Thursday, September 29, 2011

Designer Khaleeji Abaya Brands: Mauzan

Visit for UAE store locations.

Changing the "InshaAllah" Mindset

It is often thought that because of the inefficiency with which the services in Oman are delivered, that Omanis are lazy. Knowing Omanis well, I know there are lazy people in cultures everywhere, but this is a longstanding expat percieved belief of Omanis, first introduced by Brits who came here in the 1900s to make Oman a healthier and more productive place [I have met some longterm expat (explorers, adventurerers) and really, they are the most facsinating people and I enjoy their conversation]. I liked how Ian Gardiner, who served here during the Dhofar War in the 70s and wrote the book "In the Service of the Sultan: A first hand account of the Dhofar Insurgency" more correctly summed up how this reasoning incorrectly came about. Remember, he observed this in the 70s. The Omanis you likely interact with, came to be where they were after this period, but their parents and social fabric were woven long before and still effect to this day, no matter your age. Trust me. Especially those who have come from the villages on the weekend in any way at ALL even if they were raised in Muscat.

...Omanis, far from being indolent, simply had priorities which reflected the prevailing circumstances. It was a hot, poor country. Hard labour and rushing about was energy consuming and rarely cost effective. How much easier it is for us western Protestant capitalists to exert ourselves a little, knowing that by so doing we will see a directly related benefit in terms of money, goods, status, or fulfilment.

In their country, the lesson of life was that if you worked hard enough to plant and harvest your date palm and a keep a few goats, and if you were lucky, you could subsist at an acceptable level. Harder work did not guarantee any higher level of material satisfaction. There were no material goods to be had. There were no jobs, no industries, no universities or schools as stepping stones to wealth. More work only produced an incremental improvement- a few more goats or dates- not a quantam one, so the pressure to work just hard enough to achieve a sufficiency and no more was strong.

Fatalistic is not quite the right adjective, but certainly Omanis had a resigned approach to life which was sometimes difficult to move. Convincing them they could influence the course of events for the better if they tried harder, did things differently, or simply turned up, was not always easy. 'InshaAllah'- if God wills- was the frequent retort in response to a proposal for action. This drove some British people to distraction and they did not usuallly stay in the country long.

MOP, my husband, who was born just as these circumstances in Oman had the possibility to change under Sultan Qaboos, gets annoyed ALL THE TIME by things written on Sablah by those who can't remember what Oman was like before. He was fortunate to have had a father who was educated and fascinated with the world beyond Oman, but still wanted to keep the traditions of his village and not reject his culture. MOP is aghast at those who don't understand that to have what they have anywhere else, they'd have to pay taxes, work to pay for scholarships to higher education, ect. He knew when he was young, even though he prefers life in the village on the farm, that he'd have to do good in school to get a job as his country was changing. Farm life would not content or be enough eventually when this change came. The majority in his village? They didn't recieve the same emphasis on education. Not alot are education. Those that are, maintain and still see the way the government in Oman works, the way preindustrial pre-oil wealth Oman was, as a place where their efforts will not provide much advantage.

Linoleum Surfer wrote the truth in his last post [he got to know the real Omani culture and not alot of expats bother to or have the social means to]. Jobs for Omanis are limited. Too many attended IT training and there were not enough companies in Oman that needed their skills. Too many trained as engineers, and lacking the experience of expats from oversees and many other company-valued skills, were not given the best positions or chances to advance, or had Omani bosses that were not so skilled but scared of being replaced by someone more capable. MOP, besides blaming corruption by wasta (advancing one tribe and sabotaging another from within the Ministries) [which he admits, exists, as his tribe's rival tribe always seems to try and prevent him or his family from changing positions which he finds laughable but doesn't blame them entirely for because they used to do the same over water and farms only 40 years ago] blames the old Omani mindset about harder work, and the fact that the government's attempts to satisfy the desires of Omanis for improvement are often applied in a completely ineffective manner.

A friend of mine who is a blogger based in Jordan [link on sidebar- By the Fig & Olive], observed that Jordan's government manages similarily. In her example, Oman and Jordan both have undeniable bad driving to contend with, and its effects on society. Both want it gone, both make laws to try and circumvent it, but neither seem to know how. By the Fig & Olive: "There are police officers stationed on all the major roundabouts during the day, occasionally flagging down vehicles, but I find their choice of laws to enforce amusing and a little puzzling. Yes, talking on cellphones while driving is a hazard, but so is having eight feral children running around inside the car. Why not enforce seatbelt laws [for all passengers], or number of passengers, turn signal use, yeilding, or anything else, really. "

MOP finds the fact that some Omanis sit at home and get payouts from the government without legitimate disabilities disgusting. But at the same time, knowing there are not alot of jobs or their skills are not up to scratch he suggested the following to assure effort for change before giving such payouts. The hese hand-out recievers should do the following first:

a. Provide proof of having attended so many interviews during a handout period.

b. If they haven't attained a job during the interviews then they should be given training on how to write a resume, cover letter, and how to answer interview questions. [Omani schools have started to do this but for those who didn't finish school but are quite capable of learning skills on the job, or who came before this, or who were inadequately trained by the schools, this could help].

c. If after a year of this, still no work, additional training should be required in a particular skill that IS required by employers and provided by the government, instead of just a handout alone.

