Expat Magazine

136. Generalisation

By Martinfullard @MartyFullardUAE

UAE Uncut has failed. Today is the 25th February and marks not one, but two anniversaries. The first commemorates my being here for five years. The second, and far more important anniversary, marks the first birthday of this esteemed corner of cyber space. Yep, UAE Uncut is one year old today and over the last twelve months I have come before you and moaned, kicked and screamed 135 times about the most frivolous of subjects. That works out to one inane rant every three days.

So what have I learned in this time? Nothing, apart from what a Meta tag is, and I’m still a bit shady on that. What have I given you over the last year? A laugh from time to time, but where is the advice that I promised? Where is the help that I pledged? Going back through my earlier missives there were shreds of useful information lightly sprinkled around mad anecdotes and OCD infringements, but that petered out long ago. So the opening statement is accurate, then: UAE Uncut is a failure. Or is it?

A new opinion dictates that people don’t need help or advice, especially from some two-bob writer with a personality complex. For such things they ask those around them; friends, colleagues, strangers on facebook and so on. No blog can help with this. What people really need is a laugh. They need to let off some steam about all the trials and tribulations that come with living abroad. All the nuances that are different from home, all the idiocy, all the crap. If you cannot laugh off the bullshit, what can you do?

Of course, sometimes the requisite need for a laugh can be called into question. Sometimes you meet someone who makes you angry. Sometimes you may be made to feel pretty bad about yourself. Sometimes you can end up hating an entire country just because of one stupid, narrow-minded ignoramus.

The UAE is a cosmopolitan blah blah blah multicultural cliché etc so on and so forth place. There is no country across the world, apart from Israel, that is not represented here. I scoff at those who want to go off traveling the world to “meet new people” and to “understand other cultures.” Yes it all sounds jolly exciting, but why bother? Why waste the money and the time? Just come to the UAE and you will meet the very people you seek all under one roof and be done with it. We have all the continental foods like sushi and steaks; we have British pubs and even an Alp. We have it all. That’s the UAE, it is like instant coffee, just add water.

Forget raw fish and pretend skiing, when traveling you want to meet people. Meeting new people can be refreshing and painstaking in equal measures. If you still have your heart set on going travelling, then at least use the UAE constructively. Talk to those from foreign lands and soon enough you will work out who you do and do not like. Before too long you will have struck certain countries from your expedia list.

Allow me to introduce my new Head of Diplomatic Relations...Mr. Mart...

Allow me to introduce my new Head of Diplomatic Relations…Mr. Mart…

This week I made a decision that I would never, ever go to work or live in a certain country that resides somewhere in the northern hemisphere. I won’t reveal this nations identity because my readership levels are dwindling and I need the hits from their public. It was a bold pronouncement, even perhaps a knee-jerk overreaction, but what pushed me into making it?

I do not particularly enjoy confrontation. I like to get along with people, to please people and to have an easy life. I carry buckets of anxiety around with me already so I don’t go looking for any more. I do not like arguments but boy, when pushed, can I argue. This week I had the pleasure of engaging in one such debate with someone from the aforementioned undisclosed, “civilised” country. Never have I experienced such irrational behavior in all my life. No, really. I have seen a lot and done even more but this was something else. My comments in the immediate aftermath of the confrontation were crass, and I doubt that Ban Ki Moon will be on the phone offering me a role as his diplomatic adviser any time soon. I retracted my sentiments but retained that I would never be going there.

My opponent, in their late thirties or early forties could not be reasoned with, at all. It was like talking to a stubborn child who was throwing the mother of all tantrums. What the argument was about is irrelevant, but during the discourse I was accused of being “British”, apparently the most heinous of crimes. I was also informed that I was an “idiot” and that my parents had done a poor job. Oh how I couldn’t wait to share the good news with my fiancé that she is marrying a muttonhead.

The problem is that when you are dealing with a grown up who possesses a child’s mindset you are sucked into the game all too easily. You end up having to resort to hair pulling and name calling and before too long you’re off to tell the teacher. The experience put me in not so much a bad mood, but a totally bemused one. I mean, sticks and stone may break my bones and all that, but thank God I will never be that portly. Nor will I ever be that thick. I can’t be; I have an IQ of 138, according to that Facebook game.

I calmed an hour or so later and during my traditional Saturday night pub visit came to the conclusion that I would opt never to live or work in the country from which this person heralded. I couldn’t deal with that on a regular basis. And that is a shame, because it is a beautiful country and I have several friends who hail from there. In fact, all of them are all so pleasant and friendly that I find myself saddened that I have let one person jade my perception of an entire nation. I am going to need convincing otherwise.

I guess that is the moral of the story, you will meet a lot of people from a lot of countries in the UAE and inevitably some of them will be real nasty pieces of work. So don’t tar everyone with the same brush. If you meet an a*hole then you have met an a*hole, it doesn’t mean they paint a true picture. Don’t generalise.

Hey look at that, a bit of advice. There is hope for UAE Uncut after all.

Oh and finally, to my new friend…you smell.

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