Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Buckle Up Oman

 People who says "Allah willed it" to make someone/themselves feel better after a horrible car accident in Oman that happened because a. reckless driving, b. speeding, c. no car seats for children or seatbelts for adults are missing the whole point of free will. Yeah, sure, we have free will to be stupid and careless, but doesn't the Qu'ran also say, "whatever evil is from yourselves and whatever good is from Allah"???? So the accidents are always the fault of carelessness. I personally don't know how anyone can be okay with kids without carseats. My Omani in-laws do it with their kids. Bouncing babies on laps while driving. Talking on cellphones and texting while driving. Usually not speeding but Omani friends, yes. As a Muslim, I just don't get it. A Muslim is a person from whose hand (and body and means of transportation) other Muslims are safe. Obviously, Omanis are not safe from other Omani drivers out there, and innocent children, even from the behaviour of their own parents. Expats already know this, the high mortality statistics on Oman's roads, and they are usually wearing seatbelts and buy carseats for their kids, so I don't really address this post to them.
 Carseats should be mandatory for small children, and seatbelts in the backseat enforced. I don't care if you can't afford a fancy landcruiser in order to have enough seats...(as ROP officials say is the reason for hesitation behind making a new law to address the mortality rates)... and the sedan won't fit the seats for the necessary ammount of people... buy a mini van. If that's harsh imagine how much harsher you would be with yourself if you crashed and your baby went through the windsheild and you were the mother who didn't make sure your kid had a seatbelt, trying to hold your baby, but their body is all over the freeway and all you can do is pick up the pieces of an infant and your own sanity. Saw that one before.  Morbid imagery, but really, if you saw the mother that I saw, you would never be able to get the image out of YOUR head either, and if you are too stupid to buckle your kid up, your shouldn't be allowed to either.
Y magazine has been covering the issue pretty well, but if you want to make sure kids stay safe follw these links supplied by the Duncan Adventures:

Please take the time to sign the petition online here: http://www.facebook.com/ytabloid?sk=app_454522871303124&app_data

To learn more about how choose, install and use a car seat for your children then run a simple Google search - it is that easy! Or check out this interesting blog: www.thecarseatlady.blogspot.com Trust me, you don't want to be one of those mothers who has to bury her children. My own mother has never been the same since a drunk driver took the life of my brother when he was just a baby. Divorced, alienates herself from other people, even us, her other kids. And that wasn't even her fault. Not strapping your kids into carseats and seatbelts? That IS your fault when something happens. Be proactive. Do something about it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Loving and Dying...In Oman

There are a lot of things to consider when you marry outside of your culture. Love alone doesn't cut it sometimes.

For sure, if you have found your one-and-only true love and are able to settle in his (or her) country, and it happens to be Oman, one thing you can pretty much be sure of is that you or your love will die one day. This should affect how you plan your marriage.

I know, that is a horribly morbid thought.... Especially for those embarking on the honeymoon phase of their relationship or intended upon that route. But it is one that us OPNO girls recommend thinking about. It will affect your life.

We've known women who had the perfect situation, perfect husband, and were married in and in love in Saudi Arabia. One thing they didn't consider was their husband's family was wretchedly awful. Life was a fairytale for one woman until she woke up one morning and discovered that her true love, her soul-mate, her beloved husband... had died in a car accident. He was already well on his way to being buried before anyone of her inlaws bothered to drive her anywhere. She never got to see him before he went into the ground, say goodbye. Worst thing of all from this story is that the place that had been her home for over ten years, was ripped from her by those horrible inlaws, and she was not a GCC-citizen, had no reason to be a resident anymore with no local husband, and was sent packing penniless and alone back to America. Tragedy is... they didn't let her take her kids. I've heard stories simlar to her's on the internet, though her's is the worst in my personal experience of anyone I've known.

Marrying an Omani isn't like marrying another GCC country. I mean, the experience can be similar, but it isn't exactly the same. Each GCC state has unique culture, unique laws... that affect a marriage and its outcomes. Death is certainly one of them. Death is one thing a person can be absolutely certain about, whereas love is not definate in span or what it may or may not encompass.

Things to consider with loving and dying in Oman:

Being married to an Omani, with the majority of the population being Muslim, you will have to deal with Islamic burial rites. For those with a Western background, burial can seem very sudden, with little chance to say goodbye or adjust. Know this upfront. Talk about it with your Omani spouse and make arrangements for it.

Like me, I was terrified if my husband died in a car accident on the way to his village say, that he'd be buried before I could get there. I wanted it arranged that provided I could get there before two days time, that he wouldn't go into the ground before I was there. This was a weird request to most.

