Page 1


Yousuf Jassem Al-Darwish

Sindhu Nair rory coen abigail Mathias

Venkat Reddy M Hanan Abu Saiam

Sandeep Sehgal Alpana Roy Ravi Raman

Zulfikar Jiffry thomas Jose Chaturka Karandana

Hassan rekkab LYDIA YOUSSEF KANWAL BALUCH

MUNAZZA SAYED OLA DIAB SABRINA CHRISTENSEN

Pratap Chandran Bikram Shrestha Arjun Timilsina Bhimal Rai

Ayush Indrajith maheshwar reddy b

MARCH - APRIL 2013 All work and no play makes Jack a dull guy. This clichÉ and oft used phrase is the focus of Campus this issue, as we ask our readers how they expend time in Doha. to make matters easier, Campus has spoken to those inspiring few who make it their business to entertain us through their witticisms and ALSO TO some daredevils who live life on the edge. Read through Campus and be inspired. Get out of the couch and have fun, or just look at the lighter side of life and have a laugh! Address all your correspondence to CAMPUS, Oryx Advertising Co WLL, P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584, -Fax:(+974)44550982, email: campus@omsqatar.com. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for advertising contents. Licensing/Republishing CAMPUS content: To obtain permission for text syndication in books, newsletters, magazines, newspapers and web or to use images/pictures carried in CAMPUS, please contact our syndication & licensing department on the numbers given above. Permission is also required to photocopy a CAMPUS article for classroom use, course packs, business or general use. Custom reprints: Any of the previously published article/s to be used as stand-alone pieces can be reprinted by us on special request. The reprint cost is based on the length of the article and the quantity ordered. Contact our custom publishing division on the numbers given above for more information.Previous issues (January 2004 onwards) of CAMPUS are available for sale, contact our Library department. To subscribe to CAMPUS call our subscription department on the numbers given above.

Published by Oryx Advertising Co WLL, P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584 Fax: (+974) 44550982 email: campus@omsqatar.com website: www.omsqatar.com


7

BREAK TIME!

Students tell us what happens in their spare time and what else Qatar needs!

12 LIFESTYLE TALK

issue 17 MARCH - APRIL 2013

Steve Wilson, Counselor at Texas A&M, talks to us about maintaining a healthy lifestyle


14

COMEDY AS A WEAPON Members of SUCQ tells CAMPUS ways they use comedy and how it’s moving forward in Qatar

BURCU CETINKAYA

20

She is one of the few women rally drivers in the world and CAMPUS had the opportunity to talk to her and find out how she started and what she is up to now

JONAH HILL

Get to know one of Hollywood’s young key players

24

FLUFFY IS BACK Abigal Mathias talks to the man himself

34

FOOL ME ONCE..

The history of April Fool’s Day and notably pranks the internet has played on us.

18

31

THERE’S A NEW BIKER IN TOWN and it’s a woman. CAMPUS talks to Rutavi Mehati.

40

THE EASY STEPS TO BECOME MORE CHEERFULL AT WORK Bayt.com gives you advice on feeling more enthusiastic about work


CAMPUS NEWS

NU-Q graduates help

“change the channel”

T

hree alumni from North Western University -Qatar (NU-Q) are putting their unique knowledge and skills to work at the new Qatar T V (QT V). The channel was recently re-launched with a modern look and fresh content. Nazneen Zahan, Shannon Farhoud and Benazir Karim are part of a new breed of locally-trained journalists who are contributing their unique outlook to the national broadcaster’s transformation, as it tailors Qatari content for global audiences. NU-Q Dean and CEO, Everette Dennis said, “The school is proud to see some of our first graduates already making an impact on the country’s local media institutions. Because their coursework couples a foundation in the liberal arts with extensive training and immersion in the local community, our graduates are well-equipped to tell the stories of local communities and respond to the increasingly global demands of Qatar newsrooms.”

“Hackathon”

S

tudents from both Carnegie Mellon University Qatar (CMU-Q) and Qatar University (QU) got together last month for Qatar’s first 24-hour ‘Hackathon’ event to build innovative applications. Organized by CMU-Q, the ‘Hackathon’ event provided students an opportunity to create games, mobile applications and web applications to show off the new generation of innovators in Qatar and beyond. To the general public, the word ‘hacking’ might carry a negative association; however CMU-Q defines hacking as using programming to help build new cool programs. The requirement to participate in the event was to develop a project or application idea in teams. The students were able to use any technology they preferred to help build their app and it was encouraged for them to show off their skills, creativity and overall potential. “This is such a great opportunity for students in Qatar. I was

6

issue 17

2013

so impressed with all of the teams here and I see a bright future for each of these students. I want to see an extension of all of the applications showcased today and for them to be put into use in Qatar and the rest of the world,” said Zaid Haque, lead desktop publishing officer at Hamad International Airport and a CMU-Q information systems graduate. “As an information systems graduate, I learned so much from CMU-Q. I learned about design principles and how people interact with technology, as well as a strong work ethic,” he continued. After participating in a similar event in Pittsburgh, Sidra Alam, a senior in computer science at CMU-Q and a member of the organizing committee, was inspired to bring Hackathon to Qatar.


Research program at WCMC-Q welcomes new interns

‘SeeMyDoha’ photography competition on Instagram

J

aidah Group is returning this year with their annual photography competition but this time with a twist. They are switching over to social media through the ‘SeeMyDoha’ concept. ‘SeeMyDoha’ is an offshoot of SeeMyCity and has been adopted by Jaidah Group as the way forward for what is now its annual photography contest. They are looking for this year’s participants to use their smartphones to capture an image of the city - something simple, yet striking - using the ‘Instagram’ app (free to download for iPhone, iPad and Android OS) and then upload it using the hashtag #seemydoha. The overall goal is to create a contemporary image of Doha which can be seen by a worldwide audience. As many images can be submitted, say the organizers. The contest will run from March until October 2013 and is open to Qatari nationals, Doha residents and even tourists from all ages, with the exception of employees of Jaidah Group, their families or any other party associated with this competition. The winners will be announced by Jaidah Group and through Instagram at an Exhibition and Award Ceremony to be held in November. There are superb prizes to be won for the top five entries and the overall winner will receive a surprise visit to a mystery city.

F

ive Qatari students have joined Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q)as interns to the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals. The six-month research training program is a unique opportunity for college graduates with an interest in biomedical research to gain hands on experience in world class research laboratories at WCMC-Q. The aim is to help build the sustainable scientific human capital in the country in line with Qatar National Vision 2030. Dr. Khaled Machaca, Associate Dean for Research at WCMC-Q, said the program demonstrates the commitment that the college has to developing human capacity and research opportunities in Qatar. Dr. Machaca said: “T he Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals is now in its third year and we have seen some exceptional young Qatari graduates come through our doors, some of whom are still working with us in the Research Division. “Part of the mission of WCMC-Q is to conduct research at the cutting edge of knowledge and to train the next generation of Qatari researchers.”

2013

issue 17

7


Texas A&M

Dean receives Award

D

r. Mark Weichold, Dean and CEO of Texas A&M University at Qatar, was awarded the inaugural Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah International Energy Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Education’ at the Doha Energy Forum’s 2013 gala event recently. The award recognizes Weichold’s contributions and achievements in the advancement of education in Qatar, and was presented by HE Dr. Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, president of Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and vice president of Education at Qatar Foundation. “I congratulate Dean Weichold on being recognized through this most prestigious award,” said Dr. Ali Al-Thani. “Under his leadership, Texas A&M at Qatar is playing a vital role in the development of the energy industry both in our country and internationally. He has made a great personal contribution to the advancement of education, and I thank him for his generous support for the development of academic excellence at Hamad bin Khalifa University.” Weichold accepted the award, saying, “I am honored and humbled to be recognized with the inaugural ‘Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Education’ award from His Excellency Al-Attiyah. I have not made this journey alone. This award also belongs to the many people who have encouraged and supported me during my career. They have shared with me their dedication, commitment and belief in the power of education and its capacity to make a difference. Education does not simply allow for study; it allows us to understand, and encourage youth and discovery, which has never let me down. At Texas A&M and Texas A&M at Qatar, we encourage excellence, initiative and integrity; characteristics I strive to model for the young people I am honored to know; it is the key to their future.”

8

issue 17

2013

CMU-q brings American Brass Ensemble to Doha

C

arnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) is known as a hub for technology in the Middle East, but back home in Pittsburgh, the university is also lauded for its premier music and theatre programs. An evening of music performed by Carnegie Mellon’s American Brass Ensemble, at Al Mirqab Boutique Hotel located in Souq Waqif, highlighted the university’s commitment to the arts as well as technology in Qatar. Captivating the local community with their unique performance, visitors and guests were enticed by the brass quintet’s entertaining set. “I thought that the ensemble was outstanding, it is great to see Carnegie Mellon share their musical tradition with the wider community. I would love to see more of this type of music in Qatar,” said Esko Laine, a visitor at Souq Waqif. “Carnegie Mellon has provided us with a platform to promote our music across cultures, we’ve played in Georgia and are really pleased to be in Qatar. The university has been really supportive, helping us to make our shows accessible and show how fun and rewarding music is,” said Gabriel Colby, trombonist from the C Street Brass Ensemble. The group comprises two trumpeters – Kyle Anderson and Scott Nadelson; two trombonists – Gabriel Colby and Hakeem Bilal; and Eric Damashek on the horn.


student quotes

By za munaz sayed

We know what you do inside the walls of your school, college or university but we don’t know what you do once you’re out. CAMPUS talks to students in Qatar to know what they do when they’re not plucking their hair out with homework, tests and exams. Louis Bailham

Grade 12, Doha British and Montessori school

CAMPUS speaks to:

Yousef Hazem

Media Student, Qatar University

Ahmed Hayder Ahmed Ibrahim

Telecommunication engineering student, College of the North-Atlantic- Qatar

Serene Pauly

Grade 12, MES Indian School

Jana Alokar

Sophomore, Georgetown University in Qatar

Abdulla Al-Sada

Sophomore, Texas A&M University in Qatar

Al Anood

Fashion design and Interior major, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar

2013

issue 17

9


Louis Bailham

What do you do in your spare time? Louis Bailham

Jana Alokar

Yousef Hazem

Abdulla Al-Sada

I like to play sports like football and cricket with my friends. I also like to play videogames.

I like to hang out on beaches with my friends. Dukhan Beach and Al Bandar are my favorite; they make for great stress relievers. I also like to play billiard. Checking out malls used to be my favorite pastime, but I’ve given up as they have become too crowded.

Ahmed Hayder Ahmed Ibrahim

I usually spend free time with my friends. My top three favorite hang-outs are Katara and the Pearl. I go there mostly weekly or biweekly. It can get repetitive sometimes but it breaks my study routine and the atmosphere there is beautiful. I also go to malls like Villagio and City Center, to watch movies. I also visit coffee shops like Coffeee Beanery and Starbucks.

