Home > Uncategorized > Staring into a mirage…

Staring into a mirage…

The Big Question

When one looks at how Middle East is faring at the moment, everything seems so rosy… everyone is making money and everyone is living luxuriously – an absolute win-win situation for all! Economically, the ME countries still reign supreme in terms of recording a fiscal surplus year after year. And then, not that oil is their sole source of power (err… money). Every ME economy has diversified its portfolio and moved into other lucrative sectors – real estate / construction, tourism, services et al.

Taking the example of Dubai where am presently, few years ago there was nothing really great to talk about in Dubai… except for the D(u)bhai – the underworld don!! However, the landscape has changed… and not that the metamorphosis is complete…. it has become a journey. One evening, you see a barren land appear at a place which was earlier the sea and before you blink your eye, a tall skyscraper comes up… and while you are still wondering whether you woke up after a 100yrs like the Rip Van Winkle… you see this once-upon-a-time sea turn into a populated real-estate development.

Now, this reminds me of a hilarious incident narrated by the cab driver I took yesterday from work to the City Centre mall. Zameer is this 65 year old cabbie from Pakistan who has been here in the Middle East for like 27yrs. I can only imagine the change he must have seen in Dubai… a change much more than he has seen in his own personal self since his childhood days. On the way, he was cribbing about the government as also the “rich” people living in Dubai… saying that these people have just created an artificial / unsustainable eco-system here… by being absolutely ruthless to the working class. He was of the opinion that if the desi working population were to abandon this country and walk out… the whole Dubai will come to a standstill. Even knowing this, the people at the top have not been treating them well… his grudge was more @ the desi embassies who care a damn about the working expats here. My heart goes out to the poor labourers who are humans like us… yet have the perseverance to work at a 500mtr height in a temperature above 45 degrees (C). How can we not recognize their efforts…

To top it all, he spoke about an incident involving some European visitors. They landed at the airport and asked Zameer to take them to some new real-estate development. He told them that it is just a proposed development and that right now there is nothing but some excavation going on. This European couple refused to believe and said that they have seen like amazing pictures of the development… including the interiors of the apartments within. On their persistence, Zameer drove them down to that place… and the couple were left open-mouthed knowing that all that they saw on the internet was an architect’s visualization of the development.

Anyways, coming to my point, with whatever economic (concrete) growth we are seeing here in the Middle East, can we safely say that a flower has grown in the desert oasis… or is it just a mirage waiting for us to get closer before it shows the truth. Whatever be it, this whole phenomenon is complicated.

Not that am taking a pessimistic view to things… after all, there has been a spate of fundamental changes happening here… globalization ripple, privatization run, employment bonanza as also a paradigm shift in the local culture. So, for all we know, this could very well be a jackpot oasis we must have struck!!

  1. Muazzam Sayeed
    May 7, 2008 at 9:33 am

    The “Dubai effect” can be seen on other cities in the Kingdom with the rapid change in skylines and the size of malls.

    Only reminds me of the prophecy of the end of times “sheep/goat herders competing in heights of buildings”.

    The change in skylines is still to reflect in the attitude and mindset of the people… Perhaps that’s Y the prophet aptly described em as being “sheep n goat herders” 🙂

  2. May 7, 2008 at 9:36 am

    @ Muazzam

    Very true… just yesterday, I heard about the best malls in the region coming up in KSA.

    The signs of the nearing of Judgment Day seems to be getting more vivid and prominent with time now!!!

  3. Salman
    May 7, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Well…the Dubai effect – i wud call it the virus, is not restricted to ME but has spread to India and other regions as well!!! we see a lot of infrastructure growth/development going around everywhere.the prophecy is coming true & in it is a sign for every “momin”.

  4. Amaan
    May 19, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    This city has been soaring precipitously high since the late 90s and the tall skycrapers and concrete jungles it accommodates beckons the nearing of Judgement Day. This is not the case with all ME cities that are trying to conserve their own national heritage encouraging their local populace over expatriates.Dubai is a sole expatriate city which does not brag of any culture and history but globalized artifical-surrealism.

  1. March 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

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