We went to Raffles International School yesterday by taxi. The Indian taxi driver was very friendly unlike some taxi drivers that we'd met. The quite good looking taxi driver is the fair type of Indian (maybe coming from Karala or Chennai, India) who reminded me of Mr Nagaya, the Senior Assistant of Co-curriculum, in my previous school SMJK Yu Hua, Kajang. He acted like a tourist guide telling us about the buildings or famous tourist spots in Dubai that we passed by.
Why was he so friendly? Firstly, he was probably a naturallly friendly type of person. Secondly and interestingly, we are MALAYSIANS!
However, we had a different so sad experience coming back from Raffles. Just as we got the offer letter for the kids, hubby called a taxi to take us home. After more than half an hour, the taxi didn't come. The security guard, who's an Arab, told us to ask the staff at the reception counter to make a call. So, we did. In just less than a minute, hubby got a call saying a taxi near Burj Al-Arab, just a few metres away, was on the way to fetch us. We were so puzzled then because when that mat saleh with her British accent called the same number, the taxi came in no time! Did we sound like a Pinoy on the phone? That's why the taxi people took our call for granted?! How could they....
To tell the truth, the people in Dubai, including the generally Indian taxi drivers (as if they are so good...), kind of look down on Indonesians and Pinoys (as the Philippinos are being called here). If you meet any Pinoys here, you can always mistaken them as Malaysians. So, we have to be careful before giving salam to any Malaysian-looking guy. The only difference that I can see is the way they dress. We don't see Malaysians with short pants here and the women, Alhamdulillah I'm wearing a headscarf! They don't, of course, as they are always seen with quite indecent outfits. Some Indonesian women wear headscarves too but you can easily tell that they are indonesians from the styles of their headscarves. (Just imagine the maids you see in Malaysia). So, I'm safe I guess.
I managed to capture the pic of this taxi driver tapi nampak sebelah telinga je la. Padan muka eksyen sangat. Dia ingat aku Pinoy ke? Chehh!
Back to Dubai taxi drivers, who are conquered by the Indians, usually the first question that they will ask is "Where are you from?". If we answer "Malaysia", then only they will start a friendly conversation with you. If they don't ask, meaning they already assume that you are Pinoys and don't even like to talk to you except for the question "Where to?"
To the taxi drivers (and even the Arabs here), Malaysia is a developed country, as compared to Philipines and Indonesia, which they say underdeveloped. That's why they look highly on Malaysians, especially when they know most Malaysians who come to Dubai are professionals. The Indonesians and Pinoys mostly come here as labours, salesgirls/boys, counter girls, nurses and maids (some even involve in the 'meat' business).
This scenario is the same in Holland. My brother, who's staying there, says that the Dutch also look highly on Malaysians as they say Malaysia is a developed country. The Malaysians there too are most of the time mistaken as the Indonesians whom they say coming from an underdeveloped country.
The moral of the story is that the people here in Dubai look very highly on the Westerners. If you're Malaysians, they will also look highly on you. So, if you happen to come to Dubai, proudly say to the taxi drivers driving you from the airport and everyone here that you are Malaysian! Don't you feel proud to be Malaysians? (despite the infamous oil price hike and dirty political stories! Oooppss...)