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COMPETITION

EDITOR’S

NOTE

Have you got what it takes to enter Y’s Got Talent, our exciting competition for college students to showcase their skills on stage? Turn to page 16-17 for details!

THE BAROMETER GOING UP

NEW HOTELS New figures have revealed that the number of hotels in Oman has risen to 339. This is thanks to 41 new hotels – including the Sheraton Oman – that opened by the end of 2016 .

GOING DOWN

THE TEMPERATURE As temperatures plummeted around the country this week, we experienced snow, high winds and rough seas. Are you looking forward to summer?

THIS WEEK… Team Y has been enjoying the Muscat Festival and had a fun family day out at Bimmah Sinkhole recently.

Welcome to Y Magazine – your top guide to the best of Oman every week.

Fast forward

N

ow in its 17th year, Muscat Festival is one of the most highly anticipated cultural events on the country’s calendar. And thanks to Oman’s rich heritage and traditions, it has become a firm favourite for many residents around the country. In our cover story this week, Team Y heads to Muscat Festival at Al Amerat and finds a wealth of traditional craftsmen and artisans proudly showcasing their talents and wares in “Heritage Village”, from doll making to the intricate art of weaving fishing nets to pottery making and other handicrafts. What was clear was the sense of pride in our heritage and arts and crafts industry, which is unique to this region. The atmosphere was eclectic and we have to say that we are looking forward to next year’s Muscat Festival, which we hope won’t be shortened – and allow more people to visit this wonderful celebration of Oman. Elsewhere, we head to Wadi Bin Awf in Destination, take a thrilling First Drive in the Maserati Levante and continue with our “Y We Are Soulmates” competition to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Have a wonderful week!

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PHOTOGRAPHER Shaquel al Balushi REPORTER Alvin Thomas DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Feroz Khan

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contents FEB

Your Oman

15

2017

10 News Delayed VAT expected in 2018 12 News Cold weather could continue

22 Rich Traditions Celebrating Oman at the Muscat Festival 28 Love is in the Air Y’s We Are Soulmates competition is back

16 Competition Y’s Got Talent

08 Voice Of Oman Felicity Glover

10

-

This Week

06 Coffee With Y Ken Jackson

14 Faces Of Oman

09

Features

18 This Week Down Under celebration

22

21 Movies Florence Foster Jenkins

15 Hyundai – Driven To Success Faisal Hasan Ibrahim al Balushi

Cars and Adventures

21

Food and Drink 3o Food Feature Made with love

30

38 Destination Wadi Bani Awf 40 Outdoors Terry Fox charity event

Health and Beauty

42 Postcard From Glasgow, Scotland

32 Fashion New romantics

44 Y-Fi Spy games

46 First Drive 34 Beauty Maserati Levante Watchful eyes 36 Health Expert advice

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NEXT ISSUE... FEATURES / COFFEE WITH Y / NEWS / MOVIES / EVENTS / BEAUTY / DESTINATION / TRAVEL / FASHION / FIRST DRIVE

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ackson

Ken J

Alvin Thomas sits down with Mwasalat’s Ken Jackson and discovers that he’s a huge Ha rley-Davidson fan and keen sailor ost of you may not know help

M

ing run coaches from the northKen was offered a job at the multiKen Jackson, but in some east of England to north of Spain. way or other, he may have nati onal company, WABCO vehicle “That’s really when I started off affected your life. How so, you ask? con trol systems for the Asia-Pacific with buses,” says the engineer. “In Ken is the engineering manager at region. He then shifted to the Roa 1987, he took up a job working as d Mwasalat – Oman’s transport firm , the assistant to the chief engineer – and if you’ve been in one of the at and Transport Authority in the UAE the Busways Travel Services befo and then moved on to Bahrain’s re company’s buses, you have Ken’s moving on to a rival company as Bahrain Public Transport Compan efforts to thank. y. the head of maintenance. “So my “But in October 2015, I got a call Getting hold of Ken wasn’t too progress was pretty good,” tells Ken hard, despite the fact that he is bus . from a Dubai-based agency aski y ng But destiny had planned somethi drawing up the final stages for Om ng if I was interested in an’s truly extraordinary for Ken, a hea d of as he new taxi system, which is expecte engineering position at what was d points out: “I received a call from the to begin in the capital soon. But, my Oman National Transport Compan ex-chief engineer – who was wor y. king graciously, and rather surprisingly, he in Hong Kong – and he aske d me if I And that they were putting a specialist accepted our request for an intervie w. wanted a job there. team together for operations, plan Our meeting point is the food cou ning rt And in a few days’ time, Ken says and engineering. section at Al Meera Hypermarke t – a he decided to take the plun ge. “The mall close to Mwasalat’s head offic And as they say: the rest is history. e in next thing I know, I moved to Hong Today, Ken and his team Azaiba. And Ken, being the pun ctual Kong. I stayed with them for ’s efforts 10 years have made Mw man he is, turns up bang on time. asalat the number and graduated from the position So without any further ado, we sit one transport company in Oman. of assistant service manager, befo down with our diet sodas (Ken doe re sn’t finally heading the engineering Ken also says that in a few month s’ drink coffee) and begin our intervie w. department,” he says. time Mwasalat will be the most Ken ‘Kenneth’ Jackson originally During this time, Hong Kong’s flee technologically advanc hails from the town of Wallsend in ed and modern t the of city buses grew from 75 to 1,600. fleet in the Middle East. north-east of England, and quickly In 2002, however, Ken finally end clarifies with a chuckle: “We Geo ed At this this point, I must also talk rdies his career in Hong Kong. [a person residing in the northea abo ut Ken’s love for bikes, something stern “With a handful of money, I did England], as we are known, are mo he says he holds high regards for. re what I always dreamt of – to set Scottish than English. “I began riding bikes at the age of sail with my family. And I bought “I hail from a very modest 14 to ride on the fields. When I was an American-built 40-foot yacht background. My father was in the (called the Sunset Strip) and saile 16, I bought a little 50cc moped to go d Royal Navy and I spent my initial days from Hong Kong all the way to scho ol.” Following that, he bought to the in school in the town,” says Ken. Phillipines (which is 800 nautical a 550cc Honda sportsbike, before However, following school, Ken miles). says he began an apprenticeship graduating to a Kawasaki Z1000as a “We spent eight months sailing technician in marine engineering Z1R – which was the fastest road at around. We would sail across and the age of 16. pro duc tion bike at the time. dock the boat, and spend some tim e “I went to the North Tyneside “As I grew a little older, I moved on shore. During this time, we saile on College of Further Education and d to Harleys. They are rare and exo to Subic Bay, Manila, Myanmar, tic,” then to the South Tyneside College for Maya-Maya and then to Indone says Ken. sia, seamanship, following which I beg an Singapore and up the coast to These days, Ken owns seven merchant shipping. However, that Malaysia, Thailand and we came Har ley-Davidsons, including an didn’t suit me at all, and I didn’t like it. back down across to Vietnam, Hainan extremely rare model, the Ann So, I left there,” says Ken. iversary (southern China) and then finally back Edition Sportster, of whi However, after leaving his ch there are to Hong Kong. apprenticeship, he applied for only 28 in the world. “Sailing was always a passion of a job with a long-distance bus mine. I used to sail with the original company. And thanks to his excelle Have you got a unique story to tell or do nt owner of Hong Kong City Bus you know , who someone who has? Cont educational background, Ken was act us to have coffee with was an avid off-shore racer,” says immediately handed the job of Ken. Y and be featured in Y Mag azine. After this sailing odyssey, howeve r, Email: editor@y-oman.com

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THE VOICE OF OMAN FELICITY GLOVER ON KEEPING IT REAL DURING THE RECENT ‘COLD SNAP’ IN OMAN

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ike many people, it’s safe to say that I’m a follower of the weather, particularly when it comes to extreme heat and cold. Of course, summer in Oman reaches very high temperatures and for the first time last year, I witnessed my car’s temperature gauge rise to 50 degrees Celsius while I was stuck in gridlocked traffic on Sultan Qaboos Highway. Being a “momentous” moment in my life, I took a photo (when the car was stationary!) and posted it on my Facebook page. On the flipside, I’ve lived in Scandinavia, where the temperature during winter is at the extreme end of the scale – often below zero, with snow, wind, rain and fog thrown in for good measure. I still have vivid memories of being constantly cold – even in the summer. And it’s these memories that came flooding back last weekend, when Oman experienced what you’d call a bit of a “cold snap”, with the temperature dropping to 10 degrees Celsius during the night. While the cold snap is news in Oman and around the GCC region, I have to say that it barely raised an eyebrow among my social media friends, many of whom are living in Europe and experiencing freezing conditions. A quick check of my weather app confirms this. Kiruna, in the north of Sweden, is expecting a high of -15 degrees Celsius today (Thursday), while it will be slightly warmer in St Petersburg, Russia, at -7. And that’s when I got my reality check – I’d rather be in sunny, “cool” Muscat right now than in freezing Europe.

NEXT WEEK: IBRAHIM GAILANI 08

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correspondence BEWARE OF SCAMMERS Dear Editor, For a couple of months, not only me but many in the Ruwi area have come across a new breed of “well-wishers”. However, these people are scammers who are out to deceive people and rob them. The modus operandi of this group is to operate at vantage points like hospitals, gold shops, restaurants, taxi stands, parking lots, etc and observe people. They like to identify what people are looking for and lose no time in posing as a well-wisher extending help and advice, all for free, in their words. If one appears to be sick looking for medicare, they seem to have panaceas at their fingertips, which offer cheap cures be they for obesity, hypertension, tooth decay or whatever. They also appear to have limitless sources of extending services for any health issue at an affordable cost, even in instalments. Though most people will be wise to them, there are at least a few gullible persons who will fall prey to them. For instance, these people are too quick to identify those seeking visa medicals, particularly those having fitness issues. For those looking at gold ornaments, for instance, they offer jewellery at a discount. When someone willingly falls prey

DEBATE OF THE WEEK WE ASKED: “US President Donald Trump’s move to ban citizens from seven countries in the Middle East has shocked many around the world, creating mass confusion and chaos over the new policy. Does this ban affect you or anybody you know – if so, how?”

