Sunday, 13 July 2008

Waiting for the backlash

Not a good week for expats here after the publication in the UK, in that august publication the Sun, of the story of an unbelievable act of expat stupidity in Dubai. In summary, a female expat resident of Dubai goes to a well-known hotel for Friday brunch, gets totally hammered, hooks up with a male expat, they carry on pub crawling and next thing she is seen by a UAE policeman having s*x or as they say in the Sun "romping" with the male expat on Jumeirah Beach. They are warned but let go, then shortly afterwards the policeman sees them "romping" again, he warns them again, she goes ballistic, throws her shoes at him and calls him a "*%&ing Muslim". They are arrested and now both are whinging that they are hard-done-by as they stare down the barrel of a possible 6 year jail term (Western jails are holiday camps compared to the jails here.)

This situation has been widely discussed here in the UAE both in the general media and in expat forums. Now that a glimpse of the less attractive face of expat life in Dubai (the "underbelly" I think the Sun called it) has been revealed to the rest of the world, there will be far greater media interest worldwide and the story itself or reports of the morals crackdown have appeared in papers in Australia and NZ. This is not the sort of publicity the authorities in Dubai like, and my concern, shared by many other residents, is that there will be a backlash against the expats already in Dubai. What form that backlash will take, we will have to wait and see. I wonder if, just as one example, the 'Holes in the Wall' which operate in certain other Emirates and are huge expat favourites, will be looked at more closely?

I would think that the management of the hotel where the brunch was held has their collective arses in a sling - I wonder if the restaurant manager still has a job - and the company's local sponsor has probably received big-time GBH of the earhole!

The Gulf News reports that extra patrols will police Dubai's beaches to ensure appropriate clothing is being worn and to crack down on displays of "indecent affection" between couples. I hope their attention will also be directed at the groups of guys who come down to the beaches to stare at the women while playing 'pocket billards'.

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