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We are all White and Maroon [Guest Blog]

This is a Guest Blog by ILQer Yousef AG. You can follow him on twitter at @yousef_ag

 

Qatar Largest Flag

The 18th of December is a day of unity, pride, but above all, nationalism. This is the day national unity was achieved when Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Al Thani won autonomy among the many local tribes under his leadership. This is the day to recognize and celebrate Qatar’s forefathers, the heroes of hardship and endurance that worked hard to ensure the unity of their nation.
I am, without doubt, privileged to take pride in this day.And I am not alone.
This is the day that marks yet another year of progression in the realms of politics, economics and social affairs. We, as individuals who live in this country, look at the white and maroon flags that stand high above us and smile with pride. We are the heart of this country. We enrich this country’s essence with our diversity and cultural attachments. We understand this country’s stance because we are in a position to do so: we live here. This is our home. For some, home is temporary, and for others, it is permanent. But the statement still stands.
This is home.

Check out the World Cup Trophy and the plane

Hey there everyone, I was in the fortunate position to be one of a few people that got to go on the World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca Cola plane. (That’s a mouthful right there.).

I thought it would be interesting to share what I saw, a few cool facts, and vlog while I was unveiling the trophy too! (Tell me, how many people in Qatar would do that for you all?).

Check out the video and please don’t forget to leave me a comment and subscribe. It keeps me going!
Also, thank you so much to all of you followers who have been patiently waiting for the next blog post. I promise that I’ll be getting back up to speed soon, especially since on December 18th, I’ve got a huge SITE WIDE surprise for everyone.

Cydia Concept Redesign for iOS7

I don’t really post this sort of stuff on my blog, but I do like to tinker around with designs now and then, especially when something is bothering me.
(I’m thinking about redesigning Calendar, Currency, Notes, and Reminders on iOS 7 with the hopes of someone actually turning it into a reality one day)

Anyway, I wanted to design something that still had the old app feeling to it, but with iOS7 styling. I don’t like radical redesigns and I feel like UI should be an evolution.

Let me know what you think :)

 


 

 

A quick tour of the African Festival (and hunting for tribal dancers)

I went on down to the African Festival at Katara. It was a pretty fun event. I thought it would be nice to see what happened, what they were up to, and check out the entertainment. Don’t forget to Thumbs Up, Comment, and Subscribe :) Then I know if you’ve liked it! If you REALLY REALLY like it then please share it too! Take care all, Mr. Q (Your friendly neighbourhood Qatari)

Sorry for the pause

I’m very sorry everyone for not posting as usual but I’ll be posting a couple of updates in the next few days.

I’ll be sharing the future of ILQ, some stats, and some things that I’ve been thinking about recently. Although I’ve been away from blogging for a bit, those who have been following ILQ in general will have seen that we’ve kicked things into gear in the past while (which meant more work and less blogging!).

All good stuff I hope! Thanks for the continious support :)

[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

Invested in The Pearl? Want a Residency Permit (RP)? Here’s the catch. – Updated!

Update: So I emailed the Pearl (specifically TPQ) with some questions that I got answers to.

Q So that I understand, a foreigner can apply for a 1 year RP and extend it to 3 years. What happens after 3 years? Does a person need to reapply or leave the country?
 A After 3 years, the person will only renew the RP through our offices. There will be no need to leave or reapply. It will be the ordinary RP renewal.

Q After the person enters the country, he/she has to get an Exit permit from MOI? So if coming to the country to visit, he/she cannot leave the country without an exit permit? (I think that will turn off a lot of foreign investors)
A No exit permit required at all. (this answers question 3)

Q What is the process for applying for an exit permit?
See answer to question 2.

Q What are the fees mentioned?
 A The fees are QR 300 for the Master Clearance issued from our (UDC) department after the unit is cleared from any outstanding (internal process) and then we apply to the government if hopefully the application gets approved and the visa is issued there will be an amoutn of QR 4,000

 

Wait a minute… so she’s saying (the person who responded to me was a woman) that there is no guarantee to the RP. I wonder under what circumstances the RP would NOT be approved.

Now I should add that it’s great that people don’t need exit permits, but the fees don’t make sense… It’s 200 QR (I think) for a 3 month visa. That’s 800 QR per year. Multiply by 3 and that’s 2,400. It’s CHEAPER to simply come on a visit visa rather than on the RP….

