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Dubai Syndrome #2:  feeling more important than one really is…

Dubai Syndrome #2: feeling more important than one really is…

I love living in Dubai .. but there is something in Dubai that seems to afflict too many western people (white guys) who move here and get this sense of power and entitlement – especially, when dealing with brown people.

I call it the “Dubai syndrome” which I discussed a couple of years ago.

One of the sweetest, most reliable, and trustworthy employees at Naseba is a man from India named Bob.

I have had the honor of having Bob on my team at Naseba for 9 years … soon to be 10.

This late afternoon, Bob and I had a meeting with two clients on the other side of Dubai from our office.

As we walked to the car to drive to the meeting, I got a call from a client in Cairo, so I gave Bob my car key and asked him to drive (we were in my tiny Smart car).

10 minutes into our drive … Bob driving, I was sat in the passenger seat, seat reclined, very low and comfortable with the dark tinted window up …

I was having a great discussion on the phone, when suddenly — I heard crazy nonstop honking like madness and lights flashing from the car behind us, and it drove right up on our bumper… flashing and honking and honking and honking.

The tough guy behind us put his bright lights on just to bother Bob. 

We were NOT in the fast lane, but in one of the middle lanes on a big busy Dubai highway in the middle of the evening traffic with many cars right in front of us.

Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t go anywhere – there were cars right in front of us going slowly in the thick traffic.

Within a few seconds, the car behind us drove up alongside my tiny Smart car, inches from the passenger window and mirror … honking and aggressing Bob; motioning to Bob, giving him the finger and shouting, acting like a tough guy.

You see, Bob’s window was down, thus, the driver had seen clearly when he was behind us that Bob was from India.

As I have stated a few times in other blogs, I am a proud Christian, attend Gatekeepers Church in Dubai, and I read my bible every day  … aspiring to live a life in the reflection of Christ.


Witnessing this white guy driving within inches from my car, honking, motioning, and aggressing one of the sweetest people I know — boom.

Unfortunately, the old testament side of me popped out and I rolled down my window and with passion told the tough guy to pull over … and I said let’s discuss this on the side of the road like men;  it was obvious I was very unhappy.  (he was inches from my car, so he heard me and I could hear him)

…however, this tough white guy was obviously surprised to see a big white guy in the tiny Smart car driven by Bob the brown guy from India.

Immediately, the wannabe tough guy took his phone out and gave me the middle finger and made kiss motions with his lips … as he made it obvious that he was writing down our license plate and taking pictures which is understood to mean he will send to the police — and then before we knew it, the tough guy cut quickly to the right, at the very last minute to ensure we could not follow him, running away from the “discussion” he started.  

This is so typical in Dubai, and I have witnessed stuff like this over and over for many years…

Too many westerners who come here, feel special because (let’s be honest, white guys/gals have it much easier in Dubai than the rest) and too many of these type of people shit all over the brown people from India, Pakistan, Africa, even the sweetest Philipino’s get shat on too often.

In this case, this white guy was real tough and threatening, scary …driving his wannabe sports car on our bumper and then drove right next to our car, inches from us …. but when he saw me, and I got involved in the “discussion…” he became the “victim.”

I reiterate … we were not driving in the fast lane, and we were in lots of end of the day traffic, but because Bob didn’t move over quick enough to let this white guy pass him, he got treated like a dog and aggressed.

But then the white guy saw me … and suddenly, he realized he was aggressing the wrong car.

Unfortunately, instead of acting like a man, and apologizing or pulling over to “discuss,” the tough guy became a victim.

Ridiculous.  But this is typical of the Dubai Syndrome.

Call me old school … but I don’t allow anyone (esp. not some white wannabe tough guy) to pick on my friends, family, and especially, not Naseba employees.

This isn’t a blog about road rage because I guarantee if I had been driving or if I had been seen sooner by the tough guy, this incident would not have happened.

This is a human nature discussion.

Too many westerners who live in Dubai think they are more important than they really are.

If you have the virus (like so many who live here do) reflect on this thought:  treat people as you want to be treated, regardless of what country, race, ethnicity they might be.

Upon reflection, I apologize to you, the reader because I realize that today’s blog adds zero value to anyone who reads it … it’s just an angry rant.  
It’s been a while since I have experienced the same anger levels that I did yesterday..anger that was caused by some wanna be tough guy disrespecting one of my friends and employees  — but at the end of the day, nothing was achieved by any of this except wasting my energy, focus and surely a few hours of my life.
Next time you are faced with senseless negativity like some asshole driver honking and aggressing you or one of your friends, 
just smile and wave…


Be careful of the Dubai syndrome virus that seems to be spreading like wild fire…


4 thoughts on “Dubai Syndrome #2: feeling more important than one really is…

  1. I just found this blog through your water fasting post. I admire your perspective and character and will have to binge through your site!

  2. hi scott! uh so i had emailed you previously as well just to share my appreciation,

    but i honestly love reading your blog. never in my life have i found an individual’s perspective so motivating and refreshing. you has helped me to set new goals and higher standards for myself, and for that, i thank you.

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