January 28, 2013

Please promise truth, not sops!

I am quite surprised to hear many of our potential candidates to the presidency of Maldives are promising a lot of presents they would give to the people of Maldives if elected. Among them unfortunately are not such things as truth and commitment, or reliability and inspiration, or a nation where we can stand up on our own feet on the path to independence; rather such that will make us reach out for hand-outs and continue to be dependent.

I can well understand that there must be something that leaders must promise to the masses in order to move them. In an autocracy where the condition is total patronage, the king or an authoritarian leader dispenses handouts to the subjects. But in a democracy, this is antithesis. In the case I cite here, the servants seem to be seeking to throw handouts to the bosses – the people. Such behaviour that is so pervasive in our political system stymies the very essence of the democratic ideal. Yet, we cannot blame the public for being so easily persuaded, for it is very difficult to acquire a new democratic mindset quite so soon, even though this has been legislated for. The mind just doesn’t work as fast as the pen on paper. This dissonance is no doubt so deceptively utilized by selfish politicians. Once the vote is secured and the race won, the process of winning votes for the next round seems to be already on. Prudent national governance is very difficult to move in such situations of selfish pursuit. The sops do nothing more than give a momentary thrill to the recipients, and when the novelty wears off or the money doled out all spent, what we wake up to is the fact that the real promises of building a nation for tomorrow seems hardly off the tracks. Such events give the impression of a total disconnects with the understanding of what democracy is.

Democracy is a tool that liberates us from the yoke of servitude and raises us to the heights of us being the master of ourselves. Our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the foundation and the goal of this kind of governance. It would be in fact deceptive and even silently intimidating to offer such sops as hospitals, personal nurses, computers and the like to persuade a hapless public to relinquish their votes towards such offers. In a democracy, the vote is the only real legitimate power we have as a community to keep self-serving leaders from causing the social havoc that keep societies mired in their problems term after term.

Good leaders must promise truth, not sops. 

January 22, 2013

Angry countenance

Why do most of our politicians in Maldives for the bigger part of our viewing time seem angry when they make their political or campaign speeches, declarations and claims? Being servants of the people one tends to think they must show demeanor. Why should they show their anger? It is as if they still believe that their role is leader rather than servant in a new democracy! 

One would think it is humbleness that brings our heart to the work that we do. It is certainly humbleness that transforms our worldly endeavors into prayer.  In fact every action that we do in kindness and compassion and in the manifestation of goodness and warmth is prayer. It all adds to the merit we carry away with us when we go; none of the material wealth we accumulate in this world can we carry away with us. In fact such stuff keep our ego thriving and keep us in the remit of haughtiness and arrogance. Such behavior destroys our social fabric, contrary to what we believe. Our small Maldivian community can rise to great heights of moral goodness in a hurry if only we take time to reflect and understand the folly of our behavior – that life is not about taking, it’s about giving – having the freedom to be.  This reminds me of a poem we were made to learn in grade school.

Through this toilsome world alas
Once and only once I pass
If a good deed I may do 
Or a kindness I may show 
To a suffering fellow man
Let me do it while I can 
For I shall never pass this way again

So where is anger in this scheme of things?

January 19, 2013

Back home!

Dear Readers, 

The day has finally come for me to move back home to the soil I was born on. This is just to let my dear friends, colleagues, and respected readers know that I am back at home in Maldives. It's great to be back with friends and family that I have always yearned to be with. Our country is now in the throes of yet another interesting year that will see coming to the helm of our nation another group of leadership. May Allah bless our nation!

Back on the ground on our breezy streets, I feel happy, yet see sad sights as I had mentioned in an earlier blog. The sad state of our environmental degradation is but a contradiction of the voice we raise so much about the concerns we have for preserving our physical environment. What we seek for our seas and shores should be in alignment with what we wish for our streets also. But still what we continue to see are sights that are not about development but degradation. Empty pet bottles, chocolate wrappers, empty cigarette packs strewn everywhere, guest workers looking for daily employment lined along the side walks and parapets, sidewalks in dismal disrepair, balcony wash off or air-conditioner condensate draining out on pedestrians' heads, young motor-cyclists bursting out from narrow street corners at breakneck speed, all bring to mind what a chaotic little city we have here, and a lament for what our city corporation could be doing about it. Male streets seem surely not meant for the pedestrian. 

My environmental consciousness perhaps always gets the better of me and so such thought arise in my mind incessantly. But truly, our environment is our home actually. As a community this is a fact. Keeping our homes clean and our streets littered and cluttered is both a mental and physical dissonance. A healthy nation is borne out of our respect for our environment. And through this is the way also to sustainable health. Can we call our Male City Corporation to be more mindful and responsible?  

I would like to wish our readers a health, joyous and prosperous new year!