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,

As we present to you our 18th issue this month, Muslims across the globe are celebrating Eid AlFitr. It is the joyful occasion after fasting the holy month of Ramadan, and in which families visit and congratulate each other, with all the festivities around the cities in the honor of this occasion. Sail team wishes all our readers a very blessed Eid.

As we always aspire to introduce to you new columns that are relevant to our daily lives and society; in this issue we introduce a new column named: “The First Years Last Forever” by our new columnist Ayesha AlJanahi. Ayesha joins us in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization in which they tackle the importance of early childhood development, and offer guidance and in-depth analysis on the matter.

Also, a note from our columnist Hamda AlHashemi to let you know that she renamed her column from “Living Through the Eyes of Art” into “Art of Living 101”.

Without further due, here is a brief on this issue’s articles:

  • Art of Living 101: Hamda AlHashemi reflects on life’s situations, and ponders on one: isn’t this the worst thing that could happen? Maybe it is, but then again maybe it’s not.
  • Community Talk: Khalid AlAmeri discusses the various initiatives to kick start the UAE’s entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Food for Thought: Shaima AlTamimi reveals the staggering statistics of sick leave abuse by Emirati employees and determines whether it is a cause for stereotyping Emiratis.
  • Just Another Undergrad: Fatma Bujsaim wonders when opinions are mistaken for facts and everyone gets defensive, what are we to do?
  • Society of Tomorrow: Mohamed AlJunaibi expresses his reflections of Ramadan and Eid AlFitr
  • The First Years Last Forever: Ayesha AlJanahi explains the importance of disciple in the child’s early years, and suggests three strategies to teach children self-control.
  • The Mind’s Eye: Moad Bukhash being a technology addict, meditates in Kashmir away from all technologies, which allowed him to see that we can slow down at times and take things in with nothing but amazement.
  • To the Point: Mohammed Kazim explains the purpose of the holy month of Ramadan as piety, and suggests ways to maintain it through out the year.
  • Too Blunt for Words: Fatma AlKhaja described the clubs formed by employees at the work place to get noticed, and that eventually gets them the promotion.
  • Words, Observations, and Ramblings: Every human being has dreams and aspirations. Reem Abdalla tries to bridge between ‘Dreams’ and ‘Reality’ by following a simplified model.

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start – Art of Living 101Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Enjoy the reads!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

 

The Blessings in Misfortune

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)

In the books of history, in fairytales and novels, in movies and in life itself, we read and we see problems, obstacles and how messed up peoples’ lives can be. But eventually we realize, it is not the end of the world. It is not the end of the world to be poor, it is not the end of the world to lose someone, and it is not the end of the world to get sick. Richard Bach once said, “there is no disaster that cannot become a blessing, and no blessing that cannot become a disaster.”

Whenever I open a news channel and see what is happening around the world like in Somalia, Palestine, or Libya, I immediately say “thank God”! There are people out there who are suffering from things they can hardly control and manage while I might be whining about my car that broke down yesterday, or how hot the weather is, or the fact that I lost something. Honestly, thank God. It could always be worse.

I have been looking at some of the artwork using Arabic typography and came across Mohammed Damour’s art piece where he repeatedly used a phrase from the Holy Qur’an, which translates to “Allah’s blessing on you was magnificent”. His use of cool and warm colors together reminded me of how blessings and misfortunes are related; if we are in a very difficult situation, there will come a point where things get so bad and then all of a sudden things start to work out.

What can be worse than not getting a car? Getting into an accident. And what can be worse than getting into an accident? Suffering from a permanent injury such as blindness. And what can be worse than that? Being blind and deaf. And what can be worse than that? Being a homeless cripple with no family or friends to support you. And the list keeps going on and on and on. Can things get any worse? Maybe they can, maybe they cannot.

Most of us are in good health, we have a roof over our head, we have adequate food that we can survive on, and we have people to help us through some or most of our hardships. But when God puts us under a very simple test, we panic and we begin to create scenarios and act like we are the least fortunate people in the world. When that simple test starts, we become blind and we lose sight of everything beautiful in our life.

