Gulf News readers had a very strong reaction to the opinion article by Fatima Al Falasi ‘Expatriate fears about Emiratis are unfounded,’ Gulf News, published on September 8. Many readers said that they’ve found Emiratis to be welcoming, respectful and generous people. Others observed that there does exist a gap between the Emirati and expatriate communities, but largely due to lack of opportunities for interaction. We present a selection of letters.
It is a very informative and well written article. I’ve been in the UAE for the past five years, and I’ve found that Emiratis are helpful and generous people. They respect their families, especially elders. A few days ago, I went to the Khor Fakkan beach with my family. We were looking for a place to barbecue. We found a spot where the barbecue was already lit and the coals were burning red, but there was no one around. We thought the barbecue was from the beach management. So we started barbecuing. An hour later when we were almost finished, an Emirati, who was waiting for us to finish came around. I was surprised that the entire family, who had actually lit the barbecue, actually waited for us to finish. They did not even ask us to hurry. I was guilty and apologised. But, the Emirati generously replied, you were with your family, so we didn’t want to disturb you. This is how great they are towards the expatriates.
Words are mere words. There is no perfect gesture to thank the Emiratis and the Rulers of the UAE. Today, I thank the country and its people for being hospitable and giving a helping hand to the needy. I have travelled around the Gulf countries, but haven’t come across a better one than the UAE. Having said all this, I agree that there is a general a gap between the expatriates and the nationals. I think this is because both are hesitant to mingle with each other. Irrespective of this unexplainable gap, both parties respect each other and would mingle easily at every given opportunity.
Sometimes I feel the negative attitude of the expatriates spoils the positive culture of the UAE. The exemplary leaders of the country have always been my role models. The Emiratis are kind, supportive and helpful people.
Understanding the culture
A thought provoking article of contemporary relevance, as UAE is looking to progress in all fields. An individual of any nationality undergoes the same dilemma expressed by the writer. It is true that a certain cultural inhibition is there in most of us. However, I believe that each individual needs to put in effort to learn and understand the local language and tradition of the country, to feel a part of it. As a member of the India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC), Abu Dhabi, I would like to appreciate the effort of ISC to conduct Arabic language courses for its members and their families. This has made a significant impact in the community. Involvement of police and other local humanitarian associations in club events has also given expatriates an opportunity to understand the local culture.
As long as you abide by the law, the UAE is the best place ever. I’ve worked in the UAE for five years and I was grateful for the privileges provided to me, as an expatriate. Now, I live in Bahrain, but I do visit UAE often. The Dubai International Airport’s immigration officers are always courteous enough to greet me in my own language.
I think Emiratis are the best people to work with. They are always very polite and helpful. I hope the best for the UAE and its citizens.
I have always been very patriotic about the UAE. It might not be my motherland, but it is home for me. When I read this report, I could not keep myself from writing. First of all, I must say that the general motto of the leaders of UAE, i.e. ‘turning vision into reality’, is a source of inspiration for all and the reason for progress. This year, I won the Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum award for being a distinguished student. The fact that I, being an expatriate, won the award shows that there is no discrimination. It also puts forward the initiative of the leaders to focus on education and encouraging students. There are endless reasons why expats love the UAE. I want to thank the leaders and the people of the country, because of whom, we expatriates live in the UAE with pride. Also, I wish that UAE wins the Expo 2020 bid, because there cannot be a better contender.
The Emiratis have always warmly welcomed people from all parts of the world. May God bless them. I hope that the UAE always remain a safe place and it’s Rulers continue to maintain the enthusiasm for progress.
I’ve really enjoyed working with Emiratis. They have a polite and hospitable presence in my office.
I’ve travelled to many countries and almost all countries in the Middle East, but I would like to confess that the Emiratis have never made the expatriates feel like they are in a foreign country. I’ve been living in the UAE with my family for many years. This country is my home. I have no words to express the respect and gratitude I have for the Emiratis. There are a number of incidents where I have personally witnessed the Emiratis going out of their way to help the expatriates. Such incidents have only added to the respect I already had for them.
A while ago, I had a flat tyre in the Jumeirah area. While I was waiting for help, two Emirati boys dressed in traditional garb came over to help me. Helping me would dirty their clothes but they still helped me. Communication is a two-way street, so I guess the responsibility is on both the cultures. Humans have a natural bias to their culture and I feel it is probable that they feel threaded by other cultures. Hence the process of engagement and education should continue.
This is a very goof article and it’s true. Emiratis have an inherent friendliness that is welcoming to expatriates. As a teacher I have interacted, taught with, and learnt from many Emirati teachers, students and administration members. There are a few small differences, in terms of number of public and private holidays and working hours. But these minute things do not create a distance between expatriates and the Emiratis. Do I talk about the UAE with respect, admiration and enthusiasm? Yes. I would come back anytime and live in the UAE.
I am a Pakistani resident of the UAE and I have been living here since my childhood. In my opinion, Emiratis are very honourable and great people, as they have accommodated people from many different nationalities and they manage to live in peace with them. I think people who interact with the Emiratis, end up appreciating them even more. All nations have both good and bad people, but the number of bad people amongst the Emiratis is just like salt in flour. I hope the best for the UAE and its citizens.
I’ve been living in Dubai for almost eight years now. It has been a big challenge, but at the same time, a wonderful experience. However, I believe that the Emiratis and the expatriates need to reduce the distance between them and socialise more. We should not only see the Emiratis in official places, but also organise sport and cultural activities with them. We can do more to build on this relationship. This would benefit the future of the country and the following generations.
From Mr Soren Bo Andersen
What a great article by Gulf news to highlight an issue that always lingered in my mind. I’m an Indian, who was born and brought up in the UAE. I’ve been in this country for 35 years. I’m one of the few people who got the opportunity to live here and see the Emirates progress. I speak fluent Arabic. I have no words to express the great character and hospitality of the Emiratis. In my opinion, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the father of the nation and the founder of UAE, was a role model for his people. He set very high standards teaching people how to treat fellow human beings. In today’s world, not many expatriates are teaching their children the local Arabic language. I think it is time for us to take a step ahead and thank and interact with the UAE nationals. I can go on writing about how great this community is, however, I would like to conclude here by saying if you are an Emirati and reading this I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your hospitality. If you are an expatriate, then please take the initiative to come forward and interact with the Emirati community.
From Mr Yousuf Abdul Qader
People abroad, who spread baseless allegations against the Emiratis probably visited the UAE with a biased or a stereotypical mind, or were simply ignorant. Extreme religious paranoia could be another reason. I’ve been living in the UAE for a very long time and I have never come across an Emirati discriminating based on nationalities. Visiting various government offices in the country, I always felt respect and never discriminated against.
My parents moved to Abu Dhabi in 1968, when I was 6 years old. I spent my childhood in Abu Dhabi. Yes there were some incidents of bullying but as a child that is normal around the world. I still remember my childhood days, my schooling, my playtime and the community centre I often visited in Abu Dhabi. Those were the most beautiful days of my life. I wish I could go back and live there for the rest of my life. I strongly believe that UAE is the best place to live in.
The Emiratis are an example for the entire world. They are the epitome of respect, tolerance, hospitality, progress and leadership. God be with the people and the leaders of this beautiful country.
I agree with the central theme of this article. My own experience of interacting with Emiratis has been uniformly pleasant. In the three years that I’ve lived here, I’ve developed a healthy respect for the citizens of this country.
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