Why they love UAE, residents share on Valentine's Day


Why they love UAE, residents share on Valentines Day

'Dubai has helped me heal'

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Published: Sat 13 Feb 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 14 Feb 2016, 7:35 PM

We all have our own definitions of love. today, on Valentine's Day, Khaleej Times speaks to residents, celebrities, writers and entrepreneurs, all of whom have one thing in common - they are either in love with the UAE, or the country directly or indirectly helped them find their soulmates.
I've always felt at home here - Chandana Roy, bestselling author of A Good Girl
For me, it was love at first sight when I first landed in Dubai with my son Aniruddh to join my husband Dilip. The sky was blue, the air was clean and the roads were clear. But it was 1990, so despite the outward serenity, those were turbulent times.
The Gulf War had just started. And yet, I felt safe and secure, such was the aura of the country. The demography, the skyline, and the traffic on the roads have undergone major changes since then, but my love for UAE has remained unchanged. If at all, it has grown deeper, the reason being I continue to feel at home and safe here.

Where else in the world would you come across so many nationalities living together so harmoniously without losing their cultural identity? The diverse populations here may be more like a bowl of tossed salad than a homogenous melting pot, but the fact remains, they coexist; they assimilate; they mingle.
Speaking of tossed salads and melting pots, where else in the world do you have so many restaurants, catering to so many palates and appealing to so many taste buds?
- As told to Sushmita Bose
I love UAE for its positivity - Liz Fenwick, award-winning author of Under A Cornish Sky
Aside from the sunshine, what I love most about the UAE is its positivity. Up until November last year, I lived in Dubai - 11 years in total - as an expat and what always struck me was the positive attitude. Maybe it was the blue sky but the feeling filling the air was that things were possible - be it a new business, a new book or that the world could and would become a better place.

The sense of "if you can dream, you can do it" hovers over each new venture. This was probably the reason why I decided to start writing fiction again while we lived in the country. Yes, it took a lot of hard work - anything one does seriously requires hard work - but by living in Dubai I was given support from areas that in the UK wouldn't happen for most debut novelists. Like magazine and radio interviews.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a perfect example of all that is positive and possible. The UAE provides an environment for people to grow - positively. I love that and am grateful for the lift it has given my career.
- As told to Sushmita Bose
Modernity rooted in tradition - Esther Eden, singer
Dubai and its wonderful multi-cultural environment is a great place to grow up in. There are so many opportunities for anyone who lives here - all you have to do is work to get where you want to be. I have been blessed with fantastic opportunities - signed with Universal Music Mena, performed last weekend for the RedFestDXB and soon to release my first single.
I don't drive yet, so I highly depend on public transport which I use frequently - the buses and metros are all well connected so you can travel pretty much everywhere without any issue.

How can I can I talk about Dubai and not mention the food? The sheer gastronomical delights that the city has to offer - from Chinese to Italian to Portuguese to Goan to Mughlai - oh my, the list is endless.
Then we have the music. The music is there and waiting, you just need to discover it!
Dubai does everything in the grandest of styles - music festivals, buildings, fireworks, malls.
But more than anything, what I absolutely love about this place is that it is modern yet hold on to their traditions, family values and principles.
- As told to Maan Jalal
Dubai has helped me heal - Benedetta Paravia, recording artist
After 14 years of residency with a few brief periods back in her native Italy, recording artist Benedetta Paravia or Princess Bee as she is known to her fans, labels herself a 'Dubaian'. Last year the singer released a UAE number one single - Emaraat - a musical love letter to her adopted country for National Day.
"The first reason I have so much love for this country is because when I first came to Dubai it was due to sad circumstances. I had lost my love. I was very sad but Dubai helped me heal.

"Secondly, in 2002, as I was settling in Dubai, all my friends were young and already in positions of responsibility in the government and in UAE institutions. I felt this country (was) ... the opposite of Italy. Here they give hope and opportunities to the youngest people. This has been confirmed even very recently ... (when) we see a 22-year-old minister and young people in the government. The country is future-orientated.
"Finally, I love this country because you have the opportunity to jump from a business meeting in the morning to the beach in the afternoon, to an outstanding event in the evening. It can happen every day in Dubai."
­- As told to David Light

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