Oct 28, 2008

No more half sleeve shirts for Men in Egypt

Mohammed Abu Zaied, a lecturer in Al-Azhar university, had given a lecture to men to stop wearing half sleeve shirts and T-shirts as well as short thawb or thobe/ dishdasha/ kandura/ khameez (an ankle-length garment, usually with long sleeves, similar to a robe), opened buttoned shirts and fitted pants/ trousers; because it attracts and rouses female’s sexual emotions. He also advised people to wear socks when they wear short thawbs. Read more from Arabic newpaper.

Bits and Bytes
  • On 26 October 2008, at 5 pm KSA i.e. 1 pm GMT, MBC.net has lunched it’s latest free air channel known as ‘MBC MAX’. I don’t know what’s the difference between this channel and MBC 2.
  • Lebanon's First National Bank (FNB) has introduced new product for fertilization to those can’t conceive normally. It’s the first bank in Middle East to launch such humanitarian product.
  • PCCW - Awaser Oman Consortium was awarded the second fixed-line license tender by Oman’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) and now it's coming to an end of monopoly for the majority state-owned Omantel is the sole fixed line service provider in Oman. Pacific Century Cyber Works (PCCW), an Hong Kong-based telecom company had joined in hand with a Omani partner (a joint venture) and won the tender. It seemed Nawras, the 2nd mobile company had bided for the second fixed-line license tender and lost.

Oct 24, 2008

Does Management know their Staff?

On walking into the factory, the MD noticed a young guy leaning against the wall, doing nothing.

He approached the young man and calmly said to him, "How much do you earn?"

The young man was quite amazed that he was asked such a personal question, he replied, none the less, "I earn $ 2000.00 a month, Sir. Why?"

Without answering, the MD took out his wallet and removed $6000.00 cash and gave it to the young man and said, "Around here I pay people for working, not for standing around looking pretty! Here is your 3 months salary, now GET OUT and don't come back".

The young man turned around and was quickly out of sight.

Noticing a few onlookers, the MD said in a very upset manner, "And that applies for everybody in this company".

He approached one of the onlookers and asked him, "Who's the young man that I just fired?"

To which an amazing reply came of, "He was the pizza delivery man, Sir...!"

Oct 23, 2008


From Oman Economic Review, October 2008 issue:

Listings are horribly hard to put together. This one is more so because how does one measure power? For another when there are so many talented and successful women in business how does one zero in on the 20 most powerful? For us power is what power does. To have a flamboyant title is one thing but to actually do something that amplifies that the power of position another. We defined power as influence over an industry, the ability to change the rules of the game or a distinction that is unique. We relied on industry watchers to arrive at the final list. You will meet them over the following pages

Mindful of business power

HH Sayyida Alia bint Thuwaini Al Said*
Patron, Women in Business Conference

Because she is the driving force behind the highly successful Women in Business Conference – the highly acclaimed exclusive conference for women who are in business. This conference was held for the second time this year in Muscat under HH Sayyida Alia's patronage. The Women in Business Conference held in Muscat attracts women entrepreneurs, prominent businesswomen from all over the world, who share inspiration and knowledge through their experiences in the corporate arena. It provides a platform for women in the Sultanate to come together for networking and imbibe core business values and principles for running a successful enterprise. Workshops and seminars during the event addresses key issues which are particularly relevant to Arab world where women are still bracketed into conventional roles of being a mother, wife and a homemaker.

Other associations: HH Sayyida Alia is also the honorary president of Al Noor Association for the Blind

* The list is in alphabetical order of names

A quite performer

Amal Bahwan
Director, Suhail Bahwan Group

Because as the Director of Bahwan IT she has led the company from the front. The 23 year old company is seen as a pioneer in the IT and scape of Oman. Bahwan IT offers end-to-end IT products and services which revolve around the industry standard hardware, networking, security, data capture and software domain. The company has worked on delivering and implementing solutions in a timely and professional manner over the years.

This has won Bahwan IT partners like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, 3i Infotech, Red Hat, Oracle etc. The company practices strong quality systems and excellent project management approach. Amal is also a member of the Board of Director's of the Suhail Bahwan Group one of the foremost business houses in Oman.

Managerial style: A consultative approach to address customer requirements

The driving force

Areej Mohsin Haider Darwish
Joint Deputy Managing Director, MHD

Because she looks after the automotive division of MHD which boasts of state-of-the-art brands like Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover. As a member of the company's corporate committee she is actively involved in developing strategies to realign the company's business model to tap into upcoming opportunities. Says Areej, "I believe that quality after sales service is very important to retain customer loyalty and have chalked out plans towards restructuring the customer care function that would have specific action items linked to deliverables and performance indicator objectives." A firm believer in an 'enabling' style of leadership she specifies her objectives to her subordinates giving them the freedom to accomplish the assigned tasks within a reasonable time frame.

