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Vol.4 Issue 63IINovember - December, 2013 Muharram - Shafar


The story of Oman’s school education system p12 Benefits of a good night’s sleep p52

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Oman's got talent

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Finally…an indoor-theme park We are going to finally have an amusement park worth its name (issue 62). I know it is going to be a long wait as we have to wait until 2016 for the Majarat Oman to take shape in Al Sawadi. Yes, it is a long wait, but it is worth it. We know for certain that it is going to happen and it is going to be such a thrilling happening when we get to take all of our family members and enjoy the first-ever mega indoor theme park in Oman. Hamad Al Mahri, Seeb

Readers column

Why only space theme? I was delighted to read about the news of Majarat Oman and my family (three kids) and I are eagerly waiting for the first-ever mega indoor theme park to take centrestage in Al Sawadi. But, I have a question to the owners: from what I have November - December 6 B&W 2 0 1 3

read, it looks to be a fully space-oriented theme park. Why have they decided upon such a theme and will there be scope for other related or even totally unrelated themes? Mashal Al Harthy, Muscat

Fingers crossed I would like to congratulate the people behind Oman’s first indoor theme park, Majarat Oman. It is indeed a venture close to my heart too because Oman needs such a project and those behind this project had the guts to take it on their

shoulders, but, then, I also hope that it will happen for sure. I am keeping my fingers crossed! Aruna Chandrashekhar, Al Khuwair

Glowing light Dr Villy Doctor is indeed a ‘beacon of light’ in the dark world of poverty and illiteracy in Mumbai, India. I personally know of Dr Villy’s multifarious efforts to bring education to the illiterate in certain parts of Mumbai and she is considered to be a real angel in many circles there. It was good of B&W to publish an interview (issue 62) with her. I am sure that your magazine will also be blessed as she is indeed a lady of purity, with a heart throbbing with charity and goodness! God bless her and God bless B&W! Bhavesh Mukul, Qurum

A bearded topic These days anything and everything can be made into a topic. The feature, albeit small, on beard (So be(ard) it!) was not a topic of great significance yet it may catch some people’s eyes. My point is that topics of significance should be discussed as otherwise it may take unnecessary space, which could be, ideally, given to issues of more importance. Now, does it matter whether someone grows a beard or

Wadi Sahtan so good It was good to read about people like Nasser bin Humaid Nasser Al Dahli (issue 62) who is so much in love with his little village in Oman. Indeed, Wadi Sahtan is a nature’s delight. Who would not love to go back to it, not just every holiday, but everyday? Sumanth Raveendran, Ruwi

not? Does it matter whether it is small or big and does it portray any manly element when it sprouts on the chin of a man? See, even if I have called it an insignificant matter, I am forced to discuss it… Anu Singh, Muscat


28 Oman's got talent

The 10th Omani Song Festival, organised by the ministry of heritage and culture, was held at the Oman Auditorium of Al Bustan Palace hotel, recently. The four nights of song and music in a background of dazzling lights and colours were the right platform for showcasing young Omani talent.


Bitter Batter

They don’t read newspapers The way some motorists act on the road even after proper information has been passed on to them regarding the new traffic dictates makes one feel that they don’t even read newspapers or watch TV.


story of Oman’s 12 The school education system Education plays a key role in shaping society, transmitting culture and values, and developing skills and capacities that influence the lives of its citizens. In view of teachers’ criticisms, and given the significance of education for society, this is an opportune time to take a close look at the present state of the school education system in Oman.

Published by: Muscat Press & Publishing House SAOC Black & White Postal address: P O Box 86, PC 115, Madinat Sultan Qaboos Office location: Hatat House A, II Floor, Suite No: 212, Wadi Adai Ph: 24565697 Fax: 24565496 Website: Editorial: Printed at Oman Printers November - December

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Benefits of a good night’s sleep

Skip sleep and you will be hopping around in stress. Studies have revealed that college students had more breakouts when they were stressed out during exams. But, even adults can be troubled by lack of sleep

Editor-in-chief Managing editor Work editor Editorial Design & production Photography Advt. & marketing

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Priya Arunkumar Adarsh Madhavan Khadija Al Zadjali Beneek Siraj Haitham Al Balushi Priyanka Sampat

All about X, Y & Z

When the going gets tough…the ‘tough’ turns tail By Adarsh Madhavan When things go horribly wrong, even the ones who are closest to you may dump you. I remember these words from the mouth of a famous scribe who got into some editorial mess in a foreign country he was working. He was a popular editor of a well-known daily in that country. But, he did not realise that he was miles away from home and no one really to protect him when he gets into trouble. Until then he was the toast of the elite there; front row seats at all major dos and had a name that made the biggest of the lot stand up when mentioned. Then, he wrote something which annoyed a neighbouring country of the land he was in and all hell broke loose. Even the owners of the paper he worked for, where he was ostensibly the blue-eyed boy, suddenly felt he was too hot for their comfort. He told me how his associates, his key contacts in the higher echelons of the private and government bodies all suddenly treated him as though he was suffering from an incurable, contagious disease. They wouldn’t even pick his call and suddenly he realised what it was like to be alone, totally, alone, like the kind of people he had written about earlier and in some ways, glorified. Even his so called close friend was wary on the phone wondering out aloud whether his phone was tapped. What are you talking about, my editor friend asked his now-no-longer buddy. I haven’t done anything wrong and I am not being held as a criminal. The authorities have just frowned down upon on something that I wrote. I stand by my convictions and I have the proof and the ability to show that what I had written was not wrong, the editor said angrily as though he was in a court defending himself. In fact, he was right and although it took some months, he did manage to clear his name and he went back into the swing of things too as a hot shot editor of an ‘in’ newspaper. But he learnt some valuable lessons from his experience.

Although he had worked in some of the finest newspapers in some of the most dangerous locations, this was one incident which actually shook him. It dented his faith in the goodness of people. Their loyalty, their love, their adulation and their worship were flimsy covers of the real thing, which were fear and the inner cowardice to hold on to any real belief. With this dark and heavy cloud ready to burst in his mind, he quickly resigned from his job and although he did come back, he did not work for the same newspaper. Somehow, he never forgave them for doubting him; even that slightest bit, and he had visibly seen the difference in their attitude to him once he got into trouble. It also changed his own outlook to his work, to such an extent, he thought twice before sticking his neck too far in any issue. I, do not have much to say about this, but in my own humble way, have been there, experienced that! I also made a major blunder in believing in people. Believing in the newspaper that I worked for, worshipping the editorial higher ups, all of whom turned tail when they whiffed a hint of trouble. But, then, I still had some people who believed in me…who were with me and went along with me till the end where I could prove that I was right. All of those who accused me and those that sided with them and those who secretly believed in the accusations received a hard slap on their faces. But, I was never hurt by all that. I was mortified by the way some of my very close associates and those whom I considered friends suddenly began to ignore me and acted as though I did not exist and even bitched behind my back. I learnt a valuable lesson then: no, not just to veer away from trouble or stop sticking my neck deep. More importantly, not to ever have expectations in working relationships. A small scandal, or an issue where your name is suddenly dragged in the mud would find the sea of acquaintances and so-called loyal friends parting from you faster than Moses could. November - December 9 B&W 2 0 1 3

Men need to alert themselves to Men, it is time to dispel the myth that you are foot draggers. Time to drag your foot to the doctor’s office and get yourself screened…for cancer. And the onus is on you dear wives, mothers, sisters, friends…if your husband, son, brother and friend is trying to weasel themselves out of a doctor’s appointment or check up, then, drag him there. According to doctors, it is imperative that men go for these routine tests as they have been proven to be successful in detecting cancer and other diseases in their earlier stages. Also, if detected early, there are plenty of treatment options, which means that there are better chances for even a cure. So, let us all work in a post-haste manner to shake men out of their lethargy.

Men read

BREAST CANCER By this time, it is an open secret that men can get breast cancer. Although cited as uncommon as men don’t have breasts like women, they still have breast tissue, which can develop breast cancer. But, breast cancer is not detected early enough in men because unlike women, men do not have a history about this illness to which they can refer to. And, doctors note that since men have small amount of breast tissue, it is not easy to feel it. Tumours often spread to the surrounding tissues as they go undetected until too late. LYMPH NODES From the breast, let us move to the lymph nodes: the cause for concern here is when you notice a lump or November - December 10 B&W 2 0 1 3

swelling in the lymph nodes under your armpit or on your neck. If this swelling (lymph node) is seen to slowly increase over a month’s period or more then, it is time to see a doctor who will look into it to find out whether it is just because of an infection or not. If it is not, then the doctor will order for a biopsy. FEVER Fever is as common as a cold. But, if it happens to be of an unexplained version, in the sense, it is not due to pneumonia or other related illness or infection, then time to check again. Cancers are known to cause fevers.

This happens when the cancer has spread from the original source to other parts. But, instead of getting worked up or tense, it is advisable to immediately check with their doctor to find out the cause. PAIN Pain is sign of life, they say. And most pain complaints are not emanating from cancer. But, however vague the pain, it is important to check as doctors explain that pain is also a symptom of some cancers. Immediate checks should be done if you find that there is persistent pain.


Other key causes of concern include sudden weight losses (especially when it is without trying), abdominal pain followed by depression, unexplained fatigue, persistent cough, difficulties in swallowing. But, having said that, care should be taken to see that these complaints should not provoke knee-jerk

reactions wherein the patient would believe these are automatic responses owing to cancer. That is so far away from the truth. But, a little sense of alacrity needs to be injected into men when they present themselves with these complaints. They may tend to ignore them, which could prove to be with disastrous

consequences. (This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions.)

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From access to success

Oman watch

The story of Oman’s school education system

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It has been widely reported that many teachers have recently been asking for the ministry of education to take some positive action on a range of issues. We all know that education plays a key role in shaping society, transmitting culture and values, and developing skills and capacities that influence the lives of its citizens. In view of teachers’ criticisms, and given the significance of education for society, this is an opportune time to take a close look at the present state of the school education system in Oman. While not mutually exclusive, three distinct stages in the development of the school education system in Oman can be determined. The first stage, between 1970 and the mid-1990s, aimed to expand educational provision to all parts of the country and to all sections of society. The second stage, from the mid-1990s onwards, shifted attention towards introducing reforms to improve the quality of the school education system. The third stage, which is now underway, involves a review of the education system to determine the future direction of educational policy.

