Aug 27, 2014

A Mind Disturbed

Here is my first ever Sonnet, trying to explain a disturbed mind and its screaming thoughts that is swirling in and out, causing abstracted waves within the head. It was difficult to keep the count of syllables and rhyme the words that are meant to give the meaning to each carefully written line. Somehow I managed to scale it to the standards. I hope it do me justice!

A Mind Disturbed

Hasan A. Hilmy

A mind puzzled by distortions around,
To extreme patters like vast stars when burst.
It spins abstracted in squares, all around;
Like a wild beast dying of utmost thirst.

Thoughts spin like a large spiral galaxy.
Words mixed up, locked in the back of the mind.
Life swings like stones defying gravity,
Carried around the world by the north wind.

Will you revive the memories so fond,
Laid on a bed of undying roses?
Will you thrive to bring back the divine bond,
Before this disturbed mind ride six horses?

Upon dreams beyond imagination,
The restless mind awaits your affection.

Feb 12, 2014

Queen of ‘Al-qasru Hasuna’

Queen of ‘Al-qasru Hasuna’

Hasan A. Hilmy

I must thrive to utter, words spinning in my mind
Oh Your Majesty, Queen of ‘Al-qasru Hasuna’
Listen to the words meant for eternity
Lay to rest our restless hearts so gently
Oh Your Majesty, Queen of ‘Al-qasru Hasuna’

I shall keep you warm, away from the cold outside
Come to my castle, my soulful Queen
Hold my hand and trust the grip
Walk with me in an endless trip
Come to my castle, my soulful Queen

I would let no harm, overcome the warmth inside
Come home Your Majesty, to the castle of love
Built over a lucid land of dreams,
Encircled by flowing hope in streams,
Come home Your Majesty, to the castle of love

I will reveal ceilings of roses, and floors full of pride
Come to this castle and call it home
Paint her with eternal faith
Name her after your favorite date
Come to this castle and call it home

We shall bring home life, and stay side by side
Come Your Majesty, Queen of ‘Al-qasru Hasuna’
Command the doors and it opens
Guarded by strong faith, unbroken
Come Your Majesty, Queen of ‘Al-qasru Hasuna’

Jan 25, 2014

Drifting through the stars

Drifting through the stars

By: Hasan A. Hilmy

Looking at the Milky Way, I know I am far, 
far from the high way, I left and you are.
I, for once should have known, the ride and the drift,
cause by what you have shown, be no voyage so swift.

Now that I could touch the dazzling stars you gaze,
should I paint a nebular without the scars of your face?
With a stargazer shining through your hair,
that waves across the universe blown by air.

My senses frozen, my soul feather light,
I feel slow motion, swimming in aurora at night.
Gently thinking, how shall I do it right
to rise knowing, I am your white knight.

When all the black holes vanish or die,
should I unfreeze my senses and fly,
to earth you never said me goodbye,
and show you what I painted in the sky.

Nov 5, 2013

Respect & Understanding: The missing ingredient to build a civilized society in #Maldives

An angry protestor
Democracy, justice, human rights, freedom, people and good governance has no practical meanings now. It all seems like an illusion, or it actually is. People have been tangled from their lives with its power. Carried away by the delusiveness, people tend to forget their values and principles. The greater illusion, all systems combines, cost the greater values of human beings perhaps.

Few years ago in Maldives, it was an absolute shame to defame even someone you hate the most. But now it has become a fashion where people actually compete presenting the shame in the filthiest way possible. From social media to mainstream, from coffee tables to large forums - the common words exchanged are filth and bogus. Unaware of the consequences, our society is drifting away from human ethics, and towards debris of enmity.

All because of political extremism, are we compromising good will and love for each other?

Our society failed to promote values and principles because we are too busy promoting ideas and one’s dream. Therefore we lack good values such as ‘respect’ and ‘understanding’. Democracy and political activism we seek today can never be constructive without these values. So isn’t this like pissing into the wind?

Where did we go wrong I don’t wonder, but I would rather wander around history to know why.

