March 26, 2013

We need the 3R for waste management

Dear Friends,
This is the mountain of dump in our beautiful Male -- perhaps the tallest mountain in our nation. But this is not the salubrious kind that we would like to visit. Here the sight is deplorable and the stench unbearable. We are awed not by the splendor of the web of life, but by the hideousness of the way we humans destroy this web by mindless urban living.
We can become more mindful of our ways and allow our lives to be healthier and children to go to school unhindered. What kind of urban governance is this?

I would sincerely suggest that we begin managing our wastes more scientifically. lets base it on the 3Rs. Singapore is using it and Japan lovingly supports it. We can at least begin sorting out our garbage at the household level. The plastics, the metal and the biodegradable can be sorted by the households. This much effort we owe to our environment that nourishes and cherishes us. then we don't have to do this at the dump which will save us a lot of resources. At least a third of this must be biodegradable. In a nation where the soil is so effete, just imagine the humus we can gain from composting the biodegradable. We are just wasting nature's resources. Yes, there is gold in garbage -- if we attempt to find it. Our home-gardening and other vegetation can do so much with it rather than doing the alternative of dumping chemicals into our cultivation of fruits and vegetables and getting ourselves poisoned. We are destroying our nature unawares. Just inquire about whats happening in Thoddu and such islands where the soil has degraded to such a level that the luscious water-melons don't grow there any more. Can we please be kinder to our nation? It's not all about politics -- don't forget the environment that makes our love for dividedness thrive.

March 24, 2013


The West invented modernity. It’s a contraption of a way to live that surrounds one with the ease of living and the luxuries of life. Modernization was linked to prosperity for the people. But that prosperity was fuelled  by the sense of competition and the invocation of human desire towards selfish ends. The production boom from the industrial revolution was underlined by the paradigm of materialism and later refined as capitalism. The goal was to get rich - as individuals and as nations - as nation states began to rise as a concept. The nation state also may be said to espouse the same sensibilities of the economic paradigm couched as the need for human freedom. That notion of human freedom nicely fitted with this underlying push for materialism - for it was attractive; i.e. it jived well with the needs of the ego for wanting to be better off than the other person. And so competition could become a mainstream fuel that drove the process. The promoters of it needed only to keep the idea of competition alive by giving attention to this innate and hugely attractive idea of each one having the ability to be better than the other person just by having more. Slowly this world view began to prevail as the reason for our being - slowly forgetting the more spiritual dimensions that behooves us to find meaning in our being.

This was a great and engaging recipe for modernization, whereas before, the comfort and luxury was only available for the kings and queens, while the servile subjects had to contend with the mere handouts. It is naive to imagine that the subjects didn't harbor secretly burning desires to have what they didn't - that glitter of life that was for the taking by kings and queens. The industrial revolution and its aftermath of capitalism provided the flowering for those secret wishes. And the modernization movement began. But still, given the innate human wish to be noticed, or better still to invoke the notion of relativity, the rich could not tolerate a complete absence of the poor. They had to be maintained in sufficient numbers or in sufficient mental state so that the rich could feel that sense of difference. What rich person would like everyone to have the same wealth? There has to be a difference to feel the difference.

So modernization does not really make us better off as a society unless these achievements are made share-able to all. But to find the governance that will enable this equitable sharing is like the search for a needle in the haystack. But we can if we as a society wakes up to this reality. But then how many people will think to this level of specificity working through the intricacies of cause and effect to reveal to oneself the truth of this reality. I would say very, very few and so the chances of this very few to make the change in the mindset of the huge numbers of voters in a nation are bleak indeed. We may have to be bracing ourselves for bearing with a century or more of such hardships before we see the light in the tunnel. But then that too is a chance in a million. But this can be different. If only we follow that superlative handhold we have in the spiritual truths we have in our midst.

That can save us!    

March 9, 2013

How serious are we about smoking reduction?.

