June 10, 2014

Living without trying

The lifebouy billboard in Male's harbor area piqued my conscience to the thought we must live now only passively. Gone seems our effort to protect ourselves from the dirt of our surroundings or crafting our comfort by ourselves actively. This advert with the caption "protection from 10 infection causing germs --even in changing weather" tells us of how we may just depend on others to take care of us – that we can always turn to the commodities derived of what we call development abounding all around us to make that happen.  But of course, to have these, we need to purchase them for they don't come as charity of a caring community anymore. Someone is producing then for someone else to buy.  

While we need help from business and technology to give us some material lift in our lives, our total surrender to these can only leave us ever more vulnerable in these uncertain economic environment. But what specific contradiction this advert presented to me was the thought as to why, if we want such sanitary environments, do we not clean-up our roadside and harbor surroundings?  Venturing out of the house in Male on foot we are faced with the grime of a populace – street and pavement space increasingly strewn with the daily trash of all kinds, and the spit and phlegm of all colors and consistency. The environment day comes and goes but we still sit deep in our rubbish. It is as if we expect Lifebouy to take away all our germs without us ever trying.

Living a life devoid of trying is an exercise in laziness and spiritual futility. Such indolence will lead us towards a decadent society. We cannot blame this on change for change is the only constant in our lives and so we need to manage this change assiduously.  We can’t lament for a past that is no more, but the change we see in our business, domestic and foreign tourist traffic all add to the change in our urban culture. And while welcoming this change which brings wealth into our lives, we need to manage our environment that invites them to be welcoming.

To take the example of Lifebouy further, such is our apathy in other daily aspects too:  the motorcycle and cars for our mobility whether on land or sea - we prefer not to walk in these square mile or so of our islands, which can only make us weaker physical y, nor do we care to use the sail which could save mega Rufiyaas and lessen our national carbon foot-print too. Our dependence on telephones have taken away our physical closeness to each other - using just one sense instead of all the five – to experience the holism of our friends and moments. The tuition classes too that have sprouted everywhere deprive the fruition of initiative in our children to be reflective, imaginative and creative human beings - but to only manage the struggle of getting ‘A’ reports to buffer up the ego of eager parents, yet some of these very students seem failing to make even an impression at a job interview; so was related to me by a principal of a prominent school in Male. The list can go on and on. My point as a concerned citizen of Maldives is for our leaders, teachers,  parents and community leaders to wake up to the reality of the monster of a future we are creating by our passive attitude to development. For our selfish ends let's not allow the dawning of decadent society that will not even know the meaning of community.  May Allah give us the foresight to avoid such sadness!

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