Yes I am tough

July 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm (Diary, Everyday life situations, gender discrimination, Just a thought ..., women, work)

You should be more like a lady he said. You became a little .. how should I say this .. a little rough and too bold for a woman.

Am I less feminine really? Maybe it is true. I see it too. I started putting less makeup and only buying comfortable cloths.  I didn’t do my hair for ages. I can see some violence in my speech and behaviour. It is like I am fighting with the whole world all the time. I shout at anyone who flirts or harasses me. I am ready to hit anyone who approaches me. I almost hit my friend once thinking she was a stranger who wanted to grab my bag.  I am always on alert for any danger; physical or emotional. I am always ready to defend myself from any kind of attack; physical or verbal. I became too honest in what I say that it might hurt others some time.  But why would you blame me because I am only the modern woman of today.

How do you expect me to wear nice dresses and high heels with hair and makeup done when I don’t have time to cook a proper meal for myself? How do you expect me to be gentle and kind when I have to work from morning till night everyday and squeeze myself  between people in buses and trains like a sardine, someone pushing me here and another shoving me there? How do you expect me to be a lady like when I have to deal with nasty people all the time? It is a fight everyday and I am fighting every day. I am tired and I feel a part of me has gone. People around me are taking a bite of me every day and I have to keep on going with whatever I have left. How do you expect me to be lady like when I cannot afford the luxury of staying at home and doing nothing but pampering myself? I am sorry baby but I don’t even have the option of waiting for you at home and welcoming you back with a passionate kiss.

I don’t want to hustle like this every day, but I can’t afford not to. Because men are not men these days. I have to do it all myself and I know I can never depend on a father, a brother or a husband. Maybe men were ‘gawamoon’ but not today baby, not today. Maybe it made sense that men inherit more than women but it doesn’t make sense today baby it doesn’t.

I have to do it all by myself and even better than you so that you don’t point the finger and tell me ‘emotional’. I pay for my rent, my food, my cloths, my tickets, my makeup, my shampoo, my lattes and even the water I drink. After all of this, how would you expect that I won’t become a little bit masculine? How do you expect me to give you all the care and attention you need when I am lacking so much? There isn’t any tenderness left in me. You drained it all out, the world has drained it all out.

I am stronger than you and a hundred man like you. I work twice as hard as you, and then I come back home to take care of the kids, I cook and clean and even wash your cloths. And you really expect me to put on something nice at the end of the day and squeeze the last bit of energy and emotions I have left to give you few seconds of pleasure? oh and not only you ask me to put something nice on, but you actually ask me to buy it. You actually want me to spend the little money I have left to buy something for you to enjoy!

And what do I get back from all of this? All I hear is you comparing me with other more feminine women, how I should take more care of you and give you more time and attention, how I have my priorities wrong, how I became cold. Who is the selfish one here? Who is the cold one here? who is the man here? who is loosing the respect here? I am a human, but I am a super human.

So yes I am tough, I am strong and I will keep fighting. For my education, for my freedom for respect. so just be quiet!

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Great job girls

May 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm (doha events, Qatari culture, Society, women, work)

Two Qatari women working for ICT Qatar, Engineer Noura Alabdullah and Fatima Alnuaimi have created the first Qatari website for internet protection for families in Arabic

http://www.alarab.com.qa/details.php?docId=133354&issueNo=893&secId=26

the website:  www.safespace.qa

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Evidence for what exactly?

April 27, 2010 at 8:26 am (Qatari culture, Society, work)

Following from my previous post, this is evidence of what has been discussed, could those who said that Qataris are whining for no reason give us an explanation now?

I am interested to here your thoughts when provided with strong evidence from CANADA admitting there is scamming going on! Or is the canadian government wrong and understand that these are ‘highly qualified and experienced’ expats???

http://chronicle.com/blogPost/canadian-college-president/23490/

” The president of the College of the North Atlantic, Jean Madill, tendered her resignation on Monday shortly after the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announcedthat at least a third of the staff at the college’s Qatar campus had been overpaid by $5-million. The provincial government did not say whether the resignation was linked to the overpayments, according to the CBC. The salary error means the money must be paid back to the government by the employees, according to a report in the St John’s Telegram. More than 300 Canadians are on the staff of the Qatar campus, which bills itself as “Qatar’s premier comprehensive technical college.”