Stage 1: Education for all When His Majesty the Sultan ascended to the throne in 1970 there were only three schools in the whole of Oman, teaching a mere 900 students, all boys and all at the primary level. Figures from Unesco indicate that in that year, nearly 66 percent of Oman’s adults were illiterate. One of His Majesty’s government’s first commitments was to develop a public education system that would reach all parts of the country and would include all sections of society. The first task for the newly created MoE was to conduct a campaign to raise people’s awareness of the importance of universal formal education. Attendance was encouraged by providing free education for all who wanted it and free textbooks for all classes. Where distance required it, free transport was provided from home to school and boarding facilities were provided for students who lived in rural areas. Both the government and the private sector provided school uniforms and free meals to children from low-income families. Once the demand for education had been raised, the ministry had to meet the major challenge of providing the required infrastructure and staffing levels. The government committed itself to a prodigious investment for building schools. By 1971 the number of schools had increased to 42 and the student population to over 15,000. In a period of only 20 years, the education system in the country was catering for more than 300,000 students in 780 schools and with a teaching force of over 15,000; by 2012 this had risen to over 514,000 students in 1,040 government schools. Despite the very late start, education participation levels in Oman are now equal to or above other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In 1970, the three schools that existed in the Sultanate did not offer any places for girls, and 88.3 percent of women in the country were illiterate. By the end of 1970,

1,136 girls were receiving education, all at the elementary level. By the end of 1974, girls were enrolled at all three levels – elementary, preparatory and secondary. The percentage of female school students increased from 12.7 percent in 1971-72 to over 49 percent in 2008/2009, when the number of girls attending school totalled over 265,000. The achievement of almost universal education for girls has been one of the Sultanate’s great success stories in the last few decades. In 1970 there were only 30 teachers in the country, all of whom were men. To help increase access to education, an extensive overseas teacher recruitment drive was carried out. Teachers were recruited from Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia and, for teachers of English language, from Britain, Ireland, Sudan and countries in the Indian sub-continent. Throughout the 1970s, over 90 percent of teachers were expatriates. In November - December 13 B&W 2 0 1 3

1975, two teacher training institutes were established in Oman, one for males and one for females, and this allowed many more Omani teachers to be recruited. By 1980 the number of teachers had grown to 5,150, and by 2011 it had grown by a further ten-fold to 51, 811, of whom 89 percent were Omani and 65 percent were women. The main priority for the MoE in the years immediately following 1970 was to increase access to its services as quickly as possible. Its success in doing so was recognised in a report from the World Bank in 2001, which described the development of Oman’s education

system since 1970 as “massive”, “unprecedented”, and “unparalleled by any other country”. By the mid-1990’s, however, new priorities were emerging. International organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations were telling developing nations such as Oman that they now needed graduates who could work in the emerging “knowledge economy”, in which knowledge resources such as know-how and expertise were more critical than other economic resources such as physical capital and natural resources. This meant that a new approach to education was required.

Stage 2: Reforming education The MoE responded to this challenge by embarking on a number of major reform initiatives aimed at achieving comprehensive improvements across the school system. The most ambitious of these was the Basic Education programme. Basic Education, which runs from grades 1 to 10, was first introduced in 1998 in 17 schools and by 2010, the number of schools involved had grown to over 800, which

Oman watch

Stage 3: Comprehensive review Globalisation of the world economy has brought pressures on all countries to increase the relevance of their education systems. Participation in international studies such as TIMSS and in the Progress in Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) has indicated that there are still persistent issues concerning the quality of student achievement in our schools. The World Bank was invited by Oman to collaborate with the MoE to undertake a study of the school education sector. The report, which analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the present system and provided recommendations for future improvement, was published in 2012. In addition, based on the directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the MoE is conducting a comprehensive review in coordination with the Education Council. The ministry is presently collaborating with a New Zealand consortium to undertake this review of the school education sector and it is expected that the report will be issued before the end of 2013. The ministry has also finalised a first draft of a new School Education Law which, among other things, will focus on teachers’ career paths, incentives and accountability issues and the decentralisation of responsibilities to governorates and schools. November - December 14 B&W 2 0 1 3

amounts to nearly 86 percent of all grade 1 to 10 schools. The guiding principle behind the new Basic Education curriculum was to include relevant knowledge and skillsbased content that would prepare young Omanis for life and work under the new conditions created by the global economy. A new Post-Basic Education system was introduced at the beginning of the 2007/2008 school year.

CURRICULUM At a time when there is justifiable concern that curriculum and textbook materials in some countries do little to encourage peace and social cohesion, the MoE has established a committee structure to oversee curriculum design. The brief of the committee members is to ensure that the school curriculum framework should reflect the goals of peace, respect, diversity, democracy and multiculturalism. New curriculum initiatives are always piloted and teachers, senior teachers and supervisors are involved in all the various stages of implementation and are asked to provide feedback. TEACHERS’ QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS In the years immediately following 1970, when the main priority was to increase access, nearly 50 percent of the teachers employed in Oman’s

schools held qualifications lower than the equivalent of a General Certificate of Secondary Education and only eight percent possessed a university degree. The establishment of the two teacher training institutes enabled the minimum qualification requirements for teaching to be raised, first to a one-year certificate and then to a two-year diploma following graduation from grade 12. By 2008, over 83 percent of teachers in Oman held a bachelor of education degree or higher. THE MINISTRY’S VISION From the very beginning of his reign, His Majesty the Sultan made it clear that one of his major priorities was to oversee the development of an education system that would reach all parts of the country and would encourage access to education from all sections of society. By

the mid-1990s the MoE had, to all intents, achieved education for all, and so it began to shift its attention towards bringing about qualitative improvements across the education system. Aware of the need to prepare students for admission into an ever more scientifically and technologically complex world, the ministry engaged in a number of major reform initiatives. Impressive educational progress has been made over the last 40 years and the Sultanate has received international praise for both its efforts and its achievements. It is recognised that education is an essential requirement not only for individual advancement but also for the future prosperity of the country. It is for these reasons that the MoE remains committed to continue with its mission to improve teaching and learning standards in all of Oman’s schools. November - December 15 B&W 2 0 1 3

TEACHERS MATTER What has the ministry of education done to support the teaching profession? This article below will explain:

Oman watch

TEACHER RECRUITMENT As the expansion rate of student of school age slowed, and the number of graduate teachers increased, the supply of newly qualified teachers has exceeded the requirement, although there remain shortages in some subjects and in certain geographical areas. In response to the oversupply, the six teacher colleges have been converted into colleges of applied science, intake into universities’ education courses has been restricted, and recruitment of newly qualified teachers is no longer automatic. With the slowing of recruitment, significant numbers of newly qualified teachers are unable to find teaching positions. In 2009, in an effort to address the excess supply, the ministry of education created 3,000 new support positions in schools (equivalent to 7 percent of the teaching force), thus increasing the number of new teachers required that year from 2,000 to 5,000. The number of teachers has been increased from 37,500 in 2005 to 53,000 in 2012. In the past five years, the MoE has successfully recruited 15,000 Omani teachers. Vacancies for teaching posts are announced twice a year to accommodate those teachers who graduate in January and those who graduate later in May/June. TEACHER PLACEMENT On appointment, teachers are sent to specified schools. While individual teachers do not normally have a choice of school, regional education officials usually consider the teacher’s home location when deciding on a position. Should there be additional vacancies, the MoE recruits new teachers according to a certain criteria. The ministry tries to ensure that those teachers who are married with children are assigned to the less remote areas, but this is not always possible. The MoE’s first priority has to be the provision of education to all Omani children under its care, and it does its utmost to ensure that students in more remote areas are afforded the same educational opportunities as students elsewhere in the country. Other countries have faced similar problems placing teachers in specific localities and have attempted to address the issue through a variety of incentives and the ministry of education, together with various stakeholders, is actively exploring various strategies and incentives to address this issue. Teachers can apply to transfer after they have completed the first semester during their first year of service. This is done according to criteria based on a transparent points system. Teachers are requested to list their preferred November - December 16 B&W 2 0 1 3

work locations/governorates from one to ten. Teachers who are married with children, widows with children, teachers who have health problems or have immediate family members suffering from health problems are prioritised. Factors affecting transfer include the initial date of request, years of service, performance reports and test scores in the case of newly qualified teachers. In 2013, out of 5,175 teachers who applied for transfer, 2,198 (42 percent) were successful. Of those who were successful, 1,507 teachers were transferred according to their first choice. In 2013 the MoE agreed to transfer most of those teachers who had served four years or more in a remote area and had completed their on-line transfer application. IN-SERVICE TRAINING Oman’s achievement in building teacher numbers and qualifications is impressive. The MoE is aware, however, that it must continue to develop current practices to improve teaching quality. All new teachers have to undertake an induction programme and this involves two-week taught courses delivered in three blocks in September, October and February. The induction programme focuses on teaching practices and policies, as well as the curriculum. There

is increasing recognition that teacher education can no longer be seen as a single initial period of training but is an ongoing process throughout the teacher’s career. Since 2012, the MoE has extensively expanded its professional development programmes, as its budget for professional development was tripled to over OMR7 million as a result of the directives of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos. The MoE provides courses at central, regional and school levels. In addition, a full academic programme is held at Sultan Qaboos University. To-date, 1,200 teachers have attended and the fourth programme will be delivered to approximately 1,000 teachers in January 2014. Selection to these courses is based on teachers’ professional needs. Teachers are also provided with opportunities to attend professional conferences both in Oman and overseas. In addition, the International Visitor Programme sends school principals and supervisors abroad to observe ‘best practice’ and to share what they have learnt with their colleagues upon their return,. There are also opportunities for teachers and other ministry personnel to upgrade their qualifications from BA to MA to PhD, with teachers being allocated a 70 percent share of such places.

each per week, the equivalent of 70 percent of student contact hours. In practice, teachers rarely ever teach 28 periods per week. Teacher workload (in terms of teaching time) is very low by international standards. A teacher teaching 28 periods per week for a 180-day academic year would have a workload of 672 hours of teaching time per year. In practice, there are 2.2 teachers per class, which suggests an average workload of 18 periods per week or 436 hours per year. These figures are substantially lower than the World Education Indicators countries’ averages of over 800 hours per year. Based on these figures, the demand from Omani teachers to further reduce their teaching workload seems very hard to justify. The ministry has recently invested OMR10 million in refurbishing all school staff rooms. Every teacher now has their own customised workspace and tea and coffee making facilities have been provided. THE MOE’S COMMITMENT The MoE is strongly committed to a policy of openness, engagement and transparency. In pursuit of this policy, the ministry has taken various measures to address concerns raised by teachers in recent times. Teacher workload has been substantially reduced in an attempt to increase teacher effectiveness.

