Here We Start – Issue #42

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 42nd issue, summer holidays will be over. Employees who take their annual holiday in the summer will be back to their work, refreshed and ready to resume work more effectively. Students will be back to their schools and universities, to a new academic year, with a fresh start, and hopefully, to a very successful year ahead. I hope you all have enjoyed your much needed breaks!

In this issue we welcome a new columnist to our team: Muna AlMulla through her column: Out of Copyright. Muna is a 26-year-old Emirati from Dubai who studied Bachelor’s in Pharmacy in Dubai Women’s College and continued her education in Masters of Innovation and Change Management at Hamdan Bin Mohammed E-University where she graduated with honors. She works as a Senior Executive of Pharmaceutical Services at Dubai Healthcare City and her absolute dream is to create her own business and give back to the community. In her column: “Out of Copyright”, she will be writing about the different life lessons she’s learnt along her life. Muna is also a photographer with a great angle in her shots.

And now, Issue #42 – September 2013 in brief:

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

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

It’s Only Natural That Opinions Differ

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)

Article in brief: The author shares an experience and tries to send the message that everyone should be allowed to have freedom of speech.

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Everyone wants to be heard, and everyone has different opinions. It’s only natural that opinions differ, but some people refuse to comprehend that.

People get ever so consumed in what they believe is right and forget how to differentiate between reality and the thoughts that are produced in their heads. They are willing to break people apart and throw a bunch of hurtful words towards anyone who goes against them. I’ve been a victim of that ridiculous act twice in the past month and let me tell you, that experience was anything but pleasant. I expressed a thought and stated my opinion in the form of a tweet, and someone on twitter called me ignorant and idiotic for the sole purpose of thinking differently.

I was being attacked! Those words were completely unnecessary, even though the person didn’t agree on something that doesn’t give them the complete right to demean my opinion and insult me. I didn’t have a chance to be rational with that person because I was bombarded with tweet after tweet. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, was I supposed to defend myself or ignore the misconceptions of a bigot? I then gave up and decided to let it go because if a person wasn’t prepared to be civil and calm then I simply refuse to waste my time trying to get through them.

What upsets me the most is that the person was actually willing to get into a heated argument just to prove that they were right and that I was wrong. It’s saddening how many people fail to have composed arguments. I felt like what I had to say didn’t matter at all, I felt like I lost my voice.

Then again, Twitter is a social network that only allows 140 characters per tweet and tweets are shortened, and as such often are misunderstood. However, people must make an effort in pertaining a positive message through that tweet and not misinterpret it in a negative way.

Lately, it has become extremely common to witness a ‘twitter fight’ every single day and over some mundane topics that don’t affect humanity in a positive way in any manner whatsoever. You see some vulgar language and people taking sides and attempting to shoot down the other party due a mere disagreement over let’s say which team had better game play that night! How insensible is that?

They refuse to acknowledge that people have the right to be heard, that they can express themselves freely without the fear of being attacked. It’s a tad frustrating how someone has to over think their every move just to avoid the intense drama that may come their way. People need to accept that with different souls come different minds. We should avoid all the hate and cussing over something irrelevant and agree to disagree more often.

The first step to making that happen is to actually listen to what the other person has to say and try to think the way they do, you might then realize that their opinion was true and you weren’t well aware of it. The second step is to argue and not fight, there’s a huge difference. Arguing is all about sharing ideas and fighting might as well be changed to being a bigot.

My point is, we should learn to embrace other ideas and allow ourselves to be persuaded a bit instead of holding on to an idea, only then will we learn more and understand that there’s more than our eye can see.

How Much Do We Understand About Depression?

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)

Article in brief: Everyone has heard of Depression, most of us have experienced it (either mildly or strongly), and some of us even know of people who are depressed. However, how much of it do we understand?

