The Importance of Emirati Women

AlAnoud AlMadhi (@aam_alanoud )

Column: Beyond Inspiration
Founder of @BetweenTheSips -a social media initiative that moderates social conversations. Alanoud’s passion is public speaking and designing infographics, reading and researching.
Through “Beyond Inspiration”, Alanoud aims to share personal experiences, struggles, and aha moments that can spark a flame within the reader to reach their full potential.

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Article in brief: the author reflects on the importance of the Emirati Women’s Day for the society to keep thriving to achieve more.

EmiratiWomenDay

Oh how blessed we are as Emirati women to receive such unequivocal support from our wise leadership. The news and social media are filled with words of both celebration and gratitude for the Emirati Women’s day, but here is why I believe we can do more.

The Emirati Women’s day is set to recognize the role women have played in the sustainable development of the UAE. Although the day might seem mainly as a commemoration of what Emirati women have done so far in the past years for the progress of the nation, we must not lose sight of what more we can do in the future.

On this day, the starting pistol of the marathon is shot; we all must be set and ready to run.

If Sheikh Zayed, our Founding Father, and Sheikha Fatma, the Mother of the Nation, have taught us anything, it is that the road to further development never ends. Therefore, I would like to call upon myself and my fellow compatriots to pull out our journals and start drafting our personal guidebook to that road.

Writing down what we want to do forces us to clarify why we need to take a certain action, and motivates us to continue to take it.

I believe there are five important points we need to consider in that regard. First, write down a list of what the UAE has done –and is doing- for us. Second, note down what we’re good at and what our unique skills are. Third, ask ourselves how that can benefit our society, and start writing a list of what we can do for the UAE. Fourth, find a mentor to help us through our journey. Finally and most importantly, believe in ourselves and know that we are worthy of being successful.

We, both Emirati women and men, are now presented with an opportunity. Both our roles are complementary to each other. Just as women tens of years ago have assisted their men when they went out to make ends meet, we will now be great together with our brothers, supporting each other, as we go out to serve our country.

For a minute, let us step back a little and look at the world. It is 2015, and there are still countries that do not allow girls to receive an education. As a result, less than half of their female population are literate. This situation restricts opportunities for women to obtain leadership positions, diminishing their participation in decisions that affect society at large. Women in that part of the world have to fight for their rights.

The aforementioned example does not only make us feel ultimately blessed and proud, but it also must make us think of ways to give back to the country that gave us what so many other nations crave for. However, we need to remember that we also have a battle to fight, but a battle within ourselves. That is, we need to push ourselves to live up to the trust our leaders have put in us and take on the responsibility we are given to be a more contributing member of our society’s development.

Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Column: Pocket Full of Books
An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

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Article in brief: the author shares her review of Anthony Doerr’s book: All The Light We Cannot See.

Book cover of Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See

Book cover of Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See

“You will all surge in the same direction at the same pace toward the same cause… you will eat country and breathe nation.”

Highly acclaimed author Anthony Doerr has succeeded again in presenting a stunningly written bestseller that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year (2015). The novel is set in occupied France during WWII and centres on a German orphaned boy and a blind French girl whose paths cross.

Marie Laurie lives in Paris with her father who works for the Museum of Natural History. She loses her eyesight to cataract at the age of six and her father builds her an elaborated and perfect miniature version of their neighbourhood so she could memorise its buildings and locations by touch. Six years later the Nazis occupy Paris, which forces Marie Laurie and her father to flee their home to live in a walled citadel called Saint-Malo.

Werner is a German boy who lives in an orphanage with his younger sister in a mining town in Germany. Werner becomes an expert in building and fixing radios after finding a radio he became enchanted with. This wins him a place in a cruel academy for Hitler Youth. He is then assigned to track the resistance, which makes him realize humanity pays the price for his intelligence. He travels around until he finally travels into Saint-Malo where he crosses paths with Marie Laurie.

Her outstretched fingers find an old shaving bowl, an umbrella stand, and a crate full of who-knows-what. The attic floor boards beneath her feet are as wide across as her hands. She knows from experience how much noise a person walking on them makes.

Anthony Doerr has a brilliant sense of the physical details. He enchants the readers with an amazing ability to embroider his piece with gorgeous vivid metaphors. He also succeeds in illuminating the ways of his characters to finally show that against all odds people try to find ways to be good to one another.

The novel discusses the themes of how strange life is and how coincidences can change our lives in more ways than we expect. The book isn’t only beautiful; it is inspirational to the point that will leave you as a reader wanting to write.