At present the MoE provides some funds to schools to organise their own professional development training. Each school receives OMR300 per year; in addition, 610 schools have received an extra OMR200 to develop and implement a school professional development plan. STANDARD SETTING In addition to working on standards of learning achievement, the MoE expects to have completed the development of professional standards for school principals, teachers and supervisors by the end of 2013. With the introduction of professional standards, teachers and leaders will be expected to play a key role in identifying their own needs and directing their own improvement. These standards are likely to be an important development in helping to clarify roles, evaluate staff performance and in determining appropriate staff development programmes. TEACHER WORKLOAD AND CONDITIONS Oman has low student-teacher ratios at all levels of its education system. As teacher recruitment has outpaced enrolment growth, the student-teacher ratio in Oman’s public schools has been declining in recent years. Since 2011 the overall student-teacher ratio has been reduced to 10 to 1, which is very low by international standards. In 2008, educational leaders established goals to reduce the student-teacher ratio in the Arab World to 1:20 by 2017; Oman has already far exceeded that target. Teachers are expected to teach 28 periods of 40 minutes November - December 17 B&W 2 0 1 3


Grateful than dead

wall he t ff

Off the wall

By Adarsh Madhavan Stop it, my friend said suddenly breaking into my harangue. Stop whining, he said. D-uh, I went, suddenly speechless. I was in full flow. I don’t usually speak much, but, then, I do get quite loquacious when I am in the complaint mode. I somehow love to be grumpy, morose, tetchy and irritable. And even though I hate to admit it, I am most certainly a lover of complaints. Yet, I only hinge on the surface level and don’t descend into the hell deep in my being. “Just stop your whining,” my friend repeated and I grabbed my breath and controlled myself so that I did not punch him. I hate people telling me the truth. “Really dead tired of it! I cannot take it anymore; please stop complaining, all this negativity is going to taking its toll on you,” my friend said. I unfurled my fingers and relaxed a bit as realisation dawned on me. Yes, there was some sense in what he was saying. I have been whining for sometime now and I am honestly tired of it! I realised that I was also unable to digest it; deep in my heart, I wanted someone to make me stop complaining, because all this negativity was indeed taking its toll on me. So, this word slap was enough to jolt me awake from my unhappy whining. “I know you have plenty of problems,” my friend said. “But, you have been quite a bore because of that. You are totally preoccupied by your problems…and I do admit that you have problems, but then, tell me, who doesn’t? You think, I don’t?” he said and reeled off some of his own issues. And I must admit that he also had quite a few. But, then, yet again, my problems were quite bigger than that. Still, was there any need to air them to everyone, I asked myself. What was the point in clouding a perfect day with all these issues? Unless, I had some specific solutions, there was no reason for voicing out my problems. You can’t solve a problem like that, certainly not this. “I think you must come out of your hiding,” my friend said, addressing another sore issue. Whenever November - December 18 B&W 2 0 1 3

problems happen, I disappear, I go into hiding, I dig a dark hole, and hide there for sometime until the storm within me subsides. “By hiding, you are not going to get anywhere,” my friend said. I knew all this, I am not as dumb as I look, but when trouble happens, I run into my hole, tail in between my legs. Yes, I was not getting anywhere, but what was the way out? There is, he said. “The only way out is to be grateful,” my friend said. For a moment, I didn’t understand what he was saying. Grateful? Grateful about what? Grateful to whom? Grateful to someone for giving me all these problems? Pah, I thought. Pah, I said. “No, that is the real problem. You have to stop ‘pahpoohing’ about things. It is time that you are grateful – sincerely grateful for all that you are and have been,” he said. I couldn’t fully figure him out. I mean, I was catching the drift, but only just. I was getting a whiff of it, but not entirely. Do I have to be grateful that I am born; that I am alive…? Resentment welled in me as I thought of the entire gamut of disappointments that my life has been all this while. Should I be grateful for being a ‘has been’; for being a miserable failure? “You are alive, dammit,” my friend burst into my thoughts. “You are not dying of some horrible illness; you have got a roof above your head; you get proper meals; you can even enjoy an evening out and you can even fly out of the country if there is a need. You don’t go hungry or thirsty and it is not like it is the end of the world for you…you still have a chance to eke out a living and carve out a future filled with success…so, shouldn’t you feel grateful about it?” my friend said. I didn’t know whether I should be laughing or crying so I got mind-numbingly quiet. I didn’t not want to risk saying anything stupid because what he said made a huge lot of sense. Yes, it was time to give back, in that sense of the word. It was time to be grateful. It was time to say thanks. It was time to be grateful for the small and little things in life. God, I am grateful!

Gallery Sarah opens Panamera reaches new heights in Oman

Bait Al Zubair has opened the doors to its newest gallery Gallery Sarah which adjoins the museum, in an event that honoured the contributions

of the eclectic museum director Sarah White. Gallery Sarah will offer an expansive array of Omani paintings and photographs which can be purchased and framed at the gallery. Present at the opening was Mohammad Al Zubair who had worked closely with Sarah over the years. Reflecting on Sarah’s contribution to the works of the museum and the arts fraternity in Oman, he noted, “Sarah’s

contribution to developing the Omani art scene will be deeply missed. As a tribute to her enduring spirit, and her love for Oman, Gallery Sarah will provide a dynamic space that continues to engage with art lovers in Oman, and will welcome visitors from across the world.” Gallery Sarah is the first art gallery of its kind to open in the Sultanate of Oman, offering a unique range of paintings and photographs which can be purchased at the gallery or online.

National inter-college environmental public speaking competition Oman’s second Inter-College Environmental Public Speaking Competition, organised by the Environmental Society of Oman (ESO) in association with Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), came to a successful conclusion as four teams were pronounced winners. The winning teams will now compete against students from around the AGCC at a regional competition held in Dubai by EEG at the end of November. Around 120 students from 14 colleges across the Sultanate took part in the competition to raise awareness of environmental

issues facing the country now and in the future. The winning team for each theme was: Friends of the Environment from University of Nizwa for ‘Who Left The Tap On’, Tumooh from University of Nizwa, for Arts and the Environment – How Can Arts Help Our Environment?, Green Students from Sultan Qaboos University for Technology Owes Ecology an Apology, and

Environmental Journalist from Sultan Qaboos University for Global Challenges – Local Solutions. Habiba Marashi, chairperson of EEG, praised the competition and the high level of presentations on offer. Amor Nasser Al Matani, ESO community outreach officer, said, “We are extremely impressed with the standard of entries this year and we look forward to the winning teams representing Oman on the regional stage. By harnessing the growing voice and influence of today’s youth we are able to raise awareness throughout the community and drive positive change in Omani society.”

Oman Road Safety Association participates in cancer walkathon In line with its vision to support the welfare of the local community has recently participated in the 10th Annual Cancer walkathon at the Qurum Natural Park. Organized by the Oman Cancer Association (OCA) to raise awareness on all cancers, ORSA’s Board of Directors and members walked in solidarity taking each step with the aim to change a life. Shaima Murtadha Al Lawati, ORSA’s chief executive officer emphasised the powerful role collective efforts can play in driving change and honouring all cancer survivors. She also stated that the association leverages partnerships with the general public to further educate individuals not only on road safety but also other social and environmental matters. November - December 19 B&W 2 0 1 3

Switch to ‘lightest frying oil’ Khafeef With the festive season right around the corner, it is time to get a handle on your weight and switch to ‘light’ before the feasting starts! Overeating is a common holiday-related problem, which can be easily tackled by switching to low-fat products. If the booming success of low-fat products is anything to go by, this preference is gaining momentum in the Sultanate. Recent trends prove that just as in other parts of the world, in Oman too consumers are growing more health savvy and want more options to eat better and lighter

Mazda mobile app

to enjoy their festive feasts. Salem Al Bortmany, DGM, Areej Vegetable Oils & Derivatives SAOG, manufacturers of Khafeef in Oman says, “More consumers than ever before told us that eating healthy and paying attention to their wellness was important to them, and based on their feedback, we came up with Khafeef Oil - the lightest frying oil. It took a few years for AVOD to develop Khafeef’s technology internally. An investment of RO4 million in plant and packaging machinery was further made to deliver the new lightest

frying oil, that is easy to digest and light in calories. Not just this Khafeef also contains anti-oxidants and Vitamin E. This holiday season I strongly recommend that families and individuals make a conscious decision to use ‘lighter’ products such as Khafeef and remain healthy and happy."

The Mazda Oman mobile application launched by Towell Auto Centre (TAC) for all Apple’s iOS-powered mobile, iPad devices and all Android-powered smart phones and tablets recently has been wellreceived by Mazda lovers in the country. The mobile application offers a galore of benefits to users. It is easy to register; simple to use,

and gives Mazda owners real-time information about their vehicle and provides immediate access to vehicle service bookings. Offered to Mazda customers, this software allows owners to book their service appointments, know about special Mazda promotions and deals, and find the location and contact details of their nearest Mazda dealership and service centre.


The Zubair Corporation community engagement In line with its firm belief in the importance of collaboration and engagement between the community and private sector organisations, The Zubair Corporation has established a new department to champion the efforts of community engagement within the Sultanate. The department will carry out the mission of strengthening channels of communication and engagement with different segments of the society in order to achieve sustainable development in various fields. The new community engagement department will be entrusted to study and analyse social development needs, and to develop social programmes and community-based initiatives in various fields, targeting different age groups. It will also be in charge of supporting Omani youth to enhance their skills and capabilities, and encourage positive initiatives in various fields in a way that better serves them for now and prepares them for the future. Stressing on the objectives of the new department and November - December 20 B&W 2 0 1 3

urging other private sector establishment to follow its lead, Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Zubair, managing director of The Zubair Corporation, said: “This is a milestone for The Zubair Corporation in particular and for the private sector in general. I absolutely call on other companies and private sector institutions to make efforts in this regard and to join hands with the public sector in order to achieve sustainable development in all fields.”

Khimji’s Watches offers Perla jewellery Khimji’s Watches, the home of luxury in Oman, is offering the limited edition new Perla set, a tribute to feminine elegance and simplicity. With this latest addition to its Maison de Haute Ecriture ‘Perla collection’, Caran d’Ache writes another page in the story of its pearls for women who appreciate harmony and style. Designed around the Akoya pearl, the limited number of the new Perla set has an elongated platinum-coated pendant embellished with five prestigious 5.5mm Akoya pearls. The mysterious, highly prized Akoya pearl, traditionally cultivated for more than a century in the Sea of Japan, is a treasure blessed with perfect proportions. Madhursinh Jesrani, general manager, Khimji’s Watches comments: “With this new creation of voluptuous elegance, Caran d’Ache adds even more enchantment to its iconic Perla collection. Entirely produced by hand in the company’s Geneva workshops, this authentic piece of luxury jewellery perpetuates the elegance of the Perla range of writing instruments”.

L&T Heavy Engineering landmark

Larsen & Toubro Heavy Engineering LLC (L&THE LLC), completes yet another major landmark in the field of critical pressure vessel manufacturing in Oman with the

dispatch of six sets of Steam Accumulators (part of a larger order of 19 sets, 5000 MT ) each weighing 260 MT and 106 thick low alloy steel. These critical equipment are Oman’s

unique contribution towards export of Omani product for a large Solar Power Plant in South Africa. The L&THE LLC won this order against stiff global competition from South Korean and European fabricators; the challenge has been the critical nature of the equipment and the tight delivery schedule. The company has been able to rise to the occasion through various innovative techniques in the field of manufacturing, welding, inspection, logistics and planning. The L&T HE partnered with Lift and Shift EME LLC for transportation of this heavy consignment from their workshop to Sohar Port.

