Sleeping without locking the door

Sleeping without locking the door

Three years ago, after more than half a day of fun at one of the busiest water parks on Palm Island (Dubai), my two sons and I decided to take a break.

When I opened the locker, I was startled not to see my pants. In the pockets were a smartphone, a UAE ID card, two driver’s licenses, car papers, several bank cards, credit cards, access cards to my residence, and a significant amount of cash.

I remembered that when I changed into my swimsuit, I hung my pants in the public changing room and might have forgotten them. I hurried back to the changing room. They were still there. After careful checking, everything was intact.

Another time, while waiting for luggage at Dubai airport, I saw someone’s paper documents forgotten on a stainless steel trash can with a flip lid. I reported it to a nearby security officer. She replied that there was no need to worry, leave things where they are, the owner will know where to find them.

The UAE is one of the countries with the lowest crime rates in the world. In over 5 years living and working in Dubai, I have never been robbed. When sleeping, I don’t need to lock the door. People living and working here, regardless of their diverse nationalities, all share a common value: honesty.

I noticed that people in the UAE rarely raise their voices. Colleagues in the company or neighbors always greet each other friendly. In July 2023, an American girl was jailed for two months for shouting loudly in public. UAE law also stipulates that if you insult others with words like “stupid”, you could be fined up to half a million dirhams (3.3 billion VND).

Conflicts are always gently resolved. Once, I caused a car accident. Both parties calmly got out of the car to ask about each other’s situation, apologized, took pictures of the collision… and exchanged insurance information. Seeing that my car had problems, the other car owner even let me pass.

In my opinion, safety, honesty, politeness… are factors that attract tourists to return to Dubai. In 2022, the number of international tourists to Dubai recovered well after the pandemic, increasing by 55% compared to 2021. Dubai is also rated as the safest place for tourists and has received Tripadvisor’s Global Destination in the Travellers’ Choice Awards twice in a row.

A good strategy and commitment to implementing government strategy, investment in modern infrastructure, valuing innovative ideas, tax incentives… have turned Dubai into a magnet for investment. The commitment of Dubai Police to ensure safety for residents and the culture of honesty among residents bring peace of mind to tourists as well as businesses coming here. Currently, 85% of Dubai’s population are foreigners and their families coming here to work.

In addition to quality of life, modern infrastructure, healthcare services, good education quality… low crime rate and honesty have further consolidated Dubai’s reputation and turned this city into a peaceful paradise. It is estimated that in 2023 there will be about 4.5 million billionaires settling in UAE.

Trust (credit) is a kind of “capital” for business. This is also a virtue highly valued in traditional Vietnamese culture. My grandfather came to Saigon as a young man with nothing but his bare hands. He approached traders asking for retail sales. The first time he asked for credit promising to pay back regardless of loss.

Saigon is a land of immigrants from all over who do not know each other or have any prior relationships so they interact based on Trust and Righteousness principles. My grandfather kept his promise by paying back on time and asked for more credit. Each time he asked for more credit than before and always kept his promise.

Thanks to trustworthiness, diligence and frugality he accumulated some capital and established a small business manufacturing bicycle and motorcycle saddles named Dong Loi (Mutual Benefit), meaning that both business owner and customers benefit equally.

In my opinion, there is a common denominator between honesty and development, with human capital at the center. South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan are among the few countries and regions that have overcome the “middle-income trap.”

One of the priorities of Presidents Park Chung Hee and Lee Kuan Yew was to change the office culture by increasing transparency, accountability, honesty, and responsibility in government departments. This was achieved by establishing strict laws combined with good rewards, ensuring a comfortable life for civil servants.

Vietnam still has a lot to do to overcome the middle-income threshold. One of them is to learn from the path that countries and regions such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, UAE, Taiwan have gone through to build human capital.

Bùi Mẫn

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Sleeping without locking the door

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