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Culture clash a source of worry


When the RTA announced their latest Metro Express service, many commuters began to worry about the rush hour states

August 2, 2012 3:58 by

“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.” – Mahatma Ghandi.

After over two years of operation, the Dubai Metro has answered the calls of many and decided to launch (on a trial run, naturally) an express service where a few carts would begin at the crack of dawn to provide a slightly faster service for commuters, those who are willing to wake up early enough to use it anyway.

The express trains will be in operation from 5:30 to 5:40 and depart from one end of Dubai to the other. A total of 10 minutes will be saved from the journey although now many commuters may be slapped with the ‘be careful what you wish for’ curse, because considering the factors of this trial run; the express service could prove to be disastrous when all the ingredients are brewed in the same cauldron.

Many commuters grow nervous of their chances of actually being able to catch the trains considering the amount of rush. In the event that this trial continues, every scheduled train may have a long queue behind it. And if you have ever attempted to catch the metro during rush hour, you will understand the origin behind their unease.

Because of Dubai’s immense cultural diversity, it is almost impossible to make use of any service, visit any landmark or perform any activity without having different shades of cultures that remain tied to their own ethics, customs and natural instinct.

Each culture carries its own code of upbringing and natural ‘surviving’ instinct but the clash of perspectives may leave the RTA in a state of confusion. That’s not to say that they haven’t played any part in improvement – The Khalid Bin Al Waleed station has created a barrier – forcing commuters to queue behind it but a few steps may yet be necessary.

Are the metro station stampedes attributed to cultural differences, the mentality of Dubai residents (keeping them in a rush) or the below than average duration that the train doors actually remain open? Until the source of the possible danger is investigated, the ground will continue to shake.

Although many have urged the RTA to play audio announcements (possibly in more than language) requesting commuters to allow people to exit the train before they enter, there has been no official confirmation of that procedure taking off anytime soon.

The bottom line is that this city is what it is because of its cultural diversity so a frequent announcement may be one of the only steps to take. The British culture, for example, among several other European cultures are famous for their queuing instinct, while with other cultures it’s eat or be eaten.

“If anyone has ever lived in Mumbai, where train travel is a matter of survival, the instinct is to rush,” says Nigel Vaz, an Indian expat from Mumbai told Emirates247. “But if the RTA makes it a rule, even the Mumbai local-train diehards will curb their survival instinct,” he added.

Many rush for their fear of self-preservation, others for their genuine struggle against time and some out of pure cultural instinct. The RTA will need to step up to address these issues before an unfortunate accident occurs.

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  1. angelo franklin on August 1, 2012 2:14 pm

    This story is so true of the difference between cultures and a good example was advised, in the UK we learn manners as an example yes we allow access to people trying to leave a train before we actually try to enter, and yes we learn to queue behind any person who may have got to the queue before us.

    This is typical on roads, shops and any ware in Dubai you can see the educated cultures that have learnt manners and those cultures that have not.
    Even Emiratis that I know are so fed up with the manners of some of the Indian and Pakistani expats it is only really a matter of time when there will be a problem somewhere.

  2. Sohan on August 1, 2012 3:08 pm

    It would be better to follow the example of Singapore here. Rather than have people exit and then enter (which is inefficient), have them adhere to a “right hand traffic rule”. That is, always stay on the right side of a doorway or walkway. So whether you’re entering or exiting, you will always do so on the right side and thereby avoid blocking anyone else. Perhaps putting bright yellow arrows or footprints on the floors of trains and platforms to emphasize this will help.

  3. Sohan on August 1, 2012 3:11 pm

    @angelo: There are no “educated cultures” … only educated people.

  4. Richard on August 1, 2012 4:22 pm

    Sohan, educated people create educated cultures and civility. Accept it or you’ll never leave the 3rd world…you can’t solve problems before you accept they exist…! How do people stood on the inside of the door on the left…leave on the right if faced with a barrrage of child like screaming illiterate banshees running in cutting them off….?! Logic and India does not fit in the same sentance….

  5. Indian on August 1, 2012 6:51 pm

    @Richard – “Logic and India don’t fit in the same sentence” ?!

    That’s a ridiculous and racist statement to make. Who’s to say what ‘culture’ is right or wrong and what gives you the authority to comment how “educated” a certain culture is?

    Just BTW daily commuters in Mumbai trains during rush hour are EXTREMELY organized and well behaved. Anyone who disagrees with this obviously hasn’t ever boarded a Mumbai local train. I suggest you travel a bit and educate YOURSELF before making such stupid statements in public.

    The most uneducated and uncivilized people are racists- and its clearly seen in people who’ve commented above who believe the Indian culture as a whole is “uneducated”.

    Singling out Indians and making them out to be badly behaved is ignorant, disgusting, hurtful and infuriating.

  6. JV on August 5, 2012 9:59 pm

    @ Angelo @ Richard – I think britishers should really not talk about how cultured they are and what they are taught about as kids. They were the one who forcibly ruled India for 200 years, treated us so badly and took away all the money. The problem is that you guys are not taught the dark part of it in your history books.
    Most of the issues we have in India today are due to lack of resources in proportion to the population.
    I agree that India is a lot about survival of the fittest. But have you seen britishers behaving bad in India? I have seen many of them. So let us not talk about culture and upbringing. It is all about how people behave in various situations. I hope you have read about “Lucifer effect”. If not, then please search on the net.
    If there are norms in place, people behave accordingly. As pointed out in the comment above, please travel by mumbai local yourself and see. Also travel by metro in New Delhi. It is the busiest metro in the world. You would be surprised to see how people queue up on the busiest metro stations there.
    It would be nice if you comment knowing the facts, and not base your comments on your perceptions. Thanks!


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