Nawras welcomes new Ceo The board of directors of the Omani Qatari Telecommunications Company SAOG (Nawras) SAOG announced the appointment of a new Ceo, Greg Young, with effect last month. Greg will replace Ross Cormack, who will be taking up another leading role in the Ooredoo group. Greg is a telecoms professional with 29 years of experience in the wireless and telecommunications industry, encompassing executive management and both commercial and technical roles with leading operators. Prior to joining Nawras, he worked as Ceo of Sri Lanka Telecom, the second largest publically listed company in the country with over 10,000 employees across the group. Amjad Mohamed Al Busaidi, chairman of Nawras said: “I and the entire board of directors are delighted to welcome Greg to the Nawras family and to Oman.

I am confident that he will continue our unwavering commitment to investing in the best available technology for the benefit of our customers.” “We also take this opportunity to thank our departing Ceo, Ross, for creating a leading telecoms business in Oman and nurturing what has grown into a great company. Ross has been an inspirational leader to the Nawras family and was instrumental Nawras in achieving many significant milestones. We wish Ross and his family all the best in his new role and we are also pleased that he will continue to play a role in the Ooredoo group.” November - December 21 B&W 2 0 1 3

Victoria’s Secret at Qurum City Centre Victoria’s Secret, the ultimate destination for fragrance and style made famous on the catwalk by supermodels, have now opened its second beauty and accessories store in Oman at Qurum City Centre. The new store offers customers access to an assortment of bestselling Victoria’s Secret beauty products including prestige fragrances, such as the newest launch VS Night, Victoria, and the iconic Victoria’s Secret Bombshell, in

addition to the popular scented skin-loving VS Fantasiesä body care range. Victoria’s Secret’s unique collection of accessories are exclusive to the Beauty & Accessories concept stores worldwide and are perfect for those looking for gifts or something for themselves! For that glam girl on the go, expect to find a wide range of bags, luggage and small leather goods, cosmetic bags,

sunglasses and key fobs. This new store follows the successful launch of the brand in Dubai and Kuwait in 2010 and more recently in Bahrain, Lebanon, and Qatar in 2012.

The Zubair Automotive Group in Traffic Safety Expo 2013 The Zubair Automotive Group has announced its participation in the upcoming Traffic Safety Expo 2013, held recently at the Oman International Exhibition Centre. Organised by OmanExpo, the four-day event is to be inaugurated on November 11 by Dr Ali Saud Al-Sinaidi, minister of commerce and industry. Highlighting the Zubair Automotive Group’s participation in the event, Serdar Toktamis, the Zubair Automotive Group general manager said, “Being one of the key distributor

in Oman’s automobile market, the group has given priority attention to road safety and related issues, and the theme under which we operate

has always been ‘Safer Journey’. We are committed to practice our responsibility towards the public safety on the roads and we believe in the impact of what we do in regards to traffic safety awareness. Thus, comes our participation in the Traffic Safety Expo 2013 to promote road safety by joining hands with different authorities such as Royal Oman Police (ROP) and other public and private sector departments. We aspire to work together with the public in order to make Oman’s roads safer for all users.”


Park Inn Muscat’s shortlisted in Hotelier Awards 2013 Park Inn by Radisson Muscat’s executive housekeeper, Aziz Shaikh, who has been with the hotel since the opening has been shortlisted in the recent Hotelier Awards 2013 that was held in Dubai. The hotel is honoured to be the only hotel in Oman to participate in this prestigious award. “We are pleased to nominate Aziz for his work and effort since the opening of the hotel he has shown the 'Yes I can' attitude ready to support and help all the hotel team at any time. Aziz allocated resources to handle tasks such as upholstery cleaning, carpet shampooing and general deep cleaning work,” says Rabih Zein, general manager, Park Inn by Radisson Muscat who was with him during the event for support. Hotelier Middle East Awards do not reward the newest, November - December 22 B&W 2 0 1 3

biggest or trendiest hotels, instead they are designed to celebrate the service stars and management maestros delivering quality guest experiences and developing successful career paths for themselves and their associates.

Al Bustan Palace Hotel National Day guest package Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel, one of the nation’s landmarks, has introduced a new package dedicated to the 43rd National Day of Oman. The 'National Day' package, priced starting from OMR 140++, includes accommodation in a deluxe room, buffet breakfast and dinner for two at Al Khiran restaurant. Whether seeking cultural adventure or relaxation, the ladies and gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton are ready to help discerning travellers craft their ideal getaway. The 'National Day' offer is valid until this December 21. Visit

Bentley’s Flying Spur

All new Chery E5 launch

Bentley’s latest sedan, Flying Spur, has been introduced in the Sultanate. The model which made its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2013 was launched here recently. As part of the launch, Bentley Oman general manager Ahmed Shariefi said, “Bentley’s new Flying Spur is the ultimate luxury performance sedan. Bentley’s engineers have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Flying Spur is the perfect combination of power, comfort, refinement and hand-crafted quality. Fitted with the very latest technology, the new car is equipped both for business and relaxation whilst remaining a car to enjoy from behind the wheel.”

The elegantly designed All new Chery E5, the first of the E series cars — which are intended to be practical models for families was launched in Oman recently. Besides the stylish design, Chery E5 is equipped with advanced technological applications, offering both the driver and the passenger, pleasure on the road. Its spacious passenger compartment offers optimum comfort in a quiet environment. The sedan is equipped with a high-performance 1.8L DOHC ACTECO powertrain and coupled with 5 speed CVT automatic transmission. The multi-award winning ACTECO engine, jointly developed by Chery and AVL, Austria, has also passed the 3,000,000 km road test and 10,000 hours tough bench test following European and American standards. The extreme temperature and highland test prove its ability to offer a good start even in extreme conditions.

Royal Cavalry unveils The Gallops of Oman

The Royal Court Affairs, represented by The Royal Cavalry announced recently the details of The Gallops of Oman – the first endurance horse race of its kind in the region. It is estimated that 110 riders from around the world, and from within Oman will participate in the grand challenge, crossing the desert for a distance of

180 km starting on February 17, 2014, from Al Rakah in Wilayat of Bediyah, to Gdima in Wilayat Jalan Bani Bu Hassan, culminating in the beach stage on February 21. The concept of Gallops of Oman is the brainchild of French based Bady Kebir - organiser of many horseback expeditions around the world and Benoit Perrier manager of Polo Club Chantilly, in partnership with The Royal Cavalry of Oman. The welcoming ceremony and official opening will take place on February 17, 2014, where a total of 100 horses and riders will be ready on the starting line, set against the stunning golden sand backdrop of Al Rakah area, where the first camp will be located. November - December 23 B&W 2 0 1 3

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Management Talk

Are you taking the 'Challenge of ...Change'?

Dr Anchan C.K. managing director, World Wide Business House

By Dr CK Anchan Most of us have difficulty in dealing with change? Change comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and flavours with time. Even if you resist or avoid it, it will enter your life just the same. When you initiate the change yourself, it’s pretty easy to adopt to it, since it’s a wanted one. But are the unplanned and unexpected changes bad? What if all changes were good by default? It’s how you choose to look at and deal with change that matters most. At first it is a bit difficult and annoying, but after a while you get used to the change so much that if it doesn’t come for a while,You grow and learn new things every time something changes. You discover new insights about different aspects of your life. You learn lessons even from changes that did not lead you to where you wanted to be. Like it or not, change is an integral part of today’s business climate. Those employees who embrace and initiate change will thrive, while those who complain and fear change may be headed for the unemployment line. If you want to remain employable, you may have to change more than just your attitude and your reaction to change. You may have to change some of your ideas and goals to create a better future for yourself. Change not only can make a mighty country, but also can make a person successful. If we want passion back in our lives, we must be willing to meet the challenge of change. If you’ve been reacting negatively to change, it’s important to modify your attitude and your behaviour before it’s too late. We all have things in our lives we’d like to improve— finances, job, partner, house, etc.

All of us know that nothing will improve by itself. We need to do things differently to make that happen. Without change, there’d be no improvements. One never knows what each change may bring. When you turn from your usual path there will be plenty of different opportunities waiting for you. Changes will bring new choices for happiness and fulfillment. If you want people to accept change, you need to invest time in planning and communication. To get others to accept change, the first step is to understand what, from their perspective, they feel that they are losing. If you can first empathise with their feelings, then begin to compensate for their loss, you have taken a giant first step towards acceptance. You will never, ever, reach a day where you don’t have feelings, the good and the bad. Resisting them will not help, it will hurt. Train yourself to acknowledge your feelings, consider what they’re trying to tell you, and let them pass. Suppressing your thought, will not make them go away. They’ll make them more powerful when they eventually all come back to haunt you. Find new things to think about. Finally, to learn to accept who you are, It’s one of the hardest things to follow through on, but it’s definitely most rewarding. It’s so easy to look in the mirror and point out insecurities. But, instead of counting all the things you wish you could be, try counting all the things that you are thankful, remember that it’s your own opinion that really counts. Have faith in yourself, realise only you can change you, only you can control your destiny. Decide what is important to you and set your mind to it. Remove self-doubt and have faith and you can become what you envision. November - December 25 B&W 2 0 1 3

Love is a mature splendoured thing

Sunny side up

By Bikram Vohra

My friend is 57 and one of those types who does 100 push ups before breakfast and eats nails for lunch, jogs ten klicks and is a man’s man, all up close and personal. Now, he has gone and fallen in love. This chap, who once broke a fellow’s jaw in three places for merely looking at his girlfriend has now become a wet. He invited me to meet her. To his place, for dinner. Pleasant lady, won’t set any river on fire but okkkkay, no sweat. He’s looking at her adoringly. She paints, he says, his voice choked with emotion. And she sings, he simpers, you have to hear her sing. She’s changed my life, he sighs, I don’t know how I lived these years without her. Thought it would be indiscreet to remind him he did very well, thank you very much, with all those girlfriends and wild parties and candles burning at both ends. My life was a lonely planet, he says, now the sun has come out and I feel fulfilled, there is meaning where once there was nothing. He glares at me for confirmation. This is the same man who could keep the party going till the sun came up. Now he is drooling like a Labrador. With the same puppy eyes. I say, I can see that, I can see that being about the most eloquent thing I can say if a guy is going all gaga in front of you. She cooks, too, he says, wait till you have dinner, can I get you another drinky -winky with some icy wicey, my little myanh-wynah. I look at him in horror. He didn’t just say that. Mynah-Wynah picks up the ditty and says, no my daring-waring, I am appy-wappy, I’ll just go checkywecky the din-din. As she leaves, he says, isn’t she awesome? I sort of nod dumbly. She’s a bit like Aishwarya Rai, he says, from certain angles, don’t you think, with a touch of Jennifer Aniston, especially when she smiles, did November - December 26 B&W 2 0 1 3

Bikram Vohra, internationallyknown Gulf based scribe

you notice it? If you say so, I say, really, I am so pleased for you. Pleased, he says, pleased, here I am pierced by Cupid’s arrow, hit by the thunderbolt, and you are pleased, people are pleased when they get a borrowed DVD back without scratches, this is monumental, this is like Aphrodite took the whole week off specially for me and you are pleased, what sort of friend are you? She comes back into the room and he says, just telling Bix here that you are my little Aphrodite. She giggles and squirms. He says, and my Venus. She squirms some more. I watch in awe. She picks up a canapé and hovers it near his mouth like a chopper waiting for clearance. He dutifully open his mouth and makes a sort of engine sound. He bites her finger. She says,notty-wotty you bitty-witty me. Don’t do it, I think, don’t say it, remember when we were young, remember the good days, remember the guy whose jaw you broke, do not kiss it okay. He says, here let me kissy-wissy it okay and he pulls her hand. She gives a high-pitched squeal of delight and tries to pull back. He won’t let her hand go. They conduct this little cameo tug o’ war which he has to let her win but not without a good fight and it matters not a whit that I am witness to this tribute to not so young love, actually, they seem to have forgotten my presence completely. Finally he let’s go and she says, IwonIwonIwon and he looks at her admiringly, his eyes shining with pride, like she had just won the Oscar or the Pulitzer. She’s so strong, he says, isn’t she? He looks at me for endorsement. I say, sure, very, like real strong, that was impressive, no really it was, never seen anything like it. And that’s the truth.

