Thursday, 5 June 2008


Sometimes we would go to the small town cinema. Action movies starring Schwarzenegger, Stallone or Bruce Willis were the usual fare. James Bond was a particular favourite.Many of my students were absolutely convinced that James Bond’s lifestyle typified that of the average Englishman such as myself.Their naivety was incredible.When I said that it was a shame that people did not watch Arabic films, Nasir vehemently disagreed. Action movies were much more entertaining, he said. When we had dinner in a cheap Indian restaurant ,nicknamed ‘a greasy spoon’, the television showed WWF American wrestling.I found this a ridiculous circus act and so did Nasir ,but it was popular enough among ordinary people for Omani television to continue featuring it.American ‘junk food ’ outlets were making their mark too. In 1985, MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and KFC were well established in the capital area. By the nineties, they were expanding inland. Young Arabs liked the glitz and the glamour –the ‘greasy spoons’ simply could not compete.

On satellite TV , beamed in from America , there was a special show called ‘The Las Vegas Grind’ .It was the highlight of Friday evening in Oman.It featured scantily –clad and large-bosomed white girls dancing to disco music with men (mainly black) round a hotel swimming pool. I found it rather corny and unsophisticated, but for Omanis it was all very naughty and lascivious. The Arab world is extremely prudish in matters of dress and frowns upon activities like dancing. This TV material was for Omanis, the forbidden fruit. These programmes were very popular with young Omani males.In common with young men everywhere , they like looking at well-endowed , scantily clad girls dancing .However ,their culture and religion tell them that all this is wrong and sinful,the work of the devil. They are being pulled in two directions at once.

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