Serene Pauly

When not studying, I might read, call up some friends and/or try a hand at cooking. When I give up on all this, I go on Facebook!

10

Yousef Hazem

issue 17

2013

My spare time is often dedicated to hanging out with close friends and classmates.

Well, the important part of the question is that IF I get some spare time. Usually, I would read a book, draw, play videogames, talk or hang out with my friends, sleep, use the Internet, YouTube, watch episodes of a series I miss, or go outside. This obviously depends on how much free time I have.

Al Anood

I love fancy drawing. All of my drawings are inspirations from the videogames I play, which is my other hobby. I also have four German shepherds and I love talking them out for a walk. Unlike most teenagers, I’m not very much into cell phones and other electronics. Phones like BlackBerrys can be distracting sometimes, especially when most around you are addicted to technology. But I recognize my priorities. Also, I hardly ever go to YouTube. Again, many people say it’s addicting but I find it boring and simply don’t look at it that often. I give my time to sites like TrendHunter, which deals with concept arts related to design and interior. And I’m addicted to this website called Deviant Art. I can spend hours there, whether to get inspiration or upload my work. That’s every art lovers YouTube


Ahmed Hayder Ahmed Ibrahim

Abdulla Al-Sada

a few things you’d like to do but can’t find time?

Louis Bailham

Serene Pauly

Yousef Hazem

Jana Alokar

I’d hang out with my friends. Sometimes, I don’t have the time to spend with my friends. I feel a bit upset by that. I’d probably ride my bike or play outside, because my dad always says, “Get out more.”

I’d love to travel if I had the time. I’ve been in Qatar for 14 years now and sometimes it feels good to take a break and explore new places. So far, I’ve been to Dubai, Saudi, Bahrain, Egypt and the US. But if I had free time this very instant, I’d like to sleep. University can sometimes take up more than eight hours of your day and yet there is still work to be done when you come home. Sleep suddenly slips down on the priority list.

Ahmed Hayder Ahmed Ibrahim

If I had more free time at hand, I’d take up a job to help pay for my higher education. I’m also working on a YouTube video about social issues in Sudan. It uses politics and comedy as mediums to deal with problems the country deals with. Comedy in politics is the active way to change the youth. YouTube is another medium. I appreciate comedy and I like to comment on silly videos that give a serious message about society and politics that can sometimes be dull and boring topics by themselves. For example, I hate Al Jazeera and other political channels but I like to watch videos with a sense of humor.

If I had the free time, I would like to learn a new language like Spanish or take up new hobbies like playing the guitar. I also would spend a lot of time reading.

I would love it if I had time to go to the gym more often. I also like to read outside of class, but I can rarely do that due to time constraints

Abdulla Al-Sada

I want to finish my book that I read so that I could begin on the other or finish that videogame that has been on my mind for some time. Usually finishing things I have started.

Al Anood

I miss going out with my friends and having fun. There is always the stress related to work and academics.

2013

issue 17

11


Serene Pauly

your favorite places in Qatar and why? Louis Bailham

My favorite place to hang around is my friend’s house. I also like the Corniche and Aspire Park. I like the beaches a lot, especially Sealine. I think Doha’s beaches are better than England’s. There are many more beaches here and they have volleyball and baseball courts, which make them great fun.

I like Katara, The Pearl and West Bay. I also take time to work out every single day at the gym. It makes me feel good about myself.

Ahmed Hayder Ahmed Ibrahim

I don’t have a lot of free time. University takes up a major portion of my day and sometimes I leave at 11 pm or 12 pm. If I had the luxury of time, I’d prefer to spend it with my family.

Serene Pauly

My favorite places to hang around are beaches and parks. They all give a feeling of serenity and cause one’s thoughts to flow smoothly. One could spend hours walking along the beach, brooding over the most random things and getting mentally energized in the process.

issue 17

Jana Alokar

Souq Waqif and Aspire Park are my favorite places in Doha simply because I like to spend my weekends/spare time outdoors. Also, Souq Waqif has a great selection of international cuisines and just a great atmosphere in general.

Abdulla Al-Sada

Yousef Hazem

12

Al Anood

2013

I spend most of my time in Education City. The places I would usually love to go to are the Corniche and Souq Waqif. It all again really depends on how much free time I have and if anyone is willing to go there.

Al Anood

I really love going to The Pearl and Katara. Before they ever happened, all we had was The Mall and the Corniche, which to me is not the most ideal place to spend time. The Pearl is really outdoorsy and nice to walk around, especially in this weather.


Jana Alokar

Louis Bailham

I’d like to see more football in Doha. It would be good to have a mixed arrangement of different sports like baseball and water polo. We need to make sports more popular. If I were the health inspector, I would make people walk outside everyday!

Yousef Hazem

There aren’t enough international football matches being held in Qatar. I’d like to see more of that. Also there aren’t enough places to go sightseeing, but then there are many other forms of entertainment like fairs, movies so I really can’t complain.

Ahmed Hayder Ahmed Ibrahim

There are a lot of fun activities in Qatar. There are comedy shows, exhibitions, car shows, and religious events. Recently, for example, Yousef Estes, the Muslim preacher, came over and addressed an audience at the Romanian theatre. It was a great experience.

Serene Pauly

I’d like to see more amusement parks. It’s disappointing that we have only two or three. I’d also like to see more shopping complexes – not the high end fashion but more like local stores where one can actually buy more than two things without killing one’s savings!

FUN activities that Qatar should have? Jana Alokar

I am not sure about what kind of activities I’d like to see more of, given that there are plenty of great initiatives all over Doha. For example, I volunteered for the Chris Tucker show, which is a standup comedy show. It was super exciting and a very positive and great start to my Spring break!

Abdulla Al-Sada

Well, all said and done, I am just a regular student who works day in and day out in a small white dorm room with nothing but the laptop as a companion. So I would say any activities are okay. One of the recent activities I participated in was doing the Harlem Shake, EC edition (check it out folks!), which was a lot of fun. I usually pitch in on such activities to break the study cycle.

Al Anood

Well, sports activities are quite popular here, but the main focus is for soccer. I love American football and rugby. There is rugby club, but unfortunately, you never hear of it. To be honest, the only focus on sports here is soccer and I’m sick of that! Also, it would be nice to have more frequent exhibitions related to design and fashion. I understand that Qatar is expanding and growing and they want to keep the culture intact, but it would be good, every once in a while, to see different art forms, such as pop art.

2013

issue 17

13


14

issue 17

2013


Expert Talk LIFE STYLE

By za munaz sayed

CAMPUS talks to Texas A&M’s Professional Counselor Steve Wilson about healthy lifestyles to give you tips how to maintain a positive attitude

College students today may spend more time with technology than is good, but to me a larger concern is that through technology, people often fool themselves into believing that they are more socially connected than they actually are. Humans are social creatures and one of the important ways we keep ourselves balanced is to rely on intimate personal contact and support during difficult times. Tweeting about a bad day is not the same as sitting with someone face to face, sharing your feelings, and feeling heard. One hundred encouraging Facebook comments, while meaningful, are not the same as a good hug from a loved one.

Addiction to the Internet? I don’t like the term addiction, because I

believe it is overused. The term addiction implies a disorder or a disease. I don’t believe the typical college student who spends too much time on the Internet is disordered or diseased. I prefer to talk about dependence or obsession with technology. It is easy for individuals to become dependent or obsessed with things. Children become obsessed easily. This is what boy bands; fast food restaurants and toy makers rely on. Children rely on parents and teachers to balance their activities and their diets. College students, however, have to begin finding that balance for themselves. It is easy to fall into the false belief that the Internet provides most of what we need from education, to entertainment to social connection.

Find your balance I encourage students to find balance. Technology and the Internet are wonderful things, but too much of anything is bad. I like desserts but too much cake and I get sick. As

always we need limits and part of moving from childhood to adulthood is beginning to establish our own limits. Setting limits increases our enjoyment of an activity or an object. If I eat the whole cake at once I am not going to enjoy or even taste most of it. Too much time on the Internet is the same. We are often unsure of where the time goes as we mindlessly follow one link to another, and at the end we didn’t really enjoy it.

Other forms of entertainment What my mom always said was go outside and play with your friends. What I would add to what mothers have been saying for centuries is to be creative with whatever you do. Too many of our activities are just about mindlessly going through the motions. To be creative you have to be intentional, focused and engaged. When people are creative they feel alive and full of energy. Being creative can help, but one should also be active and share and spend time with others.

Steve Wilson is a licensed psychologist who received his undergraduate and masters degrees in psychology from Abilene Christian University and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in Counselling Psychology. He serviced for two years as the Director of Testing and University Assessment for Abilene Christian University. Wilson serves as staff psychologist at Texas A&M’s campus in Doha, Qatar.

2013

issue 17

15


CAUSE

CAMPUS talks to Hamad Al-Amari, Al-Amir Raheem and Ousama Itani, members of Stand Up Comedy in Qatar (SUCQ), about the comedy scene in Qatar and the stereotypes they try to destruct using comedy as their weapon. CAMPUS also discovers what they do besides making people laugh.

By OLA DIAB

16

issue 17

2013


got the audience’s attention simply by being Qatari, wearing a thob and egal (traditional Qatari clothing), taking the stage for the mere purpose of making them laugh. At first, he’s got people laughing at his heavily Arabic-accented English, making jokes about Qatar’s driving culture. You realize the accent is part of the show, expecting he’ll be speaking English fluently soon. But as he suddenly speaks in natural Irish-accented English, the audience takes seconds to absorb this Qatari’s Irish-rich English accent before creating echoes of laughter at the Stand Up Comedy Qatar (SUCQ) show. This 24-year-old Qatari comedian is Hamad Al-Amari. He joined SUCQ after being persuaded by his friend and Qatari comedian, Mohammed Kamal, to take the stage at one of SUCQ’s monthly shows at the Bistro 61 at Al Fardan Towers in West Bay.”I always wanted to do it deep down inside but never had the courage to get it done,” says Al-Amari. “ [Mohammed Kamal] pushed me and said look, ‘I’ll put you on for five minutes.’ It turned out to be ten and people liked it.” SUCQ was founded in 2010 by comedian Bilal Randeree, a South African living in Qatar, who goes by the stage name, Halal Bilal. SUCQ promotes standup comedy in the region by supporting and developing up-and-coming comedians and hosting regular events and tours. Bilal was the only comedian at the time but in the recent years the SUCQ team has grown to ten members including Kamal, AlAmari, Ousama Itani, Al-Amir Raheem, Issa El-Fahou, and hailing from countries such as Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, India, Pakistan and other countries. “We talk about racial issues, conditions in Qatar, stories from our family. We’re just projecting [the stories]. We exaggerate them of course. Sometimes, we say it exactly as it is because it’s that hilarious,” says Al-Amari. “There’s a lot of [material] here with the mixed cultures that’s absolute gold. You don’t even have to look for it sometimes.” Using comedy, Al-Amari, like Kamal, provides the perspective of locals as he breaks the stereotypes people have of Qataris. “I lived in

Ireland for about ten years so I grew up abroad,” he says. “Coming back to Doha, you see a lot of things differently and being Qatari, you always want what’s best for Qatar. I think I have an idea and as a Qatari I want to get certain messages across and I think this is my forum of getting it across.” By being a standup comedian, Al-Amari wants to be a role model for young Qatari males. “There’s a lot of people taking things for granted here at too young of an age,” he says. “You still have to do stuff with your life. We all wish we can retire at 20 but we can’t. Some of us can, some of us can’t. Part of why I do what I do is social responsibility that I’ve

good five minutes and I was like ‘alright, cool, thank you for your opinion. See you later!” answered Al-Amari. “It’s not going to stop me. I love it. The rush, the responsibility, it’s amazing. You’re always going to get people who don’t like what you do everywhere regardless, whether it’s art or business. You’re always going to have haters.”

