Occasionally, overnight, something changes in expatriate (expat) (well, white collar, mostly Western) life. For example, the big hotels used to hold parties on the beach with music and alcohol (alcohol is only allowed to be sold in hotels for all but a few exceptions and these are mostly three to five star). Reggae nights at the Ritz were a big hit as was having a few drinks around the pool at many places. Then one morning, alcohol near pools or on the beach was banned. A pronouncement had come down from on high (this is essentially a monarchy). And every expat I know went, “So, what did some Qatari do?” The fun police had reared their ugly heads.
They showed up a while back when a liquor store was allowed to open at the mostly expat Pearl development and then closed one day later.
(Rumors for these developments generally include a member of the Qatari royal family or a Qatari female.)
Movies can be heavily censored for swearing (the Wolf of Wall Street had 40 minutes censored), nudity to varying degrees, perceived homosexual references (even using the word ‘gay’ [it was omitted from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun), and affection between men and women. On the TV show MasterChef Australia, the word pork was censored (‘and today, we’ll be having a teriyaki braised _______ belly).
Some music acts and comedians are banned.
Sometimes it feels as if these things are direct hits at expats, but more likely they are meant to contain the Qataris. It used to be that Qatari men (no women) sometimes would hit the bars in Western clothes, but never in local dress. But now, more and more Qatari men in thobes are frequenting certain bars and openly drinking alcohol. Stories say that now both Qatari men and women often get on planes out of the country and shed their traditional dress and actually speak to each other.
The plight of the newly rich and newly exposed to the world. . .
Still, the fun police are no fun.