Saturday, March 7, 2009

Muscat Municipality introduces blanket bans on dogs, other animals in public areas

In a rather strange announcement earlier this year, Muscat Municipality banned all accompanied animals from being in public places, except between the hours of 10am - 3pm!



Yes, yet another idiotic attempt to solve a small problem with a ill-considered blanket ban rule that punishes everyone needlessly and fails to actually solve the problem. I wonder which civil servant half-wit thought this one up?

The ruling, published in mid-January, had escaped my notice - probably because I don't have a dog. But it would seem to put an end to evening strolls with your dog. Early morning horseback-rides (or camel rides?) on the beach must now be considered to be illegal too.

Now, there was a couple of real problems that arguably did need addressing - selfish and inconsiderate dog owners who would let their animals run around off the leash on public beaches (especially problematic at Intercon beach), and dog owners who leave their dog shit all over the place instead of picking it up.

Many people (me included) don't like strange dogs running around uncontrolled in public places, and most Muslims certainly do not like touching dogs as they are considered unclean*. And no-one of course likes seeing dog shit everywhere, especially on beaches or in parks.

But this stupid law doesn't address at all those real problems (uncontrolled dogs, dog shit). What is does do is:
- stop decent dog owners who do keep their dog on a leash from exercising them in the morning or evening,
- bans all animals from all public spaces except 10-3, thus banning morning horse rides on the beach (probably inadvertently)
- fail to address the issue of dog shit.
- fail to address the issue of keeping dogs controlled in public.

Leash/clean-up laws, especially on beaches, are common practice throughout the world. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the best way to deal with unleashed dogs and dog-shit:



Does anyone with a brain in Muscat Municipality actually think about their by-laws, how they would work, effectiveness, etc etc? This one is up there with the sign banning football on Intercon beach (really), and the sign warning people not to swim after a few youngsters (who couldn't swim) drowned on the beach near Crown Plaza.

The Oman Women's Guild are actually putting together a petition to have the walkies restriction law changed. Good luck ladies. These are the sort of laws that just make things worse, by creating a law that will be ignored.


PETITION AGAINST ENFORCED ANIMAL WALKING TIMES
February 28th 2009

We all feel very frustrated and disappointed at the new ruling enforcing all animal owners to only be allowed to walk their animals between the hours of 10am and 3pm. It is a breach of personal choice and freedom and an infringement on human and animal rights.

We cannot be expected to walk our animals at these hours because of 3 fundamental reasons:
1) It is far too hot to walk during these hours, with or without a pet, particularly in the summer
2) People should have the freedom to walk their animals whenever they wish to
3) The majority of people with animals work, so people are in the office during these hours

However, if a rule needs to be imposed, then make a rule that animals must be on a lead whilst being walked, and owners must clean up after their animals.

Signed by:....



If you want to put your name on the petition, the places to go are here:

URGENT- ON BEHALF OF ALL PET DOGS AND THERE HUMANS
Please read the attachment Pet Notice for the back ground to the following request

We want to collect as many signatures as possible on a petition to be handed to the authorities on Tuesday 10th March. WG members will be at various points on Saturday and Sunday as follows, please go along and add your signature to the Petition. The more we have the better; you don't have to be a pet owner to sign.

There is some urgency to this matter as the notice was first published on 17th January 2009. By Law we have a 2 month period to make an appeal, and we have only till 17th March to voice our concerns. Time is running out . . .

Signature collection points:
Starbucks Coffee
Jawharat Al Shatti
7th March
Saturday morning
10am – 11.30am

Costa Coffee
MQ
8th March
Sunday morning
10am – 12noon

Costa Coffee
City centre (Seeb)
8th March
Sunday afternoon
4pm – 5pm

Starbucks Coffee
MQ
8th March
Sunday Afternoon
4pm – 6pm


* Muslims and dogs
I'm no expert on this, but it's generally accepted that in Islam dogs are unclean animals, and special washing rituals are required after a Muslim has come in contact with a dog. However, I know several muslim Omani who happily own dogs. Some muslim dog-fanciers also say that while a strange dog is unclean, once you have 'cleansed' your own dog it's then OK to touch it without special worries.

