So today, I watched an episode of "Keeping up with the Kardashians."
Not by choice, you see. I was having dinner at my fiance's place and her little sister was watching it. By choice, I mean.
After only the second minute in, I found myself trying not to weep for the state of mankind, that we, as a species, have devolved to where enough of us voluntarily watch this show.
After the third minute, I completely understood why so many people hate the Kardashians, and realized that my respect for the movie Idiocracy had deepened exponentially.
After the ninth minute, I had run out of ways to think up scenarios where they could all be slowly tortured to gruesome and inhumane deaths.
After the tenth minute, I realized I was enjoying the commercial break slightly more than I enjoy sex.
After the eleventh minute, I had run out of ways to think up ways to commit suicide, and thereby be finally free of any and all memories associated with this show.
After the thirteenth minute, my internal organs began to fail and breathing was difficult. My pulse became impossible to measure, my nose bled and I was experiencing vivid hallucinations of hell, complete with the weeping and gnashing of teeth. I realized there was indeed no God to save us all, and all hope was lost.
I passed out around the fourteenth minute. I still feel ill even now. Maybe I will be okay, one day.
Um. Wow. I tripped balls when I read this, and it took me a while, coz my Hindi sucks. I found this on 4chan, and I'm like, who would have made this? More to the point, who would have gotten it? Are there a lot of Indian 4channers mad that there aren't enough Hindi image macros? And what's with the three wolf moon shirt?
Seriously, how many people in the world would be bizarre / diverse / confused enough to get this? This is a LOT of very culture-specific randomity intersecting way too many unrelated references O.O
Oh. What it says:
"America: Give us your oil, motherfucker!"
I mean literally. It's not even a bad translation, that's pretty much exactly what it says.
So I'm sitting here in Kim's house doing some freelance transcription, and her siblings are watching a movie called Remember the Titans, about a mixed-race American football team in the 50s starring Denzel Washington, so as you can imagine it's all about racism and whatnot.
Except it's being played on a cable channel called Bindaas Movies, which takes Hollywood movies and dubs them into Hindi.
Even more bizarrely, they've dubbed all the black guys in the movie with South Indian voices, and the white guys with North Indian voices.
It's easily the most surreal thing I've experienced since reading Japanese vore comics. (If you don't know what vore is, don't go looking to find out. If you do, don't blame me.)
Her husband, Daniel, bought two properties. “We were drunk on Dubai,” she says. But for the first time in his life, he was beginning to mismanage their finances. “We’re not talking huge sums, but he was getting confused. It was so unlike Daniel, I was surprised. We got into a little bit of debt.” After a year, she found out why: Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
One doctor told him he had a year to live; another said it was benign and he’d be okay. But the debts were growing. “Before I came here, I didn’t know anything about Dubai law. I assumed if all these big companies come here, it must be pretty like Canada’s or any other liberal democracy’s,” she says. Nobody told her there is no concept of bankruptcy. If you get into debt and you can’t pay, you go to prison.
“When we realised that, I sat Daniel down and told him: listen, we need to get out of here. He knew he was guaranteed a pay-off when he resigned, so we said – right, let’s take the pay-off, clear the debt, and go.” So Daniel resigned – but he was given a lower pay-off than his contract suggested. The debt remained. As soon as you quit your job in Dubai, your employer has to inform your bank. If you have any outstanding debts that aren’t covered by your savings, then all your accounts are frozen, and you are forbidden to leave the country.
“Suddenly our cards stopped working. We had nothing. We were thrown out of our apartment.” Karen can’t speak about what happened next for a long time; she is shaking.
Daniel was arrested and taken away on the day of their eviction. It was six days before she could talk to him. “He told me he was put in a cell with another debtor, a Sri Lankan guy who was only 27, who said he couldn’t face the shame to his family. Daniel woke up and the boy had swallowed razor-blades. He banged for help, but nobody came, and the boy died in front of him.”
Karen managed to beg from her friends for a few weeks, “but it was so humiliating. I’ve never lived like this. I worked in the fashion industry. I had my own shops. I’ve never…” She peters out.
Daniel was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at a trial he couldn’t understand. It was in Arabic, and there was no translation. “Now I’m here illegally, too,” Karen says I’ve got no money, nothing. I have to last nine months until he’s out, somehow.” Looking away, almost paralysed with embarrassment, she asks if I could buy her a meal.
She is not alone. All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars.
“The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems,” Karen says at last. “Nothing. This isn’t a city, it’s a con-job. They lure you in telling you it’s one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it’s a medieval dictatorship.”