In Black & White

In Black... The Omani Song Festival has become one of the leading artistic features at regional and Arab levels and has come to represent a springboard for the careers of Omani artists in Gulf and Arab world. Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief OMAN HAS TALENT The 10th Omani song festival recently concluded at the Oman auditorium of Al Bustan Palace Hotel with the best of Omani talent performing in front of an appreciative audience. While I would like to pass on my special congratulations to the three winners of this prestigious festival, I would still like to congratulate every singer who regaled us on the magnificent stage. Truly, everyone gave off their best and of course the ones who excelled, took home the spoils. Everything about this year’s festival had a touch of elegance combined with that right element of richness. I congratulate and applaud the efforts of all those who put in their best efforts to organise a successful event. I Oman has a rich culture and it is a laudable effort by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture to organise the song festival celebrations once in two years, creating a steady platform for the youth to showcase their talents and abilities.

The Black & White team witnessed the confident performance of the young singers and lyricists, the self less effort of the ministry officials who worked behind the scenes to put in place a stage befitting the culture and tradition of the nation. The B&W team congratulates all the winners, and patrons of the festival who gave the youth a platform to perform. The first Omani song festival started 20 years back, in par with, if not earlier, than all the international talent shows that are popular today. The only difference is Oman festival is rooted in a traditional blend of arts and culture. Read on to find out the behind-the-scenes stories of these young, talented singers. The Omani Song Festival has become one of the leading artistic features at regional and Arab levels and has come to represent a springboard for the careers of Omani artists in Gulf and Arab world.

We wish that this festival will grow in leaps and bounds and take our talented youth to the regional and international arena. This year the festival had many additional features and participation.

& White November - December 27 B&W 2 0 1 3

B&W Xclusive

Got November - December 28 B&W 22 00 11 33

Bright, dazzling and colourful lights. A crackling of music, an eager audience, poised, impatiently waiting for action on stage. For a moment, Aisha Al Zadjali felt a trifle breathless; her heart began to beat wildly as she gingerly stepped on this bright, unusually lit, stage where nearly two dozen musicians, in a backdrop that had a rainbow of changing colours, waited for her entry.

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B&W Xclusive

Aisha Al Zadjali bagged the Golden Nightingale award, Munthir Al Ma’awali bagged the Silver Nightingale award and Issa Al Balushi bagged the Bronze Nightingale award

The heady mix of tension, excitement, and anticipation was so palpable that you could almost touch it. Aisha stared straight into the audience and then suddenly she felt one – one with the lights, the musicians, the audience, one with the song that she found herself mouthing and she began to sing. Aisha sang, like never before. Few will understand what goes on in the minds and hearts of singers – especially the younger ones, who are taking their first steps in the world of singing – when they are before a big audience in such a major setting as the one we were witnessing at the majestic Oman Auditorium of Al Bustan Palace A Ritz Carlton hotel, recently. Few will understand what it takes to sing and even for those for whom it comes naturally, there is a moment that is needed to push the words, the song, out from their throat; there is that push, that gunshot start that is required for them to start their song. For the experienced singer, this is not an issue, for he or she has sung so many times, before so many November - December 30 B&W 22 00 11 33

audiences and different locations, it is only the rendition of that particular song that matters. But in the case of a budding singer, even in the case of a young and slightly experienced singer, there is this jump start required at times to begin their song. Once they get into the flow, little will stop the outpouring of their talent, but then, that start is required. And that is what Aisha was looking for and it was in that split second that she got that lightning bolt of a start and she launched into her song, the words pouring like a stream, surging with power, love and grace. She was in sync with everything and the world stood still as she sang her heart out. We were at this magical, musical world created by the ministry of heritage and culture at the Oman Auditorium of Al Bustan Palace hotel. And the magic of music happening on stage was thanks to the talented singers of the 10th Omani Song Festival. This four-day tribute to the rich Omani traditional songs was being held under the auspices of the ministries of heritage, tourism and

civil service. The festival began with the royal salutation and it also saw accomplished local singers singing as well as being honoured. The event, which saw the presence of Shaikh Khalid bin Omar Al Marhoon, the minister of civil service, among other dignitaries, began with the royal anthem. Speeches by officials of the ministry of heritage and culture and honouring of the singer Yaqoub Naseeb and the late poet Nasser Al Makhini and late singer Abdullah Al Makhini were also held. Prior to the event we watched a highly professional and dedicated team along with the ministry officials putting the finishing touches to the four-day event. They were looking at all the major aspects of the show and were working on even what could seem the most trivial aspects. Nothing was left to chance. Earlier, a week or so before the event, a press conference was held at the MoHC headquarters, where officials spelt out the details of the exciting musical contest. Sheikh Hamed bin Hilal bin Ali Al Ma’amari, the undersecretary at

the MoHC and chairman of the organising committee of the festival, noted that the ministry under the guidance of His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, minister of heritage and culture, had taken into consideration the standard of the artistes in the Gulf and in the Arab countries, while they prepared for the festival. He also added that the MoHC had signed a contract with the popular music channel MBC Wanasah to broadcast the festival. The judges’ panel would comprise singers like Ahmed Al Jemairi from Bahrain, Ali Al Khawwar, from the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed Al Mukhaini, Oman and Dr Saida bint Khatir. On the inaugural day, well-known home grown singers like Yaqoub Naseeb, Noora Al Nadhaira, Nasr Al Sulaimi and Egyptian singer Ahmed Jamal and Kuwaiti playback singer, Mashaael performed to the standing ovation of the nearly packed Oman auditorium. This year the festival saw many new faces, and international singers flying down to Oman to perform. Others who performed during the four-day festival included Laila Nassib, Awadh Halees, Basim Al Hosni and Turkey Al Shoaibi. The first day of the competition saw two finalists: Noora Khamis Al Nadharia and Nasr Yousif Al Sulaimi. The second day of the competition saw the selection of three finalists, Munthir Al Ma’awali, Issa Salim Al

Balushi and Abdulla Sabah while on the third day Asim Al Raheli, Adil Helais Al Fahdi and Aisha Al Zadjali were shortlisted. EIGHT FINALISTS The final day and the closing ceremony of the Omani Song festival saw the eight finalists silently waiting for the verdict of the jury announcing the top three. International singers and MBC Wanasah Television channel singers were the highlights of the four day endeavour to provide the Omani youth a platform to showcase their talents. THREE WINNERS In the end, it was worth the wait and the best ones took home the spoils. Singer Aisha Al Zadjali bagged the Golden Nightingale award, Munthir Al Ma’awali bagged the Silver Nightingale award and Issa Al Balushi bagged the Bronze Nightingale award. The event was presided over by His Highness Sayyid Fatiq bin Fahr al Said, secretary general at the ministry of heritage and culture, who gave away the plaque and certificates to the winners. The closing ceremony was well attended by distinguished guests including His Highness Sayyid Haitham Al Said, minister for heritage and culture, Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, minister of commerce and industry, Sayyid Khalid Al Busaidi and many others.

The ministry of heritage and culture under whose patronage the event is held once in two years, earlier announced the opening of registrations for the festival through advertisements and press releases in various channels. The competition under the festival is only for Omanis. According to rules of the contest, each song should not be more than seven minutes long, and each participant can present only one song in either standard or slang Arabic. Before registering, candidates got the lyrics of their song approved by a review committee of the ministry. They also submitted a performance clip. The festival, which began in 1994, is held every two years to promote young Omani singing talent. The festival also witnessed exhibitions and musical evenings that shed light on various aspects of Omani music, its pioneers and various instruments. Famous Omani singers, composers and lyricists were felicitated during the event. Prior to the event, addressing a press conference at the ministry head quarters, Sheikh Hamed bin Hilal bin Ali Al Ma’amari, undersecretary in MoHC and the chairman of the festival’s organising committee, said, “The ministry under the guidance of Sayyid Haitham has taken into consideration the standard of the artistes in the Gulf and in the Arab countries while preparing for the festival.” November November--December December 31 31 B&W 22 00 11 33 B&W

Black & White spoke to some ministry officials, contestants and also members of the audience prior to the award giving ceremony:

An experience to cherish Fahad Al Rahbi Ministry of Heritage and Culture “It was a well organised event. And we had a good crowd too; some of them coming from far flung places just to be part of the festival. The performances by popular regional singers were one of the highlights and added the musical fervour to the festival. Working behind the scenes becomes a pleasure when we see the outcome of the festival at the closing ceremony. We hope the next festival will see more youth participating. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and both the singers and the audience had a wonderful time!”

More opportunities needed Abdullah Sabah Singer, musician and participant

B&W Xclusive

“I come from Ibri and am a member of the Omani Oud Association. The Omani song festival is a window for the local talent to display their abundant talent and I would like to thank the patrons and the officials at the ministry of heritage and culture who successfully bring out this event once every two years. I have participated in the 9th Omani song festival held in 2011 and this time I hope to win.”

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Oman has very good talent Adil Helais Al Fahdi Singer, musician and participant “I have been singing for over 10 years. I love music and singing is my life. This is the first time that I am participating at the festival and I am very proud that I could get a platform to exhibit my talent. I live in Ja’alan Bani Bu Ali. If I win, I believe I will get a platform in the regional level soon and would like to participate regionally. Oman has very good talent. But, unfortunately not many festivals and competitions are available where we can showcase our talent. I am sure we will see many youth participate in a bigger way, in the future.”