Artwork by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

Artwork by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

Depression impacts over 120 million people worldwide; (6% of men and 9.7% of women). According to the World Health Organization depression is the 4th leading cause of disease burden worldwide, predicting that it will jump to number two by the year 2020. Depression is also known to be the number one cause of suicide worldwide.

Depression is classified broadly into two categories, “Situational Depression” and ‘Clinical Depression’. The first type is temporary and usually starts with a trigger such as going through a major life crisis like losing a loved one or a job or falling very ill, but with time eases and eventually goes away.

The second type however is more serious and is considered a disease. Although going through a major life crisis and illness can be one of the causes of this depression, other factors include hormones or chemical imbalance in the brain, and hereditary reasons can also cause depression.

Scientists have so far discovered three major neurochemicals that can help in eliminating a disease like depression through medications or antidepressants. Antidepressants restore balance within the structures of the brain that regulate emotion, reactions to stress, and the physical drives of sleep and appetite.

Mood swings, sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, irritability, lack of interest in anything, social impairment and low consternation are all psychological symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, there are physical symptoms as well, the most common effect of depression is fatigue, and others include headache, joint pain, digestive problems, and insomnia.

The good news is there are many ways to help overcome or reduce the effect of depression, medicine aside. Depression is usually linked to lifestyle as well, going through a healthy diet can help improve the way a person feels as it helps a person feel good about themselves. Adjusting ones routine can also help, getting out of the usual places, changing one’s environment and/or job can also help. Socializing is also a great factor in improving a person’s mood, surrounding oneself with people is important to help minimizing the load.

Note from the author: As muslims, we believe that Allah does not burden oneself with more than what the person can take for verse 286 in Sorat Al Baqara in the Quran says exactly that. Muslims are also known to saying the following two phrases when in a depressing state: “‘in Your Name Allah, I put my trust in Allah, and there is no power or force except with Allah’ (Bismillahi Tawakalto ala Allah wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah)”, “‘God suffices me and He is the best guardian’ (Hasbuna Allahu wa Ni’ mal Wakeel)”.

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Dictionary:

  • Depression: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

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References:

Do People Change?

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)

Latest posts by Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas) (see all)

Article in brief: Mustafa Abbas asks the one question that everyone would like the answer to: Do People Change?

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Do people change? This is a question that baffles many of us. And in most cases, each person has his or her own view on the subject.

This is simply my perspective.

When bad things happen to us, we often blame it on the event or the chain of events to justify the wrong that we are doing, or the person we have become. This, actually, is known as “secondary gain”. Which basically means, that yes, we were wronged, but are also using it to our advantage. This is the worst kind of forgiveness. Where the one who was wronged, might have forgiven but not forgotten. Two wrongs indeed don’t make a right.

Bad things happen to everyone, no exceptions. And human beings in most cases don’t act, but react.

So, when this bad thing happened, how did you react? Did you become stronger? Did you weaken? Did you remain grateful because it could have been worse? Or did you say to hell with everyone?

Psychology and human nature are both passions of mine. And from what I have seen, from my personal observations, I have come to the conclusion that nobody can take on life. No one can say “life was bad to me, so I’ll retaliate” and get away with it. Life was there long before each and every one of us, and it’s grown stronger, wiser, and more powerful with time.

I like to call it fear of God. Others might call it something else.

I’ve also learnt that we can never control how people act, but we can control how we react. And if we are in control of our reactions, we are in control of the situation. Reacting determines who we are. Seldom acting.

So back to my question, do people change, or just become a more complete version of themselves?

“He’s gone through a lot in his life” is usually said to someone who has lost his way. “Her parents were bad to her”, or “He was bullied” are some other examples.

I’m not sure if these are excuses to justify their actions, or sympathetic statements. I personally know of people who have been attacked physically and emotionally, lost their parents at a young age, and have come out stronger and better. At times, even calmer. There hasn’t been a moment where anyone I know personally has come to me and claimed these people are “weird” or “defensive”. On the contrary, I’ve only heard praises. Not said out of pity, because the ones paying the compliment don’t know the history. Sure, people like them might be exceptions. I suppose there is a reason we say “quality versus quantity”.