Jean De La Bruyere said a beautiful statement that still rings in my head whenever I face a problem; she said, “out of difficulties grow miracles.” When I look back and think about it, failing that test made me work harder and harder till I aced all of my other exams. When he lost his friend in an accident he became a much safer driver. They are all blessings in disguise. All we need is some patience where we need to understand what is truly happening and how every problem can benefit us on various levels.

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) once said that a faithful man will always be happy, if he faces a difficult situation he will be patient, and if he faces a fortunate situation he will be grateful. So it is a win-win situation because after patience, many locked doors will open. And that is one of God’s most magnificent blessings; happiness is in our own hands.

 

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
– Art of Living 101 – Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

The UAE’s Flourishing Entrepreneurial Opportunities

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)

In my books, 2011 has been the year of the entrepreneur particularly for the UAE.  Think about it, the Khalifa Fund has gone nation wide, increased its budget allocation and developed a mentorship program with one of the worlds most prestigious universities, The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Management.  Additionally, entrepreneurship is high on the government’s economic diversification agenda with the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development’s ‘Akoun Entrepreneurship Awareness’ program out in full swing; spreading the entrepreneurial message to universities and youth throughout the UAE.

Through this article I thought of raising a few different issues on the topic that is a little closer to home.  First, let me ask two questions, where did the entrepreneurial spirit amongst the people of UAE go and why did it seem to take more of a back seat role in driving the economy?

As a country & a people, we pride and model ourselves after our leadership, right?  So let us take the ultimate examples of the Late Sheikh Zayed & Sheikh Rashid.  These two beloved leaders were the ultimate entrepreneurs by the very definition of the word.

Together they united the country, developed various industries and created some of the largest soveirgn wealth funds in the world.  These great men had a vision and carried a country forward to realize it.

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul

Their ambitions for the UAE like all things carried inherent risks but at the same time reaped great rewards that we are all grateful to have today.  Now if that is not entrepreneurial, then I do not know what is.

I can understand that leadership initiatives, oil revenues and government support have played an enormous role in increasing the standard of living.  However, the UAE is literally screaming for new and exciting businesses from across the Emirates.

People of the UAE quote our leaders, present their history and honor their achievements.  But what better way to honor their memory than to follow in their footsteps and entrepreneurially bringing the type of social and economic value that our country and its leaders can be proud of.  Here are a few ways I think we can go about it.

First and foremost, Celebration! We need to start truly celebrating the entrepreneurs that made this country what it is today.  I had the honor of attending H.E Mohammed Al Fahim’s inspiring TEDx talk in Al Ain this year and he is literally to the UAE what Richard Branson is to the UK.

He is a man who started out with a little shop during Abu Dhabi’s early days to running one of the UAE’s largest conglomerates.  The people of the UAE and its youth need to hear these success stories consistently, and be reminded that some of the most successful people in the world today are the ones that led their own charge and created their own successful paths.

Moving on to entrepreneurship from an employment standpoint.  Some of the comments I hear all too regularly from friends and colleagues in the corporate job market are “They do not train me”, “ The work they give me is boring”, “I am thinking of changing my job”. Furthermore, with a recent survey that came out which stated almost 85% of Middle East executives are looking for a new job – I am not surprised.  But hold on, 85%! That is almost everyone right?

Well to all you 85% I have a solution; start your business and be your own boss.  Be in charge of your own workload, training and development.  Sounds too good to be true? Well I can tell you this, in the UAE it is not, in more ways than one.

All the right pieces of the puzzle are there for you to go out, develop your venture & lead your own charge.  The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has a fresh two billion dirhams. Local & International investment corporations are increasingly looking into venture capital financing, and last but certainly not least business incubators are becoming a critical part of the community thanks to initiatives like “The Shelter” and “The Hub”.

So you have the leaderships’ encouragement, start up financing and entrepreneurial community support. The opportunity is yours for the taking.

