Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Departure


 
This is me boarding

The train to my next life

This is me waving goodbye

From a platform of regrets

This is me departing

My brief, beautiful fantasy

 

This is me being grateful

For reigniting the flame within

When it was just a dying flicker

This is me come back to life

When my senses were comatose

And my spirit was in despair

 

This is me leaving now

Dragging emotional luggage

With unsung songs and unshed tears

This is me saying farewell

To all that was and all that could be

Departing from wishful thinking,

Heading to the destination of reality
 
 
* As can be seen, inspired by my other obsession since childhood, The Last Unicorn :)

Press Undo


I miss 

Things I never had

I have memories

Of a life I have not lived

Reminisce

A laugh, a touch, a smile

That never happened

Cherish a past

That was never written

And look to a future

That will never be

Shed tears

For who I never was

Smile wistfully

At joys that remain unknown

I turn the page

And it’s gone

A life unlived

A footprint unmade

A hand unheld

A twinkle, a spark, dead

And I shall forever hold my peace

In the silence of words unsaid
 
 

Not Even You, Lestat


You may know the song, Lestat

To awaken a sleeping Akasha

You may have the power

To reach the depths

Of her vicious, damned soul

You may have the key, Lestat

To unlock her darkest secrets

And use them

To charm, to lure, to tempt

As you so wish

But not even you, Lestat

Can bend or break

Or bring to the knees

The demon within

Can put out the savage flame

Once ignited and burning wild

Not even you, Lestat

Can play with fire

And walk unscathed,

Remain unburnt

Not even you, Lestat

Can untwine from

 The serpentine coils

 Of this hissing snake

Or drown in these eyes

Of abysmal depths

And swim away

To safer shores

Not even you, Lestat

Will be spared vengeance

Retribution, agony, wrath

I have risen

I am here

Drink from me,

Forever is yours

* When I was growing up I was obsessed with Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, particularly with the charismatic Lestat, Prince of Darkness and the Queen of them all, Akasha. I had a Lestat poster that I loved, with the movie's tagline 'Drink from me, live forever', hence the phrase at the end. I so wish somebody gets the idea to make this into a tv series - what with the lame stuff out there, seriously :S

Some pics for the fans :)

The movie poster of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise as [Anne Rice initially objected to casting him but was pleased after seeing his performance apparently]



And, Stuart Townsend and Aaliyah as Lestat and Akasha in The Queen of the Damned. The movie was released 6 months after Aaliya's death in a tragic plane crash.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bleed For Me


Bleed for me, my pet

Let me revel

In the scent of your life

Your sweet heavenly breath

Let me dance

In the twinkle in your eye

Let me sing

The song of your beating heart

Mortal flesh and bone

That turns to dust, and gone

Bleed for me, my angel

Let your crimson juice

Quench this raging thirst

And I shall give you

An eternity

Of darkness and desire

Of secrets forbidden

Of pleasures taboo

Of a savage lust unknown

And a brutal embrace

Hot kisses on cold lips

Vicious bites on soft flesh

Bleed for me, my little one

Open up your soul

And let me feed

On your secrets, desires

The sorrows and pain

The joys of your pure heart

Let me taste

Your pulsing fresh life

Your young sweet blood

And your innocent faith

In these demon wings

That enfold you now

In these claws that hold you tight

In these fangs that trail

The quivers of your veins

Oh yes, bleed for me

And in harmony shall be one

Pouring liquid souls

Into the infinite vastness

Of dark and damned immortality
 
* After ages of not writing I am so glad to have found my darker voice again. A thank you to all the dark forces that inspired me - and a 'seriously do not worry' note to all who might share concerned looks at this point :P

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oreo cheesecake cupcakes - Brightens up the day instantly!

Ever since the events of February 7th, our tiny society has been chaotic to say the least. My hubs, family and friends, and I myself, have been going around in this hectic rollercoaster that is Male for three months now. So I decided to do something nice and brighten up their days (and mine of course) with some utterly delectable goodies. Then I got stuck. For inspiration I went through my usual favorite foodie blogs and stumbled up on some new ones too... and came across this recipe on www.relativetaste.net - a wonderful blog with pretty pics and clear instructions (just what a person like me wants!) The blogger, Kim, had adapted the recipe herself from Martha Stewart. She'd made some changes and they sounded good to me!

My good friend Shix makes yummy oreo nobake cheesecake - I couldn't get enough of it! But since cupcakes are more my thing and baking is, well, sort of a chill pill for me (whatever works eh) I decided to go along with Kim's recipe. I must say I was delighted with the result!

So here is her recipe with my comments:


Ingredients:
§  36 Oreo cookies, 20 left whole and 16 coarsely chopped [I made 12 cupcakes so needed only 12 whole oreo cookies and chopped 16 as directed]
§  1/2 cup of sugar
§  2 large eggs, lightly beaten
§  1/2 cup sour cream [couldn't find sour cream anywhere in Male' - sad situation I know, so added plain greek yoghurt for a similar taste]
§  1 pound cream cheese [I added two packages of Milkana regular cream cheese available at Fantasy Store]
§  1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
§  Pinch of salt

Directions:

- Preheat the oven to 275 ˚F [about 150 C]

- Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and put one whole cookie in each paper lining. [I just used my usual paper cupcake cups - medium size]

- Beat the cream cheese on medium high speed until smooth.

- Gradually add in the sugar until well combined, then beat in the vanilla.

- Pour in the eggs slowly, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl.[I liked thisstep - I am big on reducing waste!]

- Add sour cream and salt. [If you get sour cream in Male' do let me know where! If not yoghurt does just as well]

- Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

- Divide the batter between paper cups, filling each almost to the top.

- Bake for about 22 minutes or until filling is set. They will not get brown, but don’t worry, they’re done.

- Transfer to wire rack to cool completely [ido not have a wire rack - i just left them on my counter top for a while]

- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. [This was the hardest bit - they smelled so good, keeping them in the fridge for 4 hours untouched was no mean feat!]