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If You Are not Qatari, then you will be more appreciated – updated

April 19, 2010 at 10:07 pm (1, Opinion, Qatari culture, work)

– updated version please read again –

I am furious, mad, angry and feel so much hate. Things are seriously wrong and there is nothing I can do about it but to write this. What is going on in Qatar! A lot of injustice, a lot of theft. And no one is saying anything.

May is a fresh pharmacist, she worked for a year in Egypt and came back to Qatar, the land she was born and raised in to work because her whole family is here. She was shocked to know that all medical interns must work for 3 years as interns without being paid! She said this goes for all interns except those with blue eyes and blond hair. She works every day from 7 to 2, and then she goes to her other job to work as a sales woman in a pharmacy and only gets paid 1000 QR per month. The law says she is not allowed to work with a title and get paid as a pharmacist until she finishes those 3 years.

Sara is a Qatari doctor who is married to Saudi. She is a consultant now living in Qatar, however, because her daughter has a Saudi passport, she must pay for her daughter’s education in Qatar. On the other hand, her blue eyed blond colleague, who has less years of experience and is a specialist ( lower than consultant ), and is paid 25,000 QR more than her, and all her four children are paid for to study in Qatar Academy ( One of the most expensive schools in Doha ), since she carries an American passport.

Maha is of another Arab origin who was born and lives in Qatar. She was fired from her work at HSBC because of Qatarization, and it took her 8 months to find a job. By luck, she got employed as a trainee in one of the banks. She works two shifts, from 8 to 1 and from 5 to 8:30 and is only paid 1000 QR per month.

A Philipina Pharmacist who lives in Jordan because she is married to a Jordanian is paid 30,000 QR per month only to give a 2 hour lecture to Cornell medical students twice a month. All expenses of hotel, tickets …etc included. While my friend, a Qatari doctor is asked to give the same kind of talk for free.

My friend is a Qatari designer, she was considering a job at the new museum. They told her that they will only pay her 11,000 QR because she is Qatari and the law says this is what Qatari should be paid at this organization. While her blue eyed friend is of course being paid more than double, with the same qualifications and the same job.

Another friend is working in one of the financial organizations and her non Qatari manager refuses to send her to any training course while her blue eyed friends are being sent to training courses all over the world.

Do I have to have blue eyes and blond hair to be paid and appreciated here, or shall I work with a European or American passport to be treated equally. Why are Europeans being paid so much more than Qataris, not to mention all the benefits of having free houses, cares, phones, insurance, plane tickets …etc. No Qatari gets all of this when they start working, these benefits are only given to the highest of the highest officials and to a handful of Qataris. But for Anglo-Saxons it’s for granted. Don’t give me that silly argument that they are being paid so much more because we brought them from their home land and we must compensate them for this. Why don’t we compensate cheap labour then since they slave all day for nothing!

Is the law that Foreigners should not be paid more than Qataris is nothing but a load of crap!

I am so glad about what happened in QFC when the HR manager discovered that they were using the company’s money to pay for alcohol in parties and many deals with foreign companies that have not fulfilled their contracts and that all of this was being covered by their foreigner friends in Qatar, I am glad that all those thieves were fired.

I actually heard a CO of a foreign company that was brought to Qatar to do some development projects saying, right in front of me ‘We don’t care about the education or the quality of our work in Qatar. We are here for the money and we will try to get as much as we can before they discover that we are taking advantage of their laid back life style’.

I think it’s only a handful of foreigners who really care about this country and truly believe in developing it. I can write about this forever, and give you endless examples of injustice. But what is the point!

I feel like giving up. What is the point of trying to do anything since I will not be appreciated as much as Europeans or Americans. At work I am treated like a table, an object without a soul. They wont give me anything to do, and at the same time they wont let me go because of that stupid contract I have with them. All my potentials are being killed! It’s just such a frustrating situation. I can do so much and give so much but I am not given the opportunity. I have to fight so hard just to give back to my country! how silly is that! why wouldn’t you give me the same opportunity you give to foreigners?

You might think I am exaggerating or making all of this up. What I wrote is not my fiction, it has been proven by a study that has been made by Hay Group Consultancy and was published in the Economist Sep Issue 2008. ‘study compares managers’ disposable income in 51 countries, by calculating average salaries adjusted for taxes and living expenses. On that basis, managers in Qatar … have twice the spending power of their counterparts in America’. The claim is that there is a high shortage of talented Qataris and that’s why we pay very high for talented thieves!
Addition:

I want to point out that what I write about is not prejudice or racism, this is the normal right, and expected right of every national in this country. If I apply for a job in America or EU, the nationals have priority, then regionals, then any other expat. However, in Qatar, if you have Qatari with a high qualification, first they will choose a foreigner, then an Arab because he is paid less then a Qatari. They look for non skilled Qatari on purpose because they don’t want them to develop, they are just there to fulfill the quota of Qatarization. This is why it has been easier for high school graduates to find jobs than university graduates.

