Archive for December, 2012

Qatar and Dubai used to share a currency – yup.

rare

This isn’t NEW news but a few people asked me about this after reading ‘Fact 5′ in the Facts section on iLoveQatar.net

Yes Doha and Dubai are super close. The ties between the two are undoubtedly strong. In 1966 (officially 1967), Qatar and Dubai had a shared currency. It was known as the Qatar and Dubai Riyal. It’s one of the most rarest currency notes to get your hands on today. While doing a bit more research to share with you all, I stumbled upon this article from Trade Arabia from October 2012:

Rare-Find ‘Qatar & Dubai Currency Board’ Notes Auctioned in the UK!

At Bonhams ‘Banknotes and Coins’ auction in Knightsbridge in London, England yesterday, a number of mint-condition uncirculated Qatar and UAE banknotes – extremely rare in the world – has been purchased for £ 180,000 (QR 1.05 million) against pre-auction expectations range: £ 25,000 – 35,000 (QR 146,180 – 204,640), according to official press release from the auction house. 

At closer look by an expert, the corresponding early serial numbers – all marked ’000009′ – bolster more the intrinsic value of the collection.

The whole public sale, including non-currency items, hauled in a total of £ 580,194 (QR 3.39 million) for just 90% of the entire lots. Many rare coins of international origin and era as old as in Egypt 285 BC, the rule of the Ptolemaic kings.

Mr. John Millensted, Head of Coins at Bonhams, stated during a press interview: “It is a tremendously rare set and has been preserved well over the years, the price exceeded all expectations and we are very pleased with the result.”

The paper currencies, issued by the Qatar and Dubai Currency Board were a complete set of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 Qatari Riyalsdating back in September 1966, were neatly stored in a blue-leather presentation album with the cover inscription: ‘Council For the Currency of Qatar & Dubai’.

The banknotes appear with a vignette with a dhow, derrick, and palm tree at left portion, reverses with denomination at middle and upper corners, and issuing authority across the top. They were modestly mounted on card pages and secured by a thin masking tape strip on back of right edge. 
What’s the history behind the bills?

Back in March 1966, the so-called ‘Qatar-Dubai Currency Agreement’ was sealed to pave way for the ‘Qatar and Dubai Currency Board’ which, in turn, was expected to give birth to a common currency.

Six months later, the Board issued its first banknote. For some major reason, however, the formal treaty was dissolved — within less than seven years hence.

The State of Qatar went ahead to commission its own paper money, as the United Arab Emirates Currency Board circulated its own bills in Dubai. 

At present, high-grade banknotes of the short-lived Qatar & Dubai Currency Board – except for the 1 riyal — are such rarities, with the 25 riyal having such a limited production that it is almost nowhere to be found in any condition. 

 

Having said that, there’s been talks about a shared common currency for the GCC. Apparantly the first time that the decision was going to be made, the UAE declined, the second time GCC leaders met up UAE was onboard but Oman declined. Right now it’s all just a dream, but perhaps we’ll get there. I’m not quite sure of what the reasons are behind a shared currency not happening (perhaps someone can comment below and let me know), but it sounds interesting. Do you think it’ll be worth it?

The quality of Qatar’s water? Is it safe?

This is something that I’ve been talking about for quite a while and it’s something to be concerned about.
The water in many places in Qatar isn’t healthy. I don’t mean that it’s not drinkable, but it’s the cause for bad skin, dryness, hair loss, and even damaging to pipes.

I wonder if the government inspects any of the towers and does water sampling to ensure that we’re all living with healthy water. People often talk about the calcium level of the water being quite high. You know it’s high when you can’t even scrub the limescale off of glass! You can judge by yourself by looking at your faucets or around your sink for white scaling. High calcium content damages the skin and hair, that’s for sure, but I’m going to talk about something even more worrying. Rust/Dirty water.

I’ve recently been told (by a source that prefers to be anonymous) that there are construction companies that are using the wrong types of pipes. They should be using anti-corossion coated pipes. Basically, metal pipes (like any pipe) rust from the inside. They actually rust and get damaged even worse in our type of environment. This means you could be drinking rust…

Now I’m a sensitive person. So I decided to buy a 10,000 Riyal water filteration system from Japan (I know, it’s a lot). It’s state of the art and supposed to last 3 years. It’s attached to a secondary filter which is replaced every month and a half to two months.

Now take a look at this picture. I don’t need to say much.

photo

See that transparent tube with that brown sponge in the middle? That’s what it looks like after just a 10 days! In the center, that super white roll is what the filter used to look like. Now this is quite scary to me. Something that’s supposed to last MUCH longer, turns a filthy brown in just a short period of time. I’m concerned for people who don’t have filters..

Think about this for a second… washing your face, your hair, brushing your teeth, or possibly event drinking this… This is the result of an apartment that’s only a few years old.

I wonder if anything is being done? How harmful is it?

So my question is, how many other people are concerned about the water in Qatar?

 

Kite surfing – Qatari Style

I had to share this awesomeness by fellow EO member Khalifa Al Misnad.

THIS is Kite surfing; Qatari Style.

Special Forces drive Porsches

No Dr. Sues ryhming action intended! Regardless, who wants to join the forces with me? They’re giving away Porsches :P

[Video] The Emir is one of the people

A great video created by Mohd Saad. The Emir decided to remove his ‘bisht’ and greet the crowd spontaneously during National Day 2012. This is why we love him. He is one of the people.

