Monday, May 19, 2008

Oman's useless newspapers and the even crappier food we eat

Generally, Oman is served by really, really bad newspapers. The only thing that generally comes close to analysis is carping about the Israelis and the Americans in the vein of 'its not the fault of the Arabs' I don't read Arabic unfortunately, but my Omani friends assure me theArabic ones are also total crap too.

Of all the Omani newspapers, Oman Tribute is definitely the one that occasionally dares to carry stories (like this one below) that point out when the spin of the Government is at odds with the facts.

We need a LOT more of this. Second paper would have to be The Observer, tremendously anti-West it may be. The Times of Oman is almost completely useless, and so far up the establishment’s butt as to be effectively just a propaganda piece for whoever the self-obsessed Editor Essa bin Mohammed Al Zedjali wants to suck up to. See here for a classic opinion piece on how fantastic the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is.

Tribune Monday 19th
Acute water shortage hits Nizwa
NIZWA Belying the tall claims made by authorities of supplying sufficient quantity of water to the Wilayat of Nizwa, residents are still facing acute water shortage.

Moreover, many wells and Aflaj, which were source of water supply to the locals, have dried up due to intense summer.

For days and weeks, residents get water from the distribution network only for minutes. They have to go to far-flung areas in search of water to do their household work.

The rich can pay the price of water from tankers but the poor cannot and hence suffer a lot due to water shortage as one gallon of water is being sold at RO1.700. The price of water increases further in the interiors if the road to the area is not approachable.

The wilayat was allocated 600,000 gallons of water. But the residents say that the quantity allocated is not enough for the people of the wilayat to meet their day-today household needs.

Oman rated a good betIn other news, thanks to the tremendous boost in oil revenues these past few years enabling Oman to climb out of the debt hole it got into in the late 90s, Oman is also looking good on the financial rating of its Sovereign bonds, effectively the country’s credit rating, scoring an A and putting Oman in the same basket as countries like the UAE, Qatar, Australia and New Zealand, to name a few. You see the whole list here:

And finally under the ‘Last Things Oman Needs More of’ section, another international purveyor of crap food is launching in Oman. Great. Again, it shows how Oman's reporters and editors are so lazy and desperate for cheap copy that they'll print any PR release verbatim.Oman Observer report.
By A Staff Reporter
MUSCAT — Dunkin’ Donuts, one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant companies, continues its rapid expansion and has announced its imminent launch of operations in Oman. Matrah Cold Stores LLC in partnership with the UAE franchisee have formed a joint venture company to manage the Dunkin Donuts brand in Oman. The initial outlets for Dunkin’ Donuts will open in Madinat al Sultan Qaboos, Ghala and at Shatti Cinema. David Rodgers, General Manager of Dunkin Donuts, UAE, said: “Due to the international popularity of the brand and the consumer demands of the rapidly changing environment in Oman, we are excited to have a presence here in the Sultanate, and feel that by partnering with MCS we are arriving in Oman at an excellent time and with MCS’s proven record in Oman we will be able to provide to customers an outstanding brand experience”. The launch has been confirmed for late May with the Dunkin Donuts being produced twice a day in the new purpose built and equipped kitchen in Wadi Kabir that will serve the shops to be established in the Muscat area.

Khalid Dalaty, Operations Manager for Dunkin Donuts Oman, said: “Having experienced a successful recent expansion within the UAE, we are sure Oman will enjoy the presence of Dunkin’ Donuts. News of our entry into Oman has been met with keen interest and we are delighted to offer Omani customers the very same service and quality that Dunkin’ Donuts is renowned for across the world.” Fans of the fast food restaurant chain will find its pleasantly styled and practically designed outlets globally, including in the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Greece, Turkey, the UAE, and the United States. Worldwide, the quick service restaurant company recorded sales of over $4.7 billion in 2007.

Unusually, the launch of the dazzling new Dunkin’ Donuts business is coupled with an insightful partnership in the sphere of 'On demand medical treatment', a first for the Sultanate. Dunkin’ Donuts’ partner in Oman, International Insulin Corp, will be setting up small clinics specializing in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes directly adjacent to the new stores. ‘This will represent a real breakthrough for Oman’s current diabetics, and the many future ones. Oman is already a huge market for our insulin products and proprietary blood sugar testers, but the potential for massive growth is still here. Our partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts will significantly help to boost demand for diabetic treatment in the Sultanate, because while Oman’s youth represent more than half the population many of them have yet to develop diabetes like their parents. People will be able to feast to their pancreas’ content on refined starch, sugar and fat, and then obtain an instant boost of much needed insulin just a few steps away.’

The more observant of my readers may have spotted the last paragraph wasn’t actually printed… I just made that bit up.


  1. Hahaha you made diabetes sound like a target that Oman wants to achieve! I was reading the last paragraph and going like "what?.." till I read the thing you wrote at the end.
    Keep up the criticism and interesting news!

  2. UD,
    Sorry for the blatant plug here, but I just commented briefly on an Arabic op-ed from Oman's al-Watan in my brand-spankin-new blog. The Arabic papers seem to me to be much of the same as the English, but probably a bit more strident, especially in the case of the op-ed about the sixtieth anniversary of the Palestinian catastrophe. I posted comments here a few times anonymously (and with a nickname after you chastized us). You can see me now at

  3. The colleagues and I have a regular morning pastime - reading between the lines. We pore over the (scant) local content in the English papers and try to figure out what particular piece of emerging bad news might have caused a given "blessings of the Renaissance" story.

    Something about unspoiled beaches, for example, almost always heralds an announcement in a couple of days that another major resort will be built.

    Today, though, reached a new high in overall fabulous inanity - Hello Kitty appeared on the front page of one paper, highlighting her naming as a Japanese cultural ambassador.

    Beats real news, any day!

  4. Yuseff,
    Glad you like it. I have to shudder at the supermarket check out sometimes when I see how much sugary crap people are feeding their kids, and themselves.

    I'll check it out. Welcome to the bogosphere!

    Yeah. Don't get me wrong, Oman has a lot of great things going for it. But it is like living in valium land if you read the papers.

  5. Hilarious last paragraph.

    I could really go for a Krispy Kreme outlet here. Dunkin Doughnuts are not fluffy enough for my delecate palate.


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