Here We Start

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Dear Sail Readers,

In this issue, the 15th, we present different topics from across the community, science, art and life with all our amazing 9 columnists who constantly try to shed light on what matters to them.

This issue includes:

  • Community Talk: Khalid Al Ameri discusses the issues of educating youth on career choices and areas of development from a young age
  • Food for Thought: Shaima AlTamimi shows us the many ways in which food is used as universal medium for communication.
  • Just Another Undergrad: Fatma Bujsaim explains how change is not an easy thing to do; but sometimes people need to accept it in order for them to grow and develop.
  • Living Through The Eyes of Art: Hamda AlHashemi reflects on Joshua Watts artwork and concludes that not everything is what it seems to be; we are shaped by our experiences in life.
  • Microscopic Me: Rooda AlNeama explores the phrase ‘love is blind’ and its meaning in literature, science and poetry.
  • Scenes from Life: Rawan Albina reflects on the “Waiting for Godot” and how we often wait for something that we desperately want but it never happen.
  • Society of Tomorrow: Mohamed AlJuneibi describes how electronic gadgets and communication devices have now enabled the human eye to merge with the computer in a concept that is called: Augmented Reality or AR.
  • To The Point: Mohammed Kazim walks the readers through the causes of a failed healthcare and education system in the UAE despite the multitude of efforts to improve quality.
  • Words, Observations, and Ramblings: Reem Abdalla analyzes the term innovation and its types. She also shares with her readers examples of innovation application in the UAE.

June 2011’s issue:

Here We Start – Community TalkFood for ThoughtJust Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
Microscopic MeScenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

 

What Would You Like To Be When You Grow Up?

Khaled Al Ameri (@KhalidAlAmeri)

Khaled Al Ameri (@KhalidAlAmeri)

Emirati. Columnist. MBA @StanfordBiz. On a journey to make the world more beautiful. Khalid aspires to generate healthy discussions, spark positive change surrounding social issues that affect our everyday lives, and more importantly how we can improve and develop as a society to a better tomorrow.
Khaled Al Ameri (@KhalidAlAmeri)

Latest posts by Khaled Al Ameri (@KhalidAlAmeri) (see all)

By Khalid AlAmeri(@KhalidAlAmeri)

What do you want to be when you grow up? A classic question that opens the gates of dreams, ambitions and curiosity wide open; allowing kids to truly think of where they see themselves in the future.  But what if you were never asked that question? What if you were never given the opportunity to think outside the four walls of the classroom into the real world?  You see, I was never asked by any member of the faculty what I wanted to do after high school or university, and with the business landscape at the time, parents expected us to either become bankers or engineers.  So the outcome was inevitable, its summer 2001, I am standing on stage in my high school graduation robe thinking  “now what?”

After graduation, the process was pretty straightforward for UAE nationals; you handed in your transcripts to as many local universities, government companies and education councils hoping for sponsorship and you pretty much took what you could get.  Our leaders have always put higher education at the forefront of our country’s development; they give citizens every opportunity to continue either locally or abroad.  The only issues that come up are of misalignment & lack of career awareness during the administration process between the local authorities and citizens seeking sponsorship.

Midway through the summer of 2001, I was given the opportunity to study Environmental Science by a local education authority. Aside of that opportunity, even though I am sure I ticked the finance box on the form as the major of preference , I was somehow offered to study the marine transportation sector from a local oil company. I took the later as the oil industry was a safer bet at the time but did I want to be learning about & working on ships? I did not know, nobody ever asked me.

With the pressure to complete my studies and start working, I am sure you can all relate, I had to wait until after graduating university to truly discover what I wanted to do in life.  After much self-reflection post university graduation, combined with capitalizing on opportunities that presented themselves, I realized that business, entrepreneurship and writing were my passions in life.  That, however, does not mean future generations have to endure the same initial confusion and delayed discovery. So how do we go about educating our kids on the great wide world and what it has to offer them?  Well it all starts with their immediate surroundings for the first 15 years of the educational life, schools.