Leadership principle: A leader's obligation is to lay out clear-cut strategies and goals and to create a healthy working environment of mutual trust, respect and consideration for each other's ideas and feelings

Getting out of one's comfort zone

Assilah Zaher Al Harthy

Head of Corporate Affairs, Oman Oil Company

Because she quit as the Managing Director of the Al Harthy Group in 2001, her family owned business and decided to work for Oman Oil Company. Assilah has gone on to prove her mettle in the intensely competitive oil and gas industry. At OOC she leads a 13 member corporate affairs team involved in fostering a performance culture within the organisation and building its reputation as a world class company. An alumni of Harvard Business School she played an important role in securing a "Sultan of Oman Professorship of International Relations" at her alma mater in April 2004. The professorship encourages scholarship regarding Oman's special contribution to international affairs.

She has been involved with the "Five-Year Planning" process for the government of the Sultanate of Oman from 2001 to 2005 as a representative of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Work ethic: As long as you are ready to take on challenges you are bound to grow

Communicator par excellence

Dr Fatima Al Barwani
Manager – Corporate Communications, MB Holding Company

Because she has done exceedingly well in conceptualising and managing the internal and external communications for the entire MB Holding and its group companies employing more than 6000 people in over 12 countries across the globe. Not a mean task as the group is moving fast towards $1bn revenue. She has constantly set new standards in communications to successfully meet the group's business objectives, bring the employees together to create a well-knit large family and make a meaningful contribution to the society with her environment conservation and social development initiatives.

Dr Fatima has a Ph.D in Medical Informatics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, an MBA from Strathclyde University, Glasgow, and M.Sc. in Computer Science from the Stirling University, Scotland. Prior to joining MB Holding in 2004, she taught at the Higher College of Technology, Majan College and Sohar University.

Career milestone: Winning the 'Excellence Award' in the Communicator 2007 Print Competition in Seattle, Washington, USA; Invited as a speaker in Corporate Communications Middle East conference 2008.

Transforming lives

Dr Fatma O 'Ali
CEO, Founder & Medical Director, Emirates Medical Center

Because she is in the business of 'beautifying' people. Everyone likes to look beautiful and it is only at places like Emirates Medical Center (EMC) that ordinary people go to literally transform their lives. EMC is proud to have been the first centre in Oman to provide laser treatments with the advent of laser surgery. A major factor in the success of the EMC is the eagerness of Dr Fatma to embrace emerging and cutting-edge technology and the commitment to nurture a customer-centric culture. Dr Fatma says that citizens and residents of Oman no longer have to travel to neighbouring countries to get high quality health care; it is available right here on their doorstep.

Professional view: Dermatology calls for an acute observation with an ability to pay attention to details from which deduction can be made. Dermatology includes the whole range of life from the human mind to the various micro-organisms.


Hind S Bahwan
Director, Suhail Bahwan Group

Because her contribution to the Suhail Bahwan Group (SBG) cuts across verticals. As a Director of the SBG Group she is recognised as an enterprising and dynamic young businesswoman across the Middle East. As the Director of Bahwan Travel Agency, she has been instrumental in creating all travel related facilities in Oman under one roof. She has been instrumental in making Bahwan CyberTek a leader in the Global IT Solutions market with world-class products. Bahwan CyberTek links four nations known for excellence in IT and ICT – Oman, the UAE, India and the US. Hind is the Executive Chairperson of Bahwan CyberTek. She also plays a leading role in working with government and other leading commercial companies in the joint pursuit of creating a digital society in Oman. A graduate in Computer Science and a Harvard Business School alumna, Hind is a member of the Young President's Organisation.

Roster of achievements:
Young entrepreneur of the year 2000' awarded by the Government of Oman
and Ernst & Young
Arabian Business 'e-Achiever of the Year' award from HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rasheed in 2001
'IT women of the year 2002' award by United Nations Development Programme
'Global Leaders for Tomorrow' by the World Economic Forum in 2003

Dynamo personified

Lujaina Mohsin Darwish
Joint Deputy Managing Director, MHD

Because a write up on her achievements runs into numerous pages – from SQU lecturer to Majlis as Shura member to being voted as one among the 50 most powerful women in the region year after year by Forbes Arabia, Lujaina has seen it all and done it all. At MHD as the head of the Human Resources Omanisation and Training (HROT) department she has built up a well trained and equipped workforce, which has cohesively worked together, to achieve and exceed targets. Says Lujaina, "In my role as the head of the HROT department I have tried out a strategic and coherent approach to the management of our organisation's most valued asset – our employees who individually and collectively contribute to the objectives of the business."