The decision to ban smoking in certain public areas is a decision in the right direction. It should whey the conscience of our public on the seriousness of our policy directives. But can we be a bit more forthright in enforcing our rules and regulation? Public education plays the bigger part in any effort to change people’s attitudes and behaviors. If we truly know what we are doing to our lungs and to our brain cells by our actions we may reflect a bit more to allay some of our vain considerations to become wiser in our actions. 

It’s not for no reason that George Bernard Shaw defined a cigarette as a white long cylindrical object with a fire at one end and a fool at the other. Our young smokers may not know about this foolishness for they are enticed by the social macho or cool image of the smoker and so we may be doing a grave injustice to them to not make our case of the dangers of smoking or its implications to others - their friends, partners, and even young children who may be getting the brunt of the second hand smoke that spews out of the cool-dude smokers mouth. The parents that smoke need to understand that their children will follow their father's footsteps and in so encouraging them, introducing these young bodies to a future of ill health. True, our role models are our parents, our national leaders, our film stars, and our talented soccer players but our national team, just like those other heroes we wish to emulate, don't show the role model of a clean health chit when it comes to smoking. How much better could they be if they did not smoke? Yes, we will never know. But when the hurting starts, it will surely be much too late. Our public education programs must do much more than put a solitary doleful spot on TVM and for that momentary drop of advice to soon be obliterated by the barrage of other adverts that glorify the ego.  On our streets, we need define our no smoking “sarahadhdhu” much more clearly, raise awareness more persuasively, and seek to strengthen our enforcement more wisely. 

Youth are by nature mostly risk taking – thus, dangerous undertakings always seem exciting to us in this moment of exuberance in our life. And so there are few in their youth who would shun excitement. But who gets the windfall and perhaps the last laugh? It’s no doubt the shrewd tobacco companies! They take us daily for a ride with the Marlboro man – yes a slow journey to the grave, all the while showing the video of a life that is fraught with pleasure and fun. Young people of Maldives, let’s not allow the ego to dictate terms to us by making us deny the ravages of smoking. Don’t believe that it can be a lucky strike, or it will be a smooth ride with the Marlboro man or a romantic journey on that Camel? In fact, this enticing white long cylindrical object is the only thing in the market, when used exactly as advised, will kill you. How useful is that? The ways of the Ibilees are deceitful, delightful, and deadly.

March 2, 2013

Knowing and realizing

What's the difference? Sometimes we utter the exclamation, "Oh, now I realize what that means!" 
Knowing is just an accumulation of information in our minds - a bank where our knowledge account keeps piling up. But realizing requires something more than this passive process. It requires an experience that gives meaning to that knowing. For example, a woman might know about child birth, its related process and the seeming trials and travails of this profound event, but until she has that baby herself she will never fathom the intensity of that intrigue, the bliss, the agony and the joy that accompanies it. Yes, for me this is just knowledge but for my wife it is a realization. Another example is about goodness as a life concept and the potential benefits of it; but it is only when we practice goodness that we experience the joy of it and the satisfaction that it brings in the form of peace and inner harmony. Until we live it we cannot truly believe the content and emotions associated with such reverence so as to make us believers. Religion is also in the similar vein a practice of morality in its essence as we have come to accept that as what comes from God must be the truth. But unfortunately, there is in many of our minds scepticism clouding this truth. On a cloudy day, even the surety of the sun is obscured and for someone who didn't know that there was a sun behind that cloud will continue to believe that there was no sun and only the clouds exist.  Such are clouds that keep us from realizing. Realizing this to be so is in itself a profound realization. Self awareness and the consequent journey to personal enlightenment are possible when we take such leaps. That is the practice of it through an understanding of its moral basis and how it meshes in with the oneness of all creation, we start experiencing the message it has for us - the reality behind the rituals. 
Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to move from knowing to realization. That is the most intrepid event for many of us. We want to know what's in it for us for sure before we take the leap. Of some things we will never know with that certainty of scientific rigor - but then scientific knowledge is in itself tentative and waiting to be disproved, and form the realm of actions that we take because society has shown the validity of it. 

Realization is needed for us to mature and be the responsible minds of tomorrow