If you’re going to give something a name, at least make it a decent one, says Alex Ritman
It’s clear that a rather colourful imagination played a major role in shaping much of Dubai’s skyline. I implore anyone to suggest that the designers of three palm tree-shaped islands, a floating map of the world, an aquatic-themed Barbie castle hotel and an indoor ski slope in a shopping mall in a desert, didn’t spend their childhoods turning sofa cushions into impregnable forts on the floor of the lounge or covering their bedroom walls in heavily crayoned pictures of flying cars driven by excessively limbed aliens.
I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with this; a wild imagination is fantastic. I’d rather share a deserted tropical island with a mass-murdering bi-polar lunatic than anyone a bit on the dull side (at least you’d have something to talk about, even if it’s just to ask why they’re constantly handing you arsenic-laced coconuts).
But it sadly seems that, while originality led the pack when it came to town planning (especially on the roads), the creative juices had dried up by the time they got to the naming stage. Take Dubai Sports City’s new cricket stadium, or, to give it the official name, Cricket Stadium. Clearly, the developers deem us so dim-witted that without using the words ‘Cricket’ and ‘Stadium’, we’d all think it was the world’s largest doughnut (actually, if anywhere…)?
It gets worse. Last year, Dubai opened the doors to its massive tribute to shopping and called it The Dubai Mall. How chin-strokingly vague. And within this mysteriously entitled venue sits Dubai Ice Rink and Dubai Aquarium. Then there’s Ski Dubai, Dubailand, Dubai Autodrome and Dubai Museum, to name a few. Even Burj Dubai, perhaps this town’s proudest monument to the power of imagination, translates as the dreary Dubai Tower.
But the worst offender of all sits just in front of this ozone-layerpiercing creation. Put to a national naming competition, the awe-oohand- aah-inspiring fountain spraying gallons of water 150 metres into the air could have been called something magical. But no. More than 4,000 entries and we end up with The Dubai Fountain.
What are we to do? Firstly, let’s have a year-long moratorium banning use of the word ‘Dubai’. If tourists get confused or taxi drivers get lost we’ll rethink this after 12 months. Then let’s hand over all naming duties to the under fives. And if this leads to things called ‘strange tower that looks rude but mummy says I can’t say why’, then so be it. Finally, we’ll wait. Surely once Dubai has built every single thing possible, the natural course of action would be to build another one. But, knowing this place, we’d probably just get The Dubai Mall Two. Bah. Forget it, I’m going back to my crayons.
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Ziad Jay Jul 10, 2009 09:50 am
I don't think it's Dubai's 'innocence' but to me it looks like more and more marketing for Dubai... Just add the name Dubai to everything. Whether we agree to it or not, it's actually working. Dubai was unknown in the US but now everyone knows it...even in Vegas!
Well...you can't blame them for trying, besides the name 'Dubai' sounds actually cute and exotic!
Heba Hashem Jul 08, 2009 08:41 am
Hahaaaaaa this is one article with a sense of humour!! Wickedly smart- we hear those names/titles every day but never take much notice! But you're right.. i doubt they will change.. and should they?
Now I have a reason to laugh a bit every time I pass one of Dubai's many ' landmarks'. Actually the concept of naming everything as it is, shows you how innocent Dubai is- like a new baby- who is getting everything for the first time, and still has one 'thing' of each! It's all new and fresh, and Dubai is bewildered with big eyes trying to grasp it all....So the city is naturally (and excitedly) naming every new thing with what first comes on its mind! They are happy to have it and happy to name after their city! Very cute..and very Dubaian!