Sunday, October 18, 2009

This Bud's For You - Rant Warning

First let me say I had a perfect Dubai weekend. It began on Thursday night with and unplanned evening with friends that finished up eating out by the sea at the sailing club. That evening led to a pj day on Friday and relaxing evening watching a film.

Saturday was a day out in the desert - wadi bashing with friends. I love Dubai but the craziness of it can and does get to you. So a little effort is required to escape the madness. After a leisurely breakfast at the aforementioned sailing club watching the racing dhows prepare just off the beach, we set off to Wadi Ray in Oman.

First rant - just across the border into spectacular scenery the small truck in front of us first chucks soda can out of the window then a plastic bag. This is one of the most beautiful if stark spots on earth and suddenly the pristine landscape becomes dustbin.

We made to the wadi detouring to enjoy the geology (bonus of having a DH a geologist). We arrive at the wadi and find just two other Dubai cars parked there. This is a bonus as on the weekends beauty spots can be packed. We were delighted to find that there was actually some water in the wadi (wadis are dry river beds and some have pools of varying sizes). We slowly drove up the wadi to find a picnic spot. In the shade of a dying date plantation we stopped. It was just us, the flies and the wasps - quite perfect.

Then coming from the direction of the village a large crowd appeared. No problem until I saw how they were dressed - HELLO. This is not Brighton Beach but Oman. All the men bar the boy were topless and none had a body worthy of exposure. This in itself wasn't the problem for me (although why I had to look a their sunburned beer guts I don't know) - it was the lack of cultural respect. Don't they know that this type of exposure of skin may be okay on a Dubai beach, but not anywhere else. The women were all in short shorts and tank tops. Even now I find anger bubbling in me.

So my totally perfect weekend was scarred (which I can certainly handle) but this lack of respect drives me wild......society as a whole has lost respect. People swear on a continuous basis regardless of who may have to hear. They dress inappropriately for their location. This is a problem world-wide and is a total outward symptom of the me me focus of today. 'If I want to swear - it's my right too. I don't care if there is a child near by so what. If I want to strip off - it's my right to. I'm hot and I don't care if the view of my naked body offends and so on....'

I know this rant makes me sound frightfully old fashioned, but I see evidence of the lack of respect everywhere I go. People not giving up seats to the elderly or the pregnant. How they treat people working in shops, on buses and trains. Listening to their private music so loud that three carriages could hear it let alone the poor person with the seat beside. Or the deliberate polution with rubbish.

I ask myself continuously why this is happening. What is so different today than ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Has this rise in self, this cult of me, led to loss of respect of self.? Here - I am thinking of binge drinking.....I could go on but I won't.

Instead of more ranting, I will leave you with some beautiful pictures of the weekend and wish you a respectful week treating others as you wished to be treated.

PS I think the picture of the Bud Tree says it all.... (the bag trees were in full bloom too plus the odd goat tree here and there :-) )


Flowerpot said...

I couldn't agree more, Liz. Lack of respect is a big problem everywhere in our world and it's difficult to see a way to change this. But it makes my blood boil too....

Debs said...

I agree. I can see why this blatant disrespect offended you, as it would have done to me.

When we walk the dog on the beach, or round the local reservoir, I am constantly infuriated by the waste people deem it acceptable to leave behind.

Jan said...

WHAT a posting! Great. I'm glad to say hello again!

B said...

And you can bet that these are the same people who would complain about immigrants to the UK not respecting our customs/society. Never thinking for a moment that they are offending just as badly.

My friend's girlfriend swears like a trouper in front of her 5 year old. Occasionally she'll stop herself but usually she just goes for it. It makes me so, so sad. I know swearing is just words, and I'm quite open minded about swearing, and the kid doesn't repeat the words... but...

It's just wrong.

It's like in books about how to be successful in a job interview. 'Be polite to the receptionist, you never know if they'll go to her (or him!) and ask how you behaved.' To my mind, if you need that advice, you're a scumbag who doesn't deserve the job.

Now *I'm* getting angry. Anyway. Enjoy your Sunday!

Monica Fairview said...

What beautiful photos, Liz! And a very well justified rant. I think of it as Polluting with Our Presence whether with rubbish, loud music, ringing cell phones, or our invasive bodies. And to think it even happens in the midst of the desert! No wonder so many people take refuge in headphones and electronics gadgets.

The problem is, the next generation that comes out of the Me generation won't even know that there's any other possible way.

They'd better find water on the moon very quickly!

Liane Spicer said...

Liz, if this rant makes you 'old fashioned' then I am too, and so are many of my acquaintances. You're right about the general lack of respect - for the environment and for other people and cultures - being a widespread problem. I've posted a rant or two on the subject myself. The mindless littering drives me wild, and I stay away from many natural spots I love because of this.

I went back to the classroom recently after a six year absence and students are using the foulest language right in front of their teachers, and acting (or pretending to act) baffled when you make a fuss and call in their parents. The radio stations, the television channels - anything goes. Standards seem to be a thing of the past.

I've come to the conclusion that the human race doesn't deserve this fantastically beautiful planet we've been given.

**deep breath**

Lovely photos. It's pure sacrilege to even think of desecrating such places that way.

Nora Lumiere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nora Lumiere said...

I love the desert and wadis and oases and remember them as pristine, especially the Sahara.
This disrespect is disgusting.
BTW, what exactly is wadi bashing?
If it's driving around a wadi in a 4x4, that's a shame too. One of the most wonderful things about the desert is its silence and pure air.

cs harris said...

Lovely pictures, Liz.

As for the other, I have two theories: 1) parents working such long hours that they don't teach their children manners (that was the previous generation; today's parents never learned any themselves to pass on), and 2) imitating rude people on television. I still remember turning off the VCR after 10 minutes of Home Alone because I was shocked at the way that kid was talking to his parents and didn't want my children to think that was okay.

When I was little and we'd be playing outside and get loud, my grandmother would always say, "Have some consideration for the neighbors!" No one considers the need to have consideration for anyone these days.

End of my old fogey rant!

liz fenwick said...

It is wonderful to read that we all feel the same way....

Now a question for the writers - do we as writers have a responsiblility to deal with this issue in our work? Can we or does it depend on genre? Or would it put our readers off I wonder?

Relating to some of your comments - I do wonder if part of it is that we don't live in societies of extended families anymore...CS, your comment about your grandfather made me think of that. The world in general has become msaller and maybe less personal - well sort of...

Just more food for thought!

Wadi bashing is driving through the wadis Nora L but its the only way to get to them. Then we normally park, pinic (taking our waste with us I hasten to add) and then wander around on foot if it's not too hot........The peace of the wadi is exquiste - the hum of the wasps is about all you heard excpet when the wind picks up and that particular clicking of the palms...

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a great essay title I once read: Your freedom to swing your arm ends where my nose begins. Discuss.

Great photos.

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