Life in Dubai

Life in Dubai

The 16th of November 2017 marks a year since my move from Malaysia to the United Arab Emirates happened. It’s been an incredible year to say the least, filled with many new experiences and many new insights into myself as a person and life in general. Over the past year I’ve experienced moments of heartbreaking sadness and moments of unrivaled joy. I’ve met people who in their own words “have tattooed their names in my life” and said goodbye to many who have been bedrocks in my life prior. But thus is the experience of life I guess, highs and lows galore with many a lesson in between.

What started out as a leap into the unknown has now become the constant norm. Skyscrapers and sand as far as the eyes can see are now my daily sight, when just a year ago skyscrapers, rain and trees where my scene. But after having said all that the most common question I still get asked is “how’s it like living in Dubai?” And I thought rather than giving a summary of my past year, why not try to paint a picture for people about what it is like living in Dubai. So in case you ever have the urge to relocate here then at least you kind of have an idea what you are in for.

Now there are numerous blogs that tackle the idea of life in Dubai so am going to stray a little from their model of “oh you need this many dirhams to survive” etc. and am going to tackle the challenges with regards to living and not with regards to making a living. There is also something that I need to clear up, Dubai is not a country in and of itself. Its a state in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in fact its not even the capital of UAE, the capital is actually Abu Dhabi. Dubai just happens to be the most known.

So on that note, one of the first things I noticed when I came here was how grand everything was. Huge buildings, malls, roads and houses. And don’t get me started on the cars, am not much of a car person myself but it’s safe to say I’ve seen every car that’s ever been made. But that’s the common theme here, grandeur. Lots and lots of grandeur. Without using too many words there is a heavy emphasis on the external. So that tends to impress a lot of people when they come here.

The other thing I quickly noticed was the diversity in nationalities of people living here. Particularly in Dubai you are more likely to bump into a foreigner than you are into a local. And this provides a unique challenge, particularly at work whereby you are placed in positions where you have to interact and work together with all these varying cultures, backgrounds and nationalities. Something that I very much enjoy to be fair, but definitely takes some getting used to.

As far as the locals themselves are concerned, of the many I have met and interacted with, they are extremely polite and respectful in their dealings with others. Contrary to most outside impressions that middle eastern Arabs are all rich, stuck up and arrogant I would say that very few of them come off as that and are usually very humble, even if they just pulled up in a Bentley.

So since the ratio of locals to foreigners in UAE is so small, statistically less than 15% of the population is local, as a foreigner you can quote-on-quote work almost any job given that its legal. That is something that is contrasting to many other countries where the population of locals far outweighs that of foreigners and so opportunities are limited for foreigners in those countries. Now the downside of this is that it creates tremendous competition for employment. And with the attractive salaries that are often provided here you have people flooding in from all over the world trying to get a taste of some A-rab money. Also Dubai is very much a regional hub with many major international companies having their regional offices here resulting in a pretty healthy job market.

In addition to that life is extremely busy here, as is the case with most metropolitan cities. Everyone seems to be in a rush to get somewhere or busy doing something. Aside from that comes the aspect of entertainment, to balance out things perhaps. There never seems to be a dull weekend (even weekday sometimes), where there is nothing big happening in Dubai. Be it a famous celebrity that’s in town or some international event or some fair, concert or roadshow that’s taking place. There’s always something happening, you just have to keep your eyes peeled out for it. That and of course all the ever present theme parks, shopping centers and tourist spots makes living in Dubai very eventful for lack of a better term.

From a financial point of view, the country is expensive with regards to certain things and cheap with regards to other things. In Dubai particularly, accommodation is ridiculously expensive and most people shy away from living in the city itself and live towards the outskirts and commute in to work everyday. The state of Sharjah is the closest to Dubai and actually a lot of people live there and commute to Dubai as rent is a lot cheaper there. But hey cars are cheap 🙂

The final thing I want to talk about is religion. UAE (Dubai) is an Islamic country (state), there’s mosques everywhere and the adthan is heard nearly everywhere too even in shopping malls and airports. But I think what they’ve managed to get spot on was that it’s controlled and moderate. You are free to dress how you like (with certain obvious restrictions of course), if you are not Muslim alcohol is available. Basically it eventually works its way back to you. What you believe in and how you wish to lead your life. No compulsion what so ever.

Of course there are numerous other things I could add but if you have made this far along in the article then you deserve a cookie, haha! Also most of the above stems from my own experience of things and by no means is statutory law, and your experience might be better or worse depending on your circumstances. What I can tell you however is that one year in and I couldn’t be happier to be honest, thank god for that. And I would definitely recommend experiencing life here in Dubai to anyone.

