Here We Start – Issue #46

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)

As we publish our 46th issue, we are entering a new year, the year of 2014. Some people will reflect back on the previous year to ensure they learned what they can from it, others will jump on planning on for the next year, jotting down all their dreams, hopes, and aspirations, and some other people will take it just like any other day, with no actual significance. Which category do you belong to?

As for us in Sail, we are definitely reflecting on the last year to learn from our mistakes and recognize the good things we might have done; we are also planning out a new year filled with many changes that hopefully would bring out the best in us to the world.

We wish our readers & viewers a great year ahead, filled with everything they dream of from hopes, dreams, and aspirations! And hopefully, many returns to Sail eMagazine for more and more productive reads with our issues!

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

In this issue, Reem AlSuwaidi joins us as a new columnist with her bi-monthly fashion column: Habillez-Moi(which means “dress me” in French).

Reem is a fashion fanatic. She used her talents of critiquing to start a blog called “We Voice Fashion” along with a partner that shares her views on the world of fashion and design. She likes to explore fashion in a philosophical way at times, often delving deep into a subject that interests her within the field.

She also loves to read novels usually revolving around Russia during the 20th century. Her favorite writers are Sylvia Plath, Shamim Sarif, Edgar Allen Poe and Alexa Chung.

And now, Issue #46 – January 2014 in brief:

Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out our illustrations by our creative team: Anood AlMulla, Dana Al Attar, Hayat AlHassan, Maha Bin Fares, and Marwa Fadhel.

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.

Help us spread the word about the magazine and share the articles with your friends!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Interview with FUNN

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)

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Interview in brief: Sharjah recently experienced a first of its kind event. Sail eMagazine recently conducted an interview with the organizations behind it to find out more about it.

Artwork by Marwa Fadhel (@Elmeem_Artistry)

Artwork by Marwa Fadhel (@Elmeem_Artistry)

On October 26th, 2013, Sharjah was all abuzz; particularly in the new building facing the airport. Posters, Styrofoam boards and screens were seen across roads and roundabouts.

Does the scenario ring a bell? Well, if it doesn’t, it was the opening of the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival (SICFF), a first of its kind event in the UAE.

This event was the brainchild of FUNN, which is an organization established by Sharjah’s government to promote and support Media Arts for Youth and Children in Sharjah & UAE. The event featured films made ‘by children for children’. Coming from someone who has been involved with FUNN through the many workshops they provide throughout the year, I was not surprised by the talents showcased during the event, as I witnessed some of that talent first-hand, and I am nothing but grateful for such events; as they are nothing but encouraging, motivating and inspiring.

I participated in the last couple of years in the “FUNN Media Arts Exhibition” using the skills I learnt in the digital collage workshop run by Hamdan Al Shamsi (Known on social media as @Hamdaany). I even attended the movie making workshop run by Hamad Saghran, and the Advanced Photography workshop covering both conceptual and macro photography taught by Maysoon Al Ali and Jassim Al Awadhi.

Broken Vow - Artwork by Hamdan AlShamsi

Broken Vow – Artwork by Hamdan AlShamsi

Since I was familiar with the works of these artists before entering the program, it was definitely an opportunity not to be missed. This year, it was held in liaison with the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival. I was amazed by the quality of work produced by my peers who have participated. Also, I was inspired by the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi and His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi. Such appreciation, devotion, and interest by our leaders further motivates local talent and boosts their potential to new heights.

Sail eMagazine recently conducted and interview with Jawaher Abdullah Al Qassimi, Manager of FUNN and Maysoon Hassan Al Ali, the Film Festival Coordinator.

Sail eMagazine: What is FUNN?
– FUNN: FUNN is an organization established by the Sharjah government, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qassimi, wife of His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah, to promote and support Media Art (animation, film making, graphic design etc.) for young children and the youth of Sharjah and UAE through workshops, exhibitions and festivals.

