Wednesday, August 13, 2008

EMBRACING NIGHTLIFE IN DUBAI

PHILIPPINES, being a democratic country, blesses its people the full freedom to live. Filipinos have all the rights. They can do whatever they want. They can eat and drink whatever they like. And if they felt they are being deceived by the President, they can call for impeachment! Remember what happened to President Estrada? To some, Filipinos are nothing but arrogant and stupid people who love freedom no matter what it takes. But for the few, Filipinos are law abiding citizens. They might neglect and ignore their national laws but when it comes to the laws of the other countries they give them their due respect.

I can still clearly recall the first day I arrived in Dubai. That was summer, way back 2006. The air-condition unit in my cousin’s room was not functioning well. I could not keep myself but to perspire. Thinking that I could bring my body temperature to normal, I went outside the house wearing only a short (pants). I used to do this when I was in the Philippines. Meanwhile, my cousin’s friend approached me. With a voice of authority, he was explaining to me that what I did was a “no-no” in this city. It was absolutely prohibited and if the police caught me I would surely end up in jail. This sounds exaggerating but this is the truth.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and is one of the country’s main cities. Sometimes it’s called “Dubai City”. A Distinguished city of the Emirates, it was incorporated (from a mere town into an emirate) on December 2, 1971. Dubai is a home of 2.2M people (according to 2008 survey) from different parts of the world comprising of 42.3% Indian, 17% Emirati, 13.3% Pakistani, 9.1% Arab (other), 7.5% Bangladeshi and 10.8% others.

Dubai has a diverse and multicultural society. The city’s cultural imprint as a small, ethnically homogenous pearling community was changed with the arrival of other ethnic groups and nationals – first by the Iranians in the early 1900s, and later by the Indians and Pakistanis in the 1960s. Despite the diversity of the population, only minor and infrequent episodes of ethnic tensions, primarily between expatriates, have been reported in the city.

Because Islam is the official religion and norms of Dubai, certain laws are strictly implemented to protect and preserve its culture against its expatriates. For instance, there is a special law governing the consumption of liquor and use of cigarettes. In spite of these laws, Dubai still has its best nightlife. As a matter of fact, the New York Times listed Dubai as its travel choice for partying in 2008. Clubs and bars are open until 2:00 o’clock in the morning where you can dance, drink and smoke freely. But take note. These clubs and bars are mostly found in hotels only due to the laws on liquor. And no one below 21 year-old is allowed. Unlike in the Philippines, overnight party in parks is not permitted.
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