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Smile, you’re in Sharjah!
Sharjah’s got something of a bad rep, and the rumors of Mubarak landing in the Emirate don’t help. But as far as business is concerned, things are looking up, thinks Eva Fernandes.
February 13, 2011 4:00 by Eva Fernandes
When it comes to Sharjah, there is no denying it, the emirate has a rather poor rep when compared to its more prosperous and booming brothers in the south.
Having been born in Sharjah, and having completed a considerable amount of schooling in the Emirate, I bear a kind of loyalty to it. The kind of loyalty that makes me grit my teeth when my Dubaian and Abu Dhabian friends make fun of the Emirate’s less luxurious malls or more crowded streets. And while they claim the Emirate is nothing other than a haven for those after cheap rent, I point to the Qasba and Sharjah’s impressive University City. We go on in this fashion for a bit, but when my opponents reach the point of Sharjah’s more conservative take on laws and regulations, I find myself quiet.
And now, unfortunately, there are rumors that Egypt’s recently deposed president Hosni Mubarak has arrived in Sharjah (although Emirates 24|7 has spoken to an official source at Sharjah’s Department of Civil Aviation who dismissed rumors that Mubarak’s plane landed at the Sharjah International Airport). Either way, it’s hardly what the emirate needs to help build its reputation.
However, thanks to some recent developments in Sharjah, I only need to point to the local press this week to help defend the emirate.
Take for instance, The National‘s glowing (sorry) account of Sharjah’s light festival. True, it’s just a little ironic that the Emirate that suffers from the most acute electricity shortages should be hosting a festival that consumes so much of the stuff, but the festival was still well received. The third installation of the annual festival saw ‘elaborate light and sound shows’ across Sharjah, with residential building, mosques, government offices and historic buildings all lit up. The Festival of Light, which was organised by the emirate’s Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), was designed to ‘highlight’ both the traditional and more modern aspects of the Sharjah. As The National pointed out, the festival draws some of its inspiration from major European cities like Berlin, which have used similar displays to attract thousands of tourists.
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