It would seem the main injunction is to wash before praying after coming in contact with a dog's saliva or moisture - see for example Islamic Concern: dogs, and Islam Online.

43 comments:

  1. the M E T officeMarch 7, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    I have no idea how this will be enforced, but, based on watching dogs on and off the lead, at the beach and near the beach near the Intercon / Shatti al Qurm with owners clearly ignoring the posted signs that clearly say: "Dogs not allowed", well, sorry: Those dog owners have brought this upon themselves and all 'obedient' dog owners.
    When Omanis tried to request these errant dog owners to obey the rules, the Omanis were essentially blown off by the know-in-all dog owners.
    Omanis have resented this dog behaviour + dog owner behaviour for years, I think. It may have taken the Omanis a long time to get the authorities to take action.
    Too bad now for all dog owners, but they should have taken it upon themselves to police themselves.

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  2. MET

    You're absolutely right that there have been problems for years with arrogant, insensitive and inconsiderate dog owners/walkers in Muscat, esp. at Shatti, and thus there is some truth to the idea that 'Those dog owners have brought this upon themselves...'.

    What I object to is that this by-law doesn't actually do anything to address those problems.

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  3. I'm sure it will be enforced exactly as thoroughly as the rules regarding football on the beach and elsewhere, right along with how rigorously parking rules are enforced (not least at Shatti and around the Intercon!), not to mention rules about tailgating, speeding, overtaking, and annoying single women who commit the crime of being in public while blonde...

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  4. Met & Dragon,

    While I agree that as a law it is completley hair-brained, I'm secretly thrilled to see what the dog owners have brought upon themselves.

    I get so sick of having strange dogs running at me on the beach, and I've had more than enough of dog owners who don't clean the shit up off the sidewalks.

    I doubt the Law will have any long term effect, since there will likely be no enforcement whatsoever. Sigh.

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  5. "annoying single women who commit the crime of being in public while blonde..."

    Lol!

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  6. I've known ex-pats buy dogs with little understanding of the responsibilites and demands that comes with this. I didn't think there was a big problems with this in Oman but I'm open to enlightenment.

    I honestly havent seen any dog mess anywhere (maybe I havent looked hard enough!). Cats are a problem and...oh...spitting!!! I hate seeing, as well as hearing that stuff splattered on pavements and near where I'm eating (D'Ary's as an example).

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  7. I agree with DA that the problem - certainly by the standards of some Western cities - is tiny here, and much, much better dealt with by leash- and pooper-scooper-laws, steady and sensible enforcement of both of which have worked wonders elsewhere.

    I also agreed with UD that this is a cultural issue (rather than, strictly speaking, a religious one) and is another of those little frictions that will come along as Oman continues to open its doors.

    There are few things more foolish a government can do that put in place laws it has no intention to enforce...

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  8. How old are the people who draft such laws??? 10??

    To come up with a law and not enforce it is far worse than not addressing the issue at all.

    I believe if you want to get people attention, the first thing you need to put in a law is a financial penalty. This law states legal action as a punishment. Second enforce it the day it's published, put a few officers out there and fine people.

    Only then would people take you seriously, putting out laws and watch them being violated and do nothing about it, make people not only disrespect law, but the issuing body as well (Muscat municipality).

    Another law in the dustbin.

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  9. Perhaps some action is in the ofing about stray dogs - and they will round them up except at mid-day :)

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  10. What is more irritating than dogs, dog shit, spitting and football on the beach in Shatti: those really sharp little sticks all over the beach that are sold on the parking area with bbq'd meat on them. After eating the meat everybody seems to simply throw these sharp sticks in the sand... for others with bare feet to step in. From experience I can tell you: very painful, such little stick trough your toe!

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  11. Why would you own a dog anyway? They are barbaric, uncouth philistines. Just get a cat instead.

