Archive for August, 2009

Rude dude

I get a lot of very nice emails and messages through ILQ and Mr. Q It makes it worth my while to post and share the Qatari side of things. What’s sad though, is that now and then (on a rare occassion)  I’ll receive comments which are utterly rude. Today I thought I’d share one such message:

“You f***wit – Westerners don’t say hello to Qataris, because Qataris think they are better than everyone else and treat everyone like s***.
WHy the f*** would we want to say hello to a dirty, hand arse wiping, homosexual dress wearing, Saddam style moustached, wife beating towel head?”

Obviously I dismiss these messages and insults are quickly moderated, but I had a thought. Should I be moderating them? I’m an advocate of free speech. Should I allow these posts to be posted? 70% is leaning towards ‘No, delete them!’.

Tribeca Film Festival Doha

Doha Film FestivalOriginal post by Paperboy

If you didn’t get a chance, go to http://www.dohatribecafilm.com/

This is a very huge deal! Not only will it be hosted in the Qatar Islamic Museum with its cool Babylonian theme, but it will have a beautiful skyline and celebrities in the forefront!
Who’s excited?
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This is a very huge deal! Not only will it be hosted in the Qatar Islamic Museum with its cool Babylonian theme, but it will have a beautiful skyline and celebrities in the forefront!

Who’s excited?

Read the rest of this entry »

Ramadan in a nutshell

nutshellIt’s Ramadan and you thought that you’d try fasting! (if you’ve never done it before). Perhaps you wanted to just learn a bit. Today’s lesson is all about the correct way to fast. OOoooooh, you say?

Fasting begins from sunrise and it’s time to eat during sundown. (You can find out times at the Ministry of Interiors website, Islamweb, or even receive free daily texts from Vodafone to find out.)

It’s purpose is to purify and to teach appreciation.
No bad words, no food, no water, no sexual thoughts (or actions), and no rudeness.

You’re supposed to be kind, gentle, pure, and appreciate the fact that you are lucky in life to have food and to think more about those who have less in life in order to be giving.

Once you’ve gone through that for the day, it’s time to eat! The cannon blasts into the sea (the boom sound signifies it is time to eat), don’t go gorging your face! You’re supposed to eat three dates. Wait 30-60 minutes and then start eating.

Why three dates? Because that’s what the prophet ate. A more scientific answer is that it is just enough in quantity to kick start your metabolism, has enough sugar to keep you going for a bit longer and out of that hunger phase, and just like pringles, one is not enough.

Tents and Events!

addon

It’s Ramadan 2009! As usual there’s a great list that’s constantly being updated to let you know about the Ramadan events! Why not head over to a tent and enjoy the Qatar Tent Events! Yes! I’ll call this…. *updates title* Tents and Events!

Click here to go to Qatar Ramadan Event Guide 2009

Expats happy with work in Qatar

More than 80% expatriate employees said they were happy they had come to Qatar, according to a jobs and employment survey released yesterday.

Commissioned by tourist and residents’ website qatarvisitor.com and community portal iloveqatar.net (ILQ), the survey aimed to assess both how people found work here and how that work had changed their lives, an official said.

While 87.6% employees approved the relocation to the peninsula, more than 30% said they found work via the Internet.

On the Internet, 16.1% found jobs via job sites, 7.2% through jobs advertised directly on employers’ websites and 7.2% by uploading their resumes to websites.
Recruitment agencies accounted for a further 16.6% of positions found.

“More than a quarter of those who found work in Qatar via agencies claimed they had been illegally charged by those head-hunters,” the official said.

To the question on why people made the move to Qatar, almost half of those surveyed attributed money as the main motivating factor, while another sizeable proportion (of 28.1%) sought work in Qatar in order to experience a new culture.
A small percentage (5.3%) said they were “looking for adventure”.

About 57.2% of those surveyed had a graduate or post-graduate degree, while only 1.8% of respondents claimed no qualification at all.

Another finding showed that the majority of employees coming to Qatar experienced a sharp increase in their salary with the proportion of those earning $1,000-$2,000 a month (before relocating to Qatar) going up from 13.7% to 25.7%, while the proportion of those earning $2,001-$4,000 a month more than doubling from 12.4% to 25.7%.
The survey questioned more than 220 employees working in Qatar.

Qatar Visitor editor Philip Beech said: “We hope that the results of this survey will help give our users an idea of how to look for work in Qatar, the likelihood of finding work and also what to expect when they get here.”

“The majority of our users actually come to qatarvisitor.com looking for work,” Beech added.
ILQ official Khalifa Saleh Haroon said: “The results clearly show that there is increased usage of online portals by those seeking jobs in the Middle East. It’s undoubtedly going to increase in popularity in the future.

“Unfortunately, the results also show that there is a greater need for the regulation of employment agencies,” Saleh added.

http://gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=309920&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16

The Red Carpet Photos

I’m one of those guys that always wants things to be better. The Red Carpet event was quite a success but I had envisioned something a bit more grander. Maybe it’s just me :P

Either way, thanks to all of those ILQers (and of course everyone else) who attended. If you’d like to check out some pictures, click on the link below.