The structure of the book alternates between the point of view of Marie Laurie and Werner. The chapters are short, which makes it easier to not stop reading more and more of this novel. I found the novel to be dazzling and vivid. I think Anthony Doerr had deliberately written short chapters to emphasise the unexpected way the stories of his characters collide to come together. The language is colourful and magical. Nothing about the book gives the reader an indication of how it ends, but when it does it leaves its reader breathless and stunned. I found the book to be a light read, even though the book ended in a way I didn’t expect.

Be Socially Healthy Like a Campodimelian

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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Article in brief: the author discusses the importance of being socially healthy in our journey to long lives and good health.

Artwork by Aalaa Albastaki (Instagram:@lalaa_albastaki, Twitter: @AalaaAlbastaki)

Artwork by Aalaa Albastaki (Instagram:@lalaa_albastaki, Twitter: @AalaaAlbastaki)

We humans, as diverse as we are, we unite in common causes, two of them being having long lives and good health. From strict diet regimens to multivitamin pills, this is how most of us today try to avoid diseases. While nutritious diets and regular exercising are important, I believe that being socially healthy will improve our mental health and will in turn better our health.

Years ago, I read an article about the Italian village of Campodimele, where the average life expectancy for both males and females was 95 – exceeding both the Italian and European standards.

According to the article, the citizens of that village lived long and healthy lives, because they lived in “harmony with the land, the seasons, and each other.” Over the years, I have grown to believe that health comes by having a natural and well-balanced diet plan, regular exercising and by taking care of the environment.

A couple of days back, I read the article again, now with a different perspective. Although physical health is equally important, I realized that our minds are worlds of their own, and that they themselves contribute to our health. Additionally, to be mentally healthy, one should be socially healthy; something that we as a society lack, which, in my opinion is one of the many reasons we have high obesity and cholesterol levels.

The long lives of Campodimele’s people are not only attributed to their diets, but to the fact that they grow and cook their food from scratch, which promotes and gives importance to activity and sociability. The sense of community togetherness in serving a common purpose is what strengthens a person’s spirit, as idealistic as it sounds.

Our minds and bodies are interdependent, and so our health will be affected in the distant future unless both are attended to.

As a Muslim, I strongly believe that lives, whether long or short, are in the hands of Allah. However, we also believe that it is our fundamental duty to take care of our bodies.

Away from Campodimele, in the neighborhood I have lived in for the past 17 years, it is safe to say that the only neighbors I personally know are the ones I am related to. Could it be a personal fault? Perhaps. But this scenario can be repeated in many, if not most, neighborhoods.

Not only do we not serve a common purpose, or interact as often as we should, but we live with many complications that further strain our relationships. We were taught to always think the worst of people, to not share too much in fear of the evil eye. I don’t wish to generalize, but I do not recall instances where the social togetherness of Campodimele was embodied in the least bit here. How often were your surroundings encouraging of your ideas and ambitions? How often were you too proud to ask for help in fear of rejection? How often did social anxiety and fear of gossip control your actions?

We may walk more and have less sugar, but unless we live like the Campodimelians, we will not truly live.

Your Child Needs Their Own Seat

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Column Name: The Words Within
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.
Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

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Article in Brief: The author writes about the dangers of not enforcing the use of car seats and risking the safety of our children on UAE roads.

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

According to the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi (HAAD), road injuries are the main cause of death in children. Reaching a staggering rate of 60%, the accidents have been brought on by the absence of car seats and wearing seat belts.

Every day, we see children of varying ages not buckled up properly, with some even dangling from the windows or standing around in speeding cars. The reasons for not using car seats are largely due to unawareness of their importance. There is also a general misconception that babies are safer in a car if held in the arms rather than in a car seat. Others may stop using it if their children are fussy or difficult when they try to strap them in. Yet, none of these are valid reasons for endangering your child’s life.

As a parent, you may be a responsible driver when your children are in the car, but you cannot guarantee the driving habits of others. Accidents are simply unplanned incidents that are beyond our control. You could be driving at a safe speed, but if the car in front of you suddenly stops, making you come to a sudden halt without crashing into them, your unbuckled standing child could fly out the window, be severely injured, or worse yet, be fatally injured.

I cannot count the number of times that people have suggested I just hold my baby in my arms instead of buckling her up in the car seat because she would not stop crying, but that is something I can never compromise on. This should never be an option. All children up to the age of 12 should be in an age appropriate car seat or booster, until they are ready to be buckled up with a seat belt alone.

