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II June 2016 Vol.7 Issue 79 25 Sha'ban - 25 Ramadhan

Acts of

Islam: a necessity for eternal success Pg14 Perfect offers during the Holy Month Pg16 Women 20000 words per day vs men 7000 Pg58

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of kindness 38 Acts It is the month of giving. It is the month when the faithful make enormous effort to fulfill one of the most important task of their lives – to give and not just to give, but to make a great effort to put a smile on the face of the less fortunate. And, it is the month where the less fortunate have a reason to smile. Charity during the holy month of Ramadhan takes on a whole new meaning and it really brings food to the table of even the most impoverished. There is always a noticeable increase in charitable work during Ramadhan. The best part of Ramadhan is that during this holy period, there is a great increase in charity-related acts. Other than the corporate social programmes of companies, we see a great push by the charity organisations in Oman.

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Perfect offers during the Holy Month

The Holy Month of Ramadhan where the hotels, malls, supermarkets, vehicle outlets and almost any shop that keeps its doors open will have an offer - just to commemorate this spiritual season.

Contents

men spins a 12 Moody web of negativity When men get moody, their women are in a fix not knowing what to do, especially when they are on a longtime emotional rollercoaster.

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: +968 24565697 Fax: 24565496 Website: www.blackandwhiteoman.com Editorial: editor@blackandwhiteoman.com Printed at 2016 Muscat Printing Press June

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Women 20000 words per day vs men 7000

If we dust off an old statistic, we might discover some gems like this, which states that women speak around 20,000 words a day as compared to men who are able to utter only a mere 7000. Which means that there is a wide gap of 13,000 words between a man and a woman and it is doubtful if men are ever going to leap over the chasm. about a million years!

Chairman Editor-in-chief Managing editor Work editor Editorial Marketing Design & production Photographer

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Mohamed Al Balushi Priya Arunkumar Adarsh Madhavan Khadija Al Zadjali Salwa Al Rumhi Beneek Sirajudeen Najib Al Balushi


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Let’s start a pay-it-forward campaign? By Adarsh Madhavan I don’t know how to start it. I am not even good at starting a conversation, so I can’t imagine myself to be good at starting a campaign. But, today, let me forget my differences with myself and try to make a genuine attempt at this as we slowly enter a season of giving, of charity, of compassion, of prayers and piety… First, let me start by writing about it. Let me pen these points in print. Let that be the preamble to this movement as such. The ‘pay-it-forward’ movement. Let me start by making a simple gesture. The simplest of simple gestures: so there is this man trying to feed two 25 baisa coins into the parking meter at a parking point outside a bank without much success. He is dripping from head to toe as the sweltering sun beats down on his bald pate as he unsuccessfully tries to push the coins in. So, I, the epitome of all kindheartedness, jump down from my high seated vehicle, fish into my garbageridden side pocket, my fingers stumble on a round 50 baisa coin and I grab it hard, yank it out and then plonk myself before the parking contraption and suggests to the middle-aged man, “May I?” The coin goes in and the printed matter is spat out and I produce it for him with as much as flourish as I would if I were giving him the winning lottery ticket!

All about X, Y & Z

But that man is grateful. Er, eternally grateful as he not only shakes my sweaty palm with my thin brown fingers, but also pushes his two 25 baisa coins saying “but you must, but you must…” So, I take them because both of us don’t want to be remembered to be obliged or vice versa to each other. But, the deed, however dastardly small, has been done and I hope he catches the vibe, if not the flu as my cold, flu-dripping fingers would have successfully passed on the infernal virus to the poor old man too. Anyway, let us hope he catches the drift rather than the flu. Let us hope that he passes on the goodness that would 6

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have cast a small ripple into his busy life so that it is ingrained in him to make him remember this gesture from a stranger and he is in turn able to pass it on to another person in need of some help. I would, in my self-indulgent illusion, believe this man would in turn climb on a bigger charity steed and be gallant enough to save another in bigger distress than like his previous state of being helpless before a steely, relentless parking meter. I would assume that this smallest act of kindness from my side would spur his heart to the biggest of deeds. Perhaps rescue someone in great distress; perhaps even save someone’s life. I would wish upon that man the greatest of strength and valour and compassion so that my tiny pay-it-forward act would inspire in him greatness to sustain him when he comes across someone else’s sheer helplessness. I would wish that this so small act from my end would spur this man to great heights of charity; that it would set the wheels of a real movement on flow. Is there any harm in such dreams? That man would then do something remarkable that would save someone in distress and the recepient of his act of kindness would spur on another and another and yet another and it would set in motion a whole, unusual movement of helping arms across the nation. Respelendent as these dreams are, I know that I need to make that first step to light the fire of such a movement. As I step out into the world, hoping to bump into someone or something where I can shower my attention on or lend an arm to, I realise that deep, in the entrails of my heart, I wish, I hope and I dream that someone would first light that fire in me, spark that movement with me by rescuing me… Wouldn’t it be just great if someone rescues me as I sink into a spiralling quagmire of troubles? editor@blackandwhiteoman.com


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Mail your views and opinions at editor@blackandwhiteoman.com

Embark on a new mission

Readers column

The latest feature by B&W (issue 78) on the greenhouse se venture where tomatoes are grown on jebel akhdar made e interesting reading. This is indeed a remarkable venture re and due credit must be given to Omran for arming the e farmers with not just a greenhouse, but also teaching g them mordern methods of farming. Currently, they are growing tomatoes, cucumber and d lettuce. This means that the experiment has worked; it is a success story. So, the time has come for them to embark on another mission where they introduce new w vegetables and fruits. I am sure they will succeed. Abdullah bin Karim Al Balushi, Ghubra ra

Fruitful venture I never knew tomatoes could be grown on the jebels. So, this story (issue 78) was quite a revealation. How in the world did they manage that? The joint effort by the farmers and Omran have really 8

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worked out. The results are there to see. I would call it a really “fruitful� venture! Subash Nair, Al Khuwair


Great effort by farmers and Omran Tomatoes on the jebels? I would say that it must have taken tremendous efforts by Omran and the farmers to grow such vegetables/fruits on top of the jebels. The climate and the topography does not allow such growth and therefore great effort must have been taken by both

Omran and the farmers to grow these crops. I am sure that soon we will see the joint efforts by both bringing forth new vegetables. Ahmed Jaber, Seeb

Organic tastes better It is true, organic tastes better (issue 78). And it is not just an opinion – it has been scientifically proven that organic food tastes better. Of course, detractors could say that since organic food aren’t protected by pesticides, then, they are bound to be attacked by bugs and insects. But to true to nature, when plants are attacked by bugs, they

Readers column

Don’t stereotype women To be frank, I totally disagree with some of the ladies (Being a housewife… issue 78) who claim that it is better to be a housewife. I don’t think so. Of course, all of the ladies who said that it is better to be a housewife than a working woman, well, they are totally entitled to their opinions. I respect that. But, I don’t agree. The world is moving at such a fast pace today, there is no time to waste and there is so many things to be done. Yes, it is important to take care of the home, the family and it is important for a woman to do that. But, don’t limit a woman’s role to just that. Today’s woman are not doormats and are not meant to be trapped in the kitchen alone. The world has expanded for them and it is time that housewives realise that they have multiple roles to play. Yes, they can be housewives, but they also need to be working; they also need to do their bit to bring funds to the kitty. Gone are the days when women stuck to their traditional roles of a housewife/homemaker. Women have much more capacity than that. Of course, if a woman prefers to be a housewife, that is entirely upto her. But, otherwise, no one should stereotype a woman! Natasha P.,Ruwi 10

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automatically bring forth their defences, which in effect brings about a higher level of flavour chemicals and other protective molecules, including antioxidants, notes science. Therefore, it means more flavour and more nutrition. So, where were we? Yes, organic food tastes better! Srijai Nambiar, Muscat


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Moody men spins a web of negativity QUESTION TO THE THERAPIST: My husband is a very moody person and I often wonder why he is always down and out. Lately, this has reached to a head as he is very moody and is also on a real complaining spree. Forget the fact that he comes home grumpy and is bad with me, the worst is when he is bad with my children, which I clearly cannot tolerate. What should I do? ANSWER: All this while, women took the rap for being the moody type. But, what we have to realise is that guys also have pretty bad mood swings. And the problem is that they act totally differently. If it is a woman, she would spill it all out and we would know for sure where she was and where she is going with her moods. But not so the men, who tend to keep his moody self under wraps and unleashing it in a mysterious peel by peel manner, which leave us totally confused. TWO TYPES Two things: moody men are of two types: The first one has had a bad day and he is reacting to what happened at work, at play or the fact that his team has lost a match. But, the second is the type who is on an emotional rollercoaster several times in a week.

Men read

I don’t know which type your husband falls into but let us look at both. For the first type, it is relatively easy to get through and bring the smile back to his face. You need to be a bit flexible though and let him tell you his issues bit by bit as you coax him out of the dark cloud he is under. But, the second type has a problem as he is too sensitive. Any disappointing event in his life sends him down and he spins in that web, unable to get out, or rather, he does not even try to get out. Being sensitive is not a bad thing, except for the fact that if 12

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you let your sensitivity rule you throughout, you may find it hard to live in a hard and tough world. Both versions mentioned above are easy ways out of a simple problem. But then the real problem is when you are living with a totally negative person. If he is experiencing depression, then he may need to go on a different line altogether. Don’t rule it out and if the problem persists do consult a psychiatrist. Or at least ask him to take a depression test. DEAR HUSBAND… Ask your man to read this as I want to address these lines to him personally: Dear husband, I think the most important thing in your life is your family (your children and wife and other loved ones). So, I am sure you would not want to hurt them or make them unhappy. Your mood swings or your habitual moody self is hurting them, affecting their lives. Being habitually negative makes everyone around you miserable and it really has a toxic effect on all of those who love you and depend on you. When you have a problem, please try to share it with your loved ones because they care; and if they can’t handle it, find someone who can. There will always be someone who can. If you need medical help, try for it. None of us should be blind to our shortcomings. What you need to do is to change your internal attitude. If you realise one key issue is that until and unless you get internal issues right, nothing will work. When nothing is right on the inside, then nothing will be right on the outside. So, work on it. Find out why you have such a huge negative attitude to everything and work on it; change it to a positive one. That is the first step and everything is going to change for you once you take this step. Good luck! Smile!


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a necessity for eternal success

Ramadhan

By ISSA AL RIYAMI

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Modern science deployed massive efforts to ease out our life on all fronts: be it social, economical, political and technological where recent advancement especially in the telecommunication arena changed the way we live. All in all, this was seen as a success for humanity across nations for so many centuries. But does this success stop here? The complexity and diversity of our life triggers a question that we all keep asking ourselves and it is a valid question that demands a respectful and convincing answer. The question is: are we satisfied? Short term success or gain does not always mean total satisfaction and fulfillment of our hopes and wishes. A small concern and a small voice rising out from within us always question our total satisfaction from the life we live. Not going much into theory, we find successful people for a number of years, gaining massive wealth within a short-term ending up their lives

with suicides and destroying families they worked hard to bring up. Why is this? Because satisfaction was not found, and a purpose of life was never seen! When we practically examine Islam, we see logic and wisdom behind its principles and guidelines, and we will try to give some insights and examples. We start with the fact that in Islam, there is only one God, being Almighty Allah SWT, having the supreme power and ultimate say about this universe/life/existence and destiny. This fact in itself represents a massive gift for humanity. It relieves humanity from anxiety towards discovering answers for mysterious questions like: who is in charge of this universe? Why are we here? What is next? The principle of oneness of God also brings comfort towards the focus on worshipping our Almighty Creator, seeking guidance, nourishment, stability and strength that will help us maneuver safely across life’s challenges. When coming to existence, we


soon realise that we are somehow ‘visitors’ to this life and its complex galaxy, we stay for a short while and then leave. A common rule we know is that we need to respect the landlord of the place we visit. Such respect, for instance in our case, will be to understand the basic house rules, why we are here and what are the guidelines that we need to adhere to in our visit. Islam made this clear. It made it clear to its followers that this life is a short one, in fact a very short one! It is a test that everyone of us, knowingly or not knowingly, is undertaking. The test is simple: know your creator and obey His instructions. Obedience will influence decisions we make in our life. We will be tested against options we choose: for instance, earning our wealth in a legitimate manner or unlawful ways is our call and it is our choice. Islam does not stop you from selecting your preferred option, but gives you guidelines on how to make your decision and what is the consequence to your decision. Islam

fosters self-control in individuals and mandates justice and fairness across humanity. Islam, in its quranic teaching, made it clear for humanity that this life is a short one - spanning from one minute/hour/day/year to a maximum of 150 years one can reach. The concept is also quite fundamental that we should not be complacent with this worldly life and that we should always think of the life hereafter in the context planned and drawn by the facts of the Holy Quran. Islam further stipulates that death is somehow seen as a gate for the eternal life - a life that lasts forever! In this life, everyone of us will be assessed against all the actions he or she made in life. This includes questioning some key aspects on our life as told by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) including how you lived your life, and how did you utilise your youth, with what means did you earn your wealth, how did you spend your wealth, and what did

you do with the knowledge you had. Based on these simplistic Islamic fundamentals, Islam is able to tie up the affairs in this life in a manner that matches the requirements for success in the life hereafter. With this comes the necessity to understand Islamic linkage of both lives and the need to be resilient to adopt and overcome challenges - knowing for sure that this life is a short one that we will indeed leave one day (when the appointed time comes) and that we will be held accountable in front of our Almighty Creator, Almighty Allah, for all the actions we did or failed to do.

