Archive for October, 2010

It’s Halloween :)

Besides the special ILQ logo (Looks like I’m doing a lot about logos these days!)

Now Halloween isn’t celebrated in Qatar but this one goes out to all the expats that celebrate it over here :)

Here’s a special Halloween Track :)

Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2010 in Katara

I’ve just come back from Malta (great people there!) and sadly missed the opening of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival BUT some of the ILQ gang went over to Katara to hang out, shake some hands, take some pics and kiss some babies (in no particular order). ILQ also bumped into Salma Hayek. Literally…. smooth Bassam.. real smoooth.

I’ll post some awesome photos as soon as they’re posted on the forums but in the mean time here’s ILQ’s special DTFF logo :)

MTV and Nickelodeon, welcome to Qatar :)

I’ve got some great news to share with everyone. MTV and Nickelodeon are ILQ’s new partners and supports. I got to know them in London after working on a number of different projects and meeting up with a few British people who wanted to help take ILQ’s vision to the next level! So we invited them over here to take a look at the developing nation that we call Qatar and to show them what we’ve been up to.

Besides being fantastic, positive and energetic people, they love what ILQ has been doing and support us all the way! So a very big thank you to these two networks and inshallah we’ll be able to bring some very fun and exciting stuff to Qatar.

Who’s excited?

iLoveQatar.net is an independent company

Hey there all,

After a little bit of an issue someone had with ILQ, I just want to make things VERY clear. iLoveQatar.net cannot be bought and ILQ is an independent company that has one goal. To make Qatar a better place. A group of us simply want to bring back the old way of doing business in the country. With honor and trust. It’s all about partnership and helping each other achieve our own goals.

Now ILQ partners up with and takes sponsorship from ANY company in Qatar that wants to help ILQ make Qatar a better place. What are some of the things we do?

Well through our volunteers group (run by an awesome guy named Speed), where we partnered up with and joined hands with Qatar Living, RedBull, Sigma Paints, Barangay BQ, Vodafone, and others, we drove around Qatar on a hot Saturday morning and passed out bottles of cold water and caps to labourers in the streets! It was our way of showing appreciation to the people who break their backs to build Qatar!

With whatever ILQ can afford (yes we don’t have a huge budget despite the brand becoming popular and well known) we sponsor events and groups like Think Pink (breast cancer awareness campaign), Wear Something Yellow (anti-racism campaign), QAWS, Dogs in Doha, QPCA, and Doha Mums to name a few.

Is it all charity? No it’s not. We want Qatar to be a fun place, where all the people in Qatar can enjoy life here in their own way! So we sponsored and supported events like Tiesto, David Guetta, Montel Jordan, The Red Carpet, Glow, The Peppermint Experience, and even a national day event!

When we’re not doing something entertaining. We’re doing something for the community. We arrange social gatherings. Two of the big ones are ‘The Souq Seekers’ and ‘The Pearl Divers. This is to help people make friends get to know each other and for those that are new to the country, have a group of people that can make them feel comfortable.

Sometimes we’ll be approached by small groups of people that need some help so that they can enjoy life a bit more here. A group of  women needed sponsorship so that they could enter into the Expat Women’s Volleyball tournament and needed uniforms, ILQ was there and continuing the trend of supporting sports a group of young guys wanted to enter the Expat Basketball Tournament, ILQ was there to help them out as well!

Now the community is doing stuff for itself too! A great guy who’s alias is HPT on the forums started a FREE Tennis group (check out the forums for more), another forum member named TimeBandit started a Photographic society, another forum member named FlipFloper does designs and artwork for people, and the list goes on and on (I’m sorry that I can’t list all the wonderful people that are helping to make ILQ what it is today actually!!!)

We also pass out goodie bags at social gatherings. We can’t afford a lot but if it’ll make people happy and spread ILQ and its vision, we do our best to have some stuff ready. So what do you get in an ILQ goodie bag that we pass out at events? The bags were paid for by Dr. Hassan’s medical center so one side says ILQ and the other Dr. Hassan’s medical center, you get a bumper sticker that has the Vodafone speechmark and the ILQ logo (VF paid for that), you get some ILQ heat hearts and squishy balls (we paid for that), you get a speaker dock from Barzan Digital, and the list goes on.

So some people might think that Vodafone and ILQ are pretty close. Well it’s simple, they’ve always been there to support and sponsor the stuff we do around Qatar! If Qtel or Virgin for example wanted to help us we’d gladly work with them as well. In fact, we WANT to work with them.

