Ali Alsaloom on the rapper Snoop Dogg, and where to get tasty, cooked fish.
Ask Ali: How a rapper insulted our country
Dear Ali: The famous rapper Snoop Dogg came to Abu Dhabi and performed in a khandoura. Even after all this time I still can't help feeling slightly upset about such a stunt. What are your thoughts? SA, Abu Dhabi
Dear SA: This matter was a disgrace to many of us Emiratis. Snoop Dogg's decision to wear a khandoura was mortifying. OK, so maybe he just wanted to look like an Emirati, but he needs to know that wearing a khandoura "Ain't a G Thang". He did not care to research the origins of the khandoura or find out what wearing our national dress means. It is daunting that he chose such a gimmick. The khandoura is deeply rooted in our culture, values and religion. It is a respected form of self-expression.
However, what Snoop Dogg did was come to our country, perform on stage and utter foul-mouthed profanities. How can he come here and rap about guns, b*tches, sex, drugs and alcohol while wearing a khandoura?
We've hosted several international celebrities in our beloved country and many have tried our national dress out of curiosity and admiration. But none of them performed while wearing our national dress, let alone treated it so distastefully.
Furthermore, I was shocked when a friend told me about a sad incident. His 11-year-old son saw the YouTube videos of Snoop in concert, trying to look all slick and cool in our national dress, and told his father: "Dad, one day I want to be like Snoop Dogg". To think that this man can have that much influence on our youth is a nightmare.
I feel this way not just because I'm aware of my Islamic values, but rather because I care about humanity and think it's my duty to say that what he did was wrong.
Dear Ali: What is the secret to not getting lost on the highways here? RC, Dubai
Dear RC: I guess it is the same as anywhere else - getting an idea of the main directions will help you to navigate. So if you are in Dubai and want to go north, it would help to know that your main direction is Sharjah; and if you want to go south, it's Jebel Ali/Abu Dhabi.
If you are not the greatest navigator and map-reader but have to drive a lot, you might want to invest in a GPS car navigation system. In case you get lost in any of our roundabout-overloaded cities, stop a taxi and ask the driver to go in front of you until you reach your destination or a landmark that you recognise and can find your way from there onwards.
Dear Ali: I am planning to go on a picnic with some friends and was wondering where is a good place to buy fish that is already cooked? KT, Abu Dhabi
Dear KT: The best local tip I can give is to buy the fish of your choice at the Mina Zayed Fish Market and then head to the small grill shops that are right by the entrance to the left.
These shops do a fantastic job of prepping your fish, marinating and cooking it to perfection. Whether you want your fish grilled or fried, the outcome is heavenly. They even give you a complimentary fresh salad, and the cost is not expensive, around Dh8 or Dh9 per kilo.
The one I go to is called El Alkeem. They even take your order by phone and all you have to do is pick it up when it's ready. Call them on 050 327 4100.
Arabic: Ya satir
English: O veiler of sins
It's a phrase said when you are told news that makes you feel hopeless or shocked. For example, when your son says: "Dad, when I grow up I want to be like Snoop Dogg," you would reply: "Ya satir, ister". A close phrase in English would be "Lord, have mercy".