Book Giveaway on Goodreads – Alayah, Children Book by @AliaAlShamsi

Alayah Goodreads Giveaway-2_

We are pleased to continue with our book giveaways announcement; we are hosting our fourth 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 fourth giveaway, we are giving away two copies of our best seller children book Alayah by Alia Al-Shamsi. To enter our giveaway, please click here for the Arabic book giveaway, and here for the English book giveaway.

Giveaway ends on September 10, 2016. Make sure to enter before then.

Alayah Book Cover_

Alayah is the story of a girl who was born with sand in her hair, and it was something that had always bothered her. Although she kept trying to wash it out, it always stuck to learns to accept her roots, her identity, and all the parts that she is made of, for in the end “Alayah always knew that her. Follow Alayah as she no matter where she was the sand in her hair was her home and forever with her.”  

Rules:

  • 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 weeks from the date they are selected.

To enter our giveaway, click here for Arabic, and click here for English.

Petting Wild Animals – Defying the Norms

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)

What are the consequences of taking wild animals out of the wild, and turning them into pets or part of a zoo?

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

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

“There are more tigers kept as pets than there are in the wild”, reported National Geographic[i]. This statement alone is quite problematic due to the mere fact that tigers happen to be wild animals. As their name suggests, wild animals are those that live in the wild and are generally not domesticated. Domesticating wild animals not only robs them of their right to be free, it also contributes in their extinction. There are several means in which humans captivate wild animals. Those means happen to be very problematic. Still, they are often neglected.

I am well aware that many people don’t think twice about animals, as the human benefit is their main interest. However, humans are not safe from this issue. Taking wild animals outside of their natural habitat can cause issues to us as well, such as diseases, mutilation, or as extreme as death.

The concept of zoos is ridiculous. Wild animals are deprived of running freely in their natural habitats in order to be locked up in an animal prison called zoos. There, they are kept in exhibitions for people to see. Some could argue that zoos have some degree of educational value, in which they teach children more about animals. However, it is senseless to educate the ripe minds of children no matter what the cost may be; in this case, the cost of animals’ freedom. Children could learn about wild animals through several means such as watching documentaries on the National Geographic. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) stated there is little investment in animal care at zoos. Just last month, The Telegraph reported that around 64 animals died between December and May in a zoo at Argentina due to unbearable living conditions.

Furthermore, another contributor to the decline of the wildlife species is that people try to domesticate wild animals. Nowadays, many people are purchasing wild animals in order to have them as pets. According to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), most wild animals are acquired illegally as many countries have serious legislations against the trade and possession of wildlife. FWS reported that the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar business involving the trade of animals, plants, or their parts such as skin or ivory, harming wild populations and endangering species to extinction.

Likewise, the World Wide Fund for Nature stated that populations of species on earth declined by an average 40% between 1970 and 2000, and wildlife trade is one of the biggest threats to species survival. Therefore, building on my previous point on PETA, they strongly believe that the ownership of exotic animals is problematic as it is not a task to be taken lightly.

For starters, when wild animals are being cared for in the hand of untrained caretakers, exotic animals end up either dead or abandoned. With regards to the animals’ diets, they usually do not get the necessary calcium level, leading to the deformation of their limbs. In addition, being taken out of their natural habitat, wild animals do not live in the necessary environment for them to be themselves, which is being a predator. Therefore, they lash out from time to time. A veterinarian who is invested in animal research stated that people who take in exotic animals are playing Russian Roulette, as they can never tell when the animal’s predator instincts tick in.[ii]

Moreover, wild animals are extremely dangerous to humans in other ways. According to NBC News, The Journal of Internal Medicine estimated that since the year 2000, 50 million people worldwide have been infected with diseases transmitted from animals to humans, and as many as 78,000 died from them.

There are many international and local attempts to impose regulations on owning wild animals such as CITES, which is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is an international agreement adopted in 1963 between governments to ensure that the trade and ownership of wild animals do not threaten their survival. The UAE itself is trying to limit the possession of wildlife where The National reported that the Federal National Council at the UAE is aiming to ban ownership of exotic animals. The penalty of ownership could go up to a fine costing around 136,145.00 USD (AED 500,000) and jail time.

