Monday, June 23, 2014

'Omanis ...Get Real!!' Tweet by Omani Official Stirs Up Local Opinion

A couple days ago, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Badr Albusaidi tweeted this (now referred to as the 'Get Real' tweet):

'Omanis get free education, free health care, subsidized petrol. Quite a few of the staples (e.g.flour rice) are also subsidized!!! Get real!'

also: see albalad newspaper:

The tweet stirred up an unexpected large reaction from the public of whom some boldly responded in social media comments something like (but in not such nice words), 'You get real, you've been living in comfort your whole life...' or that the tweet implies the Omani people are a burden. The Secretary's tweet may have been referring to the ire of the Omani people over the Ministers Council's decision to only regulate the prices of 23 commodities through the Consumer Protection. There seems to be a disconnect between the intention of the tweet, its interpretation, and the economic realities Oman is facing in regard to the governmental decision.

Maybe the timing of the tweet set people off into this fervor. These days, in Oman, it seems so arbitrary what gets highlighted in the social media outcry and what doesn't; somethings that I cringe at go totally unnoticed while seemingly unoffensive or less offensive things are treated as if it's the end of Oman. The good thing about it is the 'openness' of discussion and the general interest in what's going on.

Even though Omanis (and expats) do benefit from many government subsidies, a lot of younger generation Omanis feel in debt as they take loans up to a certain percentage of their salary to pay for marriage, housing, cars, and even for living subsistence at times after graduating leaving them with very little spending money for their families to live on and locked into their jobs which causes stress as there still is debtors prison in Oman.  

Interestingly enough, the Secretary tweeted this in English; although he equally tweets in Arabic. The Secretary's comment reminds me of a blog, 'Keeping it Real in Oman' written by an Omani - now archived - which the author describes as:

'I’m an Omani female who loves her country, but realizes its far from perfect. So tune in for some reality check from Oman!'


  1. Perhaps people should get rid of the idea that everyone needs to drive a new car, specially a Lexus or other expensive models! It's quite simple if you can't afford it don't buy it. Same goes with marriage, if you can't pay for 200 guests, don't invite them.

  2. He's got a very valid point. It's about time people wake up and start working hard rather than complaining. In the mean time banks are laughing.