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Archive for May, 2009

Let me give you all an intro about myself for you all to understand why I’m writing this entry. I come from a family that is considered middle to high class in Oman. My fortune made me be one of the “Orbis” that I talked about before. My parents taught me that everyone is equal. However, the rest of my family are the social climbers. They think that they are better than everyone else, and try soooo hard to distinguish themselves from the “those” who are “lower” than them. Its annoying..

Anyway, in the last couple of weeks, I have been getting these lame comments from them.

Don’t dress like this you look like a Baluchi girl.

Don’t act like this you sound like a Zanzibari girl.

Even with nail polish, I can’t put it because they don’t want me to look like the “others”..

All I do is give them a WHATEVER attitude. So what I look like a Baluchi girl. Everyone knows that Baluchi girls are cuter than original Omani girls! This whole culture is built on gossip. They are all afraid that other people will say something bad about them. They all want to look perfect and act perfect Omanis so that they intermarry with the best of the best…I’m talking about blood line not merit.. focus people!

I don’t mind people saying.. “I don’t want to marry from this culture because I’m not into it” or “it does not suit my needs”, but don’t make it sound like you will be stained if you did. Everyone is equal… equality is a word that has a vague meaning in this region!

They also try to control everyone’s fate in their family. People always talk about the positives of having a close extended family but no one talks about the negatives.. If someone from the family wants to marry someone that is not from their “baseless and stupid” bloodline status, they gossip about that person to no end. They also become involved in their affairs and try hard to stop the marriage. Not for fear that the person is not suitable or anything that has the merit of “good intentions”, another vague phrase here, no. It is because they fear of what other “social climbers” might say about them, and that their honor might be stained.

My comments… Give me a break! The world has advanced in soooooooo many ways and you guys have a mentality that is stuck in 600 BC!

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Many wonder, how are weddings in Oman. If you are a male foreigner.. then you’d have a hard time finding out since men “in general” are not included in weddings as much as women.

However, there are two general kinds of marriages in Oman: the Traditional & the Modern.

Traditional Wedding:

This wedding includes men and women. They are in separate places however. Traditional weddings are usually in the inner parts of Oman where people like to keep practicing them. It is also a lot cheaper than modern weddings because it takes place in both “the bride and the groom’s” houses.

Before I start talking about what happens, I would like to explain the concept of a traditional wedding. The wedding takes place in two houses. Then, the groom goes with all his family and friends on buses to pick up a bride. The girls go in to see the bride and greet. They pick up the girl and put her in the groom’s car. Then all of her family come along on buses to drop her off at his house. Once she is there.. greetings are due, then wedding is over…. simple and short.

Now for the extended version!

As I explained before, both families have a celebration of their own. People from around the neighborhood come a long to chat and eat. Some get a sneak peak of he bride, but traditionally you do not get to see her. I think traditionally she is too freaked out to meet anyone!

Before the westernization of weddings and introducing the white dress, women usually wore an Omani traditional dress that is heavily embroidered and I think it is red in color. I am not sure if it is specifically red. Anyway, she would wear her gold, and even though it is her wedding, she still wears a scarf and covers according to Islam.

Now, what happens after that is simple..

In both houses, the women would sit inside the house on floor mats. The men would sit outside in an open area in floor mats too. There would be about over 400 people that would come. Half of them come for the food, and the other half come for social duty. They all sit, and the rice with meat comes out. They eat and feed their kids. Then, the traditions Halwa comes out with fruits and coffee. They all drink and eat.

During this time, family members are serving the food and the sisters of the bride and groom are all dancing (remember in separate houses). After they eat, people who came for food only will leave at this point (with their 20 kids). The rest stay to get on the buses.

Getting on the buses requires a lot of work. If you are a young girl, you wouldn’t want to be sitting with the older lady’s because they are boring and wont let you sing and dance away in the bus. If you are an old woman, you would want to sit next to young girls to feel young and to make sure they are behaving, which they don’t want to do.

After people are on buses (between 3 to 5 buses), and others are in cars, ALL drive behind the groom’s car with danger signals on. So, the haunking begins and the loud music too. Everyone is singing and making noise.

They arrive at the brides house. They are greeted. Some women might stop and eat, others are in a hurry to leave. Once they get the bride in the grooms car (always a hassle), then people from the other family start organizing themselves and getting into their buses. Sometimes the groom would start driving so the women would hurry up. Ohh.. Most of the people that go to the brides house are women. Men are only escorts and you only need one or two in each car.

So, they drive back. Here, the bride’s and the groom’s family in the buses try to beat each other into being behind the car that has the bride and groom. They are trying to prove who is better!

Once they get at the groom’s house, they go into a room where there are chairs. The bride and groom sit next to each other and pictures start to be taking. More pictures then more then more. Then, the groom escorts his bride to his bedroom with everyone behind them. He gets her in, they shut the door…. and everyone leaves. At this time all leave, and some linger around to gossip at other women.

The end!

If you wonder what girls wear.. well, some wear Omani traditional dresses, and others wear prom dresses (usually very young girls). Women don’t really reveal their hair and arms..etc because men in these wedding can go inside the house to get food for men guests. So, women keep covered..

