Here We Start – Issue # 58 – Happy New Year!

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: 7 minutes
ArtWork by Marwa Fuad (Twitter: @Marwa_f1, Instagram: @Elmeem_Artistry)

ArtWork by Marwa Fuad (Twitter: @Marwa_f1, Instagram: @Elmeem_Artistry)

December was full of achievements for Sail, ensuring 2014 ends with a thunder and confirming how successful it has been for us! It started with me receiving the Arab Woman Award in the Literature category, for all the work and efforts that has been put towards Sail to develop the literature scene in the UAE. I can’t even put into words how much this award meant for Sail and for me personally – to get recognized not only for the work, not only for the idea as our previous awards, but now also for the achievements in the literature scene, which is exactly our goal in Sail.

arab woman awards uae-logo-14

Receiving all these awards this year has proved that hard work does pay, that you don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not or go against your values to get the recognition, and that noble causes do get the attention from those who matter. And most importantly, what it really means, is that you need to persistently work hard. You can’t just stop at the first few roadblocks, because if you want to break grounds and pave a new path, then there will always be many roadblocks. Otherwise, everyone else would have already been on that path!

Our second milestone that we achieved in December is publishing our first digital book through our newly established publishing house of digital books and magazines. The book titled “Alayah”, written by Alia AlShamsi and illustrated by Hedaya Al Rahma (@hudhuds), is a children’s illustrated book about the story of Alayah and the sand in her hair. The book sheds light on the children’s ethnic roots, how they accept them, and how they grow up distant from those origins. It is targeted towards 2-6 years olds. You can find the book “Alayah” on Kindle through this link, and on iBooks through this link. If you have problems downloading the book on iBooks or this was your first digital book to download, you will find the steps here.

Sail's first digital published book, Alayah

Alia & I joined Suzanne Bradford & Dr. Samineh Shaheem on their Dubai Today show on Dubai Eye FM, where apart from general book chit-chat Alia gave a beautiful background about her book and what it meant to her. You can listen to the interview on these two links: part 1, part 2.

Through this issue, we are joined with a new columnist: Ahlam Bolooki. Ahlam holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Hospitality Management and started her career Marketing Jumeirah Group restaurants for four years. She currently oversees communications for Dubai Events, working to strengthen the Emirate’s growing profile, locally and internationally, as a dynamic events and festival destination. She is an aspiring writer contributing to Gulf News, and does not go through a single day without reading a section of the Complete Works of Khalil Gibran.

Sharing emotions are often perceived as vulnerable and weak; however her column “Crack the Core Code” will plant seeds of bravery in sharing the truth in its stripped down core through digestible, yet impactful anecdotes.

I hope you have also ended 2014 on a high note, checked off as many goals off your list as you could. And now, I hope you have had the time to relax a little, reflect on everything achieved or not achieved in 2014, and brainstormed on what you’d like to achieve in 2015. Although some may argue against New Year’s resolutions, I’m not with or against it. One thing is for sure though – you need to set timed goals for yourself, and you need to make the time to reflect on them and measure them every now and then. If you choose not to have it on the New Year, then you can have it on your birthday or any other date you choose, but you must force that habit of goals planning and achievement reflection sometime each year.

And now to our 58th issue for the month of January 2015:

Hats off to our incredible editorial team: Dhabya AlMuhairi and Deena Rashid. Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out the inspired artworks by our talented creative team: Dana AlAttar, Hayat AlHassan, Marwa Fuad, led by 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

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

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

“Roles” and “Models”

Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

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

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: the article covers how in today’s society, people don’t need to have any educational background, or be an expert in anything, to be famous. They simply need to be “popular” on social media and are automatically perceived as role models despite them having nothing to earn being so influential.

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@MaryamZainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

February 11, 2011 – was my birthday, it was also the day Hosni Mubarak came tumbling down. It was also the time period when Sultan Saood Al Qassemi was hailed as the go-to person in the UAE for updates on the Arab Spring and Twitter was booming in the region.

