Archive for July, 2011

Ramadan Kareem Everyone! Here’s a quick 101

Ramadan Kareem Qatar! I hope that people will have a great experience of Ramadan this year.

If you’re interested in reading up a bit, then be sure to check out these threads and posts:

Ramadan in a nutshell

Ramadan isn’t just for Muslims

Luxurious Ramadan

Saying Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Opening Hours Guide 2010

Garangao – A Child’s Dream (The 14th day of Ramadan)

ILQ (partnered with Vodafone, Katara, and QF Radio) will be launching a fantastic new Ramadan site this year. It’ll contain a great events guide, a ramadan 101 guide, prayer times, special apps, and e-cards!

That’s not all! This time we’ve also got a MOBILE version and to make sure you don’t miss QF Radio’s 8pm show, an ‘on air’ button will light up!

Why the NOC system doesn’t work.

I felt compelled to write something about this since there are so many people that make posts on the forums about employers not paying salaries, people not getting a No-Objections-Certificate (NOC) after the end of their contract, transfer of sponsorship, or people just not being a part of a positive work environment.

New to Qatar? Here’s the 101, if you don’t have an NOC, you can’t transfer your employment to another company and have to leave Qatar for two years before being allowed to come back.

Let’s start from the beginning? Why do many people take a job here in Qatar? Answer: Because Qatar is a super awesome country. Just look outside of your window, see the blue skies? Tropical weather? Lush greenery and smiling people walking down the street? That’s why. *serious face*

Alright alright. Let’s put the sarcasm to the side. I love Qatar! Just take a look at the title of the website after all! It’s just that there are a few laws in this country that don’t make sense; there probably was a good intention behind the need for them, but it’s like punishing all your kids when you damn well know that it was little Omar who lit the cat on fire! (Poor kitty).

Let’s get back to reality. People come to Qatar for a number of reasons; They want to explore a new part of the world (Doha is an exotic city for many people), people get better salaries, they can live more comfortable and laid back lives compared to where they come from (yes.. depending where you come from), and they probably want to make a name for themselves and climb the occupational ranks. Sound fair so far?

I’m going to try and appeal to the managers out there with this article.

Scenario 1: Let’s say that you come to Qatar after getting an offer for a managerial position. It’s 30,000 QR a month. Nice! You arrive, work hard, and your boss tells you that he can’t pay you this month because the company isn’t doing so well. You’re nice. You understand that companies go through hard times. You’ve made the journey all the way over here and you’re not about to turn away now that you’ve got so far right? Three months of no salary so you decide you’ve had enough! You quit. Your boss confuses your kind-heartedness (since you lasted so long) for stupidity, and thinks that stupid people don’t deserve an NOC. What do you do? Does that mean that you can’t leave?

Scenario 2: You’re already in Qatar. You’ve got an RP and on a family sponsorship. Let’s say that you get a job and so get the company to give you a work permit and you start living a higher quality of life because you and your husband now bring in more money to the house. Either you or the employer decide that after 16 months it’s not working out. In fact, you’re lucky because you got a better offer! Sadly, your employer turns out to be a bit of a douche. You ask for an NOC to transfer employment and he turns into ShaNayNay and tells you to speak to the hand (translated: you’re not getting an NOC). What do you do? Does it mean that you have to leave now? Is it easy to switch back to your husbands sponsorship? Let’s say that everything’s cool, but your family was used to a dual-income (you got a second car and a bigger house)… how do both of you survive in Qatar now if you can’t get a job?

Scenario 3: You’re working for a company. You get a better offer somewhere. You go back to the company and ask for an NOC. Boss says ‘no’ and in fact, since you wanted to leave, you’re now fired and get shipped back home in a crate.

Scenario 4: You get this really awesome job in Qatar! You get 40,000 QR a month to work 2 hours a day! It’s so awesome that I want it! Ok ok.. I don’t want it. It’s cool, it’s all yours. So you get a place in the pearl, take a loan for a BMW Z4, start wearing Massimo Dutti suits, hair all slicked back and three months later, on your way to work, your boss tells you that you’ve been replaced with a monkey. You’re fired! Oh.. and no NOC for you! So you decide to pack up and leave the country, but wait… you’ve taken a loan for your Z4. You’re not going anywhere! You have to pay back the loan before you can leave the country remember? So you don’t have a job to pay back the loan, and can’t get one because you don’t have an NOC. So what do you do? Work illegally or go to jail.

Note: These scenarios are meant to just get the point across. There are flaws in the system. Inshallah they’ll be fixed..

According to a friend who used to work for the National Human Rights Committee, their #1 complaint is when it comes to sponsorship or not being able to get an NOC. What does that say? Worse yet, since they get so many complaints, they turn away most people! So much for compassion…

I’ve never denied any of my employees from leaving iLoveQatar and grabbing better opportunities. I only ask them to give me a chance to better their offer (it’s not always about the salary), otherwise I wish them the best and hope that they’ll always be there for ILQ.

