I’ve just got off the phone from my dad. He’s in a panic. He’s just read an article in the UK’s Daily Mail about Dubai and he’s warning me that I’ve got six years to ”get the girls out of there” before they become bored teenagers and turn to a life of sex-fuelled parties, butane gas and bootleg booze.
The reason for the feature, written by Kathryn Knight, was triggered following the recent tragic death of a 15-year-old following a drunken party in nearby Motor City.
Apparently, teenagers here are bored rigid, and (to quote) "are rebelling against stultifyingly sterile lives". According to the article it’s all because there is nothing for them to do in Dubai. Hence, apparently they are turning to illegally-sourced alcohol (rather than just wandering into Tescos or their corner shop and blatantly buying it) and gas (as opposed to hash, cocaine, speed, LSD etc, etc).
Nothing for them to do!!??? Rubbish. We have parks, beaches, pools on every corner, ski slopes, diving centres, sailing clubs, swimming squads, watersports galore, not to mention world-class golf courses, cricket and tennis stadiums. Kids out here go to schools that have amazing sport and IT facilities and are offered no end of after-school and club activities.
Teenagers are equally bored in the UK as they are in Dubai. That’s what teenagers do – they excel at being bored.
What teenagers DON’T do here is hang around in gangs in the shopping malls and on the streets blatantly smoking and drinking. On the whole teenagers here are not socially inept – their behaviour and language is not abusive and threatening in any way. Most teenagers here have a far greater involvement in family life – probably because there isn’t easy public transport for them to get around on their own; they are reliant on their parents for money (because they cannot work out here – which admittedly is not helpful when trying to influence teenagers about the value of things). Parents include them in their social lives – just look at the beaches and the pools, they are full of families.
Now I know I am generalising – but that’s because the article was yet another generalisation painting a false picture about Dubai. This is an isolated incident, which is why everyone is talking about it.
If UK journalists spent time writing articles about drunken teenage parties and teenage deaths fuelled by alcohol and drugs in Great Britain then they would have no-end of stories.
About this blog...
I set up this blog to reveal what real life is like here in the UAE - the good and the bad. I'll chat about what I've been up to, Dubai news and developments, my thoughts about expat life here (and in general) and reports about my holidays and adventures in the region (travel is my bag after all).