    -Omani in US

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  12. Dirty doggy
    Mad dogs and Englishmen/women from the Women’s Guild go out in the mid-day sun. Thank goodness our young are being protected from those flirtaceous and corrupting Saudi trends:
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=5490035
    The current, unenforced laws about incessant dog barking and public nuisance are not enough to protect us. I don’t like dogs and horses, and I don’t understand people who do, so ban them and anything else that I can claim other people don’t like. Millions of Omanis have been against this for thousands of years - we don’t like crab and fish shit. The sea would be better for swimming if it was filtered. Ban fish from swimming. I am not gay and I am told most people are not. Ban gays. Ban people who ban things that I don’t like being banned.
    In the areas that are mentioned in Shatti there is a greater and more frequent danger from cars buzzing along on the public pathways and beaches. I know! Why not ban all cars because some drivers have poor car control? Please send in your urban legends about anything that you want banned so that we can stir up a moral panic and start a majority movement to ban anything that differs from what most people want. Fake up some pictures of piles of dog shit in shatti and dog mauled babies being treated in Emergency Rooms. Super glue the rear ends of dogs and horses.
    Who said that populist idiocy is the prerogative of democratic rabble rousers?

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  13. Get real people. Dogs are fine. It's a minority of people who are the issue - as we can also clearly see by the shear stupidity of some of the rants/postings here.

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  14. Expats are being too uppity. Ban them too.

    -Omani in US

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  15. OMIUS, That's my boy. Don't hold back. Get it off your chest. Feel free. And whilst you're at it stop being an Expat and go home and study.

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  16. See? People are the issue. I rest my case. Shit, shit, shit. 'appens all the time. Now, just where did Fido go?

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  17. If they have a blanket ban can they wear something else like a Dishadasha?

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  18. If they have a blanket ban can they wear something else like a Dishadasha?

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  19. Meeeow
    I would advise the Women's Guild that it is best to keep quiet as this rule will just fade away like all the other rules here... unless they are confrontational. The standard reaction will be, "Go back to your own country if you imagine that you can tell us what to do". This is an Islamic, increasingly multicultural but demographically small country where sometimes a few cronies get together to make a rule (often to show that they are following the Saudi line on religious observance) with narrow consultation on implications or depth of support. No Green or White Papers, Senate Committees, lobbying Institutions etc.

    Really this is just a one horse town where a few 'deputies' occasionally make themselves look silly, and risk losing face, by listening to their pals' self important boasting and promising to sort out the miscreants pronto. It is easy to ignore practical good sense and seek favour by pandering to a small faction that has a 'holier than thou' agenda. Even if a rule is ineffective, contradictory, a sledge hammer to crack a nut - most people can't be bothered to do much more than say "so what?". Obviously some kids will snikker a spiteful "serves you right", but that is just because they enjoy the discomfort of others (they probably set light to cats' tails and wonder why they get scratched). After a decent interval the 'powers' come to share the indifference of most and the rule fades away. Typical storm in a teacup.

    Many Laws are of this half-baked, difficult to enforce, knee jerk kind in any country. Usually these Laws come under test in the Courts even if they slip through the multilayered legislative process. Oman has better things to do with its judicial and policing energies. Anyway there are already suitable laws in place about public noise and nuisance - no need for blanket ban, just deal with those owners that allow their animals to be a real nuisance.

    Personally I have never seen any incidents where animals have attacked or intruded upon people. The number of pet dogs and horses in public places is small. Many of these animals are Omani owned, appear to give pleasure to their owner families and are under effective control.

    I have seen someone screaming at a dog on a lead, but the dog and owner ignored the hysterics. Probably a case of a childhood phobia manifesting itself. There are cases where mistreated dogs and horses have bitten innocent bystanders and people have memories of this. Fortunately, more recently, animals have been given the respect and training that they deserve and their role as faithful companions, pets, beautiful examples of creation or whatever… has been accepted in society, as it was in our historical past. Irrational fears are disappearing and most people understand that, if they choose, they have no need to interact with a well managed dog or horse if it is under proper control in an open-air public space. If a pet or dog is in a home or stable or an open-air public place, I respect the right of the owner to keep and exercise these animals just as they respect my right to be unmolested. No problem.