All About Qatar National Day – A day to feel pride

This post has been updated.

Click here to go  to the up to date post.

All About Qatar National Day – A day to feel pride

Different online communities / groups on I Love Qatar

There are loads of different online communities on iLoveQatar.net

Why not join one and help it grow?

★ Romanian Community -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,38093

☆ Balkan Community -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,38288

★ Chinese Group in Qatar -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,25

☆ Japanese Society Qatar (JaSoQa) -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,1897

★ ILQ Indians Group -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,20970

☆ Qatar Billiards Klub -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,12108

★ Global Pinoys -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,752

☆ ILQ Family Group -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,11763

★ Egyptian Community -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,36734

☆ ILQ Photography Group -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,11689

★ Italian Community -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,32866

☆ British Group -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,35725

★ ILQ Volunteer Groups -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,12767

☆ Amigas de Habla Hispana -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,37936

★ Filipino Media Group -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,37193

☆ ILQ Pakistan Group -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,12768

★ ILQ Tennis Group -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,22067

☆ Indonesia Community -
http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?8,7902

National Day is coming! Will 2013 be the year of the woman in Qatar?

Catch my monthly column in Qatar Happening magazine :) 

It’s December and everyone is either gearing up for the National Day festivities, planning for the holiday season, or excited to celebrate the new year. If you’re into fireworks and want to enjoy a time when everyone’s out in the streets with smiles from ear to ear, parades, fireworks, decorated cars (some beautiful and some that make you shudder), and more entertainment than you can handle, make sure to stick around here in Doha.

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem Bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach towards extraordinary heights.  The people of Qatar have always been pushed to make their mark. Education is provided to all Qataris, the 2030 vision gives us a roadmap for our future, and role models like His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani lead by example.

I should really be focusing on the topic of National Day, but I’d like to talk about women. Oh yes. Women. Hard working. Sensitive.  Talented. Perhaps even driven by the fact they want to prove that they’re the future of Qatar.

It’s clear to me that a lot of women paid attention as Qatar grew. Thinking back to my experiences in the work place, I’ve seen women put in double the effort than many men do. They crave responsibilities, study harder, work harder, and take calculated risks. Even the best entrepreneur would envy their work ethic. Of course some would say that I’m generalizing, and I may well be, but remember that I can only talk about my experiences. Need some examples?

Well we’ve got an obvious example like Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Missned. An icon. Making a difference in Qatar AND the world when it comes to Education, humanitarian efforts and mixing that up with fashion trends of course. The message I take away from everything that she’s done is: life’s about leaving behind an enviable legacy of positive change.

Then there’s Aysha Al Mudhehki (and her team of course) that have done a fantastic job with Injaz. Did you know that in 5 years, they’ve reached 5,000 students by bringing together businesses, corporate volunteers, and educators to inspire young people to succeed? She then worked with Shareefa Fadhel to launch the Roudha, a women’s cener for entrepreneurship and innovation.

We also have Buthaina Al Ansari who was ranked 19th on the list of 100 most powerful Arab Women for 2012. She made a big impact for Qatarization at Al Rayan Investment AND founded Qatariat, a company that specializes in helping Qatari women advance in the workforce.

I’ve got to also mention, Maha Al Essa, who’s started her own design agency called 974 Design. An agency that, in my opinion, could compete with some of the biggest ones out there. I’d also like to add that she was my first direct report when I was on the online team at Vodafone. She went from someone with no experience, head first, into a new challenge and came out a star. I’m proud of that.

Many also know, Razan Suliman, who created Bylens Photography as a small startup that’s now turned into the biggest local stock photography company in the country.

I should also mention Ashlee Stratt from the Qatar Happening team who really has to be admired for her patience (especially when she’s following up with me on my articles; sorry!) especially since she’s an editor with a million deadlines!

I then see others like Layla Dorani (who has a fantastic start up idea by the way called RAW ME), Shabina Khatri (the female side of the masterminds behind Doha News), Shaikha Al Mudahka and her team (who are putting together the future generation of designers in Qatar with Dress to Impress), and my list goes on.  Yes not all of the people I’ve mentioned are Qataris, but they’re women. Women in Qatar. Women who are making a difference in Qatar.

I wouldn’t be able to list all of the amazing women who are making an impact (and I apologize to anyone who feels left out), but trust me when I say that I admire all your efforts. When I attended and spoke at the Women Leading Change event (organized by Rachel Petero and her team), I was awed. Oh and I promise that when I was speaking on stage, I was shivering because it was cold, not because there were so many strong women staring at me.

Did you know that the majority of top students and graduates are female?

Did you know that they’re better at multi-tasking? I pride myself on being able to focus. You know what’s better than focus? Being able to focus on everything. and STILL getting it all done.

Did you know that there is a steady rise of female managers and executives?

These ladies are stepping it up and I’m worried that many of us guys are going to be left in the dark, especially since they are that figurative light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to Qatar’s future.

Inshallah my daughters, when I have children one day, can be half the women that these amazing people are.

So what do you say ladies? Care to make my prediction come true? We’re still in 2012 and I think I’ve only just seen the beginning. 2013; The year of women in Qatar.

Thoughts?

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.