Is the time now?

…for Qatar to host World Cup (WC) 2022.

3 days to decision day (2 Dec 2010) for who will host World Cup 2022. The closer the days the more intense the ‘bid war’ is. Started with publication of FIFA Technical Inspection report that highlighted Qatar’s high risks in hosting WC2022 due to summer heat and logistical issue (all stadium is within 60km radius, and 10 of 12 stadiums are only 20-30 km apart), then sparks from US for “you can air-condition a stadium but you can’t air-condition the whole country” that forced Bin Hammam, a Qatari-born AFC President, to counter the attack. There is also issue/allegation of collutions between Qatar and Spain-Portugal, although it is not probed.

—summary of FIFA inspection reports….

Venues: Twelve stadiums in seven cities and projections of 2.8 million tickets sold. Three stadiums exist and would need renovation, the other nine would be newly built. Cost of construction and alterations is $3 billion.

Logistics: The bid envisions a concentration of almost all key event facilities and venues in a relatively compact area within a radius of 60 kilometers. The fact that 10 of the 12 stadiums are located within a 25-30 kilometer radius could represent an operational and logistical challenge. Any delay in the completion of the transport projects could impact tournament operations. Moreover, it appears to be difficult to test a transport concept prior to the event under conditions comparable to the World Cup. … The fact that the competition is planned in June/July, the two hottest months of the year in this region, has to be considered as a potential health risk for players, officials and spectators, and requires precautions to be taken. … Qatar has hosted the 1995 U-20 World Cup as well as the 2006 Asian Games. In January 2011, the country will host the Asian Cup.

Government: If Qatar is awarded the hosting rights, FIFA’s legal risk appears to be low. All requirements for contractual documents have been met, but additional specific undertakings and securities are necessary given the special situation in, and the special hosting concept of, Qatar. The necessary government support has been secured.

Development: Modular sections from the stadiums are planned to be used to construct 22 stadiums around the world in developing countries. The opportunity for FIFA to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time is also highlighted.


In today and yesterday newspaper, an advertisement announcing the decision day and live event in Doha  is published:

– 2 December 2010. Souq Waqif and Aspire Park. The decision will be announced at around 6pm but the event is open from 2pm

If you are unable to attend, you can watch Al Jazeera Sports +3 starting at 5pm on Thursday 2 Dec 2010.

Is the time now?

“Bringing a World Cup to the Middle East might be novel but it is not unimaginable” (BBC)


Today 2 Years Ago

Ah, so fast that I don’t realize that now I have been here in Qatar for two years.
“I am surprised you’re still there, Wahyu” said my friend.

Good living, good work environment, nice boss, family is happy, a lot of good friends. What could you ask more?

When my friends congratulated me for this two year living in Qatar, I asked them not to pray for me to leave this thing.

“Despite all grains of sands in my shoes, I am still enjoying life, work, and exploration here”

Today two years ago, I was onboard Qatar Airways, flew to Doha for a new episode. Now, two years of life episode have been written. What happen next? Wallahua’lam. My task is to plan, to execute it, to make any possible efforts, and to pray for it. Hope that Allah gives me and my family the best. Amen.

Indonesia’s Angklung granted a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Copy-paste from The Jakarta Globe:

Jakarta. Angklung, the traditional West Java musical instrument made from bamboo, has been included in Unesco’s list of intangible cultural heritage. The instrument was among 46 items from 21 countries inscribed to the list at the Fifth Unesco Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nairobi, Kenya.

The angklung now joins the wayang (the Javanese shadow puppet theater), the kris (the Javanese ceremonial dagger) and batik among the Indonesian representatives in the list.

I Gusti Ngurah Putra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said the government welcomed the recognition granted by Unesco. “The reason the angklung was inscribed to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is because it has deep philosophical values for humanity, such as cooperation, respect and social harmony,” he said.

“Because to produce music with angklung requires good cooperation among the angklung players, as no melody can be played by a single player.”

Masanori Nagaoka, the culture program specialist at Unesco’s Jakarta office, said it was hoped the recognition would lead to greater awareness of angklung and its traditions. “Being recognized by Unesco on the list ensures better visibility for the intangible cultural heritage and raises awareness of its importance, while encouraging dialogue that respects cultural diversity,” he said.

Each angklung is made with two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. It plays only one specific note, which is produced by shaking the instrument rapidly from side to side. During the height of the Sunda Kingdom, when much of Indonesia was still Hindu, it was used to signal prayer times. Later on it was used by the Sundanese to boost morale, and was banned by the Dutch colonial masters. That effectively relegated it to a children’s toy.

In the 20th century, the angklung was adopted by several other countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. These were variations of the original, with the Thai angklung, for instance, using three bamboo tubes instead of two.

In addition to the four items Indonesia now boasts on the list of intangible cultural heritage, the country also has seven sites on Unesco’s list of world heritage sites.