Still, those measures begin and end with us, the citizens of the world. Therefore, I strongly urge you to doublethink your actions every time you go to the zoo, think of buying a wild animal, or even telling your friend how cool you think she or he is for owning an exotic animal. In all those cases, animals are denied their right to be in their natural habitat. Always remember that animals are living breathing organisms, and as such, they deserve the same rights as humans to live freely.


References

[i] http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/wild/animal-intervention/interactives/exotic-animal-incidents/

[ii] http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/exotic-animals-pets/

Should Brands Opt For Direct-to-Consumer Selling?

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

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

Observing how a business model like direct-to-consumer can assist upcoming fashion brands in succeeding in the market.

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

It was with New York-based handbag label Mansur Gavriel that I experienced firsthand direct-to-consumer selling. The thought of purchasing a bag from a newly launched label at first seemed incredulous, but their immediate success was reassuring, to say the least. Despite the fact that their minimalistic bags are also on offer at several retailers (such as Net-a-Porter), the design duo also managed to sell directly from their website.

Applying the business-to-consumer (B2C) model proved to be successful for Mansur Gavriel. According to Lauren Sherman, most of the bags were sold out in an hour during the launch, with a lack of supply unable to meet the high demand. Not only did their simplistic campaigns and marketing approach accumulate a large following, but they are also known for their great customer service. All aspects of direct-to-consumer selling have worked in their favor, which signifies the benefits and importance of this business model for upcoming brands.

One of the advantages of the direct-to-consumer model is that it is cost-efficient, where selling directly to consumers can be cheaper than selling products through a wholesaler, as Robert Walters claims. Monogram, a new line launched by Lisa Mayock and Jeff Halmos, also operates on the B2C model. In an interview with the Business of Fashion, the New York-based duo claim that implementing this model has increased their profit margins and spend much less on costs, given that their line is only sold online.

Another advantage of direct-to-consumer selling is that brands are able to develop a relationship with their customers and know their feedback. For Mayock and Halmos, employing the model saved them the dilemma of having to undergo the process of asking the wholesaler what customers thought of their products: “In wholesale, you would ship to the store and it would be a game of telephone to find out what the customer liked or didn’t like,” says Mayock in the interview.

With the help of e-commerce, start-up brands would find it easier to offer their products immediately to their customers, while also accessing their data to know which products were highly demanded. Furthermore, applying an effective marketing strategy and creating a direct line of communication between the customers and the brand achieves productivity.

A result of implementing this strategy is that brands will have the potential to develop their business, create customer loyalty, and cutting down on costs, thus creating a stronger presence in the industry and establishing their target consumers with ease.


References:

Without Risks, There Are No Rewards

Mariam Al Hosani (@mariamralhosani)

Mariam Al Hosani (@mariamralhosani)

An inquisitive soul, Mariam has always been fascinated by human beings. With a Bachelor degree in International studies with a specialization in International Affairs, she learned that for there to be order in the world humans need to be reminded of their humanity. In her column “Back to Humanity” Mariam sheds a light on topics she believes we all need to reflect on every once in a while.
Mariam Al Hosani (@mariamralhosani)

Latest posts by Mariam Al Hosani (@mariamralhosani) (see all)

Many of us want more out of our lives, better careers, and new adventures, but only a few take the risk and go after the things they want. Why? What’s stopping the rest of us?

Illustration by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Illustration by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Have you ever lost sleep thinking about all the things you want to accomplish? Have you ever seen someone on TV and said to yourself “One day that will be me”? Have you ever felt that your day job and your accomplishments are not satisfying anymore? Have you ever stopped in the midst of your busy life and asked yourself “Is this really how I want to spend my life”?

We find ourselves doubting our decisions, making plans and lists, and more plans for all the things we want to accomplish and then never find the time to turn our plans into reality. For those of you who can’t relate, you are the lucky few that have found your calling while the rest of humanity wander and push through their everyday lives wishing for more. They’re unable to quit that job, take that risk, book that ticket, or realize that the right time will never come, because any time could be the right time.