So what’s the relationship with Vodafone? Well, they bought ads on the website. they paid for our booth, they paid for co-branded stickers, they paid for micro-sites whenever we had a fun idea like www.ramadan-mubarak.com and that sort of stuff. Any company in Qatar can help us out and use ILQ as a channel, yes even Qtel. You wouldn’t stop advertising on a television channel (like MBC) because a competitor advertised on the channel right?

Who are some of the other advertisers and partners? Global DJs, Starlink, Qatar Airways, Olympic Committee, ICTQatar, Lava, Urban Stars, LoveSac, Barzan Digital, King Koil, Arte Legno, and Dr. Hassan’s Medical center to name a few.

Dr. Hassan’s medical center wanted to spread health awareness amongst children so they gave us some coloring books which we distributed to kids (along with ILQ beach balls) when we supported the Pakistan Women’s Eid Bazaar.

We also tried to build a fantastic, friendly, online community that not only helps each other, but supports each other. Are you an expat and need information about the country that you’re planning on moving to or have just moved to? Well ILQ’s got a pretty nice and light guide too!

So who else wants to partner with us? Well we’re very excited that MTV and Nickelodeon support our vision. They’ve flown out to Qatar to not only see if they can help Qatar and the region develop but to also support our vision believe it or not! We’re VERY VERY proud of that.

So moral of the story? ILQ is loyal to Qatar and it’s various communities. If you are from a company that cares as much as we do, then please hold our hands. We need all the help we can get. Supporting us can be in the form of helping us with events and charitable causes, it can be in the form of placing an advert on the site (because we use the revenue generated off of ads to keep going), or you could even donate some cobranded goodies :)

So who’s in? or is ILQ a stupid idea? Am I just fighting a losing battle…..

Cheetahs in Qatar – Oh yes!

I thought I’d a start a new thing where I bring all the online bloggers, posters, tweeters, and tubers in Qatar together under one roof. I haven’t figured out a name for this yet so if you’ve got an idea for a catchy name, post in the comments below.

So I’ve been seeing loads of tweets about this guy who has a Cheetah and decided to do a bit of digging around to see what I could find.

@shivasingh first tweeted: Dudes got a cheetah in his car!! #WTF #awesome and shared this picture. http://twitpic.com/2vefh5

I assumed it was probably just some Bedouinne guy who decided that he wanted his own cheetah. Maybe he wanted to take a nude self portrait of himself sitting on a bear skin carpet in front of the fireplace while stroking a cheetah, I really don’t know.

Then @rachelannmorris tweets a couple of photos of her own a week later. http://twitpic.com/2x8sxf and http://twitpic.com/2x8xfh

So is this just some stuffed cheetah and some guy’s ingenious method of getting people’s attention and then offering them massages? If so, that person has taking viral marketing to a whole new level.

Turns out though that there are loads of people with Cheetahs!

One tourist(?) and ‘Elite cyclist’ who races for Team Garmin, named Steven Cozza was visiting Qatar way back in February and blogged:

“Its just been one great adventure already. Just five minutes after leaving the hotel parking lot, I sensed something was looking at me. I turned to my left and there, sticking its head out of an SUV like a dog, was a full-grown cheetah. I was so excited because a cheetah is my favorite animal and here it was, just inches from my face. I was so bummed I didn’t have my camera.” A cheetah Drive by

On youtube, anasthvega, posted a video of one at a petrol station in some guys patrol. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaupWVsLgsk

On the 17th of July, the Peninsula posts this Cool Ride for Big Cat. Cheetah’s aren’t riding in cars anymore, they’re now on freaking jetboats! I don’t know why but I’m now thinking of a Saturday Night Live song called “I’m on a boat”

Now I have a few obvious questions…. 1) Do they bite? 2) Where can I get one?!

Well…. the Gulf Times posts that there are people breeding cheetahs since they’re becoming popular pets! Gulf-Time’s article via ILQ So I guess it means that you CAN go out and buy one… hmm…

In all seriousness though, this can’t be safe or legal right (in Qatar of course, as we’re aware that CITES says they’re endangered)?

I’ll leave you guys with a photo that Jasmir123 posted on Photobucket. Thundercats Go!

The rain prayer – Istisqa

A couple of people asked me about this so I thought that it would be useful to share. Living in one of the hottest places in the world, rain is precious. It rains an average of twice a year and when it does the most beautiful desert flowers bloom out of nowhere.

