This morning I was sitting in MTDC waiting for someone, in the waiting area; when a middle aged man probably in his early fifties said to me, “it’s a good thing isn’t it?”. I was reading Miadhu Daily News, and the top headline of the day ofcourse was the raise in the salary of government staff to be effective January 1st, and the free textbooks and the handouts on exam fees.
He spoke about how appropriate it was all with the rising prices, and also the fact that it was such a charitable measure to have textbooks given for all for free. He likened it to Hajj trips and other such favors awarded on some people in society that were given as previleges to only some; but now available to all. He said that this was only fair and the way that things need to be done. I was amazed at how convinced he was that this was what the people of the islands really needed; to have the government doing things for them fairly and without prejudice – and to all at that.
Then he mentioned about the exam fee handouts. He said that the needy would come out to get what was rightly theirs. He likened it to the dates handouts in Ramadan (the fasting month) with the compliments of the Saudis and the handouts of flour rations with the compliments of the Japanese Government. He said that people queued up to get what was sometimes worth just 5 or 10 Rufiyaa; and that it was because that was theirs and what they needed. According to him, those who were well to do and did not need it will not come forward.
While I was listening to him, (though I completed disagreed with him, I did not find the occasion the appropriate forum to do so; nor the right words to tell him my feelings), another person came in. He listened into our conversation.
This is what he had to say, “a hen will ignore the jewel that is in front of it, yet happily peck at the rice thrown to it and come back for more!”
I had to leave as the friend I was waiting for in walked out of his office! I just wondered how well people like I could not graspt the hearts and minds of the ordinary folk in our country!