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    Tennis
    12 July 2006
    Family this, family that


    It only takes a few weeks away from Qatar to recharge the batteries, refresh the complexion, slim down a little from all the walking and realise that there are plenty others who are happy to share your moral values. Then of course you come back and the specifics of local life get on your nerves for the first few weeks, until you get used to them once again and eventually stop paying attention.

    What makes me cringe every time I come across it is Middle Eastern fascination with all things "family". Family Food Centre. Family Pharmacy. Family Chicken Restaurant. Family section. Family day only. Family family family family family. What is going on here?? If you are a single person, an orphan, or even simply on your own, you would probably feel discriminated against. And these are just little things. The issue goes much deeper: here in the Middle East your family pretty much predetermines the way society looks at you. The moment you are born people have assumptions as to what kind of person you are and will be. I can imagine a husband having a following conversation with his wife as they are looking out of the window onto the street where their offspring is playing with the other neighbourhood kids: "See this boy there? He's from X family. Very good family. Let's invite him over one day to play with our son in our pool." "See that other boy? He is from Y family. Not a good family, we don't want to have anything to do with them. We don't want others to see this boy playing with our son, least they suspect his father is a friend of mine". Chances are the boy X is no better than the boy Y, but what do you know. Family is in the blood stream, in the brain, it is bound to come out and show one day.

    When it's time for the kid to go to school, one of the major factors in choosing a suitable establishment is WHICH FAMILIES send their kids there. Want a good job? No hay problema. Family connections will have it sorted out in no time. And finding a suitable spouse is rarely an issue - just look around for a cousin of the same age. After all, what other family could be better than your own??

    Families stick together, protect their image, keep their internal issues and scandals well hidden from public view. Domestic violence, divorces, child abuse, alcoholism, syphillis - all very hush hush. Think about your family... You will disgrace your family if you dare complain. Family honour will suffer. Remember that family comes first.

    I've just about had it with all this "family" business. I am lucky I am not from around here and as such I am not judged by my family. Back home it doesn't matter. What matters is who you are, what you do, your character, education and such like. If your brother is gay, if your parents are divorced or you have no parents - none of these will stop you from achieving your potential. Nobody needs to know anything about your family to appreciate the individual you are.

    Here in Qatar "family" stuff goes beyond hilarious. What exactly do they mean by Family Pharmacy? That it doesn't cater for singletons? That all the products in there can only be used in tight family circle? What does "Family day" mean in the malls? If I go there with a friend (i.e. we are NOT a family) - we will be allowed to enter. If a guy goes there with his brothers (aren't they a family?) - they will not. Opera Cafe in Landmark has three sitting areas: common, ladies only (which I somehow understand), and FAMILY. And what about Family Chicken Restaurant? Yeah, thought so.

    Until a person gets married and creates a family, he/she is not taken seriously, no matter how old. Our newspapers feature matrimonial ads that read: "37 year old boy is seeking alliance from families of suitable girls". Now what in the world is THAT supposed to mean? That he is still a "boy" at 37? That a "suitable girl" who I assume would be suitable in age, too, is incapable of deciding for herself and needs a family to represent her? Actually, both assumptions are very probable.

    If a person decides to take life in his/her own hands, and do something extraordinary (or a little out of the ordinary), the family would immediately "come to the resque". Marry a foreigner/from unsuitable family? No way. Practice "unladylike" sport - no way. Study something that is not approved by the family - no way. Get a job that would harm the family image - no way, better stay unemployed. Family here has the ultimate right to tell the person what to do. And more importantly - what NOT to do.

    Family is a magic word, a strange symbiosis of people who are merged together into one single unit. Family is KING.

    It seems that people forget that families are made of individuals, and it's these individuals who make up the family and create its image, and not the other way around.


    posted by Bravecat @ 10:15 am  
    45 Comments:
    • At 12/07/2006, 12:32, Blogger don_veto said…

      Family is very important for the Mafia, but seriously, be thankful for families, it sort of keeps everyone behaving decently or not outrageously blatant for fear of harming his/her family's reputation.

      I think for the different commercial establishments you mentioned, it is more of a branding thing, rather than intended only for families.