To encourage rain, people pray Rain Prayers, Salat Al Istisqa. So where does it come from? Basically it came during a time when the Muslims were restless and decided to share the fact that they didn’t understand why it didn’t rain for them and that they were suffering through drout with the Prophet. So in simple terms, the Prophet explains that people haven’t been faithful enough to God and that if they want rain, they have to pray. So he does two rakat. (That’s the process of prayer whereby you kneel) and then some clouds formed and it rained.

The more people that pray for rain at the same time, the more likely it will be to rain as I understand.

So there you have it.

Please support ILQ :)

Hey there all! I just thought I’d let people know of the many ways people can support ILQ!

1) Clicking on ads! Yep, the easiest way is to just click on banners! ILQ relies on sponsors, so if you click on banners then that helps us not only maintain the site but also generate funds to sponsor more events!

2) Spreading the word. Let people know about the fantastic community that iLoveQatar.net is.
People can make friends here, find answers on the forums, check out the classifieds, find out the latest events in Qatar, read up on Qatar related news, join one of the largest friend networks there is (Qfriends) and read up on a great guide!

3) Adding ILQ buttons in your signature! Create a button and add it onto your signature or blog! We’ve also made some buttons for you to use here http://www.iloveqatar.net/linkus.php

4) Share your articles and opinions. Why not write and share articles on ILQ’s forums. We’ll be launching a dedicated section out of the forums but until then, you can write reviews or even share some funny stories!

5) Link exchange. If you’ve got a site, ILQ would love to know about it. We don’t mind people linking to their sites on the forums (as long as they either link back or participate on ILQ).

6) Volunteering! We participate and sponsor loads of events in Qatar. It could be something charitable (like a red crescent event or doing something nice for the labourers) OR something more entertaining (like helping out at the David Guetta or Akon events). Yep not only are you helping out the community but you’re also

7) Updating the guide! If you spot something that isn’t right or something that should be added. Let us know! Drop us a line at contact@iloveqatar.net and we’ll get the guide updated.

8) Install the alexa toolbar from (http://www.alexa.com) and then set ILQ as your homepage. [www.iloveqatar.net]

Do you prefer setting google as your homepage? Here’s an ILQ version! http://www.iloveqatar.net/search

Want to set google as your homepage AND help the environment? Then set http://www.iloveqatar.net/search/black.html as your homepage.

Read this article http://blog.iloveqatar.net/2009/11/energy-efficient-google/ for how you’re helping the environment!

I’m sure you guys can come up with other ways of helping out! Whether it be partnering, sticking stickers around, or just helping out on the forums or our facebook group (which as of today has over 8,400 members!)

Oh! Don’t forget to ‘Like’ ILQ’s Fan page http://www.facebook.com/iloveqtr and Join the ILQ Facebook group! http://www.facebook.com/khalifas?v=wall&story_fbid=158935400797225&po=1#!/group.php?gid=36900681716

Update to ILQ and Newsletter!

Although I’m ill with a cold. I figured I’d be a bit more productive than just laying around watching tv. Tomorrow is the ILQ team meet-up so I figured I’d at least have a nice web update to share.

You can now view the spotlighted events on the front page. Besides the list of events, we’ll be highlighting major events or events that are special to ILQ.

We’ve also gone ahead and added a newsletter sign up box to the left of the site! (I’ll be adding one to the right on blog).

Want to sign up? Just click on this link and it’ll take you to the sign up page.  It’s called The Buzz http://eepurl.com/-WUE

Don’t worry, you won’t get spammed and we will never share your email address with anyone. You’ll get a monthly digest from ILQ that lists events that are coming up, note worthy blog and forum posts and maybe a few vouchers or offers here and there!

Why Qatar needs the World Cup!

Why do we need the World Cup? A few people seem to think that it could be a waste of money and we’ll end up with unused stadiums (but that only goes to show that people don’t even bother doing any research before jumping to conclusions and making definitive statements).

I for one am very excited at the thought of us getting it. Not only does Qatar have what’s considered to be unlimited cash to spend on such an event, but Qatar has some great ideas for how to make this event about bringing the world closer.

It’s the fact that it will be bring further development and change that gets me more excited though. Qatar will be under the world’s spotlight and will be scrutinized. With people paying attention, things have to change (or most likely will). Remember that road in westbay in front of City Center that was under construction for 6 months and was finished in a week before the UN came over for a meet up? Perhaps this is the kick that Qatar needs to improve quality and get things done faster.