We have always been a very submissive community ready to comfort the authorities; modestly obedient and passive, except for very few rebellious people by nature. Until very recently, we bought every tip by the authorities. We were fed to design our mindset towards then the existing system - where one dictates just anything and everything; from our nutrition to education, from our fitness to tidiness. Then we were suppressed and coached on conformity.

When things began to change in this community, it was by a wave of vengeance, hatred and extreme revolt.

Since our mind was submissive, we tend to submit our minds to most appealing ideas that came along with the wave, or rather floated over the smoke. People who had agendas began nonstop advertisements of those. We were all distracted from our daily lives. Those who buy an idea, they only hear, see or speak of it. There was no idea which was built upon respect and understanding. They were all built over personal vendetta and hunger for power and fortune.

Be not surprise to see rats in large groups following the Pied Piper to sea, or marionettes more than the spectators dancing to their masters. They are all victims of their own actions and judgments.

Our only hope could be the next generation. We need to nourish their soft minds with great values and principals advertised in Islam – guide them towards building a civilized society where everyone understands the importance or respect, and respect the understanding of each other.

May 21, 2013

An open letter to all the politicians

Dear politicians,

I am a concern ordinary citizen of the country you are all play-makers of. Please give this note a though as you get on your mark and get ready for the presidential race.

We are living in a nation where the most corrupt is most powerful, most violent is most influential, most vulgar is most respected. We are living in a nation where justice is unjust and just a joke, where criminals stay beyond the law and victims left in agony. We are living in a nation where respect and understanding is long gone and insulting and enmity are ruling our thoughts. We are living in a nation where basic needs are sold for votes and votes sold for bread, and monkeys in human form get elected as our representatives. We are living in a nation where infanticides are too often, and those born raped by father and the system flogs the child. We are living in a nation where income is just a small amount of what has to be spent just to stay alive. We are living in a nation where basically everything is screwed up, chaos instruct the next move, policies and regulation doesn’t go along, and where the system is totally failed.

You may already know this, you may have already addressed these issues and maybe you will speak of these often again. Sometimes you know deep inside you are fooling us all and yes, you are winning.

But if you are really concerned about glory for people, then do something to change this. We people need proper civic education and understand our roles and responsibilities in a democracy.

Democracy doesn't give the right to anyone to defame the other, utter filth in public or damage public properties. Democracy doesn't force anyone to deny shaking-hands or greet one another. Democracy as I know is an excellent principal taught to us by our prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself as “Wa’annahum baina shu’oorahum”, and gives us a satisfactory framework to gain many rights and seek justice, peace and freedom.

I have given many thoughts about why everyone of you speaks like an angel but acts like a devil’s advocate. I have not yet succeeded finding an answer as all I see is deliberate ignorance from you, making our lives harder in the name of different ‘ideas’. But I don’t give up hope, for I know Allah will enlighten your hearts and bestow his blessing upon those who are true to his cause, and destroy those against.

My message is simple; please don’t fool us for fools can be more harmful as enemies. Create a just environment for us and those to come. Reconstruct the fractured structures and fix the system. By then you can claim yourself smart knowing that you are winning a true heart, not a fools heart.

I shall write to you again, soon, with more concerns.

Best regards.

Hasan A. Hilmy
(A concerned citizen)

Dec 31, 2012

My year 2012

I had my days after my studies when the year began. I was enjoying the gentle sound of the waves at Raalhugandhu, Male’ when the clock turned 00:00 on 1st January 2012. I was preparing my mind to my 2012 resolution, “Settlement”.

Began reporting

I attended my dissertation assessment few days after the New Year, in Colombo. It was then, the protests broke out in Male’ following the arrest of Criminal Court Judge. I returned to Male’ during the most chaotic days Maldives ever witnessed.

I believed it was my responsibility as a fresh journalist to take part in the reporting, since it was government controlled media and opposition run media all around.

I had no affiliation with any local media then. But ‘DhiIslam’ showed their interest and I volunteered to report the protests for them. Maybe for the first time in Maldives, I had LIVE tweetcasted more than 12 of the 21 continuous protests that occurred after 16th January.

It was one of my most challenging days when I had just returned as a journalist, seeking a platform to report my stories, and then faced this turmoil that changed everything.

I remained as independent as I could, bringing every action that happened before my eyes, without any fabrication.

