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,

Today we enter the new year of 2012. Closing the books on 2011, capturing all what we learned along the way, and starting fresh new books, filled with hopes and ambitions to accomplish new goals and dreams.

On behalf of Sail team, I wish you a prosperous year, filled with health, joy, & happiness amongst your family and friends.

Here is the brief of our 22nd Issue, January 2012:

  • Art of Living 101: Hamda AlHashemi ponders upon the fear of growing old, and how that on its own impacts our aging through a painting by James LeGros.
  • Beyond Inspiration: Alanoud AlMadhi answers the question; why is it not good enough to reach a certain level of mastery?
  • Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur: Rooda AlNeama explains the different types of ideas, and what does it take to make an idea stick.
  • Community Talk: Khalid AlAmeri reflects on how the cleanup initiative has changed the way we celebrate National Day forever.
  • Scenes from Life: Rawan Albina advises how to device your new year resolutions in an achievable manner.
  • Sense & Sustainability: Haif Zamzam explains the financial crisis that is happening in the EuroZone, how did it start, and what does it mean for us.
  • Too Blunt for Words: Fatma AlKhaja writes about the importance of enforcing decency & professional attires in offices.
  • To The Point: Mohammed Kazim describes the current gap in the definition of patriotism and introduces the idea of social benefit and necessary representation.

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

Enjoy the reads & happy new year!

With warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

The Fear of Growing Old

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)

Doug Larson once said, “The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” We bend our heads for a few moments every once in a while to see how far we have gone, and sometimes we are shocked to realize that we have gone a really long way. It is the same with aging; we are so caught up in this busy world we live in that we do not find time to actually catch up with things, and to look at how we are changing. Time moves so fast, and most of us are lost in the process.

This month I attended five of my friends’ weddings. I looked at each one of them and thought of our ages, all the memories we have built together, and how a young girl becomes a lady. For a moment I thought to myself: why is everything happening so fast! We need more time! And then I realized, time was always there, it is just that we were the ones who were not really there. Do we spend enough time with the ones we love? Did we do our best in all these years that went by?

When we thoroughly think about age and time, we think about old people and young people. But we fail to understand that time is just a tool; a stopwatch, to let you estimate how much time you have used and how much you have got left. Our achievements, our maturity, and our spirits, are the true measure of age. How young you are is connected to how influential you are, and how effective you can be. It is more about your attitude towards people and situations. Wrinkles are a sign that reminds you that you are running out of time.

When I used a see one of my old neighborhood friends with her baby, I used to feel afraid. I feared that I am not as young as I used to be, and that I will not be able to do so many things I dreamed of doing. James LeGros’s acrylic painting, Fear of Growing Old, is a perfect way to portrait the thing I felt. A young woman, who is so afraid of being old that it shows on her face. She is already old because of those thoughts and worries that haunt her. She still has more time to do so much, but she is worn out because she is wasting time and thought over fear; the fear of old age.

 

James LeGros - Fear of Growing Old

When I look at that painting, when I look at those harsh strokes, and worried eyes, I feel like that lady brought that worry to herself. Even if she was 25 years old biologically, she might seem older than 60 years old. Why so? Because of her attitude, because of that phobia that once her physical appearance changes, she will lose everything along with it.

In the words of John Barrymore, “A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” Old people and young people are very much alike; they are both people presented with different opportunities. Whereas the funny thing is, people fear being old, even though when they are old they will probably make better choices; they were introduced to life and are more familiar with it. Yet for the sake of shallow, physical appearances, some sentence themselves to death and leave everything on pause.

If you did not know your age, how old would you be? There are a lot of people I met on social networks who I thought were old, but it turns out that some of them were as young as I am. But because I saw how wise they seemed, and how mature they were, I imagined I was talking to people with experience. We determine our own age through our attitude. So it is up to you to use your time wisely to stay young.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

 

There is Always Room for Improvement

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)

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

Imagine yourself being given the task of, say, cleaning up a room. As you do so very diligently and thoroughly, you would receive one of two kinds of feedback; you would either hear a churn of “perfect!” or a grumble of “you missed a spot!”

The former comment is more likely to draw a grin on your face, and make you walk gracefully with pride for a job well done. On the other hand, so displeasing as the latter sounds, it will make you go back and revise your work, ensure you have done it right, and end with a promise to yourself to reappraise your efforts.

