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The ‘spoiled brats’ of the UAE

The ‘spoiled brats’ of the UAE

Where else in the world do 21-year-olds have $2,700 to spend on a single shopping trip?

April 5, 2010 7:06 by

Are the young people of the UAE “spoiled brats”?

That was the suggestion made by Emirati commentator Mishaal Al Gergawi, writing in Gulf News earlier this week.

Gergawi visited Dubai’s sixth Young Entrepreneurs Competition (YEC) at the Dubai Mall, where hundreds of young people were selling products they had designed themselves. It was a very crowded event, and encouraging to see (at least it was when Kipp visited on Friday evening, when the mall was rammed with young people looking at the T-shirts, bracelets and other products on display).

But while Gergawi said he is in favor of the YEC initiative as a whole, he had a problem with it: The fact that the young visitors to the mall seemed to be so incredibly wealthy, yet didn’t seem to know the meaning of money.

“Youngsters in their late teens or early twenties [were] dropping Dh2,000 to buy a bracelet for Dh50 and refusing to take the change, saying they don’t need it! I’m talking about friends arguing about who will buy a Dh600 studded helmet and bidding the price up to Dh9,000! We may be nurturing 700 future entrepreneurs but we are effectively dealing with 7,000 spoiled brats,” wrote Gergawi.

Claiming that one 21-year-old spent AED10,000 ($2,700) at the event, Gergawi asked “where does financial comfort end and ambition begin?”

Where else in the world do 21-year-olds have $2,700 to spend on a single shopping outing? One may ask what effect is this having on education, and employment prospects of the young. But is this really representative of the UAE youth, or is it just a few rich showoffs flashing the cash?

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  1. Mushark on April 6, 2010 10:30 am

    With respect to Mr. Gergawi. He is belonging to the FEW “Rich families” in Dubai ! therefore it is natural thing that he will only communicate with the same LEVEL of people ! where the $2700 is like $27 spent by mid and low income people –the majority in Dubai…
    To Generalize is wrong ! the ‘spoiled brats’ are everywhere in the world, even in the poorest nations the one who is spending $1 is looked as ‘Spoiled brat’…

  2. Mohammad A. on April 6, 2010 11:38 am

    to the parents: Please Adopt me!

  3. Miss Anne Thropic on April 6, 2010 1:34 pm

    Perhaps more young people would understand the value of money if it became common for high school and university students to take on part-time jobs. Everywhere else in the world, you will be served at McDonalds by a local teenager, not a 30-something expat.

    And encouraging young drivers to save up for their first car from said jobs would help too. I’d like to see a UAE where young drivers save up from their part time jobs to buy a used Corolla rather than getting a V8 Merc as a birthday present.


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