A chance to reflect on tradition and heritage

For veteran writer Saleh al Shaibani, writing is the platform where he has reflected upon life in Oman and news. He is all set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Oman’s National Day with a book titled ‘Oman: Traditions, Heritage and Culture.’
“The book is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Oman. The book is a collection of photographs, which depicts traditions and lifestyle of Oman, some of which are disappearing such as the Bedouin life. It is not there anymore, and if it is – then very remotely. The pictures display the Bedouin villages right in the middle of the desert. The tourists also are attracted to these locations,” explained Saleh, a journalist and academician who is also the author of the book, ‘Desert Classics’.
He feels the preservation of the old ways can be essential for the future.
“It is tough because the young people are moving toward the cities for jobs and businesses. But the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism is encouraging SMEs to work near the national monuments so they can give a rich experience for the visitors through cafes, cultural shops as well as gift shops.”
Linking the community with the tourism sector has many advantages such as retaining traditions as well as providing jobs.
“Developing tourism businesses also keeps the young members within the community and not go out to the cities for jobs,” he pointed out.
Saleh has been working on the book for the last three years.
“I collected the photographs from a veteran television cameraman from Oman Television, late Jawad Ibrahim. His photography is from the 70s. He wanted to preserve the old ways. He is not with us anymore but his work is back to life,” noted Saleh.
The book will also be focusing on the traditions of Oman such as the folk dances, as well as professions such as beekeeping, the old ways of fishing and farming, pottery, carving, carpentry and net making by the fishermen. The coffee table is expected to be a collector’s item.
As a writer, this is what Saleh has to say to the young writers, “Most of the students do not go to college to study writing and become journalists. They want to study business and IT so it is a challenge to find young people who are interested in writing. Maybe this book will encourage young people to write about the culture and traditions of their own country.”
What is the secret to be a good writer?
“In one word it is – passion. Young people today are keener on money. If there is no money in it they will not work for it. But writing is about passion. And there is one more word that fits and that is creativity. So what is required is a combination of passion and creativity,” added the author.
Bring a new twist to the challenge is the change in the society that has been brought in by mobile texting culture.
“They write in abbreviation and when asked to put their thoughts in 500 words, the youth find it as a challenge. Another aspect about writing is research and they do not find it inspiring,” he pointed out.
He hopes the book will inspire the youth to reflect on their own traditions and heritage and write them down – not in text format on mobile form but in narrative so the tradition continues.