Would you be surprised to know that 87% of employees worldwide are unsatisfied and disengaged with their jobs? This is according to a study conducted by Gallup, a US-based polling organization that has been monitoring employee satisfaction since the late 1990’s. In the whole world, an average of only 13% actually love their jobs, feel passionate about their jobs, and are truly satisfied with what they are doing. The question you need to ask yourself is, are you one of those 13%?

Some people after retirement express some dissatisfaction about their careers and life choices. They express that if they were given the opportunity to go back and do some things differently with their lives, they would take it. Some of them wish they could have been more courageous and realized earlier what it is they wanted out of life. In Margie Warrell’s book Brave, she explains how humans are wired to be risk averse, meaning that we are less likely to take risks or engage in courageous actions. There are many reasons why we steer away from risks and settle for the more comfortable, easy option. In the bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, he explains that humans focus more on all the problems that might occur when taking a risk instead of focusing on all the benefits they could gain.

Why is it important to take risks, to find that job or career, that life that makes us happy? Because when you take that first step, accomplish that idea that has been lingering in the back of your mind, it will open you up to a very different world than the one you are living in now. Taking a risk can be the difference between you working under a manager to becoming your own manager. It can be the difference between hating the sound of your alarm clock, to jumping out of bed to start your day.

Is it easy? Of course not. That’s why risk takers such as Steve jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are two of the most famous people in the world. Your aspirations don’t need to be as revolutionary as theirs, it is simply a matter of taking chances and finding a life that will fill you with content. In the words of Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”


References

  • Adams, S. (2013, October 10). Unhappy Employees Outnumber Happy Ones By Two To One Worldwide. Retrieved from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/10/10/unhappy-employees-outnumber-happy-ones-by-two-to-one-worldwide/#3fa7aa4a2f29
  • Ditkoff, M. (2012, August 11). 50 Awesome Qoutes on Risk Taking . Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mitch-ditkoff/50-awesome-quotes-on-risk_b_2078573.html
  • Warrell, M. (2013, June 18). Take A Risk: The Odds Are Better Than You Think. Retrieved from Forbes : http://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/06/18/take-a-risk-the-odds-are-better-than-you-think/#43c8eb921d09

How Did Family Generations in the UAE Change Across Time

Dr. Mona Al Ali

Dr. Mona Al Ali

Dr. Mona Al Ali is an assistant professor and the coordinator of the Art History and Museum Studies Program at the University of Sharjah, UAE. Her research focuses on visitors studies. Moreover, she is interested in researching UAE society and the dramatic change it has been through. Dr. Al Ali has a strong passion for museums, Islamic history, and art, with many publications of her own in those fields. She has been giving talks related to the history of museums in UAE, impacts of social change in museum development, museum and identity and strategies to attract visitors to museums.
Dr. Mona Al Ali

How did the UAE society and families change across generations and time since the establishment of UAE till today?

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

The UAE’s society is an amalgam of different elements and is as diverse as most major cities/countries of the world are becoming. But respect to old known families and the structure of tribal families still continues among the Emiratis, regardless of the new dramatic economic turnarounds and changes to their traditional lifestyles. Many families still continue their traditional ways of living, despite having access to contemporary and modern housing, healthcare and education.

Local traditions, such as greeting each other with a nose kiss[1], are still followed. The clothes worn by most of the locals are still the traditional, even though some may make them with newer fabrics and designs. However, the changes in the country have impacted the social situations in small ways. For instance, an Emirati family was generally a unit of many generations living together. But, over the years, single units of parents and children have opted to live separately, along with paid help to do the household chores. Nevertheless, even though they may be staying separately, they generally stay close to the residences of their older parents and relatives, in an area that is appropriate for their social and economic standing. They also prefer not to live in an area where expats live (Al Sayyar, 1990: 80).

An average Emirati family has between six to eight children, as the government encourages them to have large families. However, over the years, families have been opting for fewer children (Al Sayyar, 1990: 82). Parents want better education and health care for their children, and that’s why they sometimes decide to have three to four children instead of six or eight. Having many children is very costly and requires a lot of effort from the parents; it gives the children only basic needs and limits their ability to access different places, as they will be limited in mobility.

