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Friday, March 18, 2011

A thief in our midst

I've had a really bad few days: mood wise. Two girl-friends who were at odds with each other for awhile now finally came head to head this week. We're all friends but they were inseparable. However when I became better friends with them, cracks were already showing in their relationship and it finally boiled over last week. I just kept telling them that they have to sit down and talk about it. Anyway so it finally came to a point where both were telling me why the other was so and so...I felt like I was dealing with school girls. So after listening patiently I decided I didn't need this and told them I was taking a break from them until they settled their differences. This is just not working out and I'd rather enjoy friends then play dodge the other. It's made me sad as my son and their kids are friends too but I really had to give them a break in the past week so they can sort out their own troubles and not get me involved.
It brings me to the subject of how some people lie to make themselves look better in light of something not so nice that they'd done. If you don't know them well you don't know they're lying until you hear conflicting retelling of the same stories later. So I think what the heck move on out if you think lying makes you feel/look good.
Some girl friends and I are going to Hong Kong next week to the sevens. The hubbies were supposed to come along but it just didn't work out with their leave so a girls trip it will be. We've been planning our costumes for the sevens and now I almost have all of my outfit ready for the sevens and really can't wait. So I went to the tailor to pick up my gear and then just to make sure they fit I dropped into a friend's house to try them on as they live near the tailor. My friend's maid we've gathered has been stealing money from them as well as from us! So ever since we found this out I've been careful with my handbag when I go to their house. I now basically leave my bag locked in the car. Usually I take the keys with me when we're in the garden or whereever  around their house. However on this day I just left the keys by the door and went in. To cut the story short when we came in to the house and sat in the lounge I heard the front door close. I was a bit jumpy wondering why the door would close when we're all sitting in the lounge. Weirdly enough I immediately thought of the car keys and my bag in the car but thought I was being crazy. Anyway when it was time to leave I went straight for my bag and looked through it and found that the money I had there in my purse was gone!!! And I know it was there because I had just bought some material from a shop on the way to the tailor and then to my friend's house. I knew all along how much money was in there as I had to pay the tailor for my gear! I was so hurt and angry. This is the same maid whom I help any way I can. I let her look after my son whenever so I will pay her extra money and many other things however ever since we realised that she's been stealing I haven't invited her around anymore. That night I felt violated and fooled by her. I was so angry and so upset that it ruined any excitement I had that day. Unfortunately it carried on to the next day. I was so down yesterday to the point of feeling sick. In case you think I'm crazy she had stolen from me before. And it's not little money she steals some big notes:( My visiting friend eventually revealed to me that she had money stolen from her bag too when she stayed with us and only this maid/friend was here that day. So I'm determined to catch her red-handed and then confront her about it someday. In the meantime I'm not going around there anymore. 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Samoan Election Results and Oman Protests

There are now two parties in power in Samoa which is a great outcome of yesterday's elections. There are about 12 members in the opposing Tautua party so that gives it less chances of it dissolving if some of them are disqualified for whatever reason.
In Oman people here and there continue to protests. We just heard that the Oman Air staff were now protesting in from of the Oman Air headquarters in Seeb! On Friday, when we were driving back home along the ministry street we saw a group of Omanis about 20 men gathering near NBO with what looked like a banner as if they were about to march. I guess it must have been more protests of sort. Further down the road there were two big army vehicles parked on the road side as if protecting the protest but also on guard in case violence broke out. It seems the people are now protesting in peace with no more violence since last week in Sohar to everyone's relief. Hubby is going to the UK for a week for work so hmm it will be interesting being here on our own in the midst of this. I just have to get a one way ticket somewhere in case s&*^ hits the fan but right now I'm not worried. However the Sultan has replaced two ministers with others in accordance to what the people want which is huge. These ministers have been in power for a long time. I wonder if this sort of thing will lead to civil unrest and re-awaken the tribal factions that may lead to war between the tribes. But then again the Omanis today seem like such peaceful people that don't like altercations so maybe that era is passed? And then there's the fact that they like to own guns and so a lot of people own guns of sorts which is normal but will those come in handy in these times or am I being a pessimist? We will see.
The weather is quite unusual today starting yesterday where it looks like it's going to rain and it's very dreary. It's already drizzled, by drizzling I mean just a drop here and there and then it stops. We'll see what today holds.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Elections in Samoa