Finally, it is important to note that all the important incentives for entrepreneurs are specifically being developed for a ‘Competitive Market System’, which in turn is also the symbol of a sound economy.

With large conglomerates and family businesses prevalent in the market, an entrepreneur needs to believe he has a fighting chance. Which is why the UAE is giving SMEs a share in multi-million-dirham government business as they realize it is critical to increasing confidence amongst the aspiring entrepreneurs of our country. This I believe is the key to kick starting the entrepreneurial movement in the UAE.

At the Stanford Graduate School of Business Information session I attended last month, the Dean of Admissions told us a story about a Saudi MBA student, Fawaz Al Rajhi, who had a beautiful quote on entrepreneurship and discovery: ‘Instead of being afraid of failure, I am now more afraid of all the amazing opportunities I will miss out on’.

The UAE today is offering you every opportunity to realize your dreams, do not let them pass you by.

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101 – Community Talk – Food for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

How Some Emirati Employees Abuse the Sick Leave

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)

It has been a while since I wanted to discuss a topic of paramount importance and as I write this, something tells me this piece maybe a hit or miss. Either way, I know it needs to be discussed.

A few months ago, I was sitting with friends and family members and someone was making fun of how their colleagues always give lousy excuses to skip work. Another relative of mine who recently graduated from the UK, told me about a research she conducted for a company in the UAE as part of her dissertation program. She shared the following facts with us from her findings.

In the year 2009, the total number of sick leave days taken from a company of approximately 5000 employees was around 18,000 days. The vast nature of this company entails having employees at the HQ and employees in the fields. You would think that field employees would incur more sick leave days due to hazardous work conditions and hot weather, but think again. 65% of total sick leaves were taken by office employees.

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul

As common sense would also have it, the older you grow, the sicker you become right? Well in this case, 45% of sick leave taken was by employees under the age of 35. Employees over the age of 50 accounted for only 15% of total sick leave.

The real shocker now is in comprehending the fact that the UAE nationals make up almost 12,000 days of sick leave. Let us just assume that sick leave is the measure for well-being. Does this mean that Emiratis are sick and do not have access to proper healthcare? Surely not.

I find these statistics very disturbing, not only because they represent an obvious abuse of the corporate trust placed on employees, but mainly because many Emiratis ruin the reputation of their fellow colleagues who are hard working and sincere. The youth have been fighting this stereotypical phenomenon that Emiratis are lazy and do not work. I am not here to say this is true or false, but I am here to shed light on the fact that it does not apply to all Emiratis.

Contrary to popular belief, not all UAE nationals are born with a golden spoon in their mouth. Even if some are, many have the desire and determination to make a name for themselves just like anybody else.

Take Noura Al Kaabi from twofour54, a young lady who graduated from the UAE University and leads her company with all professionalism. There is Nayla Al Khaja, one of the leading Emirati directors who opened her own production company right after graduation. Let us not forget the Wildpeeta brothers who struggled to open their currently thriving Emirati Shawarma concept after 7 years of chasing for funding. How about Ali Al Saloom, who quit his government job to start his own cultural consultancy that now serves the biggest repeat private and government clients? Check out Saleh Al Braiki with his GCC wide initiative called “Think Up GCC” which is a platform for supporting Khaleejis start up businesses and talents. The list goes on with inspiring people that do more than just show up to work!

I fail to understand the high level of sick leave reports. Is it because Emiratis are not given enough responsibilities? Or, is it because they do not have the drive to carry out their responsibilities in a trustworthy manner? Perhaps some of them work for the sake of receiving a paycheck, but that heralds another problem where human resources do not give the best of their performance, leading to low productivity and waste of resources.

Minimizing the rate of such abuse is a matter that needs further research. We need to delve into the psychology of Emirati employees and understand the root of this cause as opposed to implement the traditional method of tightening sick leave rules. Investigation onto the employees’ morale and career goals could be a place to start when it comes to identifying how they wish to develop their careers for a mutual benefit. Going from rags to riches in 40 years, we have had a lot of adjustments to deal with at the speed of light. Perhaps this is why learning from other “Sick Leave Abuse” case studies may not apply, but I know one thing for sure, this is not a chronic trend and it can be changed with the right measures.