Issa Al Riyami is an Omani National working in the oil and gas sector in Brunei Darussalam. He is an author in some leading newspapers and magazines, and he is the founder of Eternal Success website (www.eternalsuccess.com). Issa can be contacted at issa.riyami@gmail.com 15

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Hotels offer perfect ambience during the Holy Month The Holy Month of Ramadhan ushers in a month of blessings and generosity. Hotels in Muscat have created the perfect ambience to ensure that the spirit of Ramadhan pervades throughout their premises from sunrise to sunset. As the sun sets every evening during this Holy Month many faithfuls will explore new venues and different options to break their fast. Ramadhan is indeed that spiritual time of the year which blends with the mild celebratory ambience where the evenings fill up with get togethers among family and friends. The beauty of the Holy Month is that apart from the deep spiritual element, there is a warm and sharing mood that is manifest from sundown. Ramadhan is not just the holiest month for the Muslims, it is also one of the happiest. And it offers families to spend time together, which again is spiritually uplifting. And Iftar is the perfect way to celebrate the deep bonds of friendship and love amongst loved ones. Traditionally, families break their fast at home but most people are also looking at other options to break the fast and that is where hotels and restaurants come in with their delightful delicacies and perfect surroundings. Here in Oman, the hotels and restaurants are providing grand occasions to break their fast, as well as savour the delectable delicacies.

Impact

Al Bustan Palace offers a sweet twist to its Iftar buffet This Ramadhan, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, gives a sweet twist to one of the most renowned Iftar buffet in town, with a delectable chocolate-themed station showcased during Iftar at Al Khiran Terrace throughout the season. Chef Joergen Sodemann and his culinary teams have partnered with Salma’s Chocolates, an Omani label emerged out of the passion and talent of two creative minds, Salma and Aisha, who produce some of the finest handmade chocolate creations in Muscat. The two entrepreneurs, voted best SME in the Gulf countries in 2015, find their inspiration in local products and flavours to create their delicious treats available at their Muscat showroom. This season, the talented ladies have imagined three delectable chocolate creations exclusively for guests of Al Bustan Palace. Mouth-bursting espresso shots (bitesized chocolates filled with espresso caramel heart), coconut white chocolates or date caramel truffles will be offered on the Iftar buffet at Al Khiran Terrace, offering an innovative take on the traditional fast breaking ritual. The live-cooking chocolate station will also offer Ramadan juices and smoothies revisited by Salma’s chocolates, as well as succulent signature ice creams with Salma’s toppings including innovative flavours such as rose water caramel or date syrup, each evening during Iftar. The culinary teams at Al Bustan Palace have created a mouthwatering selection of dishes to offer families an Iftar buffet to remember. Live cooking stations will feature Ramadan favorites such as Shawarma, Manakish or 16

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Lamb Ouzi; the all times favoruite Arabic Mezze corner will delight all palates, alongside some refreshing, colourful displays of salads and cold dishes, while


seafood lovers will delight in the baked whole Hammour. Adults and children alike will succumb to the sweet temptation of the traditional Arabic sweets, Um Ali and the exquisite Salma’s chocolate station to conclude the feast. Sohour will be served in the spectacular Ramadhan tent in the gardens of Al Bustan Palace, with a-la-carte suggestions and selections of shisha to extend the night to the sound of the kanoun players, until dawn. The students of Al Bustan Culinary Academy will take part in a culinary challenge and compete to showcase their cooking skills. The students, currently in their second year of practice in the kitchens of Al Bustan Palace under supervision of Sodemann, will team up to create their version of a local-inspired Molton Chocolate Cake with homemade ice cream. The competition will be judged by Salma’s Chocolates experts, Salma and Aisha themselves. The winning recipe will be added to the Iftar buffet each night during Ramadan to delight guests and visitors at Al Bustan Palace. Children are also part of this holy season and will be invited to attend a memorable Garangao evening, traditionally organised on the 14th day of Ramadhan in celebration of their efforts in fasting throughout the Holy Month. Al Khiran Terrace will host an entertaining night for children, including games, a parade and many delights for children. Additionally, The Ritz Kids team will be at

hand throughout the summer to entertain the little ones, with activities such as henna painting, arts and craft and watersports, offered to children of all ages. A sumptuous Eid-Al-Fitr buffet will welcome families at Al Khiran Terrace on the second day of Eid, to mark the end of the Holy Month. Families will celebrate a blessed Eid Al Fitr around a grand buffet of Arabic and international specialties in a festive ambience. For families willing to experience summer at Al Bustan Palace, a summer package is available with an exclusive “Stay 3, Pay 2” offer, including three overnights in a luxurious room or suite, complimentary wifi, and exclusive savings on the hotel restaurants and spa treatments.

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Sumptuous dining choices for Iftars at Golden Spoon Group restaurants The various restaurants under the Golden Spoon Group banner are setting themselves as top dining destinationsthis Holy Month of Ramadhan. They are offering an abundant spread of sumptuous dining choices at their restaurants. No two of their restaurants are alike but all fulfill the Golden Spoon Group of Restaurants promise of a memorable experience in a unique and tasteful setting. “And, we promise that all your Iftars will be served in such a grand ambience.” The spokesman further said: “All of the five eateries (including an ice cream and juice joint) are having allexciting Iftar menus! And keeping to the spirit of the season, we are also offering fantastic discounts – come and enjoy the best Iftars in town at your favourite eateries in town,” a

spokesperson of the group said. The Asian Restaurant They have an offer of Ramadhan platter (1) plus two soups plus two fizzy drinks (OMR10). There is also an offer where diners can, during this Ramadhan enjoy healthy, nutritious, all you-can-eat Mongolian BBQ for OMR 4. It comes with a soup and drink. China Town Restaurant Executive Iftar platters with all of the favourite fried delights for two at OMR5.990 and for four at OMR11.990.

Mainly juices and ice cream, including bottled fresh juices (1.5litres and 500ml); fruit platters (OMR6) Sidewalk Monthly health meal programme – includes Iftar, dinner, Suhoor with an extra snack (OMR99 only).

The Manhattan Fish Market: Ramadhan platter plus soups plus fuzzy drink (OMR10). Tropical

Iftar buffet offer at Al Makan Seeb Al Makan Café, Seeb is offering a fantastic ‘break-the-fast’ offer during this Holy Month of Ramadan. “We are offering the right place with the perfect blend of delectable food and good vibes,” a spokesperson of Al Makan Café said.

The café has an Iftar buffet offer of OMR12. Al Makan Café have outlets open in Seeb, Qurum and in the Muscat Grand Mall (MGM). “We are excited because the fourth outlet will be opened soon in Salalah!”

Impact

Hormuz Grand offers exquisite Iftar plus stay The Hormuz Grand Hotel, part of Quorvus Collection by Calson Reizdor, has invited guests to share the joys and blessings of the Holy Month in traditional Ramadhan setting. The hotel promises an exquisite Iftar and dinner that will delight the most discerning palate, noted a promotion from the hotel, which invited families and other groups to spend the fast-breaking moments there. The hotel has an offer starting from OMR16. The other spectacular offer includes a night’s stay, Iftar at the Straits restaurant and in-room suhoor, the promotion added. “Experience our stunning package for only OMR49, taxes included. Valid all of Ramadhan.” 18

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The Holy Month is also the season of offers

With the Holy Month of Ramadhan comes the season of offers in the market too: of brand new deals and offerings from almost every shop, department store, boutique, car outlets‌ or on just about anything that is sold in the market! Car dealers are going to town with various special offers during the Holy Month to woo buyers. Shopping outlets, as usual, have offers galore and each one is vying with the other offering amazing deals. Let us also have a quick look at some of the exciting sales and offers that is out there at shopping malls and other outlets. The offers claim that the smart and discerning buyers are going to save loads of money on all items, from the smallest to the largest; from the cheapest to the most expensive; from the most common to the most exotic. It is all happening during the Holy Month.

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Mazda CX-9 cash gift offer Towell Auto Centre’s cash gift offer on the 2016 Mazda CX-9 is back on popular demand. Under this offer, the Classic variant of Mazda CX-9, the seven-passenger All Wheel Drive SUV, is available at a starting price of OMR9,999, after a Guaranteed Cash Gift of OMR2,501! Little wonder, the offer saw an overwhelming response and attracted many Mazda aficionados. A senior spokesperson of TAC comments: “Our guaranteed cash gift promotion was a huge success and it was only logical for us to re-announce it in favour of our esteemed clients. OMR9,999 is a steal for a classdefining model that the Mazda CX-9 is. Moreover, our customers can include the cash gift of OMR2,501 in their down payment for the car. This will ensure our customers convenience and ease in their payment strategy. We are excited to see our clients take full advantage of this amazing cash-gift offer and drive out of our showrooms with one of the most extraordinary cars in the market. This offer is valid for limited period, so don’t miss out.” The Mazda CX-9 is available in Classic and Luxury variants. The Classic variant comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and its usual standard features. “Mazda CX-9 offers a great combination of premium features, ultimate comfort, efficient performance and utmost safety. It is an ideal vehicle for those discerning customers who are looking for a sporty SUV that gives more space, abundant style and a Zoom-Zoom experience. Its smooth 3.7 litre V6 engine offers versatility and legendary Mazda handling and the KODO design makes the Mazda CX-9 look

sporty, stylish yet sophisticated. One can also book a test drive sitting at home and get more details about any of Mazda models, using the Mazda Oman mobile app for Apple, Android and BB10,” the spokesperson adds. Offering the trendiest of Japanese cars, Mazda has brought in a lot of excitement in Oman's automobile industry with their 'stylish and insightful' branding. With a network of 13 service outlets and 10 parts outlets spread across Oman, TAC is the only Mazda distributor in the world to win the Mazda Customer Service award for five times in a row. With 98.2 per cent parts deliverability, TAC also offers quick, efficient service with genuine parts available for all models and have highly trained staff who pride in their quality of service. Call the CRM team on 92888005 or visit www. mazdaoman.com for details.

Markaz Al Bahja’s exciting shopping offer The Markaz Al Bahja, Oman’s ethnic mall, takes on a spiritual hue during the Holy Month of Ramadhan. Being a well-known family shopping destination, the mall is on the forefront in having a variety of family-friendly activities. It also has an exciting shopping deal as part of the holy season. According to the mall management, any customer who spends OMR15 and more is entitled to coupons and automatically enters a draw. “There will be two draws conducted weekly on separate days and the winners stand to win OMR500 worth of Markaz Al Bahja gift vouchers.We will then pick a random customer from the draw box and he/she will win gift vouchers from nine participating tenants/sponsors,” a mall spokesperson said. “So we will have eight lucky winners for this Ramadhan, the spokesperson added.

