Here We Start – Issue #41

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: 4 minutes

Dear Sailors,

As we publish our 41st issue for the magazine, we have been posting about couple of new upcoming things to be coming along for those who follow us on our social media accounts.

The first, is an exciting interview we had with the one and only Mohammed Saeed Harib, yes, the person behind Freej himself. But we discovered through this interview that he is much more than just Freej, read the interview to find out more. We also did something new with the interview this time around, we found that there is so much that we had to remove from the official interview post to fit a quick readable word limit for our readers, but this meant removing a lot of valuable content that we wanted to share with you, so we gave a bonus post link at the bottom of the interview to share with you all the great stuff about our guest and Freej. Hope you enjoy the interview and the bonus post.

Social Media Member A Week Flyer

The second new thing we are starting from this month has to do with our social media accounts. #SailTeam decided that we will start managing our accounts differently and expand it from the regular articles’ artwork posts only. Every week a new member will manage the accounts on instagram and twitter, sharing with us what they find interesting from quotes, books, artwork, events, even down to their random daily routines that you may all relate with, and some flashback they’d like to share. At the beginning of every week we will have that person introducing themselves and then taking over from there. The rotation weeks start each Thursday. I will be managing the first week and the team will start from there onwards. We hope you find our new social media content exciting and refreshing, follow us to keep updated with our news!

And now, Issue #41 – August 2013 in brief:

  • Art of Life – Ramadan: A Flavor Like No Other: Hamda AlHashemi writes about the month of Ramadan being almost over, and how we need to make sure that we have embraced it properly.
  • Beyond Inspiration – And So I Became a Bully: AlAnoud AlMadhi takes us through a personal story, sheds light on bullying; its main reasons and impact, and calls upon taking such dangerous phenomenon seriously.
  • Hidden Promises – Hidden Fears: Alia AlHazami believes that in order to live a long happy life, you should face your fears.
  • Interview with Mohammed Saeed Harib: Mohammed Saeed Harib; better known as the man behind the famous animated TV series aired during Ramadan: Freej. However, there is more to Harib than just Freej. He creatively expanded to Freej folklore, wedding production, music production, photography, films, events, and much more. Our editor in Chief, Iman Ben Chaibah, interviewed him for this month’s issue. Join us as we get to know more about his journey through it all.
  • Lost in Reverie – Growing Through Change: Alwid Lootah explains how change is what life is all about, even if you try to avoid it, you seek it and grow through it.
  • Mental Pondering – Laziness, The Act of the Decade: Budoor AlYousuf poners about laziness being a struggle to many people, but where does ‘Laziness’ come from? And can people overcome it?
  • Of Ships and Kings – Do It Yourself: Omar Al Owais explains how good things happen to those who wait, and great things happen to those who do.
  • The Mind’s Eye – Cooked In Proportion: Moadh Bukhash quotes Plato to demonstrate that moderation or balance is key to finding calmness and contentment in one’s life. Moadh explores a few ways that we can remind ourselves to find that balance.
  • Tifosi – The Association between Ramadan and Sports: Khalifa AlHajeri urges us to make Ramadan the start of a new way of maintaining sports as the norm in our lives, instead of a mere pit stop.
  • To The Point – Perfection Through Imperfection: Mohammed Kazim explains the continuous journey of deliverables in life. Through 3 simple guidelines, he shows the reader how perfection is best pursuit through simple phases of imperfection

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

To keep up with our monthly-published issues and to know about any of our coming events, make sure you register with us by clicking here.

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Ramadan: A Flavor Like No Other

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)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: The month of Ramadan is almost over, and we need to make sure that we have embraced it properly.

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

There it goes. The month we’ve all been waiting for.  The most beautiful thirty days of every year, the holy month of Ramadan: a month of serenity, clarity, purity, and love. It’s the time of year when families and friends come together to celebrate the wonderful teachings of Islam in all of the aspects of their lives. Not only does it focus on doing good deeds and humane practices, but it also highlights the importance of good intentions, and a clear vision.

A lot of people question the concept of fasting and its purpose. Dr. Steve Maraboli, a behavioral scientist, once said, “A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success.” Because we live in a world where there are so many distractions, it becomes sometimes very difficult for us to attain our goals. Thus, pursuing whatever it is we want to achieve will be hard due to all of the obstacles in the way, which are also caused by those distractions.