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to them, they bleed the person dry. I have been accosted by many of these people over the past couple of months in Ruwi and have heard stories from others who also have. Some of these conmen have placed their foot at the back wheel of someone’s car (as has happened to me) and go on to play the injured, innocent victim and demand compensation from the car’s owner but then refuse to come to the ROP to report the “incident”. Watch out for these people! Regards, Dr Suddapalli Bhaskara Rao Ruwi SYED BOKHARI

This move by the new US president to ban citizens from seven Middle Eastern countries has caused a great deal of alarm, which has been shown in the number of demonstrations throughout the United States itself. It is bound to affect some of the people from those countries already in the US, whether or not they are Green Card holders. Whichever way you look at it, this move by Trump has provoked uneasiness and chaos all over the world. Let’s hope for the best.

ALI SAIF AL RAHBI

It is a normal responsibility for a leader of a country to protect his land and territory but not in the ways and means that US President Trump is doing nowadays. I am not affected directly by this travel ban because I have no plans of traveling to the

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US. But as a Muslim, I feel sorry for my Muslim brothers and sisters who are directly affected by this. I would like to tell Mr Trump that not all Muslims are bad. Just like Christians, there are good Muslims and there are bad ones. This travel ban is damaging the beautiful image of USA being the land of the free and opportunity to the world thus will also affect its economy, tourism, and international relations. Most world leaders are icons of peace and unity but Mr Trump proves to be an icon of racism, chaos, and division. I hope and pray that the US Federal Court and Department of Homeland Security will suspend the implementation of the travel ban especially if the person, regardless of race, gender and religion, has the legal papers to go, work, and live in America.

BILAL MOIN

Well, the US has a foreign policy and now it has a new mind in the shape of Mr Trump. Relatives of mine who are Green Card holders will also suffer from discrimination as well. We should all be worried by this unless the position of bans such as this one are settled. Anyhow, this will mean a lot of ill-will towards the US as politicians of most countries around the globe have denounced the move.

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has been criticised by former US intelligence, defence and security officials. The impact on H1B visas, tourism and commerce is going to be huge as a result of this. The statement from the US justice department saying that than 100,000 visa applications have been revoked already bears this out.

ANTONY VETTIYAZHICKAL JOSEPH

I am not personally affected by this order of Trump, and don’t know anyone who has. But to me this order appears to be too hasty, as Trump appears to be in an unnecessary rush to fulfil his election promises to US voters. Targeting a particular religion in this way smacks of inhumanity, and will affect his country’s relationship with countries in the Middle East, and not just those named in the order. Every nation has the right to have immigration laws amended from time to time but such laws should have official backing from relevant constitutional bodies, which doesn’t appear to be the case here.

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USHA DEVI SUDDAPALLI

Although neither me nor my family nor my friends are affected by this new immigration order by Donald Trump; I believe one should not be discriminated against on account of religion or colour or nationality. A blanket ban of this kind defeats the very thinking of every one of us belonging to just one global village.

LUCY CRAMPIN WAS SPOTTED WITH HER FAVOURITE

I don’t know why this ban is termed a Muslim ban. Maybe the ban has been implemented for some other reason. As far as I know, Kuwait denied visas to residents of seven Muslim countries and that didn’t make any headlines.

Y MAGAZINE IN MUSCAT

JAYASHREE KRISHNAN

This ban will affect the peace of many innocents too, which includes mothers, sisters, daughters and wives, and also kids. Being a so-called superpower, can’t they afford a piece of land for this number of people? Mr Trump, why so much of a GRUMP? Your new policy is a big CRUMP for many, and please remember that people’s lives are not a game of TRUMP.

MOHAMED ABDOULMAGUID

There is no doubt that since the ban was issued all Muslim countries have deduced that the decision was “against Muslims”, which Trump’s aides deny. Supporters of Trump’s decision refer to 9/11, which is the cause of it and the desire of the US administration to take action to protect national security. Ironically, the perpetrators of 9/11 did not belong to any of the prohibited states. Officials said that the policy did not include those Middle Eastern nations with whom Trump has interests, like Saudi Arabia for example. Due to the circumstances of the wars in Syria and Yemen, they are more affected by this decision, especially if inhabitants of both of those countries had already applied for US visas before Trump signed the order. The application process will, at best, be delayed, meaning more suffering for them.

DR SUDDAPALLI BHASKARA RAO

The executive order issued by US President Donald Trump is draconian. While immigration mandates are country specific with various laws binding individual countries on their provisions, the motivation for this order appears to be grossly misguided. It is also worth noting that the decision

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FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457

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YOUR

OMAN A

NEWS

DELAYED VAT EXPECTED IN 2018

udit firm KPMG has confirmed that Bahrain has finally signed the delayed GCC value-added tax (VAT) framework agreement, paving the way for member countries to introduce the tax in 2018. “We now understand that all six of the GCC members [Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain] have signed the VAT framework,” KPMG said on its website this week. “This

economic policy goals, and to reduce reliance on hydrocarbon revenues. KPMG added: “VAT will impact all businesses in the GCC, either directly or indirectly and, as a transaction-based tax, will impact across your business. Finance, legal, IT, sales, marketing and even HR must understand the impact of VAT on their function and determine whether the introduction of VAT will result in additional costs, which could be actual or cash flow or compliancerelated. “Businesses should consider any contracts going beyond 1 January 2018 to protect their position.”

follows earlier reports [31 January, 2017] that the Saudi Arabian cabinet has approved the VAT framework. We anticipate that the VAT framework will shortly be made public.” Now that Bahrain has signed the agreement, KPMG said it cleared the way – once ratified – for each GCC member to release their national VAT laws. A VAT of five per cent will be collected on transactions involving certain goods and services. However, GGC countries have agreed that the tax will not be applied to education or health care, while staple food items will also be exempt. Speaking to media last year, Jeanine Daou, Middle East indirect taxes partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “The introduction of VAT and Excise Tax constitute an important policy reform aiming to help GCC governments achieve medium to long-term social and

SHURA COUNCIL CALLS FOR FUEL PRICE CAP

A

s fuel prices continue to rise in the Sultanate, the Majlis Al Shura has urged the Government to cap fuel prices and introduce a fixed rate for petroleum products instead of adopting a monthly price changes. The price of diesel rose to a record 205 baisas on February 1 – a record high in Oman. Meanwhile, the price of M95 and M91 also shot up to 196 baisas and 186 baisas respectively. At a meeting on February 1, the Shura Council’s committee for addressing implications of the economic crisis and its effects on Omani society urged the Government to bear the difference in prices of petroleum products. Mohammad al Ghasani, vice-chairman of the Shura Council, was quoted by UAE-based

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newspaper Gulf News as saying that it was “important to have a fuel price ceiling”. “It is very important to make sure that people in low-income groups do not get affected with the hike in fuel prices, and there should be a mechanism to help those people,” he said. Recently, various trade unionists and economists have also requested the Government to put forward a fuel stamp system, which would help people struggling to cope with the monthly price fluctuations. In an interview with local media, Mohammed al Farji, a trade unionist with the General Federation of Trade Unions in Oman, said: “We are getting complaints from workers in all sectors that the fuel price hike is affecting their lives.”


WOWING WITH ART

GALLERY

INDIA’S AMBASSADOR TO OMAN, INDRA MANI PANDEY, OFFICIALLY OPENED A NEW ART EXHIBITION AT CITY SEASONS HOTEL MUSCAT. THE WEDNESDAYS ON WALL (WOW) EXHIBIT IS SHOWCASING “THE DUO”, A SERIES OF COLOURFUL PAINTINGS BY MUSCAT-BASED ARTISTS DEEPAL GHEEWALA AND PRAGYA BHATNAGAR UNTIL THE END OF THIS MONTH.

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YOUR

OMAN

NEWS

COLD SNAP TO CONTINUE

WOMAN MURDERED Royal Oman Police (ROP) has arrested an expat man after a female hotel worker was murdered at her home in Salalah at the weekend. According to the ROP, Sindhu Kumari, 42, was stabbed to death last Friday (February 3). ROP arrested the suspect in Adam 24 hours after the victim’s body was discovered.

NEW FISH MARKET TO OPEN

Hamad al Wahaibi, a Muscat Municipality member, has confirmed that work on the new Muttrah fish market was nearing completion and would open next month. The market will have special zones catering to fish processing, sales, a vegetable and meat market, as well as a café and restaurant.

W

eather forecasters are warning that the cold weather could continue for the next few days in the Sultanate, with temperatures dipping to as low as 10 degrees Celsius overnight in some areas. The cold snap, which hit Oman last weekend, was caused by a trough of low pressure from Iran, resulting in snow in the mountains in Musandam and on Jebel Akhdar, which recorded a temperature of -3 degrees Celsius last weekend. Meanwhile, temperatures also plummeted to record levels around the Sultanate, with the wilayats of Al Mazyouna and Al Mahdha recording a low of five degrees, while Yanqul, Ibri, Adam, Bahla and Maqshan registered a chilly six degrees. In the capital, residents shivered through the weekend as overnight temperatures dropped to as low as 14 degrees amid high winds and rough seas. Last weekend’s rough weather also disrupted domestic flights to Salalah and Khasab, Oman Air and SalamAir confirmed. While the cold snap had subsided by Tuesday (February 7), a spokesman from Oman’s Meteorology

GOODWILL VISIT T H R O U G H Y O U R E Y E S Indian coastguard ship Samudra Pavak arrives in Oman tomorrow for the start of a five-day goodwill visit to the Sultanate that will focus on boosting security and defence ties between the two countries.

