Labor Rights & Sexual Harassment; Enough Is Enough

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This is a post that I have been meaning to write for quite a while. But I kept on hesitating for a lot of reasons. For one thing, its a sensitive subject in many ways. After all I am about to talk on the case of sexual harassment that was filed against the Chair of the Civil Service Commission Mr. Mohamed Fahmy Hassan during June last year. Furthermore, I am an employee of the said commission, which made it difficult for me to come out and say all that I wanted to say without “violating” any unwritten rules there might exist. And then there’s the point that this is an issue that deals with a colleague of mine who was so very brave in standing up for her rights from the many women who have faced similar situations of sexual harassment but never having had the sort of support required to come out, had stayed silent all throughout the years; a topic that is still brushed under the carpet most of the time. And then there’s the part of me that believed in the due process taking care of Fahmy, him being voted out in a no confidence motion against him which indeed did happen, but then I guess I should have known better than to believe in a system that has failed on us on so many levels.

I believe that I coincidentally got “involved” in this situation because the Almighty wanted someone whose conscience wouldn’t let her stay silent on this as many seem content to do so. The big fish i.e. the political figures at the forefront are more concerned with the political gain this situation would bring their way or the loss they would face if Fahmy were to be removed from the position of CSC Chair because it would mean power lost at the Judicial Service Commission itself. On top of that Maldivians are a bunch who have become desensitized in so many ways that it just shakes me to my very core to learn about some of the very pressing social issues that this country faces, many of which go unaddressed which is going to be the reason for the imminent collapse of this nation as a whole.

Though I’ve heard many accounts from my fellow colleagues of incidences where Fahmy has more than acted inappropriately towards them, its not my story to tell. Since I don’t hold any power over any of them coming forward with their stories, which I believe if they had or do even now would have changed this whole scenario from what it is right now, i.e. Fahmy finding it so easy to return back to work as he pleases even after being voted out by the Parliament twice. I am not going to talk about those incidences but rather the one “small” incident that marked him in mind as a man unfit to be in a position as such, a position that oversees the rights of around 20+ thousand employees of this country.

It was in the year 2008, when members were first appointed to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and discussions were being held at different levels between the Public Service Division (PSD) of The President’s Office where I worked back then and the newly formed CSC under the Civil Service Act. That day was actually the very first day that I met Mr. Fahmy, who back then was just a member of the Commission. Since myself and a Director General were the focal points assigned to streamline the process of transferring the designated tasks from the PSD to CSC; I found myself at this meeting with Mr. Fahmy sitting right next to me.

I will deviate now into a little history lesson where I am concerned, just to lay out the background of my career. I was employed at the PSD in the year 2001 and went off for my higher studies in 2002. After returning to work in 2006, I had been working for around 2-3 years in the government by the time this meeting was to happen. Even then, verbal sexual harassment was commonplace, most people I don’t think even realized what they were doing because simply put there were no regulations or laws in place that protects an employee from any such incidences that they might encounter. Nevertheless, I had never been on the receiving end of such remarks from any of my coworkers, mainly maybe because I am someone who tends to keep to myself. The point that I want to drive home is that up until then I had never found myself in a situation even remotely like the incident that took place in that meeting. There was this point where everyone was fake laughing as if one of the members present at the meeting had just revealed the most hilarious joke in history and Fahmy while laughing, casually placed his left hand on my thigh as we were sitting right next to each other.

Maybe because my brain didn’t register at that moment what had actually taken place, I didn’t say anything then. It wasn’t until we walked out of the meeting and the Director General who was with me remarked angrily on Fahmy’s behavior that I realized what had happened. For those who think that, “Oh bullocks! It was just your thigh; what does it even matter? I’m sure it must have happened by accident.” etc. etc. the point that is of importance here is the fact that 1- he is a member of CSC, 2- there is no need for any form of inappropriate touching on anyone’s body part at work, and I am not talking about two people who get touchy-feely because they want to and out of mutual consent and 3- yes, it was way out of line and completely inappropriate. If the point of working in a mixed environment is to fall laughing into the lap of every employee of the opposite sex that sits next to you; oh well, then we would be better off with engaging in an orgy than turning up at work.

