard feelings whatsoever though, make the best of life, but don’t bash something just because YOU do not “like” it. That’s quite…dumb. And don’t tell me you have the freedom to do so, freedom does not mean talking shit about what you clearly have no idea about. 4 years only and you came up with so much hate and managed to look through entirely negative eyes? Just in 4 years?
    Don’t reply to this as I do not want to read what you’ve got, but since you posted this you have to read what I’ve got.

  • NM Says

    I found your article to be quiet interesting and to an extent true, bit surprised it is still going on for over 2 years lol, I lived in Dubai for 4 years too and had a small construction company over there with only 5 workers who I treated them with respect because they were recommended to me from friends in Pakistan so I always put them up in rented accommodation where they were always comfortable, I am of Pakistani origin but born In UK so a british national. I saw the way the labour camps of Sharjah and Al Aweer in Dubai were and it sure was not something I ever wanted to see, I even had to drive my workers into the construction sights so witnessed a lot of the things you mentioned first hand. The UAE nationals seem to have a pride that was banned from our prophet Mohammed (PBUH) but somehow they have returned to the way they were before Islam, I find the mistreatment of any human being wrong no matter what religion they choose to be or as in your case not have one, you are spot on about the driving and not only is it dangerous you always have some local flashing his light at you in the left lane whose driving at insanely high speed, Dubai seems to bring out the racism in everybody and that is such a shame, you would think they would remember their history and religious duties and treat everyone with respect, this does not seem to be a problem in Dubai only is a Gulf Arab problem and I hope they see the wrong and correct it.

    • Zara Says

      I too am surprised that this article still attracts so many comments after 2 years. But, from what I read here, I guess things haven’t changed much in Dubai ever since.. let’s hope they do soon, though.

  • Anakin Says

    this is a typical rich-spoiled-brat bragging about certain place. nothing learned.

  • Niw Says

    Nice Read! I have been working in a company where i am surrounded by many laborers in the vicinity and I always thank God for being blessed with my current position although im only in clerical job. There are many laborers in our company who worked for hours yet they received such little salary and even though they want to apply for a higher position the company does not care. Sad to say some of them are at the age of 50 yrs old. I also have to be hiding in the closet because all of us in the workroom are men, and even though i want to tell them im gay i just cant because of some backlash that may happen. It sucks that i cant find another company and stay with them until my contract is expired but that is life, i need to have a job to help my family. So i always go to work unhappy and miserable until my contract expires, this is the bad system that uae have. you cannot go to another job that you want because some ads are kinda racist.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Niw,
      I am sorry to read that you are so unhappy with your job. Stick with it for the time being, make the money you need and then try to get the hell out of there – whenever you can. And, if I may say, I’d suggest you are not open about your sexuality in the office, because that will not bring you any added benefit. Stay strong!

  • Joe Says

    Hey Zara
    This is a wonderful article couple of years old yet very helpful. I know it is based on your experience but could fit in many other people’s experiences
    What was the situation of educated black people say from US or Africa. Were they discriminated in terms of employment? Were they regarded any better than Asians?
    Back to discrimination did education level matter or just skin colour and origin?
    Thanks dear, keep up the good work

    • Zara Says

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for your comment. To be honest, I am not very familiar with the “status” of educated black people in Dubai. In general, I’d say that education does matter when it comes to a job – more than color / race / origin. This would obviously have an impact on your salary, even is a black person is not necessarily regarded as being on top of “the food chain”. Unfortunately, Asians tend to be the bottom of that food chain in Dubai. But depending where you head and who you deal with, there are always exceptions and good opportunities and experiences can obviously be had in Dubai too.

  • Ahmed Says

    Hi Zara, thank you for sharing your experience.

    My wife and I have been considering moving to Dubai. What would you say about Dubai when it comes to safety and security? especially for women.

    Also, what would be the best areas to live in Dubai? I’ve heard about Dubai Marina as one of them?


    • Zara Says

      Hi Ahmed,
      I’d say if there is one thing people don’t have to worry about in Dubai (in general), that is safety. For women as well, the Emirates tend to be very safe. About the best areas to live, it depends. I haven’t been in Dubai for the past 3 years already, so I think I’m not the best person to comment on that. All the best with the move!

  • Mohamed Al - Ali Says

    Hi Zara how are you ? My name’s Mohamed and I’m from Abu-Dhabi.
    I totally loved your post, FYI i’m an Emirati and my Mom’s from the Phillipines and my Grandpa from My Mom’s side is Chinese.
    I totally agree with your post, honestly I don’t even know whether I should be posting anything like this, sometimes I get so paranoid that i wonder if there’s someone monitoring me, cus you know FREEDOM of speech in this part of the world is prohibited.
    But here’s a funny story more like sad I think, but I remember back in 2011 On december the 2nd ( National’s Day ) , I knew how crowded the city would get and managed to Avoid the loud Noises and being stared at by others in their own cars, so I decided to Park my Car just outside the city so I can walk to this cafe near the corniche, and on the way I saw how the locals would spray those soapy strings on to each other and said to myself wow, I didn’t know that Nationals day meant (Reenacting animals at the zoo on the street DAY ).
    Everybody was going nuts on the streets it was CHAOS. Thank god for me i stayed close to the villas and away from the streets to avoid being sprayed on by some nut jobs.
    So finally I get to the cafe and I had my laptop with me as I was supposed to do some homework’s, but there was so much noise that i decided to take break and i thought to myself, let’s go on youtube and see what we Locals are so proud of.
    So browsing here and there, I reach A Documentary by Vice videos and he put up this video about The dark-sides of Dubai, and I was literally tearing up, It’s so sad to say that people aren’t compassionate about helping laborers who work in Dubai, You lived here for 4 years, Going outside during the summer it’s like a Moroccan bath steam room minus the olive soap.
    I mean yeah As a local I AM SO GRATEFUL to be have a much more fortunate life than others, but the truth is, I just don’t understand how people BRAG about being the richest, having the tallest, biggest Malls, luxury hotels, cars, etc…. Yet haven’t done shit and claimed that we’ve accomplished a lot.
    I guess I’m just writing this message because I was so happy that I could relate with what you’ve experienced, I was so happy to learn that Despite of knowing the values and knowing that you can earn well in the UAE you decided to leave because of your beliefs, MONEY isn’t everything, not a day goes by where I think to myself that, that GARBAGE man probably fuk probably , HE DESERVES much more than I do . I feel like I’ve been given or spoon-fed all my life ( not that I’m saying I’ve had a perfect life ) but I feel like life over here is bland.
    You could’ve not cared at all but you thought about others instead of yourself. And THAT’s why I think you’re an incredible person for POSTING THE TRUTH! GOD BLESS , oh sorry I forgot you we’re an Atheist ( pun intended ). I got that god bless thing from My aunt cus she’s a Christian.

  • Mohamed Al - Ali Says

    One more thing! I don’t know what it is or how I got HERE but someday, i don’t know when , but someday I KNOW MY FUSE IS GONNA POP and I’ll follow your foot steps! life is too short. I only live once, FU** being safe !
    I’ll just explore the world like you guys! PS! TAKE CARE!

  • Seema Says

    Hey Zara
    I am from India & planning to move to Dubai permanently as I am getting separated with my husband.
    Could you help me out like where I can apply for job in Dubai?

  • Francis Says

    I couldn’t agree more. I lived in Dubai for four long years and have observed the same. I wasn’t able to handle discrimination, it was sickening. So I left. Now I feel free and happy.

  • Mr. P Says

    Great reading, very true. Put it simply: In Dubai you can’t be yourself.
    Been there couple of times for holidays, very modern, safe no crime, clean, comfort, you get everything you want, every single shop, restaurant… But its so fake, materialistic, posing competition and has these backwards minded laws and regulations. I think I could only live there for 6 months. Plus in Summer it is hell, too hot can’t do anything. Great place for holidaying 4/5 days, thats enough. Or work there for few years, make money (as its tax-free) and leave. One thing I never understood is how is prostitution so open over there, every nightclub I went to was full of hookers… One of my friends: Dubai is such a big lie. Or and apparently, when you get a job, you have to hand over your passport to your boss, wtf!

    • Zara Says

      Dubai has plenty of prostitutes, or anything else other places do have too (alcohol, drugs, etc..). It’s just that everything is done in the hiding. So at the end of the day, everything happens like anywhere else, but society (or local rules) are more hypocritical about it all.

  • Amit Says

    Hi Zara ..u r mosty welcome in India :-)

  • Kathy Stewart Says

    “…killed them but crashed against a road divider. The price to pay? A traumatic experience, a couple of nights in custody, a fine that would go towards the repairs of the road divider and AED 250,000 (USD 68.000 ) in blood money for the families of those that passed away.” I read through all the comments to find some sympathy for the accident victims and found none. WHY did no-one pick up on the TOTAL lack of sympathy the writer of this post had for the dead people’s families? Yes, it was an accident, but a fine a couple of nights in custody does not compare with someone having to grow up without a father, etc. TYPICAL breathtaking expat entitlement. I see the same attitude from expats in my country. They want the entire country to bend backwards to accommodate their trivial needs. Unbelievable! I sure hope your wanderings don’t bring you to MY country! Pathetic.

    • Zara Says

      I think you missed the point of this article. Discussing the victims of an accident wasn’t certainly it.

  • zanni Says

    hi, pls send me your mobile number to my mail …

  • VB Says

    Zara thank you for your courage and patience. You have been discussing these relevant topics politely and patiently despite the foul language used by some members. Your ideas and advice are commendable
    You are a brave girl and I salute you!

  • Zack M Says

    It is so true what you have said about Dubai and more.I did business for 6 years and I was hoping to find the time and patience to write a book about my experience in Dubai.The hypocrisy of the people and government suppose to be Islam but so much the opposite,Human rights violations,Prostitution alcohol unfair treatment of the poor. I can go on and hopefully I will.

