Around two days ago, I landed in Qatar for the Fifa 2022 World Cup! This is a phenomenal tournament which, as a football fan, I have been looking forward to for a very long time. After travelling and visiting some of the city, I will use this opportunity to share my initial thoughts!
Qatar is truly a phenomenal country, having been able to transform desert into a vibrant oasis in the Middle East! While not as fast-paced as Hong Kong, or as developed as London, it is a unique city with great architecture and culture! What I was surprised by the most was just how international the city was. With massive murals dedicated to individual football starts to national flags decorating the walls, one can only be impressed at how the Qatar government set up the tournament to make it a hospitable area for the travelling fans!
The people in Qatar have been very welcoming and nice. With a lot of bad press stirred up by Western media and politics, it is very easy for people to become overwhelmed by the impression that you are travelling to a country of homophobes and bigots! This could not be further from the truth!
Talking to the locals, you immediately see how much the tourism means to them and how they are welcoming to everyone who visits. While this is not to say that everyone here are all saints, if it wasn’t for people’s preconceived notion of bigotry, I believe an open mind and heart will help everyone recognise how genuine and nice most people are in Qatar during this period.
As someone who loves travelling, I am deeply impressed by the culture in Qatar. Unlike many cities which attempt to modernise and keep up with the trends, Qatar is able to develop their town whilst being able to maintain a taste of their local heritage and cultural traditions.
One only needs to travel twenty minutes by car to Katara village to see local boats, traditional buildings, local customs, and more!
While it is easy to be blinded by the biased and politicised Western press, it is important that we use critical thinking and have a personality when it comes to visiting such countries. Having been there myself, I have found the city welcoming and the people and culture open and impressive! While this is not to deny the many problems which may be found in the city, it is important that we use an objective lens to observe the situation and not be caught up in mindless ideologies which would hinder our appreciation for such a wonderful culture!
To follow my journey in Qatar, feel free to check out my YouTube channel: Joshua Yen. Here I post YouTube Shorts of the highlights of what I see! I hope you enjoy!