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Community Talk – Food for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Confusing An Opinion With A Fact

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 been dealing with a lot of stubborn people. Some of them are easy to deal with while others are extremely difficult. There is one person in particular that was very difficult to deal with; not only because she was stubborn, but also because she mixes between a fact and an opinion.

I was out with this friend shopping when I noticed her habit; she insisted that a shirt or a pair of pants look nice and I disagreed. She snapped and insisted that they are nice. We started arguing and I told her it is a matter of opinion and I do not like it; if she does, then she should go ahead and buy it. She did buy it but for the rest of the day (and all the other days I went out shopping with her), she insisted that whatever she liked was nice as if she was stating a fact.

It might be a fact for her, in her own mind. But when other people get involved the issue shifts from a “fact” in her terms to an “ opinion”. The problem is, people sometimes mistake an opinion for a fact and when they come to the realization that an opinion is an opinion, they cannot accept what others might say/think.

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul

On the one hand, a fact is defined as something that happened or exists. It is reality and the truth. For example: the people of Somalia are living in starvation. This is a fact because it is what is really happening in Somalia. A simpler example: the shirt is blue. It is a simple fact that we cannot change; if it is blue we cannot say it is green because it is blue.

On the other hand, the dictionary defines an opinion as “a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.” So it is basically a person’s view/attitude towards something based on their character. For example: I like this shirt or I think this shirt is nice. These two statements are complete opinions that anyone can disagree with.

People come from different backgrounds and have different personalities. Even if they had the same background, they will still have different personalities and these differences are what shape different opinions. If everyone had the exact same opinion then we would not move forward in life and technology/science would not develop as fast as it does now; it might not develop at all.

I must admit, I am stubborn myself When I find people who do not agree with my opinion I try to argue and convince them. But that does not mean I should impose my opinion on them. If they still do not believe in it then that is just their choice and I should respect their opinion. And as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “there are as many opinions as there are experts.”

 

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad – Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Reflecting on Ramadan & Helping Those in Need

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 AlJunaibi (@maljunaibi)

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul

In my article this month, I would like to take the opportunity to wish fellow readers happy and blessed Eid greetings extended from my side to you. While it may be a little off from the usual tech areas I have been accustomed to writing in Sail eMagazine, it is important to note that a month of Ramadan has now passed and it was during this time where I and many Muslims used the month to further spiritually reflect and connect to our closest members of family and friends. It is a truly unique month.

Ramadan is usually a reflective month for many people. With food and water out of the equation during our more routine part of our day to day lives, we begin to reach a level of selflessness and overall abstinence of materialism. This brings about a phase of awareness within our overall surroundings. We have more time to think and ponder deeply and ask about the things that we would consider important to our daily lives; An inner solace and chance to re-affirm close ties to family and friends during this month of contemplation.

Ramadan, quite simply, is the most important month for many Muslims.

The Eid Al Fitr holiday is a time when we celebrate our accomplishments and return our thanks and gratitude to the All Mighty. It is a chance to celebrate one’s achievement of fasting during the holy month and close attainment to God.

It is also a time for children to be children and to celebrate their childhood on this beautiful day with their families and friends. Remembering this, it is also important to note that this is (and should always be) the time to extend our happiness to the less fortunate in society. Through both mandatory alms (zakat) and voluntary alms (sadaqa), we work to ensure that our happiness is shared with those who need it most.

This Eid, one cause (of the many out there) that matters the most is the starvation and drought in Somalia. Many people around the world (Muslim and non-Muslim) have taken the initiative in raising the funds to help those who are currently suffering.

I would like to end this month’s article with ways to help in making a huge difference to people’s lives.

You can donate either through your local Red Crescent or to a charity house.

