Shanghai VS Dubai

Some may view Shanghai as glamorous, but it’s got its share of expat whiners. So how does it compare with Dubai, one of the richest, most exotic expat destinations?

According to this analysis, it’s got a lot of the same issues.

I’ll leave the item-by-item comparisons to you, but Shanghai still seems pretty good to me.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. The Wizard Says: August 31, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Hmmm. “Whiny expat. “ Very political comment for an “apolitical blog.”

    If the complaints came from locals, would they too be “whiny?” I doubt you’d say “whiny local.”

    Keep it real with the mission-statement and you maintain your credibility, ese.

  2. 音弗丽娅 Says: August 31, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Typically the “whiny locals” understand local customs a little bit better than the “whiny expat”. I’ve heard of these complaints before (not on Dubai), most of the time it comes from cultural misunderstandings.

  3. Dubai sounds like Lujiazui without the rest of the city, mixed with Disneyland and dumped in the middle of a desert. Not my idea of a good time. I’ve certainly got my issues with urban China, but I’d choose Shanghai in a second.

  4. Ummm…maybe I’ve been working with the wrong definition of ‘very political’, but this post is a link to an expat’s commentary on her particular expat experiences in Dubai. Not so political if you ask me. (Culturally sensitive? Maybe…Political? Probably not. Credibility maintained).

  5. Ever see a bird pant? I have.

    That line made the whole thing worth it. In fact, I’d move to Dubai just so I could say that line to people for the rest of my life.

  6. Wizard needs to work on his lexicon.

  7. The Wizard Says: September 3, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    The “lexicon” is just fine, Carl. Thanks.

  8. Wizard sounds like a whiny ex-pat to me. It’s OK buddy, I hate it when I get called on my BS too. Here’s a quarter, get yourself a sense of humor (in fact, get 2, their cheap!)

    That article did sound very whiny ex-pat to me — in fact it sounded specifically whiny ex-pat American. I’m a domestic American, but boy am I familiar with that tone of voice.

    I don’t think there is anything “political” about recognizing the sound of entitlement. It’s a human thing and it exists in all cultures. It is completely natural to think that the world that you grew up in is the world that is supposed to exist. Of course, it is a sign of wisdom to realize, before too long, that is not actually the case.

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