One UAE based school’s mission statement included a line that goes “We want our students to become life-long learners and make a difference in a challenging global environment”.  The way I see it, the best way to prepare kids for the challenging global environment is to find out where their skills, talents and passions lie then prepare them accordingly.  Seems pretty simple but the reality of our education system is a whole other matter.

I read an article in a local newspaper not too long ago that discussed how Emirati students were pursing education and how it will affect their entry into the workforce.  The article raised a good point that current arts focused students were not as equipped as their science based counterparts for the future industrial & technology based local markets of the UAE. I agree wholeheartedly.

What surprised me while reading the article was the description of Arts based curriculum as ‘wrong’.  How can any education be wrong? I understand that it may not directly fit into the long-term development of the country, but what is truly important is that the education, no matter the form, fits into the long-term development of the individual. This, I believe, is how true leaders are bred; by doing things they love and becoming excellent at them.  Whether its leaders of business, media, or arts, they all have a vital role to play in the social and economic development of our country.

Until today, I strongly believe that schools in the UAE and globally are not doing enough to educate our children on the diverse working world that awaits them; and if they are, the focus is restricted to traditional industries such as finance or manufacturing.  A school plays a critical role in shaping the minds of our children and should create an environment where they are allowed to explore & discover their talents.  Additionally, schools today should put an equal emphasis on social subjects and arts as they do math and science to at least level the playing field.

Teachers should engrain creative thinking into each of their classes and give students a chance to showcase their individual talents in their everyday education. I consider it a crime and a huge loss to society for any child to be told he or she cannot do something just because it does not fit perfectly into the school’s traditional picture of a future career.

International Author and speaker on education, Sir Ken Robinson, capped off his 2010 TED Talk with a short poem which ends with ‘Everyday, everywhere our children spread their dreams beneath our feet, and we should tread softly’.  If I could go back in time and pass on a message to my teachers it would be ‘Ask me what I want to be when I grow up. Unlock my hopes and dreams, and when you do, embrace those dreams, and remember, tread softly.

June 2011’s issue:

Here We Start – Community Talk – Food for ThoughtJust Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
Microscopic MeScenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

The Universal Language of Food

Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

Shaima, a 20 something year old who loves to immerse herself in all things fresh and interesting. She loves to travel, observe people and experience new cultures. Her quarterly column “Food for Thought” discusses important social topics from thought provoking perspectives. Shaima is also a food blogger
Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

By Shaima AlTamimi (@iamshaima)

If there is one thing that amazes me in this world, it would be the universal language of food. Globally, people can speak different languages, live different lives and lead separate lifestyles. But in the end, food is the one thing we all have in common and one of things that brings us all together. After all, “man’s gotta eat”.

To me, food is not just about curbing one’s hunger or the act of merely dumping fruits and vegetables into your system. It is about so many other things that define us as human beings apart from being a means to survive. The language that food speaks to me is representing culture, traditions and above all love. No matter what part of this earth you are from, you are bound to have a totally unique experience into the culture of a country through food.

In many cultures, food plays a significant part in defining family roles and tradition.  More often than not, it is a symbol or token of hospitality, appreciation and respect. Picture an Arabic family gathered on the floor for a feast meal of rice and meat (normally known as Dhebeeha). If the head of a goat is served on a tray, and knowing that it is the most prized part of any livestock, that part would be automatically given to the boss of the family or the most noted person sitting around the meal. It is one of the ways in which the head symbolizes utmost respect, which is why in Arabic we have a saying that goes “Al Ra’s lil ra’ees” meaning “the head for the king”.

Across all cultures however, compassion is what it is when you distribute a hot plate to the needy. It reminds us to always remember the less fortunate and not take our blessings for granted. So always make sure you do not hastily waste it. If you have leftovers, re-create another dish out of it. Be playful, but respectful in utilizing it.

Comfort is what food brings on a gloomy cold day and the only thing that could lift up your damp spirits is a hearty bowl of lentil soup or a cup of hot chocolate whilst you are wrapped under a warm blanket. Food is also comfort when you are mad at the world and suddenly find yourself embracing a bucket of ice cream before plunging to the binge.