This Holy month is our ticket out. In these thirty days we feed our souls, and we feed our minds. Fasting, and focusing on praying and charity are all means to isolate ourselves from the minor things in life which take so much of our time. And only the people who understand that will be able to taste the delicious flavors of Ramadan.

Caras Lonut, a photographer, has a series of photographs entitled “The Serenity of Blue”. These photos are divided into three main parts: sky, water\land, and a focus point. The beauty of these artworks is in their simplicity, and in the fact that there is so much clarity and abstraction in the colors and elements. The same applies to our daily life; what we do is that we usually feed our bodies more than we feed our mind and soul. If we pay attention to all of these parts equally, we will have a balance in every aspect of our life, and every decision we make.

From Caras Lonut's “The Serenity of Blue” Series

From Caras Lonut’s “The Serenity of Blue” Series

The beauty of a roaming bird in the clear sky above, a floating feather on the large body of water beyond; all these things detach us from all of our surroundings, and bring all of our attention into something so simple, yet very significant. All we have is a few more days of clarity to enjoy, those last few moments you spend in front of the ocean listening to the beautiful sound of the waves, let’s use what’s left of this month and embrace the enormous amount of energy it’s giving us. In the end it’s not about how long you endured without eating, it’s about how clear your vision of life is. Once we cleanse our perspective and understanding from the shallow thoughts of materialistic things, the important things in life will stand out eventually.

And So I Became a Bully

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)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Article in brief: Through a personal story, sheds light on bullying; its main reasons and impact, and calls upon taking such dangerous phenomenon seriously.

Artwork by Fatma Al Hashemi (@F_Fotography)

Artwork by Fatma Al Hashemi (@F_Fotography)

In any community, inequalities in power, or at least perceived power, is a common social phenomenon. But if taken too far, they often lead to intimidation, mental and physical harm – and even tragedy.

By definition, “Power Imbalance” describes the influence a person or group has on another. This is common in many relationships such as a manager to an employee, an older to a younger sibling, or the growing phenomenon of bullying.

Recently, we witnessed the “road-rage” incident that has shaken the Emirati society; of the appalling violence a high-profile National committed against an expat on the road. All factors aside, such bullying was mainly a cause of an imbalance of a perceived power the abuser believed he had over his victim.

Focusing on school bullying, I’d like to recount a story from vivid memories of my own experience. In kindergarten, I was the youngest and quietest in the class and thus an easy target for the bigger kids. At break time when everyone would gather in the playground, I would sit on the classroom step to have my lunch that I’m not allowed to have in class; where I believed it was safer for me.

Every day the kids threw insults, and sometimes objects, at me. When I told the teacher she answered, “Don’t be a baby.” I chose not to say a word, not even to my parents as they once said when I’d been open to them, “They’re probably joking.”

Growing up, the bullying continued – from verbal abuse to having my lunch money stolen and being physically beaten up. I never fought back and never spoke a word to anyone.

The most difficult and excruciating part of my story happened in the sixth grade; when I decided I’d join the bullies. I can’t recall whether it was out of need for retribution or a defensive mechanism, but I certainly felt safer being on the most powerful side.

Our target was a quiet girl called Manal who sat at the back of the class. We would tease her, call her names, hurt her physically, and once framed her for something she never did.

Manal, like I had been, never fought back. There was a moment when we were all surrounding her, laughing at her while she lifted her arms to her face as if to shut out our jeers.

At that moment, I suddenly realised the horror of what I was part of. Not daring to speak against the bullies at that moment, I just kept quiet. Sometime later I went to her and said I was sorry. I don’t think she forgave me and I wouldn’t blame her. But it did put an end to a time that was far from my greatest moment.

Such memories don’t fade away. Even now, I get goose bumps thinking about it. I had friends at school and have some very positive memories, but the experience of bullying always overshadows them – both from the perspective of having been bullied and being a bully.

Nevertheless, as an experience draws to an end, it always entails a lesson or two. Having said that; as young as I was, I earnestly took it to heart that care and compassion will always be part of who I am, and that making people feel stronger and better about themselves will be a riveted part of my mission in life. So, to the quiet and unassuming curly-haired Manal – not one day passes that I don’t think about the mental grief I may have caused. So, I beg you to forgive me.