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Today I want to talk about fashion and women in Oman. I was with a friend in City Center a couple of days ago and saw one of the new make up shops. We went in and looked at the different colors they had. I suggested some neutral colors to her, and not being in Oman for that long, I didn’t realize that it’s a no-no to buy neutral colors. Everything has to be OUT THERE! You should only wear the colors that are BRIGHT.. not calm… BRIGHT!

Also, who said that an Abaya is used only for religious purposes. It is not.. I mean, look at all the crystals in those Abaya’s! It is a fashion statement among other things. For those who come to Oman and discover that not ALL Omani girls wear Abayas is because it is not required by religion and some parents don’t care. Even then, look at those Abaya’s.. each cost over 40 rials ($100) and many go over R.O. 100 ($250). They are very expensive..

Also, the more bling those Abaya’s have the better and the woman would have a better chance of making all others jealous!

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Today I had a discussion with a friend about personal views and beliefs vs. evidence and facts. Here, I will be talking about religions in general. This is not a post that is directed towards Islam by any means because it is universal among all religions.I respect religions in general, and this will focus on how people use religion to justify certain acts.

It also happens to be something that annoys the hell out of me..

Okay, lets start the ranting.. in short, Most of what we believe in is not common sense nor does it portray actual facts, which is why it is called “faith” and not “science”. Faith is a “belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence”.

Let me give some examples.. In the Bible and Quran, God told Abraham to slaughter his son in a dream. We take that as face value and believe in it. But the question every good young Christian/Muslim/Jewish kid would wounder, common we all did, before we were shut down and told never to question God, is: “Abraham wanted to slaughter his son because he had a dream?!”

My question.. Does that sound logical. Or better, Does that sound sane? Good?

I mean, if it was someone today, we would say the person must have a mental illness. But we believe in it because its our faith, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as we don’t use the excuse of “God told me in a dream” to kill people.

So where is my problem?

When the guys in the Sharee’a (religious) School justify cheating on their English exam because it is the language of “Christians” and God said not to advance them.. or whatever their excuse is.

When a Jewish person tells you it was okay to occupy Palestine because its their “Promised land”, as if it is a matter of fact.

When Christians tell you that Jesus is here to save you and they site the “Bible” as evidence to what they say.

When Sunni’s tell you that they are allowed to kill Shea’s because the prophet Mohammed said that there will be different sects in Islam and only one will go to heaven and the rest to hell.

Get what I mean…

Sometimes I sit there and wonder if these people understand the meaning of evidence and common sense..

In short, it is great that you have a religion and you believe everything in it. However, using the Torah/Bible/Quran as evidence can only be possible when you are having a discussion or a debate with someone in your own faith. Once you are out of your own faith, please use scientific evidence or even common sense as the basis for your talk..

Don’t say, well.. because God said so.. Cause what your God said to you is different than what mine said to me…

We don’t have the same illogical beliefs.

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To those who don’t know much about Sablat Oman: it is an omani discussion forum that is the most popular in Oman, with about 93 thousand users and 410 thousand topics. This is only counting the topics that came after the Sabla’s owner was sued and the site was put down to be opened in a different site.

Previous Link: http://www.omania.net
Current Link: http://www.omania2.net

If you do know about it and always¬† or sometimes wondered… what do they talk about? Well, I will give you a glimpse of some titles different sections.

I will only present three sections. The ones I think are worthy to follow from time to time, and the first five topics in each.

Sablat Politics and Economy:
Topics:
1- A call to Nizwa officials: please reconsider the plans for roundabouts and roads.
2- The illness of music and religious songs on Oman’s broadcasts.
3- Saudi: the strengthening earthquake in Aiss indicates volcano eruption.
4- Which do you prefer: Omani or Foreign management?
5- Iran announces the launch of a rocket that could hit Europe.

General Sabla:
Topics:
1-The nicest house decor for the nicest in the forum (with pictures).
2- In the road of divorce and the judge asks you, which will you chose: living with you father or mother?
3- How does a foreigner forces his control over an Omani.
4- Look to where sexual harassments is leading.
5- How can we organize the children’s schedules for prayers and summer break has started..come in.

Social and Educational Sabla:
Topics:
1- No one is relaxed, why?
2- Rape + Forced marriage + Early divorce.
3- The video tape that destroyed my life.
4- Feelings I used to fight and fear from has now filled my heart.
5- Excuse me, it is not because of her.

The Sabla was visited on May 21, 2009.

Hope this was interesting….

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The reason I’m naming this as Gulf men’s pride because it applies to most or nearly all gulf men.

And yes, I did name it exhausting pride because I’m exhausted from it and have been for a very very longs ass time! I am addicted to honesty and you can NEVER be partially fully honest with your:… its a long list… male relative, father, brother, uncle, boyfriend, fianc√©e, or husband!

If you are a Middle Eastern girl, you become accustomed to learning all kinds of games and ways to manipulate your way into getting what you want! I don’t know, but I really do think men are either stupid or just have an arrogant mentality that they don’t see all those games and manipulative techniques!

All this for what…. So their precious PRIDE does not get hurt!

