Looking for something to be proud of as a Maldivian.

I‘m not proud of my country the way Indians do; but I love the place I was born, the place I call home. Because I cherish so much memories of it. Sometimes childhood memories from those days flash like HD movie scenes.  In color, not in black and white. On the other hand, a country is just a political line drawn on a map. Mostly claimed by force. In the case of Maldives, many ages ago people from India and Sri Lanka came here, start saying this place belongs to them. Everyone agreed. So Maldives became Maldives and we are those people. Who knows? And that’s fine. But I don’t like the idea that one should limit oneself within a particular boundary. We should be free and adaptable to everything and everywhere.

Im not proud of fishing either but I love fishing. Its a very fun thing to do. TV says we have to be proud of it; because it was the work our fathers and their fathers did for living. I respect all kind of work that people do to earn their living. I think it’s a noble thing to do. But I don’t think one should be proud of a certain work they don’t do. You should be proud of the work you do, not what others do. This idea probably took its root because our country has a very few resources. No gold, no iron or oil, not enough wood, no agriculture or stones. There are no resources which can be used for mass production other than fishing. So majority of people did fishing. And everyone start respecting it. So to elevate this respect they ended up saying let us be proud of fishing industry.

It is hard to look for something to be proud of because it‘s hard to find true value in things. Tourism, a young industry but growing rapidly in Maldives is still waiting for recognition. If there is one thing to be proud of, it is tourism. Sadly we are not putting enough time and effort on improving this industry. Few people have their eyes set on this. And they are making a huge amount of money. Of course thinking of the country as a whole, this is not healthy. It’s much better for the country if more people reap the benefits rather than few.

Tourism has become a gold mine for Maldivians. It is the second largest industry in Maldives today. Construction on top; though most of its income comes from resorts, hotels and other tourism related fields. Tourism is the number one business that bring dollars to Maldives. Since we depend heavily on import, dollar is the life blood of that exchange. All consumer products we see today has at some point related to tourism dollars.

As a Maldivian I always wanted to say I‘m proud of this or that. Until recently it seemed there’s none. But now it is clear that there is one thing that has a potential to be proud of, that is Tourism industry. Still many work needs to be done to make it something we can be proud of.