Three of them — the Borobudur monument, the Prambanan temple complex and the Sangiran Early man site, all in Central Java — are on the list of world cultural heritage.

The other four — the Komodo, Lorentz and Ujung Kulon national parks, as well as the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra — are listed as world natural heritage.

“We’re now working on getting the Acehnese Saman Dance to be recognized as intangible cultural heritage,” Putra said. “We’re going to work hard to have as much of our culture as possible recognized by Unesco, the main point being to get the rest of the world involved in preserving our culture.”

He said the government also wanted recognition of Indonesian culture to prevent other countries from laying claim to it. The government earlier this year promoted the angklung by inscribing it on the back of the new Rp 1,000 coin, which was introduced in April.

Angklung (Source:

Charity Camping for Merapi

Demonstrating solidarity to those suffer from Merapi volcano eruption in Indonesia, we initiated a charity camping at Al Ghariya beach, north of Qatar. The camping is intended to get together with other fellow Indonesian as well as a means for collecting donations. So it’s camping for a cause.

On Thursday, 18 Nov 2010, Doha campers gathered at Landmark Mall parking lot around 10am while Al Khor campers went directly to the site. Our camp site was Al Ghariya beach. To reach here, we need to travel up to km 81 of Al Shamal Road (North Road). From this road it’s another 4km to the east to reach the beach. Al Shamal Road is still under construction. Up to km 40 something the road is already 3 to 4 lanes.

Winter is peak season for camping as we can see from no empty spaces left for setting up tents. Many have been pegged or fenced by those set up semi-permanent tents. Fortunately we found a good spot at about a km from the last tarmac road to the north. It’s really a good spot in that no crowd around, very close to the beach and large enough to accommodate tens of tents and twenty something of cars.

Among 24 cars, 7 cars left earlier for some reasons leaving the rest to spend the unforgettable night under the stars. We pitched the tents, set up common areas for bbq and ‘dining area’. As the sun approaching its bedroom we can’t help jumping into the sea.

The night was perfect. Nice weather, good music, a cup of coffee, jokes and gossips, live music, and good friends. To accompany this perfection: BBQ of lamb chop (the most favorite), chicken satay, prawns, sausage, and sweet corn complete with its cob. The latter seems becoming limited edition and ready to take over lamb chop as the most favorite bbq thing.

Back to the charity camping, we managed to collect some donations for later on forwarded to the needy at Merapi temporary refugee site.

Our heart goes with them. Pray for Indonesia.

Charity Camping at Al Ghariya Beach
Bon fire is children favorite


"Jagung Bakar" ready to take over lamb chop hegemony
Thank you guys for memorable camping!
One thousand, two thousands...and counting. For Merapi.
Lined up ready for back home to Doha & Al Khor (at Al Ghariya entrance road)

Eid Route: Museum-Dukhan-KBRI-Souq-Al Khor-Stadium-Al Ghariya

Time really flies if we’re having fun. Like this Eid Adha holiday. Nine calendar days of leave was gone quietly as we’re filled with abundant activities.

Museum. The Eid Route started with Museum of Islamic Arts when we visited A Journey into World of the Ottomans. A temporary exhibition featuring Istanbul as the Ottomans world: the city, the citizens, the portrait, the artist, the history and the present. They come in paintings, movie, and art display. It’s like rewinding our memory when we visited Istanbul 6 months back.

Ticket is 25QR for adult only, bought in Museum Gift Shop. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed. Two nice Ottoman bookmarks were handed out to us though!

A journey into the world of the Ottomans: a temporary exhibition by MIA

Dukhan. Soon after we finished with Museum, we drove to Dukhan for a short afternoon-to-evening chill out at Dukhan Beach.

Dukhan Beach behind QP Admin Office area

KBRI. The next morning was Eid Adha. We prayed at Tarik Bin Ziyad Independent Secondary School for Boys, near Indonesian Embassy. The event is organized by Embassy and Permiqa (Indonesian Moslem Community in Qatar). Hundreds of Indonesian flooded the praying site for Eid Prayer conducted at around 6 am in the morning. Donation boxes for Merapi Eruption disaster could be seen at the entrance. At the end of prayer, we managed to “silaturahim” each other while others stood in queue for free snacks.

Souq Waqif Festival. The same day in the evening we headed to Souq Waqif for Souq Waqif Festival: a festival of street performance, magician, and choir from Europe and Middle East.

Souq Waqif Festival 2010
The Oryx Man at Souq Waqif Festival 2010


Al Khor Community Eid Fun Day. This yearly event is funtastic. No wonder it was flooded by Qatargas and Rasgas employees and their family. All day long movies, circus, bouncy town, horse and camel riding, pool games, henna & face painting, balloon counter and temporary fun city rides were among activities and shows available for families. Not to mention free-flow lunch and drink.

