Here We Start – Issue #32

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)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dear Sail Readers,

For our 32nd issue, we have a new member joining us through a very unique column. Budoor Al Yousuf takes a unique look at the world around her. She applies a sense of the mystical to everyday happenstance and turns it on its head. The result is her column: “Mental Pondering”.

Through this issue we are targeting many different topics that we hope you find interesting and valuable. We always look forward for your discussions on the articles to build new perspectives for all of us.

Here is our content’s listing for November 2012 – Issue #32:

Enjoy the reads and don’t forget to enjoy our illustrations by Fatma AlHashemi.

Warm Regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed on the Amplified Result of Giving

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.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

I once read that people who grow up becoming great and influential had the chance to meet leaders with those attributes at least once earlier in their lives. By directly listening to what those leaders have to say and feeling the positive vibes of their presence, we receive a greater impact that would be engraved in our minds and reflected in our actions.

Speaking of great influential people, we’ve all heard of Bill Gates’ visit to Abu Dhabi a few of weeks ago; as the national media was generous in highlighting that. Gates gave an impressive keynote speech at Abu Dhabi Media Summit where he spoke of his experience in technology and media and was later received by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to give a speech about philanthropy as the co-chair of his philanthropic foundation.

I had the honor of being invited to attend the lecture given at Sheikh Mohammed’s Majlis and I found it to be both informative and inspirational.

As I left the Majlis, I had a strange feeling of refreshment and uplifting and felt a great desire to do something; to contribute. I could also see the fascination on the attendees’ eyes and the shining smiles on their faces. It was certainly an evening to remember.

The lecture Gates gave was good but it wasn’t something he said that left us all captivated; it was a comment that Sheikh Mohammed added as Gates finished what he had to say.

Since the lecture was mainly about giving and philanthropic efforts, Sheikh Mohammed shared with us a story about the same topic commemorating our late father, the first ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed (God bless his soul).

To begin with, we were amazed by the fact that Sheikh Mohammed asked for the microphone to speak. All eyes glittering, we were staring at him admiringly, waiting impatiently to be nourished by his wise words and then the Majlis paused in silence.

His Highness kicked off his comment by graciously directing his talk to Bill Gates saying: “Bill, do you allow me to speak in Arabic?”

We then heard the magnificent story about a lesson Sheikh Mohammed learned from the late Sheikh Zayed.

Although I hoped for more exposure on the story, I found it commendable enough that it was on the news, a few op-eds, and heavily shared on Twitter as well.

The National, one of the few national newspapers that highlighted the story wrote:

“Sheikh Mohammed told the audience about a visit to Tanzania in the late 1980s. His late father, Sheikh Zayed, founder of the UAE, asked the Crown Prince about the situation of the people.

“He asked me, ‘What did you do for them?’ I told him, ‘I did not do anything for them. They are not Muslims’. He then grabbed my hand and looked me in the eyes for 10 seconds and said: ‘The one who created you is the one who created them’.”

Sheikh Mohammed then asked what he could do to help, and his father suggested he build a well.

“Now we have done 29 wells. There are 27 villages where families live. Each one has a well, a clinic and schools.”

Sheikh Mohammed pointed out that “Bill Gates is not a Muslim” and yet he has helped three Muslims countries to eradicate polio.

“He spends two billion dollars on Muslims,” the Crown Prince said. “This is a beautiful project that he should be thanked for, and I believe we are very lucky to be part of it.

“I would like to thank my friend Bill for this initiative.””

It was an anecdote we all felt honored hearing directly from Sheikh Mohammed. I was personally close to tears as I listened to him speak about Sheikh Zayed. We believed there was a lesson not only about the amplifying result of giving, but also about tolerance to people of all faiths and races. Besides that, we were also inspired by the courtesy and modesty of Sheikh Mohammed when he asked for permission –in his own Majlis– to speak.

Beyond all that, there was one statement by Sheikh Mohammad which enlightened me the most; One that I believe held the greatest meaning and I was surprised to see that neither the media nor any of the op-eds or tweets had noticed that.

