I’m only a bitch when you’re stupid!
As a westerner living in Abu Dhabi, one of the first things you will notice is the large amount of Indians living in the emirate. According to the ever so trust-worthy Wikipedia, there are approximately 1.5 million Indians living in the United Arab Emirates. Now, in general, I have no problem with the Indian community, however there is a massive issue with the amount of companies which employ uneducated Indians at low-cost to do labour work and customer-service roles. These companies are not doing their organisations any favours by saving costs and employing staff incapable of offering good customer service. They are obviously taking advantage of the low salaries and not training these staff members with the required skills. As a result, there are a large percentage of very frustrated westerners living in the UAE.
The first hurdle is the communication barrier. This becomes almost impossible when describing where you live, thanks to the fact that there are no street addresses in the emirate. If you are fortunate enough to live in the city, then you can usually get by when describing the nearest landmark, however, it almost becomes impossible when your nearest known landmark is miles away from your house! For example, I live near Etihad Plaza in Khalifa City A. To get to my place, you need to head towards Masdar City keeping Etihad Plaza on your left, then it is the second street on your right, followed by the first street on your right, then the first left, then second right, then first left and we are the first villa on your left. Have I confused you!?! Try explaining this to someone who doesn’t speak your language!!!
Not only that, for some reason, whenever trying to describe my location, there is a tendency for the uneducated Indian to talk over you while second guessing where you live! I am not exaggerating here – this happens EVERY time – without fail. So as you are just in the middle of giving your directions, the driver will then ask second right? Which you then need to try to determine whether they are repeating what you said three steps ago, or trying to determine if that is the next step. Ultimately, you end up giving your directions about five times and then hanging up knowing that you will soon be getting another phone call as they try to determine your location.
This situation happened to me yesterday at three different times, when the driver handed the phone over to his colleague, who then handed the phone over again to a security guard – all unable to speak English clearly – let alone understand it. I ended up yelling down the phone to just LISTEN – do not talk – LISTEN!! To which I was told that they understood English fine. Despite the fact that I didn’t say anything about his English, the man ended up getting a communications lecture whereby he was firmly told that part of communicating was listening. Guess what, as I was giving this lecture, he talked over me.
Much to my own shock, I spoke over him, asking him accusingly “what is wrong with you people?” Yes, with much shame, I resorted to racist remarks, I turned into a bitch.
Afterwards, I spoke to my husband about my own embarrassment regarding my remarks, which he advised is common in his workplace every day. He too is struggling with trying to keep racist-free while living in this emirate. We have both agreed that we need to look elsewhere to live in order to keep our sanity. Regardless of the financial opportunities available here, there is much more to life than money.
As fate will have it, I have just seen this on Pintrest:
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on this. I have big enough shoulders ……