Rembrandt Visits Oman

29 07 2009

Gulf News has an article titled “Rembrandt show to draw Omanis and Dutch closer”. Basically, it is about a month-long (Ramadhan long) exhibition of Rembrandt’s original paintings at the Grand Hyatt from 10 am to 12 midnight, non-stop.

Expect more of such images, Its titled The Jewish Bride

Expect more of such images, It's titled "The Jewish Bride"

“A hundred original works of Dutch artist Rembrandt will be displayed for the first time anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa (Mena) region when the Grand Hyatt Muscat hosts an exhibition during Ramadan.

“Rembrandt’s original paintings and etchings have travelled world over but this is the first time they are being brought to the Middle East,” the Dutch ambassador to Oman, Stefan van Wersch, said.”

It opens on the 19th of August.

“Al Salmi Library, a family enterprise, is bearing the cost of the Rembrandt exhibition. The total expenses involve 600,000 Omani riyals (Dh5.7 million) plus the insurance cost.

“They are obviously insured and would be well guarded during the month-long exhibition,” said Shaikh Abdullah Al Salami, chairman of Al Salmi Library.

“It is being held for the first time in the region and only in Muscat.”

“The Grand Hyatt Muscat would be transformed completely to look like a Dutch palace,” revealed Ashok

This is not what it looks - The Return of the Prodigial Son

This is not what it looks - "The Return of the Prodigial Son"

Suvarna, CEO of NPA Events, who are managing the exhibition.
The Royal Oman Police will take over security of the exhibits once concerned agencies from the Netherlands hand it over for the exhibition in Muscat.

Entry for the show will be free from 10am to midnight during Ramadan.”

Now since Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salmi has mentioned twice about the security measures and about the paintings’ insurance, it seems security was a hurdle in bringing the multi-multi-million dollar paintings to the region.

This all shall be followed by a reciprocal 7-month event in Amsterdam, featuring something of Oman. Wonder how they pulled ‘that’ off!!

NSFW - I don't think this one'll be there (click to enlarge) - "Bath Seba"

Now since the age of consent in Denmark hovers around the 15-year-old mark, and hash is almost-legal, I’m sure bringing Omanis and the Dutch closer will be all for the good! Atleast no one will be ‘robbed‘ in Thai hotels, that’ll happen in Dutch hotels!

I’m sure the “unclothed art is art, totally fit for viewing” theory shall be useless here, so I think the exhibition shall be kiddo-safe, however I have no idea on how to keep an exhibition safe from a kiddo. And I don’t think a Rembrandt exhibition is the place for a kiddo, especially if they’ve decked out the hotel “in the style of a Dutch Palace”. What does that mean? Is the Dutch foortbaarl team going to be there? I’m sure they live in a castle!

-TFK

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Inflation: Down, Reserves: Up

27 04 2009

Oman has lots ‘o’ money. Which is good, ‘coz inflation drops. And it did (bottom half). As for the budget surplus, I really can’t tell what to do with it. Medical services is one field that comes to mind. I’m still being harangued by these private medical clinics whose interest lies more in the bottom line rather than sick people. I really do think that education (specially higher and professional education), medical services and emergency/civil services are very much no-go areas for private companies. NO, at all costs. Since in these areas the quality of service provided HAS to be dependant on nothing, not something as stupid as the bottom line, comparatively. A person’s knowledge level/mental treatment, physical treatment and saving lives has no value. Private entities are going to squeeze you for it. Who can easily stop using a medicine or forego the fire brigade just ‘coz he/she can’t pay for it?

Anyhooo, we have a surplus. Maybe we can get a govt-run hospital where expats are allowed? Allowed peace of mind?

This should be apicture of a newspaper clipping!

This should be a picture of a newspaper clipping! http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/09/04/13/10303653.html

Menafn reports that Oman’s inflation index has decreased from 9.4% to 7.9%. They say this is due to lower prices of crops, fuel and other thingies. The break down of the General Index is interesting:

Jan 2008: 9.4%  v/s  Feb 2009: 7.9%

Jan 2009: 8.1%  v/s  Feb 2009: 7.9%

Foodstuff, soft drinks & tobacco:  -1.7%

Crops & Products to:  -2.1%

Meat & Poultry:  -1.5%

Oil & Fats:  -2%

Fisheries:  -5.3%

Milk & Products:  -2.7%

Transport & Communications Group:  -0.1%

Personal commodities & other service:  +4.9%

Textile, readymade garments, shoes, medical services & education services: +-0%

House leasing, electricity, water and fuel:  +0.2%

Furniture & Households:  +0.4%

Recreational & Cultural services:  +0.2%

Go Fish!

-TFK





Omani Blogger Trial – Released

25 04 2009

Ali al-Zuwaidy has been released. Gulf News managed to get a few words out of him:

“I have mixed feelings,” Ali told Gulf News later but pledged that he would continue Blogging albeit with some more restraint.