Just after telling us about the impact the 29 wells had on the people in the villages, His Highness paused for a second, slightly raised his forefinger, and said: “One well.”, then paused again while still looking at us.

Photography by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

Goosebumps was what I felt after hearing this. “His Highness is teaching us something here”, I thought to myself. “All those wells, the clinics, and the schools that changed people’s lives would not have happened had Sheikh Zayed not asked for that ‘one’ well to be built”, I continued to think to myself.

The message was: a great impact starts with one step.

Those messages are not only worth sharing, but also worth living by. The capture of such moments and messages by great leaders make us the great influential people we can become.

May God protect our great leaders; their wisdom continue to inspire us and may He give us the strength to pay them back by serving, contributing, and adding value to our country.

Over-Advice, The Worst Thing During My Pregnancy

Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

Developmental Editor.
Aida has more than a decade experience in the communications, and mastering ceremonies field, she worked in private and public sectors, and now heads the Stakeholder Communications in Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai. Aida was a columnist in few of the local newspapers, a TV co-host of a community talk show, and cofounded with friends a community platform: “Promise Of A Generation”.
Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Even before you are brought into this world, once people know you are a boy or a girl, the planning starts. What you’ll be dressed up as, what toys you’ll play with, you’ll be daddys’ little girl or mommys’ big boy.

Family, society, your surroundings and you as a person define who you are and what you will become. Over time, these definitions, decisions, changes become embedded in you and then one day, when you become a parent or decide to become one, the cycle starts repeating itself.

My husband and I decided early on that once we got married we wanted to start having kids. But the decision to have a child is not an easy one because you start thinking of the commitment you need to put in; and I don’t mean the finances. You need the commitment of time, your alone time, family time, your spouse and your time alone with your child, developing your child’s social skills, his or her education and the list goes on.

So we decided to have a baby and I thought I’d share my personal experience of how I welcomed advice or otherwise. My pregnancy wasn’t rosy all the time but during that time, I started thinking about how I want to raise my child. From watching my friends and relatives treat and raise their children, signing up for different parent newsletters and websites, downloading iPad applications, I became adamant to learn what I could about early child development.

What books, people and applications don’t teach you is the development of love and patience for your child.  In my opinion, you learn this early on in your pregnancy, for women in particular. A bond is created with your child. This bond begins differently for every woman; some when they find out when they are pregnant, others when they see the first ultrasound, others when they hear the first heart beats, some when they feel the first kick.

As a first time mother, I faced challenges of commuting and working whilst pregnant, I went through my third and final trimester of my pregnancy during the peak of the summer time, and most of all, getting over-advice from people. Yes, there is such a thing as getting over-advice.

Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

What people will not tell you is that you need alone time with your child once he or she is born. To learn and understand what each cry means and when he or she is fussy, it stands for something. Instead what you get in our community is people telling you what to do and what not to do all the time.

I think more than the pregnancy itself and more than being tired and commuting; the over-advice must have been the worst thing I experienced. It is not the fact that your new born wakes up every few hours crying to feed or be changed or needs cuddling, but the people who want to constantly be in your face. I am sure there is a silver lining in wanting to advise new moms but in some cases it comes off as over bearing and very frustrating. Each mother is different from her pregnancy to her delivery to her recovery and so are the needs of each newborn.

What our society needs to learn is that they need to be supportive by showing they can and want to be there for a new mother but also to allow space for a new mother to relax, sleep, bond with her child, and allow her to ask the questions instead of forcing advice down ones’ throat. Just like how everything else has advanced, a lot of things that may have worked 30 years ago may not apply in 2012 and what I may know today on raising a child, might not work completely another 30 years from now.

I am grateful for having an understanding family and especially friends who have become new moms themselves in the past year or so because we fall into the “new” generation who want the best of both worlds. The wisdom of the past combined with the advancement of the present. I’ve learnt that sometimes just breathing and nodding your head followed with an “inshallah” works wonders and then walk away and you do what’s right for you and your child.

