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The real question for the UAE is: Where have people's manners gone?

  |  February 6, 2013

Two days ago, I had to write an article about Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s participation in an upcoming government summit in which his highness was inviting Emirati citizens to pose him questions on his vision for the country.

My task, ahead of the summit, was to try to find 10 people who had a question for him.

Four very long hours later and I had just about found them.

I found one young man on Instagram who gave me the numbers of friends, cousins, and extended relatives, and thought I was all set.

That’s when I learnt that not everyone else enjoys asking questions as much as I do.

One of the people I approached did not like me calling him, and said I had “no right” to ask him any questions - even when I’m questioning him about his question.

I apologised for the inconvenience, though in reality I wished I could smack him. Where have people’s manners gone?

Another person I contacted was convinced I was a prank caller. She asked me many, many questions regarding my job, not believing I was a reporter merely trying to do my job. She even asked to visit me at my workplace, but since it was almost 9pm I told her that might not be a good idea. That wasn’t a good idea either – because she then threatened to report me to “The Authorities”.

I apologised for the inconvenience, though she clearly didn’t deserve an apology.

I also called a bank manager, hoping he’d be nice enough to give me a quote. He was very polite, explaining he was busy and promised to call back.

I waited for about an hour before contacting him again, as I was already very late in filing the story.

As I sent a text message to him, the crazy lady called again, demanding an explanation of “Who You REALLY Are”.

And I provided her with the details of “Who I REALLY Am” over and over again, but she wasn’t satisfied and began threatening me again.

“Yes, aha, ok, thank you”, I replied.

After my ridiculous conversation with crazy lady, the bank manager called back...only this time he wasn’t as polite.

He was irritated that I had contacted him again, and suggested I call someone else more interested in media issues.

I apologised for the inconvenience and tried to be polite, and I think I was. He ended up giving me a bunch of numbers to call, but sadly no-one picked up.

So four hours later, at the end of my now 12-hour shift, I calculated I had called 35 people in total and managed to get 12 quotes.

In the end, the editors – already miffed about the late file – decided to cut my story short due to a “lack of space”, and most of my hard-won quotes weren’t even published.

By now, I was too tired to apologise for the inconvenience.