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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Self-deprecating hashtag takes (mostly) playful jabs at Qataris’ wealth

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Who says Qataris can’t take a joke?

According to a new hashtag  that has been trending on Twitter this week, many locals are well aware of their stereotypical wealth  – and don’t mind laughing about it.

In response to ماذا_يستطيع_ان_يشتري_القطري# (What can a Qatari buy?), a new hashtag that started yesterday, many listed extravagant cars, jewelry and designer brands, while others were more tongue-in-cheek.

https://twitter.com/njoodAlmejali/status/671341076192608256

Translation: (He can buy) a Rolls-Royce, a Bentley and he can’t live without a Land Cruiser.

Translation: He can buy a car for (QR) half a million, but it’s impossible for him to buy a program on the App store for $3.

Some, suggesting that the hashtag may have been launched out of spite, opted to take the “haters gonna hate” approach, saying:

Other Qataris thanked God for their blessings and hoped their wealth would be protected:

Translation: Thank God and may Allah protect our blessings and prevent them from vanishing.

Translation: Security, safety and peace of mind is enough for (the) people of Qatar, because these are blessings from Allah that are not for sale.

Some in other Gulf countries also offered their thoughts:

https://twitter.com/duaamajeed/status/671326324955418624

Translation: Excuse me! What can a Qatari not buy?

Translation: Doesn’t need to wait all year for Black Friday.

https://twitter.com/shedox89/status/671329604838293504

Translation: He can tear (Qatari) riyals and make them into a salad along with his meal.

Translation: He can buy everything but he can’t buy humility.

Outside the recent debate on Twitter, though, the issue of what Qataris can – and have – bought has caused consternation for some.

For example, over the last year, both The Guardian and Daily Mail have run separate features that map out how much London property is owned by Qatar’s royal family and sovereign wealth fund, respectively.

Wealth In Qatar

A recent study has shown that Qatar’s well-to-do are getting richer. Still, keeping up with the Joneses (Al Thanis?) has its price.

This year’s Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report estimated that the number of people in Qatar who have more than $1 million in wealth has continued to increase at a rate that outpaces population growth.

Qatar International Boat Show 2014
Qatar International Boat Show 2014

Another report issued this year showed that more families in Qatar are becoming rich or super-rich due to well-placed investments, according to the Boston Consulting Group’s report Global Wealth 2015: Winning the growth game.

However, as wealth continues to increase steadily in the country, many Qataris are falling into debt as well, because they are spending more than their income to maintain a luxurious lifestyle, like their peers.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In July, several local charities and the government launched a campaign to help pay off the debts of individuals who were facing jail time.

And a month before that, Muslim clerics advised worshippers during Friday prayers not to take out bank loans to fund extravagant vacations as it could cause them to fall into crushing debt.

The 2011 National Development Strategy found that three out of every four Qatari households are in debt, owing an average of QR250,000.

Nationalism

Joking aside, Qataris as a group are especially patriotic. As National Day approaches, another Arabic hashtag that has been trending on Twitter this week asks ماذا_قدمت_لقطر#(What have you done for Qatar)?

In response, many nationals expressed their unconditional love for the country:

Translation: Eight years in the military, four years in Baladiya, 15 years education and I don’t feel that I’ve done enough for the country and what it deserves, but I will continue with God’s will.

Other asked about their rights as citizens as well:

Translation: For the question to be fair, (it should be): what is the citizen’s right in his country? And what is his duties?

Other gave more humorous responses:

Translation: I worked a lot of night shifts.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

According to a recent survey, Qatar’s youth are proud of their national identity and express that pride through respect for Qatar’s flag, enthusiasm in performing the national anthem, participation in religious rituals as well as wearing national dress to formal occasions.

The upcoming National Day, which falls on Dec. 18, is reserved for displays of patriotism, with Qatar holding a parade and the national flag being plastered all over the country.

Preparation for the day has already begun, with many malls and other popular hotspots decorating their buildings in Qatar’s maroon and white colors.

Thoughts?

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