A feel good factor Coming from a humorous family, 18-year-old Iraqi Al-Amir Raheem finds support from his family. “My dad is encouraging but he’s not taking it seriously. He sees it as some kind of a hobby,” says Raheem. “When [my family]

Hamad Al-Amari taken upon myself.” “I do accents - that’s my thing,” he says, doing forms of Irish, British and American accents. “I secretly think there’s a black man inside of me like a ghetto guy deep down inside, seriously, because even with my friends, I break into an [African American accent],” he says. Accents identify Al-Amari’s stage character but so does his clothing. Every time you see Al-Amari on stage, he’s dressed in traditional Qatari clothing. “That’s my character. I’m the Qatari guy,” he says. Al-Amari has been criticized for his humor many times saying, “I’ve been called a racist, arrogant, an idiot and fake.” One day, AlAmari received a call from a local who saw Al-Amari’s YouTube video, which currently has more than 8,000 views. “He abused me for a

get around and have a chit chat, we always laugh using mostly catch phrases from Egyptian movies in real life,” he says. Raheem developed an interest in standup comedy while he was living in Dubai watching and researching standup comedy in the region and worldwide. “I started to know how good comedy makes people feel,” says Raheem. “Some people listen to songs. Some people watch movies, or whatever goes with them. Comedy can make you feel better too.” When he moved to Qatar two years ago, he continued his research and found out about SUCQ. “I looked them up and found out they have a show at Katara. I saw Issa perform and I really liked his bit. Then I saw Bilal and he told me that they’re going to have later shows, they’re going to have an audition and I can

2013

issue 17

17


come for the audition. If they like it, they’re going to let me perform,” says Raheem. “But after that, I had to go back to Iraq. So when I came back, at the end of August, we had a show at the Bistro 61 and it was my first show.” Raheem joined SUCQ around five months ago and has performed about ten times since. Raheem recently graduated from high school. “Being with SUCQ has helped me a lot,” he says, thanking SUCQ for making him recognizable. “I’m heading to Iraq and they’re starting a kind of television show on a new channel called Huna Baghdad [Here’s Baghdad]. I might get a chance to write for them but I might also get the chance to be the presenter of the show.” However, Raheem is considering making a career in standup comedy. “Being a standup comedian seems like a really good idea. I can mix a few topics such as politics and not just keep it for laughter. I can talk about the bigger perspective,” he says. Raheem is also considering a career in the film industry. “But my main goal is to be with comedy and if [life] takes me somewhere else like movies then why not?” he says.

Inspiration from music Twenty-eight-year-old Lebanese-American Ousama Itani has been performing standup comedy at the monthly SUCQ Open-Mic events since 2010 and has helped introduce an improv segment to the shows as well. Itani is an improv comedian who came to Qatar from Texas two years ago to work with Al Jazeera channel as an Internet analyst. “Moving to Doha, I looked for an improv comedy group but didn’t find one and was introduced to Bilal through some colleagues,” he says. “Of course, it’s standup [comedy] here so I said I’ll give it a shot. Traditionally, improv and standup don’t mix.” Itani has been a performer since he was a child. “I’ve been doing musical theatre since I was 6-years-old,” he says. “I used to perform in a musical in school once or twice a year. Musicals are like comedies to a certain extent so I think I picked up a lot comedic timing from the musical theatre condition.” In the course of eight years, while he was in the United States for university, Itani joined and trained with three different groups, doing mostly improv shows. He is a founding member of Antique Limax, an improvisational comedy

18

issue 17

2013

Al Amir Raheem troupe located in Austin. “We were pretty successful in the local scene in Austin,” he says. “From there, I really started focusing on comedy rather than theatre.” Besides taking up the stages of SUCQ and The Doha Players in Qatar, Itani’s actual job is offstage in the new media department in Al Jazeera network – a job he began in 2010 when he first moved to Qatar.

Future of Standup Comedy in Qatar “Well, it wasn’t here and now it is, so that’s a good thing. If we continue doing what we’re doing, hopefully, we’ll get bigger,” says AlAmari. “If you’re good, you can milk it,” he adds, talking about whether comedians can make a living out of being standup comedian in Qatar or in the Arab region. He uses Bader Saleh, a Saudi Arabian comedian who performs in the Arabic language, as an example, whose most popular videos on YouTube have reached four million views. Talking about the comedy scene in Qatar, Itani says: “I see it changing and growing. The fact that SUCQ is still going on despite having started with four or five comedians – most people having left and reforming and moving from venue to venue – I think that’s a really strong indicator that there is a demand in town for comedy as an art form and experience. The appearance of the improv group out of Doha Players, I think that’s a really strong indicator that people’s sensibilities are changing.”

Ousama Itani


Laugh out loud

the

Fluffy Tour was held on February 10 this year and was practically sold out. After reaching audiences in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, this tour reached Qatar where it was well-received and highly anticipated. Not only was Gabriel Iglesias, the internationally acclaimed funny man himself, gracing the stage for the first time, a whole host of other comedians joined him. Iglesias calls himself ‘The fluffy guy’, saying he isn’t overweight, he’s just fluffy. T he

20

issue 17

2013

By L ABIGAI S MATHIA American stand up comedian is known for his unique style and is very popular in the GCC. He performed at sold-out shows in the region in 2011 and 2013. Others comedians on Fluffy’s tour included Paul Varghese, Martin Moreno, Ibrahim Khairallah, Bader Saleh and Mohammed Fahad Kamal, the first Qatari comedian and a member of the local SUCQ comedy troupe. The show was produced by Halal Bilal, a South African comedian who is the unofficial Godfather of comedy in Qatar

and founder of SUCQ. The show was held at the Qatar National Convention Centre and began with Qatar’s own Mohammad Kamal and his rip-roaring lines. Bader Saleh then took over and had the audience in splits. Saleh is regarded as the most popular stand up comedian in Saudi Arabia while Khairallah is best-known for reaching the semi finals as a participant in the ‘Arab’s got Talent’ show. Speaking about his first Qatar performance Saleh, says, “The audience was great, they made me want to come here again. It was the first time I got to meet my Doha friends.” He adds, “We don’t listen to the laughs when we are performing. On stage you focus on your material.” With so many youngsters in the audience it was imperative that the comedians keep the show clean. “I make sure everything I say is not offensive. I had one experience where


someone misunderstood a line. After that I double check what I say so that no one feels offended.” As for hecklers, (those who shout while the show is on), Khairallah says, “I love hecklers. I love to get feedback from the audience because I get more material from them and that keeps the show funny.” On touring with the legendary Fluffy, Saleh says, “We learnt a lot from Fluffy. On this tour, I gain so much every day. Just watching him makes me a much better comedian.” The audience was just as thrilled. Lebanese, Sara Nader, who works at Qatar Airways as a Sponsorship Coordinator, has been following the comedy circuit for a while now. “Most of the comedians bring material that you can relate to as an Arab and an expatriate. We really enjoy it and we come with friends and family.” She adds, “I’m a big fan of comedy. I grew

up in Qatar since I was seven. I’ve seen Gabriel on the internet so I’m expecting big Fluffy things. The hall is full and that proves that there’s a growing interest.” Indian Comedian Paul Verghese travelled from Texas to Qatar. He has performed with the ultra famous comedian Russell Peters and has won the ‘Funniest Comic in Dallas’ in 2009. He said, “This is my first trip to the Middle East and to Doha. I didn’t know what to expect. You assume that the references in your material may not transfer to the audience. When you get so much positive feedback from the audience, that’s just great. I love the fact that here if a line doesn’t work, everyone is quiet. There is no booing. There’s such a respect for the artist. They appreciate the performance.” On performing with Peters, Varghese says, “I met him around three years into doing stand up comedy so just as a newcomer to watch him

was great for me. Russell Peters is the ground breaker. He is the first real comedian to really get so famous with stand up.” After what seemed like an endless wait post the show, we get exclusive access to the Fluffy man himself. He was naturally exhausted but keeps the one liner’s coming. Speaking about his first show in Qatar, he says, “I was overwhelmed by the level of interaction with the audience. You could hear people chanting and repeating the lines. People were familiar with my older material. People knew what to expect. I live on the other side of the planet. Comedy is very new here so the fact that it’s at this level in its infant stages, is huge.” He adds, “To have young people here is very important for me. Because you know they are going to grow up and be like, “This was the first comic I went to see and I’m going to take my kid to see him too.”’

2013

issue 17

21


YOUNG TURKS

Jonah Hill: Climbing into Hollywood 22

issue 17

2013


Jonah Hill went from providing comic relief as a supporting player to becoming a major Hollywood actor – not only in comedy but also in drama – within a few years. Expanding his creative scope to include writing, directing and producing, he positioned himself as one of Hollywood’s young key players in an astonishingly short period of time.

By OLA DIAB

Jonah Hill Feldstein, known as Jonah Hill, is quite the juggler. Known mostly for his rib-tickling acting, this 29-year-old American is also a producer, screenwriter and – of course, as we’re used to seeing him – a comedian. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1983, Jonah attended The Center for Early Education, Brentwood School, and then Crossroads School, in Santa Monica. He is the son of Richard Feldstein, a tour accountant for Guns N’ Roses and Sharon Lyn, a costume designer and fashion stylist. His parents are originally from Long Island, New York. His brother, Jordan Feldstein, manages the band Maroon 5. After graduating from high school, he left California for New York to study drama at The New School University. He began writing and performing in plays while at college and he regularly contributed short stories and performance pieces at the Black and White Bar in the East Village, where he developed a bit of a following. Among those were Dustin Hoffman’s children, Rebecca and Jake, who befriended Jonah and introduced him to their father. Hoffman asked him to audition for a role in I Heart Huckabees (2004), in which he made his film debut. “My heroes are Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman. Those are the two

actors that both do comedies and dramas, seamlessly. Also John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman. They’re all just great actors, neither comedic nor dramatic,” says Jonah.

