Sunday, December 26, 2004

No he didn't

Oman's loss to Qatar in the penalty shootout of the Gulf Cup championship match brought a deafening silence to the crowd. Three times Oman was one shot away from the cup. Three times they missed. THREE TIMES. It was a direct message from God telling Oman that He shall not allow it to win the cup. "You shall play like you've never played before. You shall reach the finals. But you shall not win." So close that you can almost taste it. Close, but no cigar.

And that sums up the entire history of Oman. Has there ever been such a miserable country? Are we destined to always watch from the sidelines as everything passes us by. Ok, so things could be worse. We're not a natural catastrophe like Bangladesh. We have no sectarian problems like Iraq. We're not dirt poor like some African countries. But come on, for how long will we be the people who have to be thankful for what they have and for how much better off they are than others, instead of for that they've actually achieved.

In elementary school history and islamic studies they taught us about Mazin bin Ghadhooba, the first Omani to embrace islam. Mazin heard about the new religion, so he traveled to see the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and became a muslim in his presence. The legend goes that Mazin asked him to say a prayer for Oman so the Prophet gave a prayer which basically asks God that Oman prospers forever, etc. Note that I called this a legend. I quit believing that this story is real a long time ago. There's no way Prophet Mohammed would pray for a country and it ends up as miserable as Oman is.

This is a country where nothing goes right. It's a world of its own where everything works the opposite of how it should be. If the world was like Jerry Seinfeld, Oman would be George. We're still waiting for the time Oman goes "opposite" like George did. A friend of mine used to say that the perfect example of the Oman situation is McDonalds. The most popular restaurant chain in the world, but in Oman it's barely profitable. But at least it's making money. Burger King, Wendys and Subway all shut their doors and left a long time ago.

A few weeks ago they managed to get Michael Porter to give a couple of private lectures about Oman's competitiveness. He gave a lecture that basically said "Oman could be the best country in the region if it changes the following.." and then he listed almost everything that was wrong in Oman. He basically said "change everything". Of course our press the next day had the headlines declaring that the world's top management guru says that Oman could be the best. That's what we're good at. We can put a spin on just about anything and make it sound like a compliment. But can we build a competitive advantage on that?

I know a bitch a lot. That's what I do. I see things happen around me. I read a lot. I go online a lot. It comes to a boil, I bitch. It lets out a little steam. It's like a natural pressure valve/blog. What good will it do? Absolutely nothing. I will not go away and live in Dubai like others I know. Not for the pay, and definitely not because "things actually work there" like a friend who's taken the jump told me. Deep inside me, I still believe that Oman will work one day. And then will I stop bitching?


Anonymous said...

We might have lost to Qatar, but it is not the end of the world, you do not have to move to another country or realise that some legends are not true, simply because Oman lost in a 'soccer match'.

muscati said...

I don't think you got my point. Our team's acomplishments were great, but that they were thrice one shot away from the cup and lost is a perfect metaphor for how Oman is.