Thursday, 23 September 2010

Life Is Strange But The Internet At Times Can Be Brilliant

Wow what a strange few weeks.
The last 10 days I have met on the internet, two people from my past.

One is fellow blogger Umm Qahtan.
I follow her blog, she follows mine, two strangers (or so we thought) in the blogging world. After my post about come join me on Facebook, she took up the challenge (Thanks Allah).
I posted the handful of photos I have left of my time in UAE and BINGO, Umm Qahtan recognised me from years ago.
It took a while for me to remember who she was becuase all the bad things that happened to me there, were at the forefront of my mind pushing the good memories into the back.

After letting me rack my brains for a while I kind of rememberd a scenario of 3 girls on a Balcony in Ajman. I got it right and the memories came flooding back.
All those years ago, after I had left "0", my best friend at the time "Faye" asked if she could bring someone to meet me. That afternoon in walked Umm Qahtan and us 3 girls sat on my Balcony overlooking the Ajman Port, talking about A-Z, I apparently gave good words of Wisdom which remain and will always remain between me and Umm Qahtan only and I gave her a Quran and believe I also gave some advice on being a muslim.

So we are back in touch, who would have thought the internet could suprizingly conect two people after years. Allah is Great Wallahi.

Second person is someone I used to work with who absolutly worshipped the ground I walked on and who's heart I broke at the time when I left to live in UAE. So despite the bad things about the Internet, it can at times be absolutly Brilliant.

As for home life right now, its not good, but despite the problems and out of respect for my husband I will not go into detail until I am able to. But all I will say is that I wish men would respect women more and marry them for the right reason.

Have a good week everyone.
Thursday, 9 September 2010

Eid Mubarak Everyone

Well as soon as Iftar arrives tonight we begin Eid.
I wish everyone a wonderful Eid and that you get to spend quality time with the ones you love.

We plan to break our fast tonight with KFC, I know its not very healthy but after working all day I really just want a break from cooking.

Imane will be getting a brand new Rocket Xxtreme Scooter for her Eid Gift

and we all hope to travel to London on Saturday, subject to the weather here (because right now its having a problem working out what it wants to do) to visit London Zoo.

I have a fear of snakes but despite that I am facinated by the reptile house in London Zoo and plan to stand and stare at the huge Python thats normally housed there as my Eid treat LOL. (Yes I admit I am a tad strange).
Whatever your doing this Eid, I hope you all have fun.


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

I Love Facebook

Yes I love Facebook.
Its my way to keep in touch with family and friends especially friends of old.
Join me on Facebook if you want, although I will most likely only accept requests if I have at least read your blog or know you have read mine.

Muslim Matrimonials

Have any of you ever browsed some of those muslim matrimonial websites?
Sometimes for fun I go browse the profiles and it amazes me some of the photos "Muslim" women looking for a husband post.

Sexy shots with bare shoulders and peroxide blonde hair falling over their shoulders, half a pound of muck on their faces. One I saw today was an American woman with a Dolly Parton hairdo complete with huge Tiara, bare shoulders and all.
Not a very good advert really to be posed like a playboy playmate looking for your muslim mate.
As I posted about in my previous blog post, what is it with women outside of the Middle East wanting a UAE national only????? Whats wrong with any good muslim man? What do they think their going to get marrying UAE only (well I can guess what they think they will get).
Most who post ads for "UAE only" also have photos that are more suited to a fashion magazine. If they are trying to attract the guys looking for a goodtime girl (but not marraige at the end) they are probably going to get lucky. But for real marraige material, I dont think they will find what they are looking for.

Now the men on those sites are something else.
I once put an ad on Qiran.com a few years ago. I had a pic of me in Hijab and the amount of sleezy men on there was amazing. I remember one local guy from AD started using the chat system with me and he was basically looking for a good time girl. He claimed he wanted to marry me 30 mins into chatting and then he began to talk about his love of backdoor exploring and how this was a must for him if he married me. I sat there looking at my computer just laughing. I ended up just signing off, blocking him but I am sure some silly little Wannabee took him up on his offer to meet up for a taster session.

