Karen Ann Monsy

Associate Editor, Khaleej Times

United Arab Emirates

People matter to me. Their lives, their stories. More importantly, making a difference matters. And I love writing stories that do just that. Whether it’s overcoming disability, breaking stereotypes or even just relating the triumphs of everyday lives, I seek out those stories that can uplift, encourage and inspire.

This, here, is just a space to record some of that joy.



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Decoding Khalid Al Ameri

The well-loved Emirati content creator talks about why he’s on a mission to “reshape” the negative narratives about the region

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Remembering the ‘Tramp’ who became king

Charlie Chaplin was a legend, the epitome of physical comedy. Here’s doffing our collective bowler hats to the man who still makes us laugh, 130 years on

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Settling war crimes... with music

Former child soldier Arn Chorn-Pond on transforming Cambodia’s identity from killing fields to living arts

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‘I want to be known for my food, not my screaming’

Famed British chef Gordon Ramsay on why he’s willing to eat raw sea urchins, which chefs don’t get his sympathy, and why trying to disconnect his reel-life persona from his off-screen one is a lost cause — but an undeniably profitable one

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‘I wouldn’t be happy if I was just another trust fund kid’

How a two-hour wait for a two-minute interview with Paris Hilton is enough time to appreciate everything that goes into crafting the image of a hotel heiress who’s nobody’s fool — at least in the world of business and boardrooms

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‘I want people to react to photography’

‘Afghan Girl’ photographer Steve McCurry on clicking one of the world’s most recognisable photographs — and why he could never tire of the attention that followed

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Bello, in Italian, means beautiful. But for this death-defying stuntman — in town to promote his latest event called The Ultimate — it might as well mean ‘no fear’

Diversions, Khaleej Times
‘Mandela, my friend’

Interview with Christo Brand, former prison guard of Nelson Mandela

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From Ruskin, with love

Sixty years on and with pen firmly in hand, Ruskin Bond proves he’s still as capable of enchanting readers as he was when he first began

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The complete picture

Modern-day India’s veritable Picasso, MF Husain, speaks about life as an artist and the profession he would rather have chosen instead


Khaleej Times
We all need to be thinking trash

It’s really easy to write waste off as someone else’s problem — until we recognise its source. And it has a lot to do with us

Diversions, Khaleej Times
Dear Black Mamba, from a non-fan

The world has lost a gladiator. That NBA superstar Kobe Bryant could touch the lives of millions around the world, none of whom could deny his status as GOAT, is his legacy

Diversions, Khaleej Times
Why December is springtime in my world

December, to me, signifies a hundred reasons for joy. Maybe more. It's like someone's spritzed a fresh bottle of Euphoria into the air

People & Life

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Meet the chef without a stomach

A tumour took her tummy, but not her appetite for life. Food blogger Natasha Diddee on having to give up her “unladylike” sleeping ways, eating for “greed” now, and a taste for telling it like it is

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Bumping into SRK, Sallu and MJ — in Dubai

What’s it like to be a dead ringer for cultural icons? We catch up with impersonators of Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, and King of Pop Michael Jackson, and discover that life does imitate art in more ways than one

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Are you from here, there or everywhere?

Exploring the Third Culture Kid phenomenon — and how one can be perfectly ‘homeless’ and perfectly at home at the same time

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Navigating toxic relationships

All human ties face ups and downs; they bind and, sometimes, they gag. But there are times when the going is so bad that the best way out is... out. And close the door firmly behind you

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My hairdresser is my shrink

They do wonders for your hair — and, apparently, for your mind too. The long and short of how salon ladies are actually great armchair therapists and gossip buddies to boot

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Lest we forget

As patients with Alzheimer’s battle a blurring of reality, the foot soldiers — Alzheimer’s caregivers — are often given short shrift, taken for granted

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The inheritance of loss

The death of a loved one is a traumatic experience. Life goes on, they say, but that's easier said than done. How do you come to terms with this legacy of grief?

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The kindness of strangers

Sometimes, in the most desperate of situations, help comes from the ones you've never known. These 13 real life stories from folks around town could renew your faith in humanity again

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Love is in the air

It’s a high-flying feeling to be loved — but another altogether when you discover your soul mate on the same flight, thousands of feet above solid ground

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Living on the edge

What would push you to call reporting from the war front or car-racing your ‘dream job’? It’s not the thrills that make you want to push the envelope: it’s a calling that goes much deeper than that

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What’s in a name?

From the startling to the curious to the plain inspiring, our monikers are what identify us from the world’s Joes and Janes

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Odd jobs

Having a great job doesn’t mean working 9-5 in a stuffy suit and a cubicle. Some career paths may not be conventionally prestigious, but they are far from ordinary

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Are you a hero?

Dr Philip Zimbardo’s Heroic Imagination Project is an offshoot of his highly controversial Stanford prison experiment. Does the spirit of the lionhearted really lurk in us all?

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V stands for Valentine

With Cupid doing the rounds again and perfectly poised to strike, we speak to those couples that have stood — and beaten — the trusty test of time

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We are family

They say adoption is a celebration of life... and that it will change your life forever. We talk to Dubai’s own adoptive families about the children who were ‘born in their hearts’

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To the rescue

They are the first guys you call when danger’s afoot. A look inside the centre of emergency operations at Dubai Police

Breaking Stereotypes

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The bald and the beautiful

When women lose their locks, it’s almost like living with a stigma. But with more celebrities sharing their experiences of how crowning glories turned into hair loss stories, the conversation is gaining ground and women are finding their own ways to de-stress over their tresses

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Meet the #FitGals of Dubai

Deadlifts? Kettlebells? Bench presses? No problem. Strength training is the new battle cry for these women and, no, they’re not lumbering around like female versions of The Hulk either

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Being man enough to nurse

It’s no longer a woman’s prerogative to be a caregiver: meet some gents who do not think there is anything ‘odd’ about choosing professional nursing as a career

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Beating the odds

Living with Parkinson’s disease, Gity Bazargan says she could feel sorry for herself — but that would be a waste of energy. A positive frame of mind is the guiding force

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A beautiful mind

Disability can be crippling but Sujit Sukumaran beat the odds by choosing NOT to feel disabled. In the process, he discovered something called ‘Discoverable Ability’

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Loud and clear

The signs are right for deaf-mute couple Rubina and Sadath Kola as they learn to live — and communicate — just like any of us

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Marriage? Kids? Not now, darling

Many women, today, are stashing away marriage and kids for farther down the road — and they are unapologetic about saving the best for later

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Who said the blind can’t dance?

Dubai-based Kathak dancer Pali Chandra wouldn’t have believed it herself but after teaching visually-challenged kids this year, seeing means believing

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Big is beautiful

Dubai's 'real women' tell us why it's hip to be curvy in a size zero world

Social Issues

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When bumps don’t turn into babies

Why dismantling the long-standing taboo surrounding miscarriages — when neither society nor culture grants you the resources to deal with the deep loss of an unborn child — continues to be an uphill battle

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When the dying ask for dignity

When it's time to 'pass on', addressing physical suffering alone cannot ease anxieties. After all, how does one prepare for the end? Find out why palliative and hospice care — holistic services that ensure quality of life for the critically or terminally ill — are the need of the hour in the UAE

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SOS @ Life

You may feel you have reached the point of no return — and that taking your own life may be the only escape from a bitter reality. But there are ways to bounce back, to get back to living

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Collateral damage

Poppy cultivators in rural Afghanistan are often forced to give up their daughters to drug traffickers as a trade-off. Filmmaker Najibullah Quraishi captures it all in his documentary Opium Brides

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One for the road

With Middle East roads classified the second most dangerous in the world, authorities are now moving into top gear to crack down on motor maniacs

Making a Difference

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Meet the supermums of Dubai

All their worlds were turned upside down when, years ago, they found out their children would have to cope with lifelong conditions — including almost-unheard-of diseases. But today, these mums are at the forefront of campaigning for determined children by advocating inclusion, raising awareness and giving hope to other parents on the same journey

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‘She came to save lives’

In a horrific twist of medical negligence, a Dubai-based couple lose their baby girl — but grief gives way to a pioneering charity in Pakistan that is working to ensure no other parent has to go through what they did ever again

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The F Word

How many of us practise forgiveness as a counter to the breeding ground of hatred? Former British journalist Marina Cantacuzino has been building up a collection of stories featuring those who believe it’s only human to err — and divine to forgive

Diversions, Khaleej Times
The bitter truth

Award-winning documentary maker Miki Mistrati talks about what really happens on cocoa plantations and why chocolate doesn’t taste so divine anymore

Mental Health

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Is mental health on your mind?

It should be. May is the month when the world turns a willing spotlight onto mental wellness — a subject that’s gaining traction, but has far more ground to gain when it comes to shutting down stigmas

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The doubting disease

You’ve locked the front door but what if you didn’t? What if something terrible happens to your family because you didn’t check it one last time — for the 20th time? Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a tormenting stream of constant doubt

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When mind IS the matter

For many sufferers of bipolar disorder, surfing on the emotional highs can be unpredictable and addictive — but the spiral into depression is just as real

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From bumps to blues

Do you feel like bursting into tears — instead of beaming with pride — when you hold up your baby? For a lot of new mommies, there’s no escaping postpartum depression

Looking Forward


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Been there, can’t beat that

Bean There Bistro in Garhoud is the latest in a slew of fine casual places to hit the dining scene. Caution: you will go back for more

Diversions, Khaleej Times
The only grouch you may ever love

Fredrik Backman’s debut novel A Man Called Ove is a wonderfully uplifting and poignant read for the grump in us all

Diversions, Khaleej Times
A beautiful mind

Emma Healey makes an unlikely heroine out of an 82-year-woman suffering from dementia in Elizabeth is Missing — and that’s precisely what makes it so utterly unforgettable

Diversions, Khaleej Times
Cry freedom

Sue Monk Kidd’s richly imagined account of the Grimké sisters’ fight against slavery in The Invention of Wings will make your heart soar

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Ties that bind

Khaled Hosseini is at his best with And The Mountains Echoed, offering literary beauty that is gut-wrenchingly compelling and oh-so-real

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Five-foot delight

Popular speciality restaurant Aryaas delivers on the hype surrounding its humble South Indian fare

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Ski, myself and Irene

There’s little to beat hitting the slopes during summer — if you can keep from skiing out of control, that is

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G.I. Jane

Paintball can be a great way to exercise; perhaps even vent some much pent up frustration — but there’s more to it than just getting trigger-happy


wknd. magazine, Khaleej Times
FRIENDS for life

On September 22, 1994, the first episode of Friends was aired. Here’s celebrating 20 years of one of the greatest shows to ever grace the small screen