Cartoon alien gives football fans crash course on Qatari culture ahead of World Cup

Cartoon alien gives football fans crash course on Qatari culture ahead of World Cup

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A cartoon series titled "Kawkabani" (also known as "The Planet Person" in Arabic) has launched to introduce Qatari culture ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November. It features an alien that crash-landed in Doha and has to learn Qatari culture from scratch. The five-episode series was created and produced by Nefaish Animation Studio. According to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Kawkabani was also supported by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the Doha Film Institute, and Vodafone Qatar.

Quoting Nefaish Animation Studio's co-founder and creative director, Amal Al Shammari, QNA said the events in "Kawkabani" occur in the outskirts of Qatar and aim to share local culture with a global audience, from Arabic pronunciation and how to drink coffee. Each episode is 11 minutes long.

Meanwhile, The Standard Hong Kong said the animation series came about because there was a lack of content representing Qatari culture, Shammari said. She added that Arabic words were often "garbled and customs were not always quite right". Only artists from the Middle East knowledgeable about Arabic culture were hired for this project, The Standard said, quoting Nefaish's co-founder and MD, Hossein Heydar.

The animated series also features three Qatari characters that represent the main strands of the 270,000-strong indigenous community in Qatar, The Standard said. The episodes are translated into English, Mandarin, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Hindi on YouTube.

Earlier this month, FIFA launched an online platform for event organisers who wish to stage public viewing events during the World Cup. According to FIFA, the online tool enables applicatns to submit information about the event to be staged and assess whether their event requires a licence or not.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported last week that FIFA warned Qatar World Cup hotels to welcome guests in a "non-discriminatory manner" or face termination of contracts. This followed a Scandinavian media survey which revealed that three of the 69 hotels on FIFA's official recommended accommodation for the World Cup will prohibit same-sex couples from entering. In the meantime, 20 other hotels reportedly said they would allow these couples to stay as long as they "did not publicly show that they were gay", while 33 hotels had no qualms about accommodating same-sexy couples.

FIFA said will ensure the hotels mentioned in the survey are aware of its strict requirements regarding welcoming guests in a non-discriminatory manner. It added that hotels and any other service provider associated with the World Cup that fail to comply with the standards "will have their contracts terminated". These requirements will also continue to be enforced in awareness raising sessions and then monitored and evaluated through audits and hotel inspections, Reuters said.

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