Well, infact I didnt leave them untouched. I served my hubby and my dad-in-law as desserts after dinner, and they seemed to like. 4 hours was not up but I couldn't delay any longer and they had set pretty well.

I also realized I had overbaked it a lil bit, as I suspected. Whoops! Next time I'll be more conscious of time :)

And I do have to make another batch soon, didnt get to share any with my friends. We had visitors and after family, the 12 cupcakes had vanished before we knew it. Met up with my lovelies tonight and promised I'd make them some, hopefully they'll turn out better!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back to blogging - with a screwpine bang! Bring on the Kashikeyo craze...

I've been so hooked on twitter past couple of months that I've been neglecting my dear airyfairyblissful blog. Yes the 140 character limit is annoying at times, but tweeting just became so easy, so convenient! But here I am, back to my blog, my happy place, my little corner on this vast web...sigh. This feels good.

Ok, so to get started on blogging again, I've brought something exciting to share. Screwpine jam! (the fruit is locally known as kashikeyo).Well, I've been engaged in various culinary experiments lately and most of them have turned out to be delightful. Some like the Middle Eastern couscous and lamb, Thai red and green curries, Indian dosa, Vietnamese vermicelli, Ukrainian crepes and Palestinian ma'amoul have taken me on multicultural gastronomic global adventures. I have celebrated cuisine from around the world with family and friends and rejoiced with all sorts of baked goodies. Because I always have to move on to new experiences and learn new things I got interested in making my own jams, and the rest is history.

Well not quite. First I made date jam and it was delightful. In fact the first batch of a kilo of jam ran out so quickly that I made another batch using a different type of dates. This also proved to be a useful lesson as this jam tasted different. I learnt the best texture, color and flavor of dates for that beautifully smooth, flavorful but not too sweet jam that everyone liked.

Then I made mango jam, which I myself can't get enough of! Again I went through a pile of recipes and mixed it all up to get my own formula. And it seems to have worked well! Here I've posted a pic of the Ukranian  cream cheese crepes I made for my friends with date and mango jams.

Encouraged by the favorable results, I was revved up to try more local  flavors (thus exotic jams). By now my dear husband, family and friends had all begun to share concerned looks amongst themselves - my jam obsession was running wild. I was most determined to make screwpine jam - and unfortunately (or fortunately, from how one sees it) when I am bent on something I can be very stubborn.  So I drag my hubby despite much protest to the local market (I luuuurve the throbbing pulse and activity, the vibrant colors, the smells, the textures....ooooh.... husband of mine was of course itching to get out of there).




Anyways, I found my beautiful ripe screwpines and gleefully rushed home to make my jam. Since there was nothing, NOTHING, nada, zilch on the internet or any recipe book about making screwpine jams [one website actually said screwpines were not consumed by humans!] I tinkered around and made one up. Everything I read indicated that the pulp of screwpines and screwpine leaves (known as pandan leaves), as well as pandan essence, are used to flavor jams and preserves, but nowhere have I found it used as the main ingredient of jams. I have always loved the taste and smell of screwpines, and figured, why not give this a go. I loved the end result, and I think anyone who likes kashikeyo will do too. Maldivians have used kashikeyo in various dishes - we make juice, a dessert called kashikeyo fo, and even to flavor rice and bondibaiy. And now screwpine jam :) an exotic food from an exotic fruit found in abundance in the exotic Maldives, so very fitting. All hail the gorgeous, much underestimated kashikeyo!

[NOTE: After I had tweeted about this, fellow tweep Ms AsmaRasheed informed me that they do make screwpine jams at one of the Maldivian resorts - Kuramathi, and I'm told its quite popular!]



The beautiful succulent kashikeyo (screwpine) fruit....




Voila! Smooth, sweet screwpine jam :) - I must admit for those who are not fans of this fruit like my adorable brother, this jam is not for you. But since most Maldivians seem to like kashikeyo fani (juice - so popular during Ramazan), I believe this could be a yummy alternative to the typical berry jams we have for breakfast or with crackers for evening tea. Variety is the spice of life, after all!

I hope to explore and experiment further with a variety other local fruits and exotic flavors - more jams on the way! Keep dropping by for my jam and other culinary experiments, and other random experiences (very colorful ones too - as we live in highly charged, politically volatile times here in the Maldives)...

Well I also hope to bottle my jams in pretty jars with cute labels and get them out in the market someday. A girl can dream eh? ;) So many balls in the air at the moment, perhaps I can handle one more!

Until next time, toodles!


Ps - Incidentally I also got a letter of termination from my former job at the President's Office today (so today's a day of memorable events!). Funnily enough it was marked Very Urgent. Thats such a joke, since I havent been to that office for the past 3 months. Why? Because the democratic government of the Maldives was overthrown by a coup d'etat on 7th February and I believed the current 'government' was illegitimate. And after 3 months, it suddently became urgent that they terminate me, and the delivery person was calling frantically to locate me. Erm, still not getting the urgency of the matter, I was a bit puzzled but accepted the letter - as far as I'm concerned I've left the place on 7th February with President Nasheed, and that was that, so letter or no letter I had walked away a long time ago :) I breathe easy being away from that place that has now being tainted and polluted by undesirable elements. Perhaps this just shows how efficiently they go about their business - 3 months to send a termination letter? I am grateful that life has presented me with wonderful opportunities and a whole new exciting chapter in life - like they say when one door closes, another opens! And I'm grateful that my determination to fight against the coup for democracy and justice has not wavered for a single day since then :)



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

VTV, DhiTV, Rajje TV and Hassan Saeed....todays thoughts...