Department said it was possible we’d experience more chilly weather this weekend. “We cannot confirm anything now, but there’s chances of conditions changing in the coming week,” he was quoted by local press as saying. However, Musandam will experience further rain this week. “There are chances of isolated rain over Musandam Governorate due to the advection of high to medium clouds in the northern part of Oman,” the Public Authority for Civil Aviation told local media.

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LONGEST FLIGHT

Qatar Airways this week entered the aviation record books with the world’s longest flight – from Doha to Auckland, New Zealand. At 17 hours and 30 minutes for the return leg, the flight covers 14,535km. The record was previously held by Emirates for its Dubai to Auckland service.

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Mazin al Araimi beautifully captured the art of net making at the Muscat Festival recently. Using a classic film camera from 1972, the Canon Canonet QL17 GIII, Mazin proves that old technology still has a place in today’s world.

Send your photo to editor@y-oman.com to be featured in our new section, Through Your Eyes. Include where it was taken, your name and a few details about your photograph, such as the camera used.

PHOTO: Mazin al Araimi


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Welcome to Y’s weekly photo series that profiles the diverse characters who call the Sultanate home Name: Bader Said al Busaidi Age: 38 From: Oman Occupation: Airline captain and ground training manager Passion: Flying

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ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

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Faisal Hassan Ibrahim al Bulushi, 36, started his career as a supermarket assistant for Enhance, a brand distribution and retail management solutions provider. Today, he is pursuing a Master’s degree in business administration from MCBS and runs Ahlain – the convenience store chain arm of Omanoil Q: What drives you to success? It was the confidence and support that I received from management that helped me achieve whatever I have today. Thanks to that, I began taking up challenges and also tried breaking stereotypes that were present in our community. For instance, there was a notion that Omanis couldn’t achieve big things. Because of that, there was also a lack of trust and support for Omanis in top positions. However, our management was different: they not only instilled a sense of self-confidence but also taught me so much. Q: Who or what has been your inspiration in your career? The general manager of retail solutions at Enhance, Ahmed Abbas, has been an inspiration to me. We are almost the same age, and have bonded over the years. We share a family-like relationship rather than a work relationship. He has also taught me so much during my time here. Another individual who inspired me was Mark Kox, my former general manager, who gave me a push to shift from supermarkets to much more dynamic convenience stores. Q: What is your biggest career success to date? My biggest career success to date is becoming the only Omani business manager

Q: What are your career goals? I would definitely like to become the general manager of a retail organisation someday. However, that would be a challenge and I would have to rise to the occasion when that happens. Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? My goal in 10 years’ time would be to impart as much knowledge as I can to the younger generation. I would like to become a mentor or even a professor and teach students in a college whatever I have learnt during the past 16 years of my career.

for convenience stores in the entire country. In Oman, we usually see Europeans, Indians and Pakistanis taking over those positions. And now, under me, we are currently operating 70 stores across the country.

Q: What do you like about the Genesis? It is a very comfortable car. Everything is smooth and well-refined, almost like or even better than, many other cars in the luxury segment. I also like how the car is packed with class-leading technology gizmos inside. It is extremely pleasing to sit in a cabin that possesses such finesse and quality. In all, the Genesis a very good car and I’m definitely giving it the thumbs-up. It’s a top-class car by a top-class manufacturer.

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Talent aims to find the most talented university students the city has to offer and reward them with exciting prizes. “This is a great opportunity for college students to showcase their unique talents on stage,” says Felicity Glover, Y’s managing editor. “This year’s event is promising to be even better than last year’s, more so as we are inviting first, second and third-year students to enter via their participating colleges. We are also expecting many more entries and some incredible talents.” In the audition phase, which will be held during March, our talent-hunting MC and panel of judges will scour each of the


participating colleges to assess applicants, based on their two minutes in the spotlight. Once the votes are in, one boy and one girl from each college will go forward to the Grand Finale and compete against winners from the other colleges taking part. Whoever is named Mr Talented and Ms Talented from each college audition will receive each RO150 worth of vouchers for their efforts, as well as the chance to win even more in the finale. The winners of each college audition will then face off against each

other for the glory of being crowned overall Mr and Ms Talented, as well as the opportunity to lay their hands on a cash prize of RO250 each plus RO200 worth of vouchers! Registration for Y’s Got Talent opens later this month – and Y Magazine will be keeping you up to date with the participating colleges as well as when you can start registering via our website or on campus. But in the meantime, you’ll need to start practising your routines – good luck! For more information, call 9715 8488/8499.

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THE WHAT’S ON GUIDE

CROQUET, ANYONE?

FEB

15

FEB

16

Join the Women’s Guild in Oman (WGO) for its annual croquet morning in the beautiful grounds of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The fun starts at 9am and it costs RO15, which includes a buffet lunch. You can register your place at the WGO’s regular Coffee Mornings or contact them via their website at www.womensguildoman.com.

THIS

WEEK

BOLLYWOOD BASH

It’s kicking off at On The Rocks in Seeb with The Chashma Party – Bollywood Night. With music by DJ Ibbi, DJ MP and DJ Pulse, there’s a range of cool beats to dance the night away, from Desi to Bhangra, Top 40 and House. DJ Ibbi will also be exclusively launching his new album Melodicious 5 – Oman Edition, while the night kicks off at 11pm. Couples are free before midnight while the entrance fee for men is RO10. For reservations, call 9798 3333.

Down Under Fun WHAT TO DO. WHAT TO SEE. WHAT TO HEAR.

F E B R U A R Y It’s all about the Southern Hemisphere at the InterContinental Muscat’s Tiki Garden, where the non-profit group Australians and New Zealanders in Oman (ANZO) will be hosting a fun family afternoon. With live food stations, games, kids’ entertainment and music by Muscat’s very own T Band, it’s promising to be a great day out. Australia & New Zealand Day runs from 2pm to 10pm while the entrance fee is RO15 for adults (useable for food and drinks) and RO8 for children under 12. Call 9137 3243 or email fb.icm@ihg. com for more details.

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FEB

10


Gallery

Movies FEB

9 TO MAR

2

If you are a fan of modern art, then head to Gallery Sarah for Art Studio, a contemporary exhibition featuring works of art by emerging Omani and international artists. The exhibition showcases paintings, graphics, sculpture, installations, design objects, sketches and artefacts. The aim of the exhibition is to take visitors on a journey through a variety of artistic styles and techniques. For more information, call 9595 9502.

Local art

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Top

Largest Rockets Ever Launched

❶ Saturn V

Payload: 118,000kg Country: United States First launch: November 9, 1967 Total launches: 13

Energia ❷

Payload: 110,000kg Country: USSR (as it then was) First launch: May 15, 1987 Total launches: 2

N1 ❸

Payload: 90,000kg Country: USSR First launch: February 21, 1969 Total launches: 0

Credit: russianspaceweb.com

❹ STS Space Shuttle Payload: 24,400kg Country: United States First launch: April 12, 1981 Total launches: 134

Delta IV ❺

Payload: 23,040kg Country: United States First launch: November 20, 2002 Total launches: 18

020

JAN 09 FEB 05 - 1511 // ISSUE ISSUE 452 457

Source: NASA, RKA, Top 5 of Anything Research 2016


MOVIES MOVIES FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TIMES, GO TO: City Cinema: citycinemaoman.net Al Bahja Cinema: albahjacinema.net VOX Cinemas: oman.voxcinemas.com Star Cinema: Tel +968 24791641

The Space Between Us

Florence Foster Jenkins America’s First Lady of film will have shrugged off her recent spat with the new US president. With this, she has notched up her 20th (count ‘em) Oscar nomination, which trumps everyone else in film history by a mile. It’s another real-life character for Streep, and after revelling in playing witches in recent years (in Into The Woods or The Iron Lady), Hollywood’s finest is at the top of her game. Florence Foster Jenkins is a rich, popular society hostess and philanthropist in 1940s war-time New York. But rather than simply helping to fund opera recitals, she thinks, as a frustrated musician, that she should be performing them herself. The trouble is she can’t sing (to put it mildly) and her loving but raffish second husband Bayfield (Grant) hasn’t the heart to tell her the truth. As for her friends, it’s a case of the “the

WIN CHANCE TO R U O Y B A R G TS EMA TICKE IN C Y IT C R FOU

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION Who plays James Conrad in Kong: Skull Island? LAST WEEK'S WINNER Formoso Savio

emperor’s new clothes”. But when the deluded Florence privately makes a record, it finds its way onto the deck of a radio DJ and becomes a hit with listeners (who think it’s played for laughs). Emboldened, the diva of din sets her sights on taking the Carnegie Hall stage. With Streep’s brilliantly nuanced performance, we don’t know whether to laugh at Florence, pity her, like or dislike her. Grant is also superb; he does rakish debonair as no other current actor can and could almost give Christopher Walken a run for his money in the dance department. This comedy-drama is a hoot (quite literally) in places. And as Grant reminds us, quoting Beethoven: “A few wrong notes may be forgiven; singing without feeling cannot.” See and enjoy. Review by Kevin McIndoe

TO BE IN WITH A CHANCE TO WIN, just answer a question based on the week’s cinema reviews and send your answer to info@y-oman.com, along with your name and contact information. Tickets must be collected from Y’s Seeb offices in person only. For the rest of the terms and conditions, see voucher. Contact: Movie enquiries 2460 7360

After landing on Mars, one of a team of astronauts reveals she is pregnant. When she dies after giving birth (and without naming the father), Gardner’s extraordinary life begins. When Gardner (Asa Butterfield) turns 16, he has only met 14 people in his life. When he finally gets the chance to go to Earth, he meets the streetwise Tulsa (Britt Robertson) and ends up on a path

of self-discovery. It’s an adventure that throws up more than the usual trials and tribulations facing any teenager. Pretty soon, Gardner discovers that life on Earth is not all it’s cracked up to be. Good but not Earth-shattering.

