Emiratis break taboo, take up low-paid jobs

Emiratis break taboo, take up low-paid jobs

Meet four young UAE citizens working as gas filling attendants in four different petrol stations in Ras Al Khaimah.

By Ahmed Shaaban/senior Reporter

Published: Mon 6 Jul 2015, 12:38 AM

Last updated: Fri 10 Jul 2015, 6:27 PM

Badr Al Shehi engaged in work at a gas station in RAK. — Supplied photo

Ras Al Khaimah - Have UAE citizens started braving the so-called “cultural taboo” to take up low-paid jobs? Are they willing to work as gas jockeys at petrol stations?

Yes, why not. It’s not a taboo anymore, and there is no shame or harm doing so as long as it is a halal or permissible job — that’s how a group of Emirati youth have responded.

Khaleej Times met four UAE citizens who have been working as gas filling attendants, locally called ‘fillers’, in four different petrol stations in Ras Al Khaimah. They reacted with confidence and pride, when asked about their experience in working along with expatriates.

Badr Mohammed Al Shehi, 40, told Khaleej Times he is so proud about his job as a gas jockey.

“I don’t pay heed to these silly social complications, which will not feed my family or me. I conveniently do my job despite others’ disapproving reactions.”

Al Shehi added: “Whenever someone discovers me as a local citizen and compel me stop working as filler, I tell them ‘it’s my job, and I have no problem to work side by side to expatriate workers under the sun.’”

However, most of the jobless Emirati nationals do not share his flexible attitude, he remarked.

“A kind of complex holds some locals back from undertaking such a hard tiring work that they prefer to remain unemployed.”

Though Al Shehi, who belongs to Al Julan area in the northern area, is a supervisor by designation at the gas station, he also works as a filling attendant.

There is still hope though, pointed out Al Shehi, who has been working at the gas station for three months.

He said: “There are Emirati young men who are more aware and do not care about this ‘shame culture’ due to the skyrocketing costs of living.

“Strangely, many Emirati nationals refuse to let me fill their cars with petrol and insist on doing the job on their own when they recognise me as a local.”

Al Shehi gently apologises and thanks their noble attitudes but insist on doing his job which he is proud of.

“But some swear and refuse to let me fill their cars, saying that they shall never let an Emirati national fill their vehicles.”

On the contrary, many other customers, Emirati, Arabs, and foreigners, extended their appreciation to Al Shehi and encouraged him to keep it up.

“You are the man,” they told him. Saeed Musabih, of Al Julan area, said he wished to follow the footsteps of Al Shehi.

“It is much better than remaining jobless, but not so easy due to social implications. I guess it will take some time.”

Another resident of the northern emirate also has the same inspiring story to tell. Yusuf Al Dhuhuri, 29, of Shaam area, said: “I am so happy about my job as a filling station attendant. It is a rich and interesting experience.”  

Mohammed Al Tunaiji, 38, of Al Rams area, north Ras Al Khaimah, also works as a gas jockey. “It is a job I much need to look after my family. I have no problem serving my country anywhere and anytime.”


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