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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Singles, boring and bad reputation for being Asian

Alone and far from their countries tens of thousands of workers Asians suffer the hardships of being single in Qatar, where they are not welcome in the temples of entertainment, shopping centers, so now built a special one for them. Two thirds of the nearly two million residents of the emirate aresingles , mostly immigrants from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, which, even if spouse in their home, are legally considered celibate if they spend more six months Catar alone. After a hard week of work, these men, many of them construction workers, have nowhere to spend their only day off, on Friday , since in most places of entertainment that day is dedicated to families and, although the single entry is not prohibited, their presence is unwelcomeThis happens in the malls, where air conditioning is an added incentive to protect summer temperatures up to 50 degrees: a luxury available to Qataris and expatriates and other Western countries, but not of Asian workers. Do not have it easy in winter, when the weather allows to walk the five kilometers of waterfront of Doha, the Corniche, because here are also welcome single men, often spending the day in a group. So when Friday comes, Asian immigrants, who represent 74% of the population, forced to remain confined in the residential complexes where they live in the industrial area of the city. The only alternative for entertainment is spending the day in the streets around the souk , where they gather to talk, smoke and share their moments of leisure with friends. This is the case of Raj, a worker who works in construction paradoxically a mall, for whom Friday "very boring" if you can not join his teammates. "If I stay in my room I feel very sad , but we have no where to go, "he laments. To meet the needs of these workers are building an entertainment center in the industrial area of Doha, especially for single men , with sports, recreation, entertainment and shopping. The complex will house a cricket stadium, plus four movie theaters, restaurants and an outdoor theater, the venue of concerts, cultural events, meetings and other activities. "I can not wait to open the new shopping center, but I hope it's cheap , "says Raj, who charges about 320 euros per month. In the past four decades, the population of Qatar has been multiplied by 15 for the huge influx of foreign workers, needed to carry out the ambitious real estate projects in the emirate overlooking the world cup 2022. To obtain a residence permit in this country is imperative to have a sponsor, ie a company or individual to answer for the immigrant. This system ensures that foreigners living in Qatar (almost 90% of the population) are working and that the unemployment rate is only 0.6%. However, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that labor laws to protect these employees "rarely applied". In its report of 2013, claims that the kafala (sponsorship) links legal residency for immigrants to their employer or sponsor, so they can not change jobs or leave the country without the consent of the contractor. Joy is a Filipino taxi driver who takes a few weeks in Doha and arrived the next day and drove a taxi, without knowing the city and without the help of a GPS or map. "Driving in this city is very dangerous, I never thought I would. Afraid I have not find the way back home," admits Joy, who complains of housing provided to you by the company, because "it is in the area industrial ". "Many of my colleagues have been hospitalized with respiratory problems from pollution, "he laments. In the case of immigrant women , whose number is much lower, most are employed in domestic service, but are excluded from labor law and devoid of a limitation of working hours or a guarantee of a weekly rest day.

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