Here We Start – Issue #38

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

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

Dear Sail Readers,

As we publish our 38th issue, Mustafa Abbas with his unique background in filmmaking joins us as a columnist. Mustafa is an award-winning filmmaker whose short films have screened in local festivals such as Dubai International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival, as well as international film festivals including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Currently he is working on numerous projects both within and outside of UAE. Through his column “Notes of The Night”, he ponders upon different matters of our daily lives. Mustafa is also known as “Moose” in his circle, hence you’ll almost always find his signature ending line: “Moose out.” at the end of his articles.

Issue #38 – May 2013 in brief:

  • Art of Living 101 – The Beauty of Insanity: Hamda Al Hashemi explains that while what our minds might find insane, others’ might consider it a means to creating a masterpiece.
  • Hidden Promises – The Path: Alia Al Hazami finds that we often believe that we choose the correct lifestyle and everyone should live by it. Come take a look at the mistakes we’re taking perceived by the author!
  • Interview with Mohammed Kazim, Cofounder of Allinque: Mohammed Kazim, is one of the managing partners of Allinque Personal Assistance, and is one of Sail eMagzine’s columnists. In this interview, he’ll talk with us about his career, business, the hurdles he’s come through, and much more.
  • Mental Pondering – Assumption Idiocy: Budoor AlYousuf reflects on how people tend to assume things without talking about it or logically thinking about it. These random assumptions end up getting people in a lot of unnecessary trouble.
  • Neglected Moments – Man, Kind: Mustafa Abbas discusses the importance of instinct when dealing with people and making friends.
  • The Mind’s Eye – Safe in My Own Skin: Moadh Bukhash gives a quick view on the difference in treating materialistic objects to either satisfy oneself or to garner attention in the hopes of improving one’s own self-esteem.
  • Tifosi – Fan Violence: Khalifa AlHajeri takes us through his perception of fan violence in sports and gives us a little background on different happenings in that matter.
  • Too Blunt for Words – MEFCC Experience: Fatma AlKhaja takes us in an avid fan’s journey through the Middle East Film & Comic Convention. An experience that she’s waited for a very long time and how the anime and manga scene has progressed in the UAE.

Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out our illustrations by our creative team: Anood AlMulla, Dana AlAttar, Maha Bin Fares, & Maryam Zainal.

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

The Beauty of Insanity, Relfecting on the Work of Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama

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)

Philosopher George Carlin once said, “The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”  When I began studying at university, I began meeting a lot of eccentric people. It was mainly the way people think that shocked me, but then it came to me; everyone is someone else’s weirdo.  The reason why I believe in that statement is because I realized that our standards on which we base what is acceptable and what is not, is disrupted by our personalities.

There is a saying in Arabic, which implies that if it weren’t for people’s different tastes then no business would be successful. The same goes to the way each of us thinks, if we all agreed on the same ideas, then there wouldn’t be different fields, and creativity and innovation will cease to exist.

“…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity,” – Yayoti Kusama.

While some of us might consider the above excerpt gibberish, others consider it worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Miss Kusama, a Japanese author and artist, admitted herself to a mental institution in 1977. While she was in the institution, her hallucinations of polka-dots took over her. After a while she began to see those hallucinations that bothered her, as something beautiful. Kusama’s artwork sell up to 500,000 USD nowadays.

Yayoi Kusama, Polka Dots Madness

Yayoi Kusama, Polka Dots Madness

Just by looking at her work, one becomes astounded at the level of detail, creativity, and vivid imagination it takes to create such beauty. Her mixture of pop art, minimalism, and feminism is impeccable and absolutely astounding. There are so many details that undergo the process of creating this masterpiece. Details that would make us go crazy if we think about them.

Yayoyi Kusama, I’m Here but Nothing, 2000

Yayoyi Kusama, I’m Here but Nothing, 2000

Not to mention that in 2012, Kusama designed Louis Vuitton’s entire store on Fifth Avenue, New York.

Yayoi Kusama WIndow At The Louis Vuitton Store On Fifth Avenue

Yayoi Kusama WIndow At The Louis Vuitton Store On Fifth Avenue

Oscar Levant once said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.” We must be very careful about our judgments and subjectivity when dealing with others; some people do not have the same concepts and thoughts that our realistic brains consider normal. But that simple fact can be the reason behind the other person’s success, and we should always be open to that scenario.