Acrobatic Performance at AKC Eid Fun Day


A temporary set up fun city
....and bouncy town - children favorite


Brazil vs Argentina. After a quick rest at home we descended to town for watching much awaited match of South American Showdown: Brazil vs Argentina, in international friendly football match.

Charity Camping for Merapi. Finally we ended our long week holiday with camping at Al Ghariya beach. Camping dedicated to collect donation for those suffer due to Merapi eruption.

South American Showdown – Brazil vs Argentina

Watched Brazil vs Argentina on 17 Nov 2010 among 40,000 attendees. The game was not so entertaining; a typical of friendly match. But it was Messi magic (the decisive blow at the injury time for a game that just looked like heading towards a lacklustre draw) that stuns Brazil and the spectators. Argentina 1 Brazil 0.

This showdown may be used by Qatar to promote his country for bidding 2022 World Cup – a decision by FIFA in two weeks time. It seems many homeworks to be done though. Like security concerns after a spectator invaded the pitch. The security personnel caught the invader but not before he ran almost the full length of the pitch.

Brazil vs Argentina, 17 Nov 2010


At Khalifa Stadium during halftime break Brazil vs Argentina
Messi magic

Istanbul Day 7 – Miniaturk and Various Places

Day 7. 8 April 2010.

Last day in Istanbul, unfortunately. For two hours early morning after Fajr prayer, I walked through Istanbul, traced back previous route for another photo shots, and visited landmarks have not  been previously visited. After breakfast, we spent the day by visiting Miniaturk and then last minute shopping.

My plan in this early morning was to trace back some routes to obtain another photo shots. But opportunity seems not repeatable. That morning the sky was very cloudy, very contrast to one during my first day.

From Ebusuud Cad (Hotel Erboy), I walked to Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar then to Kucuk Ayasofia Camii. This camii (mosque) was formerlythe Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. This Byzantine building with a central dome plan was erected in the 6th century and was a model for the Hagia Sophia, the main church of the Byzantine Empire.

From this camii, I headed to Beyazit Camii and Istanbul University via Hippodrome and Divan Yolu Street.

Kucuk Aya Sofia Camii

 The Beyazidye Camii was commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II, and was the second large imperial mosque complex to be erected in Istanbul after the Conquest. Stones for construction were brought from the famous Church of the Life-giving Spring destroyed by the Turks.

The camii is located next to Istanbul University gate, and west of Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar).

Bezayit Camii near Istanbul University

Istanbul University was founded as an institution of higher education named the Darülfünûn (‘House of Multiple Sciences’) on 23 July 1846; but the Medrese (‘School of theological and environmental sciences’), which was founded immediately after Mehmed II conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, is regarded as the precursor to the Darülfünûn which evolved into Istanbul University

Istanbul University


From the front gate of the University, I walked along University westside perimeter streets that takes me to Sulaymaniye Camii. It was about 600m walk. Sulaymaniye Camii  is the second largest mosque in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul. The  Mosque was built on the order of Sultan Süleyman (Süleyman the Magnificent); and designed by  the architectural genius of Sinan Pasha (1489-1588). The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1558.

When I visited that morning, the mosque has been undergone major renovation to bring it back to its glory.

Sulaymaniye Camii - under renovation

From here, I decided to go back to hotel for breakfast and preparation to go to Miniaturk.

Miniatürk is a miniature park situated at the north-eastern shore of Golden Horn in Istanbul. Covers a total area of 60,000 m2 (650,000 sq ft), it is the world’s largest miniature park with its 15,000 m2 model area. The park contains 105 models done in 1/25th scale from Istanbul, Anatolia and Ottoman territories.

Miniaturk is best visited by taxi. It costs between 15-20 TL from Sultanahmet.

In addition to miniatures, Miniaturk has a large space area of playground and go-kart area.


 Finished with Miniaturk, I escorted my wife to Sirkeci Station for taking a suburban train to Olivium Outlet Center. Meanwhile I spent the rest of the day to – again – Spice Bazaar and Sirkeci Train Museum. This free museum (located at the left side of the station near international counters) features nostalgic displays of Sirkeci of being terminus of Orient Express. The Orient Express is the name of a long-distance passenger train. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Istanbul, the original endpoints of the timetabled service. In 1977, the Orient Express stopped serving Istanbul, and on 14 December 2009, the Orient Express ceased to operate and the route disappeared from European railway timetables, reportedly a “victim of high-speed trains and cut-rate airlines.

Train Museum at Sirkeci Station
Sirkeci Station

 To end the day, we tasted Turkish delights and mouthwatering grills and food of Istanbul.

Tasted Turkish Delights at its source!
Love Istanbul for its mouthwatering food! Will miss them surely does with Istanbul's hospitality. See you!