This afternoon I was sitting at Alfresco with a friend of mine over an espresso. As I looked at the National Handicrafts Centre just opposite where I was sitting, I saw a couple and their child trying very hard to open the heavy glass door at the entrance to the handicraft centre and sales outlet.
The said handicrats centre is a state of the art design and the staff there are well groomed in their appearance and the uniform looks as good as any of the top-brand names hotel chains in the Maldives. The mobile phones that they carry are also the latest in technology and fashion. Yet not one of the staff had the courage no the courtesy to step up and open the door for the customers.
I could not help wondering a local saying, “araathibi fankandaalevey iru engen vaane!”, which means we should know when we are cutting the branch we are sitting on. And to me, what we are sitting on right now is the heritage of peace, tranquility, tolerance and hospitality. That was the national heritage! Not the rose, or the flag with the red, green and white!
We have groomed our young to make a fast buck, without values and principles. We have failed to inculcate human qualities that enable young people to uphold our heritage. The keepers of our coffer have mistaken the real “branch” that we were sitting on, for sea-sand-and-sun. We were in such a cocoon that we thought this was the only place in the world where the traveler could get the benefit of “sss” and never bothered about the rest.
We branded the Maldives “Sunny Side of Life” not knowing that it was not the physical sense of the phrase that would appeal the traveller to these shores. I will bet that at the rate we are deteriorating, the travellers whose spending account for nearly 70% of the GDP would cease to exist in the very near future.
I believe we have cut the branch that we were sitting on! Alhugandumen mithibee araathibi fan kandaalaigen!