It is true there is a chance of you being disappointed or depressed of the thought that the person who gave you the task was ungrateful; but how much learning would you have received having heard the first comment?

Motivation is essential, as it tweaks you to become better, yet only for a while. It might get you moving forward, yet only for a few steps. After all, a breeze does not take you as far as a fierce wind can.

When asked about the principles of success that would turn an individual’s life around, Jim Rohn, one of the most iconic personal development philosophers, said: “Number one; become a good student”.

Part of the deal of becoming a student is being criticized, pushed, and underestimated; whether that was from your teachers or your colleagues. No matter what the situation is, your main goal should always be to continue learning. That is, by taking the constructive criticism as a request to perform better, taking the push as an encouragement to work harder, and believing that the underestimations are challenges to explore more.

Allow me to share with you a moment of ignorance that led me to realizing the importance of continuous learning. I gave a speech once that was deemed “perfect”. I remember feeling very proud of myself, believing I reached the highest level of mastery in Public Speaking. So immersed in my self-regard, I told my father about it, expecting him to shower me with complements. However, he handed me a book instead called “How to Develop Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking” by Dale Carnegie.

The message he was trying to convey was too embarrassing for me to grasp at first. Just when I thought I knew it all, something popped up to prove me wrong, as the book contained an advice that later greatly improved my performance.

Having said that, it was not about the fact that I was not good enough, but the chance that I could be better. Moreover, even if I believed I have reached the peak of the mountain I am climbing I should have known there is always a higher one to reach, and beyond the sky could be my limit.

It is good to be proud of yourself, of your achievements, and of the knowledge you have gained, but do not let that pin you down and make you settle. Be willing to take a harder look at yourself so you could see the room of improvement in whatever you do or try to accomplish.

Continue learning, as it would be fun to know how far you could reach.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We Start
Art of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

Make Your Ideas Happen

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)

We generate so many ideas during the day, most of these ideas get pushed away and forgotten, and others stick for a while longer.  Those who have a passion for pursuing their ideas often wonder if they will succeed, persevere, and turn the idea into reality.  Just like a New Years resolution, we have the intention of doing it ‘someday,’ and that is where we fall into the first trap.

No deadlines.  When there is no deadline the idea or resolution floats around and becomes a thing of the past.  But I personally find it hard to stick to deadlines that I put for myself because they are the ones I can shift around. We need to remind ourselves of the ideas we are passionate about, and the things we want to achieve because they can get lost in our busy lives.

Manageable goals. As we dream, there are no barriers that tell us when to stop and how far we can go; it is as if we have reached our goal already! Breaking up our goals into manageable steps will help ensure that we are working towards making them happen instead of feeling that they are overwhelming.  I find myself leaving things for later because I just do not know where to start; as time passes by, I realized I should start somewhere, anywhere.  Sometimes, vocalizing our goals make us feel proud of ourselves to the point that we do not pursue them anymore. Derek Sivers explores this further in his TEDx video here.

 

Illustration by Mariam ARMS (@MariamARMS)

Why? If after a while you find yourself not caring about the idea anymore, or not passionate about the change you want to create, do not leave it aside.  If you keep thinking about it, then you know you have something you need to pursue. Consider how this idea makes you feel, and why it means so much to you; this will help keep it in your mind a little longer.  As the entrepreneurial inspiration Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Empire, puts it “business opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming.”

I share these thoughts with you because I find myself burning through many ideas, and cannot tell if I have ‘hit’ the right one. I can be passionate about it one day, and burnt out the next.  It is human nature to not feel the same thing constantly, but I decided to see how I can change the way I think about my ideas and achieve the goals I set for myself.

When sharing your thoughts with others, especially in the first stages, you might hear so many different opinions that will shift the way you feel about your idea. Doubt, fear, and helplessness might take over until you cannot do it anymore.  Do not let that stop you from trying to reignite your first vision; it may not be the right time, but the time will come eventually.  Chances are you are the only person who can follow through and do it just the way you envision it. So what is the worst that could happen? You can always change your mind, be interested in a new idea, or realize that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.  So feel everything you have to, both the negative and positive, regarding an idea, but then move on and make it happen!

How do you keep yourself on the path to achieve your goals?  Would love to learn about your techniques.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

The Clean Up Initiative, Keeping the UAE’s Streets Clean After National Day Celebrations

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)

Everybody interacts with the society they live in on a daily basis. By default you are going to drive on the streets, shop at the malls, or walk in the parks: it is simply a way of life.