Also, funerals are social affairs. They are highly-family and tribally orientated. From morning until evening, people will visit the house of the deceased person's relatives/family to show support. Only, honestly, I always find it more intrusive than supportive. Like, I want to be alone to be sad or just adjust. I don't want to be around that many people. I told my Omani husband this. He was like, it won't be about you, it will be about my mother and brothers and sisters. So I am supposed to deal.

So I was like, better brief everyone I don't mean to be rude, but after the actual burial and funeral prayer, I am going to isolate myself and that's how it would all go down, and no one should be offended.

I have been to too many funurals when I see the deceased wife puting on a brave front for hundred-upon-hunrdeds of tribe members, arranging lunch to be served for all that many people, ect... and dealing with the fake-cryers, and just wanting be alone or with close close family ands friends to just deal.

I don't want that for myself.

Also, what if you die? You will be leaving behind kids sometimes. What do you want in terms of funeral arrangements may not be available if you are a non-Muslim, and how your children will be looked after is a thing you MUST consider and arrange with your spouse or a lawyer beforehand: Who will raise them after?

Usually in Oman, if a husband dies, it isn't a big issue for a mother to keep custody as she will maintain residency but of course, may be financially vulnerable without support from her inlaws or a working income of her own. My own Omani in-laws that wouldn't be a big deal, but I have friends whose inlaws hate them, never supported the marriage, and would try for custody of the kids.

Also, expect marriage proposals from close relatives of a husband if he dies. Some tribal families consider this a charity, i.e. a brother of the deceased husband will propose to prevent the widow from having to marry a man outside the children's family. Some husband's only dying arrangements ever thought about are this, trying to make their wife promise to marry so-and-so from their family if anything should happen to them. Not a big issue in my family, as family just tends to pay the living expenses of the widow, but in other tribes I know it to be quite common.

The only aspect of life entirely sure is death. I think, even though it sounds morbid, it is smart to consider these aspects of life-plannning when marrying---- custody of minors, customs regarding burial that may affect one emotionally, ect...

Anyways, that's all I can think of right now.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Teal eye-candy in Oman

"I don't want to get the smell of paint on my abaya" ha ha ha hilarious

Now understanding that she can't do with away with the old guard at the Ministry of Education (questionable individuals some of them) the current Minister of Health announced she would be visiting a certain school in Al Batinah region. The old guard of course, went into full-fledged cover-up mode, "leaked this information" to those incharge of that school, and of course, a state of emergancy was declared. Walls were painted, missing fixtures were replaced, and I am certain students were forbidden from using the restrooms to give all appearences of students happy to be in their classrooms. But then...

She changed her mind at the last minute and decided to visit another Muscat-region school instead.

Of course, those involved in the Al-Batinah school battle debacle were crushed that they would not get the chance to look good in her eyes. So they asked her why she didn't come.

"Because I don't want to get the smell of paint on my abaya," she was quoted, quite the cutting remark aimed at those involved.

Corruption-cutting technique number one: arrange on-site visits, but always unnanounced. Works for any old manager as well. If you haven't read it already, this hilarious post http://misadventuresinhr.blogspot.com/2011/03/im-branch-manager-is-it-not-my-right-to.html then do. Advice is the same.

Sinaw versus the Ministry of Housing?

Apparently locals in Sinaw had a big row with the Royal Oman Police (ROP) the other day when protesting due to corruption in the Ministry of Housing. Apprarently a big big big big big chunk of land was granted to single individual to start a chicken farm on it? But of course, this chunk of land, being much bigger than is fair for any other normal wasta-less individual, drew questions, and accusations of obvious corruption. Being we already know this Ministry is corrupt. This happens ALLLLLLL the time. I guess protesting it is not allowed, so police row ensuent makes sense. But of course, the dude who twittered about the incident (I assume he named names) was told to come into the police station, he refused after consulting with a lawyer, and then he was taken in at night forcibly. BTW, ROP, I am not anti-government, just anti-courrption, and I mean, I am not saying anything that isn't already ALL over whatsapp and twitter. I swear to you I am not rumour mongering like that plane crash in Shatti ya'll showed up to check out (which was a purely Whaatsapp-based rumour that I found amusingly delightlful: seeing all the disaster-freaks out there that like car-crash carnage gawking like idiots).

So moral of the story is, don't name names at the Ministry of Housing, my fellow bloggers, even if the proof is as obvious as, well, something big big big big big big big.