Possessed by demons: A true story

Since I wrote about Jinns in my last post, I thought I'd follow up with this...

While at the Centre For Higher Secondary Education (Male', Maldives), I heard of this student who supposedly had been possessed by a jinn/demon and had to spend three months away from school. The school newspaper (called "CentrEye"), for which I was the editor then, immediately took an interest in getting his experiences published (we knew it would be a bit hit - our front page story!). He narrated everything in detail, right from the time that the demon Jinn started harassing him, how the demon eventually took possession of his body and the experiences that he was subjected to and how he came out of it all.

I had listened intently as he recalled the events and we shot questions to clear up this and that. The guy was very sincere in his belief in the events that had happened and had a pretty coherent story to tell. He was in almost all respects the normal sort of guy - friendly, kind and very entertaining. I was very much intrigued by the tale, especially since I was then pretty much accepting of the possibility of the existence of these so-called "supernatural beings"...

His experiences were published in 3 instalments, beginning with the Feb 2001 issue of the paper. Credits go to the original writers - the first instalment was written by Afu but the rest were written by the possessed himself. Here is the first 2 with the original text and has been converted to a PDF with some formatting applied for looks. I can't find the 3rd part but will put up when/if I find it...

- Possessed by Demons: A true story (Part 1)
- Possessed by Demons: A true story (Part 2)

Dhivehinnaai Portugeesun

I was rummaging through my backup disks when I stumbled across this PDF document that I produced in 2003. It is called "Dhivehinnaai Portugeesun" and is a digitized version of a similarly titled series of articles that was featured in the "Faiythoora" journal published by the National Center for Linguistic and Historical Research (NCLHR). It was authored by "Khaassa Musheer" Naseema Mohamed from the Center and details the interactions between the Portuguese and the Maldivians through the years 1479 to 1650 in Maldivian history. I thought I'd share it since this undoubtedly would be of much use to anyone looking for such material.

This series was contributed for distribution at the Book Fair 2003, organized by the NCLHR. It was part of a presentation I made at the fair and was used to demo how even old Dhivehi MLS documents maybe converted to modern formats. Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format was chosen to show how Dhivehi can be used and displayed in this (mostly) universal format to be used for distribution as a step in embracing the digital revolution. I was hoping that this would encourage production of Dhivehi e-books and e-documents. The document was converted from the original MLS format to Rich Text format using a converter application that I had released on my then technology playground at bichoo.net. The Rich Text format file that was produced was then imported into Acrobat and the necessary pictures scanned in and inserted to prepare the final document. The font(s) used were embedded into the PDF document so that viewers do not need to have any special Dhivehi fonts installed.

Anyway, I hope someone finds this useful!

- Click here to download DhivehinaaiPortugesun1-3.zip (3.5 MB, Zip file).

Science book for kids...

I started to write a book about three months back. The project has been idle for about a month now but I've returned to it today. The book is aimed at teaching or rather introducing science to children. It is being written in Dhivehi and is targeted mainly for distribution in the islands. Yes, I did say distribution - I have no intention of making this a for-profit endeavor. I have yet to work out the details of how the distribution shall take place. However, I certainly intend on letting it loose on the internet once it's done.

The book shall begin with a prologue to science, scientific methods, analysis and critical thinking - all simplified enough to suffice in communicating the essence of these topics while maintaining comprehensibility. The book then proceeds with a number of practical investigations and experiments each tackling a different phenomena. The investigations themselves are each divided into segments: introduction, materials used, step by step method, explanation and finishes off with further thoughts and suggestions. This method of hands-on investigation followed by theory elucidation is an often adopted form of teaching science used in many books. I hope this tried and tested formula stands true for teaching science in Dhivehi.

The experiments and ideas used in the book are more or less used universally as introductory material. The experiments featured also have reflections from my childhood, when day in and day out I used to experiment with stuff. I am running the material through a few of my friends as I write it, to get their comments and input. Much appreciation goes to my buddy Muththu for the help he has been lending to the project since I started it.

There are a few reasons why I have made the choice to write a science book and that too specifically for kids in the islands. I am targeting the islands because of its neglected status in our society. The islands have been under-served, especially in the educational sector, for a reason. I want to challenge that and will, hopefully, continue to do that through further activities. I chose to write a science book not only because of my love for the scientific field, but more because of the lack of Dhivehi literature in the field. This is especially true for material available to children. While there is a yearly award offered by the President to the authors of educational material for kids, it is generally seen as a superficial game to taint the record books by increasing the count of books rather than encouraging the production of quality and diverse material. I hope my book can do a little bit of good to my intended audience and that it may aid them in rising up to a better life.

Now, I have a request from any science aficionados among you. Please send in suggestions for experiments you think will be effective in teaching or inducing deeper thought in the little fellows who may read the book. I have a request from the rest of you as well. That is, to tell me of anything from your childhood that really got your mind whirring. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!