  • Mikareena Says

    the racism part is still the same now that its 2015. I am a filipina working here. I hate the fact that 2 coworkers in the same company doing the exact job has different salary package depending on your passport. Also just the fact that a studio flat here cost an average of 3500 a month and the average salary for south east and south asians is around 2000 dirhams. We cant have the privacy we wanted since we have to share a flat or a room with 10 more people to survive the living costs of Dubai. Sometimes I feel like Dubai must be for a certain race and not for asians like me. Someday Ill leave this place for a lower salary package back home to enjoy my freedom and privacy.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Mikarena,
      I am sorry to read about this. I understand that some Asian people go to Dubai because job opportunities back in their countries (or the salaries even if they have a job) are not so great. But I often wonder if being in Dubai is worth it at all. As long as you have enough to live, wouldn’t it be better to be in your country, close to your family and enjoying certain freedoms that in Dubai do not exist? I think Dubai markets itself in a way that does not allow most people a clear picture of what reality there is all about. People get lured with the idea of money, a better life, etc… and often, this is not what awaits them there.
      I despite the fact that people doing the same job receive different salaries depending on their country of origin… as if in Dubai we wouldn’t all have the same expenses, right?
      Whatever you do, all the best for you Mikareena!

  • Sian Says

    I completely agree with this entire post.

    The fact that Dubai got EXPO 2020 makes me feel horrible. What I hope it does highlight, is the disgusting abuse of human rights, their classicism, and racism.

    I’ve lived in this country since I was a child but left at 9 for better education back in the UK. Thank GOD I did. I got a taste of real life.

    Coming back for sixth form here, I was disgusted mostly by the over-entitled westerners, doing whatever the hell they wanted to people they deemed, and the country allowed them to deem ‘beneath them’.

    I only come over to visit my parents now. I can’t wait for them to leave Dubai and retire somewhere that values human life.

    • Zara Says

      Dubai receiving the EXPO 2020 is the same as Qatar with the world cup. Many people will be exploited for the sake of running these events. But hopefully, as you say, it will allow the rest of the world to some across these other sides of real life both in the UAE and Qatar. It’s time people quit this idealistic, over-glamorous view they have of the rich countries in the Gulf. Everything is out there. If people don’t see, it’s really because they choose not to. Including those living RIGHT THERE.

  • Zack M Says

    Mikareena I know exactly what you are saying,I have seen it and it is so unfair to hundreds of thousands of people. I was living in Dubai in 2010 in International City I had a one bedroom apartment and I was paying 35,000 Dhs a year which was a good rent then,Me being an American traveling back and forth between US and Dubai,One day around 8:AM I had my breakfast and was ready to leave for work,My door bell rang,I looked thru the peep hole to see a Bangaladeshy worker out side,I opened the door the man that I saw before stepped to the side and another man in a shirt and pants walked to the front of the door,I said hello and he did the same,Then two more men wearing the traditional Arab clothes moved to the front of the door,Then the man asked me that how many people lived in the Apt? I was kind of surprised for him to ask me this question,I asked him who are you and why are you asking me this question? He said he was from Dubai Government I asked him for his ID,He showed me his ID<And then I told him I was the only one living there but some times I have a guest staying over and that is it.He asked if he could come and see inside I said ok he walked in saw my living room with regular sofa table the usual living room then he peeked in to my bedroom my bedroom,Fortunately I had made my bed didn't look like a disaster (LOL).And quickly he turned to the others and told them my apartment # was clear.He was about to leave and told me thank you I asked him how many people are allowed in this size apartment? he said 3 4 may be 5,Ok I said how many people usually live there that you come to check? He said 15 may be 20. I was shocked to hear that,I went to work and told my confrontation story to someone that was working in my office,He said that 22 people live in a studio apartment, Your is a one bed room apartment 30 to may be 40 people will live in your apartment or some times if they have day and night shifts they will rotate.Now what kind of life is this? for the people that are building this country day and night? I will pray to god to give the people that are going thru this kind of misery a better life in their country.And I will tell you this,With out those workers in Dubai,Sharja,Aman,,Abu Dhabi,The locals can not even change their flat tire,an I know that for a fact which i will tell you in another blog,Sorry if I bored you just felt like getting it out.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for sharing your story, Zack!
      We also lived in International City for a while. Even though they never came to check out house, we know that was not unusual at all. In fact, in some buildings in IC, we saw posters advising that no more than 2 people were allowed to live in studios. In many cases there, you could add a 0 and that would be the real number of people staying inside.
      It was only in Dubai that I came across the concept of “bed space”, which I am sure not everyone around the world knows of. Instead of renting a flat, or a bedroom or even sharing a bedroom… nope! You share A BED! If you work during the day you sleep at night, and share bed space with someone who has the opposite working hours as yours. This, usually, in a cramped space. Imagine everyone sharing bed, linens, tons of people per kitchen, per bathroom… disgusting and inexcusable in a country with so much money. All of this, as you say, while locals live the exact opposite life-style. Sometimes I wish Emiratis and privileged people in the UAE stopped to realize (and acknowledge!) that the amazing live they live is not only possible because of petrol money… but mostly because of the support network they have employing people from Asia who are willing to work for very little money. They should be thankful!!

  • Monty Says

    I always find it amusing when someone criticizes the UAE for the way they treat workers, and will “never go back” because of it. Yet they sucked off the teat for Four years, made the good pay, enjoyed the life. Then after 4 years, when you are ready to leave, then everyone who is still there is somehow evil for living here in a country that uses cheap labor, and now you are high and mighty. But for four years you found the moral rational to stay, now that you had your fill, you are on the moral soap box. I find that amusing.

    • Zara Says

      I don’t think anyone is evil for living in the UAE. Everyone had their reasons for being there, and so did I. What I do think is evil is the system. That one is quite rotten in fact. And if people do not talk about it openly (there and abroad) those who created the system will keep on thinking that there is nothing wrong with it.

      • Rud Says

        and if you stayed for 3 months and then wrote your blog they tell you that 3 months is not enough to judge the city and bla bla bla. they keep fooling themselves.

  • Bob Says

    I received news today my ex daughter in law intends to take a teaching position in Dubai in 3 months lasting two years. She is US African American. Grand daughter is mixed race, 9 years old, and looks more Caucasian than black but still shows some features.
    I am thinking of suggesting she leave daughter with us until she is situated and confident the environment is good for her daughter.
    What may mother and daughter expect in regards to racism, exploitation?
    I doubt she’ll accept the offer.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Bob,
      I’m sure she’d be fine. There’s a lot of schools with kids of mixed backgrounds in Dubai and, personally, I’ve never heard of anything weird happening there. But, as I don’t have kids, I might not have the best level of exposure to comment on this. I suggest you guys check with other parents in expat forums and places like that. All the best!

  • TheHippie Says

    All of your points highlighted great impacts on the worst that Dubai has to offer to society especially the unskilled laborers who are barely treated as human beings. I lived in UAE for 2 years, I left the country (for good) to get married and I swear on my ancestors graves never ever to come back there again. I might be a hypocrite for saying this, It’s true that us western folks get our salaries doubled here from what we’re earning back home but it seemed extremely unfair for other races not to be getting what they deserve when they’re even working far more efficient than us, not to mention of not having any holidays to rest. Good job for leaving the country! (:

  • Savio Alves Says

    Hi Zara,

    Thanks for sharing your views and opinions about life in Dubai. Very Informative.

    Savio (India)

  • joe Says

    You’re a great writer.
    great flow. Extremely coherent. Hats of to you for being brave with this. not many would say what you hAve. Wow. I’m moving there this summer joe hernandez

  • mahdiya Says

    i am a teenager doing my project on the UAE and what i have seen and as far as i am concerned each one of us are allowed to have our own opinion on everything i agree. reading what you have posted i do not agree with you on how you have taken such a place of power and success and made it sound as if it is a place of racism and discrimination to other religions and cultures with the knowledge i have collected i know that the city also accommodates other religious places of worship, such as churches and Temples.

    This is to prove my knowledge i have collected on the UAE .

    The government follows a policy of tolerance towards non-Muslims and Polytheist and in practice, interferes very little with their religious activities.

    Dubai is the only emirate that has Hindu temples and a Sikh gurudwara. The Meena Bazaar area of the city has both a Shiva and Krishna temple. Both are believed to be sanctioned by the late ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. There is an electric crematorium run by a group of Indian expatriates. Furthermore, in early 2001, ground was broken for the construction of several additional churches on a parcel of land in Jebel Ali donated by the government of Dubai for four Protestant congregations and a Catholic congregation. Construction on the first Greek Orthodox Church in Dubai (to be called St. Mary’s) is due for completion in 2008/9, with the help of General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister, who donated a plot of land in Jebel Ali.

    so i do not know why you complaining and making everything about religion BTW yes the law can be baste on the NATIONAL RELIGION which even the ruler himself follows .

    Thank you for your advice but in future watch what you say about someones country and culture .

    you should not be complaining about the place YOU have CHOSEN to live for 4 years and where you were capable of earning well eating out and all so you should not be complaining

    If you wondering why i take all of this in offense is because i see you doing apparently exactly what you did not like about the emirati.
    and yes i do live in the UAE if you wondering.

    thank you for you time to read my comment

    p.s enjoy it

    • Zara Says

      Hi Mahdiya,

      There is no need to take offense as we are all allowed to have an opinion. I am glad you enjoy life in Dubai, but that doesn’t mean everybody else does. Furthermore, I am not “complaining” in my article, as you say. I am commenting and sharing my observations. It’s a personal view, that’s all. Thanks for sharing your views with us too!

    • Hey Says

      Here is what she wants:

      I’ll break it down for you:

      1- she wants to impose her secular atheistic views, lifestyle, and laws on a country that not hers.
      2- she complains about racism , and low wages when she , as a White, is the least likely to be racist against and gets the highest wagest for being White.
      3- she lived in tax free country( where Western countries make you pay up to 55% of your taxes to the gov) yet wants to participate in the political decision process in a country where she’s foreign.
      4- me and ppl like me criticize UAE country for getting rid of Islamic lifestyle in the country. We have the right to do that. It’s our city. Foreigns don’t. Foreign atheists are problemic. Western Atheists are taugh at a very early age that secularism and secular democracy work perfectly for everyone and what’s everyone wants.

  • Jim W Says

    Another example of why I wouldn’t set foot in such a backward country. The lure of a high remuneration is NOT worth it.


    • Zara Says

      This is CRAZY!
      This woman had to sign papers in Arabic saying who knows what! The same thing happened to me when I once had to pay a traffic fine.
      As if there weren’t actual problems going on in the country, the law wastes its time with stupid stuff like this..