It was 7th February that changed my perception about free media. All the media was restrained, however I managed to sneak-in at Jumhooree Maidhan since 2am and had it all on records that I later shared with authorities as well.

It was my very first news conference when President Nasheed announced his resignation. And my very first live event was President Dr Waheed taking oath as the new president.

Paradigm shift in career

After 8th February, I began thinking about my career and what I can do for this nation in a different perspective. That was when I met team “X”. I am proud to be part of this team that brought great tranquility in that time of turmoil in Maldives.

I contributed to some of the most impactful scripts that were aired on some of the mainstream channels and online media and I tend to keep my identity anonymous for many reasons, as fame is not my cup of tea, but outcome.

As I continued this freelance profession, I had come across information that not everyone could reach as an ordinary or an average person. I am glad I have acquired knowledge beyond the face of political drama in Maldives. I am delightful that I can teach those to everyone else and open up minds one day, soon, Insha Allah!

Continued freelance

Without having a thought of joining any media, I continued freelancing for a while. Had my articles published on local and international magazines and continued contributing to TV scripts and online media organizations.

The settlement

Finally at the last quarter of the year, I began my quest to settle on my own. Everything is gifted by fate and fate never betrays an honest quest.

Now as I write this on the last day of 2012, I am successfully ‘settled’ on my own. I have secured a professional job of my career at The President’s Office, and continue my freelance service and other part-time work as well, one including at Maldives Police Service.

Two Thousand Twelve is indeed an epic year for me, which changed the whole architecture of my life.

Gone through lots of trouble in 2011 and totally revived in 2012, Al’hamdhulillah, I can walk on every surface I put my feet on. Forward it is, always forward, Insha Allah!

I would also like to express my utmost gratitude to those who stand by me during this journey; those who hated me for giving me more strength, those who criticized me for making me differentiate between good and bad, those who loved me for keeping me secured in mind, and everyone for making a difference in somewhere when they came as angels to my time.

I am totally confident about the next year of reaching remarkable goals, Insha Allah! 2013, welcome and let’s make a difference. Yes, my new year resolution “Make a Difference”

Nov 21, 2012

A pretty promise on a ring

This is a poem I wrote for my girlfriend when I gave her a ring as a symbol of my love. I have given a lot of effort and time to this poem to make a perfect piece just like the person this is being dedicated to. I got the price of this poem with her astonishing smile as she read it. 

A pretty promise on a ring!

Hasan A. Hilmy

Fate brings you on wing
Late spring date to sing
Straight things like a king
A pretty promise on a ring

Words may not define
Roads this make fine
Loads of meaning in this line
A pretty promise that is mine

You deserve to wear this
To a lifetime of bliss
To it will stay when you miss
A pretty promise with a kiss

A pretty promise on a ring
A pretty promise that is mine
A pretty promise with a kiss
A pretty to my jaan!

Nov 13, 2012

Save this nation from political extremism

[DISCLAIMER: I have no reason to be afraid of any condemnation for this post for I have nothing to lose by anyone but Allah. I have been heavily criticized by almost all the active political parties at times for my stand in several events, and I owe no counter argument then or even now.]

Tombstones in an Island of Maldives colored with their respective political party colors
This is about a nation that is known to the rest of the world as “Paradise on earth”, or “The sunny side of life”, and best known for their generous smile. This is about a nation that is known to the world for practicing one religion, has one culture and ethnicity, speaks one language, and although dispersed in islands whose 2/3 of the population lives in one city. This is about a nation that once sang one anthem, waved one flag and colored every corner their heart to whole nation with only Red, Green and White (Colors of national flag).

They say change is inevitable, and so it is. In just a blink of an eye, an unknown virus changed all these values of this great nation in-heart, which is as small in geographically that it does not even appear in many of the world maps.

Maldives, home to just about 350,000 people, living in 200+ administrative dispersed islands is suffering from the worst disease ever known as “political extremism”.

Its people have now gone beyond religious values of Islam, social norms and human ethics in their fight to win an ideological battle in the political warzone.

Maldives has adopted a new constitution on august 2008 after hard battles on and off the roads, Parliament and every corner striving for democracy and fundamental rights of citizen in a democratic system, from free voting to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and multiparty system.