Shortage of festivals and competitions Asim Al Raheli Singer, musician and participant “I come from the Sohar region and am very happy that I was shortlisted to be one of the finalists on the third day of the competition. I sing and also play various musical instruments including the traditional Oudh, bag pipes and key board. Music has been not just a hobby, but a passion for me since my childhood and my family has always encouraged me. Oman does not have many channels and platforms for the youth to participate and perform. We welcome the ministry’s initiative to promote the youth talents of Oman. I have had the chance of performing in the Muscat Festival earlier.”

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Talent is here Nasr Yousif al Sulaimi Singer, musician and participant “I am from Muscat and have participated once before at the Arab Idol competition. I hope to win today and am looking at various platforms and opportunities to make my mark. The Omani Song festival is the only one of its kind in Oman and that happens once in two years. I know that Oman has quite a lot of youth who have incredible talents and capabilities and with more competitions; the youth will have better chances to excel and get recognition. Like in every other country, Omani youth also want more opportunities and competitions to prove their mettle. The best part of the Omani song festival is that while it gives a platform for the youth to perform and excel, it also preserves Oman’s rich culture and heritage. I am proud to be a part of this festival.”

Brings the youth together Tariq Al Alawi and Awad Al Alawi Audience

B&W Xclusive

“Oman has very good talent, but the geography of the country makes it difficult for the youth to get together and perform, unless there is a common platform created like this festival. The once in two year opportunity brings the youth together on a common platform, understand each other, network and stay connected.

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Few years back, one of the Omani youth singers, Ibrahim Baa Omar, won fame at the regional Arab Idol competition and proved the fact that Omani youth can perform on a regional platform and excel. We welcome the ministry’s initiative to showcase and encourage local talent and musicians. We hope in the coming years, more youth will come out and perform, not just locally, regionally and internationally too.”

The ministry strives to create opportunities for the youth and the Omani song festival is one such endeavour to create a platform for the Omani talents PROVIDING AN IDEAL PLATFORM Youth are the future of the nation and likewise in Oman too, there is a great need to tap the abundant Omani talent, especially in the field of music, songs and art. The Omani Song Festival is one great opportunity from which talented singers can be discovered. In this regard, the recently concluded 10th Omani Song Festival proved to be an ideal platform for the young singers of Oman, says His Highness Sayyid Saeed bin Sultan Al Busaidi, ministry of heritage and culture, Omani Song Festival committee. This year there were quite a few additions to the regional presence, which helped to inspire the youth participants. With regional singers, television channels and audiences attending the festival, the event concluded successfully with Aisha Al Zadjali winning the Golden Bulbul award, Munthir Al Ma’awali, the Silver Bulbul and Issa Al Balushi the Bronze Bulbul.

“We are open to reviews and suggestions and did a quick survey on what the youth wanted in the future too. Most of the participants were happy that they got a platform to showcase their talents and wanted more opportunities to make themselves confident. The television telecast rights were given to MBC Wanasah channel who brought down some of their singers to perform at the festival and very soon the Omani song festival will be telecast in their channel. PROMOTING OMANI TALENT “The ministry strives to create opportunities for the youth and the Omani song festival is one such endeavour to create a platform for the Omani talents. Youth are the future of every nation and when they come out confidently and successfully forward to showcase their talent, the generation moves forward. We hope and wish that the festival grows in leaps and bounds and will bring in more youth participation in the years to come.”

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B&W Xclusive November - December 36 B&W 22 00 11 33

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B&W Xclusive November - December 38 B&W 22 00 11 33

Text: Adarsh Madhavan & Priya Arunkumar Photos: Ben & Talib Al Muhaidy

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Fun facts about


Bubble gum

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In the pre-Glee Gum days, the ancient Mayans chewed plain chiclé. That’s the same latex sap from the sapodilla tree to now give Glee Gum such great chew. The colour of the first successful bubble gum was pink because it was the only colour the inventor had left. The colour “stuck,” and today bubble gum is still predominantly pink. Chewing gum while cutting onions can help a person from producing tears. The largest bubble ever blown was 23 inches in diameter. The record was set July 19, 1994 by Susan Montgomery Williams of Fresno, CA. Blibber-Blubber, a failed attempt at bubble gum, was invented in 1906 but was deemed too sticky to sell. Swallowed gum won’t clog up your intestines, but it will be with you for a few days. Gum base can’t be digested so it will pass through your system in one piece. Singapore has tried to completely forbid gum, with heavy fines of over $6,000 for possession or use without a prescription. Chewing gum after meals may help prevent heartburn.

Cinnamon, spearmint and peppermint are among the most popular flavours of chewing gum today. Studies have shown that chewing gum actually helps people concentrate and may improve long-term and working memory. Chewing gum has also been shown to reduce muscle tension and increase alertness. Turkey is the country with the most gum companies; the United States is second. Chewing gum burns around 11 calories per hour. Chewing gum on an airplane will keep your ears from popping. Chewing gum makes your salivary glands produce 250 per cent more saliva than normally, so you swallow more. This helps balance the pressure in your head. The largest piece of bubble gum ever was the size and weight of 10,000 regular pieces and was presented to baseball player Willie Mays by the Topps Chewing Gum Company in June 1974. Humans are the only animals on earth that chew gum. If you give a monkey a piece he will chew it for a couple of minutes, then he will take it out and stick it to his hair.

Does double bubble gum dubble bubble?

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We have been thinking of it since quite sometime now. Finally, we have taken the plunge to bring home to you some offbeat stuff. Here goes, if you like it, give us the green signal for more; if not, just take it with a pinch of salt. For this fortnight, here is some nitter natter for the B&W Bitter Batter:

Where do we go? We knew the caller. He often calls and speaks to us about various issues. And most often, he has questions, which we reply vaguely and which he, out of sheer goodwill, accepts. This time, he did not. He had read our last issue where we had written about the fun galaxy – Majarat Oman, which is the first ever technologically advanced theme park to be built in Oman. He was happy about the development but unhappy that he had to wait so long as Majarat Oman was going to be ready only in mid 2016. “That is the best thing that I have heard since a long time, but you media cannot be trusted on these things,” he said, chuckling. “After sometime you will come with another report saying why the project did not take off!” he said darkly. We ignored the comment. Probably, it was the silence that followed, for after that emanated a difficult query from him: “Other than

malls, where does one go to here?” he asked. Why, there is the desert, there are the mountains, there is the sea and a whole lot of beaches…why do we always have to go to the malls, we asked. “You are missing the point: you guys are talking of adventure and outdoor fun. But, where do we go for an ordinary everyday fun outing with the family, with the kids? Where do we take our kids…?” The parks, we said. The cinema

Nitter natter

They don’t read newspapers Some people don’t read newspapers. They don’t read magazines. They don’t listen to radios. They don’t watch TV. For the news that is happening. They don’t know what is happening. They don’t care. And there are guys like this who kept on honking at us from behind at one of the traffic lights recently. The lights were red and it was about to turn yellow when the impatient man started to pump his horn. We looked in November - December 42 B&W 2 0 1 3

the mirror and saw him urging us to move. But, we didn’t. We read newspapers. We read magazines. We listen to radios. We watch TV. We may not be in the news but we know about news that matters. When it turned green, we moved and the intolerant driver overtook us, pumping his fist at us. Well, what gives? Doesn’t he know about the rules? Was he testing us? Whatever, we did not fall for the bait.

theatres. The malls, er, the beaches… “See, what did we tell you? The parks, yes, the movie houses yes, but then you again come back to the beaches, the malls…Where do you go for an evening out here? Where do you take your family? Where do you take your kids?” His queries met with a dark silence from our end and then he must have heard a click on his receiver as we quietly put our phone down.

A stinking job Dirty restrooms are not a subject to be talked about, but then if we don’t who will do the dirty work? We bring to the fore the complaints of some of our readers who have vented their ire of users of hotel and office toilets. There is a growing breed of people who simply don’t care about the use of toilets in these places. It is not a question of not flushing alone, but on an average, most toilets in these places, despite the efforts of the cleaners, who are indeed doing their job most diligently, looks as though a whirlwind has swept through them. What a pity! And imagine the plight of not just the users, but also the cleaners who have to clean filth after dirty filth for no fault of their own.

Between the devil… He was hopping mad. He was cursing and swearing at everyone in sight. No, he hasn’t gone crazy, just angry and mad with anger. He was expecting some major funds owed to him from a company, but the latter was perennially delaying the payment, he told us. “It has been more than a year and a half now. I am going to the company literally every day, but to no avail,” he told us, biting down his anger and struggling to contain angry tears. Are you meeting the right people, we asked him and he burst out telling us about how he knew everyone there, right from the office boy to the owners. “I know them very well and my family and theirs are in constant touch; we meet outside work often and we are like real friends… but this has compounded my dealings with them. I cannot really go berserk with anger as I should and instead still deal with them in a very diplomatic manner and it is eating my insides, besides this, the loss I am bearing is too much,” he said, unveiling scanty details. Because of the pending money, he was forced to borrow from others and now he was unable to pay that back too. As he waded

between the devil and the deep sea, the other major issue that could sink him was that he was unable to focus and bring new clients to his company. We did not have any advice that we could give him, so we kept mum, adding on to the dark silence that was slowly enveloping him.

(Note: Readers who have something bitter to chatter about can either email on or call 99218461)

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Your ARIES March 21-April 20

TAURUS April 21-May 20

GEMINI May 21-June 21

You have the ability to motivate others to follow your lead as you’re very optimistic and visionary about work, career and professional opportunities. Others are glad to have you on their side. Try making as much effort in your intimate relationships. It’ll help.

The main reason your business life runs so smoothly is because you tune into people and work out what they want and need before they do. Luck comes your way via the many contacts you’ve made through the years but you may have to break with the past.

Don’t let financial matters simmer under the surface this week. If you’ve got something to say, try to be diplomatic and tactful, but say it nonetheless. Planetary positions will distract you from any chaos this week and all will be well by the weekend.

CANCER June 22-July 23

LEO July 24-August 23

A good week for travel or visiting, so if there’s someone you’d really like to catch up with from your past, what’s to stop you? The feel good sun/Jupiter contact early in the week swathes you in happy thoughts and good karma comes your way. Enjoy it to the max.

If you want to get anything done this week rely on your psychic ability and not your power. Mysteries will be revealed and hidden factors will come to light. Recent family struggles will be soothed by honesty and straight talking but use tact and diplomacy too.

VIRGO August 24-September 23 You’re at your creative, imaginative best this week so use your talents liberally in the workplace and more subtly behind closed doors. Stick to what you know where money is involved and don’t take any chances. There’s no shortcuts to gains or savings.