  • ena Says

    I didnt like what u wrote about UAE,its UAE thst gave u value and gave u a job paid more than you could ever dream,thats u could quit and travel around.Dubai gave u money to travel.u could still be dreaming of travel if u not had a chance to be in this genetous country.
    Dont shit where u eat.

    • Zara Says

      What a silly empty comment. You don’t know about my salary or what’s behind my travel lifestyle, so how can you make a relevant comment about those things?

      A generous country (or person) is the one that is ready to give, to all. When you give just to some while squeezing the life out of others you are not generous – you are unfair and oppressive. Exceptions aside, that’s what the UAE really is.

      • Bandi Says

        “A generous country (or person) is the one that is ready to give, to all”.

        BS. To its citizens, first. To his family, first.

        “When you give just to some while squeezing the life out of others you are not generous.”

        Squeezing = providing them opportunities to provide for their family. Which you do not have to do, right, “backpacker”?

        Commie idiot.

  • Joe Says

    Must be nice not to have to work for a living and travel the rest of your stupid life. You’re no better than the Useless people of Dubai who can’t wipe their own asses. Arabs are so damn stupid.

    • Zara Says

      On the other hand, it must be truly fulfilling to waste your stupid life leaving meaningless comments on the blogs of people you couldn’t care less about!..


    I’m afraid; you’ll be charged if Cyber Police of UAE reads your article. I’m too much scared of this country, I can not get rid of my present company due to so called laws of UAE.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for your concern.
      We don’t intend to ever go back to the UAE. As long as we’re not there, it should all be OK.

  • marc Says

    I am from Africa and I have never been to Dubai. However, innocent ladies from my country who go to Dubai to work as maids mostly come back in body bags. They are tortured, made to lie with dogs and all manner of indecencies. Our country may not be as rich as Dubai but I have no plans of ever going there or any other Muslim country. Thank you for sharing your experience. Thank God we have discovered our own oil!

    • Zara Says

      Hi Marc, thanks for your comment!
      I have read plenty of maid horror stories.. even though I know there are many maids that are also treated OK in Dubai. But, in general, their wages are ridiculously low – even though the people who employ them are making a killing!
      I don’t think we can put all the Muslim countries in the same category though – they are NOT all the same. Let’s not generalize. The rich countries in the Gulf have a very specific type of reality, not really shared by other muslim countries / regions / people in the world (Indonesia, Turkey, etc..) Thanks for reading us!

  • Beckie Says

    I’m one of those kids raised in Dubai. I was actually born in the Al Zahra hospital in Sharjah as at the time; it was the best hospital outside Abu Dhabi (you did NOT want to be treated in any of the hospital’s Dubai had at the time!). In any other country I would be given dual-nationality or at least some form of citizenship/residency. But I don’t. I have no rights to claim the UAE as where I was born and grew up – I may as well never lived there.
    I’m aware that I lived a very privileged existence in Dubai, and in many ways I am thankful for it. That said I did not enjoy living there. I saw all the things you have mentioned on a daily basis, saw the way people pretended the problems didn’t exist, my classmates disregard and scorn for those less well-off than them and I hated it. I begged my parents to let me leave and at the age of 16 I went to a state boarding school in the UK and was stunned by how differently people treated each other. Obviously, I’d been to the UK before but it was mainly to visit family, people are so much more genuine over here. You aren’t a passing fancy or disposable (I’m not saying it is perfect, there is an awful lot of bullying and other problems in UK schools, but it was much less superficial).
    The expats I went to school with learnt how to behave from American High School movies (you know the ones where everyone is in a clique and it’s acceptable to crowd someone in a corridor and call them names/leave notes etc…), it was not a nice environment to grow up in. If you disagree with the ‘status quo’ you were weird and an ‘outsider’. I enjoyed rock/metal music and didn’t wear a bra during Year 7 (because I didn’t need to and my mother believed it was sexualising me too young); this apparently made me a ‘lesbian’. The biggest insult they could come up with because in Dubai homosexuality is illegal and they viewed same-sex relationships as gross and disgusting. People ran away from me saying I was going to molest them, accused me of staring at their boobs or saying they were going to get me arrested for being a perverted lezbo. This does happen elsewhere in the world (not the arrested bit but the bullying)… however, most countries don’t culturally support the use of ‘homosexual’, ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ as offensive insults. Because they’re not! I definitely agree with your statement about people becoming victims of a superficial culture and the inequalities to all those who are ‘different’ either via their gender, sexuality, nationality etc…

    I also struggled with the hypocrisy – if you are going to be a country where your religion is your law then it needs to be upheld. You don’t give certain people passes because of their nationality, gender, religion etc… Furthermore, the act of accepting money or bribes to make problems disappear is NOT in the spirit of Islam. Yet it happens all the time! Money can buy you anything in Dubai, but bankruptcy gets you thrown in jail. At the age of 14/15 I knew of 7 girls in my school that had gotten tattoos (most in ‘sexual’ areas) because as long as you pay cash no one cared. Underage? No problem, you can buy a good fake ID for 50AED easily (or they were, don’t know what inflation has done to this price). On the subject of alcohol, yes you need a licence and your employer’s permission to buy alcohol but there are ways around it, like with the prostitution. Alcohol delivery men exist, you order the booze and an underpaid asian man comes on a motorbike to deliver it to you. House full of teenage kids having a house party? No problem, slip him an extra 100AED for himself and he’ll risk it because you’ve just doubled his salary for the night! Considering your entire family can be deported for underage drinking I was shocked growing up by how many expat parents didn’t care and allowed their children to have drunken house parties. But it wasn’t just the expats! I went to an English school (which I won’t name for obvious reasons), however we did have locals and other Muslim nationalities there, and a lot of them would have drunken parties! “Inshallah, it doesn’t matter, my cousin’s brother in law is friends with chief of police! We have no problem.” – this is something I heard a PARENT saying once (or very similar words).
    It was just so frustrating to live there and know that everything was glossed over. We got a letter from the British embassy once saying they had just discovered a series of murder/rapes of white girls that hadn’t been reported in the papers. It stated that the embassy was shocked to discover the lack of media coverage and was working to remedy this; in the meantime here are some tips for staying safe. No shit it wasn’t reported! To do so would’ve been to admit serious crime is a problem, and that would ruin Dubai’s pristine, carefully cultivated image. As far as I know, this string of crimes was never reported.
    I agree with all the reasons you put for not returning to Dubai and probably have a couple more of my own, (insane road system and mental drivers anyone?!) It’s nice to read something that highlights Dubai’s problems, so many people don’t believe me when I tell them it’s not perfect and inequality is a big problem. I’ve gotten so used to people outside my small group of friends from Dubai staring at me like I have two heads, when I talk about the same things you have I was starting to believe I may have actually grown two heads! I wish you and your SO every luck in your continued travels, I hope you enjoy yourselves and stay safe!

    • DNS Says

      You can actually apply for UAE citizenship. Its in one of their nationality laws. Many people were born there in the 1960s or moved there and they adopted UAE nationality. Others married a UAE person.

  • Y.S. Says

    Lol, I actually posted a reply to this post several months back and it got deleted. It wasn’t even a negative or rude reply.

    This has made me realize how immature, fake and narrow minded the author is.

    Darling, good riddance to you.

  • Thanks for vibrantly being an advocate for people, while still seeing the beauty and potential in Dubai, and therein championing Dubai toward more kindness, more justice, and more holistic health. You are a true champion of nations. That vision toward hope IS changing the world.

  • richard Says

    This Demographics of this city took me by surprise. How can it be correct that only 10% of the population were UAE. It must feel like a real mix of cultures.

    • Zara Says

      There are people from many cultures living in Dubai, true. But the mixing (multicultural groups of friends, relationships, etc) only goes up to a certain extent, actually!

      • richard Says

        Yes i can imagine that groups do tend to orientate towards each other. I am just taken back by how large the Indian population is (which is highly likely due to the construction industry)

        Does the wealthy indian community also come here for the lifestyle or is the population mainly made up of workers?

        • Zara Says

          The majority of Indians in Dubai are laborers, but there are many upper class Indians in the UAE too. In fact, some of the most established families in the country are quite probably Indian ones, business owners, etc. My observation is that, even though they have money, they don’t tend to show off or spend as much as Westerners (at least not in the same things.. going out, etc). It’s a cultural thing, I guess.

  • Marshia Says

    Sorry your experience in DXB was so awful ~ I have been in the region for over 25 years i.e. gulf states~ 10 living in Dubai not many westerners here than before, really , so I have seen it grow tremendously and who has built it ~ However, I have chosen to help w/$$, food/nourishment and comfort the less fortunate every day rather than complain and leave ~ inhumanity happens all over the world, you just have to look in the underbelly and sometime right before your very eyes ~ an Apple and a Bottle of Cool Water along with simple healthy grooming supplies brings a smile to an otherwise hot grim day ~ Nevertheless most are just happy to have a Job and funds to send to their love ones ~ Compassion is key… I am just 1 person in this vast area yet the chain reaction is truly nice to see at times when you think no one really cares ~ I shall do my very best to help while I am lucky enough to be in Beautiful Dubai, Cheers

    • Zara Says

      Hi Marshia,
      What you say does make senses. Complaining and leaving doesn’t solve anything, of course. It just outrages me profoundly that the UAE is such a rich country and yet it allows so many people to live miserably within its borders. It makes no sense to have such an inhumane system.

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  • Yvonne Says

    Wow, quite a discussion you started by your post! Somw of the things you write about I already knew, some are new to me, but even before reading this post I couldn’t agree more with you to leave a place like this. But apart from that: to travel the world is always a good reason to go! Haven’t had a chance to read many of your travel experiences yet, but am sure it was worth it..

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Yvonne!
      And, yes, it was worth it! We planned to travel to 1 year before settling down somewhere other than Dubai.. but after 4 years we still haven’t picked a place! ;)

  • arisha Says

    Yes! I believe that this kind of treatment can be defined as RACISM… “UNEQUAL TREATMENT” , I do agree with this blog. I leave here in UAE for almost 3 years and I can say that, laborer should be paid equal and not that much low salaries… As they build luxurious building (Burj Al aran, Burj Khalifa etc.) , behind those beautiful buildings our laborers who build and receive only small income, who works 7 days a week, some without off, they did not eat delicious food. :’( I just felt bad that UAE can really afford luxurious materials and things, and tourist spots, but cannot give equal rights to our beloved laborers who works under the sun during summer, and works in a cold days during winter…

    • Zara Says

      Exactly!! A lot of people use the excuse “but laborers are exploited in many other parts of the world too” as a way to justify the abuses in Dubai. But my point is that, in the UAE, there is SO MUCH money.. that this unfair treatment and underpayment is really not necessary! Not that is is strictly “necessary” elsewhere, but you know what I mean..