I seriously call upon the management of VTV to conduct some training to improve the English language aptitude and translation skills, because I feel bad seeing reports being so off the mark from what people actually say. I'm sure it must have just been mistakes borne of ignorance and not intentional, because why will they want to distort news and misinform the public? *tongue in cheek* Why indeed? Tonight I was watching the news on VTV and there was a headline that claimed 'Indian government does not support MDP activities', but when they showed the news conference, what the Indian diplomat actually said was India will not direct any party to act in any way, and that applies across the board, to MDP as well. He added that to ask MDP to carry on with their activities was out of the question. Basically in a nutshell, Indian government does not wish to comment on the party activities, either to encourage or discourage. So VTV kind of got it so wrong, and its not the first time its happened.

Talking about India, how ugly, seriously UGLY, was the scene the new spokesperson Abbas made in front of the Indian Foreign Secretary at the all party talks. If I were Dr. Waheed, I'd have fired him right away out of sheer embarassment. Wait a minute. He can't. He admitted himself. He has no control over who's in the top posts of his government.

Anyway, I also watched a repeat of the Khabaru Therein program with Dr. Didi this afternoon. The presenter kept asking if Didi didnt think it was a problem that MDP has been holding continuous rallies at Raalhugandu area, obstructing people from going for evening rides 'haveeru fini buru' and all. Dr. Didi gave his answers, but if it were me, I'd stare at him mouth agape and eyes wide and ask, "You are worried about evening bike rides when a government has been overthrown by a coup? Thats what bugs you the most? Besides its mostly the youth who go for rides, and most of the youth are here protesting, so no we dont think its a problem". Then the guy was asking Dr Didi if he thought cooking and playing music and sleeping in tents was part of peaceful protesting. I'd say what else could it be? They must have some pretty serious grievances if they're leaving their own well stocked kitchens to come and cook at Raalhugandu. They must have some heavy stuff to protest about if they're leaving the comfort of their beds and couches to camp in tents at Raalhugandu. These people must be moved enough by something significant to spend day after day, night after night, protesting. Isnt that more of a relevant question? Why have people from all over Maldives come and camped here? Why have fishermen left their fishing boats, why have the farmers left their fields, why are office workers not worried about having to wake up early morning, whats everyone doing there, are they there for nothing? Because they dont have families, jobs, homes? Besides whats wrong with a lil music, bunch of people having a barbecue and socializing. This country could do with a bit more of that at the moment anyway.

Since I'm talking of TV channels I'll mention Rajje TV also. They're playing Dr. Hassan Saeed's leaked audio on loop. Its kind of funny. Well who am I kidding, its downright hilarious. That guy needs to hold his tongue. He did the same to Anni when he was appointed Anni's advisor. Now he's doing the same to poor Dr. Waheed, who made the same mistake and appointed him advisor again. There he goes, badmouthing Dr. Waheed, claiming he's the weakest, least prepared politician for the job etc etc. And they've been partners in crime for just three weeks. Niiiice. Talking of Hassan Saeed's leaked audio, something  he said got me a lil heated up. He said this is a new kind of coup (well he did admit it was a coup, whatever kind it was) and it will make an interesting case study. I wanted to thump him on the head and shake him a bit. A case study? Seriously? This is your country you're talking about, your country that's falling apart and your people at each other's throats, powderface. This is more than a case study to us! Go do another doctorate, you and your party cohorts could do some more PhDs, perhaps write your thesis on how to bring about coup, how to torture and oppress your fellow citizens, how to kill democracy...you take your pick.

Well tomorrow's a bid day, and its late. Got to turn in for the night. But before I sign off, I'd like to say how much I enjoyed the Freedom Parade on 26th. The turnout was massive! I salute the youth who turned up with their tincans, their drums, their flags and ofcourse their unwavering spirit and enthusiasm. Saabahey Dhivehi zuvaanun! And I wasso impressed with the turnout at the ladies rallies, they've come out in droves. Saabahey anhen kanbalun :) I was so proud of everyone there, and so pleased to be a part of it. Nightynight people!




Open letter to Sir Richard Branson

Following his post on the conversation with Mr. Waheed, I posted the letter below on his blog, http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog/interim-president-waheed-of-the-maldives-responds-to-my-open-letter-to-him

Writing to Sir Branson was important to me because he is one of my heroes, and I've always admired his work around the world, not to mention his adventurous escapades! Here's my letter below:

