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,

We proudly present to you this month our 20th issue of Sail eMagazine. It is a great journey we have crossed and we still have much more to offer in the coming issues.

This issue we are joined with a new member, Alanoud AlMadhi, she joins us with her column “Beyond Inspiration” in which she shares her personal experiences, struggles, and aha moments that she hopes can spark a flame within the reader to act upon their desires to reaching their full potential and adding value to their societies.

Also, Rooda AlNeama, who is one of our very first columnists on Sail, is now back to her first column “Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur” in which she reflects on her journey with her startup from her life experiences.

This issue covers different topics across our community. We’ve got a eulogy to Steve Jobs, ecology & recycling, education, creativity, and much more! Below is a sneak look into what our team contributed with for this month:

  • Art of Living 101: Hamda AlHashmi shows us that if you want to see change in the world, you ought to start with yourself and the rest will follow.
  • Beyond Inspiration: Alanoud AlMadhi tells us her story with finding her talent in public speaking, and her journey of molding it and shining it through.
  • Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur: Rooda AlNeama shares with us the versatile lessons she learnt from her trek in a South Indian forest.
  • Just Another Undergrad: Fatma Bujsaim discusses the idea of marriage and commitment during a girls’ education period at university.
  • Society of Tomorrow: As the world mourns the loss of one of the greatest tech icons, Steve Jobs; Mohamed Al Juneibi looks back at the inspiration Jobs has had in on his life, and discusses the state of tech innovations.
  • Too Blunt for Words: Fatma AlKhaja reflects on how things have changed for kids and how the good old days are gone.
  • To The Point: Mohammed Kazim emphasizes the existence of poverty amongst Emirati families in the UAE and suggests 3 ways of effectively contributing towards a larger scale solution.
  • Words, Observations, and Ramblings: Reem Abdalla looks at the educational system in terms of structure, standardization, and how creativity fits as part of the system.

And of course, don’t forget to check our illustrations by our Dubai Abulhoul & Mariam ARMS ;)

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start – Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe EntrepreneurJust Another UndergradSociety of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Enjoy the read!

Warm Regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

 

Being Concious of Our Environment

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 words of Mohandas Gandhi, “There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” Why did that man say those words of gold? It is because he actually tried living while using the things he “needs”, and not the things he “wants”. Earth is our home and what we are doing is destroying it by abusing its resources; and what is to become of a man who destroys his home with his own hands other than devastation?

According to the Gulf News, the UAE has one of the largest footprints in the world and a carbon footprint that is approximately 9.3 global hectares. Although it has reduced, there is still a significant imbalance. When we eat more than we should, our body becomes heavy and we do not feel very well. Little by little, our over consumption of food, natural resources, and our waste generation harms our environment and the effects are more noticeable day by day.

The international INDEX 2011 Student Challenge had a wonderful theme this year; reusing waste material and turning it into something that can be benefited from greatly. It could be as simple as using plastic bottle caps to create a table or using egg cartons to make a partition. These simple solutions save us a lot of time and energy and can create a magnificent difference in the long term.

The Dornob Design archive features wonderful ideas on how useless things that we use daily can become very useful. One of the examples was using broken glass from bottles to create furniture surfaces and kitchenware; a beautiful detailed mosaic, when brought together, all it needs is a minimal amount of effort.

 

Dornob Designs

Creating eco friendly products has become more and more common by the day. It has become so popular that even the fashion industry became interested. Lisa Fredrika Aslunds took scraps of wood from construction sites and arranged them intelligently as pumps for broken heels.

 

The “Recycled” pump by Liza Fredrika Åslunds

The thing about us is that we are too lazy. It takes a little bit of creativity to come up with brilliant ideas on how we can use things that we no longer need instead of throwing them away. Creating something from nothing is not only environmentally friendly, but it will also spark that feeling of achievement. It is only a matter of time before you notice how talented you have become.

Fortunately, there have been several initiatives in the Emirates that encourage environmental preservation. Examples on that are the Arena and Estedama in Abu Dhabi. Although these initiatives are on a large scale, we as individuals still need to do our part. Simple decisions that do not require that much effort, one person inspiring the other, it is a step-by-step process.