       
    • At 12/07/2006, 13:04, Blogger Mise said…

      I agree with what you've written QC, and it reminded me of the ongoing debate about what constitutes a 'proper' family anyway. We've only got to read the International Press to realise that 'The Family' and 'Family Values' are very much on the agenda of Churches, political parties, presidents and groups of all types. 'The family is a unique institution in God's plan, and the church cannot fail to proclaim and promote its fundamental importance', said Pope Benedict in Spain at the weekend giving support to 'traditional family values' in response to Spain's recent legalization of gay marriage.

      Remember Dan Quayle's criticism of Candice Bergen’s television character, Murphy Brown, for having a child out of wedlock, choosing to raise it alone and calling it a lifestyle choice? That was 14 years ago ...but a lot of things haven't changed in a lot of places. For some, the 'Nuclear Family' and 'till death do us part' are the only acceptable options.


      In the UAE though, the 'families only' rule is to keep all those thousands of men on 'bachelor' status out in their suburban camps so that the rest of us can conveniently forget who it is that actually keeps the roads clean, the gardens watered, the A/Cs maintained and the pizzas delivered!!

       
    • At 12/07/2006, 13:23, Blogger Mise said…

      On a lighter note, here are some families that we might learn a thing or two from (or not): The Addams Family, The Sopranos, The Borgias, The Simpsons, The Osmonds, The Jacksons, The Waltons, The Osbournes, The Fishers (Six Feet Under),The Corleones, The Trotters...add the rest yourself... :-D

       
    • At 12/07/2006, 15:27, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Don Veto,

      Saying that family keeps us from mischief is an anachronism. Then again, maybe it is still so in the Middle East. You know better. Would you behave any worse than you do now if that wouldn't affect your family?
      And you recon that "Family" in commercial establishments is a branding thing? You don't say :P That made me laugh. OF COURSE it's a branding thing. The question is WHY would someone want to use this particular word (Family).

      Mise,

      Actually I haven't thought of that, you know, all these poor bachelors being kept away from the "family". You have a point. Still, this is just one (tiny) side of the issue. Bachelors hardly affect election results in Kuwait, for instance, where women were made to vote for family-approved candidates. And so on.

       
    • At 12/07/2006, 18:55, Blogger confused arab chick said…

      Interesting post,

      Family Food Center is no stranger than some of the other names ive seen on signs all over the Middle East- regrettebly, none come to mind at thig moment. But we all know they exist. Titanic this or that- I saw a Harrods Tailor; Taliban Stores is a good one- I supposed Family just represents 'all things good' to those people and thus they name their businsess-

      you are totally right though- so many times my mom has asked me the name of my friends from schools parents to "figure out" who they were- not that they ever forbid me from speaking to anyone on thos grounds.. bt you know, she still wanted to find out. Of course, my family has been in Doha so long that unless the other family was FOB then either my mom or my dad went to school with my friends mom or dad. It was weird. Everybody knows everybodys history.. similar to small town living, i guess.

       
    • At 12/07/2006, 23:22, Blogger peacefulmuslimah said…

      Now I have to say that I don't see things quite the same way -- and living here by myself most of the time, I am not considered "family status".

      First of all, parents interest in and judging people based on their family is VERY typical of the US. In fact, I have never been any place where parents don't scrutinize potential playmates very closely and consider their family background. Usually it's to make sure that you don't hook your kid up with the neighborhood drug dealer whose parents have swinger parties! LOL!

      The family rule in the mall is to keep out the bachelors -- and having lived here for so long I am sometimes grateful. I get a little irritated with the workers who stare as if I am some kind of canape (and btw, I cover in abaya and shayla usually). Family seating in a restaurant doesn't bother me as long as all options are available.

      But the idea of using "family" for something like a pharmacy seems silly to me. But so does the Lexus Juice Stall and the Rolex Tailor. ;-)))

      Salaam,
      PM

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 09:23, Blogger BirkenEarthyKel said…

      Okay, I am going to chime in here. I have really enjoyed your post cat and I have enjoyed as much the diversity in comments.
      From someone who has a "family", my opinions vary when the situation suits me :) I would first like to say that the GCC idea of family is completely different from what I believe it to be. Not "muslims" in general, but there is something about the GCC people (no offense) that is false. They are so materialistic and self-absorbed that they only worry about the exterior.

