Friday, December 10, 2010

Qatari Women

Posted by pearl1003 at 2:47 PM
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Have you ever wondered why Qatari women cover themselves in black all the time? I often ask myself this question everytime I see them in a rush to wear their abayas when the groom in every wedding will enter the hall to fetch her bride. So I kept reading about Qatari traditions, and well, based from some Qatar websites, I finally found out the anwer to my almost three-year-old question.

Many Qatari women are requested by their husbands to cover their faces either with the face veil, the nikab/niqab, or with the end of their sheilas, the ghishwa, when they get married. The reason for this is that the husband wants to keep his wife's beauty exclusively for him to see, which if you think about it, yes, in a way, it is quite romantic!

The Qatari women wear the nikab and ghishwa before they get married upon the request of their families or because she simply wants to wear it. But not all Qatari women cover their faces. Most Qatari women just wear a sheila (head scarf) and an abaya (thin black coat) but it doesn't mean they are not religious or traditional. In fact most of them are more religious and traditional than the women who are covered from head to toe. There are many Qatari women who wear the full extent of cover because their families are religious or traditional and requested them to do so, but not because the woman herself is particularly religious or traditional.

Many Qatari women would uncover their faces at school, university, and at work, and cover their faces only if they are going to a busy public place, like the mall. But covering the face in Qatar gives women a higher level of respect and protection from men than uncovered women. If they are covered, it means, they are not to be touched, disrespected or even harassed.

TRIVIA: Qatari women have only started wearing the abaya, sheila and nikab in the past two or so decades. It was after the breakout of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 that the Gulf region became more concerned with the practice of religion and Qatari women started to cover up.

In the seventies and early eighties, many Qatari women actually did not practice covering up! Many of them who are now in their forties and fifties recall that they did not cover their hair before and they could go out wearing trousers and knee-length skirts.

If Qatar will remain open to foreign investors especially the US and Europe, then sooner, even the practice of covering up will be affected. Maybe every Qatari women will be free to wear what they want without abayas and sheilas. It will be good for most women now who are liberated but to the those who stick to traditions, this will be a major problem in their families, and their faith in their religion.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Qatar 2022's First Five Stadiums!

Posted by pearl1003 at 12:25 PM
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This is the ultimate plan for the next World Cup in the year 2022. Qatar won the bidding and this is one of the reasons why. Maybe there was money involved in the winning, but no one knows what really made them win over other countries like US and Australia.

Here is the video of the five stadiums proposed for the World Cup.

Yahoo News: Qatar May Scrap "Work Sponsorship System"

Posted by pearl1003 at 3:04 AM
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I read from Yahoo News dated November 12, 2010:

DOHA - Qatar is considering ending the oft-criticized sponsorship system, under which employers sponsor foreign workers and have a great deal of control over them, the prime minister said on Thursday.

"Changes have been made to the sponsorship system in Qatar," and the council of ministers is "seriously studying" abolishing the system, Sheikh Hamad told reporters.

"We are studying the issue very carefully to preserve the rights of citizens and foreign workers," he added.

Sponsorship systems for foreign workers exist in most Gulf countries, which employ millions of foreigners, especially from Asia. The system has been strongly criticised by rights groups and likened to modern-day slavery.

In some cases, employers hold workers' passports and can deny them permission to change jobs.

Bahrain abolished the system in 2009, and Kuwait reportedly plans to do so by February.

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Wow! With this news, I'm glad that there are good souls finally concerned about the rights of OFWs here in Qatar. I am not sure about its status right now, but I was informed that this sponsorship system was finally abolished just recently. I can not confirmed it to everyone yet but hearing that the problems between employees and employers have been solved, it's a good news for us, right?

If this poor system is over, I am one of the happiest workers here abroad. Finally, the freedom to hold your own passport and the right to choose where you really want to work is here! Then, all of the injustices experienced in our company will be over too. We don't have to feel so sad anymore and upset with what is going on in the studio. How i wish it's easy to say now that "the game is finally over" and "we won!". Well, I hope that a few days from now, we can all rejoice for achieving the long-awaited freedom! Oh Lord, please let this suffering end and grant us the happy life we deserve.