The longer we spend to make that decision the worse it gets. Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites,  (William Ruckelshaus, Business Week, 18 June 1990). Unlike other living things, we as human beings have a privilege that is a brain. We make our decisions, and we deal with the consequences. So what decision are you going to make?

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
– Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe EntrepreneurJust Another UndergradSociety of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Talents are God-given But We Have a Responsibility to Develop Them

AlAnoud AlMadhi (@aam_alanoud )

Column: Beyond Inspiration
Founder of @BetweenTheSips -a social media initiative that moderates social conversations. Alanoud’s passion is public speaking and designing infographics, reading and researching.
Through “Beyond Inspiration”, Alanoud aims to share personal experiences, struggles, and aha moments that can spark a flame within the reader to reach their full potential.

Latest posts by AlAnoud AlMadhi (@aam_alanoud ) (see all)

By Alanoud AlMadhi (@ALANOUD_auh)

It is sensational what a gift can do to a person. The confidence it boosts, the zest it builds in them, and the effect it allows them to spread in the universe.

God gives us, the world expects from us, and we influence. This is the story of talent.

We first discover the gift God has bestowed on us. We explore its viability through other people’s expectations. Then, by our desire to influence, we develop it, introduce it, and contribute to the society through it.

Referring to talent, skill, and knowledge, I heard my father once say: “It is not enough to know it, you have got to show it!”

Everyone has been signed up for the great mission to know their God-given talents and more importantly, pluck up the courage to show them to the world.

We need to search for our talents (which is not easy) and show it off as well (which certainly is not as effortless as it sounds). It is a challenge to realize your uniqueness and it is a fight to make that influential.

The prominent talented innovators, leaders, authors, and musicians of our time who are now greatly missed or whose talents we still enjoy have not only cultivated their flairs to work at the highest tempo, but they have also insisted on letting us witness their power and be affected by it.

It was not enough for Steve Jobs to know he could foresee what people craved for nor was it sufficient for Michael Jackson to realize he is got the voice and moves to entertain. They both believed that hiding their light under a bushel is not going to make the difference and is not going to create a lasting effect.

Taking the journey to the path of discovery and the struggle to parade is inevitable.

Mine started when I was a child in second grade. It was then that I first got acquainted with my talent.

I was one mousy little girl; mute, shy, and afraid. I was always sitting in the corner of a room, hiding backstage, and standing at the rear of a crowd. I vividly remember second grade. My favorite class was reading. I can still recall being ever so immersed and enchanted with Ms. Rachel’s vocal efforts in the articulation of words, the enunciation of letters, and the beautiful wavering melody of speech.

I wanted to read aloud like my teacher. So I practiced, and I was good.

I spotted my surprising talent of public speaking and kept it to myself for a while, until I felt sure the people around me were ready for the magical ability I believed I had. When I finally came out of my once-eternal murmuring mode and started to confidently demonstrate my knack for public speaking, I was interrupted with mockery and disregard, my siblings thought it was annoying, my friends said it was not “cool”, and my teacher believed it was inconsistent with my colleagues’ level and is thus “unnecessary”.

Being so little and thinking they knew better, I believed them. So I humbly went back to my undertone.

It was not until I reached high school that I came to realize my talent is something to fight for. Our great father and leader, Sheikh Zayed, had passed away –may God rest his soul in peace-. Like everyone around me, I was in shock. As I always do when I am sad, angry, or scared, I isolated myself in my room and wrote.

By the end of the night, I had a poem in my hands; one that I deeply felt can influence a few and tug at the heartstrings of many.

My school was planning to organize a students’ broadcast on the first day after mourning; a live program in the middle of the school’s yard.

Wishing to participate by reciting my poem, I asked my teacher, head of broadcast and the head of students and social affairs, for a part in the activity. The reply on my request had always started with a “You?!” and ended with a resounding “No!”. They could not believe an introvert like me could speak publicly before the 300+ people in the school.