With technology being the usual theme of my articles, it may be a good idea to check some of the websites and social media campaigns helping those in need. Likewise, various search engines (Google and others) are also good places to start this search in ways of helping others. Here are just few examples you can start with:

  1. Fellow Bloggers (@Emaratist  and fellow Sail Magazine colleague and school mate @IamShaima): http://www.emaratist.com/help-somalia/
  2. Red Crescent Society (UAE): http://www.rcuae.ae/Pages/Default.aspx
  3. World Food Program: https://wfp.org/donate/hornofafrica?gclid=CJKF18ao1qoCFYF_6wodSUZM6w
  4. Hidaya Foundation: https://donation.hidaya.org/donation.aspx?projectId=135&gclid=COyD58io1qoCFct56wod93Iu8g
  5. British Based: Global Giving: http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/pr/8500/proj8493a.html?rf=ggadgguk_goog_even_somalia_4&gclid=CJDmps6o1qoCFcZ66wodKmbC7w

Wishing you all, a happy and prosperous holiday.

 

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
– Society of Tomorrow – The First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

3 Alternative Strategies for Disciplining Young Children

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Column: The First Years Last Forever
A loving mother of a son who has changed her life and put it into perspective. Ayesha is a senior social media specialist, a Global Leader for young children in the Arab region, and a writer in few Arabic publications. Her column is written in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization, and offers inspiration and an in-depth exploration of early childhood development.
Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Latest posts by Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi) (see all)

By Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAljanahi)

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul

Never regret anything that has happened in your life, it cannot be changed, undone or forgotten so take it as a lesson learned and move on.

As a parent of a young child, you know how difficult it is to deal with challenging behavior and perhaps you have often said “my son screams in public when he does not get his way”, “my daughter whines and cries at mealtimes”, or “my two children are always fighting”. So what are the effective disciplining strategies that we can use with our children that will help them achieve self-control and reduce challenging behavior?

Sometimes our first reaction to their wrongdoing is a harsh “NO”. Other times, we lose our temper and snap back at them pointing and waving our finger and warning them, or putting them in timeout. Surprisingly, however, researchers found that these harsh disciplining techniques may succeed in the short term, with a sudden halt of their actions, but in the long term, they fail to really help children grow or react any differently in the future. Not all children are the same. Some may be more temperamentally difficult than others, but often, our reactions as parents can encourage their challenging behavior.

When my 18-months son accidentally stuck a small piece of paper in his nose, my instant reaction could have been to scold him and tell him how wrong his actions were. But how effective would harsh discipline be at that critical moment? Anger depicts fear and stops the bad behavior instantly for a short time, but in the long run, it will not teach my son about taking care of his body or that nostrils are for smelling and not for storing paper.

During the first 6 years of life, your child is learning to develop self-control. This is the ability to manage his or her actions, feelings, and relationships with others including friends and siblings. These early years are critical to their development and whatever they experience in their early years will have an effect on their brain’s architecture and their future successes in life.

So here are 3 strategies you can use to strengthen your child’s self-control skills and help you deal with challenging behavior.

First, use words to help your child understand his feelings. When your child is screaming because you did not buy him the toy he wanted at the shop, say “you feel mad because we did not buy the toy”. If he feels his feelings are acknowledged, he will feel respected and will start to calm down.

Second, involve your children in the process and give simple choices. For example, like many mothers, I struggled during mealtime. My son gave me such a hard time. I wanted to resolve the problem so badly but my added negative attention only magnified the problem more and more. I gave him a time-out for not eating, yelled, and got angry. But what did he learn? To eat quietly without whining? To follow my instructions? Well, he learnt neither. I later realized that refusing to eat was common among all children at this stage because they are starting to learn the concept of control.

So instead of asking him to compel to my instructions, I started to change meal-battle-time into meal-fun-time with mommy. He helped me set the table and I let him choose his favorite plate and cup. Then he helped me prepare the food, choosing between carrots and cucumbers. This process of involvement and simple choices had a magical effect on mealtime battles. Involving children in decision-making is important to build their self-esteem. Simple choices like what to wear, what to play with or which story to read has such a wonderful effect on their self-confidence that they will end up naturally wanting to cooperate.

