Ministry of Happiness? Bah, humbug!
E DII TO RII A L
The Ruler of the United Arab Emirates announced that he is establishing a Ministry of Happiness, headed by a very promising young woman who had also been in charge of economic strategy in the past.
This is not unusual for the UAE, that ranks 20th in the World Happiness Index, as it seeks to improve its position by adding value to the quality of life, so that the Gulf state is not just glamour and riches derived from the energy sector. Actually, the UAE and in particular Dubai, has been at the forefront of the Arabisation programme and has invested heavily in education, human resources and diversification into high-end services.
Despite the mini-property crash of the past decade, the emirate has recovered, thanks to help from its peers, and its corporate portfolio of local and international companies is rapidly expanding into foreign markets, the most evident being that of the ‘national’ airlines.
And the investment does not end there, as the reinvestment of its rich resources has produced efficiencies, such as e-Government, a high-level of healthcare and even denationalisation programmes, to the extent that public dissent is little to nonexistent. Tolerance on several issues is widespread and still growing, at least as regards the Middle Eastern mindset, while interpretation of democracy, as different as it may be from that of the western civilisation, is one that appeals to the young Emiratis.
Now, travel in warp speed to Cyprus, and one can see why even the concept of rising up the ranks of the Happiness Index is beyond reach, despite the cultural differences with the UAE.
In fact, President Anastasiades should abandon the regurgitated promises of establishing six Deputy Minister portfolios, supposedly to help improve the efficiencies of the government machine and make Cyprus more competitive in the areas of energy, shipping, tourism, etc. Instead, he should establish a Ministry of Stupidity, especially now that on the eve of parliamentary elections just three moons away, a lot of promises will not be kept, resulting in a bucketful of potential candidates, both to head the office and to “operate” it.
The reform of the civil service has become a joke, despite the honest intentions of the commissioner in charge, who has obviously been given too much on his plate. Perhaps that was the idea from the onset.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Stupidity would deal with issues such as Larnaca shunning the best that ever happened to the sleepy town, with Energy giants Total and ENI now being lured to Limassol port, where they will be welcomed with open arms.
Come to think of it, what Anastasiades needs, considering the noise we hear on a daily basis from the opposition parties and trade unionists on all issues under the sun, is an adaptation of JK Rowling’s Ministry of Magic.