If there’s one underlying message I’d like to finish on, it’s that there is nothing one can underestimate about the long-lasting psychological damage bullying can cause.

According to an international statistic, a quarter of students in a given school are directly involved in bullying. And as a general finding, the same study suggests that involvement in bullying consistently causes poor functioning in school, a weak emotional adjustment, and affects a child’s personal well-being in the long term.

Such phenomenon transcends children, peer groups, and communities, and as such is a significant issue that warrants attention starting from the basic environments in our societies; our homes and schools.

Unless schools take serious measures to prevent this growing menace, and parents consider this as something beyond that “it’s just what kids do”, it will continue to cause damage to all who encounter it – whether they’re the victims or perpetrators, and affect the overall development of our society.

Source of study:

Overcoming My Fears, Overcoming My What Ifs

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)
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: The author believes that in order to live a long happy life, you should face your fears. 

 Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

What if?  What if, is something I always hear and read about. People usually live by them and don’t explore what that ‘what if‘ could be.

I view that act as selfish. Yes, by doing that you are being selfish towards your own self, you might be depriving yourself from something great. Isn’t everyone about the You Only Live Once mantra nowadays? Then how about they actually live by it!

That statement is completely correct, you truly only live once, so the proper thing to do is to abandon all the ‘what ifs and find out what actually happens. Let’s put a worst case scenario out there; you’ll either fail or embarrass yourself. Honestly speaking, to me, getting embarrassed or failing is way better than having a restless mind; at least I would know what would happen and I will stop wondering.

I don’t usually live on what ifs but I’m only human, and sadly, a situation occurred and I fell as a victim for months. A dear friend of mine betrayed my trust and I was afraid of confrontation. Not knowing the reason behind that heinous act haunted me. Nothing is as bad as unspoken words hidden by a layer of embarrassment. I knew that I needed to get things off my chest, but I couldn’t. I truly pitied myself at that time.

I couldn’t discover what was beneath that ‘what if because I was holding myself for no rational reason whatsoever. However, I couldn’t until a while back. I decided not to let fears and ‘what ifs control me. I think if you want something and wonder how life would be with it then just go do it! It’s as simple as that; only then will you get rid of cowardice.

I knew that I needed to get out of that dark place and face my fear; making a fool out of myself. I dropped the ‘what if’ attitude and just did it. I confronted that friend and demanded that I get provided with satisfying answers to justify that hurtful act, and at that moment, I felt invincible.

My heart was pounding so heavily during that confrontation, and my head was telling me to drop it and let it go, but deep down I knew that by abandoning that infuriating ‘what if’ I was going to get my given right. I got closure and I didn’t make a fool of myself. I feared that my supposed friend would think that I was pathetic, but instead I was given an answer and an apology. I act upon my heart, being logical and rational will only get me so far.

Sadly, we are people who are taken over by our fears. We let them manipulate us and toy with us. We often let them shred us and take control of us. They usually stop us from doing what we actually want; what we desire in life.

Getting rid of what’s holding you back is what is going to make you live a meaningful life. I’m not asking you to be fearless, that’s impossible as we’ve all got hidden fears, I’m only asking you to live life to the fullest.

We should control ourselves and quit the craft of making up scenarios in our head. We should make a move and attempt to make one of those endless scenarios that we dream of come true.

There’s more to life than wondering and dreaming about what could’ve been. Who wants to waste their life in such a manner? This is a plea from me to you dear readers to do something about your fears and face all the consequences that may occur after letting go of that ‘what if. We live and forget, facing our fears will only make us happier.

Interview with Mohammed Saeed Harib (@MSHarib)

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: 11 minutes

Mohammed Saeed Harib; better known as the man behind the famous animated TV series aired during Ramadan: Freej. However, there is more to Harib than just Freej. He creatively expanded to Freej folklore, wedding production, music production, photography, films, events, and much more. Our editor in Chief, Iman Ben Chaibah, interviewed him for this month’s issue. Join us as we get to know more about his journey through it all.