Rugh (2007: 13) recounts an instance of the changes brought about by the discovery of oil and the associated economic and social revolution. A well-known family of Al Ain had three generations living together under the same roof. The societal changes brought about over the years can be exemplified by the women of this family.

The oldest woman in the family was the lean and sinewy grandmother, who continued her traditional life of raising goats in the family compound. The family was treated to fresh butter that the old lady made by swinging her goatskin ‘churn’ on an everyday basis. The exercise made her strong enough to boast about her firm and muscular abdomen. She reminisced about their annual trips undertaken on camels, lasting for days before they reached the coast. The same trip now took the family just over an hour in the new automobiles that they owned.

The old lady’s daughter had access to plenty of servants and lived in large mansions with all her needs taken care of. As a result, she suffered from obesity and various medical problems, such as diabetes and cardiac issues, while still only in her forties. Her daughters, in their teens and twenties, were fluent in many foreign languages thanks to the access they had to education. Their interests like those of many others of their generation worldwide included diets and fashion styles.

It is interesting to note the various generations in the same family typifying the changes in the country; the grandmother was totally uneducated, the mother could just about read religious texts, and the daughters were studying at the university. This is a very common sight to see in the UAE houses, and it shows the huge gap between generations and how families have changed dramatically.

Reflecting on my own family, I had the privilege to study abroad, where I did my masters in New Zealand and my doctorate in the United Kingdom. Growing up it seemed almost impossible that my family would allow me to travel alone to pursue my education. However, government support and scholarships for women to continue their education was the main reason that I had this chance. Now women in the UAE have all the facilities empowering them to do whatever they dream of. A great example is the four female delegations in Rio Olympic Games earlier this month.

What was mentioned above is only a glimpse of how the UAE families have been changing and continue to change. There is an urgent need to have more studies and research about this change. The current social changes of our modern society represent a huge and speedy transition from the rigid traditional image, which lasted for centuries, to a modern sophisticated one.


References

  • AL SAYYAR, A. 1990. ‘Family and social change in UAE’. Studies in UAE society Sharjah: UAE Sociologist Association.
  • RUGH, A. B. 2007. The Political Culture of Leadership in the United Arab Emirates New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • [1] Nose kiss or rubbing noses which is considered to be a type of greeting that is known among the people of this region.

Using Art and Culture to Break Stereotypes

Yara Younis (@yaraayounis)

Yara, a 20 years old university graduate, aims to face the world's most pressing issues with the power of words, books, education (and a lot of persuasion). Using all that she's learned as a media student, she hopes to use her skills to produce a positive impact in society. With a passion for literature, politics, and physics, she knows that every great change started out as an idea written on paper.

Latest posts by Yara Younis (@yaraayounis) (see all)

In a world ruled by media, it’s easy to accept stereotypes. But what if Art was used as a modern communication tool to break them down?

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

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

As social beings, it’s in our nature to frame and share ideas. This notion has grown even more powerful with the dominance of technology and communication in our daily lives. The media industry has been successful in reaching the masses globally and in shaping the way we think about aspects of the world, about others, and about ourselves.

This practice over a long period of time has resulted in many misconceptions about foreign cultures, societies, and countries. The stereotypes that have formed over time are mainly due to blatant acceptance of what we see in mainstream media like movies, advertisements, and the news. You would find that this breeds a culture of ignorance among people who do not criticize what the media produces.

But this depiction of the world is not entirely gloomy. On the contrary, it highlights the role of the arts and the developmental growth of culture in nurturing critical thinking and instilling it within societies. More specifically, in breaking down inaccurate stereotypes.

So, is it possible to use the tools of modern art to change how people think about you? An Emirati student, Sarah Al Ahbabi, at NYUAD believes so. She created an art project that portrayed the several misconceptions she has been faced with as an Emirati citizen, being her motivation, she used creative photography to spark dialogues about breaking down stereotypes.

Topics such as these are often sensitive within the Emirati community and in the minds of the expatriate residents who live and work in the UAE. However, through art, people feel more comfortable to discuss such issues.

