It does not say much for the expat mindset if 72 per cent of the 200 odd nationalities represented in the UAE melting pot are largely unaware of the country or its rich and diverse heritage.
Although we enjoy the delights of living the way we do most of those who are non-citizens continue a sort of ghetto mentality in which they tend to live in ethnic enclaves echoing their lifestyle values back home and doing little to imbibe knowledge about the traditions and customs of their adopted home.
One of the reasons for the startling facts of the survey conducted by 999, the magazine published by the Ministry of the Interior, is that the system has not placed any pressure on the individual to absorb cultural nuances. As such, one has been able to manage through the developmental stage speaking one’s native tongue, eating one’s native food, and living one’s native life with English as sort of rickety bridge for communicating across the lines.
It is, indeed, a deep sadness that good intentions have prevented thousands of expats from learning Arabic. not that they do not want to, it is just that they don’t get down to it. Years pass, decades go by and the intent is honest but it never sees fruition.
On this canvas there is still hope that the new generation will paint a different picture. Technology and the access to culture and customs and the sharing of these at the school level have definitely made a difference. The second generation of expatriates will be lot more learned about the country they live in and they will be flexible in absorbing these values because they have started off young.
Even then 999 makes some very telling points, most prominent among them the fact that even though the UAE is dramatically hi-tech and there is access to information most of the expat population does tend to fall back on unconfirmed rumour and word of mouth for its data on the nation and its way of life. this is a very serious observation and one that has to be addressed at various levels. Even the older expatriates need to give up this habit of listening to uneducated sources and making up their minds based on this premise.
The year of the Black Water Dragon has officially begun and many are trying to imbibe the luck that’s set to come with it. And if you’re looking to carry a talisman that’s not strictly of the Feng Shui variety, two brands have got you covered.
Dunhill has released pieces inspired by the characteristic confidence, grandeur, and free-spiritedness of this Chinese zodiac symbol. A sterling silver Chinese dragon adorns cufflinks, a mobile phone charm, and a special key fob while silk ties bear a hand-stitched motif of the mythical creature.
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For the women, Jewelmer welcomes health and prosperity in the year of the Dragon with “La Vita: The Beauty and Power of Life”—a collection of four medallions in gold, precious stones, and their signature South Sea Pearl. each necklace represents the primal, powerful elements of life: blazing fire, cascading water, blowing air, and the solid earth.
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Whether or not you’re a believer in astrology, carrying a pretty trinket along never hurt anybody. Kung Hei fat Choi, everyone!
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