Deeply held belief: Oman has traditionally been a conservative nation and women have preferred to stay at home or behind the scenes in the corporate world too. But things are different now and women are emerging as a power to reckon with in business.

Social conscience

Maryam Al Zadjali
Chairperson, Dar Al Atta'a

Because she has taken Dar Al Atta'a from a six member team in April 2002 to a 190 member strong organisation. Whenever a company or an individual thinks about making a charitable contribution Dar Al Atta'a is the first port of call. The organisation has helped raised awareness about the need to help the underprivileged through its programmes and fund raising activities. It has helped over 600 cases over the years. Says Maryam, "We have gained the trust of people over the years and I cannot describe the joy that I get from working for the needy." She confesses that while she was hesitant in the initial years, her confidence has grown over the years.

"When you start things it takes a lot of time and effort but once an organisation gets established one does not need to be physically present all the time." Apart from Dar Al Atta'a, she is the Chairman of Essence Spa and the Editor-in-Chief, Al Youm al Sabah.

Gem of a quote: "When you work for charity you feel blessed"

Lady with a Midas touch

Manal Mohammed Al-Abdwani
Chairperson, Oman Flour Mills

Because as the Chairperson of Oman Flour Mills (OFM) and Mazoon Distribution Company (MDC) she has proved her abilities in business. OFM is a leading mill in the region with flour capacity of 850 tons per day and over 1000 tons of animal feed. Says Manal in her Chairperson's report, "With a sales turnover of more than RO 26 million, we are proud to be the market leader in the Sultanate, way ahead of competitors… Our presence in over 10 countries is a proof of our ability to understand customer requirements across the globe." MDC which distributes power in Al Dakhilyah, Al Sarqiyah and the South Al Batinah region has improved it financials, reduced losses and improved its operations under her leadership. Apart from these she also happens to be the Director General of Planning and Follow Up at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Abiding contribution: Has been instrumental in introducing a one-window clearance system at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Charting a different path

Maitha Al MahroUqi
General Manager, Gulf Air

Because, she is perhaps among the few women, who are heading the complete operations of an airline in the country. Maitha wanted to be a cartographer, but chose a high-flying career instead. But it was not an easy rise. Maitha, studied cartography at the University of Oxford Brookes in the UK and did a short training stint with the Ministry of Defence. She moved to Bahrain because of her family. Later she joined Emirates in Bahrain as a reservation ticketing agent, moved on to back support unit-in-charge of sales and then to account executive and finally became corporate in-charge, all in a short span of just six years. Maitha joined Gulf Air in Bahrain as Business Development Manager in 2006 and later moved to Oman as general manager of the airline.

Motto in life: Believe in yourself all the time and keep your faith in God. If you have a goal; don't surrender, make sure you achieve it!

Transcending boundaries

Mohana Prabhakar
CEO, Apex Press and Publishing

Because she heads one of the leading publishing houses in the Sultanate and straddles the world of journalism and the executive office with equal ease. Having joined Apex in 2001 as editor of its monthly business publication, Business Today she went on to take over as Managing Editor, responsible for all titles including Oman Today and Tribute. She led the team that launched the company's first foray into the newspaper arena with The Week in March 2003. Apart from her official chores she plays an important part in organising the annual Oman Awards For Excellence an initiative that acknowledges and felicitates achievers from the corporate sector. Her advice to entrepreneurs – 'Be prepared to be in there for the long haul and understand that you have to work very hard to be successful.'

Business leaders whom she admires: Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple and N R Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor, Infosys

Unwavering focus

Malak Ahmed Al Shaibani
General Manager, Sharakah Fund for Development of Youth Projects

Because as the general manager of Sharakah she is promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship in Oman. Sharakah provides start ups with the necessary funding and expertise needed to convert their business ideas into profitable ventures. Says Malak, "In any country over 80 per cent of the contribution comes from small and medium enterprises (SME's), they work as employment generators and innovators." The Fund for development of Youth projects was established by a Royal Decree in 1998. Malak has worked in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, OCIPED and Sohar Aluminium. With such a professional background she had no dearth of offers but she chose Sharakah because, "I liked the cause that the Fund is trying to promote and see great potential for it in Oman."

