Do you have a problem with La Cigale, Doha?

I don't suffer from a persecution complex. Now read on...

Then let’s start an anti-Cigale club.

My first bad experience was about 3 years ago. On a weekday night, a few of us went to the lounge at La Cigale. Appropriately dressed, except that we couldn’t quite hide our nationality.

As Westerners and nationals from a particular Arab country (not all) were allowed in, we were not. Because we didn’t have a reservation to enter the almost empty lounge. A few other similar incidents involving Asians, proved case in point.

It’s not just that. I happen to go to this place on work quite often — I don’t choose to, but when contacts invite me over, I can’t quite turn it down. The reception at the restaurant/coffee shop is always colder than their frozen desserts. So much so, one contact apologised to me when she realised the staff were hesitant to serve me properly.

Get this. Two people of similar backgrounds visit the hotel to meet a senior manager. One is caucasian, the other is from the far east. Guess who was totally ignored?

A friend from the only Arab nation that is allowed patronage there made a booking. When she landed there with a couple of African and Asian friends, the slippery eels out there tried to hide them in one corner of the lounge.

Don’t believe me? Experiment… if you are white, take a non-white with you to La Cigale. Check out racism in action.

PS: I can easily use my journo card and ensure 24/7 access to the place. But who wants that! I am angry…

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9 thoughts on “Do you have a problem with La Cigale, Doha?

  1. shyam says:

    Happen(s)ed in Singapore and Malaysia too – country and airlines both. You get way more “bhav” if you’re with a Caucasian person. I can’t begin to tell you how furious that makes me.

  2. Anu says:

    It’s a pity that Gulf states have not come out of this racist attitude. At the time of the hi-tech boom the founder of one of the bigger companies happened to be desi – visited Dubai with his caucasian manager for a conference – guess who got garlanded and red-carpeted when they stepped off the plane?

  3. Teesu says:

    Crying baby gets the milk. Tell them off to their racist faces. It will shake them up. They are NOT going to do anything different otherwise. We are letting them win. Today’s world is attentive only to the one who makes a noise. No fair. So just tell them. A seething, firm, dangerously low tone about how unfair they are to the non-fair, will be appropriate.

    Even here, you get some of that attitude at some places — hotels, stores, etc. where foreigners frequent. I go, I watch, if it happens, I make noise. If they don’t know better what every person automatically ought to, I will tell them and not-very-politely. They get it.

  4. UmmON says:

    i even tweeted this, cos i know some from there will read it. but no response 😦 teesu, sometimes, when i am someone else’s guest there, it becomes difficult to create a scene. but i don’t lose an opportunity.

    • Jidhu Jose says:

      Actually we can’t do anything in the Gulf countries. They are selfish people. The same thing will happen to
      Mr.Yousafali (LUlU Group), if they don’t know the person really.

  5. Mariam says:

    Anu and Jidhu Jose: Do you really think that the whole world is free of racism and that it only exists in the Gulf? Racism still exists in the USA, Europe, India and everywhere else. In every single country racism against a certain ethnic background/religion/origin does exist, and the newspapers are filled with example so I’m going to spare you from providing an endless list of examples. Please do not start to generalize by saying that “It’s a pity that Gulf states have not come out of this racist attitude” or that people from the Gulf “are selfish people” because it really sounds nothing but childish.

    Besides, if both of you read the post carefully, the “racist attitude” was from the staff who work at La Cigale, NOT from “the people of the Gulf”.

    UmmON: Thank you for sharing your experience with La Cigale, as Teesu said, just make it clear for them that you deserve he service they provide just like anyone else and make sure they understand.

  6. UmmON says:

    i’ve gotta agree with Mariam. it’s not the gulf alone. what about india? how do we treat people of african or far-eastern origin? rather badly.
    i am making a point about how in a service industry, in a hotel, this is just absolutely unforgivable. not about the gulf alone.

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