I tried to research online what laws are in place in the UAE for car seat usage, and I was surprised to find none. Recent reports indicate that using car seats and seat belts are “recommended” but not compulsory. I found many sources dating back a few years with headlines such as “car seat laws to be enforced”, yet it has not happened to date. I don’t understand why this is still an issue that is up for debate and not enforced. The safety of our children should be our utmost priority. Enforcing the use of age appropriate car seats, boosters, and seat belts could reduce road fatalities by up to 80%. So why are parents still not using these to protect their children?

The HAAD recently launched an initiative to introduce car seats to family van taxi drivers, and in the past, campaigns were launched where car seats were distributed to new parents. There are also some hospitals that provide free car seats to parents of newborns. While these are all positive steps in the right direction, we need to focus on instilling this habit in every parent’s mind. It should be so deep rooted that using a car seat doesn’t come as a question, but a necessity. When a child is used to being buckled up from the start, then it doesn’t become a struggle later on, but a habit that is carried into adulthood.

We need more campaigns to raise awareness so parents can understand the reasons for using car seats, and more importantly, we need these laws to be enforced. All measures should be used to impose such laws, whether it is through hefty fines, black points, or even impounding cars. Hospitals should also make it mandatory to ensure that every newborn leaves the hospital in an appropriate car seat. Hospitals and clinics which have information sessions for expecting mothers on pregnancy health, breastfeeding, should also include car seat safety with instructions on how to use them. There needs to be a collective effort to ensure that the message is spread countrywide to ensure our children’s safety as much as possible.


References:

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the #FNC

Athari Al Hamadi

An undergrad student in ZU, majoring in Humanities and Social Sciences.

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With the third cycle of the Federal National Council (FNC) coming up, many in the Emirati society are starting to develop a deeper interest in their nation’s internal politics. Here, we take a look at five things even its closest followers might not know.

  1. The FNC has two functions: legislative and regulatory.

Its legislative functions include discussing constitutional amendments, legal bills, draft laws, treaties, conventions, the national budget and the final accounts. Its regulatory functions include discussing general issues, answering questions, and investigating complaints.

  1. UAE nationals can vote even when abroad.

In the event that an eligible Emirati voter is abroad during the voting period, they may practice their electoral right and choose a candidate through an FNC-determined UAE embassy. Bonus fact: Voting within the UAE will be done electronically, whereas voting from outside the UAE will be done by paper.

  1. The 2015 elections are important on both the national and international level.

Nationally, the elections seek to establish the principles of empowerment, political participation, citizen involvement in the decision-making process, and also foster interaction between the leadership and the public. Internationally, the elections serve to support and strengthen the role of the FNC in international forums.

  1. There are actually a lot of things a candidate is not allowed to do while campaigning.

Candidates may not place images, posters, pamphlets or flyers in undesignated areas or out of accordance with the prescribed regulations. They may not use associations, clubs, schools, universities, institutes, mosques, hospitals, government buildings, public parks, or shopping malls in their campaigns. Candidates are prohibited from sticking publications or advertisements or any forms of writing, drawing or imagery on cars and all types of vehicles.

  1. Voter turnout by gender is almost equal at this point.

In the 2006 elections, the male-to-female ratio was a heavily skewed 82.4% to 17.6%. In the 2011 cycle, a mere five years later, the balance shifted drastically to a more egalitarian 54% to 46%.

Work Placements Should Be Compulsory For Emirati Students

Mozah Al Samahi (@_mozah)

Mozah Al Samahi (@_mozah)

Eager learner with two academic achievements: Bachelors in Management(AUS) & Masters in International Business (Brunel University, London). Mozah is an insightful motivated individual who enjoys spreading her thoughts out loud by being a spontaneous wanderer in life’s journey. Her columns are based on the changing issues facing the Emirati society especially the youth. She is an adventurous who is eager to spread positivity and creativity. Mozah doesn’t believe in the word “impossible”.
Mozah Al Samahi (@_mozah)

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Article in brief: the job market in the UAE is very competitive; hence, an experienced individual is required at all levels.

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

It’s very common for teenagers in developed nations to have a job while they are studying, whether they were high school students, undergraduates, or even postgraduate students. A work placement gives the individual an insight of the working environment and helps sharpen some basic interpersonal skills. With the competitive working environment we live in today, I believe work experience is vital for every individual. I noticed that regardless of what degree you might hold, the first thing an employer will look at is your work experience, and if you have none, then the chances for you getting employed are lower than an individual with the same degree plus some work experience.