The Insanity Proposition: Embracing Insanity to Stay Sane

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

Budoor takes a unique look at the world around her. She applies a sense of the mystical to everyday happenstance and turns it on its head. The result is her column: “Mental Pondering”.
With a background in communications, her passion for writing is driven by the need to voice her thoughts. Budoor also hold an eMBA in innovation and Entrepreneurship, other than writing, her interests include reading and traveling.
Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

“The Insanity Proposition. ” Go ahead and read it one more time, word by word: The. Insanity. Proposition.

Insanity isn’t something on everyone’s mind as it can be a very dark and twisted term with many definitions. Some of these definitions are too disturbing to think about and the others are too lame to consider but the easiest answer to think of is: “Insanity is the opposite of sanity. ”

 “The Insanity Proposition” is based on that answer; it is based on the idea that insanity and sanity are two sides of the same coin and on the awareness of them being interlinked.

In simple terms, “The Insanity Proposition” can be defined in this sentence: “it is when you forget sanity and embrace insanity for a specific time in a specific situation to avoid insanity.”

Before that definition is explained, it is significant to remember what life is like and how it continues to go on, day after day and night after night. Life doesn’t stop, the earth doesn’t stop spinning, the sun doesn’t stop rising, the wind doesn’t stop blowing, the days don’t stop passing and human beings never get a break.

Even if you do decide to go into exile and leave everything behind, life will go on, the earth will spin, the sun will rise, the wind will blow, the days will pass, and even though you may think you are on a break, you can never take a break from yourself. That is the fact of life and in those moments in life, “The Insanity Proposition” is embraced.

To explain “The Insanity Proposition” further, the following day to day situations have been written with the sanity approach as well as “The Insanity Proposition” approach:

Situation 1: Flying on an airplane: Sanity vs. The Insanity Proposition

  • Sanity: is it safe? What are the odds that the plane crashes? What if my head explodes from the pressure? Will my feet be sore and look like elephant feet? Will a smelly person be sitting next to me?
  • “The Insanity Proposition”: which gum should I take with me? What music should I download? I wonder what movies will be playing? Should I take a Kit-Kat with me?

Situation 2: Eating at a new restaurant: Sanity vs. The Insanity Proposition

  • Sanity: what if I don’t like the food? What if the waiters are horrible? How do I know their kitchen is clean?
  • “The Insanity Proposition”: I wonder what music will they be playing? I have a feeling their decor will look nice. Let’s hope their chairs are comfy.

Situation 3: Stuck in traffic: Sanity vs. The Insanity Proposition

  • Sanity: look at that idiot! Why won’t these cars move?! I’m so LATE! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !!
  • “The Insanity Proposition”: *sings favorite song in head, swears a bit, continues singing*

In many cases, being sane and taking everything as it is can drive you insane but “The Insanity Proposition” allows you to choose to become insane in a chosen situation, at a chosen time and in a controlled environment. Hence, relieving the pressure off your brain and eventually saving yourself from insanity.

And as my good friend @Lindseymcd said to me: “you’ve accepted insanity’s proposal a long time ago” and indeed I did!

Arabs Don’t Read

Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

Dubai is an Emirati girl with a passion for all things art. Her number one passion was to find a place between Emarati artists and filmmakers , and her dream turned into reality in 2008 , when she was officially named as the Middle East’s Youngest Director at the age of 11.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes


Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)


When asked about whether or not he sees Arabs as a threat, Moshe Dayan, an Israeli military leader, said no by simply stating: ‘Arabs don’t read’.  Reading frees the mind and opens a possibility for free thinking. In many parts of this region, many are ‘anti-thinking’, simply because thinking leads to change. The past isn’t reversible, but the future can be saved.

The first word in the Holy Quran is ‘Read’, and ironically, Arabs don’t read. I’m never one to stereotype, but we’re talking facts here. We glorify our ‘Arabic history’ when we know minimal amount of information about it. What we know about our history is limited to what we studied in high school or even university.