To the Qatar OFWs, don't lose hope. Everything will be okay.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harry Potter - 1st part of the epic finale

Posted by pearl1003 at 10:38 PM
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Last Monday I finally had the chance to watch the HP7 movie at City Centre with ninya. It was a good movie though i was upset coz i thought it was in 3D. I think i would have enjoyed it more if i watched it with my other friends, and i think the excitement would have been over than what i felt on my own. Ninya's not a real HP fan, but trying to understand the whole story is good enough for me! I felt lucky that day to have someone sitting beside me, scared to watch it, though it's not like Paranormal Activity, ready to absorb the story of Harry packed with all the annoying questions like "who's he?", "why it happened?", "where is that?", "what he said?", and more "why" and "how" and "what" questions in my ear. For the 3rd time in my life, I enjoyed eating nachos with cheese and jalapeno, actually i wanted more but couldn't get up to buy some more (dont want to miss a scene in the movie!). Well, the movie could have been better if really, they took more time to put ALL the scenes from the book. Some great parts where cut and that disappoints me much. I hope that the 2nd part will be the greatest movie of all the HP movies! Oh please JKR do something!!!

Anyway, for HP fans, if you want more HP stories, please visit my other page, Chong Chang's Corner! thanks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

20-11-10 Revelations@PL

Posted by pearl1003 at 11:36 PM
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Last saturday, our "other" manager asked us "what's the problem?" The staff answered, "we want day-off!" Then he talked and talked, asked and asked, and the end of the conversation was - "day off is on mondays plus break time from 1pm to 4 pm on weekdays but with work on fridays, same time on other days."

WHEW!

See, I'm not sure if this is a good decision, or a wise one, or something to be proud of and happy for. What the staff wants is something we deserve and it's our rights to have that "day-off" thing. I've been reading the Qatar Labor Law and i've read enough proof that our studio is not following rules at all! We want a normal company, and that "other" manager even said, "i have plans, this will be a normal company..." I asked him, "what's a normal company? we dont know what that means here..... If you mean 'normal', it's suppose to follow Qatar Labor Law... that means, day-off, double pays, holidays, sick leaves, annual leaves, 8 hours of work maximum in 1 day, 10 hours maximum if with overtime...."

Well, it seems he didn't understand a word that came out from my mouth. Or maybe, his brain was too busy to absorb anything I said because he was thinking of some more nonsensible things... I wish that one labor officer from Qatar will be able to read my blog and somehow understand our situation and immediately offer help with no hesitation. One day, everything will be okay. He will suffer what he deserve, and we will enjoy what we also deserve.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eid at Photolive

Posted by pearl1003 at 4:23 PM
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It's Eid this week and sadly, Eid at Photolive is not a holiday. Never we celebrate holidays in our studio so if you have a dream of joining our team, think twice. Anyway, we are still hoping that one day, our sponsor will initiate to give holidays to the staff, meaning, we will close the studio on days when it should be. This "work-on-a-holiday" sucks! And what's worse is that if you work on a holiday, it's not even double pay when it should also be, right?

I hope that the Qatar Labor Office (if it ever exists) will give Photolive a chance to enjoy our rights as employees and as a human being. To the management, oh please have mercy!

We love Photolive for it's where our dreams are starting to come true... I hope in the end, it will not be a nightmare!

Friday, November 12, 2010

QATAR LABOR LAW (as of 2010)

Posted by pearl1003 at 2:15 AM
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Last November 11, 2010, I logged in to OFWGuideForum.com to ask my fellow Filipinos working abroad about the status of our company. After 24 hours, 2 of them replied to me and informed me a lot of things I didn't know. I'm happy and thankful for their help and I hope my co-workers here will read my blog to be informed too regarding this matter.

This is a part of my post in the forum: (It's in tagalog since i am addressing it to the Filipinos anyway.) It's a list of what's happening in the studio for almost 3 years now.

