Memories of one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest bakers live on

Memories of one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest bakers live on
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It has been more than half a century since one of the oldest existing bakeries was opened in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 June 2021

Memories of one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest bakers live on

Memories of one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest bakers live on
  • In 1924, Shoukry was the contemporary of then Mayor Ali Salama and the 13 mayors of Jeddah after that

MAKKAH: For many Jeddawis, the smell of freshly baked bread awakens memories of their early childhood, and for many local bakers, it is the continuous flow of valued customers that keeps that memory alive.
It has been more than half a century since one of the oldest existing bakeries was opened in Saudi Arabia. Forn Al-Shaikh was founded by Sheikh Youssef Shoukry more than 50 years ago and provided the residents of Jeddah with some of the freshest baked goods in the city. Shoukry’s reputation spread so fast that it crossed borders into Bahrain, Pakistan and Egypt, and as far as the UK and the US, as people exported his freshly baked bread across the Red Sea and beyond.
Speaking to Arab News, Mukhtar Shoukry said that his father was the head baker in Jeddah from 1952 until he died in 1999, building up years of experience in the baking business.
Mukhtar told Arab News: “My father was born in Madinah in 1888 and lived most of his life in Madinah. He was raised as an orphan and by the time he was 10 years old, he worked for the head baker in Al-Madinah at the time.”
He added that his father and relatives “were grain merchants, and when my aunt married the head baker in Madinah at the time, Mahmoud Azzouni, my father started working as a baker for very little money, but he loved the profession.
“He worked with his uncle for about eight to 10 years, after which he met Uncle Fakhri, who used to send merchants to the Levant. My father traveled and resided for three years in the AlUla region and then moved to Al-Wajh during the days of the Sharif Al-Ghalib family and the Turks, before moving to Makkah. Then, he returned to Madinah to work as a baker again.
“He had a harsh upbringing, as he worked from a very early age, but he gained experience and knowledge from the company of men surrounding him, moving from one social circle to the next even though he was illiterate,” he said.

FASTFACTS

• Forn Al-Shaikh was founded by Sheikh Youssef Shoukry more than 50 years ago.

• Shoukry’s reputation spread so fast that it crossed borders into Bahrain, Pakistan and Egypt, and as far as the UK and the US.

Shoukry said that the Hijaz region was the corridor through which millions of Muslims crossed through the ages to the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah, bringing with them their culture, heritage, traditions and experiences.
He added: “Therefore, the Hijaz is the crucible in which Eastern experiences and science accumulated throughout the centuries, bringing together traditional Eastern and Arab medicine, culminating in the slogan ‘Food is Medicine,’ because people used to treat themselves with food.
“My father had great experience and knowledge of various types of food that were used as medicine, and had a strong religious background. Therefore, he was known as a pious and wise man.”
After years of working in Madinah, a misunderstanding and dispute between Shoukry and the head baker of the city at the time made him leave Madinah and move to Jeddah, where he opened a small bakery in the city’s Nada market, located in Harat Al-Sham, northwest of the city.
In the early 1950s, the quality of his bread and mastery of the profession had people flocking to his bakery, and soon after, he was recognized as the official head baker of the city, and was given the authority to inspect and direct all bakers. A ceremony was held to celebrate the event that included former head bakers, too, including Hassan Maghribi, Hamid Al-Hubaishi, Mustafa Amin, Saleh Hamada and Mohammed Ali, among others.
In 1924, Shoukry was the contemporary of then Mayor Ali Salama and the 13 mayors of Jeddah after that.
Mukhtar Shoukry said: “My father used to sit in a special place at the entrance of Souk Al-Nada. He used to be dressed in a distinguished traditional sedairy (vest), his imamah or head wrap and carried his prayer beads and pocket watch. Sometimes, he led the prayers at Souk Al-Nada’s small mosque in front of the bakery. He would walk for several kilometers from his home in the Al-Kandara neighborhood before the dawn call to prayer alone, in order to reach the Al-Basha Mosque or the Al-Nada Mosque in time for prayer. He worked in the bakery until past his 60s and then trained his workers to maintain the quality of bread.”
Distinguished by piety, righteousness, intelligence and wise opinions, Shoukry’s bakery has lived on to serve thousands, if not millions of people, from the days of the Ottomans until today. A bakery that started off selling three types of bread — Samoli bread, which resembles French bread, Shami bread, a pita bread, and flatbread — has now moved on to bake other popular products.
“The oven is still working and produces the same old special taste with its distinct aroma and flavor,” Shoukry’s son said. “The old mixture is still preserved in this bakery even after his passing more than two decades ago, and most of his customers are from Al-Balad, Qabel Street, Suwaiqah, Al-Sham Street and other nearby neighborhoods of the old city of Jeddah.”
The freshness of the aroma can still be detected when passing by the old market, in the exact same spot it was first established all those years ago, serving the people, both old and young, in the same quality and quantity, a treasured relic of the old city still going strong today.


Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia

Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia
Updated 01 August 2021

Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia

Unvaccinated people rush to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia
  • One dose or virus recovered must to attend events and enter establishments

JEDDAH: The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Saudi Arabia has increased in the past 10 days with the arrival of the Aug. 1 deadline that means unvaccinated residents are prohibited from entering establishments.

The acceleration comes as residents of the Kingdom are required to receive at least one jab or have recovered from COVID-19 to attend social, cultural, sports and entertainment gatherings, and enter private, government or commercial establishments. Health authorities have called on residents to register for the vaccine, and centers across the Kingdom have been urged to provide more time-slots to accommodate the growing numbers.
So far, 27 million vaccine doses have been delivered at a rate of 77 doses per hundred. More than 8.1 million so far have received two doses and more than 77.5 percent of the Kingdom’s 34.8 million have been vaccinated so far.
More than 1.46 million of the Kingdom’s elderly have been vaccinated to date.
Health officials continue to urge residents to receive the vaccine, adhere to social distancing measures and take precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a Saudi research team has successfully developed the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 and is ready to carry out clinical trials after receiving the required approvals.

INNUMBERS

525,730 Total cases

506,089 Recoveries

8,237 Deaths

Led by Dr. Iman Almansour, the research team from the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC) at the Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam published the findings, “Immunogenicity of Multiple Doses of pDNA Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2,” in the  Pharmaceuticals Journal on MDPI, an open-access publishing website for academics.
On Saturday, 1,146 new cases were reported by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health, raising the total number to 525,730.
Three regions reported numbers above the 100 case mark, Riyadh leading with 243 cases, the Eastern Province with 209 and Makkah with 196 cases. Jouf continues to be the region with the lowest count with only eight cases on Saturday.
There are currently 11,404 active cases, 1,377 of which are in critical care, a decline of 18 in the past 24 hours.
A total of 1,086 new recoveries were reported, raising the total number of recoveries to 506,089. The Kingdom’s recovery rate is currently holding steady at 96.2 percent.
Riyadh led the cities with the highest recovery count as 232 recoveries were reported, Taif with 99 and Jeddah with 64 recoveries.
A total of 11 new fatalities due to complications from COVID-19 have been reported, raising the death tally to 8,237.
A total of 113,300 PCR tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number to more than 25 million tests so far.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development’s control teams in Makkah region carried out 20,137 inspection tours in July on private sector enterprises, to ensure abidance by the precautionary and preventive measures against the coronavirus disease and compliance with nationalization and labor regulations.
During the inspections, 3,755 violations of labor regulations and precautionary measures were found, and 813 warnings issued.
The ministry urged owners of enterprises to abide by all precautionary measures at workplaces to curb the spread of the virus, and to abide by the ministry’s regulations to avoid incurring penalties.
Inspection tours will continue across businesses in all regions of the Kingdom, the ministry addedd, calling on everyone in the region to report breaches and violations through its call center (19911) or its Ma3an lil Rasd app.


Over 12k held for residency, labor, border violations across KSA

More than 12k held for residency, labor, border violations in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
More than 12k held for residency, labor, border violations in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 7 min 10 sec ago

Over 12k held for residency, labor, border violations across KSA

More than 12k held for residency, labor, border violations in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
  • The authorities transferred 48,453 offenders to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents

RIYADH: More than 12,000 violators of residency, work and border security systems have been arrested in the Kingdom in one week, according to an official report.

In the campaigns that took place in all regions of the Kingdom from July 22-28, there have been 12,642 offenders, including 4,180 for violating residency regulations, 991 for labor violations and 7,471 for border violations.

The report said that 266 people were arrested while trying to cross the border into the Kingdom: 52 percent were Yemeni citizens, 44 percent were Ethiopians, and 4 percent were of other nationalities.

In addition, eight people were arrested for trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 12 were arrested for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The total number of violators who were subjected to procedures was 64,539, including 53,777 men and 10,762 women.

The authorities transferred 48,453 offenders to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents, while 3,352 were transferred to complete their travel reservations and 5,308 were deported.

The Ministry of Interior said that whoever facilitates the entry of violators to the Kingdom, transports them or provides shelter or any other form of support will face imprisonment for up to 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), confiscation of the means of transport or residence employed in the violation, and defamation.

 


Saudi Arabia’s economy likely to grow in 2021 and 2022, says report

Saudi Arabia’s economy likely to grow in 2021 and 2022, says report
Updated 55 min 6 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s economy likely to grow in 2021 and 2022, says report

Saudi Arabia’s economy likely to grow in 2021 and 2022, says report
  • Capital Economics' forecast a further evidence that the Saudi economic recovery has taken off in 2021

RIYADHH Saudi Arabia’s economy is poised to grow from 2.2 percent to 4.8 percent in 2021 and from 4.1 percent to 6.3 percent in 2022, said a Capital Economics report.

