Chinese expats in Dubai
As the UAE's 180,000 strong chinese population looks forward to the Beijing Olympics we talk to a small percentage about their life in Dubai 7 Comments
Liang Xiaoqian, 42
‘My events company, Hafeet Events, specialises in Arabic weddings. We do everything – decorate the houses with lights, arrange the parties and set up a stage with decorations.
I like the culture in the UAE. It’s very similar to traditional Chinese culture – even the style of dress. The way Arabic people treat their guests is akin to Chinese hospitality, it’s very civilised – so it’s easy for us to understand each other. But obviously modern China is now more like Europe.
I have been here for 20 years. I’ve got one boy, who is 12 years old and was born in Dubai. I originally came over to work for the Chinese government here, when my husband got work with a construction company.
I took over my current company in 2000 – when there were just 10 of us. Now there are 40 – Filipino, Indian, British. With the help of my hardworking staff I have managed to develop it so we do all sorts of events, such as the Olympic-themed shows running at Dragon Mart over the games, as well as fashion and art shows. I think most Chinese people live near Dragon Mart and in International City – there aren’t many in Mirdif, where I live.
I’m originally from Beijing. I go back nearly every three months. Not just for business, but to visit. Everybody’s so excited and proud about the Olympics. I think China deserves it. Anyone from China now feels how it’s changed in the past 20 years – every year I go back and it’s different. They’ve improved the traffic, the pollution, the security – they’ve prepared for them in every field. But not only that, there are so many artists and creative people there – it’s a very international city. I eat different food every day – Western, Arabic, anything – but I think I still enjoy Chinese food the best. I really like China Club because of the atmosphere.
Sometimes we go to the Madinat Jumeirah to Zheng He’s. There are some other Chinese places purely for Chinese people – like the one in International City called Chinese Noodle House. They serve very authentic food from Western China there, and normally there aren’t many foreigners, just Chinese. I think there’ll be lots more Chinese fashion designers coming here. I’m holding a Chinese Fashion show in Dragon Mart on August 25, where the designers are opening a shop. Chinese fashion is not at all traditional now, it meets international standards.’
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