Sultan is a dear friend of mine. A man I respect and someone I call my brother. I can wax lyrical about his accomplishments and his noteworthy articles and contributions to society. One can even list out his educational background and his role in the arts scene, political, journalistic and community contributions. He is a role model. He isn’t “popular” and doesn’t pose and pout for popularity.

The same can be said for founder and editor in chief of our e-zine, Iman Ben Chaibah, who is also a dear friend and sister. Having started an online magazine that has now transformed into a publishing house, Iman has grown Sail in the last five years. An IT professional by education and now a contributing lecturer in a notable university in Dubai, her contributions are vast in the community and even though she isn’t one of those Emirati girls who pictures her back for Instagram, she also doesn’t pout and pose for popularity.

My list could go on and on, and a special mention to those we have lost such as Giorgio Ungania and Thamer Salman who have done so much for the UAE and beyond, and are known in the intellectual circles of our community and society but yet they don’t influence movements.

This is what I mean before anyone goes on a rant, all those I have mentioned above worked hard to get to where they are and have achieved things and were visionaries before we could even think of things like TedxDubai or online publishing houses. However, they influence like-minded people and not the masses.

The masses unfortunately are influenced by the local versions of the Kim Kardashians and although I am disappointed for having used her name in my article, her global power especially over social media is undeniable to the point where even educated and intellectuals use her name or her power as a person to compare. She and others like her are by no means on the same level as people who have worked hard to achieve success, and it’s a shame that today young girls are influenced by the likes of her. A young man went to extreme measures and paid over $150,000 to look like Kim, and the only thing she’s famous for is using her body and her bimbo sense to gain popularity.

So my question is: are we doing the right thing by using social media as a tool to generate publicity for anything? Are we empowering young people to think they can charge a minimum amount of 10,000 AED just to appear in a place? Are we diminishing the importance of the roles people play in media, politics, education, business and others by giving importance to social media bimbos?

What has Kim and co done to deserve being called role models? What role does she play? And what model do they follow?

What does it take to gain high followership by the masses or are we counting quality versus quantity? In this case, I want the masses to follow the likes of Iman, Sultan and others who make a difference in our societies and communities with their contributions and sincerely hoping that this piece makes its round around the masses.

Without A Photographic Archive, Does That Make Us Non-Existent?

Alia Al Shamsi (@aliaalshamsi)

Emarati Author and Photographer from Dubai. After receiving a BA in Photography from Griffith University she worked as a photojournalist for local newspapers covering regional and international news. In 2008 she gained a MA in Photo-Image from Durham University and has lectured photography as an adjunct at the American University of Sharjah. Her photography has been exhibited internationally and holds awards including: EDAAD Scholarship 2007, British Council Cultural Leadership International 2010 and 2011 Emirates Woman Artist of the Year.
Al Shamsi’s recently published book Alayah by Sail Publishinghas been awarded the support from Dubai Culture part of their printing and publishing movement “Reading in Arabic Challenge”.

Latest posts by Alia Al Shamsi (@aliaalshamsi) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: The author reflects on the changing perspective on the need for archiving our lives through photography.

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@MaryamZainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat as I tried to silence my mind. I knew how the talk would unfold and was weighing words in my head of what was necessary to state and what I can hold back. I was part of a panel discussion with the theme “photojournalism”, and of course the issue of access and importance to document as a testimony had to be brought up. You see, seven years ago I sat down writing just that. I wrote my post grads thesis on the Emirati Identity and the photographic archive. I was an advocate of the importance of preserving our history by locating and archiving every possible photograph. It was as if my very existence depended on a sheet of paper, to testify I came from somewhere and I had a family. At that very moment, I realized the absurdity of that obsession.

I forgot that my family told stories that are passed down by generations, that I am surrounded by skyscrapers and white sails across the blue Gulf. I forgot that we spoke a dialect of Arabic identifiable by the rest of the Arabs, our poetry and that my own name bears an archive.