However, with the way society impacts our lives, a lot of people are quick to point out the problems that their society faces, but when it comes down to getting on the ground and actually making a difference the numbers drop significantly!

Why is that? If something bothers you that much you would change it, right? If you did not like the way the furniture is laid out at home, you would move it around. If your desk at the office was messy, you would tidy it up; and if you car was dirty, you would take it for a wash. These are only a few examples but you get the idea; you do something about it

So why is it when a street, a park or a beach is all littered up, people are content to complain day after day about how messy it is, assuming that someone else should be responsible for cleaning it up. It simply amazes me how little accountability some people feel towards their role in the community, and how much they demand from others.

But all that is changing and let me tell you why.  Every year, on the 2nd of December, nationals & citizens of the UAE take to the streets in celebration of the country’s National Day; the day the leaders of the emirates came together to create what we know today as “The Spirit of the Union”.

Cars come out decorated, people come out with all sorts of party equipment, specifically that awful spray string that seems to have become so popular (please do not ask me why), and families picnic well into the night.

Most of the time, it is a day filled with happiness, joy and great pride in what our country has accomplished in such little time; a day where our forefathers are celebrated, and a day where we ensure that their legacy lives on.

And then the aftermath of the celebrations emerges; the garbage-laden streets surrounded by the trash-infested parks are sad. It hurts to see your beautiful city being used as a trash can, and the thing that hurts the most, is that there is not a care in the world, that is until now.

This year, someone said enough is enough and started a twitter account called @Ndhefeh_Blady, which in English translates into the cleanliness of my country.  The mission was set to let the people of the UAE know that “WE” the people of the UAE are ultimately responsible for the cleanliness of our country and if you are with me (the person behind the account), join me on Jumeirah Street at 9am the day after National Day.

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

The movement spread like wildfire; young Emiratis around the UAE started their own mini campaigns, tweeting and BB broadcasting left, right and center the locations of their ‘Clean Ups”.  One young lady staying up till 5 in the morning spreading the word and creating #hashtags on twitter to ensure the biggest turn out possible.

This is the kind of mind shift I am talking about; while the youth of our Nation will honk, litter and car screech late into the night, there is this new breed of Emirati questioning: how does that actually represent my love for my country, its leaders and its people? Well, the answer is pretty simple, it does not.

What does, however, are people who protect their country, care for it when it is in need, take the time to lend a helping hand for the greater good, and ask for nothing in return.  It is a love that sometimes has to go one way, no credit asked for, and that is the beauty of it.

I believe the Clean Up initiative has left its mark in the hearts and minds of the people of UAE and I look forward to celebrating National Day again with my fellow Emirati brothers and sisters next year. See you on December 3rd of 2012.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

15 Tips for Creating a New Year’s Resolution That You Will Stick With

Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

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

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

By Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

According to a special story that Time magazine published on New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of 2011, here are the top 10 commonly broken New Year’s resolutions:

  • Lose Weight and Get Fit
  • Quit Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  • Spend More Time with Family & friends
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Enjoy life more

All these broken promises leave us dry which eventually lead us to feel guilty, blame ourselves, and that little voice in our head comes back to supposedly teach us a lesson and sabotage our efforts even more: “I just knew you would fail again!” “Did you seriously think you were going to do it this time around?” “Do you not know yourself at all?” Etc. Sounds familiar?

January 1st marks a beginning and lucky for us, it comes back every 365 or 366 days. It gives us hope and feels like a brand new white page on which we can write anything we want. Often our hopes are so high that we tend to over-promise ourselves by setting quite ambitious goals. This is what New Year’s resolutions are: Goals.

The issue with goals is that they look great on the outside, and they make you feel good, but they are short-lived. It is like standing at the starting line of a long race and truly believing that you will win it without putting in all the hard work and training for it. So unless your New Year’s resolutions have a clear plan to back them up, you might stick to them in January but when February arrives they will become history.

Of course when we set our New Year’s resolutions we always have the best intentions for ourselves, the people around us and the world. Believing that our intentions are enough to make us follow through on our promises is an illusion. Your resolutions should be more than just hopeful promises filled with good intentions. You must connect intentions to passion because this is what will fuel your motivation in the long run. But most people do not know what their passion is and often set goals that will take care of the outside rather than resonate with them on a deeper level.

