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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Special Attachment for Dubai, Or Not?

It's probably no big deal since Dubai (the booming Metropolis) probably means something to quite a substantial number of people, especially those from the construction and/or civil engineering industry.

Looking at the sheer number of developments springing up in the city, it is not rocket science to realise that many people have been (or are) involved somehow or rather in its physical growth. Planners, architects, engineers, construction workers, and even supporting crews; each and everyone has had a hand in Dubai.

My own personal contribution began in January 2004 when my first project at MVA was for the Dubai Mall. Touted then as the world's largest retail mall, I had a hand in the design of one of the largest basement car parks in the world. I didn't get to go Dubai then, thanks to advances in technology coz most, if not all, of the design plans were done through the internet and email.

Not until recently I saw with my own eyes the fruit of my labour (well, almost). I didn't get to go to the Dubai Mall site but it was unmistaken because it is situated next to the Burj Dubai Towers - currently the world's tallest building.

While I bask in personal glory, I take a step back and realise it's not a big deal after all. Coming back to the first couple of paragraphs, there are many others who have toiled to make Dubai what it is today.

Modern-day Great Wall of China? Remember the tens of thousands who died while building the Great Wall? (of course you don't remember! I meant haven't you read History books?) I'm not suggesting that many have perished while realizing the gargantuan growth of Dubai, but there are stories of ill treatment and extremely low wages suffered by construction workers in the oil-rich emirate.

Just last week, thousands of indian construction labourers went on strike in Dubai to protest against low wages and poor working and living conditions. I checked with Jabar, our indian driver, on my last trip to Dubai. He confirmed that the indians weren't a happy bunch. He mentioned that other nationalities were not happy as well. The wages were insultingly low. It was not uncommon for a construction worker to earn only USD150 a month.

Geez, where we were in an ordinary foodcourt, a meal already costs USD10! With the almost parallel booming economy in India, this meant that the Indian rupee correspondingly gets stronger. Translated to currency exchanges, indian workers were earning less rupees.

Less rupees for more hardship in such an expensive place to live in.

No wonder it is also common to find depressed labourers killing themselves by crossing Dubai highways.

It's really sad to know the backstage happenings behind the architectural wonders.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Indian Rupee
1 Rupee
2,000,000 Rupees