Post mortem of the wedding saga headline

vilureef map

Throughout this Vilu Reef wedding saga we have maintained that Minivan was excessive in its exposé’ of the situation for the sole purpose of gaining more publicity. Now that the story is taken up by all the world’s media, big and small, there is enough material out there to back our assertion. Although there is no love lost between Minivan News and us (the resortworkers) officially, we have strong reservations at the use of words in the news article which broke the story of this wedding to the world. Lets now analyse and compare the headings of the original Minivan News story and that of the same story taken up by The Independent.

The minivan headline reads: “Foreign couple mocked as “infidels” and “swine” throughout resort’s ‘wedding ceremony’

”. The words infidel and swine are particularly hurtful and are NOT even the actual meanings of the words as understood by Maldivians. Translating languages from one another is tricky because frequently there arises valid ground for serious disagreement because of the context of the item in translation. In the case of the word “infidel” the supposed dhivehi word was “kaafarun” which does not adequately fit in with what is understood to be infidel in English language. The work “kaafaru” in dhivehi has one general meaning which pertains to the belief of others apart from the belief of the inhabitants of the country. Another meaning of the same word is much more common place among the worker-classes. That second meaning is sexy or being sexy or pertaining to issues around the context. So if one is said to be a “kaafaru” it could mean like “your are sexy” or “you are horny” etc. Being sexy and horny are very different concepts in English but the differences are subtle in dhivehi language. The word infidel is frequently associated the religious concept when it comes to issues in the middle east and marital warfare in everyday English elsewhere. Where used in describing or associated with sanctified rituals like marriage the word is effective in getting attention, which we believe was the theory of using that word in the minivan headline.

Another word “balhu” translated as swine is also a little bit off the mark where dhivehi language is concerned. For example the word “Balhu” is used with various qualifiers such as “rath” (meaning red), “nagoo”( meaning tail?) are frequently used in Universal Resorts management as if they are management slang. Translating this word to swine is stretching the translation a little bit far.

However adamant we maintain that Minivan went excessive spicing up the story and the situation, we understand that the ultimate goal of every publication is to reach maximum audience. So we congratulate minivan on the veritable journalistic Coup_d’état that has tarnished the reputation of the country.

Now lets look at the headline of the same story at the independent.

“Paradise wedding that was lost in translation”

The Independent has omitted the words swine and infidel in the headline. They are more resourceful than Minivan and have editors and writers as well but they chose a less offensive headline to report the same story. Of course we are aware there are styles of writing and reporting and that being tabloid-like and wiki-like and forbes-like are all different ways to dispense with news. But considering the damage that’s already being caused to the country, we believe Minivan is highly irresponsible and have rightly shot our collective feet. To back our belief, we have even the likes of Sim of MATATO (not tomato!) who is no friend of resort workers by any stretch of imagination.


31 thoughts on “Post mortem of the wedding saga headline

  1. Hello,
    @maldivesresortworkers: I know this is not related to the topic, but would you agree with me in saying that any employees found guilty related to this incident/s should be given the sack and sent home? or if this has happend in another resort; maybe where the staff at the resort used filth at guests/threatened guests should be given the sack? and judicial action regarding the damages caused be claimed from them?

  2. @maldivesresortworkers:
    You said: “The discrepancies between what is said and what is implied is MAJOR, not minor. Trust us, we know the language, the context, usage, etymology and everything. ”
    Why don’t you publish a better translation?

  3. Media, is all about re-cooking, the same large dish! They need, people’s attention, grab their eyes towards them..and make this small thing, that big and that big thing, this small? Yeah!
    But, I guess – the issue here is connected to a lot of people’s ideologies and I definitely respect it, as far as I can.
    It’s not only one incident, it’s happening from a very long time, very frequently.. Instead of reporting it, people came enjoying it.
    Certainly, I believe it was a bad incident, yes – it was. Nobody wants to be insulted in such’s a shame, a shame!
    There is a saying, “sakarai viha vehdhaaney” – must be limits..if you are poor doesn’t mean, you must start stealing, or become a thief.
    I certainly believe that, workers are somehow being ill-treated, but that necessarily doesn’t mean to cross the line, and disrespect their guests, their tourists, specially for fun!
    It’s not minivan, who should regret, it’s the workers, “who were involved” in it, again, not “all” the Maldivian resort workers were involved in this activity, not all, surely.
    Also, I agree – the fact, how dumb MINIVAN people were, to spread the news worldwide, they don’t know, how many well-planned, “wedding ceremonies” they lost.