From that day onwards, I have always been leery of Fahmy; someone who cracks jokes that doesn’t bring a smile out of me because most of the time it is sexist in one way or the other and mostly I just had an inherent distrust for the man himself. I am certain some people are going to be clearly pissed off at me for writing this but then, high time don’t you think?

When the incident that propelled Parliament to take action against Fahmy happened, it was again by accident that I found myself entering the toilet where I found my colleague on the phone, crying. This was right after THE incident had happened in which Fahmy had caressed her tummy and commented on her body weight, which is yes again, highly inappropriate and wrong on so many levels. Since I wasn’t someone that close to her, I didn’t stop and ask her why she was crying, mainly because I had the feeling that she’d rather I didn’t at that moment. But I did later message a mutual friend of ours who said that something had happened and that she had gone home. I didn’t let it bother me overly much until I began to see Facebook statuses from some of my colleagues, most of them seething with anger and disgust, some of whom had been on the receiving end of such ‘tender’ unwanted affection from him. It didn’t take long for me to put two and two together and come up with what had happened which was soon revealed to the whole country; a case that in my opinion was a long time coming.

Ever since I was summoned to the Independent Institutions Committee of the Parliament regarding this issue because my name appeared in the timeline of events that took place that day, I have never looked back. My family and especially my father advised me that standing up for what’s right can never be wrong and that’s where I always find my source of strength whenever I find myself in despair over how casually people treat this incident and whether I should be worried about the fact that I cannot let this go. I was appalled at the level of apathy that most of the colleagues displayed. Some were disgusted because the one who stood up was ruining CSC’s image, others were of the mindset that she shouldn’t have made such a HUGE fuss and then there were those who thought and still thinks that Fahmy sports two wings and a halo over his head.

I was summoned to the Maldives Police Service as well as the Human Rights Commission (HRCM) to provide testimonies on what had happened, the HRCM being the agency that actually did the most thorough interviews to-date after being “harassed” by reporters as to why their investigation was being stalled for so long. They collected so many testimonies from different employees and thus it was a slap on the face to read their decision that there investigation hadn’t been enough to prove or disprove that the incident in question had happened; and this too rather helpfully right before the Parliament was to vote Fahmy out after giving him a grace period in which to resign and exit without making a fuss. But as the events that unfolded have shown, he didn’t, not surprising when he actually doesn’t believe that he did anything wrong!

November 20, 2012 was a day that I was proud of the members of the Parliament, a rare enough occurrence that deserves a mention. PPM was the only party that voted against the motion; not surprising when Fahmy is one of the founding members of the People’s Alliance registered as a political party on August 4, 2008, whose former leader is Abdulla Yameen, PPM’s current Presidential candidate. If you ask me, Fahmy deserves a thousand times worse than being voted out of his position for abusing his position of authority a million times over. If someone were to really probe into what happened; even write an investigative journalistic piece on him, they would find a lot of details that would really put this whole nation staying silent on this issue to shame. The relief felt by that those who believed he had done something wrong was short-lived as the tables once again turned around when on March 18, 2013, the Supreme Court totally proved themselves to be the hypocritical bunch they are and overturned the case of Parliament’s dismissal of the Chair of CSC. Thus began the “war” between the Parliament and the Supreme Court of the country. March 23, 2013 saw Fahmy resume office and later, on April 10, 2013, Fahmy was again voted out, this time the Parliament voting to replace Fahmy as a member of CSC. The bitch slap in the face was to hear that he had resumed coming to work again last week, a news that brought to home just how utterly shameless he really is.