Food is love when a loved one spends time in the kitchen to prepare a meal for their family to lunch or dine over. It is certainly love when you gather together as a family to eat and end up sharing stories of your day and cracking jokes.

Food conjures memories when baking brownies with your kids and you pretend to not notice that they licked the sinfully yummy chocolate batter off the bowl whilst you were not looking. It is also nostalgic in that certain tastes and aromas can take you back to a different time or place and make you reminisce over the good old days of your childhood or kitchen disasters in the dorms.

Have you ever thought of all the ways in which food speaks to people and above all bring them together? I guess the reason I am writing about this is to shed some light on the important role the food plays in our lives. That said, it surprises me how nowadays people do not care to go through the length of preparing it. Instead they order take-out and dine out more often than enjoying a home cooked meal. To me, that is like almost stripping off half the fun by taking such shortcuts.  Do not you get a sense of achievement after making something from scratch and have everyone gobble it down in minutes?

Ok, so you cant cook well, but like everything else you learned to do, practice makes perfect. If you can make time for certain things in your life, you can certainly accommodate an hour of your time to know what you are feeding yourself. Get back to basics, quitting relying on outsourcing your food and have fun in the kitchen. It is the most powerful way to show love and it creates fond memories like no other.

 

June 2011’s issue:

Here We StartCommunity Talk – Food for Thought – Just Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
Microscopic MeScenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Embracing Change

Fatma Bujsaim (@FatmaBujsaim)

Senior Editor. Ex- Column: Just Another Undergrad

After graduating with a Bachelor degree in International Studies and a minor in converged media, Fatma still finds herself hungry for knowledge, which led to her enrolling in a postgraduate program. Her passion for both reading and writing has made her extend her stay in Sail eMagazine so that she can learn & develop her skills. When not buried in her books and novels, Fatma is found on tennis courts or in a classroom learning a new language.
She wrote her previous column: “Just another undergrad” hoping she can give what she didn’t have when she was a freshman: comfort and guidance, and also bring back memories to all those graduates out there. She wonders if things are going to be the same after graduation.

Latest posts by Fatma Bujsaim (@FatmaBujsaim) (see all)

By Fatma Bujsaim (@FatmaBujsaim)

I have recently noticed that people in general tend to stick with what they are used to and would avoid change in any way possible. I must confess, I am one of those people myself. I never noticed this in myself until someone told me “you must change (named a certain thing) in order to progress and develop.” I was very defensive at the beginning but tried later on to understand the other person’s point of view.

After that incident, I started to observe people, myself included. I noticed that a lot of us do not want to change certain things. When asked why, our answer would be as simple as “just because.” but because what? And we would answer the same thing again: “just because.”

“Just because” is not a good answer; and so I observed closer and closer. Some of us just like what we have or where we are and refuse the thought of change. There are some of us who might not be satisfied with what we have yet refuse change because of fear. Fear of failure maybe or fear of unhappiness; it could be fear of anything depending on the individual himself or herself.

But of course, not all change is healthy. On one hand, we have changes that are for the best, positive change. They help us develop, grow, and become happier in different ways. Positive change not only affects us but also the people around us. On the other hand, we have changes that are for the worse, negative change. Those changes create chaos, destruction, and only end up bringing us down.

A change does not mean being different for the sake of being different. A change is an alteration. Whether it was to the better or worse depends on how the individual decides to make those changes. But when facing an issue that requires us to change something that we got used to, we must consider every angel and side of the situation and the consequences. To what path the change itself will lead to lies on us. We not only create change, we also create its possibilities.

At some point in life, everyone around us will change and will become different from who they were before. We never remain in the same place forever; life moves us forward. We need to learn to stop fighting change and start accepting it. I am proud to say that through the advice given to me, I have embraced change. I believe it is growth in my abilities as a person; from today, I am no longer writing my signature line.

 

June 2011’s issue:

Here We StartCommunity TalkFood for Thought – Just Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
Microscopic MeScenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Joshua Watt’s Between the Lines

Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi)

Column: Art of Living 101. Previously as: Living Through The Eyes of Art
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.