BRITNEY JEAN SPEARS (BORN DECEMBER 2, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, former television music competition judge, and occasional author. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, she performed acting roles in stage productions and television shows as a child before signing with Jive Records in 1997. Spears's first and second studio albums, ...Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!... I Did It Again (2000), became international successes, with the former becoming the best-selling album by a teenage solo artist. Title tracks "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops!... I Did It Again" broke international sales records. In 2001, Spears released her third album, Britney, and played the starring role in the film Crossroads. She assumed creative control of her fourth album, In the Zone (2003), which yielded the worldwide success "Toxic". Forbes reported that Spears was the highest paid female musician of 2012, with earnings of $58 million, having last topped the list in 2002.

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stars LIBRA September 24-October 23 You find it hard to keep everyday routines in any semblance of order, especially when it comes to running a household. If you have to tighten your belt you’ll need to learn how to economise quickly. If you don’t need it don’t buy it is a general rule of thumb I’ve found.

CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 Put aside your usual tendency to tough things out and bear responsibilities all on your own. You have a great support network around you if you’d just stop shutting them out. No man or woman is an island, so if you feel you need help emotionally, reach out.

SCORPIO October 24-November 22 Read between the lines to get to the bottom of what someone’s telling you at work and you’ll be nearer the truth of the matter. Rely on your intuition to guide you when you have to hold your own against manipulative others with hidden agendas. Stay calm.

SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22 You’re feeling very inspired this week so make sure you direct this creative energy into something that will give you something back personally. A job interview perhaps? Maybe an audition? Finally plucking up the courage to ask someone you like out on a date?

AQUARIUS January 21-February 19 It’s a special week where you can enjoy feelings of optimism, confidence and expansive opportunity at work. Soak it up. However the Aries moon causes clashes and surprises in your social circle, but maybe it was time for a shake up anyway.

PISCES February 20-March 20 Things are looking up, so don’t be afraid to make more concrete plans for the future. A positive outlook is essential to take advantage of possibilities and it seems like there’s a plethora of them coming on board for you soon.


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2 0 1 3

PICK-UP POINTS MUSCAT WADI KABIR Bait al Zubair Bait al Baranda Marina Bander Al Bustan Palace Hotel Oman Dive club Shangri-La- Barr Al Jissah Sri Lankan School NHI Pencil Building (Stationery shop) Al Maha bunk –Wadi Kabir Ajay Enterprises (Khimji) – (Next to Jingles nursery) Hotel Golden Oasis Sana Fashions Al Maya markets – (Old Rawasco) Scientific pharmacy – Opp to al Maya market ( Arab Udipi Rest)


CBD AREA TO DARSAIT Al Amana Building materials – Opposite Jawad Sultan Al Omaniya Financial Services office Oman oil bunk Khimji mart shopping mall – (Old shopping & saving) Khimjis Bait al Ahlam- CBD area Pizza Muscat (Opposite ministry of manpower) Pizza Hut/TFC – CBD area Centre point-Splash Muscat Securities market Times of Oman Shell petrol Bunk (Next to Sheraton) OCCI Library – Oman Chamber of commerce (OPP MSM) KFC – Ruwi Oman International Bank – Ruwi Palayok Restaurant – Filipino restaurant Ever ready supermarket New India Assurance Office Al Fair – Ruwi high street Lakhoos Money Exchange, Ruwi High street Damas Jewellery/office – Ruwi Oman UAE Exchange – OCC Centre Air Arabia Office- Shanfari Travels Ruwi Hotel Gulf air building – Gulf air office Saravanabhavan Restaurant Sarco – Samsung showroom Khimji Megastore – Swarovski showroom OTE Moosa Abdul Showroom – next to al Jadeed Toshiba Showroom Al Jadeed shopping Badr Al Samaa Samara video (next to Talentz, old bait al ahlam) after 5pm Ministry of Education – Opp Wearhouse – Ruwi Future management consultants -(opp Toshiba showroom) Haffa House Hotel Al Falaj Hotel Muscat Bakery- Near church Pakistan School (after temple & church Darsait) Naranjee Hirjee office (before Hotel Golden Oryx) Hotel Golden Oryx Bank Muscat corporate office (Opposite Hotel Golden Oryx) Kamat Restaurant Uptown Restaurant Turtles Book shop Al Rima Clinic Lama Polyclinic

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Oman Air – CBD NBO- CBD area Bank Muscat Bank Sohar HSBC Standard Chartered Oman Arab Bank Harmony Music Centre – Next to OAB Bahwan Travel Agencies – CBD banks area OTTB – Oman Travels Bureau Air India office – CBD next to Costas Costas Papa John Supa Save – CBD Woodlands Bank Dhofar Horizon Restaurant – (Next to Moon travels) Oman post office Lulu Darsait Khimji Ramdas Head office, Muttrah (Kanaksi Khimji & pankaj Khimji) Majan College – Darsait junction (canteen) Indian Social Club Melody Music Centre – Next to ISM German Embassy – Hamriya roundabout Apollo Medical Centre Computer Xpress – Hamriya Roundabout Atlas Travels (Wadi Adai Roundabout (next to polyglot) Hatat House Passage to India Best cars Hyundai/Subaru/GM showroom Al Asfoor Furnishing Ahli Bank Shell marketing office SEAT car showroom- Wattayah DHL office- Wattayah Honda Showroom Sabco Head office wattayah NTT travels Wattayah Toyota Bahwan Advertising – Ist floor – Toyota showroom Lexus Ford showroom Shanfari Automotive Wattayah Motors- VW showroom Khoula Hospital Institute of Health sciences – opposite Khoula Kia showroom- wattayah QURUM AREA TOWARDS AL KHUWAIR Al Harthy ComplexPizza Muscat – next to Sultan Center in al Harthy complex Sultan Center Nissan showroom BMW showroom Muscat Private School Qurum city centre Pizza Hut – Qurum Capital Store Al Asfoor Plaza KFC Hardees Fono showroom next to Sabco centre Shah Nagardas Sabco Centre- Barista coffee shop only Al Araimi Panasonic Showroom NBO Qurum Al Khamis Plaza Al Wadi commercial centre – Coffee shop Mercedes showroom

CCC- Stand CCC Al Fair Bollywood chat Pizza Hut – Qurum Second Cup Nandos McDonalds Salman Stores Jawahir Oman Hamptons Business Services & Travel Amex office Ernst & Young buildg (OUA Travels) Starbucks Hawthorne institute- ELS Fahud Street, opp Qurum park Mumtaz Mahal Left bank Oman Association for the disabled Ministry of education (20 +20=20) Muscat Intercon Jawaharat Al Shatti complex- stand Oasis by the sea - crepe café stand LNG Office Al Qurum resort Bareek Al Shatti Complex Al Qandeel head office -, Entrance of Bareek al Shatti Al Shatti Cinema - Dunkin Donuts Al Sahwa Schools– principal’s office next to Ramada hotel Hotel Ramada Al Muriya Offices- next to Al sahwa schools Grand Hyatt Muscat Al Masa Mall Radio Shack Al Sarooj Complex Shell Petrol Bunk- Al Sarooj Al Fair Ramee Guestline Rock Bottom Classic Institute of Arts- next to Asas Oman Asas Oman Apartments Crowne Plaza Coral hotel Qurum Pvt school PDO Ras Al Hamraa Club Omanoil head office AL KHUWAIR/MSQ TOWARDS AZAIBA ELS – Al khuwair service road British School Muscat – MSQ British Council Oman oil- Madinat Qaboos Pizza Hut Khimjis mart – MSQ Kargeen Café Al fair Family Book shop- MSQ Tavola – Al Noor Hall buildg Starbucks Hana slimming centre – Ist Floor Fotomagic Al Noor Hall Al Jadeed Eqarat office Above Welcare Clinic – al Khuwair Domino Pizza Oman mobile Safeer Hypermarket Mustafa Sultan Souk Technia Omantel Oman international Bank – Al khuwair main office Ibis Hotel

Park inn Hotel Friendi Office Muscat Bakery Tropical Ice creams Subway Pizza Hut service road Ice Skating Rink National Training Institute Golden spoon Restaurant Shell Select- Al Khuwair Mcdonalds Mct holiday Inn Hotel Oman Bowling Center Halliburton Café Vergnano Khimji Mart – Next to Verganano Safeer suites Axa insurance (opp assarain Al khuwair) Zakher shopping Mall PAN Furnishing Harley Davidson Thrifty Al Amal Medical Centre – Dr Bashir Hotel Radisson Pizza Hut Al Khuwair Ozone Video Shop(Next to Pizza Hut) American British School Omar Khayyam Restaurant, next to V kool Grill House (next door) V Kool TAISM Centre for British Teachers – CFBT Baushar Complex Café Aviation Club Restaurant AZAIBA TOWARDS SEEB Lulu Hyper market – Baushar Oman Medical college College for Business & financial Studies opp Oman medical, baushar Azzan Bin Qais school - Baushar Muscat private Hospital Dolphin Village – Bausher Royal hospital Ghala industrial area – NTI National mineral water – Tanuf ( next to Al Madina Holiday Inn) Oman oil Azaiba Spicy Village – Rusayl Pizza Hut – Ghala Oman oil – Ghala Towell head office – Enhance & Ist floor Mazda showroom Mcdonalds – Azaiba Select shell Azaiba Oman Tribune – Al Watan office New India assurance Azaiba office Safeer Hypermart Nawras head office Zubair showroom and Yamaha corporate office(two places)- Yamaha Showroom – close to Zubair showroom – 1st floor Polyglot Institute GU Tech – Beach road Azaiba Chedi Muscat The wave Muscat corporate office NACA – national cancer Awareness Assn MCC – Crepe Café Al Bahja– Mood Café & food Court Al Maya Super market Oman air Seeb office (Below Flyover, before Golden Tulip) Oman Tourisn College Golden Tulip Hotel Air port Select Shell – Seeb Pizza Hut airport KFC





Muscat golf hills, SEEB KOM SQU – SQUH hospital , SQUH 2- canteen, 3Diplomatic Club, 4 – College of Commerce, 5 – Students banking area) Pizza Hut – al Khoud Sultan School al hail service road – principals’ office Caledonian college – principal’s office Oman Foot ball association

SHOPPING MALLS Lulu shopping center Al- Istaqarar shopping center (Salalah) Dhofar shopping center Bab Al- Salam market Al- Mashoor (Salalah) Al- Mashoor (Saada) Al-Khareef K.M Trading Al-Isteqarar (Saada) Al-Hoq super market Hamdan commercial market Fresh super market (Al-Sarat) Union Salalah Market Family bookshop

Spicy Village Restaurant Lulu Hypermarket Jumeirah Shopping Centre Khimji’s Mart Al Salem shopping Centrepoint Moosa Abdul Rahman – GMC Toyota Nissan Mitsubishi LG showroom Sohar Bakery Sohar University Bank Muscat Habib Bank Bank Sohar Oman International Bank Al Raffah Hospital Badr Al Samaa Oman Arab Bank Bank Dhofar HSBC Travel City National Travels and Tours Universal Travels and Tourism DHL Dhofar Insurance Al Ahlia Insurance Taeeger Finance Co Omantel Al Jazeera Group Narenjee Hirjee (International)

