PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am

A is for Assalam Alaykum

The Arabic greeting which means 'Peace be upon you'. The men also kiss each other on the cheeks. There is no chance of greeting women like this.

B is for Bedouin

These are the nomadic desert-dwellers who were the original inhabitants of this country. They used to roam the desolate land on their camels. Now they whiz by in Lamborghinis, thanks to sitting on the world's second-largest reserves of natural gas.

C is for Corniche

The 13.5km promenade which curves along the horseshoe-shaped bay in Doha. Of course, C is also for China and their medals cakewalk.

D is for Drinking and Driving

Alcohol is found only in a few hotels and private clubs. But everyone drives like crazy. Traffic accidents are plenty, and during these games seven people have been killed, six from one family.

E is for Emir

The ruler of Qatar is Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. He took power in 1995, deposing his father who was visiting Geneva at the time, in a bloodless coup. It is a constitutional monarchy and rule is hereditary within the al-Thani family. But you go on holiday at your own risk.

F is for Fans

What fans? Most events have been played out in front of empty stands.

G is for Guangzhou

Our neighbours, and host city of the next Asian Games in 2010. Maybe, like Beijing 2008, they might allow Hong Kong to hold the equestrian events.

H is for Hidayat

The bad boy of badminton, Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat, who won the gold medal in the men's singles, defeating arch-rival Lin Dan of China. One of the few contests that was truly world-class at the games.

I is for India

The last-minute entry of the Indian rugby team may have cost Hong Kong a team medal in sevens. A format change saw Hong Kong drawn with South Korea and Thailand and needing to win their pool to advance. They didn't.

J is for Jackpot

Qatar is hoping to hit it by winning the 2016 Olympics. The government plans to build 50 new hotels and more roads and highways in the next 10 years. Money can get you anything - even the Olympics?

K is for Khalifa Stadium

The showpiece 50,000-seater venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, and also the athletic events. K is also for Kim Hyung-chil, the Korean equestrian rider who died in a fall.

L is for Liu Xiang

China's Olympic and world record-holder in the 110 metres hurdles, who provided much-needed star power. He cruised to victory.

M is for Moaning Malaysia

Who cried sour grapes after failing to enter the men's hockey medal rounds on goal difference. They accused Hong Kong of deliberately letting in too many goals against Pakistan.

N is for Naturalisation

In their bid for international recognition, Qatar have roped in a number of top foreign athletes and naturalised, or made them instant citizens. The true locals cannot really be bothered.

O is for Orry

An Arabian Oryx - antelope with long upright horns - which is the mascot. All medal winners have received a soft toy version of the national animal of Qatar. Diving diva Guo Jingjing was more interested in Orry than her gold medal.

P is for Pearls

Pearl diving was the original livelihood of the people of this land. But the Japanese put an end to that by mass-producing cultured pearls. Thankfully, someone dug a hole one day and oil and natural gas was discovered.

Q is for Qatari

These are the 200,000 natives who are looked after by the government from cradle to grave. They get everything from housing to full medical benefits. The rest of the 800,000-strong population - the expatriate labour force - is not as lucky. The only thing going for them is that they don't pay taxes.

R is for Ridiculous

The final score of Qatar's Shorouq al-Sowaidi in the women's golf competition - a staggering 192 over par. She was 221 shots behind the winner.

S is for Souk

The traditional markets - the best being the Souq Waqif - where you can buy everything from a falcon to exotic perfumes and spices.

T is for Triathlon

Making its debut at the games, the swim-bike-run event was a true contest of athletic endeavour unlike some of the other first-time sports like chess, for instance. Hong Kong ace Daniel Lee Chi-wo's nerve-tingling effort to win the silver medal in the men's race was proof.

U is for Unchain (My Heart)

The Joe Cocker song which Hong Kong bodybuilder Chan Yun-to twitched his muscles to on his way to gold in the men's 65kg category.

V is for Veil

The mysterious mask which covers Arab women's faces. You can see only their eyes. The rest is left to the imagination.

W is for Windsurfing

Hong Kong returns home with a gold medal and two silvers - the best-ever result for the sport at the Asian Games. There is life after San San.

X is for 10

That is in Roman numerals. But if we were to rate these games out of X, it will be a V or 5. It was all games and no play in Doha. Less said, the better.

Y is for Yip Pui-yin

The Hong Kong teenager who won a silver medal in the women's badminton singles. The Sha Tin schoolgirl is a true success story, being a homegrown product.

Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzz

What happens when you watch chess, which was making its debut in the Qatari capital.

A Qatari official watches China's women's 3m springboard diving gold medallists Li Ting and Guo Jingjing through the pool window.