Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Blogger!

As you can see, I'm alive after losing my long post on prostitution a couple of days ago. I'm still trying to re-write it but I have very little time (sigh). In the meantime, I'd like to welcome new blogger from Dhofar, .... our first blog for environmental issues ..... ladies and gentlemen ... please welcome ... *drumroll* .... 'Dhofar Eco Bug!'. To quote their first post: "

"I've started this blog because in the relatively short time I've been living in
Salalah I've noticed some things that, at best, cause me concern and, at worst,
make me downright angry. I hope this blog will provide a platform for people to
discuss environmental issues in the region and, most importantly, promote action
to effect positive change. Together we can make a difference".

I'm very glad you've joined the Omani blogosphere and especially the extremely understaffed Dhofari blogosphere!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oh. My. God

I just drafted a 4-page post for you and blogger lot it. WTH. I could kill.

Holiday Announced

Dear Readers,

Wednesday June 29th (as in, three days from now) is the official Islamic holiday for the Israa & Miraj in Oman. Yay. I assume the private sector will be Thursday (if you work on Thursday), and Wednesday if you don't. Happy long weekend!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Working Women Rock!

So.....my dear readers (haters, fans and silent observers alike) As many of you know, I am passionate (sometimes too passionate) about women's issues and women's rights in Dhofar, Oman, and the Middle East. Recently, while googling women and Shura (rumor has it Dhoari Gucci is running for Al Shura in October ... beware!), I came across this cool website which appears tobe the first online community for Arab working women. It's called Femeo and is associated with Bayt.com, the Middle East's largest job site.
The MENA region, unfortunately, has the worst track record in the world for women in the workplace, which obviously reflects on society in general. In Arabic we say
نصف المجتمع معطل
Here is a World Bank report about the topic: Femeo is as community aiming to help and empower working women in the Middle East. They offer daily tips and advice, a networking section, and Career Assessments. It is available in both Arabic and English and reigstration is free (Woohoo!). You can also read daily articles, tips, and advice on career development, work-life, balance, etc (Um Azzan! :) ... their quizzes are also worth trying out. But... the best thing is that you can interact with the online community of women to share thoughts and ideas. To me, networking = empowerment. Especially for women. If you're a woman, check it out. If you're a guy, forward it to your working women. Don't worry, we don't plan on taking over the world (yet). Oh, and they are accepting contributions from working women who would like to inspire others by sharing their experiences and ideas. If any of you are interested, you can visit this link.


PS (I'm drafting a post on what is called white-prostitution in Salalah. I had the strangest experience on Thursday. Watch this space)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Custody for Salalah Protesters Extended

Eight activists arrested in Salalah in May granted 15-day custody to complete probe on unauthorised gathering
By Sunil K. Vaidya, Bureau Chief (Gulf News)
Published: 13:14 June 22, 2011

;Muscat: The Appeals Court in Muscat on Tuesday granted additional 15-day custody for eight activists, who were arrested from Salalah on May 12. The prosecution had asked for an extension of the custody of the eight protesters as they wanted to complete investigations in the case of rioting and unlawful gathering near Governor's Office in Salalah in the south of Oman.
'The security agencies had broken up 77-day peaceful long sit-in outside Governor's Office in Salalah on last May 12 and arrested an unspecified number of activists from the sit-in camp. Now only eight protesters from Salalah remain in police custody and prosecution sought and got extension of their custody for two weeks. The eight are, Mussalam Saeed, Salem Mashani, Saeed Al Maahri, Mohamed Amiri, Ali Maahri, Shaikh Nasser Al Shakroon, Ahmed Tabuk and Shaikh Amer Hardan.
;"Each activist was called individually by the judge and was given time to explain why prosecution should be denied request for additional 15-day custody," Ismail Al Muqbali, an activist from Sohar, who attended the trial, told Gulf News. Ismail said that as solidarity with the Salalah activists, he along with the other Sohar protesters Ammar Hinai and Ismail Al Muqbali, attended the hearing. The lawyers for the eight detainees also argued against the prosecution demand and asked for bail for their clients. However, after two days in court, the judge granted an additional 15 days, maximum possible under law, detention for the all eight. Al Muqbali, who was also arrested twice and released, said that they hope the remaining detainees from Salalah would be released soon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Week from hell. So glad it's the weekend (it rained, though. YAY). To my reader, Spordiac Afterthoughts, if you're attending a Dhofari wedding, it is not common to take a wedding gift. Only close friends/family of the bride usually give gifts. In fact, our society really isn't big on gifts at all, so don't worry too much if you don't know the bride personally. If you do know her personally, the norm is perfume or a watch or a beautiful scarf (shaila), or jewellery.