So, I sat listening to complaints on how Emiratis refuse to be photographed and refuse to give access. It’s not a matter of being conservative; it is a matter of having the right to privacy. It is also furthermore the right to be respected and understood. Going out and pointing a camera at a person without permission and most of all without context to how this image will be used amazes me. To add to the fact that the person behind the lens doesn’t even speak the language or understand the nation he/she is representing through his/her own lens. This is by no means directed to anyone in specific – it is merely an observation I have witnessed during my experience as a photographer.

Which really leads me to the question: is taking a photograph more important than respecting an individual’s right to privacy? Also, will the lack of the photograph impact an article?

Yes, photographs are important to the article and without a doubt are what attracts most readers. We are living in a visual world after all. However, we are also equally living in a world where journalism ethics should be the first priority.

Let me return to the question: do we need photographs of ourselves as proof of our existence?

Putting aside the fact that our nation is young and that progress has been transformational, the camera has only been introduced to this region barely 113 years ago (first record by a passing traveler in 1901 of Abu Dhabi). The camera was not an apparatus that was used by the local inhabitants. Quite the contrary, it was used by travelers such as Sir Wilfred Thesiger and for colonial purposes by the British RAF. The camera was invented and developed in Western countries where it gained cultural and status-based meaning as it morphed and transcended through different formats and artistic movements. It started as a scientific experiment, then entered the elite households, later to the battlefields as news reportage and finally as art. The idea of the photograph being a tool of truth has long ago been discussed, acquitted and revisited with no conclusion but perhaps that it is a truth of many truths. Therefore, why is the photograph as a document of truth so violently imposed on this nation? Why is it still (post-colonial) so important to unveil a mysterious land?

I believe we have surpassed those times of uncovering the exotic other, and we are now defining and identifying ourselves by who we believe we are.

We are people of a history that goes back to Ibn Haytham who developed optics, who laid the foundation of photography. We are beyond a piece of paper and perhaps we are some of the few who cherish the privacy and sanctity of life in a world that knows no limits to what can be shared.

The Importance Of Trust

Ahlam Bolooki (@AhlamBolooki)

Ahlam Bolooki (@AhlamBolooki)

Ahlam holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Hospitality Management and started her career Marketing Jumeirah Group restaurants for four years. She currently oversees communications for Dubai Events, working to strengthen the Emirate’s growing profile, locally and internationally, as a dynamic events and festival destination.She is an aspiring writer contributing to Gulf News, and does not go through a single day without reading a section of the Complete Works of Khalil Gibran.
Sharing emotions are often perceived as vulnerable and weak; however her column will plant seeds of bravery in sharing the truth in its stripped down core through digestible, yet impactful anecdotes.
Ahlam Bolooki (@AhlamBolooki)

Latest posts by Ahlam Bolooki (@AhlamBolooki) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: This article explores the different forms of trust and their importance throughout our lives.

ArtWork by Marwa Fuad (Twitter: @Marwa_f1, Instagram: @Elmeem_Artistry)

ArtWork by Marwa Fuad (Twitter: @Marwah_f1, Instagram: @Elmeem_Artistry)

Back in high school when I was a girl scout, our pack leader would randomly pair us up with partners we were unfamiliar with and ask one of us to stand behind the other. The girl in front would have to drop backwards in a free fall and trust that her partner would catch her before she hit the ground. I remember being paired with a girl that I was neither friendly nor knotty with. Being expected to drop backwards towards this person who was merely a stranger, not knowing if she would protect me from skinned elbows and a bruised scalp, cringed my abdomen in anxiety. The whistle blew and it was time for the drop. I held my breath in, forced my eyes shut and extended my arms away from my body to allow her to grab hold of me. What felt like the longest two seconds of my life were over when I landed safely in the reliable arms of the girl I was looking up at. I vividly recall her comforting smile and how in that instant, she was no longer a stranger.