Latest posts by Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi) (see all)

By Hamda AlHashemi (@Hamda_Alhashemi)

“Just as light going through a prism becomes an entire spectrum, the ideas, contexts, and motivations embedded within our daily lives are always more than what they appear on the surface.” That was part of Joshua Watts’s artist statement regarding his latest exhibition, “Between the Lines”. Perception is a beautiful word, it goes beyond what every other human eye sees and instead focuses on what you see from your experience and state of mind.

Watts used a magnificent metaphor to imply an essential idea in our daily lives. Just like the way light passes through a prism, is a word misunderstood or a situation analyzed in the wrong way. Even though the light source comes from the same source, it divides into different colors when it passes through the prism. Likewise, a word is a word meant in a certain way but when it passes through the ears of the listeners, they each understand it in their own way.

In Joshua’s latest artwork, one sees a regular object or a simple photograph, surrounded by other elements. Each element plays its part in conveying a meaning in that photograph or object or maybe even changing its meaning entirely. This is how life is; we judge and act upon what we see in front of us. But in reality, every person and every action has been exposed to certain elements just like the photographs in Watts’s artwork.

“The form is not simply a reflection of the concept, but an embodiment of it,” (Watts, 2011). Looking at Watts’s work, not only did I enjoy the aesthetical beauty of the visuals, but also I was able to feel something by looking at the different techniques used to influence the focal point. With every stitch he made, stroke of color he added, he reflected a story from life.

We are but a bundle of flesh and blood shaped by moments of happiness, drops of tears, the sound of laughter, and shared emotions. Exhaling what life offers us is not something we can exhale without undergoing change.

While looking at Watts’s work I remembered a girl I met in my first year of college. She was so quiet and she never smiled or expressed any emotion or opinion other than indifference. After a while, I found out that that girl had undergone horrible catastrophes like the death of her family in an accident that she survived.

In the end, everything is connected. Watts’s art piece “Everyday Rituals” demonstrates that perfectly. His art piece was like his diary; he documented his daily mood or thoughts through adding a color that translates his feeling. When I looked at the final piece it seemed like everyday leaks into the other day’s color. And that is how life is; yesterday is part of today and today will play a role in what we do tomorrow.

“Like combining many different dialects into a single language, the unique ideas presented by each element interact and coalesce within the picture plane, forming a cohesive whole,” (Watts, 2011). Everything is the product of something else. Sometimes we eat a delicious meal and then discover than we do not like all the ingredients. So even if we go through a rough situation, it will eventually make us stronger and lead us to a better life. Embrace what life offers; the more we experience, the more colorful our lives will be.

 

June 2011’s issue:

Here We StartCommunity TalkFood for ThoughtJust Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art – Microscopic MeScenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Love is Blind

Rooda Al Neama (@ThinkDubai)

Rooda joins Sail Magazine to explore the different viewpoints of current issues. She hopes to share her thoughts and experiences through her column. Passionate about writing, Rooda wants to build up her writing portfolio to eventually include a novel.

Latest posts by Rooda Al Neama (@ThinkDubai) (see all)

By Rooda Al Neama (@ThinkDubai)

“Love is blind” is a saying many of us use whether we are trying to prove a point to our friends about their love interest or when we realize flaws we have never seen before in those we love.  What we do not realize or particularly know is the origin of the phrase; I mean have you ever considered the fact that if you say “love is blind” to any person in this world they would understand you and nod their head in agreement?  It is one of those clichés that never gets old or too sappy.

It started with the Romans and Greeks that had a love God by the name of Eros, translated to Cupid in Latin.  When sculpting him, they had a blindfold over his eyes to indicate that love is blind as lovers are blind to the faults and flaws of those they love; and so the saga started.

