JAN 9 – 15 • ISSUE 252 • WEEKLY
Y’s Pet Idol
Search for Oman’s super animals MUGHSAYL BEACH / TECH TOYS / TINY TORPEDOES / WORLD CUP MASCOTS / EVENTS / GONE FISHING / MOVIES
24 with autism
EVERY THURSDAY NOW AVAILABLE IN BARKA ALL THE WAY TO SOHAR
Beauty: Time to Ban Pretty? NEWS: Visa Ban Confusion
Your top guide to the best of Oman, every week
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320 • WEEKLY
CLUB Meet the women who call Muscat home
NOVEMBER 24 / ISSUE 258
Maserati Quattroporte 46
BBQ Quiz Well done to Wilson Pacheco who wins a BBQ accessory set for providing the correct answer to our competition. We asked ‘Which country is the world’s largest producer of beef ?’ The correct answer is the United States. Top sailors Congratulations to winners in the Oman Sailor of the Year 2014 awards. Duo Musab al Hadi and Hashim al Rashdi were declared best in the male category while Nashwa al Kindi was named best female coach for the second year running.
THE BAROMETER Going up
JK’s bank account A U.K-based newspaper, the Daily Mail, has had to pay the worldfamous author substantial damages. Following an article that painted a false picture of JK Rowling as a single mother telling a ‘sob story’, Rowling successfully sued for libel.
Google Glass support With the launch of Google’s highly controversial wearable tech specs scheduled for later this year, the public backlash against the potentially privacy-invading specs is hitting full stride.
THIS WEEK… Team Y has been cooing over the cute pictures of your pets being entered for our Pet Idol competition – see p10 - and trying to save a own street puppy at the same time. We’ve also been prepping the office in anticipation of our new editor who arrives next week.
Ways to get your Y fix Online: Visit y-oman.com for even more inspiration. Smart device: Catch up with Y on the go at y-oman.com/current-issue
Welcome to Y Magazine your indispensable guide to everything modern Oman has to offer.
elocating abroad and following your partner or husband to a new posting in a farflung location can be a daunting task. Here in Oman, the country is full of brave women who have packed up their homes in their own country and ventured into the unknown to support their other half. This week, Y brings you a fascinating insight into the world of those wives who have taken a leap of faith in coming to the Sultanate. We explore the challenges they’ve experienced, as well as the opportunities that have resulted from their move here. We also speak to Omani wives about their lives in modern Oman. But what about when there’s an added challenge? In this edition, our feature on autism shows how one mother has fought to raise awareness of the issue through her own personal experiences. But whatever the pressure of family life, sit back and relax with Y Magazine. Take a seat next to us in the world of luxury cinemas, travel with us to Toronto and let the inner child out with Y-Fi’s top tech toys. TEAM Y
EDITOR IN CHIEF Sayyida Iman bint Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Eihab Abutaha MANAGING EDITOR Penny Fray SECTIONS EDITOR Kate Ginn
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CONTRIBUTOR Tom Robertson PHOTOGRAPHER Jerzy Wierzbicki ART DIRECTOR Matthew Herbst DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Feroz Khan
Y Magazine is published by SABCO Press, Publishing & Advertising LLC /Y is a SABCO Media product. We’d love to hear your news and views. For editorial enquiries, please email email@example.com
Write to us at Y Magazine, SABCO Media, PO Box 3779, Ruwi 112, Sultanate of Oman.
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
contents MAY 15 2014
Features 20 The Wives Club Star Spouses 24 Caring for Kids Autism
16 Oman In 43 Objects
06 The Big Interview
08 Voice Of Oman
26 Y’s World Cup Special On The Road To Rio
17 Movie Listings
Rosie In The Desert
18 This Week
15 Photo Story
Cars and Adevntures
Food and Drink
The Best Of British
The Caveman Diet
30 Food Review
42 Postcard From
Health & Beauty
46 Car of the Week 32 Fashion Maserati Quattroporte GTS Hello Sailor
34 Beauty Ban Pretty 35 Style Counsel Barbra Young
35 NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE
THE GREAT VISA DEBATE / SNOOKER CHAMP / CLUB TROPICANA / SILK ROUTE / TOTALLY TURTLES / PARASAILING / MEGA MOVIES / CRAZY FOR KEBABS
Happy HOLIDAY Oppenheimer Pinto, GM, Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb Tell us about your career so far: Over the past 16 years, I have gained a lot of experience in the hospitality industry, working with fantastic hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia and India. Prior to this appointment, I was based in India as General Manager at two InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) hotels – Crowne Plaza Bengaluru, Electronic City in 2010 and Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport from 201113. I now look forward to using this rich experience at Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb. What was the attraction to working in hospitality for you? I was attracted to the variety of work, dealing with guests and colleagues and the atmosphere. This industry also brings freedom, creativity and flexibility, making every day unique. There was nothing else that could give me the variety, challenge and satisfaction. It’s been three months since the Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb opened – what’s been the reaction so far? Absolutely amazing. Oman played a key role in the launch of the Holiday Inn brand in the Middle East, with the region’s first Holiday Inn opening in Oman in 1977 (in Salalah). It is fantastic to be able to bring the brand back to a country where
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
it has so much history. As you mentioned, the opening marked the return of the Holiday Inn brand to Oman. What is your hotel’s unique selling point? We are located in the heart of Oman’s thriving business hub, just a few minutes drive from Muscat International Airport and close to the City Centre shopping mall. But what really sets us apart is our friendly and welcoming team, which ensures every guest enjoys a true Holiday Inn experience, whether they are travelling for business or leisure. You were in Mumbai before. How does Muscat compare to one of India’s busiest cities? It is a very different experience, but Muscat is unique in its own way and I feel I have learned different things from each city. My experience is hopefully an amalgamation of the best bits of all the countries I have worked in. What, in your view, are the ingredients for a successful hotel? I find it exciting that different hotels have different paths to success, defined by the local demands of the market and segments they operate in. The challenge for any General Manager is to find and understand what makes a hotel unique, and then promote it as much as
possible. It is not enough to do what you have done in the past. You need to fundamentally rethink what you’re doing and where you want to go in the future. Strong leadership, a highly motivated team and a sound understanding of the marketplace, in my opinion, are the three vital components of any successful business. Oman is growing fast, particularly the tourism/ hospitality sector – do you see any challenges ahead? Oman is a beautiful country and stands out among GCC countries, with natural beaches, mountains and old heritage. It has a tremendous opportunity to create a very strong footprint in the hospitality sector. However, to support this growth, the industry requires a pool of trained hospitality professionals. Creating more hospitality educational institutions, which will provide support and encourage nationals to take on jobs in the tourism sector, will be essential to growth. IHG Academy Programmes partner with education institutions to provide real-life experience to aspiring hoteliers. We have signed up with the National Hospitality Institute, one of the first IHG Academy partners in Oman. Describe yourself in four words: Enthusiastic, passionate,
genuine and ambitious. If you could change careers, what would you choose to do instead and why? I’ve never thought about it. I cannot see myself making any major decisions in any other way than the way I took them. I am curious, though, about how drastically my life would have changed if I had made a different decision about what to choose at the start of my career. When you’re not busy managing the hotel, how do you like to spend your free time? I enjoy listening to music, watching movies and reading.
Oppenheimer’s 3 foundations of business philosophy 01 Develop and recognise our people. 02 Constantly challenge your self and the people around you. 03 Stay committed in delivering our promise to our guests, colleagues and stakeholders.
The Voice of Oman
Patience is a virtue to be learned, says Rosie Malcolm-MacEwan
Shocking neglect of heritage must end Dear Editor,
atience can be described as ‘the capacity to calmly endure pain.’ Maybe that is exactly why to be patient is so very hard for us all. Rather than feel calm, too often we can feel angry and irritated when we want something to be done our own way. As a child, I remember enduring the nine-hour journey from south-east England to Scotland and, like all kids, I would ask my mother, “When will we be there Mummy?” only to be told: “Be patient, it’s a virtue.” In Christianity, there are seven virtues. One of them is patience and as my upbringing was Christian, I was expected to learn it. It’s a little like what I know of ‘Inshallah’. But I didn’t see it that way at all. My mother really did have a lot of patience. Although it was still a long way, we still asking “When will we be there?” Only later on did I discover that she hated long journeys too. Perhaps with maturity and self-development a person becomes more patient. As an adult somehow that same journey feels quite different. I always look forward to getting there – a positive feeling – knowing we’re on holiday. In most cultures today we want everything ‘now,’ like waving a wand and it’s all done. So how about adopting a fresh approach, using negotiation and giving each other respect and kindness rather than impatience and anger? You may be surprised that being polite and having a more understanding attitude will actually help you get a lot more done, more quickly. Rather than get stressed at the person in front of you, just let it go. As my mother used to say: “All things come to those who wait.”
Next week: Ali al Rahma
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
The article ‘Going to Waste’ was a shocking read. I believed the preservation of traditional buildings in the country had always been impressive. I had assumed that responsible eyes were watching over them at all times. The spread of waste was a terrible and unexpected sight. As everyone knows, Oman has many monuments and heritage sites that have existed for centuries. They are a proud symbol of a rich past. Your report gave an adverse view.
Such scenes may be more upsetting for people who visit this beautiful country for the first time. As far as visitors are concerned, they always have high expectations when they travel to a new place. This was shown in the words of the tourist you interviewed, Mrs Roberts. The cultural treasures of the country must be safeguarded and should never, at any cost, be allowed to be damaged. Local administrations should play a key role in maintaining them. Best regards, Ramachandran Nair, Ruwi
Back to manual for dangerous drivers Dear Y, There has been much correspondence in the Omani press about poor driving habits, dangerous practices and lack of proper education among road users, especially in response to the tragic Pakistani School bus crash recently. Without doubt, the first area of concern is the poor quality of driving instruction and skill level required to pass a test here. But I propose a total ban on automatic cars in Oman - with the exception of registered disabled drivers - as I believe they lead to lazy driving habits and poor
WRITE TO US AND WIN A VOUCHER
concentration. With my two feet occupied by three pedals, and two hands moving between the wheel, the indicator (yes I use it) and the gear stick, I am focused on the road. What hope have I got to text, answer the phone or even relax over a cup of coffee as I weave between the outside and central – but horror, never the inside – lane of the Muscat Expressway,
Regards, Georgina Benison, Al Khuwair
Dinner for two at Le Jardin restaurant
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YOUR FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT TO US
Debate of the Week We asked:
‘New science allows you to cross two animals to create a super-pet. What two animals would you cross and why?’ Matthew Tipton
I would cross a chicken with a gecko, which has the ability to regrow a tail when it loses it. What I would hopefully end up with is an endless supply of chicken drumsticks.
LETTERS the sight of a giraffe jumping around like a kangaroo. What a funny combination.
Ahmed al Mazroey
A mouse and a cat, so it could solve the classic problems between the two species.
The horse ranks the highest when it comes to honour. It’s the largest contributor to the enhancement of human civilisation, having helped with war, mobility, productivity, agriculture and development. But birds are a symbol of the future and link heaven and the earth. A flying horse symbolises wisdom and fame.
FA C E B O O K
I propose crossing a cheetah with a tiger because the cheetah is the fastest creature and the tiger is so strong.
The blue whale is the largest living mammal on earth and is synonomous with might. Dolphins are the most intelligent and social marine animals with exceptional communication skills and resemble delight. I would therefore go for the ‘wholphin’ as my super pet. It’s the perfect example of might and delight. But does anyone know where can I find an aquarium large enough to keep my super-pet?
If you had to choose three non-essential items to take with you on a desert island – with no phone reception and no hope of rescue for a couple of years – what would they be, and why? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter and be in with a chance of winning dinner for two.
Chris Friend was spotted with Y Magazine on Norfolk Island off the coast of Australia
I’d go for a tiger and a lion. These animals are at the top of the food chain, with the best qualities and attributes among all the animals in nature. If we mix the best, we’d end up with the best of the best.
Khushboo Udeshi Just for fun...Tom & Jerry. That would add some more entertainment to cartoons and create a new character for kids. It could be called ‘Tomerry’. Nalin Mistry
Crossing a dog with a horse would make a super pet. Dog is man’s best friend, while horses are incredibly strong. Imagine having something with the stature of a horse, as well as the strength, while also possessing dog-like emotions and reliability. This combination would make an amazing animal.
Ali Fareed al Lawati
An eagle and a lion because I want to ride on a griffin.