The test of trust and the ability to have faith in the reliability of others does not end with childhood. On the contrary, our need for it grows in every one of our interactions with the years as we discover our own tests and what we qualify to be trustworthy.

Many a times we share personal matters with a confidant, only to find that they don’t see the harm in sharing it, in good will, with their own secret keeper. Although they may have done so in search of wise advice and intend no harm upon us, sometimes trust means knowing that the key to our secret disappears in that first revelation, and not shared with a third person no matter how insignificant the secret.

The word trust is grand in nature and weighs heavily in form, yet it is strengthened or weakened in our simple daily actions. When making promises, trust can be maintained by doing what we say and following through it. Keeping our words, or not making the promises at all. Trust can be formed simply by always being on time when expected and respecting the time and presence of those we meet. It also involves meaning our apology enough to not repeat our mistake, because repetitive apologies are traits of unreliability and can perish the foundation of trust.

However, the more valuable and difficult traits of trust form from the ability to respect the difference in the beliefs of those in our lives and accept their life choices. Those are the bonds that become malleable in nature, difficult to break and extend beyond changing circumstances, adaptable to the motion of the waves.

Throughout our lives we have always been taught to give with kindness, but never to take with kindness. It is not the duty of others to extend moral, emotional or financial generosity to us in difficult times. It is done out of the goodness of their heart, and we must, therefore, trustingly take with the same kindness given.

Above all, the form of trust most crucial to the survival of humanity is the ability to trust ourselves to live by all we consider trusting in the world.

Grandma’s Sewing Machine

Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

Column: Emirati Reflections
Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration. His abstract passion for history and literature with a hint of photography adds to his noble enduring quality. Abdulla enjoys visiting museums, art exhibitions and likes to spend his spare time in the outdoors. His column “Emirati Reflections” is a mixture of stories from the past and insights of the present, which blend together and formulate his understanding of the UAE’s culture.
Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: The author reflects on his grandmother’s sewing machine and what it meant for the previous generations.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

I have always been fascinated with traditional buildings and historical findings. At one point I wanted to become an archeologist and work in uncovering the mysteries of the past. As I grew up I have decided to turn archeology into a hobby and pursue a different career path.

However, my passion for history still makes me stop in-front of old items I come across on the streets or inside museums in order to have a better understanding about their history.

A few days ago, while visiting my uncle’s house, I noticed an old sewing machine covered with a wooden box. I couldn’t resist the temptation to uncover the machine and have a closer look. I slowly started removing the cover, and there it was: an old black sewing machine with golden lines across its body which my late grandmother used for many years as she was one of the few tailors in freej (neighborhood) Al-Ali in Ras Alkhaimah. Next to it, there was my grandma’s old scissors, which I remember were too heavy for my little hands to carry when I was young.

Seeing the sewing machine after such a long time brought back old memories of when I used to sit across her wondering how this machine works. I remembered the joy I had when I was able to get the thread into the stich slot while grandma failed to do so as she couldn’t see well any more.

Those memories were not enough, I wanted to go back in time. I wanted to hear the sound of this old sewing machine. So I switched on the power and pressed on the foot control. “bbbbrrrrrrrr” – the same sound like I used to hear before, but it isn’t as noisy anymore like the old days.

Unfortunately, no one is using the sewing machine anymore because it is easier to go to the local tailor or maybe buy a ready-made outfit. With my grandmother’s death, her sewing machine also stopped working.

Jobs like tailoring, carpentry and fishing were very popular in the good old days. However, they are no longer attractive to the UAE nationals. The young generation seems to prefer working in large corporations rather than being in the field. As a result, we see more expats in those fields and the numbers are increasing. The government needs to setup programs to encourage locals to take on industrial type jobs and reduce the dependency on expats.

Until that happens grandma’s sewing machine will be out of service.

Are Fashion Competitions Paving The Way For Designers?