Dont get me wrong its not just sleezy Gulf guys out there, no, no, no. The amount of men (mainly from Middle East/Pakistan) who tried to chat and then tried to turn the convo into a free cyber porn session was unbelievable. Is asking a woman what her breast size is really Islamic?
Are these guys not afraid of Allah??? If they want a woman just for a quick bit of jiggery then I would imagine something like xxxxbuddy.com would be more up their street.

Then you have guys who post a pic of themselves dressed like a Khaleeji, put their details as being from UAE/Qatar etc and then you actually find out they are infact Egyptian/Indian etc, who happens to work in an office or something in UAE. Have they clicked onto the fact that a lot of women seek Khaleeji men only and they hope the women do not study their profile too hard where it actually states they have a visa not permanent status and that their photo dressed in thobe etc will draw the girls to them?.

Ok, many meet and marry their spouse via them successfully, but I am wondering how many idiots they had to wade through before they found him. I am sure most women can honestly say they had their fair share of sleeze bags contact them, either passport/visa seekers or someone wanting a bit of dirty chat or someone wanting to try them out first. Unless I just attracted those types.

Do the women who advertise on there think they wont get lucky unless they post the glamour shot???. And what is it with the hair dyed blonde? Having owned my own salon I can spot a brunette dyed blonde from a mile off.

Maybe I am just being mean, but actually a non muslim friend of mine also had the same opinion as me about some of the profile pics when they browsed some of the sites just out of interest.
Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I must have been blind the 13 years I lived in UAE

I am going to let my heart go now and do not care if I offend, because what I say is the truth.
Going back to UAE was a real eye opener for me.
How could I have been so blind to the many things that are so wrong in the country I once loved and thought I would live in until I died.

Maybe it was because of the privileged life I had. I can honestly say virtually all my social circle at that point in time was an Emirati VIP in one way of the other. "O" used to be an ex Minister of Labour, then add a few Shiekhs and government people such as a Director of Civil Defence (now ex) etc etc to the list. I was kind of oblivious to the things there that in other countries would be classed as corruption and a violation of human rights.

I used to sit daily and watch "O" help so many people who all wanted "Wasta" in one form or the other. When I first arrived in UAE I used to recieve endless calls from people looking for him to help them, it used to drive me mad.
"O" once told me that when he was Minister of Labour and his close friend "A" was Minister of Immigration that they were treated like Kings by the expat community and locals alike. Without Labour and Immigration you could not really do anything in UAE. Even when he left that position and became something else (which I cant really mention), people still continued to ask him to cut corners and do things for them that had been refused by the powers that be.

In my 13 years in UAE I never once used my connections to benefit myself. "O" was adament that I did everything the right way. When I went to take my driving test he told me all he had to do was arrange it so I passed even if my driving was totally crap, but he refused to do that. He said I had to sit the test like anyone else and if I failed I had to try again. I did fail first time but when I passed the second time I knew I had done it on my own merits without any "Wasta" or backdoor dealings.

So like "O" I detest people that try to use "Wasta" to get what they want and even worse is people who brag that they got something via "Wasta". To me using "Wasta" is nothing more than corruption. Sorry but that is my personal opinion. And it still continues today and I saw some of it while I was there this time, but instead of being annoyed like I was when I lived there, I actually found it totally disgusted me this time.

If "O" was still alive today I know he would have helped my husbands family get their UAE Nationality and get their UAE passports back, he would have done it because he had the connections and power to do it and because he would have felt they had been badly treated. I would have never asked him but he would have done it for them because of me. But because my husbands family do not have a connection to "Wasta" in the UAE, they continue to suffer. Some may ask, if "O" disliked people who asked him to use "Wasta" then why did he do it? He did it because that was what was expected of him, his reputation ment a lot to him, but I know what he really thought of each and everyone of the people he helped and its too rude to say here.