Many traits are genetic, and many are passed on and taught. Beliefs, morals, values, cultural conditioning, etc. All these things play a big part in who we become. But in my opinion, when it comes to attitude, it’s each person for themselves. We work on our attitude individually. It starts minimally, and grows according to where we want to go and who we want to become.

Another thing people seem to underestimate or misunderstand from what I’ve seen is who our partner is. By partner I mean spouse, lover, or even best friend sometimes. Two partners after a certain period of time will start to behave alike, speak alike, and possibly even think alike. They are not necessarily changing, but as I said becoming the person they are supposed to be, or perhaps evolving. But what if one partner is dominating and continues acting in a way that makes the other partner bitter and loses a taste for life?

Then what? Well, it goes back to what we discussed earlier, human beings in most cases don’t act, but react. Who our partner is plays a big part in who we become, as well as how we feel, treat people, and look at life. So choose wisely.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, someone I admire deeply, said: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you is the greatest accomplishment.” Or dare I ask… a minimal requirement?

Moose Out.

Overconsumption Here, Malnutrition Elsewhere

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.
https://omaralowais.wordpress.com
Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Latest posts by Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais) (see all)

Article in brief: Overconsumption here, eventually leads to under nutrition elsewhere, this article tackles this issue in simple ways we can apply at our own homes.

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

“The UAE, and not only in Ramadan, has one of the highest rates of food waste in the world.” writes Ayesha Al Mazrui in her article: “Why do we waste so much food in the month of fasting?”

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that around 870 million people are chronically undernourished (2010- 2012). They lack essential nutrients for long periods of time. Malnutrition is also accounted for 5 million child deaths; it multiplied the severity of chronic diseases such as measles and malaria, and stunted the growth of 32.5% of children in developing countries (according to Hunger Notes).

When looking at these statistics, one would think that there isn’t enough food in the world for all of the people. It is quite the contrary. Despite a 70% increase in the global population, world agriculture produces 17% more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago. In other words, it is enough to feed every single person on this planet 2,720 kcal (kilocalories) per day.

The malnutrition of 12.5% of the world’s population is the result of the over consumption of 87.5% of the world’s population, therefore, the solution to this global phenomenon is reliant upon the privileged majority.

Naturally, we may think that it is solely the job of charity organization to feed these mouths, but as global citizens, it is our responsibility to make a change, whatever is the size. Given the inter-connectedness of this world as a result of globalization, whatever small change we do in our own homes, may have a surprisingly large impact on the lives of the under-nutritioned people living far, far away.

These small solutions may hopefully help decrease the population of dissatisfied appetites in the world:

  • A highly prevalent scene at the school canteen is of children throwing away the contents of their lunch boxes and opting to purchase their meal from the school canteen. Speaking from experience, the reason of this action is that the children were not involved in the grocery shopping. They were given the same thing to eat, everyday, of the school year, for as long as they can remember. If the whole family was included in the grocery shopping process, everybody’s taste buds will be satisfied thus decreasing the amount of food wasted.
  • Another bad habit that I guiltily engaged in was grocery shopping while fasting. Who was I fooling? Was I seriously going to eat those to packets of bread that nobody else likes?
  • At weddings and social events, mountains of food are prepared and the ever-increasing surplus goes to waste. The Red Crescent offers a service entitled (Hefth Al Ne’ma) in which it collects untouched leftovers and distributes it to the needy. We can assist them in their noble service by not overfilling our plates at one time; we can always go for seconds, but there is no guarantee that we will finish what is on our plate.
  • Building on the previously mentioned point is to increase the amount of trips to the supermarket with a lower time span between each visit; one visit per week with less grocery purchased per visit rather than two visits per month with trolleys of food. This way, we would only shop for the week rather than the month. By doing so, we would decrease the amount of waste produced by the household.