  4. It is indeed insulting to con people and it is not even the first time. We are in no way condoning the actions of the workers in this particular case and we are as much as enraged about the issue as you dear sir are;
    Thanks for visiting our blog and sharing your views.

  5. You’re missing the point completely. If people go all the way to Maldive and pay that kind of money for a wedding ceremony, they want a real ceremony. Regradless of whatever the meaning is, it is insulting to con people like that. And to be honest, after reading your comments , your narrow point of view causes more damage than the minivan translation. I am now certain that it is not an isolate case with the person with your mindset as a living proof.

  6. Even if really true, the discrepancies in translations are so minor to diminish the smelling message what celebrant &Co. has delivered at that video..

    And Mr. Didi acknowledged that it was not first time, and that management 9 however it is left unclear whether middle management or higher management) did knew about such ‘practice’.

    And allegedly Mr. Ahmed Siyam, the owner and chairman of Sun Travel company, that owns the hotel, on number of occasions participated at wedding ceremonies at the hotel, and afterward joked well with the staff about it – still, probably without filthy language at the ceremony, but , probably, with behavior like that giving a sign of acceptance to the staff, and then staff developed such behavior trend further..

    Your position about hiding mistakes is absolutely against what we in western world believe – in transparency vs. shady camouflage , as , however, can be painful at first step, such critical approach would lead to ultimate improvement of an issue under critics..

    1. Dear European,
      The discrepancies between what is said and what is implied is MAJOR, not minor. Trust us, we know the language, the context, usage, etymology and everything. We even know the background of past such self-censoring events and the implications too. If its not too much asking though…
      And our position is not about hiding mistakes. Our blog has been consistently un-hiding mistakes in the tourism sector and we try to bring balanced issues.
      Anyway’s thanks for visiting our blog and sharing your views. Much appreciated.

  7. No one here is defending the vile, irresponsible actions of the resort workers. The point that they are trying to make is the terrible piece of journalism by Minivan News.
    To be honest, I’m not too surprised. Minivan News, whose editors are notoriously secular, have always had a negative view of everything Islamic. In this case, they’ve proven that they’re willing to sell the reputation of this country if it means they can tarnish the image of our religion.
    Now, unfortunately, the western audience are under the impression that this saga was religiously motivated. Shame, really..

  8. You kill a man with a knife or you kill a man with a pistol…who care what you used??!! u still kill a man…got it resort worker??!!

  9. I wouldn’t be too harsh on Minivan. The western press scours social media, especially YouTube, looking for pieces like this and it would have surfaced eventually even if Minivan hadn’t covered it. Also, the notion that their translation of words aggravated the matter doesn’t really apply since the words themselves, even the so called ‘harsh’ ones (eg. ‘infidel’, ‘swine’) are very, very mild words in western eyes.

    Unfortunately, what gave this story legs had nothing to do with the words used nor Minivan’s report. The big problem here was the context. The contrast between such an ugly gesture in such a beautiful place. The abuse of a religious sacrament (not just a ‘Happy Birthday’). The disrespect of the act when couples who celebrate local wedding traditions do so out of extreme respect and admiration for the local culture.

    Most importantly, the act touched on the most sensitive nerve in the world today – the tension between western and Muslim culture. More specifically, many westerners have the irrational and misguided fear that all Muslims hate all westerners and that all Muslims want to hurt all westerners. Now, paranoid westerners can say, ‘See, it’s not just crazy extremists who want to hurt us…even resort workers want to hurt us’. This incident/video did not help that cross-cultural understanding and harmony.

