by Authors: Yusri Yusof
Dubai of United Arab Emirates (UAE) is well known all over the world as one of the fastest growing cities in the Middle East, synonymous with grand architectural designed skyscrapers. Unfamiliar to many, Dubai population is dominated by expatriates which encapsulates around 85% of total figure where only 15% of its population are Emiratis. The vast numbers of expatriates are mainly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh followed by Philippines and other countries. The city itself is vibrant and dynamic, much helped by the immigrant workforce which mostly involved in construction, trading and services.
To portray a different outlook of Dubai, I took a walk in the town of Deira which still holds many historical values and the origin of Dubai itself can be traced here. Deira used to be the centre point of Dubai before the skyscrapers in Sheikh Zayed Road took over the limelight. There are many immigrants who first came to Deira to earn a living, but eventually settled down as traders and businessmen in various sectors such as food business, tailoring, gold trading, wholesale of spices, perfumes, clothes, and many more.
Deira is located alongside Dubai Creek, historically known as one of the trading ports in Persian Gulf. As I walked along the streets in Naif, Al Khaleej, Al Sabkha, and Al Buteen, I observed many interesting characters minding their own business in this place they call home. When approached, they were jovial and friendly, always asked me where I come from and being myself, I don’t mind being chatty and managed a few conversations with them. As we talked, I could see in their eyes, although they looked content and happy with their life in Deira, deep inside I know how much they missed their home country.