Caption by Dubai Abulhoul @DubaiAbulhoul

I asked them again and again, but the answer had always been the same. Being so stubborn, persistent, and realizing the importance my poem had, I kept pushing the head of broadcast to let me in. When the awaited day came, they just had to allow me to take part only because another student turned out absent; and mainly, because I would not give up.

I stood behind that lectern and stared at the crowd like a sovereign about to hold forth.

I spoke the weep, the heartbreak, and the gratitude.

Within every verbalized word, I felt a strange sense of nourishment and strength swirling in my body, gnawing at the most minuscule thoughts of fear and numbing any sense of timidity; making me float on the rhymes of my poetry.

As I finished my recital, I saw the glittering teary eyes gazing at me proudly with admiration. An immediate storm of applause hit me and as I stepped back from the lectern, I felt an apologetic pat on the back from those who had once looked at me with disbelief.

I finally found my voice, my passion, and I showed it.

The God-given talent always starts with self-expression but then soon must grow into something greater than one’s self. A talent enlightens more if shared more.

This great miracle is not something we have created ourselves. We do not own our talents; it is our responsibility to develop them and shout them out to the world.

We need not stop even if others tried to make us do so. They are not to be blamed if they disbelieved in us; they would not know we are great unless we showed them.

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe EntrepreneurJust Another UndergradSociety of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Trekking in India: Business Lessons from the Forest

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 AlNeama (@ThinkDubai)

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of forest trekking in the South of India. It was great leaving the city and enjoying pure nature. Venturing into the forest was a beautiful experience; the forest is full of art, entertainment and important lessons. I will talk about the latter as clearing your mind and just taking in what nature has to offer is truly inspiring.  Here are the life and business lessons I learnt from reflecting through the trek:

There is always a way:  Crossing from the farms to the forest, the officials have created a trench and an electric fence to keep the elephants from coming into the plantations and destroying them.  The elephants however can smell the fruits on the farms and want to get to them.  Neither the trench nor the electric fence would stop them.  To get over the trench, the elephants have covered it with mud and to get through the electric fence they put a wooden plank over it, squashing the electric line and creating a path for them to cross.

Lesson Learnt: There will always be barriers, entering a market, as a startup is never easy, but if you believe in your vision and cause, do not let anything stop you, not even an electric fence.

Do not overreact over the bad stuff:  After the first 2 hours into the trek, the guide informed us that there are leeches in the forest and that we should not freak out; he will help pull them off us! Thankfully, the only thing I found in my sandals was a rock.  I kept walking thinking the rock is still in my sandals, as a few people found leeches on their feet.  They were tiny, did not suck any blood and so they were easy to pull off.  Then, I decided to take off my sandals and check once more; there it was, the fattest leech I have seen! It was probably latched on to me for the past two hours with that size! After a few shrieks and “get it off me” yells, I started laughing uncontrollably and wanting another one on me so I could take a photo!  Leeches are good for you, aren’t they?

Lesson Learnt: Some bad things might be good for you. Even though pursuing your business idea is difficult and you may feel like giving up, remember that there will come a day when you realize it was good for you to persevere.  Things always make sense in retrospect so do not be quick to dismiss the hardships.

 

Illustration by Mariam ARMS @MariamARMS

There will be hardships:  I nearly cried from learning about ‘parasite creepers’ or maybe because I am very unfit and got tired.  They are basically vine like but very strong plants that imbed themselves in another tree and basically live off the tree.  Food, water and strength are all taken from the poor tree that the parasite has settled on!

Lesson learnt: even trees do not have it easy and we can do more than trees. We are able to fight for what we believe in and remove parasites from our lives. If the tree can grow tall and strong to survive, so can we.

Be a butterfly: no matter how tough the terrain was, whether animals or humans were present, or if the path was full of trees, bushes and thorns, the butterfly gracefully made its way through.  It did not care what was going on it was on its path gracefully.

Lesson learnt: when trying to pursue my own business idea, I got de-motivated by the clutter of suppliers that did not fit my needs. I should have been a butterfly, forgetting the clutter and keeping the destination in mind.