3 Main Issues Faced by Our Generation: Honesty, Procrastination and Depression

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Column: Hidden Promises
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)
Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

I’m not perfect; I’m far from that… I keep on stating this over and over again because people deem that I pretend to be perfect. You see, whatever I write in my articles is what I hope to be, not what I currently am. Through my writing, I’ve learned to make better decisions and simply be a better person, because I don’t want to come off as fake. As a writer I love to give advice, that’s why I try to tackle inspirational topics.

I’ve always mentioned that I truly dislike our generation and its ways though I’m a part of it. I simply think that most of the people who are a part of our generation are reckless and irresponsible. People believe that we have become like this due to the way we were raised, I completely disagree. I believe that the way we let our self go turned us into this. We’ve been asleep for a while and we have to be awakened from our slumber and that can only happen by choosing to go onto the correct path.

That seems easy when you read it but how can we be sure that we’ve taken the correct trail? Our minds love to trick us, they can make us believe that the way we’re living is the way everyone should, whilst it could be the exact lifestyle we shouldn’t live by. By observing the way we all act, I have highlighted our main issues that need to be fixed promptly; Honesty, Procrastination and Depression.

Honesty – ‘Honesty is the best policy’ and we’re all aware of that, we just choose not to acknowledge it. I have to admit, though I feel like I’m an honest person, I’ve had my share fair of ‘Little white lies.’ The first thing we need to do is to terminate any sort of lie, whether small or big to augment the person we currently are.

Stop procrastination – Laziness is taking over our generation and my biggest problem is that we’re completely fine and happy with it. Heck, a lot of us state it with much pride. Don’t we happen to be the voice of the future? Aren’t we the ones who’ll shape it up and hopefully make it better? The thing is; our excuse is going to be “We’re still young! We want to have fun and focus on that later.” That statement is utterly false. We need to take the initiative as of now and learn how to live in a productive way starting from a young age.

Radiate love and happiness – Have you ever deeply thought and couldn’t help but notice how everyone is always sad and plainly “Not in the mood”?  I’m sure that I’m not the only one who noticed it. It’s absolutely wrong of us to let chronic depression get into us, we should take a step in demolishing it by stating our graces and by merely convincing ourselves that we are happy. You wouldn’t be lying to yourself if you convinced it with that belief because we truly are happier than a lot of people out there. Our inner demons shouldn’t take control; they’re only toying with our emotions.

From my perspective, keeping count of our sins helps us in becoming better people. Yes, I personally feel like our sins define us; they decide what kind of a person we are. However, that kind of judgment is for us and us only in order to conquer the villain within us and become the enhanced versions of our previous self. That sort of judgment isn’t present for humans out there to make false assumptions based on thoughts produced in their head. One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t judge people because they sin differently than you.” and that’s the exact point I’m trying to convey. Everything starts with tiny steps, if we make an effort to actually take them, then we’ll constantly improve and go a long way.

Interview with Mohammed Kazim, Cofounder of Allinque

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)

Mohammed Kazim, is one of the managing partners of Allinque Personal Assistance, and is one of Sail eMagzine’s columnists. In this interview, he’ll talk with us about his career, business, the hurdles he’s come through, and much more.

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Sail eMagazine: Tell us a little about your background.

Mohammed Kazim: I did my under and post grad studies in Boston in the US and started my career there for 3 years. I then moved back to UAE in 2008 and have been working with a government owned company in Abu Dhabi until recently.

Sail eMagazine: How does it feel to stay in such a company for 5 years?

Mohammed Kazim: I stayed that long because throughout my time there I was given three elements:

  1. A meaningful challenge.
  2. Appreciation
  3. The ability to create an impact.

Sail eMagazine: But you resigned last month?

Mohammed Kazim: Yes, because two of those elements weren’t there anymore. I had no authority or autonomy to do anything so my ability to create impact was plateauing and there was no appreciation. Just around that stage, my partners and myself have heavily invested in Allinque -the business I helped cofound-, and it required serious attention for it to sustain. So, I decided to quit my job and just move in and be full time managing partner in Allinque.

Sail eMagazine: Tell us more about Allinque and its business offering?

Mohammed Kazim: Allinque is a personal assistance service for your personal life. It involves things like getting your Emirates ID renewed, booking your restaurants, planning your vacations, and so on.

Sail eMagazine: So your services are between virtual and physical services?