Lets just hope year two is better.

God bless and stay happy 🙂

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The Affects We Have on Others

The Affects We Have on Others

I can’t really seem to tell if am becoming an emotional person or if this is some weird consequence of blogging and the nature of my blogs, but I have come to find myself “too connected” with my emotions recently. And the truth is am not really sure how I feel about that Haha! The safest bet would probably be my tendency to live inside my head, meticulously analyzing things. Not a healthy habit I must admit, but when you don’t drink or smoke you kinda need to find some other way of destroying yourself I guess.

Customary cynical joke: check!

So recently I’ve been dwelling on the idea that a lot of the times in life we sort of underestimate the affects we have on others. And it’s fascinating really, when you think about it, just how much of an influence we all can possibly have on one another. Like how we can lift someone up with the smallest of gestures and equally tear them down with the simplest of insults. Knowingly and unknowingly. Actually I’d say the latter is far more common, simply because we don’t really feel or experience the effects we have had on another person and so we aren’t really aware of them and therefore we underestimate them. However, the effects that others have had on us we obviously feel, and so are aware of them. This in turn results in probably one of the most universal of human experiences; loneliness! Or better yet the feeling that one is alone in their experience of the things that happen to them.

Moreover, at times it could just be our presence or absence alone that makes all the difference. Think for example the feeling of emptiness that one has when a family member/close friend/lover isn’t around for whatever reason. Now the really interesting part in all of this is the fact that we all respond differently to how others affect us. Some are open about it, and they let you know how you have affected them. Others are stubborn about it and act as though nothing has happened. There really isn’t a right way to go about such a thing but as with many things in life a balanced approach would be ideal. As in you don’t want to come off as an emotionless rock or a ten year old whose been asked to go to bed a half hour before their bedtime.

The most common assumption however is that you need to know someone well and long enough in order to affect them. Which is logical in a way but is certainly not always the case. In fact I would say that most of us are more inclined to listen to sound and genuine advice from a stranger than from a familiar face at times. Like during counselling for example, I think maybe that’s so because of the lack of judgement that one finds when speaking to a stranger.

And that’s key I feel in all of this; judgment. You see a huge part of our relationship with others is rooted in how we make others feel about themselves. So if you really want to touch someone… wait that sounds wrong, if you really want to affect someone it’s probably best to accept them first for who they are because that is them. And if you zero in on any flaws they have just remember that you too are flawed and you too would appreciate a little bit of understanding. Maybe then would you be able to touc… I mean affect them.

God bless and keep your hands to yourself please.

How Much of Life Should You Let Affect You? 

How Much of Life Should You Let Affect You? 

So a couple of weeks ago I was working on a machine at a hospital, and as I was doing so the machine was actually plugged in and it was on basically. I mean we often work on our machines while they are on anyways, just for quick testing purposes etc. But yeah while I was looking for the source of the issue, I was reaching into the machine to get to something at the back and I accidentally touched the power unit which controls the power coming into the machine and immediately I felt this strong electric pulse on my arm that actually made me scream a little bit.

Thankfully!! I just barely touched the power unit, because had I actually grabbed it. Game Over! That would have been it, no more Momo.

Fun fact: Did you know that when a person gets electrocuted, their muscles actually contract and they are not able to let go of the thing which is electrocuting them. Haha fascinating stuff!

Actually thinking back about the whole thing, if I had to choose a place to be electrocuted at, a hospital would probably be my top choice. But all sarcastic jokes aside, after looking around to see if anyone had heard my scream (more like manly cough!) and figuring out that I could have actually checked out there for a second. I suddenly realized that I had forgotten about everything that was troubling me at the time. I forgot about the stress I was having at work (because I was having a really rough couple of weeks then), I forgot about the issues I was having with other people, I forgot about the car loan, the rent. Everything and anything that was bothering me seemed to not have any sort of significance because I was just grateful that I had not actually grabbed that power unit.

So I called up my mom and my dad, just to hear their voice really. I didn’t tell them what happened of course but it all got me thinking, life is a constant cycle of ups and downs. And in that fact is probably one of life’s greatest characteristics and it’s that everything is temporary, even us. The good times, the bad times and even the okay times. Now having clearly known that fact, one must wonder really how much of life should we let ourselves be affected by.

The logical answer to that would have to be not much, if anything actually. You know we are all preoccupied by things that ultimately in the grand scheme of things don’t necessarily mean anything. Actually, I speak for myself here because clearly I don’t (can’t) know what everyone might be dealing with and some might actually be having issues with things that do mean something. My ability to overthink stuff never ceases to amaze me really.

