Expats slam UK Embassy advisory video on drinking at Christmas

Published:  21 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Dubai, UAE, Money, England
A cartoon-style video featuring LEGO characters issued by the British Embassy as an advisory against drinking too much and using bad language during the Christmas season in Dubai has been derided by expats and visitors alike as insulting and ridiculous.

The embarrassing video is based on the Charles Dickens novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ and warns visitors to Dubai to avoid becoming drunk and swearing in public places during the festive season. The cartoon's main character ends up suffering for his misdeeds, but expats are criticising the portrayel as disrespectful to their postions in the kingdom. In addition, British residents are calling the animation an insult to those wrongly accused by Dubai police, and the pressure group Detained in Dubai believes the embassy has ignored the UAE’s disregard for human rights.

A spokesman for Detained in Dubai told reporters the embassy should spend more time and money helping Britons who’ve fallen foul of the emirate’s often unjust attacks against expats and visiting foreigners rather than wasting time portraying British expats as drunken louts. The spokesman added the video is an insult to those who’ve been thrown into a Dubai prison and even undergone torture, but have had little or no support from the British Embassy.

Entitled ‘ A Consular Christmas Carol’, the offending video was uploaded across the embassy’s range of social media sites and has attracted outrage from a majority of expats and visitors. The cartoon's anti-hero, a recently-arrived expat in Dubai, is shown celebrating Christmas in the UK by getting very drunk, propositioning a woman and sleeping it off in a doorway. The three spirits of Christmas appear to him in a dream, warning him of the consequences of his behaviour should he not change his ways now he’s living in the UAE, as drinking in public and using insulting language are offences against Dubai’s strict behavioural laws.

When asked to comment, British Ambassador Philip Parham said finding a ‘festive and fun’ way to remind expats and tourists of the UAE’s different customs and laws is an embassy tradition. Given that the video’s styling, if not its content, is more suitable for children than intelligent adults and its message seems to ignore facts relevant to the recent imprisonment of several Britons, it’s no surprise the majority of viewers have found it unacceptable.
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