—————————————–

We’re trying to get people to invest in Qatar right? At least I thought the country was hoping to get foreign investors with projects like Lusail, Al Waab City and The Pearl.
One reason many people choose to invest in another country (besides making a profit) is the fact that you become elegible to receive a residence permit. I mean, if I was going to invest in an apartment in London, I’d like to know that I could visit that apartment anytime I wanted to.

So The Pearl, and other developers, announced that foreigners who invest in property in Qatar would be entitled to a Residency Permit. *sound of Angels singing* and all was well in the world. People got excited and flocked to man made islands in Doha, Dubai, and Manama hoping to get a new home, an RP, and quadruple their investment in 6 months. Oh how naive they felt when news came out that Dubai didn’t issue a single RP to investors and weren’t entirely sure they were going to issue them. People gasped. “Oh no! They aren’t keeping their promise?”, people questioned in surprise. People who read those articles then scratched their heads and squinted as the cogs in their heads started to spin until “PING”, a new question was formed. “What does that mean for Qatar?”.

I’ve had LOADS of people ask me what the process was to receive an RP at The Pearl long ago. At the time, UDC wasn’t sure, because there was no process put in place by the government. Quite recently, a friend received the following letter from UDC:

With reference to your inquiry, we would like to inform you that United Development Company (UDC), Master Developer of The Pearl-Qatar (TPQ), has released to all investors on the Island the possibility to apply for Qatari Residency Permits under the new rule that allows a non-Qatari to own real estate and residential property in the country.

The issuance of Residency Permit to the housing unit owners is for 1 year (renewable for three years) and the sponsorship for non-Qatari’s applying for residence permits will be held by the Ministry of Interior, who will also provide exit permits upon departure from the country.

Residence permit will be granted regardless of the number or size of property owned, and for the first time in the region investors are able to sponsor their dependents and next of kin. But in the other hand, this residency permit will not allow to unit owners to work or practice any business activity in Qatar.    

In order to start the processes of your residence permit application

Kindly provide us with required documents as below:

1.      Photocopy of your valid passport / current visa if available.

2.      Photocopy of the Sale and Purchase Agreement.

3.      Hand over date of your apartment.

4.      No objection letter from current sponsor signed by authorized signatory stating that you don’t have objection to  cancel your residence and reissue residence under the sponsorship of the property / if available.

5.      Copy of Computer Card for the company (commercial registration) / if available.

Please be informed that Government fees and The Pearl-Qatar Central Authority Directorate “TCAD”
administration fees are applicable.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.”

 

Let’s dissect this for a second. So basically they’re saying that you get an RP for a year, extended to 3 years, but THEN what? Do you need to do a dead-run and leave the country and reapply? Your ‘sponsor’ is now the Ministry of Interior who you now have to get an exit permit from. Wait what?! You’ve invested in a property, entered to visit your lovely summer get-a-way in Doha, then need to apply for an EXIT permit to go back home? I guess to many already in Qatar, they’re accustomed to having to get an exit permit, but to the rest of the world I’m pretty sure they’ll be unpleasantly surprised. I mean, think about Mr. Euro-Millionaire who’s buying properties around the world; I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like to be controlled. (I guess the argument here to some would be, if he doesn’t like it, then he shouldn’t invest. I wont go into that right now). I’ve contacted UDC so that they could explain what additional ‘fees’ there are (you’d think that after spending millions on their properties that there wouldn’t be additional costs for an RP), what the process is for getting an exit permit, and how long this whole process will take.

I like to put myself in people’s shoes, so I got to thinking myself. Imagine if I had now bought a home in England. Decided to go visit it for summer, then told that I couldn’t leave the country without an exit permit (oh and by the way, you can’t get a job here either).

It’s a confusing situation. What is the country asking from investors? Do we want people to LIVE in Qatar? Do we want them to enter and spend even more in the country? Do we not want them to leave? Perhaps the answer is simple. Give us your money and get lost.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I’d like to end this with letting everyone know that this isn’t The Pearl’s fault. They don’t make up the rules and the laws in the country. 

 

Ramadan-Mubarak.com everyone! (Tents, Events, and more!) – Ramadan 2012

Ramadan Mubarak! Mubarik Alaykum il shahar.

I hope that everyone has a great Ramadan period, and whether you are Muslim or not, there’s a lot to do in Qatar during this time.

www.Ramadan-Mubarak.com (also accessed at www.ramadan.qa) has launched and it’s even bigger and better than last year’s effort.

