This evening I took my daughter to her UC Mas class at Dharubaaruge. When we reached there we found out the classes have been cancelled. All around Dharubaaruge and pathways to both entrances were being covered with temporary structures that’s been put up by dozens of workmen. I couldn’t have been notified by UC Mas about the cancellation because my mobile phone was switched off, for Friday.
Later at home I was told that the covering up of pathways and around Dharubaaruge is in preparation for the July 26th ceremony where the President will honor the nation’s elite with a (million rufiyaa) handshake. This is not surprising, because during his reign in power, this President has given utmost importance to "touching" people, especially in the run up to all his Presidential elections. This Independence Day is not only significant in that it is in the run-up to the election next year, but also just days before the people’s vote to recommend a system of government for the new constitution.
What strikes me is our priorities. It is interesting that one man can demand so much attention and privileges. That a single moment can be so significant and so important.
We claim that tourism is the most important element of our economy. We have had people preach on state media of the importance of treating the tourists well. There was a demand by the transport ministry to have toilets fixed on ferries traveling between Hulule and Male’. One of the arguments put forth for convincing the audience was that tourists and VIP visitors travels on these ferries, and that their perception of the treatment given to them was very important.
Tourists, VIP visitors and others who travel to Male’ get down at the jetties, and have to brave the rains and get themselves wet, to enjoy the "beauty" of the capital island of Sunny Maldives. This has been the plight of many and nobody could care less. However, when one man has to shake hands; and there is a need to make all the million Rufiyaa preparations.
However, there is no guarantee that with all these expensive preparations, the event will not be indefinitely postponed or cancelled. I remember once when a national day or republic day celebration that was already postponed was cancelled for fear of rain; and it did not even rain that evening. (Maldives: impossible is nothing!)