The Red Carpet, Qatar – Photos

Qatar Visitor Photo Competition

Qatar Visitor is doing a competition that I thought was quite nice. It encourages people to whip out the camera and share what they see through their eyes. Why not go and enter it and besides the prizes, you’ll get your work published in the Gulf Times :)

Head on over to http://www.qatarcomp.com

How to increase traffic to your site? Alexa Traffic Ranking in Qatar

A lot of people have asked me how to increase ranking of their site so that they in turn can get more visitors. The simple answer? Content. The realistic answer? It’s temporary. Unless….. Read the rest of this entry »

The Red Carpet

addon

If you don’t already know about this, you’re lagging behind! For a fantastic and unique event then the 13th of August is a date to book into your calendar.

Click here for a chance to win TWO VIP tickets!

The QNB Story

73910-QNB_new_logoSo let me start this off by saying that I worked with a great team. I worked for a subsidiary of QNB. Independent (to an extent), challenging, and did I mention that there were great people to work with?

My issue is probably with the bank itself in ‘essence’. I cannot find fault with most people (note I said most). However since joining, there was always the feeling of confusion, no not from my end, but from QNB itself. Nobody really knew what they were doing completely; I talk about the people I interacted with of course and this post is only meant to highlight my experience.

What made the experience a bit sad was that QNB actually treated staff worse than customers. Now if the level of service given to customers is quite low, you can only imagine what staff get. No special rates, hardly any exceptions, processes are a bit more difficult and you have to pick up your account debit card 4 months after you apply in a leaky toilet under head office. Alright so I made the last one up, but that’s how it feels.

After quitting, I decided to take the professional route and stay a month in order to take care of the work left over and to ensure that the projects (and clients) that I had on my plate were completed and/or handed over professionally; after all, that is the right thing to do. Many Qataris simply leave the next day, but oh no, I had to let morals get in the way. It was a foolish mistake.

I had left to Japan when I had the lovely surprise of seeing that my cards were canceled. Yep, I had a month left, went on leave for a few days only to find that I couldn’t use my cards half way through. After returning to Qatar, I saw that I couldn’t use any of my cards! Calling up customer service was of no help because they simply said they didn’t know what the problem was.

So I waited a bit over a week and then finally decided that I didn’t want to have my money in a hidden account and went off to the main branch to set up a new account. They gave me a few papers to sign, signed them, and left with the card. Not bad, I get a debit card on the spot. The next few days didn’t go on too well since it took a while for it to link up to my online banking. It was a hassle, I had to create a new account and transfer funds, but it was over and done with. The end of the month came and my team gave me a nice lunch to say goodbye. That’s pretty nice.

Last pay and I’m out of there. Nope. No pay. Yep no pay for me. QNB didn’t put me on the pay roll. They told me that they would pay my salary 21 days after I quit. Wait what?! I have a mortgage to pay… I worked for a whole month for what? To get paid two months later? I tried called the AGM since he was a friend but he was on vacation for 3 weeks.

So I send off an email to a person I considered a friend at HR and ask him to please ‘help a brutha out man!’ He was always friendly to me, and in fact, he told me to call on him if I ever needed help. I explained the situation and got an reply “Isn’t this your signature”, with an attachment to an account cancellation form. The form was dated the 19th! They canceled my account BEFORE I signed that form. I was GIVEN that form when I created a new account! Plus canceling my original account is against policy! It should have been converted to a customer account… Guess they follow policy when it suits them.

I explained that to him and he cced in someone saying “please follow up”. Nice…. thanks Qatari bro. You really helped me out there. //end sarcasm. So the guy (who also works in QNB HR) goes an reactivates my old account… no I don’t want my old account reactivated… Just send my salary to the new one… No he can’t do that… So Saturday comes a long and I get a text that my account is 10+k overdrawn. What? Wasn’t my account reactivated so that I could get my salary and now I’m overdrawn?

The geniuses reactivated an empty account which automatically charged me an ‘empty account’ fee, then charged me some sort of interest, and then pulled out the mortgage. To make matters worse, the mortgage statement didn’t even reflect that! What the hell?!

So the office manager sends an email to HR on my behalf asking them to please sort this out. What does she get as a reply? “It’s a customer account now so it’s not our business. Let him go to main branch.”. What the F~~~~~ I don’t even want to waste a badword on them.

So now I have to go BACK to the main branch, get them to waive these fees and sort crap out. How nice of them! Who wants to bet I’ll be speaking to someone who either a) doesn’t care or b) ‘can’t do anything because it’s out of his hands’.

Moral? Sometimes you just can’t be too nice…  *sighs* No regrets from leaving a bank that couldn’t at least show me an inch of compassion. I guess I stayed as long as I did because of a few reasons, the CEO was an interesting person, one of the GM’s was a supporting individual, and I met some amazing staff at the bank. It’s thanks to them that I cannot say that all my time was a waste.

Note: Let there be no misunderstanding. My time in my line of work was great. I learned from my team, I managed to work on fantastic and amazingly huge transactions, and I was able to get a new understanding for the way the banking ‘game’ is played, it’s just that I wish things went a bit easier. We return to that classic sentence which is meant to be words of support but often get considered words of despair “Life’s not easy”.

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.