Danube Home celebrates the spirit of the Holy Month Danube Group’s retail arm, Danube Home, is celebrating the spirit of Ramadhan in a style befitting the Holy Month. As part of their sale, Danube Home is offering a 25 percent to 60 percent discount on their home furniture items. Danube Home’s product portfolio includes • Living- chandeliers, blinds, curtains, wallpaper, parquet

floor, rugs and carpets, kitchen • Bath- bath tubs, showers room, shower panels, sauna room, vanity, mixers, ceramic tiles, accessories • Garden and Outdoor- grass carpets, gazebos, kids play, outdoor tiles, garden accessories • Furniture- bedroom, dining, sofa • Restaurant Furniture- chairs, table tops, table base 21

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Unbeatable offers and cash gifts of up to OMR3000 with Mitsubishi this Ramadhan General Automotive Company (GAC), the official distributors of Mitsubishi vehicles in Oman, has announced the launch of their highly anticipated Ramadhan offer for 2016. In addition to offering customers free insurance, free service, free registration, trade in bonuses, and cash gifts of up to OMR 3000 together with a special Ramadhan gift on the purchase of a new Mitsubishi. The GAC will also be hosting weekly cash draws throughout the Ramadhan period for visitors to the showroom as well as another special weekly draw with the chance to win an iPhone 6S for anyone who test drives a Mitsubishi vehicle. The latter draw will take place for five weeks with the first draw to be held on June 6. Customers who purchase a Mitsubishi Lancer EX, Attrage, Outlander, Montero Sport, Pajero or L200 before the offer comes to a close on July 25 will enjoy the benefits of a combination of free insurance for the first year, up to a six years/100,000Km Service Package, Free Registration, six years free roadside assistance and a cash gift of up to OMR 3,000. Commenting on the new Ramadhan Offer, Manoj Ranade, general manager of GAC, said: “Our Ramadhan offer of 2016 has been designed to offer our customers an easy and affordable

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purchase with a real sense of value, together with a six-year total peace-of-mind ownership experience; especially so when combined with the power, reliability and performance that Mitsubishi vehicles are known for. This is why we are offering a combination of high-value cash gifts together with low down payments and even a trade-in bonuses of up to OMR500. Once the vehicle is purchased customers can enjoy up to six years of free service, unlimited mileage warranty and roadside assistance. Furthermore, in the spirit of the Holy Month, we will also be providing each customer with a special Ramadhan gift with every purchase. Additionally, for five weeks, with the first draw being held on June 6, anyone who test drives a Mitsubishi will be entered into a weekly draw with a chance to win a brand new iPhone 6S. Furthermore, any customer who visits the showroom during the holy month of Ramadhan will be entered into a separate weekly cash prize draw. For more information on the new Ramadhan offer or to book a test drive, customers can visit their local Mitsubishi showroom, go online to www.mitsubishioman. com or follow the brand on its ‘Mitsubishi Oman’ facebook page or twitter @mitsubishioman.


Ooredoo celebrates Ramadhan with the return of Ooredoo surprise Inspired by the Holy Month of Ramadhan and to reward loyal customers, Ooredoo has announced the return of the highly popular ‘Ooredoo Surprises’. From June 6 until September l 3, all Ooredoo prepaid consumer and business customers will be able to receive exciting daily offers including free credit, free minutes and free data. “It is always a pleasure to bring our customers value packed offers and deals but particularly so during this special season when keeping in touch with the people that matter most is more important than ever. Last year Ooredoo Surprises gave prepaid customers a range of amazing benefits and we look forward to building on that incredible success as we share added-value offers this Ramadan and beyond,” said Feras Al Shaikh, Ooredoo director of consumer sales. Joining Ooredoo Surprises is free and easy. To opt-in for the entire three month period and receive notifications of the daily surprises, customers simply need to dial *141*888# or use the USSD menu *141# and follow the instructions. Customers will receive a notification of each surprise one day in advance and each offer is valid for a

full day from 12am. Customers can also check the daily surprise through USSD or social media. To find out more about Ooredoo Surprises or any of their inspiring offers, go to www.ooredoo.om/surprises or go along to one of their 41 stores and speak to one of their customer advisors.

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O

Charity begins…at my doorstep?

wall he t ff

By Adarsh Madhavan I have my reasons to frown and I have my reasons to feel down and desperate. But, whenever I do, despite my need to wallow in self pity and despite the natural selfishness in me to think about only me and my problems, a sliver of a thought races to the thousands out there, here, and many other countries who have more reasons to frown; more reasons to feel down and desperate. I have problems, yes, I do. I have issues, yes, I do. I have inner pains and conflicts which cracks my smiles; which rains down on my parade. But nothing compares to the problems, the issues, the inner pains and conflicts that drowns the smiles of these poor souls out there who come to the Gulf, still believing in that dream. That dream that has indirectly propped up the economies of states in India, especially Kerala. Each and everyone of them who came here are like me. The only difference is that people like me and like my lot are officially termed as NRIs (Non Resident Indians). But, I doubt if that Indian maid is actually seen as an NRI; if that driver, if that street-cleaner; if that office boy; if that tailor; if that houseworker; if that construction or for that matter if any labourer is seen as an NRI. Are they NRIs?

Off the wall

I don’t write this to blame anyone. I write this as a self catharasis. I write this, to point a shaky, gnarled finger at me, myself. I guess it is easy to blame others; to blame my government; to blame the politicians; to blame the embassy here. Instead, let me blame myself. Because I am the first one responsible for this ignorance, or for this studied benightedness. I am responsible for turning a blind eye to the folks who have contributed the maximum to my country’s economy. If we were to attend a black-tie event designed to woo the NRIs, all of us would rightfully applaud those who have provided high levels of NRI investment to the country. But, even I would not think twice of the fact that the speaker has cleanly forgot to make any mention of its largest contributors. Why doesn’t the definition of NRI include labourers? Would I stand up at such a function and ask the speaker/s why they have forgotten to mention that that the success stories of the NRIs contribution to India include the labourers too? I wouldn’t. 24

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Not that I don’t have the courage, but worse: that thought would not even have flashed in the unlit corners of my brain. Why? When the majority of the NRIs – at least in the Gulf – comprise of the labourers, why do I not count them as “one of us”? Why do we only acknowledge the top Indian businessmen; the corporate tycoons and those just below; the doctors; the engineers, the tied-suitedbooted professionals? We are grateful to bask in their reflected glory. But, what about the blue-collar ones? Why haven’t I included the poor, semiskilled labourers in my list? Why haven’t I included these men and women who work 12 hours every day; whose earnings are mostly sent back to their families back in India and many of whom who enjoy not even a proper roof above their heads? If we look at it, there is a gross indifference amongst ourselves against the sufferings of the less priviliged everywhere. The indifference stems from our ingrained attitude. They are suffering, so what can we do about it? Did we ask them to take that step to hop into a plane and jump into distress? Are we the reason for their problems? So, they are suffering…so, let us get them some water during the heat; let us put a post on the social media; let us make a comment when a scribe is doing a story and so be it. We have done our bit! This has been my attitude too. Even these lines are primarily borne from such a selfish, not-reallycaring attitude. I don’t blame anyone. Only if I can do something and if I can make a change in the lives of the many impoverished Gulf-based workers can I actually ask anyone else to make an effort to help them. Let me take that first step. Let the charity begin from my doorstep. And let it begin from yours! adarsh@blackandwhiteoman.com


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Danube will have a total of five retail outlets in Oman by Q1 2017 Danube Group plans to open four retail stores - Danube Home, including two this year, in Oman, taking the total number of stores to five. The four retail stores are planned in Mabela, Nizwa, Sohar and Salalah with a total investment of Dh120 million. “Beside our presence in the UAE market, we have a strong presence in Oman through our retail stores and we intend to launch two new retail stores this year, and two more retail stores early next year, taking the total number of stores in Oman to five retail stores with investments worth Dh120 million in the cities of Mabela, Nizwa, Sohar and Salalah,” said Adel Sajan, Director, Danube Group. Regarding

expansion programmes in the GCC region, Sajan confirmed that the next two years will witness a significant expansion of Danube Group in the GCC markets. Danube will also invest Dh50 million to open their first retail store in Qatar early next year. In Bahrain, Sajan said that they have established a building materials store as well as a retail store with a total investment of about Dh200 million. Sajan considers the UAE as Danube group’s headquarters and considered and the heart of their worldwide operations. To strengthen their business here, Danube will be opening two new retail stores this year, with an estimated investment of Dh50 million.

Within less than one year Danube is planning to open seven retail stores4 in Oman, 1 in Qatar and 2 in the UAE with a total investment of more than Dhs200 million. The company will hire more than 400 employees and their total workforce would reach anywhere between 3000 and 3200.

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Burjeel will take lead among hospitals soon, hospital Coo Healthcare provision in the Sultanate is going through a transitional stage: both the public and private healthcare systems continue to expand to support the increasing demand for quality healthcare services in Oman, according to Dr Ashendu Kumar Pandey, recently appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Burjeel Hospital in Al Khuwair. “And, we are committed to meeting this demand in what is one of the most promising countries in the region. Like our Burjeel network in the UAE, we are confident that in a short span of time, the new medical facility in Al Khuwair will also be recognised as one of the leading hospitals in Oman. As a hospital, we are constantly striving to stay abreast of emerging trends and meet the changing needs of our patients. Although Oman has a sufficient number of polyclinics and primary healthcare centers, it is significantly lacking in terms of quality tertiary healthcare. We foresee major changes happening in the delivery 26

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of healthcare across the region in the coming months and years, which is why we continuously improve our services, with a focus on unrivalled patient-centered care,” he said. Elaborating on the ‘art of healing’ concept of Burjeel, Dr Pandey said: “At Burjeel, we strongly believe it is not just about the cure; about the equipment or about the facilities. Amidst all the medical advancements of the modern world, it is easy to forget that those who are sick sometimes need something more than medicines, treatment or sophisticated medical environment.

Often a genuine warm smile, a reassuring touch or a few words of comfort can instill hope and confidence in patients and help them to get on faster path to recovery. This is what we mean by the ‘art of healing’. At Burjeel, we are of the firm belief that the process of healing is much more than curing a medical condition in a clinical environment. We provide an extremely comforting ambience, full of warmth and personalised attention. And this is the reason why along with world-class medical professionals, sophisticated diagnostic equipment and superior healthcare services, Burjeel Hospital is set to change the landscape of healthcare delivery in Oman.” Burjeel Hospital is a premium brand that is committed to offer the best healthcare services for their patients. The upcoming hospital in Al Khuwair will have all the core medical, paramedical, and support services supplied by welltrained, credentialed and accredited professionals.


Thai AirAsia X Direct Flights from Muscat to Bangkok Thai AirAsia X X, the long long-haul, ha l lo low-cost cost affiliate carrier of the AirAsia Group is launching new direct flights from Muscat to Bangkok three times per week starting from June 28, 2016. Low fares are available today at www.airasia.com and through AirAsia’s registered travel partners. Nadda Buranasari, Chief Executive Officer of Thai AirAsia X said, “We are truly excited to be the first long-haul, low-cost carrier to launch direct flights from Muscat to Bangkok. We are confident that there is great potential in connecting the two destinations and it is our pleasure to play a role in offering low fares and convenient connectivity. In Bangkok, we invite you to enjoy the many cultural attractions, delicious food, extravagant shopping malls and world-class Thai hospitality. Beyond Bangkok, there is also much to see and do. Apart from direct flights to Bangkok, AirAsia offers an amazing network in Thailand and the region with flights to over 20 destinations in Thailand and 29 other international destinations.” “Thai AirAsia X is very committed to this market and we have launched various marketing

campaigns to promote Oman to the Thai people including online campaigns, and advertisements that are highly visible around Bangkok. It is our hope that our efforts will translate to more Thai visitors to Oman and more tourism revenue for the people of Oman”, said the Ceo. Apart from direct flights to Bangkok, AirAsia’s Fly-Thru transit service also allows passengers to easily fly to other cities in Thailand via Bangkok Don Mueang Airport. Fly-Thru destinations include Thailand’s world famous beaches in Krabi and Phuket and the beautiful northern cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Passengers can checkthrough their baggage to the final destination, save time and enjoy a hassle-free transit experience.

FRiENDi mobiles dealers to ‘Earn More and Faster’ With dealers forming a crucial part of the distribution and sales to customers of SIM cards and recharge vouchers, FRiENDi mobile is introducing a new opportunity to help dealers earn more money in commissions. Valuing its dealer relations and recognising it as an integral part of their success, FRiENDi mobile, the Sultanate’s third biggest mobile service provider, has launched this new one-of-akind programme for all its registered Dealers. The FRiENDi Dealer Commission Programme provides a great commission and incentive scheme that works on new innovative technology that ensures that dealers are paid their commissions the next working day. The FRiENDi Dealer Commission programme is themed around the central idea the opportunity to ‘Earn more and faster with FRiENDi mobile’. The programme ensures that

dealers earn commission for every FRiENDi transaction they perform. This is either the activation of SIM or the sale of recharge to support customers buying data or voice plans or bundles. The commission earned is paid in recharge transferred to the Dealers FRiENDi SIM and can be resold to customers as Recharge, enabling dealers to turn their commission into cash. Every dealer can monitor their commissions instantly through the FRiENDi mobile Dealer App, allowing dealers to track their earnings. FRiENDi mobile also has a dedicated Dealer Support Team to answer any dealer enquiry that might arise. “Each sale

of a SIM or recharge or activation of data or voice plan counts, so we want to make sure that we reward our valued dealers for every transaction and provide a great new opportunity and incentive to earn more, paid almost instantly, direct to dealer. We are of course now delighted to announce our FRiENDi Dealer Commission Programme and provide this new level of Dealer rewards,” said Alex Bennett, chief executive officer, FRiENDi mobile. “We recognise that a key part of our successful commercial operations is due to our Distribution strategy and our FRiENDi Dealers are a key component in this channel strategy. Their commitment, backing and loyalty to our brand has been core to the where are today. Our dealers are fundamental part of generating sales and FRiENDi Sims and recharge to maintain the right kind of contact and advice with our customers.” 27

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Alargan Towell sponsor ‘Real Estate Forum’ ALARGAN TOWELL Investment Company announced its participation as a main sponsor for the ‘Real Estate Forum’ organised by the Oman Real Estate Association (ORA). The event was flagged off on Monday, May 30 at the Crowne Plaza, Muscat saw participation from real estate companies and investors from within Oman as well as regionally. In addition to the Company’s sponsorship of the forum, CEO Eng. Hisham Moussa represented Alargan Towell as a speaker in panel discussion sessions which will is expected to gather the most prominent leaders and pioneers of the real estate industry in the

Sultanate at the first of a kind event in Oman. Commenting on providing support to events that raise the profile of the Omani real estate sector, Eng. Hisham Moussa, Chief Executive Officer at Alargan TowellL Investment said, “The real estate forum which is organised by Oman Real Estate Association is shaping up to be one of the most important events for the sector in the Sultanate. The forum brings together experienced real estate leaders and prominent Government officials, and will also feature numerous experts from the real estate sector from Oman and abroad. Given the dominant role of real estate in the economic growth of

Oman, we believe that this forum will be of great benefit to all attendees.” “We are proud to be a part of this significant event, as we truly understand the importance of these forums and conferences in developing and enhancing the role of real estate in the growth of investments.” he added.

