Filipinos singled out on overcrowding & smelly food

This photo has something to do with the story. Read on.

A news headline caught my attention this morning: Landlords shut door on Filipinos in Dubai.

Two reasons are stated: (1) Filipinos tend to overcrowd the rooms and (2) There’s a certain food they cook that’s smelly.


While I do not agree with overcrowding as it would compromise safety and hygiene, why single out the Filipinos when there are so many other nationalities sharing/overcrowding an apartment room? These people have no choice. No one wants to live in a home without privacy but how can you expect a low earning expat pay for a room which costs more than his monthly salary?

A solution would be implementing rules and write it in the contract: maximum number of people per room and checking afterwards. When there is a rule written in black and white, this kind of problem would be less.

The other issue here is that landlords and the writer of that news article generalize. I’ve had an experience with racial discrimination where I was treated badly when looking for an apartment room to rent for my family just because I look Filipino – because they suspect that I would sublet the apartment room and overcrowd it. The generalization is unbelievable. Not all Filipinos share and overcrowd rooms, building watchmen/landlords should be more polite and deal with their paying customers better.

And regarding smelly foods, this really irritates me. Everyone has their own delicacies which give strong odor. We have lived in an apartment building with lots of other nationalities and have smelled something overbearing. It’s not always, it’s temporary and it will go away. As long as it is not everyday or frequent enough to get me waking up at night, it’s ok.

The food in question is that photo above.

I am sure Filipinos do NOT cook the dried fish every single day. Like all the other expats in Dubai or in any country in the world, people living abroad want a piece of home from time to time and food is most likely to satisfy that.

If the landlord doesnt want smelly food, he simply writes it in the tenancy contract and mention that violation of the tenancy contract can lead to termination. As easy as that!

But wait again –

What about people with very bad body odor?  There are PLENTY of them here. Why aren’t they banned inside public transport?

Don’t you think that news article is discriminating to one culture/race?

[Photo credit: Google images]


  1. What smell? For everyone’s information the smell of our dried fish is nothing compared to some curries out there. We had neighbors who literally cooked the stinkiest food I’ve ever smelled(they use those spices a lot) almost every other day and nothing was done about it. No complaints — except for my mom exhausting a whole canister of air freshener in our unit.

    The smell of that salty dried fish is way better than the armpits of those who ingest lots of spices that almost never had a shower (by the smell of it) and almost never used a deodorizer. You could not imagine the smell of the taxis and buses in Dubai (specially route#13 or those with 13 in it). I guess I just got used to it, having lived there between 2 – 15 years of age…

    OK forget about that, I never got used to it. It may sound mean but I hold my breath whenever I pass by those people. (80% of passersby, btw)



    1. That’s the point – they complain as if Filipinos are cooking dried fish everyday. But no, I don’t think so! While people of other nationalities do their strong smelling food cooking everyday that we are afraid to open our windows…still the smell comes through the kitchen exhaust fans in our apartment building before!

      Bus #13! I used to use it and it stinks like hell!



  2. Yeah, I think it is discrimination. Terrible, isn’t it? I don’t know if you heard about a candidate here Jon Huntsman, who adopted a Chinese baby years ago, and another candidate tried to make him out as a traitor. People are so weird!



  3. I have filipino colleagues and it’s impossible for me to have lunch with them, the smell is unbearable, i need to get out of the office everyday during lunch time. Even if i use air freshener, the stinky smell takes some time to fade.

    As for smelly people, i found that mostly in the lift, they can be of any nationality. Smelly people in a lift is temporary but the smelly food last for quite some time.



    1. Right, and not all nationalities have smelly “delicacies” It’s mainly south and pacific Asians. Never heard any complaint about stinky Russian or Italian food )))
      My roommates are Filipino and they fry pork for every meal, the smell of burning pork fats is sickening



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