In literature, the phrase was used across cultures. Shakespeare uses this idea and phrase into “The Merchant of Venice” saying “For I am much ashamed of my exchange: But love is blind and lovers cannot see” re-emphasizing the fact that when you are indeed in love, it blinds you to the point where the other persons shameful traits and habits are overlooked.  In Arabian Literature, the renowned Kais Ibn Al Molawah, also known as Majnoon Laila (Crazy about Laila), when describing Laila in his poetry he would focus on her perfection to an exaggerated extent. In one of his poetry verses he says “If the full moon shall not rise today, you can take its place with your glowing beauty, and if the sun did not shine, you will take its place at dawn” showing how his love for her blinded him to the extent where she seemed perfect to even replace the moon and the sun.

In religions, we see that “love is blind” has been incorporated as well with the legendary Priest Valentinus who was jailed for holding marriage ceremonies in secret and consequently put in jail.  He then fell in love with the jailer’s blind daughter and prayed for her eyesight to return. Miraculously, she regains her sight but as with every tragic hero, he was sentenced to be executed. The day of his execution is celebrated today as Valentines Day, the day of love.

In Islam, Al-Imam Ali, an Islamic scholar said that one cannot have a clear mind with love as the enemy of the mind is love and that many minds are prisoners for the prince of love. He concludes that blindness is the faithful partner of love.

Science has also been influenced by this phenomenon, leading researchers to study the human mind to find a scientific explanation for our behavior when in love.  A recent study by two professors in the University College of London studying the different states of the brain found that being in love inhibits negative emotions such as anger. They also found that being in love affects the part of the brain that is involved in making judgments about the person you are in love with.  This proves that when a person is in love, their hormonal system changes and prevents them from actually seeing the person they are in love with in a complete realistic picture but rather a narrowed view of their perfection.

Through the many cultures, religions and science, we can confidently conclude that love is indeed blind.  Whether we have proof or not, we can observe ourselves and find that the way we perceive those we love is completely perfect and very different from what the person is in reality.

So the question is: love is blind but is it mute?

 

June 2011’s issue:

Here We StartCommunity TalkFood for ThoughtJust Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
– Microscopic Me – Scenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Waiting for the Unkown

Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

Rawan, CPCC, ACC, is a Professional Certified Coach, owner of Leap Coaching & Training whose life’s mission is to help women achieve their dreams.
Her strongly positive nature and calm demeanor enables her to gently draw out a person’s full potential as she helps them get in touch with their passions, find their purpose and LEAP into a truly fulfilling and extraordinary life.
Women who are at a crossroads in life, young women ‘Entreprenettes’ and teenagers have all found a strong guide in Rawan who has helped them discover the life skills needed to begin the new phases in their life with confidence.

Latest posts by Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina) (see all)

By Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

I read “Waiting for Godot” at university and I must admit that I found it to be the most boring piece of literature I had ever read. It is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. I always wondered why on earth do they even bother including such a book in any curriculum but I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the play had been interpreted in many different ways and was actually voted “The most significant English language play of the 20th century.”

So much for my opinion as a student who had to get bored waiting for Godot to show up!

Of the many interpretations, some of them were political while others were psychological, philosophical and religious. The interpretations are very interesting and you can read more about them on Wikipedia so I will not get into them here. What I am interested in portraying here is how waiting for Godot started making sense to me over the years.

In my non-philosophical way of looking at it, waiting for Godot simply meant wasting your life waiting for that something that would never come. Waiting and expecting are two keywords here. It is amazing how many people I have met build their entire life around expectations. Playing a passive role in their own life because they believe that things will naturally happen; it is only a matter of time before what they want to achieve becomes a reality. Of course it is important to dream and trust that what you set your intention for will happen. But remember, that will not be without an active participation on your side.

Waiting for a promotion, a new job, a partner, waiting for your life to change or simply waiting for your luck to turn around. Waiting for things to get better because you know that you have always been a God-fearing, law-abiding person that never hurt anyone so what you are expecting out of life and what you want is bound to happen!

Well, I have got news for you. Nothing is bound to happen. You were bound to happen so you were born and then it is entirely up to you to figure out what your life purpose is and where you fit in the big picture. It might seem greener on the other side and sometimes in life you might get confused about what you should be doing because you keep getting those mixed signals. Remember that the most important thing here is to keep moving and never simply stop and wait because in most cases you will just be waiting in vain.

