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7/18/2014

When a break-dancer meets a Disney-lover | JustHere

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When a break-dancer meets a Disney-lover

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Shiva Singh
July 12, 2014

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Bassam Al Ibrahim and Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon discuss the ups


and
Vani downs, the predictability and quirks of life in Qatar.
Saraswathi

One is a closet break dancer, the other is mostly at home in Orlando Disneyland, and together the pair is one of Qatars
On January
most
serial entrepreneurs.
27, energetic
2013
Their social prominence is thanks in part to I Love Qatar, and in part to a promise theyve made to the city we shall
have a better radio station, soon.
Its only natural that JustHere invited the duo to its studios, to be a part of the launch issue.

So few residentsnationals and expatsare ambassadors of the country.


Khalifa: Because this is the place you come and work. Home to office. But Qatar has so much more to offer in terms of
culture; and the people, they are so hospitable. Its a legacy from our forefathers. We used to give up a lot to be
hospitable.

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7/18/2014

When a break-dancer meets a Disney-lover | JustHere

Khalifa: For you to consider a place your home, you should be able to live your life fully. This includes places to go to,
people to hang out with. And I can tell you, living your life to its fullest in Qatar is a little difficult. Public transportation
is one problem. Its not easy to get around.
Its also about friendship. When you travel to different countries, its really easy to make friends with people from that
country. And they are the ones who introduce you to everything thats going on there.
But at the same time, you cant blame us in general. Look at the population ratio. Each Qatari would have to make five
expatriate friends for everyone to have a Qatari friend, you know.
I also think people need to be a little bit more adventurous. I have friends, from Australia for example, who immerse
themselves in the local culture.

Are you saying that all that you have to do is reach out to the nationals?
Khalifa: Let me share a story. When I went to the UK, I went to the Odeon cinema. It was my second week in England, I
was in university. And while we were standing in queue, this British girl started talking to me. Being open minded, I was
thinking Does she like me? Does she want my number? Whats going on?
But during the conversation I realised that she was just trying to have a conversation with me in the queue.
In Qatar, its different. Youll notice that there is at least a one person space between the Qatari and the next person. Its
not about not wanting to get close to you. Its about respecting your personal space. There is no right or wrong. Its just
how it is.

Talk about something that is uniquely Qatar that people fail to see.
Khalifa: Not to quote Barack Obama or anything, but Qatar really is the country of hope. And, I think it gives people a
lot of hope about what the Middle East can become.
Most of my expat friends who come here for a job, become entrepreneurs within the first few months. They see the
needs and opportunities here.
Bassam : I am a Doha College alumni, and most of my friends who live in Qatar go to UK or somewhere else for their
studies. And in spite of having really good opportunities back home they always want to come back here.
I also know one British guy has more Qatari friends than I do. Bassam
One of them said he couldnt live anywhere else. This is home for him. I also know one British guy has more Qatari
friends than I do.
This just goes to show that if people really want to immerse themselves in the culture, they can become Qataris for the
time they are here.

If you were made the public relationship officer of Qatar for a day with
limitless power and resource, what would you do?
Khalifa: Create an incubation centre, a hub, to house all the great minds from all over.
I would like to be able to fund a lot of social activities.
Something simple like public service announcements. Be it about wearing your seat belt or HSE. I would like to fund
those kind of things.

Does money buy happiness?


Khalifa: Yes.
Bassam : Very direct, I like that.
Khalifa: It depends on how you spend your money, right. You can spend your money in a way that makes other people
that makes you happy.

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Comments
May 27, 2013

Suzanne

Reply

So cute Bassam and Khalifa. Looks like you were having fun

July 15, 2013

Mr. Q

Reply

loved doing this

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