Looking ahead: "There is so much to achieve that at times I feel that there is not enough time in a day," she avers

A rising star

Natasha Yahya Nasib
Member, Board of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Because she is not just a board member at the OCCI but presides over the newly created Omani Businesswomen's Forum as its Chairperson. Natasha reflects the increasing number and clout of businesswomen in Oman and is looked up by women entrepreneurs as someone who embodies their aspirations. As the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Snowhite, her family business she has steered the growth of the company over the last five years. She looks after long term policy issues, customer relationship, employee welfare and matters related to Omanisation. Her style of management while result oriented and assertive takes into account the genuine concerns and sympathies of her employees. An alumni of the Sultan School and a business major from Switzerland, Natsaha is a businesswomen destined to go places in the years ahead.

Fond of saying: 'We bring a women's touch to business.'

Empowering woman

Dr Nora N Alnahedh
Resident representative in Oman
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Because Dr Nora heads the UNFPA office in Muscat which represents the entire GCC. From Oman, the UNFPA plays a seminal role in promoting employment and empowerment of women and youth around the region. The UNFPA also focuses on ensuring that all women in Oman are protected from diseases and against discrimination at all levels. Under Dr Nora's leadership, the UNFPA has initiated women empowerment activity in Wadi Bani Khalid in the eastern province of Sharqiyah in association with Oman's Ministry of Social Development. Dr Nora believes that Oman is among the most advanced countries in the Gulf region in terms of women's rights because the government of the Sultanate is actively promoting female education.

Her moot question: The government of Oman has opened numerous doors for women with its policies, but why are women not seizing these opportunities?

Forefront in communicating

Naashiah S Al Kharusi
Full time member
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority

Because when Engineer Naashiah talks everyone listens otherwise you may never get to talk or listen, on your phones that is!

Engineer Naashiah is a full-time member of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which regulates the telecommunications market in Oman, both fixed line as well as mobiles and the Internet. She served as a member of the board of Omantel since its establishment in 1975 until May 2002. Engineer Naashiah was instrumental in establishing the first frequency oordination committee for the AGCC countries. In 1996, she acted as a governor for a full year in Intelsat Board, representing AGCC group in this organisation. On the international level, Engineer Naashiah was elected as a Vice-chairperson of the Telecommunications Development Advisory Group of ITU from 2001 to 2002.

Enviable position: Engineer Naashiah was the telecom advisor to the Minister of Transport and Communications on all technical and policy matters relating to telecommunications sector development.

In the spotlight

HE Dr Rajiha bint Abdulameer bin Ali

Minister of Tourism and Chairperson, Omran

Because she is the Chairperson of Omran (Oman Tourism Development Company), a public-private vehicle established to develop key tourism infrastructure in the Sultanate. She also occupies the chair of one of the most important government authority namely the ministry of tourism, the cynosure of all eyes as tourism is expected to be the mainstay of the government's bid to diversify the national economy from oil to non-oil resources. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said issued a Royal Decree in 2004 and provided for the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism and appointed Dr Rajiha as its minister, elevating her from the post of undersecretary in the Ministry of National Economy. The formation of the Tourism Ministry in 2004 consolidated Oman's tourism functions into one organisation to allow the tourism industry to grow and prosper.

Oft-quoted statement: "We want to work closely with the private sector to further develop international markets for Oman tourism as tourism is going to be a principal driver of the country's economic development."

Steely determination

Reem Bint Omar Al Zawawi
Chairperson, Oman International Bank

Because she is the Chairperson of Oman International Bank (OIB), one of the leading banks in the Sultanate. OIB came into existence on 1st January, 1984 and became the first 100 per cent Omani owned commercial bank in the Sultanate of Oman. It now has 82 branches in the country and four overseas branches at Mumbai and Kochi in India and Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan. OIB is known as an innovative bank with a long list of firsts to its name – it was the first bank in the Gulf region to offer mobile banking service, the first Omani bank to issue a Visa Card, and the only bank in Oman currently offering a phone banking service.

Vision for the bank: "The business philosophy of the bank is to continue to delivering consistent returns to its shareholders backed by a determination to pursue growth with prudent risk management," says Reem in her Board of Directors report for 2007.

