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Friday, 4 September 2015

Things you should know before moving to Dubai

Now, Dubai have been a jaw dropping cosmopolitan oasis of cityscape that towers over the Arabian Desert. A futuristic city. 
40 years ago, it is a huge desert. Sandy. No rivers, hardly any rain. Always dry and hot. Building a city seems almost impossible. However, technology have allowed the impossibles. Soon, Dubai will be hosting the Expo 2020, one of the largest and most enduring global mega-events. Lasting six months, World Expos attract millions of visitors who explore and discover pavilions, exhibits and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, international organisations and businesses.

As i always say, coming here was part of the plan since i was taking my Degree in the United Kingdom, in Newcastle Upon Tyne. That I have envisaged years ago. Working global, in the Middle East, Dubai.

I did have a posting for a quick guide to the Middle East previously, hoping to reach anyone that would want some quick insight about working and staying in Dubai. Many more thoughts came up to my mind while i am in Dubai. Thoughts of things that i was not really aware of before coming here, or maybe, did not really noticed.

Dubai is not the Capital of the UAE
Something that i have not bothered to check. Dubai is one of the seven emirates (others: Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah). Dubai have been the highlight among us expats that know nothing about the UAE. However, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is actually Abu Dhabi, one and a half hour ride away. Also one jaw dropping oasis and having the famous Ferrari World that most of us know about.

English are mainly used
Remember the times when you go to Japan, Taipei, Hong Kong and etc, having some tough time communicating in English? I still remembered the times when i was touring Japan, from Sapporo to Tokyo to Osaka, i have not came across any Japanese that could speak English with me. Besides my tour guide when i was in Sapporo or the hotel reception.

But in Dubai, English is widely used. Almost everything is written in English. Arabic may be the official language, but you may tour in Dubai for a week and all you hear was English.

There is so called Winter Season!
My favourite season. Who would thought you have winter season in the desert. Winter season falls around November to March. Winter weather is very pleasant and dry, with day time of around 25 degree and night time of around 10 degree. I wore winter jacket during night time :D. Unfortunately this year winter seasons was not that cold compared to previous year, looking forward for winter coming November :)

Property Rental Market and Living Expenses 
One thing you have to know about staying here. That eats up most of your salary. Rental prices here are crazy. Expect nothing less that AED5,500 a month for a cheap studio. Besides you are willing to travel further away or fortunate for having your work place at lower cost areas, then you may get something like AED3,000 a month for a cheap studio. Expect splurging at least AED300 for a proper grocery shopping for two. Sometimes it is more expensive to cook at home than eating out!

More than 50% of the Population are Indians
I have a culture shock when i first arrived. I thought i landed in Little India. I still remembered the first day i arrived, coming out from the arrival exit. Right in front of me, huge amount of people waiting outside for arrivals, 99% Indians. Well that's not a big deal, but still a shock.

Just imagine going to London. Coming out from the London Airport and all you see is Chinese people. Just don't feel right! Perhaps when you landed back home in Malaysia, coming out from the airport, and it is all Brits out there, you may thought you got invaded again!

When Internationals Works Together
Yes, if you are working here, just remember. more than 80% are expats here. It is not about going to US and looking forward to work with Americans. Or going to China and looking forward to work with Chinese. Or going to Japan and looking forward to work with Japanese. Coming here is not about working with the locals, Emirati. Is about working with Internationals. Is all Expats working here. Expect lots of different views, working cultures and etc. Do be very open and patient! It does drive you crazy at times.

Feeling Safe is always Great
Having some tough laws as a Muslim Country which follows strict Muslim Laws. Sharia Law. Muslim laws and culture is very different from west or democratic nations. Since in movies, everything was pretty glamour and international friendly. And nothing of such strict Muslim law was being mentioned or shown. I only get to know more when i was here. But it was not that bad as long as you follow them. As a booming city, Dubai have adapted to many international standards, different cultures have been respected differently.

But, this was not a big deal. Dubai has become one of the safest places on earth because of tough laws. After being here for almost two years, there was never once i felt any security issues (besides the law, LOL). I don't even lock my apartment door sometimes. I still remember my previous apartment the balcony sliding door lock was spoilt. But well, no one actually bothered to visit me through the balcony window. tsk tsk* 

I always remember the times when i was in Malaysia, coming and going out from home - walking, entering or coming out from my car - at the car parking area - chilling out late a night at the pub or "mamak" - at the ATM machine - , as long as i am alone or with my partner, i am always in full alert and getting ready for some James Bond / Bruce Lee action every second.(of course, it is still a beautiful country and my home, just some precautions is needed, just like any country). Even when i was studying abroad in the UK, and travelling around Europe, did not felt that safe either. 


suituapui said...

My friend is there now, just went over and at the moment, undergoing training. He's going to be flying with Emirates - was with Air Asia X. He loves it there, having the time of his life!

Irvine Chin said...

wow good to hear that. heard flying with Emirates Airline is like a dream job. You get paid handsomely! even better than professionals working long hours.

probably that's why he is having the time of his life. lucky man.

Adam said...

I've never been but Dubai is certainly one of the most unique cities I've ever heard of. I know it's THE CITY for a lot of Europeans to take their vacations. I didn't know but I'm not surprised to hear that English is the de facto language there.

I can figure Malaysia would not be a very safe place. Crime is a fact we all have to deal with in every country, but I think at least Americans take for granted how "safe" we have it compared to the parts of the world not considered the "first world".

Sean said...

that's a lot of useful and practical information from your experience ... nice! i'm visiting dubai later this month on a working trip actually, for just four days, but i'm looking forward to it :)

Angie Schneider said...

I didn't realize it was that safe in Dubai. Thanks for sharing, Irvine.

Yee Ling said...

Today learn so much about Dubai although it is not the country in my travel list...at least not now.hahha

Nux V said...

I feel like wanting to work in Dubai now...haha!

mun said...

Thank you for this first hand information. Very interesting!

Irvine Chin said...

Hi Adam thanks for dropping by. Dubai is certainly very lovable and yes great vacation spots for westerners. Maybe due to the short distance flight and warmer weathers. A place to run from the cold, and also quite luxury for wealthy people.

Malaysia is indeed not a very safe place, but of course, to a certain degree only. Crimes does happens but depends where and when. Tourist spots are always safe. For me, Malaysia still a very beautiful country compared to other countries.

Hi Sean good to hear that. So great having working trip! I always want one :D

Hi Angie thanks for dropping by. Yes it is ;) I still remember the case where the theft apologizing while stealing.

Yeeling, just come! dont think too much :P

NuxV mari mari!

Hi Mun, most welcome. There is still a lot. but, people gonna get bored if it is too long~

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