 

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

Here are my 15 tips on creating New Year’s resolutions closer to your heart which you are more likely to stick to:

  1. Get to know yourself better: On a deeper level, understand your values, your passion, your dreams, and your aspirations & ambitions. This requires that you stop, think and find the answers. If you cannot do it on your own, hire a professional coach to help you.
  2. Resolutions should be a reflection of who you are: Do not set a resolution because it will make you look good or because someone else thinks it is a good idea
  3. Connect your resolution to something that has deep meaning for you: unless your motivation is rooted into something meaningful and deep, something you are passionate about, it will most likely be short-lived
  4. Goals are a journey not only a destination: Make sure you have a process in place that allows you to follow through on these goals by having clearly defined action steps that will take you there
  5. Take baby steps not giant leaps: Action steps should be achievable and measurable with clear milestones that can guide you to your destination and keep moving you forward
  6. Make sure you celebrate your wins along the way: Every time you reach a milestone take some time out to celebrate it. This will give you the encouragement to keep going
  7. Put yourself first: Say NO to temptations and to your saboteur. Temptations will always be there to make you stray-away from your path and that little voice in your head (your saboteur) will be making every effort to sabotage your journey. When your action-steps are rooted in passion and values, you stand in a powerful place.
  8. Do not give yourself excuses: Of course you can be lenient and flexible with yourself but you can do that by giving yourself the choice and allowing yourself to take a break if you need it. This must be a conscious effort where there is no room for excuses. Excuses are just a decent way of admitting failure.
  9. You need to be in control of your own process from beginning to end: All steps on this journey should be started and controlled only by you.
  10. Create accountability: Share your process with a friend or a coach and make sure they hold you accountable every step of the way. When you are the only one who knows about your plan it will be easier to cheat your way out of it.
  11. Any day of the year is a good day to set goals and make them happen: January 1st has a way of putting pressure on you because this seems to be the starting point for most people on the planet. Your starting point can be any day you choose.
  12. Have fun doing it: Enjoy the journey so that the destination can be a triumph on many different levels
  13. Stop and re-assess: Allow yourself to stop and take stock along the way. If things are not working out for you it is ok. This does not mean you failed.
  14. You can re-direct any time you choose: give yourself the freedom to change the goal if it seems too ambitious. Reaching a smaller milestone is always better than giving up
  15. Whatever the outcome is just be sure to make yourself proud

Here is wishing you a successful 2012 with many proud moments and a lot of creativity and fun.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

Understanding the European Debt Crisis

Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Column: Joie de Vivre, Ex-Column: Sense and Sustainability
Haif Zamzam is a bon viveur who just can’t get enough of life. Her inflexibility for the norm coupled with her constant hunt for a challenge pushed her to the private sector where she is a professional in a top-tier consulting firm. Haif has an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelors degree from the AUS. Through her column, Joie de Vivre, French for “Joy of Living,” Haif hopes to show how living with your head in the clouds is highly underrated.
Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Latest posts by Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa) (see all)

By Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Whether you want to hear about it or not, it is hard to ignore the EuroZone debt crisis over the last six months.  At the beginning, the media portrayed it to be the “Greek Debt Crisis.”  However, it was obvious that the problem was near boiling point and was bound to spill over the entire European landmass.  Before trying to break down what is happening today, let us go back in time to understand the basics; what is the EuroZone and how did we end up in this rut?

The EuroZone was formed in the 1990s. Economically speaking, and in my personal view, Germany and France were the heavy weight champions of that bloc.  By joining the EuroZone, countries like Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (collectively referred to as PIIGS) could issue debt at similar rates to German bond yields (side note: bonds are debt instruments issued to a public market; kind of like an IOU given by a borrower to a lender).  So let us say for example, Ahmed is financially responsible and Ali is not.  However, due to the friendship, Ali can borrow money at cheaper interest rates and easily because he is friends with Ahmed. Got it? So the idea is when the EuroZone was initiated, it was for countries like Greece to be able to borrow money at lower rates, close to German rates, to develop and progress their countries’ economies responsibly. The ultimate goal was for all of Europe to grow more powerful.