The Environment Society of Oman showcases research to help sustainable harvesting of frankincense

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The Environment Society of Oman (ESO), held an interactive workshop on the sustainable harvesting of frankincense trees at the Hilton Salalah Resort in partnership with HSBC Bank Oman. Mohammed bin Salim Al Toobi, minister of environment and climate affairs, Sayyid Mohamed Sultan Al Busaidi, minister of state governorate of Dhofar and Salim Oufit Al Shanfari, head of Dhofar Municipality, all honoured the research team and various stakeholders with their presence. During the event, local scientists and an internationally renowned agronomist, shared a number of important findings which showcased the frankincense industry in Oman, the products’ medicinal value, connection to national heritage and future sustainability efforts. Presenters included lead researcher Dr Mohsin Al Amri, ESO’s Frankincense project lead researcher, Denzil Philips, medicinal and aromatic plant agronomist, Ali Salim Bait Said from Office for Conservation of Environment, and Dr Mehdi Jaffer, ESO’s founding member. The workshop, attended by over 70 people, also included a field visit

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to a frankincense farm to spotlight the economic and environmental importance of preserving the trees. Mohammed Al Mashani, ESO board member, said, It is a great pleasure to share our findings with stakeholders, farmers, and other representatives who will help play a pivotal role in developing sustainable harvesting of the Boswilia sacra. For over five thousand years, the tree has played an important role in the lives of Omanis and people all over the world. With this research and the implementation of our findings, we can ensure the survival of this all-important part of our identity and preserve it for future generations.”


GAC Introduces New FUSO Canter Van General Automotive Company (GAC), the official dealership for FUSO vehicles in Oman, announced that the new FUSO Canter Van is now available in Oman. As a part of its introduction into the Market, GAC held a handover ceremony for the first two vehicles to be sold in Oman; both of which were purchased by Elite Enterprises. The handover ceremony took place at the FUSO Truck Showroom in Azaiba. Handing over the keys to the two new vans was Manoj Ranade, the general manager of GAC, accompanied by Greg Cottrell, national sales manager for FUSO, Raju Bisht, Sales Manager of FUSO, and Raya Hajiry, Sr. Sales Executive. Collecting the vehicles on behalf of Elite Enterprises was Vikas Gupta, the country manager of Elite Enterprises. Commenting on the new Canter Van, Manoj Ranade said, “FUSO already has a stronghold in Oman with its wide product portfolio of light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, together with the light-duty Rosa bus. The introduction of

the Canter Van will no doubt strengthen our lineup in Oman, offering more choice for customers and products that specifically fit their demands. Furthermore, with the Canter VAN made entirely in Japan, exceptional quality is embedded directly in the Van’s DNA, as is the Canter’s reputation for superior driving performance; making it the ideal vehicle for any business. As such I’m sure Elite Enterprises will be very pleased with their new FUSO Vans.”

Hublot showcases baselworld 2016 novelties in oman Hublot and Mistal presented the brand’s Baselworld 2016 novelties to the press in May, at the Crowne Plaza, in the presence of regional director Hublot Middle East and Africa Marco Tedeschi, and Dharmesh Ajit Khimji, managing director – Mistal. ‘’It is a pleasure to be here as have always received a positive response from our customers in Oman; the country has a large number of watch enthusiasts who truly understand the concept of finesse,’’ said Marco Tedeschi. ‘’Our collaboration with Mistal has helped us associate our brand with leading events locally and maintain our connection with our clients.’’ The event in Muscat was the last stop of Hublot’s road show in the region, and showcased eight of the new watches launched by Hublot at Baselworld this year. A watch brand that causes even the most discerning eyes to raise an appreciative brow, Hublot has received much admiration amongst women and men alike. In line with the celebration of 10 years of the All Black concept, the Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black was the star of the new collection, along with the Big Bang MECA-10 that boasts an innovative skeleton dial construction revealing the detailed mechanics of its new manufacture movement HUB1201. With all the plates, axles wheels and gear synchronised in prefect harmony, this atypical design has a 10-day power reserve, further reinforcing the connection between man and machine. “Hublot has created its mark in history as a luxury watchmaker dictating its own theory of fusion. The watches’ pure lines and careful selection of innovative

materials complement its unique and different outlook of connecting the past to the future,” said Dharmesh Ajit Khimji. “As Hublot’s local Partners, we are honored to have Marco Tedeschi with us today as we present a fine collection of Hublot novelties for the very first time in Oman.” The Mistal boutique, a part of the Ajit Khimji group, is a luxury watch and jewellery boutique that homes some of exclusive Hublot timepieces. The new showroom that was recently inaugurated is an epitome of timeless beauty and mirrors the same class, refinement and novelty as the brands it holds. 29

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“Le Petit Paris offers a slice of France in Muscat” Le Petit Paris, France’s most sought-after pastry has forayed in to the Sultanate of Oman aiming to cater to the yearning Omani folks with a slice of diverse and delectable French pastries. Located in Mawaleh right behind the Holiday Inn Hotel, Le Petit is the result of a project by passionate people enriched by their experience acquired alongside the greatest French pastry chefs, chocolatiers, bakers and ice cream makers. Le Petit is pleased to present its wide range of gourmet products made with selected high quality ingredients. For those of you looking for prestigious products, with different flavours and an original look, your creativity will be satisfied. Its diverse and assorted French pastries include breads, baguettes, wholewheat, multigrain, buns for special occasions; Danish pastries including croissants, pains au chocolat, pains aux raisins, mini pastries; Gourmet pastries which show off Le Petit creativity, its expertise and the makers’ love for the product. Macaroons, whhcih unite tradition and modernity and last but not the least, a range of

exceptional ice creams made with meticulously selected ingredients. They are available in a varied range of classic and original flavours. “I am passionate about pastry and I love discovering new cultures and tastes, that is why in my pastry, as a Chef I try to use my skills that I developed with some of the best bakers and pastry Chefs in France at the service of innovation by creating new products with an Omani touch,” says Hermann Abdelatif Ferga, production manager, Pastry Chef and baker. “They include Omani halwa macaron, Luban Ice cream, Arabic coffee macaron, brioche with Omani honey and dates”, he added.

Fifty new reasons to visit The Manhattan Fish Market

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The Manhattan Fish Market, an integral part of the Golden Spoon Group known for its exotic variety of seafood delicacies, has recently launched its new generation menu with 50 new additions of appetisers and entrees. In an evening of fun and food, the new menu was unveiled by Saad Al Balushi, managing director, Golden Spoon Group. “We are thrilled to introduce the new menu. At The Manhattan Fish Market, it is our constant endeavour to introduce new dishes keeping in mind the evolving preferences of the diners. We have added variety to ensure a delicious and exciting dining experience to our regular patrons while at the same time attracting new customers”, Saad said addressing the media.

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He elaborated: “The new menu features more than 50 new items, prepared in five different cooking methods. There is a wide choice to have the seafood grilled, baked, fried, poached or flamed. Flaming is our restaurant’s signature method: the dishes are flamed before being served in front of the guests. It is an exciting sight as well sharpening one’s taste buds. Our all cooking methods actually create great tastes for our customers to relish. We are also launching a brand new Manhattan Junior Menu with a delectable range of creative dishes created only for kids. All these meals are available for just OMR 1.80 for children under 12. We want all our customers, young and old, to have a great memorable experience at The Manhattan Fish Market.”


Majid Al Futtaim to boost total investment in Oman Majid Al Futtaim, recently announced it will increase its investment in Oman by OMR 515 million by 2020, reaffirming its long-standing commitment to the Sultanate. The company’s investment strategy includes Mall of Oman (estimated OMR 275 million), City Centre Sohar (estimated OMR 45 million), My City Centre Sur (estimated OMR 15 million), and additional investments from its retail, leisure and entertainment businesses (estimated OMR 180 million) including Magic Planet, Carrefour and VOX Cinemas. Majid Al Futtaim’s investments are anticipated to create more than 42,000 direct and indirect job opportunities in the Sultanate in the next five years. When it opens in 2020, Mall of Oman will be the largest integrated retail, leisure and entertainment destination in the Sultanate. The super-regional mall will feature 350 outlets in a 137,000 sqm retail space. It will feature ‘firsts’ including Oman’s largest snow-park, with an 8,000 sqm play area, and a Little Explorers edu-tainment centre. It will also include the Sultanate’s first Abercrombie & Fitch and largest VOX Cinemas and Magic Planet, the leading family entertainment centre in the region, as well as a 13,200 sqm Carrefour hypermarket and 292 room hotel, completing its integrated offer.

It is estimated that Mall of Oman’s development will generate 29,000 direct and indirect job opportunities. City Centre Sohar, set to open in 2018, will be the largest shopping and lifestyle destination in its Governorate. The regional mall will be home to 100 new retail outlets across 40,000 sqm. These will include businesses owned and managed by Majid Al Futtaim, such as a 7,400 sqm Carrefour hypermarket, and entertainment options including VOX Cinemas and Magic Planet. The mall will create an estimated 8,000 employment opportunities in Oman. My City Centre Sur, which will open in 2017, will be Majid Al Futtaim’s first community mall in Oman. The My City Centre retail concept, which was launched by Majid Al Futtaim two years ago, features a tailored mix of lifestyle-orientated retail and service outlets aimed at serving the everyday

needs of local communities. My City Centre Sur will include 16,500 sqm of retail space, comprising 50 outlets, a 6,850 sqm Carrefour hypermarket, Oman’s first City Centre Clinic and a Magic Planet. The project will create more than 3,500 direct and indirect job opportunities. “We have always been pioneering in the Omani market. We are proud to renew our commitment to be the leading GCC investor in the Sultanate through our OMR 705 million investments, which include the development of Mall of Oman, City Centre Sohar, and My City Centre Sur, as well as additional investments from our retail, leisure and entertainment businesses. We look forward to completing our projects and seeing them deliver more great moments for everyone, everyday,” said Alain Bejjani, chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim – Holding.

Suhail Bahwan Automobiles launches Lukoil Lubricants in Oman Suhail Bahwan Automobiles unveiled the Lukoil Lubricants range amidst media guests, international and local partners and select customers. The official launch ceremony was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, presided by June Manoharan (managing director Marine lubes MENA & Asia region), Joginder Singh Dahiya (sales director for Automotive and Industrial Lubricants), Sandeep Malhotra (regional manager, Lukoil Lubricants), Ahmed Bahwan (chairman – Bahwan International Group Holding LLC), Divyendu Kumar (managing director – Bahwan International Group Holding LLC) and senior representatives from Bahwan International Group Holding LLC. In keeping with its business growth objectives, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles have recently partnered with Lukoil for its range of automotive oils and lubricants. 31

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Clive Hammond, Ceo, of Zawawi Trading Company, briefing the local media representatives at an informal gathering, to highlight the Mercedes Benz range.