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Arisha!

  • deb Says

    Dear Zara, For the first time i read an article seriously :) Love your writing skills.Well about discrimination on any basis, I totally condemn such practice, as we are not above almighty.We search for religion and god everywhere but actually god resides within us. When you think evil, you are filled with negative energy and when you think well and take things lightly things, you are filled with positive energy. I am in my early 30′s and may be my words doesn’t match with the generation to which I belong but then this generation also follows the message of humanity and with a belief of “Practicing what our teachers preached”. It feels so bad when some one is discriminated just because his/her skin color or religion is something different from the rest of the crowd.The pain can be felt only once we place our feet in someone else shoe[that some one who has been discriminated]. God bless you and love your writings dear.. :)

  • deb Says

    And Zara NAMASTE :)

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  • Dr REDDY Says

    HI, am a dentist planning to move to UAE with my family. just wanted to know how r the hospital laws there.. u know in the west, even the slightest of mistakes (treatment wise) would land u up in enormous legal suings and stuff.
    is it the same in UAE or is it flexible as its here in India.
    Any idea how s the general life of Indian doctors in UAE, like how they r treated in MOH..

    • Zara Says

      Hi Dr. Reddy,

      Sorry, but I have no idea what the hospital laws are like in the UAE.
      I’d suggest you check with other doctors working in the country.
      Good luck!

  • Great post, thank you for sharing!

    I’ve very seldom seen anyone call the UAE (especially Dubai) for what they are, and I find it refreshing to read whenever someone is able to see past the glitter and discover the truth behind it.

    Their legalized slavery and their atructurized discrimination are two of the main reasons why I don’t think I’ll ever visit Dubai, and I don’t understand what everyone’s big appeal to go there is.

    Yes, it’s pretty and shiny and perfect on the surface, but I rather go to a country that has a real history and soul behind it, than one that builds its cities with the literal sweat and blood (and mistreatment) of their workforce — which they mostly “import” and treat like slaves.

    Same goes to other Gulf states… As much as I’m on a mission to see as much of the world as I can in my lifetime, I think that’s the last bit of the world that I’ll leave untouched on my map!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for reading, Claus!
      Well.. let’s see how the Gulf countries still (can) change during our lifetimes.
      Happy travels for you!

  • deb Says

    Hello Sara,
    This is Deb, the one who has commented your article above.I read your other article too, it was real nice.Have a look of my article below on the trek destination to a fort in India and share your views.

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  • Donna Says

    I enjoyed this article very much. You made some really good points. I found myself watching a lot of Youtube videos about this country, and then I became caught up in the initial feeling of glamour (as is the point) and didn’t initially think about those who had to have suffered so harshly to build this country for fast into what it is so far today. Then I started thinking about those others, and I also researched this a little. I was sickened by what little I did read. Unfortunately, we can only know a fraction of what goes on with the Asians workers living in slum-like conditions (or anyone else who suffers here) who are a part of the leaders’ dream-land. I read that some of these workers are only paid under 150 pounds a month to work in Dubai only just a few years ago, and to think of all the lavishness and all the extremes Dubai goes through to make the rich feel elite, I figure at minimum it takes 6++ others who have to suffer to allow this.

    I couldn’t do this either once I felt the awful pangs of this. Btw, I did read somewhere, though I am not 100% sure, that living with the opposite sex is a crime if you aren’t married. Even if it isn’t, you are lucky you didn’t get locked up and/or tortured for it. It seems the princes of UAE in control of this country have it made it so that they can make the rules and laws as they go with little to no consequences. Really, most of us would NEVER know if there are no witnesses. In addition, censorship is rampant here. I think this could very easily be a terrible place to be, even for a Westerner, if put in any random unavoidable, unfortunate situation.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Donna,
      Thanks for adding your views here.
      Yes, living under the same roof if you are not married is indeed a crime. Depending where you live, you are more likely to get caught (I hear the Emirate of Sharjah is tougher in this sense).. but it’s not like generally people come and ask. By default, it’s better to introduce your boyfriend or girlfriend as husband or wife. It’s safer that way.
      I am glad you can see both sides of Dubai now! Many people are still too caught up on the “glamorous” side and tend to forget about what goes one beyond the surface.

      • Donna Says

        Hello Zara,

        It’s really nice that you can share your life’s moments with us. I liked that you covered this particular topic in Dubai and how you approached it. Though it’s written a few years ago, the topic is going to be ongoing. The majority there shouldn’t have to suffer so greatly so that a few others can feel immensely entitled. I meant to say earlier that per 1 of the rich, I guess, it takes at least 6++ individuals from the underpaid, overworked, and poverty-stricken work force to keep that 1 person living such a glamorous life. We should stop and think about that. That’s pretty demoralizing.

        I was looking through your website more and you are doing a great job. You and your boyfriend are adorable together. Yes, you do seem like you two have a great life together. Your pictures are lovely. Keep up the good work! I am bookmarking your website. :) Donna

  • byong sun Says

    the examples u gave above are not related to syariah law at all.must understand that syariah law only effected the Muslims not non Muslims.if a couple were caught together in a hotel room and one is Muslim and the one is non Muslim,only the Muslim will be trialed under syariah law.i dont know how syariah law is in Arab Saudi but if such cases above linked to syariah law,i think thats ridiculous.

  • Shania Says

    Hey Zara! Great article! Totally agree with you on the racism! I just moved here couple of mnths bk…. Tryin to get a bed space in barsha and it’s been very difficult since Iam Indian. The 1st thing they ask when I call is “where are you from?” Then I say India and they cut the call. It happened for the 12th time today. Iam super hurt…. Not planning to be here long.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Shania,
      I am really sorry to read about what you’re going through.
      If you do want to stay in Dubai tough, I would recommend looking for a place to stay in Bur Dubai. It’s a more Indian area. Barsha is more Filipino. And, unfortunately, it’s rather rare for people to mix in Dubai. So you are more likely to find other Indian flatmates.
      Whether you decide to stay or to go, I wish you all the best!

  • Maos Says

    Sad but true. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t able to get a job in Dubai ‘cos there’s a word “integrity” in Personal Statement on my CV.
    I admire your sincerity, hope you found a better place surrounded by humble people like you. Cheers!

  • Rud Says

    I noticed that everyone who is defending the UAE comes with the slavery mindset. yes ok lets say that you were taking a big salary, so what? didn’t you work day by day to earn this money, and why would you think about leaving your country and go to the desert unless it is something worthy.

    actually they wanted you and they knew they had to pay, otherwise this country would not be able to move forward without Expats.
    they just keep fooling themselves.

  • RIta Says

    Where’s your information sources ? your ass ? Most of what is written is a lies I swear I saw your picture and I smelled bullshits from your face why white people always want to erase the people identity behind the name of freedom and democracy Islam is not only a religion it represents the country culture and tradition this is how the people live this is their identity its not a fault or mistake should we erase our culture under the name of democracy? Fuck you Democracy go to your country and find a solution for the racism its 2016 and still people killed for their skin color in development atheist democratic societies.

  • Hey Says

    This article is stupid and hyproctial.
    If you are White then you shouldn’t complain about racism in Dubai because you are at the top of the mountain. You get paid double salary than locals, Arabs, and other ethnicities and nationalities. You don’t get denied enterance to clubs.

    Also, the thing about religion, Dubai, or no Muslim country, actually apply Sharia. Now, Dubai has been getting rid of religious practices and laws slowly to make your living here, White person, more ” free.” So once again, you are a whining baby. Also, if you are atheist and don’t believe in religious laws, why do you want to change that in Dubai? Go to countries that don’t establish religious laws. Atheists impose their secularism in religious countries under the excuse of freedom. While secular countries like France wants to ban hijab. Double standards.
    As far as democracy, if you are foreign, you don’t have a right to participate in political decision in a country where you don’t have citizenship of. So I don’t understand your point.

    Overall, the guy above is right. Western White people want to take a country natural resources and influence poltical decisions under the name of freedom and democracy. It’s the new colonization. The writer did White privedgle.

  • NoName Says

    All my Baha’i friends are getting deported one by one in the UAE…This is all fake.

  • Fawad Says

    The topic about what is going there is right,,,,,

  • BCT Says

    Thanks for posting this. It takes awareness to call out racism even when you may benefit from it as a form of privilege. It’s natural to turn a blind eye to it if one is not on the receiving end of it. I also thought this was an insightful statement: “The UAE is a racist country, sometimes playing it subtle and some other times being too awkwardly open about it. This is not the UAE’s fault by the way. It is the collective prejudice of all the different cultures that get mixed up in Dubai.” It does seem to suggest that the nation has done little in the way of developing a national culture that would lead its people away from the biases adopted from their their home cultures.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for your comment, BCT! Some people understand my criticism towards the UAE as a direct comment towards/against Emiratis. But it really isn’t! The thing I personally do not like about Dubai and the remaining Emirates has not only to do with the local government and traditions, but it is instead a mix of those local things + the ways of everybody else living there. Ultimately, because people come to Dubai to make money and most end up leaving after a few years, the majority of residents are not invested into developing a local sustainable culture. Everything is too transient. And when things are that way, the tendency is for every man to do what’s best for himself and not care much about other people or even the surroundings.

  • Draw Says

    Everything in this article is the truth apart from the things related with religion ( no offence ). I am born in uae and have been raised here and while reading this article i felt surprised by how fast you got to see the truth and beleive it. Majority of the people here in uae are ignorants who do not want to accept what is the truth i dont blame them although because the laws here are nothing much different from the laws of slavery if anyone speaks against the government here he for sure dissappears as long as he is posting it from another country ( one of the reason i am commenting as annonymous ). For them no matter where your from as long as your not a uae local your not a human being trust me maybe you did not feel this but its what is in their hearts.

  • I lived in Al-Ain for six years in the 90s and find much of this to be spot on.

    However, what does one expect? When I was considering the move I contacted the US State Dept and they said it is about the most liberal GCC nation, but that doesn’t mean a constant beachparty.