      Example #1, Ramadan. In my opinion, the whole point of fasting is to cleans the body, maybe lose a little weight, but to test your strengths in resisting temptation. Well, during Ramadan almost all GCC countries shut down restaurants and juice stalls and ban anyone from smoking, drinking, eating or fornication in public. Where is the temptation? Where is the willpower? What have you accomplished other than forcing EVERYONE to conform so they can say they fasted properly during Ramadan?

      I feel that their value in family is false. The whole family idea in the GCC is a facade. They have no interest in raising their children, teaching them basic human values of respect, and appreciation. They are probably some of the rudest people I've ever been around. We can't blame the kids for being selfish brats who have no respect for authority, others, the earth, animals, and pretty much anything. They are paid so much money by the governments to have children that they keep popping them out and bringing in more philippinos, indonesians, sri lankans, indians and pakistanis (I'm sure I missed some in there) to treat as slaves, abuse them, and treat them like dogs to be a nanny. Worse than dogs actually. Where are the family values in that? They have so many "family" days and activities to cover up the lack of an actual family existence. Being married and having children does not make you a family. Most of these poor 3rd world nationals who are here enduring being raped, abused, and horribly mistreated have more family values than any GCC family i've ever met for the sheer fact that they are doing this for their FAMILY. So they can feed their children, keep a roof over their heads, send them to school, and buy medicines for the sick. THAT, is family.

      Fortunately, I was born in an established country with status and financial backing, but I know where my values lie. Do I have a nanny? No. Do I need a nanny? No. My children are my responsibility. I don't want anyone else raising my kids. My values are in raising good, respectful, healthy and smart kids who value everything, everyone and themselves.

      Selfishly, I enjoy the ladies only and family only situations. There are so many single status men in Qatar who are treated so poorly that they feel the need to stare at every woman who walks buy. The fact that these men are repressed and made to feel like they are not worth anything other than being slaves is not their fault, but that is the way it is in Qatar until someone makes some changes. Their phychi is not right due to abuse and illtreatment which puts myself and my children in uncomfortable situations. So I appreciate the family ideal because it's nice walking into Carrefour and actually being able to move without bumping into 500 workers who are looking for a cheap thrill. But like I said, I do not believe that GCC nationals have the same or correct perspective on what family really is. How can you teach your children proper family values when you have none yourself?


      As for the shops being named "family" every other door, well I think it's horrible english translations. I also think that they feel it's appealing to people who have "families". We love taking our kids to buy sheesha tobacco at the "family shop"...hahaha, just kidding. They want people to shop there and they have very skewed and ignorant ideas as to what appeals to westerners with money. I laugh everytime I pass a barber shop and it's called a saloon instead of a salon.

      Thanks Cat for you post. I hadn't really thought about the whole "family" ideal excluding single status people or even married couples. You can be married and still be considered a family. I think they do that specifically to keep out loitering single men, or men period :) I wouldn't take it personally. You have to practice what you preach, not pretend.

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 11:23, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      It's interesting how all of you had something new to add to this topic. And I agree with everything you said. Especially with Kel, her Middle Eastern family description fits like a glove. And I won't even start talking about Ramadan!
      I am not sure I am bothered by workers who stare, I avoid going to the malls on Fridays and other days they are never there, so I don't have a problem. I find that when covered women stare at me (usually not in a friendly way) it makes me feel way more uncomfortable!

      Chica,

      Apparently "family" is supposed to mean "all things good", yeah I figured this out. I wonder why, though. And what does it really mean anyways? That it is run by a family? It caters for families? Duhh

      PM,

      I can't speak about US, but in Europe only the highest class of people and the smallest village dwellers can boast knowing anything about other families. I am not used to judging people because of their families, and it sounds strange to me. If I really wanted to know - I would go and meet them and make up my own opinion about the people in question, not the whole blood clan of them.

      :^)

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 11:48, Blogger Degoat said…

      I don't believe in family other then the family i will one day build for my self..

      Go read my post "Does Family Matter" n maybe u will know what i mean to say..

      Our comunity/culture has its good sides and everyone supporting it mentioned it above.. n it has its downsides.. since we have been living it since we were born we don't see its downsides cause hey this is we now..

      but FAMILIES are F***ed up n i dont see why they should get the special treatment..

