Arab dollars for Bengali plumbers

As I travel for my documentary, I often see advertisements for jobs in Qatar, where the upcoming World Cup has fueled a construction boom. The other day, while snacking at a sweet shop, I happened to take a closer look at this leaflet.

Qatar Recruitment Poster

The numbers didn’t make any sense – in these parts one can make 300 rupees a day shoveling earth. I accosted a fellow customer, a Muslim gentleman in loose white trousers, long white shirt, white cap, and neatly trimmed beard: “Do you think they’ll find a plumber for 1100 rupees?”

Drawing himself to his 6+ feet height, in a tone of personal umbrage, he replied: “These are Arab dollars! Eighteen rupees to one!”

Well, then, I suppose it makes perfect sense to misspell “urgent” as “argent” (French for money, near-Latin for silver). I’m still looking for an equally erudite explanation for “recruement”.

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