As a graduate from the American University of Sharjah, it was compulsory for me to obtain an internship during my last year in order for me to graduate. An internship exposed me to real life working environment, taught me how to apply what I studied, and be able to understand the work situation. Also, an internship provided me a chance to network freely with managers and supervisors who were willing to provide me with further support, such as a long-term job or even a referral.

I believe nowadays most young Emiratis find it hard to work and study at the same time, while others prefer it in order to gain experience, or to earn some extra pocket money. The bigger disappointment is that others rely heavily on their “daddy’s” wealth and live a life of luxury rather than work. As a result of not having compulsory work experience at universities, young Emiratis find it hard to choose their academic degree and harder to choose the place they desire to work in. Thus, I suggest all universities in the UAE to encourage students to apply for an internship to help bridge the gap between university life and work life. Work placements can offer the perfect opportunity to gain reasonable experience whilst still studying. Work experience will also shed light on certain skills such as team work, time management, leadership skills, communications skills and so on that can actually benefit the individual in the long run. Work will also boost one’s self-esteem, self-growth, and independence level.

In fact, work placement will reduce the waiting duration to find a job after graduating. The market is hungry for mature experienced Emiratis so why not establish a strong force of skilled Emiratis at an early phase. The work experience gap delays acquiring certain skills and experiences in a fast-moving economy. Consequently, unemployment rises and it is harder to employ those individuals as time goes by.

Therefore, in order to avoid the work experience gap, I believe work experience should be compulsory to all university students in the UAE from year 1 until they graduate. The student can choose whatever field he/she desires whether fashion, medical, business or academia with approval from the university and work place applied to. The encouragement of students working will generate higher chances for them to understand the work environment, and perhaps find out what they are passionate about. In a nutshell, work placements are a great opportunity for youngsters in this emerging economy, and it will help bring theory to life and crystallise their job aspirations.

What You Need To Know About the #FNC

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Column: Pocket Full of Books
An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

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Article in brief: We hear a lot about the FNC, but what is it really about? The author here explains the background of this federal authority, along with everything we need to know about it.

FNC

The Emirati community has been buzzing lately with the announcement of the third cycle of the Federal National Council (FNC). The FNC, as a political body, comes in the 4th place in terms of authority hierarchy in the five federal bodies of the UAE, falling behind the Federal Supreme Council, which includes the President of the Federation, and Vice-President of Federation. The third federal body is the Council of Ministers, while the fifth is the Federal Supreme Court. Sadly, despite all the talk that has been going on in the Emirati society, many of the Emirati voters and candidates are still not fully aware of the essence and role of the FNC.

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, had a vision to politically empower the Emiratis, which was implemented in 2006 through validating the rule of the Federal National Council. According to the FNC’s official website, 40 members are assigned from the seven Emirates in the following matter, putting in mind that half of them are elected by the voters, while the rest are appointed by the council:

  • 8 members are assigned from Abu Dhabi
  • 8 members are assigned from Dubai.
  • 6 members are assigned from Sharjah
  • 6 members are assigned from Ras Al Khaima.
  • 4 members are assigned from Ajman.
  • 4 members are assigned from Umm Al Quwain.
  • 4 members are assigned from Fujairah.

The FNC is responsible for amending and examining all federal legislations. It can also summon any Federal Minister to question the performance of the Ministry represented by the called Minister. According to Almajlis website, the FNC also contributes to the process of sustainable development through establishing relationships with the federal authorities, and participating in their discussions and implementations of the legislations. It also works on strengthening the effectiveness of different executive bodies through promoting the investment in the fields of the human development, infrastructure and the development of the political empowerment and participation mechanisms[*].

The term of the membership in the FNC is four years and it begins upon the commencement of the first meeting of the council. Since the last term started in 2011, the next term will begin before the end of this year, as the candidates will start nominating themselves from today (16th of August, 2015). According to the National Commission Election’s website, each member of an electoral authority is eligible to nominate themselves for the membership of the Federal National Council putting in mind the following rules:

  • The candidate is an Emirati national and permanently resides in the Emirate of representation for the Federal National Council.
  • The candidate must be literate.
  • By the day of elections the candidate must be of 25 years of age.
  • The candidate must be of good conduct and should never have been convicted in an immoral crime in which he/she has not been pardoned.

All the information needed to have better idea of what the Federal National Council is about can be found on the Federal National Council website. An app can also be downloaded for more information. However, the app is not in English.

For more information the following websites can be visited:

“No” is Sometimes Better

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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Article in brief: the author discusses the journey that leads to making conscious choices with your time.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

There’s one particular journey every business owner goes through eventually. It’s learning to say no.

At the beginning, you are this starry-eyed entrepreneur who sees possibilities everywhere. You say yes to almost everything, and you don’t know what could possibly be your lucky break or what will benefit you. To be completely honest, in the early days you NEED to say yes to things, as well as trying to make ends meet, and you try to explore every possible way to make that happen.

But eventually, through experience, you become wiser. You begin to distinguish between what is a waste of your time and what could truly benefit you in the long-term. Your discretion is something that becomes very essential to the long-term survival and progress of your business.

Sometimes it’s not clear what could possibly be a good opportunity or what won’t. In the early stages of your business, you will have a lot of people taking advantage of your struggling start-up status that they will begin to ask for things for free in exchange for ‘promotion’. Try to never fall for this trap. They will play their popularity card and lure you with the image of their so-called ‘fame’ to get you to give them freebies. As you are just a beginner, this sort of promotion is good publicity. But you must first ask yourself some questions. Don’t only think of the production cost involved.

With me for example, it wasn’t simply calculating how much it would cost me to make 100 cupcakes. I had to consider the return-on-investment by looking at a lot of other factors. How much time will this take up from my schedule and my staff’s work hours? What other tasks will it prevent them from doing? More importantly, I had to consider the target audience this was going to. If these 100 cupcakes (along with my flyers or media kit!) were going to be served at the launch of a new industrial office in another area of town further away, was it really worth it? Will the attendees there be my target customers?

On the other hand, if the cupcakes were going to be given out at a parent-teacher conference at a nearby school with only my mini boxes for branding then that would be an opportunity I would take, as mums around the neighborhood are my target.

This may seem like common logic but in the early stages of a business it can be quite difficult to distinguish between opportunities that are worth it and those that will be a waste of time.

Another personal example is from what happened to us last year. One of the largest publications in the UAE were hosting an annual celebration and asked us to do their goody bags free of cost. We were asked to provide vouchers and also wrap all those goodie bags. The benefit was that we would have exposure to more than 2,000 “influencers” and “high net worth individuals”- basically the crème de la crème of Dubai socialites.

I said no to that “opportunity”. It wasn’t the cost of preparing these 2,000 goodie bags that made me say no. It worked out much cheaper than placing an advertisement with the publication. What made me say no was looking at the return on investment. The type of event I would be catering to would be one of those glitzy, boozy affairs where goodie bags are an after-thought made up of generic, commercial print material that most people just throw away or never even bother to use. Also, after a night out, how much would my exposure stand out? It wasn’t worth the time or the effort.

I’ve noticed a far bigger return on investment when I give away a small cake for an intimate gathering of 10 friends where my cake can become a real topic of conversation. Learning this difference between opportunities is essential to your survival!

Once you start filtering your opportunities, you will be able to choose the ones that will be more beneficial for your business – not only for the projected publicity they will generate. Having less mental clutter to deal with will help you make better decisions for other more important things for your business, and will also be good for your well-being, because in today’s day and age, the less stress we give ourselves the better.

At the end of the day, there’s no litmus test to decide what opportunity will be worth it, but it’s important to think of the return on investment each opportunity will give you. Will it get you closer to your goal? How much exposure will you actually get? How could you better spend the time you’ll spend on this on other tasks?

What Social Media Did To The Act of Giving

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 discusses the advantages and disadvantages social media has on charity work.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Last month was the Holy Islamic month of Ramadan, the month of forgiveness and giving. It is a time that is impatiently awaited by Muslims all around the world. One of my favorite parts of Ramadan is that it makes people realize how comfortable our lives are in comparison to those who own less than what we have been blessed with. That alone drives us to donate more and sympathize with the less fortunate.

In the old days, a person’s good doing was solely between her/himself. We didn’t get to know who donated to whom as often as we do now. With the rise of social media, a lot of users are eager to post about their good deed to show people how they spent their day. What used to bother me about this is that not only did people broadcast their deeds publicly, some included the face of the person they donated to in the post as well.

I used to believe that that defied the purpose of donating, as it is best to keep it a secret. However, as time passed, I learned that posting about our good deeds online could be quite beneficial to the growth of our society. Still, it is important to note down that donating is about helping others, it does not give you bragging rights in any way or form.

Nowadays, some people donate for the sake of inflating their egos by posting about it online and showing the world what great people they are. It is disappointing that such attitudes exist; however, we need to look for the silver lining. No matter what the person’s intentions were, the less fortunate got some help at the end of the day. In addition, others get motivated to help those who are in need of it. Therefore, our focus must shift on how we represent those donations online.

Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that posting about donations can encourage others to donate themselves. However, we need to take a front and stop humiliating the people who need the donations by not posting their pictures online.

Instead, we should encourage people to do more good in the world, and share a bit of our happiness with others. In this country, we are blessed with so many things that others would love to attain. It is only right to show our gratitude and lend a helping hand.

This gives self-satisfaction and more importantly spreads kindness in the world. There are many benefits to donating, so our society must find a civil way of endorsing it.

We must continue to do good work throughout the year, and not restricting our generosity to the Holy month of Ramadan. Moreover, instead of thinking about how good performing charity work would make us feel, we should move our attention on how our actions would make the other person feel, as their smile alone is worth it.

The Choreography of Glass

Moza Almatrooshi (@mozaalmatrooshi)

Moza Almatrooshi (@mozaalmatrooshi)

Column: The Heart of Making
Moza Almatrooshi is an Emarati artist and designer. After attaining a BA from Zayed University Dubai in Interior Design in June 2013, Moza began her journey in trying to find a place in the creative industry in the UAE, starting with catching a plane to Italy to intern in the UAE Pavilion in the Venice Art Biennale 2013. Since then Moza has dabbled in several experiences such as architecture, design, event planning, art exhibitions, and writing for independent publications. Moza continues to journey through life, art, and design.
With mass production sweeping the globe, artisanal talents struggle to retain relevancy. This column celebrates the beauty and human value added to a product that is created with skilled hands.
Moza Almatrooshi (@mozaalmatrooshi)

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Article Brief: A study trip to Rhode Island School of Design in the United States, revealed to the author that working with glass is a choreographed dance.

Glass shaping in the RISD hot shop, picture taken by Moza Almatrooshi

Glass shaping in the RISD hot shop, picture taken by Moza Almatrooshi

As soon as the hot shop’s doors are pushed open you can feel the reason behind the name. The hot shop is where glass is changed to a molten state so that it can be worked and reworked into various shapes and forms. I visited the Rhode Island School of Design’s(RISD) hot shop as part of a study trip to the university in the US, and also to collaborate with a fellow artist and designer on a project there.

The glass making setup hasn’t changed much since the realization of glass-blowing after the 1st century. Before that time period, glass was considered a luxurious material that was used for decorative purposes for many centuries, but after the glass-blowing technique was discovered, it was considered more accessible and soon became widely used. The most recent change in the glass-making industry is the invention of automated glass-blowing machines that came to life in the early 20th century, pushing glass into mass production lines. Glass still remains a highly regarded artisanal craft regardless of the machine assistance available.

Sitting in the hot shop are a number of kilns that contain molten glass that are up to 1900 Fahrenheit (around 1040 Celsius). We were instructed to harvest the glass from the kiln by grabbing a long steel rod and jabbing it into the glass in the kiln, then pulling out quickly while turning the rod to ensure that the glass remains on the steel rod.

Stephanie, the hot shop technician in RISD, then continued her dance after spearing the kiln; she carefully and gracefully turned her body towards the bench and then away from it so she can sit on it, then placed the rod on the metal bars on the bench and started rolling the rod and pinching the glass after blowing it. Her moves retained their rhythm as she continued to shape the glass into a functional object. The moves are timed and studied thoroughly, far from being random or left to chance. Trying to mimic Stephanie, we awkwardly stumbled around the kiln, and the heaviness of the rod got the best of us, which caused molten glass to splotch on the ground. We unreservedly remained off beat as we scurried towards the bench, and quickly (and sorely) realized: it’s not as easy as it looks.

There are more techniques used with glass, but that was the main one we learnt to work with. My partner and I managed to create a successful artistic collaboration, needless to say with the generous willingness to help from Stephanie and the glass major students.

After fighting heat, burns, and the ability to not splatter molten glass everywhere, we developed a new found appreciation for glass objects. Coming back from that experience, I started to admire the glass objects we encounter on a daily basis. I wonder about the glass-maker’s dance while forming this object into being, so I am able to enjoy my sweet tea, or give a bunch of flowers a home in the living room.