So today, out of my frustration with everyone who was keeping silent and furthermore rallying behind him, for the very first time in my life, I joined the May Day rally (this is the first rally/protest that I have ever joined ever) which was organized by MDP. The last push needed came mainly with the news that the walk organized by CSC to commemorate CS day which coincides with Labor Day was led by Fahmy himself, a walk that was supposedly about the rights of the civil servants of this country. But what better way to mock the rights of the said employees than to let a man like himself lead the rally? But alas, no one seems that bothered about “trivial” issues such as this one. And whether you believe in coincidences or not, I was the one who ended up holding up the placard that says “Fahumy…OUT” (that’s a shot of myself holding the banner right after the rally ended) which if you think about it, is funny in one sense and then again exactly the point I want to drive across. The disappointing factor about the rally was that there was no chance to really vocally call out for his resignation and I think the rally was more focused on the upcoming elections than about labor rights apart from the short speeches that were delivered at the end. In the end I had to satisfy myself with the fact that at least MDP’s rally provided me with an opportunity to become more proactive in a cause that I believe in and helped me at least put the message across to those who have already forgotten.

Consequences for writing this post and participating in the rally is something I anticipate, but if anyone were to take steps against me because I stood up for something I believe in and wrote about the truth and nothing but the truth here, then Fahmy ought to go first. I’m willing to walk away from the position I hold at CSC because its an utter disappointment to work with people who actually have no qualms about him returning to work and resuming office like nothing ever happened. Its as if he went on a short leave of absence and returned to work. It shamed me to see my colleagues walk behind him and rally behind him today, holding up banners that called out for the rights of civil servants. But then again, I guess I shouldn’t expect a desensitized society to really care about the other person and truly empathize, because after all we are the people who would rather watch on a person being beaten to death than move in to help. We are after all the society that kept looking while police brutality rained down from left and right. Says it all doesn’t it?

If women want equal rights at the workplace and to be able to report to work without the fear of falling prey to some perverted male employee who isn’t getting enough; then its time to become proactive. I’m glad that MP Rozaina has put forward the Sexual Harassment Bill which is a direct effect of what happened with Fahmy playing peekaboo with the Parliament’s decision. I call out on women to stand up for your rights. Do what’s right. Doing what’s right now means you ensure the security and future of your own children who would tomorrow lead this nation. Nightmares wouldn’t be the only thing that would visit you when your own child grows up and walks out into a world filled with sexual predators left unchecked; and that’s the legacy you would leave behind if you don’t act now. If no one acts now, whatever leverage that we have on this issue will just disappear into thin air, never to be seen or heard of ever again.

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The Simple Things In Life…

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A conversation I had yesterday at tea with two of my colleagues whom I happen to be very good friends with made my brain whirl around a bit today on those simple pleasures of life that we usually take for granted. Perhaps it is because we lead such busy lives today, always engrossed in something or the other, or maybe we have just become too ‘complacent’ with the way things are, or we have gotten too desensitized to really take a moment to think and reflect on those things that just simply makes us happy.

Our conversation bordered around about how things were when we were kids, not having the latest toy or gadget in the market at hand, but nevertheless never actually ‘wanting’ more than our parents could afford to provide for us.There were no techno gadgets to go gaga over, not much of TV channels to watch in order for us to be ‘brainwashed’ into wanting and yearning for those things that were, simply put, out of reach back then unless of course your parents or family were super loaded.

Its the norm today to see parents go out on a limb to provide their children with all sorts of the latest gadgets and whatnot because at this day and age, a kid without those things in hand is one dare I say left out of the group of the “in kids”? I watch in awe these days when parents get their kids ready to go to school each year. Of course, every parent wants to provide the best of what they are able to for their children, but then I still think people take things a bit overboard, maybe more to do with ‘peer pressure’ than anything else. It has to be a certain type of bag that should be taken to school, a “theme” to which the book covers should be prepared and the list goes on. I remember a time when plain brown paper and a roll of cellophane got the job done, but then I guess I am just “ancient” in the way I think.

