Last Updated: Mon Jul 11, 2011 01:46 am (KSA) 22:46 pm (GMT)

Nadia Idriss Mayen: Dubai, what’s your price tag?

“Where are you from?”

“What do you do?”

“Which neighborhood do you reside in?”

“What car do you drive?”

These are some of the many questions you hear in the city of Dubai.

I never really paid much attention to it until recently. I was having lunch at a restaurant when I overheard a couple discussing their heightened sense of importance in the Dubai society.

“Can you believe Sheila wants to live like us?” The man said while he devoured his food.

“She just wants to live in Dubai because she’s jealous of our lifestyle,” his companion replied.

The conversation continued for over 20 minutes on their affluent life and how their friends in their country of origin envied them. I lost my appetite on the topic of their conversation. I found myself walking away in disbelief and tried to gather my thoughts about what I’d overheard.

A visit to Dubai was always interesting, but living in Dubai has opened my eyes and got me thinking about the Dubai’s fabricated culture. Almost every other person I’ve met has asked me: what part of town do I live in, what car I drive and what my job title is. It got me thinking when did these questions become important to who we are?

“How much did you spend?”

“What are you wearing?”

“Is that authentic?”

“Is it a five star hotel restaurant?”

Should all these questions really matter? Have material products taken over our identities? Have we become slaves to consumerism? Answers: Yes, yes, and yes.

The following day, I found myself more attuned as I walked through crowds at a mall. I felt that the people of Dubai started to float above the ground. That they forgot where their roots where planted.

“I don’t want to know who you are but what you’re worth!”

(Nadia Idriss Mayen, Executive Producer of Web TV at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: nadia.mayen@mbc.net)

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