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2016: The important moments

Gulf News asks residents to share the memorable changes that happened to them in the year that is on its way out

  • Abdul Rahman Kurdieh with a football player. Image Credit: Supplied
  • Hassan Khayal managed to achieve a work-life balance.Image Credit: Supplied
  • Ko Hong Ty and his wife. They welcomed their first baby boy and opened a business.Image Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Dubai: The best part about welcoming a new year is thinking about all the positive changes that were accomplished the year before. Four residents from different backgrounds spoke to Gulf News about the most important thing that happened to them in 2016.

Ko Hong Ty, Chinese expat who owns his own business in Dubai:

“2016 saw big changes to my life. I got married, got my first baby boy and opened my own business. I was surprised that all these things happened in one year, because it usually takes years for others to experience them at one go. I’m also really grateful that all these positive changes happened smoothly without having to face any challenges. I would say getting my first baby was the most important thing that happened in my life in 2016. Usually in the Chinese culture, when your first baby is a boy, it is something to feel very lucky about. I hope 2017 will surprise me with a second baby and also I do hope to open a second branch for my business.”

Abdul Rahman Kurdieh, American resident, works as a football agent in an event management company:

“Back in 2013 I started an amateur football club here in Dubai called Al Nisr Club to train African football players, who came to Dubai with hopes of joining famous football clubs but ended up working in low-income jobs. Some of them have very good abilities, but needed some further training. What I did was that I focused on training them and then helping them sign their first professional contracts at football clubs across the GCC. This past summer, I have managed to find a really good opportunity for one of the first players who joined my club back then in Bahrain. He is now playing very well and is considered one of the bright stars in that league. The reason I think it’s positive is because I finally achieved my goal of helping one of these boys achieve their dream of playing professionally instead of working in a job they don’t want to be in and earning a low salary.”

Hassan Khayal, Palestinian working in a management consulting company:

“In the years before 2016, I had dedicated all my life to work. I always worked beyond working hours and left the office only late at night. I was happy and satisfied for being really productive at work, but I did not realise that there was more to life than work. I neglected my friends and social life. In 2016, I realised that the other side of my life was suffering because I wasn’t spending enough time with my family or friends and they were complaining about that. So, the most important change, I would say, to my life, was the balance that I managed to achieve. I began working less and refocusing some of my time and attention to my personal life, and it made me exponentially happier. I made it up to my family and friends because it is much more important to appreciate them while they are still around. I also began enjoying my hobbies more. Career satisfaction is fulfilling but not always.”

Priti Wadhwani, Reiki practitioner and an Indian mother of two:

“The most important thing that happened to my life in 2016 is that I found inner peace and freedom. The freedom was psychological. We tend to think that others have certain expectations from us, which we are obliged to meet. For the past years, I had to bind myself to these expectations and placed great pressure on my life to fulfil them. In 2016, I realised that this was not me, and I did not have to think this way. We got used to thinking that people around us, like our colleagues, family and friends, expect certain things from us, and that we need to be engaged with these expectations. The value of life is when you realise that you don’t need to force yourself to do something for others. It took a lot of effort to reach this state of realisation in 2016.”