I’d cross a kangaroo with a giraffe. I wouldn’t be able to stop laughing at
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
he Ministry of Manpower has been forced to issue an official statement on Twitter (@ manpowergov) amid mounting confusion on changes to visa regulations after a series of annoucements over the last week. Growing uncertainty saw hundreds of people take to social media when the ROP made the rule change public in adverts placed in local newspapers. The notice sparked widespread panic stating that a two-year ban would be enforced on expats returning to Oman after leaving the country. The official announcement stated: “Royal Oman Police hereby announces, in coordination with the authorities concerned with regard to the recruitment of foreigners that employment visa will not be issued effective 1/7/2014, for a foreigner who previously worked in the Sultanate and has not completed two years from the date of last departure, in accordance with the requirements of expatriates residency law and its implementing regulations.” A further announcement said that expat workers would not be allowed to switch between companies in the Sultanate.
THE BIG COUNT BEGINS
he world’s biggest election in the largest democracy on earth will finally come to an end this week as hundreds of millions of votes in India are counted. After a marathon election, which began on April 7 and saw aggressive campaigning and heated political rhetoric, counting starts on May 16. A staggering 814 million people were eligible to cast their vote to decide India’s future, although officials say only 551 million actually turned out.
The announcements were seen as part of the Government’s Omanisation efforts to reduce the current expat labour force from 39 per cent (1.53 million) down to 33 per cent. Many employers welcomed the change as it will give them the opportunity to retain experienced and talented foreign employees. However, the ROP’s announcement triggered an unprecedented reaction from the public on various social media platforms, mainly from foreign workers, who expressed confusion about the new implementation and insecurity regarding their future in Oman. The biggest confusion was whether expats who have been issued a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) from their current employer can still be hired to work by another sponsor. In a tweet, the Ministry of Manpower set the record straight, saying the two-year ban only applied to expats who leave the country before the compeltion of their two-year contracts, a move widely seen to be a bid to combat absconding workers. Expats in the private sector will also be free to move jobs, provided their employers issue a NOC. Exit polls suggest that Narendra Modi, the leader of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is on course to win the election. However, analysts have warned that such polls have been wrong in the past so nothing is certain. The elections pit Modi, Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat for the last ten years, against the current central government led by the Congress Party. The Party’s hopeful Rahul Gandhi is asking voters to place them at the helm for a third consecutive term. But opinion polls forecast the BJP emerging as the majority party and winning most of the 543 parliamentary seats. The BJP will need a minimum of 272 seats if they want to form a single majority. However, if they fall short of seats, they will have to forge a coalition with regional parties. No single party has emerged with a parliamentary majority since 1989.
HAS YOUR PET GOT THE X FACTOR? It’s time for your canine companion or feline friend to shine! We are launching Y Pet Idol and the hunt is on for the cutest, sweetest, coolest or cuddliest animal around. Y will be scouring Oman for your photogenic pooches and captivating cats, among others. All you have to do is send us a photo/s of your beloved pet to email@example.com, post it on facebook.com/ytabloid or tweet to @ytabloid. We’ve already had cats, dogs, a rabbit and the most adorable guinea pig enter. The best photos will be printed in the magazine and the top three winners will have professional photographs taken with their pet. There are also prizes up for grabs from a new animal clinic in Muscat, Capital Veterinary Centre LLC in Qurum (www. vetoman.com, Tel: 24577551). Closing date is May 24.
MAY 01 - 07 / ISSUE 318
The Drive Safely
Drink What You Can’t Eat.
PreD & Diaiabetic b Form etic ula
‘Drive Safely’ campaign was this week launched by Bank Muscat as part of its commitment to road safety in the Sultanate. Through the campaign, the bank hopes to endorse its commitment to the national road safety initiative directed by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said and communicate the message of being a better driver. With over 6,000 road accidents recorded in the last year alone, the ‘Drive Safely’ campaign hopes to raise awareness of responsible driving behaviour, not only among the bank employees and their families, but also across the whole country. According to the National Center for Statistics and Information, on average there is one death in every ten road accidents. “Tragically, we have lost colleagues, friends and some of our close family members in avoidable road mishaps. We are confident that the ‘Drive Safely’ campaign will see a reversal of this disturbing trend” says AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Muscat. Focusing on four major aspects linked to road accidents - speeding, fatigue, driving distraction and wearing of seat belts - the bank will organise programmes in all regions to engage employees in road safety awareness. The Royal Oman Police will also beinvolved with the initiatives. Furthermore, the bank will organise defensive driving training for employees to motivate them to follow safe driving practices and also highlight the tragic consequences of negligent driving by habitual road safety violators. “The bank considers employees as the most valued asset and any loss or disruptions caused by accidents involving staff lead to setbacks for the affected employees as well as the bank,” added AbdulRazak Ali Issa. Besides their efforts through the campaign, Bank Muscat also introduced In-vehicle monitoring systems or IVMS in their bank vehicles to ensure the safety of the drivers and avoid accidents. Oman has one of the worst records for traffic accidents in the GCC, although efforts to tackle this have recently seen a drop in numbers. Police are stepping up traffic patrols, more speed cameras have been introduced and more officers in unmarked cars to catch offenders are on the roads.
Appeton Wellness 60+ gives seniors what their favourite food gives them. Your ageing parents may be losing their teeth, but they shouldn’t lose the goodness of food. Appeton Wellness 60+ provides seniors with the nutrition they need that is delicious and easy-to-digest. Specially formulated with a unique Energy Complex of Co-enzyme Q10, Vitamin B Complex and Chromium, this balanced beverage gives the elderly the nutrients their bodies need to live more energetically. Plus, Appeton Wellness 60+ contains a slow-release protein called casein, which gradually supplies protein to the body without burdening the kidneys. Also available in a diabetic-friendly formula, Appeton Wellness 60+ Diabetic releases energy gradually for better control over blood sugar levels. Appeton Wellness 60+ is the Food for Seniors. Clinically Proved Endorsement is referenced in Effect of Nourishing Formula (Appeton Wellness 60+) Supplementation on the Nutritional Status, Functional Performance,, Cognitive Function and Quality of Life of Malnourished Elderly in Old Folks Home.
Available in all leading Pharmacies in the Sultanate of Oman Distributor: Ibn Sina Pharmacy LLC
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
KEEPING IT CLEAN
T Bite Sized Our weekly slot takes a lighthearted look at a news issue of the week.
Classrooms of the Future
What are they? We’re not talking about Mars High School or Jupiter Junior, but the new approaches to learning that schools across the world are taking more and more seriously. They’re the classrooms that incorporate new ‘intelligent’ designs and new technology. In what way? Paper is out, digital is in. Teachers don’t just float around at the front of the class any more. Some of them may have moderns lecterns, incorporating a flatscreen monitor and USB ports. What else? Key consideration is given to other aspects such as more variable lighting. There’s settings for ‘snooze’, ‘bored’, and ‘wake-up!’. Then there’s furniture that encourages group discussion and problem solving by having children sit together round large tables. It also means they can flick rubber bands directly at each other, rather than at the back of a friend’s head. What about the classic whiteboards? Are they still around? Less and less so. It’s all about the IWB, or Interactive Whiteboard, a large digital touch-sensitive display that connects to a computer. Sadly, that means no opportunity to screech your fingernails over the blackboard and make your classmates cover their ears in horror. Any other gizmos we should be aware of ? Tablets, and in particular the iPad, is becoming a global learning tool with whole classes being equipped with Apple’s offspring. Quite how the teacher stops them from playing Asphalt 2 or taking pictures of each other pulling a silly face is a different matter. And at university? Large classes sometimes employ an electronic clicker system (iClicker) that registers attendance in huge lecture theatres. They can also be used to answer multiple choice questions in exams. Not only have we virtually done away with the need to write, but also the skill of marking ‘X’ in a box. And here in Oman? Indian School Muscat has just announced a partnership with eWorld to install computers, smart boards, projectors and an electonic system that allows parents to keep tabs on their children’s education. Uh oh, so there’s no diddling the report card? It would appear it’s getting harder and harder. You’d have to be a computer hacker these days, not a forger. Do say: Johnny, what’s the answer? Don’t say: Let me just Google it.
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
ucked behind the cafés and restaurants running along the seafront road, the little gem that is Qurum Nature Reserve is often overlooked by those distracted with views of the ocean. From Al Shatti Street, it looks like a tangle of forgotten trees and waste ground. In fact, this mass of mangrove trees is an integral part of the push to protect Muscat’s coastlines and support the habitat of wildlife and marine animals. Looking after this natural wonder needs a helping hand. Which is why a group of volunteers answered a call from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) and the ROP Coastguard to assist in cleaning up the reserve. It also gives the helpers a rare peek into the hidden world of nature in the heart of Qurum. Mangrove trees aren’t just any normal plant – they create some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Where most plants struggle in Oman’s climate, the evergreen mangrove tree thrives in severely harsh environments with salty water and scorching sunshine. There are over 100 types of mangrove tree in the
A WEEK IN PICTURES
world but only one, the Grey Mangrove (Avicennia Marina), grows in Oman. The species is known as ‘Qurum’ in Arabic, hence the name Qurum Park. Around 70 willing volunteers turned up to help with the clear-up. Beforehand, they were given a tour of the two permanent mangrove nurseries in the park, where saplings are nurtured. Salalah and Sur also have nurseries. Once matured, the mangroves are transported to their new locations across Oman, where it is hoped they then grow into new mangrove forests. Twenty hectares of land has successfully been transplanted with new trees, which is over half a million new trees. The first phase to collect seedlings this year will be in July during Ramadan. In the Qurum reserve, litter stuck in shrubs and trees is a real eyesore. The eco-warriors set about filling bags with rubbish, from plastic bottles to tyres and rugs. The Coastguard and the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) have also just completed a very successful diving mission to clear litter from the ocean in three different beauty spots, Mina Al Fahal, Bandar Al Jissah and Bandar Khayran.
HEADLINING STORIES FROM OMAN AND BEYOND
International outrage grows over fate of 200 missing schoolgirls in Nigeria kidnapped by militants Boko Haram
A bearded lady wins the Eurovision Song Contest, the world’s largest singing competition. Drag artist Conchita Wurst, 25, from Austria, was the runaway winner
Apple rumoured to be launching iPhone 6 in August with a large screen version in September
New design for British School Muscat (BSM) campus revealed by architects Jestico + Whiles
SCAM ALERT Words: Tom Robertson
mani residents are falling victim to a new spate of phone scams originating from within the country as the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) warned that instances of fraud are on the rise. In an exclusive interview with Y Magazine, TRA’s media and consumers affairs specialist, Majid al Balushi, confirmed that the last five years have seen an increase in the number of victims coming forward to report fraudulent calls to the telecoms watchdog. “We used to see these kind of scams originating from abroad,” said al Balushi,“but now the calls are starting to come from local telephone numbers.” The latest con being used on unsuspecting consumers is a phone call in which the caller claims to represent a major phone network and tells the recipient they’ve won a cash prize of around RO20,000. They’re then asked to show a’gesture of goodwill’ to the company by buying credit worth anything up to RO700 and sending the redeeming codes for the vouchers to the caller. “This calling credit is of course then sold off illegally to other buyers for a knock-down price,” said al Balushi. The next stage may involve the victim being asked to supply a fee for redeeming a nonexistent prize in another country. Of course, by the time the victim has worked out it’s a scam, the perpetrator is never heard of again. “This scam can affect anybody. Even doctors have unfortunately fallen victim to this,” warned al Balushi. It’s a scam that has led to the TRA fielding a number of calls from mobile phone customers complaining about the phenomenon. “The scammers first try and convince you that they are legitimate by giving you information about yourself which you believe is registered with the phone company. In fact it’s information that’s publicly available, though the customer might not realise it,” said al Balushi. “For example, they’ll take information from social media sites. Or, they’ll give you a sim-card serial number that matches yours.