My friend Maha tells me about the Qatari girls who are employed at the Bank, none of them has a university degree. What does that tell you about Qatarization. While I have another friend who has MBA speaks 5 languages, and he was told ‘you are too qualified for our organization’ at the same time, his expat colleagues were given the post with less qualification and higher financial pay.

This does not only cover the working sector in Qatar. but even in the educational one, where we have spent gazillions of dollars in buildings and the making of education city, several universities from the US, Qataris are given second class treatment. Since the number of Qatari students and faculty and employees does not go beyond 12%. The funny thing is that some students were rejected after they have applied to QF institutions! Who are they to reject a Qatari who wants to study! Even the educational sector is biased towards expats because it is managed by expats. The only Qataris who are happy about their position in QF are the board members. While the young people of Qatar are being rejected, the door to study at their country is shut, as well as the door to study abroad with all the difficult new laws for scholarships.

There is so much more to write about this … I will keep updating this post

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In Doha … In London

January 4, 2010 at 2:21 am (Diary, Everyday life situations, Opinion, work)

In Doha

The first time I met my manager was not the first day at work, it was a month after I started working, or rather after I started going to a place to sit on a desk and sip tea the whole day. The first few days I was surprised that none of my colleagues bothered to say hi, or introduce me to the place. And by the last few days I started getting headaches from hearing them chatting, chatting and chatting the whole day. The first thing my manager told me was ‘Don’t expect anything, we all graduated from the US and came here with high hopes and expectation, but let me tell you something. They will all be shattered by the system. Of course, I don’t want to discourage you from working, but this is the reality here. Try your best, but don’t aim so high so that you don’t get disappointed. Anyways, welcome and I hope that you will be different’. I went back to my office after this, sat on my desk which was in the middle of a big room that accommodated 16 women who never bothered speak to me for the first few weeks. I was feeling confused as I was not sure what kind of work I am supposed to be doing because simply, yet after a month, I was not given anything to do!

In London

The first day I started work in London, the receptionist asked for one of my colleagues to come down and meet me. She took me to my desk and introduced me to everyone, showed me the place and got me some tea and cookies. Few minutes later, my supervisor came and had a chat with me, he said ‘we are thrilled to have you here, and we would like to know your thoughts about our work here. We are in the process of developing this department and your opinion is very much valuable. How are you coping in London so far? Are you settled? Please let us know if you need any help’. Few minutes later someone comes in from another department. My supervisor stands up and says ‘Lewis, this is our new intern, Mimi from Qatar, its her first day here’ … ‘ Hi Mimi very pleased to meet you’. After that, I was trying to write down few things my supervisor asked me to, but was interrupted because my colleagues would introduce me to everyone who would enter the room.

In Doha

It has been few months and I still have not done anything. Time passes by so slow, I come to work from 7:30 till 1:30. Its not much but it seems so long since I am not doing anything. I had enough from drinking tea. Why bother be punctual if I am not doing anything. Most people here come late and leave early, it seems that no one cares.

In London

Gosh, it is 5 already and I still have so much to do. Shall I leave or stay for few more minutes? No one is leaving; everyone seems to be so concentrated in what they are doing. I can’t believe that I have been working since 9 am. Time flew by so quickly, I didn’t even notice that my tea is cold.

In Doha

What is that smell? Is that eggs and keema? Oh yes it is, who would eat meet and hammous at 8 am! Why don’t they have breakfast at home? Or at least bring something not so smelly. Its 11 now and they have ordered pies and sandwiches. Oh there is a buffet in the other room because someone has given birth or got married and the girls are celebrating the colleagues return. But we leave in 2 hours, aren’t they going to have lunch at home. How much money they spend on this every day?

In London

‘Here is the menu, what would you like for lunch?’. Wow, this is a whole book! Wow, menus from every restaurant in London and I get to pick any meal I want and it’s all paid by the company. Talk about investing in human capital! Ok I should act cool and just order what I want. ‘What are you having guys?’.. ‘We will order from what ever restaurant you pick’.