 

Illustration by Mariam ARMS (@MariamARMS)

However, PIIGS got themselves pretty deep in debt recently, and they needed to borrow billions of dollars in 2010 and 2011 to make payments on the interest. Think of it as Ali struggling to pay his minimum payments on his credit card that he keeps maxing out. To make matters worse, investors are now demanding a higher yield to hold onto the debt of these countries as the risk has sky rocketed since lenders invested their capital; which is unfair to the financially responsible Ahmed, and will drown Ali in further debt. The bailout was really just a band-aid put on top of a gushing wound.  To be eligible for these bailouts, PIIGS’ governments had to cut their spending (firing government workers and/or reducing pensions) and increase their revenues (by raising taxes); so Ali basically would have to cut down on his employees leaving them jobless, which in the long-run, is bad for an already struggling economy. This bailout could really be seen as the cure and the cause because looking at the PIIGS economies today, it is clear that the austerity dealings has not solved the problem in any way.

As a result of the EuroZone crisis, political parties in Portugal and Ireland have plummeted from power, and two prime ministers (of Greece and Italy) have resigned.  The question remains, will the euro survive as a common currency? Allowing the economies of Greece and other states to collapse would have serious consequences for all of Europe and the rest of the world, and leaders are doing everything they can to avoid that outcome.

How does that relate to us here in the UAE?  Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, the UAE Central Bank Governor, said that the UAE’s trade and economic activities with the EuroZone are not more than 20% of our trade activities.  He also went on to state that the European nations need to solve their problems which are of a sovereign debt nature and that this crisis needs time to be handled. I cannot help but notice a striking similarity between the EuroZone crisis and 2009 Dubai situation that began with the Dubai World restructuring.  In any case, economists and financers are definitely writing up a storm focusing on the EuroZone and the glitch in that specific market economy while we hope for the best in 2012.  The UAE’s economy is well-positioned to be able to ride this wave but please remember to save save save. Cut the fat in unnecessary spending bearing in mind that hope alone is not a strategy.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

A Solution Needed for Indecent Clothing in the Workplace

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)

I fairly believe that this topic of indecent attires in the malls, public places, and such has been used and abused in the past few months, but this month, I would like to discuss the office attires, and how truly indecent some of them are, but what I am looking for is more of a solution rather than just discussing it.

I love this phrase that the Open Majlis has used in a blog written in September, “You have all been there. You have probably witnessed the sight countless times that caused you to stop dead in your tracks. Your jaw falls and your eyes widen as you watch in utter disbelief.”

Okay, I would expect to see half naked/indecently dressed people when I walk in a mall, park, or even on the streets, but am I expected to see this in the office? I have seen the short skirts, low hanging pants, see-through shirts, revealing shirts, tight clothes that are screaming for mercy, Hawaiian shirts, and clothes that you simply do not wear out of bed. So I ask myself, do I really have to endure this level of uneasiness and be surrounded by this kind of attire?

I was in a meeting once with a few people, and one of them was wearing one of those see-through shirts with her undergarments underneath showing perfectly, and I know for a fact that not a single man in that room listened to a word she had said. Not only that, but the one next to her was wearing something so tight, like it was painted on her.

As an Emirati who has values, respects cultural sensitivity, and knows when something is wrong, do I need to be in that useless meeting where I know for sure that there will be no positive outcome/result out of it? Why do I have to put up with being somewhere that is making me uncomfortable? Last but not least, this is a company that has a base in the UAE, do the rules of how-to-dress change based on where you are established?

When that incident occurred, I raised it to the management, discussed a dress code, and went to the legal department. The whole process took around two weeks, and a policy was drafted. However, sadly that policy was never distributed nor taken seriously because the management was not Emirati, and they simply said, “Why shall we make our staff uncomfortable? This will lessen their productivity.”

My sarcastic moment came out and I simply said: “So wearing a loose pant that barely covers your rear, will definitely boost productivity and enrich those brain cells.”

 

Illustration by SYAAC

Again I ask: why do I have to put my eyes through seeing such indecency flaunted in front of me?

Moving along, when I had my own employees, we had a senior meeting and I could not attend, so I had asked one of the senior members to attend on my behalf, and this person told me, “I am sorry I cannot. I am not dressed professionally to be in a senior meeting.”

I simply told that person that regardless of how you are dressed, working in a professional environment requires you to always wear professional clothing. If you are not dressed professionally, then you will have to bear the consequences of being embarrassed in that meeting.