Breakthrough A succession of increasingly high profile film and television parts followed. Jonah made some unaccredited and brief appearances in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Forgetting Sara Marshall and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. On television, Hill played the “RA Guy” on the first season of the Oxygen Network sitcom Campus Ladies and gueststarred in an episode of Clark and Michael. In 2007, Jonah played some minor roles in a string of hit movies such as Knocked Up, Evan Almighty, Junior Philosopher and Rocket Science, but his greatest achievement must have been joining Bruno actor, Michael Cera, on the main cast of the teen hit movie, Superbad, in his first starring role. This kick-started Jonah’s career as he landed major roles in Funny People (2009), Get Him to the Greek (2010), Moneyball (2011), 21 Jump Street (2012) and The Watch (2012). In 2011, Jonah

2013

issue 17

23


Mariah Carey. In the same year, he signed for a much different screen assignment when he agreed to provide one of the voices in the animated comedy Horton Hears A Who! (2008). Continuing his string of successful animated projects, Jonah voiced Hal, a love-sick schlub turned into a superman by the formerly villainous Megamind (2010) in an action-comedy that paired him with Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt. He also made a guest voice appearance on the show he loved as a child, The Simpsons. Moreover, he got involved in the music industry when he directed his first music video for American singer, Sara Bareilles, hit song “Gonna Get Over You” in September 2011.

Images source: AFP Image Forum

Writing

was in talks to appear in Quentin Tarantino’s movie Django Unchained. He almost had to decline a possible role in the film due to his prior commitment to The Watch, but managed to rework his schedule to star in it. In addition, Jonah co-created and starred in the animated comedy, Allen Gregory, on Fox. In 2008, he hosted an episode on Saturday Night Live (SNL), featuring multi-Grammy award-winning music artist,

24

issue 17

2013

Despite his success as an onscreen personality, Jonah continued to write – his primary interest. He had always wanted to be a writer, dreaming of one day joining the writing teams of The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live and The Larry Sanders Show. Jonah wrote a screenplay with close friend and with I Heart Huckabees co-star Jason Schwartzman, and Pure Imagination, a comedy for Sony about a man who develops an imaginary friend after a traumatic experience. Filming was expected to begin in 2008, but it’s still being developed. He also cowrote the treatment for 21 Jump Street with screenwriter Michael Bacall. “It’s harder to be funny if you’re handsome than if you’re very normallooking,” says Hill. “It’s just more relatable. You’re the underdog. I mean it’s funny to see people struggle, and you don’t buy that Brad Pitt is struggling, you know that guy could be the most skill-less guy in the world, but if you look like that you will be fine for the rest of your life.” What’s got Hill under the radar now is his fluctuating weight. In July 2011, he made an appearance at ESPN’s ESPY awards, showing off his new, forty-pounds-slimmer physique. He visited a nutritionalist, changed his diet – mostly eating sushi and Japanese cuisine – and got a personal trainer. He explained in interviews that the lifestyle change reflected his desire to get more serious roles in his career such as Moneyball, which he shot after the weight loss. However, he appears to have put the weight back on. Speaking to the Los Angeles T imes about slimming down, he said: “It’s not fun. I wouldn’t say it’s the most fun endeavor I’ve ever taken on in my life – but it’s important and I’m enjoying it. If I eat something unhealthy now, I kind of feel a little weird and my body hurts.” The weight loss endeavor occurred at the same year Jonah split from his serious girlfriend Jordan Klein. The couple had known each other since high school and had been dating since 2008. Regardless of the losses, Jonah’s career was rapidly climbing. He was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for his role in Accepted (2006) as Sherman Schrader. In 2011, he received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his first dramatic role as Peter Brand in Moneyball. His work in the movie brought him Best Supporting Actor nods from the Academy, BAFTA, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild. Only 20, Jonah has already shared the screens with Hollywood’s biggest drama and comedy actors such as Channing Tatum, Jason Segel, Adam Sandler, Russel Brand, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Seth Rogen and many more. Since his stardom, Jonah has been on Entertainment Weekly’s and Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30’ lists which ranks the top 30 actors who are below the age of 30.


talk

It’s about Pushing Limits By Meghna Dey

w

hile most girls grow up princess-like with doll houses and pink candy, a few others jump deep into the world of grease, mechanics and cars. After the initial resistance, some go on to make a mark in the male-dominated world of speed and skill, and the rest cave in under pressure and back out. CAMPUS had the opportunity to talk to one of the few women rally drivers in the world. Burcu Cetinkaya – a tough young woman who went against many odds to create a niche for herself in the world of rally racing. Today this Turkish lady races in the biggest competitions with the support of Red Bull and was in Qatar recently to show her stunt driving skills at the Qatar Motorshow. Put words like ‘women’, ‘cars’, ‘rally’, ‘extreme sport’ and she’ll tell you why they can go together. “You encounter a lot of challenges – you won’t get what you deserve, and sometimes whenever you fall down, you’ll find a lot of people trying to hit you harder because they don’t want you there. But I like challenges and I’m always looking for opportunities to raise my limits,” says the confident and realistic Cetinkaya.

26

issue 17

2013


What got you interested in rally driving considering not too many women take up this sport? My story started at 12 when I went to watch a rally. Seeing that rally impressed me a lot. It was my dream to explore the sport since then but my family didn’t want me to do it. So I had to wait for a bit. In order to reach success you need money and you need sponsors, and it’s hard to find sponsors when you don’t have any success. It was at 24, I had a car and that was the time I had to make a decision about my life. I graduated with an economics degree but I didn’t want to pursue anything in the corporate world. I wanted to take up rallying as a serious profession. I took a risk. I bought a few small rally cars, I bought some races and I picked up a Turkish coach. Everybody thought I was crazy because I was changing my life completely. They didn’t think that anyone could make a career out of being a rally driver. Nobody took it seriously. I started in 2005 and in 2006 I got my first championship title. In 2007, I started racing internationally for the first time. I gained my first international success in 2008, and that’s how I started working with Red Bull. In 2010, I raced in one of the most popular rally championships called the Intercontinental Rally Championship which is broadcast by Eurosport. There I raced with a French team for Peugeot. We became the first ladies to score points in that championship. We also got an award from Eurosport. That’s when I started rallying on a bigger level with better and powerful cars. In 20092010, I met this team in Italy... I spent time with them and learnt stunts and drifting from Marco Gioni. I learnt how to go on two wheels and do some primary drifting. Drifting is new to me but stunt driving is what I’ve been doing since the last three years. It was in stunt driving that I started enjoying the energy of the spectators. Being a woman and doing donuts and other stunts where I’m out of the car really gets the crowd excited. Most people think it’s dangerous but it’s about learning your limits and knowing your car very well. Now I want to explore the world of stunt driving even more along with rally driving.

My dream for this year: My dream for this year is to enter the World Rally Championship with a WRC car, but that will depend on the support of sponsors. I also want to race in the Turkish Rally Championship. I’ll enter it with a V car. I want to keep doing something in Turkey and so I’ll race there. I want to fight with the other ladies who will be driving stronger cars with a weaker car, and hopefully beat them with my car.

When I started gaining success at an international level, only then did they start supporting me sentimentally, never financially. After four years of being a professional rally driver, they would call occasionally to congratulate me or attend my rallies. In fact if today I tell them that I’m quitting rallying, they will be the happiest. But I’m happy when I wake up in the morning and clean my car or learn how to fix my car and getting my hands dirty. I’m very passionate towards this and won’t quit racing so soon.

How much family support did you get when you started out?

Since racing and the world of motorsports is male dominated, how did you find your way around?

My family did not support my choice initially.

It’s never easy for a woman to enter any field

that is dominated by men. If you’re a woman who just wants to do a few rallies and get some attention, then it’s fairly easy because as a woman you’re anyway less in number and people will give you what you want. But if you want to gain sportive success, to be there permanently and go for a big fight, then it’s not easy. The challenges start from gender bias – people think that because you’re a lady you won’t be a strong competitor, the men want to keep their dominance, keep the limelight and be the star – it’s always difficult. Whenever you enter a new arena, it takes a lot of patience and time to be able to open roads for yourself. You encounter lots of challenges – you won’t get what you deserve, and sometimes whenever you fall down, you’ll find a lot of people trying to hit you harder because they don’t want you there. But I like challenges and yes, it was hard. Everything is in your mind. If you have concentration, courage and belief, it is easier to grab your goals, even though sometimes you need to fight harder.

There is a lot of gender bias in this maledominated sport but have there been men who have been supportive and encouraged you? There are many people who have believed in me and supported me. Simon Jean Joseph, Kris Meeke, Roger Feghali and many others who have helped me and stood by me. Michele Mouton is the only lady who has reached the top in the history of motorsports, not just rally driving. No one has broken her records. She has been there for me when my team secured the 12th overall position in a championship. She has been supportive, giving us advice. Whenever there is a lady who is successful, she doesn’t let her ego bite into helping others succeed. She’s a very valuable person.

You started your career in motorsports in 2005, but if you had to start today – in 2013 – how different would it be? Ten to fifteen years ago there were more sponsors and lesser alternatives in the sport. Thereafter it’s been up and down with regards to the management and system of affairs in motorsports. 2010 was a very good year, while 2011 and 2012 weren’t great. Somehow it’s

2013

issue 17

27


not persistent. This year is picking up because Hyundai is coming back into the world championship and Volkswagen is back too. Having said that, I don’t think it would be very different if someone had to start now versus in 2005. But if I had started 10 years ago, then that would have been very nice.

Cars I’ve driven: In rallies, I started with an Italian car - Fiat Palio - it was 105hp. Everything was standard except the security. My second car was a Fiesta Estate which was 160hp. I had modified it a little bit. Third car was an R2 Fiesta which is a bit stronger. There was a huge jump from this car. I started from front wheel drive to four wheel drive. I drove a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. This is a proper rally car - its 300hp and is front wheel drive. I’ve driven a Mitsubishi Evo 9 and 10.

