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Category Archives: Civil Society

FAM Elects a New President


Eleven enabled members of FAM elected a President of the Football Association of Maldvives, alongwith a Vice President and members of the Executive Committee. The elections held today were witnessed and endorsed as being free and fair by the AFC and FIFA.

In the run up to the elections there was much in the media and the town-gossip about bribery and corruption in the upcoming FAM elections. Football being labelled the most popular national game (though, it is actually not so) it became the most widely debated election of all. All sports associations are in the process of electing their office-bearers right now.

As the elections closed in, the media was pleased with the new headlines it cooked up. Yet, I could hardly see anything about the function of the FAM executive committee or even the Chair of FAM. I never heard the clubs or anyone else speak out about the function of the Chair of FAM or the purpose of having an elected person in the post. It was highlighted a little bit in a report on maldivesoccernet. I always believe that the right decision can be made by those who are made aware of the purpose for which they make a decision.

It is so important in this country because we are tribal by nature – we protect and promote our own kind. We have opened up into this global village and have embraced all the modern realities of the global village without the intellectual and emotional capacity to exist as civilized human beings. We are fighting to promote democracy and liberty as we understand it from our tribal mindsets. A significant difference I see is that in the civilized world you don’t go for the kill, but compete with dignity to win; and there are systems and processes that are adhered by all parties to ensure fair play.

Our playing field is nothing less than a vulgar baibalaa show. It is a feast of the beasts! And the losers refuse to accept the winners!

Please visit maldivesoccer.net for more on the elections and football.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2008 in Civil Society, Leadership, My Concerns

 

Things Fall Apart?


Since the day I wrote “Things Fall Apart [engineered by…?]” much has changed and so has my perception of the reform and democratization process that we have been going through for the last four years. My post was written on February 13, 2006 and two years and five months have passed since.

Today I asked the same question, but in a completely different frame of mind. Rather an evolved frame of mind. We have since, had a strong opposition to the government that has grown from just Anni and his followers to a crowd of diverse interest groups led by many. The government has lost more than seven cabinet ministers in a span of less than one and a half years, clearly showing how difficult it has been to rally people behind personalities rather than ideals. The opposition has been no better, with a complete lack of focus and credible authenticity to leading the reform process.

The challenge to day is to recoup this nation into one from the pieces that have become of it. The challenge of leading the way to that nationhood where there will be liberty, freedom and prosperity. It can only be handled by those with a clear vision, and rallying support behind a political ideology rather than a person. Yet, what we have, to replace the current regime that is based on the person of Maumoon, are yet other possible regimes – either of Anni, Ibra, Umaru, the Islamic Scholars, or the the dynamic trio of ex-ministers and DRP frontrunners.

The Decision Day or “Rayyithunge Ninmumuge Dhuvas” is edging closer by the day now. Yet, there has been little effort (if any) to educate the people on the Decision that they will make. This is perhaps because there are no organizations in civil society that are free of influnces from new political cults that have emerged recently. The political parties which represent the cult figures that they support, do not educate the people on the critical Decision that they will take on that fateful day; but go on inflating the ego of their Master and showing the Evil in others. Yet the opposition to Maumoon and his party claim to be in alliance to overthrow the current regime.

I think that the task of educating the public is a function of the outgoing Constituent Assembley of Khaassa Majlis that they overlooked. They wrote a chapter on transition which ensured that their interests were well proteced. They failed to write a chapter on educating the public on educating the people on the critical Decision that they will take. I sincerely hope that the MPs of the Constituent Assembley would take up this crucial matter and make the necessary effort to educate the public on the Decision of the People. In my opinion, the new or revised constitution is meaningless without educating the people on the implications of the decisions that they will make on that fateful Decision Day.

“Think Nation” project undertaken by the Minister of Information and Legal Reform lacks credibility in it that it does not have the involvement of Khaassa Majlis nor the key stakeholders in the reform process.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2008 in Civil Society, Majlis, Presidential Election 2008

 

Cutting Down Costs


Monday evening I was a guest at a meeting of the Machchangolhi Women’s Committee members and their friends who chose to attend an evening get together of the group. The meeting was introduced by Rabiya from the Ward Office, and it was also attended by the Secretary of the Women Entrepreneur Council who invited me to the meeting. This was one in a series of meeting that have been organized bythe Ward Women’s Committee.

As guest speaker, I had the opportunity to share some of my experiences and arguments with the group. We deliberated on and discussed the role of money and how it impacts our life and some of the best practises for using money in a meanigful way.

In our discussions, I noticed something very interesting. We had got into three groups for the discussions and what came out of all the three was almost identical. Poeple in the groups wanted three things from the money they get: (i) fend for their basic needs (ii) save some for a gloomy day and (iii) help those in need. What a wish list! But that is really true! That is how big our hearts are. Ofcourse, we went on to do a reality check and to focus on the challenges that exist before us and how to best manage”what we have”.