My husbands family are Palestinian, they have lived in UAE about 40 years. They were UAE locals for many years, had the UAE passport. The late Sheikh of Sharjah even gave my father-in-law a large piece of land where the large family house was built. But all of a sudden my in-laws along with many others who had been given UAE passport, ended up stateless. The government refused to renew their UAE passports and hundreds like them ended up stateless with no Passport except an expired UAE one. What country gives something to someone and then takes it away for no reason other than they decided to just stop renewing it. Thus leaving hundreds of families without the ability to travel or to lead a normal life?
Every year they are told "Yes we will renew, just wait" but each year these promises fail to materialise.
My husband got sick of being unable to travel or being treated like a second class citizen because his status was "No Passport", that he handed back his expired one and applied for a Palestinian one even though he can never go to Palestine thanks to the Isreali government. It was the only way he could leave UAE to come to UK to study at University. Now his brother who is a very high up manager in a well known UAE company has just handed his back and applied for a Palestinian one because he wants more for his family and hopes to eventually emigrate abroad. Now he no longer holds an expired UAE passport his salary has had 8,000 dirhams a month knocked off it because he is no longer classed as local and because he now holds a Palestinian passport. IS THIS FAIR, damn right its not fair, its disgusting. In UK we do not judge you, pay you different salaries or treat you differently in a job, because of the passport/nationality you hold.

However the Palestinian family next door to my in-laws licked some butt, used "Wasta" and they had their UAE passports renewed and are now fully fledged UAE nationals. So this is another BIG reason why "Wasta" is so very very wrong.

The other thing I really noticed in UAE was the way Asians are treated. I always knew it went on but it never affected me, my life was such that I really had no time or desire to notice. But being back in the UK for the past 6 years I really noticed it on my trip back.
For a start, the terrible salaries they are paid. Please dont use the excuse that 300dirhams in India is worth a lot to them. How can some companies pay their staff so little because they do not hold something like a UK or USA passport.
My brother-in-laws office boy gets paid just 300 dirhams a month for a 45 hour week. That is slavery..
UAE needs to remember that the country was built by these poor Asian people by their blood, sweat and tears, yet they are looked down on with distate, treated like dogs and thought of as such especially by the western expats.
I remember a British woman told me that she sat next to someone in her office who did exactly the same job as her yet the Brit womans salary was 12,000 dirhams a month and the Indian womans salary was just 1,200 dirhams per month. The Brit got a one bedroomed apartment fully furnished and the Indian got bedspace in a grotty apartment in Karama with a ton of other women. I am guessing this situation still exists and its wrong.

The lack of health and safety...I almost screamed when I saw the dangerous conditions the construction workers were working in when we drove along the Dubai/Sharjah Road, metal poles sticking out of a 20th floor window hole with planks of wood to stand on, as the workers balanced dangerously finishing building an apartment block. Do the powers that be not care that these poor workers could plummet to their death at any moment, that the workers need proper scaffolding and harnesses to keep them safe. I did not drive past one building being built that would have met proper health and safety regulations.

Now let me think of some things in UAE that really made me laugh out loud.
Ok when I lived there I wore Hijab, I also wore traditional Emirati dress. Back in those days the Abaya and Shayla was simple. Of course we wore them with decoration such as crystals, tassles etc, but it was simple.
I actually cried with laughter when I saw some of the outfits on display in the shopping malls. What is it with those hideous growth things women now wear under their shayla. Ok if kept at a reasonable size, they look ok, but one woman walked past me and it looked like she had a parking cone on top of her head. It looked STUPID. Also her abaya was flapping open and she looked like a 2dirham hooker underneath it. She was wearing the most revealing outfit you can imagine and not bothered in the slightest that as she walked everyone got an eyeful.