    If a dog bites or a horse kicks me without provocation I will involve the police, but it will make no difference if this occurs in the heat of the day or the cool of the evening.

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  20. Since this ban apparently applies to ALL animals, local flocks of goats, sheep and camels will now have to be let out for grazing only during the hottest time of the day. Omani farmers and herders must be quite rightly incensed at this absurdity.

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  21. And don't forget the turtles. It's turtles all the way down...

    Bobindubai

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  22. Just a Jealous Guy.

    Anyone got any more suggestions for how we can harass those overpaid people who live in Shatti? A Regulation banning any lifestyle that is different or better than mine?

    Well-off Omanis and Expats seem to have better lives than me, with foreign holidays, nice new cars, more freedom and even pets that they can afford to look after. It’s not fair. They may have wasta so I’m too scared to shout at them directly, “Why can’t I live in a smart area?!”

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  23. I am not an animal lover (No! not in that sense either), but I would never harm one unless it attacked me. So have nothing to say on the animal side of this issue. However, I would like to comment on is the 'idiotic' regulation promulgated by the MM. What are these guys smoking? Always before, they sat in there top floor offices well insulated from the real world. Hey Guys, its time to wake up! They best way to bring them into reality is by shining the spotlight on them. That's why these blogs are important and that's why the petition is important. Lets show these guys they are responsible for more than drinking coffee and issuing silly regulations. Sign the petition. Abd

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  24. Walkies
    Nation States and Municipalities can pass/proclaim whatever Laws they choose. You can’t please everyone but the curfew on pets outside a 10 – 3 window is just plan …silly. It will be seen as such by many, even if they are not pet aficionados. This is such a neat exemplar of how crazy petty issues can get. It must be an easily communicated gossip of how you can never be quite sure of the parameters of living here. Thought you were going to buy a villa and relax in the sun, take that pet for a beach stroll in the cool of the morning or evening? Think again. The Oman Brand image?
    By now millions of expat prospective holiday makers and villa buyers will know of this spiteful little by-law which lends credibility to other snippets about shrinking Villa plots (off plan as opposed to reality at the Wave), driving standards….blah, blah. Another personnel mine laid by the xenophobes?
    How much less is that beautiful seaside villa in Spain, Bermuda, Thailand?

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  25. I will never understand why expats feel it necessary to have dogs in Oman. Are they for protection? Here in one of the safest places on earth? I could understand the reason why, if say they lived in Johnnesburg. But safety reasons aside, it is a well known fact that some Muslims look upon dogs as unclean - so why then do expats deliberatly keep dogs? They are guests here. WE SHOULD MAKE AN EFFORT TO PLEASE - NOT ANNOY OUR HOSTS1 Another point I would like to make is that a good deal of expats, unable to find a home for their pets when it comes to leaving the country, resort to letting them roam free not being able to afford the quarantine costs at the other end.

    I would strongly rcommend that you look up on the net `Muslims (or Islam) and dogs. `There is a strong argument that dogs and indeed all creatures on earth should be treated kindly and that they too deserve a place in heaven.It seems that some Muslims wrongly assume that dogs are unclean. But see for youself, An interesting discussion.Is not the Saluki an Arabian dog?
    Anonymous

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  26. I agree with Anon. I'm a dog and indeed animal lover but I wouldn't consider having one here as I couldn't commit the dedication and time required. Also the heat is a big factor.

    I look in windows of Al Fair and regular ads are requesting a home for dogs and puppies (why let them breed?).

    It's obvious we can't take them with us so why have them?