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.
Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: The author contemplates the result of a designer participating in design competitions.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

When I first discovered Project Runway, the process that contestants went through fascinated me. The drama that ensued behind the scenes created another form of entertainment. The results however were equally important, and hearing different kinds of criticism from the judges clarified neglected aspects of a designer’s piece.

Throughout every season of Project Runway, the audience views how some contestants evolved and developed a better aesthetic (leading to a winning streak), while others settled for a loss, unaware that their designs were not cut out to be part of the group of finalists. What confused me though was that very few of the designers who won the competition were successful in the industry. The only designer who succeeded and was consistent with his clothing line was American designer Christian Siriano(winner of the fourth season of Project Runway), who still shows at New York Fashion Week every season and sells his gowns at different retail stores like Symphony in Dubai and Neiman Marcus store. I believe that fashion competitions have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to mentoring an upcoming designer.

As nerve-wracking as the process may seem, contestants get more out of the competition than just winning the prize. Experience can be counted as one of the reasons why designers should aspire to join fashion competitions, such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition. The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue magazine fund the winner of the competition, who will receive $300,000, and two runners-up who will both receive $100,000. “The mission of The Fashion Fund is to identify young American designers and help them succeed in business”, Steven Kolb, the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America said. The panel of judges includes people like Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, American designers Reed Krakoff, Andrew Rosen, Diane von Furstenberg, and Mark Holgate to name a few.

“We want to support designers that are going to be the future of American fashion,” said Anna Wintour in one of the promotional videos titled “The Presentations” for the competition which explains what the The Fashion Fund is all about. It’s no wonder, since they get hundreds of applications to view and choose from, which is a pretty grueling procedure. One detail though that I didn’t admire about the competition is the fact that most of the winners spanning over the years happen to be men, with women only making it as far as runners-up. This is shocking since three permanent judges happen to be women -them being Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, and Jenna Lyons– who are all successful in their careers; one would think that they’d assist the female participants in carving their own careers, but instead you see male designers such as Paul Andrew, Greg Chait and Joseph Altuzarra claiming the prize.

Regardless, you see the female designers (who were previous contestants of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund) such as Jennifer Fisher, who was one of the 2012 finalists, go on to expand their lines and stocking them at several retailers such as Net-a-Porter, Colette, Harvey Nichols and Barney’s to name a few. The Elder Statesman designer Greg Chait however, did not account as much success as Fisher although he was the winner of the competition in the same year. The same goes for Joseph Altuzarra, who won the competition in 2011 but fails to resign to a proper aesthetic, not to mention his tendency for bad taste.

For upcoming designers, competitions can be an essential system for assistance and beneficiaries that can contribute in the success of their brands. But a vital part of all that comes with having good taste and authenticity, otherwise it doesn’t make much of a difference even if one wins the competition. After all, what’s the point of winning if you lack an important basis such as good taste and authenticity? It’s like asking a fish to climb a tree.

What Is Eating Disorder and Is It Becoming A Trend?

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: 6 minutes

Article in brief: The author discusses the importance of considering eating disorders as an actual disorder rather than a trend.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Picture this, a nine-year-old girl looking at herself in the mirror inspecting every inch of her body wanting to know what is wrong. She has been tormented and bullied about how skinny and almost skeleton-like she was. She hated herself for looking and behaving differently from her family members and friends. She wanted to change, because she had had enough of being different. Little did she know, she was a victim of an eating disorder that would later on affect her life completely.

Unfortunately, children are capable of suffering from an eating disorder, yet people still choose to take the case of eating disorders lightly. Victims of eating disorders have been struggling to be acknowledged as people with an actual disorder and not with a disease that is a mere figment of their imagination. Despite the presence of medical proof of the biological and physical factors, many still choose to consider it as a trend that’s getting more attention than it deserves through the internet. The case of eating disorders is a tragedy in the form of a medical condition. Though the media may have a role in portraying it as a trend, people should stop taking it lightly as it does affect lives.

