Archive for December, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Asian Cup News

ILQ’s got it’s own Asian Cup insider! So if you’re interested in the latest Asian Cup updates, be sure to visit

http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?33,11363

One of the best commercials I’ve seen

Qatarliving angers some Qataris

So what’s new? Somewhere on the exponentially growing world wide web, a site has pissed off someone. Also not suprising, there’s a rude post on QatarLiving.

I first saw this on the front page of The Peninsula:

“Disparaging remarks about National Day celebrations on a popular local website have upset many in the local community, says a young national.
Some remarks against the festivities and the people of Qatar as well as Asian expatriates were in bad taste and smack of racism, said Mohamed Al Jufairi, a civil engineer.

“We are quite upset and writing to some major corporations which advertise on this website to withdraw their patronage,” he told this newspaper in a brief interview yesterday.”

Looking on Twitter, I’d estimate that I’d had around 70% against QL and 30% for QL. I jumped onto a couple of other sites to see what people had to say. Global Voices wrote a great article on this http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/12/21/qatar-critiques-bristle-calls-to-shut-down-popular-online-forum/

What’s my opinion on this? My opinion varies. With QL it’s a love/hate relationship. I’m 100% for freedom of speech and tolerance. Having said that, people should be educated enough to share their opinions in a proper manner to encourage debate. I’m usually on their forums trying to provide a different perspective on things, and I can honestly say that there are many threads which infuriate me; I won’t go into detail as that’s not the purpose.

The thread itself made it seem like Qataris were animals on National day and I agree with a lot of other people’s retorts. In Brazil you have topless celebrations, in Spain you have that Bull race and tomato fight, in San Francisco you have MardiGras, and the list goes on! National Day in Qatar is a day where people let go and had fun; Qatar doesn’t have very many celebrations for everyone (don’t forget we only got National Day 2 years ago!). Yes it’s true that there were some people taking it to the extremes and I also didn’t like the fact that I saw some children hanging off the edge of a cruiser at high speeds, but to make it seem like all Qataris were like that is wrong.

QL, like ILQ, is the gateway to Qatar for many expats, so as ‘ambassadors’, (I think that word is suitable), the way we go about conveying a message is important.

“I hate you”. <— that’s an example of flame bait

“I disagree with what you’ve said because I think that ….” <— That encourage debate.

A lot of people have said “Look, the thread is deleted now”. I’m sorry but personally, I think that it’s a bit too late. You can’t delete a thread just because it’s now getting negative attention. You either stick by what you’ve done, or you should have moderated it ages ago.

So what’s my wish? That QL gets proper moderation and works with other sites to help support alternative views. It’s not about ‘who’s site is bigger’ or ‘who causes the most controversy’, it’s about creating a network of views. What users need to remember is that people are free, they’re free to bookmark a million sites related to Qatar, and it’s up to people to know when to use proper judgement.

Outdoor marketing? No you can’t.

I just wanted to talk about something which doesn’t make sense to me. Qatar’s making some great strides towards getting rid of monopolies and improving the country through competition. One ‘exclusivity’ doesn’t make sense to me; QMedia. I’m not sure why they have the exclusivity / monopoly, I assume its because they were the first and only and there weren’t others that were keen on entering into such a business.

JCDecaux’s website says

Qatar:

q.media Decaux, a joint venture between JCDecaux and Qatar’s media market leader q.media, enjoys the exclusivity for the entire outdoor advertising network in Doha. q.media Decaux also manages exclusively the advertising on a fleet of 1,450 buses and 800 taxis in this capital city.

How can one company that has exclusivity to outdoor marketing possibly be good for businesses? I remember just being excited at the fact that I wanted to bring some new display technology to Qatar and just try and take advertising to the next level. I loved what I saw in Tokyo and Shanghai. When I went to the authorities, they simply said that I wasn’t allowed to start that business because QMedia had the only rights… I don’t get it… the country is encouraging it’s youth to try and start businesses but when they actually have an interest, we’re shown that we can’t do anything because of a monopoly.  It’s sad… I wonder when this next hurdle will be passed in the progression of Qatar.

Qatar human traffiking a joke

It’s funny. Walking in villaggio I spotted the anti human traffiking booth with a board for people to draw their flags and show unity against something so heinous. They hired some guy to wear a thobe and make sure that people know about what Qatar is doing to combat this aroun the world.

Sadly he was more concerned talking to girls. I walked up to him and asked for a marker so that my Japanese friend could write next to te Japanese flag (that’s what people were doing at first) he replies rudely “no it’s not allowed”. “What ? Were supposed to be representing our country in a positive way”, I replied not knowing he wasn’t Qatari at first.

He replied that she could draw her flag on a piece of pape of he wanted otherwise no.

“Where does the paper go?”. “In the picture.”. “Where is the picture being shown?”. He says Qatar foundation. “Where in the Qatar foundation?”. “The amiri diwan”, he says.

Now by now I’ve heard his accent and I know he’s not Qatari. I know he thinks I’m not Qatari because I wasn’t wearing a thobe and he said amiri diwan because he thinks if he mentions the goverment I’ll shut up.

“The amiri diwan is on the corniche and Qatar foundation is by rayyan” i tell him. “This is embarrasing” I follow up with. I look at his sternly and say “you’re embarassing my country”. I walk away.

Now here’s the question. If he really works at that department or mission or whatever it is, then is he an integral part or is he just doing it for a job? If he does care about this mission then shouldn’t he be polite?

Such a disappointment.

Qtel forces Google’s safesearch feature to be switched on – Qtel censorship

Here’s something interesting. I never really paid attention to this because I’ve never had to switch the feature off. Qtel forces google’s ‘safesearch’ feature to be switched on so that it’s always stuck on ‘On’ or ‘Strict’.

Whether you go into your preferences and switch it of or not, it’s always stuck on strict.

Guess Qtel didn’t want people using Google Images for the wrong reason and looking at tiny thumbnails of the wrong thing. *rolls eyes*

On a side note, ictQatar, the countries regulator has said that they have nothing to do with censorship. In fact if we look deeper into legislation, censorship goes again legislation and online media freedom.

The National Day site is up!

I hate the Qtel Thomson router

TG585v7One of the things I hate about Qtel’s ADSL is the fact that they give you the most crappiest router in the world. When I first saw it I was pretty happy at the fact that it matched my Apple stuff. White and grey. Nice.

Sadly, it’s just a pretty face! It keeps disconnecting and reconnecting whenever it feels like it. NO, it’s not limited to my router. The office router had the same issue (was fine after I replaced it with a Netgear), my father’s has the same problem, my cousin has the same problem. I love my 8mb connection, but what’s the use of a great a connection when you keep getting kicked off of it!

QTEL GIVE US BETTER ROUTERS!!

Qatar National Day 2009 Events List

Well we’re busy running around and creating a great events list. We’ll have a great little suprise for everyone soon.

More importantly, ILQ and Vodafone have teamed up for a fantastic event at Aspire park. There’ll also be details released very soon.

So get ready to have a fantastic National Day!

More here

UPDATE! This site is ready! It has a complete list of events for what’s happening, including ILQ and VF’s own event at Aspire! I’ll cover more of that tomorrow :)

Visit http://www.nationalday2009.com

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.