    I generally found many of “the rules” would be overlooked unless you got the wrong person upset and then throwing out the Newspaper with the Sheik’s photo would be “the reason” you got into trouble. The rule was to be discreet with one’s indiscretions.

    Homosexuality was rampant and once taxi drivers found out I was in my late 20s and single they would often try to get frisky with me and an Irish colleague and neighbor would entertain them regularly.

    There is no doubt the expats from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangledesh, the Philippines can have it very rough and I would agree it could amount to defacto slavery. It was a roll of the die with the employer, some were very decent to their help and some where just monsters (and that applied across all nationalities employing domestic help). However, we need to remember many of these people are supporting families back home something they are often unable to do at home. Even though their wages are low and the work hard they are still supporting parents, children, spouses, nieces, nephews, etc. Too often it is not a matter of having a poor wage vs a better wage it is having none vs some.

    One last story before I go. I had an African-American colleague from PA one year. He came to the office one day and was upset. He ranted to me about his need to start wearing his passport around his neck. Most shopkeepers assumed he was from Africa and treated him accordingly.

    Despite being in general agreement with the posts, I would go back under the right circumstances.

  • Dave Says

    Good! Dont come back please!

  • JB Says

    Best article I’ve ever read. Lived in Dubai for 4 years. Financially a great life but I left for the exact same reasons. Super happy to be back in Vancouver. Plus I appreciate it way more now then I did before. Thanks for writing this.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for your comment, JB!
      I can only start imagining the contrast between living in Dubai and Vancouver.. even weather wise, for that matter. But in terms of human rights, social benefits, freedoms, etc.. it’s gotta be amazing to be back in Canada. Enjoy it! ;)

  • Binu Says

    You are right on many points. If not all. However, it is annoying to pick up on a clear bias within to certain nationality. You clearly feel lost and feel the need to attach yourself to the woes of another nation. You also seem to get a kick out of being white and enjoy the elevated position to speak about such issues. Nobody should dispute that people should be treated as people. Dubai is far from perfect however this is why the place oozes with opportunity. The very reason you moved here. The reality is that it is a fast moving, autocratic society with huge ambitions from the top. Things get done. It’s different, not perfect, not better, it’s different. Being hung up on ‘right and wrong’ sometimes gets left aside. Equally – human rights can inhibit development and growth if it is interpreted incorrectly. Nobody disputes that human rights should be benchmarked and discrimination in all forms is wrong. That said… it has to be considered that certain cultures do not fit with the progressive, modern world. Many fail to adapt, either by choice, ignorance. You speak about India as if they are saints… many indians say themselves that they hate working for indians. Complaints are made about the corrupt government, the class system but many do not wish to set a good example. Indians are NOTORIOUS for staring and leering at women, taking pictures, being rude, spitting on the floor, being racist to white people and generally being bad people. Now this isn’t all indians of course but there is a definite trend. You could go deeper and deeper on a wide range of sociological issues – starting with ‘treat like a dog, then they’ll act like a dog’. I make the strong case on the other side of the spectrum because your portrayal of indians facing discrimination implies them as victims. Sorry to burst your bubble but Indians hire indians only. They arrogantly believe they are doing good, even when sheer incompetence is highlighted. Indians have also been known discriminate against other nationalities as much as anyone else. Why? To protect themselves. Discrimination occurs because the cultural differences are magnified in Dubai tenfold and when education standards and standards of excellence are known to be low within a recently third world country – it becomes a business necessity to discriminate. It is wrong and shouldn’t be encouraged. However, it occurs because many lie on their resumes and there is soooooo many of them applying and if one hails from India – typically the standard of education is low. They are distorting the market if you ask me… often taking jobs for less. Doing work to Indian standards. Being ‘yes men’ in the corporate world. Arab management mentality love this for the control it brings but it’s short sighted. So don’t say they are discriminated in a negative way. Indians are actually preferred in many places and they know it. They are taking over the place and they are proud of it ‘if you don’t like it – go home’ mentality. Really… you need to open your eyes and take off the blindfold that is your fetish. The world isn’t perfect, we all move towards greater good and no one is a saint. But Indian culture has contributed to all the reasons you dislike Dubai more than anyone else – they are after all, according to your own statistics, the dominant nationality in Dubai. And FYI – even in the most advanced nations upholding human rights…. it is not against employment law to post a vacancy stating a nationality or gender providing there is a specific occupational need. Perhaps all their clients speak one language. But sadly…. you’re right. They probably want to avoid the place smelling like onions and garlic. You know.. frankly, you should just shup up and go back to whatever it is you do.

  • gwen Says

    to the dan rather and his famely another cbs anchor named otis livingston had bad views over dan rather’s life calling him white sissy, milk, old fart otis livingston is racist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • H Says

    The UAE hasn’t really worked it’s way to the way it currently is. The oil really brought in everything–all the complexity–relatively fast.

    Given how the locals were raised by their families, and how the religion played a huge role due to the harsh conditions before the discovery of oil, it is not surprising that a lot of the internal policy, and planning is fundamentally flawed. The culture is deeply collectivistic and religious at it’s core, rather than individualistic, and secular as in the West.

    I sense that their goals are fundamentally wrong. Their optimism and high ambitions motivated them into developing the city relatively fast, yet obviously they weren’t too keen on understanding the details behind it. Having a monarchy political system doesn’t help adjusting everyone to really look at the subtle details. Simply demanding outcomes without trying to understand the details behind what they’re building will lead into all sorts of issues in the long-run.

    I wish they would care less about constantly building shopping malls, and more parks. I wish they’d invest more in arts, creativity, and education. I wish they’d create a haven for intellectuals, rather than materialistic people. Instead of building a factory for improving our world as a whole, they’re building a play house with very materialistic goals.

    The Government is great at outsourcing companies to do all the dirty work because of all the money they have. Yet, they have been ripped off at times, which is why you find all sorts of malpractices with labor, or under-qualified workers, etc. This will continue to happen just as long as they maintain long hierarchies crippled with blind trust and obedience to authority.

    The blind obedience stems from authoritarian parenting, collectivism, and religion. Religion would be at the root as it maintained poor parenting styles for generations, which in turn maintained the blind hierarchical system. A mix of the inherently uncertain world, and a religion claiming to know it all as said by a parent *will* result in undervalued children. The undervalued children are forced to redirect their need for love to themselves, which in turn can breed narcissism, and/or religiousness.

    That can explain why there is underdevelopment. The way you feel is very understandable, and justified.

    • Zara Says

      Thanks for taking the time to share such a well-thought comment.
      A lot of the things you mention indeed make A LOT of sense!

  • Maitha Says

    Dear Zara,

    I definitely agree with your first point regarding labor forces, it never fails to frustrate me and I really hope that the government can provide them with better conditions. I have heard of some little progress and i hope we can see major changes.

    Regarding your other points, you are not wrong. This country is based on a religion and as much as Dubai is trying to accomodate for the needs of others, we cannot completely let go of the laws of sharia. This country was created by a muslim in the name of Islam and that’s just what brings the citizens together with the country itself, this is who we are. I have yet so much more to say, but i will just apologize for disappointing you. I hope racism gets vanished one day. Please try to understand that to me, islam is this country’s identity. That is how i see it.

    I just recalled a point i would like to mention and it’s regarding how foreigners think of us locals. I have had an intimate relationship with a foreigner (european) and i realized with time that he’s been trying to get closer with locals to use them. I think he tried to use me to open up a restaurant and to use the benefits locals have for himself. From my point of view, there is nothing wrong with having relationships with foreigners but the hardest thing about it is the cultural differences. To me, I couldn’t go one with that relationship because of the huge cultural differences, so don’t think there is a gap between locals and foreigners, it’s just the cultural difference.

  • Some one paid Zara Says

    what ever is here 10000000000000% not true .


  • Mary Says

    Unfortunately, people hate UAE and gulf countries because of the wealth! All online reviews on UAE and particularly on Dubai are clearly biased and filled with hatred for the reason that its a wealthy country and city! All negative reviews comes and roots from jealousy and sickness in heart! I personally visited UAE multiple times and enjoyed my time! I saw happy people with fancy things from all around the world! I have seen Indians riding Ferrari and some locals riding HONDA! I have seen everything. Labors were not forced to come here! They work to provide better care for their families back home! I personally have met some Filipino labors who were blessed for the opportunity to work in UAE and some of them went back to their countries and provided better living for their kids and family. One Filipino told me that the family she worked for as a nanny paid for her sons surgical procedure to repair his cleft lip and another told me that she was able to build a big villa in her home when she went back! So all I am reading in this post is negativity and clear bias! I lives in Houston for two years and saw tons of homeless people, they do not have enough shelters to put them in evem during the storms but I have never seen a homeless person in UAE and I have never seen someone with no food no matter how poor they are!!!!!! So there!

    • Zara Says


      Just because you see no homeless people in the UAE, that doesn’t mean the system isn’t unfair and everybody gets to enjoy a good life.
      The reason why there is no homeless in Dubai and the other Emirates is simply because you can only remain in the country if you are a productive member of society. Loosing your job means loosing your visa. So, either you leave the country on your own, or you get deported. The moment you no longer “contribute”, you are kicked out. This even applies for children who reach 18: either you are in college by then, or you get a job. No gap year or free time allowed! Your parents can’t sponsor your stay in Dubai if you are simply “at home”. As for locals, Emirati people, they have a lot of benefits from the government, so they are never homeless anyway.

      If other countries out there followed the same system, you’d see no homeless over there either! But I repeat: it’s definitely not because everybody gets to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in the country!

    • Mina Says

      Mary, there’s so much to see if you open your eyes wider and break the barrier in your mind. I’m sick of all the people who don’t see further from their nose. Just fucking turn around and see what is happening around you, and feel with people who are suffering for 800 aed per month working all day on 50 degrees because that’s all they can since their passports are taken away and they can’t move from the country, even though things were differently explained to them upon signing the contract. Same shit happened to me, my passport was taken away from me for 6 months and I had to fight and threaten with my Embassy so I can get it back. When asking the company why are they keeping our passports, the response was: ‘Because it’s an important document and you may lose it.’ Well since I’m an idiot and can’t take care of my stuff, why don’t they also wipe my ass after I shit. Fucking Dubai logic.