Millennium Resort Mussanah welcomes International team of whale shark researchers Millennium Resort Mussanah welcomed a team of oceanographic researchers visiting the Al Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve (DINR) as part of a global study to better understand and conserve whale shark populations. The arrival of the delegation, which is comprised of nine researchers hailing from countries such as the Seychelles and the United States of America, reflects the resort’s emergence as a centre for eco-tourism and research thanks to the boundless flora and fauna, pristine islands, and majestic mountains that surround it. Rich, teaming with life, and unspoilt, the many unique eco-systems encircling the resort have increasingly attracted numerous eco-tourists, nature lovers, and environmental analysts. The DINR was established in 1996 and spans an archipelago of nine uninhabited islands. Renowned for its unique ecosystem, the islands are considered to be extremely important areas for animal conservation due to the wide variety of migratory species that breed there and its many ancient coral reefs. The islands are home to many rare and endangered aquatic species, such as a

large number of sea turtles, violet coral, laced moray, and leopard sharks among many others. With more than 20 dive sites, the DINR are perfect for snorkelling, welcoming a growing numbers of nature and water enthusiasts every year. Christoph Schleissing, general manager of Millennium Resort Mussanah, said, “As a result of our prime location, we are the closest resort to the DINR, Sawadi Island, and many other stunning attractions. The leisurely pursuits, natural and cultural heritage sites that are near our resort ensures that an enriched experience is always available for our guests. Being only 45 minutes away from Muscat and four hours from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, we are worlds away from the bustle of modern life and perfectly placed to offer visitors the summer holiday they have been waiting for.”

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Spring bursts into life with the Muscat Singers The guests who were fortunate enough to witness the Muscat Singers on Saturday night were treated to a truly memorable performance by a choir on the top of its form. The Spring Concert was a colourful presentation of folk songs from around the world, performed under the direction of Dr Michael Buck at the Bosch Centre 34

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for the Performing Arts, TAISM (the American International School, Muscat). When the concert opened with the rhythmic beat of the Conga drums and the 50-voice choir singing the rousing Tumekuja Kuimba in Swahili, the audience knew they were in for a treat. This was followed by a traditional Shaker song The Gift to Be Simple, a coal miner’s work

song Sixteen Tons, and the AfricanAmerican spiritual Soon-Ah Will Be Done.


More Café new menu

New Eco Centre opens at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa The hugely popular More Café have stepped up their food game in a big way with the launch of a new menu. Created by the café’s own international chefs, the new menu presents a healthy new breakfast selection, range of soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes. Next to these, the new menu features wraps and new main courses as well as a mouth – watering burger selection, delicate desserts and refreshing new drinks. With many healthy new options such as the Berry Cobler with Quinoa, Spanish Tortilla, Seared Tuna with Lentil Salsa and Carrot Passionfruit Smoothie it is clear that the popular restaurant has not compromised on explosive flavors and taste. The foodies will be delighted with the new sliders, Teriyaki Burger with Wasabi Mayonnaise, Ravioli Shitake, Prawns Pasanda, Arabic Seafood Stew and many more! Ajit Singh, Group General Manager of Asha Enterprises, Believes More Café’s commitment to the highest standards of quality and its distinctive food gives it an advantage in Muscat’s highly competitive casual dining market. ‘’We are extremely pleased to be presenting our loyal customers with a new menu that will wow and tantalize taste buds. In the making of this new menu, there has been a clear understanding of incorporating local flavors that appeal to the Oman market. This fusion of Arabic, European and Asian flavours is what sets the new More menu apart and we are confident it will be a great success’’ Ajit Singh adds.

Coinciding with World Turtle Day 2016, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa have officially opened their new Eco Centre recently with guest of honour Najeeb Al Rawas, undersecretary of Environment and Climate Affairs. The celebrations started with children from class KG3 of the Our Planet School in Madinat Qaboos arriving to have their own preview of the Eco Centre and were educated by Mohammed Al Hasani, the resorts dedicated Turtle Ranger, with a talk on the Turtle Care programme that Shangri-La Muscat undertakes. The children were also shown examples of turtle along the resorts Al Bandar beachfront. The official opening of the centre was attended by over 100 guests, which included not only Najeeb Al Rawas but also local residents, hotel guests, the children from Our Planet and representatives from the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) and Five Oceans Environmental. “The objective of the Eco-Centre is to encourage education into the conservation of the natural environment that surrounds us here in Muscat and to raise awareness of the extensive work that Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa undertakes in order to protect the endangered sea turtles” explains Dirk Salzsieder, the resort’s resident manager and head of the CSR committee. He continues; “After six months of planning, gathering information and creating our concept we are thrilled to officially be opening the Eco Centre today. We hope that this area will provide a fun and exciting environment for both children and adults alike to learn more about Muscat’s environment”. The newly created educational centre, located above Mokha Café in Al Bandar hotel, is a dedicated area to explore and learn about the natural eco system in Oman as well as the extensive CSR activities and initiatives the resort is involved in. The centre will not only have a collection of information to read and view, but will also be the location of our daily 'Turtle Talk' and host of fun and engaging activities for children.

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Paris Gallery opens first store in Oman In the presence of His Excellency Sayyed Saud Bin Hilal Bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Muscat, Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery Group of Companies, and Mr. Salim Bin Abdullah Al Rawas, Chairman of Oman Luxury LLC, VIP guests and valued members of the media in Oman gathered at Opera Galleria to witness the grand opening and official inauguration of luxury retailer Paris Gallery’s much awaited franchise store in Muscat. The UAE-based retailer is in Oman to serve the unique needs of the luxury market and provide consumers with distinctive merchandise and superior customer service. The launch of the new opulent outlet reinforces the retailer’s strategic expansion plans in the region. Located at the Opera Galleria, Royal Opera House Muscat’s flagship shopping destination, the store is spread over 1,200 square meters of luxurious retail space and houses a vast array of international luxury brands in watches, perfumes, cosmetics, eyewear, accessories and leather goods. The retailer’s eye-catching retail concepts, impeccable service standards and traditional Arabic hospitality practices sees it stand out as an unequivocal shopping and gifting destination in the Middle East. “We are honored to have Paris Gallery in Oman at the exclusive and centrally located Opera Galleria. With Paris Gallery’s solid reputation and expertise in luxury retail and customer service, we will deliver the most unique, stateof-the-art retail experience in Oman. We look forward to accelerated growth through our on-going focus on luxury and service,” said Salim Bin Abdullah Al Rawas, Chairman of Oman Luxury LLC.

Speaking about the expansion, Mr. Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, said, “We are happy and proud to announce the opening of our first store in Oman in response to the high demand for luxury retail concepts and superior service in the country. Oman is a strategic market for Paris Gallery and the new store in partnership with Oman Luxury LLC is part of our vision to expand our presence in the region. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with our stakeholders and the consumers of this country.” Ibrahim Bin Abdullah Al Qasmi, Director of Retail & Business Development, Royal Opera House Muscat, said, “We are honored to have Paris Gallery, the most notable name in the Middle East in the areas of perfumes, cosmetics and accessories to be with us in Opera Galleria, the destination of luxury shopping in Muscat. Paris Gallery is located in a prime location and showcases a number of international brands under one roof. We are confident that Paris Gallery will be an added value not only to Opera Galleria but also to the entire luxury retail market in Muscat because of its reputation and its portfolio of distinguished regional and global awards.”

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Bank Sohar One Minute Banking App In order to provide its customers with increased convenience and an enhanced banking experience Bank Sohar launched their new Mobile Banking App for its conventional as well as Islamic Banking – Sohar Islamic clients at a press conference held recently. Bank Sohar mobile banking App is available on both; Android and iOS devices and features the very latest in mobile banking technology with advanced security capabilities and an innovative self-registration system in order to use it. The app also features modern and easy navigation in addition to a streamlined look; allowing customers to do banking in one minute and view account balances, transfer funds, pay utility bills, credit card payments and much more. The press conference to launch the new mobile apps was held at Crowne Plaza – Muscat. Representing Bank Sohar at the event were Sasi Kumar, Group GM Business, Munira Abdulnabi Macki, GM of HR and 36

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Corporate Support, Khalfan Rashid Al Taley, DGM and Head of Central Operations, Mujahid Said Al Zadjali, DGM of IT and Alternate Channels, Salim Khamis Al Maskry, DGM & Head Sohar Islamic, Mazin Mahmood Al Raisi, Sr. AGM of Marketing and Customer Experience and Mustafa Mohammed Dhafaullah, Head of Alternate Channels; alongside other senior members of the Bank.


In Black & White

In Black... The spirit of giving should be imbibed in the younger generation as they grow up. Charity and good behaviour starts at home, and should be trained in schools too Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Chairman A QUICK RETHINK ABOUT CHARITY Today the most common act of charity is distributing food packets, especially during the Holy Month of Ramadan. But, my question is why only during the Holy Month? Why can’t it be done throughout the year? And why limit it to food packets and rations? Can’t we give other basic necessities that are equally necessary? When you talk about philanthropy, it generally means charity through compassion; in Islam it is mandatory that the rich reach out and help the needy, but definitions of the act has changed over the years. SERVE THEM ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS Charity as they say is universal, and is not limited to a season, a month, an hour of the year. Ideally it should be a ongoing process. Acts of charity should not be limited to doling out stuff. Be there for the needy, spare your time, do anything to be a part of their lives, never use the age-old formula and give away used clothes and food packets, which today they might not be needing. The needs could be different, it could be a household appliance, a paint job, an air conditioner, or even a bill to be paid. The needs have evolved

with the lifestyles changing drastically with the advent of modernity ant technology. Caring and giving patterns also should evolve accordingly. Black & White team met with some key charity associations/NGOs in town who has taken up charity as a permanent feature of their day, throughout the year. Definitely, the spirit of giving is enhanced in the Holy Month of Ramadan and add on the generosity factor. CATCH THEM YOUNG The spirit of giving should be imbibed in the younger generation as they grow up. Charity and good behaviour starts at home, and should be trained in schools too. Let the young generation grow up with social responsibility and contribute their mite to the society they live in. Because charity is not a passing phase or a fashion title.

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Acts kindness It is the month of giving. It is the month when the faithful make enormous effort to fulfill one of the most important task of their lives – to give and not just to give, but to make a great effort to put a smile on the face of the less fortunate. And, it is the month where the less fortunate has a reason to smile. Charity during the holy month of Ramadhan takes on a whole new meaning and it really brings food to the table of even the most impoverished. There is always a noticeable increase in charitable work during Ramadhan. The Holy Month really entices the faithful to do good. All Muslims, who can afford it, are required to contribute a portion of their wealth in the shape of Zakat – one of the five pillars of Islam. The best part of Ramadhan is that during this holy period, there is a great increase in charity-related acts. Other than the corporate social programmes of companies, we see a great push by the charity organisations in Oman. B&W Xclusive

Here is a quick look at some of the charitable organisations’ Ramadhan activities:

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OCO’s almost omnipresent presence in Oman

B&W Xclusive

Ali bin Shunoon bin Ibrahim Al Raisi beams with a certain beatitude; there is a look of utter peace and satisfaction writ on the glowing face of the executive chairman of the foremost charity organisation in the country. The reason is simple. In two decades since its formation, the Oman Charitable Organisation (OCO) is a formidable force to reckon with in the fight against poverty, destitution and disaster in Oman and beyond.