But yeah I think that’s the point, in that many a time we over think stuff. For me I think the bulk of my emotional/psychological stress is well and truly induced by this ability of mine to overthink stuff. Now I really wish I could give you a proper list of things that are actually worth worrying about but unfortunately am still trying to figure that out for myself.

However, what I can tell you is that no matter how big of a problem you seem to be going through, there is always someone out there with a worse off issue. Also there are numerous people that would absolutely kill to have your life and the type of problems which you are having because they’ve been through so much. And the fact that you can even afford to be worrying about something is a luxury because it means that you are alive, healthy and secure enough to be in a position to worry about worldly things.

So the point in all of this is, remind yourself always of the unexpected shortness of life and things ultimately will fall into perspective. It might not seem much but if you make it a habit to view certain problems in that perspective then you may actually find yourself less affected by life’s many trials and tribulations. You’d be happy to know that its been working pretty fine for me lately.

God Bless and be careful with electricity 🙂

Why Nice Guys finish last.

FeaturedWhy Nice Guys finish last.

It goes without saying really that the mind of a woman is probably one of life’s greatest mysteries. So mysterious in fact that I would even argue women themselves can’t seem to figure out each other. It is as many would say a cluster-fuck of emotions, hormones, badly timed realizations, dreams, aspirations, feelings and self-scrutiny. And that’s probably just the tip of the ice-berg I would assume.

Now without sounding too sexist or condescending, might be a little too late for that, I should point out that I have 2 older sisters myself and about a ton of female friends so in no way is this some sort of attack on the female gender. It just amuses me how, at times, women would seem to clearly side step all the Nice Guys out there and go for the lying, cheating neanderthal.

Where is all of this going tho?

Well you know that saying about nice guys finishing last, or potentially the lack of thee. Uhm I have always had my doubts about that statement but am starting to think that there just might be an element of truth behind the whole thing, and here’s why.

But first I think its important to define what falls under the definition of nice or what qualifies a guy to be considered nice. The main criteria I would use for defining how nice anyone, irrespective of guy or girl, is the level of concern that one has for others. And in addition to that how sincere and honest one is with regards to their dealings with others. So for example, if one takes the time to remember mundane details about another person or if one takes the time to listen and help regarding the concerns or issues of another person. All without wanting much in return, then in my book that’s a nice person.

Of course there’s more than just that which defines a person but for simplicity sake let’s keep it along those lines and let’s classify “Not-so-nice Guys” as the opposite of that. On top of that am also referring to encounters between men and women prior to them knowing one another, i.e. First impressions basis.

And when it comes to first impressions nothing stands out more than someone’s looks. Am not saying all Nice Guys are ugly but it might help noting that a lot of Nice Guys aren’t usually the most attractive. And there’s nothing wrong with that because as cliche as it may sound no one is perfect. It’s almost as though it’s a packaged deal of sorts. Haha. Like you can be good looking but you have to be an ass as well or vice-versa. This is probably one of the most superficial and shallow reasons but very much true I think.

Now the one thing I can honestly say about Nice Guys is that they usually start off at a disadvantage and that is that they are usually slower than other guys. Not slow as in dumb but slower in the sense of realizing that a girl might be into them or maybe slower in their attempts at making a move. And so Nice Guys often lay low or in many ways take their time with regards to approaching girls. Often times trying to give girls the opportunity to be comfortable around them first before making any moves, which usually backfires horribly and condemns them into the dreaded Friendzone. *vomit 

Most other Guys on the other hand have an element of boldness about them and usually make quick advances and appear far more confident and adventurous, which in all honesty would be something that many would deem attractive, because frankly who wants to date a brick. However, a lot of these guys also eventually get categorized as jerks or snobs as their attempts get more erratic and/or desperate and insincere, because frankly who wants to date a prick. Haha!

Another common characteristic about Nice Guys is that they often tell the truth. Which on first account sounds like a good thing, and it is don’t get me wrong, but lots of times the truth is boring to people. And so that ends up probably working more against them than it actually really should. Am not encouraging lying by the way, am just stating what I see.

Now here is where I think the story becomes interesting, because it eventually becomes apparent to all of these Nice Guys that they need to act like all these other Guys in order to reach a tangible goal. And so what you then have is an exodus whereby all these Nice guys slowly but surely morph themselves into all these other Guys. Mimicking their actions and behaviors as it begins to feel that that might be the only way forward. And by this stage experience begins to play a part. Which might explain why initially a lot of Nice Guys do a very bad job at acting like other Guys. But eventually they get there and even the Nice Guys get classified as Guys.