Another quote I passed by was, ‘Women shouldn’t read books. Then they start thinking and getting ideas.’ I laughed because I understood the truth behind this quote. I’m not talking about the ‘women shouldn’t read’ part, but rather, the ‘thinking’ part. When you read a book, regardless of the genre, you get to see life through a different perspective. You start seeing things through the eyes of the author. When we read, we start analyzing the past. When we analyze the past, we just might have a chance to change the future.

Ray Bradburry once stated that to kill a region’s culture they don’t need to burn its books, they simply need to get the people to stop reading them. As a region, we are all trained to think in the same direction. We are all guided through the same paths. ‘Thinking’ gets in the way of this path. Schools nowadays produce students that all fall under the same category. Educational systems prepare students for university and, little do they know, they’re killing the very essence of individuality. As a region, we’ve been told what to think, not how to think. Encouraging reading is the only way to save a generation that’s lost between conformity and mediocrity.

We don’t need more lawyers and doctors, we need more free thinkers; people who think for themselves. We don’t need more A+ scores, we need more opinions. We don’t need people in positions, we need change. We don’t need to conform, we need to read.

2 Types of Relationships, Similar vs. Different People

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)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

One of the most important decisions we make, on a daily basis, is the choice of relationships and friendships we have in our lives. Be it family, friends, or those that we partner with and share our lives with; These decisions take up a large portion of our time, both mentally and physically. Naturally, this becomes a heavily discussed topic with opinions on it from every angle. Parents will give their two cents on the subject, so will a friend, an acquaintance, even a fortune cookie! Between the fog that covers this important topic are two types of relationships that we can compare and contrast, for better or worse a decision can be made between the two with the consequences for each decision taking course.

The first is a relationship of parallels. x = x. This is a more natural principle to live by and to guide our decision making with relationships; People that are more like us, who share common interests, and think along the same lines that we do. This sounds quite reasonable, why would anyone want to share their life and the moments they cherish with someone that doesn’t see things eye-to-eye or has an opposing or alternative view on matters that matter? This, however, requires a deeper dive than simply thinking a perfect reflection of a person is the perfect match. The first thing to think about is what attributes are we looking for in common. Is it our calm nature or our willingness to experiment? Is it our wild ways or our love for Asian food? While some matters might be easy to select as appropriate to have in common, a high temper isn’t something that would be wise to have shared between two people.

The other type of relationship is a complimentary one. x + y = ?. These are individuals that might not necessarily have the same attributes as the person, but in combination, they result in a third and different result than they naturally would be in isolation. This also sounds like a good idea, to have someone that can complement us well, to be able to take in our bad and turn it into good, to be the counter balance to our behaviors. This equation works well when it comes to our not-so-good behaviors where someone can be able to, for example, provide a calming presence towards our potential impulsive behaviors. Where it doesn’t work so well is in the fact that they are, by nature, different than us. Difference can create incompatibility; it can be an instigator of conflict.

It would be foolish to think that any one person is either one of the equations in pure form. Every person can offer both a parallel behavior and a complimentary one. In either case, it’s useful to have an ability to draw a line between behaviors and ultimately the people that portray and demonstrate them. It is the observation of the person and the consequential decisions that will make either one of those relationships beneficial in the long term.

Gossip in the Office

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.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

What is it in our nature that eludes us to gossip? And by nature, I talk of women. I know men gossip as well but it is rare how often we see it. Gossip is quite common amongst women and I’m going to add that it is even more common at the work place.

I’ve mentioned in my previous articles that I am an individual that doesn’t like to mix my personal life with my professional life. I consider my professional life a different world and I do not like it to penetrate into my personal world.

As I progressed through my career life, I realized that gossip always was a part of it. It never subdued. I seem to witness the women who linger in the hallway and whisper in each other’s ears and suddenly go quiet the minute someone walks by them. Gossip not only causes problems, but leads to a great amount of miscommunication as well.