My fellow readers, enough discussions for we have done a lot of it. I want a solution. When will organisations wake up and take this seriously. Or better yet, when will we enforce staff members that this is a ‘must’ and not something that we might tolerate.

My best friend works in an international firm based in the UAE. She wears an abaya and sheila, but is mandated to wear a dark suit beneath it all the time, regardless of that she is already covered by an Emirati traditional garment as she represents an international firm. This is an excellent example, and we are the ones who should lead it, not others. We are born and based here, yet we allow individuals to take it easy.

Manuals/booklets should be passed onto employees when they join any organisations; this should be enforced by the government, dictating what is decent, and what not. We cannot leave it open-ended for the organisations to guess what perceives decent or not.

We should stop complaining, and start thinking of ways to fix this.  I welcome any ideas, or suggestions to improve this.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point

True Patriotism and 3 Pillars to Support it, Reflections for National Day Celebrations

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)

Cars honking, people dancing, aircrafts soaring through the skies, and flags being waved; these are some of the typical scenes witnessed last December as the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar celebrated their National Days (UAE on the 2nd, Bahrain on the 16th, and Qatar on the 18th). The festive mood on these days is a testimony of the citizens’ happiness and pride and a reflection of their sense of belonging to their land. It is also a time for citizens to renew their allegiance and support for their leadership. This was demonstrated through portraits of the Rulers vividly printed on peoples’ cars, flags, T-shirts, and more.

As I witnessed these festivities, I could not classify these emotions under any category other than patriotism, something I also remember witnessing during the unfortunate 9/11 days in the United States.  What is Patriotism? Merriam-Webster defines it as “ love for or devotion to one’s country”.  Since the world is constantly changing and development is an ongoing necessity, I believe that definition lacks two important elements that give true meaning to patriotism. In my opinion, the love and devotion has to be accompanied by the desire to achieve certain holistic gains that mutually benefit the country and its citizens. In addition, the love and devotion should come with a strong sense of representation.

“I want everyone in this country to benefit and to be of benefit at the same time.”
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

“Development is the responsibility of every citizen.”
Our father the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan

After speaking to a few participants in these festivities, I realized that the majority I interacted with had no real understanding of the concept of striving to create a mutual benefit for the people of the country. Instead, they were participating solely for the sake of celebrating.  This phenomenon of not knowing the meaning behind celebrating drove me to address this issue with great care and a lot of thought. In my opinion, in order to understand true patriotism, it is incumbent to understand the three main pillars that support it.

 

Illustration by Mariam ARMS (@MariamARMS)

Faith is the first and most important pillar of patriotism that is required for constant development and improvement. Faith consists of a combination of belief in the country’s vision, optimism, and work. Believing in the goals set forth by the country and having realistic optimism about its results, fuels the work that needs to be put in to achieve those goals that will benefit the citizens of the country.

Passion is the second pillar of patriotism without which any efforts towards mutual benefit would collapse. Passion can be thought of as a strong feeling associated toward someone or thing. In patriotism, passion is a strong feeling of devotion and contribution. Interlinked with its predecessor faith, passion is the drive that fuels work even under the most discouraging conditions. Furthermore, it is the spark that allows individuals to fully contribute in the gloomiest of times.

Sincerity is the third and nonetheless an important pillar of patriotism; it is the element of purity in patriotism. It protects all efforts from hypocrisy, fraud, deceit and any conflicts of interests. Sincerity is important in patriotism especially in nation building and in positions of authority that are delegated with tasks related to development and continuous improvement.

With the correct foundations of faith, passion, and sincerity, patriotism is redefined to include social benefit and pursuit of prosperity. Flag-waving, car decorating, and country boasting then become based on these solid fundamentals that enrich patriotism with meaning and incentivize collective participation.

In Summary, patriotism as currently defined, lacks two important elements; the desire to contribute towards mutual gains and the necessity of appropriate representation. When patriotism is understood entirely through the above proposed pillars of faith, passion, and sincerity, it leads to the mentality of social benefit and only then does it become worthy of representation.  That said; let us all educate ourselves to comprehend these pillars. Let us proudly represent our nations under the umbrella of true patriotism.

 

22nd Issue – January 2012
Here We StartArt of Living 101Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wanna Be Entrepreneur
Community TalkScenes from Life
Sense and Sustainability
Too Blunt For WordsTo The Point