Dear Sir Branson,
We agree it was good of ‘President’ Waheed to answer your queries regarding the transfer of government in the Maldives, even though it is most likely another desperate attempt to garner both local and international support now that his government is fast losing face as the facts are becoming clearer and the voices against them are getting louder by the day.
We, the youth of the country who struggled and sacrificed heavily to bring about democracy to the Maldives, would like to bring some of our concerns to your kind attention, following this post on your website. Mr. Waheed might have been watching the events on television, as he said. But he was certainly not watching television unawares when opposition forces who had been calling for a coup went to meet him at his private residence in the middle of the night. There can be no doubt that although Mr. Waheed might not have been aware of the intricacies and every detail of the plot, he was and remains very much a protagonist of the coup. Mr. Waheed says he is not aware of who issued the arrest warrant. This is a ludicrous statement. As President, he should know. If he didn’t know then, he should know by now, more than three weeks after the incident. Mr. Waheed says Mr. Nasheed’s party was invited to join his government. If Mr. Nasheed’s party accepted the offer, they will be joining hands with a band of mutineers, they will be filling the ranks in an illegitimate government which they accuse of overthrowing the democratically elected, and may we point out, the first ever democratically elected President of the country.
The majority of the people want an election, and this is blatantly obvious from every rally, every protest, every peaceful gathering that has been held from 7 February 2012 until now. Our women’s rally, our youth parade, our freedom marches calling for democracy and early elections have displayed bigger turnouts than any political gathering in the history of the Maldives. We are not all supporters of MDP, the party of Mr. Nasheed, and unlike Mr. Waheedhas stated, is also the largest party in the country. We are not all calling to restore his government. We want a President we elect, we want our voice to matter, we want to be heard with our vote. Mr. Waheed is saying there will be an election in 18 months. That is the election that would have been held after Mr. Nasheed had completed his 5 year term. But he hasn’t completed his term, and his government has been overthrown by force by mutinous forces within the law enforcement and defense forces who had sided with the opposition. Hence we cannot wait for an election in 18 months. If we do so we are accepting an illegitimate government with a President who has no seat in Parliament, no seat in a council, and less than 3000 members in his party. That is not democracy, and we urge wellwishers and friends of Maldives all over the world such as you to speak on our behalf, and pressure for an early election as well as an end to injustice, tyranny and brutality against Mr. Nasheed’s supporters. This is our plea, Sir Branson.
There is everything to be gained, even for Mr. Waheed and his government, if all the allegations, doubt and skepticism are put aside after a deciding vote. One must question why there is such hesitation and reluctance to go to an election without any dubious motives. The reason is that people, especially the youth, are frustrated and angry. We do not want to see the kind of police brutality and violence that took place following the peaceful protest by Mr. Nasheed’s supporters on 8 February 2012, the photos and video footage of which were even captured by international media and viewed on social media networks all over the world. We do not want a President we didn’t elect, and we do not want a government in which we do not have confidence or faith. On 28 October 2008 we elected the President we wanted to lead our country, we voted for his manifesto, and we voted for Mr. Waheed to be Mr. Nasheed’s deputy, to assist him in fulfilling his pledges. We trusted Mr. Nasheed’s judgment that he will make a loyal and sincere deputy. We did not vote for him as Mr. Nasheed’s running mate expecting him to betray the President or the country, to either engineer or be part of a coup to overthrow Mr. Nasheed midway through his Presidential term. The government’s pledges were being fulfilled speedily, democracy was being consolidated, human rights were being promoted, and after seeing the mounting support and achievements in just 3 years, we believe the opposition saw there was no possibility of winning a free and fair election in 2013. That is why they resorted to an ugly coup, why they resort to violence and oppression and violence and brutality even today, and why they will hold off an election for as long as they possibly can. But we refuse to be silenced. Everyday we gather at our rally point in the capital Male, the homemakers with their kids, the fishermen, the surfers, the teachers, the businessmen, the musicians, the retired elderly…we come from all walks of life, but with one purpose. We call for our right to vote and elect our President, we call for an end to violence, we call for justice, freedom and democracy in the Maldives. That is what we want, Sir Branson.
Remnants of the former 30 year regime that fell with the election of Mr. Nasheed in 2008 accuse Mr. Nasheed of many things, as some have commented on your website. They have been hiding behind a corrupt judiciary that had been put in place and cemented by a dictatorial regime. Mr. Nasheed tried to free the courts, and that was his ‘mistake’. He kicked the hornet’s nest, and the rest is history, as seen by the terrible events that unfolded on 7 February 2012, a dark and ugly day in the history of the beautiful and tranquil Maldives.
Sir Branson, there is no sincerity in the hearts and minds of mutineers and those who join hands with them. They will say they will look into accusations of brutality and violence and so on and so forth. We doubt much will come of this ‘looking into’ matters. One thing we have no doubt about is the fact that there will be no independent, fair examining of the facts that led to Mr. Nasheed’s resignation. After all who will put together a commission and examine the facts, and then declare himself a traitor who sided with mutineers who had engineered a plot to overthrow the constitutional government of the country. It is the same as Macbeth forming a committee to investigate the murder of King Duncan, when his hands were red with blood.
Sir Branson, we too want peace and serenity resorted in our pristine shores. We want to go back to our simple lives as they were. We want to laugh with our friends, surf the waves, listen to our traditional boduberu, go about our daily business, open our hearts and arms to our guests with the sunny smiles, warmth and love, and renowned Maldivian hospitality as we have done for thousands of years. But today we are being broken and bent, and we cannot fight this fight alone.
We the youth call to respect our rights, and the world to hear our cries for help. As Martin Luther Jr has spoken truly, “A right delayed is a right denied”.
Sincerely
Maldivian Blogger Cheeky Sylph, http://airyfairybliss.blogspot.com
On behalf of Maldivian youth calling for justice, freedom and democracy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Illogical logic...big surprise...

Today I heard that an NGO, Child Abuse Prevention Society (CAPS) has issued a statement expressing concern over the disturbance to children living near Raalhugandu area due to the 'Insaafuge Dhathuru' rally. Riiiight. They were not concerned about the trauma and emotional disturbance caused by the scenes they saw on tv on 8 february? The beatings, the violence, the unbelievable brutality? They aren't worried that this might make a negative impression?? PPM apparently complained to the Education Ministry regarding Ibra's language at the rally, based on the reasonable logic that he had previously served in the Education Ministry and his language might make an impression on students. And this makes sense? Who comes up with this stuff? :S I am astounded by the sheer stupidity of this reasoning. Oh and they think its right to justify mutiny and teach these young kids that all these things happening in this country are right? Arent CAPS worried that young children are being confusedand misled about right and wrong, about truth and justice, and that is one of the worst things one could do? Boggles my mind. But then again, my mind is in a constant boggle these days.

In other news, for those friends who ask about my culinary exploits I made Prawn Vermicelli for dinner tonight. It was something I thought I'd try and fortunately turned out quite yummy. I made Prawn Red Curry as explaned in the Prawn Red Curry recipe I'd posted previously. I made it a lil bit drier by adding lil less coconut milk. Then I boiled water, added vermicelli, and drained them after about 3 minutes. Its important not to overcook as they get very soggy quickly. Then rinsed in cold water and added a bit of soy sauce, and mixed in with the prawn curry. Voila! There's your prawn vermicelli :) I got away easy for lunch too. My hubby was a bit busy and had lunch with some colleagues. So I heated up some of last night's left over beef made for the spaghetti, added in some thin long strips of red and yellow bellpepper, cucumber and carrots, and spooned into coupla taco shells. Yummy tacos!

