The people who work so you can enjoy New Year's
Dubai - While most people are enjoying the new year with family and friends, staff in security and hospitality dutifully work in the background
They're the first to arrive at the venue and the last to leave. They are the production crew, security personnel, maintenance and other staff who make sure the place is set for the public to enjoy and after the revelry, to ensure it's left clean and tidy.
While most people will enjoy this year's laser light show at the Burj Khalifa in the company of family and friends, the staff are not taking a holiday but are dutifully working in the background.
They control the flow of the crowd, instruct people where to go and some of them have been working round the clock for the past weeks to ensure that this year's Guinness World Record attempt at the world's tallest tower will be witnessed not just by the hundreds of thousands who have trooped to Downtown Dubai, but also around the world.
Filipino expat and video technician Jaime Guerrero, 28, told Khaleej Times that his team has been working almost 24 hours in various shifts since December 1. "We have a big responsibility. Of course, not everyone can come to watch Burj Khalifa's laser light show up close, but there are many viewing areas around Downtown Dubai and we are responsible for doing the live telecast," said Guerrero.
"On New Year's Eve, many of my colleagues have arrived early morning to check the cables and as for me, I might go home around 4am the following day after we're done with the de-rigging," added Guerrero, who has been ringing in the New Year at Burj Khalifa in the last five years.
South African national Agnelo Fernandes said: "Of course, we also want to be with our family to welcome the new year, but duty calls. At least we find pleasure seeing other families - mothers and fathers with kids in tow enjoying the show."
As for mall security Edwin Barcelo, crowd control is his main task. "I have been here since the first New Year's Eve fireworks at Burj Khalifa. Every year, the volume of people grows," he told Khaleej Times.
"Some are really hard to control - you can't blame them, they're very excited - but many follow our orders. We have a system in place but we always make sure that our focus is on the job. We can't let our guard down, so to speak," Barcelo added.
His colleagues, Ugandan expat Joseph Kalanzi and Filipino national Venerando de Lara, are working in the mall parking area. "We think we will be the last ones to leave. After the show, we have to ensure the proper exit of all the cars."
Restaurant manager Jaylene Adona said she will probably walk home at around 4am after her duty. "We are always the last to leave and I have been celebrating New Year's Eve not with family but with our customers. It's bittersweet though. I enjoy the Burj Khalifa spectacle really up close but I also miss my family."