Sail eMagazine: Please tell us a little about yourselves and what you do.
– Jawaher: My name is Jawaher Al Qassimi, I am the eldest child of 4 and I have 3 younger brothers. I graduated with a BA in English Language and Literature in 2003. I am a mother of a 3-year-old son and I am currently expecting another baby on the way. Reading and writing are my favorite hobbies.
– Maysoon: I am Maysoon Hassan. I am the Film Festival Coordinator. I deeply enjoy photography and graphic design; I participated in several art exhibitions and galleries in the past years. I majored in Applied Media Communications in college.

Sail eMagazine: You organize workshops for children throughout the year, what motives do you have when organizing one?
– Jawaher: When organizing these media arts workshops, our main motive is to show these students that we believe in them and in their talents. We aim to nurture their talents and develop them so one day our students will leave FUNN with skills that will enable them to be pioneers in their desired field.

Sail eMagazine: What, in your opinion, is more important, artistic or academic pursuits? Why so?
– Jawaher: Both! It’s literally the best of both worlds! Live your passion! Do what you love for the rest of your life and shine!
– Maysoon: Both! An artist should have general knowledge in addition to extensive research before producing an artwork. The more an artist knows about his topic, the more alive his piece will be.

Sail eMagazine: Why do you think organizations like FUNN are important?
– Jawaher: When I was a teenager I had a camera, and I enjoyed shooting here and there, I looked for places to help me learn and grow and did not find many. FUNN is where children and youth can come to learn and develop their skills, our doors are always open for the passion and creativity the children carry with them.

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Additional Links:

Questioning The Relevance of Fashion

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Column: Habillez-Moi (which means “dress me” in French)
Reem is a fashion fanatic. She used her talents of critiquing to start a blog called “We Voice Fashion” along with a partner that shares her views on the world of fashion and design. Through her column, she likes to explore fashion in a philosophical way at times.
http://wevoicefashion.com
Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Article in brief: the author questions the relevance of fashion to our personalities and daily self expressions.

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

The arrival of fashion week concept is like a gift from the fashion industry. We get to see what’s in store for the next season, the new street style, and also see all the interviews conducted with the designers. I mark it on my calendar, and think of what new collections will the focus be on. It’s valuable for the industry’s insiders and fans; it is of great relevance. Can this entire ruckus merely be because of fashion itself?

According to merriam-webster.com, fashion can be described as “a popular way of dressing during a particular time or among a particular group of people”. Fashion is a moving structure; ever changing, and never stays the same. For some, like me, it is a way of expressing one’s self. It is a reflection of who you are. Fashion is part of our daily routine, and if you’re a follower, then it most likely has a say in your outfit of the day (on Instagram: #OOTD). But really, how essential is fashion to us all?

To a certain crowd it is trivial, maybe even silly. This opinion might exist because some consider it to be “a waste of time” and some see it as an act of narcissism. People in the fashion industry exude a lavish lifestyle that merely shows a more materialistic side. Take one of the industry’s famous editors: Anna Dello Russo, the editor-at-large of Vogue Japan. Suzy Menkes of The New York Times criticized Dello Russo in the article “The Circus of Fashion” for dressing excessively during the fashion week. Menkes even labeled her as a “peacock” in an indirect way.

Despite Menkes’ words having some truth, there was one certain thing she forgot to mention; that fashion is a manner of self-expression, whether you’re dressing minimally or excessively. Labeling someone as a “peacock” for dressing how they see fit for the time and place they are in is stereotyping. In addition, fashion gives a chance for everyone to be creative, without any boundaries. It is also a revelation of one’s identity and culture.

Although some may not consider it to be a vital part of their lives, they forget that it certainly is. When you wake up in the morning with whatever mood you’re in, what runs in your mind through the process of getting ready is: what outfit will you wear? Which items of clothing will reflect your initial mood? And so, we all know for sure that this in return answers the question that has been asked through out this article.

Perfection VS Creativity

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 hearmyeche.com 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.

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Article in brief: The writer talks about the importance of creativity and how everyone seems to focus on perfection rather than the flourishing of talents and abilities.

Artwork Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

A perfectionist is who I am! But is it me to blame or is it the society that insists on aiming for perfection rather than creativity? How every aspect of our personality is looked upon and judged and how everything we do should catch up with their extreme expectations. Every person is different and what may look perfect to me could be another person’s disaster.

There’s nothing wrong with perfection; except that it will never be reached. Creativity, however, is a person’s way to express their soul. Whether on a piece of paper or a canvas, a photograph or a dance, every person has a different way of conveying their inner self. So would you rather be the stereotypical image of perfection or the unique creative one?

I remember myself during art class back in school, feeling so ashamed of myself because I couldn’t even draw a flower; a shape everyone else seemed to be prefect in. Being so young, I looked at this situation as a weakness, not realizing that art has way too many forms and drawing is not my form of art. What I noticed about schools is that they encourage students to be perfect instead of being the best at what they may be talented in.

Most schools focus on their image rather than the hidden abilities of their students. Every person has a talent, an ability that will create and shape their future in unexpected ways. If educational institutions invest their time in nurturing their students’ talents and hidden abilities, every student will grow to believe that they are capable of being who they are and achieving their reveries.

Not everyone can take a beautiful photograph or cook a tasty meal but everyone has a dream that can be achieved if they only settled for the best instead of the perfect.  Put your time and effort in becoming the best version of yourself instead of the perfect one and become involved in the blossoming of your talents and let it grow within you.

You can be different and original; that doesn’t make you any less of a success. It actually makes you a person with a unique vision. Take a brush and start drawing your life the way you want it to be, take a pen and let the ink flow the way you want it to flow, take a spoon full of spices and watch your life change, one taste bud at a time.

When Emotions Collide and How To Practise Mindfulness Meditation

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

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

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Article in brief: The human brain is responsible for all the functions and emotions of a human being. If the brain holds all the emotions, behaviors, and feelings of a person, what is the probability that all of them collide?

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

The human brain is a very interesting organ. Although it is made by a complex mix of water, lipids, protein, carbs, soluble organics and inorganic salts; mentally, the brain holds everything from vision, memory, speech, emotions, behaviors, movement and so much more.

The brain is divided into several parts. One of those parts is the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC), which is responsible for mood changes, behaviors, emotions, problems, anxiety and depression. Other functions of this very crowded section include regulation of blood pressure and heartbeat. It is also responsible for the perception of pain.

Since the ACC is responsible for what is commonly known as “Drama”, it is easy to say that one thing affects the other. If someone is stressed at work, the reoccurrence of this feeling will trigger an emotion related to it (i.e.: sadness), which will in the long run cause anxiety or depression, and that subsequently affects the person’s blood pressure and hence starts ‘The blunder of the ACC’.

There is however an upside to ‘The blunder of the ACC’. If all of this “Drama” is coming from the same place, then targeting everything all at once should be possible. A recent study has shown that meditation is one way to promptly activate the ACC; it reduces the effects of the “Drama”.

The research suggests using a specific method of meditation called “Mindfulness Meditation”. The main idea of this meditation is to clear your mind by maintaining attention to one thing and forcefully refocus when the mind wanders away.

The brain scans done to the volunteers in the study showed a decrease in anxiety by 39%. The scans also showed activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls worrying.

How to practice the “Mindfulness Meditation”:

  1. Environment: the environment has to be quiet and comfortable.
  2. Practice: the duration should be between 5 to 10 minutes, twice a day.
  3. Posture: the best posture for this meditation is either standing or bending as the energy in the body flows better in those positions.
  4. Gaze: concentrate on a point that is almost 2 inches in front of your nose. The more the gaze is raised, the more distracting it is for the mind. Hence, lessening the effect of the meditation.
  5. Breath: concentrate on the flow of your breathing to remain focused.
  6. Thoughts: keep them away! There is plenty of time after the meditation is done.

Staying focused on one thing is not easy. The slowest speed at which information travels between neurons is faster than the Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron (Brain: 416 km/h, Bugatti: 407.164 km/h). However, practice always makes perfect.

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Note from writer: Muslims pray 5 times a day and every single point mentioned in the method to practice “Mindfulness Meditation” is part of our prayer guidelines.

