Monday, 15 October 2012

Intellectually colonized Dubai?

This picture represents both my respect and doubt about Dubai. I admire the economic strategies of the Emirs with their visionary leadership. Lack of natural wonders and resources (oil counts for only 5% of GDP), lack of historical asset (Dubai was found in 1833 by a small tribe emigrated from Saudi), the leaders of Dubai have decided to create man-made wonders to turn this tiny Emirate in the middle of dessert into a global tourist and business hub.

However, it is tempting to say that Dubai is intellectually colonized and manual labor dependent. 95% of the population are expats. Dubai has been built by Western know-how and cheap labor from developing countries. The Emirati are spoiled with super high income for very simple jobs. Arrogant as they can easily be, local Emirati distance themselves from all the foreigners, quietly sapping the bitterness of knowing that they can-not-live without foreigners, no matter how they like or dislike these guests, be them as expensive as Western managers or as cheap as the Indian road workers.

And at the same time, Dubai's next door neighbor Oman is doing the opposite by having a grand policy called Omanization to encourage Omani participation in the economy so as to avoid dependence on foreign knowledge.

In the picture: The tallest man-made structure in the world, Burj Khalifa (829.84 m) and the people who constructed it: workers from developing countries who are reported to be badly mistreated by extremely poor working/living condition. They are said to have their passports confiscated by the employers and have to work 50 hours/week without days off for months on end, which sometimes result in death.


  1. Nathaniel Flindon21 November 2012 at 23:47

    From my past experience in the jordan tours, I managed to stop by Dubai and its emerging metropolis. I learned that thousands of migrant workers reside there.


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