The new forecasts are further evidence that the Saudi economic recovery has taken off in 2021.

At the start of the year, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Finance said that it expected 3.2 percent growth this year — reversing the pandemic-driven downturn of 2020. The International Monetary Fund forecast just 2.1 percent growth two months ago.

The Saudi economy is expected to maintain growth in the second half of the year. The expansion is also backed by higher oil output amid an OPEC+ agreement.

The Kingdom’s finance, insurance, real estate, and business sectors are likely to expand by 9 percent annually and their relative share to overall economic activity will grow by 12.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the services sector is also likely to grow about 10 percent annually on average, implying that its relative gross domestic product (GDP) share will climb to almost 40 percent in 2030.

 


Saudi Arabia’s ‘ThinkTech Talk’ initiative brings worldwide e-gaming expertise to the table

Saudi Arabia is home to 21.2 million gamers. (Photo/Twitter)
Saudi Arabia is home to 21.2 million gamers. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi Arabia’s ‘ThinkTech Talk’ initiative brings worldwide e-gaming expertise to the table

Saudi Arabia is home to 21.2 million gamers. (Photo/Twitter)
  • The fourth initiative, “ThinkTech Talk,” targets experts in game development, investors, and business entrepreneurs in the sector

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has launched its “ThinkTech” initiative to support the e-gaming sector by sharing expertise from around the world.
In partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation and Zain, the ministry held a virtual forum on Saturday where five new initiatives were launched as part of the “Gamers Without Borders” tournament announcement.
Last year, over 15,000 coders, engineers and designers from 80 countries joined The Global Hack as part of the Gamers Without Borders initiative. It trained more than 3,400 people in game development through the “Make and Play” competition.
The fourth initiative, “ThinkTech Talk,” targets experts in game development, investors, and business entrepreneurs in the sector. It revealed the ideas and expertise of developers, who spoke about their experiences in creating e-games while contributing to spreading awareness about the industry and development of e-games.

BACKGROUND

Last year, over 15,000 coders, engineers and designers from 80 countries joined The Global Hack as part of the Gamers Without Borders initiative. It trained more than 3,400 people in game development through the ‘Make and Play’ competition.

The virtual forum comes amid a sudden rise in the e-game industry in the Kingdom, which has jumped 4.1 percent in the last year, making it 19th among the largest gaming markets in the world. Saudi Arabia is home to 21.2 million gamers.
The event was also attended by the Deputy Minister for Future Jobs and Digital Entrepreneurship Dr. Ahmed Al-Thunayan and the CEO of the Saudi Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports Turki Al-Fawzan.
Dr. Al-Thunayan said the e-gaming industry was one of the emerging creative industries that is pumping more investments into economies, adding that it has the potential to add substantial growth with the Kingdom possessing many creative young talents.
He said that these meetings will provide opportunities for creative talents and enable them to launch their businesses with a supportive digital environment.


Who’s Who:  Dr. Saad Al-Shahrani, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Investment

Who’s Who:  Dr. Saad Al-Shahrani, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Investment
Updated 2 min 3 sec ago

Who’s Who:  Dr. Saad Al-Shahrani, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Investment

Who’s Who:  Dr. Saad Al-Shahrani, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Investment

Dr. Saad Al-Shahrani has been the deputy minister for economic affairs and investment studies at the Ministry of Investment since January 2021.

He is also a fellow professor of economics at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, the vice chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Economic Association, and board member of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy.

Prior to that, Al-Shahrani was the deputy minister of macroeconomic and fiscal policies at the Ministry of Finance from November 2019 to December 2020 and a member of the steering committee at the Ministry of Finance from January 2017 to December 2020.

He was a member of the Economic Policies Committee OECD from January 2018 to December 2020 and a member of the National Financial Stabilities Committee from January 2017 to December 2020.

He served as a senior economic specialist at the Saudi Central Bank from July 2015 to June 2016, and was an economist at the International Monetary Fund from January 2011 to December 2015. Al-Shahrani was a member of the establishment team of the Gulf Monetary Council from January 2010 to June 2011.

He was an instructor of econometrics and macroeconomics at the Washington State University from 2007 to 2009, and the director of Arabic language and cultural programs at the same university for two years. In addition, he served at the Saudi Central Bank as an economic researcher and economic specialist from 2002.

Al-Shahrani received his Ph.D. in economics from Washington State University and has two master’s degrees, one in statistics and the second in applied economics from the same university.

He has an associate diploma in macroeconomics from the Institute of Banking. He earned his bachelor’s degree in science and mathematics in Saudi Arabia.