I strongly recommend trekking no matter how unfit you think you may be, you might surprise yourself.  Start with a walk and pace yourself; the small steps you take to challenge yourself is exactly what you need to achieve anything in life, whether starting a business, tackling a project, or learning something new. We are often too busy to realize anything, going through the motions, and missing important lessons along the way. There is so much for us to learn from our surroundings if we just take the time to really see. I think that is the most important lessons I learnt.

 Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur – Just Another UndergradSociety of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Female University Students’ Thoughts on Marriage

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)

My column turns one year-old this month and since it focuses on undergrad issues, I thought long and hard of the one issue or topic that was always popping up in the past four years (Yes, this is my senior year). The topic is: marriage.

Many college girls around me are obsessed with the idea of getting married and almost half that number of girls does not actually want to. I only say this out of observation and after asking many questions and getting involved in many discussions.

I remember when I was in school I was anti-marriage; I planned to be single all my life and live to fulfill my dreams alone with no one to stop me or even share them with me. Selfish, I know, but for a teenager it made a lot of sense.

In university, I saw my friends getting married one after the other. I started having mixed feelings towards the issue. Is it a good idea? Isn’t it a lifetime commitment? And why would a girl want to be tied down at such an early age?

Some theories came up in my mind that could and could not be true. Some just want a man in their lives, some can not handle the pressure of seeing people around them getting married, and some just want the thrill of getting married.

Illustration by Mariam ARMS @MariamARMS

Fatma M., a business student in Zayed University, says she has no problem in getting married when she is still an undergraduate student; in fact, she wants to. Her reason is: “I am young, and I want to start my life and my own family at a young age when I have the patience and energy for it.”

I also wanted to know why some girls were against marriage; were their reasons like mine when I was younger?

Amna A.’s answer to being married during her studies was a “never.” “I wont be able to focus on my studies. I mean, I am not married yet and I am already having trouble balancing between spending time with my family and friends and university.”

Shamma M. agrees with Amna, “When I am at university, marriage is the last thing on my mind because personally, I can not balance a household and a degree.”

Both Amna and Shamma were asked if they would consider marriage after university. Amna responded by saying: Not immediately after graduation; I am still young and if I get married, it is forever. I will be in the “golden cage”.

Shamma said: I am career driven and I have this image that marriage will set me back. It is going to be either a career or marriage since I cannot multitask. Personally, I would rather have a career.

Their answers made a lot of sense but I had to disagree. There is a saying in Arabic “who wants to pray will not miss the prayer”, and if someone wants to get married and have a career, they can do it.

I do not think girls should get married at a very young age but I also do not think they should be opposing the idea of marriage. Some girls are mature enough to get married during their university education and are capable of handling the responsibilities while others understand their own abilities and limits and decide to keep marriage aside and prioritize their own education/career.

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur – Just Another Undergrad – Society of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

A Eulogy to Steve Jobs

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)

It was October 5th 2011 and the time was just before 4:00 pm. A few of my friends and I were out looking for a quick place to have coffee in downtown San Francisco. I had been in San Francisco for the past four days attending a large technology conference, “Oracle Open World”. The weather was partially cloudy and a nice breeze welcomed the faces of people walking in the streets.

The city seemed pretty normal and everyone was going about their usual business. I recall flipping through my Android phone and was constantly checking news and twitter feeds when a message popped out with the following text:

AP Flash: Steve Jobs Has Died

We had just entered a coffee shop that was closing at 6 pm. It was the business district on Howard Street and lots of places had already closed. My friends carried along with their orders and I still did not believe it. The news feeds were literally being bombarded with messages confirming the death (with the occasional accusation of a hoax); alas, the news was indeed true.

I simply stopped for a second and stayed quiet. My friends asked what was bothering me and I simply told them: “Steve Jobs is dead.” They did not believe it and I later confirmed the twitter and news feeds already reporting the news. I felt like my heart was heavy and that I had lost a good friend.