I also baked some vanilla cupcakes, and am off now to deliver some for my family and friends. Its a cupcake drive! Keep smiling, keep the spirits up, victory is in sight ;) or so I hope!





Sunday, February 19, 2012

I stand corrected... and sit back on my kunaa...

The peaceful protest at Thinbaaru point continues for the third day... still going strong, calling for justice, taking our stand against tyranny and oppression and brutality, and against the cold hard slap in the face of democracy :) My salute to the families who have camped there, the couples who have strolled in hand in hand wearing their badges with pride, the groups of friends who have turned up to show support with kurumbaa and majaa from the gaadiyaas, the surfers who show their support in the waves as they best know how, the parents with their kids who come by in the evenings with their balloons and party hats, the spirited old ladies who come with their beetlesnuts and bileygandu...these are Dhivehin, united here in Dhivehi spirit. Trust Maldivians to turn anything into a festival :) And when I am amongst them, I feel such a wave of love and admiration for these people, for their commitment, courage and strength of spirit.

I wanted to make note of some points I had made previously. I had ofcourse been critical of my perceived passivity of the civil society. A friend of mine very much engaged with civil society brought to my notice that many NGOs were communicating with international organizations as the Commonwealth and EU as well as foreign diplomats, and that some were issuing statements on the issue. As I stated previously it is no surprise that opposition controlled media establishments do not cover their activities. I hope their efforts are brought to notice of the wider public. Perhaps I should not have written Wake up civil society, but rather Speak up, because I would really like to hear of what they are doing, and I would like the public to know of their efforts. I laud the agents of civil society engaged in such efforts and wish them success and fruitful results.

Now to sit back on the kunaa and smile. I listen to Vathan Edhey Gothah, and remember standing here in this very place 3 years ago, on the dawn of democracy as it came to be known, and I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. I remember I was there with a national flag, my friends were with me, there was hugging and crying and even shocked disbelief all around. So many people, so much sacrifice, so much of blood, sweat and tears. My eyes are tearing, that was a beautiful day :) And to relive it again, I've posted a video by Fahud of Shiuz's song on Youtube....bring it on, I say!

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/q2_qI7B490U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Friday, February 17, 2012

17 February - Insaafuge Dhathuru

As I noted at the end of my previous post, I was on the way to the peaceful protest at Thinbaaru point. So here's the update. The turnout was massive, and the overall mood was passionate and bouyant. Unfortunately I didnt take my camera and my phone takes crappy pics, but here are some I copied from Haveeru [www.haveeru.com.mv]




Sheikh Imran is on TVM as I write this claiming expatriate workers were paid 100 Rf to attend this rally. I want to say to him, I am not an expatriate worker. Neither is my mother or my father. Neither is my husband, or his brother in law, or our relatives. Neither are our many many friends we ran into, old school mates, colleagues, neighbors, our parents' friends, even some of our teachers [yes it was like a big reunion]. None of us were paid 100 Rf. None of the people around each one of our friends, neighbors, colleagues, were expat workers. There were Dhivehin, speaking in Dhivehi, calling for justice and the right in their own Dhivehi Rajje. You are very wrong Imran. Perhaps you did that, but we dont need to. Our families, our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues... we can make up enough numbers, thank you very much.

Ps- I also gave a mini interview to one of the foreign journalists, an Australian agency. That was an exciting highlight! I was so passionate about all this that I didnt think of blotting my oily face, or that I hadn't perfectly blowdried my hair, or that my eyeliner was smudged...that should tell you people how serious I am!

Wake up, civil society!

Being someone who has been involved with NGOs and volunteer work for various social causes for nearly a decade, I was and still am stupefied by the inertia and silence of the civil society during this atrocious coup and overthrow of the elected government of this country. I have worked alongside many civil society leaders who have been very vociferous about every right imaginable, who have proclaimed to be the ever alert watchdogs of society, who have set examples and inspired people like me to take the lead and venture out with our own causes and campaigns and projects to defend rights and freedoms which we hold dear.

And yet today, I am disappointed and disillusioned. The silence of these leaders is so deafening my ears hurt. I have spoken at length with many of my friends who had been active agents in civil society, following these outrageous events - not only the mutiny and overthrow of the government, but also the terrible brutality and unbelievable cruelty of the police on 8 February. I could empathize with many of them who claimed that they were not prepared or equipped to respond as well as they'd like, I could also understand that they were being ignored and sidelined by most of the media channels who are controlled by the opposition. But I cannot understand not doing anything. I cannot accept that they who had been so vocal about transparency and anti-corruption and human rights and democracy and this and that - those who claimed were such staunch defenders of these principles and values, and hence such a threat to the opposition and corrupt police that their phones were recorded and emails were intercepted... I cannot fathom why they are silent now! What will you tell your grandkids - your country called for you this day, but you could not muster up the courage or the will?

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. ~Confucius

This is your time civil society, this is your moment, this is when the country and her people need you the most. You can save the dolphins in these waters, you can call for an end to corruption in the parliament, you can protest against torture in jails, you can have a walk against domestic violence and a dinner night for drug abuse awareness and an exhibition to highlight child abuse... AFTER you save this country and her people from the clutches of total chaos, anarchy and selfdestruction, from the the verge of civil war and utter lawlessness! You can work for your causes, which I myself strongly support, AFTER you do what the society, what the Maldivians, expect you to do. And that is simple. Everyone knows and accepts, clear as day, that this was an overthrow, and that it cannot be right. Brutality and violence against unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest cannot be right. Vandalism of public property, whoever is responsible for it, cannot be right. Losing confidence in the law enforcement institutions, as well as abuse of power by the authorities, cannot be right. Say something, do something, do what is right.

