If you think life in this land of sand is harsh and unforgiving, you're right!
World's richest country it may be with a per capita GDP of US$76k (compared to US$24k back in the old kampong), but it is desperately short on creature comforts and not exactly known for its vibrant night life. In fact the raunchiest thing one could get up to in Doha is to tune into Fashion TV.
Sigh...so why did we choose this land of sand to languish in when there is the south of France? For me, it is the excitement of building something new in a strange land. Death is maintenance, boredom is repetition , and sameness is suicidal. While life in Doha is suicidly boring, I get my kicks as midwife and proud parent to a spanking new baby bank. After all, how many new banks are being born (versus biting the dust) these days anywhere in the world amidst these new hard times? The business action, if not the night life, is here in the Middle East, at least for next couple of years.
"No man shall languish alone." Not sure which bard or bird uttered those pathetic words, probably me. I learnt through the avalanche of emails preceding our 40 Years On reunion that I was not the lone languishee in this land of sand. The fateful discovery of alternative life conversation went something like this:
"Josh (Joshua Choo), is that really you?"
"So what are you doing here?"
"Opening a new restaurant"
"At West Bay"
"Really! I stay at West Bay. Where exactly?"
"At Ezdan (an apartment complex in Doha) Tower 3"
"...(screaming) Gosh Josh, I stay at Ezdan Tower 3 !!!"
So it came to past that Josh and I reunite forty years on in a strange land at a time in our lives where most people prefer sipping tea or sashaying down the Champs Elysee.
No not us .
Still crazy after all these years.
If you are ever in our neck of the woods (or sand bank to be more exact), accomodation is guaranteed at my pad, so is access and availability to good wholesome Singapore food. There is one catch though, you will have to share my room with my balls (golf) and clubs (golf, what were you thinking!).
No doubt off the beaten tourist trap as tourist traps go but Doha is worth a visit 'cos you get to kill two old birds with one stone or sand pebble. So while the streets may be dusty (ok, ok very dusty with all the construction going on), they are paved with oil and gas. Opprtunities abound but are elusive like the shifting sands. Growth sectors include real estate and construction, financial services and tourism (yes, tourism).
Like the Great Gatsby and Mas Selamat, we languish on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. And so we beat on until one day ...
we fly higher, run faster, stretch farther.
Friends and fellow languishees wherever you are:
The Best Is Yet To Be
"No man shall languish alone"
.....posted on behalf of Andy Liew