Through her pictures, she addresses different stereotypes of Emiratis such as the misconception that Emiratis are not hardworking and that all Emiratis are rich and live a very easy life. In addition, these misconceptions are born from their portrayal in the media. As people limit their access to reliable information, they would resort to the media in order to understand cultures unfamiliar to them, giving the media major leverage in forming and framing false ideas of cultures, religions, and countries.

This is precisely why sparking a dialogue through bold and controversial art forms is incredibly significant to provoke thought and produce change within societies. It acts as a form of communication that is understood and interpreted by each individual to realize that there is a problem, and this is not the norm, so they must change these preconceived ideas by changing their own thinking to begin with.

Suffice to say, the use of art, as a communication platform must be encouraged as it has positive effects in addressing sensitive issues. Just as advertising on the media, or on news reports, make us aware of trends and products, art can spread awareness in a very powerful way. Art can be utilized not just as a form of expression and creativity, but in solving political and social issues that spark dialogue and change.

None of us appreciate being generalized by others, and accurate representations of societies, whether it is just Emiratis or the fellow nations in the Arab world, are a way to build unity and strength through culture and peaceful understanding. All members of a society should be recognized for their credentials, not for the preconceived ideas that have been labeled on them.

Why Hijab Should Not Be Banned In France?

Hamda Yaser Al Awadhi

Hamda is a nineteen years old Emirati and a third-year international affairs student at Zayed University. Hamda’s interest in writing articles began when she lived and studied in France. The four years in France taught her to respect the diverse opinions surrounding her, yet to always acquire her own personal opinion. Hamda enjoys discovering different topics surrounding culture, history and world issues.
In her column “The Oblivion” she covers topics in world issues, theories and philosophical topics.

Is banning Hijab protecting women or is an attack on individualism and freedom of expression?

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

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

Hijab is a traditional worn scarf that covers the head and neck and it is linked with the religion of Islam. All over the world some women believe it is a religious obligation; therefore, they made it part of their daily wardrobe, others believe it is unneeded due to their personal freedom. Unfortunately, France has made a ban against it in all public schools and workplaces in 2004. (The Economist Newspaper, 2014). Muslim women in France should be allowed to wear the hijab because it is considered one of the personal freedoms that a person should enjoy in a democratic society, it promotes cultural diversity and it is an expression of individuality.

Unfortunately, the western media have portrayed the minority of females who are oppressed into wearing a hijab in certain countries as a majority. These misunderstandings have made the citizens of the world regard Muslim women as victims of men’s aggression, while in reality Muslim women are simply practicing their personal freedom and expressing their individuality. By limiting the visibility of their physical features, Muslim women urge people to judge them for their personality, views, knowledge and not by their physical appealing attributes. However, as France declared a ban on the Hijab in all public schools and workplaces this has made it hard for Muslim women to practice their freedom and keep their modesty.

Hijab can be regarded as an aspect of a different culture to the French society, it provides the French society with a cultural diversity. In return, cultural diversity promotes the understanding of different views, beliefs between members of a society and it prevents homogeneity. Cultural diversity is important, as it will enrich the society with knowledge and ideas, in order to shed light on problems that the society or nation as a whole is facing (Axner, 2015).

Muslim women in France should be able to express their religious and personal freedoms, they should be able to display them at all times and places, as it also promotes multicultural diversity; moreover, France is a democratic nation. If certain people believe that female Muslims are subjects of oppression, then they should embrace them and not pressure them. All over the world people should know that stereotypes are always released and absorbed by individuals; therefore, the public should judge or comment on issues with accurate knowledge.

Finally, a religion or an ethnic group should not be judged, discriminated or restrained by the law because of the acts committed by a minority of individuals who are supposedly part of that group.

The Perks of Working from Home

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)

Latest posts by Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90) (see all)

Working from home is a privilege that requires discipline.

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

As the owner of a small business, where I am solely responsible for all administration, accounting, and marketing tasks, I tend to do most of my work from home. It’s the most convenient option, and the most productive, as I’ve found. For many small business owners, it is the only option, apart from working in cafes, but your main ‘office’ base will always remain the home.

There are many reasons why I love working from home. Firstly, I get to schedule my own day. Once I know what tasks have to be accomplished over the next days or week, I get to schedule things like running errands or even social activities as I please. The end result is getting the tasks done and whether that happens at 6AM or past midnight makes no difference when you’re working from home. When you work from home, you get to go out for weekday breakfasts or finish all your shopping by 11AM on a Monday morning. Definite perks.

