Sunday, 25 May 2008

Instructions to the masses

New instructions to shoppers in several of the major malls in Dubai:
Please do not:
~ Smoke inside the mall
~ Leave children under 8 years old unattended
~ Cycle, rollerblade or skate inside the mall
~ Wear inappropriate clothing to the mall (I hope that applies to leopard print leggings!)
~ Display "indecent affection" in public
~ Climb on ballustrades, balconies,fences and railings.

This fuller explanation from "The National".

DUBAI/ABU DHABI // Shoppers are being told to dress appropriately and refrain from public displays of affection by a poster campaign in malls.

Showing excessive amounts of flesh and kissing are cited in the courtesy policy at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.

Large blue posters are visible at the entrance to the mall on glass sliding doors. The policy is also printed on the maps and store directories which many visitors use to guide themselves around the 223,000 square metres of shops.

A spokesman for the mall said: “Every year we receive a number of complaints about people coming here and not respecting the traditional way of dressing in the Muslim world.

“It is usually tourists who come in wearing beachwear and who are not aware of our custom. We wish everyone who visits the mall to have a pleasant experience, therefore we feel it is our job to point out the acceptable way to dress.”

The Burjuman and Reef Malls in the city will soon be putting up similar posters outlining their code of conduct.

Bruce Von Kaufmann, operations manager for the two malls, said: “Inappropriate dress is often mentioned in our feedback forms and it often comes up in our executive meetings. We decided to act this year and would have done so whether or not the Mall of the Emirates had taken the lead. It is important for us that people are aware of their surroundings when they visit our malls so we advise discretion.”

The signs at Burjuman and Reef will inform visitors that respectful dress should be worn at all times and that customers should refrain from kissing and cuddling.

“Not every tourist reads the in-flight magazine from cover to cover so we feel that discreetly pointing out the traditions and culture of the UAE is as helpful to them as it is to us,” he said.

The posters are currently in the final stages of design and will be put in place in the next few weeks.

Aaron Richardson, public relations manager for Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, said that there is no official dress code there at the mall. However, if a shopper was dressed inappropriately, management would bring this to their attention.

“We have only received a couple of complaints in the three years that we’ve been operating, although we do monitor visitors to the mall and would advise customers if we felt it was necessary to do so,” he said.

At the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, which is home to over more than 300 stores, the management has a similar procedure. Nadeem Wajahat, the general manager, said: “We strive to ensure that the mall offers a wholesome atmosphere for all our shoppers. We treat each [complaint] uniquely, depending on the factors at play. Each situation is considered as important as the next. I am proud to confirm that, to date, never have we needed to involve mall security or the local police.”

Mr Wajahat also said that he hoped that visitors to the mall would be aware of the cultural traditions of the UAE and act accordingly to this.

Khalid Hamad, 27, a marketing manager from Abu Dhabi and regular shopper at Marina Mall, said: “When I go abroad I make sure I am aware of other cultures and traditions. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for visitors here to do the same.

“If I saw a woman in her bikini in the mall it would go against everything I have been taught about decent behaviour. I would be offended.” (Can I say here that a woman in a bikini or a bloke in Speedos wandering around Chatswood Mall or Henderson Square would get, amongst other things, a degree of negative comment too.)
Reem al Hamly, 21, an interior design student who dresses in an abaya and black sheila, feels it is important to introduce guidelines for westerners in the malls for the sake of the children. “For me, women walking around wearing swimwear or other garments showing a lot of flesh is not personally offensive but I worry about the example it sets to children and young people,” she said.

“I am old enough to make my own decisions about what I wear and to be well informed about other cultures but it will be confusing for those who are being taught one thing at home and seeing something different when they are shopping.”


  1. Inappropriate clothing means no more red socks in public :-)

  2. So what... you can't even hug your friends anymore?

  3. And what about the double/triple cheek kiss? Is that banned too?