More than 1,500 camel owners gather for national fair

Camel owners arrive to take part in the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival on Sunday. (AN photo)
Updated 01 January 2018
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More than 1,500 camel owners gather for national fair

JEDDAH: More than 1,500 camel owners and more than 26,000 camels are participating in a beauty pageant, with total prizes worth SR113,600,000, at the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival.
The festival kicks off on Monday under the auspices of King Salman in Riyadh’s southern Sayahdah district of Al-Dahnaa on the road between Al-Rumahiyah and Al-Hafna.
The official spokesman for the festival, Sultan Al-Bokomi, said this year’s festival would include 28 activities. “One of the most important additions to the festival this year is the King Abdul Aziz Camel Racing Award, where camel owners compete for the largest prize for camel racing in the world,” he said.
The first day of the festival will include the launching of new accompanying events including “Saudi Al-Arada; heritage and performance, camel species and their funny stories, panoramic dome, sand arts, recreation camp, camels’ decorative drawing and other activities,” Al-Bokomi said.
The events will also include “Al-Dahnaa Caravan, Taalil tent, Our brave soldiers, Senam exhibition, Al-Hanaa market, the heritage market, and the food tent.”
Al-Bokomi pointed out that the booklet of events can be found at alaibilfestival.com, with details of how to register in other competitions.
The official spokesman called on everyone to enjoy the festival and to feel the cultural and national values in its activities and its concepts, and also to become acquainted with the huge amount of information provided in the festival and its activities about camel heritage and the culture of the desert, the first component of Saudi culture.
The competition has become an event that people have come to expect annually during the winter over the past 15 years.
The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) cooperated with several relevant authorities to organize this festival, especially the Ministry of the Interior, which sets regulations and procedures. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture also contributed in setting the regulations for the veterinary aspects to protect camels.
The Ministry of Health monitors health developments associated with this occasion, while the Arriyadh Development Authority selects the location, design and planning.
The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Information and many other bodies are working jointly to carry out a festival that matches the position of Saudi Arabia and the size of the occasion.


Saudi Arabia’s road to profound changes, in the eyes of outsiders

All Saudi Arabian resources mixed with modern methods can really take the country somewhere. (SPA)
Updated 1 min 13 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s road to profound changes, in the eyes of outsiders

JEDDAH: As the National Day of Saudi Arabia approaches, the people of the Kingdom gear up in green to celebrate it. As excited as Saudi nationals are, expats living in the country also play their part in celebrating National Day.
Arab News made contact with some expats in Saudi Arabia to hear an outsider’s view on the transforming country.
A 66-year-old Yemeni expat living here for half a century, Salman has seen changes occur in front of his very eyes, “All the changes are moving toward a better Kingdom, for the perfect effect we will need to wait 10 or 15 more years.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia is a country rich in resources. All its resources mixed with modern methods can really take the country somewhere.”
Sarmad Hassan from Pakistan, who has lived in the Kingdom for 9 years, says, “The major changes that had a positive impact were cinemas opening and women driving, as these are things the community has been waiting for a long time.
“I had expected the changes for some time now because they were required to make a better country in the long run.
“Change is always good, it is usually hard to accept changes when they first happen but with time everything will get back to normal. To carry out the KSA’s ambitious welfare and development projects, changes which would add value to the economy are required.”
Amin-Al-Mrstani, a Syrian expat living in Saudi Arabia for 33 years, commented: “I never thought that the changes would happen, but they did happen and most of them are good.
“The further changes that I would like are to stop the shops closing during prayer time and better maintenance of the main roads and cities, which needs more attention.” Other than that, I personally enjoy the music events, cinemas and ladies driving the most.”
Salman Latif, a Pakistani for whom Saudi Arabia is a second home and who was born and brought up in the kingdom, commented: “I never really thought Saudi Arabia would become this flexible and change so much in favor of women. Personally, I am looking forward to more events here.”
Willy de Guzman, 65, from Philippines, says: “I have been here for 27 years, I hope the economy becomes better. In my opinion if that problem is tackled the Saudis have the best security so better things can be expected from the future of Saudi economy.”
In conclusion, it is safe to say that the expats living in Saudi Arabia are keen to see where the current unfolding of events is going to lead and are rooting for the best for the nation and themselves.