It’s January 2, and UAE is clean and safe as ever. Wonder how?


Let’s thank the unsung heroes who take to the streets minutes after the last of the revellers have left the scene to keep this place as Insta-worthy as ever.

January 2 should be the day of thanksgiving to the unsung heroes of the nation, those who help us begin the year on a safe, clean and an organised note. Those who prepare days, weeks and even months in advance to ensure that the final and, often, the biggest night of the year goes incident-free. Those who, even as the celebrations are in full swing and the towers and skies are lit with record-setting spectacular fireworks, are busy guiding traffic or tending to someone in distress. Those who take to the streets minutes after the last of the revellers have left the scene to keep this place as Insta-worthy as ever.

It’s amazing how, in spite of our well-intended disposition, we tend to overlook the sacrifice that each one of these members makes to ensure that our festivities are livelier than previous year’s, that the fireworks are brighter and more enjoyable, that the rhythm of the occasion is neither frenetic nor humdrum, that nothing takes away from the fun that we all have come around to expect from the night. We can’t be so ungrateful as to not thank the event organisers who toiled for months to realise the spectacularly synchronised pyrotechnics. We cannot thank enough the law enforcement officers who kept us safe or the healthcare workers who were delivering the first babies of the year and the decade while you and I were busy forwarding WhatsApp messages to our friends and family.

How can we not thank the bus and cab driver, the metro station worker, the traffic manager who made sure that we were at the venue in time and back home safely after a night of enjoyment? Why shouldn’t we show our gratitude to the waiter in the restaurant we had dinner and the server at the café? We can’t ever forget the sanitation and municipality worker who picked up the trash and garbage that we conveniently and irresponsibly left behind. And last but not the least, let’s not forget the journalist who was on her toes all of December 31 to bring us ‘live’ images and traffic news all through the day and captured it in the newspaper that landed on our doorsteps early next morning.

I was a little bemused when, in response to my last year’s column on the subject, I received a rather callous Twitter response. “You don’t have to thank them – they’re just doing their jobs.” No, Sir. It isn’t just a job. It’s a service that tens of thousands of paid and unpaid workers (volunteers included) do unto us. And even if you still believe that it is just a job, at least acknowledge that it’s a job well done. For that, let’s thank the unsung heroes.

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