Monday, November 23, 2015

Thoughts on National Day

Before you bite my head off, remember that I'm one person with an opinion. I didn't post patriotic schpeal on National Day (November 18th) because I didn't feel like it. I am torn between being happy and being pissed off. Not exactly a good combination, right?

As you all know, National Day celebrations are continuing in every Wilayat. Tens f thousands of school children trained for months (missed out on SO much school), performances, dancing, parties, balloons, badges, scarves, lights, fireworks, the whole thing. Every company/organization threw a party, even families covered their houses in flags and picture of Sultan Qaboos. People decorated their cars (at great expense), and there was the magnificent military show. 

All in all, a continuing party. It hasn't stopped yet. Yesterday was Ibra. Tomorrow is Sur. Salalah was on Thursday. It's just non-stop. 


Everyone was happy (not sure about the tens of thousands of kids), His Majesty made an appearance at the military show, people got to eat cake (Lots of Cake), people got to be wild, paint their cars, have parties, watch fireworks, do something different. Overall, tons of people celebrating something that many of them haven't even fully comprehended (kids especially). It's been fun.


I'm no party-pooper (well, yes I am), but hear me out here. We are on the brink of an oil crisis.  Actually, we're already in the crisis.  Companies and government organizations are being pressured to cut costs (I have witnessed this and worked on this firsthand). 10% , 20% cuts. That's a lot of money. This is the WORST TIME to be spending millions and millions and millions on Wilayat celebrations and shows, etc. And in my opinion, it's completely unnecessary. Really, it is. Some of the shows were insanely boring and a repetition of the same stuff. Renaissance, Oman before and after, etc. 

45 years means a lot to us, but I can think of better (and cheaper ways to express loyalty and happiness).... ways that aren't just 'for show' if you know what I mean. 

For example:

1) I would have been 100% content if His Majesty had given a speech to the people of Oman. A sincere, genuine, informal, speech. Televised live. A real moving inspiring speech. His personal take on the past 45 years. I would give anything for a speech like that. Why not? I just don't get it. It would mean SO MUCH to every single Omani and non-Omani living in this country. 

2)  Major cities can have a march for Oman. Walking from point A to point B. Happy thousands of people walking for National Day. Minimum cost, right? 

3) Light up the streets, play a few songs on TV, get people together, give speeches, you know... like normal people do. 

4) Ok, you can have some fireworks. They're expensive, but they mean  a lot. 

5) Have cake. For heavens' sake, have your cake.

Overall, I was disappointed with the amount of money wasted on celebrations across the country that mean nothing. Everyone was celebrating the Sultan but he seemed so distant, so far away from it all (apart from the military show). National Day shouldn't just be about spending money. It should be about genuine patriotism. A mature understanding of the past 45 years and the way forward. 

Le fin. 


  1. Replies
    1. I worte a downer post this year... You're right, wasteful is it. All these kids singing dancing for performances Qaboos doesn't attend.... annoying, and bad for the education system... And really, it feels like everyone is waiting for something (the way forward).

      I don't car eif people put up lights or decorate their cars or buy cakes (because that is individual citizens wasting their own money on their own entertainment) but when it is the government on silly shows and wasting kids time for getting through the curriculam in schools that are often packed with 30 students a class per teacher.... 'Enough said.

  2. Well, a couple of points to disagree with you on. Yes, the celebrations are getting boring and yes, it was a very 'aloof' and non-personal National day. But, amongst the many issues facing our little economy, one of them is the gathering and storage of lots of money with the powerful ones of the country. The Zawwawis and the Bahwans and the Zubais are controlling almost every industry and they get to collect from the consumer. All this is either spent outside Oman (where they spend it on themselves or diversifying their portfolios in more lucrative markets) or it sits in their coffers, awaiting the next economic crunch.

    Events like the National Day celebrations, HM's return from Germany celebrations, Renaissance Day celebrations, etc are a time when these companies spend in the local market (very little, but still more than usual) and a bit of their fortune gets spread around in the local market.

    These events are good, as long as we, the locals, get to sell our stuff. Otherwise, to sustain ourselves, we're going to need more and more oil, gas or (god forbid) - have to work!