It's election time in Samoa at the moment and voters went to the polls today. There are two main political parties vying for government, the reigning HRPP and wavering Tautua party. HRPP have been in power for about 20 years and in their last ruling the one opposition party in parliament at the time dissolved because they could not agree on anything really which left the opposition party with under 8 members which under the constitution meant there was no party. Moreover according to the law no party can be formed after the elections by any members of parliament. So it's a foolproof law to protect the ruling party. So our country has been a one party state for the past four years and a lot was done with no one to oppose some interesting law changes and implementations. The road switch occurred which cost the country unnecessarily but it went smoothly and now there are cheaper cars in Samoa, some quite old but affordable for the masses. The land laws have been altered to give power to the local residents to do as they please with family land. I think now foreigners can buy land in Samoa which wasn't allowed before. A casino bill was passed to allow casinos in Samoa to a lot of people's dismay. 
Currently the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele will win again at these elections due to the fact that he's the only candidate from his electorate. A new law gives the pulenuu or mayor of the village the power to qualify a candidate for elections due to their contribution to the village. It turns out that two candidates that contested the PM's seat were disqualified by the pulenuu due to their lack of contribution to the village in the past. On Samoa Observer, one of the disqualified candidates complained that he had been contributing to the village through his mother who confirmed this! So am not sure if this is very democratic or honest but personally I think this method allows for corruption as the mayor can make a call in favour of whom he chooses to stand for elections. So if the mayor gets handouts of sorts from one chief he would happily make sure there's no contest for that candidate to ensure an easy win! A very controversial rule if you ask me.  
Well who-ever wins I hope they're good to Samoa but mostly I hope there are two parties in the new government to keep some sort of a balance. Good Luck Samoa
Moreover in Samoa the village fono of chiefs who are head of families make a lot of decisions and some of these decisions is informing the village that they should vote for a certain candidate. So if a family decides to defy the village and vote for someone else then they face eviction from the village or their home being burnt down. What boggles the mind is, how do people know who one votes for when you're basically in the booth for yourself! That means people come out and tell everyone who they voted for and face the fate decided by the village.
As politics go, those in power for so long lose sight of the realities of the people and just play their games. My hope for the current elections is not for one party to win, but for TWO parties to have representation in parliament so there is a proper discussion

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Welcome to Oman

So hubby had the day off today and I seized the opportunity to escape the 'mummy_dom' for an afternoon and do what 'I' want to do. I went to pay our bills first and the office closes at 1pm but I got there at 12.55pm and the Omani girls behind the counter were very patient with the few of us that arrived at the same time and let us get our bills and pay. I was left by myself with the two Omani ladies processing my transaction, I decided to be faikala(nosy) and ask for inside views on the current situation in Oman. I asked any news from Sohar(where the protests(vandalism) were a few days ago) and one of the girls laughed and said. I don't know I haven't read the paper today. I said so you haven't heard anything further about any more protests? And she laughed and said, "After work I'm going home to sleep." and laughed and I laughed along cos I thought that was such a funny reaction. She was dismissing the Sohar fiasco as a waste of time. I loved it. The other lady then asked me where I was from. I said New Zealand just so I don't have to stand there and give a geography lesson about Samoa and she said which is a very common thing here, she said "Welcome to Oman." with a big smile. That encompasses the feeling of the people here towards us expats. They're friendly and welcoming. I walked out of there with a warm glow from such an interesting exchange with these lovely local ladies. 
I decided to go to my favourite spa for a massage because I had a sore shoulder plus I think I deserve it! I got the lovely Rose from Thailand, boy this woman knows what she's doing. She worked my muscles and cracked my bones to relief. It was such a lovely way to spend my free hour. I then went to Shatti beach to have a coffee and read the paper there in peace. It was business as usual at Shatti beach, filled with people out to relax and enjoy the afternoon sun and breeze. 
I sat in one corner and updated myself from Oman Times. it reported that there was a march yesterday at 4pm at the Grand Mosque of people showing their support for the Sultan. People had flags and posters saluting to His Majesty and his wise leadership of this country. About 4000 people attended and it was a peaceful march from the Grand Mosque to the high way. The police were present to divert the traffic away from the march. In another story, they had pictures from Sohar at the globe roundabout that things were back to normal there. There's military presence to secure the area. I hope this is it for these flare ups here. This country doesn't need this headache. The sultan has done such a great job bringing this country from nothing to what it is today. The highways is one way that shows the development in this country. Every year when there's an inconveniece on one road, immediately work is done to widen the road and recently a new highway was opened to relieve the Sultan Qaboos highway of congestion.