“Most people don’t realise that the sim-card serial number for each phone network are exactly the same, bar the last three numbers. This normally convinces potential victims that the caller must be legitimate.” The TRA is on an awareness drive to try and alert phone network customers of the dangers. They’re currently putting out public information, informing residents by text and have appeared at events such as the Muscat Festival and Comex, the annual IT and telecoms event. But part of the problem, said al Balushi, is that it’s only possible to make so many people aware. He acknowledged that there are difficulties in reaching out to some expatriates working in the Sultanate, who aren’t proficient in English or Arabic, but who are also falling victim to the scam and may tend to keep quiet for fear of getting into trouble. The con merchants have been known to tailor their deception depending on their evaluation of the financial income of the victim. If they’re judged to have a lower income, they’ll be offered a smaller cash prize but the victim will also be asked to stump up less cash. “We want people to be aware that you won’t win a prize unless you’ve knowingly participated in a competition,” warned al Balushi. “It’s essential that if you really do feel that you have won, you get in contact yourself directly with the organisation to verify this.” Anyone who has fallen victim to these kind of telephone scams should contact the Royal Oman Police. For those who have received these kind of calls and would like to complain to the telecommunications watchdog, contact the TRA’s call centre on 8000 0000.
Y Magazine is looking for a first-class sub-editor/ writer with an eye for detail and a flair for the English language to keep us at the top as the most talked about weekly magazine in Oman. Dedicated and hard-working, the successful applicant will be prepared to work long and flexible hours, taking responsibility for ensuring that our copy is crisp, bright, accurate and engaging to read. You will have at least three years’ experience working as a sub-editor in magazines or newspapers with InDesign experience. Your primary role will be checking, rewriting and editing editorial copy to an exacting standard but you will also be expected to write news and lifestyle articles for the magazine as part of a small, tightknit and creative editorial team. If you are up to the challenge and the fun of working for the most sparkling English-language lifestyle magazine in the Middle East, send in your CV and cover letter to hireme@ sabcomedia.com by May 27, 2014.
Image courtesy of TRA
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
Tiny Torpedoes Kids and teenagers take to the pool at sultan qaboos sports complex for the iswim show Photos: Ania James
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
FISHY Tales Sport fishing
t’s been known for anglers to slightly exaggerate the size of their catch when recounting their fishing feats. But there was no need for one group of fishermen to tell tales about landing the big one. They really did. The crew, Shark II Sports Fishing Team from Abu Dhabi, caught a whopping yellowfin tuna in Oman’s coastal waters, which weighed in at a hefty 60kg. That’s an awful lot of tuna-fish sandwiches. It took them over an hour to reel in the monster of the seas but it was well worth the effort. Their prize catch landed them first place in one category in the Jebel Sifah Fishing Challenge 2014 at the weekend. Their huge haul, which took four men to lift, was destined to head back across the border to the UAE by car. In all, over 100kg of fish was caught by several boats, which tried their luck in waters out near Sifawy Boutique Hotel. After nine hours at sea, starting at 7am, their haul included tuna, hammour and colourful green dorados (dolphin fish). Organisers of the challenge, held under the watchful eye of the Muscat Game Fishing Association, hope to have a similar annual event in Salalah. Oman’s waters are said to be among the best in the Middle East for sport fishing. MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
OMAN IN 43 OBJECTS
lso known as 'olibanum' and 'al luban' in Arabic, the resin from Boswellia trees has been traded as a high-quality incense for more than 5,000 years. The lost city of Ubar, or what is now believed to be Shisr, was known as a hub for the trade, with a large volume of frankincense traditionally produced in the Wilayat of Shalim, in the east of Dhofar. The resin is placed in incense burners along with hot coals in order to produce fragrant fumes, and is also used in perfumes and aromatherapy. The trees start to produce resin when they reach about 10 years old, at which point the trees are 'tapped', a process of cutting away bark and allowing the resin to ooze out and harden. 016
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
MOVIES MOVIES Chef
For more information and times, go to: City Cinema: citycinemaoman.net Al Bahja Cinema: albahjacinema.net Star Cinema: Tel +968 24791641
Fresh from playing Mr White, the science teacher gone rogue in hit U.S. drama series Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston is back on growling form as nuclear scientist Joe Brody in this earth-shaking monster movie. Godzilla started out as cathartic, escapist fun in post-war Japan when the country was still raw from the trauma of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Though an ultra-cheap production, it was a metaphor for nuclear terror that struck a deep chord with its audience. Now 60 years on, Hollywood has finally done justice to this most durable of B-movie bad dreams. Director Gareth Edwards creates a dark and brooding Chris Nolan-style tone right from the opening. We’re kept on the edge of our seats as Cranston suffers a personal
tragedy in a nuclear accident in Japan but is convinced the authorities are 'hiding something'. We feel something terrible is coming but it’s a slow burner. It turns out that something is the mother of all monsters, and when the humans finally meet their nemesis and his supporting army of so-called MUTOs, the film actually achieves the jaw-dropping impact that was missing in the 1998 movie. It’s like a return to early Spielberg when we sat spellbound in awe. The actors do their best with the archetypal script - except the wooden Aaron Taylor-Johnson – but it’s the stupendous depiction of man battling nature’s last line in vengeance that really rips the roof off. Review by Joe Gill
Grace of Monaco Grace Kelly the film star became Grace the Princess when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. The movie traces how the fairytale unravels with Nicole Kidman playing opposite Tim Roth as the controlling and short-tempered prince. We follow their tribulations and political tensions during 1962 when French President de Gaulle threatened to annex the principality. Director Olivier Dahan fell out with producer Harvey Weinstein, suggesting this may be something of a car crash.
IN W O T E C N CHA R U O Y B A R G ETS K C I T A M E IN TWO CITY C
Jon Favreau writes, directs and stars in this love note to the highs and lows of cooking good food. He plays a frustrated chef who decides to break out on his own. Alongside a great cast, the food is definitely the star – sizzling plates of veggies, juicy meat and pasta are enough to make you run for the nearest restaurant if you made the mistake of not eating beforehand. Cameos and subplots galore create a tasty treat.
The Face of Love Annette Bening plays a lonely widow who lost her husband in a swimming accident until one day she sees his spitting image while visiting her favourite museum. He turns out to be rugged artist Ed Harris, and the pair inevitably meet and fall for one another. This is a highly stylised tribute to the classic Hitchcock suspense dramas. However, it’s all happening on the surface of things and we never get down to the emotional pay dirt.
The Factory John Cusack plays a cop on the trail of a kidnapping case that has almost gone cold after several prostitutes go missing. When his own daughter disappears, he and his partner find themselves in a race against time to save her. Inspired by the true-life horror stories of suburban abductions, the film never moves out of procedural second gear.
Y ‘s Choice Grand Budapest Hotel
Ralph Fiennes is one of the main pleasures in Wes Anderson’s nostalgic homage to 1930s central Europe. It’s a story within a story as a famous writer (Jude Law) recalls meeting the owner of the decaying hotel, a grand
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wedding cake perched on a mountain. The owner recalls his youth as a bellboy for the charismatic concierge played by Fiennes, who must outwit evil aristocrats, the arrival of fascism and Willem Dafoe as a vicious leatherclad assassin. He does this with wit, seduction and old-fashioned charm. It’s shot like a series of intricate paintings and comes with lots of amusing Anderson touches.
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THIS WEEKS QUESTION Willem Dafoe plays what role in the Film Grand Budapest Hotel? LAST WEEKS WINNER Deborah D’Mello
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
Think you’ve got a taste for fruit and can best the the competitors? Puranmal Restaurant in Ruwi will be holding a mango eating contest dor Kids and Adults at 4pm. For details and to register, call or Whatsapp 95313678. Entry costs RO2 per person.
Dust off your headbangers look and get ready to party with Hells Bells, an AC/ DC tribute band from the U.K. doing their thing at the Rock of Ages party to be held in Shangri-La’s ballroom. Supporting are local acts, T Band and B Sharps. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm. Tickets cost RO10, email email@example.com, or buy from MacKenzies Cafe & Deli in MQ , OUA Retail MQ and Gorgeous Hair & Beauty Salon MQ. Rockin’ room rates available, email firstname.lastname@example.org
What to do. What to see. What to hear.
Join the multi-award-winning Morgan State University Choir for an exciting evening of Americana and spiritual songs as they perform in the atrium at the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The event is free and will last from 4pm-6pm. Al Bustan’s high tea will also be held during the event.
THE WHAT’S ON GUIDE
Shout out to all the rugby fanatics – the Muscat Rugby Football Club is hosting the annual Touch Tournament this Friday, from 9am to 2pm. Entry fee is RO60 per team, with the ABA rugby pitch as the venue at Al Khuwair. To register your team, email Ross at email@example.com
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
6 MINISEMINARS TOURISM May 20th tOURISM DEStINatIONS IN OMaN Valorization of the natural resources, protected areas and the tourism attractions in Oman: a new strategy for a developing tourism growth. 7pm - 9pm, 10 OMR per person
May 19 - 22
The Salalah Striders are hosting a charity fundraiser with a 1km, 5km and 10km beach challenge at the Hilton Beach in Salalah. Race starts at 5pm. The registration fee for the runs is RO5 each or RO1 for the 1km kids fun run. Fees include entry to the after beach party. Proceeds from the challenge will go to the Al Wafa Social Centre. For more information, call +968 96569425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, go to www.premieronline.com
JUNE 17th CULtURaL aWaRENESS aND CULtURaL hERItaGE IN OMaN â€“ tOURISM PERSPECtIVE Rehabilitation of ancient castles and forts, promoting cultural activities and traditional historic sites as the new dimension of cultural and creative life in Oman.
aUGUSt 19th ENtREPRENEURShIP IN hOSPItaLIty aND tOURISM Fostering the local entrepreneurship in tourism industries as the new way to increase the job opportunities, the business atmosphere and the prosperity in Oman.
OCtOBER 21St BENEfItS Of SUStaINaBLE tOURISM Preserve and maintain the value of sustainability in the tourism environments: perspectives, reflections and new ideas among local communities, residents and tourists.
Football fever is in the air so get into the spirit by designing your own table football figure at the Red Bull Art Dribble and win a customised table. The fourth day of the challenge will be held at the Middle East College from 12pm in the engineering building. For registration and information, visit www.redbull.com/mea/en
Call for Bridezillas
WORLD Of EVENtS, thE GCC COUNtRIES aS thE 3RD LaRGESt EVENt INDUStRy DEStINatION Mega-projects and cities, events in CGG countries: the creative approach to boost local economies and regional networks in the globalizing world.
DECEMBER 16th NIzWa â€“ aRaB CULtURE CaPItaL 2015 Nizwa 2015 between tradition and innovation: the example of an Arab Culture Capital in the world Pre-register at www.otc.edu.om, payment by cash before seminar starts For more information please contact: Dr. Angelo Battaglia email@example.com or Short Courses Department firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (+968) 24512312. /OmanTourismCollegeOfficialPage
Weddex, the Muscat Wedding Exhibition for all things marital, will be held at the Oman International Exhibition Centre. The show brings together professionals from all nationalities to help you imagine and put together all the details that will go into making a dream wedding. The exhibition will held in hall 1. For more information, visit www.muscatweddex.com
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
Women Of Oman
We live in a modern, diverse country, which many nationalities now call home. Y meets the wives who have settled in the Sultanate or were born here Interviews: Shishira Sreenivas, Noor Hyder, Kate Ginn and Tom Robertson
Erum Banatwala, Kindergarten Teacher, wife and mother-of-three. Originally from Pakistan
have three kids, aged five, nine and 15. Life is hectic, just simply because of the mix of work and home. I’m a kindergarten teacher at ABA but besides that, I like to keep my kids busy with different activities. Being with my kids is a huge pleasure to me because time is flying and these are precious moments. I started working in 2003 and left when I was pregnant with my second child. I believe it’s super important to give time to your baby in their early years because those are the real bonding years. I have help at home, which means that I don’t have to worry about looking after the house, and I live with my in-laws who have been a massive support system. Having such help in my life has enabled me to study and work. In Pakistan you end up being even busier just because of the fact that you are surrounded by your family. While it is a blessing, it means that there are more weddings and family events to attend. Here in Oman, I have a good circle of friends, and there are no obligations to attend events if you are busy. Oman is incredibly safe, which is a huge plus for my family and me. We love going camping and taking part in outdoor activities, which is not necessarily something you could do back in Pakistan. While family can sometimes make life unnecessarily busy, they are also a huge blessing
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
and I truly miss mine back home. A huge pro of having family around is that your kids get to grow up with their cousins and a sense of family life. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about the culture gap. Oman is the perfect balance of East and West; I am happy that my kids can relate to the religion and we are close enough to Pakistan to visit regularly. We’ve been incredibly blessed with a good life. I am happy with my social life here because we have made so many new friends from all over the world. The flip side is that every now and then we lose a friend when they move away, which can be sad. Other than that, I felt some hardship when I first moved here 16 years ago and Muscat was close to being a village. But the city is growing rapidly and now we have a variety of restaurants and malls. I would love some sort of public transport. Children are so dependent on their parents to take them around all the time. I have a 15-year-old son and I would really appreciate a safe, reliable system he could use to go out. The lack of such public transport means that the kids are more sheltered, and we’re wasting resources. We could be much more eco-friendly. I know of so many new expat families that are frustrated with how hard it is to get a driving licence here, and having to find a driver to take the kids to school in the meantime. I would also love it if there were a zoo or maybe a children’s library.