  • HAMAD Says

    Come on Zara, it’s not all that bad

  • Bhim Says

    Namaste Zara!
    your view 100% true i leave dubai 30 month on 2002 as that time i feel , yes some thing better for local but all others country people life like a mechine >

  • Mina Says

    You are so right about Dubai! It is the worst place I have ever visited. I went there to work as a hostess and ended up working as a waiter, bartender, housekeeping and hostess. They have no respect for employees in Dubai. Everything revolves around money. I feel so bad for all the Indian workers and the pain (both physical and emotional) they have to go through. Many of them commit suicide and it is very very heartbreaking. I met my boyfriend there and we both left our jobs and are traveling now as well, we’re never planning to go back to that hell. If I started writing about all the bad experiences from Dubai I would never end. My advice to all people planning to work there: Stay away from Dubai. All that glitters is not gold. Cheers!

  • Sam Deen Says

    Zara dear,

    Your article is.. dramatic.. the least i can say.
    First of all, id like to understand the purpose of writing it; as your claimed reason is to shed light on the harsh conditions people live in; when in reality its self content.

    If it was a warning for expats to be ware of before stepping in UAE or Dubai in specific, the crowd ur talking to is mostly in povert conditions hence dont have PC and laptops or cant afford a mobile,

    and those that do can care less about reading an article like this.. The Educated ones and the ones that can give a rats ass on the conditions there, have either made a smart decision and backed off or made a smarter decision – blocked all the noise the internet offers and went to Dubai to make a fortune (which i assume is whats paying for your World travel – only took you 4 years to get that kind of opportunity, where back home you’d be behind the corporate desk as a slave)

    Now pin pointing the issues u faced in Dubai,

    #1 it is an islamic country – deal with it.
    Just laws are applied to those that deserve it and the judicial system out there is better then what you will find back home..

    If you want to display your homosexuality and notorious behaviors of the “modern world”; such as dry humping in public, going out under the influence of drug or alcohol and God forbid – driving, wearing demoralizing clothes and partying like animals without any difference to animals except your called with a name, then stick to cities that welcome that kind of stuff, May i suggest Pattaya 100%

    I think that region can do away with all that. they still care about what their children see and live with
    and choose to keep all the above for online curiosity or buy a ticket to hell and go else where to do the dirty shit.

    HOMOSEXUALITY (as my personal opinion is unfortunate) exists in this region and is not objected in any way – except like i said previously if you want to go sleazily hit on a cute guy/girl you saw in the street – there is assigned places for that if you havent gone there.

    ALCOHOL is available in some of the best clubs you will ever find
    but they are more discrete about it since for one its an ISLAMIC country and the other is they want to avoid DUI’s and filth to be visible in Public, since they have a reputation to hold.

    #2 Road Laws –

    You mentioned the unfortunate situation of your colleague but i think you forgot about what insurance covers. The Police out here help the hit victim by imposing massive amounts on the driver so that the injured person can take care of them self and at the end of the day its the insurance that will pay

    ** for those of you reading = Dubai and all GCC countries dont allow any car on the street without insurance and to break that law is a major crime.**

    “Driving while pregnant” – i think you said it clearly, that was a seriously careless and unfortunate event – Taxis in dubai are always available, if that too expensive Uber is available,
    and should u be ready to give birth is a kilo distance away for an ambulance to reach you. Dubai has them distributed 1 per 3-5 kilos depending where u reside.
    WITH over 200 ambulances dispatched across the city..


    This i can talk about for days and never finish –

    A. 3/4 on hiring companies and recruiting agencies are guess what EXPATS – Mainly GUESS WHAT AGAIN!! INDIAN!!!!!
    B. If you lived in miserable conditions back home then come to a country that provides you with accommodation and transportation and food… What else do you want? Livable conditions are not up to the billionaire life style but its a lifestyle that is waaaaaaaaaay better then where they wouldve been.

    NOT all companies are the same way.. you have the crooks and you have those that invested billions of dirhams in MEGA complexes for Blue collar workers. So please save me the one sided view you want to please yourself with….

    # Whatever the f*** ive reached because the numbers will be endless with your hypocritical rant on UAE..

    The work force that requests certain nationalities for certain criteria of jobs is according to what the Labor offices Recruits and local statistics of previous gathered information from the works that were from certain nations and had left the country
    but nooooo you didnt know that you just saw it in the Third Eye that is opened in your head..

    Do you know that if you hire a mechanic from Indonesia will be more than happy to settle for the job that pays him 5000 dirham (1200 USD give or take)
    while on the other hand if you bring a European Mechanic wouldnt even settle for 50000 dirham…
    SOOOOOOOOOO that is applied in all categories

    These are SOME of the hidden things in your article which you were not clear about or honestly completely about


    Its the top go to city.. and that hurt you because God – excuse me your Humanist – because who knows what stupid shit you tried to pull off and wasnt able to, so decided to rant about it, perhaps even forced to leave the country..

    • MAX Says

      I don’t know why there is so much hate in your words, Sam! Oh yeah seems like you have the Dubai symptoms.
      However we are not here to go into details for every single issue in dubai and keep debating about it, specially with your behavior. it will be pointless.
      bottomline is, some people didn’t like dubai, actually they hated it. it is superficial and fake. just try google. type in the search bar ” why I hate dubai ”
      so it is not only here. and everyone got the right to share his experience.
      but I still don’t understand why you have to be rude to defend Dubai!

    • SomeoneG Says

      Sam Deen thank you for your post, all of these people here posting negative about Dubai are pretty much blinded and ignorant about what’s truly going on with the lies the expats are tricking the educated and qualified people to get a well paid job and open many opportunities for improvements.

      1. It’s true when it comes to hiring expats from third world countries, the indians hire other Indians only and also use and abuse them by stealing their money.

      2. Expats are all racist against white people, they’re extremely jealous that educated whites come over to dubai and get higher paid. So what they do is guilt tripping them from coming here to earn money if there is not a lot of jobs available back home. And it’s true an Indonesian would accept a lower paid salary whereas a western accepts a higher paid salary, that’s the difference. Indians would even beg for a lower salary if another Indian gets the job which results in over crowded workplace.

      3. As for Zara she needs to look at the working conditions of Indians living in India where the employers abuse the locals and even western expats!

      High tech insurgent is a website made by an American who exposes the Indians ruining the technological job industry in America trying to turn the country into a third world country. He exposed a lot of the abuse the westerners suffered from the hands of Indians and how they destroyed the tech industry.

  • champion of places Says

    its an illusion that there is money, almost most of it is the loan, borrowing, credit cards, please understand the banks make a big glory from jobs. everything is bankrolled, so please get this out of your mind that the place is rich, it looks, but it may not be. you ask for a poor job, you will get 20 quotations, such is the enormity in terms of lack of local business not being enough to sustain, because too many licenses have been distributed already. so you are their business, not vice versa.
    secondly, too much dependence on rentals, the income is from visas and road tolls and parking fees for plane, cars buses or ships, building, apartment rentals of very expensive looking marble tiles, are usually 300 hundred percent high for last 15 years. you get high-paying jobs based on two factors ONLY, if you are from west you don’t need to know Arabic, you should be fair skin, others must fit in Arabic speaking criteria and in both cases the appointments are for decoration purposes, hard work is a lounge talk to show that people are really hardworking, the bottom line people work and all others supervise.
    Lastly, you need a license and lots of fees built around for nonsense, even tutoring privately at home without a license is a crime. so you forget about freelance. people with businesses get ruined and lose money, and in their places new one comes, so they don’t really bother or get affected by one of a premise, and Yalla is a good style to conclude any chat.
    Decorative PR news is best for people to read overseas which misleads as if a lot of business is happening and there is a lot of money to be earned or made.

    Development eventually is basically really to have clean streets and nice looking fancy buildings and the place must be the extension of the airport lounge as the outdoors of the offices, that’s mindblowing as a profile of a place google is filled up with skylines and nothing really offering to showcase people of the place. Singapore and hongkong should take a lesson here from them.

    there is nothing for mind-blowing mind stuff like you are empty pocket but with a GREAT IDEA that has a big value, like silicon valley or Manhattan in USA meeting by chance over coffee or beer that will change your life, or like in Europe, or Singapore, or in Malaysia, and so on like innovating R&D scientists, mathematicians, doctors, engineers or silicon valley, forget here, a great idea is never supported. so much money is spent in looking good, that ideating guys are treated lowly once they know you dont have money, its cosmetics of space, and looking good is the interpretation of the future, and it will continue, so all get attracted to cosmetics. nobody mingles culturally or intellectual discussions on the shores, or town corners, it’s artificial, not poetic truly to engage in a conversation, that probably would help to build a dream, you come with 300,000 dollars to junk them all and then present your idea, its an advertising boards and neon signs market place from far. it was a very beautiful place before malls and before 6 lane highways, life was laid back and absolutely productive during the 6 days week, affordable rents to live and create ideas, and never heard or had round of diabetes and heart attacks and obesity in traffic jams and waiting endlessly, never had town planning with all concrete spread out on one single road. There are some sup good souls, who help you in life like anywhere else too, if your car is stuck or you lose your wallet, you lose your mobile phone in taxi, cinema, or your precious certificates in a bag or a shop and if you remember, there will always be someone to return it to you. trust me its wonderful place, but all wonderful places have some drawbacks too, it’s up to you how you perceive it. Islam is the shine, and the substance is cosmopolitan.