It’s like one of the most basic rules of life. Something my father taught me when I was younger. “Before doing something, ask yourself whether you’d like it if someone did it to you. If the answer is no, then don’t do it”. I know I wouldn’t like to be trapped under an NOC law.

If someone gets a better offer, why not let them take it? Why force an employee to remain in the company and work unhappily? They’re definitely not going to be efficient workers. They’re not going to have the company’s best interest. In fact, from an economical point of view, if companies were worried of employees leaving them, perhaps more companies would treat them with respect and provide for better work environment.

Just a thought.

You might also be interested in the “Workers Rights Handbook

Update: April 2013
I should have mentioned that there is also a reason to why the NOC is necessary in many cases. Sadly smaller companies can’t compete with bigger companies poaching employees too.
For example, I may have to spend up to 5,000 QR to sort out the processing of a visa for an employee, fly him or her into the country, train the person, and next thing you know, a big company comes and snatches that person up. Leaving poor little small company without an employee and out of pocket. That’s one of the issues here.

The People’s Tweets (and FB Comments) – ‘Worst Customer Service’

As interesting as asking people where they got the ‘Best Customer Service in Qatar‘, people asked me to poll where people consider to be the worst when it comes to customer service.

My question was simple, “If you had to name ONE place that has given you bad customer service, where would it be?” I now present you with the answers. (Not that many people were specific with their problems. In some cases, it’s specific branches that are horrible. It only takes one branch though to ruin a brand. Hopefully businesses will use this list to improve! Remember, these people don’t like you so much that they took the time to let everyone on twitter and facebook know!

Important note: these are just individual people’s opinions. There’s always the chance that one person had a really hard time, it doesn’t mean that each user speaks for everyone.

51 East (payment system) – @lauraosheadj

Karwa – @joeagdeppa

Digitek (Ramada Signal) – @vanish_forever

Pizza Hut (Caravan Complex Ramada) – @nyk990

Q-Tel – @DohaBen

Crono – @bradycreel

H&M – @Toryscott

Standard Chartered – @Quesjad

Mont Blanc – @Realmadrid18

Qtel (retail) – @shivasingh

Toyota (service center) – @SweetyMathewB

LuLu (near airport) – @MamtaSingh

Porsche – @ArendJK

DeJaVu Cafe – @nasnas_here

Jeep – @moha_doha

Cinque Sensi – @badaa2

Qtel (City Center) – @susiefoxton

(From here it’s Facebook comments at )

Shop Rite (Airport area) – MAshiq

Qtel – A-Althani

TGI Fridays – J.Oakes

Qtel – Markie

Ahli Hospital – Diana.R

Sephora (Landmark) – Amanda.B

Qtel – Saphal.K

Qtel – Fisher.M

Qtel – Shafiek.F

Qtel – Rida.A

Qatar Airways – Rub.M

Qtel – Jay.T

Oysho (both bra

Qtel – Kaser.M

Qtel – Arnaldo.S

Qtel – Chris.P

Two users gave me multiple answers. Next time one answer only please because I cannot choose from your list.

Hamad Hospital, Vodafone, Karwa, Etihad, and Bvlgari – Cindy Mus

Oysho (both branches), Range Rover, Doha Arrivals terminal, Qtel, Qatar Airways – S.Al.M


Forget NyanCat. I present you with NyanQat

After doing a bit of searching on KnowYourMeme I presented with another viral sensation call NyanCat many months ago. I’ve now decided that it was time for NyanQat to make an appearance.



Qatar Version:

Qatar Tourism Video from 2007

Check this old video out. Everything is so… different! No towers… seems like things were greener… belly dancing in the dessert was cool… ah the good old days

The People’s Tweets – ‘Best Customer Service’

So I asked a simple question on twitter yesterday. I asked people to name ONE place that stands out in their minds where they got great customer services in Qatar. Some interesting results. Some I didn’t expect myself. Without further adue I present all the responses! (In no particular order!)

Nissan – Infiniti division – @iknw101

TableArts – @Shanti_eka

Grandhyatt – @haniarif

The Ritz – @bradycreel

Ritz @expatcookie

FFC @vanish_forever

Sushi Minto @jmugford

Vodafone Landmark – @_maricala

Khan Farooq – @theesal

VLCC @cameliacesin

GlowSalonDoha – @jodygryan

WafiGourmet – @halawala

Café Tasse – @abuarja7

W Doha – @MaryH_K

Jumbo – @rainydoha

BMW – @shivasingh

W Doha – @sweetymathewB

Yoko Sizzlers – @Qatarday

Carluccios – @dohaben

Woqod near the Mall – @jibbersindoha

Still working hard on the new ILQ – Sorry

Sadly things have happened and it’s set me back a bit. Sorry to let everyone down. I know many people are excited to see what I have in store…

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.