      G

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 13:12, Anonymous BOO said…

      well I feel that although a lot of descriptions based on family are accurate, there is a reason why there are such names like FFC etc... It has largely to do with lack of imagination and any idea of what marketing is all about; they just follow some name that can make a positive influence they thing e.g. family, Harrods or Lexus and add it on the store name.

      Indeed, juice stalls are some of the worst offenders: - some examples of their juices, Maradona, Titanic, Rolex, Miss World, Chick, London etc... I don't know but I'm having a craving of Miss World Juice now, so maybe they do no a little about marketing :)

      Of course, "family" labels perpetuates in restaurants etc but I'm sure it could be worse.

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 15:22, Blogger ahmed said…

      Yes we tend to judge ppl based on which family they belong to, which i think its wrong.

      with regards to your question to don_veto, I really thought about it for a while and couldnt find an answer. In KSA, despite the fact that more than 50% of the population are below 20, we don't see much "branding" towards this huge segment.

      the big question rises again; WHY?

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 18:46, Blogger U.E. said…

      You have time to write a giant post and go to blank (to protect your privacy and dignity) for dinner with blank (to protect your honor) but NOT TO SEND ME A FREAKING E-MAIL!!

      Now that I've vented and chastized let me get to the point. The word 'family' definitely takes on new connotations and implications over here, I agree. If I saw a Family Pharmacy in the states I would assume that they carry articles for all ages and conditions from diapers to hemorrhoid cream. In the Middle East I automatically wonder which mafi-esque clan owns or patronizes it. Craziness!

      (I never miss an opportunity for bathroom related missives in your presence, why is that?)

      Ciao babe. :p

      *Oh, and I remember not so long ago you were complaining about MY word verification and telling me to shut it off. WTF??

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 19:55, Blogger HijabIsOverrated said…

      I hope you dont mind I posted your article here http://www.ummah1421.com/boards/index.php?showtopic=9075

      you might find the replies interesting


      oh, welcome back

       
    • At 13/07/2006, 20:07, Blogger Sever said…

      Hello :)

      Ok, Cat, you know that I`m going to agree with you :-D

      "Marry a foreigner/from unsuitable family? No way"
      "Family is KING"

      Yes, when they are together... mama mea... They know how to press.

      & also... I like this thing: "your son will marry my daughter... so I will make my son marry your daughter".
      Good business people.
      All money are in family... & all daughters will have husbands /now problems with this as I understand/.

      Very tired, Aunt. So I`m not too talkative today :)

      But really, can you imagine... I was thinking yesterday & today about Family... I understood that I like families without children... because when people have children I start to think "may be they are together because of their kids only".
      Realy, priyatno to see "lonely" families :)

      Kisses!

       
    • At 14/07/2006, 12:15, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      G,

      I read your post ages ago, and replied in agreement, also ages ago. We share the idea :^)

      BOO,

      Welcome to Life in Qatar. Lack of imagination is not an excuse to stick "family" word everywhere. There must be a reason, don't you think?? Family family family family... Argh

      UE,

      I know there is no excuse. I was trying to call you! And sms, too. I am not big on e-mailing :( Will make up for that, I promise...
      Thanks for taking care of my dignity, privacy and honour... although did you think about my physical well being after the repercussions?? People read this stuff, ya know! :p
      As for the bathroom - what, you got locked out again, I heard? :p
      Word verification - for some reason two days ago I was inundated by spam! I expect it to be just a temporary glitch, and I will remove the verification shortly.

      HijabIsOverrated,

      Thanks for the welcome.
      I don't mind you posting my articles on other websites as long as you give the reference (which you didn't). So please, when you borrow stuff, link it to the source. Thanks!

      Sever,

      You know what I am talking about, as much as the Middle Eastern people do :^)
      You would like my "lonely" family!