Back when I grew up, we tended to not get fussy when we wanted something that was way out of the price range of affordable goods. I don’t remember (maybe my memory is faulty here), about pestering my parents to buy me something just because one of the kids whose parents were lucky and able enough to afford it tended to have it. But it is quite the norm today to see kids throw tantrums of gigantic proportions because their parents have the gumption to say that at the moment buying the latest version of the iPad is not feasible when the child already has a vestige of such articles at his or her disposal.

Sometimes I think that the more you tend to ‘have’, the more jaded and dissatisfied your soul becomes. How on Earth is one to treasure, savor and take pleasure in what he has when the next thing he fancies comes into his possession without much ado? It is when one learns to be content with what one has that the art of appreciating and taking pleasure and happiness in what one has becomes the norm.

I still remember bits and pieces of my childhood with the fondest of memories. The earliest memories of myself as a child is one where I played on this little ‘hill’ of white sand at home, mostly some toys of the construction variety (I tended to be a bit of a tomboy), whiling hours away, engrossed with doing whatever it was that fascinated me about it in the first place.

bikeClose at heel comes the memories of taking walks early in the morning. I am someone who used to go on long walks, all by myself, back in an ‘era’ when drug addicts and all sorts of junkies high on the latest drug didn’t crowd the streets and made walking alone on the roads a living nightmare. Neither were the streets of Male’ that crowded with vehicles and let me not forget, people who sometimes makes the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other on the overcrowded streets something of a challenge today.

Next comes the memories of my dad trying to teach me how to ride a bicycle. I still break into smiles when I recall how he used to get a little impatient with me because as soon as I saw something or someone coming my way, my bike refused to head in any other direction apart from what was coming or standing in my way. Needless to say, bike riding was something I barely mastered and in spite of that, sometimes I wish to go bicycle riding in the wee hours of the morning even now.

And last but not the least comes the memories of how my love affair with reading began. I used to and still lose myself in the pages of a book for hours, now it should be the digital pages on the iPad; such that my mom used to ‘scold’ at me for burying my nose in a book so deeply such that nothing that went around me registered on my mind. I used to practically gobble up books, reading two to three books in a day and going back to the library almost every single day to get new books to replace what I had already finished reading.

And I would be remiss if I were not to point out the delights of the simple yet filling fare that graced our dining tables then. The short eats mainly “Saatanuge gulha“, “Husnooge bajiyaa“, the “gulha” sold at Dharaage – all made by Maldivian hands I must add; and of course the “Bodu Biscoadhu” and also the very delectable “Kudhi Biscoadhu“. Oh and the “Juice Petty” and the lollies that we used to rush out to buy on blistering hot days; nothing even comes close to the feel and taste of the cold sweetness bursting into the mouth and taking away with it the thirst that begs to be quenched. And I should also mention the “Garudhiya” bowls that come from fresh fish, with everything from the liver to the “Dhon Bis” to the head of the fish that leaves a long lasting smell on the hands but nevertheless makes for very enjoyable and memorable meals. Food certainly seemed to taste better then, maybe the quality of products accounting for one of the reasons why everything used to taste better then. lollu

To fill up the idle hours playing tag, hopscotch and the infamous dodge ball games that used to amuse us kids for hours are still memories I hold dear to me. Sometimes I wonder, where kids of the current generation are going to find memories to smile upon in perhaps 30 to 40 years time. Would they have anything simple as the contentment of taking a walk early in the morning, the fun of going for bicycle rides on the roads in the wee hours of the early morning and perhaps most of all, simple Maldivian food that I still recall and taste on my tongue if I close my eyes and concentrate on it just that much harder.

I sometimes find myself ‘pitying’ kids who grow up today, their days so mired with going from one tuition class to the next, engaged in earning the highest scores in the exam, passing time engrossed in the social media that hardly teaches one how to interact with each other in society etc that just sometimes seems to hint at a society that continues to distance itself more and more from the forms of interaction that enables us to feel, empathize and perhaps become better people along the way.