1. ang work namin ay from 9am to 9pm. supposed to be 8 hours lang ang work di ba? bkt 12 hours kami?
2. fixed ang overtime pay namin.. 500 QAR a month. di ba parang lugi kami? kasi more than 8 hours tpos 6 times a week and more?
3. may work kami pag fridays... di ba dapat holiday yun dito sa middle east? no work on fridays ang alam ko... and if may work man, double pay di ba??
4. from 9am-9pm working time, may work pa kme na umaabot until 1 or 2am... (dahil ang field namin ay photography, umaattend kami ng mga wedding parties para magcover ng event nila..)
5. from 2000QAR basic salary na nakasulat sa contract namin, double pay daw pagholidays and fridays, may overtime fee per hour, may one day-off daw.... pero obviously, wala! wala lahat yan....
6. wala kaming insurance, walang health card man lang...
7. based from a POEA employee na kakilala ko, kung "direct hire" ka, meaning di ka dumaan sa agency, hawak mo daw dapat ang passport mo.. recently, ang hindi daw magsurrender ng passport sa HR namin eh cacancellin on the spot... sa takot namin, sige, we gave him our passport kahit ayaw namin...
8. sabi ng sponsor namin, yung qatari, eh di daw sya magbibigay ng NOC or release kung gusto mo maghanap ng ibang work/company... pag gusto mo daw lumipat ng ibang company, cacancellin daw nya visa mo, uuwi ka ng pinas, at di ka makakabalik in 2 years.. totoo ba yun???

Then 2 good men from the forum said that these are what we are supposed to do and know about the Qatar Labor Law:

"ireport nyo yan sa philippine embassy at sa qatar labor law.....kung totoo na hindi nila sinunod ang contract ninyo after investigation, pwede kayong maghanap ng malilipatan or magbabayad sila according sa contrata ninyo or else mawawalan sila ng power na mag hire the expats...sobra na sila...ang NOC issue kasi nakadepende sa company yan kahit ok ang work performance may mga company talaga na ayaw mag bigay ng NOC para mapilitan kang mag stay sa kanila........" - junch

"...if those provisions are stipulated in your employment contract signed by you and the company official representative, you have a strong case → Part 6 of Qatar Labour Law is all about Wages...

Article (65) - "The Worker shall be entitled to the wages specified in the service contract and if the contract does not specify the wage the worker shall be entitled to the wage specified in the work regulations."...

kung magiging fair sa inyo ang Qatar Labour Department, I'm sure kahit kamag-anak pa s'ya ng hari, you can win the case by landslide... 'yun eh kung magiging "fair" or "unbiased" sa inyo... and the only way to find-out kung magiging "fair" at "unbiased" sa inyo is to t.r.y. as in "try"...

...here are some of Qatar Labour Law provisions that you can use as your references...

PART SEVEN - REGULATION OF THE WORKING HOURS AND LEAVE

Article (73) - The maximum ordinary working hours shall be eighty four hours per week at the rate of eight hours per day with the exception of the month of Ramadan when the maximum working hours shall be thirty six hours per month at the rate of six hours per day.

Article (74) - The workers may be required to work additional hours to the working hours specified in the preceding article provided that the actual working hours per day shall not exceed ten hours unless the work is necessary for the prevention of gross loss or dangerous accident or for the repair or alleviation of the consequences of the said loss or accident.

The employer shall pay to the worker for the additional working hours the rate of not less than the basic wage plus not less than 25% thereof.

The workers who work between 9pm and 6am shall be paid the basic wage plus not less than 50% thereof with the exception of the shift workers.

Article (75) - The worker shall be allowed of a weekly paid rest which shall not be less than twenty-four consecutive hours and Friday shall be the weekly rest day for all workers with the exception of the shift workers. If the circumstances of the work necessitate the employment of the worker during the rest day the worker shall be compensated for the rest day by another day, and shall be paid for working that day the wage payable to him for the ordinary weekly rest day or his basic wage plus an increase of not less than 150%.

With the exception of shift workers a worker shall not be required to work more than two consecutive Fridays.

...there is no official regulation pagdating sa kung sino ang dapat humawak ng inyong passport... it is totally depend sa employer's policy... may mga kumpanya na hindi nila nire-require na isubmit sa kanila ang passport for safekeeping at may mga employers naman sila ang humahawak ng ating passport – gaya ng kalakaran sa KSA... (side comment lang: sa totoo lang, I don't see any wrong for that and I don't think it is also for our advantages lalo na kung hindi ka magaling mag-safekeeping at kung ang exit/re-entry visa ay kailangan mo pang i-request sa company... ibig sabihin, ibibigay mo din in the end... so what is the purpose of having them?... ang isa lang nakikita kong advantage, gaya sa akin na hawak ko ang aking passport at may multiple-exit/re-netry visa ako, is puwede akong tumakas, este umalis ng bansa ng hindi na kailangang ng approval sa employer ko... basta may e-ticket na ako, I go anytime sa airport & exit the country)...