Illustration by SYAC

Sadly though, there are individuals that simply enjoy and make it a must to gossip in their daily work life. I, in particular, avoid these things. My purpose of going to the office is to work. And it shouldn’t be any of my business what is said about an individual, myself, etc… If I maintain a good relationship with my superiors and aim to always be honest about my work, then I really don’t have to worry about it.

We will always find someone whose purpose in life is to only make problems for others, especially in the workplace. In my opinion, it occurs more often amongst females. I, for once, would like to be part of an honest group of professional employees who just come to work in order to ‘work’. However, since I have begun my career, I have also found that in some way or another, problems occur.

There were always silly misunderstandings but the intention was always to harm the other. Let me give you some live examples that my friends were part of at one point in their lives.

A male friend of mine was seated in a meeting with three girls. There was a presentation featured in the meeting and the presenter was a lovely young lady presenting it. Once she was done and left the room, the three girls turned to the male employee and said out of the blue ‘you know she had a botched plastic surgery recently.”

He blinked in surprise and told himself that he really didn’t see anything wrong with her face. However, the girls kept going on and on that she had a surgery done and it went really bad and that her face was uneven.

Why would you share that piece of information with someone you don’t even know? What added value is it to your life if her surgery had gone bad?

As I was writing this article, our editor in chief pointed out to me that men can get worse than women when it comes to gossip, and that it entirely depends on the gender ratio in the company as well as sector of your company. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; everyone generalizes based on their own experiences and exposure. It’s true that men share facts as a general thing but women seem to always twist it into a more creative front than anyone else.

I know I’m generalizing and not everyone’s like that but it was worth pointing out from the things I’ve seen. There are so many examples and personal experiences I can share but then I’ll never finish this article. I would love to write more on this and even have the readers share the absurd stories that they’ve been a part of. I look forward to reading them.

When Life Hands You Lemons

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.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Certainly, many of you have read, heard or seen Dale Carnegie’s phrase “When Life Hands You Lemons” in various songs, display pictures or postcards. The continuation of this phrase means more than the phrase itself. What do you do “When Life Hands You Lemons”?  What do you do when life doesn’t go your way? Dale Carnegie says make lemonade out of it. New variations of this phrase have conquered the worldwide web realm. Some variations suggest throwing them back at life. Some tell you to make margarita out of them and throw a party, while others advise you to clone them and make super lemons out of them.

This proverbial phrase encourages optimism to all its readers. It motivates you to get up and face your misfortune rather than commiserating on your luck. How you react to unexpected situations can directly affect your personal and business lives and can affect people around you. The use of the word “Lemons”, in this context, is a metaphor to indicate the unfortunate or inadequate situation that the person is in; Referring to the sour and acidic taste to unsweetened lemons while lemonade conveys a sweetened alternative and a more pleasurable situation.

Without doubt, many of us have been handed “lemons” during our lifetime where we had to be in a difficult and unexpected situation. There are times in life when everything goes smoothly and then suddenly it comes to a halt and “lemons” are squeezed in our eyes. In that specific moment, life examines how well we deal with difficulties and the next steps we take shape our lives and personalities. When these irregular times come by, many people find it a problem to deal with their issues. Those who get hit with circumstances on a more frequent basis may have developed better skills to handle these situations more effectively.

It is very common for us to give up and walk away from something we passionately wanted due to several failed attempts; to fall in the trap of people telling us that we can’t do it. When life doesn’t pan out the way we planned, we should ask ourselves “Am I going to let my circumstances manage me or am I going to manage my circumstances?” If we view life as a problem, it becomes ordinary. If we view it as an opportunity, it becomes extraordinary. The most effective leaders make a practice of managing their circumstances.  They have taken the time to learn how to best manage situations that take them by surprise. They have the ability to look at “lemons” and don’t allow it to falter them.

It is true that we encounter stress and disappointments everyday and challenges can weaken us. However, if we devote our time to feeling sorry for ourselves or being negative, it will only weaken us further. So if life ever gives you lemons, sell them at a marked-up price, purchase more lemons from their profits and repeat the process until you have a multi-billion firm.