Steve Jobs was not my role model nor was he someone I had aspired to become. To me, Jobs was all about determination and making things happen. He took ideas that seemed science fiction and turned them into science fact. There is no denying of the tremendous innovations, the strides in bringing the computer home. Making computers easier to use for everyone was what solidified him and Apple today. Making the computing experience both fun and easy was always a trademark worthy of the Apple name.

He was someone who knew what he wanted. The attention to detail and long hours he would spend in ensuring that the product(s) being developed only made this work all the more rewarding (both financially and emotionally).

I have been critical in the past on some of the ventures Apple had undertaken. I also felt, and still feel to this day, that Apple has changed. Long gone are the days of going against the establishment (IBM) and today Apple has become the establishment. What worries a tech commentator like me is the fact that Apple chose to have a business model that at times intimidates smaller and lesser known names in the market. Views aside, Apple still maintains a significantly large portion of the market share and to their credit, they have continually excelled in ensuring that they do get complete products. People also think that Apple might be one of the key players in revitalising the economy in the current depression. Steve Jobs helped to create an innovation / technology company unlike any known in modern history.

Not since inventions like the motor vehicle or the telephone had we had a man of that stature.

People are now asking on whether another “Steve Jobs” would ever come to existence. Well, we still have other greats in our midst. Bill Gates, Larry Elisson and many other young and talented individuals who are a part of the advancement of technology.

Will they have the glimmer and confidence that Steve Jobs so eloquently possessed? I highly doubt it. Jobs was a rarity. The accumulation of the life lessons he had lived and the continuous search for something better. Jobs was to me more of a philosophical person than a technology driven individual.

His journey with his products and the constant pursuit of something new has made him special. This is what I had admired tremendously from Jobs.

 

Caption by Dubai Abulhoul @DubaiAbulhoul

It was a sad way to come to California. On October 6th, we had made a trip to Cupertino California and went to the Apple HQ on One Infinite Loop Street. It was a small way to pay respects to Steve Jobs. It was not the nicest way to leave California that week but we have much of his history with us to learn and inspire ourselves to reach such lengths.

As Steve once said: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you have not found it yet, keep looking. Do not settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it.

Thank you Steve.

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe EntrepreneurJust Another Undergrad – Society of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

Is Technology Affecting Kid’s Creativity to Have Fun?

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)

This month, I decided to step out of the office and discuss a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time now.

I was born in the 80’s, and I must say I had FUN as a child. Everything we did was family oriented. We had weekly outdoor outings with the family. The family included cousins, second cousins, grandparents, uncles, etc. We also visited family friends weekly and that was always spent by us kids being outdoors either cycling in the garden, pretending to have an adventure, make up fantasy stories, have imaginary friends, be different people, etc. At the end of the day, we sit down and have a nice home cooked meal.

Today, our kids do not know who are their cousins or extended families. Their friends practically live in ‘facebook’, ‘twitter’, and other social network platforms. I do not deem these networks, but I still believe that everything should have its proper place. It is unfortunate that a family outing today is a room full of people, with each individual having their heads down and looking at their phones.

Where did all the activities go? I rarely see kids outdoors and by outdoors I mean in the ‘fresh air’. If you do see them outdoors, they are always accompanied by a huge scowl on their faces, ready to have a tantrum any moment because they are missing out on their precious ‘game’, or ‘social’ time.

I was home one day and my youngest sister had our cousins over. They were all between 5 and 10 years old. As I passed by them, I glanced at them and noticed that there was an eerie type of quietness in that room. One was on a Gameboy, the other on the PlayStation, and the youngest was flipping through stuff. An older person stood next to me and while shaking his head said, ‘kids, nowadays… they do not know how to have fun.’

 

Illustration by SYAC

Has the world become so technological that we have minimized kids’ ability to creatively think and fantasize on their own without resorting to the Internet? Or are we now living in a world where a parent can rely on how his//her child grows up or behaves without their involvement? The world has become demanding and more expensive. Today, both parents work full-time. They come back home and rarely have the time and energy to spend with their children and if they do take them out its done by taking them to a mall, dropping them in a play area while they drink coffee, and be by themselves.

