Friday, 30 January 2009

Schweet? PWEET

Yknow, if I read one more blog where they use the word "Schweet", I'm going to hurl. And then stab the author in the eye with a pencil

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Islam and hypocrisy

My family prides themselves on being moderate. Sure, they pray, but 'we're not like those extremists, oh no! And yet, a conversation at the breakfast table today had me speechless.

A close family friend (non-muslim) was visiting, and we were talking about the world at large, as we usually do at these sorts of gatherings. The talk inevitably turned to our favourite topics; economics, politics and religion. We were talking about how the current recession would hit the Maldives hard, because of us importing practically everything, and because of the Rufiyya, that really should be devalued but isn't. Our friend is an exporter from overseas, and had come to see if he could drum up business, as in the last few months, orders from the Maldives had practically dried up. Smart arse that I am, I said that "well, being good muslims, perhaps we should go back to goat-herding. I hear it's really lucrative". I wasn't prepared for the fact that my family (particularly dad) would take this completely seriously. Sarcasm was NOT noted. Dad started going on about how "blah blah in times of need blah blah animal husbandry blah blah anyway thats how the prophet lived blah"

Point taken about farming being an excellent way to survive a recession. However, following on from this, someone else mentioned the current furor over the prophets bride, Aisha, and whether she was a minor. I immediately remembered the story about the girl from the atolls. 12 years old and raped in her bed by 4 adults holding an axe. These men received a lenient punishment because the judge thought that as this young girl (who was being 1. physically threatened by 4 grown men with an axe and 2. shit scared) didn't scream, she was 'ASKING FOR IT'


I mentioned this story to my audience, and all of a sudden, the crowd went wild, as they say. Dad was the loudest of all. He immediately took the stance that "there are many girls like that in Male who misbehave" and that "they walk around in short skirts and lipstick". Oh yeah. Just because some chicks in Male who are young have one boyfriend or make out with them means that this girl in an Atoll was ASKING FOR IT from 4 grown men. At once. In her family home.

so she was asking for it? This 12 year old girl? Whether the story I related was accurate or not was another question. What troubled me was this; my father, a normally sane, moderate, modern man, who was kind, charitable etc...was taking the same stance as one would imagine a fundamentalist would take; just because it was a woman who was the victim.

At that point (following several minutes of heated argument), I knew there was no point in trying to convince him. All I can do is make sure that my younger brother NEVER learns this attitude.

I think I'm still in shock.

I'm back...

Long hiatus from posting. I have this terrible habit of not sticking with things...I know that thats no excuse, and that the true blogger finds some time, any time to blog, but I just couldn't be bothered. To tell you the truth, I've always found it hard to be open about my life, and since interesting blogs are just that; the mundane aspects of life, I find it hard to share this with the world. How can the coffee that I drank today be of any interest to people, I think. But I digress. A new year, new beginnings, and here I am, back where I started last year.

I'm currently at the tail end of my holiday in the Maldives. This trip has been one of the best trips ever. Perhaps its because it was so short, perhaps because old friendships were renewed and new ones forged. Either way, my return to australia is tinged with sadness, because never before have I felt like I truly belonged.

I suppose these things are better in small doses. The Maldives has changed so much since I left back in 2000. Buildings are bigger, the shops are shinier, but at the same time, people are ruder. Its now dangerous to walk around at night by yourself or even with a friend. Drug addicts line darkened streets where the government installed street lights have been shattered by bricks, all so that shady deals can be done under the secrecy of darkness. Policemen, perhaps still burdened by some of the more absurd 'human rights' rules set by the previous regime remain unable to cope with the crime here in the capital. They saunter around trying to look in control, but more often than not can be found guarding places that are least likely to be trouble spots. Last night, on the way back from a late coffee with a friend, we saw a couple of policemen guarding...a tree.

The landslide election victory for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) late last year made many people think that everything would change. Our tiny nation has never seen multiple parties before. So many choices, so many stances. Pro-westernisation, Pro-islam-extreemism, Pro this, Pro that. We heard it all during election time, and it seemed like everywhere where Mohamed Nasheed ('Anni') of the MDP went, there was an air of hope, a feeling that maybe this time, we would get it right. The previous regime had its time in the sun, but the problem, like with so many men, was that he didn't know when to step down. Nepotism, greed and sloth got the better of him, and instead of being a symbol of prosperity to us all, he is now our shame.

Unfortunately, 3 months into Anni's government, and nothing seems to have changed. Admittedly, this is not very long, but at least there should be talk of change. Instead, there appear to be broken promises.

1. A university to be situated within Theemuge, the presidential palace. Instead, 2 government offices have been moved into this 45M Dollar palace, build of marble and the sweat of expat workers.

2. Job security: Already, 1000 existing jobs in the Home ministry are being dissolved.

3. A 'new maldives': Anni's appointments to the cabinet seem random, as if they have been made without examining the appointees past experience. The minister in charge of The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture is a previously practicing dentist. What is he going to do, check the teeth of the watermelons? The one obvious appointee is the Health Minister, Dr Aminath Jameel, who did her PhD in geriatric studies. Of course the one appointee that had everyone's tongues wagging was the man now in charge of our nations defence; the same man who sold us out back in 1988.

Time will tell, and for the sake of the Maldives, I really do hope Anni and his new government succeed. But for now, I remain skeptical.