In any kind of sport, keeping your mind calm and focused is key. How do you work towards that? That was my weakest point, and that’s what I learnt. I was a very strong person, I would fight and overcome challenges, even as a kid. If somebody told me you can’t do something, I would make sure that I did it. But while being that way, I wasn’t calm. I was nervous and rebellious always. Whenever I would try to do something, I would get overexcited. With rallying I learnt how to control that. In the first two years of racing, I crashed so many times. I made innumerable mistakes, and it’s only when I started learning to be calm, patient and learn to control my feelings, that I could drive better. I have noticed that when I don’t control my feelings, negative or positive, I can’t focus on my driving. The results have been unfavorable. Learning to restrain emotions came by falling down. Today I’m a very good listener, earlier I wouldn’t pay too much attention in listening or understanding to what people said. Now whenever something goes wrong, I surrender and I’m patient to wait for whatever comes.

Who have been your mentor and your influences? In rallying specifically, there’s a Turkish rally driver by the name of VolkanIsik, he’s been a lot of help. I’m also thankful to Kris Meeke because he showed me where the higher limits are in racing. I think after my coaching with him, I skipped a level. In stunt driving, I took a lot from Marco Gioni. I owe him a lot. Also from Roger Feghali. He is my new mentor.

In what kind of terrains have you driven, and which do you find challenging? I’ve driven in snow, but not in a rally... I’ve done kilometers of testing in snow, in Norway. I’ve driven in asphalt – wet and dry, gravel and sand which is really close to gravel in terms of

28

issue 17

2013

Car I own: I own a Toyota GT86. For six years I did not have a car because I sold my car and started racing with that money. But finally I bought my car, and I love it. It’s a rear wheel drive. Its 200hp right now but I’m looking at doing some modifications to it.

A rally driver must be Physically fit Psychologically fitness is also extremely important. You should be strong enough to fall down and stand back up because in this sport, from time to time, you do fall down - the reasons could vary from mechanics to the fault of your co-driver or yourself or others. maneuvering. I prefer driving on gravel and mud. I love the feeling of sliding. It feels more like a rally. The ones on tarmac feel like a race, like a Formula 1 or a single seater series. I’m not a big fan of driving on that. And I certainly don’t like driving on wet tarmac. It is my weakest point and I don’t enjoy it too much.

If someone had to pick rally racing as a career, especially girls, what would you tell them? Girls looking to take rally racing as a career should be prepared to take up all the challenges, including people telling them that they can’t do it. Every newcomer should have a very good mentor. Also, the mentor should be available. The mentor doesn’t have to be the best in the world because if he or she is the

best in the world but has no time for you then it’s no point. A mentor should be geographically close to you and give you the most. Having a good example in front of you to watch and learn from makes you save time in a big way. In this sport, time is important. The older you get, you lose your reflexes and your health may not permit you to race in extreme conditions. Also sponsors are always looking for younger participants to be able to work long years with them. In this sport you need to be able to control your mind. If something is bothering your mind for whatever reason – you have a problem with the co-driver, you have a problem with the car, you have a problem with the team, you have a problem with yourself – you can’t be successful. You need to be totally focused on your driving.


Doha News:

Taking a Life of its Own

CAMPUS talks to Omar Chatriwala and Shabina Khatri, the couple behind Qatar’s most popular online news guide.

H

ow did Doha News start?

Shabina: In March 2009, I got on Twitter so I was like ‘oh, nobody knows what’s going on in Doha’ so I started a Twitter feed called Doha News. It was very informal like ‘There’s traffic,’ ‘Oh, I found this deal at FFC’ or something like this. Omar: Then two years after that, it picked up steam. From an informal twitter feed, people started considering it as a news organization. Doha News sounds like a news organization but it was just a twitter feed. So Shabina was updating it regularly. When she got busy, she was like ‘Oh, can you keep it running and update it.’ When we went on vacation and tweets started up, people were still expecting it to keep going. Then we asked a friend, Malika Bilal, who used to work for Al Jazeera at the time, to fill in while we were away. So it took on a life of its own as a Twitter account Shabina: This was just as everybody in Qatar was getting on Twitter so that’s why everyone was following Doha News because there were very few things to follow.

Why did Doha News go from being a Twitter account to a blog? Omar: In 2011, Shabina was saying ‘How can we mark the two year anniversary?’ So I

30

issue 17

2013


Shabina Khatri convinced her to launch a blog. If you have a Twitter account, you can only have 104 characters at a time. Twitter didn’t allow you to upload photos either so we said ‘Why don’t we launch a blog?’ If there are any additional photos, we can put the photos online where we can say, in 104 characters, you can look at our photos online with links to our stories. On Twitter, you can’t really tell a story in 104 characters especially if nobody else is reporting on it. Shabina: Our first story was the draft of the media law. We got access to that. Omar: We had snippets to the draft or bullet points. We launched a blog on Tumblr, very simple, very straightforward. Not the prettiest. That was marking the second anniversary of our Twitter account. We announced we have Tumblr too. But it didn’t work out that way because within a few days, again, there was increased demand. When we put up a story daily, we found people came back multiple times a day but were disappointed to find out there wasn’t more stuff on the site. So we started setting a schedule. We’re going to update multiple times a day, upgrading its appearance, buying a premium theme and customizing it. We had some ideas about launching a news website but in terms of the blog, it wasn’t exactly going according to plan. We were weighing it and thinking it out as we went along. When we saw people coming,

saying ‘why haven’t you covered this, why haven’t you done that,’ I was disappointed. I checked Doha News four, five times a day, to see what’s there so it was disappointing to see these comments and responding to what people wanted.

What Doha News does as a news outlet is different so what would you categorize it as? Shabina: It confuses a lot of people because it’s not a traditional news outlet. It’s kind of a hybrid with creation and original reporting but also with other people’s opinions so people don’t quite know what to make of it. But I think you’re going to see this more and more because you can use very few resources to put out something with a lot of content that’s interesting and relevant to people without having to spend so much money. In the news times, that’s the way journalism is going until people try to figure out how people monetize online websites. Omar: I disagree. If you’re not putting any money into it then you’re not going to get so much out of it. It’s small and fills a gap. The Peninsula and The Gulf Times started their websites but ideally, they will move into a position whereby they start to regularly update their sites instead of just once or twice a day. Increasingly, the gap we’re going to have to fill is in terms of critical reporting or original online content where it isn’t that case here.

What has been the biggest milestone in your career? Omar: The Villaggio fire. That was the day that a lot of people found out about Doha News. For us, it was a very big news event in Qatar and that’s what we put all of our time and energy in to. At the time, we had planned a community event. We’re saying we’re going to get together with our readers and audience members and meet them so they can put a face to the name. They’ve been following the site so now they can actually meet us. But because the fire was such a big news story, a big deal and a tragedy, we said let’s just put that on hold and let’s focus on the coverage, updating information, going to the press conferences, etc. So we canceled that and held it a few days later. We still had a pretty decent turn out. Since then, we saw a massive spiking traffic because we had all the information that nobody else did because the news organizations here don’t necessarily have the culture of grill coverage. In the way the traffic goes up and comes back down after a news event but it came up gradually in higher and higher levels. Shabina: Since there was no radio stations to listen to about what was happening or a television station to tune into about what was happening, a lot of people just went online, accessed us and tweeted, facebooked and everything about us. That was kind of a big deal for us! And even since then, we

2013

issue 17

31


Omar Chatriwala continually covered the trials, hearings and what’s going on with the families – that’s very interesting to people. They want to know what’s going to happen to the people who might be held responsible for the deaths of the people of the Villaggio fire.

You cover some of tough stories that other news organizations in Qatar are unable to do, so how do you do that? Shabina: I think access comes with repeated interaction. For example, with the Villaggio fire, I’ve been to six or seven hearings now. Twice a month, I’m going to the court house and seeing the parents. In the beginning, they didn’t want to talk to me. They didn’t want anything to do with the media. And now, by the end, they’re familiar with my face, they read our coverage, they know that we care whatever happens and so they’re willing to talk to me. The day after the fire, the vigil, I was walking through the crowd trying to talk to people when I said Doha

Tips for making it big! 32

issue 17

2013

News, they were happy to talk to us. I saw other journalists trying to take pictures but the people didn’t want anything having to do with them, they’re like “you’re just feeding off of our pain.” So I think the advantage we have, in terms of twitter and facebook and the way we publish things is that people feel like we respond to them. It’s not just us talking at them. It’s a conversation. I think that’s a huge advantage for us being an online medium, giving people a chance to feel like their voices are heard. That helps us with the access.

happening. So again it’s this response thing where we’re telling people what’s going on because they want to know and ask us, in combined with offering something that other publications don’t.

Omar: It’s also about our focus – our experience, in terms of online journalism, understanding how the web works and technology, etc. that the more traditional publications don’t necessarily have. The fact that we’re updating the site, every few minutes or every half hour or hour as opposed to waiting until the end of the day, letting people know what actually is

Shabina: But it still will be a lean operation. It won’t be a brick and molder kind of huge building with a printing press and all that stuff.

What’s next for Doha News? Omar: The aim and the plan is to increase what we offer and the people we have while still making sure that we have strong community connections whereby people feel connected with us and are able to contribute to the news making process.

Omar: We want to have a news room but we’re not planning to launch a newspaper or anything. There might be a few hard-copy special reports but the focus is really online.

Shabina: Be curious Have thick skin because when people criticize you or try to bully you, you have to be tough. Courage and strength! Wasta if you have it, you’re going to need it. Language skills, if you can speak multiple languages, you’ll do well in Qatar because it’s such an international community. If you have questions, try to get them answered. Keep looking, don’t give up! Don’t just call people, go places.

Omar: Do something different; don’t try to copy what everybody else is doing.


Rutavi Mehati: The Biker Woman

“Mud is our makeup.” CAMPUS talks to the newest female biker in town By OLA DIAB

2013

issue 17

33


T

wenty-six-year-old Indian Rutavi Mehati moved from Mumbai, India to Qatar at the end of December 2012. Coming from an all-female biking group called Bikerni Foundation in India, Mehati joined a gender-mixed group of the Harley Davidson Owner Group (HOG) called Soul Riders, hoping to instill some of the India’s strong and huge biking traditions in Qatar’s miniature biking culture. “I always wanted to be in an area in the GCC where the culture is different from India,” says Mehati. “I think Qatar has its own identity with so many nationalities. It’s such a different place.” However, Mehati came to Qatar just for a visit – Mehati’s sister is a resident in Qatar. But when she discovered the biking culture here and met Khalid AlHammadi, the assistant director of HOG, she decided to stay for a year then return to India. Mehati also does photography and public relations for Harley Davidson as freelance.