Another benefit of working from home is the transport factor, or lack thereof. Commuting and facing traffic is a huge drain on each person’s energy and the time spent daily (let’s say an average of 2 hours total) can be better utilized completing tasks. Transport, when working from home, pretty much means walking from your bed to your workspace. The downside, though, is that is becomes easy to have a lack of discipline. For example, it’s too tempting to just work in your pyjamas but many of us don’t understand the psychological implications that could have.

A third perk of working from home is the ability to take breaks at natural instances when you feel your productivity is waning. Many traditional office environments would be quite unforgiving to the idea of taking two to three hours off just because you don’t feel that productive. However, this is something that’s very important to overall efficiency as it allows you to focus on completing your tasks during your most productive hours and using the hours when you feel sluggish to recharge. Working from home allows you to naturally avoid that afternoon/post-lunch slump and gives you the freedom to work when you are at your personal best during the day.

An additional advantage is a larger workspace. I know this point can be debated and challenged a lot but what I find to be beneficial about working from home is the ability to use the entire dining table, for example. Or to use both the dining table and my desk. I have the freedom to lay out my papers the way I wish without having to worry about someone snooping through them or misplacing them. This would be in contrast to a regular office environment where the vast majority of employees would be confined to one desk that’s part of a string of desks all in a row.

Another debatable point, which I find as a benefit, is the fact that there are less distractions when you’re working from home. There is less office banter (actually none) and while that feeling of camaraderie can be a very good thing, at times it is distracting and can waste a lot of time, especially in the morning before work officially starts and after the lunch break. However, a downside to working from home is also the distractions. It is easy to get sucked into household related errands and chores and to feel like you can just take a couple of hours off doing nothing on the couch. This is where the importance of discipline comes in. When working from home, it is important to set down some rules for yourself so you don’t end up wasting the day on things that could have been done later.

However, all in all, I personally find that working from home has a lot of benefits. By allowing me to schedule my day how I please, it gives me more flexibility in the ability to tailor-make my day according to my natural productivity cycle. But, like all things it has its downsides and at times you can feel demotivated and the discipline of an office environment is hard to recreate unless you’re extremely determined.

#BookReview of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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)

With the recent hype built on the latest release under the Harry Potter Saga, how did one loyal Potter fan feel towards the new release?

Harry Potter and the cursed child Book cover

I was only six years old when I was first introduced to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the cinemas. That was the very first moment I experienced Harry Potter and I became a fan ever since.

Fifteen years later, at the age of twenty-one, I am still a huge fan of the Harry Potter saga, I think I will forever be one.

Naturally, when J.K. Rowling announced that there’s a new Harry Potter story, I was astounded and delighted. However, I was a little bit skeptical because of the format that the book would be released in (a script to a play).

Before I start my review, here are a few things you should know about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

  1. The book that is published is a script to the stage production. It is not meant to be a novel and it is meant to be experienced in a different medium.
  2. The play was not written by J.K. Rowling. The play was written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. Of course, J.K. Rowling had a lot of input and insights in bringing it to life, but she wasn’t the one who penned it.

On to the review:

It has been nine years since the Harry Potter series was concluded, and I find myself quoting different moments, replaying different scenes, or mourning some character deaths over and over again. The Harry Potter series is timeless and will always remain that way!

I was a little skeptical when I heard that this story was going to be published as a script. At one point, I said I wouldn’t read it. But then the book was released, an enormous hype was built up, and of course, I caved in and bought myself a copy.

This story is naturally different than the rest. The famous trio (Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley) is now on a new journey: parenting; each of them has completely different lives. Harry and Ginny are parents to Albus Severus, Lily, and James. Ron and Hermione are parents to Rose. After all, nineteen years have passed!

This story focuses on Albus. He is the main protagonist, and what makes this story so special is that the children are exploring the world on a new page, sometimes different, and sometimes very similar to their parents’ lives.