...totoo talaga na kahit exit ka sa Qatar at wala kang NOC, hindi ka makakabalik ng bansa within 2 years... pero may provision din sa Qatar Labour Law kung kailan may karapatang humingi ng NOC ang isang employee gaya halimbawa kung natakatapos ka naman ng kontrata o kaya ay na-terminate ka dahil sa cost cutting... although, base sa personal kong experience, at gaya na din ng sharing ni ka-junch, may kahirapan pa ding ilaban ito... aabutan ka na lang ng flight mo, pero hindi ka pa din maiissuehan ng NOC kung ayaw talaga ng employer - delaying tactics...

...ano ba dapat namin gawin...

...eto na ang pinakmahirap na discussion... ano nga ba ang puwede ninyong gawin?... una, puwedeng magtiis na lang kayo at magtirik nang kandila na sana ay dapuan ng holy spirit 'yung Qatari sponsor ninyo at bumait o maging makatao... o kaya, kunin na ni Lord at mapalitan ng mas mabait...

...pangalawang option, ipaglaban 'yung inyong karapatan gaya ng mungkahi ni kapatid na junch... at patunayan na hindi talaga natutulog ang Diyos...

...pangatlo, humanap ng iba at hayaan na lang na may mabiktima pang muli ('yung mga papalit sa inyo)...

...kung pangalawang option ang pipiliin ninyo, talagang full-pledge na Bayani na kayo... kaya nga lang, alam naman natin siguro ang karaniwan nang nangyayari sa mga Bayani... you have to prepare yourself... whatever happens, with this option, at least you did the right thing...

...kung 'yun namang una at pangatlo, nobody can blame you, lalo na kung 'yung pagkabahala ng ating mga pamilya sa Pilipinas ang pina-priority natin at ating kaligtasan na din... give warning na lang sa iba..." -joshua

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It's too long but really very informative! I hope all OFWs here in Qatar know these things. Whatever decision we make, it's all for the better for sure. Here's what I learned, I hope I"m right:

-may extra payment pag more than 8 hours ang work... na dapat ang work eh not more than 10 hours a day

-may extra payment pag may work from 9pm-6am. wala naman kaming shiftings so obviously, bagsak sa investigation ang company namin kapag tiningnan nila 'tong point na 'to.

-may bayad din ang work on fridays, and dapat not more than 2 fridays ang may work, meaning yung dalawa pang friday sa isang buwan eh dapat wala talagang pasok.

-6 hours lang ang pasok pag ramadan.

-may insurance ka

-ang day-off ay may bayad, at kung may pasok ka biglaan sa day-off mo, dapat palitan ng ibang araw ang bakasyon mo.

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WELL, WELL, WELL.... I really do hope something good will come out from this blog.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Sad Monday

Posted by pearl1003 at 11:09 PM
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A few months ago, someone said goodbye and promised that when he comes back, he will never work in the same company for this "company" is hell and something more like that.

The life of everyone of us changed when he left. Things actually went out so well. We recovered from past mistakes and slowly the wounds were healed somehow. Everybody else is doing fine, and finally, we said we've moved on and we're all happy.

Until one day he came back and now he's changing the peaceful life we tried so hard to have. It is painful that after all of our efforts, it seems that we have no other choice than grabbing and accepting the fact that he's back again to pressure and to make us suffer the way he did before. I personally disagree with whatever plan he has in his mind right now but I like him to think that none of us wants his return. I am sure that those people he thought who will always be there to back him up are gone and will never support him like before. The trust is gone. The love is gone. What else do we feel for him? Respect? Yes, maybe. And maybe someday we won't even feel anything at all for him. If he will continue to ruin what we tried to build, he will never find happiness from us. It's important for him to do his best right now to give us what we want. Maybe if he will give us the freedom and respect for our rights as a human, he could win our trust and our love back. And maybe, we will learn to respect him more and more each day if he would just leave us alone and do our own way. Because none of us is stupid, none of us hates this job we have, none of us is selfish, I know the staff can move on without him. We are strong together and we will never let everything we have worked for go worthless in the end. We love Photolive so much and we care for it like it's our own home.