       
    • At 14/07/2006, 18:11, Blogger BirkenEarthyKel said…

      Sever,
      Not every person or relationship is cut out for having children. I know so many people who do so because they feel like it is what they are "supposed" to do. To carry on the bloodline or something. These are the families who do not make it. There are so many reasons for a relationship to fail or just merely exist. It takes work on both parts, communication and what not. But if someone doesn't think they want kids, do not have kids. You are not doing anyone and especially the kid a favor. I think this is the large majority of the problem in the Middle East, especially Qatar. The Qatari people are so outnumbered by expats and 3rd world nationals because they can't or won't do anything for themselves,so they feel the need to procreate and procreate to raise their precentages because God knows, they can't have anyone being better than them or outnumbering them. Their business tactics go hand in hand with their stance on parenting...pay someone else to do your work. Parenting is hard work and I feel it is one of the most important jobs in the world because you as a parent are raising what will be our future. If you have children and are not cut out for being a parent, or have no interesting in parenting, the you have no future. With the next few generations of Qatari's that will take over running the country and the way they have been raised, there will be no future for Qatar. The oil and natural gas will run out at some point and they will have nothing because they have no substantial values that lie outside of money. So full on, if you do not want kids for whatever reason, don't have them.

       
    • At 14/07/2006, 19:20, Blogger ahmed said…

      did you just ignore my comment young lady?

       
    • At 14/07/2006, 19:27, Blogger Sever said…

      BirkenEarthyKel,

      actually, I agree with your words.
      I just said that I like families without children...

      Now I must explain.
      I`m just looking at this from my Russian point.
      Here people don`t like to marry until girl does not become pregnant.
      After this try to understand if they maried because they love each other... or they married because of that kid.

      So, when I see families without children /actually, young/ I can be sure that they stay together because of something else...
      That`s sweet :P

      & also I very very very agree about not having children if you don`t want... Right.

      + I like this point /one mother said/ - "parents must remember always that their children did not ask to give them birth!"
      But a lot of people don`t understand it... they are hostes.

      Ok, topic is so big.

      Nice to speak with you :)

       
    • At 15/07/2006, 22:56, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Ahmed,

      I wouldn't dream of ignoring your comment! I just don't know much about Saudi to offer an insight. It only seems that teenage and early 20's unmarried population of Saudi are treated like unwanted outcasts, bad news, trouble. Is that so?

      Kel, Sever,

      I know for fact that I am not cut out for having children. Or at least that's how I feel now, at 30. I wouldn't want to just "go for it" hoping that "I'll love it when it comes" kinda thing, as many of my friends and relatives suggest. Na-a, not gonna happen. I want to WANT the child, not just HOPE I'll want it "when it comes". Besides, as Kel says, parenting is hard work, and I am too lazy :p

       
    • At 16/07/2006, 21:56, Blogger A Daydreamer said…

      they throw all this FAMILY stuff at us so we can hurry up, get married, and start a family! its a scheme i tell ya! lool

      but seriously, nice post!

       
    • At 16/07/2006, 23:26, Blogger Flous said…

      Its always interesting to listen to things from someone else's point of view. for us growing up in the gulf, it comes automatically, like u said, family comes first no matter what. i can think of so many things i stopped myself from doing or places i didnt go just because of what my family may think, or someone in the extended family may spot u doing something 'inapropriate' even tho they know ur doing it abroad, or behind closed doors. its ridiculous, but hey! thats what we call home rite?!
      One thing i can sort of understand is family sections in coffee shops. altho labelling it a 'family section' can be mis leading. i mean if u have the common section thats where all the men r gonna be rite? so what about a group of girls and guys, then where do they sit without the girls feeling uncomfortable or stared at? thats what the family section is for, at least thats what i think..
      but i agree with u completely, the gulf (and probably the east in general) is too controlled by families.
      Great post btw :)

       
    • At 17/07/2006, 08:35, Blogger Susanne said…

      It's a similar-but-different situation here in Australia. Conservative politicians may take a stand on 'family values', for instance, but this definition of 'family' is limited to a nuclear one- mum, dad, two kids.

      There's little room for different kinds of 'families' under their policies.

       
    • At 17/07/2006, 11:50, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Daydreamer,

      You know, for the first time I actually managed to access your upside down blog! Didn't figure out how to leave a comment though :^) But hey, I loved it. As for the family - I wonder why would people be in a hurry to start a family??

      Flous,

      Welcome to Life in Qatar :^) I see your point, and you can probably see more in MY point, being a Gulfie. So I won't go into details, except one: family section in the restaurant. Why call it FAMILY if what it means is mainy mixed gender company? Nooo lets call it FAMILY so people might actually think these people are really a family and are not just in an illegal relationship, lol.