Kids today, if I am being whimsical enough about it, have no time on their busy and gadget infused schedules to stop and smell the roses, point being no one takes the time teach them to take five and just simply be. The pleasure of simply being, standing still for just a couple of seconds perhaps could be the beginning of learning the art of taking pleasure in the simple things in life.

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The Empty Vessel

We calling ourselves a 100% Muslim nation is a ‘joke’ that most Maldivians don’t get. That being said, those who still believe in Islam, its tenets and the fact that it is to Allah whom we return when our short & brief journey on this Earth ends; they not practicing the religion they ‘believe’ in is the ‘joke’ that I don’t get.

This post is not intended to preach, nor does it intend to criticize anyone. It just aims to explain my bafflement with a generation that refuses to bow down to their Creator given that they do indeed believe Him to be their one and only God.

I meet a lot of people in my work life as well as my forays into the realms of the world of social networking. And no, I am not at all surprised by those who have turned to atheism and elsewhere in their attempts to apply logic, philosophy and every man-made subject matter onto the one thing that cannot be explained through any of that i.e. faith.

Faith is defined in either one of the following ways. “A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.” OR “Complete confidence in a person or plan etc” OR “An institution to express belief in a divine power.” OR “Loyalty or allegiance to a cause or a person.” I see a commonality in all of the above definitions. There is the aspect of belief, placing trust, alleging loyalty and having the confidence that something or someone won’t let you down. Trying to apply logic to faith is as good as trying to explain the hows and whys of falling in love, the emotion that even the most cynical of us have succumbed to once in our lifetime.

So that brings me to the bunch who actually believe in the faith they place in God and always quote one aspect of the religion they so firmly believe in when it comes to criticizing the other person for their behavior. The funny thing when it comes to them is the fact that these are the very people who don’t see much point in bending down to their God and Creator 5 times a day, the very people who take the one thing that differentiates us Muslims from the rest of the populace who follow a religion so lightly that they don’t even remember half the time that they are supposed to pray 5 times a day.

Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA) reported that a man asked the Prophet (SAW):  “Messenger of Allah, what action is dearest to Allah Most High?” The Prophet (SAW) replied: “Prayer at its proper time. The one who does not pray has no religion. Prayer is the main pillar of the religion (of Islam).” (Baihaqi). This Hadith alone bears witness to the importance the Prophet Muhammad PBUH placed on the 5 daily prayers we Maldivians of the Muslim faith take so lightly.

I remember vividly a part of the lecture notes in the subject Islam when I was doing my A’Levels back in 2001. There is this bit which tries to explain the concept of a person who doesn’t pray 5 times daily being like an empty vessel that is aimless and has no real beacon of hope that guides them through the murky waters of life. At that time I never pondered overly much about it. But older and perhaps a tad wiser 11 years on, I now know exactly what the phrase was intended to express. It perfectly explains so many of my friends and acquaintances. Restless, seeking all the while something to guide their way, trying to place the blame of the calamities or the difficulties in life that befall them on anything and everything but themselves for not being strong enough to stick to what a true Muslim who believes should never stray from – the 5 daily prayers that brings one closer to Allah and lets us seek from Him the contentment that we all want and hardly find in this life.

The power of prayer is a miraculous one as I have experienced time and yet again. Prayer has been the one source of contentment and peace in my life. I experienced my own little ‘miracle’ as I love to call it the one time in my life I despaired enough to understand the true meaning of being utterly and severely alone. And prayer, yes, prayer was the one thing that saved me from the deep abysmal despair I would have found myself in otherwise.