    Dear sir ,
    This is Sunil Kumar mailing from kochi Kerala India. I was working as a medial representative for lifeline drug stores based at Abu Dhabi. I had a fake absconding case put on me by my company and had to spent almost 50 days in swiahan jail.
    I would like to bring to your notice that it might be the worst place on earth were anybody could live. People come to the gulf with lot many hopes and dreams but most of them are scattered after spending their life in gulf were justice is not provided for the expats.
    It seems to be a usual trend in UAE and especially in Abu Dhabi that most companies don’t pay the salaries to their respective employees and when the employee files a complaint at the Labour court , the company later on files an absconding case at the immigration department. After which the career of the employee or even the life of the employee is affected.
    Swiahan jail was like a hell of a place were people are treated just like slaves. The jail don’t even have basic accessibility to drinking water , and people were not allowed to make phone calls even. I had surrendered my passport at the jail and the concerned people missed my passport and I had to apply for an out pass with the Indian embassy. Infact I had to spent almost 50 days in the jail without knowing for what reason I am put inside.
    Another incident which I would like to highlight is one Indian inmate was beaten badly in front of all for repeatedly requesting to make a phone call. The incident happened on 13 th of August 2017 between 11:00 pm and 11:30 pm. The security who beat him was an Egyptian named Amoos. And the whole incident was captured in cctv too.
    Moreover, the inmates inside swiahan jail cannot be regarded as criminals. The criminals who are inside al watba jail for various cases like murder or drug cases are treated in much better way and they get all the facilities inside the jail compared to those in swiahan jail , in which most of the inmates are imprisoned for fake cases given by the companies or their arbabs.
    The purpose of drafting such a comment is to show the outside world about the real facts happening in UAE and especially abu dhabi.
    Hope this serve as a purpose for reporting such cruel activities occurring even in this 21st century.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Sunil,
      Thanks so much for sharing our story. What an awful experience!
      Have you followed up with any human rights association, like Amnesty International or something or the sort?
      No one can erase what you’ve been through already, but at least awareness could be raised to help avoiding such inhumane cases in the future..

      • Wizbestus Says

        hello Gud day Aziza , pls i would like to know more about Dubai , cous am planing to come there , please do you mind i get ur Email address

  • John Maverick Says

    You should honestly go f*ck urself. The U.S. has more racist bs than the UAE. In fact, some workplaces don’t accept a woman’s hijab. Also, keep in mind that you are going to another country, you should respect their values and religion, not argue about them. I am very glad that you shit bag won’t go back, you should stay in your own country if you have problems with other people’s culture.

  • Amal Says

    If you want to talk about racism, it is not in Dubai, you can find it in USA, Europe, Dubai welcome all people from everywhere in the world if they got a job offer, but what about USA, Canada, Europe, etc.. they don’t give visa even if a person got a job offer, these countries are selective and they welcome each others’ citizen but they don’t welcome people from poor nationalities, you must be so rich to get visa to these countries, but Dubai welcome everybody and give the opportunity to everybody and everybody can visit Dubai regardless his nationality or race, so don’t throw stones in people’s house while your home is made of glass

    • Zara Says

      Hi Amal! Being open to people from all nationalities doesn’t mean that you won’t discriminate against them later on. That’s the problem in the UAE! You will find folks from all corners of the world in Dubai and the other Emirates, but they are all NOT treated the same, that’s for sure!!

    • DNS Says

      What are you talking about Amal?? You said that the US, Canada and Europe does not give visas to foreigners. You must be joking!

      There are MANY people from poorer parts of the world in the US, Canada and Europe.

  • i strongly agree with you. dubai is only for rich people

  • Ivette Says

    Fully agreed .i cant wait to leave Dubai.hate it!

    • Travis Says

      Fully Agree. Dubai has no soul, all fake and commercial! I Came here to save money but it turns out the opposite after 6 years of living here. I am planning to go back home anytime soon and will never return again for sure! Hate it here! Victorian Era mindset! my gosh! now it’s 2018!! Discrimination is everywhere and no work-life balance at all! I just wasted my years here!! and it’s so freakin’ hot on summers! This place is for locals only who cannot even pick up their trash and put in the garbage bin! You know what I mean. I was depressed at one point of my life here and now I’m starting to recover. This made my the decision to leave this country. My health was at risk for a job that isn’t even enough to pay my bills! Why bother! Better I work in my country where I can call home and where my family is even the salary isn’t that big. I can contribute something to my homeland by working there.

      • DNS Says

        A lot of countries ( non-Middle Eastern countries ) have a Victorian mindset though. Even many older westerners wish that the West did not ‘progress’ too far.

  • Rg Says

    You dated foreigners, lived with your boyfriend and had a lot of gay friends in a country that underpays its low-skilled foreign workers. So, you became disillusioned. Are you sure you weren’t living in the U.S.and not Dubai? And I note you have copyrighted your…musings. If the site postings generate any revenue, I’m certain you will donate that to some worthy cause, like Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders. Right. Notwithstanding the “namaste” pose in your photo, it must be difficult to live with one’s own “problem with hypocrisy.” On the other hand, it might be nice to be able to complain about the world without feeling the obligation to do anything constructive to change it. One can only hope you grow up before your travels take you to some seriously difficult places…either geographic or emotional.

  • Adam Says

    I thought your article was quite interesting and informative as I may consider moving for a short period to experience it and would like to know all the don’ts as the do’s are readily available. I will say this…when moving to another country, respect their points of views and don’t create an uproar because it goes against your way of life. And such should be reciprocated in your country. When I read these stories of the UAE I immediately think life is a cycle and they are a cycle behind the western world seeing that all the issues such as religion is law etc is the foundation of the western world. They are identical to when monarchs rule long before democracy, where religion was law, where slavery was acceptable, where exploitation built the wealth they live on today and bore who you are. What UAE should learn quickly is the failures such actions brought to the west that they were forced to fix or To stare clear of the lies written through history. The comforts of the west is wonderful for a stronger and clearer society choosing it’s direction but it fails when there is a good leader at the helm and thr oppositions will still tear it down, but I guess it balances if a country has a monarch who’s leadership is bad for business. Personally I don’t agree with how things are run in UAE if your article is correct (and I suspect it is) bit understand why it exist as we have other countries who have also been there done that. Keep up the good writing and keep the article up as its protects those visiting or living in today’s world in Dubai.

  • Mary Says

    I’m sorry but I find it odd that you stayed for four years in a country that you knew had so many human rights violations and so many other beliefs and practices that are opposite to yours. I think most of the world knows what is happening in Dubai. This leads me to believe that you just like all of the other expats and tourists go to the UAE not caring about these wrongs. You went in and got what you wanted, left and then wrote about how horrible it is there. You’re a hypocrite.

  • Hello,
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  • I’ve only visited long term once, and we plan to go again soon. I understand that as a visitor (albeit a business trip, with my husband) things may be viewed differently with actually living there long term.
    However, and again, we had a Host, etc. I fully embraced their culture. There are MANY things I disagree with and absolutely hate about they way they do some things, however here in the States, we have many similar issues, and the culture is changing regarding religion. If you don’t claim you are King James Version Christian, you do not belong. Times have changed. We loved it there overall. The only gripe I have with your article is saying it’s not wise for a pregnant woman to drive. Good luck with that lol. Overall, I understand your points but maybe open your mind a little more as you travel to other places.

  • sana Says

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  • Vehicle tracking system is modern technology. It safe our vehicle, also we looking our vehicle. If you go unknown place, then GPS is best friend for find any location and safety.

  • Thanks for sharing your post.

  • DNS Says

    The UAE also recognizes Sikhism. Its an Indian religion. And the UAE also recognizes Shintoism, its a religion that originated in Japanese.

  • DNS Says

    As for living without being married, its easy, just say that you were married in your home country or you’re engaged. Furthermore, many people date and they actually live their parents or in different houses, so no one knows. It actually goes on a lot in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

  • DNS Says

    Public display of affection? Please, I’ve seen many people greet each other, at the mall, the airport, the church. Even locals kiss other men and their female relatives.

    Its only if you are going to fornicate on the beach or in a taxi. (FYI this is an offence even in Australia, Canada, US, New Zealand).

  • The government should be punished !

  • AbdulNasir Says
  • Christy Says
  • Aziza Cloud Says

    The article 7 of the UAE constitution sets Islamic canon as the basis for all laws.
    The effect of article 7 is that you can choose your religion, or choose not to have a religion. The lack of a place for “aetheist” on a form is not a valid rationale for a claim that your freedom not to practice religion was violated. One should complain at or at the happiness counter or make a suggestion. Remember that the UAE just became a country in 1970. That’s not a long time to make a whole set of institutions and laws and policies and forms on par with the G-8 countries. But they are doing better in many respects.

    The UAE federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, national origin, creed, etc., except for two points: citizens have the first right to get a job, and then people from other Arab countries. But just like in Europe or the US, people ignore the law.

    • Ibrahim Says

      democracy and Sharia law will never ever stand together in one place (either democratic country or Islamic), can’t be mix of both.
      good example of mixing Islam and Democracy is “two people(Muslim & non Muslim) in bar, one allowed to drink, the other one not allowed because he is Muslim”.
      same thing in marriage.

  • Aziza Cloud Says

    The UAE has a representative democracy under a constitutional monarchy where the king of the country is also the president and the king of Abu Dhabi, and each emirate is also a monarchy.
    The Federal National Council ( issues laws, and the competent king signs them. The United Kingdom has a similar system, where Parliament does the work, and the Queen signs things into law.

    Citizens elect members of the FNC via the UAE National Election Committee (

  • Fatima Says

    I live in Dubai and nothing is bad in Dubai it’s a open country to everyone

  • Someone who have Says

    So you are telling me there is a better place in the world?
    are you telling me that there is a place in the world that doesn’t have those problems?
    are you telling me that we are all the same?
    the problem is that everywhere is the same nowadays no place can be safer no place can be happier so stop expecting to find one place that has It all, remember its all about expectations and experiences and whatever you went through it was for the best remember that.
    Just stop comparing and complaining and your life will be easier.
    Live to change not to complain with posting as much as possible, I know its your rights to post whatever you want but you have presented a image of yourself when you talked about this.
    You didn’t mention the good things remember you just mentioned all the things that are superficial that are available for those who simply can’t see the bigger picture.
    South/North America is the same
    Australia is the same
    Asia is the same
    Africa is the same
    Europe is the same
    All of those continents, countries, cities have the same problems from ethical to economical what is different is how you talk about them, and you present about them.
    From what I have read you just seek to show how bad something is…
    I know we have faults in our personality and I do too, but you have shown me how the world can be cruel behind your back thanks Zara.

    • Benny Says

      No, Southeast Asians are not the same. I guess you’ve never been outside of UAE. We treat other people like a human, unless they have committed crime like an animal. Same goes to other continents I’ve visited, people treated me like a human. When in Dubai, I saw the whites were given ‘humanly’ treatment whereas the non-whites, even though we are highly educated/successful but not shown in our skin color… are considered ‘NO class’. Honestly, I’m surprise to read a bad review from a white lady, I guess she’s not rich/not arrogant/double standard like the emirati. You can build the tallest building up to the sky but BAD attitudes automatically chase people away from your country.