      Susanne,

      In my view, a family is just that - mom, dad and kids. I wouldn't really call my fifth cousin thrice removed a "family". And if my parents' opinions do matter to me, and their requests and preferences I do try to comply with, I would never ever even THINK of trying to please every single distant relative out there. And my brother could never tell me who to date, what to do and where not to go, lol. Here in the Gulf brother's word is pretty much a law for his sisters. Even if the little brat is 10 years younger! What gives...

       
    • At 17/07/2006, 17:42, Blogger Bandarof said…

      GO CAT!!! YOU SPEAK TRUTHFULLY!!!

       
    • At 18/07/2006, 16:30, Blogger Nash said…

      Qatari Cat,

      Due to harsh living conditions in the deserts, the Arabs used to live together in tribes, and were seeking protection from outsiders through tribe chiefs. This has evolved through centuries and thats why we see Arabs grouped together. Among other reasons...
      I see no problems in Family day in a park or family section in a restaurant, again this is a cultural thing where women feel uncomfortable sorrounded by strange men.... OK family pharmacy, or family supermarket, that is commercialising... basically business out to get extra bucks.

      The thing is, life is changing fast in the middle east, this is due to globalisation and world trade agreements, easy of travel etc.. some look at this as advancement others see it as contamination of family values..

      As far as I am concerned, there are only three main families A(+ -), B(+ -), and O(+ -).

      By the way QC, nice family pic you got up there :)

       
    • At 19/07/2006, 00:11, Blogger Jeff said…

      It's a very nice post indeed, as Nash said.

      BTW, How come I never see you at Arabian Princess anymore? I hope Raed didn't scare you off. Your comments were always great, even if I didn't always agree with them.

       
    • At 19/07/2006, 11:25, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Bazza,

      Thanks mate! Don't I always? Oh ok, almost always? :P

      Nash,

      Yes I know, I know, but hey who even remembers harsh desert conditions nowadays? Unless you go camping of course.
      If I hear "family values" one more time and I will be sick, honest. What in the world is "family values" anyways?? What happened to like normal human values and common sense? And individual freedom??
      Glad you liked the pic :^) And no it's not my family.

      Jeff,

      Thanks... As for Arby's site, no, Raed didn't scare me off, but neither did Arby step in. And maybe I took it a little bit personally; but then again I won't ever allow anyone to mistreat my friends on my blog. So whoever allows others to mistreat me on their blog is no friend of mine. And I don't read blogs of people who are no friends of mine, even if only virtual :^)

       
    • At 19/07/2006, 11:29, Blogger Arabian Princess said…

      I come from a very strong tied family, family comes above everything .. it is irrtating at times, but it feels so much better knowing that I can always depend on family if I have any troubles.
      Not only that, if I go anywhere in the world I would find family! they might be 3rd or 4rth cousins .. or even relatives through marraige .. but they are family .. and they would be welcoming us to thier houses ..

      When I was young, my mom would ask me from what family my friends are .. not that should would stop me from being friends with them, but it would determins if I am allowed to go to thier homes if she doesnt know them. It doesnt depend from which tribe or family they come, it just if my parents know them or not in order to protect me .. people hear stories of kids being abused so you cant blame a parent for worrying!!

      I would really wish that those family ties stay in our countries .. its one of the values that the east still keeps !

      last, I would LOVE it if we had family sections in resturants here .. at least I can comfprtably sitting in starbucks without the guy next chair staring ..

      Jeff, it seems she doesnt liek me anymore :weep:

       
    • At 19/07/2006, 13:16, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Arby,

      Thanks for visiting. Been a while.

      With regards to family, I think it's very regional. As for me, I wouldn't be exactly looking forward to going into some distant relatives' houses just because they are distant relatives and therefore they are obliged to invite just as I am obliged to visit. I used to hate visiting countless aunts and uncles of my husband (he didn't particularly enjoy it either) until we moved out of the country. Just as I would absolutely hate it if someone expects me to invite them to my house just because we are somewhat related.

      I hate it when women stare at me. I don't mind guys so much. I stare too, by the way. It's normal. If we didn't want people to look at us we'd stay home or wear burqas.

      And why are you saying that I don't like you anymore?? I'm sure I visited your page and commented on your posts way more than you ever did on mine. And I never assumed that you didn't like me :p I might disagree with the way you moderate your blog, but it's none of my business how you do what you do.

      In any way, it was nice talking to you again.