While the majority of people remain convinced that eating disorders are another trend created by teenagers and supported by the mass media and they’re nothing but wanting to look like people in magazines, scientific evidence suggests otherwise. There are three main types of eating disorders: Anorexia, which is the lack or loss of one’s appetite; Bulimia, which leads to compulsive eating followed by self-vomiting or fasting; and lastly, Binge Eating which involves the intake of a large amount of food in a short period of time. According to Harvey Simon, a physician in Massachusetts General Hospital, genetics attribute immensely to eating disorders; doctors have recognized chromosomes related to Anorexia and Bulimia, and concluded that eating disorders are usually inherited. With the biological factors, the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA) system can affect the stress, mood, and appetite. An abnormality in all three of them can be a great cause of eating disorders.

Although eating disorders pose extreme danger on one’s health, they aren’t impossible to treat. A large amount of treatment centers have been placed worldwide to help those willing to seek recovery. Treatment centers have found it important to check on the patients’ mental illness and have psychiatrists examine them as collectively; almost 50% of victims of eating disorder suffer from a mental illness as well, stated by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. In addition, patients meet specialized dietitians. Luckily, eating disorders treatment centers contributed in the effectiveness of recovery in many individuals. Basically, deeming that eating disorders are nonexistent does not fit the scientific agenda, as countless medical proof could be presented.

By taking eating disorders lightly, society sets a hefty pressure on the victims of eating disorders. Not only is the victims’ disorder ignored, it is ridiculed as well. A large sum of people believe that simply eating could solve the issue. Such reactions could contribute to the delay in recovery, as not getting any medical attention until the case gets too severe is destructive. Furthermore, it needs to be acknowledged that eating disorders do not only stem from the media but there are other factors such as self-punishment, feeling physically incapable and ill at the thought of eating, and previous experience with lack of food. People simply consider it more of a phase than a disorder that has a strong effect on one’s lifestyle and mindset. Moreover, it’s claimed that the disorder is only recent thus meaning it’s not very important. However, Renée Vivien, a British poet who wrote in French died in the year 1909 due to Anorexia. Therefore, eating disorders are anything but recent; they have been around for years.

Nonetheless, with the presence of actual treatment centers, specialized doctors, and endless cases, some people still continue to take the matter lightly. People such as Susan Bordo, a strong active contributor in the field of contemporary cultural studies, argues that there is no such thing as an eating disorder, but it is mostly wanting to be a reflection of what the media depicts as the perfect body image. She believes that eating disorders are more of imitating the media than an actual disorder. She is completely right and does in fact have a point to some extent – body dissatisfaction is usually how eating disorders arise and the media is a strong factor in wanting to lose or gain weight. However, there’s a huge difference between disliking what you see in the mirror and having a definite disorder. With wanting to look like the pictures you see in the media, you can willingly control your food intake by dieting. On the other hand, when it reaches an obsessive point, it turns into more than just a need to have the Barbie doll image, but a biomedical issue emerges that disarrays one’s glands.

It has become apparent that adolescents are more affected by what they see in social media about the image of the body. The same way media has an effect on how a person should look, it has the responsibility of making people comfortable in their own skin by promoting self-love and acceptance of all shapes and sizes. Claims that eating disorders are a sheer trend are absolutely wrong because medical evidence and treatment facilities can make those claims cease to exist. To stop all the ignorance, telling a victim of an eating disorder to simply eat is not going to treat them, the same way a victim of cancer would not be healed by simply asking them to feel better. In order for eating disorders to be reduced as much as possible, we need to take them seriously and work hand-in-hand with social institutions to spread awareness and educate people about them.

