Not quite so bad

I’ve had a couple of taxi rides recently where the drivers have had similar stories. It’s interesting to hear first hand some more down to earth success stories from Dubai.

Each of my drivers had nearly forty years in the UAE under their belts. Each was from Pakistan and was finishing his career driving cabs after having had two or three other fairly humble jobs over the years. Despite ‘only’ having worked as fruit sellers or office clerks and finally taxi drivers, they spoke excellent English and had raised and educated a family and extended family. The taxi driver dads in Dubai had sons in the UK studying accountancy, brothers set up with their own business in Pakistan, a daughter in the US studying to become a lawyer, other daughters married to ‘very good boys’ some of whom were also ‘computers selling’ (ah, very good business sir!). Their hard work and sacrifice had moved their families ahead.

Whatever its faults, the Gulf has provided employment, safety and freedom for lots of people, something the Johann Haris of this world don’t tend to recognise.

I expect many of the kids leaving these schools will also end up in the UAE.

Whilst detailing his CV, one driver embarked on a very complicated story about a British family he had once driven for. The father was a ‘big boss’ of some kind and, whilst he was away on a business trip, his elder daughter had taken their poodle to a pet shop and spent about $150 having its hair cut. The moral of the tale seemed a bit confused – on the one hand, the driver wore the wealth of his former employer as a badge of pride – ‘such a wealthy family sir, but so nice and I was their driver!’. On the other hand spending so much money on a dog was deemed to be extravagant and foolish in the extreme – ‘imagine, sir, paying such riches for a dog haircut!’. Such contradictions in Dubai.

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