In so many ways life isn’t all that fair, and the rules that dictate it at times seem random to say the least and so you can’t really be naive and think that just because you are nice, things will work out for you. So even the hardest (toughest) people we see today were probably the nicest and sweetest at some point, but through experience they have learnt to move forward.

Finally, the funniest thing about all of this is that you could easily flip the script and find yourself questioning why nice girls finish last. In fact I think its probably harder for girls because its an endless waiting game for them. At least for us guys the ball is on our side of the court most of the times. I guess maybe the best approach is to always put your best foot forward, whether that’s by being nice, polite, decent or whatever. And on top of that to treat the other gender as how they treat you, not based on how you expect (want) them to treat you.

Be Nice & God Bless 🙂

Momo’s Guide to Relocating… for dummies :P

Momo’s Guide to Relocating… for dummies :P

Are you thinking about relocating? Possibly thinking about jumping ship and living somewhere new? Are you certain, as certain as you can be about anything in this world, that greener pastures lay elsewhere? Are you delusional? If you have answered yes for all the above questions then I’ve got just the story you need.

Now before I begin let me just say that I would probably be the first to point out that change is an inevitable part of life, we just can’t seem to runaway from it. And as I’ve mentioned before in another article, sometimes if change is not induced by will then it is pretty often induced by circumstance. But having said that there are these rare moments in life where things magically fall into place and you somehow find yourself on the move. So without really overdoing the introduction let’s just skip to the part where I give you the jest about relocating.

Initially leading up to the move, you are excited to say the least. You picture all the glorious wonder that awaits you and find yourself praying and hoping that the day you move comes ever closer. Then once that the day comes within sight and seems imminent you suddenly begin reminiscing on all the people, places and things which you are about to forgo, only to find yourself deep deep down questioning whether the move is necessary in the first place. You also wonder why you never really thought about these things earlier. However you quickly shoo away all these thoughts as you approach the moment of no return; the actual move.

The actual move itself is an emotional roller coaster. At least for me it was, couple your fear of heights with your fear of flying and throw in a few tears from mom and you have an extremely emotional 24 year old (at the time, now am 25 *two thumbs up) on a 7 hour flight to somewhere new. It may sound dramatic now but at the time all I could think about was what am I doing to myself?

The settling down period is the really testing part I feel because when you do relocate one of the biggest things that you lose is stability. In the sense that you were previously settled down, familiar with the environment, the people and how things are. Like you knew where to get certain things, you had your license, your car, your home etc. Once you move, usually, you only get to bring along a few of those things with you. And in most cases, you bring nothing along with you, everything gets left behind and you find yourself in a position where you need to gather in all this new information and somehow make sense of it in order to eventually find that stability which you had earlier.

The settled down period is pretty subjective I feel, some people find stability within a matter of days, some months, some maybe even years. Regardless, what happens to you is that you somehow wake up one day not feeling so lost anymore. And although not everything is crystal clear just yet, you find yourself somehow getting to grips with things. It is at this particular time when you see yourself developing as an individual and realize all the new things that you have come to know.

Now the biggest advice I can give to anyone who is thinking about relocating is this; you have to weigh how much you are gaining by moving and how much you stand to lose by not staying put. Do not look at the pros and cons of either (i.e. moving & staying back) because everything and every place has a pro and a con. You also need to come to grips with why is it exactly that you are moving, and you need to make sure that your reason for moving is worth it because the question of “Do I really need to move?” will keep hitting you every now and then, even after you have moved.

Finally moving or relocating is one of those experiences of life that brings so many things into perspective. The importance of family and friends, and how anything worth having comes with its fair share of sacrifice. It is also a period of self discovery where you learn so much about yourself. Like for me I’ve come to the conclusion that I am someone who doesn’t know how to be alone. I just don’t to be honest. Its also important to understand that so many aspects of life come as packaged deals or without sounding too financial there is a pro and a con to everything. And more importantly one should shy away from having expectations of perfection with regards to things in this world because unfortunately that would never be the case.

So if after all of this you are still bent on moving, then I wish you nothing but blessings and good fortune.

God Bless 🙂

Why is it so hard to be patient?

Why is it so hard to be patient?

You only have to look at people waiting for food in restaurants to understand just how impatient we all really are as beings. The very idea of waiting for something or someone irks us so much that at times we would even resort to a more difficult/expensive option just because there is less waiting time involved. And in fact whether its hunger, illness, pain, flight delays or even just downloading something off the internet; patience seems to be a struggle more often than not. The Quran describes Man as being created in a state of anxiety, which when you think about probably fits the bill very well because we are always so anxious and impatient about things.