So Godot could be anyone or anything really. Godot could be the weather, a friend, fate or your boss. It could be joy, success, happiness or money. Godot, the way I see it, is simply the unknown, the expected that does not even exist yet and might never happen; which means that Godot has the power to disappoint time after time.

Someone once said, “It takes time to extract joy from life.” Although time passing might sometimes give you the impression that you are waiting for Godot, as long as you are actively extracting joy from life and sucking it all in, there is nothing to worry about. The unknown will soon be known and Godot might turn out to be a long lost friend that you would finally be very happy to see!

 

June 2011’s issue:

Here We StartCommunity TalkFood for ThoughtJust Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
Microscopic Me – Scenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Augmented Reality, Seeing the World With New Eyes

Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi)

Mohamed, an IT Professional with a background in web development, database administration, technical support, and project management. His work includes enhancing corporate systems and designs, and further enhancing current business strategies and processes.
Mohamed enjoys reading literature and political commentary, with a love for Sci-Fi reading and writing. He’s also a big Formula 1 fan, and also heads the Mercedes GP UAE Fan Club based in Abu Dhabi.

Latest posts by Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi) (see all)

By Mohamed AlJuneibi (@maljunaibi)

Last year, I remember downloading an application on my Google Android phone called: Layar. Layar is an amazing browser application that runs with the camera of your phone device. What makes this browser special is that it deploys a concept known as “Augmented Reality” or AR. Basically, AR is a concept where the camera of a device (in this case your standard mobile phone), merges with the browser to view the output from the camera with various information and data being display simultaneously as the camera is on.

What made this all the more intriguing for me was that the application, Layar, had the feature of installing certain plug-ins that integrate with other applications on your phone. An example of this was a plug-in that enabled users to track other twitter accounts within the geographical range of 500 Meters. I will be the first to admit that I thought it was all a novelty. But as it turned out, it did discover twitter accounts in and around my neighborhood. Interestingly enough, I was able to later become good friends with the people I had added via this small, yet significantly interesting layer.

AR is the future that many people (myself included) wanted. The ability for a person to be able to observe his/her surroundings and have a constant feed of information that describes the situation, temperature, background information, and other dimensions that were not readily available for that person.

Can you imagine the positive things that can happen here?

Imagine you going to your boss’s office one day asking for some help or advice. A lot of times, people (including managers) forget some of the important aspects that any relationship (in this case: manager and employee) builds on. Your manager needs you to help achieve the company’s objectives. You need your manager to help you reach those objectives and to play an important leading role in your career. Imagine your manager being able to analyze (while you explain your work or situation) the stress levels in your body, the amount of heartbeats during the meeting (and whether it is above or below average). It definitely sounds funny but if you were that manager, how would having those information and data affect your overall decision-making process?

Would you have been more lenient and kind towards your employee with higher stress levels? Would you have suggested a vacation had you seen that the person in front of you was showing key signs of mental stress or fatigue?

The world of AR is vastly becoming an area researchers are making significant progress in. One day, people would be able to purchase glasses and have an analytical data reader installed to it. It will look like the Terminator movies! Well, close enough.

While this information at our disposal may seem beneficial for most of our day to day lives, it can also become a future dependency for people. While it is ok to be able to see things in a much more contextual and factual manner, it is also important to stress the importance of critical thinking within a society that uses AR.
“The risk is that we lose sight of the larger picture of how ideas connect and can inform each other. In these circumstances we need more than access to information and ideas: we need ways of engaging with them, of making connections, of seeing principles and of relating them to our own experiences and identities. This too has important implications for the culture of organizations.”[1]

Critical thinking helps in enabling people to raise better questions and to look at a situation with an even deeper thought to the question proposed. As technology begins to play the role of visionary (in that they now challenge the eyes that we already possess), it is worth noting the importance of understanding what makes such technology (like AR) possible.

Whenever a particular area of the human mind is compromised, there is a good chance that it has been already substituted with an automated solution. In order to prove my point, I only need to use one classic example: the calculator.