Heather Duncan, mother to Spencer, three-and-a-half months. Originally from the U.K.
moved to Muscat in September 2012 after my husband Colin started working in Oman. We were living in a small village near Aberdeen, in the north of Scotland, so it was quite a change. Colin had been staying in Oman for six weeks at a time, leaving me back home in the U.K, and it was lonely so I was quite happy to move. I’d been to Muscat on holiday a couple of times so I knew what I was getting into. I had to give up my job (as a personal logistics coordinator dealing with offshore travel for an oil company) and we had to bring our wedding forward a year so that I could move to Oman to be with Colin. Before I came to Oman, I had no idea about the Middle East. I just expected a life in a rundown town but, of course, Muscat is totally different. As expats, we lead very privileged lives compared to how we live back home in Scotland. We can drive nice cars, our house is bigger, we have hired help and more family time. We don’t have to deal with all the little things back home that make life difficult. I don’t think my family or friends thought we would last here. They expected us to come back after a few months. I started my blog (theduncanadventures) so people back home could see and read about the life that we’re leading. I was rare when I moved here because many of the women had children but I didn’t at the time, so I had to put in a lot of effort to make friends or I would have been sitting at home on my own in the house. I missed the social side of working and I wanted to keep busy. We are pretty happy here at the moment and have no plans to leave. I think I would struggle to go back to the U.K. now. It’s cold and dark for a start. Oman is a great place to bring up kids. I’ve changed too. I’m much more open to new cultures, experiences and peoples. I want my son, Spencer, to grow up like that too. But as much as I feel at home here, I never forget that we are the visitors here. It’s an amazing life but you never know how long the dream will last.
Oman is incredibly safe, which is a huge plus for my family and me. We love going camping and taking part in outdoor activities
Amani Salim al Abdul Salam, newly-wed. Omani
t the age of 26, Amani is a newly-wed having married her partner, Zahran, in January this year. Full of optimism for the future, Amani and her husband are now setting out together, ready to face the joys and challenges of life. “We married in Muscat with a traditional Omani ceremony. I wore white and my husband was in traditional dress. A dishdasha, sword and a Khanjar.” While the number of guests celebrating the occasion was over 400 hundred on the day, Amani insists that this wasn’t a large weeding. “Sometimes people have between 750 and 1,000 in attendance. That’s a large wedding by Omani standards. Even so I was nervous,” she adds. Currently working as an Arabic language teacher in Muscat, Amani is keen to continue her teaching career until the time comes when her and her husband would like to have children. She smiles as she talks about the possibility of having children in a couple of years, but reflects on how this generation is different. “In the old days, we used to have big families. I myself have four sisters and four brothers, all here in Muscat. But for my generation, I think we’re having smaller families now. Things are getting more expensive and I feel there’s more financial pressure on families.” With a small family planned for the future, Amani is also keen to experience living in a European country for a couple of years. “I’d miss my family a lot, and Omani bread and Chips Oman,” she laughs “But I would definitely like to live abroad if my husband and I had the opportunity to. It would be lovely to teach Arabic in Europe. Vienna perhaps. It looks beautiful.” On whether it would be difficult to raise a family abroad, she says: “What concerns me most is that my children might lose their sense of being Omani. It’s very important to me that if I have children, they retain their Arabic roots, their Omani traditions. I want them to learn from other cultures, but never to lose their own, whether we’re living here in Oman or abroad.” But whatever adventures Amani and her husband embark on, the young teacher knows that she does so with the support of her husband. “I always feel like someone’s got my back”, she states without hesitation. “He’s strong and always pushes me to do more. He encourages me in everything I do. And I do things because I want to. We’re more than a traditional husband and wife. We’re family, friends and best friends as well.” MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
Aruna Tavarkhed, mother to a six-year-old son. Originally from Bangalore
I The first biggest difference I noticed and felt when I moved to Oman was the absence of family support. We have made close friends and they are like family now
’ve been living in Oman for eight years now, since 2006. I came here right after my wedding. Before coming to Oman, I lived in Bangalore. Back in India, I was working as an architect for a company called Jones Lang Lasalle and my husband was also an architect. Life in Bangalore I would say is easy – well it’s our own place so you don’t feel out of place, you just know the surroundings, and you’re comfortable with the atmosphere. Though both my husband and I had a hectic schedule, still, we would be back with our families by the end of the day. We never noticed the days roll by. When I moved to Oman, I worked as a project manager. Soon after, I had my son. The first biggest difference I noticed and felt when I moved to Oman was the absence of family support. We made close friends and they are like family now. Eight years ago, there was a communication gap. We didn’t have today’s technology. So I couldn’t just pick up the mobile and call family back home. When you’re a working mother, you can still somehow manage to have two roles in your life. Work priorities do take a back seat but when I was at work, I worked and when I came back, my kid took priority. Now that I’m a full time stay-at-home mum, everything is about the family. All my thoughts and actions revolve around the house. My usual days start with a hurried morning until my son and husband are off for the day; I finish up with the household chores, a little bit of cleaning and then I really get the opportunity to sit down, read something, browse the Internet and relax till they come back home for lunch. However, after lunch, everything is pretty unscheduled. All the decisions revolve around my son. I take him to his music class twice a week. Social life is one area where I experience a big difference here in Oman. Back home, my college friends, neighbours and even family were always around to hang out with. Here in Oman, due to lack of transportation facilities, and the fact that women my age are also busy with family and kids, it’s hard to have a ladies gathering and groups. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not living up to my full potential. I do really want to go back to work. Work is not just for monetary gain, I feel it comes with a feeling of self-confidence as you get to meet a variety of people and exchange ideas and a lot of different avenues open up for you. I think with work, there is something new every day so you can avoid the boredom of repetition that comes with being a stay-at-home mum.
Jokha al Riyami, mother to nine children. Omani
married when I was 15 and life was all about having children, raising a family. I am 53 now but life is busier than ever, visiting family, friends and with grandchildren. Life in Oman was much harder for women when I was younger. You had to cook on a wood fire – there weren’t any ovens – and there were hardly any cars in the small village I lived in. I had to wait two hours under a tree with the children for a car to come along and get a lift. Women today have an easy life in comparison and they have many more opportunities that I ever had. There weren’t really any jobs or work for women when I was younger. We did a bit of sewing (which I still do) or cooking but we did not have a chance to study like the young women now. I never really thought about whether I was happy or not. Life just was and you made the best of it. If I was born in Oman now, I would like to train to be a nurse. My biggest achievements are my children and family life. I do not envy young women because they have their own issues and problems to deal with. Life is at a much faster pace and they have different pressures, like work and being a mother.
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
For illustration purposes only
Helen Reyes (left) and Jennifer De Guia,
mother to six-year-old and five-year-old boy respectively. Originally from the Philippines
We both come from Manilla (says Jennifer). Before Oman, I was working in Saudi Arabia for several years. We have to leave our homes to find work. There isn’t much work in the Philippines and we earn double the amount we would at home. It’s very hard to leave your family behind, my son and my husband, but what can we do? We have no choice. I speak to my son everyday on the phone and he asks ‘Mummy where are you? When are you coming home?’ It breaks your heart but I know that by being here in Oman I am able to give my son a good life by sending back my earnings to him so that he can go to school and make something of himself. In the Philippines, it is usual for the women to leave for work and the men to stay at home. Filipino women are more dynamic than the men. We get our first holiday after two years working and I’ve only been here six months so it will be a while before I see my son. My life here is so different than my home. I have a house there and would live with my family. Here I share a room with five other women in an apartment to keep the rent low (RO35 a month). There are other shared rooms and there is one kitchen and two bathrooms between us all. I miss home. One day I will live with my son again but not for years. I am due to go home to see my son in September for his seventh birthday (says Helen). I used to cry a lot when I first moved here, I was so homesick and I missed my boy. He was very young when I first moved away but now that he is older, he misses me and that makes it harder. It is heartbreaking. It is hard with your marriage too, I trust my husband but some of the other men, they find other women while their wives are working away. It’s normal. We accept it. I own my own house in Manila so I send money back to pay for this and for my family. I am supporting them with my work here. It will be hard to leave my son after I visit him but I have to come back. I don’t have a choice. Life here is not easy for us, away from our children, husbands and family. I miss them every day I think about home. We make the best of life here that we can.
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
Slater’s Story As the world celebrates International Day of Families, Y looks at how parents cope with the life-changing news that their child has autism Words: Shishira Sreenivas Photos: Ania James
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
atching the latest addition to her family grow up into a toddler, mum Tracy Gibson instinctively knew that there was something unusual about her son. “We had three older children so I had a pretty good idea that something wasn’t right from a very early age,” she says. Slater was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old. Now 15, Slater and his family are living in Oman after moving from their native Canada more than a year ago. Tracy describes her son as any proud mother would. “Slater has a great sense of humour and giggles all the time. He’s sweet in nature, kind and loveable. He’s the definition of pure love.” To the outside world, her son looks like a perfectly normal teenager getting ready to make his first tentative steps in adulthood. In reality, he cannot speak and is completely dependent on his parents for help in his day-to-day life. “My initial reaction to the diagnosis, which was 15 years ago, was ‘what is autism?’” says Tracy. “I had never heard of it, but after lots of tears I started researching all I could and how I could help my son. “I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself; that wouldn’t help Slater. I was just determined to help him in any way possible.” To help other parents who find themselves walking the same road as her, Tracy spends any spare time she has to spread awareness about the condition. She is not alone. With International Day of Families marked around the world today (Thurs, May 15), it’s worth pausing to remember those whose family life does not, for whatever reason, follow a conventional path. It is estimated that autism affects tens of millions of families globally and many families right here in the Sultanate. Research suggests that there is an average prevalence of one per cent among the Asian population. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is five times more common among boys than girls (it is still not known why). Autism is broadly defined as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges. It is characterised on a mild to severe scale. Mild implies a high-functioning individual – severe indicates a lowfunctioning autistic individual. According to Dr Kawthar Hameed al Balushi, CEO of the Creative Center for Rehabilitation in Muscat, symptoms of autism can emerge at a very young age. “Autism symptoms usually start appearing in the first three years of the child’s life,” she says. “Parents should look out for poor eye contact, repetitive behaviour, a child that started talking and all of a sudden stopped, or a child that does not want to socialise with their peers and prefers to play alone.” While there is no cure for autism at the moment, early intervention can make a big difference according to Dr Harshida Bhansali, specialist psychiatrist at Muscat’s Top Medical Care. “If at any point you feel your child is not developing as he or she should, consult a healthcare professional,” says Dr Bhansali. “Once diagnosed, educate yourself and stay updated on the latest developments. Early interventional therapies like Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) works best when implemented early. “Find a good therapist and learn to use ABA at home. Stick to a routine. If there is any change in routine, prepare your child in advance. Develop alternative ways of communication like pictures and gestures. Learn to accept some odd behaviour. Certain sounds and sensations upset the child. Identify these and avoid them. Ensure the child gets adequate sleep – this improves behaviour.” Tracy agrees, saying early intervention helped in Slater’s case. “He has seen psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists and he also attended a special school. He also had an autism service dog, and learned basic sign language and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). “All of Slater’s therapies and programmes have worked.
Without them, I have no idea where we would be.” Autism can take a toll not only on the parents but also the entire family. In Slater’s case, his three older siblings have had to adapt to life with a different brother. “The hardest part in this journey has been some of the adjustments to our family,” says Tracy. “We cannot travel freely as going out with Slater can be unpredictable. He can, and will, have meltdowns. For example, he has taken his clothes off due to sensory issues, he can scream and shout and people do stare. I’m used to it but my older children get embarrassed sometimes. Our life revolves around what makes him comfortable or uncomfortable.” While parents often invest all their time, emotions and energies into looking after their dependent child, parents often neglect their own needs in the process, says Vanessa Sequeira, an educational therapist at the Al Harub Medical Centre in Muscat. “Parents find themselves taking on the roles of various therapists, advocating for their child’s educational rights and juggling the financial burden that is often involved in the care of the child with autism. This can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting.” The stress can be overwhelming at times, she adds. “In extreme cases of parental stress, mothers have reported contemplating suicide, aggression towards their child and escapeavoidance behaviours resulting in neglect of their child. Separation and divorce is also high amongst couples who have a child with autism.” Tracy has turned to social media and researching the condition as a way of releasing stress or pent-up emotions. “I blog as much as I can. I’m an autism advocate and my job is to spread autism awareness. “I have made it my mission to absorb all things autism. Gaining knowledge on autism is the only way to go – knowledge is power they say. I’ve made it my life to read anything and everything out there. It helps to know the latest research and where technology and education is in regards to autism.” Autism remains a mystery to doctors. There has been long-running speculation that vaccines could, in fact, be the culprits, though this has
been disputed. Dr. Salim Thaha, a paediatrician at the Al Raffah Hospital in Sohar says the theory might have some validity. “It has been said that there is a relationship between vaccines and autism due to the presence of thiomersal in vaccines, which is used as a solvent and which contains mercury. “So, certain doctors advise against giving MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and vaccines containing this compound. Not all vaccines contain this. Generally vaccines are safe and don’t cause autism.” Indeed, website Autismspeaks.org states that research over the last five years actually shows that most cases of autism may have been caused by the combination of autism risk genes as well as environmental factors influencing early brain development. Whatever the cause, Sequeira says parents of autistic children need to focus on what matters most. “You have the right to take your time in learning about your child and make your mistakes in the process of parenting. You also have the right to celebrate every success as if it were the world’s biggest breakthrough. “You also have the right to look after yourself and to be looked after. All of these rights come along with the trials and privileges of being the exceptional parent of an exceptional child.” Forget scientists, doctors, facts and figures, and research. Think about mothers like Tracy Gibson, and her husband Michael, who are actually on the frontline, living and battling with autism every day of their life. “I have never, ever, ever resented my son for having autism,” says Tracy. “Slater never asked to be autistic so why should I resent or blame him. In fact, we’ve learnt a lot from him. “He’s taught us determination, perseverance, patience and diligence. We take nothing for granted. Our lives may be extremely tough but I wouldn’t change it in a million years.”
Indicators and symptoms of autism parents should be on the lookout for: ■ Poor or no eye-to-eye contact. ■ No social smile, poor attachment to the primary care giver. ■ A preference for solitary activities. ■ Anxiety or agitation when there is a change in routine. ■ Unable to respond appropriately in social situations. ■ Language development is usually delayed – use of words is odd; they may repeat words used by another and be unable to have a conversation. ■ Unusual behaviour like twirling, screeching sounds, rocking the body, clapping hands, preoccupation with one toy or an object may be observed.
Doctors on Board – Tips on dealing with children with autism
■ Use attention-gaining words such as the child’s name or ‘listen’; or physical prompts like a tap on the shoulder, before you begin a conversation or give an instruction –Vanessa Sequeira, educational therapist, Al Harub Medical Centre. ■ Some autistic children like games that stimulate sensation and create movement. Find out what your child enjoys by exposing them to different activities, like passing their hands through sand or rice, finger painting, jumping on a trampoline, blowing bubbles, watching them move, music such as classical and soothing music which appeals to them – Dr Harshida Bhansali, Specialist Psychiatrist, Top Medical Care. ■ Children with autism need specific therapies as well as specific food programmes. Parents should feed children with autism completely natural diets and stay away from processed foods and junk foods – Dr Kawthar Hameed al Balushi, CEO of Creative Center for Rehabilitation.
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
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COUNTDOWN TO R I O
Y’S WORLD CUP SPECIAL
You’re on the road to the footy World Cup with Y Magazine. The zero hour of world football is approaching and Y is bringing you all the latest news. Expect a whole host of fun footy facts, trivia and all the latest updates from both on and off the pitch in Rio and around the rest of Brazil. This week we discover the origins of the FIFA 2014 mascot as well as presenting a round-up of information with a South American vibe.
Marvellous Mascots The Present – Brazil’s Fuleco
France ’98 had Footix the Rooster and Mexico ’97 had Juanito – and now Brazil has Fuleco. The name is an amalgamation of the Portuguese word, ‘futebol’ and also ‘ecologia’, which hints at Brazil’s wish to portray a strong connection with the natural environment. In fact, the colour of his shell is claimed by the organisers to represent the blue sky and clear waters in and around Brazil. Fuleco is actually based on the three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus), a species endemic to Brazil.
One of the worst
Why was Germany’s 2006 Goleo the Lion such a faux pas of a mascot? Well, Germany doesn’t have, and never has had, lions in the wild, so the choice of Goleo seemed out of place. Worse than that, the organisers had managed to pick the national football symbol of their traditional footballing rivals, England.
One of the best
Doing exactly what any good mascot should do, Zakumi stepped forward as a stylish, easily identifiable mascot for South Africa. The little leopard – a wildlife icon in his homeland – strode onto the scene with the national sporting colours of yellow and green, and a T-Shirt that said ‘South Africa 2010’. Does what it says on the tin.
MAY 15 - 21 / ISSUE 320
Rumblings from Rio Brazil reveals team
Brazil recently unveiled its side with some notable omissions from the team sheet. Among those representing the host nation will be stars such as Tottenham’s Paulinho and Manchester City’s Fernandinho. Also featuring will be Barcelona’s Neymar and Napoli defender Henrique. However legendary Brazilian veterans Kaka, Ronaldinho and Robinho have had their hopes of playing in front of a home crowd dashed. It’s a new look side with only five players from the 2010 tournament making the cut.
Although the newly renovated stadium at Curtiba, the Arena da Baixada, is expected to be completed in the nick of time, there’s a whole host of projects that are reported to be cutting it exceedingly fine. Sao Paolo’s stadium, which will be home to FC Corinthians after the World Cup, apparently still has unfinished stands and incomplete access roads. It’s a venue where three workers have already died during its construction.
Pele has spoken out about the negative media surrounding the World Cup. In the face of growing security concerns arising from anti-government demonstrations, Pele remains adamant the tournament will be a success: “We have had political problems,” he told the media, “but the World Cup is a big party and it will be fantastic.”
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On the road to rio The teams are making final adjustments to their strategies and tactics, but with the 2014 World Cup kick-off only a month away, squads are coming under increasing scrutiny as the pundits measure their chances of success. As part of our build-up, Y magazine is measuring up the top teams to see just how far the world’s leading footballing nations are expected to go.
This week we continue profiling the 10 highest ranked teams, with illustrious Italy and combative Colombia
FIFA RANKING: 9 (as of May 8th) HISTORY: Though the Azzurri (‘Blues’) fluctuate in their performance, Italy is regarded as one of the top national teams in football. But then again, that’s to be expected from a side ranked the second most successful in World Cup history behind hosts Brazil. They enter the tournament with four World Cups under their belt. Only one player from the world- conquering 2006 squad remains, the captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. In the last eight years he’s been present in a squad that’s fluctuated in form between their highest ever FIFA ranking of 1st in 2007 down to their lowest, 16th, in October 2010. PREVIOUS FORM: Italy mastered their qualifying rounds for this World Cup, remaining unbeaten, despite a strong qualifying pool including Denmark, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. STAR PLAYER: Mario Balotelli has to be one of the most charismatic stars in the squad. But there’s also the indomitable Andrea Ranocchia propping up the defence. CAPTAIN: Gianluigi Buffon COACH: Cesare Prandelli CHANCES? Currently in the Top 10, they enter the tournament poised as a side that is known for powering through to the final rounds. Would you bet against a team famed for an attacking style of play to equal Brazil’s record and placed in a group whose biggest rival is England? Group D with Uruguay, Costa Rica and England Opening Game: June 14 v England
FIFA RANKING: 5 (as of May 8th) HISTORY: Unfortunately Colombia can’t claim to have a winning World Cup pedigreee, having failed to ever make it into the quarter-finals. They’ve also been unable to make it out of the group stages at any time other than in the 1990 Italy World Cup. But that’s not to say that they haven’t kept the crowds entertained because they’ve certainly had their moments of flare over the years – who can forget the incredible scorpion kick of goalkeeper Rene Higuita from the goal line against England at Wembley in 1995? PREVIOUS FORM: A run of five consecutive wins in the qualifying stages booked the South American team’s place at the finals. They were also one of the top two teams in terms of goals scored, proving their attacking prowess. However, the team is far from its top form of yesteryear, witnessed in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. STAR PLAYER: 28-year-old Radamel Falcao is a world-class player, coming fifth in the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or and is in dazzling form at AS Mocao. CAPTAIN: Mario Yepes COACH: José Pékerman CHANCES? Despite strong performances in the qualifying rounds, a home defeat to Argentina showed that Colombia are a team that may struggle up against the big guns. Group C with Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan. Opening Game: June 14 v Greece
WHO COULD SPRING A SURPRISE? Japan There’s nothing kamikaze about this 2014 team on their mission to go all the way in the 2014 finals. Although their latest FIFA ranking saw them lingering in the doldrums at 47, their qualifying campaign showed they mean business. They struggled in the early phases but started playing as a real unit in the later stages to dish out a 3-0 defeat to our very own Oman and a 6-0 thumping to Jordan. They’ve qualified for the last five FIFA World Cups and made it through to the second round twice. STAR PLAYER: Keisuke Honda is a young but experienced attacking midfielder with over 50 caps. He may just be able to nudge his team into the lead one of his amazing freekicks. CAPTAIN: Makoto Hasebei. COACH: Alberto Zaccheroni CHANCES? With the likes of striker Shinji Okazaki honing his skills in the Bundeliga, Japan’s players are no stranger to world-class football and may just decide to write a new chapter in their fledgling World Cup history. Group C with Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast. Opening Game: June 14 v Ivory Coast
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food and drink
BEST OF BRITISH
Celebrate edible delights from the UK by tucking into some authentic treats. Try chocolate, fresh fruits, pies and cakes with a taste of Blighty at the â€˜Food is Great Britainâ€™ promotion running at LuLu Hypermarkets.
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TREND New Restaurant
JUST MEAT IT
If your eating habits need to change, it might be time to find your inner caveman, says Shishira Sreenivas
t has been over 10,000 years since it went out of fashion but this century is seeing the Paleolithic diet, better known as the caveman diet, making something of a comeback in dieting trends. Followers of the meaty plan claim benefits include reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic degenerative diseases, improved skin and, more importantly, a sure-fire way to shed some stubborn pounds. The caveman diet started achieving popularity when Loren Cordain, an American scientist, published The Paleo Diet back in 2001. It didn’t take long for the protein-heavy, low-carb diet to garner a celebrity fan base, with Hollywood actress Uma Thurman and singer Miley Cyrus among those to endorse it. Just as the name suggests, a paleo diet includes eating a lot of meat, I mean a lot. Tons of the stuff. With piles of veggies, fruits, seeds and nuts on the side. Although no longer having to gnaw on a bison leg for supper, those following the diet mimick the eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors before the advent of agriculture. This means that grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), sugar, dairy and any form of processed foods are off the table. If it sounds a bit harsh, it could have its compensations. Dubai-based nutrition and inch-loss expert, Rashi Chowdhary, says that going paleo for those who have experienced food intolerances might actually be a good idea. “Around 80 per cent of us are sensitive to gluten and dairy, which may not be evident in an allergy test. So keeping off these and finding out first hand is a great idea for anyone trying to get on a healthier lifestyle,” says Chowdhary. A paleo diet can be especially effective for certain conditions such as digestive problems, food sensitivities or insulin resistance. On the other hand, consuming large quantities or red meat everyday doesn’t sound too healthy. Chowdhary says that while red meat does have a bed reputation, it’s not all bad. “Saturated fat from meat, poultry and butter and cholesterol from egg yolks are all good fats actually. In fact, they’re essential for our hormonal well-being,” she insists. “Fat is also an essential component required for production of hormones in our body. Without sufficient amounts, our endocrine system will be running on empty. Good fats do not make us fat.” Not everyone is convinced, however. In her 2012 Ted Talk – ‘Debunking the paleo diet’ – Christina Warinner said that every bit of food consumed today is drastically different from those consumed by our Neanderthal ancestors. She argues that diversity in the food groups consumed is what makes for a balanced healthy meal plan, not by excluding vital food groups. Arguments aside, there is one thing on which both paleo dieters and its critics mutually agree – that’s to stop the consumption of processed food and refined sugar. Whether you choose to go paleo or not, Chowdhary says it isn’t a quick fix. “To be honest, it’s not losing weight that’s tough. It’s about what method helps you keep it off.”
