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Stumbling on criticism
The sex-on-the-beach soap is over. But the saga continues for Dubai and its ailing image
October 16, 2008 12:23 by kippreport
Michelle Palmer, 36, and Vince Acors, 34, have been found guilty of having sex on the beach in Dubai. The saga, then, is finally over. Criticism of Dubai (and in some instances, the UAE) that the case has instigated, however, isn’t likely to stop.
The case has exposed the cultural and social contradictions in the UAE. On the one hand, conservative Emiratis and Gulf Arabs seem isolated from the greater expatriate community, and many expatriates appear oblivious to the local culture and its customs. The UAE press has already exposed the chasm between foreigners and locals; indeed, for those living in the emirate, Dubai’s inconsistencies are a matter of fact.
What the Palmer and Acors case has done is expose those contradictions to the world; some articles (such as The Sun’s Boozy Brits go Wild in Dubai) have showcased Dubai as a hypocritical emirate that sells potential expatriates one dream, only to present them with an entirely different reality.
The exposure, however, reveals more than just the cultural discrepancies in the emirate. The BBC published an article about Dubai’s sewage problem; The Sunday Herald ran with a story about Dubai’s “dirty secrets”; and most notably, The Observer printed a lengthy commentary about British expat life in Dubai (which was reprinted by the Taipei Times).
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