Baby’s moves are less Qatari, and more Kaapse Klopse

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

hour traf­fic – which is pretty much all day on the con­gested roads of Qatar’s cap­i­tal city.

Not only are the lo­cals hoot­ing, many pas­sen­gers are wav­ing the Qatari na­tional flag while sit­ting on the roofs of their cars. I’ve never seen so many ma­roon-and-white Toy­ota Landcruis­ers, with own­ers paint­ing their 4x4s in the colours of the na­tional flag for the day.

Yes, Qataris are a proud peo­ple, and na­tional fer­vour is never more ev­i­dent than on De­cem­ber 18, which marks the date in 1878 when Sheikh Jas­sim bin Mo­hammed Al Thani suc­ceeded his fa­ther as ruler and uni­fied the var­i­ous tribes in the state.

Qatar is in a fes­tive mood in the days lead­ing up to De­cem­ber 18, cul­mi­nat­ing in a sea of ac­tiv­ity on the big day. This year promised even more fire­works than usual – lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively – as many com­pa­nies de­cided to close on the Thurs­day af­ter the pub­lic hol­i­day. It meant a four-day break for many, with Fri­day and Satur­day con­sti­tut­ing the reg­u­lar weekend in Qatar.

The mar­quee event of the day hap­pens early in the morn­ing on Doha’s Cor­niche, and fea­tures the Na­tional Day Pa­rade, with Qatar’s emir usu­ally in at­ten­dance. Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad Al Thani re­cently suc­ceeded his fa­ther as ruler of Qatar and this year’s Na­tional Day fes­tiv­i­ties are his first in his new role, adding to the ex­cite­ment in the coun­try.

The Bawas, though, are hop­ing to par­take in the cel­e­bra­tions at the Katara Cul­tural Vil­lage – if we can sur­vive the traf­fic and hoot­ing, that is. Katara, lo­cated be­tween the down­town West Bay area and the up­mar­ket Pearl La­goon de­vel­op­ment, is home to the Doha Film In­sti­tute, art gal­leries and an im­pres­sive am­phithe­atre that has hosted en­ter­tain­ers like South Africa’s Johnny Clegg.

Fi­nally, we reach our desti­na­tion, and make our way to the am­phithe­atre, just in time to watch mem­bers of the Qatar Army per­form a mil­i­tary pa­rade.

Their march­ing and co­or­di­na­tion are im­pres­sive, with ba­tons swirling and trum­pets blar­ing, all with pre­ci­sion tim­ing.

The spec­ta­cle is made all the more im­pres­sive by the sight of parachutists be­long­ing to the Qatari Lekhwiya (In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity Force) pre­par­ing to land on the beach nearby af­ter com­plet­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise.

“Aqeel, Saabi­rah, this is pretty cool, hey?” I no­tice their fid­get­ing, and gather bore­dom is start­ing to kick in. Yaqeen, though, seems to just be get­ting started. Wrig­gling out of his mother’s arms, he starts jig­gling and jiv­ing, ev­ery so of­ten grab­bing the scarf of the woman seated in front of him for sup­port.

“Well, he was born here, af­ter all,” smiles Shi­haam. “Sure, but it’s not like he gets ci­ti­zen­ship,” I re­ply, a bit too de­fen­sively.

And it’s true, even though Yaqeen was born in Qatar, he is still re­garded as an ex­pat un­der the coun­try’s res­i­dency rules.

And then I re­alise why Yaqeen is hav­ing such a good time, danc­ing away. The band has been play­ing the score from Last of the Mo­hi­cans, the hit 1992 movie star­ring Daniel Day Lewis, which was com­posed by Dis­trict Six-born Trevor Jones.

Yep, no doubt about it, amid the her­itage, hol­i­day and hoot­ing, one thing is for sure – Yaqeen’s moves are less Qatari and more Kaapse Klopse. Fol­low Bawa on Twit­ter

@rid­waan­bawa

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