This week isn't a good week for bloggers around the world. If you haven't heard about the blog scandal from Damascus, let me enlighten you. There was a FAMOUS blog called 'Gay Girl in Damascus' which highlighted what it was like to be a lesbian woman in a highly conservative Muslim society (i.e. Syria). The blog caused uproar in the Middle East and there were tons of people in Syria trying to find the blogger. The blogger then started reporting on the protests and arrests in Syria and became a 'credible' source for news agencies abroad on what was going on in Syria. Finally, a post appeared on the blog from the 'cousin' of the blogger saying Amina Abdullah (the blogger) had been snatched/kidnapped/taken/arrested in Damascus. This post caused more uproar in Syria and abroad with over 150,000 people joining the facebook page to release her. Human Rights NGOs got involved, and it was all over the internet. The blogger then was forced to confess on his blog that no, he is not a lesbian Syrian, and no he is not in Damascus. His name is Tom McMaster and he's a US Citizen doing his Masters in Scotland. It has been ALL OVER THE NEWS and as far as I'm concerned, people are over-reacting to the whole thing. But at the same time, it sheds light on the credibility of bloggers. People now assume they can no longer trust bloggers. There has been discussion over the past few years on whether blogs can be credible sources of information. I have been quoted several times in newspapers and publications around the world as 'Dhofari Gucci'. What if I turned out to be an expat man in Indonesia? (see?). It's a mess and I'm not sure what to think, but dear readers out there, no I am not a man, and yes I am a girl in Salalah. Rest assured. Cheers!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Heavy Reading

Good Morning Folks! It's official. I'm moving to Alaska. I can't stand the humidity anymore. I'm packing my bags and won't be back until the rain starts in July. (or now? it started raining this morning! early monsoon? dare I hope?). I've stopped wearing makeup because it melts the moment I step out of the house. If you're planning on visiting Salalah during the monsoon, come during the last week in July. If you're Muslim, come during August and enjoy Ramadhan fasting in the rain. It'll be around 26 Celcius (and around 50 celcius in the rest of the GCC), so fasting will be easier. I'm serious.

. I have to pass on Linoleum Surfer's latest post on FGM in Oman. If you're Dhofari, read this. If you practice FGM, read this. If you're Muslim, read this. READ THIS. Spread the word. The more people talk about it, the better.
. Oh, and they're now selling camel meat at Lulu Hyper. Just thought you should know :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


1. My coffee maker broke this morning. I am not a happy blogger.
. 2. I'd like to welcome new radio station Merge FM to the Omani ... radio-sphere? Tune in at 104.8 .... they're fun. You'll notice that along with several other bloggers I have the ad up on my sidebar. Please note that all proceeds will go to charity. Lots of ways to make a difference :)
. 3. I was a little surprised by the Minister of Higher Education's announcement this morning. According to Dr. Rawiya, there will be a 43% (FORTY THREE!!) increase in number of seats at colleges/universities in Oman for the 2011/2012 academic year. A total of 28,400 seats will be waiting for fresh high school graduates in September. Where are they going to put all those students?! This brings us back to the royal decree announcing a new government university. People are wondering where it will be built, and if the government will simply take over one of the existing private universities (Buraimi, Nizwa, Sohar, Salalah). I wonder ....... dare I hope for Salalah?
. 4. No cyclone hitting Oman folks. Stop spreading rumors. At the most we're hoping for a little rain on Friday/Saturday. (see photo above)
, 5. The 9 protest prisoners from Salalah who are being held in Samail have not been released. Only one of them - Faheem Al Mashani - was sent home a couple of days ago for health issues.
, 6. I'm thinking about FGM in Oman (Female Genital Mutilation)... a very very VERY common tradition. Thanks to Mimi and Susan from Muscat Daily, we may just be able to bring it out into the open in a more public way. Stay tuned. Ideas most welcome (Thanks Linoleum Surfer!)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Electric Mufti!

Re-posting this from The Linoleum Surfer because it deserves to be read and re-read.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bits and Pieces...

(1) Everything is calm in Salalah this week. We're still waiting for the release of the 9 activists from the Sumail prison. According to someone who was in touch with them, they are together in one cell and are doing well and feel they will be released soon.

(2) Dear Expat wife who is worrying about attending a Dhofari wedding. My advice to you, don't worry! Don't try to blend in or dress up like the Dhofari women. They'll love to have you there and you'll probably end up being one of the wedding's main attractions. Dress nicely in a skirt or dress or something. The dresses at the wedding will be completely over the top, so you don't want to dress in something too plain. If it's at a house, anything will go. If it's at a hotel, dress like you're going to a gala dinner or something. Go for bling and glitter. Elegant yet modest. You'll see everything from Grammy Awards evening gowns to $10000 Dhofari thobes.

(3) Interesting article about Islamic banking in the newspaper today.

(4) What the hell is wrong with Saudi Arabia? Can anyone explain to me why I have to see this in the news this morning? Saudi woman DETAINED for over a week for driving? Do Saudi authorities realize what year we live in? There are so many things about our world that I will never understand.

(5) Please pray for our next door neighbors, Yemen. It's gotten extremely nasty over the past few days and to me it looks like the army have been blindly shooting at protesters at their own version of 'Freedom Square'. We have so much to be thankful for in Oman. So much. Watch this video.

(6) Check out Dan & Jillian's project over in Sohar. It's a good cause. If you can donate, please do.

(7) Read more about Oman's marriage fund project here. (it was one of the demands in the recent protests).

(8) Interesting post on prostitution in Arabia from new blogger The Linoleum Surfer. Definitely worth a read. Don't attack the guy. He's stating facts (whether we like to hear them or not)

Happy Weekend everyone!