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Dictionary:

  • Blunder: Mix-up
  • ACC: Anterior Cingulate Cortex

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References:

The Impact of Hosting Major International Sports Events

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: the author examines the positives and negatives on any city when hosting a major international sport event.

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

To many people, sports and its role in the world represents a devotion to a significant lifestyle, a passion and sometimes, an addiction. Putting those people on one side, on the other side, there are others who as inconceivable as it is, they undermine the influence that sports play in our world.

Being a sports fan myself, this article is addressed to both sets of people, to present a neutral view of the positive and negative impact of sports through the scenario of hosting international events. One of the major outputs of sports is through competitions, which are the zenith of sporting events that gather the best in the world. These competitions are held in various parts of the world throughout the year and the rights to host them have become a competitive occasion in itself. Countries compete for the hosting rights for these tournaments due to the beneficial impact the event can create. Sporting events of a certain magnitude can create a cycle, which can develop social, economical and cultural benefits, but also, this might come at a cost.

Having been able to benefit from its status as the emerging leader in the South American continent, Brazil was able to beat off competition from various countries to host both the Football world cup FIFA and the Olympics. By seizing these opportunities, Brazil will be able to attract fans and enthusiasts from all over the world, who, with their expenditure power, will allow Brazil to cover for the necessary investments it made and also start a source of income from other benefits gained.

That being said, financial returns are not the only rewards received from hosting tournaments, as it is contested that the most positive impact comes in the form of social and cultural developments. Hosting such events requires the country to synergize efforts and maintain a required level of unity that reinforces people’s capabilities operationally and organizationally. Moreover, with an increased media coverage and a major fellowship of journalists documenting their time during the events, the cultural and social norms of the country is publicized, enabling the country to benefit from an advertising campaign at no cost. Similarly, with the events and competitions followed by a colossal audience all over the world, the image of the country is greatly enhanced. This opportunity, if gained, can be a huge leap forward.

Furthermore, the event will have a cascading effect on future generations, who will examine the values of sports through the competition, which will create and echo the success stories generated, creating legends and idols to future athletes. In addition, the countries hosting these events will usually have to undergo infrastructural upgrading, such as renovating roads, airports, among many other public facilities, which becomes of worthy use upon the end of the games for the citizens of the country.

However, hosting these events can also spur negative impact as well. For instance, the Brazilian government had to face protests that could have turned violent. Admittedly, the Brazilian government had to allocate a lot of funding for the hosting of the games that it had sacrificed on other recipients. China was thrust into the limelight during the Olympics when stories leaked about 1 million residents of Beijing who were displaced during the Olympic events. In efforts by the government to accommodate for the games, many residents were forced out of their homes against their will, with little notice and little compensation. Another impact that could be witnessed is the congestion created by the events and the underutilized infrastructure. Qatar will have around 10 years of preparation time for the World Cup. During this time, it will have to build the entire necessary infrastructure, which is most likely going to be underutilized right after the end of the games.

Indeed, sports can provide not only plenty of entertainment, but can impact the welfare of many people around the world, with sporting events being one of the many outlets in which sports can demonstrate its importance in our world today, and as a passionate sports enthusiast, I believe sports sometimes does not get the recognition it deserves.

Maintaining Prosperity Through Cooperation

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed, an Emirati involved in healthcare business development, comes with a background in biomedical & clinical engineering, technology management, finance, and business setup related project management. Mohammed has a keen interest in relevant social, religious, economic, and cultural affairs.
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.
Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

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Article in brief: The author explains how working with different people creates fertile ground for prosperity. He continues to show that the differences between the native and expatriate communities can possibly hurt this path to prosperity and explains possible ways of avoiding it.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan(@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan(@HayatAlH)

From the days of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the courts of Baghdad during the reign of the Abbasids to the plazas of the grand mosque in Cordoba in Muslim Spain, successful Muslim nations were governed by religious Islamic teachings. Teachings that allowed different people of different creeds and races to live side by side, work together, and achieve great goals. Teachings that preserved the rights of individuals and provided justice for all people. Teachings that promoted not only peaceful co-existence but also the prosperity of minority groups within its reign.

