Two pints of Aftershave and a packet of crisps please.

The guy who drove his forklift straight through the portacabin wall and the guy who was found outside the compound semi-conscious and coughing blood had this in common - both were blind drunk, on cheap aftershave. Subsequent inspection of the workers' quarters showed that most had a large bottle of the same cheap aftershave tucked away somewhere. All were of course confiscated on the spot, as if that were addressing the problem.
How about, instead, providing an affordable 'clubhouse' bar where the guys could have a beer or two after work? How about raising wages to the level where an occasional visit to a cheaper hotel bar is a reasonable prospect? Oh wait, we've closed all but four and five star outlets haven't we, and we're working on closing even the fours. Better still, how about allowing the workers to bring their families to Qatar? Of course, Qatar is not good for women and children, because of the grossly skewed male/female balance. But isn't that a 'problem' that presents its own solution?
In short, how about respecting the people who are building your bright new city?
Now back to the aftershave. Those of us who can afford our preferred tipple might look down on anyone who would raise a bottle of aftershave to his lips. But we'd do well to remember that all strong drink is an acquired taste. A child presented with whisky and aftershave would find both equally repugnant but might even favour the latter, for its nicer smell. (This is a thought experiment only, of course!) Remember too, that these guys are not the old-style western down-and-outs whose addiction has so degraded them that methylated spirits or even brasso is their final port of refuge. They are workers, though they might as well be slaves. What they do, they do from desperation. It is wholly avoidable, and that's the shame of it.


  1. "a mamoriable night" - sounds like the Paranormal.

    But don't come back please. Spammers are not welcome here.

  2. The lessons of Prohibition have obviously not been learned (probably not even known about or considered) - the more you try to restrict the more ingenious the solutions. It is sad that there is one rule for some and another for others. A look at the goings behind the screens at the old Rydges or Oasis show the hipocracy of it all. Pity help those poor souls in the Industrial Area squalor camps and similar scattered elsewhere. PaulRB_Doha.

  3. Hi Paul - the worst thing is that it's all about saving money, however hard it is dressed up as Islamic principles. Thanks for dropping by - always welcome!

  4. Interesting post, yet so very sad. I didn't realise the likes of labourers would go to the extremes of drinking aftershave & hell, that is extreme! ('What'll it be tonight lads - Old Spice, Tommy Hilfiger or Aigner? Sorry, we're all outa Brut') Eeeeeek.
    I'm actually surprised they don't go in for making their own stuff, as all it takes is a 5 or 10litre container of grape juice & a coupla teaspoons of yeast - a much cheaper option altho' time consuming (allowing 3wks for rough fermentation) admittedly, but if they got themselves sorted, they could have a (mini) production line going. (I should know, having set up 'Magic Kingdom Estates' whilst living in Riyadh a few years back.......hehehe)

    The answer, as you say, would be to make the stuff available to them in the 1st place. The poor buggers have no escape. Ban any substance & it automatically becomes more appealing.

    Thank you for stopping by my spot :-) I hope to stop by here in future - lots of interesting stuff you've got going on :-)
    *note to self; click 'add to favourites'* If I don't do it now, I'll forget!

  5. Hi Jayne -

    An ex-pat professional in a compound has far more leeway than a labourer in a work camp. A labourer can legitimately own a bottle of aftershave. But he would have to conceal any home brew project very carefully as he'd be risking gaol and/or deportment if found out. It is sad, as you say, and an indictment of the extreme inequalities that are still the norm in these parts.

    Thanks for the visit too :)

  6. Very sad when one's only means of escaping a dismal existence for an hour or two is a bottle of aftershave. Unfortunately, it's not the type of alcohol meant to be ingested. Did the men survive? Did either suffer any lasting effects such as blindness?

  7. JamaGenie - unfortunately, that's as much as I know. Stories like this do not appear in the local papers. This came direct from an engineering contractor who works on the same project. From what I gather, one was just drunk on the stuff (the forklift driver) so would probably be OK. The other had passed out, with internal organ damage, so clearly in a worse condition. For sure, neither will still be in the country.


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