Why referring to the UAE as 'the sandpit' makes David Light throw his toys out of the pram

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Why referring to the UAE as the sandpit makes David Light throw his toys out of the pram
'How's the sandpit'...

Published: Sat 23 Jul 2016, 2:30 PM

Last updated: Sat 23 Jul 2016, 11:29 PM

HOW OFTEN DO you receive this text message from a friend abroad: 'How's the sandpit?' It's an innocuous enough enquiry, and one that is quite possibly unique to Western expatriates given I have only witnessed its usage in our community. Yet its apparent innocence I think actually betrays so much more about the mindset of a particular UAE resident than perhaps intended.
I hate the term. Now, this is not a declaration of some ultimate adopted patriotism, nor do I believe nicknames are wrong and I definitely can't be angry with anyone for being inadvertently offensive, I'm British after all. However, I do believe this particular phrase is a symptom of the infantilism that can infect some from other countries who choose to live here. It is this phenomenon I find terribly off-putting.
In some light it is mildly understandable. The Emirates' societies are structured in a way that certain factions, if they so choose, can have someone to cook, clean, drive, look after children, walk the dog and tend to the garden. Occasionally all those tasks fall to the same person, but that is for a different 'musing.'
One could go for weeks without lifting a finger. There's not even a need to pump your own petrol, pack your own shopping bags or carry them to your own car (?!?!), so in a way reverting to a childlike state where being nurtured is the only consideration could be expected. Calling your home a 'sandpit', the central feature of a kiddies' playground, may be viewed as the final capitulation - just one small step to liquidising your meals and regularly soiling yourself.
There is no doubt a probability I am exaggerating the saying's significance, but if you do find yourself using it try and have a think: when was the last time you scrubbed your own bathtub? If you can't remember it could be worth gaining a smidge of perspective. (david@khaleejtimes.com)  


By David Light

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