The LEGO Batman Movie After a hard day’s work as a superhero, Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) returns to his lair to kick back and microwave some lobster. Once again, The Joker and his motley crew of cohorts have made Gotham rank with grime and crime so the caped crusader has his work cut out yet again. He also has the responsibility of raising a boy he has adopted (no prizes for guessing who this becomes). In this, his adventures come with series of powerful sequences and a pulsating hiphop soundtrack; and all from a plastic brick. Marvellous. Ralph Fiennes voices Alfred and Zach Galifianakis, The Joker. An enjoyable romp, but not for very young children.

Long View KONG: SKULL ISLAND When a 1970s team of mismatched explorers come together for a mission on an uncharted Pacific island, you just know it’s not going to end well. Their leader James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a former British SAS Captain, has some issues while US army colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) is feeling vengeful after the Vietnam War. When they step ashore, they unwittingly become unwelcome visitors on a primordial and dangerous place, the residents of which are not exactly heavenly creatures, to say the least. And they are presided over by the supposedly mythic King of the Apes. A watchable reboot of the King Kong franchise. Oman Release Date: March 9

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RICH TRADITIONS Muscat Festival offers a fascinating window on our world and a celebration of Oman’s culture, heritage, artistry and talent. Alvin Thomas reports There’s a beautiful and meaningful saying that goes: “The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.” However, as we progress in this world, there has certainly been a shift in the way we approach the historical and cultural values of our own countries. And festivals have long been the last strand of hope – a ray of light, if we may say – for the citizens of a country to look back and reminisce, cherish their roots and embrace the true nature of their existence. Don’t believe us? Simply take a look at the religious festival of Holi (also known as the festival of colours) in India, in which more than 800 million Hindus across India, Nepal and Sri Lanka celebrate by throwing coloured powder and water over each other. This festival has also been in practice for many centuries now. Meanwhile, the La Tomatina event in Spain attracts thousands of participants who throw squashed tomatoes at each other for fun, and the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, attracts tens of thousands of spectators, who gather in the streets to witness the annual fun-filled festival of party, dance and music. These are just a few of the many festivals that are held across the globe annually. In Oman, however, things are a bit different:

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there’s no throwing of colours or tomatoes on each other, but the Muscat Festival, which is the Sultanate’s biggest and most prominent annual festival, does not lack for zeal or fervour. And walking through the colourfully decorated gates of Al Amerat Park on a chilly sub-20degree Saturday evening, it becomes all the more evident that the Muscat Festival, which marks its 17th season this year, is not just an annual occurrence but more of an emotion and a celebration of our cultures and traditions. For most people living in the Sultanate, the chilly weekend evening would have been the perfect time to curl up at home, spend some time watching television or simply indulge in some family chat. But, for the thousands of visitors – both young and old – who have flocked to the festival village, the temperature is a mere hindrance, and the prospect of learning about cultures and traditions, and the idea of imparting knowledge about the history and art of the Sultanate into the minds of young children is paramount. In its efforts to promote the Omani culture of handicrafts and artistry, Muscat Festival houses numerous stalls in the “Heritage Village” section that showcase paintings, clay pottery, the lost art of net making using natural fibres, as well as jewellery making and knitting. It’s like a window


The Muscat Festival is the best platform for people like us to showcase our works. Most of our works lie in our family shop in Bahla but now we can show our works to the world through time and a fascinating insight into the country’s rich history. Salma al Hakhma, a doll maker who hails from Bahla, says: “The Muscat Festival is the best platform for people like us to showcase our works. Most of our works lie in our family shop in Bahla but now we can show our works to the world.” All the products are for sale, thus motivating more Omanis to promote their work as well as create a sense of awareness among the youth. However, all the products are priced competitively to draw more buyers. For instance, Salma’s handicrafts and toys cost between RO3 and RO5. If you like, you can also have her make a bespoke doll for you.

But the most popular products with visitors are frankincense and perfumes, pots, jewellery and several food products such as honey, sweets and dates. For instance, 18-year-old perfume seller Yasir al Mahri, who has travelled all the way from Salalah, sells bahur sandal, ouds and frankincense, which are priced from RO1 to RO7. He tells Y that his products can cost anything between RO5 and RO20 in the souqs of Muttrah and Seeb. “All of the items you see here are from Salalah. We own a family business there. But we make sure to head here every year and showcase our things. The business has been good but for us, this is not about making a sale but about showing the people how good Omani products are,” says Yasir. He also points out that business has been stable, thanks to scores of crowds visiting the festival on weekends. Abdullah al Raeesi, a resident of Wadi al Kabir and a father of two young boys, says: “Oman is all about embracing the Arab culture. Anyone who lives here long enough would know how culture-oriented we are. “And that is also why I believe that the Muscat Festival is vital to our country’s heritage. I still remember the time the Muscat Festival was only coming up. People used to criticise it and compare it with the Dubai Shopping Festival but

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The Muscat Festival is the only place where all of this lines up and we can see it all in one visit in truth, we weren’t trying to copy them in the first place. “Look around you: the Muscat Festival is all about showcasing the various talents of Oman, our roots and where we hail from. “This not only gives us an opportunity to reminisce on our past but it also gives us the chance to show our kids things that the internet will not teach them. They need to see how clay pots are made, how we used to go fishing, how we used to draw water from the wells and so on. “The Muscat Festival is the only place where all of this lines up and we can see it all in one visit.” Also attracting crowds is the stall set-up by the Oman Association for the Hearing Impaired, which aims to raise funds for the charity. In the process, the stall showcases numerous handicraft items such as bags and paintings that were created by members of the organisation. The stall also provides handbooks and quick training to visitors explaining various sign language to converse with those with hearing disabilities. Also garnering a lot of attention is the visually impaired pen maker, who is carving out custommade pens out of a block of wood. The pen maker not only uses his skills to the full but also manages to create a visually stunning instrument using only his sense of touch and a high-rpm wood-carving machine. Shankar, an Indian expatriate who is watching the pen maker at work, says: “It is amazing how the disabled people are using their talents to create some beautiful forms of art. I am amazed by the blind pen maker, and I am waiting for him to finish so that I can buy one.” One collector, Abu Hamad, is also back this year with his collection of pots, guns, Omani swords and record players. His collection of pots date back almost 100 years. Some of Abu’s guns are extremely rare – his collection includes a Flintlock musket – and date back to the 19th century. However, the collector from Nizwa prefers to let his wares do the talking and respectfully declined our offer of an interview. The “Heritage Village” is also home to numerous Arabic food stalls selling traditional Omani food. However, we find that Omani halwa makers are missing from the scene this year. “Fresh Omani halwa has been something of 026

FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457

a crowd-pleaser in previous festivals,” says South African expat Joanne. “I used to come here with my husband and we used to purchase enough halwa to last us two weeks. This time, I cannot seem to find a stall that seems to sell the halwa,” she adds. Also missing from the festival at Al Amerat is the Dinosaur Park, which was a disappointment for numerous visitors with children. However, Al Amerat Park still comprises numerous rides such as bumper cars, the rollercoaster, electric swings and pendulum rides. If you’re up for the challenge, you can also walk on water at the Water Zorbing arena. Meanwhile, a huge crowd is seen gathering around the Muscat Festival stage, where Russian acrobats are performing. Among the performers is Urah, a Ukraine-based performer who is in town only for the Muscat Festival. Urah is enthralling the audience as the legendary Charlie Chaplin, whom he has grown to “admire and love” since he was a youngster. He also tells us that he will be starring in an adaptation of Star Wars for one of

the coming performances later tonight. Adjacent to the stage is the fire-show arena, which is surrounded by hundreds of people – all scrambling for the perfect spot to catch a glimpse


all of the action. The performers – both men and women – are throwing lit-up sticks in the air and performing numerous acrobatic movements, all the while playing with fire. The fire show only lasts for a few minutes. But just as the clock strikes 8.30pm, visitors are treated to something truly amazing: fireworks begin lighting up the sky in different colours, illuminating the the darkness for a few seconds at a time before returning to its state of calmness. The five-minute long show has everyone stunned in sheer silence, their heads turned upwards towards. Some youngsters are also taking this opportunity to capture some stunning photographs and videos. “The Muscat Festival has provided us with a lot of memories,” says Fatima and her group of friends who have headed to the park from Sohar. “We have been coming here since we were kids and this is our bonding time,” they chuckle. “We have seen both the festival villages – at Naseem Garden and Al Amerat Park – and I can tell you that the one here is much more cultural and Omani. I think there are a lot of options for you to learn

many new things about our cultures and traditions,” Fatima says. “The one at the Naseem Garden has more for you if you’re hoping to have some fun, as there are more rides there. But I think it is best to come here and shop. I have already purchased a new burqa and some jewellery from one of the vendors today.” Various shows

and activities have been held over the course of the past three weeks at Naseem Garden and the Oman Automobile Association (OAA) in Seeb and Al Amerat Park. Naseem Garden has been the star of this year’s Muscat Festival, with visitors raving about the new rainforest, which is filled with exotic plants and flowers, ducks and rabbits. Also, if you have a sweet tooth, there are Omani halwa stores at Naseem Garden. More activities and events are lined up as we enter the final few days of this year’s Muscat Festival, so make sure you visit one of the two locations before the festival season ends. You’ve got until February 11 to pay a visit.

FACTS

• Muscat Festival will run until February 11.