Flowers

I'm a slave to the flowers phenomenon. I love receiving flowers whether it's from winning something, from my hubby to receiving a squashed one from my 2 year old son. So I found out one of my friends was sick I decided to go visit her and ordered her a bunch of flowers. She was at home so we went to her's knocked on the door and when she saw the flowers she was teary eyed and was so happy. I was happy to see that look on her face and was glad that I did that. Obviously she liked flowers as much as I did. We had a nice afternoon visiting with them.
On our return to our house I discovered the biggest floral arrangement on our dining table to my utmost surprise. For a second I thought my husband with my talk about flowers this morning went and ordered me the flowers. But low and behold the flowers were from our gardener!!! This is the same gardener that I'd decided to fire last week. Hubby dearest made me feel so guilty about letting the guy go that I told him he was rehired and to keep coming back! Hubby said the gardener tried to explain in his limited English that the flowers were from his brother's party or something or other... I was just surprised and loved it. I teased hubby that he should be worried that those were the most roses I'd received since we got married! Anyway flowers are another way to a woman's heart for sure. 

Oman today

On March 1st I searched the internet and tuned into every channel imaginable that could have news on any more protests in Oman but there was nothing. I called friends around the place and no one heard anything interesting. There were supposed to be a gathering at the grand mosque at 4pm in support of the Sultan but I didn't hear anything about it. My son and I went to visit a sick friend and everything seemed normal on that side of Muscat that we planned to go to Shatti beach in the afternoon for our kids to play.
We went to Shatti Beach and found it as usual. It was easy to find a park so I guess it wasn't as busy as usual. So we set up on the beach with out mat, chair and toys for the kids. We'd been there about half an hour when I saw and Omani guy in football gear amongst the many that were there drag a goal post to one side of us. I realised that we were then sitting in the middle of a make shift football pitch. I started to fume and anticipating the confrontation with the person that was going to ask us to move. Eventually this English guy(judging from his accent) out of all the Omanis that were there came up and said "could you please move up the beach because we're about to play" before we could say anything he added, "we've been playing here for 25 years so there's nothing you could do about it". I had enough, I said " well we got here first and there's more beach for you to play on" and he said we've been playing here for 25 years. My friend was saying so what man, we're here to enjoy the beach in peace, and I added "it's not our fault that we weren't here 25 years ago but this is a public beach." I couldn't be arsed so we started to move away and this one English guy is basically helping/forcefully moving us along. I was voicing my unhappiness loudly and he kept saying sorry, it's just the way it was. Hilarious. It was like the one token white guy was used to come approach the other outsiders to move away from their chosen spot. And to top it off they're just amateur footballers killing time in the arvo. Grow up guys, your respectable countries ain't going to call on you to come represent your countries any time soon, that boat sailed a while back! Anyway needless to say quietly I was thinking if all these guys are here playing football then they're not out there protesting!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tragedy in Christchurch

Reminiscent of the tsunami that hit Samoa almost two years ago was my experience of when I found out of the earthquake in Christchurch. I was so scared for my families and friends down there. Only five months ago there was an earthquake there but no one was hurt and this time immediately afterward they reported 65 people had died. It was a sad sad day for New Zealand. I was so scared for my families as I tried frantically to get through to them or to other families that may have heard from them. 24 hours later we heard from all of them that they were okay including one of my best friend's parents who normally worked in the city and amazingly they were in Wellington to visit their other daughter when the earthquake devastated Christchurch. As sad as it is, there are some beautiful stories of people and their heroic efforts to help others out of the rubble and lots of New Zealanders are offering their homes to those that need a place to live for the time being. So far 145 people have been confirmed dead with 200 still missing or unaccounted for. The iconic cathedral steeple in Christchurch has collapsed along with a lot of iconic buildings in the city. I'm just thankful that I heard from all of my family and friends and pray for those who've lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Christchurch holds a special place in my heart as I went to Lincoln University after high school to pursue a commerce degree. It was there I made a lot of great friends in Christchurch and met a lot of my family there. I love Christchurch as a city and from those days Crusaders is the team I support in the Super 15 tournament. One of my friends put on his status that their house is no more but at least their family of 3 escaped and are looking to rebuild. "Rise Up Christchurch"

Protests in Oman!?

There are reports of more protests in Muscat aside form the ones in Sohar yesterday where supposedly 2 people were killed. A Lulu supermarket was supposedly burnt and looted along with a police station and cars. I seriously hope it doesn't spread to Muscat.