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Author Archives: Smile Shihab

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Why we need not fear death


Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, we are in a time of absolute uncertainty. We have been slapped in the face with the reality, that our destiny is not in our hands. That nothing is in our hands. That we cannot be certain of what tomorrow holds. The truth is that we have to live one day at a time. We have to make the best of the moment we are in right now.

It is a reality that has been true ever since. But now it has hit us hard and woken us up to the truth – a reality check.

Today, as we keep counting the number of dead, everyday, I realized that it is not death that I am afraid of. It is a life not worth living. A life without means. A life that is worthless. Rather, one in which I will be worthless, or useless to the people around me. The people that matter.

We are valued on how useful we are to others. How much we can provide to others and what we can do for them. Absent of the aforementioned, we have no value. We are not worth being loved. We cannot be loved. What would be the purpose of loving a person without anything, any means, any use.

That is the stark reality that hit me today. In this time of uncertainty, one thing that struck as certain, is that a person who has nothing to offer is of no use, and will only be a burden to others.

Death perhaps, need not be feared so much. It is better than a life without means.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2020 in Health and wellness, Values

 

Happy Women’s Day – make a woman feel good


It is yet another Women’s Day. And I am sure the celebrations are going on everywhere. I don’t find “celebration” the right word for the occasion, because women are the most abused, marginalized, victimized – for nothing else, but just being a person of the female gender.

Today, I wished the colleagues on VARU by Atmosphere, a happy women’s day and asked them what their wish was today. Half of those I questioned struggled to find the right answer or said, “nothing”. A male colleague who was present when one answered in that way said, “that is being a woman”.

Many had wishes which were close to their heart – filled with warmth, love, care, happiness and joy, etc. They wished to be with their families and loved ones and be happy. It clearly made sense with what I had written to my colleagues on this day –

As we celebrate this special day in honor of women – aunts, colleagues, daughters, grandmothers, mothers, nieces, sisters, wives, and others – we must remember: it is not about things, it is about a smile, love, warmth, feeling good, a hug, a touch, a shoulder to rest upon, and just being there without passing judgement.

I had a very different answer from one of the colleagues, “I wish I did not have to give up my father’s name when I got married, and also that I was eligible to get a share of my father’s wealth and keep his name. And feel equal.” I also asked her, where do you see yourself 10 years from now. Her answer was spot on, “In my country. Running my own business. Perhaps a hospitality training school.”.

I could not help wondering how beautiful this day would be if we had more thinking women who were empowered like her. Not subservient to a society who loathed control over women. Then close to the afternoon came a very sweet yet powerful wish.

“I wish – for men to pledge to stop their mean behaviors towards women.” And she went on to explain that it included the many women who were made to suffer in silence.

Take a moment to make a woman feel good, for no reason, but just being herself. It is best to do it in person – from near or far. It could be your grandmother, mother, daughter, wife, sister, aunt, niece, or a female colleague.

All you need is to express and share the warmth in your heart.

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2020 in Values

 

Fear is a Lie


Fear
Fear of Losing
Fear of Failure
Fear of Rejection

Not true
We know for a fact
That is not true but an idea
In the mind that hold us back

Because
You cannot lose
Until you try, and
No one can lose trying

Failure
is an attitude
of mind, thrust upon
by people who are evil

Who want
to see you down
Suffering and in pain
Not able to go an inch

Rejection
Is a situation
That we keep ourselves
In, when we can move out

Because
The root of
All our suffering
Is fear of yourself

It is love
That conquers fear
Love of yourself above all
And spread the love to many

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2020 in Poems

 

Double Standards


Wondering
Where to go
What to think
Where to seek answers

When rights
Is a business
Of people who know
Nothing about suffering

Of the ordinary people

When what was
An absolute right
Without qualifications
Need a thousand and one pages

For proving the wrong

In what
Is so wrong
Visible to any
With a naked eye

Yet made invisible
By the power of the
Wealth and clout that
Run the nation to its doom

Trying hard
To distinguish
Between “consent”
And sexual harassment

Cos it is
Harassment in one instance
And the same is with consent
And complicated to be judged

When power is at stake

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2020 in Poems

 

The Madness of Peace


I know
My thoughts
Are confusing
And nonsensical

But that
Is what thoughts
Ought to be like,
Without logic and sense

And then
There comes
The fear of
Judgement and ridicule

That is when
You have to censor
Your thoughts into words
That are sensible and acceptable

To those
Who will hear them
And tell you how beautiful
You mind and your thoughts are

Because they are
What they wanted
To hear and to feel
Since anything else

Would be madness

A madness
That will be
A chaos for all
Who love peace and serenity

Peace that
Makes no sense
To the poor but the mighty
For peace is gift for the beast

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2020 in Poems

 

Science of Wisdom


Clean tidy and neat
A feeling of happiness
And joy that resonates
In the mind and through

