Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I am not a ranter, but it is obviously something people enjoy doing. It is, of course, a good way to blow off steam. There are a few topics that top the list of rants in the UAE. Perhaps I am not qualified to rank them, but a good bet to place near the top of the list is Etisalat--followed by traffic, reckless/arrogant driving, slow driving, rent increases, harassment (of women by guys), rude behavior in general, wasta, discrimination, banks, lack of pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, poor service from businesses, government workers who can't be bothered, queues, and so on.

Interestingly, people don’t rant much about the heat. That reflects either a certain amount of pragmatism as in, We’re in the desert! Of course it's hot, or the less commendable fact that we are all spoilt with air-conditioning.

A comparison of what people rant about in different countries might provide a telling glimpse of the social issues and concerns important in that country. Politicians and leaders should make an attempt to gauge the rant pulse--sounds a bit repulsive, though--to gain a better understanding of the people they govern.

It is interesting to consider what else people in the UAE don’t rant about, like politics (well, it isn’t allowed, but even so people don’t have much to say on the topic even in private), religion (limited for similar reasons), corruption in government or society-at-large (it isn't a big issue--Ok there's wasta, but that's a separate issue), airlines (the leading carriers are all pretty good), pollution, taxes, etc.

A Holler A Day

So, I am not a ranter, really. But if I were, what would I rant about, besides Etisalat? This is a hard one, because I prefer to be the optimist. I did present a near-rant in my very first A Word A Day post, should anyone would care to revisit that. I could rant about lawyers, but that is a general pet peeve of mine, not specific to the UAE. I could rant about ranters, but I sort of like that they say what they say, so I don't have to.

My rant of choice would have to be on a loathing I am sure I share with many. That is, for those arrogant drivers who flash their headlamps from behind as though they own the road. It irks me and if I let it, it could really get to me; but it always helps to gently remind myself that I am above that level of immaturity. Let them have their lane, and whatever peril their speeding puts them in.

But I can't always stop myself from fantasizing that my car is equipped with a high-tech weapon of some sort--like a laser gun or anti-tank missile launcher--that I could let loose on them as soon as they start flashing their lights. Or, James Bond like, I could spray the road with a slick layer of oil that would send them spinning out of control. But again, I have to remind myself, that I am better than that. Let them have their moment of victory on the highway while I go on to lead a more relaxed and mannered life.

Parting Shot

Ranting also provides a sort of comic relief. When the issue at hand is very serious, however, I suppose there is less ranting and more discourse. Iran is reportedly a hotbed of blogging. My guess is that there is less ranting there, and more debate on the issues.

Rants often come about as spontaneous outbursts. Perhaps the screamer has no better way to communicate the thought, rather like a child who is, shall I say, lost for words.

What better way to conclude this post than with a rant leveled against A Word A Day (in the UAE) itself. In my best imitation of an Australian accent, I must intone, "Thanks, mate, for the inspiration for today's word."
We are not your f_cking students. Every f_cking day, word of the day this, word of the day that. We get the message. How about you limit it to once a week telling us about your special f_cking words? I thought that I would hear fresh discussion from this community, but it is like a stale classroom.
Posted anonymously on the UAE community blog.

717 words

Top Rant: Etisalad--Secret Dubai's "graphic" expression.

Open a printable copy, in a new window.

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grapeshisha said...

Great overview, with expertise in throwing in ignoramus' comments at the end. Superb!

BD said...

I suppose there is a time and a place for almost anything, including rants.