Cultural difference Mehati has found Qatar’s biking culture very different from her own. “In India, we have very different laws to the ones here,” she says. “Here, they’re very individual travelers. They do not ride in groups. The culture of riding is still in its infancy,” she adds referring to the small numbers of people riding in Qatar. “In my country, the minimum number of people riding together is 30 to 1,500 but here even 30 is large number. Unless and until it’s a very big event sponsored by Harley Davidson, then the number barely touches 200.” In India, in each city, the numbers of riders vary. In Mehati’s all-females group, approximately 200500 girls ride together in variety of motorbikes such as Harley Davidson, Royal and Fields, KTM and Duo. “The only group I feel that really makes sense are the Soul Riders. They’re actually into riding not just driving to the mall to eat and leave,” says Mehati who she says only do group rides on Fridays. Bikers usually have a biking language which consists of hand symbols, which Mehati says also differs in India. Mehati hasn’t been biking for long. “I have been biking for like a year and a half but I think I ride pretty well because if I know Harley, I can ride anything now,” she says. “Harley is the heaviest bike to ride.” Mehati rides as a hobby. In profession, she’s a hotelier in India, holding a degree in hotel management. “I work for sales and marketing for Starwood hotels. That’s the other side of me,” she says. Biking isn’t Mehati’s only talent. She’s also a photographer. “Photography came to me three years ago when I just had a point and shoot camera. Peopled liked my work,” she says. “I do shoots and a lot of photography for travel magazines.” Mehati has been the official photographer for Royal and Fields, largest manufacturer of motorbikes across the world. “Royal and fields are the ones who inaugurated me into the biking fraternity,” she says. As she photographed motorbikes, Mehati began to take interest in the vehicles and soon after, she started riding them. “I started going long distance for about 150 km so I started with 20 km then I went to 150 km then to 300 km then to 600 km. Daily practice!” she says.

Similar taboos Except for her sister, no one in Mehati’s family knows that she’s a biker especially her parents although she believes they’ll be okay with

34

issue 17

2013

it. “They won’t have a problem,” she says but they won’t be open about it. “The Indian culture is very closed as well. By this age, all the girls in India are married. Beyond their 20s, if the girls aren’t married, it’s not considered to be a good thing.” India’s culture doesn’t differ greatly from Qatar’s as both are rich in societal values and traditions. “It’s still considered as raising eyebrows,” says Mehati about girls who ride motorbikes. “In two-tire cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, when someone sees a girl rider, when she takes off the helmet, she gets raised eyebrows.” A female riding a motorbike in Qatar also raises eyebrows, specifically if she’s Arab and/or Muslim. According to Mehati, there are only a dozen female riders in Qatar but none of them are local. Palestinian Rania Al-Ashker is the only known Arab female biker in Qatar. Moreover, Mehati is the only known Indian female biker in the country. “There are many girl riders, undercover. Even if you’re wearing an abaya, you won’t have a problem riding a bike. Yes, it’s a much closed culture but you can,” says Mehati. Harley Davidson is currently teaching biking to a female “who wears an abaya but rides also. Harley Davidson is having classes to teach people to ride especially girls.” Mehati admits the significance and influence of cultural norms on female bikers “but that should not stop you from riding just because you’re a girl. Nowhere is it said that riding a bike is wrong. It’s just that it’s a different mode of transport,” she says. Mehati is still deciding on her mode of transportation in Qatar. “The problem is the temperatures go very high in the summer here so I’m not sure whether I should get a bike or a car because in that temperature, riding a bike will kill me. But standing in the long traffic lines here in a car, I would rather have a bike,” she says. Before her return to India, Mehati is thinking of buying a Harley Davidson from Qatar. “It’s very cheap here. In India, it’s 40 times the price here. So I would rather buy one from here and ride here,” she says. Mehati would also like to influence the biking culture in the country before her return to her own. “We have something in India called Bike Week, which is coming up February in Goa where all riders from all over India are going to be a part of. It doesn’t matter which bike you have,” she says. Mehati believes Qatar should adopt a similar practice to India’s Bike Week where all bikers in the country, no matter the manufacturer, can be a part of.


It’s a Fool’s day! The one day that brings out our inner prankster, every year

36

issue 17

2013


There are many different theories to how April Fool’s Day started. One of the main ones takes us back to France in the 1500s. It’s said that France changed their calendar so that the New Year would begin in January to match the Roman calendar instead of beginning at the start of spring (late March or early April). Since spreading information back in the days wasn’t as easy as now, the news traveled very slowly. Many people in rural areas continued to celebrate the New Year in the spring. The people who weren’t informed then became known as “April Fools”. Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego, California, doesn’t agree with this story. He says, “The theory is completely wrong, because the day that the French celebrated the beginning of the year, legally, was Easter day, so it never really was associated with April first.” “Traditionally it was only a legal start to the year – people in France did actually celebrate New Years on January first for as long as anybody could remember.” Boese’s theory is that April Fool’s Day grew out of age-old European spring festivals of renewal, in which pranks and camouflaging one’s identity are common. Whichever way it started, April Fool’s Day is still practiced around the world, and in the last decade it has moved onto the Internet in many ways. Google loves a good prank and every year they have several ones out there, some very elaborate and many people falling for it. Some of the classics over the years include; the 2007 TiSP, “a self-installed ad-supported online service that will be offered entirely free to any consumer with a WiFi-capable PC and a toilet connected to a local municipal sewage system”, and let’s not forget Gmail Paper, a service that Google said would allow Gmail users to request paper copies (via postal service, of course) of their emails. Google definitely outdid themselves in 2012, announcing several gag products related to its ultra-high-speed fiber network, self-driving car, mapping application, youtube and more. There were more than a dozen pranks last year, many of which had videos explaining the “new” products and services. The best one was the Google Maps 8-Bit

edition. Their statement told people they felt they had left behind users who couldn’t access Google Maps on their classic hardware. The video accompanying shows an old school Nintendo style version of Google Maps which sure did bring a smile to everyone who remembers the classics. Also in 2012, Peugeot UK created a great April Fool’s video demonstration: mood color-changing car. “Technicians at Peugeot developed this pioneering new technology by using a psychochromatic coating (mood paint), which alters the molecular structure of the paint to emit light at varying wavelengths. The driver’s moods are detected via heat sensors integrated into the steering wheel, which read their body temperature and pulse rate to change the exterior color of the car accordingly.” “And as long as drivers are ‘happy’ to express their emotions, the whole emotional spectrum of body colors is available to them, including: dark blue – for when drivers are feeling a little down, while a hue of green will spread across the exterior when a driver is detected to be feeling very relaxed.” Now if only this were the real deal!

2013

issue 17

37


PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST

Through

My Lens

CAMPUS readers submitted their photography work for a chance to be published. We received some great photos. The most ‘liked’ picture on Facebook was Mohammed Muddassir’s. We also decided to include a noteworthy submission from Louis JM.

Winner:

Mohammed Muddassir

13, Male, Indian, Newton International School - Lagoon Branch

38

issue 17

2013


Noteworthy submission

Louis JM

22, Male, Indian Stenden University

2013

issue 17

39


We asked you, the readers, via social media to submit us an essay, poem or story (fiction or non-fiction) about the theme in this issue: Comedy. The chosen piece is by Harish Ramakrishnan from Madhurai Kamraj University.

40

issue 17

2013

“In My Words�


Laughter is a beautiful expression.

It’s pretty addictive if you ask me. Growing up, we have been socializing to laugh and joke at appropriate times and settings. Some cannot fathom the idea of joking in a moment of despair. However, if I were to confine my laughter to the ‘appropriate’ time and setting, my life would be filled with despair. That’s the beautiful thing about humor; because it’s subjective, what is funny to one person can be offensive to another. I strongly believe stand up comedy is one of the most powerful tools and venues to educate, heal, incite, and make people ponder about ideas and things beyond themselves. You don’t need a joke to do that, but using a joke as an instrument can make that experience (and the actual content of the joke) unforgettable. There are comedians that provide humor for the sake of humor itself. At the basic level, that is very much appreciated especially after a long day filled with stress. However, when a comedian can craft and write a perfectly funny joke that can cause his/ her audience to think, understand something at a deeper level, or challenge their views (for good reasons) of any given topic is what I look for in a comedian. Don’t just show me the funny, show me the smart funny. For those comedians that chose to pursue stand up as a career, as a fellow fan I challenge you to challenge my thinking with your jokes. I dare you to bring me into your world where hot feels cold, where pain feels real good, where rainbows have neon colors and where dead puppies are still cute. At the end of the day laughter is great, but the intent and purpose is what I’m learning to value the most. You write down the sequence of scenes you’re going to have in your comedy script. Then you write down in just a sentence or two what happens in each scene. You might have

three or four sentences if a lot is happening in a particular scene. But the step sheet is not a listing of the jokes or dialogue – just story points and character points. For example, a step sheet for Bullets over Broadway would show only the progressive changes from scene to scene in the characterization of the thug bodyguard. As he becomes more and more involved in the writing process, remember the importance of character and timing in comedy. The step sheet is the tool you use to make sure your characters and timing work with maximum effectiveness. It’s one of the most powerful tools in comedy writing. A common misconception in comedy is that the more jokes in a piece, the better. But I believe that the opposite is often true. I’ve written thousands of jokes, and a good joke can be truly wonderful. Yet the most satisfying comedy comes not from jokes but from a funny character – funny characters reacting to one another or a funny story. Again, Bullets over Broadway is instructive; It’s a very funny movie and its uses virtually no jokes. A good test of whether a humorous piece is solid is if you can tell just the story, without any of the jokes, and still have it be funny. If so, you’re in good shape. But if it requires jokes to make it funny, then you need to go back to the beginning and completely rethink it. Jokes are the horseradish sauce of comedy, not the roast beef.

I’ve talked to many young people about comedy, and I’ve found that their projects relate to things that have already been on T V. T heir work tends to be overwhelmingly derivative. Agents say the same thing. Prospective writers watch a lot of T V, and then when they write scripts, their scripts all look alike. My advice: Turn off your T V and keep it off! Instead of getting your ideas from T V, develop your own comic vision. Consider Woody Allen: One of his greatest strengths is that he authentic. He’s not trying to be Jack Benny and he’s not trying to be George Burns. He’s Woody Allen. He is very Jewish, very New York, endlessly self-analytical and highly neurotic, and his comedy is inorganic outgrowth of his persona. By contrast, I’m a preacher’s kid from Kansas. Inevitably, my comedy looks a lot different from Woody Allen’s. It’s supposed to. I heard a young Latino comic named Chris Fonseca. He has cerebral palsy, has difficulty speaking and does his routine from wheelchair. Much of his material deals with his comedic take on the stresses of living with his physical condition. He is wonderfully funny, because his comedy grows directly out of his own real life. I believe that there is great power in being true to your comic vision and being in touch with your individual sources of comic inspiration. They might be obvious, as in the case of Fonseca, or more subtle. It is because of the importance of comic authenticity that I urge you not to watch T V. I’m not saying never – it’s good to know some of the things that are on. But don’t derive your comic inspiration and models from T V. Read books, look at the Marx Brothers movies and the classic silent film comedies; look at print cartoons like the ones in The New Yorker; read children’s books’ look at the fabulous, comic theatre pieces of Feydeau. Above all, look at yourself and the people around you! Real people and the absurdities and follies of everyday life are the richest sources of comedy. These are the Seven Laws of Comedy Writing. They don’t exhaust all the possible topics involved in comedy writing, but they cover the most important. If you follow these laws, they will guide you to write fun, funny comedy that will make you laugh and make your audiences laugh along with you.