Cavemen DON’T EAT
Grass-produced meats Fish/seafood Fresh fruits and vegetables Eggs Nuts and seeds Healthy oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
Grains Legumes Dairy Refined sugar Potatoes Processed foods Salt Refined vegetable oils
Recipe Paleo Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients: l 2 Large chicken breasts, skin removed and cut into 1/2 inch strips l 1 800g can of diced tomatoes l 1 Litre organic chicken broth l 1 Sweet onion, diced l 2 Jalepeños, deseeded and diced l 2 Cups of shredded carrots l 2 Cups chopped celery l 1 Bunch of coriander, finely chopped l 4 Cloves of garlic, minced l 2 Tablespoon tomato paste l 1 Teaspoon chilli powder l 1 Teaspoon cumin l Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste l Olive oil l 1-2 Cups water Method: l In a slow cooker or large cooking pot over medium-high heat, place a dash of olive oil and about 1/4 cup chicken broth. Add onions, garlic, jalapeño, sea salt and pepper and cook until soft, adding more broth as needed. l Then add all of your remaining ingredients and enough water to fill your pot to the top. Cover and let cook on low heat for about two hours, adjusting salt and pepper as needed. l Once the chicken is fully cooked, you should be able to shred it very easily. Use the back of a wooden spoon and press the cooked chicken against the side of the pot. You can also use a fork or tongs to break the chicken apart and into shreds. l Top with avocado slices and fresh coriander. Source: Lindawagner.net
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food and drink
New Restaurant Info Box
Raouche Lebanese Restaurant City Seasons Hotel Muscat, Al Sultan Qaboos Street, Al Khuwair Tel: 24394865 Email: restaurants@ cityseasonsmuscat.com Timings: Open for lunch and dinner daily from 12 noon -11pm. Appetisers, mains and dessert for three: RO14.6 Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
Raouche No Rush
Shishira Sreenivas enjoyed a tasty Lebanese meal but was underwhelmed by the service and atmosphere
or many months, I had passed this chic-looking Lebanese restaurant on my way to the gym and made a mental note to try it out at some point. Finally, I put the exercise on hold for one night and decided to give my stomach a workout instead. Raouche Lebanese Restaurant is a part of the City Seasons Hotel and caters to quite a few of the hotel guests who stop by to try some Middle Eastern delicacies. It also helps that the restaurant has a great location right next to KM Hypermarket with hungry shoppers leaving just in time for dinner. The restaurant has an informal option, Café Rauche, attached to the side with an outdoor seating area. However, given the sultry humidity, eating al fresco wasn’t even an option. I'm not a connoisseur of Lebanese cuisine – this was only my second sampling. My first experience had been a great one though, so I was excited. However, I knew that being a vegetarian would cut out most of the menu for me. Still, any excuse for some delicious falafel works for me. As we entered the restaurant, it was hard not to be impressed by the beautiful ambience and subtle lighting. Half of the restaurant facing the service road had floor-toceiling windows giving passers-by
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a glimpse into the fine dining area. warm and soft bread. Surprisingly, the restaurant was My only gripe was the overkill largely empty except for one table of vinegar in the al raheb salad, a occupied by an Omani family. little too much for my palate and Even though the surroundings the poor aubergine, which was couldn’t be faulted, the atmosphere completely overpowered. The soup was a bit flat for 8.30pm on a fared better. My dad loved the Friday night. While the waiters surprisingly creamy taste. were polite, I would have definitely True, the portions did look small appreciated a bit more enthusiasm. but they were more than filling The menu was about four pages enough. Just as we were finishing long and had a large selection up, the falafels arrived on our table. of appetisers and cold and hot They looked fresh and had just the mezzes. The main meals were right dark brown colour topped overwhelmingly meat courses, with a sprinkling of roasted strictly off bounds for me, sesame seeds. VERDICT: leaving me with meagre They tasted just as pickings. good, perfectly crispy Having not had and moreish. 10 much experience with A quick look around Great food but falls down on Lebanese food, my in between bites revealed service parents and I relied on that a few more tables in the descriptions and ordered the restaurant had filled up, lentil soup and potato-olive salad adding a much-needed boost to for starters. From the cold mezze the atmosphere. selection, we ordered al raheb salad And so on to dessert. As we – grilled aubergine (eggplant) with browsed the tempting selection, bell peppers, my dad’s two favourite a waiter arrived to inform us that vegetables – and falafel from the only three flavours of ice cream – hot selection for me. For drinks, we chocolate, vanilla and strawberry decided to stick with water. – were available. Failing that, there We didn’t have to wait long were also pastries from the café for food. The soup, salad and bakery. aubergine came with a generous Though disappointed, my helping of pitta bread on the side. mother and I each ordered Without much ado, we tucked chocolate and vanilla ice cream, straight in, scooping up little while my dad side-stepped for a mounds of deliciousness onto the cappuccino. It took a while but
when the ice cream arrived, they had both scoops of ice cream in the same bowl. When we called out to the waiter to inform him we had ordered separately, he just looked confused. By the time we got through to him about the mishap and he asked if we wanted it brought separately again, I gave up and just asked for another spoon instead. Mum and I shared. All the food had been eaten and our plates taken away. We sat back and waited for someone to drop by with the bill. No one came. Eventually, my dad beckoned the waiter over and asked for the bill. After handing over a credit card, we waited quite a while before the card was brought back – without the bill. It seemed like the restaurant was short staffed as we saw only three people running around in attendance. After yet another reminder, they finally got us the bill. While the food was delectable (except for the vinaigrette), it perhaps needs a hardcore carnivore to do major justice to the meatbased menu. That said, the service was lacklustre, even though the restaurant had barely any customers. If you ever have a craving for some authentic Lebanese food, Raouche restaurant could well satisfy the pangs – just don’t expect an awful lot else.
POUR LA PLAGE
The Breton top is a timeless piece that every man should own. This season, however, designers have taken a slightly different approach to stripes: they’re bigger, bolder and come in block form. This sweater from Nautica’s latest collection seriously rocks.
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Heritage company Castañer is world-renowned for exceptionally crafted espadrilles and this pair is a dapper example. The bold matt stripes embolden the classic lightweight canvas design, which features jute and rubber soles for grip and comfort. RO45
HELLO SAILOR Stripes are back for Summer. Choose nautical patterns, or play with florals and tribal prints, says Penny Fray
Make a sartorial statement with this yellow blazer from the online retailer ASOS. It auto lifts the classic sailor look. RO42
or blokes who sensibly acknowledge that this season’s obsession with white is only right if you have a chauffeur, no kids and a serious dose of OCD – try the sailor trend instead. Sassy stripes and maritime touches are currently all over the high street. But because the print never really goes away, it’s important to attempt a fresh take on a classic look. That’s why we particularly love Zara’s focus on leather panelling and funky slogans, while both Matalan and M&S continue on a preppier route with Build crisp, clean, warm weather looks with Incotex chino shorts, boating shoes and striped sweaters. slim-fit white shorts. Tailored from a comfortable stretch-cotton blend, they lend a classic feel to almost Of course, investing in a staple Breton-style any outfit. Embrace a full-on vacation vibe and pair striped top makes sense. Not only is it timelessly yours with a Breton top with a twist. From RO123 stylish, it also travels well because it transcends both location and season, working in any This slogan vest city from Dubai to London. If you hate is totally on trend. the full-on sailor look though, try subtle From RO9 at Zara. perforations and top-half stripes for a more You can always rely on Zara for cool, modern feel. classic basics with a quirky twist. Want to be more fashion forward? Designed in a muted black-and-white We hear you. The cooler way to wear stripe motif, this T-Shirt is finished with faux leather. Slot yours into your casual stripes this summer is to go bold. The wardrobe – it’ll work with everything from horizontal patterns at both Moschino relaxed suiting to chinos. From RO13 and Miharayasuhiro were seriously wide – but it was the bigger block lines on suiting, as seen in Valentino, that really got us excited. They made a statement without looking too corporate or stuffy. An alternative take on the stripe is to mix it with florals, flames and other visuals. The vivid patterns used Jacopo Etro, the creative director at the within the stripes at Moschino, for family-run label, spends a lot of time in Mexico and the influence shows through instance, included stars, flowers, waves in the pattern of this lightweight scarf. crashing out at sea and desert dunes. Printed in incredibly deep, rich colours Too much? Don’t worry. You can against a neutral cream background, this always infuse the print on ties, socks, piece will lift a favourite blazer and T-Shirt scarves and knits. The ultimate combination to a stylish new level. The pure linen is incredibly soft – ideal for accessory stripe though is on your luxuriating in on warm evenings. RO117 espadrilles.
Penny offers three rules to getting it right this season:
1. Who says you have to be slim to wear horizontal stripes? The current craze for nautical stripes puts this unnecessary rule to bed. Paired with shorts and a blazer, this look is irresistible. 2. Feel free to mix prints and patterns. Of course, plaid, stripes, polka and paisley may be a bit too much for most mortals existing outside fashion’s garish galaxy, but usually a strategic and subtle combination of prints will look uber cool. 3. Don’t forget about vertical stripes – they create an illusion of length.
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GREAT Expectations From a young age, women are bombarded with the ideal of being beautiful. But is it time to ‘ban pretty’? asks Noor Hyder Mama, I’m fat. I want to be skinny like my friends. I wish I was prettier!’ Hearing a sixteen-year-old proclaim such self-deprecating statements might be just about acceptable, but what about when a seven-year-old says it? The past couple of years have seen an abundance of articles and campaigns about society’s expectations of beauty. Our definition of what it is to be beautiful is constantly being shaped and refined. The pressure to conform to this notion of beauty can be intense. A 2002 study by a group of scholars revealed that 33 per cent of Omani teenagers showed a propensity for anorexia-like behaviour, while 12.3 per cent exhibited a tendency towards binge eating and bulimia. Girls as young as 13 are racing to beauty salons to get their eyebrows tinted, their upper lips waxed, their scalps stapled with weaves and their nails shaped and manicured. A fight back of sorts is starting though. Last month, fashion magazine Grazia published an article with the thought-provoking idea to ‘Ban Pretty’. In the piece, Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes revealed that she doesn’t want her unborn daughter to aspire to being pretty. The pregnant Kroes, who has earned up to RO2.66 million a year from the beauty industry, claims that while she loves her job, she wants her daughter to study and have different aspirations. The model isn’t the only one protesting the perennial issue surrounding beauty. Beyoncé, the current queen of the music industry, has recently released a song called ‘Pretty Hurts,’ which portrays the painful lengths women go through in order to be considered ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty’. Her lyrics, “Blonder hair, flat chest, TV says bigger is better. South beach, sugar free, Vogue says thinner is better,” are striking a chord with young women everywhere. Young girls are just as susceptible as their older sisters. Muscat-based Clinical Psychologist Roma Fernandes agrees that children are very influenced by what they see in the media. “These generations are so technologically advanced. We see a lot of kids using gadgets at ages as young as two years. The effect of such high use of technology to learn about fashion 034
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and beauty has a tremendous effect on young girls’ self-esteem,” she says. “Not only do they want to dress the same as their favourite celebrities, they also want to look the same - which paves way for crazy diets that subsequently create a kind of pressure that can lead to many psychological disorders like anxiety, depression and eating disorders.” The explosion of social media sites has allowed the concept of being ultra thin and ‘pretty’ to enter the public consciousness and spark trends. Take the ‘thigh gap’ craze for example. A thigh gap is when your upper middle thighs do not touch when you stand with your legs together. The trend has gained so much popularity that there is a Twitter account devoted solely to models’ skinny frames. There’s also the question of whether parents are the ones damaging their daughters by calling them ‘pretty’ at a young age. Huffington Post’s Lisa Bloom wrote an article in which she discussed the way we speak to little girls. While the standard, ‘Oh you’re so cute/ beautiful/adorable!’ seems like a sincere way to boost a little girl’s self-esteem, does it negatively impact their individual perceptions of beauty? According to the article, ABC News reported that nearly half of all three to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. The general consensus is that women would rather be considered ‘hot’ than ‘smart’ and that eating disorders are increasing while self-esteem is decreasing. By constantly squealing at how cute and pretty girls are, we are teaching them that their appearance is the first thing we notice. The Middle East is no different to the Western world. While eating disorders, and anorexia in
particular, were regarded as disorders of Western society, they have now become a common occurrence within non-Western societies. A study showed that Omani teenagers were nearly five times more likely to develop anorexia-like behaviour than non-Omani teenagers. On top is the added pressure of not being able to find a husband if they do not achieve the cultural standard of beauty. The fact is that the worldwide cultural imperative for females to be ‘pretty’ has lead to increased unhappiness and a lack of confidence. Lisa Bloom insists that society sends all the wrong messages to our girls. But with one tiny nudge towards valuing the female brain instead of beauty, we could possibly start the climb to a more healthy and achievable standard view of what makes someone pretty. Beauty is confidence in yourself and your mind. “There is a way to help these young girls and it starts at home,” says Roma Fernandes, who works at the Whispers of Serenity Clinic. “If a young girl feels safe, secure and loved in her own home, the chances are she will not need to seek reassurance by conforming to society’s expectations of beauty. “We may not realise at times how the smallest thing might affect a child’s confidence, but if we encourage children to think for themselves and view themselves and the world in a positive light, we can help them understand that beauty comes from within.” So next time you meet a little girl, ask her about her likes and dislikes. Ask her what she likes to read and, if she’s old enough, enquire about her about her studies and what she aspires to be when she grows up.
