June 25, 2012

Our own making?

A pervasive grouse in Maldives is about the difficulty of finding any foreign exchange nowadays. Could it be our own making? For a nation that imports almost everything except our fish, this is a major concern. A little reflection will reveal the cause to be the flight of the bigger part of the foreign exchange that comes into our country. Our local businesses preferring to tuck the money they make in Maldives in foreign banks or our guest workers sending the bigger chunk of what they earn in Maldives back to their own countries contribute to this scarcity. The first cause is understandable –perhaps because the businesses have no confidence in our banking system? The other is about Maldivians not willing to do less prestigious work (or is it just any regular work?) and the indolence that has beset our youth. Of course, there are scores of guest workers who are happily willing to take that advantage of our indolence to fill that gap of work in Maldives and send packets of foreign exchange to their countries every month draining away that which what could remain with us to circulate for our needs - our loss is their gain! Seriously we need to delve into the causes behind the causes if we want solutions. And be brave to take action. 

Where are the causes?  Perhaps we have become lazy because our parents provide for us. Perhaps our parents must look at life differently. Many parents who are rich seem to feel they don’t need to make their adult children earn their keep – as if that is a travesty of their love for them. Little do we realize that this is not love – love means to given them the freedom, and independence to survive by themselves. What we are doing instead is putting them in bondage; leaving the child to learn the difficulties of life only when the parents are no more. They need to be taught the skills of life from an early age for them to be ready for life when that day arrives. Hardships and knowing the ways of the unfortunate in life breeds character in the individual – the ingredient for responsible survival in this world. Unfortunately, we have come to want things so much, and spend so much on things that we don’t need. We have become citizens who fan our egos more than our true selves, and a government that does not attempt to tighten the austerity belt even as their own voices seem to flag the fact that national resources are drying up.

Our insatiable penchant for life’s luxuries and indolence to taking a regular job especially those seemingly less prestigious needs a reality check. Seeking something without working for it is by its very nature a serious social and moral issue. However, spending our hard earned foreign exchange on luxuries and lifestyles we cannot sustain is tantamount to foolishness. Why are we getting educated? To be fooled by the advertisements that tell us that we are inadequate and that we have to have what they sell for us feel whole? Parents must try to understand this, and youth too must be brought into this dialogue in schools, and public functions, in homes and at dining tables where social responsibility must be the subject of the future for our nation. Perhaps we have to focus social awareness onto parents again – for them to see hardship as character builders and that it is not shameful to make their children wash their own plates after meals, make their beds in the morning, wash their clothes some days, or dishing out some home duties of sweeping and dusting. It will be an opportunity for moral growth and will be their strength as adults. If we see life as a test, humility in both success and adversity is the line to take.

It is we who have charted the new course of democracy in our country and it is we who must change the mindset towards the principles that democracy calls for. It is our awareness of our predicament and being ready with the needed tools of engagement that will help us weather the economic and social storms that await us – those that can threaten our very existence as a proud nation. The world is moving into a time of unprecedented economic turmoil, that portends shortages for the future, especially for us developing countries. We must wake up to this dynamic and remove our heads out of the sand and stand on level ground to survive and continue to be counted as a nation.

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