A kid wants to spend time with their parents after they return home and what they do is hand them a console or turn on the TV and tell them to watch it until they are free to spend some time with them.

A parent is not that actively involved anymore nor is a school in this picture. School trips today are going to malls, eating out at a fast food place, and again malls. Their visits are not educational anymore where they take them to a zoo, aquarium, safari, museum, etc. Again, the teachers are dropping them off at the play area while they sit amongst themselves drinking coffee.

Are parents not bothered because they believe that kids are already learning everything on the Internet? Or are they so bombarded with work and a hectic life that they do not have the time or energy to be more involved.

I do not see kids run anymore. I do not see them cycle in the neighborhood anymore. When you step into a toy store, you will find all the kids crowding the gaming area rather than the actual ‘toys’ section. Boys do not go for the cars, dinosaurs, and soldiers they can play with and girls do not carry a Barbie or BratZ doll anymore.

We have got 10 year old girls more concerned about their appearance and who they like. A room filled with posters of latest movie stars and musicians. Whatever happened to our innocent children?

In 2009, I visited ‘The Physics Museum’ in Japan. The museum was filled with adults, but the astonishing part was that it also had the same amount of kids. I was absolutely amazed that every physical concept they explained had a miniature version of it as a toy for kids to understand, learn, and have fun.

They simply were not just having fun, but they were also learning. Now, my question is: what are we doing wrong?

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe EntrepreneurJust Another UndergradSociety of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words – To The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings

3 Important Parallels to Help Those in Need Within 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)

Broken wooden cabinets, an old rusty fan, dusty torn rugs, and flickering light bulbs surrounded us in what Ayesha calls home. This stuffy 50 square meter non air-conditioned space with rows of palm tree fronds used as a ceiling is home to Ayesha and her family of 5. Being the sole provider for her family, Ayesha works in a leading global super market chain and earns approximately AED 2,000-3,000 a month, which ends up being consumed almost instantly on rent and food expenses for her family. Every month she prays that miraculously she can survive until the next pay check. This is the story of Ayesha, a middle aged Emirati mom, living in the Northern Emirates.

While we proudly boast about the amount of aid that the UAE and its residents provide the world, it is important to realize that not everything is rosy and promising here at home. The reasons this comes as a surprise to many are various and may include the lavish lifestyles of the UAE, the generous benefits distributed by the rulers, as well as the lack of media’s attention to cases such as Ayesha’s.  Furthermore, the factors leading to such situations are also various and could potentially be deemed sensitive (maybe we should leave it to our Federal National Council -FNC- to discuss).  What is important and what I am sure you will agree with me on is that cases such as Ayesha’s need help and need to be addressed.

I believe that people like you and I, who may have a more comfortable life, can help fill the gap with solutions that will allow the people in need to survive until the issue is addressed at a larger scale. In order to be able to help in the most effective manner, I believe we need to strive and dedicate our time and wealth through three different parallels.

Illustration by Mariam ARMS @MariamARMS

First, and the most obvious, is to identify where these people are and what exactly are their needs. We could reach out to charities that work locally and read about their selection criteria, their reach, and the speed of delivery. In addition, we could also go a step further by not relying solely on charitable organizations (due to bureaucracy that may make them less efficient than one would desire) but also by asking our families and friends if they know people who are in need of assistance. Once the people are identified, the next step would be to identify their needs (whether it is food, clothing, tuition fees, appliances, loan or utility bill payments, etc.).  Once the needs are identified, they could either be supplied directly or financial aid can be given to them in the form of cash.

Second, and the most crucial, we need to find ways to create sufficient sustainable income for these identified families so that they may be able to rely on themselves. We could dedicate our time to teaching skills they require to obtain better jobs, advise them on how to create sustainable businesses through talent or skills they may have, create or identify jobs where they can be employed, and be involved in managing their income and advising them on how to reduce their expenses.  This step is the most crucial because it allows those in need to feel independent and also gives them a sense of belonging in the larger society. This has a significant impact on their personalities, their children’s development, and the greater society.