Sail eMagazine (SM): So how did you get into all the above?
Mohammed Saeed Harib (MSH): It goes back to me having studied General Arts and Animation. I decided early on that I wanted to be jack-of-all-trades rather than being the ace of one; and with time, hopefully I’ll be the ace of many. When I went into logo design, I wanted to leave my mark and started off with few logos, and later I ended up doing the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) logo. That’s a mark for me that I’m proud of. When it came to cartoons, I am considered the pioneer here in the region. In terms of events, we are currently directing prestigious ones like the opening of DIFF and doing huge ones in Abu Dhabi like the launch of Shams 1 – the 100 MW concentrated solar power plant -. And the list goes on.

SM: How did you manage all that?
MSH: I’ve learnt a lot about the art of marketing and sales. You need to know all the slices in the pie. Even if you’re very artistic you still need to have the entrepreneurial spirit. I kept trying for 3 years until I got a loan to fund my projects, not even a grant. So it all depends on how strongly you believe in yourself.

SM: Where did the name “Lammtara studio” come from?
MSH: I’m a big horse-race fan. A while ago, there was an open day for the first batch of horses that were flown-in from Europe; this was an experiment by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid to assess if horses can be trained in Dubai and taken back to Europe to race, as opposed to training them in Europe. So I went to the open day to see the horses. And I remember seeing this horse called Lammtara; they said he was too sick and didn’t think he’d make it. Previously, Lammtara ran once in his life, a small race though, and he won it.

In the professional horse-race world, you often target the Derby, which is the biggest race in Europe. Never did a horse win the Derby without running the same year to warm up. I was surprised after few months that Lammtara participated in the Derby, although he hadn’t raced at all in that year. Surprisingly, he won and he never lost since! This was a story about a horse that people didn’t believe in, and it beat all the odds to be a champion, so his name and his story inspired me.

A corner in Lammtara Studio

A corner in Lammtara Studio

SM: You are now in the 5th season of Freej. How do you relate to each season?
MSH: Freej’s experience is very different for me. People loved season 1 so much not because it had good content, but because it was a breath of fresh air, something new and different.

In the 2nd season we made it better. But people said they still liked the 1st season more, because they’re emotionally attached to it. However, after season 3, I took a break and stayed away for 2 years to let people miss the concept.

With season 4 we came with fresh new ideas such as “Shamma shay” and big production standards. I got a lot of negative feedback claiming the show is purposeless, I believe it’s because our audience is used to be spoon-fed and to be given the problem and the solution in the episode, but then they don’t change as a result to address those problems in the real life. So I told myself, stick to what you believe in. I decided I want to portray timeless topics and not get into social issues.

With the end of season 4 we reached a mature stage to evolve our tools. We decided to kill one of our characters and see what this show means for the audience. The moment we ended that episode with the door closing at Um Saeed, all hell broke loose. We put a heart pulse at the end of that episode after the credits; some people saw it, some didn’t and the debate of whether she died or not lasted for a year. Which is good for any show. So if this show is strong enough to make you feel and connect with the characters that aren’t real, and you still complain about the show, then this show is too powerful for you to understand or acknowledge its influence on you.

So when we started the first episode of the 5th season – which I got a lot of negative feedback on – I couldn’t just bring Umm Saeed back or open the door and she walks in. We built the episode in a way she is probably dead till the last moment. For me it had a very big purpose, I planted in kids something they connected with: the love of grandmothers.

photo 3

A poem verse that was cited in one of Freej’s episodes displayed in Lammtara Studio

SM: How did you accept that some people will always lash against your show?
MSH: All this fuss is happening for a 15-minute show. Hours and hours of entertainment in Ramadan, but the talk of the town is about Shabiyat AlCartoon and Freej. “Which is better & which is worse?” “Today’s episode is good or not?” Which means not only do they watch it, they also have to write about it.

Someone tweeted to me the other day: “When I read people praising you I get annoyed, because I feel they are just complimenting you.” So I responded with: “First of all, I don’t know them. Second, I don’t pay them money to compliment me. Third, they’re not obliged to tell me such! What would they get from me? And how will they benefit? What will I send them in return other than thanks?”

Aside of all that, I have to keep in mind there are also the elders and kids, who have no access to social media and I know they like the show and enjoy it. It’s only the people on twitter who would give such feedback and sadly this goes to the higher authorities, and they take actions accordingly. But thankfully, the educated, the intellects, and the media people understand what I’m presenting and they ask me not to change because my standards is where the country needs to go.