Mohammed Kazim: Yes. We have personal assistance hours that are virtual hours, which includes any kind of work that can be done on a computer or telephone. And then we have messenger hours where we have our PRO who does the running around. We sell those hours in bundles that you either pay for as you go or you pay for an annual contract, in which you get a number of bundled hours monthly depending on your requirement.

Sail eMagazine: What’s the story behind the brand name?

Mohammed Kazim: We wanted it to be a creative & catchy. We had a few different words that we wanted to use to express the brand. We had: alleviate your stress, align your interests, unique idea, a link to the world, and few other words and we wanted something inclusive. So a branding specialist we were working with suggested using parts of these words and put them together to create a brand name. And so came Allinque.

Sail eMagazine: Who are the partners in Allinque?

Mohammed Kazim: We were originally 4 investors and managing partners: Faisal Lutfi, Ahmad Al Ashram, Khaled Gubash, myself, and now we have 2 new investors on board who are Ali AlYouha and Eissa Buhannad.

Sail eMagazine: What differentiates you from your competitors?

Mohammed Kazim: We’ve heavily invested in our own proprietary CRM system, which we built as we learned our business needs. The system learns as we operate, so we don’t have to spend the same amount of time going through the same information. By that, we get more efficient as time goes and as our database grows.

Sail eMagazine: What are the main difficulties you’ve faced with Allinque?

Mohammed Kazim: From a business perspective we’ve face a few difficulties:

  1. The staff turnover especially with the high visa costs.
  2. Understanding our cost structure and investment size.
  3. Managing Allinque the way we want to because we all had full time jobs.

From a client perspective, we had the issue of not being able to explain what exactly we do. So our clients couldn’t really understand what we offered.

Sail eMagazine: How did you handle the customers’ understanding part?

Mohammed Kazim: We rebranded. We created a new friendly feel based on our customers’ requests and feedback; we illustrated things in diagrams that explain better how our services are broken down and so on.

Sail eMagazine: Is that the only reason you rebranded Allinque?

Mohammed Kazim: It’s also because our initial branding didn’t cater to the target market. The target market was looking for relief-easy-fun-casual. While we were positioned more as a high-end concierge service rather than a personal assistance service for young business professionals.

AllinqueRebranding

Sail eMagazine: How did you manage Allinque with your careers on the side?

Mohammed Kazim: In our case, 2 of the partners quit from their full time wonderfully paying jobs to focus on managing Allinque because we believe in it.

Sail eMagazine: How did you manage the staff turnover?

Mohammed Kazim: We managed it in the same way we would want to be managed. The three elements I mentioned as the reasons why I stayed at my previous job were the same elements we focused on: providing a challenge to the employees, making sure they are appreciated and finally giving them the ability to create an impact. So when we did the rebranding exercise, for example, the staff were involved all along the way. They were seeing their work come to reality; we ensured they had those 3 elements and as a result we saw their loyalty growing, they wanted to stay longer and they were motivated.

Sail eMagazine: What do you have as advice for others?

Mohammed Kazim:

  1. It’s not wrong to seek out help. What happens in the UAE and many other regions is that we keep our ideas to ourselves and for valid reasons. There’ve been incidents in the past where people have stolen ideas and taken things forward but I think if you find the right group of people who truly care for you and give you advice then you should speak about your idea, test it. I think we often don’t test our ideas enough and we jump into businesses.
  2. Don’t underestimate the service industry, it’s not like products, I think it has to be looked up very well.
  3. Understand your cost structure. This was something we had no idea about and we thought we could do this business with half the capital that we’ve put in. But obviously there are a lot of hidden costs.
  4. And finally, move, if you don’t move nothing will happen. Make a move, take initiative! Which was what my April article was about in Sail eMagazine.

Sail eMagazine: Aside of your career and business, you also write in Sail eMagazine. When do you find the time for writing?

Mohammed Kazim: Honestly speaking, I do it in my sleep time. It’s been challenging, I used to have a monthly article, now I am kind of doing it bimonthly and that’s because I want something to really move me and then I write about it. My last article was inspired by my resignation.

Sail eMagazine: Any last words?

Mohammed Kazim: I am happy, and I am glad to have the opportunity to write for Sail eMagazine. I am also glad to have the opportunity to be where I am with the people I am working with. And I think being grateful and being positive have a big impact on how things work out for you. There are a lot of downs but the important thing is that we work together to change those downs to ups. It’s very possible, everybody has this ability and I am not very different from anyone else, the only difference is I took action. I am still not a success story, I am far from it. I hope Allinque turns around and we get the results we want to get. If not, we will fix it, we will get up and try again.

