Thursday, 5 June 2008


Luxury shopping malls, based on the American pattern, sprouted up everywhere. They all seemed to follow the same pattern, selling expensive French perfumes, Italian clothes, and fancy watches. Youngsters would go there, not to buy but to gawk at the luxuries and to meet friends. I remember an elderly Bedouin woman examining a Braun hair-dryer imported from Germany... A woman who had always dried her hair with a piece of cloth was being induced to buy a fancy, foreign gadget. It was the advent of consumerism in the country as people were being seduced into buying expensive, imported consumer goods.Omanis took to computers and mobile phones like ducks to water.In addition, they began to travel abroad. Many military men did courses in Britain and students went to British universities. Many went to the Far East, notably Thailand for their holidays.They imbibed new ideas, observed different lifestyles and saw different political systems.

About this time too, I started visiting Fanja and Nasir Mansour.Nasir was a young fellow of twenty-eight who taught English in a local school. He lived in Fanja, a small and unremarkable town which nestled at the foot of a small mountain. His English was fluent and we became fast friends. Over the next eleven years, I used visit him on average once a week. I got to know his family and friends and developed a great affection for this small town and its people. We discussed ideas, the changes that were overtaking Oman and local people’s opinions of them.

ภาพจาก Ministry of Information Sultanate of Oman