 

The Strive for Quality Healthcare and Education in the UAE

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed, an Emirati involved in healthcare business development, comes with a background in biomedical & clinical engineering, technology management, finance, and business setup related project management. Mohammed has a keen interest in relevant social, religious, economic, and cultural affairs.
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.
Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Latest posts by Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim) (see all)

By Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

During this past month, I have come across many articles, tweets, and other publications that ridicule the standard of healthcare and education in the UAE. Although for the most part the criticism may be valid, I believe there is also a lot being done to combat the lagging standards of education and healthcare in the UAE. However, the effectiveness of what is being done is still questionable. In this month’s article, I will attempt to give a very high level summary of the situation as I see it and offer some recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the efforts to harbor quality products & services.

In the past few years, the UAE has been trying to tackle the identified issue of low quality healthcare and education by employing several methods. Some attempts included changing the government officials responsible for those industries, creating stricter guidelines and regulations, providing interactive online services, and incentivizing the private sector to take a lead role in developing these areas.

Although these improvements were hoped to drastically alter the efficiency and quality of services provided, I believe the upside effect was minimal in terms of impact on quality. In reality, what the new services introduced was a rigid and strict system that posed as an obstacle towards improvement of quality rather than simplifying its introduction into the UAE. For example, very recently, the UAE could not register a specialized surgical nurse to assist in surgery due to the lack of such a classification in the system, even though the use of such a nurse would increase efficiency of surgeries and secure safety measures for the patient. Many similar non-value added situations can be witnessed, whether it be attesting your college degree, admitting children into school, or even simply getting a medical check-up.  These inefficiencies tend to impede quality improvement due to the level of complexity they add to the process.

In my opinion, the efforts exhausted to improve healthcare and education have not been effective for simply the reason of not understanding the industries’ requirements.   The introduction of quality is not merely putting in stricter guidelines but requires an understanding of the situation and ability to adapt to each on a case by case basis. Based on my experience, the following two general rules of thumb would open doors to drastic quality improvement in the realms of healthcare and education.

First, it is crucial to maintain a high quality workforce that is competent enough to understand the challenges of each health/education provider as well as the requirements for delivering high quality. This implies the need to increase the salaries of policy makers and regulators to attract the best talent. However, high salaries are not enough to attract and retain such talent. It is crucial that their driving forces be identified and investments be made to foster them. These could include personal research funds, membership to global societies of policy makers, regular training, and travel to benchmark standards and share results.  It is important that every employee be focused on.

Second, flexibility.. flexibility.. flexibility. In order to facilitate change, it is very important that processes and regulation be flexible enough to accommodate innovative techniques that may not be industry norms but proven to be effective and safe.  For example, a new teaching method or surgical technique should be approved although it is not the industry standard as long as it can achieve outstanding results. Without flexibility, the ability to innovate or improve quality provision would be impossible. Innovation and change needs to arise from a flexible system where not only the rules can be created based on requirements but also where the employees have the flexibility to think outside the box.

In summary, although many efforts have been put into improving the quality of healthcare and education provision in the UAE, the efforts have not been successful. A major contributor to the failure in quality improvement in these areas is the mere lack of understanding of the industries’ requirements. I believe that with the employment of a competent workforce and a flexible environment, the UAE can achieve a better understanding of these industries’ and accelerate quality improvement.

 

June 2011’s issue:

Here We StartCommunity TalkFood for ThoughtJust Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
Microscopic MeScenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
– To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings

 

The Importance of Innovation

Reem Abdalla (@Reem096)

Reem, a 24 years old Emirati female who will stand up for any cause she believes in and is curious by nature. She believes in connecting the dots and coloring the world with her magic markers. As a marketer, she likes to sell her ideas. As a female, she tends to listen and support. As a UAE National, she stands by her country and religion.
Reem aims through her quarterly column to explore issues in society and discuss emerging new trends. Listen to other people’s thought and view their perspectives about the subject. Then raise questions and form unbiased conclusions about it.