Third, stay calm when your child is upset. If you keep your cool, even when your child drops the vase on the floor or hits his sister, he will feel safe and start to learn by example. But if you use violence or severe punishment to solve problems, then your child will reciprocate and do the same to his friends or family. Teach children that violence is not OK and the best way to do that is by not doing it to them. Moreover, if you can maintain self-control under pressure and be respectable to others who upset you then he will learn to do the same.

Remember, as a parent, you have the most important and most complex job in the world. Children are not born with “how-to” manuals and we all need support and guidance. So go ahead and spoil your children, not with toys and gifts, but with tender love and care. Give them the gift of your time and attention. By that, you will be applying the most effective disciplining strategy.

Written in collaboration with Arabian Child organization

Visit www.arabianchild.org for more information about early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates.

 

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of Tomorrow – The First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

A Trip to Kashmir: Disconnecting from Technology

Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

A brand manager by day and a ‘wannabe’ philosopher by night, Moadh graduated from the American University in Dubai with a degree in Marketing. All about logical discourse and self improvement, his aim is to be a 21st century iconoclast. Though born and raised in Dubai, Moadh aims to develop and nurture global identities built around shared humanistic values. A writer of his own blog, which bears the column’s name, Moadh’s ultimate ambition is to be the spark of a positive change in any individuals who come across his words.
Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

Latest posts by Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash) (see all)

By Moad Bukhash (@MoadBukhash)

Technology has always been a keen interest of mine; from an early age I had a passion for gadgets. Something about the convenience they offered and the thrilling new platforms out there always kept me coming back. However, I recently had an experience that allowed me to discover a new view on life. An experience that made me value what I have around me but still appreciate other ways of living.

Over the summer, I visited Kashmir, a region famous for its incredible landscapes but infamous for its political unrest. I wanted to discover an alternate way of travel, something different than the cities our travel plans usually point to. Where better than a potentially untouched piece of heaven as the location of choice for my first ever adventurous expedition?

 

Trekking in Kashmire

What I saw, I truly believe, few people from the modern world have seen. In endless valleys, massive mountains, and flowers in all colors of the spectrum – what I witnessed was in all simplicity of the term, a thing of beauty. There I was, in the middle of nature at its best with nearly no connection to the outside world. I had no Internet on my iPhone to check the news or play a game of Angry Birds when I needed to pass some time by. No BlackBerry Messenger to speak to my friends or family; not even the ability to send an SMS. I had no distractions and all I could do was observe my surroundings.

The people of Kashmir have shown me that there is another way of life, a perhaps simpler life that some of us might forget at times, a way of life that, despite its struggles, offers an alternate way to carry on in a calmer way. It is the simplicity that struck me most. While we have the ability to live our lives in much more ease, we are still to a large extent always on the go. We cannot deny that we all, at a one level or another, have our attention captured by one type of technology or another. What I learned is that sometimes it is okay to look up, slow down, and appreciate the things that surround us without having to move on to other activities.

We walked around the forest pulling our horses through the dirt when we came up to two kids that could not be a day past ten years. They seemed interested in our horses so we told them they can hold the reins and pull the horses for a bit. The joy that I saw on their faces, you could have sworn they had just won the lottery. I could not remember the last time that I was that excited about something so simple; sometimes the abundance of technology makes us hard to please. Another instance was coming up to a small coffee hut while trekking. We sat in a small stone hut and saw a hundred and fifteen years old man cook us breakfast. The man had owned the hut for over fifty years doing just that. The ability to be content with life while doing so with all the health to live so long was a thing of simplicity that we might feel distant from at times.

I can list a hundred small lessons that I learned along the way during our trip, but none more important than the one that matters most. What I bring back with me is the ability to allow myself to sometimes pause, simply look around and appreciate the things that are around me, the things that make me smile, and those that I cherish the most. I hope that what I have learned can help you do the same, and you do not need to travel half way across the world to learn that. Just pop in you iPod, wear some comfortable clothes, and admire what is around you.