Assumption Idiocy, How Assumption Impacts Our Expectations and Decision-making

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)

Latest posts by Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf) (see all)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@anoodalmulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@anoodalmulla_)

We all assume things, it is what we do. We assume a friend will like a gift we got them, we assume we will like a restaurant that was recommended to us in a book or by a friend, we assume a movie will be good based on a trailer we saw. However, do we ever stop to think where do these assumptions come from and what can happen if they turned out to be wrong?

The term “Assumption Idiocy” denotes that people nowadays take most of their decisions or build most of their expectations on assumptions that are not properly studied; this leads to the risk of making a bad assumption and causing problems in our lives and with the people around us. The idiocy comes from not taking enough time to study our assumptions and acting on something that hasn’t been thought through.

Assumptions have become part of our daily lives and the outcome of our assumptions is generally immediately linked to us and the people around us. An example of how assumptions are linked to things, for instance, is going to the movies. The first thing a person should do is either read the synopsis, find out who stars in it and/or watch the trailer. Based on those inputs, a person can assume weather a movie will be good or bad according to that person’s taste and past experience. “Assumption Idiocy” kicks in when someone reads the title of a movie and assumes it’s good. Full stop.

Now to give an example on how assumptions affect the people around us, for instance, you called a friend up and asked if they would like to have dinner in a week’s time. A week later, you haven’t heard anything from your friend so you assumed the dinner was canceled and never showed up at the restaurant whereas your friend did. These scenarios are countless.

The best way to make an assumption is to build it. Like when wanting to go out to dinner, you would first check the restaurant’s cuisine, look at its menu, read some reviews, perhaps ask a few friends if they recommend it and then go. Unless you have no assumptions nor expectations on how the food in a restaurant will be, you will have to build your assumption based on logic.

Having said that, there are many cases where even after building our assumptions correctly and logically they still fail us; and that is perfectly fine as assumptions are only our version of the result and not the actual result.

Assumptions are called assumptions because we only assume the result, however, the outcome isn’t guaranteed. The only time we get to know if our assumption is correct or not is after the action has been taken and things are in motion. In many cases, we only get an indication of the result when it is too late to change our minds about what we assumed would happen.

The best way to make an assumption is to build it by logic, reason, past experience and communication. The result is never guaranteed however, you will be able to justify your assumption when you are either wrong or right.

Dictionary:

  • Assumption: guess, postulate, theory.
  • Idiocy: utterly senseless or foolish behavior.

Trusting Your Gut Feeling When Meeting New People

Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

Mustafa is an award-winning film-maker whose short films have screened in local festivals such as Dubai International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival, as well as international film festivals including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Currently he is working on numerous projects both within and outside of UAE. Through his bi-monthly column “Notes of The Night”, he ponders upon different matters of our daily lives.
Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

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Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@anoodalmulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@anoodalmulla_)

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him the most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

I believe there are all kinds of people in this world. Good. Bad. And many in between. Frequently, we meet a different/new kind of person, just when we thought that by now – we have met every kind. Some of them shock us in a bad way and some of them in a good way. I’ve read and heard many times that wisdom comes from accepting that we have no wisdom. I personally believe our values and intentions make us who we are.

When we first meet someone, our mind sees things that our eyes do not. It does calculations so great that it almost knows the person amazingly. What it does though is give us a feeling. Sometimes this feeling is strong, sometimes faint. This depends on one or two things, who the person is and/or how connected we are to our gut feeling.

The result (the feeling) is our instinct telling us something. If this feeling (about the person) is negative, we slowly find that the second or third time around meeting this person, we question our initial judgment, we make excuses, and we shove it under the rug. It’s simple, we don’t want to believe.

Everyone wants new friends, everyone wants love, so we fool ourselves, as human beings often do. After all, we are creatures of emotion, not logic.

And then in time, we find this negative feeling has disappeared. We sense relief. We spend more time with this person and as time goes on- could be weeks, months or years – slowly, we see that this person is either changing or revealing their true colors.

Time reveals all. But they are not changing, are they? We are simply starting to see. We are disappointed, we are hurt, and even though we are, to an extent, shocked, a part of us isn’t entirely surprised. Somewhere deep down, we always knew. But after the second time meeting this person, emotion (of some sort) started to build and do what it does best: clog our judgment. We must never ignore the little voice in our head.