I was very fond of the relationship between Albus and Scorpius, they made a very fantastic duo, which reminds you of the beautiful relationship that the original trio had. The thing about this story is that it centralizes on nostalgia. Yes, nostalgia is the key factor that makes this story what it is. It is not the complex plot or the breathtaking revelations (although there are a few surprises that will take you off guard). You will nod your head in approval, remembering events that you are too familiar with, but with a twist.

In terms of plot, it is quite simple. This story takes elements from all the previous books and gives you a comprehensive view of what Hogwarts was, and how it continues to be that way, with a few minor changes. The writers did a fantastic job coming up with the plot elements, and I am sure J.K. Rowling is happy with the final outcome because they understand the Wizarding World clearly, and thus they carefully added new things to it.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a tribute to every single fan who stayed awake reading the books, who patiently waited for the next chapter, who cried, smiled, and laughed with the characters.

This book is a gift from J.K. Rowling to the fans, allowing their worlds to expand further, and to give them the reunion they always wanted. It put so many smiles on my face, and I must admit, I rooted for the trio’s children just as much as I rooted for Malfoy’s children.

This book is beautiful. It is J.K. Rowling’s token of appreciation to her fans. It is a message that Hogwarts is our home. Always and forever!

Animals Get Hurt Too

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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Animal abuse is a serious issue and it’s important to enforce laws and create awareness to end such cruelty.

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

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

It is heartbreaking to hear of the countless horror stories across the UAE of animals being abused and mistreated. Despite the efforts of many organizations in the country, the number of animals being harmed or abandoned is plenty, and sadly, not all of them can be saved. In Islam, it is considered a sin to inflict harm towards any living being, and the Quran and Islamic teachings make several references to the importance of animals as living creatures. Even when used for food, there is a halal (islamically allowed) way of slaughtering animals, and this is to acknowledge that a life is being taken with God’s will. Since this is such a fundamental issue, why isn’t there more of a collective effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the animals around us, stray or otherwise?

A Federal Law was put in place in 2007 to protect animals from negligence and abuse, but the enforcement of this act remains to be seen. So many people are still getting away with abandonment and abuse, allowing these innocent creatures to starve or bleed to their deaths. This is a gruesome reality that takes place and it needs to end.

Animal abuse is a result of deeper psychological issues that lead to such sadistic and inhumane behavior of commandeering power over a weaker life. There has been much research done on this, and it has been found, that individuals who engage in such animal cruelty, particularly at a young age, can go on to commit other crimes, and that it is a common trait among serial rapists and murderers. With such information at hand, why are offenders still on the loose?

The Federal Law allows for hefty fines and imprisonment against such crimes, and these need to be enforced in order to eliminate, or at least, reduce the number of such cases. The message needs to go out loud and clear to catch the attention of the local community, and the actions taken against perpetrators must be highlighted to serve as a lesson.

A quick look through the local media shows that there has been awareness of this issue and the need to further protect animals, but years have passed, and the situation remains grim. We need massive awareness campaigns across the country to the young and elderly. It is not sufficient to teach these values only at schools, but to the parents as well, who serve as role models to their children. Respect for all living beings is learnt at home, so a lot of responsibility falls on the parents’ shoulders.

As individuals, we need to also take accountability and report cases of abuse and negligence, and not turn a blind eye. For those considering getting a pet, they need to think long and hard to ensure that they are in fact ready and able to take care of an animal before allowing it into their homes. Having a pet is such a rewarding experience and can teach you and your children the value of unconditional love, but it takes time and effort, and therefore, must only be done if the individual or family is genuinely ready.

Animal rescue organizations have been making huge efforts to treat and save as many of these animals who are in danger, but their resources also remain limited. They need the support of the municipality and local authorities, so that together, they can combat these issues. Moreover, their expenses are predominantly borne through donations and fundraisers, and do not come easily. If the fines stipulated in the Federal Law were imposed, it could also be used towards these expenses.

When this issue is taken seriously by the higher authorities, it can then be cascaded down to the people. The UAE is a prosperous nation with the biggest aspirations, which make us all proud, but we may need to take a step back and establish the basic needs, such as the provision of love and dignity for all living beings, before going any further.

And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures”. (Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rahman, 55:10)


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