On my morning walks I encounter things in our surrounds to which i can give some deserved attention as opposed to its impossibility later in the day given the chaotic madness I observe on the streets of Male.
Today was one of seeing the plight of our garbage-lifters. The stink that accompanies their truck is unforgettable - for the wrong reasons. Then there is their physical condition. At best, with slippery slipper to protect their feet in the grime of garbage beneath their feet in the lorry, their hands have no gloves nor are their faces protected by masks. At every curb-side stop they manually pick each garbage bag out of overflowing trash bins that now populate Male’s side-walks, and when the bin's burden is a bit lightened, heave the rest into the truck that is shamefully uncovered and whose edges are sided loosely with ply-wood board which to me is only too temporary and careless to the respect Male’s residents deserve.
|At the tetrapods - when the text stares you in the face!|
Now onto my pet peev of Male trash, I observe that the new bins don’t hold what it was intended to hold – the trash generated by pedestrians. Given that this objective is hardly achieved – for even now such careless tosses of pet bottles, cigarette carton, and supari sachets are still lobbed onto the pavement, onto the drain covers (whether one is there or not is another matter), into crevices between the tetra-pods along Male's southern seawall, the tree-bases along the Banks stretch, or into the waters of the inner harbor, I witness much more than that. The waterfront-moored tourist ferry boats, and the large fishing vessels across form the fish market too now stuff their trash into these bins. And, perhaps our seaside avenue-lined restaurants may also be dumping their trash in and around these bins. To me, it is a continuing contradiction that the users of carbonated drinks, packaged water, supari, cigarettes and chocolates still prefer to drop their wrappings where they begin or finish the task as the case maybe, rather than into the trash bins in the vicinity for which purpose these were placed there in the first place.
These pervasive hygiene behavior concerns seem far away from the public official's sight as many perhaps don't wake up early to see this plight nor observe these happenings first hand; even during the day little can they see with scrutiny as they drive by in their darkened too-large-for-our-Male-streets vehicles. If they truly wanted to see the plight of their duty-beholden constituencies, they could do so. I can only conclude that they are taking sad advantage of a hapless population that has little power to wield much of a public complaint in a situation of pervasive fear that shouldn't be in a democracy.
These guest workers may not complain about these difficult conditions because what they have here may be so much better than what they left behind. However, Islam implores us to look at others as our brothers and sisters even though they are for this moment in the subordinate role in a world of form where wealth and poverty go hand in hand. What tomorrow may bring we don’t know.
I would implore those who assume the mantle of caring in the lead roles they occupy in our society to get out of the bed early in the morning, give the compulsory obeisance to Allah and also take the effort to get out of their costly vehicles to witness the terrain their true bosses -- the ordinary people -- have to tread daily. Some humility may come of it. In our democracy, don’t attempt to fool the constituency all the time. We may not be as glib and nefariously tilted in mind, so craftiness comes with some difficulty for most of us. Please be true to the mandate we elected you for.
Certainly, humility and decisiveness are both necessary qualities of leaders to be truly able to lead people. So let’s not just focus on harsh decisiveness only. We need to exercise humility in balance with decisiveness and fairness to enable us, the citizens and our guests, the good taste of life here, for otherwise Allah (SWA) may turn the table on us. Nothing here is ours for the taking. We are here mere caretakers -- of a nation our children will inherit. What physical and moral legacy do we want to leave behind?