I find that no matter what reputation a person may have, no matter how good they look on paper, no matter how highly people speak of him/her (and all those may be accurate), still, nothing and no one will tell you about a person more or better than your instinct. Trust it. It will never fail you. And if ever, the instinct is faint, well it’s like the Japanese proverb goes: “When character of man is not clear to you, look at his friends.”

Moose Out.

Loving Yourself Despite Your Flows

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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Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

This piece represents a great factor that seems to play on the minds of people regardless of where they come from. It is a phenomenon that has deep psychological factors, instilled into the mindset of humanity. The one prerequisite, if we are to follow Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is that the person surpasses the biological/physiological-need stage.

It’s a phenomenon that even I, at times, struggle with; even if I consider myself to be aware of it, for it to have already registered its place in my conscience and I am able to spot and identify it when it comes along. Although largely misdirected, it’s that attention-seeking, confidence-pursuing, self-esteem-hunting collection of actions that so many of us perform day in and day out in the hopes of fulfilling some sort of insecurity or some missing piece of a puzzle that somehow appears as if it would complete the whole.

First of all, I agree to the consensus that we all have insecurities. We all have areas of improvement, and yes, the cliché does say that no one is perfect. But the way we act on it, the way we tackle it makes a huge difference; it’s the difference between saying “I’m a human being, and this is the way I am” and “I admit my faults, but I’ll tackle them sensibly”.

This extreme effort in trying to either get people’s attention and/or acceptance or this desire to impress appears to me as a strong effort to put something out, to overcompensate for a gaping hole that lies within. And it just begs the question that, after all the effort, will that insecurity be corrected? Will that person feel rewarded with self-confidence? For all the image-building and all the stress, I doubt many come out with positive, long-term results – if pursued in the erratic manner that it is. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a beautiful car, fancy clothing, and the latest gadgets as much as the next guy (or girl!). But there is a fundamental difference in the two, that being that my intention is to personally enjoy them while for others it might be primarily to seek attention.

It might sound like a platitude; but truly, the way to get confidence is for you to look into yourself and be happy with yourself, with all your faults, with all your issues, with all the problems that you face, be happy with yourself, forget everyone else. Tell yourself “I know I have faults, I know I have some issues to deal with, but that’s okay, I’ll love myself, and I’ll work on fixing the things that I consider a problem”.

I remember being in class once, and I believe it was a humanities course, the first question the professor asked was “who is the most important person to you?”, we got the usual, “my family”, “my mother”, “my best friend”, even “my dog”! Then someone said something, and it really hit the spot, she said “the most important person in the world, to me, is me!” – And that is absolutely, 100% on spot! You should be the most important thing in your life to you. I’m not saying that you should treat your loved ones and whoever else is important to you in any other way but to treat yourself the best.

Football Fan Violence

Khalifa Al Hajeri

Khalifa Al Hajeri

Column: Tifosi
Khalifa was born and raised in the UAE, with a 4 and bit years university stint in the Canadian lands, before coming back home to work for one of the investment arms of the Abu Dhabi government. Inspired to be the Ray Romano of the magazine, only as a sports journalist that is.
Khalifa believes the world of sports never gets the credit it deserves for its impact on this world. For some, its mere entertainment, but for some its soul therapy and sometimes, survival. In this sports universe, deep in its pockets, he was able to find a lot of pleasure reading for sports journalists like Phil Ball, Gabriel Marcotti, among many others. Considering some of his favorite literature comes from sports writers, he will use this column titled “Tifosi”, which stands for “fan” in Italian, to share this passion with others by discussing sport events that can relate to both fanatics and non fanatics.
Khalifa Al Hajeri

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Artwork by Maha Bin Faris (@MahaBinFaris)

Artwork by Maha Bin Faris (@MahaBinFaris)

As banners began to unfold with cheeky jokes, they replied with insulting songs. Eventually, it was too much to handle for a man, who, in William Wallace vehemence, descended onto the field carrying an iron bar, instigating what eventually lead to the infamous football riot in Egypt last year. On February 1, 2012, a local league football match between Cario’s Al Ahly and Port Said’s Al Masry turned ugly when a large number of fans ran on to the field, attacking each other and everything that came in their way. The fights initially began on the stands and poured onto the streets, eventually causing riots and massive civil unrest in different cities in Egypt protesting the events and resulting in 73 deaths and at least another 1000 injured, making it one of the worst disasters in the history of football.