SM: Have you gone immune to negative criticism?
MSH: I’m more welcoming to it now. But, if they have the right to be rude with me, I have the right to reply to them. However, I try to respond respectfully and tactfully. I find that if you impose your respect on people, they can’t offend you; and if they do and you still respond respectfully, they often feel ashamed. Sometimes when I get negative criticism, I retweet them so people see what I go through and let them reply back.

SM: Any feedback that you’ve profoundly learned from?
MSH: Sometimes I vent on twitter, with things like: “Animation all around the world is supposed to open the doors of imagination whereby animation in the Arab world is supposed to reflect reality.” And that’s wrong, because cartoon is the door of imagination. Then I get a call from my father asking me why am I upset, and then he says: “Do what you think is ok. Always bare in mind that many people out there love it.” Also recently, we got a tweet with a statistic that we were rated #1 in viewership of Emirati shows with almost 1 out of 3 Emiratis watching the show, positive news like this makes everything better.

Artwork on Lammtara Walls

Artwork on Lammtara Walls

SM: Do you regularly track what’s written about your work on social media?
MSH: Yes, during the show I’m always on twitter. This year’s TV programming is done in a way that Freej is being aired on alternate days. So I’ve done a campaign in which on the day my show is not on I release the poster for the next day’s episode as a teaser. On the day my show is on, during the episode I post certain key jokes that were said during the episode, and people like to interact with them. After the episode finishes, I post asking for feedback. I also post key shots to keep the balance and positivity of the show going.

But regarding the replies, unfortunately I have to apologize for not replying to everything because it’s physically impossible for me to do so; I get a large number of posts and as much as I reply, I still have to be selective in my replies to cover the wide range of comments coming through.

SM: How did you decide to have Freej soundtracks completely produced by Lammtara?
MSH: We have composers who’ve worked for us since season 1. And as we become better, they do too. Before we used to compose random tracks for 30 seconds and place them here and there. But since the 4th season, we started to compose to pictures, when you do that you drive the mood, and that makes a world of difference to the audience.

SM: How is your experience going with the film about the prophet by Khalil Jubran?
MSH: It’s very good and different. It’s my first time collaborating with other directors. I’m directing under the director of the Lion King, Roger Allers. And I’m working with people like Salma Hayek and Liam Neeson. Every director has his own chapter in this film. So we need to make sure that where a director finishes his chapter the next director picks up on the same emotional tone. It’s the kind of film that gets nominated for awards because of its strangeness and the nature of its creativity. If that happens, I’ll be an academy award director. Or at least it could get nominated for an Oscar; that on its own is powerful.

A Freej Version of The Monalisa in Lammtara Studio

A Freej Version of The Monalisa in Lammtara Studio

SM: What is the most precious highlight for you so far?
MSH: Being successful and being celebrated after season 1 was a highlight. Announcing my Freej theme park was a big day for me. Doing Freej folklore and coming out every day and seeing people giving us the standing ovation freezes my heart! When someone writes to me after an episode saying I swear I cried, that is dear to me. All those things are very precious to me in different ways; they all hit different notes.

SM: What do you want your legacy to be?
MSH: To be remembered as someone who had this dream, went on to do the Freej series and became successful. Someone who inspired others because he tried new things. I want to have these Freej characters outlive me and still be cherished long after I’m gone. I want them to be the icons of culture.

SM: Any advice you’d like to give our readers?
MSH: Be yourself. My company’s motto is “be brilliant”. Be yourself and be brilliant. But at the same time don’t be stagnant. You need to work on yourself, listen, understand, focus, learn how to say yes, how to play bold, how to be a marketer and a sales person. Don’t just be yourself, but be brilliant.


You read the interview and still want more? We actually had a much longer interview with MSH but had to cut down the interview above so it can be short enough for your quick read. But we have so much more about MSH we want to share with you, so we decided to give you a bonus post on MSH on this link! We hope you enjoy it just as much as we did!

Growing Through Change

Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah)

Column: Lost in Reverie
Alwid is a young lady who aims to become the change she wants to see in this world by spreading positivity and leading youth towards the road of unlimited possibilities. She recently founded her own website through which she aims to become the voice of youth and share unrecognized talents. Her column “Lost in reverie” is a place where she allows her thoughts and emotions to flow and a place where she can hopefully create a change.

