From Cranhill to Qatar

david-wallace.png David Wallace works as a Delay Analyst in the

 United Arab Emirates

 Visit his Linkedin profile


1) Why did you leave Scotland?

I first left Scotland in 1989 to join the Navy, and then again in 2005 to work for a Scottish company in Rio de Janeiro and on a more permanent basis in 2006 to the middle East (predominantly Dubai and the UAE).

The decision to work outside Scotland and the UK wasn’t taken lightly as both my wife and I had relatively large families that we would miss to some degree or other – and we knew we’d miss some important events (e.g. my brother-in-law’s wedding).

Ultimately the decision was based upon finance, where was the work going in Scotland and the UK and where was it going abroad, in 2006 Dubai was booming and work was plentiful, so from that perspective the decision was easy and with the support of our families it was made easier still.


2) Where did you grow up and at what age did you leave Scotland?

My formative years were spent first in Glasgow (nr Charing Cross), then in Aberdeenshire (a lovely wee village called Tough) and then back to Glasgow (Cranhill & Shettleston).

It was from Shettleston, as a 17 year boy, that I joined the Royal Navy and left Scotland for foreign fields…well, Plymouth & Portsmouth.

When I left the Navy I returned to Glasgow to work and developed my career over the space of three fantastic employers before going my own way and sub-consulting to Weir Westgarth in Cathcart – who gave me the opportunity of working in Rio de Janeiro, this was short-lived as these things can be and in 2006 I was asked by an old friend if I fancied working in Dubai!


3) What is your job/sector and how many countries have you lived in?

I work within Project Controls/Forensic Planning and Dispute Resolution as a Delay Analyst. I have lived and worked in five countries; Scotland; England; Brazil; U.A.E. and Qatar.


4) Which citizenship do you have?

I’m a Scot. UK Passport and UK Citizenship…I wonder if that’ll change after 2014?


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5) What do you talk about when you meet other Scots who live abroad?

The weather!  Typically comparing the dreech of Glasgow to the mid- to high-forties that we ‘suffer’ in the U.A.E. and of course we discuss our longings for all things Scottish…like deep fried pizza, a roll’n’sqerr…but these items are becoming less out-of-reach as the malls in Dubai sell Irn Bru (Barr’s, of course!), haggis and batter (perhaps for Mars Bars…just not in our house!)

One of more sensible topics that we discuss is Independence, do we want it, how will it affect our lives, who’ll really benefit from it? Another is sport – dealing with serious issues like “Is Andy Murray Scottish or British?”, “Why are two of the guys at the centre of the Ranger debacle called Green and White?” and “Why can the Scottish Rugby team play to the strengths of a Southern Hemisphere opposition and Win, yet flounder at home on Murrayfield’s soil?”


6) Are there any Scottish products you would like to be able to buy?

I do miss Lorne Sausage (my previously mentioned ‘sqerr’), but aside from that, not really…Scotland is an international exporter of most things from Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers and Tea Cakes to Oil Rigs, so if I’m feeling a wee bit low, even here in the Emirates, I can go get myself a box of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes, a bottle of (very good) whisky…and if the notion takes me an oil rig.


7) Did you ever regret moving abroad?

No.  We miss out on some things that are happening back home, but our son was born in Qatar, and any regrets that we may have had are quashed when we consider what we got when we got here.

Cameron is the light of our lives…most days…and we certainly have no regrets with him.


8) What about the independence referendum coming up? How will it affect you and Scotland’s international image?

I think this is one of those things that you’ll never really know until it happens. When Scotland does get its Independence, I think that its profile will rise in Europe and the rest of the World, but this is only sustainable by the actions of the politicians in parliament. 

If we start to see the scandals that have plagued the UK Parliament then Scotland will lose any shine that it may have found as an independent nation.


9) What are your three favourite things about Scotland?

The country itself, ranging from long beaches to deep locks to high mountain ranges – we really have won a prize with Scotland, there are few countries in the world that can compete with our landscapes and scenery.

The people – we have our fair share of bampots, half-wits and loonies, but on the whole, I genuinely think that the Scots are the salt of the Earth.

The diversity – we as Scots have welcomed just about every nationality from around this Earth, to visit, to live and to integrate – and we have become a richer nation for it, every colour and hue of skin puts into perspective any insular argument as to who’s got the best football team because of the foot that they kick with!  A Scotsman is no longer the red haired, red bearded shortcake time highlander that we used to pass off to the tourists, a Scotsman (and a Scotslady) can be of any ancestry, any religion and any colour – a Scotsman is easily identified by his or her love of Scotland and their attitude to life.


10) Are there any plans for living in Scotland again and do you have a message for Scots back home?

We will no doubt return home to Scotland, who knows maybe my vote will be counted in the independence referendum.

A message to my fellow Scots?  Get up and get out into the world and tell anyone you see “I’m a Scot and I’m proud of it!”


Do you know a successful Scot who lives outside Scotland and who Scottish Times can profile? If so contact Ina Göldenitz on or call 00 44 (0) 344 7570




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published this page in Scots Abroad 2012-07-23 15:13:00 +0100