Beyond business

Radha Mukherji
Executive Director, DDB

Because she believes in using her communication skills honed over the years in advertising, not just to promote brands and business, but to impact society through raising public awareness, mobilising support for charitable causes and so on. Radha is also on the Board of Indian Schools in Oman and a Director in charge of the Indian School Muladha and Indian School Rustaq. She has recently been actively involved with fundraising activities for the flood affected people of Bihar, India. She also finds the time to teach a course on Marketing Communications to business management students at Indira Gandhi National Open University's (IGNOU) Glory Institute at Wadi Kabir. And in her role as Regional Talent Director for the DDB Middle East & Africa region she runs advanced training sessions for talent development across the Region.

Little known fact: She wants to write a book someday and has already in her mind sketched out mental portraits of its protagonists drawing inspiration from people she knows

Green Crusader

HH Sayyida Tania bint Shabib al Said
President, Environment Society of Oman

Because she is spreading awareness about the environment through the Environment Society of Oman (ESO). HH Sayyida Tania has been working towards increasing the number of active members and volunteers in the ESO and increasing the number of corporate members to keep ongoing projects going. She brings to the organisation her academic expertise in Marine and Freshwater Biology. ESO has led initiatives to reduce the use of plastic by offering shoppers an alternative in canvas bags. It has conducted clean ups, held lectures, started a paper recycling project in schools and taken part in various marine research projects focusing on turtles, whales, dolphins and the coral reefs around the Daymaniyat islands. She wishes to build a green building as the headquarters of the ESO, so that it sets an example for other real estate projects in Oman.

Little known fact: She is a trained Montessori teacher and loves to teach her daughter whenever time permits.

Oman Nightlife from Facebook to Global

Who ever joined Facebook and wanted a snap shot of the nightlife in Oman, he/she would have joinned 'Oman Nightlife' group to get the latest all kind of events and activities that take place in town.

Now Oman Nightlife is going to offer for the rest of the world its services by lunching it's website via http://www.omannightlife.com/. At the moment the Oman Nightlife team working on making it work smoothly. The offical launch has not been set yet, but keep your eyes open.

Bits and Bytes
Two Omani youths jailed for rash driving.

Oct 22, 2008

3 days & 2 Nights in Dubai

My outcome of my trip to GITEX in Dubai and staying at The Palace - The Old Town are:
  • Leant about new products and services related to personal and corporate levels.
  • I tripped and fell on my left side of my face ended uo with a broken tooth.
  • Lost two mobile phones, one is been found and trying to get it back.
I attended the following at GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2008:
  • Business Solutions
  • Global Conference
Bits and Bytes
  • Can we (in Oman) convert our land to parking lot? Do people do it? read Amjad's post -'Turn your land into a parking lot...'.
  • To married couple, a note for your future, if you are going to break up with your spouse and you have a Facebook account, please don't change your status from 'married' to 'single', give your self time until the Divorce is finalized or you'll be dead like Emma who was killed by her hubby Wayne Forrester, who's known to be the first 'Facebook killer'. Read Rami's post in Arabic and this is his source.

Oct 15, 2008

Blogger is blocked by Omantel

For the first time in my life I see the Oman Community Blogger.com are fuming with anger that they are been deprived from their rights of accessing their blogs via Blogger.com. The other blog publishing tools websites are working perfectly.

My fellow bloggers say that there are been blocked from accessing via Omantel ISP to Google child sites beside Blogger.com such as Gmail, they also been suffering from resections from accessing Google it self.

Is Omantel high-tech monitoring application gone crazy and got infected with virus or worms and Trojan horses?

Best wishes with Omantel and TRA.

Read the related posts:
Blogger Blocked,
Suck This Omantel
Blogger.com blocked in Oman?

Oct 2, 2008

Now it sinked in

The day of Eid, I felt my heart has just crashed, it just sinked in, my father has died, I won't go to see him today nor tomorrow or for the rest of my life; I won't wish be able to wish him, to see his face full of suprise and happiness expression of seen me and my sibling came to greet him in the morning.

I walked to my baby sister and told her how I felt, couple of days ago we were arguing about reducing number of houses we have to visit, on that day I disagreed with her, but in Eid morning, I told her I'm fine with it, I managed to reduce over half of the houses, we both couldn't manage to walk-in allot of people, our heart couldn't take it anymore, we were mourning in our on way all this time, trying to be braive.

When we went to have Eid breakfast for the first time in my life since moved in Oman, I greeted my uncle then I ran back to my room, I cried for the first snice my dad's death.

I am just praying for him when ever I remember him. I miss him allot.

I feel my life has changed allot, my principles and concept of life, family, etc. I realised I am not social enough that I don't visit most of my relatives and don't know most of them. I don't want to be unknown or forgoten, I don't want to be a stranger within my people.