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THE ACTIONS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES: 20 years ago, the OCO came into being as part of a Royal Decree (no 6/96). It was decreed to be a public charitable organisation. Within a span of three years, in February 1999, the OCO began its operations. And when it began functioning, 17 years ago, the OCO was attending to just over 1000 needy families. But, thanks to the Almighty God and the unstinting support of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the OCO is today supporting over 62,000 needy families in Oman in 61 districts and 11 wilayats and their reach has extended over the Sultanate, reaching across to Yemen, Albania, Afghanistan, East Africa, Iraq, Algeria, Morocco and other countries. “From feeding and supporting 1000 families in 1999 to 62,000 families in and around Oman today, we have come a long way,” noted Ali Al Raisi in a recent interview with the Black & White held at the OCO headquarters (*). “With each passing year, we are able to support more number of needy families and also reach out globally and partner with international charity organisations. Over the years, the OCO has grown consistently and today we can proudly say that at any point of time, we can cater to 1000 needy families, which is approximately 6000 individuals, and we have the means to be present anywhere in Oman in just two hours – wherever it maybe!” SHOPPING COUPONS INSTEAD OF PARCELS Black & White met up with Ali Al Raisi to learn more about their charitable acts during the month of piety and he gave us the complete picture, including their various related aid activities: “The needs have changed and it is no more about making a formula packet and distributing it to the needy families,” he noted. “Offlate, we have been distributing shopping coupons rather than readymade pre-packed parcels. It is more appropriate for the needy family members to buy what they require, rather than give them what we feel is right. Each family has their own needs and wants. We have an excellent distribution channel and work with the local Wali’s offices, charities, associations and volunteers from each district who help us reach these families at the right time. Under the 2016 Ramadhan programmes, we have budgeted a programme, which is over two million rials and supported by the government and by donations,” he said. He noted that the coupons have already been issued. They have begun the process three months back itself. The majority of the coupons have been distributed well in advance of the Holy Month. “We began the preparations – purchasing etc -- some six months back and then started the distribution three months before the Holy Month. Like every other business

and event, planning, budgeting, costing and monitoring happens at every stage.” CHARITY IS UNIVERSAL However, Ali Al Raisi hastened to note that charity was not relegated to the Holy Month alone. “Charity is a unique and continuing process. It does not start or end for a period – it works all around the clock. And it does not limit to any religion, community, cause or issue. Yes, charity starts at home , but it is a requisite that binds all living beings of the world. The will to do charity began since the day of the first Prophet Adam and as long as we have compassion and feelings towards our fellow living beings, it will always sustain. Every other issue, can be compartmentalised into categories with a start and expiry date, but charity is beyond all boundaries and limitations. It is with this view that the OCO operates. We work around the clock to put a smile on the lips, which has just tasted the salt of the tears pouring from the eyes. This is our aim!” INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE The OCO ‘s reach always extended beyond the realms of the country. It has made its solid presence in many countries across the world and has earned a name to be there at the moment of need. “The OCO joined other organisations and associations around the world in sending emergency aid to Kosovo refugees stranded in Albania as a result of the Balkan crisis; and also to Afghanistan and Palestine. “The OCO coordinated with the government in sending humanitarian aid to many countries, including Turkey and Iran during the earthquake. We have also sent humanitarian aid to East Africa, Iraq, Algeria and Morocco,” Ali Al Raisi said, noting that they were successful in reaching countries in various levels of distress because they often planned ahead. He also noted that the OCO was in full coordination with several entities in the Arab nations, including the GCC countries as well as the UN agencies working in the humanitarian field so as to open broader horizons for its activities and to gain better experience in its operational activities. MAIN OBJECTIVES OF OCO: • To support and finance social welfare projects and programmes beneficial to the citizens at large. • To support and finance projects and programmes which are geared to meet the urgent needs of the elderly, needy children, orphans and the welfare and rehabilitation of individuals with special needs. • To extend all kinds of emergency assistance to individuals, group of individuals and welfare organisations within the country and abroad in case of any kind of 2016 June 2016 41 41 June Black Black & White & White


disaster including natural disasters and other human emergencies. • To collect and receive donations and grants in addition to other types of contributions and voluntary assistance from individuals and organisations within and outside the country and outside. FUNDING The organisation’s funds come from: • Grants from the government. • Donations from individuals within the country. • Donations from banks and private companies within the country. • Profit returns from OCO’s investments. • The OCO’s funds are considered to be public funds and are therefore subject to the State Adult Law. ACHIEVEMENTS The OCO has innumerable achievements. And it is moving steadily forward, as it carries on with the implementation of many of its programmed activities, within the Sultanate and abroad, expanding in both measure and grade. Although the activity of assisting those affected by adverse weather conditions took a much larger space in the scheme of the activities across the three stages (relief-assistance- compensatory aid), the organisation continues to conduct and propel the development of the 12 programmes, seven of which are managed within the Sultanate. These programmes manifested as financial aid (charity), relief assistance, education assistance, medical treatment aid, food aid, housing assistance and sponsorship of

orphans. Notably the volume of those requests and the assistance is increasing year after year, and with that, the number of beneficiaries and the amount of the expenditure continues to grow as well. “The organisation is sparing no efforts in providing aid and assistance to friendly countries, when they need it, inspired by the tolerant principles Oman believes in and demonstrated to us by Islam,” Ali Al Raisi said. The activities of the organisation within the country diversify and it grows year after year, as it works in every direction to draw smiles on the lips and light a candle in the way of life. “This programme aims at providing assistance to the needy individuals, to organisations, association and social centers as well as associations, bodies and social institutions operating in the field of humanitarian work within the sultanate. Through charity and aid offered by the people with kindness and generosity, we may all alleviate pain, or draw smile on the lips of the poor to light up the paths of their lives; this programme continues to go forward at a steady pace where thousands are benefiting from it every year.” The executive chairman of the OCO noted that their success story in reaching out to those in need was thanks to the Almighty and the unstinting support and follow up by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. But, by no means were they resting on the laurels, he hastened to note. “There is a lot of work to be done. Of course, our dreams are bigger than our resources but we always keep our expectations high. Various methods will be explored to increase our resources through the income generated by investment,” he said.

OCO’s aid programmes

B&W Xclusive

A quick look at the various aid programmes of the OCO: AID PROGRAMMES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION FOR LABOUR “’We will educate our children even under the shade of a tree’... Ever since the leader of our nation raised this slogan, all are working towards its achievement with our belief in their importance of education in the renaissance and advancement of the nations,” Ali bin Shunoon 42

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bin Ibrahim Al Raisi, executive chairman of the Oman Charitable Organisation (OCO), said. The OCO has been providing educational financial assistance, since 2000, to a number of male and female secondary school or preparatory programmers. This aid was provided specially to the orphans and students from the social security dependant and limited income


group families, as the organisation’s contribution to dissemination of knowledge and culture all across the community. MEDICAL AID The OCO conducts its activities, under this programme, by providing financial aid and other in-kind assistance to the patients who are unable to afford treatment, whether in private hospitals or travel abroad for treatment. This programme also provides in-kind assistance for people with special needs and patients from poor families, through the provision of tools, equipment and medical supplies needed by these patients, which include: oxygen equipment, cochlear(hearing) devices, ear phones, urination control devices, chairs of all kinds for persons with disabilities, medical beds, medical mattresses, medical shoes, bathroom chairs, car driving chairs for disabled, eyeglasses, contact lenses etc. Food aid; ‘breaking fast’ (during the Holy Month) Another welfare approach that is taken by the OCO, which opens the door for everyone wishing to do good is the food aid programme, which the organisation has been conducting since 1999. Although this programme is conducted throughout the year, it is more widespread and extensive through the campaign known as the ‘Breaking Fast Campaign’. “The distribution of food to the needy is carried out in cooperation with the offices of the Walis and department of social development and women’s associations in all provinces and regions of the Sultanate. These are the most prominent efforts of the organisation over the past years. We pray to Almighty Allah to help us to do good always, and inspire in us rationality and

righteousness, and to accept all our commendable deeds,” Ali Al Raisi said. CARE FOR ORPHANS AND NEEDY FAMILIES Blessed is he who wipes the tears of an orphan, or helps a poor person, and in this sense, the OCO seeks to achieve this overarching goal, where it conducts the programme to ensure the care of orphans and/or needy families. The organisation provides, through this programme, monthly financial subsidy system (salaries) for orphans in need, whether an orphan is within or outside the sultanate. The disbursement of salary for each case starts from the beginning of sponsorship and continues until he/she reaches 18 years. The OCO also sponsors families with more than three orphans, or families in conditions of social hardship in life that need social care till they come out of those circumstances, such as the families of prisoners, or those undergoing urgent difficult circumstances. HOUSING PROGRAMMES It is natural that man needs a home to ward off the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter, and to have shelter for the children and the family; for this, the OCO has extended its services, in cooperation with generous and benevolent people, to include the provision of appropriate healthy housing for the needy, through a special programme within the expansion programme, which has made continuous progress and met with continued success year after year. (*)The OCO’s head office is located in Al Khuwair, adjacent to the Sultan Said bin Taimour mosque and the Higher Technical College. 2016 June 2016 43 43 June Black Black & White & White


The true spirit of giving The Dar Al Ata’a Association’s (DAA) building in Al Bashaer road in Madinat Sultan Qaboos is a beehive of activity as usual. A line of cars are waiting to pass the DAA building as there seems to be a flurry of activity right before the premises and they were temporarily blocking the traffice. Not a murmur came from the patiently waiting car owners, who otherwise would create scenes. But, very few would not understand the significance of the unloading of goods before the DAA building. These were items of charity sent from various sources in the country and during the Holy Month, there would be more essentials being sent to the premium charity association in town, which would be distributed to the needy during the Holy Month. May Al Bayat, marketing director of Dar Al Atta’a Association was herself drowning in a sea of work. She was being inundated with calls, requests and volunteers were surrounding her as we reached the DAA office. Somehow she managed to squeeze some time for us from the hustle and bustle. “The Holy Month of Ramadhan ushers in the spirit of giving. As an association, we strive to be there at every step for the needy families and put in all our efforts to reach out to them throughout the Sultanate,” May Al Bayat told the Black & White.

B&W Xclusive

CHARITY ALL YEAR AROUND AND ALL ENCOMPASSING “It is true that charity is part of everyone’s life, but how many of us take time to pause and look at our fellow beings and volunteer to be there for supporting the needy ones? Charity should be throughout the year, not just as a part of an year. Charity should be all year around and all encompassing,” May noted. A CHALLENGING YEAR-- 2016 The recession and oil process have hit the charity scene too. Unlike the previous years, the cost cutting at various corporate levels have created a dent in the flow of charity donations this year, May noted. ‘We are at the receiving end of a shocking amount of rejections for sponsorship requests this year. Somehow it is ironic that many organisations equate charity as a marketing tool. “Unfortunately the needy still remain needy and hunger and demands for basic essentials are still prevalent in the society. How do we address that? We cannot let the 44

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needy remain needy, especially during the Holy Month of Ramadhan. Our social responsibility should top all decisions if we need to give back to the society. Every individual is important in their own way. And it is our social responsibility to give back to the community we live in and identify ourselves. Charity is not a feel good choice or a marketing tool or a part time activity. It defines the true spirit of being one with the society we live in.” NEED FOR VOLUNTEERS While there was no shortage in the wants of the needy, there was always a dearth in the number of volunteers, which poses a problem for charity outfits like Dar Al Atta’a. “Oman is a very young nation. The power of the youth comes to the forefront when they unite for a humanitarian cause. The values of charity and charitable acts should be inculcated in the youth today so that the society becomes a better place to live in. What we lack today is volunteers, who can come together and support the needy families. We are today struggling with lack of volunteers and we hope with more awareness, more and more individuals will step in and take responsibility for the community we all live in. The Holy Month of Ramadhan is a peak season for us at Dar Al Atta’a, with a host of activities planned and executed during this month. We hope more youth join the act of volunteering and help associations and charities to reach out to the needy families around.” DISTRIBUTION OF IFTAR PACKS The Holy Month of Ramadhan promotes the spirit of giving and forgiving; the Dar Al Atta’a receives generous


donations during this month from a large number of donors (individuals and companies). Since its foundation, Dar Al Atta’a has delivered Ramadhan ration packages to the underprivileged families in a manner that boosts social tolerance and kindness. “We are distributing around 1000 ration packages, across various parts of Oman. Each pack will cost OMR30 with everyday essentials comprising 20 kilos of rice, 10 kilos of flour and box of oil and other dry food items. These ration packets are distributed for needy families in the regions of Quriyat, Bid Bid, Al Hamra, Suwaiq, Rustaq, Sohar, Jebel Aswad, Siya, Sidab and Muscat. IFTAR MEALS IN 11 MOSQUES Dar al Atta’a will be distributing meals across 11 mosques for 850 people per day this year: Al Sabaha mosque in Sohar (100 meals daily), Al Rahma mosque in Bahla (50 meals daily), Al Jimah mosque in Bahla (50 meals daily), Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib mosque in Saham (50 meals daily), Al Dheeb mosque in Saham (50 meals daily), Al Taqwa mosque in Mudhabi (100 meals daily), Al Haima mosque in Ibra (100 meals daily), Al Farooq mosque in Al Amerat (100 meals daily), Al Saih al Ahmar mosque in Bid Bid (100 meals daily), Al Abha mosque in Bousher (100 meals daily), Al Nawafil mosque in Al Mussanah (50 meals daily). OTHER ACTIVITIES Other than the on-going Ramadhan ration distribution, Dar Al Atta’a also have a host of activities planned this year. They include the Hand in Hand campaign, Qaranqasho for

sick children admitted at the SQU, Khoula, Royal and Dar Al Hanan hospitals, the 17th SME Forum scheduled to be held at Al Noor Hall which has 70 participating SMEs and would bring in charity revenue through registration fees as well as exhibit sales; the SMEs will showcase clothes, accessories and perfumes for women and children for Eid. Entry to the event will cost OMR1 and the proceeds will be used for Kiswat Al Eid (Eid clothes). This Ramadhan, Dar Al Atta will be collaborating with Cake gallery outlets, tips and toes, a host of 50odd outlets including beauty centres, restaurants, cafés and boutiques for the Eid coupons activity. Others include through the Dar Al Atta’a counters at various commercial centres, the discount vouchers at Al Obaidani outlets, renovating houses with the support of Omantel, donation boxes at Muscat City Centre and Qurum City Centre, donations through shopping at Sabco Centre and the One Rial campaign. Omantel supports every year through a OMR100,000 for renovating houses for approximately 22 to 25 homes, according to the requirements. Most of the renovations are complete by Eid time and the families are happy. INFORMATION KIOSKS AT 21 LOCATIONS This year Dar Al Atta’a will be setting up its information kiosks at 21 locations in different commercial centres to make it easier for people

to donate. Some of the new locations include Oman Avenues Mall, Lulu Hypermarket (Seeb, Ma’awaleh and Bausher), The Sultan Center (Qurm and Azaiba), The Wholesale Centre (Al Khoudh and Amerat), Ramez Hypermarket (Seeb), Al Meera Hypermarket (Azaiba) and K M Hypermarket (Azaiba and Al Khuwair). Counters will also set up at fillings stations.

