For the GEEK in you

Friday, July 28, 2006

Monopoly: Or Sometimes These Freaking Things Just Write Themselves

Ah, how it takes, back, lazy summer days, spent tossing the dice over a rosewood table with friends and family, clip clopping our little pewter representatives around the periphery of that classic Parker Brothers's game.

What's this? Why, it seems Dubai is getting it's very own edition! Capital! Wouldn't that be such fun, to play that childhood favourite, thoroughly updated with some of our very own regional flavour! Wouldn't you jump for joy?

Would I, bollocks.

Okay, first off, who here actually admits to playing Monopoly? I must have played maybe two complete games of it in my entire life and that's only because a proper rules game takes like three weeks to finish, multiplied by the number of people playing. Heaven forbid if you had that kid who didn't know the rules and just joined because he 'wanted the race car'. Edmund Hillary went up and down Everest (with time for a photo op) faster than the average game of Monopoly. I still have two, unopened, original Monopoly boxes at home, which have been that way for the last fifteen years. Thank you, friends-who-let-their-parents-choose-the-birthday-present. When I really wanted this instead. Oh lord, who wouldn't I have sacrificed on the altar of nerd nirvana if I could have that.

But I digress.

So it isn't the quickest game. It isn't exactly the most interesting, either. I remember getting a damn sight more jizzed about reading the thick manual that came with it rather than playing (I'm er...funny... that way). I remember a whole lot of guff about auctions and interest, all of which made no sense, soI quietly went back to Ludo. I'm guessing it won't hold a whole lotta interest for the average local, who gets bored with his mobile - the pinnacle of modern communciations engineeering - approximately 20 nanoseconds after leaving Axiom, whereupon he promptly turns around and returns inside to get 'some games' installed. And a loud, grating ringtone, no doubt.

But wait!

Toys'R'Us store manager in Deira, Jokesh Mehra...said: "It's the best selling board game at Christmas ... I think we should have one in dirhams ... it's a game that represents Dubai very well because of the property boom and the high prices."

Evidently I spoke too soon. Who the hell is buying this damn thing and inflicting untold pain on future generations?
His second line got me thinking though. Monopoly does represent Dubai! Why, just think about it:
  • The Bankers control everything.
  • You can go to jail by accidently being in the wrong place at the wrong time!
  • (This applies only to locals) If you hang around the place for a cyclical revolution, you get free money! (To other expatriates: You receive the Do Not Collect 200 card.)
  • Some players can own a Get Out Of Jail Free Card!
  • Before you know it, all your income can get taken away by rent.
  • Suddenly, there's no longer any free space left to live!
  • You never manage to land on Free Parking.
  • Money doesn't seem to have any value beyond seeing who has the most Right Now:it's all about the title deeds, baby!
  • More hotels and houses than we know what to do with!
  • And in the end, everything comes down to the luck of the dice! Except that some players started with a sports car and you started with an old boot.
According to GN, the 'Dubai-exclusive' edition will have some of our current landmarks. Ok, some are pretty obvious, Burj, Emirates Towers, etc. After that though, it gets tricky. Jumeirah Beach Hotel? Jumeirah Towers? Jumeirah Beach Residences? Ski Dubai, with or without Mall 'o the Emirates?

In closing, I say, let's add some real landmarks. Concrete, terra firma, buildings that Dubai came up with, which may not have been the best, or the biggest or whatever, but all of which stood for something once upon a time.

  • The good old Clock Tower. For most of the my youth, the real symbol of Dubai, sadly sidelined by all this glitzy nonsense coming up now.
  • Ditto for the Trade Centre, for so long the pinnacle of buildings in Dubai. I don't give two shits about any other building in Dubai (Burj including) but the Trade Centre has real sentimental value for us oldtimers.
  • The humble Toyota Corolla/Nissan Sunny: the real engine of commerce in the middle east. Without these steady Japanese workhorses, no one would have lived through the tough early years.
  • The bus station/abra stands. Now these really deserve some plaudits; if only every tourist/New Dubai resident got the chance to tour the city and waterways, they'd understand what Dubai used to be really all about. And they'd probably also meet all the people who really built this place, who really created something out of nothing in this desert inferno and who are now being ingloriously turfed out, clutching their battered suitcases and worn passports, traipsing back home twenty years later with nothing to show for it.
Next: Why can't we all just be friends?


Blogger Free Mind said...

Hmm you forgot the get out of jail wasta card. Lol.

They could also add Bur Dubai, Deira, Jabal Ali, Satwa, Sonapur (Place of Gold), Ghusais, Al Towar, but alas I wil be rolling my dice for the Emirates Hills, Gardens, Meadows, Lakes and so on.

I wonder how much i get on Scrabble if I place bollocks on triple word score.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Taunted said...

Monopoly - Dubai. So true!

10:33 PM  
Blogger Knicq said...

Assalam U Alaikum Marwan,

Loved the post... and identify with so much of it.

I hated it when they pulled down that fountain in Abu Dhabi, without a picture of which your trip to Abu Dhabi was not complete...

Dubai captures the essence of the Islamic World in general - blind pursuit of all things alien and a deep alienation from all things our own.

You got yourself a regular visitor by the way...

7:58 AM  
Blogger The Lady said...

If only it were that simple to move your car around SZR with the shake of a dice.

Walla, do not pass GO. Do not collect Dhs. 200. Go directly to jail, yanni.

10:29 AM  

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