Latest posts by Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: Change is what life is all about, even if you try to avoid it, you seek it and grow through it.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

When a smile cracks across your face and your eyes shine as bright as the sun, you wish you could have this moment for life. Pause the smile, pause the laughter, you want that moment to last forever, you don’t want things to change.

Change, is the difference in our daily routine, it’s the time when our lives and what we are used to becomes strange; it is constant and can happen at any time. Some people welcome change with open arms while others hide from it behind the armor of their own mind.

I found one of the notes I had previously written and there was one sentence that kept me thinking. The sentence was “Change has always been hard for me, I find it difficult to adapt to change.” Looking back I realize that I was the victim of my own mind, my thoughts made it harder for me to accept my reality, accept the change.

For a while, a cloud of thoughts blocked my mind, I thought that change was an enemy rather than a friend, I thought that change was no good at all. Then you grow, you learn, and you realize that change is not the enemy, you realize that change is life.

You wake up every morning and do the exact same thing, a while passes and you continue to have the same routine, and eventually you seek change. You seek something that is different, something that will give you that spark of excitement you have been lacking, something to break your routine. You see, as much as you try to block away change, sometimes you need it; sometimes you seek it, and sometimes it just comes to you.

Life doesn’t always give you the reasons why, and things that happen around you won’t always seem to be in your favor, but they somehow work to make your life better. Everything that changes around you has a reason behind it, if you look around, you’ll find the reason.

We adapt, we always do. We were created to adapt to climate changes, to changes in our own bodies, and to the changes that happen around us as well. Even when adapting seems impossible we always find a way to make what seems to be strange to us, normal.

Maybe I am writing an article about change but it’s deeper than that, it’s an article about growth, about growing through that change and making your way to the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s about moving forward despite everything that might bring you down, it’s about standing on your feet, with your head held high as beautiful as a tulip. It’s about being able to accept reality, accept change, and accept that nothing ever stays the same.

With every step along the way, change is what moves us forward. It creates a series of events that makes us who we are, events that help us mature to be the best version of ourselves. So allow yourself to grow through the changes around you, allow yourself to accept reality. Grasp on life with its good and its bad times and view change as a chance, a chance to start over, a chance to be who you have always wanted to be.

Where Does Laziness Come From? And How Do We Defeat It?

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)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: Laziness is a struggle to many people, but where does ‘Laziness’ come from? And can people overcome it?

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

The act of ‘Laziness’ has many names, and is sometimes referred to as procrastination, lack of motivation, indolence, but all those terms mean one thing: the lack of doing something despite having the ability to do so.

Scientifically speaking, the part of the brain related to ‘Laziness’ is that of motivation, so in science the opposite of ‘Laziness’ is motivation, and despite the many theories linking motivation to pleasure, such as Sigmund Freud’s theory on pleasure principle, ‘Laziness’ (or lack of motivation) is a struggle everyone faces.

The reasons behind lack of motivation are various, but some of the obvious ones are:

  • Lack of self-confidence – the person has no belief in their ability.
  • Lack of support – no emotional support to help in the task.
  • Lack of Recognition – no one will recognize the accomplishment.
  • Lack of self-discipline – the person has no control over him/herself.
  • Lack of interest – having no interest in the task.
  • Lack of value – the weight of the finished task bears little or no worth.

Many religions have fought ‘Laziness’ in their calling, in Islam the opposite of ‘Laziness’ is Jihad al-Nafs, which means the struggle against ones own will, one of the ways Muslims attack ‘Laziness’ is by praying five times a day and by fasting during Ramadan.

In order to wiggle out of the ‘Laziness’ and get into being more motivated, here are some do’s and don’ts.

Do: set weekly goals to avoid finding at the end of the week that very little was accomplished; setting goals for every week paves a clear path to the tasks to be done. Do: allocate times for things as when knowing there is a set time to work and a set time to socialize it becomes easier to focus on the job in hand. Do: have “lazy” days after a productive week, a reward to oneself. Whether this day is spent on the beach with friends or in front of the TV, the idea is to take a day off and relax.