MOP suggested that if Omanis weren't willing to comply with these requirements, they didn't deserve a work handout at all for lack of jobs. His comments were not met happily on the Sablah forum he made them on at the time, but "InshaAllah" means that one is going to do something or it will happen unless God does something specific to deny it. It doesn't mean
doing laddy-da and hoping it magically changes or gets done [and preferably by someone else]. It is sad that this beautiful spiritual phrase has come to mean something different entirely by our expat population, isn't it, Omanis?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Medical Misdiagnosises in Muscat

One of our fave OPNO girls, her father died here in Muscat because of a serrious medical misdiagnonsis which resulted in the rapid deteoration of his heart, a condition which could have been easily treated AND cured with the proper treatment. Speaking to some of the leading cardiologists from the States, the healthcare system in Oman should have been able to easily diagnose her father's condition. So why was his heart condition blamed on his weight (which was never a factor at all)? Our OPNO girl's family blamed their insurance, and how it limited them from attending more capable hospitals, such as the government Royal, and Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, until it was really too late. Drs. at the Royal Hospital were disgusted and immediately established the man's true condition, and confirmed that had it been properly diagnosed earlier, he would likely still be alive to this day.

In my own personal experience, having good insurance coverage, doesn't prevent simple misdiagnosises here in Muscat. I have had friends who could afford to go to any private clinic to treat even a simple ear infection given medecines that should never, EVER be prescribed together. Together, two of the medecines, seperately to treat an ear infection, could cause heart failure. Go figure. Thankfully for another friend who worked for medical supplies company in Muscat, who immediately recognized that the two medecines should never be taken simultaneously!

My own nightmare was heading to a good private establishment (as I worked in healthcare I won't name any place I still think decent despite some errors in treatment) with an emergancy requiring urgent treatment. Alas, while care is usually at an amazing level at this particular establishment around 9 am-until 10 pm, my emergancy was NOT within those golden hours. When I arrived there was no specialist doctor available so the nursing staff, rather than sending me to another healthcare facility, decided to consult the specialist by phone. The specialist prescribed some medications without asking me for any of my previous medical history. I read the side-effects verrrrrrrrry carefully. Also, what medications not take in addition to it. Didn't matter, I immediately felt something wrong with my heart rate and went back to the nurses. I tried to tell them that the medication must be effecting me in the wrong way and I don't think they took me serriosly at all, until that it, I passed out right on top of the nurse, LOL!!!!

At the time I wasn't laughing though, waking up as I did hooked up to oxygen and on a cardiac monitor.

Agreed upon by all the OPNO girls, the greatest factor contributing to medical misdiagnosis in Oman is the general disregard by doctors of patients' concerns. I had asked the nurses repeatedly to tell me what the medecine was for, what it did, why I should take it. I was basically told that they knew what was best for me, and I should take any tests and any prescriptions they and the phone-specialist recommended, and be grateful, whether or not these treatments made any logical sense. Good thing I didn't listen, and only took half the pill they had prescribed, because even that alone caused my blood pressure to drop so low, it nearly dropped me for good!

I have heard of one woman who looked up her symptoms on the internet, and decided that she had contracted HPV, so she went to the gynecologist and was told it was nothing related to HPV and was nothing to be concerned about. As it DID turn out to BE HPV, and HPV can cause cancer, it is a good thing this woman did not take the doctor's words to be that of God, as many doctors in Oman in my experience, seem to expect us too.

Yet another friend wanted treatment for foodpoisoning, and when she was told that there was no treatment beyond a stomache pump [which she wasn't sick enough to need---she knew already how to stay hydrated and was managing that], the clinic still wanted to run numerous tests which would serve no purpose other than cost money, and the reason for the tests was ridiculous, as the friend ALDREADY knew what was causing her symptoms.

I am absoluelty tired of doctors and nurses trying to make me get an injection for things I don't need, when a tablet would suffice. No one needs a glucose drip when they are in a healthy enough state that they can sip orange juice and eat a digestive biscuit. No one needs an iron injection when they can go to a pharmacy and buy iron supplement tablets. And I especially don't like healthcare establishments giving these prescriptions summarily, and bullying the patients into taking them, doctors unwilling to supply a rationalization for why they are necessary in the first place.

I suppose I am an awful patient for the random private clinic in Oman, but now having gone through a pregnancy here, I had one final shock to make me laugh at the joke of it all.

I was aghast when I was told it was required of me to get a tetnus shot/injection in case of a cesarion delivery to protect the baby. We don't do this in my country. Why? Because it is EXPECTED, assured, that the instruments used for cutting in surgery there will indeed, be of a clean enough nature, not to cause any such infection, like tetnus.

Scary, scary thought.

My doctor, knowing me as she does, did not try to force me, or stab me with a needle when I didn't expect it (like another poor friend) at least.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

OPNO still on vacation!

Dear Readers, so sorry for the lack of posts.
I am still on vacation, enjoying the weather by sitting out with tea and good book in my garden courtyard. I have a bunch of non-blog related projects on the go, including renovating a section of the yard, and converting a former guest room in the house into a nursery. Also, I think I would like to paint my kitchen and wallpaper the cabinetry, and hang some Mutrah-related art my husband found. [MOP has a new Year's goal of getting back into painting, as he used to paint when he lived in Muscat until marriage left him too busy for it but now he's got no excuses as I'll eventually go back to work ;)]. I recently bought a new oven which had inspired me to get into the kitchen again, and bake things I have recently reserved for expensive restaurant & dessert splurges [Laudre does deliver straight from Paris to Muscat divine macaroons but baked fresh nothing can beat them!] . Also, dear readers, I am on the lookout to buy a used-pram/baby stroller [newborn size] in good condition and of quality but I am on a budget. If you have one lying around you want to get rid of, leave your email and a description of the stroller/pram in the comments section or email a picture along with contact information and price to .

Some Snaps from the OPNO Eid #1: Horses in Oman

For me personally, I can't live too far away from horses for too long.

Even the horses got dressed up for the Eid day where we were. Some of them were wearing more silver than me! While some took park in the traditional dances, others took to other leisurely pastimes....