At this time and age, when a man who practices his faith, especially if it were to be Islam gets ridiculed and labeled as an extremist, it is ‘easy’ to lose one’s way from the path of the righteous, particularly easy in our case because of the lack of proper foundation knowledge we have received when it comes to Islam. I would always forever be grateful for my father for instilling a love for the religion and teaching his three daughters the essentials of Islam and trying his best to educate us and show us the right way when we were young. And even now, he is the source I turn to when confusion hits me, when people with varying ideologies bombard my thinking process from time to time and it gets all murky. I know that most of us are not lucky enough to have a father like him, but seeking out Allah’s forgiveness, his bounty and eternal love is something all believers can, must and should try for. For after all, we were placed on this Earth for one thing and one thing alone. And that is to worship Him, to bow down to Him and seek from Him in all our affairs as we walk the path of life.

I try to refrain from being “preachy” when it comes to my friends who share with me their problems in life. But if you ask any of them, the one thing I’d always remind them of is to pray and seek Allah’s help when they lose their way. Whether it be heartbreak, problems with the family, discontentment with life in general, there is no other being that can provide for His creations as He does, and yes, that is why I would always say, if you are a believer, pray, seek and ask from Allah. Always remember, it is to Him that we would all return to when our life here ends; for death is the one common destination that all living things share in this life.

The Movement, the Philosophy, the Icon & the Legend

Hard as it may be to believe for those who “hate” President Mohamed Nasheed and what he stands for, he would go down in history as the instigator of democratic change in the Maldives. Anyone who has closely monitored the struggle for people power that this nation has gone through, though it may not have seen widespread bloodshed as in most Middle Eastern countries today, there were those courageous few who dared to stand up against the dictatorship that was in reign for 30 long years. President Nasheed was the man whose spirit the regime could not break, the man who withstood each and every form of torture and overcame obstacles of all sorts that hindered his journey towards democracy, justice and freedom for the people of Maldives.

The term “Anni Zindhaabaadh” is one you would hear frequently if you have ever witnessed any of the multiple peaceful mass gatherings that have taken place in the capital Male’ after the 7th of February 2012. For me, the term which loosely translates into “Long Live Anni” makes sense in an ethereal manner such that the journey of change that Nasheed started has turned into a movement which has gathered enough momentum to sustain it through the long and hard battle that we the people have to once again fight in order to obtain the right to choose a leader through the ballot boxes and not through bullets. This momentum and movement is what must have scared the perpetrators of the coup that took place on the 7th of this month, toppling the first democratically elected leader of the country while the public watched on, most with disbelief while the rest cheered on, not even wanting to think beyond the euphoria of the moment to go to that point of realization where the gravity of what took place on that fateful day would sink in.

My personal experience was one of utter devastation. I grew up with a father who has always spoken against the many inhuman atrocities committed by Maumoon and his cronies while in power. On top of that, I have a strong sense of revulsion towards misuse of authority by anyone and thus the historic election in 2008 which saw the end of an era in the Maldives was one I wholeheartedly approved of and worked for. To see practically more than half of my work mates cheer on that day when it was announced that Mr. Nasheed would resign within the hour, something just broke inside of me and I don’t think it has healed since then. Well, lets just say that the whole day after his resignation was a blur of mixed emotions, a deep sorrow that was barely kept in place because of the support of family members and friends on social networks who believed that democracy and people power should rein supremacy over mutinying armed forces and the influence of the rich and corrupt in the society.

But what the then opposition must have once again underestimated is the power of the sheer determination of the one man whose vision of a democratic Maldives was what forever changed the face of Maldivian politics. February 8th showed the overwhelming support that Mr. Nasheed has behind him, the sheer number of people who took to the streets on a peaceful walk outnumbering any mass gathering that had taken place as a political rally in the Maldivian history till then. And I would say it was that sheer number alone that triggered the act of violence by the police towards unarmed civilians, which then set off the events of unrest and violence throughout the country, a blame which the Maldivian Police Service to this day tries to shove on the head of the Maldivian Democratic Party. But regardless of the scare tactics employed by the Star Force of the Police Service to ensure that video footage of their inhuman acts would be far and few in between, the rare video clips that have surfaced tells a story on its own.