The next thing I found so annoying was the western women dressed in pretty abaya's and shayla's, their eyes caked in Kohl, who sat in coffee shops talking as loud as possible and then whipping off their shayla's and shaking out their freshly washed and blow dryed hair if a group of UAE local men sat near them. What they heck are they doing bothering to cover their hair for and then whipping it off for the attention factor when men sat near them. I witnessed this a few times and my sister-in-laws and I used to sit and joke about it as it was just so obvious these women were "wannabe local wives".

When I left UAE my heart literaly broke in half, I have been unable to watch anything about UAE on the TV since I left, as the pain of leaving was so bad. But this trip back has stopped that pain, I no longer have a longing to return. Things are so different now, its no longer the beautiful UAE I remember with the simple life style. Virtually all the old stuff has gone, in its place is all the trappings and ugliness of the western world.
When I lived there the main western expat community was British...now it is full to the brim of just about every nationality. Maybe to those that have only been there since 2004 and onwards, my post will not make sense, but those like me who moved out to UAE 20 years ago and before will know what I am talking about, regarding the changes.
I no longer wish to return to UAE to live, my home now is UK, where human rights reign, where health and safety matter, where you are paid a salary based on the job you do not the passport you hold, that if you are granted citizenship it wont be taken away from you unless your caught spying and putting the countries security at risk. Where the UK citizen is not treated more highly than anyone else who has rights to live and work in the UK.

Also why is everyone (female) so obssessed with finding themselves a local husband??, is it that they believe the myth that all locals are amazingly rich (and that is the reason they want one). I know this to be totally untrue, many live the life of a rich man but in reality have so much debt they probably find it hard to sleep at night. I have seen in the past so many ads by women on muslims matrimonial sites specifically stating they want UAE man only. Most I bet have never even set foot in the UAE. I have even seen Christian women advertising putting their ideal match as UAE local. As for women already married to locals who boast that everyone is jelous of them. NO NO NO, please get over yourself, only the shallow minded who are looking for the glitzy life they believe they will have, will be jelous of you.
HOWEVER
Most expat women already married to locals fell in love at college or university or out and about in the host country the locals were studying/visiting, they did not go out and specifically search for a local, did not advertise somewhere for a local man only, they met under normal circumstances, fell in love and got married, it did not matter to them if they were UAE local or from Planet Zongo. They gave up their home country and life because of real love, not because they saw a program on UAE and thought "Oh yes, I'll find myself one of them".

I had a wonderful life in UAE, I saw the most amazing things, was priviledged to experience things most expats would never get a chance to see or do. I met some amazing people, but sadly I was blinded to some of the not so good things. I left just at the right time, I left as change began to take place. My memories of UAE are of the real UAE, not the plastic city version. Dont get me wrong, I love the UAE people, the person I loved more than I have ever loved anyone "O" was Emirati but I just do not agree or accept the lack of human rights and the corruption that continues to go on there and in my opinion it is totally Haram and very unislamic.

Going back was the best thing I ever did, it let me heart finally be at peace as the love for the old UAE will always remain but the new UAE only leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The longing to return and the tears of being forced to leave have now left me. I have my memories that no one can take away from me and that is how I will always remember UAE. The evenings of driving off the Dubai/Sharjah road to fish when there were no apartment buildings at all...my weekends in Fujeriah and Kalba where one of the the only hotels was the Hilton, virtually empty at weekends except for the odd German tourist group. Of only really finding western expats (virtually all British) in Jumeriah. Evenings at the Country Club, Offshore Sailing Club, Aviation Club which were virtually empty most nights except for a few Brits and a handful of locals. I also remember a time when one of the only hotels in Jumeriah was the Chicargo Beach Hotel which I used to visit daily. The beach was empty, I loved it. Nightclubs were virtually non existant unlike today where its a haven for people who think the only way to enjoy is to get totally blasted with as little on as possible.

I dont know when I will return again, maybe next year, but only to visit my in-laws, if they were not there I doubt I would ever choose to go back again.

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Louise
Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom
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