As Y Magazine celebrates its 9th anniversary, we have continued our bold and innovative coverage of the Sultanate’s trending issues. Over the following pages, we celebrate all things nine related to Y and Oman.
Almost one year ago to the day, the lives of 34 schoolchildren from Indian School Nizwa were changed forever when their bus was hit by a truck on the way back from a field trip to Bahla. Six people were killed, including three pupils and a teacher. The community was left devastated while the tragedy raised serious questions over road safety and seat-belt use in Oman.
The Sultanate was blighted by yet another bus crash that left 18 people dead and more than a dozen injured, and brought the death toll from bus-related accidents in Oman to 25 in less than five weeks. The latest crash involved three vehicles – a tourist bus, a truck and a car – which were involved in a pile-up on the road between Fahud and Ibri in March.
Y put climate change in the spotlight. In an interview with Y, Suaad al Harthi, the programme director at the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), an environmental NGO founded in 2004, said that climate change was the greatest challenge facing mankind and posed a “grave threat to future generations in every part of the world” – including in the Sultanate.
In April, Y Magazine reported on a despicable crime-wave in Muscat – a rise in the kidnapping or “dognapping” of pedigree pets either to sell on or to breed. In some cases, we found that ransoms were being demanded for the return of the pet but stealing the animals for breeding was the biggest lure – pulling in thousands of rials for each litter.
As the fiscal squeeze tightened in Oman due to record-low oil prices, the dream was starting to turn sour for some expats who had made the country their home. Many were forced to leave due to losing their jobs or because of the rising cost of living in the Sultanate.
In June, Team Y headed to Barka, where a group of 70 workers had been stranded by their employer after the Al Sawadi Beach Resort was closed down, leaving them with no pay, food or electricity. While a local trade union came to their rescue, the workers were forced to borrow money just to survive and to support their families back home.
With the divorce rate on the rise in Oman, Y Magazine met several single mothers to talk about the challenges they faced of bringing up their children while maintaining a career. We found their stories inspiring – and that divorce, once a stigma, is no longer an issue in modern-day Oman.
A rare opportunity to visit Musandam saw Team Y set off on an epic journey to Khasab, where we explored the stunning khors, or fjords, on a traditional dhow. We also headed up to Jebel Harim – Mountain of Women – on a safari like no other.
Y’s annual art extravaganza, Portrait By A Nation, is one of the most popular events in Oman for children wanting to create lasting tributes to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said to celebrate National Day. Our 2016 event was the largest one yet, with more than 1,500 children entering our competition – many of whom impressed the judges with their artistic talents.