 I do not expect civil society to take sides, I do not expect them to reiterate President Nasheed's views or MDP's opinions or this illegitimate government's rhetoric. I want to hear their voice, their independent objective word. I hear nothing, and that breaks my heart. The people decided who was to lead them, and now he is their leader no more. Now it is time to find out what the people want again. Civil society should be concerned, should strive in their fullest capacity to enable the people's voice to be heard. I am not saying it is possible to have an election in the next two months. I am saying civil society should atleast press for a timeline. We cannot and should not continue with this atrocity until elections in 2013. I have frequently seen certain faces from the civil society in the media spotlight over the past couple of years. Where are they now? Wake up and say something, do something. If you look away and give a cold shoulder, if you ignore the pleas of this country and her people when they need you the most, you have NO right whatsoever to say anything about anybody's right in the future, and you will have lost your credibility and integrity in the people's eyes.

One of my friends from the civil society reassured me that they will be voicing their views in the near future, but I can understand one voice might not amount to much in the crazy cacophony at the moment. But they important thing is that they would have done what is right, and not compromised their intregrity. I guess a sense of right and civil society's duty and role in society is not entirely forgotten. Sadly such passion and courage seem to be rare these days, and half the population sits back passively hoping for someone to come and put things right, like a bunch of ostriches with their heads in the sand, while the other half are arming themselves mentally and physically for the biggest political battle this country has ever seen.

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Ps- Right now, I am going to join the peaceful protest starting in a few minutes at Thinbaaru point, not because I am hardcore yellow, not because I hate police, not because I have any personal grievance with Dr. Waheed... but because I cannot sit back and do nothing against the trampling of the people's will and their rights, because I want to take my stand against police brutality and cruelty and injustice, because I believe this was a blatantly obvious  coup engineered by a plot among corrupt forces, because I want them to be brought to justice, and most importantly because I believe doing nothing is just as well as siding with the wrong and getting my own hands soiled with the blood of my fellow Dhivehin.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On a different note...

Political stuff:

I've been so preoccupied with the political developments in the country that I haven't been able to blog about anything besides the sad things we are witnessing everyday since the coup on 7 February. I reiterate my firm belief that the democratically elected government of President Nasheed was overthrown by force through a plot between the opposition coalition and mutinous factions of the police and defense force who had been misled by corrupt officials and merchants and their thugs, and that this is utterly wrong, and that we need an election to let the people decide what they want. Ok, deep breath.

Well last night's rally in support of President Nasheed also saw a huge crowd throbbing with passion and emotion. I was most amused thinking of ballot papers. I remember the ballot paper in 2008 bearing the name Anni in brackets next to Nasheed's full name. What with all the names associated with Dr. Waheed, the Elections Commissioner will have a hard time coming up with one for the ballot paper. What's he better known as now...'fili waheed', 'baaghee waheed', 'maskaashi waheed', 'latiburi waheed', 'puppet waheed'... I've heard so many names on different occasions, I'm losing track of his titles...Poor guy. The people who pushed him into this are enjoying their 'victory' while he is made a scapegoat to bear the brunt of the people's wrath and be the butt of every joke. Also heard the new AG is busy issuing news releases promoting her twitter account, MNDF is busy denying they took bribes (and this is news why? Will they come and say they they did in fact take a load of cash and sell out their loyalty? duh), Police are busy trying not to look ridiculous in their uniforms because they have managed to lose the respect and dignity associated with the institution entirely... Sigh...

Anyway that is all the ranting I will be doing today about political stuff. I need a break for my sanity's sake. Let's move on to pleasant things. Today's supposedly the day of lovers, so where's the love people? I personally am not a fan of valentines day, since I find the crass commercialization of 'love' distasteful and superficial. That aside, I hope people are getting loved up and cuddled, superficial reasons or not, to make up for all the hate and negativity and violence in this society today. I decided to do something special for my honey by fixing him a hearty lunch. Here's what I did:

Recipe: Prawn Red Curry and Vegetable Saffron Rice

- For the rice, I just added about half a teaspoon of saffron to 4 small cups of rice, and about 200g of frozen peas, corn and carrots. I also like to add a handful of raisins and cashews. Cook rice the normal way.
- For prawn red curry, heat a tablespoonful of olive oil and add half a medium sized chopped onion and about two cloves of chopped garlic to the heated oil.
- Add a few curry leaves, pepper, and Trident Red Curry Paste. [This is vital, and its a very tasty curry paste, thank you Trident! :)]
- Add in the prawns [I bought cooked prawns from Seagull Store - 300g packet, I cooked about half]
- Coat the mixture with the prawns and stirfry for a couple of minutes.
- Add in about 300ml coconut milk and let it boil. Add few basil leaves. Also add salt to taste [husband found my curry lacking salt, since I try to minimize salt in everything... did not turn out to be a good idea today]
- Stir in veggies of your choice. Today I chose one chopped capsicum, a quarter of medium yellow bellpepper diced, same with red bellpepper, one medium tomato, handful of chopped green olives...basically I just try to sneak in as many as I can get a hold of. - To finish it off add in about 1/4 cup chopped coriander. Its easy!
- Take some time off from the turmoil and madness, and enjoy the meal with your loved ones. I feel that without a break now and then we'd all be deranged and running around like headless chicken. Losing rationality and sensibility never does anyone any good. Deep breath.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What do the people want?

People rioting in the islands, crowds gathering in neighboring countries, everyone calling to restore democracy in the Maldives... and they're busy putting together a cabinet of buffoons?? US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake was apparently convinced by the 'civil society' that the Maldives is not ready to hold a free and fair election at this time. When have we ever been more ready? The country is calling for a deciding vote, to put an end to all conflict and confusion. And if I may ask, what civil society? Where was the civil society all this time? Where was the civil society when the opposition protesters injured police and civilians and vandalized public property and plundered people's homes and business establishments? Where were they when the democractically elected government was ousted by force and the President chosen by the people was forced to resign? Our civil society is now a joke! When a bunch of people get together and call themselves 'Madhanee Itthihaad', not one organization of the civil society had the backbone to stand up and say, No you cannot call yourselves the Madhanee Itthihaad [civil society coalition] because we do not accept you thugs to represent us! That vice president of the Madhanee Itthihaad, the teacher guy Abdullah something, is all over the media speaking for the 'civil society' and NO ONE had the nerve all this time, or perhaps any sincerity, to say his views were not their own, although they claim to be poles apart in thought and ideals and principles. That is such hypocrisy. The civil society here is spineless, asleep or apathetic, Mr. Blake, and you want to get their opinion on when to have the election?