We should develop a new culture in which food is treated as a scared part of our lives, and we should reduce the waste to a minimum. And when it comes to food waste, we should reuse and recycle it rather than treat it as waste. Ultimately, if we apply the teachings of our religion, we would hopefully reach that culture and treat food the way it should be.

We may underestimate the greatness of making an impact on the lives of these whom we do not know, but remember; the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was reported saying: “One of you does not believe until he loves for brother what he loves for himself.”

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References

  • Al Mazrui, A. (2013). Why do we waste so much food in the month of fasting? The National, 15th July.
  • Worldhunger.org (1971). 2013 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics by World Hunger Education Service. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm [Accessed: 15 Aug 2013].

Children’s Learning Difficulty

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Column: The First Years Last Forever
A loving mother of a son who has changed her life and put it into perspective. Ayesha is a senior social media specialist, a Global Leader for young children in the Arab region, and a writer in few Arabic publications. Her column is written in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization, and offers inspiration and an in-depth exploration of early childhood development.
Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Latest posts by Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi) (see all)

Article in brief: Detecting learning disabilities in children in their early years by having a proper evaluation and diagnosis from a qualified professional can help them in lifelong achievement and happiness.

Artwork by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

Artwork by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

Every child has a little bit of Einstein hidden and locked up inside of him. The best way to bring out that Einstein is to ensure that any barriers to learning are removed for a successful learning journey. There is hope for every child struggling with learning difficulties. When it comes to learning, we need to tackle the key issues of learning disabilities during the early years, doing that can help a child blossom not only in school but also throughout their life.

Each family might have a child who is active, full of life and pursues their favourite hobbies and that impresses parents in general, however, some children might encounter stress and sometimes anxiety, especially when it comes to school. Some parents are stuck in a loop of hiring personal tutors but unfortunately the problems resurface again whenever the child encounters a new challenge. But if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that tutors are just the temporary and sometimes the wrong solution.

Imagine you have a broken arm and your doctor prescribes a pain medication instead of taking an x-ray and setting your arm in a cast so that it takes a natural healing process. In this case, the effect of the remedy is fast and effective but for a short term. It is the same thing when it comes to learning difficulties where you should look deeper to the underlying causes of the problems rather than solving the observable symptoms.

Learning disorders are an umbrella term for all the learning problems a child might encounter. Its signs and symptoms vary from one child to another at different times. Generally, some children struggle with reading and spelling, while others love books but can’t understand math. Others may have difficulty understanding what others say or can’t communicate with them.

If we look at signs in pre-schoolers, the child might face difficulty in pronouncing or finding the right word, trouble in learning the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and trouble with following directions or learning routines. Keep in mind, that you know your child better than anyone else does, so if you think there is a problem; it doesn’t hurt to get an evaluation.

I remember a mother who deprived her child from having a proper test by a qualified professional and receiving special education since she thought that would make others look at him as he has neurological problem, which was unfair to the child. That child neither was able to carry on with his studies in university nor was accepted at the workplace. I do believe that no parent wants to see their children suffer but some decisions make a child struggle for a lifetime.

In fact, children with learning disorders are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are just wired differently. This difference influences how they receive and process information.

As a parent, if you suspect your child has a learning disorder, you may require special assistance and you shouldn’t delay in finding support. Keep in mind that the sooner you move forward, the better your child’s chances for reaching his or her full potential.

Most of the time, teachers may encourage intelligence (IQ) tests to measure cognitive mental skills and basic processing ability and achievement tests to determine how well a child is doing in academic subjects (stored knowledge). The IQ test doesn’t reveal the source of the struggle in a child’s learning but the average that conceals the real problems, which might show up the problems at any point during their education. If you start with your child’s school and they were unable to help you, visiting specialist to diagnose learning disabilities would minimize the concerns and explore better solutions.