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  27. Fatima comments
    Dear Anonymous,
    You are genuine in your attempt to get to grips with this issue. Unfortunately it is like a grain of sand – so small it is difficult to pick up. Comments here show that perhaps the sizeable pebbles in the shoe are:
    How are these decisions made? What values and procedures underpin the decision making process? Are there principles on display that are cause for more significant concern?
    I do not want to seem rude, but here is a mirror for you to glance in:
    “It’s a well known fact that some Christians look upon the wearing of the full hijab by Arab women as socially disconcerting – so why then do you see some women wearing their hijab in London and Huston? They are guests there. WE SHOULD MAKE AN EFFORT TO PLEASE - NOT ANNOY OUR HOSTS.”
    Answer: As hosts we should allow people to do those things that are part of their home culture (as long as they do no harm), even if we do not have sufficient understanding of their reasons and traditions. It is a matter of mutual respect. This is a proud Nation, not a Magalis where ignorance and irrational fear are acceptable reasons for inhospitality. On balance, your final paragraph would seem to support the view that pet animals are a cultural issue, not a genuine religious issue. Some devout Omanis have dogs. This issue is a poor alibi to justify unacceptable expat bashing.

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  28. Fatima- Yours is one of the most intelligent 'comments' I have read in this Forum. Hope to hear more from you. Abd

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  29. Expat Wife
    We have a dog because I am here with my husband who is sometimes away for days on visits to other ME countries and the desert. My family is grown up and in my home country we always had a house full of family and friends and pets. For our sons, the responsibility of looking after pets was one of the ways in which we ensured healthy exercise and a respect for all creatures. I love Oman but sometimes it is nice to have the companionship of our dog to help me to feel safe if alone in the villa. Obviously I have blind spots, but I do know that the low crime rate has an element of manipulated official PR.

    Now I feel that walking the dog, once taken for granted as one of the most innocent of pleasures, has been criminalized. I now know that we maybe the focus of hostility and disgust from Omanis that I see on my regular walk. Many Omani children, with smiling parents, used to come to the dog because it is a non-threatening, big, friendly looking, slightly stupid and obedient pet. Little did I know what a fool I have been! I am not trying to be over pathetic but it sure is a new experience to sense that there must be an undercurrent of opinion that sees me as arrogant, dirty and unwelcome.

    We found our dog through the excellent animal rescue kennels in Muscat and he is undergoing all the necessary vaccinations so that he can accompany us when we leave Oman in a few years. For the first time that day can’t come soon enough. I feel so uneasy that I am posting this under Anonymous – never saw the necessity before.

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  30. WTF
    Expat Wife. Wise up. Your husband has got a job that an Omani shoild have. You dont want to follow our rule. If you want to go home the airport is at Seeb.

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  31. Anony-Mouse: yours is one of the most Dumbass 'comments' I have read on this Forum. No wonder you did not sign your name. Abd

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  32. Anony-Mouse is just one of these (luckily not too many) very jealous, sad people who sees an expat with a good job, a good salary and all the nice things that come with it, doesn't want to admit that he himself is not sufficiently educated/trained/motivated to get such a job, and in stead of using his time and energy to improve his own situation and capabilities simply decides to take the easy route and have a go at others. Dumbass indeed. Maybe he can walk the expat wife's dog around noon and make himself usefull?

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  33. Hey, we are all living here together. let's try and understand one another and respect each others customs. I have no problem respecting the views of others however this ruling will cause friction between the dog lovers and dog haters here in Muscat. Let's us all come to a comprimise. We can work together.

    Make the Call.

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  34. Fatima suggests:
    Previous rules allow prosecution of those who do not keep their animals under control in terms of noise nuisance and threats/damage to others. A period enforcing these rules would do more good than 'curfews' which cause unnecessary conflict. No sensible person wants the law to look like an ass/dog/horse or headless chicken.
    Withdraw the Curfew. This would not mean loss of face but show a willingness to respond to ALL the community.
    Give notice that sensible rules requiring owners to control their animals will be vigorously enforced - then actually carry out the threat against the inconsiderate minority.
    Job done.

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  35. Wow.. there are so much bigger problems this Sultanate has..

    then they think of this.. pets.. wtf..

    any laws on curving roadkills and putting pedestrian overpass that are not 100 kilometres from each other..

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  36. I think I've stumbled upon the real reason for this...last week reported in the papers that begging was becoming an epidemic. Maybe by getting rid of the dogs the beggers won't have such skilled rivals!.....;-)

    Ano makes the valued comment.."there are more important issues that go on without action...ROAD SAFETY"!!!!