• Al Amerat Park and

Naseem Garden will be open for visitors between 4pm and 11pm Sunday to Thursday (4pm-12am on weekends). • Tickets are 200 baisa per adult and 100 baisa per child. • Mwasalat has introduced special services to transport festival-goers to the two locations. • For more information, go to muscat-festival.com

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027


Presents

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FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457


A

re you more in love with your partner than ever before? Do you think you know your loved one inside out? Well, here’s your chance to prove it, in our “Y We Are Soulmates” competition to find the best-matched couples in Oman. If you’ve still got the spark, then we want to hear from you. You’ve got just a few more days to register your entry and be in with a chance of sharing prizes worth a total of RO1,500. We’ve already received dozens of entries but only 10 will be chosen to go forward to our live quiz show. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just got together or have been married for 20 years; the most important thing is that you’ve got the right recipe for love and all the ingredients for a long life together. Presented by Mitsubishi Motors, in association with Markaz Al Bahja Mall and Golden Tulip Seeb Hotel, “Y We Are Soulmates” will see doting couples go head-to-head against other contestants to test their compatibility in front of a live audience. Our 10 finalists will answer a series of questions about their spouses to prove how well they know each other in a challenge where a wrong answer could spell trouble! If you think you know your husband or wife well, this is your chance to prove it in the most romantic of ways – and win some exciting prizes. We’ve got a total of RO1,500 worth of prize vouchers up for

grabs, with the winning couple receiving RO750 in prize vouchers, and two runners-up winning RO500 and RO250 worth of rewards. In our first three seasons, we found some very well-matched couples and we’re expecting this year to be even better. “It’s the most romantic time of the year, and as we count down to our live event, we’re finding it difficult to select our finalists,” says Felicity Glover, Y’s managing editor. “But there is still time to enter if you feel that you are Oman’s number one couple.” For a chance to become one of our 10 contestants in the live final at Markaz Al Bahja Mall on February 17, simply tell us in 50 words or fewer who your soulmate is and why. Send your answer to editor@y-oman.com by Sunday, February 12. The finalists will be announced in our February 16 issue. We’ll choose the best answers and invite 10 couples to be part of our exciting final.

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FOOD AND DRINK

Trend

New Restaurant

Reviews

MADE WITH LOVE

Find your inner romantic and whip up some delicious treats to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

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FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457


EAT YOUR HEART OUT I

With Valentine’s Day on the way, put some extra tender, loving care into your breakfasts

f the way to your loved one’s heart is through the stomach, there’s no better way to start off this Valentine’s Day than with a homemade breakfast prepared with love. Whether you’re whipping up a breakfast for a spouse with a sophisticated palate or trying to tempt the taste buds of your littlest loves, explore these ideas to get inspired. • Red is the colour of love so build your menu around fresh strawberries or raspberries, which pair perfectly with French toast or crepes, and can even dress up a simple cereal.

• For a more sensible menu, opt for a fruity berry smoothie or a parfait layered with fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and granola. Add a hint of loving indulgence by sprinkling dark chocolate shavings on top. • Show your affection with a plate of these colourful Cocoa-Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes featuring rich 100 per cent cocoa, buttermilk and fresh berries. Heart-shaped cookie cutters lend a special touch to these fluffy, flavoursome pancakes. Add sweet garnishes like powdered sugar and berries for a sensational way to say “I love you”. Find more recipes you’ll love to share with your nearest and dearest this Valentine’s Day at Culinary.net. – Family Features

Cocoa-Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes Recipe courtesy of Nestlé Servings: 10 pancakes Ingredients: § 1 cup all-purpose flour § 1/4 cup granulated sugar § 3 tbsp Nestlé Toll House Baking Cocoa § 1 tsp baking powder § 1/2 tsp baking soda § 1/2 tsp salt § 1 large egg § 1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk or low-fat milk § 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted § 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract § 1 tsp red food colouring heart-shaped pancake cutters or cookie cutters (optional) butter, for garnish (optional) powdered sugar, for garnish (optional) maple syrup, for garnish (optional) fresh berries, for garnish (optional)

Method: § In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir well. § In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and food colouring. Add to the flour mixture. Stir to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for five minutes. § Heat a non-stick frying pan or griddle over a medium heat. Brush with oil or butter. Add about 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Cook for about two minutes or until the bubbles start to foam on top. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned. Serve immediately with butter, powdered sugar, syrup and berries, if desired. Tip: If using pancake or cookie cutters, be sure to coat with oil so that the pancakes don’t stick. Place the cutters in the pan and pour the batter into them. Remove the cutters before flipping.

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031


HEALTH& BEAUTY

MY VALENTINE Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we’re sure the love of your life is making big plans for the day. Why not dress up in a fabulous outfit to celebrate, like this one from Debenhams?

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FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457

Health

Beauty

FASHION


T t Ge

k o o L e h

, reet ok t s lo gh e hi get the h t d to ou to n e igh helps y h e th ver From ity Glo c Feli

Add a splash of colour to your Valentine’s Day evening with this striped off-shoulder top from M&S. From RO15

Pair this pastel tie-up skirt from New Look with a cute off-the-shoulder top and you’ll be ready for an elegant night out with your loved one. From RO10

Chic and fresh, white is the perfect blank canvas for any outfit, such as this off-the-shoulder blouse from H&M. From RO20

We love this fun cross-body leather corset bag, also from Zara. It’s fashion-forward and also happens to be a great Valentine’s Day gift idea. From RO26

Red is synonymous with Valentine’s Day and this on-trend checked playsuit from New Look is fun for a more casual date. From RO11

A simple accessory can make a bold statement, like this gold and black necklace from Accessorize. From RO7.1

Turn heads in this striped off-theshoulder top from Zara – perfect for a romantic evening. From RO18.

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HEALTH& BEAUTY

BEAUTY

Health Fashion

WATCHFUL EYE

Did you know your eye make-up could be making you sick? Follow these top tips to ensure you keep that twinkle in your eyes

F

or a lot of women, eye make-up is an essential part of being properly dressed – just as important as a stylish outfit or nice shoes. But while mascara and eyeliner can create different looks, from subtle to striking, they can also make you sick. The problem: eye make-up can be a breeding ground for bacteria. We all have a few microbes, like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, living around our eyes. When eyeliner or mascara is applied, some of those bugs stick to the applicator and are carried back to the make-up container. Eye products are supposed to contain preservatives to keep bacteria from growing but some products don’t have enough of them. And over time, the preservative’s effectiveness declines. As a result, the bacteria on an eyeliner pencil or mascara applicator grow and multiply. Each time you apply make-up, you get bigger and bigger doses of bacteria – enough to cause serious infections. “Every year, many women end up with eye infections from cosmetics,” warns a spokeswoman

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from the University of Rochester Medical Center in the USA. “In rare cases, women have been temporarily or permanently blinded by an eye cosmetic, according to the FDA.” You can, however, prevent these problems and others with these simple tips: • Don’t share make-up to avoid spreading bacteria • Replace your eye make-up regularly, at least every three to four months • Remove eye make-up at the end of every day • Practise good eyelid hygiene • Keep updated on the latest eyelid-eyelash hygiene clinical safety reports Christine Sindt, OD, Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, recommends wiping the eyes daily with a new antibacterial eyelid cleanser, such as Avenova from NovaBay Pharmaceuticals. She says: “One recent study showed that Avenova dramatically reduces the amount of Staphylococcus and other bacteria around the eye – by more than 99 per cent “Avenova contains a solution of pure hypochlorous acid, a substance used by the body

as a natural defence against pathogens, but is completely harmless to skin.” Ophthalmologist Alice T. Epitropoulos says: “I encourage women to talk to their doctors about daily eye hygiene using safe and effective products, such as Avenova, which can be the best defence against infections and other common eye problems, like dry eye and Blepharitis. “Take these steps, and women can have both beauty and healthy eyes.” For more information, click on www.Avenova. com. * NewsUSA


Beauty

HEALTH

Fashion

WHEN THE FLOW WON’T GO Dr Mahesh Krishnaswamy, a specialist in urology at Burjeel Hospital, Muscat, advises on the importance of treating enlarged prostates What is the prostate gland? The prostate is a walnut-sized male sexual accessory gland located below the urinary bladder, in front of the rectum surrounding the urethral passage. What is BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia? It is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate in males above the age of 50 years. The prostate enlarges and blocks urine flow. The severity of the blockage will vary from individual to individual. Does the size of the prostate decide the severity of obstruction? Generally, the size of the prostate enlargement has no correlation to the severity of urinary obstruction. Sometimes, a small prostate can cause severe obstruction while large glands may not cause any symptoms. What are the symptoms indicating BPH? Hesitation in starting urination, interruption of urine stream, feeling of incomplete emptying, poor urinary stream, increased frequency of urination (especially at night) and the inability to hold urine are the most important symptoms. What if the symptoms are ignored? If these symptoms are not evaluated and treated in time, there can be a worsening of symptoms that can lead to urinary retention (inability to pass even a small quantity of urine leading to painful over-distension of the urinary bladder). Long-

standing retention can cause damage to both kidneys leading to renal failure. Some patients can have recurrent urinary infections, bladder stones or hematuria (blood in urine). How is BPH evaluated? It is evaluated by digital rectal examination, urinalysis, renal function tests and PSA, uroflowmetry and an ultrasound scan of the kidney, prostate and bladder. What is PSA ? It is a blood test to detect the level of prostate specific antigen, which is an indicator of prostate cancer. If the levels are persistently high a prostate biopsy is mandatory to confirm the diagnosis. What is the treatment of BPH? There are two types of treatment: medical and surgical. Medical treatment has to be life-long, and some patients may require surgery later due to the failure of treatment. What are the medicines used? There are two types of medicines: 1. Those that relax the muscular part of the prostate and improve the flow of urine 2. Those that shrink the glandular part of the prostate and reduce its size. The first group gives faster relief of symptoms while the second group gives improvement over the long term. The choice of drugs depends on the size of the gland and the severity of the symptoms. Do these medicines cause side effects?