The Joy of Road trips

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Column: Musings of An Entrepreneur

Sidiqa is 25 years old and is half-Emirati and half-Pakistani. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the American University of Sharjah and a Master’s degree in Conflict Prevention, Sustainable Peace, and Security from the University of Durham in the UK. Sidiqa owns and manages the boutique-café concept store “Spontiphoria” in Wasl Square, Jumeirah.
Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: A reflection on what makes road trips so much fun.

Artwork by DanaAlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by DanaAlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

For my honeymoon in October, my husband and I decided to have a bit of both; some classic honeymoon island relaxing and some historical road trip adventure. For the road-trip half of our honeymoon, we went to Spain and decided to rent a car and drive across the country (something new for me, but not for the Mr.). I am now convinced that this is the best form of travel for many reasons!

  1. You get to leave whenever you want. There’s no pressure of having to be at the airport or train station at a particular time. There’s no stress of lugging suitcases around stations and airports and on and off trains and planes and buses. There’s just one nice long drive to enjoy with just one loading and offloading of luggage.
  2. You get to stop wherever you want. That is something that adds wonderfully to the experience. You get to see small little towns you otherwise never would have been able to. You get to drive past an ancient looking fortress and decide to make a small detour and actually go walk inside it. You get to explore a small neighboring village as a post-lunch treat. You get to widen your travel experiences.
  3. You learn to navigate the roads of the country like a native. You learn skills of map-reading and road-sign reading and you see how transport networks are different in every country. Sometimes they’ll drive you crazy; other times you’ll breeze through.
  4. If you’re craving a particular cuisine when you’ve had enough of what’s around the area where you’re staying in, you just hop in the car and have a mini adventure for dinner!
  5. Daytrips become so much better. When planning a day trip by bus or train, you anticipate you’ll need about 7-8 hours to explore the new town. But when you get there, you realize you can see everything in 4 or 5. But too late, you’ve already booked your return tickets and they can’t be changed. Or you have to wait a couple of hours for the next train or bus. With a car, once you’ve seen the town, you can drive on to the next one!
  6. Sometimes there’s nothing more exhilarating than a long, open road into the unknown, some good company, nice music, and snacks!

But there is one thing to be wary of. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to find parking (especially in Europe) and some road systems can be extremely difficult to navigate. Take Seville for instance, where the center of the town is a myriad network of tight medieval roads most of which are one-way, and you end up seeing your hotel on the next street but have to drive around the whole neighborhood just to get to it!

But overall, road trips provide a much more relaxing, adventure-filled trip and are often the best way to see a country (or countries!).

Is This New Year a Second Chance?

Sarah Al Marashi (@Sarah888)

Sarah Al Marashi (@Sarah888)

Column: LOL – Living Out Loud
Sarah is an award-winning entrepreneur, business development specialist, life coach, writer, banking and investments professional with over 15 years of experience. She is the co-founder of the award-winning firm Infin8Ventures. Through her column, she hopes to re-ignite the dreamer in all of us and inspire us to make those dreams a reality.
Sarah Al Marashi (@Sarah888)

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Article in brief: The writer explores the lure of new beginnings & follows through on the piece in the December Issue. This article is about taking the time to prepare for the year ahead and will leave you with a sense of awareness of the importance of taking ownership and focusing your attention on a few important goals that are in line with your life purpose. 

ArtWork by Marwa Fuad (Twitter: @Marwa_f1, Instagram: @Elmeem_Artistry)

ArtWork by Marwa Fuad (Twitter: @Marwa_f1, Instagram: @Elmeem_Artistry)

With the start of another year comes the hope of a fresh start and the lure of new beginnings. A chance to forget the past year’s disappointments and an opportunity to make a clean break. It is a reminder of our power to become the people we wish to be and lead the lives we’ve always imagined for ourselves.

Take a moment to reflect on the past year, take stock of your life and take responsibility for all the good, the bad and the ugly from the quality of your relationships to the state of your health, income and feelings – everything! Stop blaming others, circumstances or the economy, and stop making excuses.