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  37. 20/20 says:
    Just noticed this blog and lead-in comment by MET. The signs are almost obscured but they have always cautioned against dogs (and football, barbecues etc), “on the beach” not, “near the beach” or “near the Intercon”.If you are prissy be precise.

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  38. WHYNOT
    Muscat Municipal Decision No.2/2008, published in the Official Gazette on 17/01/2009 creates:
    • A requirement for accompanied animals to be subject to a curfew outside the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • A requirement for licensing of such animals by the vetinary authorities.

    This Proclamation appears to possess the following characteristics:
    • It ignores pre existing Laws and Proclamations which already give sufficient powers for addressing problems created by accompanied animals in public places and for ensuring licensing of animals.
    • A new offence is created, - accompanying an animal during the curfew. Behaviour that would otherwise be acceptable is made illegal.
    • The need for such a regulation on the grounds of preserving public health or restriction of public nuisance is not demonstrated it is merely asserted.
    • The Regulation will be difficult to enforce and when it is enforced it is likely to cause disproportionate distress. Many residents and new arrivals will be unaware of the Curfew as it is an unexpected and unusual regulation. However ignorance will not be a defence.
    • The regulation will be difficult to enforce without discriminatory practice. Those most easily targeted for police action will be the families of expatriate workers living in affluent areas with pets in public places but under control although in the curfew period. This section of the community usually have a cultural and personal concern for the health of their animals that cannot be met at any time by exercise in private homes or in public places during the hours allowed. These hours are the hottest and least suitable for healthy exercise for animals and people who could be harmed by the high temperatures that prevail for most of the year.
    • Public agitation will be increased by a Regulation which does not make clear the distinction between religious obligation and minority preference as grounds for observation. Some might conclude that intolerance by a few is being used as an excuse to restrict lifestyles of some visitors – even if these lifestyles are a private matter and no threat to public health, safety or decency.
    • The deserved image of Oman as an hospitable tourist destination and place for non nationals to purchase property may be damaged in those origin countries that place cultural value on keeping animals as pets. It is possible for a minor issue to symbolize wider cultural and legal difficulties relating to assimilation in a different country where change in legal obligations is unpredictable.
    All sensible people respect the religion and cultural heritage of a host country. Most long and short-term visitors to Oman admire the history and modern achievements of the Nation and experience a real affection for the friendship and pride of the Oman People. A Regulation that is excluding should be subject to wider consultation and be reviewed.

    A compromise has been proposed that avoids creating a new ‘crime’ and addresses concerns about public safety and health.
    “Consider withdrawing the Curfew. This would not mean loss of face but show a willingness to respond to ALL the community.
    Give notice that sensible rules requiring owners to control their animals will be vigorously enforced - then actually carry out the threat against the inconsiderate minority.”

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  39. Good to see all the Omani expat-bashers are busily working away on their "famous Omani hospitality" :) I don't always like it, but as always, and as others have said here, its people, not entire groups of people. Some Omani's are assholes, a lot aren't. Some Brit's are assholes, a lot aren't. The only nationality I feel that the majority are actually assholes, are the French, but I only say it cos it's funny, not cos it's necessarily true :)

    Its a stupid rule which isn't going to last. If you are a dog walker stay away from the Intercom and Shatti beach and I'm sure you will be fine. It seems no one in MQ has been paying attention to this ruling anyway.

    As for Expat Wife - my hat comes off to you for actually adopting a dog and preparing to take it back with you. I hate going to UnFair in MQ because my wife always go's and looks on the board at all the dogs on offer from people leaving the country and not taking their pets with them. I want a dog, but my landlord has a ban on pets, and gave us special permission to keep our cat, who we brought from abroad. And the reason the landlord has the ban is because other tenants previously had a huge dog that liked to bark - and it was the noise that was the issue - the land lord himself has 3 dogs and is a kind man, but had to set the rules to appease the other tenants.