 

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye – To the PointToo Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Piety and Other Lessons from Ramadan

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)

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar echoing from the minarets all around the globe, happiness and joy on the faces of young and old, and humble generosity being witnessed around us. Yes, Eid has finally arrived and Muslims have bid farewell to the beloved month of Ramadan. A new beginning is at the footsteps and a fresh start to people’s personal and professional lives is anticipated.

As with every journey in life, the fasting and good deeds of Ramadan have a precise purpose, and that is to attain piety and be conscious of the actions we perform.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain piety” -The Holy Quran [2: 183]

That said, it should be of no surprise that the fruit of the time and effort invested in Ramadan should be evident throughout the year. Let us take a step back and assess if Ramadan truly allowed its participants to attain the year round piety mentioned above. First of all, allow me to define piety as the state of “God-consciousness” that brings forth self-restraint; fear of displeasing the Almighty, and as a result, conscious behavior. Second, let us split piety into the realms of worshiping the Most Merciful and good conduct towards others.

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul

In the realm of worship, Ramadan has taught Muslims many lessons through its rituals. Through the act of fasting, Ramadan has taught Muslims to be patient (restraining oneself from food, water and desires). Furthermore, through the repeated nightly prayers, Ramadan has taught Muslims persistence in achieving their goals, commitment to specific deadlines, and abiding by specific rules of fasting and prayers. As we transition into the post Ramadan period, the traits of patience, persistence towards achieving any kind of goals, prompt timing, and abiding by regulation can and should be maintained throughout the year. This could be applied to all areas of Muslims’ daily lives and is not restricted to worship alone.

I believe an excellent way to keep this segment of piety alive throughout the year is to practice some Ramadan rituals regularly. These include praying late at night as well as fasting certain days of the week or the month.

“Deeds are shown (to Allah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.” – Prophet Muhammad- Peace be Upon Him (al-Tirmidhi :747)

In the realm of good conduct towards others, Ramadan has taught many to be gentle and wary of others’ concerns in an effort to seek the All-Knowing’s pleasure. Acts of charity, gift-giving, visiting family members, controlling temper, and encouraging good behavior have been typical in the holy month. Again, as we transition into the post Ramadan period, these acts can and should be preserved and regularly performed.

“Those who spend (freely in the path of Allah), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) people;- for Allah loves those who do good” – The Holy Quran [3:134]

However, as Ramadan passes by every year, a lot of the piety that was attained disappears along with it. Therefore, failing to achieve its purpose as explained above. In order to maintain this piety and ensure Ramadan’s success, it is incumbent for Muslims to learn from this holy month and evaluate themselves throughout the year by feeding their piety via consistent acts of worship and acts of good conduct towards others. As a result, Muslims celebrating this Eid should base their happiness and joy on the achievement of a lasting level of piety that will fuel the year ahead.

In summary, the purpose of Ramadan is to attain piety. This piety is achieved through the lessons Muslims have learnt in Ramadan in patience, persistence towards achieving goals, and abiding by timelines and regulations. In addition, this piety is reflected in Muslims’ actions of kindness towards others. The piety achieved in Ramadan is intended to persist throughout the year and only then is Ramadan’s effectiveness validated.

“To proceed, if anyone amongst you used to worship Muhammad, then Muhammad has passed away, but if (anyone of) you used to worship Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die.” – Abu Bakr Al Siddique, 1st Caliph of Islam, Sahih Al Bukhari [vol 5, book 59, 733]

Similarly, if anyone amongst you used to worship just Ramadan, then Ramadan has passed. But if anyone of you used to worship Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die. Let us ensure that our efforts and time contribute towards a bigger goal. Let us keep the fruits of Ramadan alive throughout the year. Let us attain piety.

 

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
– To the Point – Too Blunt for WordsWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Social Clubs at Work, Where Would You Fit and Where Would it Take You?

Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja)

Column: Observing the World, previous column: Too Blunt for Words
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.

Latest posts by Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja) (see all)

By Fatma AlKhaja (@Fay_Alkhaja)

 

Illustration by SYAC

A long time ago, I worked in an organization that was quite multicultural in all aspects. It was a demanding working industry with a lot of expertise around and flexible working hours. However, the place lacked the ‘Emirati’ element, as we were only 10%, so a lot of our behavior just seemed ‘odd’ to everyone there.

As I began working in different fields, I started realizing that all organizations have some sort of ‘social’ and ‘unofficial’ clubs that varied in terms of members and activities. These clubs were basically formed unintentionally most of the time, or sometimes purposely in order to obtain the golden ticket – a promotion or recognition. However, it is very important to mention that all clubs had the highest senior members of the organization in them, which of course was the aim. For fun, I have decided to name them.

‘Smokers Club’ – it is usually located in a little corner outside in the garden, regardless of the weather that day. The little minions all gossip, circulate vicious rumors, and kiss up to the highest ranking ‘club member’. I personally know someone who even took up smoking just to be part of that club! More or less, they all got promoted on the next appraisal cycle.

‘Night Club’ – Have you ever heard your colleagues say things like “that was amazing last night!” “Did you try that new club?” “Are you going to this concert?” “Hey I saw you in an after party celebration at that exclusive club, how did you get in?” – Ironically, on many occasions, I knew individuals, “Emiratis”, who were part of a huge project that was successful. They got a thank you email, pat on the back, and then they later realized that the whole team except ‘him/her’ were partying at a club celebrating the great success that evening. During the same year, they all received bonuses except for him/her.

‘Lunch Club’ – You are sitting in your cubicle, with 5 other people all of which working on their own tasks and someone enters, calls all 5 people out for lunch and does not give you the time of the day because they think you are too conservative to mingle/socialize with them. I know that times have changed and that does not happen as much but trust me, I still know quite a few who face this.

“PA Club” – In my opinion, the most powerful individual in an organization is the boss’s PA. You kiss up to that person, you are guaranteed a raise/promotion. I personally know a friend who was ‘fired’ because the PA hated him and kept telling her/his boss how incompetent he was, which he was not. She just insisted on getting rid of him because he would not give her the time of day or bow to her when necessary.

“Social Club” – Forget the after parties, what about social media where you will do your utmost best to get the ‘boss’ on your social media accounts’ lists so then you can stalk him/her and ‘accidentally’ run into him/her at their favorite social places. I have seen it happen folks, and some people are really good at it.

“Family Club” – How do you make sure the boss hears about you? Befriend the wife/husband. Believe it or not, it works because they will start seeing you in a different light.

“Flirt Club” – Shortest skirt? Low cut tops? 6-inch stilettos? These are all charmers especially in a male dominant environment (no offense). If you walk in a meeting room with one of these, you are going to get noticed. I specifically knew girls who wore their best and tightest when there was an important ‘boss’ or board meeting.

“Road Trip” – Try explaining to your colleagues that as a conservative Emirati girl, you are not allowed to drive long distances on your own (Fujairah, AD, etc) from Dubai. As I mentioned before, times are changing, but there are some individuals that go by these restrictions and end up getting the title of being uncooperative and not a team player.

Again, these are just little things but trust me, they get you noticed. I look at all these clubs from an Emirati perspective and ask myself – just where do I fit in? I am confident in my work, successful, and have the ability to let my boss know what I think. But he/she has never seen me outside the work place and does not know me on a ‘personal’ level.

I try my best to fit in and show them the real me but there are times when I simply will not compromise my cultural values. Is it really worth going through some of the above for a higher title or salary?

In view of the above, I would like to ask you the same question– where do you think you fit in?

 

Sail eMagazine’s 18th Issue – September 2011
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Community TalkFood for Thought
Just Another Undergrad
Society of TomorrowThe First Years Last Forever
The Mind’s Eye
To the Point – Too Blunt for Words – Words, Observations, and Ramblings