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    7 November 2007
    If you don't like it, then leave
    To those brain boxes who love telling expatriates to leave the Gulf whenever we criticise something here:

    I keep hearing "if you don't like it then leave" and "why are you here if you hate it?" things all the time.

    Well, next time you feel the urge to tell someone "if you don't like it then leave", take a deep breath and say "thank you for staying here and making this country a better place for me" instead.

    Because you know what is going to happen to you if we all actually pack up and leave, right?

    The fact that I really like it here and praise as much as I criticise escapes most people.

    posted by Bravecat @ 6:58 am  
    • At 07/11/2007, 20:32, Blogger Mise said…

      I had an interesting discussion class with a bunch of Tourism students today - the topic was 'Ireland as a Tourist Destination' - all of the non-national students in the group were full of praise for the country - all of the Irish couldn't wait to leave!!

    • At 07/11/2007, 22:05, Blogger [m]att™ said…

      ... the grass always appears greener on the other side.

      But I agree with you Cat, as much as I sometimes bitch and complain about Canada's high taxes, and our stupid politicians... but of all the places I have been to, there is nowhere else I would rather live.


      I do envie your lack of taxation, and warm winters though...

    • At 07/11/2007, 22:20, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      I would rather live in Malta. Or Puerto Rico. Or Southern Spain. But I live in Dubai now, and no matter how annoying some things here can get, it's still a great place to live. I just reserve the right to bitch about annoying things! :^)

    • At 07/11/2007, 22:35, Blogger Bob said…

      How can you not feel out of place in Dubai? Dubai IS out of place. It's like vegas. A big tacky glittery den of sin smack the middle of nowhere. Well at least thats what it looked like from the plane. Next time if I'm feeling brave, I might actually go for a walk around.

    • At 08/11/2007, 00:59, Blogger BuJ said…

      Yeah, I agree.. this goes to a lot of things in life.. people's houses, shopping malls, and even people's blogs.

    • At 08/11/2007, 04:08, Blogger [m]att™ said…

      OOOhh, that was harsh BuJ.

      Clearly someone can't have a discussion without getting personal and resorting to mean attacks.

    • At 08/11/2007, 22:50, Blogger Dotsson said…

      If all the foreigners were to pack up and leave, the Arabs would have no one to clean their homes, take care of their children, cook their food, wash their cars, drill their oil, build their buildings, protect their country/oil installations, etc etc.

      The foreigners will leave Arabia... as soon as the oil runs out; The Middle East will become as retarded and backward it was before the oil boom.

    • At 08/11/2007, 23:17, Blogger Bob said…

      You may have a point Dot.

      But at least they'll be able to hang people from the tallest building in the world!

    • At 08/11/2007, 23:29, Blogger Taras said…

      Of course, we can and should criticize people whom we consider friends, even if we are foreigners to them.

      It’s just that we should pick our battles carefully. We should be culture savvy in what we chose to criticize and how we channel our criticism.

      Constructive criticism is the only criticism that saves us from the love-it-or-leave-it reaction and instead helps us win friends.

    • At 09/11/2007, 15:14, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Taras, people here have no idea what constructive criticism is. Anything short of praise is taken as a personal insult. Sample dialog:

      - Construction workers in the Gulf live in very poor conditions and are made to work very long hours under the blazing sun for pittance.

      - If you don't like it then leave.

      How can you even answer that??

    • At 10/11/2007, 20:59, Blogger Cairogal said…

      I have to agree w/ QC on this, Taras. Films that are highly critical of the US (essentially all of Michael Moore's films) are huge hits in the US....and in the Gulf. My uni students enjoyed talking about those films with me, because they explored faults and weaknesses w/in the American culture and government. I, in turn, enjoyed talking to them about it, too. I'm critical of my country, but it doesn't mean I hate it. Gulf Arabs (in general) take anything negative (or perceived as negative) said by foreigners and react adversely on the whole. Not ALL Khaleejis, but many. Why can't there be a dialogue about improving the workign conditions of manual labourers in the UAE w/o someone being offended by the facts?

    • At 12/11/2007, 06:06, Anonymous Khaled said…

      @qatar cat

      yislam tummik :o)

      I wish someone in Germany would say such a thing to me whenever I criticize ANYTHING relating to the country.

      It is either...

      "Dann geh' doch" which translate as "Just leave!" or one is punished by complete social isolation.

      Oh well... Thanks anyway...

      PS. I posted this at Secret Dubai and by then I noticed you had a blog all your own.

    • At 12/11/2007, 06:51, Blogger Qatar Cat said…


      Welcome to my very own blog :)

      As for your comment about Germany - you can't be serious, right? You are not trying to compare Germany and the Gulf? In Germany expats enjoy the comforts provided to them by the Germans, and in the Gulf the locals enjoy the comforts created for them by expats. And lets not forget that in Germany expats have more rights than they do in the Gulf. The law in Germany applies equally to expats and locals, plus expats can become citizens after a certain period of time. If all non-citizen expats were to leave Germany tomorrow, Germany will move on. If all non-citizen expats leave the Gulf tomorrow, the Gulf will be thrown a few centuries back in time instantly.
      So if you live in Germany and you are enjoying all the rights and privileges of the situation, it's not exactly the same as an expat living in the Gulf. Then there is of course another factor: Germany has one of the highest living standards in the world. What could you possibly not like there? It's not like you can be jailed and deported without a trial, raped and blamed for it, killed in a construction site with your employer getting away with it without as much as a fine, etc. If you have something to criticize about Germany, it must be on a petty or personal level. I am not saying the country is perfect, but it is damn near perfect when the people are concerned. So lets just not compare, ok?


      And before you ask, yes of course I've been to Germany, many times, and stayed a while. I didn't complain.

    • At 12/11/2007, 07:10, Anonymous Khaled said…

      My dear,

      I live here. Just as in the Gulf, a shiny surface does not a paradise make. A hight standard of living does not automatically translate into a high quality in life.

      To relegate any accusations of spitefulness here a few, somewhat abbreviated, examples:

      The fact of the matter is, the rights migrant workers have in Germany are in themselves limited. Meaning, a teacher from a country in Africa or South West Asia can very easily be relegated into doing the menial work most Germans would not touch. This occurs simply by not recognizing any form of certification that person might bring with them. Nor is the possibility of an eventual re-certification or even an education is possible. In some cases those with a university degree are relegated into re-taking their intermediate exams, in the States that would be known as Junior High.

      The result is an entire class of people, who are sometimes distraught by poverty, war, occupation and military might in their own regions, having to make a meagre living in a country which automatically assumes that they are here to strictly for their own benefit. I will return to this example at a later point.

      This, in return, results in the predictable social ills. Meaning, the non-White, non- EU foreigner are twice as often unemployed and unemployable, thus creating a schism between the local population and the "Other".

      The automatic assumption in this country is, if you are foreigner you are here to take German money, German jobs, German men/women and generally make their lives miserable. That does not include the EU members, Americans, Canadians and Australians (they count for the good contributors.

      Although this could easily translate into many countries around the globe, I would expect more in a place where Liberalism is often seen as practised and Democracy is the state form of government. In this sense I find it hard to compare both entities, The EU and modern-day Germany, if not unjust.

      While both countries are new on the world map and one could argue that both are a proof that nations are a social construct, both represent different moments in history:

      The Arabian Gulf states are lands that were created and at times maintained by foreign powers to remain as a buffer for the insatiable appetite for oil in the industrialized world. Therefore a democratic and pluralistic society is highly unwanted in those areas. That is a system of government that is a very important precursor for workers' and human rights.

      In that respect I advise to read:
      "Ganz Unten" by Günther Wallraf.

      By all due respect, just as you pointed out that I should not assume that you know nothing of the country, I ask of you the same courtesy of not assuming I am basing my assumptions on narrow mindedness (ie. pettiness).

      Thank you.