Multiparty system is where a collective political ideology is presented by a political party who involve in the politics of the country and represents people of certain political ideologies. And political ideologies are based on social, political, economical and authoritarian rules. However in Maldives, it is fully based on just one person or against a person.

Political parties are run by personal grudge or hatred rather than political ideology or any logical means. They support their leaders not for their good qualities but because of opponent leaders’ bad qualities, as in personal mostly.

Politics in Maldives is discussed in person than policies. This is the main reason why hate-politics and enmity is seen at every corner of the Maldives.

If we summarized and evaluate all the political gathering and events ever since multi party system, 90% of the messages are not about promoting own good qualities and policies but pointing at others bad qualities and conspiracies. It is about orchestrating hate to create social disorders.

This is a conversation I experienced few days back that gives an idea of where we stand in this great social disorder.

Man-One: I swear to god, I will not stop insulting Maumoon (former president who ruled Maldives for 30 years) and his family even if the hell fire comes right at me down the ground.

Man-Two: May god bring that fire right now and burn you and your party (Maldives Democratic Party – Lead by Mohamed Nasheed, successor of Maumoon who was ousted on February 2012 which they claim to be a coup d’état) members right here!

People have gone from blind to completely blind by the colors of party system. Party system is supposed to bring good practice to governance but its opposite in Maldives.

Crime rate has escalated, social issues rises, economy is sinking, violence has become everyday thing, respect and understating is history, religion has become a tool for politics, media is hijacked for mongering hate. Name any institution entity or social service, everything is under attack by political extremists or terrorized for their advantage.

People have started painting the tombstones of their loved ones with their party colors. Some design their children’s birthday party cake with their party flag. Party flags are hoisted above the national flag and they deny respecting the national flag. National colors are fading before our eyes.

Ignorant or just unaware, there is a group of political extremists in Maldives groomed by their leaders who benefit the lush from the corporate in corrupt deals while in power or on their way to. Not to forget, some business tycoons are as well leading political parties in Maldives and use their members as pawns for ultimate sacrifices.

Political activism as gone beyond its limitations and political parties are now seen as gangs of thugs on streets in the name of protesting for rights, good governance and justice. Nevertheless, there still is a clear majority who is against this madness but tends to stay silent for their own good perhaps. But they should know that silence is betrayal!

NOTE: You are free to bombard me on the comments with hatred or love, your choice. I will always speak my mind. And I will always respect understand difference in opinion and ideology.

Oct 30, 2012

Blank justice and insufficient evidence

It has been a while since I have been wondering how the trials of dangerous crimes end up in a verdict that says “Released because of insufficient evidence”. Sometimes I get confused when the court doesn't know what the whole country knows and is sure about. ‘Blind Justice’ as they may say, and jurisdictional procedures or whatever the explanation they come up with heavy technical terminology, I would still call it “Blank Justice”.

Maldives adopts a penal code that was ratified on 11th July 1961, and still act, judge and penalized on its speculations. But I wouldn't agree that it is outdated since the Article 15 of the penal code of Republic of Maldives speculated that “where a Hadd, punishment is prescribed in Islamic Shari’ah, every offence mentioned in this Act shall be punishable with the punishment provided in this Law.” So it can never be outdated, because it can rule the Islamic Shari’ah. I wonder why we have never heard of such punishment in Maldives.

When some people say that judges are handpicked and the judiciary is handicapped, I kind of believe it without reasoning myself for an argument. Well, the reasons are out there at every corner of Maldives. Criminals walk free and commit more crimes and walk more free.

All we hear out the most dangerous criminals is “released because of insufficient evidence.” However, minor offenses like stealing an MRF 100 from the office drawer might be sentenced to 5 years in prison, I don’t know to be precise.

So the question is, why do we lack evidence or we lack evidence that the court approves? Simple as this; the courts are blind and they don’t see forensic evidence or anything. They only hears witness testimonies and statements given by the, oh objection your honor, the bloody lawyers. Apparently, not many would dare to give a witness testimony for a gang assault or a murder case because his/her testimony might be his/her way of death. And the lawyers will o anything for their money, even if it means to prove a murderer innocent.