The depth of the Soul

A result of
A daunting detox
A reluctant effort
A mighty task despised

But imposed by the Master

Yet another example
Of how little we are
Aware of our destiny
Without the wisdom from

The old and the feeble folk

Their words
Taste bad and rotten
But their consequences
Are better than you thought

That is the Science of Wisdom

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2020 in Poems

 
Aside

I look
Forward to
these conversations
For moments of joy

Because happiness
Is knowing, that you are
Cherished and appreciated
Not for things but who you are

It is wonderful
To be loved and cherished
And a conversation of love
Is what makes the day blossom

Broken thoughts
Broken hearts and minds
Can mend with love and care
When they are genuine and warm

Mending the Broken Heart

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2020 in Poems, Uncategorized

 

One more human rights day is gone


Day before yesterday was the Human Rights Day. It was celebrated with much fan and fervor. Being in a self imposed isolation away from the hustle and bustle of human rights and the rest of the cruelties of society, I wondered what impact this celebration will have on the lives of the victims of human rights abuses and violence, and those who are vulnerable to such abuse.

A close friend of many who have suffered as child victims of various forms of violence, and those who continue to suffer neglect and abuse by the State and society who give a free hand to perpetrators of violence – I can’t help wonder what we are celebrating.

Now that the celebration is over, can someone please tell me what John (not his real name) who is sleeping in abandoned open space because he is thrown out of his home by his grandmother and family because of his mental illness from his substance abuse a few years ago, will get out of this celebration?

Please tell me what Peter (not his real name) who has not seen daylight out in the open from his room, can expect from this celebration. Not a single soul has visited him and his mother who have braved the isolation for over 29 years while his father works hard to make ends meet.

Tell me what the mother of Jane (not her real name) can expect from family, friends and the community; for she is now not in a physical condition to carry her 29 year old daughter who has been bedridden since birth to the toilet or to shower.

Tell me what Jack (not his real name) can expect from a neighborhood whose entertainment it is to find joy in their bullying of him.

These are the people we celebrated day before yesterday. Nothing has changed in their life on any December 10th and is not likely to change on the next December 10th.

But this celebration is good for so many people who dress up for the occasion.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2019 in Human Rights

 

Nothing about us without us


The “National Conference on Revitalizing Public Health: Working together for a Healthier Nation” – an event which will happen over the next three days in Paradise Island Resort. Perhaps, a sound public health system should lead to paradise style life.

1. I am not sure who the participants of this conference are. It was not mentioned in the news articles I had read.

2. Public health should definitely lead to healthy individuals who live in a happy place, without the need for sophisticated medical facilities.

3. I wondered if the recipients of the public health system were a part of the conference. I am referring to the elderly, victims of abuse, children and other recipients of abuse.

4. Mental health is a public health issue that is crippling this nation right now. And the principle “nothing about us without us” was introduced and mandated for 2030 SDGs by the CRPD.

5. I am not sure if those who funded and organized the conference are ignorant of the principle, or just didn’t care about it. They must have attended numerous conferences where the principle was in practice.

6. It is one thing to talk about principles of inclusivity and so on. Yet another to have it in the bottom of your heart and mind.

I believe that Shifaza from B. Goidhoo and other victims of the public health crisis should have been in the conference, and it should have revolved around them.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2019 in Civil Society, Health and wellness, My Argument, My Concerns, Opinion

 

Toxic work environments


We need to teach our children and young people how to survive toxic environments. It is one of the many skills that are needed for the money-based society that we have swiveled ourselves into in the Maldives.
 
Respect to human dignity, tolerance of those who are less fortunate, and values that promote inclusivity and kindness toward others seems to be alien to us in our ongoing rush toward the highs street.
 
A friend talking about toxic work environments said in a Viber group, “I once worked in a very toxic environment whereby it questioned me my worth and dignity. I was treated with such disrespect and was outcasted. I ended up with losing myself and my value in my eyes.”
 
Another stated, “I myself have worked in a couple of toxic work places. It’s more common to end up in a toxic work place in Maldives rather than a healthy one.
 
In civil service, people are trying to get ahead by stepping on others. People are just afraid of other people getting ahead if noticed. Even in private sector the toxicity is so habitual. Favoritism, lack of mentorship along with harsh criticism usually puts down a lot of people.
 
Toxic work environments do affect people physically and emotionally. But in Male’ most of us don’t have the privilege to quit and take some time off when we have reached our limits of tolerating such behaviors.”
 
“We don’t have a choice, for most of the people working in the toxic environments have no choice but to stay in the place. If they leave the job, it will be difficult to get another better than last. The problems have been increasing. And less support.”
 
These are young people talking. I sincerely hope that our leaders, policy makers, and influential people give this a serious thought. The consequences of toxic environments will get to them and cost them too.
 
No one will be spared.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 17, 2019 in Health and wellness, My Concerns

 
 
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