2013

issue 17

41


career trivia

EasySteps to You Be Help More at

Cheerfulwork As the days and weeks pass by, you feel a little less enthusiastic about your first job and the prospect of a regular 9-to-5 routine than you did before. To help you stay happy and focused at work, the career experts at Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading jobsite, suggest these six easy steps:

42

issue 17

2013


Communicate more and better Open communication is the key to forming closer bonds at your new workplace and with your boss, teammates and clients. Be professional and calm and always listen as much as you speak. You will be seen as much more co-operative and friendly if you engage with those around you more and express your thoughts and feelings better. In Bayt.com’s ‘Management Challenges in the MENA’ poll (January 2012), a majority of professionals (35%) said that what they want most from their managers is open respectful communications. So start improving your relationships today and watch your job satisfaction soar.

Stay healthy Bayt.com’s 2012 Healthy Habits in the MENA Workplace poll indicated that 18% of the region’s professionals don’t exercise at all and most of those who do exercise only do so occasionally. Moreover, 32% of professionals consider their eating habits to be unhealthy. Remember that the key to a healthy happy mind is a healthy body, so stick to a healthy diet at work. If you can’t quit those energy drinks then try supplementing your diet with some regular exercise. You can start by making small changes in your lifestyle, such as swapping that candy bar for a fresh fruit or some chopped vegetables or dates and walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Remember every small step towards a healthier lifestyle adds up in the long run.

Lend a helping hand: Wouldn’t it make your day to receive unexpected help from a teammate on the presentation you’ve been struggling to finish all morning? Similarly, every once in a while, try to make time to lend a hand or offer friendly advice to those in need whether it is a fellow-intern or the group flailing in a project. Remember, you are all working for the same goals and what goes around typically comes around and you will inevitably see the good vibes and intentions you send out benefiting you as much as those you help. This will be especially productive if you can immerse yourself in projects or tasks you particularly enjoy because you will be helping the organisation and increasing your own job satisfaction.

Customize your workspace No matter how small your cubicle is, the extra effort you make in customizing and organizing your workspace will help you relax and feel comfortable. Whether by adding a plant, a filing cabinet, your favorite action figure, photos of loved ones, special art or simply leaving your desk a plain clean white space, make an effort to make your space your very own special comfort zone.

Learn something new

Smile

There is nothing like the power of learning to empower you, particularly when it means you can approach your job in a fresh manner. Take some time to read online news, blogs and discussions to stay updated on new developments in your industry. If you get a chance in your organization, try to attend conferences, seminars, exhibitions as they will open up your horizons on your industry. In a 2011 Bayt.com poll, professionals were asked if they think reading relevant literature regularly is important for advancing their careers and 97% agreed that it was, with 70% saying it was ‘’extremely important’’. Also 78% of professionals polled by Bayt.com indicated they did in fact read industry literature regularly. Embrace the lifelong learning route, not only to be able to continuously improve your job performance but to also add value to your personal brand, reputation and your sense of personal satisfaction and achievement.

You’ve all heard it takes less effort to smile than to frown. It certainly makes you look much more approachable and appealing. Always remember you are in control of your career destiny and that you can shape your career in different ways with the right attitude and approach.

Bayt.com is the #1 job site in the Middle East with more than 40,000 employers and over 10,250,000 registered job seekers from across the Middle East, North Africa and the globe, representing all industries, nationalities and career levels. Post a job or find jobs on www.bayt.com today and access the leading resource for job seekers and employers in the region.

2013

issue 17

43


health & Fitness

Focus on The arm is one of the most visible body parts, and both men and women have a tendency to store fat on their upper arms. Although you can’t command your body to lose fat from a specific area, a variety of weighted toning exercises can help you improve your muscle mass.

Exercise 1 Photography: Rob Altamirano

44

issue 17

2013

Overhead Presses with dumbbells: Overhead presses work the major muscles of the shoulder, with a focus on the middle deltoid and triceps. To do a basic overhead press, stand (or sit) holding weights with elbows bent and hands at eye level. Push weight over-head without arching the back and lower back to start. Lower back to start and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.


Exercise 2 Overhead Presses with bar:

Overhead presses work mainly the muscles of the shoulder, To do a basic overhead press, the bar should be near the upper chest to start , stand (or sit). Push weight over-head without arching the back and lower back. Lower back to start and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.

Exercise 3 Lateral raises: Sit or stand and hold light-medium weights at the sides. Keeping arms straight, lift the arms out to the sides, stopping at shoulder level. Lower back to start and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.

Foued Mokrani has been in the health and fitness industry for more than 10 years. He specializes in customized exercise programs, incorporating safe and motivating exercises including cardiovascular work, strength training, proper nutrition and flexibility. He offers personal training for both solo and small affinity groups as well as boot camp training, dietary support, life style coaching and more. Contact either via phone +974 66588267 or email nutrimax2090@hotmail.fr

2013

issue 17

45


Campus Cool Quotient WHAT’S COOL

Spring is here and so are the latest must-haves

Not only does the new CK One Shock street edition for men have a cool bottle, but the fragrance is even cooler. It will awake your senses with a burst of refreshing mojito, watery cucumber, and sparkling citrus. It’s also layered with aromatic spices, geranium, raspberry cocoa accord, chocolate tonka, a touch of vanilla and last but not least, some toffee! The latest collection from Swarovski was inspired by Latin America. Feel the spirit with these elegant Swarovski pierced earrings featuring turquoise skulls and crystals. The perfect combination to make any outfit pop!

For all the football players out there, the Leo Messi boot by Adidas is a must have. The new f50 adizero in Messi’s favorite color red, weighs only 165g, making it the lightest boots on the market. Throughout development, Messi has been heavily involved and this boot features revolutionary technologies and precision engineering.

Nicki Minaj continues her reign as the hip-hop queen of MAC Viva Glam! This duo of lipstick and lipglass are only here for a limited time, so get yours now and help support a good cause. Every cent of the selling price goes toward helping women, men and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

46

issue 17

Rimmel is here to save the day with their new 9-in-1 BB Cream. If you feel that regular foundation is too heavy on your skin in the hot weather, this is the answer! Lightweight and containing SPF 25, it primes and moistures your skin, hiding the appearance of pores and blemishes and protects your skin all day.

2013


Paul Smith is a classic English label, but this stylish bathing suit will have you feeling like you are in St. Tropez! The fluro feather print for SS’13 is guaranteed to stand out among the rest.

Kim Kardashian’s latest perfume ‘Glam’ is filled with attitude, confidence and glamour. It’s richly layered with watermelon, citrus, berries, sandalwood and more. Spray for a dashing night out.

Calling London! Paul Smith is known for his cool accessories, always pushing the edge. This season choose from any of these hand burnished leather belts with contrasting colored straps. A great way to mix up a neutral outfit.

Stripes are back again and this time in classic navy and white. Whether you want to go for a suit look or a casual tank, it can be found at Splash!

The latest Spring/ Summer 2013 collection from Splash takes inspiration from different themes. For women we go from ‘City Warrior’ to ‘Preppy Riot’ to ‘Ashen’ while the men draw from ‘Preppy Resort’ to ‘Great Gatsby’ and ‘Azure Paradise’.

2013

This floral printed dress is super chic and can be both dressed down for day and spiced up for night.

issue 17

47


TECH BEAT

As music sales rise, Sweden going against the stream

D

espite being home to a vibrant community of file-sharing activists, Sweden is at the forefront of a global recovery in music sales driven by streaming music services such as Spotify, industry observers say. Legal downloading sites like Apple’s iTunes Store were once thought to be a panacea for the global music industry, providing an alternative to illegal download sites like Sweden’s Pirate Bay. But if the high-tech Scandinavian nation is anything to go by, music downloads could soon be as obsolete as CDs or vinyl records. iTunes’ success has been modest here, with the vast majority of consumers preferring to stream songs rather than owning them on a hard drive. Last year was the best year for music sales in Sweden since 2005, with 63 percent of revenue coming from digital sources, according to data from the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF). Out of that, 90 percent came from streaming services. “Norway and Sweden are similar in that a large part of music revenue comes from streaming, and in that both countries have seen strong growth,” said Ludwig Werner, managing director of the Swedish chapter of IFPI (the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). Other countries, including Europe’s largest economy Germany, still derive most of their music sales from CDs, he noted. With income still lagging the heydays of the early noughties, when

48

issue 17

2013

file-sharing began eating into results, Werner said it was too early to tell if the music industry was out of the woods. Last year’s sales of 943 million kronor (113 million euros or $148 million) in Sweden was up 13.8 percent from the previous year, but well below the 1.55 billion registered in 2002. The Swedish turnaround has been driven by two events: In 2009, the “Ipred” law came into effect, giving copyright holders the right to require service providers to reveal details of users who share files, paving the way for legal action. Also contributing to a rise in legal music sales was Spotify, the digital media juggernaut launched by Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2008. The streaming music service still counts Sweden as one of its most successful markets. “We do see a similar trend (for sales) across the Nordics, but primarily for Sweden and Norway where the penetration for streaming services is very high,” spokeswoman Marine Elgrichi said. According to the company, the 120 euros a paying Spotify user spends on music per year is twice that of a user who downloads songs. Asked about the criticism levied at the digital music service for how it compensates artists, Elgrichi said it pays 70 percent of revenues back to record labels and collecting societies, who then pay the artists. Last spring, Spotify had paid out a total of $250 million. At the beginning of this year that amount had doubled to half a billion dollars.