How do we stop the blank justice? Well, I have no other idea than dissolving the courts and the judiciary that acts nothing but a golden palace with a dead king and zombie servants in it. But that would lead to chaos, or would it be worse than now?

To be honest, I have no freaking idea how it might work, but my grandfather always use to say, ‘Where falsehood is given a chance, truth will be murdered over and over again.”

So I believe, the lawyers can do at least one job despite the interest for the money they get. But it is impossible, because they won’t have a job where there are no criminal offenses. Paradox, isn't it? Just another chaos from the world we live in.

GMR dilemma [Part One]

Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited Mohamed Ibrahim hands over the Aerodrome License of the Male International Airport to GMR’s Chairman at a ceremony held on November 25, 2010. HAVEERU FILE PHOTO

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport first started out as a small strip of land hand-constructed by the Maldivian patriots in the then inhabited island of Hulhulé. Hulhulé Airport was opened on 19 October 1960. When the tourism industry in the Maldives began in 1972, the country was in need of an international standard airport to transport tourists to the resort islands. So, on 11 November 1981, the airport was officially inaugurated under a new name of "Malé International Airport". It is the main gateway to Maldives and it is seen to be at a very strategic location.

Male’ International Airport (MIA) was awarded to GMR of India on 2010.

The following contents were taken from a report compiled by a team of professionals including both local and foreign high profiled experts in the field, emphasizing the issues found during the MIA awarding process.

The Concession Agreement signed between Maldives Airport Company Limited (MACL) and the Republic of Maldives, acting by and through its Ministry of Finance and Treasury and the GMR-MAHB Consortium was signed on 28th June 2010.

The process to signing of this agreement, and the subsequent events during the period were seen to be controversial.

So, many bidders were initially seen to show interest, but some vital information was not shared with them. Such as; ADC ($27) that can be charged from each departing passenger and about the upfront payment (of US$78 million, in GMR’s Proposal) which is to be deducted from the profit due to Government.

GMR proposed so, and the Government of Maldives agreed to the terms, trading long-term benefits for the upfront US$78 million. In fact, it was seen from GMR reports that MIA was the biggest profit generator for GMR, even though it is the smallest international airport that GMR manages.

There was no real evaluation of revenue versus expenses done.

GMR is given the right to collect fees from a variety of businesses and services, and they have increased those fees several times, even within the last two years. So, a real picture of revenue earned by GMR is not given.

In fact, IATA raised their concern over the rocketing fuel price in Maldives. In their letter on 8th February 2012, they have shown a detailed comparison of price of fuels from across the globe for April 2011, and it shows that while Maldives has the most expensive fuel cost per US gallon, which is a 137 US cents. The closest to the Maldives fuel price is that of Mauritius which is 56 US cents. This is a value less than half of cost of fuel in Maldives.

GMR is waived all fees or rent payment for the land of MACL, for the whole period of the agreement. Yet, GMR leases this land and increases its revenue, without paying the dues to the Government.

MIA is also vital to Maldivian economy and independence. The terms proposed in the Agreement would affect the Maldivian economy since GMR would dictate air freight and international air travel as well as the commercial developments at the airport.

The Agreement does not require GMR to expand the runway. In fact, the proposal is to have the runway as it is, for the next 25 years. So, as is the case at present, the larger airplanes like the A380 would not be able to come to Maldives for the 25 years. The general trend in the aviation industry is for them to buy the larger aircrafts and use them for destinations to which they get the required numbers of passengers.

GMR audits by KPMG indicate payments upto a total of 105 million dollars as the Acquisition Cost. However, this is not indicated in the payments received to the Maldives accounts. There is a serious mismatch of funds spent by GMR and that received by Maldives. Maldives had received only the upfront 78 million dollars. They do not have explanations of the 27 million dollars that go unanswered. In fact, they use the 105 million as the base for their amortization while Maldivian government only got 78 million.

They also have indicated an un-amortized transaction cost of over 10 million dollars. There is no indication of what this transaction cost was.

Over 16 million dollars is seen to be spent on other operating expenses. But here also, there is no explanation as to what these other expenses contribute to.