The National published two interesting articles on UAE lifestyle today. One of them is about how the car crashes in UAE costs Dhs 21 Billion (Eur 4 Billion or US$ 6 Billion) a year, equivalent to one eighth of the country’s oil export. This is in addition to the ~1,000 lives the crashes cause each year. *Gulp!*
The other one was about Emirati young women’s spending habit and seemed less alarming until I started reading it. Here are some excerpts from the article – yes, I know they only represent individual views, but you can get a glimpse through their situation:
Mai Mohammed, 21, from Abu Dhabi, one of those taking part in the ZU (N.B. Zayed University) discussion, says she spent up to Dh3,000 (N.B. Eur 600 or US$ 900) per week at the boutiques in the malls of Dubai with her friends.
“The pressure is not on me. It’s on my dad and my mum. We’re girls and we have to look after our fashion and style,” said Ms Mohammed, a fourth-year student.
“It’s my parents who are under pressure. They’re the ones who pay.”
And although they do tell her to watch her spending, her tastes have grown expensive.
“Chanel, for instance, it’s my number one brand,” she said. “My parents want to give me what I want.”
Ms Mohammed’s room has a separate dressing area that houses three wardrobes; one for abayas (N.B. see photo below), another for jeans and T-shirts and a third for accessories. She said she thinks she has about 30 name-brand handbags – Chanel, Dior and Fendi. Her most expensive is a classic red Chanel bag she bought in London for about Dh16,500.
“Even my mother wants to take my card away a lot,” she said. “We’re actually spoiled.”
Photo courtesy of The National. A black abaya robe can cost up to 2,000 dhs.
“In the first year [at a university], there’s pressure when you see all the other girls. Then you get used to it,” said Mariam al Amimi. “In my first year, I bought a lot of clothes. I went a whole term without repeating any of them.”
Fatima Abdulrahman, 23, agreed: “In the first year, everyone wants to show off.”
The students said that they felt that because they wore abayas, they had to spend a little more on accessories like phones, make up and shoes in order to express their fashion sense and individuality. Some girls like their nail polish to match their BlackBerry cases, for example.
“Sometimes we want to show off, sometimes we want to show off who we are,” said Sarah al Dhaheri, 20.
Matching nail polish to BlackBerry cases?!? AAAHHHHHHHH!!!! I don’t care if anyone thinks I am self-righteous - this cannot be right.