Desert Dynamo Glittering by the Gulf, United Arab Emirates Powers Its 'Consumer Culture' into Overdrive

By Scott Peterson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 2, 1997 | Go to article overview

Desert Dynamo Glittering by the Gulf, United Arab Emirates Powers Its 'Consumer Culture' into Overdrive


Scott Peterson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


The mall scene would be familiar to most Americans: children shrieking as they dig into McDonald's lunches, then tracking off across the cola-sticky floor to "Magic City."

They are drawn to the flashing lights and beeping of countless video games and carnival rides, where a minitrain packed with kids cuts through the chaos and disappears into a "cave" made up like a Robinson Crusoe fantasy.

They emerge again into this brilliant, multicolored world, where a huge screen shimmers with music videos and adds to the noise. It could be any mall in New Jersey, complete with JC Penney, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a Levi's store. Expensive watches and designer clothing labels - even designer Arab dresses - sweeten the Western buying style. But this monument to mammon is thousands of miles from US shores and one of dozens that cater to the lavish lifestyle of the United Arab Emirates. In the once-bleak desert, where the per capita income is one of the highest in the world, spending money and easy consumerism in air-conditioned malls have become a way of life. From world records to world-class sporting events in the backyard, anything seems possible with money in this oil-rich land. Foreign workers clean away cola slicks almost as soon as they develop, and weary parents take a break from the cacophony by answering beeper messages with their mobile phones. Some women wear veils and long black gowns; others reveal far more. Outside, two new, four-wheel-drive off-road vehicles are wrapped like Christmas presents to be given away in a raffle, but so many have been handed out recently that their market price has dropped. The UAE has long had a reputation for cosmopolitan behavior and deep pockets. But its spending habits - and a national proclivity for the "big" gesture - scaled new heights in December during celebrations to mark its quarter century of independence. No expense was spared to ensure that the UAE birthday party would make the history books. Ten million lights were strung up in the capital, Abu Dhabi, and some 4,000 fireworks shells - twice as many as normally light up the Fourth of July shindig in Washington, according to one American diplomat - entertained awestruck spectators. The largest cake in the world stretched its 69-ton mass for 1-1/2 miles through the streets, crushing the tables it was laid upon. It disappeared within minutes - before it could be auctioned off for charity, as planned - when rumors swept the crowd that hidden inside was the key to a new car. A 1,200-yard UAE flag was paraded through the streets, and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, the UAE ruler since independence in 1971, was presented with the largest bouquet of flowers - 45 square yards - ever assembled. "They want to put this place on the map, and they are doing that all right," says one US-educated foreign worker. That aim is even more evident in the commitment of Dubai, the most business-oriented of the seven emirates, to bring world-class sporting events to the country.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Desert Dynamo Glittering by the Gulf, United Arab Emirates Powers Its 'Consumer Culture' into Overdrive
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.