Now for the Don’ts: Don’t take a break once you start unless the task is done or a big part of it has been accomplished. Breaks will make it just as difficult to start working again. Don’t have a “lazy” day for nothing; this will result in wanting to do nothing even more. Don’t interrupt the train of thoughts because once you are on track things will easily fall in place, the more the train of thoughts is interrupted the more difficult it becomes to stay focused.

Although tricky, ‘Laziness’ can be defeated by having the will to accomplish the task and the motivation that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


  • Laziness: averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.
  • Act: anything done


  • Laziness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from
  • Navarro, J., & M.A.. (n.d.). Laziness: Fact or Fiction? | Psychology Today.Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from
  • Young, S. (n.d.). 11 Tips for Nuking Laziness Without Becoming a Workaholic – Lifehack. Lifehack – Tips for Life. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from

Do It Yourself

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar is an International Relations Student at the American University of Sharjah, with a passion towards politics and a devotion towards the rhythmic arts of poetry and prose.
Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief:  Good things happen to those who wait. Great things happen to those who do.

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

We live in a country and an era where all types of services are readily available for us; waiters, cleaners and petrol station attendants. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact the only downside of this blessing is that we have gotten used to it to the extent that we have taken them for granted.

This is not a generalization, but it has become a social phenomenon. I’ve seen this habit in myself before others: the lack of initiative from us, the serviced. We often avoid doing the simplest of tasks thinking that it’s somebody else’s job; tasks as simple as switching off the lights or air conditioner when leaving a room, tucking in your chair when leaving class, heck, even smiling and thanking others for their services; when in fact, they’re tasks that both you and I can do.

Months ago, I visited Singapore. Something that will always be imprinted in my memory, other than how much I loved it, was their independence. No, I am not referring to their independence from the United Kingdom on the 31st of August 1963. I’m referring to a different type of independence.

According to our tour guide, approximately 50 years ago, following its failed union with Malaysia, Singapore was a third world country, it lacked land, water and natural resources. It was a just a small island with no global significance. Today, Singapore is a first world country, which is relied upon by many countries worldwide.

How did Singapore become successful? Its scarcity of sufficient resources was compensated by its visionaries who realized its advantages and potential such as its strategic geographical location, safety and being surrounded by the sea and utilized them. It sought to become a haven for foreign investors, since it was considerably safer than its neighbors. Given its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it developed itself into a globally recognized harbor (currently amongst the top three in the world). They did not rely on foreign aid; they literally helped themselves.

The same is true for us here in the UAE. Our ancestors saw the raw potential of our nation and made wise decisions to where it is today. How else did the UAE transform from a dry and arid desert into a lush oasis that is the focal point of the world’s attention?

Did our ancestors falsely presume that they will join their father’s company? Did they assume that because they are local they will be given whichever job they desire? No. They simply got up and worked. They didn’t care about what type of car they drove, what place they shopped from or which restaurant they dine in. They cared about developing their country; they didn’t allow small and shallow impediments to stand in the way. They didn’t wait for opportunities to be handed down to them on silver platters, they went searching for opportunities.

What can we learn from our ancestors and the Singaporeans? We learn that in order to soar high in the sky we must rid ourselves of all things that weigh us down, in order to escape the mess, we must dance in the mud first, and most importantly, in order to rise, we must do so ourselves. Group work is vital at times, but relying on others will not take you far in life.

Managing Life Through Balance

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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Article in brief: Plato said “The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom”. That moderation or balance is key to finding calmness and contentment in one’s life – I explore a few ways that we can remind ourselves to find that balance.

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

It might come as a cliché, or something that is commonly referenced, but there’s absolutely no denying that the month of Ramadan is always closely linked to food. It seems to be on the lips of everyone you come by, what to eat, what new dish they’ve tried, or what ingredient they’ve discovered. Perhaps it’s the hunger speaking, yearning for that moment when the cannons fire and the bellies fill up.

The way I see it, the absence of something – resulting in this case with hunger – creates an obsession for acquisition. As soon as we lose the ability to satisfy our hunger, be it for food or otherwise, we obsess about how best and how soon we can get our hands on it. In the absence of balance and contentment, a need turns into an obsession.

Equally so, the overabundance of anything can prove to be detrimental. Think of what happens when you add too much ginger or garlic to your dish, what sort of negative impact does that have on taste – when in all reality, those were the ingredients that were destined to make your dish delicious and flavorsome.