    • At 12/11/2007, 07:14, Anonymous Khaled said…

      "Although this could easily translate into many countries around the globe, I would expect more in a place where Liberalism is often seen as practised and Democracy is the state form of government. In this sense I find it hard to compare both entities, The EU and modern-day Germany, if not unjust."

      Made a mistake here...

      should read UAE and modern-day Germany.

    • At 12/11/2007, 20:04, Blogger Qatar Cat said…


      Three things for you:

      1. I am not "Your dear"

      2. I would not accuse ANYONE of narrow mindedness or pettiness, least of all someone I don't even know, so there is no need to get defensive.

      3. Clearly, you misunderstood the point of my post, and I came to this conclusion after careful reading of your comments a fair few times. What you are arguing about is the life the citizens immigrants lead in Germany. What I am talking about, in contrast, is the "quit complaining or leave" approach of the Gulf locals when dealing with non citizen expats. Yes, it is never nice to hear that, be it an Arab in Germany or a German in Arabia. But I really don't want to get into explaining exactly WHY it carries different meaning when applied to a small percentage of immigrant CITIZENS in Germany, or to a whopping 70% of non citizen expats in the Gulf. Once again, if all non German non citizens (heck, I'll throw even naturalised citizens in) were to leave Germany tomorrow, trust me Germany will not crumble. Should the 70% expat population leave the UAE, for instance, can you imagine the impact on the country?

      So you are trying to compare the incomparable. I am not saying that the life of immigrants in Germany is great, this is not the point here. Germany will live just fine without them. The question is how will the Gulf live without its expats?

    • At 20/11/2007, 06:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      the germans helped america destroy iraq (america is itself is 50% german origin)

      why don't you go back to your country and use the internet to read how the gulf is collapsing without you

    • At 20/11/2007, 06:19, Blogger Cairogal said…

      Talk about a stretch, anon.

    • At 20/11/2007, 07:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      the germans gave america iraqi-locations to drop their bombs

    • At 20/11/2007, 07:17, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Dotsson: when the gulf oil runs out what's gonna happen to all the western countries that depend on it?
      Plastic is made from oil, your computer and CDs/DVDs are made from plastic, also the military that defends america/england needs the oil to operate the tanks and fighter-jets.

      Russia has it's own oil sources to power the russian military, america's oil has ran out (saudi oil has ran out hence the emphasis on iraq/iran)

      wishing the end of gulf oil is to wish the end of medernity for the west (unless iraq/iran decide to coopperate against russia)

    • At 29/12/2007, 03:29, Anonymous ME said…

      I have a proposal that every person from the Gulf and the non-western expats will appreciate, why dont the western expats leave the Gulf, I am sure everybody will be happy if that happens...and yeah, the economy will move on without you.

      P.S.: please dont include yourself (westerners) with the rest of the expats because you share nothing of the struggle they have to meet basic needs of life. You certainly lead a better life than them and for that matter better than the vast majority of the local population...and still you bitch and whine about every single thing in your life..so please, dont speak on behalf of the Asian, Arab, African expats who are in the Gulf because I am sure they are much more appreciative than you are even though they have much less than what you have.

      My salutations to all the non-western expats who are in the gulf... We really appreciate your presence and hope you will stay amongst the people who consider you brothers and sisters.

    • At 29/12/2007, 09:51, Blogger Qatar Cat said…


      I am sorry, but this must be the most hilarious thing I heard lately. Asian expats - appreciated? And to top it up, they are amongst brothers and sisters?? Yes, raped and beaten housemaids, worked to death &living in pits labourers, a bunch of families sharing tiny flats - clearly, appreciation goes a LONG way for them to stick here. However, in case you haven't noticed, conditions back home are getting better for the Asian expats. They won't stick around here for long, unless conditions here change as well.

    • At 29/12/2007, 09:54, Blogger Qatar Cat said…


      Oh yeah, being a racist, ME, didn't help anyone much. When I wrote my post, it wasn't racially influenced in any which way. I didn't seprate this expats from that expats, and trust me tons of Asians hear "if you don't like it then leave" way more often than Westerners.

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