       
    • At 19/07/2006, 16:20, Blogger Jeff said…

      Maybe you did take it too personally.

      My reaction was that Raed was just being incomprehensibly weird and I thought your reaction was just perfect: "Huh?"

      I took it as a pointless and irrational comment from him...for some reason you get on his nerves.

      But I didn't see it as highly significant and I wouldn't have said anything on a blog of mine either unless the temperature got much higher. I would have figured that people quarrel sometimes and that you handled the situation for yourself perfectly.

      Anyway, I hope you'll reconsider. Comments like Raed makes sometimes to you are easy to ignore.

       
    • At 19/07/2006, 18:42, Blogger Arabian Princess said…

      the thing Qatar Cat, its an Obligation its actually a pleasure .. you would find someone who is hosting a relative very excited and happy about it .. which is why its very comfortable to be the guest .. because you know they will like it.

      I dont hate guys, its just that I dont find it comfortable to have them around esp if we are all girls sitting .. if you want to sit in the mixed area you are free right? or you have to sit in the family area?

      The thing is, I am tired of moderating .. people have different opinions that I cant change .. maybe some get over reacted at times, but I guess we are old enough to move on ..

      an way I was joking when I said you dont like me anymore, its just to get your attention and hear you say that you love me :p ask Jeff how I love attention :D

       
    • At 19/07/2006, 19:55, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Jeff, Arby,

      You are on my case, I see. Why can't you just come here and say hey Cat, we MISS you, come BACK! Nooo you had to bring Raed up. Or even say that I don't like Arby anymore. Blah blah. I like Arby, and I like Jeff, and I enjoyed reading your exchanges. Now with regards to Raed - I dunno, I am pretty sure I never pee'ed in his tea, so I don't know what's wrong with him. Not my problem anyways. I'll see you guys around :p

       
    • At 20/07/2006, 09:53, Blogger Nzingha said…

      so many things to say.. and no time to really say them. Some of what you hit on is culturally influenced as well as personally. I have my own persnal issues when it comes to the 'larger' family that I was never used to. Some of it gets on my nerves.. and there are parts of it I wish the whole world would take from.

      perhaps another day.. when i have more time :)

       
    • At 20/07/2006, 10:45, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Nzingha,

      YOU are supposed to be on holidays, not reading boring blogs! :P :P

      And by the way I am still waiting for your misyar marriages post.

       
    • At 20/07/2006, 20:01, Blogger Arab Spring said…

      your observations couldn't be more accurate. you've pretty much summed up our existence!
      Great blog.

       
    • At 21/07/2006, 23:38, Blogger layal said…

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

       
    • At 22/07/2006, 00:25, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Arab Spring,

      Thanks and welcome to Life in Qatar!

      Layal,

      Please note that this is not a place to preach, solicit, seek or provide political support or propagate political affiliations. Therefore your comment is deleted. My deepest apologies.

       
    • At 04/08/2006, 03:20, Anonymous Qatari woman said…

      hi QatarCat I ran through ur blog, interesting posts. I came across a post by BirkenEarthyKel talking about the GCC nationals and Qataris. I am a Qatari woman and I'd like to tell u (BirkenEarthyKel) that u generalized ur views on more than 10 million people. yes some of us are as u described. I know for sure that there are many people in ur country (i don't know where you are from) are as u described us, and even worse. and if u don't like it here, why are you still living in Qatar!!!!

       
    • At 05/08/2006, 00:49, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Qatari Woman,

      First of all, welcome to Life in Qatar. It's nice to see that more Qatari ladies are getting connected and read blogs! It wasn't the case even as recently as a couple of years ago.

      With regards to Kel talking about GCC nationals raising their families - I am surprised that you didn't find her comments correct. Where else in the world the majority of kids are being brought up by the maids?? Where else Ramadan rules are being enforced on everyone, even if they are not Muslims? You don't even know where Kel is from, yet you adamantly state that many people in her country are "worse" than what we witness on a daily basis here in Qatar. I am sorry, my friend, but you are wrong. These things happen only in the Middle East. And by the way, before judging someone else's country, you should at least know what country you are judging. Kel lives in Qatar, she can speak about it based on her experience. What experience do you base your observations on??
      In addition, Kel never said she doesn't like it here. Obviously she wouldn't be living here if she didn't like it. But it's her decision not to follow the mainstream and dump her kids on the maid, which is more than I can say about the majority of local people in Qatar. Do you, Qatari Woman, know many Qatari families with kids that DO NOT employ a maid? Or two maids?? ;-)

