On Maldivian Students' Association...

I got elected into the Central Committee (2006) for the Maldivian Students' Association (UK) beginning of this year. It does come with a bit of work load, especially since the MSA website comes under my care now. I am working on revamping the site soon in an concerted effort to make it more useful for prospective and current Maldivian students in the UK, after all, the website acts as the center of communication for MSA activity. I am also trying to push for changes and activities that I think will help towards making MSA a real success story.

Quite a few seem to view MSA as a redundant establishment; as just another front of influence by our beloved government. It may be or may not be the case, however, what I do know is that it is a tool that can be manipulated for achieving good. There are a lot of difficulties the students face here. Everything from getting visa to finding accommodation has obstacles and difficulties littered along the way. Students are now required to spend about 2 weeks in Colombo in order to get a student visa for entry into UK. What the government has done to alleviate this hassle is not known by many - including the Minister of Education who recently visited the UK and met the students. The lovely Minister informed us all that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been asked and hasn't responded on the matter. So, hello Mr. Foreign Ministry and hello Ms. Education: can you please get these things sorted out before the world expires? I can understand there are more pressing matters which is precisely why I understandingly said "before the world expires" - that should give ample time, I hope.

There are a lot of areas that MSA can make itself useful. For example, new students are often fresh off the sandy beaches and are parting the safety net of family and friends for the first time. Thus, as can be expected, quite a few of the students also have to battle with the differences in culture. Apart from handling the silent but nonetheless prevalent racist attitudes, students also have to digest and find a solution to having a good time with the fellow British colleagues who on routine finish up day at university and then retire to alcohol for solace. In addition to obvious culture shocks, most of the students coming have never lived alone, never cooked, never managed a budgeted life etc. A student association can definitely help in preparing and offering help to students to settling in - from buying utensils, books, clothes and other gear to hunting for food and whipping up healthy, edible concoctions. It would do great benefit to build and maintain a healthy support group for all students, new and old. I know a bit too many students who freaked out at the behest of the world separating them from their loved ones. Not all who arrive have family/friends already in the UK to call and ask for help when needed. A familiar face, a familiar story and a familiar language does seem to go a long way in offering comfort. The MSA can facilitate a lot for the experienced students too. Part-time jobs, internships, holiday work and scholarships can all be facilitated by MSA. These are little things of importance that the association can achieve and should strive to offer.

By now, a few of you would probably jump up and say "but MSA is only a tiny student body run by students - in their own time". Yes! So what?s MSA to do? Organize yearly meetings and leech money from whoever would be kind enough to spare a few cash notes to be put into the good use of arranging "bilehmeerukohlevvun" as we Maldivians are so used to back home? A glance at the MSA constitution shows many an objective proudly listed. If there is a constitution outlining a modus operandi and goals to achieve, then it should be followed otherwise the objectives might as well all be replaced by the single word "naacharangy".

Lastly, I must note an interesting development this year. The government (Maldivian of course!) has "blessed" the MSA with the responsibilities of managing 9 Rosemont Avenue- a government owned house used for Maldivian student boarding and as an MSA activity hub. There hasn?t been proper (if any at all) maintenance done over the years, leaving the house in utterly poor conditions. The house is truly in an unholy mess. I sympathize with the students living there. Of course, all of this is justified by giving out the rooms in the house at a discounted rate. However, is that enough when the house breaks several UK housing rules? It doesn't even adhere to the fire and safety regulations. Jeez! Many students have raised their concerns over the matter and as everything political everywhere, a committee was created to "investigate". The committee has now compiled a report along with a prioritized list of renovations that would hopefully make the building decently habitable. This is all fine and dandy, but the funds for renovations has to be obtained from the government. Hopefully, there will be no difficulty this time, just as the Minister promised.

Now that vented out a few (MSA) things on my mind, I must say that I hope this year will be a very productive year for the association and the student community. ;-)

Checking in...

Yes, I AM around still. :-)

Eid Greetings

Eid Mubarik to all, on the occassion of Eid ul Al-haa.

End of holidays

The winter break is (sadly) finally over and it is time to head back University, back to the lectures and books. This semester is going be busier than the last and there are a couple of exams littered around here and there throughout. Hopefully, it will be as fun and enjoyable as last semester.

