View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Challenges for Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson in Dubai

On the Grapevine
The word buzzing around the news sites (e.g. see this link) is that Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson are looking to buy a house in Dubai, possibly on the Palm Island development.

Media Haven, Sun and Glitz
Noting the recommendation from the Beckham family, the attractive factor appears to be the chance to escape the media frenzy of LA. When the Beckhams snapped up a luxury pad in Dubai, they could use it to escape the frenzied media circus back in LA.

There is also the lure of the beach and sunshine. Furthermore, Lindsay loves the glitziness and opulence of Dubai and the pair were entranced with the resort after Sam did a gig at the recent opening of the Atlantis Hotel.

Property Market
With property prices dropping across the Dubai market it should not be a problem for Lohan and Ronson to snare a luxurious abode. As indicated in this article, UAE property marketers regularly drop the price or give houses away to celebs to encourage other less known investors to put their dirhams on the table.

Challenges in Dubai
There are further challenges that Lohan and Ronson will face that pertain to the UAE law and culture.

Over Exposure
As a sun lover, Lohan has the habit of throwing off the clothes in order to get a sun tan. This tendency will attract the paparazzi as it did recently on Miami Beach. If Lohan is seen in bikinis like this one she may well contravene the Decent Laws of Dubai, even though they are not as strict as the laws in neighboring Sharjah.

Before they buy their house, Lohan and Ronson might do well to read this article entitled, ‘What to Wear in the UAE’ and this article on ‘respectful clothing’.

Unmarried People Associating
In writing about the ‘Sex on the Beach’ saga of 2008 it was mentioned that the UAE law proclaims that “an unmarried man and woman are not allowed to associate by themselves in an apartment or a car.” The laws have not been adjusted to apply to two lovers of the same sex and this leads to a further challenge.

Lesbian Liaison
Lohan and Ronson are in a lesbian relationship. While the UAE has invited high profile homosexuals such as Elton John and George Michael to perform their concerts in the Emirates, homosexual activity is illegal in this country.

The 2008 incident of two women jailed and deported for kissing, fondling and engaging in ‘indecent acts’ on a public beach in Dubai [different from the case cited above] revealed that the Dubai courts were taking a hard line and were keen to make the sentence tougher because it was two women involved in the act.

American universities invited to establish Middle Eastern branches in the Emirates, usually have a tradition of maintaining human rights and equal opportunity in students admission without prejudice to race, culture, disability, gender and sexual orientation. But they are finding it difficulty to be true to their convictions in the UAE. See New York University-Abu Dhabi campus; US Colleges, UAE Campuses and Conflicts of Interest.

The UAE law is not always applied consistently and the values are unclear and often confusing (see this article for detail).

Because transgressors who get caught in the UAE are often hit hard it would pay for Lohan and Ronson to do their homework and have a hard think before signing up for a house and a lifestyle in the Emirates.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson.