Monday, 3 June 2013

the most daunting task: putting my life into a suitcase


It’s that time of the year when exams are over. It’s the time for a break. Everyone is packing to go home, meet their families and loved ones. The excitement is killed by the time consuming task of packing. 

Packing; for most of us, is the most daunting task of all. The relief of exam stress disappears when you realise you have to fit all of your belongings in a bag. It is not easy to pack your whole life in a suitcase although that is exactly what we are expected to do. In the end, we are forced to get rid of some of the things we like to hold onto, in order to make room for “more important” belongings. Worst of all, for people having to fly across countries, they are forced to limit their luggage to a certain weight restriction. The entire house is a mess, and you are left to make dozens of decisions at the same time. Despite all this, we manage to get the packing done, and before we know it, it’s time to leave.

Students start leaving the campus, and day by day the student village seems to die. The university hallways and libraries, and the student union have never been emptier. The party town is quiet, while the music plays; there is no one on the dance floor. There is no more night-life anymore.

This silence and emptiness surrounds the student village on every holiday. Biggest holidays seasons like Christmas and Easter are just about the same though this time it’s different. Summer holidays mean people are leaving for good. This time no one is coming back. Not too soon anyway.

The train stations and airports are packed with people, luggage, and friends wishing them goodbye. The air fares go up like there is no tomorrow. The early bird gets the bait while the people who wait for the very last minute are left with no other option but to spend on ridiculously large fares. Some oversleep miss their flights or trains, while others get into some sort of trouble at the security at the airports.

They finally get into the train or flight, yet panic and stress isn’t over. All attempts to get some sleep is ruined when the baby on board cries non-stop, or you are squeezed in between two very big people because of the crammed train or flight.

After 5 hours or more, its eventually time that they arrive at their destination. Surprisingly, all the worries, the stress and panic is relieved. Coming home, seeing family and loved ones. Best of all, home cooked food. No matter how bad or good things are home, it’ll always good to be home, because home is where the heart is.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Backstage Photography: Fashion Show



To start off, I’m not an expert at this sort of thing, but here are some of the things that could be useful if you intend to cover such an event.
Shooting at backstage isn’t the easiest thing a photographer can ask for. It’s definitely not as fancy as the whole runway event, but there’s always a lot you can do with creativity. There are a million things you can capture at the backstage.



Having a photographer around would be the last thing models and stylists want, with so much going on at their fast pace. With the dozen things going on, no model would want to pose for the camera. (If it would happen, this would be at rare circumstances!) 





The makeup, the products the stylists use, plus the endless dress fittings is brings out so much stress at the backstage.


If you ever were to do photography at backstage, I’d advice you not to take your “big” camera with you. Use something small and handy that would make your life so much easier to get around and snap away. Always have an extra memory card with you, just incase, you run out of memory. The greatest advantage of a backstage is you wouldn’t want to worry about lightening, or carrying your flash. Backstage lightening is just perfect! 



Another tip, doesn’t stay too close to whatever you intend to capture. Chances are models would get annoyed, and the hair curlers would be still hot. So be cautious!  Don’t go into the dress fitting area unless the stylist is ok with you being there.  Most models wouldn’t want pictures taken while they are being dressed.
You wouldn’t have all day at the backstage. Things happen very fast, and a lot can happen within that time. Don’t panic. Just snap away as much as you can and enjoy! 


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Wales Environmental Leadership Conference: A Summary & a Personal Note



The aim of the conference is to determine Wales’ position in international environmental politics, identifying how Wales could strengthen its policies in a sustainable manner as Wales is seeking international political response to climate change, biodiversity loss and universal change towards sustainable development.
The conference was organised by the Environmental Politics Research Group and the Institute of Welsh Politics with collaboration from the International Politics Department and the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, of the Aberystwyth University.

The conference that began at mid day on the February 8th had two panels and a Public event.


The first panel presented five papers, dealing with the question whether Wales can become an international environmental knowledge producer. The paper presented in relation to Environment and Malaria transmission in sub Saharan Africa, was of great interest. This project illustrated the involvement of Wales in the international environmental arena, as they were one of the world’s leading groups in the field. The project of the WISE Network in relation to sustainable businesses and development which was in progress with the collaboration of Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities was also a highlight of the panel discussion. Issues of climate change; the role of IPCC and methods of exploring the political and ethical possibilities for climate change adaptation was discussed among the first panel.


The papers of the second panel questioned if Wales could be an international actor, and how the environmental policy practices and community action support could facilitate Wales as a global actor. The panel proposed five papers, which mainly dealt with Wales’ capacity to act as a role model for international practices, its relationship between different environmental communities, and lastly, of the political and legal basis for Wales position in environmental politics.

The last event of the conference was open to the public to participate, bringing different communities together, discussing the future of Wales as an international environment actor. This session was interactive and panellists answered questions posed by the public.

Personal note

I had little knowledge of Wales’ role in environment politics till I attended this conference. it was a new experience for me as an international student of Aberystwyth University. 

The first panel demonstrated various initiatives of Wales as a global knowledge producer in environmental politics. Reflecting on the papers presented, their research and work, was remarkable.
In their second panel, they assessed the political and legal perspective of Wales as an environmental actor. In this session the panellists also identified problems of coordination, issues of implementation, the relationship of Wales and the Westminster and the rest of Europe, and the challenges of crosscutting. On a legal perspective, the presenter highlighted that changing a global environmental policy was not the best solution. The lecturer of Department of Law and Criminology, stressed on positioning to change the behaviour and attitude of individuals, rather than making a legislation force what they can or cannot do. The last presentation was a proposal from a different standpoint, where she explained that the emphasis on individual behaviour may not be most effective way of tackling society’s reactions with climate change. She noted that in order to be heard, Wales had to be noisy, and that appropriately framed emotional appeals can motive action. This proposal contradicting with the legal perspective brought out reasonable arguments that one may need to think about.
The public event, being interactive, had many questions and discussions from participants and panellists. One of the most interesting discussions was, making the community involve in referendums as an environmental actor. The will to be sustainable was definite within the Wales. The public shown concerned towards the high level decisions that were promptly made, and I quote, “what the government say and what actually they do is different”. Answering the matter from the government, noted that the carrier bag legislation was put forward by the public, and not the government and such actions need more time to initiate within the community. The Sustainable Act is currently at working progress, and the white paper is available for the public.
The extent to which Wales can be identified as an international environmental leader can be identified by the policies created for the environment and people, with its decisions taken at the international arena.
The purpose of the conference was not to become “the environmental leader” in the international arena, nor to being better than everyone else. Wales may not be as economically largely important as other states, but in perspective of climate change, and environment, Wales needs to be heard in the international arena

Friday, 18 January 2013

CoFfEe lOvE



He sat on the open air deck, sipping his coffee and looking around. She knew he was secretly looking at her, because she was doing the same too. She was busy working while he just sat there and smiled at her.

Every time he ordered his coffee, she takes his order and treats him just like any other customer though she wanted to tell him so much. She was shy. She hesitated to attempt to start a conversation with him, having the thought she might make a fool out of herself as he was often surrounded by his group of friends.

This routine continued over two months, and both of them had not spoken much to each other except the times he ordered his coffee.
Her boss let her off early that night, so she packed her stuff and got ready to head out when he came and asked her politely if he could talk to her. She was nervous not knowing what he wanted to say, but agreed anyway.

He talked for about half an hour and told her that the day before was his birthday and he wanted to make his birthday really memorable that year. She said very little but listened to him very carefully. She looked at her watch, and he figured out she wanted to leave. He couldn't wait much longer. Afraid that she might leave before he had said what he intended, he pulled out a bouquet of roses, and asked,

“would you be my girlfriend, for it would not make this birthday the happiest, but all the birthdays to come.”

She froze for a moment, and then she smiled. She’s really liked him since the day he stepped into her coffee shop, and she’s wanted to say that to him since then.
She couldn't utter a word, she was really happy. She nodded in excitement.
That’s when she fell in love, he promised never to leave. He made her the happiest girl.
After two months of romantic dates, lunches and happy memories, he decided to leave without a goodbye. He was never seen, nor did his friends know where he left. His usual table felt empty. He never came back.

Years passed, she always never forgot him or his birthday. She visited the coffee shop every year on his birthday, ordered the same coffee he did, and smiles. she hoped where ever he was, he was happy.

Once again, she visits the coffee shop, orders the same coffee and whispers to herself, happy birthday. its been eight years today. I hope you're much happier than the first birthday you met me. 

Smiling to herself, she continues to  have her coffee. 


Monday, 31 December 2012

2012: A tImELiNe

I know it has been a while since I blogged, and honestly I have no idea why I am writing a blog post today. I’ve been wanting to get a new look for my blog, but I seem to be preoccupied with other things. Since today is the last day of 2012, it would only be fair if I wrote a memo of how 2012 turned out to be for me, before I go on criticizing politics or writing poems. So here goes.



Looking back at 2012, it’s been a good year. Gained a lot of experience, got new friends, did a lot of travelling. 2012 has been a year of a lot of changes, and amendments. A year with both happy and sad memories. Grateful for the good memories of 2012 and learning from the rest, here is hoping 2013 will be a better year!


Happy New Year 2013~


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Our education; what went wrong?


Our education; what went wrong?
Back in those days, it wasn’t really necessary to be educated. At a very young age all the children would go to a see ‘edhuru be’ (teacher) to learn to recite the holy Quran, with their ‘voshi filaa’(piece of wood where they wrote and studied). And this was just enough.
Back then, it was alright even if you cannot count or read a letter that was addressed to you. However times have changed.
“Changed”; very much indeed.  
But what we question ourselves today is whether this change had taken a step forward or taken couple of huge milestones backward.
There was a time when girls were not allowed to go to schools and they remained home taking care of the house chores while the boys only attended school. But today, girls are blessed with the opportunity to have a proper education with the privilege of actually going to schools and being accessible to educational facilities.
Remembering the time when black and white turned to multicolor, the very few schools those days have increased in the past years. Not just in Male’ (the capital) but to other islands as well.
The education system was divided into 3 main categories of ‘pre-school education’ (kindergarten), ‘primary education’ (elementary) and ‘secondary education’ (middle/high school) and was this was then only well established in the capital only. The other islands, hardly had a single school and very few education centres. In addition to the few schools in the islands, their educational system was moderated in ‘Dhivehi’ (the local Maldivian language) until recently all schools changed to English medium of education.
A teacher training facility was established and many Maldivians took the opportunity to go through teacher trainings and have begun to pursue their careers as teachers and today, even as lecturers.
In Male’, the schools set for secondary education had various subjects offered and the students had the option to choose what they wanted to study. However the schools in the islands were still unable to do the same. They did not have the resources to set a science laboratory or funds to accommodate enough teachers for those subjects. There was a big difference between the educational system in the capital and other islands. The competition to accommodate to better education increased, and more people migrated for the purpose of this ‘better’ system of education. Which effectively also lead to the concentrated population in the capital.
This was a concerning issue for the policy makers in the educational field and the policy planners and thus is today. The schools in islands needed to have the same level of educational expertise as the Male’ did. However, till today the schools in the capital have been given more priority over the schools in those islands.
We then emerged to the time when it was proposed that books and educational items were issued free to all students and that students had no longer to pay for the exams, which indeed was a light of hope to the unfortunate who could not afford to pay the examination fees.
Despite the partially balanced educational system, the students in the islands were still left with hardly a choice of what they wanted to study and few lucky students whose families migrated to the capital or students who got the opportunity to stay in the capital were studying what they wanted whereas with the most qualified and dignified teachers.
With the introduction of International schools, there was a choice for anyone to transfer. Well, once again, the ones living at the capital were more likely to have been gotten the opportunity to do so.
An year later, at a point where the issue of unbalance nature of educational system within the islands had not been completely stabilized, the discussion of new educational system had begun.
It was proposed that the all schools would comprise of all the levels of education and also there would be no separate gender-based schools.
Today, even with the number of trained teachers, the schools have started to face the lack of teachers with the demand to teach every level (all the grades). Some schools don’t offer those varieties of optional subjects anymore due to few students in each level.
‘Dhivehi sarukaaruge gazette’ (The government newsletter) have published on separate volumes with announcements for available positions for teachers.
Moreover, the fact that all the students of different age are attending at the same session and that too the gender being mixed has brought out some negative impacts on their behavior of the students.
What now we see is that some parents have made the decision to home school their children instead of taking them to school.
The biggest question now is, are we heading backwards? The concerning issue is that we might slowly be heading backwards and without knowledge the generations to come may have to start over.
At this point before we point fingers or look around our shoulder for someone to blame, we need to rethink what exactly went wrong. We need to take a moment to follow those footprints that took an alternative path and to discover what went wrong.
This is the time to make it right. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Barclays Premier League Trophy Tour

It was Saturday. My friend and I decided to go to One Utama to meet up another friend. The taxi stopped near the old wing. To our surprise we found that there was an ongoing event. So we decided to check it out.

Turns out that it was the Barclays Premier League Trophy Tour! The tents were nicely set up, with enlightening experience. We were each given a wristband with a special number and a barcode. The whole event was about half an hour, where we were offered the opportunity to learn about the Barclays Premier League, its most greatest moments, about managers, players, goals, saves; and also to experience the setting of a live match. The greatest of all was to get up close to the official Barclays Premier League trophy! The interactive experience ended with the chance to take away a customized photo as a souvenir of this day.

Barclays Premier League Trophy Tour’s main objective is to reward their loyal international fans through this interactive and free experience. The tour is stopping over a number of places including Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.

This short, interactive session was truly worth its experience.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

WhErE aRe We HeAdInG?

7th February of 2012, that Tuesday morning when I woke up to see high traffic live feed on my Twitter and on Facebook statuses. I did not have the slightest clue that today was the day of ending the presidency of Mohamed Nasheed, since protests have been ongoing for more than a fortnight.

I, personally am not a fan of Mohamed Nasheed. However, I’ve wanted things to change and for things to work in a different manner. And on that thought, hoping for the change, we did change.

For all those reasons, for better or worse, what Mohamed Nasheed has done within his time as president must have gotten its reasons. He, as being elected as the president must have had a vision, and means to accomplish those visions.

But it all comes down to what happened today. Question lies if what happened today really brought justice? Our concerns remain as we saw the incidents and the outburst of today’s incidents. Mohamed Nasheed was not perfect, nor were any other former presidents.

As a citizen of the nation, one is to abide by the rules and the laws stated as of the constitution, as no one is above the rule of law. Taking the Chief Justice into custody outraged the public and declared that the President had acted unconstitutionally. Although word tells us that the Chief Justice is one of those corrupt judges who brought shame, the fact that the President acted unconstitutional was what mattered. There could have been ways to handle the issue than act unconstitutional and act over the judiciary.

The separation of powers enables the right to uphold the law and maintain peace and justice; However, the parliament being is a cheap market for the MP’s, we saw good examples of sided MP’s changing sides now and then. At this point we question ourselves why we chose those MP’s. I refuse to accept the fact that we cannot find 77 loyal candidates for all 77 constituencies, who would not hold on to ‘gifts’.

What in the eyes of children today were pepper spray in their schools, and the police and the MNDF protesting. The so called peaceful paradise was fuming with rage; with rubber bullets and guns.

Our thoughts go back to what the police and MNDF did today. Did they act within the constitution? They were acting regardless of what they were told. Did they uphold the law? What we saw today was that the Special Forces had acted within their political opinion and not within their duties and their obligations.

The right to democracy never meant heading out for protests every night as a pass time activity. Half of the protesters join the crowd not knowing what they were protesting for. We question ourselves what democracy means. Do we even deserve a democracy?

We blame the systemic failure of the parliament to hold the judiciary and the executive accountable. With the resignation of Mohamed Nasheed, question that floats in our mind is of what happened today. Was it a step backwards? The change yet to come towards the administration lies within the people and their respective representatives within their constituencies; not within the Special Forces. We now question ourselves to where we are heading. What we saw today was what we have long feared. Tyranny is not what the small nation; known as the peaceful paradise on Earth is to become.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

GoOdByE tO 2011


2011 began with lots of love, close friends getting married and everything seems to be in its place at that time of the year. Days and months passed as we saw the sun rise and sunset. Celebrating birthdays and all occasions like we use to every year. Attending parties and other functions. Everything seemed to be in its place until the last months of the year.

The year ended with broken hearts, divorces, and lonely days. But with the hope that the beginning will be alright.

Have a blessed new year!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

A mAtTeR oF a FeW pOuNdS

Today was a total different day in my life. I am a regular blood donator of the blood group O positive. What happened today was so disappointing I couldn’t stop thinking about it and that’s when I decided I’d write about it.

It was about 3 in the evening and I was going home from running some errands for my dad, when I received a call from my friend asking me if I could donate blood to his friend. It had been over 5 months since I last donated so I agreed to.

My friend soon came to pick me up and we headed to the Thalassemia Center, and I filled in the donor’s form and waited till my name was called out.

Before they called me into the laboratory, they asked me to stand on the weighing scale and I for the first time, felt disappointed that I was not up to weight that I could donate.

I was missing a few pounds to be eligible to donate. I enquired if they could even take half a pint from me. I saw the look in the girls’ eyes. She was 26, and needed blood transfusion every month. I felt in myself how hard it must be for her to get donors every month. She was suffering all her life for a random mistake her parents had made. She was sure a fighter.

After seeing the look on her face, the sad look, for hope and another chance that the Center may allow me to donate. However, the Center refused, and for once in my life, I regretted missing a few pounds in my life. And that thought remained in my mind for being deprived of the right to donate.

If you are eligible to donate, donate today and save a life!