I got back to Reading today after spending much of the entire 4 weeks off in Bristol. The train ride to Reading today was pretty much eventless. My room was freeeeeeezing when I came back, so much so that I was bothered enough to go out and shell out some money for a mini heater. It has made my room so much warmer since! The holidays could have been better but I don't really intend on complaining. I did get to settle several pressing business matters and work out some major personal dilemmas. All in all, the 4 weeks of holidays has seen me through some amazing mini-miracles that has set quite a few important things in seemingly the right direction. What more could I ask for eh?


SMS Sender 3.0

Here is the latest incarnation of the SMS Sender application that I had been releasing since 2001.

It lets you send SMS messages to Dhiraagu mobile users easily. Since it uses the Dhiraagu WebSMS service to dispatch the SMS messages, you need to have a registered WebSMS account. WebSMS accounts are free for all Dhiraagu Dhimobile customers.

The phone book, signature line and proxying features have been disabled in this release and probably will be reinstated in future releases. The new release, however, adds features to show the remaining number of messages in the daily allowance of 10 that Dhiraagu imposes on normal WebSMS accounts. The new release also has versions for Mac, Linux and Windows, unlike the previous releases which were targetted only for Windows.

Drop me a line if you use it, like it, have suggestions or requests. Have fun SMSing!

Download for: Windows ( 1073KB ), Linux ( 986KB ), Mac ( 1012KB )

Running on Microsoft Windows

Running on Apple MacOS 10.4

Welcome, 2006

Happy New Year to all! I had a lame new year's eve but then again it is how I chose to it be.

Looking back over 2005, it can be singled out as a period that brought dramatic and notable changes to my life. The most remarkable thing was that the year had me in a constant state of change and confusion all throughout - let me tell you; that is something quite new. I've always maintained a motley of dreams and schemes that I was quite adamant about and kept a steady sight of a future without wavering too much. The chaos delivered a serious blow to my self-confidence and general approach to life which kicked the enthusiasm for life out of me for much of the year.

My academic future was in limbo at the beginning of 2005. Much of it seemed to be beyond my control - I had no clue as to what I would be studying, where I would be studying and even when I would continue on with the ?study till death? journey. I ended up spending a good deal of time evaluating and then reevaluating the field of study, career options and then comparing it all with my forte?s and dreams. It worked out better than I expected as here I am in UK (a place I did not expected to land in), studying AI & Cybernetics (which is something I had never dreamt of) and most importantly, being satisfied with it all!

The year also saw my bank accounts hitting rock bottom. My income via my then business venture had gone stale and somehow things all seemed to head downhill on the business front. Finally, around mid year, I resigned from the company forfeiting the 44% shares I owned of the company. That really was a hard call to make since we had been running the business for almost 5 years and my partners in business were long-time best buddies, however, it was a necessary step. The resignation left me all alone (and broke) for quite a while - much of which I spent in thought and planning. I shot an arrow into the dark soon after, by gathering a few not-so-close-friends and convincing them of joining up with me for a business operation. Thus, ?Technova? was born early in the latter half of the year. The road has been rocky but the business is improving. My new partners have become my closest of friends and are people I deem trustworthy and reliable. They?ve had a good influence on my life and I thank them for it.

My love life was a mess in 2005. The slow death of a 4 year relationship had me crippled emotionally. We said good-byes, walked away peacefully and as good friends. I had to turn down a tempting and lucrative offer from a girl I liked while I was in the relationship. Sadly, the offer wasn?t on by the time the long term relationship was bid adios. Additionally, as I had mentioned in my blog recently, the time I made a move on a girl last month also resulted in zilch. So as 2005 ended, romance seems to have gotten as far as getting rid of the old but not replacing the old with new. Hopefully, 2006 would see this facet of life smoothen out too. ;-)

I do not usually bother celebrating new years but I have many a dream for the coming days and wish that this human created time-marker serves to signal the beginning of a lot of positive changes I wish to be brought to myself and life. I hope the New Year brings in a whole lot of happiness and joy to all of you too. Enjoy!