Talking about jokes, I saw that PPM MP Abdullah Abdul Raheem or is it Raheem Abdullah I dont know, the perpetually annoying one who constantly appears to be chewing beetlenut from the side of his mouth...anyway, he was on media saying that they had protested for 22 days without causing any injury to people or any damage to public or private property. I was sitting with my mouth agape, wondering if I was hearing things right. The media reported many incidents where they had attacked and injured law enforcement officials. We have seen them vandalizing and throwing petrol bombs into shops like Reefside and Megachip. We have seen the broken windows, the fires, the rocks they threw. Is this guy for real, or is his beetlenut mixed with some powerful hallucinogen!? This delusion was beyond ridiculous.

Mr. Blake, these photos show what the people want. They want the democracy they had voted for, they want the President they had appointed and charged with the responsibility of fulfilling his pledges, and realizing the objectives stated in his manifesto. The people want their President, not someone whose party can not even muster a membership of 3000 or win a single seat in the parliament. The international community says vaguely, it is the Maldivians who must decide. All good and well! Let us decide then! Urge for an election now, and the Maldivians will speak with their vote.
Ps- I am sitting in an empty house and missing my new family. I wish I'd gotten more time to get to know them better! I blame the 'baaghees' for ruining my honeymoon, my vacation, my time with my honey's family, well basically, I am fuming about everything. Now better take a cold shower and fix up some lunch. Adios people!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lies, lies, lies... election!

I just watched a press conference of the new President of the illegtimitate government with foreign media. Smooth words, smooth gestures, and I must say smooth suit. But that doesnt fool anyone. In order to convince them that there absolutely was 'no plan, no plot' to overthrow the government of Mohamed Nasheed, he went to the extent of saying 'see how unprepared we are. We don't have a communication strategy. We dont have the people'... EXACTLY! Maybe it just goes to show your sheer incapability, and discord among the mutinous coalition (because everyone wants a bigger piece of the pie I believe) and that there is no one to serve you because you don't have the people's hearts, their love and support and admiration! There will be no peace, no contentment, no fulfillment in your 'triumph'. As Montesqueu says, "An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war". With a poker face he says, we have no political prisoners. No political prisoners!? Many people have been arrested all over the country, especially in densely populated islands like Thinadhoo and the islands of Addu Atoll, where support for Nasheed has been strong and protesters have raged against the police stationed there.

Maldivians, especially the youth, need to take note of whats at stake here, and stand up for what is right. I shall pepper in another of Montesqueu's quotes, "The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy". There is no room for apathy here, no space for passive inaction. People need to be proactive, take initiative, and take charge of their country. Take back what is ours from the clutches of the few corrupt merchants and their thugs who are pulling the strings. A handful of people have taken over by force, and we cannot sit in apathy, and look away. To quote Martin Luther King Jr, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent".

Nobody else will step in and do it for us. We have to speak and stand up for what is right and true. What is the purpose of power, when you have neither respect nor love? What good are your weapons and your police and your military when you alienate and lock up and drive away the people? Is there a country without the people? When one takes into account the crowd that took to the streets on 8 February on the impromptu march without any prior planning or notice whatsoever, one can see who has the public support and who they think is in the right. Friends of mine who have been politically neutral are siding with President Nasheed in this instance because they too can see that this was mutiny, this was a blatant coup! How can there be a new government without an election, or an overthrow? It has to be one of these two. Why would such a popular president resign without cause? The international community needs to look into this, to safeguard the democracy that they so staunchly promote and defend. Why is Waheed's government so reluctant to have an election now? To put all fears to rest, to calm down everyone with a clear and deciding vote and put an end to all sorts of allegations, why not? He stated today that he will not have an election any time before the presidential election to be heldin 2013. That is fear I tell you. They are scared because they know the people are with Nasheed. Have an election, cowards!

"The time is always right to do what is right" - Martin Luther King Jr

"To give victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary" - Abraham Lincoln

Stay tuned for updates :) Hopefully I shall have something more cheerful to write about... and if not there's always my ranting... Ps- I have just moved to my honey's place, and because I am always lousy with moving, I have only brought along ONE pair of shoes and ONE bag...and I have managed to sail through a week without bothering about it. I always knew I wasn't such a diva! :D

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good going, mutinous traitors!

I guess you are all very proud of yourselves today, you in your shiny shoes and polished shields and bloodsoaked batons and uniforms stained with the blood of innocent, unarmed civilians.

Yes I am talking to you, traitors to this beloved country, to this longsuffering people, to the constitution which (ah the hypocrisy) you claimed to defend when you sided with the conspirators of this mutiny , the principles and ideals of democracy which the people had fought, bled and died for, and even basic humanity and decency.

I'm sure you are very proud of yourselves. You managed to arrest couple of hundred people who had been calling on you to do the right thing, you managed to beat up several of them badly, even kicking them while they were unconscious (didnt think they'd get that on camera did ya), and in a show of your wonderful skills, even managed to get 30 people admitted in the ICU! Now pat yourselves on the back and puff out your chests and feel really good about yourselves. Hooray, you have now succeeded in winning the loathing, derision, repulsion and total disdain by the public for your institution. As an added bonus you have also succeeded in ensuring the public's utter lack of faith and confidence in your loyalty and allegiance to the oath which you took swearing to protect this country, its rulers and its citizens. Aren't you just oozing with self esteem and feelings of achievement now?