Third, and the most impactful, is to spread awareness of cases such as Ayesha’s in our society. We could begin by discussing these issues and inviting others to join efforts in making sure we dedicate some of our time and wealth to those who are less fortunate.

In summary, the UAE is not exceptional when it comes to poverty and has evident cases of people who are in need of immediate help.  In order to reach out to these families and address their needs effectively, I believe that people like you and I can make the most difference by working on these three different parallels. By identifying the ones in need and their requirements, finding ways for them to be financially sustainable independently, and spreading awareness of their cases, we can significantly reduce poverty in the UAE and contribute towards a larger scale solution from the country.

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe EntrepreneurJust Another UndergradSociety of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
– To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings

 

Is the Educational System Suppressing Creativity?

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 Abdalla (@Reem096)

For those of us fortunate enough to go to school, we were taught since pre-school how to do things in a certain way as part of our education and we were reprimanded if we steered off course. We were taught discipline, to think in a certain way, and follow the curriculum that was designed for us by the government.

What is Education? According to “Dictionary.com”, education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

What schools lack in teaching us are social skills, teamwork, leadership, political and interpersonal dynamics. Most of us do not know how to be part of a team or how to lead. We are frightened of being wrong and making a mistake. Our current educational system does not allow for mistakes. We have to follow the book when answering questions in an exam. If we do not and instead created our own answer, this is considered as a mistake and we may fail the class.

Being afraid of making mistakes became part of our livelihood; we grew afraid of making mistakes and failing in our own life. During our childhood, our imagination was placed in a box and we forgot to think out of it. After a while, we grew out of creativity and started to conform to our surroundings.

Conformity is one of the issues in the educational system. As Sir Ken Robinson said in his TED Talk (2010), “We have conformity. We have built our education systems on the model of fast food… One is fast food where everything is standardized”. Looking at the public education system worldwide everything is standardized in terms of academic subjects, topics taught and ways of how they are being taught.

 

Caption by Dubai Abulhoul @DubaiAbulhoul

We were taught at a young age not to do subjects we like because we will not find jobs in this field. Do not do music, dance or art. What will you be? A musician, a dancer or an artist; what future would you have in any of them? Parents tend to push their children to be engineers, doctors or into business/ finance fields since they will have a better career path in those fields; because in their beliefs, these fields are considered more respectable and will bring them more money.

Most of the Arab or Asian communities push their children in academic fields instead of the arts. As being a chef, hairdresser, or a musician is not very appealing to them. Therefore, many of these children are forced to enter university programs that they are unhappy with and end up leading unsatisfied lives. They enter these fields because their parents/society imposed it onto them.

For example, a friend of mine has studied journalism for four years in a reputable university and then worked for a newspaper for two years. After these two years, she found herself miserable in her career choice so she decided to quit and pursue her dream as a pastry chef. After months of studying at Le Cordon Bleu, she now owns her bakery. She broke away from all the norms and her family supported her decision fully.

Creativity is as important as literacy. The brain works in a dynamic way, creativity is required as part of intelligence. Creativity is interactive, dynamic and not structured while our current education system is structured. Every educational system around the world has the same hierarchy of subjects where academic subjects such as Math, Sciences, Languages, History, and Geography tops the list where Arts come at the bottom of that list. Looking at any kid’s schedule in school, the academic subjects have more hours allocated to them than any of the arts subject such as “Physical Education, Art, Music, etc.”

Nowadays, we have academic inflation where people get degrees and are not able to find jobs that support them. Educated people are unemployed and those who are employed are unhappy with what they do.  So we should at least major in something we would love to do. It all revolves around passion and what we love. We have to find out what the kid love to do and nurture it in them rather than forcing them to do things they do not want to do. Our current education system might not be suppressing creativity but it sure fails in actively encouraging it. Kids should not be afraid of majoring in the Arts, as it is as important as any other academic field; and parents should not be afraid to support them in this journey.

Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start
Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe EntrepreneurJust Another UndergradSociety of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words
To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings