The main reason for globalization is to spread national goods internationally, where both national and international parties then benefit. But what happens when agreements are not upheld and national identities suffer?
The easiest way to know if a place is globalized is to look around you; if you have a McDonald’s near by, then you are definitely in the globalized market. I mean who wouldn’t want to be, especially when it concerns food? With the various arrays of foods and delicious nothings from all over the world. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to have access to such exquisite cuisines sometimes mixed with just a pinch of fusion from others. Lets not forget the aspiring chefs and entrepreneurs who bring their own culture’s delicacies. Or perhaps just the influx of migrants and the only way to truly make it feel like home is through their own comfort foods of course!
But what about us? What about me? What about my people?
You see, just recently I was exposed to a shock that I still am trying to recover from; a shock that you may even laugh at, but a shock nonetheless.
In efforts of trying to represent my country (the United Arab Emirates) during the wondrous event of ‘International Day’ at university, the best way to do so is by sharing our traditional Emirati cuisine. I had wanted to share the flavors of my upbringing and childhood. I wanted to share #MyDubai. But in the quest of doing so, I had begun to realize that it was almost pointless. Because initially taking on the task of wanting to make things traditionally at home from scratch, it seemed as though all the ingredients managed to disappear from the shelves at the stores. I had gone during the celebration of the UAE National Day (2nd December), knowing that there should definitely be a lot of flags around to purchase, and so why not the ingredients too?
I was wrong on both accounts. Yes there were flags (due to the celebrations), but not for sale and no traditional ingredients. After going to countless stores and asking different people, I continuously got the same answer. “We only get those during Ramadan”, I asked them “why?” to which they replied, “Because no one buys them any other day.” Essentially telling me that these traditional ingredients were seasonal and not the nature kind. These included: Dibs al-Tammar, Khubz Raqaq, Luqaimat, and many others.
I sought out an alternative; surely there must be restaurants that I can order from right? Yes, there were a few and not more than a few, by that I mean only three. Two of which were completely capitalist (unreasonably overpriced) and one seemingly unreliable. This made me question, how could this have happened? Within the famous city of Dubai, there are only three Emirati restaurants? I could find hundreds of Italian, Chinese, or Indian places to order from, but for my own traditional cuisine, it doesn’t even complete the number on a single hand?
Dubai is a multicultural city, and with that come diverse tastes, traditions, and identities. But has it become so diverse that the efforts of trying to sustain it’s own national identity are trivial? I definitely do not believe in the ‘low demand’ aspect of it all. When individuals visit a place, they want to view its culture, heritage and traditions. But it seems as though Dubai has invested so much time in making others feel at home, it lost its own.
I am lost in you.
We were meant to be a team in this. You were interested in me, and I was very intrigued with what you had to offer. You told me that people would love what I had, only for you to come in and cover all that I had, with your large labeled brands. You said you’d take me abroad, but instead concealed me as though I was flawed.
We had a deal Globalization. I kept my end of the bargain why are you shying away from yours? You make your big brands cheaper and more demanded for. You grabbed that niche. But now I am suffering.
There was a point where you needed me, in fact were obsessed with me. But for you to continue to grow just know your market needs us both.
Fadhila Al Asmawi | Dubai Campus
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