Some can cause giddiness on standing up from the lying down position due to a sudden fall in blood pressure. Some may reduce the amount of semen during ejaculation. But most patients can consume these medications for a long time without any problem. What are the surgical methods of treatment? Surgical treatment is done endoscopically through the urethra, removing the enlarged portion of the gland using an electric current or laser. Since it is done without any external wound, the patient has a faster, painless recovery and he can go back to his normal life soon afterwards. On occasion, open surgery may be required in very large glands. What are the problems due to surgery? Complications can occasionally happen after this surgery such as bleeding, infection, urine leak, passage of semen into bladder during ejaculation, narrowing of urethral passage causing obstruction etc. Some patients may require prolonged catheterisation due to impaired bladder function, and some may require repeat surgery due to the significant residual gland. Is there a risk of BPH turning into malignancy? There is no additional risk of BPH turning into cancer if untreated and the chance of developing a cancer is similar to that of the general population.

Prevention, they say, is the best medicine. For optimum urology health, the following preventive tips will certainly come in handy: 1) Drink water and stay hydrated all the time. This will help flush the toxins out of your urinary system. 2) Choose cranberry and pomegranate when thinking about drinking some juice. Both have been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of bladder infection and prostate cancer. 3) Cut back on your salt. Too much salt will only promote water retention and disrupt your body’s electrolyte balance. Kidney stones are most likely to develop from an electrolyte imbalance. 4) For women, always make it point to wipe from front to back after urinating. This will help inhibit the entry of bacteria from the rectum to the vagina, thus reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infection. 5) For men, start wearing athletic supporters by the time you begin engaging in athletic activities. 6) Do Kegel exercises regularly. This exercise strengthens the pelvic floor muscles and helps you avoid bladder conditions. 7) Maintain a healthy weight. 8) Visit your urologist for regular check-ups. This is particularly useful by the time you’re in your 40s and above. DR. MAHESH KRISHNASWAMY Specialist - Urology)

Dr. Mahesh Krishnaswamy M.S, M.Ch is a Urologist with more than 16 years’ experience in the field of advanced urology. He has a vast experience in performing advanced endourological and reconstructive urological procedures.

FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457

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GRAB IT BEFORE IT’S GONE GET YOUR FREE COPY OF Y AT THE FOLLOWING DISTRIBUTION POINTS… Capital Region Azaiba • Amara Dermatology Clinic • Audi showroom • Bentley showroom • Costa Coffee • Al Fair • Jaguar Showroom • Jeep Showroom • Al Maha Petrol Station • Mazda showroom • McDonald’s • Mitsubishi Showroom • Oman Arab Bank • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Peugeot Showroom • Range Rover Showroom • Sayarti Auto Care • Shell Select • Skoda Showroom • The Sultan Center • Volkswagen showroom • Volvo Showroom • Yamaha Showroom Bawshar • College of Banking and Financial Studies • Dolphin Village • Modern College of Business and Science • Muscat College • Muscat Private Hospital (Emergency and Outpatients) • Oman Medical College CBD • Al Maya Hypermarket • Alizz Islamic Bank • Bahwan Travel Agencies • Bank Sohar • Copper Chimney Restaurant • Costa Coffee • HSBC • Lama Polyclinic • NBO • Oman Arab Bank • Standard Chartered Bank • Woodlands Restaurant Darsait • Indian Social Club • Khimji’s Mart

KIMS Oman Hospital • LuLu Hypermarket • Muscat Bakery • Shell Petrol Station Al Falaj/Rex Road • Al Falaj Hotel • Badr Al Samaa Hospital • Golden Oryx Restaurant • Kamat Restaurant • Toshiba Showroom Ghala • National Mineral Water Ghubra • Al Hayat International Hospital • Al Maya Hypermarket • Bank of Beirut • Costa Coffee • Crêpe Café • GMC Showroom • LuLu Hypermarket • Moka & More • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Park Inn • Porsche Showroom • Al Raffah Hospital • Stationery Hut • The Chedi Muscat Al Hail • Burger King • Caledonian College of Engineering • Markaz Al Bahja Mall • McDonald’s • Omantel • Starcare Hospital Al Khoudh • Al Fair • Badr Al Samaa Hospital • Pizza Hut Al Khuwair • Badr Al Samaa Hospital • Bait Al Reem Mall • Caffè Vergnano • Centrepoint (Splash) • Diplomatic Club • Grand Hyatt Muscat • Harley-Davidson Showroom • HSBC • KFC • Khimji’s Mart • Khimji’s Watches • KM Trading • Landmark Group

• • •

McDonald’s Muscat Bakery Oman Bowling Center • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Oman United Insurance • Omran • Pizza Hut • Radisson Blu • Shell Petrol Station • TGI Friday’s • The Great Kabab Factory • The Tikka Place • Zahara Travel • Zakher Mall Mabela • Gulf College Oman Mawalah • Chili’s Restaurant • Costa Coffee • Al Makan Café • The Noodle House • Starbucks • Tim Hortons • VLCC Wellness MBD • Bank Dhofar • Centrepoint (Splash) • Khimji’s Mart • NBO • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Pizza Hut • Pizza Muscat • Shell Petrol Station MGM • Caribou Coffee • Gloria Jean’s Coffees • Just Falafel • Ooredoo • Paul • Tim Hortons Al Mina • Bait Al Baranda • Bait Al Zubair MQ • Al Fair • Arab Open University • British Council • Costa Coffee • D’Arcy’s Kitchen • Hana’s Slimming & Skincare Centre • Kargeen Caffe • KFC • MacKenzies Café & Deli • Mood Café • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Papa John’s Pizza

• •

Pizza Hut Saharz Beauty Salon • Starbucks Al Murtafa’a • Bank Muscat • KFC • Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club Muscat International Airport • Caribou Coffee • Majan Lounge • Plaza Premium Lounge Mussanah • Millennium Resort Muttrah • Shell Petrol Station Qantab • Al Bustan Palace • Marina Bandar Al Rowdha • Oman Dive Center • Shangri-La Qurum • Al Araimi Complex • Balance Health & Fitness • Bank Nizwa • BMW showroom • Burger King • Chili’s Restaurant • Crowne Plaza • Finland Eye Center • Fun Zone • Gloria Jean’s Coffees • The Jungle Restaurant • Left Bank • McDonald’s • Mercedes-Benz Showroom • Mumtaz Mahal Restaurant • Nandos • Nissan Showroom • Oman Oil Petrol Station • Pizza Hut • Qurum Commercial Complex • Ras Al Hamra Club • SABCO Centre • Second Cup • Starbucks • The Sultan Center • Tche Tche Café Rusayl • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -1 • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -2 • Knowledge Oasis Muscat -3

Knowledge Oasis Muscat -4 (ITA) • Middle East College • Omantel • Waljat College of Applied Sciences Ruwi • Apollo Medical Centre • Kamat Restaurant • KFC • Khimji’s Mega Store – Swarovski Showroom • Khimji’s Watches • KM Trading • Oman Air • Oman UAE Exchange • Oman Trading Establishment • Saravana Bhavan Sarooj • Al Fair • Al Masa Mall • City Cinema • Ayana Spa • Cosmeclic • Emirates Medical Center • McDonald’s • Shell Petrol Station • VLCC Wellness Sawadi • Al Sawadi Beach Resort Seeb • Golden Tulip Hotel • McDonald’s Shatti Al Qurum • Bareeq Al Shatti Complex • Caribou Coffee • D’Arcy’s Kitchen • German Eye Centre • The Indus Restaurant • InterContinental Hotel Muscat • Jawharat Al Shatti Complex • Kaya Skin Clinic • Muscat Eye Laser Center • Oasis By The Sea • Second Cup • Starbucks • VLCC Wellness Sifah • Sifawy Boutique Hotel SQU • Diplomatic Club • College of Economics and

Political Science Students Banking Area • Reception/ Canteen Wadi Kabir • Al Maya Hypermarket • LuLu Hypermarket • Muscat Pharmacy • National Hospitality Institute • Pizza Hut • Shell Petrol Station Wattayah • Ahli Bank • Best cars • BLS International Services • Chevorlet/GM showroom • Ford Showroom • Hatat House • Honda Showroom • Hyundai showroom • Kia Showroom • Lexus Showroom • National Travel & Tourism • Passage To India Restaurant • Shell Petrol Station • Subaru showroom • Suzuki Showroom • Toyota Showroom The Wave • Almouj Golf • Costa Coffee • Oman Sail • Shakespeare & Co. • The Wave Head Office •

Other Regions Barka • Al Nahda Spa and Resort • LuLu Hypermarket Nizwa • University of Nizwa Sohar • Centrepoint (Splash) • Crowne Plaza • National Gift Markets • Ooredoo • Pizza Hut • Safeer Mall • Sohar Beach Hotel • Sohar Port and Freezone • Sohar University

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Postcards from

Outdoors

Y- F i

CARS AND ADVENTURES

MIRROR IMAGE

The clear waters of Wadi Bani Awf are a scenic canvas that reflect dramatic surroundings.