App creates abstract art by charting your sleep movements

Private data revealed by Facebook ‘likes’

T

hose Facebook ‘likes’ can reveal a lot more than you think. Research released shows patterns from these Facebook preferences can provide surprisingly accurate estimates of the user’s race, age, IQ, sexuality and other personal information. The researchers developed an algorithm which uses Facebook likes – which are publicly available unless a user chooses stronger privacy settings – to create personality profiles, potentially revealing a user’s intimate details. T hese mathematical models proved 88 percent accurate for differentiating males from females and 95 percent accurate distinguishing African-Americans from whites. The algorithms were also able to extrapolate information such as sexual orientation, whether the user was a substance abuser, or even whether their parents had separated. This data can be used for advertising and marketing, but it also could make users cringe because of the amount of personal data revealed, the researchers said. “It’s very easy to click the ‘like’ button, it’s seductive,” said David Stillwell, a psychometrics researcher and co-author of the study with colleagues from Cambridge University and Microsoft Research. “But you don’t realize that years later all those likes are building up against you.” Stillwell said that while Facebook data was used in this study, similar profiles could be produced using other digital data including Web searches, emails and mobile phone activity. “You can come to the same conclusions with many forms of these digital data,” he told. The study examined 8,000 US Facebook users, who volunteered their likes, demographic profiles and psychometric testing results. While some of the patterns appeared obvious – Democrats like the White House while Republicans liked George W. Bush – others were less direct. Extroverts liked actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, while introverts gravitated toward the film The Dark Knight. Those determined to be ‘liberal and artistic’ liked singer Leonard Cohen and writer Oscar Wilde, while conservatives preferred Nascar racing and the film Monster-in-Law. The report comes amid intense debate about online privacy and whether users are aware how much data is being collected about them. Another recent study showed Facebook users began sharing more private data after the social network giant revamped its policies and interface.

E

ver wonder what your sleep would look like if it were replicated in art form? A new app claims to translate your every toss, turn, snore and sound into a work of digital

art. Developed by economy hotel chain Ibis, Sleep Art works with the iPhone’s ‘hyper-sensitive accelerometer’ and records users’ sounds, movements and vibrations during their slumber. After setting the Sleep Art alarm and placing the phone by their bed, users wake up to an abstract painting created with digital ‘brush strokes’ of their sleep which can then be shared with friends and family via email and Facebook. The app is being launched on the heels of a unique marketing campaign at the chain’s Paris, Berlin, London and Warsaw hotels in which a robot transcribed guests’ sleep movements and sounds in real-time on a canvas painting. The app also being promoted with the start of National Bed Month in the UK. Sleep Art app is available on iTunes and is free to download. Meanwhile, another popular sleep app which has topped the iTunes charts in Japan, France, Russia, Sweden and Norway is the Sleep Cyclealarm clock, which analyzes users’ sleep cycles and wakes them up during their lightest sleep phase. The aim is to rouse users from their slumber so they feel rested and relaxed. Sleep Cycle is available for $0.99.

2013

issue 17

49


BlackBerry confirms latest operating system will be coming to the PlayBook

T

he company formerly known as RIM but now calling itself BlackBerry has confirmed that it is developing an operating system update for its existing tablets so that they will run on BlackBerry 10 OS, like its recently launched and critically acclaimed Z10 and Q10 smartphones. However, the company’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, has also stated that it will not be producing ‘cheap’ handsets or tablets in an attempt to break into emerging markets but that the company will be rolling out a selection of mid-range smartphones in the near future. The company that once dominated the global smartphone market has struggled to win new users and retain many of its existing customers in the face of competition from the iPhone and premium Android devices. Many industry experts believe that BlackBerry’s latest phones and operating system represent the company’s last chance to regain a foothold in the

market. When asked his opinion, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently suggested that BlackBerry would have to focus on developing good hardware and adopt the Android operating system if it wished to survive. Other commentators have been kinder in respect to the company’s plight, noting that its latest handsets are excellent in terms of build quality, ease of use and intuitive features, but that there still remains a question mark over their supporting apps ecosystem. If the company cannot continue to attract the leading app developers to its platform then it isn’t going to be able to offer BlackBerry users the latest productivity and entertainment apps. However, the early signs, particularly in Canada and the UK, is that the BlackBerry Z10 handset in particular is performing well and even attracting existing iPhone and Android users. Source: AFP Relax News

50

issue 17

2013


around town

A comedy without errors

The Doha Players perform Shakespeare with a twist

By annalise frank

It

starts with voice exercises. “Like a leek,” three actors sing over and over, gaining speed. T hey repeat a simple song, using more phrases meant to stretch out the mouth muscles and prepare them for the performance ahead: “Dare to date,” “Pour a pint” and “Many men.”

Samantha McGill, Ousama Itani and Rowan Denny are gearing up for the final dress rehearsal of the Doha Players’ ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged,’ which was performed on February 28 and March 1 in the Qatar National Theatre. McGill, Itani and Denny were the only actors appearing in the American-made madcap comedy, which endeavors to present all of

Shakespeare’s 37 plays – plus his biography and sonnets – to the audience in just over an hour and a half. The idea to bring the play to Doha began with co-director Kim Sturgess. “I’d been talking to a couple of the more experienced and old members of the Doha Players, and when we’re next going to do some Shakespeare,” Sturgess says. “I made a sug-

2013

issue 17

51


gestion that maybe we should do some Shakespeare from a more relaxed and comedic aspect, and suggested ‘Shakespeare Abridged’.” Doha Players members were well aware of Sturgess co-director, Farris Bukhari, and his background in classical theatre – along with the fact that he’s a “huge fan of Shakespeare,” so it only made sense to bring the two together. Bukhari had seen the play several years previously and loved it. So, he admits, there was no way he could say no to directing it. “It doesn’t matter if you know anything about Shakespeare or you don’t, you still get this, and because it’s a comedy it’s a bit lighthearted, but it’s still a good introduction to Shakespeare,” he says. ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged’ is known for its adaptability. Each time it is performed by a new troop, they are expected to mold the script to the culture surrounding them. So, jokes rewritten by Sturgess and Bukhari, and improvisation from the actors make the play completely unique to Doha. “We basically went through it and updated some of the humor a little bit, to make it more suitable to where we are and fit in with, you know, certain jokes that the Doha audience will understand and laugh at,” says Sturgess. Under the tutelage of two Shakespeareobsessed directors, McGill, Itani and Denny worked nine hours per week for two months to get ‘Shakespeare Abridged’ just right. They were selected from a pool of about 30 audi-

52

issue 17

2013

tionees. Over 20 volunteers working backstage as costume designers, set decorators and light operators contributed countless hours of their free time to the production, as well. All the participants have full-time jobs, in addition to their theatre work. Sturgess is an assistant professor at Qatar University, teaching literature and Shakespeare, while Bukhari works in PR and communications. To approach the directing of ‘Shakespeare Abridged’, the co-directors used a twopronged philosophy. “It’s a very free and open approach in many ways, but quite an intensive, strict approach at the same time,” Bukhari says. “We give actors the space and freedom to make something their own, while at the same time pulling them when necessary and maybe adjusting things.” Performing Shakespeare’s tragedies alone required swordfights, jumping, running, dancing and singing. Getting those physical aspects right required detailed planning and repetition. At the same time, actors were allowed to improvise where it fit. “The actors play dramatized versions of themselves on stage, so it needs to feel right to them,” he adds. “With a play like this, what’s of paramount importance is their chemistry, and we’re very lucky we got the three best amateur actors [available to us].” The biggest challenge of the last dress rehearsal, the Wednesday before opening night, was adapting to the Qatar National Theatre.

T he cast had been practicing in smaller spaces for the entire two months, and finally got access to the theatre two nights before the curtains came up. Wednesday was their second and last night to practice the play’s many physical gags, including running out of the auditorium and around through a back door onto the stage. McGill, a musical theatre actor who has been a member of Doha Players for about two and a half years, isn’t quite used to the whole comedy thing. “I’m used to singing and dancing,” she says. “You know, give me a tune and I’m fine.” But it’s turned out to be an exceptional learning experience, she says backstage with a smile. The comedic atmosphere fostered goodwill among those involved. McGill is eager to discuss her favorite part of the play. She dubs it “the Othello rap”. “So, I get to, you know, wear some bling, and do a bit of, like, rapping at the camera,” she says, waving her arms as she’s seen rappers do in the YouTube videos she watched with her kids to prepare for the scene. About a half hour later, during the dress rehearsal, McGill does, indeed, wear a large gold chain and a hat on backwards. She struts around one side of the stage with a swagger not quite fit for the likes of Jay-Z and Eminem. That was the point, though, according to Bukhari – if the actors weren’t able to laugh at themselves, how would the audience be able to laugh at them?


around town

CNA-Q creates a true Global Village

Q

atar’s 7th Annual Global Village opened on March 12 to record crowds as over 2,000 people from CNA-Q and across Doha and Qatar visited the campus during the two-day event. Global Village has been growing in scope and attendance and this year showcased 22 booths representing the multitude of nationalities of students attending the campus. “This is a fantastic celebration of the cultures at CNA-Q and an indicator of how far we have come in a decade as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary,” said CNA-Q President Dr. Ken MacLeod at the opening ceremony. “With CNA-Q’s policy of multiculturalism, once a year we gather at Global Village and give an opportunity for each culture that is represented at CNA-Q to showcase, share, and celebrate their culture by providing a booth and entertainment.”

2013

issue 17

53


gizmos

get gadgety Charge your gadgets on the go If you use a smartphone on a regular basis, you know the daily chore of searching for a power outlet or cable to charge up your phone’s battery during the day. Otherwise you’re probably going to find yourself with a dead battery before you get home that evening. Jackery has just released its new line of power packs. The Mini and the Bar external batteries are small and portable and loaded with fast-charging power. Their size makes them convenient to throw into a bag for on-the-go charging. Because you supply your own USB cable, you can charge whatever device you have, even an iPhone 5 if you have a Lightning-to-USB cable. Jackery says the batteries are also compatible with Windows phones, tablets and gaming devices and MP3 players.

Prices start at QR 110, amazon.com

TechPet brings your iPhone to life, Tamagotchi-style Remember your first Tamagotchi? Bandai, the same company that gave us our favorite virtual pet, has released a toy that turns your iPhone into a dog. You can download the free TechPet app and take care of your animal on your iPhone or iPod Touch, but once you plug the device into your headphone jack, the pet comes to life. Your iPhone’s screen becomes the puppy’s face and the rest of the body responds to your actions. Like Tamagotchi, you nurture your pet by feeding, grooming and playing. Users won’t have to worry about death with TechPet, but the dog will let you know when it’s neglected, sick or sad through its barking, movements and facial expressions.

issue 17

The Galaxy S 4 follows the spectacularly successful Galaxy S III, which sold over 100 million devices in 2012. The screen is now five inches but the body of the device doesn’t feel much larger than the Galaxy S III. Moreover, Samsung made the device slimmer and stronger and with a look and feel of higher quality. A lot of focus has been put on the cameras inside the Galaxy S 4. Yes, cameras, plural. In addition to the 13-megapixel rear camera, the Galaxy S 4 also has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The Galaxy S 4 will be available in the Q2 of 2013. That’s soon.

Prices start at QR 2,200

QR 220, amazon.com

54

Samsung Galaxy S 4 is here!

2013


Profile for Oryx Group of Magazines

CAMPUS ISSUE 17  

Campus magazine march april issue

CAMPUS ISSUE 17  

Campus magazine march april issue

Profile for oryxmags
Advertisement