What was also one of the key learning points from the experience is our belief that God is indeed our partner in wealth creation. We have to set aside God’s share of the wealth and then use the rest for our needs, while keeping some away for a rainy day.

One useful hands on experience shared by a mother of few children is the day when she took her kids to a fair. She said that the kids were told how much they have for “spending money” and the children went around shopping themselves. They made a list of the things they wanted and their prices as they went around and finally set down to make a “buying list” which was good for all at the end of the day. The children decided what to buy and they made their own decisions. The mother went home happy unlike before when she had to tell the children that something they wanted was expensive and the children feeling bad about it.

As all the stories and the discussions came to a close, the group agreed that it was not cutting down costs that was important, but how we spend the wealth we have – however little or abundant. And we also agreed that the best way to do that was to keep a log of expenses and to review it with the whole family.

Each of us leant something before we walked out of the door after the one and a half hour session. All of us left the room with a commitment to keep a log of our daily expenses!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2008 in Civil Society, Positive Values

 

Gaumee thashi Gaumu fundaalanee


“Gaumee thashi gaumu fundaalanee” is what came to my mind as I watched a news report on the Ten o’clock News bulletin on TVM Friday morning. This championship trophy which united the nation in support of the national team and the national effort, are today divided in half by those who support the lavish and prolonged style of jubilation that the National Football Team has brought upon the nation, and those are not in favor of the wasteful and unnecessary spending (israafu).

The national football team and the championship it won for the nation has finally become a bad omen for the nation. It is perhaps a consequence of the wasteful extravegence that hit the nation in a moment of blind nationalism. When the nation was on the brink of complete economic disaster, we spent over 7 million United States Dollars just to watch the championship finals in Colombo. Today, we are all cursing the near starvation we have amidst us, on ourselves. Then, there were no experts or economists or parliamentarians to warn us of our actions!

The national football team nor the Football Association of Maldives, would take any responsibility for ripping the nation into pieces by their extravegence and their actions. They will say they have no part to play in it. That they are helpless when the government decides to take the championship trophy on a multi-million Rufiyaa round trip across the nation. The stars will neither condemn nor distance themselves from the act. They and the top officials of FAM and the govnerment will blame it all the government. The TVM news bulletin also refrained from speaking to the national team and FAM officials in its report.

It is so typically Maldivian not to have a mind that works! Fantastic slave mentality! And we claim to be marching to demoracy and good governance!

 
 

Industrial Action by Teachers: the Lesson


Today, industrial action by teachers of the country organized by the Association of Teachers Link, was completed successfully. The organizing committee has called off the strike and given the govenment a month to comply with the basic demands of teachers for a reasonable salary and honorable working conditions commensurate with the profession. There is much to learn from the event, though I am not sure whether there is a strategic think tank that has been established to deeply look into it either by the Civili Service Commission, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, the Public Service Division of the President’s Office, or the Minister of State for Employment.

The most striking piece of information to me, in the myriad of news paper articles that crowded the papers today were these lines in Haveeru:

So beautifully said! And who else could say it better than a free mind uncorrupted by politicial interest or other biases and prejudices. “Without teachers we will also be stars in the gutter!” (Not the word to word translation – but the sense of what the 12 year old said.)

I just wish our political leaders and bureaucrats will have the same common sense! Instead, our political leaders condemn and verbally attack the teachers in parliament, threaten them with “action” if they take industrial action to get their rights, and blame them for being a bad example for the children. And those who are paid fat salaries call upon teachers to be good samaritans and do their duty even if their basic rights are not given. The only fault of the teachers is that they are too many! If they were few in number like the Airport Company staff, the Customs staff, the Magistrates, the Atoll Chiefs, and the members and staff of the independent commissions established by parliament, the parliamentarians themselves or the 100 over ministerial portfolio holders; that would have been nice!

I was not able to capture a comment in another daily paper online version which called upon the striking teachers (in a very Maldivian way) to go back to their islands where they belong if they could not afford to live in the capital. I am not quite sure why the comment was later taken off by the paper’s online version.

It is also interesting that the DRP and the MDP seem to have stayed silent on the issue, with Adaalath Party taking the centre stage in defense of the teachers; whilst the Jumhooree Party that is in the process of its inception is said to have condemned the industrial action by teachers.

It will be interesting to see what the politicians who have given a deaf ear to the pleas of the teachers will say to them, when they in turn go to the teachers asking for votes! The lesson I get from all of this is that our politicians really don’t have to listen to anybody! They are a class by themselves because they have the technology of winning votes despite the people! Wow!

 

Congratulations to our Football Hopefuls!