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CARS AND OUTDOORS ADVENTURES

D E S T I N AT I O N P o s t c a r d s f r o m

Y- F i

Indoors

Cars

Destination

WADI BANI AWF

Shaquel al Balushi’s encounter with a rock nearly thwarts his bid for an incident-free trip 038

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were quite shady, we found it easy to lose track of time. Furthermore, it was also a very cold day, with temperatures dropping to as low as 10 degrees! One thing that I found hard to navigate was the smooth mountain rocks, which had been washed clean by the wadi waters that run throughout the rainy season, making trekking a very hazardous affair. But soon one thing became clear: Imran was having the time of his life! He was like Tarzan, navigating through the various rocks and terrain. I was soon left behind, and Imran went on his merry way, exploring various areas of the wadi. When I finally caught up with him, however, I noticed that he was trying to climb up one of the massive rocks. The rock was very smooth but I thought of it as an easy challenge and kept teasing him, to stand up on the rock. With much haste and effort, however, he managed to stand on it, and I clicked his picture. Because he had managed to do it, I too wanted to try to recreate a picture and also show Imran my incredible trekking capabilities. So, I climbed up on the rock. But when I tried standing up, I realised that it was much harder than it had seemed. It was quite narrow on top, and I couldn’t even keep steady on it. I quickly got on all fours and hugged the rock for safety. Next, we headed off to explore one of the mountains, which seemed to have been split in the middle – almost as if it had been dissected by a surgeon. The mountain reminded me of a scene in Danny Boyle’s flick, 127 Hours. So, I decided to stay away from it but Imran had other ideas. Not only did he climb up on to the rock, he also completed a jump from one end to the other. It was very nerve-wracking to look at. Our trip to the wadi was all about adventure and exciting challenges. Of course, if you gloss over my rock-hugging incident, I think it had been quite an enchanting experience overall.

HOW TO GET THERE

TRAVEL GUIDE

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here comes a time in every individual’s life when he or she will have to surrender to his or her fears to break through the shackles and demons that come along. And after my last (disastrous) trip to Wadi Qurai, where I got rid of my fears of exploring secluded locations, I thought it was time for me to step up my game and try to tackle my next big fear: heights. My target was to explore the heart of Wadi Bin Awf – a place that had left me speechless during my last trip there early in 2016. But because I did not have my own 4x4 vehicle then, I had to resort to using my “warrior” sedan – and therefore, couldn’t get too deep into the heart of the wadi. But things have changed since 2016: I now have my own Jeep, and therefore decided that it was finally time to head into the wadi and explore it in depth. Accompanying me on this journey was Imran, who had yet again graciously offered to ride shotgun with me on my latest adventure. In all, our drive to the wadi was the usual: banter, scores of Hindi music as well as jokes flying all around the cabin. It was all very jovial. Driving to the wadi was fairly straightforward: you take the road that leads to Rustaq, and make the turn when you see the brown board that points towards Wadi Bin Awf. In total, it took us almost three hours to reach our location (from my home in Al Amerat). But upon reaching the area, we decided to head deeper into the wadi to avoid spending much time on foot. However, we hit a dead end pretty soon, and had to carry on exploring under our own steam. The terrain and the surroundings here are unlike that of most wadis. Wadi Bin Awf is a truly breathtaking setting, with numerous trees and large boulders of rocks, which were created over thousands of years when the rains carved through the mountains in the region. The walk here seemed to stretch endlessly, and we found different paths to reach a particular location – it was like a maze. The only challenge was in finding the shortest route possible. Also, because the surrounding areas

Head to the centre of Barka and turn left to Rustaq. Before Rustaq is a brown road sign leading you to Wadi Bani Awf. In last week’s issue, we published the incorrect co-ordinates to Wadi Al Khoud.

GPS coordinates: N23°20’29.3” E57°29’33.1”

FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457

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CARS AND OUTDOORS ADVENTURES

MARATHON OF HOPE

Some of Muscat’s top teachers aim to raise money for cancer research in memory of a remarkable Canadian. Team Y reports

W

hen Canadian cancer survivor and amputee Terry Fox set off on his historic Marathon of Hope run back in 1980, little did he know the impact his dream would have around the world – even today, nearly 36 years after his death.

held by thousands of communities around the world, from Canada to the United States, India, Europe and even here in the GCC region, including the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. Closer to home, The American

I’VE SAID TO PEOPLE BEFORE THAT I’M GOING TO DO MY VERY BEST TO MAKE IT, I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP. BUT I MIGHT NOT MAKE IT… IF I DON’T, THE MARATHON OF HOPE BETTER CONTINUE. – TERRY FOX At just 18, Terry had lost his leg to cancer and he hoped to raise money for cancer research during an arduous cross-Canada run, which began on April 12, 1980, in St John’s, Newfoundland. Averaging 42 kilometres a day, Terry ran for 143 days, or a total of 5,373km, before having to give up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. A heartbreaking moment; Terry’s cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. He passed away on June 21, 1981 – just a month short of his 23rd birthday. An unlikely hero, he raised millions for cancer research with his Marathon of Hope. And today, the annual Terry Fox Run is 040

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International School Muscat IT TOOK CANCER TO REALISE THAT BEING (TAISM) recently held its annual Terry Fox SELF-CENTRED IS NOT THE WAY TO LIVE. event, this year called TAISM Rocks for Terry Fox! Along with a fun run, a number of THE ANSWER IS TO TRY AND HELP OTHERS. – TERRY FOX teachers and students shaved their heads to raise money for leukaemia research at Sultan Qaboos University, which is headed by Dr Zakiya Al Lamki. TAISM has been holding the Terry Fox Run every year since 2008 with the aim of raising awareness about cancer research efforts, as well as funds for children in Oman suffering from cancer. In total, TAISM this year raised RO5,300 rials for Dr al Lamki’s leukemia research – the most they have ever achieved. Congratulations!


FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457

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CARS AND ADVENTURES

CULTURE HUB

The Armadillo Clyde Auditorium is one of the most striking buildings to grace Glasgow’s skyline.

1. Visit the Cathedral, the Necropolis, and Glasgow Green 2) Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and Byres Road 3) At the Riverside Museum, step aboard a genuine clipper 4) Sit on a bench in George Square, in the heart of the city 5) Read a book in the Mitchell Library, the largest in Europe

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Destination

Outdoors

Y-Fi

Cars

POSTCARDS FROM

Kevin McIndoe recommends

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND A

n English comedian once remarked that: “if they like you in Glasgow, they let you live”. So while Scotland’s largest city hosts more than two million tourists annually, the warmth of the welcome has not always been extended to alleged funnymen from “down south”. Joking apart, Glasgow was the third European city and the first British city to win (in 1990) the EU’s European Capital of Culture award; an accolade that caused many London-based journalists to splutter into their early morning Earl Grey. It has produced four winners of the Turner Prize, the UK’s most prestigious contemporary art award; and actors James McAvoy and Gerald Butler are doing rather nicely in Hollywood these days, too. Glasgow is a port and was founded on the River Clyde in Scotland’s western lowlands. Its name is a derivation of the Gaelic “Glaschu” (dear, green, place) and it boasts more parks and open spaces (more than 70) per capita than any other city in Europe. The city is home to around half a million people, and Scotland’s broadcasters and theatre, opera and ballet companies are all based here. It offers art galleries galore, myriad museums, music venues, theatres and hotels as well as countless places to eat, drink and be merry. It’s here that the world’s biggest pop stars come to for the Scottish dates of their tours, at Hampden Park football stadium or The SSE Hydro arena. Glasgow has long been known as the best city outside London to shop, and last year its Finnieston district was voted the “trendiest place to live in the UK” by The Times newspaper.

K E L V IN

GROVE ART G ALLER AND M Y USEUM

My favourite place Pollok Country Park (on the city’s southside) offers an oasis of woodland walks as well as an enchanting 18th-century Jacobean mansion (Pollok House) with courtyard and gardens. Treat yourself to tea and scones in a café that was once the house’s vast kitchen, and outside, your kids can stroke the horses and enjoy being stared at haughtily by some Highland cattle. Also on the estate is the Burrell Collection, a modern museum replete with the resplendent works of art of a Victorian Glasgow shipping magnate. Unfortunately, it is now closed until 2020 for refurbishment.

BUCHANAN

Highlights The city’s impressive architecture and its array of fine museums illuminate Glasgow’s evolution; from the

STREET

Middle Ages through its mercantile, shipbuilding and industrial heritage to its status today as a vibrant, progressive and forward-thinking city. The Art Nouveau legacy of Glaswegian architect, artist and furniture designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh abounds; from the sublime Glasgow School of Art (undergoing refurbishment after a fire) to House for an Art Lover, a modern take on one of his (unrealised) designs. Glasgow Harbour, once the hub of shipbuilding, is now on a road to regeneration, with structures like the Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum and the iconic Norman Fowler-created Clyde Auditorium (“the Armadillo”). Traditionalists may prefer the work of Alexander “Greek” Thomson whose work can be found all over the city, including Holmwood House (on the city’s southside) or the neo-Gothic splendour of the University of Glasgow or Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. No monument to the city’s medieval past can top Glasgow Cathedral and the Glasgow Central Mosque marks its multicultural present. All are well worth a visit.

Lowlights Litter, and the failure to control the people who drop it. Some of the city centre’s pavements could do with resurfacing, too. Souvenirs For those fans of the TV series Outlander who fancy taking some traditional Scottish attire home, check out Tartan Plus on Glasgow’s main shopping thoroughfare, Buchanan Street. Don’t forget to visit Prince’s Square. This Victorian building and courtyard was a totem of the city’s urban renewal in the 1980s and boasts four floors of shops, restaurants, cafes and designer boutiques. Getting there You can fly from Muscat to London’s Heathrow and then get a connecting flight (every hour) with British Airways. Alternatively, fly to Dubai and take an Emirates flight to Glasgow. The airline runs 15 flights there a week.