OIB, Nizwa OIB, Firq BankMuscat, Nizwa BM main branch, Nizwa BankMuscat, Firq NBO, Nizwa NBO, Firq Bank Abudhabi Toyota OTE Omantel Nawras Khimji, Nizwa Khimji, Izki Muscat Bakery, Nizwa Pizza Hut Discount centre Family shopping Al Diyar Hotel Safari hotel Al-Nif shopping, Izki Hungery Bunny, Nizwa College of Science College of Technic Nizwa Medical College Busmath Clinic Thalal Clinic Omanoil, Izki Omanoil, Firq Omanoil, Nizwa Omanoil, Marfa Shell, Izki Shell, Firq Shell, Nizwa Al-Maha, Firq Nizwa university -Dept of foreign lang Al-Maha, Marfa

RUSAYL AREA Rusayl Industrial Estate Oman Cables Sadolin Paints Jotun Paints Al waqia shoes Mehdi Foods Areej veg oils MINISTRIES AREA – AL KHUWAIR Ministry of tourism(Ghala, next to ISG) Ministry of social Development(next to Regional municipalities, Bank Mct) Ministry of foreign affairs

SUR Al-Hashar LNG LNG, Club Sur Sur Beach Hotel Sur University OTE, Sur Mitsibushi Rawaya coffee shop Toyota Nissan Sur Plaza Hotel Mazda Khimji Omantel Private Hospital, Sur BankMuscat Sur Hotel NBO, Sur Bank Dhofar, Sur ELS, Sur

HOTELS Crown Plaza Hilton Salalah Hamdan plaza Dhofar Hotel Salalah hotel Haffa House Redan Hotel Al- Hanaa Hotel BAMSIR hotel Al- Jabel hotel Al- Nile suite (Saada) Salalah Mariott MINISTRIES Ministry agriculture & fisheries Ministry of education Ministry of defense Ministry of housing & electricity Ministry of water Ministry of tourism Diwan of Royal court (Salalah) Ministry of primary court and justice Ministry of Commerce & industry Dhofar municipality (Baladia) Ministry of man power PETROL STATIONS, BANKS Shanfari filling Station shell select, al saada Oman oil Shell Salalah Bank Muscat Omantel Oman Arab Bank Pizza hut Dhofar University Al Maha souk

BARKA Lulu hyper market Safeer Centre Al Nahda resort Al Maha Souk Oman Oil Rumais Oman College of management OIB NBO Bank Muscat Shell OTE SARCO Nissan showroom Omantel


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It's my life

Clink Chink Clink Chiiiink Cllliiink

Vandana, award winning author (‘360 Degrees Back to Life')

By Vandana Shah

Chink clink as we get dressed in our brightest new clothes, smoothening the folds to look slimmer and smarter, wearing our matching jewellery in diamonds pearls and sapphires with a delicately inlaid burnished gold tiny clutch clink chink and a mini twirl and bow in the mirror to look our best. As we brush our hair out till they glisten like the moonlight and put the finishing touches on our lipstick to complete our 'look for the evening' clink chink. As the prayers are underway and we stand with our heads bowed, and eyes closed before the Almighty invoking her blessings, chink clink chink. As the evening festivities start with feasts fit for a king, the sweets we devour without paying heed to our dietician’s warnings and the night sky bursts into a thousand lights competing with the blinding light of the sun clink chink. The sounds of love, laughter, friends and gaiety permeate our being with happiness and again its clink chink, this time a bit louder. Clink chink CHINK CLINNK and as we strain our ears to spot the source of the sound and squint our eyes to look closer we see its the deity's adornments that are clinking their way into our life. The festival of lights and wealth is here and every year we welcome the clinking of the goddess in our life praying for everlasting happiness and of course money to fulfil all our wishes for material comforts. Somewhere her presence also makes us feel hopeful about the triumph of good over evil and the kingdoms of goodness. Diwali-the festival of lights is here and let’s celebrate by banishing the darkness from our minds and hearts and embrace our friends and enemies and lend a little radiance to the world. Till next time, I’m still eating my Diwali sweets, listening to the clinking, hugs to you all.

Vandana Shah, Author 360 Degrees Back To life, editor of Ex-Files. Email me what you’d like to say on Follow me on twitter Vandy4PM

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Breadfruit can be cooked and eaten at all stages of development. It is considered a substitute for any starchy root crop, vegetable, pasta, potato, or rice. Mature breadfruit can be boiled, steamed, or baked and replace potatoes in many recipes. Small ones can be boiled, pickled or marinated, and have a flavor similar to that of artichoke hearts. Sliced breadfruit can be fried to make chips or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;French friesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or candied. They serve as vegetable, fruit and even as a sweet! Here are a few simple recipes to try at home:



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Breadfruit baked Ingredients 1 breadfruit (mature ripe) 1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg 1/2 cup butter Method: Melt your butter, taking care not to brown or burn it, mix in nutmeg and cinnamon. Place aside or better yet, place in a small bowl and place in the refrigerator to set up again. Once you have your ripe breadfruit pull on the stem, it should give way with a tug and when the step comes off, the innards should come with it as well. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the brown sugar into the hollow breadfruit. Take your hardened butter mixture and with a knife or spatula, place into the breadfruit followed by the rest of the brown sugar. Cover the hole in the top of the breadfruit (I tried using about an inch of a plantain to stuff the hole and it worked pretty well). Place in a baking pan with 2 cups of water and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hours.

Breadfruit Chips Ingredients 2 breadfruit 2 pts coconut oil Method: Wash and peel the breadfruit. Slice as thinly as possible. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan. Add the breadfuit slices, a few at a time, and cook until golden. Remove from oil, and drain excess oil on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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of a good nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Shap n sound


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In this age of swiftness and speed, most of us may sacrifice a proper shut eye on the altar of endless activities. But whatever era you belong to, one underlying fact is that you need your beauty sleep. Without it, you are actually inflicting abuse on your skin, so say experts.

With the emphasis on making hay while the sun shines all around these days, many are also of the firm opinion that only lazy bones sleep for a sound seven to eight hours. Frankly, that is not true. The only way to find out that it is not true is to take that test: some of you try to get your seven to eight hours beauty sleep, while, some others will sleep for just a few hours for some days, say, for a week. You will find the first lot waking up looking fresh and rosy, while the others, the underprivileged lot, would end up looking pale and altogether blotchy; you may get dark circles around your eyes and you will look like a truck has run over you. Consult any doctor. They would all say this in unison: Beauty sleep is for real. It is required because skin needs sleep hours to heal itself from the day’s damage. When you sleep, skin utilises that time to recover. Most often you have seen women wake up from a good sleep, looking fresh and rosy. That is not an accident. That is what good sleep gives and it also helps in giving you a proper chance of feeling good and being alert to the task ahead of you every morning. Skip sleep and you will be hopping around in stress. Studies have revealed that college students had more breakouts when they were stressed out during exams. But, even adults can be troubled by lack of sleep. Do your own research; ask around, you will soon find out that sleep starved people and those who have had eight hours of sound sleep behaved entirely different in stress and even normal situations. Not only did the latter look good, their performance also reflected their “beauty sleep”. Well rested people have always been found to be healthier, alert and attractive. Of course, there are times when we are required to sacrifice sleep, and then we may have to compromise on that. But, many of us today, stay awake just to party the night away. This is fine on occasions, but, when you make this a habit, you will soon see and feel the visible changes in your skin, in your behaviour and perhaps, even in your attitude. One should not undermine the importance of the beauty sleep. Reports note how women who shirk sleep for a long period of time will soon be looking sickly, pale and sallow. There will be dark circles around your eyes and you will become perennially exhausted. The benefits of the beauty sleep are manifold: you will be able to avoid chronic diseases, will not have that many mood swings, will not develop mental illnesses, and will not be a nuisance to your partner by snoring them crazy. Just look at it this way: you come home after a hard day’s work and why do you have to punish your body and mind further by depriving yourself of a good night’s sleep? There are so many layers of goodness that you would benefit from by getting yourself a refreshing shut eye. So go ahead and get a good night’s sleep and wake up fresh and rosy! (This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.) November November--December December 53 53 B&W 22 00 11 33 B&W

A dose of gratitude


By Priya Arunkumar What is that one thing you pray for? “Food on the dining table!” pat came the reply from the girl who sat next to me. She was smiling when she said that and the first though that came to my mind was that she didn’t take time to answer. I was still squirming in my place to answer, I had quite a lot of things to pray for, or at least I thought so. Food on the table? Quick answer; maybe she had a big family, or a small salary? She looked at me and continued: you look surprised…? To keep food on the dining table, you need to have an earning, a family to eat with and a roof over your head. It is much more than anyone can pray for..? Well, that is all I can ask for, what else can we ask for? She made it simple for me. Aren’t we all working for the same? I left my home to earn a living, my parents are away at my hometown, and I live alone. I hardly cook, because there is no one here to cook for or eat with me, other than of course a few colleagues. So one day, I will get back to my family, and have enough food on my table and feast with my family, her eyes glistened with tears. And you? You have nothing to pray for? She queried looking at me with a frown. I do, I said. But did not want to answer further Sometimes silence is the best way to cover your ignorance and ugliness. These types of philosophical questions make my mind go blank or some of them are so personal you don’t want to answer them directly. Why should I say what my prayers are? What my wishes are? Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire, If you did, what would there be to look forward to? She smiled. Words were heavy with the true essence of life, but looked very simple the way she put it.

Yes, if we all had everything we ever wanted, what will we look forward to? What do I pray for? Quite a lot. We all do, don’t we? It might be silly to say it all out, but I am sure there are plenty of them out there praying for everything they need and don’t! Prayers should not be a means to ask, demand or request for your wants and desires to be fulfilled. Most importantly, it should be a medium to be grateful. To thank the Almighty every day! I do it every day, and, it makes me very happy. I never thought of the reason behind that… why should the simple act of gratitude make such a big difference in my life? Maybe it is the acknowledgement of goodness in the world. Badness, in so many forms, does exist. But I believe gratitude simply says that goodness exists, too. More than any prayers, it is a dose of gratitude we all need to keep ourselves rooted down to ground. When we are thankful, we accept the goodness that comes from beyond ourselves, we acknowledge what we have is not just something that we are entitled to or deserve. It has come to us, though we may, indeed, have worked for it. Wish we had clinics around to inject a dose of gratitude to all around us, who think they got all that they wanted because they deserve it! Or worked for it! Call it fortune or fate, but so many outside factors have had a hand in things working out as they did. So why take the credit for it all?

November - December 55 B&W 2 0 1 3

Black & white mag issue 63  
Black & white mag issue 63