Just like we find balance in the kitchen, we must also find balance in all our dealings. Portion control, or better yet proportion, is key to finding the equilibrium point of our social lives and our own level- headedness. This is very true in situations of conflict; we find the tendency to veer to one side or the other, picking an argument, sticking with it, and even being stubborn about it. However, if approached with a level-head, with balance in mind, with the ability to weed out emotions and look at the issue objectively, we can come to terms with a middle ground that is far more favorable to both sides, and far more fruitful in the long run.

One way that we can find this balance and be able to approach our issues in the right manner is to get context. It’s easy for us to jump to conclusions when dealing with an issue or a problem. It is much easier to take an emotional standpoint or a one-sided one with little background information handy. Once we better understand the situation, how it was led to, why people may have taken the actions they took, and explore every dimension there is to an issue, we can certainly arrive at much more balanced outcome than one we would have arrived at should we have jumped to a conclusion.

In addition, it’s imperative that we apply this balanced approach to our non-action related situations. Take for example this situation: you witness a person dropping off some charity in a box, and immediately your reaction to that person is that he or she is such a loving, caring, and giving. And while that might be the case, we shouldn’t have to blanket-approach that person and think that every bone in their body is that positive. Much like we shouldn’t judge a person entirely for an action or two that we disagree with.

In all matters, actions, or thoughts, we must apply balance. We must find the perfect recipe that helps us arrive at a comfortable place, whether in a relationship, a problem we’re facing, or an issue we’d like to resolve. On the long run, it can prove to be the most sustainable and beneficial path to follow.

The Association between Ramadan and Sports

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.
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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: Let’s make Ramadan the start of a new way of maintaining sports as the norm in our lives, instead of a mere pit stop.

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

The holy month of Ramadan is the platform where we witness the sudden surge of new or changing habits and trends. This religious month is known for its universal power in attracting people to spend more time with family, dedicate more time in spiritual development and perform any possible good deed. One of the most fascinating trends that we witness in our society during the month of Ramadan is the increase of interest in sporting activities.

Ramadan is seen by many as an opportunity to improve their life in different ways. By virtue of the unique atmosphere surrounding Ramadan, people develop a longing need for collaboration.

Thanks to this reinvigoration, many develop a sense of satisfaction from this special atmosphere of collaboration. Therefore, it’s understandable to see team sports being picked up by people, as it’s an ideal way to forge closer ties with friends and neighbors, some of whom we only see during Ramadan. This is still seen among our communities when neighbors form and administer their own makeshift volleyball yards and football fields. This communal activity is a clear example of the sense of belonging Ramadan grows within us, and it’s channeled through sports.

Ramadan also gives birth to different business patterns that corporations utilize by using this month as an opportunity to promote themselves. Moreover, Ramadan can provide corporations with new ways to increase their income by catering towards people’s interest in sports through hosting Ramadan tournaments.

In addition, Ramadan represents vacation time for many people, with some opting to take time off their professional responsibilities. As a way of maximizing this free time, people participate in sports as means of getting into shape and having fun.  Some may find that this can be a difficult month to maintain when it comes to our eating and sleeping schedules. As result, people respond with a knee-jerk reaction to this temporary change of lifestyle by overdosing in sports.  Furthermore, Ramadan aligns everyone’s schedules with most of us sharing more or less similar routines, so it becomes easier to gather people for to practice a sport.

Unfortunately, people’s interest in sports suddenly fades away as the holy month comes to an end. As soon as Ramadan is over, many of us though have taken great strides towards revamping our attitude to the better; we nose dive back into our routine and abandon the transformational habits we acquired in Ramadan.  Subsequently, instead of Ramadan being the start of a new way of maintaining sports as the norm in our lives, it turns into a mere pit stop.

Neighborhoods and communities should continue to cement sports as part of their communal activities by diversifying their intensity across the year, instead of pulling all their efforts during this month alone. Moreover, companies promoting sports during Ramadan should continue to host sporting activities throughout the year and look for better ways to spin off the success they achieved during the holy month. There are plenty of good things happening during Ramadan, but our ambition is to learn how to cascade them down to the rest of our lives, instead of just one month.