Discrimination, racism, whatever it is

I’ve written about how I love the new public transport system in Dubai that is, the newly opened Dubai Metro Green Line. Now, it’s time to talk about what I hate about it – the people manning the trains. ‘Manning’ means supervising, checking on the passengers making sure no one eats, drinks or puts his/her feet on the seats. Well done, thank you very much.

My main complaint is the one assigned in the Gold Class cabin. You see, the train have this one compartment called the ‘Gold Class’ cabin where fares are charged double in exchange for wider, leather seats and front train view. The double fare would put off most people which makes the Gold Class cabin appealing during rush hour – there’s a sure seat waiting for you, 90% of the time. And if you’re heavily pregnant and leg cramps come your way even after 5 minutes of standing, you’d grab that 90% sure seating chance.

So I boarded the new Green Line, camera in hand, ready to take photos and a video. It was the first day and I was excited! I swiped my Gold Card (bought a limited edition commemorative one) and got on the train. There was only me, one other passenger and a Filipino lady train attendant. I positioned in the front, camera at the ready as the train pulled away.

Train attendant: “Excuse me, but not allowed.”

Me: (distracted) “Huh? I’m only taking a video.”

I thought she meant no video taking allowed but it’s allowed in the Red Line so why not here? I turned my back away on her.

Train attendant: “But you’re not allowed here.”

Me: “What? I am only taking a video and will sit down in a bit!”

At this point, I thought she meant I am not allowed to stand because I am pregnant and the train is approaching a bend in the tracks. She finally said it.

Train attendant: “Madame, you NEED a Gold Card to be in the Gold Class!”

All hell broke loose. I stopped the video, and almost screamed “But I have a Gold Class card!!”, to which she replied, “Show me.”

I showed her my card and she said sorry. I swear I could have slapped her! Way to ruin my morning! Rude customer service stories just go on and on and on in Dubai.

Seriously now, the fare was 4.60 dhs (USD1.25). Did she really think I am NOT capable of paying that amount and that I have no place in the Gold Class!? The most annoying of this is that, she did not even inspect the cards of the people who got in after me.

She singled me out!

I gave her dagger looks and she seemed to get the message. She asked one Arab man in local dress to see his card and she got a good scolding!

“Don’t you think I would be stupid enough to get on the Gold Class cabin if I didn’t have a Gold Card!!??”

The lady attendant turned red. Good for her! The Arab man did what I should have done!

I mean, I know it must be your job to ‘check’, to make sure passengers are seated in appropriate seats – Gold Class for Gold card holders and other cabins for the normal Silver card holders but lady, don’t single people out just because of how they look (brown, non-Arab like me!). The fare isn’t really worth diamonds that we brown, common working, non-Arab people can’t afford!!

RTA people, I don’t care if you have to check, BUT CHECK EVERYONE!

Conclusion/Piece of advice: If you’re brown and non-Arab, stick your Gold Card in your forehead!!

20 thoughts on “Discrimination, racism, whatever it is

  1. Oh my! That was not a good way to start your morning. I totally hate people who belittle another person. One sad thing is the one who usually have this kind of attitude is your fellow brown-skinned countrymen.


  2. I think that sometimes these kind of persons try to do their job how it was told to do, and don’t have nothing personal with you. Yes, it’s not a nice way to start the day, but don’t take it personally, it’s just a small bump in road.


  3. uh-oh! I think my blood went up on this entry.

    You’re right Grace, if they are really checking, they should inspect everyone, or better yet, always have a scotch tape to ensure she would be seeing the card without even asking. some people, tsk, tsk..


  4. I took a train in Germany one time and I had purchased the higher fared ticket, and then I was speaking with a fellow American, and the Train Attendant came over and demanded to see my ticket. Not only that, but when I showed him, he grabbed the ticket and then told me he was going to take me to authorities at the next stop! I was terrified! They held me for about 30 minutes until I demanded to speak to their manager, or the American’s in Frankfurt! Eventually, I was released. It scared me terribly.


  5. OK Grace, I think that this is what you should do in these situations.
    1. Have some business cards made with just the Sandier Pastures URL on it.
    2. Keep several with you.
    3. When you encounter a rude or racist person ask their name and hand them a business card.
    4. Then inform them that they should check the website the next day to read all about themselves.
    5. Write about the experience as you usually do.
    6. I am sure that it will make you feel better, and we in turn can leave comments condemning the person.


  6. Thanks for sharing Grace about your experiance!!!!

    If the people knew you would post the photos on this blog, I would think that they would be more gracious. This blog is great!!! I am really enjoying your post about Dubai.



  7. Oh no! But yeah, though I don’t experience it first hand ( I guess they’re afraid of my face.hehehehe) but most of the time they check randomly and sad to say it seems they do it that way and I even saw one incident where a passenger in abaya asked the attendant to check the Indian guy and good thing he has a gold ticket but that was totally racist and I told the attendant upfront that she should check everybody that comes in even those wearing abayas for it’s embarrassing to be single out.


  8. I agree with Mia that they do their job as they are told to, nothing personal. Some people face such incidences and keep grutches. This is not good, you must forgive and forget. And later that Arab man scolded that lady so fine. It is said correctly, as you sow, so shall you reap.


    • Then I remember the movie Wild Child where Emma Roberts say, “If this was America, I would sue!”

      Racial profiling is so common here in Dubai that I feel stupid why I am still surprised.


  9. My sister pregnent as well, and she get crazy mad about me. its extreme emotinal feeling you ladies exprience.. Think about it for a second, if it would happen to you when you having that best day of your life you would just show her the card and continue smiling


  10. My wife and I know exactly what you mean and the worst part is it’s the “kabayan” attendants who would do this! Filipino’s in Dubai are well known for their spectacular customer service skills. Sadly it seems that they do not apply this to their fellow countrymen…


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