Maldives has completed its last leg to the finals of SAFF Championship 2008. We branded the event under the slogan “Mee aharemenge faharu” (this is our turn) to win the Championship. The support to the nation is overwhelming (on a non-partisan basis for the first time since the formation of political parties) and seems to have provided the impetus to the national team players to win and only win.

As the jubilation in Male’ came to climax, TVM had on air, the recording of today’s sitting of the Maldivian Parliament. The subject brought to the floor by the honorable MP from Male’, Ibrahim Ismail gave food for thought to the “stage actors” who were looking for a good publicity in preparation for the upcoming elections. It was a simply fantastic opportunity for them to flex their muscles, show their passion for the poeple, kick the government left and right for a fix. They proved their worth for their recent pay rise scheme to meet their meagre daily needs. (Lip service; as a friend of mine is so fond of saying.)

The football mania and the narcotics related stage acting reminded me of how unlucky our dear children are. They have no national significance to deserve the kind of attention of the aforesaid elements.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2008 in Civil Society, My Concerns

 

Foreigners are the Root of all Evil!


Miadhu Online has published an article (in Dhivehi) blaming the foreign labor community for psychologically and physically traumatizing the Maldivian children. It sights the example of a 16 year old girl who was sexually molested by a foreign worker in Baa Atoll Dhonfanu mid May. The Maldives Police Service is also reported to have said that sexual abuse of children by foreigners have escalated in the recent months. They also have said that there are six cases of sexual abuse of children by foreign workers under investigation. The Police are also repoted to have cautioned parents to take steps to protect their children from such abuse.

The article comes in a media frenzy over high profiles sexual abuse of children in the country, from all walks of life; ranging for incest to orgies and sex cults. Some accused have been named and other NOT. The government has failed in its tracks to take decisive and timely action, including the case of a fifteen year old girl who was sexually molested after taking off her clothes, and the video circulated around via mobile phones all around the country.

There has been recent reports of the sexual abuse of a 13 year old niece, group sex by a 55 year old who was caught in the act at Friday Prayer time, and many more including group sex invovling children. The country seems to be crawling with paedophiles. There is therefore not much that can be done about it, except to blame foreigners (as usual) as we have so conveniently been taught.

The girl who was sexually molested on Villingili Beach and made the entertainment of the nation for quite sometime, still awaits for justice to be served; ten months from the incident. The nation rejoices and jubilates with football mania including Euro, while its children are neglected, forgotten and given to abuse. Ofcourse, children can wait! BULL

It is so Maldivian to blame foreigners for all our ills!

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2008 in Civil Society, My Concerns

 

Care Society Fund Raiser!


We had a meeting of the executive committee of Care Society this evening at 2030hrs. The meeting held at Care Society was chaired by Chiarman of the Committee Dr. Abdul Hameed. I participated in the meeting as an elected independent member of the Committee.

Care Society is an NGO registered in the Maldives in 1998 with the aim of improving the lives of local vulnerable people. Care Society has 289 resource members supporting [its] programs. Its aims are, to: (i) create equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities in the Maldives, (ii) promote the rights of women and children and raise awareness (iii) assist affected people during times of national disasters, and (iv) build capacity of NGOs, community based organizations and community groups

Two of the major programs of Care Society include:

Care Development Centre (CDC): It is an educational and rehabilitation centre established in 2001. The centre has 53 students with disabilities in 10 classes, attended to by a team of 8 teachers trained in special education who run customized programs on core themes – (i) independent skills, (ii) communication skills, (iii) socialization skills, and (iv) academic skills. CDC also helps parents of children with disabilities. Over 60 parents have been trained to date in parental education programs. The centre has also provided vocational training to 10 young people in vocational training.

Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR): Care Society has collaborated with island communities to establish two rehabilitation centres for people with disabilities; one in Gaaf Dhaalu Thinadhoo and one in Seenu Hithadhoo. These centres focus on (i) provision of socialization and academic support to disabled children and people leading toward independent living, and (ii) provision of referral services and creating awareness at the different levels of community. The CBR centres are run by a network of volunteers.

The meeting of the executive committee reviewed the ongoing programs and looked at ways of filling the gaps in funding for the long term sustainability of the organization. I have written this post in the hope that we can actually get some ideas from the mvblog community on ways of further reaching out to those who are interested in supporting an effort such as the Care Society.

Care Society accepts financial and technical support. Support to Care Society can change the life of a teacher, child with disability, or a family of a child with disabilities.

Further information can be obtained by emailing to info@caresociety.org.mv or calling Care Society on +960 3322297. Donations are also accepted to our Bank of Maldives accounts 7701-126874-102 (USD) or 7701-126874-101 (Rufiyaa).

Your valuable feedback on Care Society and its programs are very welcome.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2008 in Care Society, Civil Society, Nation Building

 
 
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