For 2015, let’s do things a little differently; let’s make a conscious effort to focus our energy and activity on creating the life that we want beginning with taking 100% responsibility for our life, Jim Rohn said “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” For us to have the outcomes we desire we must change our thoughts, habits, the books we read, the food we eat and the people we associate with the most.

In my quest to identify what makes some of us more successful at realizing our dreams I have read many books such as “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, “Unlimited Power” by Anthony Robbins, “The Four Hour Work week” by Tim Ferris as, as well as listened to countless interviews with visionaries, thought leaders, business tycoons and executive coaches such as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sir Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Robin Sharma and many more.

All of them essentially carry the same message; they started by being clear on what they want and took the time to understand and identify it, then pursued that with focus, passion and enthusiasm. In Brian Tracy’s words “Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it.”

I have summarized the experts’ advice from my research into simple steps and key points to help you make this your biggest year yet.

  1. Identify what you want. Write it down and make sure you know why you want it and that it’s in alignment with your life purpose.
  2. Prioritize the items on your list. Pick the top three and focus on them only. Once completed you can go about achieving the rest with more confidence.
  3. Re-write the three goals or dreams in the present tense as if they have been achieved and in order of their priority with number one being the highest and three the lowest. Be as explicit as you can about each item using all your senses to describe it and set a realistic due date for achieving it. Pick a date that has an emotional connection such as your birthday, your wedding anniversary or your child’s birthday. For example: I am so happy and thankful that I weigh a healthy 65 kilograms and feel fit and healthy on my 35th birthday today the 24th of October 2015. The black dress I am wearing fits beautifully and it’s so wonderful to receive all the wonderful comments from my family and friends.
  4. Take each item from your list and break it down into five specific actions that will move you closer to achieving it. The secret is in repetitive and sustained action that will get you the end result you desire. For example elaborating on the previous example: Walking 20 minutes every morning. Eating five small healthy balanced meals. Drink 2 to 3 liters of water. Stop eating after 7 pm.
  5. Focus on activity, activity, activity. Keep working on number one until you achieve it. Visualize it every morning and evening before you go to bed and give thanks as if you have already achieved it.

I wish you all the best and pray that 2015 be your best year yet. May you start it off with a bang and celebrate all the little victories along the way. May it bring you new memories, achievements and the successful realization of your dreams. I believe in your infinite potential, and I am confident that the moment you decide to take full responsibility for your life, your brilliance will shine through as greatness is your destiny.

Finding Your True Passion

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.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: The author opens up to the readers admitting that she’s still looking for something she’s passionate about and decides that it’s time to look harder and maybe change paths.

Artwork by DanaAlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by DanaAlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

There are days when I feel extremely motivated to create and to work on what’s right in front of me, whether it’s a new project or doing something I would normally love to do, while other days I just don’t feel like doing anything at all. It could partially be due to the amount of stress I face on a daily basis, and partially because I suddenly found myself looking for something I’m passionate about, even when I previously thought that what I’m doing is what I’m passionate about.

I read a quote that got me thinking. It read “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion.” That right there described my day-to-day life. It’s not that I stress out because I don’t care about what I am currently doing with university or other individual tasks, it’s because I don’t have something I love to do every day.

Something for myself, something that only I would understand, something that keeps me dreaming and keeps me feeling. The feeling of excitement and joy that comes from achieving something is a feeling that I basically lack, and I bet I’m not the only one who feels this way.

It’s about time to start looking harder for something we love or maybe revisit something we loved before to see if the spark is still there. It could be reading something you’ve previously written, simply looking through an old photo album or an old folder of achievements. Choose to seek inspiration from your surroundings and don’t make the mistake of doing something you don’t really enjoy because that always leads to a lot of stress.

I hope you find what you’re looking for, I hope we both do. I hope a day comes and you feel overjoyed again because you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing. Remember that lacking passion only means that it’s time to change paths and look for something else your heart loves. Make it your New Year resolution to keep looking for something you truly love because what’s life without passion?