Two years ago, we launched a real first…our site got lots of attention by helping people find out about all the wonderful things happening during Ramadan in Qatar. So we had a challenge: How do we take what we did and make it even MORE useful year on year? This year we’ve partnered up with Vodafone again as well as got some support from Katara!

The beauty of www.Ramadan-mubarak.com is that it’s so simple. Not only is it easy to navigate but there are some great features!

We’re Mobile!
It only made sense to create a mobile version of the site. Especially since we partnered up with VodafoneWe took Ramadan-mubarak.com and shrunk the site into a useful mobile tool. It looks and feels like an app as well! So get tap-tap-tapping on your smartphones! Don’t have one? Don’t worry, the mobile version works on most devices! :)  Oh and if you’re a Vodafone customer, it’s free to visit the site!

We’ve got an app for that!
Whether you are on the site or on your mobile, we’ve got a list of great Ramadan-related apps to download. We’ve listed apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberries. Just click your favourite app’s icon to download!

We’re Dynamic!
The website’s background changes depending on the time of day.
☾ In the morning the sky is dim and a sun rises
☾ During the day the sun shines bright, birds fly around and the wind gently sways the hanging lanterns
☾ For sunset—and because it’s so rare for us to enjoy a beautiful one in real life—our site’s sunset begins 15 minutes before night, so if you’re lucky enough to be on our website at exactly the right time you’ll see a brilliant orange sky.
☾ When it’s time to break your fast, the moon pops out, the lanterns light up, and the stars twinkle.
☾ We’ve also got some fun messages that pop up while you’re on the site. “Whoa, it’s hot outside!”

Why is this special?
Because it’s a fun way of letting people know when its time to break their fast! Don’t have a calendar? Have a calendar but don’t know what time it is? Just visit the site and if you see the moon, you can break your fast. It’s also a tool for kids!

We’re social!
☾ Sharing is caring:
You’ll notice Twitter, Facebook, the ‘Like’ button, and the new Google +1 button on the site. So sharing the site is extremely simple! Go ahead! Click on our LIKE and +1 buttons.
☾ Tents and Events:
-During Ramadan many people meet up at night at various tents and events to be together and socialize. If you’re looking for a calendar of events, then our site is here for you. Our calendar will constantly be updated as we get wind of more events!
-Last year people asked for more events besides simply the ones at hotels, and so we’re working hard to get as much as possible on there! Got an event yourself? Let us know so we can add it to the site!

Send an eCard!
We’ve created some very nice and colorful Ramadan cards for you to send out to family and friends. All you need to do is select your image, type in your message, position the message so that it’s in just the right spot, and click send!
Love the card? You can save it in MMS format so that you can transfer it to your mobile and send it to anyone through your mobile!
Don’t see an image you like? You can upload your OWN image and send it out as an ecard!
We love choices!

Ramadan 101
We know that some people might not know what Ramadan is all about, so we’ve included an “About Ramadan” tab on the site. If you want to brush up on your understanding of Ramadan, then visit this section for: when it is, what it’s about, dates and times, tips about eating, drinking and smoking, dress code, and other special considerations.

Convenient Prayer and Iftar times!
We’ve tried to make your life as easy as possible when it comes to knowing when to pray and when to break your fast.
☾ We’ve got a full Ramadan calendar on our site
☾ You can download the calendar to your phone or desktop
☾ You can register to receive FREE SMS notifications
☾ You can pick up a pocket calendar in store
Prayers, Quran Verses, Tips and Recipes Via SMS
As a new addition this year, Vodafone customers can also subscribe to receive daily prayers and verses from the Quran, audio clips, tips and recipes during the holy month of Ramadan.

Salat package: Receive a prayer and a verse from the Quran daily.
Text SALAT to 97797 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR15

Al Hilal: Receive a prayer, a verse from the holy Quran and an audio clip from your favourite scholar.
Text HILAL to 97780 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR20

Al Badir: Receive a prayer, a God Good name animation, a fasting and health tip and a clip from Al-Afasy.
Text BADIR to 97760 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR25

Sihatik: Receive a daily health tip for FREE.
Text ALTHU to 97799 to receive this message every day for a month for FREE.

Send an eCard!
We’ve created some very nice and colorful Ramadan cards for you to send out to family and friends. All you need to do is select your image, type in your message, position the message so that it’s in just the right spot, and click send!
Love the card? You can save it in MMS format so that you can transfer it to your mobile and send it to anyone through your mobile!
Don’t see an image you like? You can upload your OWN image and send it out as an ecard!
We love choices!


Vodafone customers only for the above. (sorry!)

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.