FACTS ABOUT DUBAI
Country: United Arab Emirates
Incorporated: 9 June 1833
Independence from UK: 2 December 1971
Founder: Maktoum bin Bati bin Suhail(1833)
Government Type: Constitutional monarchy
Ruler: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Crown Prince: Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Dubai has a very hot arid climate. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot, windy and dry, with an average high around 40°C (104°) and overnight lows around 30°C (86°C). Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm with an average high of 23°C (73°F) and overnight lows of 14°C (57°C). Precipitation, however, has been increasing in the last few decades with accumulated rain reaching 150mm per year.
The UAE culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam and traditional Arab and Bedouin culture. In contrast, the city of Dubai is a highly cosmopolitan society with a diverse and vibrant culture. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle are very prominent as well. Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosque. Which are scattered around the country. Since 2006, the weekend has been Friday-Saturday, as compromise between Friday’s holiness to Muslims and the Western weekend of Saturday-Sunday.
Dress and Etiquette
The Islamic dress code is not compulsory, unlike in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Most Emirati males prefer to wear a kandura, an ankle-length white shirt woven from wool or cotton, and most Emirati women wear an abaya, a black over-garment covering most parts of the body. This attire is particularly well suited for the UAE’s hot and dry climate. Western-style clothing is, however, dominant because of the large expatriate population, and this practice is beginning to grow in popularity among Emiratis.
Etiquette is an important aspect of UAE culture and tradition, to which visitors are expected to conform. Recently, many expatriates have disregarded the law and been arrested for indecent clothing, or lack thereof, at beaches. Western-style dress is tolerated in appropriate places, such as bars, or clubs, but the UAE has maintained a strict policy of protecting highly public spaces from cultural insensitivity.
KNOW THE RULES IN THE UAE, ITS CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
1. Alcohol or Liquor – Non-Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol in Dubai if they are on licensed premises. Some restaurants and most hotels hold a license to serve you alcohol. Additionally, if you’re a resident in the emirates you can apply for license to buy alcohol and consume it in your own home. If you are stopped for traffic offence and you have alcohol in you car you need to hold liquor license to prove you have permission to buy it otherwise you will be fined. What’s more, even if you’ve been drinking at home and you have a license or you’ve been out drinking at a licensed venue, if you’re caught drunk on the street you could be arrested.
2. Bouncing a Cheque – if you have issued cheques to pay for your rent, car loan, items purchased, etc. you need to ensure that there is enough money in your bank to avoid over draft. However, unlike in other countries where bouncing a cheque is just an annoyance, in Dubai it is a very serious criminal offence. You will be arrested, jailed and then forced to remain in Dubai to pay your debt before being forced to leave the country. So, don’t write a cheque unless you have the funds to cover it – and remember that in writing a cheque you’re entering into a very strict financial agreement. It is no joke to miss a payment in Dubai.
3. Dancing in Public – While you think nothing about walking down the street arm in arm with a few friends after a night out, dancing in public in Dubai is considered to be indecent – and it is also thought of as provocative, which can be very dangerous for women. This can be an attraction for some men to harass or be aggressive with the women and/or even man. You can dance in your own home behind your curtains, and you can dance at official clubs – anything else in not acceptable and dangerous.
4. Dress Code – Dress code is strictly implemented in malls in the UAE. Locals or Emiratis dress conservatively and expect visitors and expatriates to also dress conservatively when in public. So, if you’re going shopping, you’re out for a walk or you’re going to work you need to make sure your clothes are of a decent length, that you do not wear anything see-through, that you’re not revealing too much flesh that could be considered indecent and that you also don’t have anything offensive on you clothes in the form of slogans or images. In shopping malls you’ll see signs warning you that if you’re inappropriately dressed you will be removed!
If we are on the beaches make sure to wear beach attire but again it needs to cover up the most ‘offensive’ parts! And you cannot sunbathe topless, nor is any form of nudity acceptable – even for children. Once you leave a beach, pool or water park area you have to be properly attired for public places. e.g. you can’t walk home in your bikini. It is not making some sort of statement about how fashionable you are or what a rebel you feel – it is mortally offending public decency and punishable officially with imprisonment and unofficially with abuse and potential assault. Again, don’t take stupid risks – respect the local culture.
5. Drink Driving – There is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drink driving and you will be imprisoned if you break this very firmly upheld law.
6. Driving Offenses – Follow the driving rules in the UAE. It is illegal in Dubai to tailgate, break the speed limit, street race, lane hop or using a mobile phone while driving – despite the fact you will see all of these going on every single day. Bear in mind that Dubai is cracking down and losing its tolerance for law breakers so do not get into the habit of driving like the locals drive. If you do break a road law you can be fined, imprisoned and have your car impounded. Be aware that there are several speed traps in the UAE. It is very important to spot immediately the speed limit on every road. Plan your trip and asked speed limits.
7. Drugs – Drugs are banned or illegal in the UAE. There is zero tolerance issue and whilst you may think that only extends to narcotics that are illegal in our own countries, it actually extends to some prescription and over the counter medicines too. So, this is very serious point to understand. You need to know that even if you’re traveling through an airport in the UAE on you way to another country, if you’re caught with what’s deemed to be an illegal substance you could face an automatic 4-year prison term before deportation. If you’re thought to be supplying drugs you could face automatic life imprisonment.
Examine the bags or things that were given to you by friends or even relatives before boarding the plane to UAE. So, before coming to the UAE know what you can and cannot bring in. however, if you are on prescription medicine or you don’t like following other people’s rules it’s very important to listen up. Firstly you need to know whether what you intend importing is on the banned substances list that you need to check out.
Above details are from the FILCOM Dubai-Safety Awareness Booklet
Many thanks to the following Filcom COntributor Organization;
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MAPUA ALUMNI(NAMA)
PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF SAFETY PROFESSIONALS (PSSP)
THE PHILIPPINE SCHOOL OF DUBAI