To the man who built Photolive, the foundation where our dreams are coming true, thank you for all the good things and all the good times. We thank you for being a good friend too. We loved you for showing us that this place is where we can live like we are never far from home. Thank you for the family that you shared with us. We found some true friends among the staff. Through Photolive, we learned a lot of nice things and we became stronger and better people. Again, we thank you for all of that.

To the PL staff, we should know that sometimes, good things don't last for a lifetime. We have to let go to live life with more happiness and peace of mind. We don't have to stick with what's there infront of us all the time. We need to search for an option, we need to be brave enough to find another direction. Life is never easy. We can not continue living with being contented with what our eyes can see. When we close our eyes, we can see some more beautiful things which we can all have if we will find another way to get them. We need to fly and fight for our dreams to come true. We shouldn't be satisfied with what's very easy to keep forever because no good thing can really last. The one we worked hard for is the one that we will treasure in our hearts, and that thing will surely make a big difference in our lives, a good one.

Oh well, God bless Photolive! Let's hope that everything will be okay soon.

NOTE: This is my blogpage which means I'm just expressing my opinions, my feelings through writing online. This is a free world and I have no bad intention to hurt someone else's feelings. Thanks for reading my soul! love yah all!

Friday, October 22, 2010

How Could Love Be So Unfair?

Posted by pearl1003 at 3:02 PM
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When you love someone, it's nice to show him all the love and care he deserves without thinking of how to do it or why you have to do such things. In love, there is no rule to follow. Love is something that we can not keep inside of hearts forever. Love is a feeling that we should express without worries or any hesitation at all. When you love someone, you show him all the best you can do, care for him without asking for any care in return. When we are in love, no one can ever stop us from feeling it and showing the world that we care.

But how could love be so unfair? Sometimes, when you feel love is burning deep inside our hearts, there are people who try to stop us from being happy with the person we are in love with. Sometimes, when we fight for our love, we still fail to keep love alive within our souls. Love is a reason to hold on, to live, to laugh, and to take things easy... But love can hurt us when we have to let go, when it's time to say goodbye... We cry because of love. We die because of love.

If there is a rule to follow, if there is a proper way how to love and who to love, then the world would be so cold, so pointless, so empty. Love is a way to learn how to grow, to communicate, to know what's the meaning of acceptance, loyalty, and faith. Love will help us live a life full of happiness. We must love with courage to face any challenge that would block our way. We should accept that loving can be painful, but the pain is worthless if we are happily in love, right? So why bother to follow rules when there is no rule! It's true that love is unfair, but there is nothing wrong if we will express how we feel. So we just have to go on and live life as normal as we could. We should not be afraid of trying to make things better. If we will all love without exceptions, then this "love" can be finally fair enough for all of us.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Very Nice Thought: A repost from my old blog

Posted by pearl1003 at 1:40 AM
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"If tears could build a stairway, and memories were a cane,
I would walk right up to heaven to bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken, no time to say good bye,
You were gone before I knew it and God only knows why.
My heart still aches in sadness, and secret tears still flow...
What it meant to lose you, no one will ever know."



-- from a friend
aimo.multiply.com

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Homesick

Posted by pearl1003 at 1:41 AM
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I've never imagined myself crying my eyes out just because I'm missing some people close to my heart. I didn't expect that it is hard to work while at the back of your mind, you are dying to see and be with these people and spend some more time with them.

It's been 2 years since I left Philippines to work abroad. Although I went back home twice already to enjoy my annual vacation leave, the feeling of being "at home" here is never the same when you're really there in your own room, reading a good book, and spending the rest of the day without thinking about how to finish your deadlines as quickly as you can.

It's easy to leave Doha right now just to be with my old happy and easy life back home, but I need to earn for a better future. If being homesick will stop me from getting my dreams come to reality, then maybe I should just try a bit harder to forget the "homesickness" and just face the fact that I can't just quit my job right now. One day, I'll feel better. One day, every pain will just fade away. And when the time comes to head back home, there's nothing more wonderful than seeing myself inside my purple room again, reading my favorite Harry Potter book, enjoying the presence of my dogs playing beside me on my bed, and hearing the voices of my nieces calling my name.

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