Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's been a while.

But sometimes there are so many things happening in your life that you don't know where to start. Blogging used to be topmost in my priorities a few years back. But now it isn't.

I guess it's mainly because I don't seem to need a medium to vent, which is basically what this was. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the rush of emotions I feel with the things happening in my day-to-day life, but talking about it doesn't seem to help.

The other day, it took me two hours to get to work because of the traffic.

Now usually, in Dubai, traffic is because of some accident or the other.

But last Sunday (which is the beginning of the week here in the Middle East and not a weekend) the traffic on Sheikh Zayed road was reportedly due to a film being shot near the Crowne Plaza!

Now who in their right minds would permit people to shoot a movie in rush hour traffic on a weekday?!

And what about the other main highway? The Emirates Road?

For one thing, there were several accidents on that one.

Plus the cops had completely blocked off one road leading to the free zone in Jebel Ali.
They would just re-direct you to another road, they didn't care where you went. And they wouldn't tell you why either.

I heard later on that a bunch of labourers had gone on strike and they'd gotten so violent that they had overturned the police vehicle that had been sent there to disperse the gathering.

They were on strike to protest a cut in their pay.
Apparently, they were just being paid 800 AED in the beginning, and then their pay was reduced to just 500 AED. How anyone can live in the UAE for just 800 AED is mind-boggling. To be asked to survive on 500 is just adding insult to injury.

The real estate business here is extremely competitive. And when each company bids for a project, what with most of them having the same kind of proposal to offer as far as quality and lead times as concerned, the only way these companies have any advantage over one another is on pricing. And since they cannot cut down on resources like building material, engineers etc. they cut down on the easiest thing possible - the labourers' paltry paychecks.

The workers here are are all from third-world countries and if you listen to their stories, your heart will break from the drudgery and the hopelessness of it all.

I have seen labourers working during the night (at 2 am even) and day and I've seen them doing the most dangerous of tasks- scaling tall scaffolds with nothing but a helmet, digging deep trenches... and the most dangerous one of all as far as I'm concerned... waving a red flag on a busy highway to warn oncoming traffic of road-work being carried out. Which is pitiful.

Can such a rich country not afford to pay for decent accomodation and wages for these people?
For the people who are building this country from a desert into what they claim is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world?

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