POLLO

K COUN TR

Y PAR K

Where to stay

Every well-known hotel chain has a presence here. But you can find more traditional boutique options in the Merchant City or in the West End. The usual websites will keep you busy, such as Booking.com, Hotels.com, Kayak, Trivago and Expedia. FEB 09 - 15 / ISSUE 457

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-FI THE TECH IN YOU

Outdoors

D e s t i n at i o n

Y-FI

SPY GAMES

Even Q, James Bond’s gizmo guru, would by impressed with this lot, says Alvin Thomas PRESS IT

GLOVES ON

It neither looks like the most sophisticated piece of tech out there nor resembles anything you will catch Mr Bond carrying around on his smartphone (assuming he still uses one). But believe it or not, the Dimple (yes, that’s what it’s called), is actually quite a handy piece of tech. The device is a key-chain-sized NFCtag (near-field communication) that can be attached to the back of your phone. After that, you’re essentially left with four secret Android buttons – which are powered by nothing but your phone’s NFC! There is also an application that comes with the Dimple, with which you can assign the functions to these keys, so that you can launch the app of your choice. Get yours from dimple.io for RO9.6

SUPERCHARGE IT

So, it is a cold night and you really need to keep your gloves on. However, your next mission is coming to you via a voice call on your smartphone. Now, the only thing lying between you and the call are your gloves; as smartphone screens (most of them) aren’t compatible with gloves. But fret no more, because Ideas In Life brings your phone to your gloves. In short, you can answer calls, listen to music or even send an encrypted WhatsApp voice note, all while keeping warm. The gloves feature built-in microphones and headphones, and will connect with almost all devices that are currently available on the market. Just make sure you do not answer calls in front of anybody as you could come across as a tad dense. Yours for RO6.3 from amazon.com

How often do you find yourself charging your phone using your laptop? If you said “frequently”, then you should consider getting yourself a uCharger. Why? Most laptop USB outlets are low on voltage, and thereby recharge smartphones at a snail’s pace. What the uCharger manages to do is to connect your phone to your laptop efficiently by providing the same charging power and speed of a regular wall outlet. This, in effect, means that you will be charging your phone quicker than you ever did before. Yours for RO3.8 from amazon.com

SMART LUGGAGE

EDITOR’S PICK

IF YOU’RE A SPY, CHANCES ARE THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO GARNER TOO MUCH ATTENTION WITH FLASHY TECHNOLOGY. YOU PROBABLY HAVE TO KEEP THINGS A TAD MELLOW TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE. BUT IF STYLE IS YOUR GAME, AND TRAVELLING IS A PART OF YOUR LIFESTYLE, THEN MAKE SURE TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THE BLUESMART ONE SUITCASE. NOT ONLY IS THIS SUITCASE STYLISH BUT IT IS ALSO QUITE SMART AS IT LETS YOU CONNECT YOUR SMARTPHONE WITH YOUR BAG REMOTELY, USING THE ON-BOARD GPS AND 3G CONNECTION. YOU CAN REMOTELY TRACK, LOCK AND EVEN WEIGH THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SUITCASE. THERE ARE ALSO CHARGING PORTS, IF YOU EVER RUN OUT OF JUICE ON YOUR SMARTPHONE. OH, YEAH! THERE ARE ALSO TONNES OF SPACE FOR YOUR STORAGE NEEDS. YOURS FOR RO173 FROM AMAZON.COM

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TOP STEALTH GAMES OF ALL TIME The best tactical-stealth games of all time are still those from years gone by, says Alvin Thomas THIEF: THE METAL AGE

App of the Week

Info Box

THE METAL AGE

Release date: 2000

Platforms: PC

Download: STEAM

T

he Thief series, which comprises three games, namely – The Dark Project, The Metal Age and Thief – is arguably the best stealth-based tactical game series on the market today. Of the three, however, it is The Metal Age that stands out. First released in 2000, the game had only one rival – its own predecessor. But with a clever storyline and a complex gameplay The Metal Age shines. Sure, its graphics may not be up-to-date, and its physics engine can get a tad frustrating during gameplay. But the game manages to put you – the gamer – into the heart of the game, and when things go right, you cannot help but smile. This has to be the best first-person stealth game ever made.

Info Box

CHAOS THEORY

SPLINTER CELL: CHAOS THEORY

T

here are good games, and then there are great games. And from the lot, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory has been categorised as a great game. Its protagonist, Sam Fisher, is a deadly, yet empathetic emissary cum assassin, who has garnered much love from fans over the years. The gameplay is absolutely fantastic, and the storyline is every tactical gamer’s dream – and we have to thank Tom Clancy (may he rest in peace) for that. The game takes you all the way from the United States, to North and South Korea, Japan and China, in order to leak vital government secrets and also neutralise North Korea as a nuclear threat. The stealth mechanics of the game is truly ahead of its time, and you will find yourself taking out villains (mercenaries, thugs, army) stealthily. You are given a wide choice of weapons too, but the real fun lies in sneaking up on an enemy soldier and terrorising him until he spills secrets. Give this game a try.

Release date: 2005

Platforms:

PC, PLAYSTATION 2 & 3, XBOX, NINTENDO DS, N-GAGE, SYMBIAN

ANDROID DEVICE MANAGER All joking aside, we don’t think you should ever break the law by downloading spy and phishing applications. However, an application that you can use legally is the Android Device Manager. The app lets you track your phone and where it has been – essentially giving you access to your phone’s whereabouts should you manage to misplace it. Apart from that, the app also lets you erase the data in it, ring, change lock codes or even go into a panic mode (alarm). Download for free from Google Play.

Download: STEAM

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CARS AND ADVENTURES

Destination

Postcards from

FIRST DRIVE

Another mover and shaker for the SUV market? Alvin Thomas puts the Maserati Levante through its paces

S

hhh! It’s a Maserati, and if you look closely, it’s an SUV. How on earth did this happen? When did Maserati jump on the SUV bandwagon? After all, the boffins in Modena, Italy, have been successful – for the past century or so – at their job of producing some of the finest sports cars that have ever graced the face of this earth. Why then – after all these years – is Maserati starting production of an SUV? Are the forces shifting towards something more radical? The answer, however, is very simple, and one that you would never have expected: they’re building an SUV because they can, and because they are going to be phenomenal at it! Sure, they could have simply revamped the GranTurismo or even brought back the sexy-looking mid-engined Bora. But what Maserati is looking to do with the Levante is to break into a market that has been predominantly dull – and to be completely honest, a tad too German – and improve upon it from every angle. And that is exactly why the Maserati manages to break into this segment successfully. For starters, the Levante is gorgeous: it has lines and vivacious curves, which only belong on cars designed in Italy (I swear, no Asian or German car could pull off these looks). It has a hexagonal grille that manages to look more like a styling accessory than an actual air-intake, and its lights are thin and chiselled to give it an aggressive guise. As a matter of fact, the more I stare at it, the less it looks like an SUV, and more like an actual

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sports car. Underneath the flared (and long) hood lies a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 – spawning an almost unbelievable 430hp and 580Nm of twist (torque) – that drives all four-wheels. The result of all this power and growl is an SUV that can hit the 100kph mark from a standstill in a mere 5.5 seconds – and that’s impressive for a vehicle that weighs two-tonnes. The Levante does manage its weight pretty well around corners, remaining largely settled and poised. That can be attributed to its chassis – a combination from the Ghibli and Quattroporte – that is extremely stiff. Of course, you can still poke it with a stick – by slamming on the throttle mid-corner – to invoke oversteer (better known as drift), since much of the torque is sent to the rear wheels. I found the steering to be extremely well-weighted and precise. Surprisingly (and thankfully!), Maserati is one of the few manufacturers that still sticks to hydraulic steering, as opposed to electric. Thanks to this, you can really chuck the car around corners with maximum confidence. Drifts and slides are extremely easy to hold, and there’s very little roll from the body, especially if you set the car in “Sport Plus” and “manual” modes. Upon doing this, the SUV lowers itself to aid in cornering, and also sharpens the throttle response and gearshifts. Apparently, if you hit 180kph, the Levante will also crouch itself furthermore, to cut drag and maintain stability (of course, I didn’t do that). But, the faster you go, the more stable the Levante becomes. The gear shift – especially upshifts – from the eight-speed automatic gearbox is fairly quick, and isn’t too far off from the dual-clutch systems of today.

Outdoors

Y- F i C A R S Maserati Levante S Specifications: Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 Transmission: 8-speed automatic Horsepower: 430 Torque: 580Nm Panoramic moonroof 54cm alloy wheels 4-zone air conditioning Electric seats Genuine wood inserts on console and door panels Maserati Touch Control Lane departure warning system Blind spot monitor Adaptive cruise control Traction control

As expected from a car with a massive turbocharger, there is a slight amount of turbo-lag at low rpm but you can bypass that by taking control of the shifts yourself and sticking to lower gears since most of the torque kicks in a little over the 2,000rpm mark. Doing so also lets you listen to the gorgeous V6 baritone, which has to be my most favourite feature of the Levante. The exhaust note is unmistakably “Maserati”, and it really makes this car feel more animated. It’s almost as if you’re travelling with a wailing animal than driving alone. It has to be heard to be believed: the Levante sounds astonishing. The soundtrack is almost poetic than mechanical. However, when you’re in the mood to quieten things down, you can simply switch the I.C.E system (engine management modes) to be efficient, and you can sit back and relax while you drive. The ride in the Levante is incredibly potent and it to glides over bumps on the road with ease, despite running on wide low-profile tyres. The seats are extremely comfortable and cushy too, and there’s tonnes of space within the cabin. The cabin itself is finished in leather and real wood, and quite plush. Much of the interior – including the headliner – is covered in soft-touch materials. There really is a sense of Italian-ness to it all – it really is an amazing place to be in. The Levante is an SUV that many will want to drive. As a matter of fact, I haven’t received as many stares from passers-by as I got in this Maserati or in any other SUV I have ever driven. And that’s a true testament to the sheer authenticity and exclusivity of the Levante. This isn’t an SUV. In fact, this isn’t even a car. The Levante is in essence a ballerina stuck in gorgeous Italian car attire. And it just wants one thing: to be let free on the roads. And because of all of this, I would go as far as saying that this is the best SUV to have ever come out of Italy. Sorry Lamborghini LM002. And for once, I am not exaggerating..

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February 2017

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Y Magazine #457, February 9, 2017  

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