“The judge in his judgement did say about freedom of expression but also added that it must come with responsibility and authenticity,” Ali said, adding that henceforth he would be more guarded.

At the same time, he added, he would not hesitate to criticise.

Ali said that the trial period was tough and yesterday morning before the verdict, his blood pressure went up considerably. “I am relived now and have already posted an entry on Sablat,” he revealed.

He said that he was unlikely to appeal his conviction. On his acquittal, he said he was happy that the judge exonerated him. On possibility of Omantel or Dr Al Woahibi appealing against his acquittal in the first charge, he said that he doesn’t see that happening. “Dr Al Wohaibi is no longer the Omantel CEO and I think the matter has ended here,” he reckons.

He, however, wondered about the true identity of the Blogger Booz Allen, who posted the entry accusing and criticising the Omantel CEO. “I have feeling it was some insider and close to him and with excellent IT knowledge,” he believes. The authorities’ efforts to trace his IP address led them to Berlin as the Blogger had cleverly masked his IP.

“When the post was first blocked by me I was reminded of my belief in freedom of expression by the other Bloggers and I ran it,” he says about the post that put him in prison for 11 days and had to endure the trial period.

So much for listening to others. Carry on kiddo!

-TFK





Our North Northerly Neighbours

20 04 2009

Iran. The bad boy to the Western hemisphere. The injured and wounded but resilient, emerging and on-the-cusp-of-power  nation to its people. The country that the world is wary of. Whilst Iran has no overt friends, Pakistan, Lebanon and Syria tend to display a soft corner. But not the Arab League. But then again, Oman was represented at the Head of State session by deputy Prime Minister Oman Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al-Said. Local coverage was also low-key.

Post-summit, diplomatic cross-linkings are going on. The Iranian FM visited us back in March. Lieutenant-General Malik bin Sulaiman Al Ma’amari, IG ROP visited Iran. The official statement noted the cooperation of both the countries in curbing illegal immigrancy.

Our ambassador in Iran then met the Iranian Deputy FM, groundwork was layed, followed up by the visit of our Minister for Foreign Affairs visiting Iran this week. He met the Iranian President and Iranian FM. Again, local papers are wary of covering this piece, instead Iranian and other news agencies are reporting on the same.

The ongoing Egyptian stand against the Hezbullah is something over the top for the region. Egypt’s miniscule, but far-reaching activities, like closing the border, allowing/disallowing refugees, prohibiting imprmput markets along its borders etc etc are like small squeezes and nuances in the diplomacy and internally (within Arab League) varied levels of support for the Palestinian cause. Iran, of course, retaliated.

Bu now we see SA being its usual self, aloof. Egypt tried to make a move, but currently nothing is coming out of it. Iran; I get a mental image of an Australian rugby player; continues on it’s path. Obama is reconciling and I think the American/Iranian journalist could be freed in a reciprocal manner being the Iranian reply to Obama’s green signals, that is, IF Iran wants to give a green signal. Oman, doing good in its own way in this matter. After all, with all due respect, our North Northerly Neighbours better than our Notherly ones.

-The Fark Knight





Dubai Bashing – Media Roundup

14 04 2009

Many interesting things going on in the latest round of Dubai Bashing (which is fast becoming a copyright-able term). I have had my rant on it, here I’ll just be a nice person and post some links.

Huffington Post: Ultra-bash – Mr. Hari

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi: Response to above

Johann Hari: Response to the response above

Meanwhile,

‘nother bash

Dubai hires PR group to revive image

PR Group at work apparently (or maybe this is the norm)

Dubai: Investors are positive!

Dubai: Economy stability moves working!

and I am the king of Bohemia!

Meanwhile, check what I found at the Earth Observatory Site.

-The Fark Knight





Catch 22 (me if you can)!

5 04 2009

Hmm.. I wanted both of them to be this post’s title. I even thought of double posting with two titles! Anyz.

Reading through this news article in the Gulf News set me thinking. An exit pass is when we are all returned our passports, then are required to get a signed piece of paper to show/submit everytime we cross the border, by land or air. I think that is worse-er than having to submit your passport! Atleast I can get my p-port from Company 47 once and travel 2-3 times before returning it, as long as I have my off-days! But with this exit permit, if we have a 10-day holiday, and I plan to travel to Oman-UAE-Oman-UAE-Oman, does that mean 2 exit passes? Who’s gonna get it signed from Company47 during the hols? What if my 2nd trip is *shudder* unplanned?

Such a travel is indeed a possibility. I recently bought a car from Dubai (before the prices hit rock-bottom, sadly). I then drove it here (went by bus 1st time), got it registered, parked it here and went back in my own car to spend the rest of my off days there. And all that with my pport with me!

SA and Qatar are using exit passes only because they are the 2 countries that are ‘left’ doing so. The others have moved on, progressed.

Another good read.

So in a nutshell, we want our passports to be free to travel and that results in us being even more trapped. And to avoid being even more trapped, we have to submit our passports.

Sigh! Where’s my red pill? Atleast no pport is required there.

-TFK