       
    • At 05/08/2006, 17:38, Anonymous Qatari Woman said…

      Qatarcat thank u for answering my comment, i didn't think u would because your post was almost a month old :-)
      I don't see anything wrong with having a maid or a nanny, you and Kel make it sound like it's a crime. it's a job not a stigma.
      Families in western countries either hire maids and babysitters if they can afford it or keep their children at daycare. there are alot of options there, which are not available in our region.
      On the matter of abuse, and i'm speaking about Qatar here, there is National human rights committee in association with Labour department and concerned embassies that are now actively working in such cases.
      I wonder what experience do u have with our values, as Kel stated we have none. Expats don't mix with Qataris, don't speak our language, therefore they don't read our newspapers or watch our tv & follow our concerns & problems , so how did u base ur observation??!!!! seeing some Qatari families in the malls with "selfish brats" is no experience.
      you dont know how we raise our children, we have nannies yes but we raise our kids and teach them alot of good values.
      I travelled to Europe and US, i read your books and newspapers, i watch your talk shows and news, and it's not promising. there are no family values whatssoever.
      Rapes, sexual abuse, drugs, burglary, kids joining Gangs, and i could go on and on, are these what you raise your kids to become??? thank god we don't have your values.
      and regarding the claim that we are one of the rudest people! i can't help but wonder if Kel ever came across people in cosmopolitan cities like london or New York, where people are rude, hostile & have anger issues.
      Regerding Ramadn rules as you stated being only in GCC countires, i assure you it's in many islamic countires as well, such as Malaysia, and these "rules" is out of respect for those who fast, coz you would offend us by eating and drinking in front of us while we are fasting. you didn't experience it, coz u didn't go through the fasting experience, if u are in a country you have to respect their culture and religions. our countires don't have to be clones of western societies which i think have double standards. you could always eat in the privacy of your own homes and in hotels, "we don't ban food" you know. i hope i made my self clear.

       
    • At 05/08/2006, 19:37, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Qatari Woman,

      Thanks a lot for coming around again! :^) Hope you make my blog a place you visit once in a while, I really like your comments and your constructive criticism, which I welcome anytime. I agree with you in everything you said - basically, we are discussing the extremes in both our societies, while the truth is that the majority of people in both are not that bad. There is a lot of good and bad in both, and I guess it takes a local person to differentiate. As a Western girl, of course I prefer Western society to Middle Eastern, and my values make more sense to me than yours. It's only fair that you feel the same about your society and your country, and I respect that. The fact that we are so different doesn't mean we can't be friendly to each other and enjoy the best things our cultures have to offer. For one, I definitely enjoy living in Qatar! What I was writing about is just one of those differences. Family values make little sense to me as I prefer individual values and responsibility. I wouldn't hide behind my family or run to my family when I screw up. I have to be the best person I can be, on my own, first and foremost. And these are the values I got from my family, which will be there for me no matter what. I think it's not such a bad thing ;-)

      And of course I know a lot of people in Qatar who raise great families. As well as there are plenty people in the Western world who shouldn't have kids at all. And vice versa!

      I do stand by my dislike of Ramadan customs though, I would rather be able to eat, but as you correctly pointed out - this is not my country, and I should respect my host country values as well.

      See you around!

       
    • At 05/08/2006, 20:20, Anonymous Qatari woman said…

      thank u for being open minded, i agree with you Qatar cat, and actually added your blog to my bookmarks.
      by the way, there are many "arabic" and english blogs by qatari women on the net.

       
    • At 05/08/2006, 23:13, Blogger Qatar Cat said…

      Qatari Woman,

      So you'll be visiting my blog? Make sure to offer your opinion on my writing :) I'd love to meet more Qatari ladies but as you know, your society is not the most open one. I'd love to read their blogs too, but I don't know any, and I can't read Arabic. So if you have a blog, or know of any Qatari blogs, please give me the URL! Thanks :^)

       
    • At 21/02/2007, 20:30, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    • At 17/03/2007, 07:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Best regards from NY! »

       
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