During those times, Muslims and the people within their territories flourished in science, philosophy, and technology. A common theme that existed was the acceptance of working together with people of different creeds and races towards a good cause whether it be in the advancement of knowledge or the betterment of the economy or society.

There are numerous accounts of poetic recitals, ideology debates, and scientific writings and discoveries that are indicative of an open dialogue between the different people who lived within “Islamic” territories. Not only did these empires give birth to Muslim Scholars such as Al Khawarizmi (the father of algebra), Ibn Hayyan (father of chemistry), Ibn Hazm (the polymath from Andalucía), and Ibn Rushd (Averroes), but they also allowed the prosperity of non-Muslim scholars. Some examples include the non-Muslim scholars of Baghdad who conveyed philosophical and scientific writings such as Aristotle and principles of chemistry to Christian Europe and the rise of Mosheh Ben Maimon (Maimonides) who played a very important role in Jewish philosophy.

Using the above examples and comparing them to today’s world, I believe the closest to such societies under an Islamic influenced judiciary/social system is the modern day Dubai. However, what makes Dubai distinct is that its native population constitutes a minority of the total population. I believe that the exchange of talent and ideas that occurs between the expatriates and natives is mostly healthy. In my opinion, Dubai may not sustain its economic development without the presence of both the expatriate and the Emirati. Since there isn’t any formal direct taxation or permanent residence, a set of workplace politics and social politics is born that can sometimes cause tension between the two parties and have a negative impact on general prosperity.

A European friend of mine once correctly stated, “I believe Emiratis in Dubai live in a dilemma, such that they want to learn and benefit from the expatriates who make up the majority of the population yet they do not welcome the dilution of their culture, an inevitable outcome if expatriates are present.” Due to that enigma, and transgression of boundaries between the two groups sometimes occurs which I fear may hurt the dynamics of the cooperation between the different groups and in turn could hurt the positive trajectory of economic growth which results from working together. The question then becomes: how do we maintain a healthy cooperation between the groups to ensure great outcomes?

For us Emiratis, hospitality is not only a trait we picked up from our forefathers, which deemed us humble. Our wise hospitality welcomed people of different faiths and races to Dubai, which largely contributed to our growth.  However, let’s look at it from the Islamic perspective and see what it prescribes for peaceful coexistence:

First, Islam calls for uniting towards causes which lead to overall good and that do not transgress the boundaries of Islam. Additionally, Islam prohibits uniting towards evil causes which lead to overall harm and resentment.

“Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancor” – The Holy Quran [5:2]

Second, Islamic teachings oblige all Muslims to be just and fair towards all people regardless of their religion or race. This comprises interactions in the workplace, with neighbors, in road manners and many more. Examples of justice within the context of such interactions include honoring agreements, rewarding hard work, penalizing misconduct, etc. This should all be done without prejudice.

(Please refer to Prophet Muhammad’s interactions with the Jews of Madina, and the justice stories of Umar Ibn Al Khattab in whose era Islam prospered)

Third, Islam calls for the maintenance of good conduct in interactions. It is important that we respect all individuals regardless of their religion or race. It is important to use kindness, gentleness, and civil behavior. It is important to not yell or shout or use any form of coercion when dealing with others.

 “The heaviest thing that will be placed in a person’s Balance on the Day of Resurrection is good behavior, and Allah hates the obscene immoral person.” – The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – Tirmidhi

From a guest perspective, all the rules above also apply. Another good angle to see this from is managing your host’s expectations. As with any hospitable host, it’s polite, most respectful, and common sense to play by the house rules so long as you are in the common areas.

I believe that Dubai has the capability to recreate the fertile grounds for advancement of science, philosophy, and technology such as the early Muslims, Abbasids, and Muslim Andalusians. By being mindful of the above points, I think we can sort out any potential minimal issues we are having. I aspire to see the day in which the peaceful coexistence and cooperation between the people here will give birth to such scholars that will resonate throughout history.