While working at night:

‘I heard that there is a nice burger shop here’ .. ‘Yes, the Carnaby burger company’ … few minutes later ‘Here, this is a cheese burger from the shop you asked about, it doesn’t have any pork don’t worry’ .. ‘Wow you guys, I didn’t even ask for it, this is really kind of you, thank you so much’

In Doha

‘Hello, I will have to go home early because I am not feeling well’ ‘ what is wrong with you?’. ‘I have a headache and feel dizzy’ ‘is it so serious that you have to leave’ ‘ yes’ .. a long pause to think if my health is worth giving me permission to leave early .. ‘but we have some work to do’ .. ‘ but I have been doing nothing all morning, how come you are giving me work now?’

In London

I cough … my supervisor says in panic ‘Are you ok? Do you need to go home?’ .. ‘ No I am ok’ .. ‘Are you sure?’ .. ‘Yes’. My colleague asks ‘Shall I get you some herbal tea?’

I cough again ‘Oh you should go home you are tired, let’s call you a taxi you shouldn’t walk home’

The next day I go to work with another team, and a girl from the team of the day before calls me during lunch hour and asks ‘Did they get you lunch yet? … I asked them to get you some lemon and honey for your throat, if you need anything call me’. She calls again when it started getting late and said ‘Let me know when you finish, I will call a cab to take you home’

In Doha

‘How can I write a response to this’.. ‘ Just see what it says and write’ .. ‘What do you mean? It’s a letter directed to another organization, and this is the first time you send me work, I don’t know what to do with it’ .. ‘Just see what it says and write what to do with it’ .. ‘you are not making any sense, can you teach me how to do whatever you are saying’ ..’You know what, just send it back we will do it’ .. ‘NO, I WANT TO DO IT, would you please just explain how I should do it’

In London

‘Ok, before you start I will explain to you how work is done and what you should do, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me at any time ok’

In Doha

Every day I hear my colleagues complaining about work, the same story every day, the same complaints every day .. I was complaining myself, I do complain a lot, but I got tired, there is no point of it. I complain because I am not working, and they are complaining because they are given work! for God’s sake, all they do is data entry, and for less than 5 hours a day. If they worked for 5 hours straight that would be a miracle. They pass by my desk and say ‘ You are so lucky you have nothing to do’ and when I say ‘But I want to be given something to do’ they reply very surprised ‘why?’

In London

Oh My God I am so tired, I have been working since 11 am and now its almost midnight! Don’t they get tired! They have a deadline tomorrow and they must finish this film tonight. I never heard anyone complain at all. How amazing! even though I can see they are tired but still they are very thorough in their work!


In Doha

I leave work in silence, no one notices if I am here or not


In London

Goodbye, take care, thank you for helping today.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hmmm and I wonder why young people are depressed, or take drugs, or waste time chasing after the opposite sex, or not punctual, or don’t care about the quality of their work or or or!! Whose fault is it? Would you blame me for hating work in Doha, or for being depressed and frustrated? I remember those days, and I remember the stupid things I have done out of boredom. How my energy and ideas were vanished, how a layer of mud accumulated around my brain until I lost the ability to think. I could talk about this forever, give you more examples, of how we are Muslims without Islam, and how westerners have Islam without Muslims. Why can’t we be faithful, punctual, giving, caring to our work and colleagues, why don’t we care about the value of a human being? Most obvious evidence is the way we treat cheap labour and the lack of laws protecting them. Wasn’t the way I was treated in London, Islamic, Human! How come I wasn’t treated like that in my own country, in a place I have worked for, for two years!  Those strangers I met in London made me feel more at home than I ever was in that place I worked in, in Doha. They treated me better than my own people. How would that make me feel!

The West understands that to achieve highest profit possible, companies and governments should invest in humans. That is why they give their employees free food, and taxi rides. This is why they care about their health and give them sick leave when they need it. And in return of these benefits, the employees would work and give, because they know they will be taken care of and paid for their hard work. I know that this is not the case everywhere, but this is the general rule, and I know that there are exceptions.

“The only justifiable purpose of political institutions is to ensure the unhindered development of the individual.”

Albert Einstein

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Torture days are over

September 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Diary, Human Rights, Just a thought ..., Qatari culture, Society, women, work)

Today is my last day at work. I would like to say that it feels like I just started yesterday and that time has passed really quickly, but that’s not the case. Yes, time passed by, but very painfully and unbelievably slow and boring! I had so much enthusiasm and energy when I started, but it was all crushed by the “great” mentalities of the  “Big Bosses” and the very “effective and efficient” bureaucratic  system. There is no place for creativity, no place for development! How many young talents that started their lives after graduation with high hopes to give back to this country but were eventually crushed! Crushed so bad and so hard! Crushed everyday! Every second of the day!