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  40. 20/20 says:
    Interesting to see the little grievances like tics on a dog. This subject has nearly finished its walkies with lots of running around in circles. It would take too long to all deconstruct the poorly reasoned anti-animal and anti-expat snippets but let us begin with the first comment.
    Dear MET was quick off the leash but makes no response to the fact that spats about dogs “near the beach” were unwarranted intrusions into the privacy of dog walkers. The signs are almost obscured but they have always cautioned against dogs (and football, barbecues etc), “on the beach” not, “near the beach” or “near the Intercon”. If you are prissy be precise. No wonder that the ill informed got ‘blown off’ when they took it upon themselves to insist on the observance of a non-existent rule – if they could be heard over the shouts of “goal!”, sizzle of barbecues, roar of quad bikes on the beach etc. Probably too scared to confront the Omanis, but a lone dog walker… great opportunity. Also too scared to call the police because although laws prohibit nuisance the only 'offence' was against ignorant fear and a cruel prejudice against animals. Of course if you have inhabited a context in which animals are abused you will expect animals to be dangerous. I notice that the busy bodies are always keen to pick on someone who can’t answer back for fear of being branded disrespectful of the local culture.
    MET introduces a novel concept;
    “Too bad now for all dog owners, but they should have taken it upon themselves to police themselves.” So if you are a careful driver you have to be a traffic cop or your licence will be confiscated? If you are between 15 and 25 and like to go out in the evening you become responsible for any offences committed by others in this age category and should be subject to a curfew? “Someone spilt coffee on the photocopier you will all have deductions of pay and work overtime until the culprit owns up” What rubbish. Anybody who writes a blog or comments has to carry the burden of all others! MET, too bad you should have controlled that 20/20 even if you have never met and don’t know their identity.

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  41. Dirty Doggy says in response to
    "I will never understand why expats feel it necessary to have dogs in Oman. Are they for protection? Here in one of the safest places on earth? I could understand the reason why, if say they lived in Johnnesburg."

    Absence of mention in the Times of Oman does not mean no crime. Where does all this local delusion about safety come from? For political, administrative, resource and cultural reasons - crimes against the person are likely to be seriously under-reported here but even the official figures show high per capia rates:
    http://www.moneoman.gov.om/book/syb_2008/fscommand/tables/Social_Services/15-20.pdf

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  42. Not quite re. dogs but. . .
    I have to say my experience over my 9 months here in Muscat has not been great. The Omanis initially come across as very friendly and supportive of us expats, however I have picked up a dangerous undertone particularly in the young men. I have had three occasions where a young man has tried to goad me in to a fight (all three ties in a Muscat hotel) - I am not the violent kind (always been a coward and run a mile at the first sign of trouble), but if I had responded as they would have liked then no doubt I would have been immediately locked up and deported the next day - and I believe this is where the problem lies.
    Overall I would say that beyond the initial friendly facade, the Omanis hate expats and want us out.
    A second thing I must mention is the standard of driving - the local and Indian drivers here are very poor and do unpredictable things - the culture here seems to go against people applying a 'better safe than sorry' approach.
    And it is not particularly family friendly.
    Plus the lowish pay compared with the hassles means is was not worth shipping the family out here.
    My view, then, is that it is a nice place for a couple of weeks in the sun but not as a long term expat posting assignment.
    Sorry!

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  43. When an Arab goes to live in Europe knows that Mosques are not around every corner, like in GCC.
    When an European goes to live in GCC should know that rules about dogs and alcohol are not the same as in Europe.

    I personally don't like dogs, and the fact that designated time is allocated is a big plus to live in Oman and sign of cleanliness.
    I find Omani very friendly. Those who think is just a facade are usually people that even if they have lived here for 10 years, they have not made the effort to learn not even a sentence in Arabic.

    Everyone is welcome in Oman, as long as they don't mess up with local culture. Quit drinking, learn Arabic, go to pray 5 times a day in the Mosque, and you will get the real Oman. Those Omani that you meet while drinking alcohol in the hotels, are tiny minority of the population.

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