Latest posts by Reem Abdalla (@Reem096) (see all)

By Reem Abdallah (@Reem096)

Innovation began with man since the beginning of time. A solid definition is difficult for innovation because it has been defined and redefined many times, and it differs from one person to another and one company to the other. According to (Pontiskoski and Asakawa, 2009), innovation is “the use of new technological and market knowledge to offer a new product or service that customer will want.”

We cannot pinpoint to when was the start of innovation; however, we know that we cannot survive without innovation. Going back to year 1750, when Benjamin Franklin first discovered electricity, that was a breakthrough invention and first of its kind. That was a platform for further innovations and discoveries. From there on further, breakthrough innovation has been created to enhance new products and develop it further.

Most innovations, people did not know they actually needed them in their everyday life but now became major part of their living. Let us take the example of Google, Facebook and YouTube. These websites became part of our everyday life. They were created for certain purposes and now we cannot imagine if they did not exist.

Innovation is a major factor in any company’s success; it does not just bring them growth but also new customers’ acquisition. Companies’ success can be measured throughout the centuries with their new innovative products. The persisting question that companies ask today is not “should we innovate?” but “how should we innovate?”

Innovation can be achieved in various ways. There is “Product/Service Innovation,” which is introducing new or sustainably improved product/service to the market, which can create a new line business for company/marketplace. “Process Innovation” is another form of innovation, implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method; this can include innovation in the supply chain or marketing method.

Another form is model innovation, which is divided into two. “Breakthrough Innovation”: radical innovation that is by launching “first of its kind” product in the market it is in or in the region. This type of innovation is created by few people/firms. “Incremental Innovation”: a product with enhanced features and usability; product innovation is when a firm/person takes an existing product that is available in the market and enhances it to make it an innovative product.

Inventions are another form of innovation. The UAE has seen many inventors that received global recognition and appreciation for their inventions.

One of the inventions by Dr. Awad Alkhalaf, Dr. Husein Elmehdi, and Dr. Ibrahim Kamel was the portable ultrasonic instrument that can be used to distinguish meats that were slaughtered from those which were killed using other methods. Another invention by them that received global appreciation was the portable ultrasonic instrument used to distinguish pig meat (pork) amongst meats of other origin.

Inventions are not only secluded to companies and academic but also students. As an Emirati student, Khalid Mohammed Al Shammari designed a great invention that will help save lives and hopefully reduce the UAE’s car fatality rates. Khalid designed an electronic wiring from the seatbelt/ fastening and linking it to the car engine and the gearbox enabling the driver to switch on the engine and move the gear only when the seatbelt is fastened.

Lets not forget the solar powered wheel chair invention by the Emirati Haidar Taleb. Haidar broke Guiness Book of World Records by recording longest distance traveled in a solar-powered wheelchair. Haidar broke the record after he completed his journey of 80 miles in his chair in a 14-hour trip from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah.

Who knew we would ever eat a shawarma with Thai peanut sauce or alfredo sauce? Yes, Wild Peeta has done that. They brought in a generic shawarma that we have been eating for years and transformed it. After this fusion invention, a generic shawarma will never taste the same again.

Switch Restaurant in The Dubai Mall has also changed our acquired taste of burgers with their “Camel Burger” addition. The camel burger has been seen with a lot of skepticism but is now considered as a delicacy, which the restaurant is being known for.

Innovation is everywhere around us whether its small or big. Human beings are the greatest innovators and through companies, opportunities and the proper resources, people can grow their innovations. We live in an age of technology and enhancement but these only come because people grow or are allowed to explore & given the right resources to enhance these innovation. The UAE has seen great innovations because it gave their people a window of opportunity for their inventions and provided them with great support. These innovators were just people with great ideas whom defied the world and brought their ideas to life. I believe if you have a great idea, go ahead, work on it and be the innovator you should be.

 

June 2011’s issue:

Here We StartCommunity TalkFood for ThoughtJust Another Undergrad
Living Through The Eyes of Art
Microscopic MeScenes From Life
Society of Tomorrow
To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings