Hello Neighbor! Can We Be Friends?

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)

Latest posts by Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Although the world is interconnected, our relationship with neighbors is not as strong as it used to be. With that, we have lost the sense of neighborhood that we used to have in the UAE.

Artwork by Farah Al Balooshi (Instagram: @SenoritaFarah, Twitter: @FarahAlBalooshi)

Artwork by Farah Al Balooshi (Instagram: @SenoritaFarah, Twitter: @FarahAlBalooshi)

Moving into my own house was one of my dreams coming true back in 2008. My little family was so excited that we finally got to have our own house after living for so long in different apartments. The neighborhood was fairly new and not many people lived there, but the basic services were available. Not to mention a little grocery store close enough to our house.

Being from Ras Al-Khaimah, I didn’t know my new neighbors in Dubai. That wasn’t an issue as I thought that we will eventually get to know them. In fact one of the benefits of being raised in a small city is that you get to know people quickly. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out to be as I had expected.

On my second day in the new house, my eldest daughter came running to tell me that a man was waiting for me outside. I wasn’t sure who it was as I was not expecting visitors. After a quick handshake he introduced himself and welcomed me to the neighborhood. He was actually my immediate neighbor. With him came many boxes of fruits and other household goods, in addition to big plates of food that was more than what my little family would eat. I thanked him for the hospitality and I was so happy to know that I have a good neighbor.

His actions were no surprise to me as it is a custom here in the UAE to welcome new neighbors and provide assistance during happy and sad events. Respecting neighbors and assisting them is not only a cultural practice, but also a virtue that has roots in Islam. On many occasions, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) emphasized on maintaining a good relationship with neighbors regardless of their faith or origin or even actions. History tells us that the Prophet had a Jewish neighbor who would put rubbish on a daily basis in front of the Prophet’s house to annoy him and the Prophet knew it was him. One day, the Prophet didn’t see any rubbish as usual and when he asked about the Jewish man, he was told that he was sick. The prophet went to visit him and that visit alone convinced the Jewish man to convert to Islam.

In my neighborhood, it is quite unfortunate that since the first day I moved I have not seen my friendly neighbor except occasionally while going to work, we would wave hands at each other and then part ways. I don’t know whether it was me or my neighbor who didn’t work on building the relationship. The only excuse I have is that my long working hours have affected my social life and during the weekend I’m either busy with my family or visiting my parents in Ras Al-Khaimah.

Many years ago this would not be possible. The social bond between neighbors was stronger to the point that a neighbor would take the role of the father in case he was away. My friends were the neighbor’s kids. My mother’s friends were the neighbor’s wives. Food plates would go to neighbor’s houses before us. Many of those cherished traditions were lost as a result of the modernization of societies. We no longer know our neighbors. I don’t allow my kids to play alone outside the house and I would be concerned if I see them talking to strangers.

Our houses are bigger and we take good care when designing the guest rooms, but we don’t have any guests. I’m sure my neighbors feel the same way. I wish I can make a difference in our social life and bring back our old traditions.

For the time being, I can only hope that my neighbor would read these lines. Dear Neighbor, please come and knock on my door. I really want to meet you. Until then, take care and see you soon.

A City in a Filmmaker’s Lens

Marwah Fuad (@marwah_f1)

Marwah Fuad is an Emirati portrait artist born and raised in Abu Dhabi. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Cultural Communications from Zayed University. She has contributions in both art and tourism fields.

Latest posts by Marwah Fuad (@marwah_f1) (see all)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How has filmmaking influenced the tourism industry in the past two centuries, and how people perceive certain cities over the others.

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

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

Throughout history, the film industry did not have great influence on the tourism industry. By the 20th century, which was the prosperous era for filmmaking; tourism marketers started to collaborate with filmmakers to utilize their movies in certain cities; featuring famous attractions for the purpose of increasing awareness about these particular cities. This strategy is still used in many movies from different countries: like James Bond, which pushed tourism in more than 15 destination including England. James Bond had influence on one of these destinations that it was filmed in, which is a Thai island that was later named after the series, and turned to be today a hot attraction for tourists. There are many movies that went on this path; Mamma Mia promoted the island of Skiathos in Greece, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit promoted New Zealand, Harry Potter promoted England, Mission Impossible 2 promoted Australia, Frozen promoted Norway, and many more.

Fortunately, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also on the list with movies such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Dishoom, Welcome Back, Star Trek, Kung Fu Yoga, War Machine and more. Bollywood has been focusing a lot lately on filming in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. These movies attracted many Indian investors to move and work here, making the film industry a powerful tool for the UAE to attract even more tourists and expats to come over.

Lately we have been exposed, by choice or by coincidence, to many drama shows that influenced our lifestyles and seeded in us the desire to travel to the show’s country; Turkey and Korea are mostly known for that. However, both countries are not only growing their tourism profits this way, but also spreading their cultures within the other cultures. Social media with its great potential pushed these trends; shows’ fans are finding each other through hash-tags, growing their community, and influencing more people to watch shows they like and even learn the language.

One of my friends is obsessed with Korean drama films to an extent of transforming her laptop’s keyboard to the Korean language. The Korean government is aware of their Arab fans, and for that, they create dedicated events and campaigns, one of which was K-con event that occurred lately in Abu Dhabi. The Turkish are also aware of their own fan base too and they are putting the effort to get their shows translated, sub-titled and voice over-ed.

This makes us think about “Destination Branding” and its values to the world. How do we see other countries from “the eyes” of the film industry? How does the world see us, the UAE, through films? The amount of thrill and excitement we see in a James Bond movie, or even the feeling of “Fear VS safety” watching superheroes’ movies showcasing the American cities, ‘romance and drama’ for Turkey, and even more brand images of other countries. What does the world ‘feel’ when the UAE is mentioned, influenced by film?

Is Death the Only Medicine?

Fatma AlSahoul (@Fatmalsahoul)

Fatma is a nineteen-year-old student who’s currently pursuing her undergraduate studies in Finance at Zayed University in Dubai. Fatma has always dreamed to be a successful entrepreneur one day with countless innovative ideas that will help make a positive difference. She also wouldn’t mind to pursue a career involving her passions, writing and public-speaking. Conversations around topics like history, politics, and religion fascinates and interests her. Fatma’s column titled “A 90's Kid Perspective” includes this 19 years old’s perspective regarding different current affairs. This column is a safe place where all opinions are welcomed and respected.

Latest posts by Fatma AlSahoul (@Fatmalsahoul) (see all)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Some interpret euthanasia as a way to end an ill patient’s life painlessly, while many disagree and believe that it needs to include a little bit of suffering.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Euthanasia, also known as assisted suicide, physician-assisted suicide (dying), doctor-assisted dying (suicide), and more loosely termed mercy killing, means to take a deliberate action with the express intention of ending a life to relieve intractable (persistent, unstoppable) suffering. – medicalnewstoday.com

The topic of Euthanasia has been occupying my thoughts ever since I watched the movie “Me Before You” two weeks ago. The main character in this movie is a wealthy, successful, and active young man who was tragically paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. Being unable to deal with loosing most of what he loved all at once, he wanted to end his life through Dignitas. Dignitas means to “to live with dignity, to die with dignity”, and it is a Swiss nonprofit organization that provides people who suffer from terminal illness or severe physical/mental illness an accompanied suicide. The concept of this nonprofit organization amazes me to be honest.

Since when was encouraging people to end their lives a charitable thing to do? Also, I am slightly confused as to why Dignitas’ slogan says, “die with dignity”; are they inferring that people who are mentally or physically ill die without dignity unlike everyone else? Unless they choose to end their lives of course.

Euthanasia first started in England and America in the early 20th century. During the Second World War, people who weren’t healthy enough, mostly children and elders, where left to die. However, today euthanasia or assisted suicide is against the law in most countries. For instance, according to the National Health Services (NHS), “it is illegal to help somebody kill themselves, regardless of circumstances. Assisted suicide, or voluntary euthanasia carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison in the UK” (Nordqvist, 2016).

Furthermore, I am completely and utterly against the concept of Euthanasia and anything that comes near to it. This might have to do with the fact that Euthanasia is forbidden in Islam because I believe that all human life should be untouchable, Allah is the only one who has the right to decide when a person should die, human beings are not supposed to interfere with this. Thus, Allah confirms that euthanasia and suicide are explicitly forbidden in Islam in the Qur’an, “Destroy not yourselves. Surely Allah is ever merciful to you” (4:29).

Moreover, the concept of ending someone’s life just because they are ill is crazy considering how much technology and medicine are improving every single day, and a condition that is thought to be untreated today can easily have a cure by tomorrow due to all the medical advances. Therefore, saying that someone’s life is not worth him suffering for doesn’t make sense because there is always a chance, no matter how small it is. In addition, imagine how difficult Euthanasia is to the patients themselves. Dying suddenly without having to decide when is much easier than what ill patients have to face from mental and physical pain when deciding voluntary whether or not to end their lives.

In conclusion, let’s not give up hope on those ill patients lying in hospitals all over the world.

DSS 2016 – More Surprises, More Rewards, More Fun

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Infographic provided by DTCM

Infographic provided by DTCM

Summer is here and so is Dubai Summer Surprises—the longest running family summer extravaganza of its kind in the region—offering residents and tourists unbeatable deals, great events and family fun.

‘Own the Summer’ this season and make it your best summer ever by rediscovering Dubai through its renowned iconic shopping and lifestyle destinations and by creating long-lasting memories with family and friends.

The 19th edition of Dubai Summer Surprises, which runs until August 20, is organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). DSS 2016 offers exciting shopping and dining promotions, as well as the opportunity to enjoy family-oriented entertainment and the chance to win prizes worth millions of dirhams including 12 Infiniti cars. Head down to where the action is – The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif, City Centre Deira, City Centre Me’aisem, Dubai Festival City Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dragon Mart 2, BOXPARK, CITY WALK, THE BEACH, Mercato, Dubai Marina Mall, and many other participating malls, to own your summer!

For more information, go to: www.dubaisummersurprises.com and to participate in the DSS extravaganza, be sure to use the hashtag #DubaiSummerSurprises on the following social media channels:

How to Achieve Humility

Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD)

Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD)

Column: 12 Lessons
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD)

Latest posts by Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Humility is one of the most essential vertues we try to achieve, as hard as it may be. Why should you aspire for it and how can you achieve it?

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

You meet people in your life you can never forget; some for their greatness and kindness, while others for their extreme vulgarity and arrogance. I will never forget the time I was introduced to a woman who, after exchanging our hello’s, asked if “I knew who she was”. I replied courteously and said, “It’s a pleasure meeting you, but I don’t”. She replied by giving me a detailed account of everything she has ever accomplished in her life, without me taking part in the conversation. I left that exchange knowing who she was indeed, a very self-centered individual. Moral of the story: first impressions are everything, so talk to people the way you want to be portrayed.

That was an encounter I remember until today, because arrogance is an unforgettable quality. Humility on the other hand is one of the most beautiful traits a person can have. Being humble is not easy because it requires recognizing and accepting your own limitations. This refers to the notion that as humans we are not perfect, and no matter what we have accomplished there are still many things out there that we have yet to overcome and achieve.

As such, no matter how good you are at something, there will always be people who are better at it. Be careful though, this does not suggest that you should understate your achievements or that you shouldn’t be proud of what you do. But I’m sure we can all tell the difference between bragging and egotism and sharing accomplishments like you would share anything else.

Words like egotism, narcissism, self-obsession more or less in a sense are qualities of people who see themselves superior to others due to their appearance, accomplishments, or self-worth. People are like this due to several reasons and it is most often believed that they’re masking some sort of insecurity. Or perhaps they are uneducated about the world and seem to be stuck in their own bubble, and as such they try to cope with the unknown by bringing people down. But let’s not get into that. 

“Verily, Allah has revealed to me that you must be humble towards one another, so that no one wrongs another or boasts to another.” Prophet Mohammed PBUH – Source: Sahih Muslim

Being humble might not come naturally to some, and it’s not because they gloat on purpose but maybe they “over” admire themselves at times. It is nonetheless important for such people to try to let go of any ounce of arrogance they might have. Some people need help coming back to planet earth, so what steps can be taken to do so?

Well, it’s simple. First of all, you need to realize you are not perfect, just like everyone else. So why not start by judging your own flaws rather than judging others? After you realize your own flaws, learn to accept and admit them. We are all human and we all make mistakes, admitting that is a great step towards humility.

Secondly, understand that there are many factors that led to your personal success, that don’t necessarily trace back to you! These could be supportive friends, government, or parents, who created a certain set of circumstances that led to your success. Again, not to say that it’s not a result of your hard work, but always remember there are people who are just as successful as you with far worse circumstances.

Thirdly, appreciation and gratitude towards what you have and what you don’t is imperative. Be thankful for who you have become and be thankful for all the misfortunes you do not have. Since everything in this life is temporary, everything that makes you who you are today can easily disappear. One’s health and wealth are some of the ornaments that can vanish without warning.

Being humble will help you create stronger social relationships with your peers and will make you a relatable individual. We all look up to people throughout history and in modern day society who are humble considering what they have achieved and who they have become. So why don’t we mimic not only their success but their humility too?

Book Review on Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in The Castle

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in English literature. Avid reader of classic literature, her preferred type of fiction, along with psychology and marketing. Skilled at drawing, created a comic book, not yet published. Dedicated her Instagram feed to bookish recommendations. Fond of language learning, taught herself Japanese. In her column Thoughts of a Reader she reviews books, writes short stories, and talks Marketing.
Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Latest posts by Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Book Review on We Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson, published in 1962.

Castle by Shof_

Picture taken by Shof Elmoisheer

Gothic fiction genre is known by its gloomy atmosphere, isolated setting and psychological deviation. That, combined with elements of either suspense, supernatural or moral uncertainty. We Have Always Lived in the Castle was Shirley Jackson’s last work, a gothic American literature piece published in 1962. She is most famously known for her short story The Lottery, which was widely praised by critics. Her writing is extremely alluring, and you would have to be interrupted to be able to stop reading.

The story is told from the point of view of Mary Catherine Blackwood who lives in a house with her older sister Constance, who calls her Merricat, and her Uncle Julian. The story starts a few years after a tragedy had taken place. Merricat, being the unreliable narrator that she is, does mention it dismissively when she was done saying more “important” things, like how she wishes to have been born a werewolf. Right off the bat, you will learn that most of the Blackwood family is dead. Murdered.

The Blackwoods live right outside a nameless village in their fenced off land. Merricat states early on that “the people of the village have always hated us” but does not elaborate as to why. Out of necessity, Merricat ventures there twice a week for groceries and books. She ignores the children of the village as they cruelly chant:

“Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?

Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.

Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?

Down in the boneyard ten feet deep” (p 16)

Death, mental illness and self-imposed isolation are the most recurring themes throughout the story, emphasized in Merricat’s dark narrative, paranoid thinking, and odd mannerisms. Her taking pleasure in imagining people she hates die in painful ways is an example of that. “Whatever planned to be colorful lost its heart quickly in the village. The blight on the village never came from the Blackwoods; the villagers belonged here and the village was the only proper place for them. I always thought about rot when I came toward the row of stores; I thought about burning black painful rot that ate away from inside, hurting dreadfully, I wished it on the village.” (p. 6)

Even though these themes take turns in their surfacing, the other two will remain visible in your peripheral. It is intrigue at what Merricat will do next that will keep your nose in the book. This is not the type of story that climaxes at the reveal of the murderer’s identity; the reader can figure that out fairly early on. The real joy of this read is your constant trying to make sense of it all, especially that all you get to see is distorted. It is more than a thriller, a thought-provoking book, where happenings are open for multiple interpretations and really just make you itch for someone to discuss it with. My attitude towards change is largely pessimistic, I absurdly wish for the sameness of everyday life. In that I was able to sympathize with Merricat, except that she takes her dislike of change to a whole new level.

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

It’s 146 pages of pure thrill that you can read in a day and think about for days. Easy to read, hard to put down. You read with the feeling that the narrator of the story knows more than she lets on, pulling you in the story with her bewitching voice. We Have Always Lived in The Castle is a book many will find easy to relate to, with themes about family, death, happiness and especially change. If you have ever faced a turning point in your life, seeing Merricat and her sister cope with their nightmarish turning point is certainly inspiring.

This is a book you will enjoy re-reading, and the second read will offer a whole different experience, since you will see things with an understanding. This book is one of my first reads, and it has set me on the path of reading, helping me realize my preference for classics.

Book Giveaway on Goodreads – Shallow by @MJSAlSerkal

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Goodreads giveaway_

We are pleased to continue with our book giveaways announcement; we are hosting our second giveaway this week. Sail is collaborating with Goodreads to give you a chance to win copies of books that we have published and have been well received by our readers.

For our second giveaway, we are giving away two copies of Shallow by M.J. AlSerkal. To enter our giveaway, please click here.

The giveaway ends on August 1, 2016. Make sure to enter before then.

shallow cover__

Chloe is a young girl trying to understand life, she finds herself in doubt, often thinking of many emotions that a child shouldn’t think of, going through many stages of feelings. Explore the story as it unfolds in a series of characters and situations where she finally finds the true meaning of being shallow, the day she is free.


  • You MUST be a UAE resident to enter the giveaway. The giveaway will only show up for UAE users on Goodreads.
  • After the giveaway is over, Goodreads will select the winners at random. We are in no way associated with the winners selection process.
  • Winners will receive their prize within 2-3 weeks from the date they are selected.

To enter our giveaway, please click here.

What’s My Name? #MuhammadAli

Omar Albeshr (@ASRomar10)

Omar Albeshr (@ASRomar10)

Omar, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi, holds a degree in Avionics Engineering, currently works in tourism. He hopes one day he would publish his novels and his poetry book. His column is an exploration with a message, about the origins of words, terms, phrases and the stories behind them.
Omar Albeshr (@ASRomar10)

Latest posts by Omar Albeshr (@ASRomar10) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The legend Muhammed Ali and how vital his name change was for him and for others after him.

“I am the greatest” he roared to the skeptic reporters ahead of his 1964 world title match with Sonny Liston. No one believed his claim, as he was the heavy underdog in this match, yet he boldly continued to predict his imminent victory.

At the time, his birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay, and he was the gold medal winner of the Summer Olympics that took place in Rome in 1960. When he was interviewed after his win there in Italy, the reporter told him he had a Roman name and if he knew what it meant. He admitted he didn’t know, and that he wasn’t expecting someone to ask him that. I wonder what he would’ve answered, had the young and cocky boxer knew that Cassius comes from Latin meaning Vain or Empty.

After winning the fight against Liston he announced that he had changed his name. First he changed it to Cassius X when he converted to Islam, and then to what everyone in the world knows him as today, Muhammed Ali.

The world had never seen such an athlete before. He was a boxer who wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind. A sportsman who wasn’t controlled or spoken for by his manager or coach.

“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”

He denounced his old name and asked everyone to call him Muhammed Ali after he converted to Islam. “Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it, and I didn’t want it. I am Muhammed Ali, a free name – it means beloved of God – and I insist people use it when speaking to me and of me.”

He was so true to his conviction that he balked at accepting the award of “Fighter of the Year’ because it bore his old name. He also once left a boxing fight because the announcer refused to call him by his new name.

Even though changing his name had so much backlash and resistance by the public and media alike, he never surrendered. Almost all newspapers and magazines still called him Cassius, 6 years after he changed his name, including The New York Times, Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. He stated in his biography that a lot of people change their names everyday and none of them were being treated the same way. Actors like John Wayne and athletes like Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson changed their name, even the Pope. No one would’ve protested had he chosen a more “American” name.

Muhammed Ali fought so hard and won on and off the boxing ring. His triumph paved the way to people like Lew Alcindor who changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and many more who were immediately called by their new names.

“Changing my name was one of the most important things that happened to me in my life.” he stated in his biography: “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times” written by Thomas Hauser. People who knew him well have declared that with the change of name his whole demeanor changed. How disconnected he was to his old name, and how much he embraced the new one.

In 2002, they wanted to put his name on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, but he refused unless his name was not put on the ground like the others. “I bear the name of our beloved Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him), and it is impossible that I allow people to trample over his name,” he said. He also stated that he didn’t want his name to be walked on by people who had no respect for him.

The legend who got into his opponents’ heads well before the match started, the legend who always stood by what he believed and was outspoken about his principles.

“Will they ever have another fighter who writes poems, predicts rounds, beats everybody, makes people laugh, makes people cry and is as tall and extra pretty as me?”

They most probably never will; you were the greatest. May you rest in peace.

Influence of Teaching on Language Development

Adeeb Nami (@Adeeb_PawsUp)

Adeeb is a marketing student at AUS. He is a voracious reader and a book enthusiast. He first discovered the joy for reading through Enid Blyton’s different stories, specifically the Secret Seven series. He believes in the power of words and communication, which is why he actively seeks out volunteer work, public speaking activities, and literature festivals.

Latest posts by Adeeb Nami (@Adeeb_PawsUp) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Students are not interested in learning the Arabic language. This is a problem and teachers and students together should work to address the issue.

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

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

The fact that you are reading this very sentence right now can mean at least one thing, that you have been blessed with a gift of language and communication, which often comes from education. The moment we step foot into the world, we are constantly learning new things. Some things are learned by instinct, some by experience, and some we are taught.

One of the first things that we are taught is language. Language is an essential tool for us to help us express ourselves and to share our ideas. As we learn more languages, we are also learning a lot about different cultures. Language makes up an integral part of culture, and vice versa. For example, people who speak both Arabic and English languages are exposed to more alphabets, the fact that they know more alphabets helps them have a more refined way of speaking. For this reason, those who are bilingual can easily shift to and from languages, but those who speak one language only would not be able to differentiate between the different sounds in any other language, they would all sound as foreign to them.