    The best remedy to the situation is for all resort workers to continue to share the warm hospitality, welcome and caring for its guests for which Maldives is renowned.


  10. I think you guys are really defending what has happened at Vilu Reef. I’ve worked at a few resorts myself the last couple of years in the management level of those resorts. And I’m ashamed of what these guys have done. This is not the first time they’ve done it and this is not the first time it’s been done at a ‘Resort Wedding’. I’ve witnessed a few of these weddings myself and things like this has happened and when I reported this to the GM of the resort I worked, he laughed at this and told me not to worry about it. Take this for example, does Maldives has a version of ‘Happy Birthday to you’ song? I don’t think so and I don’t recall ever hearing a dhivehi version of it. But as most of the resort staff knows, if a guest asks the waiters or restaurant workers to sing them ‘Happy B’day’ in Dhivehi, all these guys sing is pure filth. As a Maldivian I am ashamed. I really hope the government and proper authorities take strict and harsh action against all who were involved in doing that. Also action should be taken against the top management of Vilu Reef, as I’m sure they would have known what goes on at these weddings!

    MoS – Male’, Maldives.

    1. Dear exworker,
      It seems you had the perfect opportunity to blow the whistle in the first place but you have indeed not raised the issue further up than your gm. We, the current workers have not come across such abuse first hand And we like everone else were taken by surprise by the minivan offensive. However, investigating further in to this issue, we found minivan has indeed bloated the facts of the issue to gain more publicity than is due. Thanks for sharing your views with us.

      1. Dear Maldives Resort Workers

        You keep repeating these allegations which are of a very serious nature.

        “Bloating the facts” means untruthfully adding to what was already said in such a manner that the fact are altered by the exaggeration. I am satisfied that this has not been the case as far as the video or the Minivan story is concerned.

        However, please see my comments above and I look forward to hearing your version of events.

  11. Sorry, but Minivan have done nothing wrong in reporting what has happened. If it was not then reported then the same old rubbish would keep on happening. At least now people can have “weddings” in the Maldives and not have complete fun made of them.

    1. Indeed minivan has done nothing Wrong reporting the issue. Our issue with minivan is that they spiced up the story And bloated it out of all proportions

  12. Hello MaldivesResort Workers, I am very surprised at your reaction to the main news story on, you say the aim was not to disrespect the couple, how can you say this when the whole saga was completely disrespectful and damaging for both the couple and the entire tourism industry of the Maldives. I, as an observer to this video footage felt completely embarrassed and insulted for the couple.

    I have stayed at the Maldives for my honeymoon and quite frankly just the attitude you hold is quite unnerving and would put anyone off visiting the Maldives again.

    This post is not about your critic of the minivan story but rather your response and defensive article, you have yet to voice condemnation for such behaviour even if it wasn’t as excessive you point out in your article.

    You simply forget that tourists spend a lot of money at your resorts, we sometimes have to save for a very long time before we can afford such as holiday, we would rather go to country which respects us, not one that treats us with such contempt.

    I doubt this event will cause a complete breakdown in tourism in the Maldives, however even if 10% of potential customers refuse to visit your country, this will have a huge financial impact and possible job loses, so unless you change your views and understand hospitality ethics and learn to share them with your peers you will struggle. I say this with conviction as this story has become global as it can get.

    Clark – London, United Kingdom

    1. hi Clark;
      the video you saw was subtitled by some unknown translators right? We the workers have no need of the subtitles. We know what is being said and what is being implied. what we are maintaining is that the media spiced up the story considerably.

      1. Dear Maldives Resort Workers.

        This is serious. Are you saying that the translation is incorrect or untruthful? Exactly where is it incorrect or “spiced up”? Could you please let us know. This is a very serious allegation and I am prepared to send lawyers to protect your rights in this case.

        I have already had the video independently translated by an official translator and she agrees that the translation is substantially correct and not “spiced up” as you imply. However if you continue to stand by your allegations I would like to know, so something can be done about it.

        I think we have all agreed these activities even if “spiced up” or not, go way beyond an innocent joke.