Brand ambassador and tennis player Fatma Al Nabhani

"

Anything that helps people, even if it is a small thing makes me very happy. I am honoured to be a part of this campaign.

"

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Charity at its best

B&W Xclusive

Al Rahma Charity (*) believes in 24/7, all year around charity. And the truth is that they just don’t believe it, they practice it with a fervent passion. The volunteers, under the able stewardship of Rahima Al Musafer, are equally passionate about charity and all seem to burn with the same fire to give and to help people in distress. We visited Al Rahma Charity in Al Khoud recently, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get to meet Rahima. Instead we met up with Younis Khamis Al Rashdi, a dynamic young volunteer and team leader of Al Rahma, who took us through their charity initiatives during the Holy Month. Al Rahma has a dedicated 100-strong team of volunteers from all walks of life who unite for a common goal: to better the lives of the underpriviliged. They work without any expectations to just wipe the tears of the faces of the poor and distressed. At Al Rahma, the common belief is that social work is not a tool to be employed only during a crisis – it should be throughout the year and done in a manner with the goal to better the lives of all and make the world a better place to live in. As a team, the volunteers of Al Rahma do their best to make a difference in the lives of the underpriviliged. The team are set all around Oman and they also have regionwise supporters who check on the needs and requirements and work to meet it accordingly. Most of the volunteers are employed in various jobs outside the charity realm. Youni Al Rashdi for example. He is an oil and gas engineer by profession and a volunteer by passion. “I was into organising events earlier and that brought 46

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me in to the world of volunteering and charity. Basically what stated off as a part time hobby, made me realise the importance of social responsibility for any member of the society. I was fortunate enough to be part of some events organsied by Al Rahma team in 2007, especially during the Gonu crisis time and practically understood the value and seriousness of being available to reach out to people who are needy and helpless. During Gonu, my home was damaged and therefore I personally understand what an unexpected crisis can do to break a family!” Younis


explained to the Black & White. Today with many efforts and volunteering projects, Younis has been entrusted with the responsibilities of a team leader with Al Rahma Team. “At Al Rahma, we have a very good and passionate team of 100 odd volunteers from all walks of life, who join hands to better lives, in their own sincere way,” Younis said. “Volunteering brings happiness to me and when I interact with a like-minded team, the end result is success. What we attempt may not change the whole society overnight, but every little deed of kindness goes a very long way in changing the lives of those who are deprived. So join us in volunteering, do a good and caring deed, spread the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadhan… care for another living being!” Younis noted that many people viewed charity as a difficult and an almost impossible task. There are many who believe that charity can be done by only the rich. Younis noted that a great amount of money was not required to do charity or help people in distress. “What you require is a heart beating with passion to help – that is all. The rest comes automatically!” EACH YEAR GETTING BETTER Younis noted that Al Rahma always planned ahead and quite a lot of planning went into their charity activities for the year. “We do not limit it to the Holy Month alone, though the activities in this month are the highlight of the year. We have additional activities and donations raised for this month’s activities, all planned well in advance. Other than the regular distribution of Ramadhan packets, we have charted out a long list of activities for this year.” RAMADHAN ACTIVITIES: IFTAR CARTS: Designed by volunteers and managed by orphans, 10

Iftar break carts filled with food are arranged at various places in Seeb. IFTAR AT VILLAGES: “We adopt one village from the remote areas and organisee Iftar for the villagers and families involved during this month. There are a few shortlisted villages under the aegis of Al Rahma, where many needy families are residing. The Iftars organised will be for the whole month period during the Holy Month -- all 30 days. This year it will be one of the villages near Wadi Bani Khalid. It is not just about the Iftar breaks alone. Our volunteers interact with the villagers, find out their challenges, and offer suitable solutions and necessary assistance,” Younis said. GIFTS OF RAMADHAN: Needy families are provided various gifts from household appliances to furnishings to kitchen materials, cooking utensils to whatever the requirements are. IFTAR WITH INMATES OF SAMAIL PRISON One day of the Holy Month of Ramadhan is dedicated for the prison inmates. “Our team of volunteers visits the inmates, arranges for an Iftar break, provide religious Islamic sermons and we even organise exhibitions for the inmates. This month is a month of forgiveness and caring and so we forgive everyone and we go out of our way to provide proper care,” Younis noted. DONATION BOXES THROUGH BAKERY OUTLETS “We call it spreading compassion via bread boxes. When you buy a bread for your family, think of the less privileged and the needy families out there. All you need is to buy a bread, which will cost you 200-300 baisas only and drop it in the donation bread boxes we have installed at the bakeries. Needy people can walk in and take their 2016 June 2016 47 47 June Black Black & White & White


requirement as available in the boxes,” Younis explained. EXHIBITION FOR EID CLOTHES Al Rahma also organisee an exhibition and sale of clothes and thereby raise funds for the needy. “We also offer Eid clothes to the needy families and orphans,” Younis said. IFTAR WITH THE OLD AGE HOME INMATES AT RUSTAQ “Our team of volunteers visit the old age homes, which house old people who have no one else to care for; we take care of them, spend time, offer them iftar breaks and Eid clothes, find out their necessities and do the needful,” he added. UMRAH TRIPS FOR ORPHANS The Rahma team also sponsors 20 to 30 orphans to make the Umrah trip to Saudi Arabia, all expenses taken care of. This is done annually.

B&W Xclusive

IFTAR FOR NEEDY FAMILIES IN SEEB Iftar ration packets are distributed for over 1700 families in the Seeb region and over 5000 packets all over the Sultanate. “We have a network of good volunteers and all join together to make this distribution successful and to reach out to the real needy families and people,” Younis said. NEW ACTIVITIES FOR 2016 Every year we do new activities, increasing our reach to the remotest areas and villages. BEST VOLUNTEER IDEA “Being open to ideas, we call in for young volunteers

to bring in a new idea with which a cause can vbe addressed and implemented successfully, offering solutions. We encourage volunteers to bring in new projects, ideas and programmes and award them so as to encourage their involvement and enhance the spirit of social responsibility.” SCHOOL BAGS DISTRIBUTION: 2000 numbers of fully packed school bags with all essential accessories are distributed in the Seeb area. HOMEMADE PRODUCTS EXHIBITIONS: Encouraging home products, Al Rahma organise exhibition for women and other members who can display their homemade products for sale. IFTARS AT MOSQUES Iftars are provided in 50 mosques in and around Oman. DONATION BOXES FOR TOYS, GAMES AND BOOKS Every donation is part of giving and caring for your fellow beings, even a small toy can bring joy to a needy child. Boxes are kept at various collection points. JOBS FOR ORPHANS More than 10 jobs are provided per month for the needy orphans, so that they can take home a stable income for their daily needs VISIT TO AL KHODH ORPHANAGE Spend an hour, give them some of your time so that the orphans get some kind of relief. (*) Currently an association

Text: Adarsh Madhavan & Priya Arunkumar, Photos: Najib Al Balushi June 2016 48 Black & White


Management Talk

Take it easy... Live a great life Dr Anchan C.K. managing director, World Wide Business House

By Dr CK Anchan In a world where people are regularly commended for things such as hard work, dedication and focus, the idea of not taking life seriously can sound preposterous. But is a serious mentality really at the core of the previously mentioned good habits? Or is it what is potentially getting in the way of you having a more enjoyable life? Every day you are faced with a million little traps that encourage you to take your life way too seriously. The frustrations of living comes in many forms such as slow internet connections, people who drive at a snail’s pace, and choosing what to wear to an event with an ambiguous dress code. It is easy to get caught up in perpetual flow of decisions and events that make up our lives and to forget that most of the challenges we are faced with are only as stressful as we choose to let them be. Consider the fact that wealth is not correlated with happiness. In fact, once you have enough money to satisfy your basic needs, money makes very little difference in your overall well-being. Time and time again when researchers have tried to figure out what makes people happy they have come to the same conclusion: personal relationships make the biggest difference. If we valued our happiness over money , we would do everything we could to spend time with friends and family and not worry so much about putting in extra time at work. When you look back on your life, you won’t reflect on the time you spent at work; you will remember family dinners, great vacations, romantic dinners, and your wedding. Prioritise people over your career. There are clearly times in life and certain

circumstances that are genuinely serious. However, far too often we add unnecessary stress, pressure, and negativity to situations with our attitude of “seriousness.” One of the best things we can do is laugh— at ourselves, at the situation, or in general. If worrying is unproductive and money doesn’t make us happy, why do we waste so much time on those things? You only get to live one life. If you’re lucky enough to make it to age 90 you still have less than 800,000 hours between the time you are born and the time you die to cherish and enjoy all the things that make up life. Finally, if you need a reminder that your problems aren’t as big as they seem and you want to readjust your perspective, get out of the city and look at the stars. The universe is larger than you can imagine. It is filled with burning balls of gas, galaxies and solar systems beyond counting, and thousands of other civilizations fighting their own wars and facing their own challenges. In a very real sense, you are insignificant. What better reason could there be not to take your life to seriously? The only thing that really matters is enjoying your life as much as you can and helping other people do the same. There is one fact that is undeniable: in this life, you will never be as young as you are right now. That being the case, do you really want to spend right now being serious? Life is an awesome adventure. Do what you need to do to live a happy and fulfilled life, and forget what anyone else tells you.

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Fun facts about

Kidstuff

Ancient civilizations were fascinated with the glow worm, thinking the insects were magical because of their ability to light up. Here are a few amazing facts‌

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• Glow worms are nocturnal, which means they stay awake at night. Because they like the dark, they live in dense forests and caves around the world – even in the Arctic • Legends claim that people used glow worms to line walkways and light their homes. Thousands of years later, a child’s toy was modeled after glow worms • Glow worms are not worms, but insects • The adult glow worm cannot eat because it has no mouth • It can take the female up to 24 hours to lay her eggs • A male adult glow worm lives for 5 days, but the female only lives for 2 days • The larva stage of the insect is the only stage that eats anything • The larva can last for several months without eating • The glow worm larva is more like a maggot than a worm • The female lays about 130 eggs and dies immediately afterwards • Glow worms are cannibals! They eat meat, usually other insects. • The female glow worm is generally larger than the male • They do not have to look for food – it comes to them. It is attracted by their glow • They catch their food in sticky fishing lines that they hang down • A glow worm lives for 10 – 11 months from birth to death • A glow worm spends up to 7months of its life glowing in the larva stage • The glow worm fly (adult) is a poor flyer • Glow worms live in dark , damp places like caves and river banks

There’s no need to light a night light On a light night like tonight; For a night light’s just a slight light On a light night like tonight. 51

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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 month, here is some nitter natter for the B&W Bitter Batter:

A week of mall outbursts

Nitter natter

A recent story that did the rounds was that of a mall manager loudly berating a member of the cleaning staff in front of people and how a bystander (who posted the same on the social media) rose to the occasion and bravely confronted the senior mall official. Apparently, the official was not just rude but also quite ugly in his one-sided shouting match. But the bystander gave it to the man properly and this news hit the social media pages. There are moments when we all lose it and our angry guts spill out all dark and ugly. But, it is never ever nice to crowd on someone who is not just weaker than you, but also in a lower-rung post. Perhaps when your

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staff makes a silly mistake, they need to be reprimanded but not before outsiders. The mall official’s angry tirade against a junior official may not have been seen at all if the person had indulged in his act somewhere in official precincts of their office. But, this action of a public tirade was what caught the gut of this bystander. We were witness to an unsimilar drama at another mall just the other day (a day or so after the previous mall manager’s outburst) . This was at a small pet shop where a customer was angrily shouting down the staff. The public became aware because of the fury unleashed and the noisy uproar created. Witnesses noted that

it looked like the furious customer was about to beat the staff as his hand was also raised as he loudly ripped the pet shop staff apart. No one knew the reason but it was quite heartening to see the security staff quickly rushing to the scene the moment they were alerted. But before they reached to the shop, the customer gave them the slip. Whatever the reason behind the customer’s outburst, it did look quite ugly, but what was reassuring was the security personnel’s response: they rushed to the rescue of this shop official immediately. Of course they could not help alter the situation, but they just proved that they could be there when they are wanted.