Think about it! New laws which’ll open up so many doors and make things more transparent. Expats will most probably no longer need an exit permit, the Human Rights Authority will be given more funds and responsibilities, there’ll be more construction in anticipation for the games which’ll hopefully provide more accommodation than there is demand (that’s good because it means we’ll have a market adjustment and commodities will hopefully drop to their true value), plus it’ll bring a huge amount of businesses interested in opening up within Qatar. (Fingers crossed that everyone gets in on that action though and it’s not just the same group of people running everything). Unlike the Olympics which is hosted in one city, the World Cup is country wide, that means that Qatar will have to develop and focus on other areas of Qatar. This means more variety, more choice and hopefully a more dispersed population that will reduce congestion.

Why do I personally want the World Cup? I want to show the world the meaning of Arabic hospitality. I want to see foreigners come into Qatar and enjoy Qatari kindness. (Let’s hope that modernization doesn’t completely kill that though :P) I want those who are corrupted and seedy to be exposed as a result of scrutiny, I want laws to open up and there to be more ‘open-ness’ within the country, and I also want there to be a better perception of our culture. I’m sure that you, dear reader, can think of more advantages than disadvantages.

Doha has already stated that it will make the World Cup the most amazing and greatest event in history. That’s believable after the success of the Asian Games 2006. Doha has announced that it’ll be flying in students from all over the world for free for the games, will provide state of the art centers, fields, and media villages for all, and will be developing at a tremendous speed to satisfy all requirements.

They’ve also planned to do some great stuff AFTER the World Cup as well! The stadiums that are being built will be dismantled and reconstructed in developing nations. For all those people concerned with alcohol and siting by the pool in bikinis. Don’t worry, there’ll be special ‘expat’ areas that will be like open zones. (Although you can already enjoy the two in many places in Qatar, just not in public.) Some had concerns about Israel participating in the games. Qatar has already said that it isn’t an issue. Some Muslims might not like that, but I say TOUGH. It’s Qatar’s chance to show the tolerant, respectful and fair side of Islam.

If that doesn’t satisfy you with a reason to support Doha, think of it this way, if you’re not in it for the amazing spectacle that it’ll create, be in it for the fact that it’ll change the region. It’ll change the world’s view of the Gulf. It’ll bring the world closer and give the Middle East a step forward towards the ‘peace’ the west has been wishing for us.

Also see:

Qatar 2022′s first five stadiums!

Although not about the World Cup, I wrote a few posts about the Olympics which might be of interest.

Olympics 2016

Digital Reversal. Calling Bloggers. A new magazine.

Sorry for the ‘radio-silence’ all. Besides working hard on trying to get the new version of ILQ up and running after losing 3 months of work due to my hard disk failing after the electricity getting cut WHILE it was backing up and thus corrupting the OLD backup (yup!) I’ve also been working on a number of ventures. This includes a project which I call ‘Digital Reversal’.

Before I explain what that is, (don’t you just hate it when Entertainment Tonight does that?), if you’ve got a blog, drop me a comment below so I can share it with everyone in ILQ’s next newsletter. You’ll find some blogs in the footer of this blog or you might also be interested in these past blog posts:

The problem with blogs

Qatar blogs

Qatar’s top blogs

This leads onto the Digital Reversal project. Now blogging was born out of two cosmic collisions; The fact that getting it was easier to post on the digital medium known as the blog and people’s preference to read nonprofessional journalism because… well…. the blogger usually doesn’t have anything to gain and it’s most likely going to be honest and free.

Now what I’d like to do is encourage these bloggers and columnists to write for a magazine which is going to become the most widely circulated magazine in Qatar; hence the digital reversal.

If you’re opinionated, it’s a great way of getting your views, ideas, and opinions out there. If you’re passionate, it’s a great way of sharing what give’s you goosebumps or motivates you to live life. You might even have the goal of inspiring people through a number of topics. You decide.

So if you’re interested in writing a column, getting your name out there, getting some experience, making a name for yourself, or simply honing your hobby, then drop me a line at contact  (@) iloveqatar.net

I’m arranging a meeting on Thursday at 7:30pm (I’ll email you more details). So far there are 7 passionate people coming along.

Happy Blogging!

Read the rest of this entry »

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.