Qatar, Afar

December 5, 2010 at 7:22 am 2 comments

As the Online Projects Manager for NCTM, I have the privilege of managing the Illuminations project. Illuminations was recently selected as a finalist for a World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award from the Qatar Foundation. Consequently, I have been invited to attend the WISE Summit in Doha, Qatar, from December 7-9, all expenses paid. While there, I will have the pleasuse of meeting Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned and interacting with education dignitaries from around the globe. I’m very excited to experience the “the unforced fusion of modernity and traditionalism” ( in Doha.

30 Finalists for the WISE Award 

To prepare for my trip, I did some research about Qatar. Through the power of the web, I located a joke that was described as “a very classic Qatari joke.”

The Emir of Qatar was visiting with the president of China.
The Emir asks, “What’s the population of China?”
The Chinese president responds, “One billion. What about Qatar?”
The Emir says, “The population of Qatar is only 250,000 people.”
The Chinese president asks, “And in which hotel are they staying?”

Interestingly, there are more than 1,000,000 residents in Qatar, but nearly ¾ are expatriates living and working in Doha. The ratio of men to women is 3:1, largely explained by the predominantly male expatriate workforce.

I’ve heard that the Qatari people have a sense of humor and a love of mathematics. Consequently, I’ve had a sign made:

طرائف الرياضيات 4 الاهالي ماثي
40 ريال

Translation: “Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks, 40 rials!”

(I sure hope Google translated that correctly!)

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chad Lower  |  December 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    As a thought, the title works in English because of the homophones for and four. I know in Spanish, the same joke wouldn’t work since four is cuatro and for is para — they don’t sound alike.

    Also since “mathy” is not a word, it probably can’t be translated and would be left as a “proper name.” Not sure if they would understand that either.

    Indeed, when I reverse translated the above, I got back:
    Math Jokes Four Residents (of) Mathe
    SR 40

  • 2. Lost in Translation « Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks  |  December 11, 2010 at 12:26 am

    […] Chad Lower indicated in his comment to the recent post Qatar, Afar, translation devices are also non‑commutative. In the post, I gave the Arabic translation for […]


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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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