I lived in Dubai, UAE since the time I was 4 years. However, on my 40th Birthday, I left Dubai, UAE forever. Here are the 10 reasons why I left Dubai, UAE.
#1) NO MAN’S LAND
No matter how many years you stay in Dubai, UAE, you will never be granted the Citizenship. The Citizenship privilege is only reserved for Arab Muslims. So what do you do when you do not get your work-visa renewed? You go back to the country whose passport you are holding. Do you know how strange it would feel going back to your country after 20, 30 or 40 years later — when no one knows you or no one wants to know you?
#2)THE FALLACY OF MAKING MONEY
People come to Dubai, UAE assuming they are going to make money — pot-loads of Tax Free Money. Surprisingly, no one saves in Dubai, UAE. Why? Because you will always end up spending money on expenses that suddenly pop up. When you have rent that eats into 60% of your income, and other expenses that eat up into nearly 30% of your income — you are barely left with 10%. You assume you are not going to spend that 10% on other indulgences? Oh and by the way did I even mention how expensive Medical Bills are? How incredibly outrageous Children Education is?
#3)FAKE FRIENDSHIPS & FAKE RELATIONSHIPS
Don’t get me wrong — I have made many amazing friends in Dubai, UAE. However, these relationships lasted as long as I was useful, as long as I was in power and as long as I had some benefit to offer my mates. The day that position, that power and that money vanished — everyone else vanished. And I do not blame them. After all — what is use of having a friend if he is of no use to you? After spending nearly 40 years in that country — I was left with no friends. Funny how you learn more about life when you are a nothing, a nobody and a no-one than when you are at the top of your game.
#4) START FROM ZERO
When you arrive in Dubai, UAE, you start from zero. From Scratch. Then you dedicate the next 10 to 20 years of your life to reach the top of the ladder. However, when it comes time for you to leave — then you have to go to a new place and do the same thing all over again. Now that is a killer. So what do you do? Do you give up everything you worked so hard to achieve? Or do you hold on to the best years of your life? The worst problem here is even if you do decide to migrate — all the experience you had in Dubai, UAE — is sadly NOT recognized in any other country. So you are left with no other choice but to start from zero. I know it because I have had friends who went through this tragegy
#5) NO JOB SECURITY
I learnt this the hard way. There is no job security in Dubai, UAE. Now you may argue and say — there is no job security anywhere in the world. Yes, you are right. But when you have a country whose condition is — You can stay as long as you have a job & work permit/visa OR you have to leave the country with your entire family who is on your visa — well that changes the ball game completely. So many families have been impacted by this rule. Which is why so many working class professionals hold on to their jobs as if their very life depended on it. And that in turn leads to another complication — you will never be employed if you are perceived as a threat or you are smarter than your boss.
#6) NATIONALITY MATTERS
I still cannot put my finger on why different nationalities get paid different salaries for the same position. I know this personally because I have had friends working in the HR companies of many multinational giants. I personally know the pay-grade packages for THE SAME POSITION for the SAME JOB DESCRIPTION but the salary package/remuneration differs from a ratio or 1 is to 5. Added this when you are considered a expatriate, you do not actually have very many rights. So if you want to work — well, put you head down and work. And this is not even getting into the office politics bit. So you can imagine how rampant this problem is. Added to this, when you have the media that controls whatever is posted on Social Media and the Newspaper Channels — I guess you cannot speak about this at all.
For those who have incredible self-control all year round — well good for you. Then Dubai, UAE is the perfect place for you. However, if you do not have incredible amounts of self-control — then you have a big problem. And I mean BIG PROBLEM! Given that there is no credit rating, credit cards are distributed like chocolates during a person’s birthday, loans are given easily depending on your salary for up to 10 times your earning capacity and if you add to getting a Car Loan, House Loan, Personal Loan, Mortgage Loan — you will get to understand why this is a serious problem. I have personally know couples who have taken 11 credit cards EACH and on top of that have Personal Loans, Car Loans, Business Loans, Mortgage Loans — all given so easily. However, for them to get out of this is not just improbable — it is impossible. And they end up losing not only what they have earned. They end up in Jail until someone comes and pays the money on behalf of them. Even with all the years of being careful — I made one mistake and that cost me nearly $50,000 in interests. And on top of that when you have a big, bad, bold SALE that keeps being slapped on your face every single week — how long do you think it would be before you cave in?
#8) LIFE IN DUBAI, UAE IS A BUBBLE
Whomsoever you speak to, especially the people who have left Dubai, UAE will tell you this. Life in Dubai, UAE is like living in a Bubble. And by this what they mean to say is that everything in Dubai, UAE is based on Speculation. Each and everything. Nothing is real. The hype of World Records, The amazing instagram pictures, The internet images — all these are nothing but just very beautiful, digital and enhanced images. However, what you will not see is the reality, the grind, the tension, the stress and the problems people on the ground level go through. In fact, what people have never asked themselves is — are there any poor or middle class people in Dubai, UAE or is everything just so amazing? To know that reality — you have to live in Dubai, UAE.
#9) LIFE IN DUBAI, UAE IS AN ILLUSION — A MIRAGE
What is a mirage? You see from a far — it looks like something else, however, when you come near to touch it — it vanishes. The same analogy can be said about Dubai, UAE. When you stay in Dubai, UAE you will have expensive cars, expensive houses, expensive toys — yes, you will. Because it is all so easily accessible to you. And given that everyone is living this life — you too will enjoy these perks. However, the day you have to leave — you leave all these things behind. Given that you cannot own property (without a visa whatever you have — is bye bye), you cannot maintain this lifestyle without the expensive salary — what do you take with you when your time is up? All too many people have had to say goodbye to the lap of luxury they were enjoying, only to wake up to a reality where they were left with only painful memories of the past. And that can really hurt.
#10) SAYING GOODBYE TO DUBAI — YOU LOSE YOURSELF
After having spend 40 years of my life — nearly half my life and the best memories and moments of my life behind, I now have nothing left. I so miss the country I called home, I miss my school days, I miss my friends, I miss my house where I lived, I miss those priceless memories, I miss everything. Saying goodbye to Dubai was truly the hardest, most painful and most horrible memory I had to endure. It completely and totally devastated me. Because I had to bid goodbye to something that was so much a part of my life. This is without a doubt the hardest part of the whole relationships. Its like you gave the best years of your life to someone. And now when you needed them the most — they bid you goodbye. It is something you cannot explain, something you cannot describe and something you cannot comprehend. If I could say the biggest drawback of living in Dubai, UAE — it would be this — that one day, you have to let go of everything you worked so hard to build over so many years of your life. And that I do not have any words to express the loss of something as incredibly priceless as this.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to bad-mouth Dubai, UAE. I am sure there are enough and more articles, videos and write-ups about UAE that would absolutely eclipse whatever I have stated here. But I am speaking to you from a vantage point of having being its ‘temporary’ citizen for nearly 40 years. I have witnessed the highest highs and the lowest lows in UAE. But in the end, after everything was said and done — Dubai, UAE will be a place you cannot stay forever, simply because it will not allow you to stay forever.
So just like a lover who gave her best years to someone, only to be told in the twilight of her life that now you need to leave because someone younger, stronger, better and more attractive is come along — the same is the experience of everyone who has stayed in the UAE but has had to give up the best years of their life there.
And that is why today, as I stay in a totally new country, a totally new place with a totally new family, all I have is memories of Dubai, UAE. A place I once called home. And sadly a place that was never meant to be my home.