Normally, you would imagine such events are more likely to occur in a country that is undergoing civil unrest, especially in the caliber of the current situation in Egypt. The reality is, such events can take place anywhere and anytime. In 2012, many incidents caused by fan violence took place in stable countries like England and America. Violence is a common epidemic and must be understood that due to the high passion involved, no country is immune to violence igniting.

Over the past weeks, the football scene in the UAE has been caught up with the recent fan violence that occurred during a local football game between Al Ahli and Al Ain. The referee, Mohammed Al Mehairi, had to undergo intensive treatment to an open wound on his head, inflicted by an object thrown from the fan’s section of the stadium. The event forced the game to be cancelled with the host club Al Ahli heavily fined and penalized points in their league standing.

Officials and representatives from different sectors strongly condemned the incident and strongly reminded everyone that any action of this sort is not part of the UAE’s sporting culture and will not be tolerated. In addition to the strict condemnation, entities and authorities from across the country stood together on the unified decision that this incident will be dealt with immediately and the response will be severe. That being said, we should not treat this incident as a one-off case and should take all the precautions necessary to prevent such an episode from seeing the light of day in the future. For such measures, we need to tackle the issue within its behavioral roots.

Behavior in the sports world is an attribute of sportsmanship. It is an attitude that is ingrained in us and must be groomed as the years go by. Children, as early as they begin participating in activities, must learn that in defeat lies many lessons and learning from them is more rewarding in the long run than refusing to lose. To enforce this, children must be educated on a sportsmanship code by both parents and coaches alike to be able to draw the line and outline the boundaries of fair play and what is considered violence. As for spectators, they need to be educated constantly through leaflets and awareness programs. Fans must be aware that any misbehavior on their behalf can lead to their teams being penalized and they personally could be prosecuted. In the event where violence takes place, the consequences need to be strict and without exceptions. By setting this type of standard, fans will be aware that if they partake in any sort of violence, it can have a direct impact on their future and their beloved team.

My MEFCC Experience

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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Artwork by SYAC

Artwork by SYAC

The Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) was an absolute thrilling experience for me. I missed it last year so I can’t compare it to how the 1st convention was. Being into this craze for years, imagine my happiness that the anime and manga genre is finally being recognized in the Middle East.

I’ve been an avid fan since the early nineties. While girls talked about makeup and the  latest designers, I was playing videogames and ordering anime and manga online. I recall how difficult it was to find titles, to browse freely, and find Emirati fans like myself so we can discuss our findings and share the fun.

Today, I get ecstatic when I look around me. At the mall, there are bookstores that carry latest manga titles, stores that carry merchandise, and video stores that are selling shows. It excites me to be part of this. It’s still different than any other country as this fandom has just emerged in the last few of years (maybe around 10 years). We’re still way behind in defining the craze.

Back to MEFCC now, let me begin by discussing the crazy drive to get there and the long hour drive to actually get to the premise. My advice is, you either get a good friend to drop you to it or get a cab. It was so not worth waiting in the car for a long period of time and missing out on spending that time at the convention.

Finally as I got there, I began seeing the crazy fandom. First, I witnessed Kratos (God of War) making his way through the crowd to get to the entrance. Then you could see mini Spiderman, Batman, Mario, and Luigi jumping all over the place (so cute!).

As soon as you entered the ground floor hallway, you could see merchandise all over the place. Again, I remembered the days where I would do anything to get my hands on any type of merchandise that has my favorite character on it. At MEFCC, you could get anything.

Making my way to the first floor, it was time to check out the talents. There were a couple of Mangaka (manga artists) friends that I was on the lookout for. I wanted to meet them personally as I was their fan since the beginning. It’s amazing to be with someone from the beginning and watch them progress throughout the years.

As I looked for my friends, I was astounded by what was in front of me. There were rows and rows of talent (and mostly Emirati’s). Cartoon sketches, portraits, mangas, and abstracts were displayed everywhere. Merchandise of specific local artists were being sold (funky ones). I found calendars, plushies (stuffed toys), pillows, notebooks, posters, pens, etc. The creativity kept getting more innovative and crazier as I made my way through the crowd.

For a minute, I thought to myself, am I really in Dubai? Where was this craziness ten years ago when I was searching for it? I finally found my friends and bought my specially signed copy of their manga’s and I’m proud to say that they were both in Arabic.

I could go on for pages about how much fun I had but I’m at a word limit here. I haven’t even covered the videogames section but I’ll leave that for another place and time. I’m definitely not missing next year’s convention.

Any of you been there? What did you like best? Do share with us.