For children who struggle to learn, there is hope! Children can get immediate results that have a lifelong impact on learning by applying Cognitive skills testing which obtains a lasting, positive solution. A professional learning disorders specialist might refer to the importance of “integration” to learning. “Integration refers to the understanding of information that has been delivered to the brain, and it includes three steps: sequencing, which means putting information in the right order; abstraction, which is making sense of the information; and organization, which refers to the brains ability to use the information to form complete thoughts”*.

When we don’t take the issue of children’s learning deficiencies into consideration in their early years, they suffer emotionally, psychologically and socially on all levels. In essence, their self-esteem which is the child’s passport to lifetime mental health and social happiness becomes very weak if you don’t intervene earlier to make a difference. However, with learning more about learning difficulties in general, and your child’s learning deficiencies in particular; you can assist in paving the way for your child’s success at school and beyond.

Written in collaboration with Arabian Child organization. Visit www.arabianchild.org for more information about early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates.

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*http://m.helpguide.org/articles/learning-disabilities/learning-disabilities

Javier Zanetti, A Role Model On and Off the Pitch

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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Article in brief: Khalifa AlHajeri writes about Zanertti who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, he continues to be successful, with grace only matched by other great role models.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

The existence of a role model in our lives is one of the reference pillars of our identity creation. Our association to other personalities is a birthright by default. As children, we grow up and we copy our parents, pretending to be them by speaking like them and wearing their clothes and so on. It’s in our behavioral genome to compare and contrast with others and that is a habit that remains with us for the rest of our life.

When thinking of a role model, in the world of sports there are a few. In football, some role models can be debated across their fans, but a certain individual is unanimously always chosen by anyone who has an interest in the world of sports, this accolade belongs to Javier Zanetti.

Il Trattore, as he is fondly called by his teammates because of his style of running, which is similar to the way a tractor plows a field, recently turned 40 and still has not retired from professionally participating in sports. While many professional athletes have a short-lived career that usually ends at their mid-thirties, Zanetti, thanks to his supreme physique, is still an integral part of the sport and is sometimes mistaken for a youth in his 20s. Maintaining this level of physical capability requires a form of dedication that can only develop in a person that suffered adversity. Growing up, Zanetti himself was under the spell of Maradona and dreamt of becoming a footballer like him one day.

So passionate towards his pursuit of being a footballer, Zanetti started juggling daily football practice with other commitments such as working to generate an income to support his family. Despite his commitment, at the age of 15, he tasted the first dose of adversity when he was told that he was too skinny, too weak and too small to ‘make it’ in football. Reasonably bothered, this did not deter Zanetti from his objective and instead, it became the first building block of his ability to deal with adversity. The trials and hardships that he grew in became his source of energy and this is a lesson to us to always track back to our roots and our foundation in the essence of keeping our motivation and commitment refreshed.

Respected unanimously by players, managers and fans even from opposing teams, Zanetti always remains humble and cool headed. Despite the success and the almost rock star status he has in the heart of fans, he is barely ever caught receiving praise comfortably, almost always deflecting it to the collective and thanking his own team mates. Up to this date, Javier Zanetti has made over 1000 performances as a professional footballer but that feat was not enough. With the help of his wife Paula, he also created the PUPI Foundation which aims to help children, who are left impoverished by the country’s economic situation, by giving them educational opportunities, as well as taking care of their nutritional requirements. This is a clear example of his role as a public figure not forgetting where he came from.

The lessons that could be picked up from Javier Zanetti are many. As individuals, we should always remember our humble beginnings and even if we were raised up in one, learn how to be modest about success. Remembering the journey we took part in as a source of pride and source of motivation. This will have a direct impact on our dedication and commitment. This is generic and not specific to only footballers or sportsmen. As a role model, Zanetti inspires many, especially in the notion that your attitude is a characteristic you carry with you all at times, on or off the pitch, in front or away from people’s eye.