Sunday, October 5, 2008

No real news - everyone on holiday. Oman's Luvvies celebrate drama initiative

Took a few days off during Eid, hence no posts. But what a wonderful time off. Nothing but beach, pool, food and, finally being able to hit the bars again (as they were closed to all but 5 star hotel guests during Ramadan).

I hope you all enjoyed the end of Ramadan too. And, of course, back to work tomorrow (unless you're in the private sector and already back at work).

How to maximise your chances of dying in a car crash - don't wear a seatbelt...
First, some local Indian workers and their visiting relatives and friends ended up rolling down a ravine in a rented Land Cruiser over the weekend, in a tragic accident coming down from Jebel Akhdar.

Five Indians dead, 6 injured in Jabal Al Akhdar accident
Times News Service
Friday, October 03, 2008 11:10:25 PM Oman Time
MUSCAT — Five people were killed and six others injured when the vehicle they were travelling fell into a ravine in the niyabat of Jabal Al Akhdar in the Wilayat of Nizwa.

The ill-fated 4WD vehicle carrying a number of Indian expatriates fell into the ravine yesterday while the occupants were returning from a trip to Jabal Al Akhdar, killing five of them on the spot.

The Royal Omani Police (ROP) promptly rushed to the spot and took the injured to the Nizwa Referral Hospital for treatment. A reliable source confirmed that the wounded persons were in stable condition.
The picnic that turned a nightmare
Times News Service
Sunday, October 05, 2008 12:01:05 AM Oman Time
MUSCAT — The ill-fated Land Cruiser that slipped into a ravine near Jabal Al Akhdar on Friday, apparently fell prey to a sudden brake failure that resulted in five people dying on the spot and six being injured including two children.

What's really sad is that brake failure is being blamed. When perhaps more could be made of the fact that there were 11 people in the damned car. Thank goodness the poor kids seem only to have been injured.

More from the Times of Oman department of shameless self promotion
Last week also saw the publishing of another banal "Viewpoint" on the front page of that awesome organ of the 4th Estate here that is, The Times of Oman. (Is there any other so-called leading newspaper that outs editorial on the front page above the fold?) This one was gushing about His Majesty's recent instruction for Ministers to develop theatre and drama in the Sultanate, presumeably to ensure some decent local content can take up the opportunity presented by the new Opera House being built in Shatti. But it's interesting that Essa Al Zedjali is clearly a big theatre buff, even expressing a preference for 'method acting', a specific form of acting technique developed by American Lee Strasberg, based on the famous work of turn of the century Russian actor and Director Constantin Stanislavski, and popular with some of Hollywood's greats like Al Pacino. Must admit, I didn't pick out Essa as a luvvie, but there you go. The squeals of joy from FODs across the Sultanate on hearing of the drama initiative must have been legion. I look forward to seeing an Omani Laurence Olivier one day, but perhaps a local Marlon Brando is where we'd best start.

Perhaps the first order of business for the high powered committee will be to try and make ordinary Omanis see the theatre as a place for anyone to have a respectable career. I think the majority of Oman's common culture in general still sees the acting occupation to be in line with prostitution and loose morals, somewhat similar to western society of the late 1800s - 1930s...
In fact, all sincere efforts extended during the past years in the field of drama and theatre for establishing an Omani theatre movement, in the full sense of the word, and for production of distinct local drama, were not extended within methodological frameworks and plans, and were without regulatory measures, leading to a state that was less than what was desirable.

It is hence important here to point out the requirements for the success of any theatre movement, particularly in the Sultanate. The most significant requirement would be a change from the concept of ‘amateurism’ to a state of ‘professionalism’ through establishing an institute that specialises in method acting, production and other related works. This is in addition to the necessity of the vital role the private sector needs to play here. Another important requirement would be the reconsideration of the wages of actors/actresses and all who work in the field of drama and theatre. Initiating a mechanism for promoting and marketing local drama abroad would enable the Omani theatre to make its presence felt in the Gulf, Arab and international arena.

