All About Qatar National Day – A day to feel pride

Qatar is building on the number of events to celebrate National Day year on year. There are a number of huge milestones and events that have lead up to this as well. Qatar’s definitely in the spotlight thanks to mega event after event (World Cup, COP18, Arab Spring involvement, Katara expansions, etc… etc…) and Doha will continue to shine bright as long as changes keep happening.

Why are Qataris so proud? Well we haven’t had that much to be proud of for a long time. Our Emir has brought so much change and development to Qatar that it’s something to almost brag about. A typical Qatari will gladly sacrifice a lot for his country. The Emir has done so much to make our lives better, so why don’t we lift the burden off of his shoulders a bit and try to help?

So whether you’re Qatari, American, British, Indian, Philipino, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Pakistani, Chinese or any other nationality (let’s face it, Qatar is a melting pot of diversity), please celebrate National Day with us! Let happiness flow through you like a rush of energy. Think positive and have hope for a fantastic future. Think of each firework that goes off on December 18 as the sound of the country’s heartbeat. WE are Qatar.

One common question I’m asked is how is it that Qatar changed National Day’s date? It never changed. They’re thinking of Independence day, which is on the 3rd of September. Here’s some more info about National Day (from QatarNationalDay.qa):

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 toward ever higher heights.

National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, celebrates the rise of Sheikh Jassem as the father and founder of the State of Qatar. And yet this holiday is a mere two years old: it was founded in 2007 to give people an occasion to honour the history and identity of their country, and to commemorate those who have worked and continue to work to make Qatar a great nation.

The 18th of December is a special day – a day of unity for the people of Qatar. We want you to be a part of it!

This year, the country is making an extra effort to thank the expat community here too for all their hard work to make Qatar a better place :)

We’re working hard on www.qatarnationalday.qa again this year (5th year now?) so you can find all the events and great content for National Day.  Until then we’ve got a temporary list going, click here for Qatar National Day event list 2013

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Have an event or activity you want to make sure is listed? Drop the team an email at contact@iloveqatar.net


Mr. Q visits Korea (Three Episodes) – A Qatari guy visits Korea

Some people have been following my Vlogs for a while now. I’ve had quite a few going on, from talking about waste dump in the Pearl, to episodes in Japan. I’ve now put together the first two episodes of a three parter called Mr. Q visits Korea. It’s interesting for most people not only because you get to see what’s happening from a Qatari’s point of view, but a lot of people might be interested in Korea in general too. By the way, I recommend visiting the country, I had a fantastic time and can’t wait to visit again!

Is there another country you want me to visit? If so, drop me a comment in the comments section below. Also, please don’t forget to subscribe, thumbs up and share the videos, it helps keep me going and shows me that you appreciate what I’m putting together.

 

Episode 1 (Gangnam Style and the Loneliest pigeon in the world.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIua35u2IUM
 

Episode 2 (Tiny little baby Octopus and Poo bread)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT2cm-q0_LI
 

Episode 3 coming soon.

You can also see more videos by visiting the iLoveQatar channel. Thank you again for helping the channel pass 1.2 MILLION views!

[Vlog] Mr. Q visits Korea – Ep. 1 – Gangnam Time

First of all, I just wanted to thank all you people who have been encouraging me to keep going with my vlogs. What do you prefer? The Vlogs or the Blogs? (Maybe both?)

Remember, sharing, commenting, leaving me a thumbs up, those things keeps me going :)

Thanks to your views, I’ve managed to hit the legendary 301+ on YouTube for my Korea video!

Don’t know why 301+ is special? It means that you’re getting a flood of views, so YouTube freezes it at 301+ for a while for protection.

Mr. Q Visits Korea

I decided to go on down to Korea with a couple of bros.
After all, it’s the ‘IT’ country right now right? (I mean it, not I.T.)
I checked out a bit of the night, digital screens, Gangnam Kabab, and this super lonely pigeon.

 

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)

A quick tour of IKEA (and sleeping in beds)

I went on down to check out Ikea qatar at Doha Festival City and decided to vlog it (and sleep in their bed too.)

I thought it would be nice for you to see what IKEA is like since so many people are talking about the place.

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)

Marhaba did a piece on me

That’s nice of Marhaba Magazine, they were very complimentary. If I was a blusher, I would have blushed :D

You can read it here: The elusive Mr Q from iLoveQatar

Driving down Al Khor (oh and 998!)

Your friendly neighbourhood Qatari decides to go take a drive down Al Khor. (The potential for this place to be something amazing is HUGE).
While driving down and doing the usual Vlogging, I bring up a good point – 998!

Mr. Q visits Japan – Episode 2 – Weird Shop Names

Japan is so 3ajeeb! Don’t forget to visit www.qatarjapan2012.com to see how Qatar and Japan are celebrating their 40th anniversary.

Mr. Q visits Japan – Episode 1

While I was in Japan, I decided to do a bit of Vlogging. Here’s my attempt :)

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.

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.