Rather than hindering the momentum of people’s outcry against the coup, the sheer scale of brutality shown by the Police in itself increased the number of supporters for the ousted leader, perhaps the biggest mistake that Dr. Waheed’s government made since he took over being never once acknowledging or apologizing to the public for the events that took place on the 8th of February.

What Dr. Waheed and his partners must know beyond a shadow of doubt is that a man who has even for once tasted the sweetness of freedom would never revert back to slavery and accept it as his due without giving the fight of his life. Multiply that with the number of people in this country who do not want to see a corrupt and inept judiciary, who do not want to hear tales of police brutality and who want to exercise their right to choose their own leader and you get the biggest movement in the Maldives to-date fighting for their rights as the citizens of this country.

In my opinion, President Nasheed would go down in Maldivian history as the icon behind the freedom movement and would remain as the legend who even now remains undeterred in his fight towards gaining the rights of the Maldivian people against those who are power hungry enough to use every weapon available at their disposal. The philosophy of a Maldives where people have their due rights as per the Constitution would continue to fuel the movement that today seems unstoppable, that gains strength even as I write this and would continue on until the government relents and gives an early election date which would be for once a step taken in the right direction since Dr. Waheed took over.

Long live democracy. May the legend of a single man’s fight to gain the rights of his people live on, the movement never slow down and the philosophy of the due rights of the people of this country create the momentum that would in the near future give the people the justice that they deserve!

Compassionate, Are They?

I have always held the view that nursing is a profession that is held by women and men who are compassionate to a fault with their patients. I have had it up here in my head that they perform one of the most praise worthy duties in life i.e. take care of us when we are at our most vulnerable state.

However, recently when I had to be at the hospital for a couple of days I have realized that the word compassion has to take on a new meaning if it is to be applied to the nurses working at our hospitals. I have always noticed that Indian nurses who work in the Maldives tend to be bitches, well most of them anyway and I have always had the opinion that this must be because we aren’t really of their blood and culture so who are we to receive their compassion and care eh? But then to my ultimate horror I have come to know that most Maldivian nurses aren’t that better off. I was with a patient admitted to the surgical ward, and I guess anyone would realize just how much care patients at such a ward would require without me laying it out for them. I found that people who didn’t have attendants either family or friends to be with them had a really hard time at the ward. With the nurse station just within hearing distance from the beds, nurses tended to ignore those who didn’t have the guts to go up to them and give them a piece of their mind. And to hear the pain that the patients are in just broke my heart bit by bit. No nurse saw it fit to come to the patient and show him a bit of care and compassion that eases our minds when we are sick.

It made me sick to the bone to identify this trait and wondered what had happened to the current generation of nurses that have come out. Are they being bred from a factory where they are automatically wired to just do the bare minimum to earn their paychecks at the end of each month and just leave everything else  be? I have heard my mother talk about nurses who cared for her when she underwent labor to bear each of us, and she always talked about gentle touches on the forehead, quiet words of encouragement etc. which I guess was one of the reasons why my head has been up in the clouds for quite a number of years. To the contrary, one of my colleagues who gave birth around a month back had a different story to report. Nurses were callous to the point of being rude and a time where a woman needs encouragement from her fellow beings, she found it to be something straight out of a badly plotted horror movie which tends to leave your mouth with a bad taste once you have seen it.

Right after the IGMH surgical ward experience, I flew to Bangalore and there I experienced first hand how nurses should really be. They were considerate, kind and caring while effectively giving the care necessary for the patient’s survival even when at times the patient may not really be of the most gracious behavior.

I believe that compassion and care should go hand in hand and urge people of the nursing profession in our country to give compassion a whirl sometime. They might just gain a bit of satisfaction of a job well done and received to go along with the paycheck at the end of the month.