Archive for Fashion

To thobe or not to thobe?

thobeHere’s kind of a sad thought, the thobe is such a great peice of clothing, it’s woven and cut in such a way that it keeps you cool by circulating air and due to it’s material and colour (usually white) it blocks heat from the sun.

As I was thinking about the thobe I started to think about the advantages and disadvantages that it held at a social level. I notice that if I’m wearing a thobe, some people treat me nicer in stores, in other stores they’ll assume I’m rich and bump up the price.  Why is that? That’s discrimination in it’s purist form.

What did get me into thinking though was the reaction that I got during my daily activities. In particular, I noted that when I’m wearing a thobe and in the elevator, expats are less likely to say ‘good morning’ to me than if I’m in a suit (which I also wear). I pointed it out to a Kuwaiti friend of mine (who was wearing a suit) who said that it was just a coincidence (which it might well be!) when a person entered the elevator turned to my friend said Good Morning and ignored me (I was on the other side).

It could be paranoia or a coincidence, it could be that I’m vigilant, but trust me I don’t look menacing and usually smile and always say Salam when entering an area. Don’t be shy of Qataris (or Arabs in general), they may look like gliding ghosts (a friend once said that to me), but we’re more like Men in White :)

Solution? More expats need to wear the thobe so that the line between Qataris and non-Qataris is blurred. We do after all live in a country which I’m proud to say is becoming more International and globally tolerant (I hope). Oh and for those who are actually thinking of getting a thobe, do it! Qataris will be happy at the fact that expats are adopting their culture and you’ll feel much more comfortable too!

The Art of the Cobra

Can I wear a thobe? Should I wear a thobe? Here a thobe, there a thobe, everwhere a thobe thobe.

I get asked it a lot! What would an Arabic person think if I wore a thobe? The answer is simple, he’ll think “Oh my God! He’s insulting me! Infedel Pig!”. Alright, now that I’ve said the stereotypical answer that you were kind of expecting, it’s time to run in the opposite direction. Most Arabic people would love it. They’d think that you’re accepting the culture and it’s cool.

In fact, when I took a couple of Ozzy friends of mine to a tailor, an older Qatari guy asked me in Arabic “Are these thobes for them?”. I said “Yes, they love it”. He smiled and said “That’s so great.”.

Now you might think that each thobe is the same. No no no. You have to choose the collar, the fabric, the button style, the pocket shape, the fit, the color, the shape, the hardness of the cuffs, the cuff style, and so much more. Qatari thobes are usually one button collars, sharp edges, super white fabric and with a square pocket. It’s kind of like the Armani suit of thobes. Add a cobra on there and you’re set! (A cobra is the way that you wear the ghitra on your head. Qatari’s like to shape it to look like a cobra head.)

Now you don’t need to be plain white. There are different coloured thobes, but don’t confuse the winter with the summer thobes since the winter ones are much thicker (although they have more patterns). Then when it comes to the ghitra, play around. Pick a style, choose some nice colours.

One tip to looking ultra fly in a thobe is getting some hip shades, matching watch strap with cufflinks and pen. An example of mine is wearing a white thobe, red ghitra, red pen, red watch, and red pen.

You’ll get the hang of things sooner or later. Give it a go! They’re amazingly cool to wear when it’s hot outside. They circulate the air well. Just watch out when it comes to your cobra, you don’t want it too big; you might take lift off if you walk too fast.

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.