DOHA, QATAR: Filipino comedian and TV host, Vice Ganda, who staged two shows here last evening, told the audience he was scared to come to Doha after reports of anger among citizens here appeared in sections of the media.
Ganda, though said in a lighter vein, that he agreed to come only after the organisers assured him that nothing untoward would happen.
“I was really scared to come due to negative media reports,” the artiste said in Tagalog, the lingua franca of the Philippines.
There was confusion at the beginning of the show which started off around 4.30pm as word was out that non-Filipinos would not be let in even though many Filipinas, particularly, could be seen queuing up at the gate of the hall with their non-Filipino husbands and companions.
The organizers denied later that the show was not open to non-Filipinos. A highlight was the presence of heavily-built, muscular bodyguards near the stage.
Some five bodyguards, from private security services, could be seen near the stage mainly to prevent people from the audience approach Ganda and other artistes. The organizers looked a bit worried when three men dressed in the Qatari attire were seen near the venue, as media reports earlier suggested that there was anger in the largely conservative Qatari community over the arrival of Ganda here because of he being homo.
Writing on several local social networking sites a number of citizens had expressed anger and called on the authorities not to allow the comedian into the country.
Some commentators had threatened that they would attend the show to protest since his presence meant an insult to Qatari customs and traditions.
However, it later turned out that those dressed in the Qatari attire were not protestors and likely have been plainclothes policemen.
What was unusual at both the shows held at the same venue (a prominent five-star hotel) was that everyone entering the hall with a ticket was asked to write his or her name with mobile number on a log book.
Arguably, never in the past the organizers of any stage show here had bothered to maintain a record of those attending the performances.
The organizers, when asked about it, told this newspaper that the log book was only meant to keep a record so they could contact these people the next time a show was lined up.
The two shows Ganda and other artistes performed at, though, went on smoothly and those attending had a good time.
Source: The Peninsula Qatar Newspaper