BARBRA YOUNG ANSWERS YOUR FASHION QUESTIONS
If you have any fashion questions for Barbra, email email@example.com or tweet #style @ ytabloid
Barbra Young, a former designer and retailer
Fresh, androgynous and comfortable, the all-white palette raises these masculine flats to a starring role for the new season. Wear with ‘normcore’ essentials like a plain T-Shirt and a pair of blue-wash boyfriend jeans for an understated yet uber-cool look.
Is it true that untrendy clothes are now trendy? I’m 51 and my fashion-graduate daughter is trying to steal my jeans on the basis that ‘mom jeans’ are now in. I guess, if true, it saves both our bank accounts and the environment. Roseanne, Muscat.
It’s a bit of a horrible shock for fashion lovers like me to discover that people who have never cared or taken the slightest notice of fashion are now finding themselves at the epicentre of it. How? Well, blame a modern phenomenon called ‘normcore’. Think Jerry Seinfeld during his long-running TV show. Think Hawaiian shirts and high-waist jeans. Think normal. Yes people, that’s the look. It’s a trend towards all things authentic, comfortable and pedestrian. And the parental wardrobe is now the holy grail of fashion. It hails from the buy less, wear forever, care for our environment approach. Call it conscious normality, anti-fashion fashion and the feel-good movement so beloved by the hipster set. But even before Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Chanel catwalk into a normcore supermarket and sent a trolley-wielding Cara Delevingne down the aisles in distressed joggers and trainers, the fashion elite were wearing their own version of the look with plain T-Shirts, denim and skate shoes. Will it save our planet? I don’t think so. Before you can say ‘at last,’ the fashion world will be producing normcore clothing in a micro second. Fashion changes because it’s a business that needs you to want to be forward thinking, throwing away last season’s look and embracing the new. I think I will sit this one out for the five minutes it lasts.
Rag & Bone’s loose fit sweatshirt is perfect for teaming with these Gucci ‘mom’ jeans.
As pooch lovers, we’re totally ‘digging’ the cult fashion blog mensweardog. tumblr.com This four-yearold Shiba Inu living in New York has a penchant for all things cool. His interests include never washing his selvage denim and lurking around Soho for someone to notice his steez. His images are totally woof.
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CARS AND ADVENTURES
Y- F i
In a tangle
Take a wander along Mughsayl beach, where traditional boats lie at rest waiting to put to sea.
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CARS AND OUTDOORS ADVENTURES
D estination P o s t c a r d s f r o m
Y- F i
Mughsayl Beach If youâ€™re making a trip to the south of Oman, make sure you venture to where the mountains meet the sea, says Jerzy Wierzbicki 038
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along the beautiful sands in the relative cool of the early morning and evening. Small shelters on the beach also make the trip that little bit more comfortable for those looking to escape the sun and enjoy a picnic. On the lookout for wildlife to capture on film, I was lured to some nearby rocks, where a group of sea birds had gathered. The long lens would be perfect for getting good shots of the gulls without having to get too near and potentially causing them to take to the skies. The beach around them was filled with shallow puddles of warm water, making a veritable paradise for the seabirds who gathered there in large numbers, squawking away. But it was the scenery that was especially captivating. Along the Dhofar coast, open ocean meets mountains to create spectacular scenes. And it’s especially impressive when the bigger waves crash against the beach during the monsoon season. Rising up out of the deep Arabian Sea, they hit the shore with more ferocity than in northern Oman, infusing the air with spray and a powerful, salty tang. Mughsayl beach also has a sizeable fleet of traditional fishing boats. Boats and nets are spread along the sandy expanse, with the ubiquitous seagulls drawn to searching for scraps of food among the equipment. I took a moment to just sit there among the old boats and closed my eyes. Listening to the sound of the waves breaking and surging up the beach, I was transported to another world. A thousand kilometres is a considerable way to come from Muscat but in that moment, I realised that it was worth every minute of the long journey. If you’re not one of those people who likes to sit in quiet contemplation, there’s a fantastic car park nearby which gives superb panoramic views over the entire length of the beach. With plenty of space and a small coffee shop, the essentials are here to enjoy an evening watching the sunset. It may not have the splendour of other more dramatic locations in the region but Mughsayl beach offers a lovely alternaive for anybody wanting to experience something a little off the beaten path on their travels.
HOW TO GET THERE
hofar, in the south of Oman, is one of the most beautiful regions within the Sultanate and it’s an area stuffed full of stunning vistas and natural treasures. There are the well-known locations such as Wadi Darbat, Khor Rori and Jabal Samhan. Visited by thousands of people every year, these are the tried and tested destinations that never fail to impress. Especially so during the Khareef season from June to early September, when spectacular blooms of greenery leave you spellbound in a country where the majority of land is dry and barren. But there is also a host of quieter spots off the beaten track to explore. One of my favourites is Mughsayl beach (also known as Mughsail), a seven kilometre long expanse of golden sand. It’s somewhere I went a few months ago during my annual tour around the south of the Sultanate. Before leaving, I did a little basic research and found a few generic photos that enticed me to take a further look and explore the breezy stretch of coast about 40 kilometres west of Salalah. Having driven all the way from Muscat with a couple of friends from Germany, we had spent a few nights in the desert en route. Mughsayl Beach was to be the most southerly and final point on our journey. After a tasty lunch in Salalah, we set off to the west in the direction of Oman’s border with Yemen. Driving for just half an hour from the administrative capital, we pulled over in a little car park by the beautiful beach, the kind that you can only find in Dhofar. Light yellow sand lined a coast where waves broke gently against the shoreline. Nearby mountains towered in stark contrast to the flat surface of the ocean. Overhead the sun blazed but a strong breeze offset the sweltering heat. It was the ideal time to use a 500mm lens, a powerful telephoto attachment to help capture objects from afar. But it’s not small — a couple on the beach chuckled as this foreigner hefted a huge extension onto his camera and yomped along the sands looking for the perfect shot. The beautiful thing about Mughsayl is that it’s not just for tourists. It’s a popular destination for local residents, who amble
From Muscat, the route to Mughsayl beach is easy – but long. Tarmac roads run the length of the country so any car is fine but just remember on any long journey like this, to keep topped up with fuel and check oil levels.
Once you reach Salalah, head out of town in a southerly direction towards Raysut. Continue past Raysut until, 43km after leaving Salalah, you reach the ocean. The main road runs parallel to the sea just a few hundred metres
away. Once you’ve driven the length of the beach, you’ll find a car park.
GPS location of the entrance to the beach: 16°53’15.53”N 53°49’16.64”E
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CARS AND OUTDOORS ADVENTURES
Head to a luxury cinema and rediscover your love for the silver screen, says Tom Robertson
few years before I moved to Oman, I became disillusioned and, to some extent, disgruntled. One of my favourite pastimes was being snatched away from me. Catching a blockbuster at the cinema had become a wearing, grating experience. Auditoriums were becoming grubby and piled high with old popcorn cartons as scheduling bosses tried to cram more showings into the day. Lazy projectionists were leaving films incorrectly displayed in formats that left hulking black bars on the screen. Here, in Muscat, I was struggling with the incessant phone calls that seem to be nonchalantly made by members of the audience. My mind was cursing the gaggles of youngsters chattering away merrily during dramatic scenes while the world’s top actors emoted at the peak of their craft on the screen. I had lost my faith in a trip to the movies and, as a result, withdrew into buying DVDs and watching them at home. Why should I put up with yapping pups and the annoying WhatsApp whistles when I could sit quietly with friends? And all the while on a comfortable couch in front of a 46-inch 040
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plasma screen. Cinema was dead to me. But in my slightly depressing movie solitude, I had heard whispers of life from the once-proud theatres. Having realised that box office takings weren’t to be taken for granted in a world of huge home TVs and movie -streaming websites, cinema bosses have revamped. Cue luxury cinemas, first-class cinemas and sofa cinemas the world over and, in the case of Muscat, Gold Class. Could this be the ‘beep, beep, beep’ of a cinematic cardiogram that showed there was still life in the old dog yet? Which is why I found myself walking into City Cinema’s Gold Class auditorium for a showing of The Amazing Spider Man 2 the other night. It had been a while since I had admitted defeat and set foot in the cinema. Everything was to play for. I wanted to believe so badly, but a serving of cini-cysm weighed heavily. What struck me immediately was the size of the auditorium. With just 24 seats the salon was relatively small – but that stood in stark contrast to the size of the seats. Four rows of huge, fat leather armchairs. Greeted by the usher and shown to my place I immediately sunk down into a kind of
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stupefied state of comfort as the seat reclined at the touch of a button. This was beginning to feel like travelling business class. There would be no numb-bum tonight. The young lady who had shown me to my seat immediately set about presenting a menu from which customers could choose an assortment of meals and snacks, from a full-on spaghetti bolognese to strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Was this really table service in a cinema? I loved the concept. I didn’t actually order anything, but it was the fact that I could that so enthralled me. There didn’t have to be a snap decision in the foyer of whether to grab something before going in. I could simply ring a little bell when the fancy took me. I could get very used to this indeed. Inside me, that little boy who had so enjoyed his trips to the movie house was reawakening, the sense of innocent anticipation and pleasure slowly returning. Comfortable seating. Tick. Complimentary snacks. Tick. So far so good. But then I held my breath in abject fear. As the lights dimmed, I waited for picture to be half projected on the adjacent wall, to seep off the bottom of the screen or to witness some other heinous crime of projection. But it never came. When Spidey, my childhood hero, swept down from his perch above the city, he did so in perfectly projected, jaw dropping 3D. I was almost left wondering why I couldn’t feel the rush of the wind as I swung from building to building alongside him. With the spectacular opening over, I sat back, tensed, and waited for the shrill tweets of incoming texts and emails. For loud chatter to shatter the illusion of being back with my old pal Peter Parker. But they never came. Glancing around the auditorium there were just a few quiet souls, engrossed in the latest big-hitter from Hollywood, ushering them into a world of escapism as all movies should. This was cinema as it was intended to be. In the lap of luxury, I wiped my hand clean with the little towel provided, tucked in my blanket (provided by the usher on demand) and set my electric chair to recline even further. For the first time in a long time at the cinema, I simply relaxed. By the time I walked out of the screening, I was positively refreshed. Gone were the memories of fraught trips to crammed and noisy auditoriums. Here was a new dawn of cinema for me. Life may be like a box of chocolates, Forest, but cinema is not. Because if you’re happy to fork out a few more rials for an evening of exclusive entertainment, you know exactly what you’re going to get. And I like it.
Try it ● Gold Class ● City Cinema ● Muscat Grand Mall Bawshar, Muscat ● 24567668 ● For times and reservations www.citycinemaoman.net ● Tickets RO10 per person
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OUTDOORS trendy toronto
Known as a smaller and friendlier version of New York, Toronto is a concrete jungle surrounded by beautiful parks and vibrant greenery. Baseball fans flock to Toronto in the summertime to watch the Blue Jays play at the Rogers Centre.