I’m not sure if you guys realize -maybe you do if you live in the Middle East- that there is this whole other world behind the faces of these .. so called… Men!

Example One:

Typical question (guy): “have you loved anyone before me?”
Typical answer (girl): “of course never” sounds like a big fat lie especially if she is 27, which of course girls realize, so they continue by “only that my mother would always tease me about my cousin, and I used to kind of like him when i was young. But I never saw him much..”

UHUH! Yeah.. Right! Toss them with a pathetic lie half truth, and they will walk away thinking they caught an angle that was untouched by the rotting smell of the concept of “love before marriage”… stupid..

Girls are never that stupid to ask that question, cause they know that the truth would be untold or the whole thing WILL be told.. how many prostitutes, with your aunt, neighbor..etc. Other girls don’t care, they understand the concept, “we will live together for the future not the past”

Example Two:

A girl from the Gulf area always gets this advice from other women: “always downplay your smarts, and sometimes act stupid. Don’t challenge them on debates because you will always end up called: stupid, you dont understand, disrespectful, and ‘shut up and do as I say’.”

My reply… F***K THEM…..(sorry, I’m angry)

If they cannot pick a book and read it before they open their mouths, debate, and become all philosophical about it.. then don’t be offended when I site writer’s and articles!

People… Gulf men RARELY read! some of them go to college and graduate as they entered.. stupid. They never take the time to do research and actually read more than what they have to. No interest, whatsoever!

Their main interest after getting a job, a wife, a house is: eat, sleep, hang out, and gradually become fat.

How do they graduate? I wonder, they copy and paste papers from google.. I don’t think they realize their school has online subscriptions to journals!.. or that they are ALLOWED to use the library for uses other than chatting on terminals and checking out text-books in the beginning of the semester.

Example Three:

Dad: “Where are you going?”
Daughter: “Hang out with my boyfriend girlfriends and fool around drive around in the car *smiley face*” and to just give him a sense of involvement, through him a couple of lies activities that you will be doing with your friends.

LoL, poor dad!

It does not end here! wish it did…

You have to lie about going shopping, talking to a friend he dislikes or one he fought with the brother, driving somewhere, going out in general.. “many go out only when the male is not in the house”, cooking, cleaning, relationships, being mad at them…..etc.

They also think that they are entitled to your privacy. They have an urging need to know everything that happens in your life, no matter how private you would like to keep it. Just so that they can remind you later on of your mistakes and how you should be dependent on their stupidity wisdom.

I am tired of always walking on eggshells because I might hurt their pride one day… Many women don’t mind it because they don’t think that men can be any different. “God made them that way for a reason!”.. all I will say is.. God is innocent from such accusations…

My problem? I got to know better….

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First of all, and before I get into the technicalities of dowry, I would like to state that in Oman and all Arabic countries a dowry is and ONLY from a Man to a Woman.

I do know that dowry from a woman to a man happens in most eastern countries, such as India, but Islamic Law states that only a man gives a woman dowry, which does not have to be money by the way.

I’m stating this because I get many questions from people asking if a woman can give a man dowry,,,, etc.

Dowry: it is money, goods, or estate that a man gives to his soon to be bride. This money, by Islamic law, should go to the woman and not her parents of family. Only for her own private usage. In Oman, there are families that take their daughter’s dowry in excuse that it is nothing compared to what they had to pay in raising her up. This is against Islamic law. Also, in Islam there is a prophet’s saying which encourages families to not ask for a lot in dowry. Of course, as with many issues in the Middle East, people don’t really follow everything in the Qura’n or the prophet’s sayings.

The dowry is usually given to the girl either right before or during her engagement day (see my previous post). Usually they write the amount of dowry in the marriage certificate, which again they apply for after the engagement ceremony. Further, sometimes the dowry is a combination of money and gold to the bride, other times the money is the dowry and the gold are extra gifts..aka extra expenses.

Major Issue in Oman: Dowry has been a major issue in Oman because many families ask for too much. The law states that dowry should not exceed R.O. 5000 (around $12,000). However, many families request for beyond even $20,000, which is a disadvantage to all those Omani men that receive less than R.O. 500 ($1200) a month. Many young men cannot afford the high prices, and many prefer being single or buying a new car (cheaper than getting a wife!). Usually, the parents who ask a lot for dowry are those who take it and give only a portion of it to the girl, which is again illegal.

The problem is not in paying for a dowry only because wedding expenses in Oman are high too, especially if the parents request it to be in a ball room. It would in average cost around $20,000. Plus, the male is responsible for providing a house/apartment for the his new family and it is almost a costume in Oman for women to “pop out” babies during their first year of marriage.

If you ask many Omani men why they are still bacholers, they would probably say… we cannot afford getting married!

The solution is simple…. people need to be a bit humble!

So you ask, what does a woman do with all that money? simple, she buys clothes and jewelry as marriage preparation. A lot of times, a girl would replace every single item in her wardrobe. Yep! that extreme. Sometimes though, she buys kitchen appliances… This sometimes depends on the financial status of the girl, because if she works, she may chose to participate in the wedding preparation.

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