But honestly though why is it so hard to be patient?

I guess to fully answer such a question one would need to spend a lot of time and effort, but I figure no one has got the patience for such a thing. Haha! 😉

Seriously though maybe the reason why patience is so illusive is because it reaps such tremendous benefits. Like good things come to those who wait type of thing or maybe waiting on something is the universe’s way of questioning how much we really want something. Under any circumstance I certainly feel that patience is a struggle for all of us but also that patience is somewhat subjective at times. As in some people can wait on certain things but not other things and this is unique to each of us. Also the things that we can or cannot wait on are probably determined by our personalities, our interests, our thresholds (for patience) and our moods even.

I also think that you can probably subdivide patience into two categories. One category is when you actually know how long you have to wait and the other category is when the end to your wait does not seem apparent. And certainly the latter is far more difficult than the former, primarily because of the genuine uncertainty regarding when something is actually going to happen and how much longer do you have to wait. Take for example a person that is unemployed and is desperately looking for a job that just doesn’t seem to come. In situations like this (believe me I have been through it myself) the most depressing part is the idea of not knowing when you would actually get a job or whether you would even find a job. So to be patient in such predicaments requires tremendous resolve to say the least.

I would also be the first to say that many a time I find myself simply waiting on things to happen rather than actually working to make them happen and probably the biggest part of getting something (anything) is by spending every passing second working out how you would get to that thing as apposed to just waiting for it to happen.

But I guess maybe the solution to this whole issue of patience is to simply understand and keep reminding ourselves that in life everything takes time or has an ordained time for which it is going to happen. Whether that’s with finding a job, fulfilling a goal, becoming good at something, finding a soul mate etc.everything needs time. It is also helpful to remind ourselves of the tremendous benefits in being patient and the great joy that one feels when eventually your patience pays off. So hopefully if we start to look at things in that perspective the idea of waiting on something might not seem so difficult and daunting after all.

God Bless and happy waiting 🙂

 

Rediscovering Myself

Rediscovering Myself

The experience of rediscovering oneself is something that a lot of us experience in our lives. Just think about this idea for a second; the idea that we spend our entire lives uncovering various aspects about our behaviors, about our personalities and about ourselves in general. And when you look at things in that perspective, I guess really what we are doing by living life is that we are in fact figuring out ourselves. Sort of like travelling with a bag that’s full of stuff and each day you open up that bag and pull out something new, not knowing that what you just pulled out was actually inside all along.

Now I am pretty sure that an intro like this might make you wonder about the various substances that I might be allowing into my body , but I assure you … its just meth. Haha! Just kidding 😛  You see the real reason this whole idea popped up in my head is that I realized, after moving away, that there were so many things about myself that I didn’t necessarily know.

Take for example likes and dislikes, and I can probably speak for a lot of people when I say that as each day passes I find something new that I either like or dislike. But really this whole experience of moving from a familiar place to an unfamiliar one makes you feel exposed to certain degree I think. Mostly because you do not have your usual frame of reference. Whether that’s with regards to norms or ethics etc. but everything basically just hits you as new.

And I think this experience is usually further magnified the greater the difference between where you were and where you are is. So if you are moving to somewhere that is entirely different; different culture, language, religion, ethics etc. then this feeling would be far more obvious.

I also feel that there are these moments in life that push you to the absolute edge of your comfort zones (or abilities sometimes) just so that it can be made clear to you how much more you have inside of you. Sort of like being forced to open up that bag you are carrying and checking to see what you else is in there. And I know I have spoken before about comfort zones, but certainly this past month or so has been an absolute journey outside of my comfort zones. Dora the explorer style!

On an emotional level, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t spend the first couple of nights just thinking you know what, “Eff all this am moving back to Mama and Baba”. But thinking back now being away from Mama and Baba just made me wonder about a time, in the distant future I hope, when they won’t be around anymore. Sad as it may sound, it struck me really really hard at that moment, especially as to how little I have done for them in comparison to what they have done for me and how much more I should be doing.

On a professional level, the best analogy I can come up with really is basically like when you are a new kid in a school that’s far away from home. You very quickly realize that you need to forgo certain things and adjust in order to adapt, otherwise it’s going to take you a long time in order to assimilate. Not to mention the incredible awkwardness in trying to be friends with people who are completely new to you.

And I could go on and on about other things but I suppose the real message am trying to get across in all of this is that there is so much more to each and every one of us (there has to be) and that you should always shoo away any ideas in your head that this is all you have or that this is all that’s in you, or more importantly that this is all someone has and this is all that’s in them.

oh and don’t do drugs 🙂 Haha

God bless.