Do they serve those who “only stand and watch”? Come they said, come. Come for our swashbuckling event. Come and rub shoulders with glam gals and guys, they said. Vroom vroom, they said. You will be inspired, they said. It is going to be one big party and you are going to be dazzled by the glitz and the glamour! By the rock n roll! By the shine on the fenders and the imagination on the wheels… So great, said the media folks. Wow, they said. Time to don our tuxes; time to polish our shoes and time to comb our hair… Let us rub shoulders with the bold and the beautiful!

Whoo hoo! But, boo hoo hoo, when the D-day dawned, a section of the media were suddenly told that sorry they had no tables left; no no they did not say sorry, we apologise, it is an unspeakable tragedy – nope, nothing of the sort, just plain rude, take-it-orleave-it stance! Just: “Well, we don’t have tables any longer, so if you want to attend, you may have to stand and watch!” What?! We have heard of the line “they also serve who only stand and wait”. But

we don’t know if they will also serve those “who only stand and watch”! Should we just stand and watch this shabby treatment of the media?

A tale of ‘ping’! Heard on the street: The grapevine tells us of a recent (believable) tale of how the infernal addiction to mobile phones that majority of the folks have today (‘Ping’! Sorry, could you folks hold on for a moment or two? We just want to check our whatsapp!). Ping, pong, ping, pong, ping, pongggg… Alright, back to the ‘tale’: So, yes, there was this couple who went to a coffee house and sat across each other on plush coffee chairs, ordered their favourite cuppa and went about their er, online conversation with someone else on their mobiles. Meaning, both sat in the coffee shop, ordered their hot java and without even looking up at each

other, let alone hold a conversation, went about tapping busily on their mobiles. The story goes that the man, who while busily tapping on his phone, got up and left without even a ‘hi’ or a ‘bye’. The woman did not even

notice it. One has to lift their head to notice what is happening around and the tragedy is that she did not notice that the man sitting opposite her had left. In fact, a half an hour or so later, the lady phone tapper got up and left. Some of the staff and the neighbours on the nearby tales were left bewildered whether they actually were together or were they two strangers who did not even know they were sitting across each other in a coffee shop, or, rather did not even bother because they were too busy on their whatsapps? Whaddyathink? Ping! Ooops, gotta go! Ping, pong, ping, pong, ping, pongggg…

(Note: Readers who have something bitter to chatter about can either email on editor@blackandwhiteoman.com or call 99218461)

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Your ARIES March 21-April 20

TAURUS April 21-May 20

GEMINI May 21-June 21

Your artistic abilities come to the fore and you no longer feel the need to do what looks right, but you’ll be doing what feels right instead. New and improved avenues will be opening up in the workplace in a few days. Don’t cancel nights out with friends, as they are forecast to be just what the doctor ordered.

Travel is well starred and you should find yourself visiting some new and exciting places over the course of the next seven days. Try not to have too strong an opinion on things you know nothing about or you could end up casting yourself in an immature light to the very faces you are trying to impress.

Travel you make in the name of your career pays dividends and you start to aim higher and dream bigger. You will come on in leaps and bounds this year and things are going to continue to get brighter for you. Family prove tiring and stressful, but keep going as you are giving a close one great support.

CANCER June 22-July 23

LEO July 24-August 23

Finances come to the fore and you start to realise that you allowed to control your life and that you don’t have to bow down and do what everyone else wants all the time. A tired mind this weekend could see you cancelling the very events you needed to attend to get a moral boost.

There are many rewards to be gained from working hard this week, but that may mean you having to give up some of your spare time in order to complete things. A clash with someone you used to have a lot in common with is bringing you down and it may be a case of you having to deal only with the person concerned.

VIRGO August 24-September 23 Those born under the sign of Libra can help you succeed in business and financial affairs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know all the answers. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to fill in those important blanks. The departure of a familiar face leaves you feeling nostalgic for the past.

Horoscope

MORGAN FREEMAN (BORN JUNE 1, 1937) is an American actor and narrator. Freeman won an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor with Million Dollar Baby (2004), and he has received Oscar nominations for his performances in Street Smart (1987), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Invictus (2009). He has also won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Freeman has appeared in many other box office hits, including Glory (1989), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Seven (1995), Deep Impact (1998), The Sum of All Fears (2002), Bruce Almighty (2003), The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Lego Movie (2014), and Lucy (2014). He is known for his distinctively smooth, deep voice. He got his break as part of the cast of the 1970s children's programme The Electric Company. Morgan Freeman is ranked as the 3rd highest box office star with over $4.316 billion total box office gross, an average of $74.4 million per film.

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stars LIBRA September 24-October 23 You could find yourself being taken advantage of if you are not careful this week. Try to be aware of what you are agreeing to, as many of the signs will be trying to get their own way, without considering what is best for you. The temptation to do something you shouldn’t in love could see you the talk of your inner circle. CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 There is a really strong air of excitement in the stars which is making it hard for you not to cast yourself as immature and giddy to those who are only just meeting you. Enjoy yourself and have fun Capricorn. You have needed to blow off some steam for days now. Business negotiations can go well.

SCORPIO October 24-November 22

SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22

You will be able to see with clarity this week who is good for you and who has been dragging you down. You take steps to part ways with those who are a negative influence and you feel better and stronger for it. Don’t tell tales on those you work with midweek or it could come back on you tenfold.

Someone who you thought was a good influence on you has shown a side to themselves which has left you with doubts as to whether they should be a part of your life at all! Go slow, as this time is set to reveal much about why they behaved as they did. Family make it hard for you to find all the time you want.

AQUARIUS January 21-February 19 Family and close ones need your urgent attention for reasons which are going to mean a lot to both of you. It appears that you’ll be helping them move on from something which has, and continues to affect them. You’re playing the role of counsellor, and you do it very well. In fact you should be proud of yourself!

PISCES February 20-March 20 There are several challenges which will all require your attention over the coming days but I am sure that you can achieve and succeed with each and every one of them. A good week to break bad habits and to begin a healthier life style. It’s sure to have a knock on effect on all areas of your life if you do.

JAVIER HERNÁNDEZ BALCÁZAR (BORN 1 JUNE 1988) is a Mexican professional footballer who plays as a forward for German club Bayer Leverkusen and the Mexico national team. Hernández is commonly known by his nickname, Chicharito (Mexican Spanish: little pea), which he wears on his shirt. He began his career in 2006, playing for the Mexican club Guadalajara, before becoming the first Mexican player to join Manchester United in July 2010. After falling out of favour under managers David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, he spent the 2014–15 season on loan to Real Madrid, then moved permanently to Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015. His minutes-per-goal ratio during his time with Manchester United is among the most prolific in the history of the Premier League. Hernández made his debut for Mexico in September 2009 in a match against Colombia. He has represented Mexico at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was the Gold Cup's top scorer with seven goals and was named the most valuable player of the tournament.

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egg

Easy

salads

Cooking

Recent dietary guidelines advocate eating whole eggs, including yolk, are actually part of a healthy diet. And egg salads in its pure, natural state (meaning hard boiled eggs, a little salt and pepper) is 100 percent a-okay for all. Here are a few easy salads you can try at home.

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Simple egg salad Ingredients: 8 hard-cooked eggs, chopped 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt 1 tablespoon parsley flakes 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon salt Method: Mix chopped eggs, yogurt, parsley, onion powder, paprika, and salt together in a bowl.

Devilled egg salad Ingredients: 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion 1/2 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

Method: Stir mayonnaise, green onion, mustard, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper together in a bowl until smooth; add eggs and gently mix to coat in the mayonnaise mixture.

Salad without mayonnaise Ingredients: 1 tablespoon plain yogurt 2 teaspoons tahini 2 teaspoons za’atar salt and ground black pepper to taste 1 tablespoon chopped pickle (optional) 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped Method: Mix yogurt, tahini, za’atar, salt, and pepper together in a bowl; fold in pickle. Gently stir eggs into tahini mixture.

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Women 20000 words

Psyche

If we dust off an old statistic, we might discover some gems like this, which states that women speak around 20,000 words a day as compared to men who are able to utter only a mere 7000. Which means that there is a wide gap of 13,000 words between a man and a woman and it is doubtful if men are going to leap over the chasm even in say about a million years! Of course, go ahead and debunk this notion but does it not bring a small doubt in the minds of all, especially men? Maybe you can call it a half-baked research; maybe you can pooh-pooh it and say it is a load of junk. But, somewhere in the inner recess of your mind, you might give it a second thought for there are plenty of people out there who genuinely believe that women are better communicators than men. And the sheer number of words being sprayed out to the public by women being 58

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more than what a men can spew, there is reason to believe that women are indeed better in putting words across to present their case. When such women vs men arguments surfaces, most tend to rely on facts. Facts such as this: that girls tend to speak earlier than boys of the same age. Which means that by the time both reach adulthood, girls/women would have outsspoken boys/men in whatever speech department they have been indulging in. But, does being a chatter box mean that women are better at speech and communication? “Not really,” says a top researcher to this query. She delves on previous research and studies that noted how baby girls are quite often born with “perfect hearing”! This, says the researcher, enables girls to “better discriminate between


per day vs men 7000 tones of voices and what those tones mean”. Therefore, the better developed brains of females are genetically geared to “observe the subtle nuances of life from an inter-relational standpoint”. A case in point they would like to make is that “baby girls are fascinated by their parents’ faces and expression and are able to read expressions much sooner than boys”. At the same time, boys are slower at developing perfect hearing and are more drawn to the mobiles above their cribs than they are by their parents’ faces. Conclusion: boys are more drawn to things, while girls are more keen to interact on a personal level. So, what do these studies mean? In short, it tries to explain why women are able to keep to the audiences’ interest and how they can tell a story better and thereby become better communicators.

Science has indeed shown with various examples that girls are more garrulous than boys. And some of them are wont to go back in time when men were cast in the role of the quiet hunter (he had to be quiet because otherwise he would be disturbing potential prey), while the stayat-the-cave women of that time had to make most of the communicating in order to tend to the family and build relationships. Today, in the modern world, women tend to be naturally attuned to a “communication-friendly” approach as opposed to men’s “command and control” approach. So, what do we conclude: women are better communicators? Anyone want to disapprove? 2016 June 2016 59 59 June Black Black & White & White


Soul matters

Hooked

By Priya Arunkumar

What is filled in our body? Spirit? The little one was hardly eight years old, so it was an easy shot to answer, atleast I thought so when I heard the simple question. Should I go the scientific way or the spiritual, philosophical way? Na, the kid is too small to be loaded with both explanations; so I went in for the simple word. Soul. Spirit. My mistake. Sitting down one day to tell a story for my young nephew, I was at a loss of all logic explanations to the innocent questions he asked. You got to be very careful when you explain life, or even a harmless story to keep the little ones amused. Because the questions that are shot back at you spontaneously are not the ones you can survive answering with a smile or under the wrap of an adult. Soul? The little forehead was scrunched in deep thought. Quick retort back, like how you say mind, heart, feelings? No I say, it is the essence of your body, like an invisible power. Once again quick came the query: Like electricity? Well, something like that. Yes. We call it the soul. Soulful music, soulless world, lost souls, some are “old” souls and some look for a soul mate. All soul talk? Too heavy for an eight year old. Cutting it down to his level, I started off with the science, which he is very much interested in. Science says the human body is made up of certain particles, atoms, molecules that make up for energy. It is the energy that fills in your body. Mentally I patted myself, good answer. Pat came the next question… how many of them?

Well, billions? I was not too sure. Keeping a brave face I replied, billions of them make it into a energy form, we call it in simple term soul. Spirit. Stardust. But I thought having a soul means, telling the truth, right? But what has energy to do with telling the truth? Now he was thinking aloud. Well, in a way yes. Being true to yourself. How do you explain soul and spirit to an eight year old? Time to act busy and move on. Any more dwelling on the subject will not remain so innocent or harmless. Most innocent questions can become very dangerous, because you are conversing with an impressionable eight year old. What does it mean to have soul? Sounds like a poetic question, doesn’t it? Don’t mean to do a soul stirring episode, but the word itself brings out various emotions in all perspectives, makes you think out aloud of what does it mean to be a living reflection of this indefinable dimension of human life? Without giving any religious connotation to the word, you can safely say that the soul has been stirred when you look at your life and define yourself, see yourself, without any acts of denial, shortcuts or ego versions. So yes, soul matters. When you are alone and do not hide behind a pretense of excuses, it matters. It shows you the truth, the version you have been running away from. Everything genuine has a soul. An essence. Be you. Have a soul. priya@blackandwhiteoman.com


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