Dubai Upon First Seeing Dubai, Saunders Marvels Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Drama - World Type: Essay Paper: #97942187 Related Topics: Aggression, Brewing, Theme Parks, Bangladesh
Excerpt from Essay :

Dubai

Upon first seeing Dubai, Saunders marvels at the humor of the place. He finds most things about the place ironic, especially as Saunders contemplates the process of "Theming" that consumes much of Dubai's development. Like a theme park, Dubai creates an artificial atmosphere. Dubai is a city in a bubble. It is also full of the contradictions that make Dubai titillating, including the sharp differential created between ancient and modern. This differential between ancient and modern is, ironically, manifest in the Theming of the city as the ancient nomadic customs and aesthetics are turned into as much a caricature of themselves as Dubai's malls are caricatures of Western-style consumerism.

Dubai is "capitalism on steroids" because like an athlete on steroids, it is strong, powerful, and resilient with the help of artificial performance enhancers. This is why Saunders refers to the "Misconception from Afar." The reality of Dubai and the facade occupy two different realms. The reality feeds the facade, provides the facade with cheap labor, and hides in the background like the oompah-loompahs at Willie Wonka's chocolate factory. Saunders interacts with several of Dubai's oompah-loompahs: everyone from South Indian laborers to Thai prostitutes. The cogs that make the machine work are invisible, and they are also segregated. To see the poor laborers who built Dubai would undermine the mirage, and expose the man, or men, behind the curtain. Male laborers from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka cannot enter the hotels they built with their own hands. The irony ceases to become humorous, and becomes a crushing reality shining light in the crack between the conceptual and the real. The crack reveals the potential for anger and schism between rich and poor, and is the potential place from where aggression can emerge. Brewing beneath the surface in Dubai, and also most places in the Gulf region and throughout the Middle East,...

...

That chasm is made potently visible in Dubai, on the level of practical mockery.

Unfortunately for the workers, their future depends on suppressing that aggression, or at least deferring it until a more opportune moment. To shake things up and loosen the fault lines in Dubai now would indeed mean returning home to…nothing. A mirage is better than nothing, particularly when it pays many times more than what could be earned at home and arguably with greater benefits. "Of course, somewhere in India is a guy who'd kill to do some stair-washing in Dubai," (Saunders 2). The temporary worker system in Dubai grants workers no actual rights, and indentures many of them to near-slavery, but the world has become so messed up, Saunders notes, that Dubai proves to be the good option. After all, when they return to where they came, the workers do not gaze upon the storied skyline of one of the world's miracle cities. The women in the sex trade likewise have no prospects, or prospects that would be far bleaker than those in the Laurentian desert.

Irony permeates Saunders' visit, as when he observes the man hand-washing the stairs and states, "My job is to observe him hand-washing the stairs, then go inside the air-conditioned lobby and order a cold beer and take notes about his stair-washing so I can go home and write about it, making more for writing about it than he'll make in many, many years of doing it," (2). In Dubai, everyone has a role, a part to play. All the world's a stage. "It's a big world, and I really like it," Saunders states," (2). Saunders locates the common ground bonding together people as disparate as he and the stair cleaner from India.

Dubai's fault lines create tremors in Saunders' consciousness, triggering cognitions about concepts that extend beyond the borders of the city. After all, Dubai is a global city, it belongs…

Sources Used in Documents:

Reference

Saunders, George. "The New Mecca." GQ. Retrieved online: http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/200511/george-saunders-on-dubai?currentPage=1


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