While living in the UAE, you are exposed to many different cultures. Since the UAE is an Arab country, Arabic is one of the primary languages. However, because the UAE is a cultural melting pot, the English language is the common language for communication.

Is one language overshadowing the other?

We’ve all heard people saying that they prefer to communicate in English because it is cooler, easier, or more lucid than the Arabic language. Why does this perception exist? Why is this idea so common?

This perception exists among people from different age groups. Teachers in schools claim that students have no genuine interest in learning Arabic. They also mention that students feel that learning Arabic is like a chore, “making it impossible for Arabic language teachers to get students proficient in the language”.

Let’s take the AIDA framework, which is used in marketing analysis and stands for attention/awareness, interest, desire, and action. The AIDA framework is one tool that marketers follow to make sure consumers buy their product. In the case of the Arabic language, students are aware of the language as they are in the process of learning it and because the language is part of their curriculum. The problem seems to be in the interest and the desire parts because students feel that learning Arabic is not engaging or that it is difficult. This in turn affects the action aspect of the framework because students develop a discouraged and demotivated behavior. Consequently, because of such behavior, they will not be stimulated to improve upon themselves and nor to excel throughout their learning journey.

Students are not to be solely blamed for this issue. Because teaching is an interactive tool of communication, both parties involved should be responsible to enhance the learning experience. Teachers should exert effort to increase students’ interests. Teachers can develop tactics to stimulate interests such as having group work activities, having dramatic readings, and finding ways to break through. They can mitigate the conventional methods of teaching by getting rid of monotonic lectures and instead, brainstorm ideas with the class. Having group activities increases interests of students because the mode of communication is no longer two-way but it is multi-directional. Teachers should also create associations with words. For example, they can explain a complex concept with a catchy and fun song that can get stuck in a student’s head, which would be easy to recall. This would particularly appeal to kids. On the other hand, classes should be discussion based for teenagers, in which they can freely express their opinions and are encouraged to debate and establish opposing viewpoints.

Communication is an essential part of our daily lives and we should keep finding ways to improve upon language barriers—so that we keep on learning and evolving.

Article Writing Competition – Theme: Memories

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you ever dreamed about getting your writing out to the world, read by many people, stirring discussion?

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (twitter: @DanaAlAttar, instagram: @madewithlove.dxb)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (twitter: @DanaAlAttar, instagram: @madewithlove.dxb)

Now you have that chance!

Join us in our exciting writing competition, where you will be given a chance to publish your own article on the Sail Magazine website AND win a free copy of our yearly print magazine!

AND…That’s not ALL!

Depending on the themes we will be tackling in our next print issue of Sail, the winning article might be considered for publishing in our next print magazine issue.

Do NOT miss this chance to indulge in your creative side and inspire us!

The theme we have chosen for the competition is “memories”. You have to write an article, in which you go back to a memory that is very valuable to you. Based on this occasion, explain how this memory or occasion helped you become more self-fulfilled. How did this encounter change you as a person? What were the positive and negative implications? Why was the encounter so significant that it resonated very strongly in your mind? After addressing what was discussed earlier, come up with tips for individuals as well as groups of people to help them enrich their daily lives.

You can approach the theme of “memories” however you want to, but here are some considerations that you need to take into account:

  1. The article should abide by UAE’s cultural values and should not have any content that could offend these values.
  2. The competition is only open for  UAE residents.
  3. The article should not be written as a short story, it should be structured in an article format.
  4. The article should have recommendations that readers will take away and learn from.
  5. The article should not exceed 550 words. You can only exceed this word count if you have research and references. In that case, you can write up to 700 words.

How to submit:

Please send your entry to info@SailEMagazine.com, the article submission should be in a word document attached in the email, the word document should include: the article title, one line summary about the article, the name of the author, the social media handles of the author, and of course the written article. Please use Times New Roman font, size 12, and 1.5 spacing. The email subject must in the following format: [Competition (Author’s Name-Article Title)].

All entries must be submitted by July 18th 2016, 8:00 a.m. Articles submitted after this deadline will be disregarded.

Terms and Conditions:

  • All participants must be UAE residents (to receive the prize).
  • All submissions must include a picture, but the picture must be taken by the writer and must be in high quality and resolution. You may not insert anything borrowed from the Internet or subject to copyrights.
  • By submitting an entry, the rights to your article will be transferred to Sail Publishing L.L.C.
  • Winners will be contacted via email prior to their article being published.
  • Sail has the right to edit the entries to fit in with the magazine’s content. Winners will not be notified about the edits. Edits will not drastically change the author’s work.