From leftClockwise: Joey Zhang, Anshu Anish, Mohammad Ali, Sultan Al Kalbani, Momin Khan and Dipak Thakuri Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As the UAE wraps up an eventful year, which has witnessed great growth and achievements, residents look back at how their lives have been impacted by these changes and some of the best moments they experienced here in 2017. They also spoke of some international events that ended up as significant in their view.

Whether it was the launch of nationwide initiatives that changed their lives and improved their well-being or the opening of cultural and entertainment infrastructures, the UAE, they said, will continue to amaze its people with its developments.

Anshu Anish, Indian mother of a 2-year-old

“The Fitness Challenge was definitely the best memory I have of 2017 in the UAE. After giving birth to my daughter, I had put on a lot of weight and there was no encouragement for me to get active. When the challenge was launched, I participated in almost all of the activities and lost 3.5kg. It was a great change and I still do half an hour of activity every day.”

“The huge promotions held in the UAE on many occasions gave us a chance to purchase a camera, which we wanted to buy, for almost half the price. There’s always something good happening in the UAE and almost no bad experience.

“Internationally, the incident in Mumbai when over 20 people died during a stampede while crossing a pedestrian bridge at a suburban train station was a sad event.”

Mohammad Ali, life coach from Pakistan

“The Year of Giving was a highlight of the year. Giving is the basis for us to grow and it is the key to harmony, peace and happiness in this world. The UAE involved every single person in this community when launching this great initiative. Also, the decision to issue traffic fines to people driving in the fog with their hazard lights on and also the announcement of the 50 per cent discount on fines have been among the best examples I can remember.

“Internationally, the election of Donald Trump as US president was a major event.”

Joey Zhang, Chinese expat

“The opening of the Dubai Safari was one of the most exciting events this year. I visited it for free because they had opened it to the public for free in the first 10 days. It was a great experience.

“The new excise tax, especially on energy drinks, also impacted me. My favourite energy drink became almost double its price in 2017, however I see it as a good thing because it can help reduce consumption of unhealthy products.

“The new UAE traffic law has been an excellent decision.

“Internationally, the election of Trump as US president is something to remember for 2017.”

Sultan Al Kalbani, 40, who works in Abu Dhabi Municipality

“One of my standout memories of 2017 was when 2018 was declared as the Year of Zayed. I was very happy when I heard this, I think it is important that we always remember Shaikh Zayed, the father of our country. it will educate a lot of people on what a great leader he was.

“The opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi was another highlight for me. I think it’s great to have such an art and cultural museum in the capital of the UAE. I think it will be very good for tourism in the UAE, and it also puts our country on the map when it comes to arts and culture.

“Another highlight in 2017 for me was the Year of Giving, it was nice to see the whole country come together to give back and help.

“Internationally, what stood out for me was the UAE’s continued success in the international arena; our country has made a lot of good friends around the world, in particular, our strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia. It’s nice to see our country having a good status around the globe which, in turn, is positive for us as Emiratis.”

Momin Khan, 34, Pakistani

“The UAE government’s decision to waive 50 per cent of traffic fines was a great decision.

“Internationally, two big developments — Jerusalem being handed out to Israelis by the US and the removal of Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister of Pakistan — stand out [for me]

“In fact, the entire Muslim world was deeply saddened by the decision of Donald Trump. Even other countries opposed the decision. This decision should be rolled back,” he said.

“I am happy that Nawaz Sharif was removed after he was exposed on graft charges. Now, I hope our country would prosper.”

Dipak Thakuri, 32, Nepalese

“The announcement of VAT is the biggest thing that is going to impact [my] daily life. As an expatriate, I consider this as one of the biggest developments of 2017. The opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi museum which has put Abu Dhabi on the international map of famous museums is also a great development.”

— With inputs from Sami Zaatari, Staff Reporter