Top 5 Places To Visit: 1. The CN Tower 2. Canada’s Wonderland 3. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada 4. Toronto Lakeshore 5. The Royal Ontario Museum
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O u t d o o r s postcards from
Zeina Aker, recommends
hen thinking of Canada, many people tend to have images of the cold, harsh weather and possibly even the abundant supply of maple syrup. Although not fa r f r o m t h e t r u t h , C a n a d a i s a p e r f e c t b a l a n c e o f b e a u t i fu l s c e n e r y a n d urban city life. A prime example of this mix is Toronto, one of North America’s most diverse cities. Approximately 50 per cent of Torontonians were born outside of Toronto, and over 1 0 0 d i a l e c t s a r e s p o k e n i n t h e c i t y . N o w o n d e r i t ’ s b e e n r a t e d t h e fo u r t h m o s t livable city in terms of healthcare, study and safety. Toronto is the capital city of the province of Ontario. With a population of 2.79 million, it is heralded as one of the most multicultural cities in the world and is ranked as the safest large metropolitan area in North America. Culture animates the city. Toronto is continuously shaped and reshaped by c r e a t i v e fo r c e s a t w o r k . T h i s a d d s t o a s e n s e o f p o s s i b i l i t y a n d b e l o n g i n g a n d i s u l t i m a t e l y w h a t m a k e s t h e c i t y s o a tt r a c t i v e t o p e o p l e f r o m a l l o v e r t h e w o r l d . Toronto is home to more than 70 film festivals, and 200 professional p e r fo r m i n g a r t s o r g a n i s a t i o n s , i n c l u d i n g i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y r e c o g n i s e d s y m p h o n i e s , and ballet and opera companies. Speaking from experience, the Toronto Palestine Film Festival is one of the biggest events in the film calendar, a tt r a c t i n g p e o p l e f r o m a r o u n d t h e w o r l d w i t h a n i n t e r e s t i n g l o b a l c i n e m a . G e tt i n g a r o u n d t h e c i t y i s fa i r l y e a s y . T h e m a j o r i t y o f T o r o n t o n i a n s e v e n w a l k d u r i n g t h e f r e e z i n g - 3 5 ° C e l s i u s w i n t e r d a y s b u t p u b l i c t r a n s p o r t i s e ff i c i e n t (most of the time) and includes a very simple underground system and accessible buses and streetcars. One of the best things to do in Toronto is to buy a $10 day pass and just hop on a streetcar and discover the many neighbourhoods. Wherever you go, the city will give you a big, welcoming hug. You can escape the hustle and bustle of downtown at the relaxing lakeshore, enjoy authentic gyros in Greektown, or visit Toronto’s most luxurious chocolate boutique, Morocco, in Yorkville. If you get lost, don’t be afraid t o a s k fo r h e l p . T o r o n t o n i a n s a r e f r i e n d l y a n d l o v e h e l p i n g o u t - o f - t o w n e r s with directions.
My favourite place
Kensington Market. It’s known as the ‘hipster’ part of town and has an exciting array of vintage stores and food stalls. Some even say that you can get the best churros (Spanish doughnut) outside of Spain here.
a ’s W o nde
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Highlights During the summer, the whole city is transformed. The best thing about Toronto in the summer is its terraces – great places to relax with friends after a long day at work in Toronto’s 25°C summer weather. Almost every restaurant or lounge has an amazing patio for people to sit back with an ice-cool drink and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Lowlights Toronto is an incredible adventure for anyone who visits at any time other than the winter. The cold months can be brutal and extremely moody, fluctuating between still iciness and jaw-freezing breezes. The wind chill is what you have to watch out for – although it isn’t as bad as other Canadian cities, it still makes it hard to get out of any indoor heated hideout. Souvenirs Maple syrup and maple cookies. For the young ones, Wonderland, with 160 attractions and 50 rides, is a jaw-dropping marvel with the iconic Wonder Mountain 4D experience. Get your hands on some good old-fashioned amusement park mementoes – photos of you screaming your lungs out on a rollercoaster will make for a good profile picture on Facebook. Just don’t try a selfie. Where to stay It depends what type of person you are – if you are a student backpacker you should definitely stay at Canadiana Backpackers Inn. For luxury lovers, try out the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville (the most plush part of Toronto).
to Lak es
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-FI THE TECH IN YOU
Your inner child should never be allowed to fade away – especially when these top toys are waiting for you, says Tom Robertson
Burning rubber Forget the clunky, ugly radio-controlled cars of the past. The latest offering from legendary model maker, Tamiya, is the Renault Alpine A110 ’71, a replica of the 1971 winner of the Monte Carlo Rally, where it took all three places on the podium. With fully independent wishbone suspension, Super Grip radial tyres and adjustable ground clearance, this little 1/10-scale stunner will tear around the ground in style. Of course, you’ll have to build it first – but that’s half the fun. RO97 from www.tamiya.com
No, not the classic ‘80s cartoon but a brand new project from Supertoy Robotics. The Supertoy Teddy is, just like in the Mark Wahlberg film, a furry little friend who you can hang out with and chat to. Essentially a toy that puts the power of a smartphone into a teddy, the talking bear will respond to a host of questions such as ‘Where’s the nearest restaurant?’ or ‘Where can I find a good toy shop?’, combined with a range of suitable movements. Just add your smartphone. Released later this year, date and price TBC. Check it out at www.supertoyrobotics.com
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SUN CHASER Solar-powered toys are all the rage this year, as manufacturers look to go beyond mobile phone chargers and into every other product under the sun. Brand new from Elenco is their Robotikits 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kit. It includes a robot which can be set up in 14 different modes, such as the Wheel-bot or Walker-bot. Utilising the power of the sun to move, the Robotikit is just the tool for firing the eco-technology consciousness in your children RO13.5 from www.fatbraintoys.com
I Wheelie want one Big wheels were once the preserve of young kids pootling around the local neighbourhood looking for the ice-cream van. But that all changed in the early 2000s when a Jackass-style show, Nitro Circus, started using them to perform insane stunts, such as jumping a big wheel between two skyscrapers or performing the world’s first triple back flip. If you fancy getting in on the insane action but don’t want to cram yourself into a kiddy version, try the new High Roller Adult size big Wheel trike. Play safely. RO335 from amazon.com
FIND OUT WHAT’S HIP & HAPPENING IN GADGETS
App of the week
Surf’s Up So Oman’s got the clear blue waters and the sun but sadly, in the north, no surf. Well who needs it. The next adrenalinefuelled water sports craze is here in the form of the Jet-Surf. With a 100cc engine, the powered surfboard whips through the water and can be controlled using a combination of the rider’s balance and a handheld throttle. Not for the faint-hearted. Price TBC, www.jet-surf.com
NEW! Mars Science Laboratory Rover Children’s minds are constantly churning out ideas, so why not harness all that creativity? Lego actually did and hats off to them. In 2008 it launched the ‘Cusoo’ website, meaning ‘fantastic imagination’ in Japanese. Now known as LEGO Ideas, the company encourages youngsters and big kids to come up with new ideas that could be made commercially available, with one per cent of royalties going to the original designer. One recent addition has been the Mars Science Laboratory Rover from Lego.com for RO11.5:
Putting an updated spin on a classic game, the Trivial Pursuit App by Electronic Arts brings the test of knowledge into the 21st century. Allowing up to four players to battle it out against each other, the app can be played either in ‘Pass n Play’ mode or by Wi-Fi. Available on iOS and Android for RO0.45
Based upon the NASA Mars Curiosity Rover, the scientific buggy currently scouting the red planet for signs of alien life. Designed by real Curiosity Rover engineer, Stephen Pakbaz. Based on a six-wheel design, each with fully working suspension for driving over your little lunar landscapes. Includes white, black and grey bricks to recreate the colours of the original Rover.
Not necessarily a toy, but suitable for any girl looking to experience the magic of Splash or Disney’s The Little Mermaid for themselves by taking a plunge with a fish tail. The Mahina MerFin is a soft flexible single fin perfect for exploring the Sultanate’s shores. Made from recycled rubber and available from www.mahinamermaid.com, living your childhood dreams will set you back RO38. FEB 27MAY – MAR 15 - 0521 / ISSUE 309 320
CARS AND ADVENTURES
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Maserati Quattroporte GTS Specifications
Engine: 3.8L V8 Twin Turbo Horsepower: 530 Transmission: Eight-speed automatic 0-100kmph in 4.7 seconds Top Speed: 307kmph Price: From RO 55,000
car of the week
Nawras CEO Greg Young relives his youth and finds the beast needs the space of the open road to fly
s I approached the Maserati Quattroporte 2014, images of the past came flooding back, from ten years ago on an open road in Australia in the first car that I ever drove with paddle-shift gears. I recalled that awesome feeling of command and control, the crisp shift, the neck snap and the exhaust bark. Could the new model conjure up these same sensory delights? The sixth-generation Quattroporte introduces 3.8 litres of bi-turbo muscle, supported by almost magical numbers for power with an eight-speed automatic gearbox offering an irresistible manual mode. On paper, then, it promised much, but could it deliver? If you were expecting a review with a traditional critique of family motoring attributes, then you’ll be disappointed. Yes, the Quattroporte is a four-door car. Yes, its large external size delivers good interior room even for rear-seat travellers, and yes, it has a boot to carry school bags and shopping. But let’s talk about performance, an area where Maserati with its pedigree and heritage shines. With this new model, though, age has mellowed and blended ultraperformance with high-end luxury. This was in evidence with a milder exhaust note compared to past models. I kept looking for a button to create more noise, and whilst it burbled with unbridled vigour, and popped and crackled when backing off and down shifting, I was just a little underwhelmed. Opening the sunroof didn’t satiate my desire for noise, and high revving in manual shift mode couldn’t coax a satisfying outcome. I concluded this was a 046
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demonstration of refinement that I couldn’t defeat. In an effort to escape Muscat’s traffic, speed bumps and undisciplined driver behaviour, my search led me to Yiti and an open road. Steering is noticeably heavier at speed, pulling this beast around corners with tangible feedbackassisting driver control. There was a bit of under steer, providing a reassuring sense of involvement, always aided by my unseen friend – traction control. I thank the mechanical gods of electronic design, inspired by F1 development, that brought us traction control (TC). Without this modern-day luxury we mere mortals could not aspire to get this amount of power safely translated into usable motion while continuing to travel in our desired direction. Don’t even consider looking for the TC off button – even if you find it, the best advice is abstain. This car will bite you. Manoeuvring the Maserati around parking lots was surprisingly easy with no noticeable blind spots, helped by the large dash-mounted multi function display with its rear camera view. The system was simple to operate, with a lavishly expansive touchscreen allowing intuitive input and control. But the navigation system could only be described as unusable owing to a map database so poor that 18th November Street simply didn’t exist as far as it was concerned. I’m sure the system would provide all the expected features and do it with poise and clarity but not without a memory transplant. I recommend enjoying a great music interface while forgetting about
where you’re going because the Maserati will be of no help. The steering wheel has the usual plethora of buttons for fingertip access to controls, and then some. Over time sensory memory will no doubt breed familiarity and avoid taking your eyes off the road. Then there are the paddle shifts. Stylishly crafted in alloy with flowing curves, they are enormous and oversized in order to be always accessible. You’ll need to use manual mode along with other settings performance and sports suspension - to wring out every horse that is cleverly tucked under the bonnet. Annoyingly, these settings reset at each startup. Speaking of horses there are 530 of them delivering incredible power and torque. The thrust and acceleration is unrelenting, continuous and smooth, provided you let the automatic gearbox mode make the decision for you. Beautiful leather seats coupled with electric controls and wraparound style make the driving experience comfortable but suitably restraining. A nice feature – particularly useful with the onset of hotter days – was the remote start that also enables partial AC, which is great to get things cooling down before scorching your hands on the steering wheel. After three days up close and personal with the new Maserati I could understand the bond that develops between car and driver. But this car is not meant for pottering around town. It deserves – indeed begs – to be driven harder, and will be angry if its performance is not allowed to surface on the open road.
Pros * A comfortable blend of performance and refinement in a wellbalanced mix. * The manual mode brings out its best in handling and sheer power. Cons * The doors don’t close with a refined luxury clunk. * The navigation is best left in the off position until the maps can be updated. * Where has the exhaust crackle gone?
LED light clusters with rear wraparound Twin steel oval exhaust pipes 19” alloy wheels Classic grille with Maserati trident emblem Three-level dashboard Large 8.4” Maserati Touch Control touchscreen framed in brushed aluminium Poltrona Frau leather interior with briarwood finish State-of-the-art car audio Night-lighting system with fibre optic cables