I guess we can leave it to the photos and the video footage, some of it captured by the international media, to do the talking for you. I bet those puppet masters are throwing their loyal hounds pretty tasty bones. Perhaps the bones are juicy enough to forget that you are servants of the people!! We are your masters! You are here to 'protect and serve' us the people, never forget that. You might have the tear gas, the pepper spray, the batons, the stun guns...they can only injure and hurt and stab and kill so much...we shall rise again, and once we are burnt we shall rise again... because we are not driven by hunger for power or wealth or false promises made by conspiring merchants, we are driven by love for the country, and commitment to the right and the truth. People power will prevail, know that and do not bask in your arrogance ignorant of the power of the passionate masses.

The 'new government' is illegitimate. The international community will be turning a blind eye to the Maldives when the country and her people need its support the most, if they do not take note, if they do not call to restore the legitimate government to power, if they do not urge for the traitors and the mutinous factions of the police and the defense force to be brought to justice, if they do not step in and stop these aggressions against unarmed civilians whose crime is only standing up for the democratic government they had fought for and won after decades of struggle and pain. Do not forget the Maldives and her cry for help. You have taken pleasure in our serene beaches, enjoyed the languid waves lapping at your feet, felt the welcome of our warm hospitality, seen our genuine smiles, you have seen our tranquil paradise. Do not let tyranny prevail over justice, do not let greed and corruption triumph over the right and the truth.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dark Days in Maldivian History

Yesterday, a democratically elected government, a government voted for and endorsed by the people, was ousted by a mutinous faction of the police and military that sided with the opposition. The President was forced at gunpoint to resign, and as he spoke those words, eyes across the country shed tears, hearts bled, hopes died. 7th February 2012 will go down in history as a day of betrayal, mutiny, treason and above all,a day when the people's will was not only ignored, but trampled upon and shred to smithereens.

The respect I used to have for our law enforcement, gone. The admiration I had for the service of the armed forces, gone. The trust I had that the police will protect me and my loved ones, and that this society was a safe place to live freely, gone. I can not see them as anything more than brutal thugs, and it hurts me to say this but I can never regard someone in uniform the same way again. Thugs in uniforms, who use their batons and pepper spray and tear gas against unarmed civilians. Thugs in uniforms, who in the name of 'defending and upholding the constitution' are using brute, unrestrained force on the civilians they had sworn to protect. I guess they are still within the tenets of the constitution even when they are breaking their oaths and beat civilians to death and drag a former president on the street like a common criminal.

Facts will be facts. The government led by Nasheed had let these opposition protesters freely gather and protest, as baseless as their claims were, even as they were hurling all sorts of verbal filth, vandalizing property and what not, for 22 days! for 22 days, and nobody ended up in the ICU. When former president maumoon stepped down following the defeat in the 2008 election, nobody laid a finger on him. During the 23 December protest and the series of protests that followed, none of the other political leaders of the political opposition were harmed either. In one day of this new government, we already have seen how 'decently' and 'humanely' people are treated, and how well peace has been restored. It is all well and good to address the media in press conferences in 'freshly pressed' suits as BBC had reported, but it is another matter when none of these smooth words (probably spoonfed by one of the puppet masters holding his strings) tie up with the actions. Sad thing is, when all this was happening, 3 of the tv channels were sleeping! Where are the institutions that were apparently so crucial to uphold democracy?? Where were they when the legitimate government was ousted by force? Supposedly the Human Rights Commission had expressed concern regarding the violence today. Then do something I say. The Police Integrity Commission is urging the police to practice restraint. Do something! You think they will listen? They have to be brought to justice, they have to face repurcussions of their actions, they have to be punished for blatant cruelty and abuse! The fact that the police claimed to be upholding and defending the constitution when they sided with the opposition i such a ridiculous joke! Ask the 30 people in ICU at the moment, or the 200 in jail, all within 24 hours of the 'new government'. Democracy in deed!

Yesterday, the police and military stormed into the state broadcaster MNBC's station. Who had the authority to change its name to TVM? Who had given a broadcasting license to TVM when it was airing in the morning? Where was the Human Rights Commission - why were they not concerned about the rights of the staff at MNBC who were emotionally traumatized? Where was the Broadcasting Commission? Where was the famous Journalists Association? Hirigaa Zahir was present at the President's resignation press conference, so perhaps he was a bit too occupied to be bothered about calling for the rights of these journalists and MNBC staff. Or maybe their concern only extends to journalists of certain private media? After all a lady reporter from Rajje TV was physically assaulted in front of many people by an MP (the one who permanently looks unwashed and badly in need of a deo), and there was no big fuss about that. Today the cables of Rajje TV were cut off by none other than the police, during the live coverage of the protest by supporters of former president Nasheed. By the Police! The police had smashed a window of MNBC, the police had burnt and destroyed and locked up the meeting place of MDP, a party of 50,000 people in a country of just over 300,000. Where are these people concerned about freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, rights of the media, this right, that right!?? There are no rights, only batons and tear gas and pepper spray! That is the image we have of our uniformed thugs and hounds now.

This was a coup d' etat. Clear and Simple. This is what we call baghaavaaiy. If I dont post here again, that should also come as no big surprise. This is the day of brute force and blatant disregard for rights or human decency, of the constitution of rule of law, basically of all the things we used to hold dear in this society. Who knows where we shall end up? People have been dragged out of cafes and beaten, stopped on the streets and beaten, cornered like hunted prey and beaten... so I might as well end up suffering the same for voicing my thoughts, in this so-called free democracy. You could perhaps try look for me in dhoonidhoo :P

Stay safe, and remember this day. Remember to tell your kids of this history. The day that the police and the military killed democracy. The day that the public opinion was silenced, and the independent commissions went into a coma. The day that women and elderly were mercilessly beaten with batons by the people who had sworn to protect them. The day that hope and freedom left this sad, miserable country plundered by goons and thugs and their greedy, corrupt masters.