I spent two years of my life in this job! Two years wasted! Two years that I wont get back. I tried to make the most of this experience, but there is really no chance to get anywhere in this place. The first year I worked here, was by far the worst in my life. I got seriously depressed, I lost my appetite, I lost 8 KG in less than two months! I looked like a ghost. I was shocked at first by how unequal women are treated. We have a different entrance, a different elevator and are shoved into one floor. All the guys who graduated with us got promoted in less than a year. And we, the girls, finished two years and might need to finish ten more to get one promotion! I went down to see the manager and requested work, requested to attend meetings, requested to be working with my male colleagues to learn, to just do something for God’s sake!  Month passed by and I wasn’t given any work. I speak with the manager every two days requesting work. He wants me to be with them at the department, he wants me to attend meetings, he wants to give me as much work as possible. But because women are not allowed to attend meetings or work with men he can’t help it. And even if I was given work, it takes forever to go from the men’s floor to the female’s floor. And many times it gets lost! Very disorganized! Very retarded! After months of nagging, I was able to prove myself, that I was capable of doing some real work! So I was given few things to do! I got so excited. Then I realized that I am too quick. Whatever takes two days, takes two hours with me. They didn’t know what to give me anymore. I also realized that the kind of work I was given doest require a degree! It only requires simple basic reading and writing abilities. It got dull, nothing is challenging nothing is new. And on top of that. Women are not allowed to have training courses abroad! Even some of the training courses in Doha are strictly for men! Is this Qatar! I cant believe it. I feel suffocated. Two years wasted. I don’t even have work experience because there was simply no work. The only thing I have learnt is how to deal with frustration and get over myself and stop feeling sorry for myself for being in such disappointing place. !

I feel like a layer of mud has covered my brain. I panicked! I seriously stopped thinking! Holly S***. This place has the ability to turn you into a vegetable! I started bringing books, loads of books. They started to pile on my desk and in my room. Too many books I have read because I don’t have anything to do. I started skipping work or leaving early. I didn’t respect it anymore. I didn’t even care about the image of my desk. Pens and papers are scattered around, showing no personality or reflection of who sets behind it. Even the chair I am siting on has someone else’s name and i don’t care. The second year got better. Or I got used to the situation. The amount of work I do does not exceed two hours a week. I am really not exaggerating. I am supposed to be a researcher, and in those two years, I have only done two researches. And guess what! It was my idea! I started to stop hoping that work will get better or that I will have equal opportunities as my male colleagues. I shifted my focus on myself and my life outside working hours. I focused on improving the languages I speak and my writing skills. I  started going to events and meeting new people. I started doing different projects and occupying myself with books and gym. I started growing out of my shell and became a happier more positive person. I didn’t care about work anymore. I decided that I will leave. But I will fight one more time, I will give this place a chance one more time. And if I was not allowed to be given an opportunity. I will leave. And no one can blame me then! I don’t understand why young talented people are not being used to their full potential here. Even if we wanted to improve things and be creative, the bureaucratic system stops us. We keep fighting and fighting, but at the end we are humans. We give up, we resent this place, we hate it. We try to prove ourselves, show that we are capable professionals, but while we suffer from the system, foreigners are being brought to work as “professionals” “! and we leave!

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The Invisible Army

September 10, 2009 at 11:02 am (cheap labour, Ethics, Human Rights, poetryreading, Prose Poems, Qatari culture, Society, work)

 

The Invisible Army

They wrap their dry faces with dirty cloth

And if they are lucky, a plastic helmet

 

The sun is squashing them, like we squash a moth

And we leave them lying dead, burning, till we collect them at sunset.

 

They are canned in the bus

Then canned in their rooms

 

They have no expressions

They were wiped out

By the sun, by the dust, by the law, and by us

 

They try to run away from the burning sun

They try to remove the never ending dust

But there is nowhere to run, from the dust nor the sun

 

All you can see behind that never ending yellow dust

Is their broken souls, through their eyes, looking at the shiny cars

 

 They are not as human as we are

For they are nothing but workers

We don’t want them in our shopping malls

For they are polluters

 

We choose not to see them

We choose to forget about them

 

This invisible army that builds our country

Remains invisible behind the never ending yellow dust and bright burning sun

construction-worker-dubai 

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