We all view the world in different ways and we always have done. Some of us look around and see promise, hope, prosperity and bikini-clad rollerbladers where as others see pestilence, doom, conspiracy and fat men in Speedos. Who you are and where you come from has an overwhelming impact on how you see the world. Put two people from different parts of the world in the same place and they will both come to very different conclusions.
The UAE is a perfect example of a place that will always divide opinion. I, for example, come from south-west London. I am used to rain, red buses, London accents and the greenbelt middle classes. My take on the UAE is well documented; see the previous 131 blog entries. I see glitz, glamour and ambition in equal measure to poverty, inequality and poor planning; a real mix up if ever there was one. What about someone from Bangladesh? What do they see? A better life financially but at what cost? Do they get to experience Barasti Bar and Burj Khalifa too?
The social class structure that exists here means that every different level of society will have different views on the country. Obviously, for the Emiratis, it is their land and only 50 years ago Dubai and Abu Dhabi were as barren and as lifeless as the desert that separates them today. They have literally gone from rags to riches and why shouldn’t they enjoy the wealth of black gold? That is how Great Britain became so great; we created an Empire and made money from what resources became ‘ours’.
For someone like me, I am in the middle. I have to play by the rules but I am able to indulge in the occasional five star hotel and water park. I earn a modest wage but am able to experience what the UAE is trying to sell. But what about the poor chaps you see wearing blue boiler suits on the building sites? This level of society is ferried to and from one hell to another every 12 hours and live with 100’s of others in unsavoury conditions. How can you ever gauge a clear picture of what people think?
As you will all very well know, here at UAE Uncut HQ we do enjoy a good survey. We love looking at all the numbers and the percentages and sniggering at the incorrect picture that has been painted. True to form, a report was published yesterday claiming that UAE residents are amongst the happiest in the world. By Lucifers’ beard! That is one almighty blow to the rest of the world.
In order to gain as clear a picture as possible as to people’s feelings, the survey asked over 4000 people a series of questions. Of those 4000 participants, 57% were Emirati. That is great news. The native people are happy in their native land and that is a tune we could all dance to. How jealous I am. But what of the other 43%? It doesn’t specify beyond stating that “non-Emiratis share the same positive outlook.” It is the attention to detail that impresses me most.
According to a man called Richard, we all believe that what makes us all so happy in the UAE is a concern for future generations, respect and community pride. Uh huh. Really? I wish I had been asked because I would have come out with myriad other reasons why I am happy in the UAE. It is all so vague. I do not know a single person who honestly puts these three things at the top of their list when asked why they love the UAE so much. Where is the sunshine, the money, the simple rules?
Of course it wasn’t all good news. Apparently 8% of people believe that materialism gives off a negative odour. Are these the same people who have gone out and purchased every incarnation of the iPhone I wonder? Regardless, the people have made it clear that hubris and possession makes them very unhappy. But it is a free market over here so unless the UAE adopts Marxism this aspect will not be going away anytime soon.
The total negativity rating that the UAE received was 12%, apparently. What the 12% represents is a mystery to you as much as it is to me. No matter, the result has put the UAE in second place overall in the world happiness league behind arch-nemesis: Bhutan. The Bhutanese are the only people in the world who see their country in a more positive light than the UAE.
Now I may sound bitter, cynical and a touch jealous about all this, and the truth is that I am. Firstly, I do not think for one second that this was a fair survey since I doubt very much the poor sods in the labour camps will have given the UAE such a positive appraisal. Secondly, I think it is just made-up hocus-pocus designed to render a false impression and thirdly, out of 18 countries surveyed, Britain was the unhappiest of them all with a 57% negativity rating. Crime, drugs and uncertainty about the future are the three main reasons why the Brits are all so miserable.
I don’t get it, we are certain about the future; the whole world is f…….. I bet we would all be happier if we too did not understand the real world. Ignorance is bliss, eh?
Oh look, there’s the fat man in the Speedos again.