In the ‘Abu Dhabi diary’, an article which, presumably, appears every week in The National’s Saturday magazine, Bushra Alkaff al Hashemi writes about her airhead friend who, at the end of her first month as ‘a junior employee at a leading company,’ blows nearly a third of her pay cheque on a pink Chanel bag.
Bushra makes the point that women who work have a right to spend their hard-earned cash anyway they want. This Chanel bag lady earned 15,000 dirhams (around 2,800 Euros) ‘after a month of long hours dealing with weird supervisors and mundane tasks’ (poor soul!) and the bag cost 4,300 dirhams (about 850 Euros). Out on her country’s building sites in 45 degrees of heat, expatriate workers earn 600 dirhams a month (120 Euros).
Bushra explains in her article that ‘The custom in our region is that a man – a father, husband or brother – is always there to take care of females financially.’ When, then, do females learn the real value of money and the relationship between work and money? ‘In other countries’, says Bushra, ‘ women express themselves by wearing different colours and cuts of outfits. But when you wear an abaya, shoes and bags are the only things that can be seen. They are the only way you can say that a girl has taste and fashion sense, or maybe observe something about her personality through what she is wearing …’ That just about says it all.