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How to spot a Wannabe Local (Wannabe Emirati)

There are two kinds of residents in the UAE. On one hand, the natives, more commonly called as “Locals”, who are the only ones with Emirati citizenship (aka “bassborts”). On the other hand, there’s the rest of the population, the expats, random nationalities holding limited-stay visas. Being a Local is special, because they’re generally considered the superior race, and always seem to have an intimidating presence due to many reasons such as being practically over-the-law and having higher than average income levels. This is why some expats love to act as if they are Emiratis, to achieve some sort of a better social status. Here are a few ways to spot them.

The Kandooras

The white Kandoora is a standard day-to-day outfit for Emiratis, they even work it to work and going out. Wannabe locals are frequently spotted wearing Kandooras. The reason they do that is most people automatically assume that the person is a local if he is wearing it. They also manage to wear it at the most inappropriate times, such as going bowling, because they just don’t look Emirati enough without it.

The Beards

Beards are common in the UAE. There are a few ways to do a beard, and each style could indicate where you are from, which is why local wannabees do it the Emirati way, which is a very distinct style. They also stick to the Emirati oath of having it done at a barber.  Not to mention how they go to the barbershop always wearing Kandooras, even though the real Emiratis don’t do that.

The way they talk

They always talk with an Emirati accent. They also try to maintain the commanding tone of voice that Emiratis usually speak with (due to their feeling of superiority). If they’re Arab expats, they will speak with the Emirati Arab accent. If they’re English speaking expats, they’ll start saying “bebsi” and “botato”, just to sound Emirati, even though they can perfectly pronounce their P’s.

They’re extra patriotic

Wannabee Locals are the most patriotic type of expats. Browsing their Facebook, they’re always “From United Arab Emirates”, with the Facebook cover photo bearing the colors of the UAE flag, or a photo of Sheikh Zayed. They celebrate every small Emirati occasion and you can find them annually expressing how sad they are that “Baba Zayed” died (we all are, but they’re extra sad). They always have UAE decorations in their car interiors, and showcase a range of bumper stickers ranging from Sheikh Zayed’s photo to a “Union of the Nation” badge and/or some Arabic text such as “Ma sha’ Allah”. They’re also always there on every UAE Viral article, commenting “fake news”, and “UAE is the best country on earth.”

They all have a story

Whenever they are confronted on why they call themselves Emiratis, when they officially aren’t, they always seem to have a story. We’ve all heard how their grand-grandparents built this country, and their “passports” are on the way and will arrive at any moment. There’s also the story that their parents rejected the UAE passport because the government doesn’t allow dual-passports.

They have a strong mindset

Wannabee Locals not only lie that they are locals, they also believe this lie themselves. This perhaps is why they have such willpower in finding another job to stay in the UAE after they have been fired and/or their visa expired. They also manage to make themselves believe that they will live in the UAE their whole lives and settle there happily ever after and that the government is looking for their best interest. It seems they place themselves in an alternative reality, which could be a mechanism to deal with pressures of being a mere expat.

They hang out with the real Emiratis

The real Emiratis are not the most socially open race, and they mostly tend to stick with each other. You’re not a Wannabe Emirati if you don’t have your Emirati crew that you hang out with. They always find a group of Emiratis to infiltrate, until they are eventually accepted by one. This gives them a much higher ‘rep’ than just wearing a Kandoora, because obviously, if you’re hanging out with Emiratis and have Emirati friends, then you must be Emirati! In these groups, they’re usually the equivalent of towel boys, always being ordered around, and in return, they are allowed to remain in the group.

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