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قديم 10-04-2012, 01:04 AM   رقم المشاركة : 1

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Why we love the UAE

Life & Style | People

Why we love the UAE

Home to more than 200 nationalities, three residents of the UAE tell Friday about their emotional bonds with the country
As told to Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary, Friday magazine
Published: 00:00 December 2, 2011

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Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
From left: Anas Bukhash, Chief Operating Officer of Pro League Committee, Dubai, the professional association football in the UAE; Pauline Elliott, Art and design professional and founder of a charity called School Tools and Lajo Gupta, author.

An Emirati
Anas Bukhash, 29

We are a country of achievers.

What do I love about my country? All of it, of course. It has an aura like no other. They say home is where the heart is and mine is here. I'm lucky I'm Emirati because the UAE is a truly unique place.

I love visiting our desert right around the time before winter when the weather is just perfect and I can spend time outdoors. I'm into sports, especially football, which is so massive here. It's top of my favourite list.

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I've always enjoyed playing football, and now, luckily, my work too is tied with the sport. I also like photographing the various aspects of my country, especially the desert and its people. Fishing, another sport I love, is one of our national indulgences. I go fishing with a friend on his speed boat in Dubai. I've caught a lot of big fish, the biggest was a 1m-long barracuda a while back. Food is important and I love all of our rice dishes, including machbous, (lamb and rice with a lot of spices) and biryani.

If I had to use one phrase to sum up the UAE culture it would be unity - it's a nation that stands unified against vagaries of time.

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To UAE with love on National Day
Enjoy a staycation in the emirates

The part of UAE history I love the most is none other day than National Day; the special day where we became the United Arab Emirates. That day we also celebrate unity not only among the emirates but also between neighbours. You don't find this in other countries. It is a day to be thankful for all that we have. I will celebrate it in a simple manner with my friends and family. We have already started decorating our villa with the UAE flags and you can see it from far away.

I love the spirit of Ramadan, the Eids and of course, of National Day. They sum up the spirit of the UAE.

I just love the ethos of our country - we are a country of not only visionaries but achievers.

A British expat
Pauline D Elliott, 59

The people here are as dazzling as the skyline...

My first glimpse of Dubai was at night after I moved here from the UK four years ago. I was amazed by the jewelled skyline as we approached the city. But since settling down in the city with my husband Deacon, an aviation adviser, I've realised the people are just as dazzling.

Everyone was so kind and generous while I found my bearings as a newcomer. Being in the UAE has made me realise that we can all live together in harmony no matter where we're from and what we believe in. I have made so many friends here and taken part in various charity walks and runs as well as joining in the many festivals celebrated here by different communities and cultures.

My stay here has also enabled me to raise funds for my charity School Tools. It helps children in South Africa by providing them with school books, learning aids, bags, pencils and little things that help keep their education and schools running.

Dubai has been truly inspiring. Everything here is breathtaking. I have gone kayaking around the beautiful island of the Palm Jumeirah, taken in the beauty of the sea and sky, captured the gold reflection on the Burj Al Arab at sunset with my camera and reached the top of the Burj Khalifa to take in the awesome view. Every day there's something new to experience. I have gone boating down the Creek, I've watched the local tradesmen at work, loading and unloading their wares at the dockside. I love venturing into the souks for spices and relaxing in an art café for o0o0o0o0oo0o0o0o0oo0o0o0o0oo0o0o0o0oo0o0o0o0oo0o0o 0o0oo0o0o0o0oments. Our favourite retreat is to drive out to the Hatta Fort Hotel.

December is my favourite month when the flowers are in bloom everywhere and I watch the horses on the polo fields at the Arabian Ranches and the Desert Palm Polo Club.

In the UAE, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone. I have found time for photography, art, writing and charity work. I finished my first children's book General Nutty and the Inkpots.

I think there is so much one can do here and the possibilities are limitless, a sentiment so well expressed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum when he says: "In the race for excellence there is no finish line."

An Indian expat
Lajo Gupta, 57

I'm proud to have watched the Union's amazing progress.

I came here 33 years ago from San Francisco with my husband Subhash and fell in love with a charming and hospitable population.

The first thing that greeted me in 1978 was the frankincense and oudh-perfumed ambience of the tiny but squeaky clean airport. Over the decades, the fragrances have changed but the fond memories remain indelible.

While my husband worked hard to set up his business, I was deeply involved in cultural activities - organising events and concerts, helping set up institutes like the Modern High School, starting the World Earth Day and the Clean Up The World campaigns. My work gave me ample opportunity to interact with the people of this region. The first two phrases of Arabic that set up permanent residence in my vocabulary were ahlan wa sahlan (welcome) and maafi mushkila (No problem)! These phrases remain a constant and sum up the spirit of the UAE - where all are welcome and there is no ambition that one cannot bring to fruition.

I was able to fulfil so many of my dreams. I had three beautiful daughters, Padmini, Gayatri and Aditi and now I'm a grandmother as well. The place taught us to be happy and gave us many fulfilling memories.

I treasure some very beautiful moments like the late hours in the month of Ramadan at Al Mallah in Satwa, an open-air coffee shop and where the old and the new converge on the bustling Al Diyafah Street.

A few years ago when most of the oases was surrounded by unyielding sand and when the horizon wasn't overshadowed with towering buildings, a handful of people from across the world set out to create a progressive state.

It's my privilege to have been a part of these changes and to have witnessed the evolution.
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