The field of drama and theatre also requires induction of ‘new blood’, every year. This can be made possible by setting up a specialised academic institute that would shoulder the objectives of the theatre in the Sultanate. An association of theatre artistes and performers, similar to the associations of journalists and writers, could also be formed. Such an association will care for the affairs of the artistes and those working in the field of theatre and TV drama for further advancement of the march of theatre in the Sultanate in coordination with the government and private sector institutions concerned. Such a step would also lead to introduction of objective local drama that deals with the present and future issues of the society in the light of the deep-rooted Omani heritage.

And from the 'No common sense please we're Bahraini' dept
In other news, the Bahraini Foreign Ministry and Bahraini foreign minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa have been taking some flack from
local Islamo-nutters in Bahrain
for daring to suggest a formal forum for regional dialogue with Israel and other non-Arab countries might be a useful step to get some positive change in the Israeli-Palistinian problem. See Gulf News. The right wing types don't even want to acknowledge the validity of any Jewish state in the area. Intersting how in line this group are with the right wing in the States who similarly want to set impossible preconditions on Iran before talking to them either.
However, the Bahrain Society for Anti-Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy, a prominent non-government organisation (NGO) rejected the call.

"The formation of a regional organisation that includes the Zionist entity is in fact an implementation of the US plans to support Israel in the Arab world and is part of the so-called Greater Middle East which seeks to integrate the Zionists in the region," the society said in a statement.


  1. FODs.... simply divine daaaarling...

    funny post

  2. The crash is a tragedy especially for the survivors who are children. Brake failure – can be caused by travelling down a 25kilometer stretch of road that descends 1500meters and using only the brakes of the vehicle which over heat and fail. The stretch just before the Police Check point has innumerable cars crashing and in what might be the same ravine there is the remains of at least one other 4x4.

  3. Drama in Oman!!! I think Omanis have to look for real jobs at the moment.

  4. Thanks for the links. We missed this news being holidays.

    By the way there was news about water shortage in AlKhuwair and various parts of Muscat.
    However concerned authorities have virtually scolded residents for not storing enough water, without even caring for giving the customary "inconvenience regretted".
    It is funny to note that Times of Oman wants more discount for the Oman ferry probably because his coterie was not consulted.

  5. I wonder if its Mr Essa or his Ghost Writer who has apparent interest in Theatre

    virtually yours

  6. Pls make your views known on The Ministry of Finance saying the current world crisis will not affect Oman ! Hilarious !!! Talk about bricking it !!! Just because they too.......have lent loads of money without securing it...just like the big bubble floating over the banks in dubai ! Whoops !!!

  7. It was indeed a tragedy about the Land Cruiser, but a few points:

    1. Any properly educated 4x4 driver will tell you that you are not supposed to use breaks at all when going down steep hills, you're supposed to leave it in low range and let the engine do the breaking for you.

    2. How the fuck can 11 people fit into a Land Cruiser, legally?

    3. I'm not surprised at all that rental companies dont maintain their vehicles properly. Nothing will be done about it, again. Just like the horrendous driving here.

  8. "The Bahrain Society for Anti-Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy" - what a great name for a society. No sign of a web site, so does anyone know how to become a member?
    Do they do t-shirts/coffee mugs/etc??

  9. Riding the brakes down the Jebel is almost invariably going to result in a trip off the side.
    Couple that with overloading the vehicle and you could bet the farm on an accident.

    Was up on Akhdar a few days ago and saw queues of Indian group in 4x4s with most having no clue at all how to drive them.

    In a line of eight jeeps at the checkpoint, I saw a member of Oman's Finest, having to reach into Prados and Pajeros showing drivers how to engage the 4WD mode.

    Most of these jeeps were company vehicles poached by workers over Eid - and my money is on the jeep that went bye-bye being one of those.

    There is a reason why members of the Indian Sub-Continent have to do a driving test when they get here - some should not be left in charge of a sit-on lawnmower. But this is Oman, and there is always the 200 Rial fast-track pass if you have the money......and the evidence of that is quite clearly splashed all over the inside of that ravine!

  10. Only eleven in a landcruiser?? I saw at least 12 in a Tarmac Alawi Prado going to Masirah Island. Yes, they were Indian, and I think I might just pop in to their office in MQ and tell them what I think. Might save some lives in the future.

  11. We were in the car going down from Jebel Akhdar when a speeding 4x4 car packed with people passed by us with hazard lights on and honking the horn. 10 seconds later the car fell in the ravine.... As the article said, 5 dead at the spot, 6 injured.


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