  • Kareem Says

    Zara, I am living in UAE for last three years and I agree with most of your points as I am also experiencing it. However no society or country is perfect. I have a German passport and lived in Germany for 10 years before moving to UAE. As I muslim it is more difficult for us to live in Europe than it is for Westerns to live in UAE. We also feel some discrimination in Europe not only socially but also at work places and feel isolated if we don’t stay with colleagues till late night gatherings and don’t drink alcohol. I agree that you never feel attached to UAE no matter how long you live here, everyday you will be reminded that you are a foreigner and you have to leave (as you can also see in many comments here). Another type of racism which I have only seen in UAE is that most locals do not socialize with foreigners (even with other muslims) and they feel ashamed of having foreigner friends (specially asian friends). In workplaces, in universities, in malls you will observe that locals only group together and isolate them from the rest of society.

    In my opinion UAE is still the best place to live for Muslims as long as you can get a good salary but keep in mind that one day you have to leave therefore better make a property and a source of income back home. For westerns it is a good place to come and save handsome amount of money and leave in few years. You might not tolerate very long the difference of culture and all the points Zara mentioned in this post.

    Thanks. Zara for the very informative article, it will help many people to make a right decision when moving to UAE.

  • Ibrahim Says

    For me, the Azan, is sign of humanity’s disrespect, this call linked with unfairness in everywhere you hear.
    UAE and Dubai particularly present it’s self as modern/civilized city, but actually this is not true, it’s just show to attract dreamers
    I am GCC citizen, and was planning to move to Dubai as second home.
    Unfortunately, I was shocked about reality of this Muslims city.
    in Dubai, to be with a partner out of marriage is crime, “generally” yes no body will ask you whether your partner legal or not, but that can be happen someday for reason and another, if that happen you’ll be totally guilty “. for example, you find out that your partner is pregnant outside of marriage, that can open hell doors for you, you are guilty because you have sex with woman out of married, she is guilty because she has sex with man out of marriage and she guilty because she is pregnant without official marriage, this situation surly will destroy your career in this city.

    Just read the below question and answer:
    Q: What happens to a Filipina woman in Abu Dhabi if she becomes pregnant outside of wedlock? Is she allowed to keep the baby and remain in her job and give birth in the city, or would she be sent back to her homeland to deliver the child? Is it possible that she is forced to marry the father of her baby?
    A: According to article 356 from the UAE penal code, getting pregnant outside of marriage is a crime punishable by law and, if arrested, the woman and the father of her child will be referred to court on charges of having sex outside of wedlock. If found guilty, both could be sentenced to jail time followed by deportation. With this in mind, it is advisable for the pair to get married to avoid criminal charges. However, if that is not possible for any reason and the woman decides to keep the baby, then it is safer for her to travel home to have the child.

    We can say the same about alcoholic, it is permitted, but it can be big problem for you if authority want to do so. For example, buying alcoholic from Fujairah and come cross Sharjah in your way to Dubai, you will be stopped and punished for having alcohol. It is a kind of trap
    In Dubai, alcohol license required and it this permit only for non-muslim, cannot believe that happen in civilized city, person need card to buy a drink, kind of Dark Ages rules.

    Last Ramadan, was in Dubai and saw how non-Muslims been treated, they were (non-Muslims) eating behind carpet’s cover to isolate them from Muslims, just as if they were doing something wrong or stigma. Do not know what the message can be delivered to next generation for both parties Because of this act.
    If you want to do fasting, that is your shit not mine, why should I hide myself from others when need to eat during Ramadan daytime? it is something make you crazy if you think about it logically (especially in city like Dubai). I can accept that in Saudi, Afghanistan, and Pakistan but not in Dubai.
    in Dubai mall, where majority is non-Muslims, Azan break your quietness and mood 4 times a day, in coffee shop or restaurant, you are listing to your favorite music or song, and sudden you see waiter running fast like crazy to stop music, why?? Because azan starting (azan is calling loudly in microphone for praying”, to remind Muslims about praying time. Again; what a fucking rule?
    City that believe in Superstition will never be a civilized and modern(that what i see about Dubai).
    In Dubai, there is double standard, you can see it clearly, for example white western people have better treatment than other nationalities (especially Asians).
    For visitor, city looks very good, but when you stay longer, you will see the negativities.
    Dubai is civilized in building, skyscraper but not in human rights, despite all money and fake show up propaganda, it’s still far behind many poor country like Philippine, Thailand regard to (human rights, women rights, Homosexuals, and of course religions).

    I love UAE as country and UAE people, and was wishing if they were really real role model within the area

  • Aziza Cloud Says

    Let’s address each of the issues in the last message:
    1. Drinking alcohol in Dubai is legal for non-Muslim residents who have a license. They need to go to their local MMA or Spinney’s and buy a license. For non-Muslim visitors, they should drink only in the hotel or bar or in their hotel room. For Muslims, alcohol is forbidden. If caught drunk and belligerent, regardless of religion, there is a 5000 dirham fine and 24 hours in the drunk tank (jail).
    You cannot transport alcohol between the various emirates without a special license. If you buy alcohol in Dubai or Fujairah or Ras al Khaimah, do not transport the alcohol to another emirate. Sharjah is dry; no alcohol is permitted there. So don’t bring any alcohol into or through Sharjah.
    2. Marriage solves “illegitimate” babies. So better get the marriage certificate before conducting a long-term sexual relationship in Dubai. Marriage requires a premarital screening if the man is Muslim. If the man is not Muslim, he should ask at his church or temple for the marriage procedure. If the man is Muslim, or if the church or temple won’t allow the marriage, then the fastest thing to do is for the man to register as a Muslim at court, and then sign up for the premarital blood test. Then run to court for a marriage document. It costs very little to do this.
    Otherwise, if a woman becomes pregnant from a man she knows well has several options: The first option, if the father is a very upstanding non-Muslim man, and the church or temple allows it, is to arrange a marriage immediately. If the man is Muslim, there’s a problem because marriage requires a pre-marital blood test and counseling. So it would take about 1-2 weeks to get a marriage certificate. If the woman has to go to the hospital on an emergency basis, and it’s discovered that she is pregnant, the couple should expect to be sent to jail. Once there, they should inform the judge that they are engaged to be married. If the man tells the judge that he is muslim, he can request to be allowed to register himself and the woman for pre-marital blood screening. As soon as that is done, they can be married and charges must be dropped. If the man is not a Muslim, he needs to see if the church or temple will marry them. If not, then there will be jail followed by deportation. If in doubt, and there is ample money, then the woman should leave the country. She can deliver outside the country. If she is fewer than 4 or 8 weeks pregnant, she can marry the guy outside the country and then return to the UAE.

  • Your blog is unbelievably fantastic.

  • Martin Says

    Yes, this islamic state is also home of +30’000 prostitutes working without problem.

  • Hello,
    This nice for Dubai is nice given the great information. thank you for share this blog

  • Megan Says

    I went with friends today to check out the Iceland Water Park in Ras Al Khaimah . It was the worst decision we ever made to spend the day there. I strongly recommend you do …

  • I am not perfect Says

    Every single person who’s against Islam or Muslims should leave the country, you can can’t get alcohol? Go drink alcohol in your country.
    You can’t do the sin? fine go do it in your country.
    Why complain when you are here if you can’t even live with the people around you?
    stop using Islam and Muslims as a reason for dissing and talking shit, because thanks to your mislead thoughts and beliefs many Muslims are now converts to other religions; when they know by heart and soul that it’s the only salvation from hell. They glorified your religion from how easy and wasted it is they can do whatever they want without anyone stopping them, this happened because they don’t have any faith in Allah.
    I don’t know what is great about marrying someone you already met, when you are most likely in the end going to get divorced.

    I don’t know what’s so amazing about committing the sin whenever you felt like it, just to bring yourself some pleasure.

    I don’t know what is extraordinary to drink alcohol and get wasted just to forget.

    I don’t simply see the point of doing all of those things and expect myself to be happier. Maybe I just don’t know how it feels when I do those things.

    But all what I can be sure of that you people glorify the sin as a mistake that can be repeated over and over again, till the day you die saying you only live once.
    I will never ever understand you people you come here expose every single mistake in this country, just because we say its the best country in the world; I mean that’s pure evil and yes its your opinion and this is the internet and you can say whatever you want bla bla bla…
    but you forgot something, you forgot how inhuman you sounded when you said those things, the whole world is corrupted why make it even more uglier huh? why? just tell me why?
    Well, I guess that means I should start a blog and talk about how each country is cruel and inhuman just to make myself feel better, wow.
    if it wasn’t for devil we weren’t be all sitting here wasting our time talking about how shitty the UAE is, congratulations you wasted your time to become inhuman with me.

  • I feel motivated by reading this article.
    Thanks for great advice.
    get in touch with us.


    My comment is this: Why would ANY western person person much less a woman want to go to such a god forsaken terrible place such as the UAE? I mean most people KNOW everything you just said in your post and knowing this they stay away. Sure poor workers go but why would ANY western person go there other than to get some of their millions if you are already a very rich business person. Its a TERRIBLE place to live and work and therefore has NOTHING to offer western people

    • Dave Says

      Haha John stay in your shithole UK then mate. Who the fk cares what you think? Idiots and loser haters here including the author of this post .. like anyone cares why you left and not coming back lol

    • Dave Says

      And also funny given that there are loads of nice westerners here happy and safe .. keep your shit to yourself .. the jealousy here is crazy

  • Dave Says

    You all need to look at the state of your own countries first – violence attack no jobs yada yada – pathetic lol

  • This is really a nice piece of information. Looks like you have put an effort to write that blog, thank you for sharing with us.

  • Thanks for sharing with us your blog. Enjoy life.

  • Anarchy 2021 Says

    Its so true, i wanna leave it also and never back here but problem not that easiness because i have to fight next year soon or future ill be free then and get everything i want like 2033 or 2040
    My name is jean im lebanese expat,born and raised in uae for 26 years all what uve said is 100 percent correct and it happened with me and worse its like hll only going and coming thats all i can say lots of bad expriences i had living in this dessert isolated country hope ill share some of my stories to u amazing article not wrong if u publish a book of it from this page god bless u and bless all ur families amen

  • uaeguy Says

    truth about the kidnap of Princess Latifa coming soon.

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