        I look forward to your reply…

        1. Dear Ezra
          If you would not put words in our mouth, we would like to say that the translation Minivan did of the video was factually and contextually incorrect. As for identifying the spiced up adjectives in the translation, we frankly think It’s no use crying over spilt milk now. The damage has already been done, and its tremendous! A substantial translation is only as good as it fits in the context of the situation. In this situation we are all aware of the stratification of dhivehi language (assuming you are a local) and at the workers level in resorts and elsewhere, its quite frequent to hear of the calibre of language Didi was found using in the video clip. However the higher echelons of the refined dhivehi classes who live in the proverbial glass houses would be greatly offended by the kind of language we (at the workers level) hear in a normal basis. So its indeed worth checking weather your substantially correct translation conforms with the strata of the language where it was used.
          Thanks for commenting on our blog and sharing your views.

  13. You guys are just not getting the point:

    The wrongdoers in this case are the resort workers who mocked their unsuspecting paying customers; not the magazine that reported the incident.

    The video shows an underlying lack of respect towards the guests among the workers of the resort. This has nothing to do with for example their working conditions, etc.

    More importantly, quibblingt about the words used in the article by Minivan does not change the fact that the poor couple, who had taken the time and effort to create a memorable moment for each other, were handled by utter disrespect by the workers of the resort.

    I am not suggesting that I would currently be planning a trip to a tropical beach resport, but every now and then I do. And when I do, I don’t only consider the nature and quality of the resorts, etc. Also the attitude of the locals towards the tourists in general is a significant factor when choosing the holiday location. I trust that many of my fellow Europeans think similarly. You might wish to consider that as well.

    Instead of pointing fingers at Minivan, you should be angry to the idiots who insulted their clients on the video.

    1. Dear infidel,
      We are equally enraged at the workers who were involved in this issue as well as minivan for exploiting the issue unfairly. The situation is different when you can see both sides of the coin. Unlike those who have to rely on anonymous video subtitles And second handed translations about the facts of this issue, we are aware of this issue And in the proper context.

      1. Dear Maldives Resort Workers

        Your claim to be “equally enraged at the workers who were involved” seems very insincere. If this was the case, you would have at least called for their disciplining and dismissal. You claim to be aware of the issues and the proper context. Yet you have not bothered to mention the fact that thousands of these wedding renewals take place in the Maldives each year, the vast majority in a language known to the guests and with proper supervision so that there is no room for this type of farce.

        You then proceed to shoot the messenger by blaming Minivan News, because despite your denials that is exactly what you are doing. All Minivan did was to highlight and explain what was said at this ceremony, which was its duty. I think they have suppressed some of the facts to protect the workers and the resort, so you should be thanking them.

        If Minivan was indeed “sensationalising” the story, is that what they do every time they very sympathetically report the numerous strikes that seem to occur? I have not seen you condemning Minivan in any way for their reporting in those cases. This hypocrisy is very disturbing and I hope you will change your ways.

        It is no use hiding behind the old “we know the situation better” excuse. If that is the case why have you not highlighted the many facts that Minivan omitted, such as that there were many more people involved in this so-called “joke” than the people in the video?

        Dear Maldives Resort Workers. You are only hurting your case by blubbering on about Minivan and by failing to really strongly condemn this type of bad behaviour. Would you now agree that all those involved in this disgusting travesty should be disciplined and in some cases sacked?

        1. Dear Ezra
          Thanks for the long comment. We are indeed much pleased with the several points you have raised concerning the issue at hand. We encourage similar constructive comments by our readers as this will greatly help us improve our position in the industry. Now since you seem to be asking for corrections here are some we have observed:
          1. Our calling for dismissal of workers does not seem necessary at the time we posted the article as it had already happened by then.
          2. Thousands of marriages renewals (tourist’s) seems little bit exaggerated. A closer estimate would be tens or hundreds.
          3. We did not shoot Minivan the messenger; we just compared the headline of the story which minivan broke the news of the story with the same story’s headline taken by another news source: Here are some more headlines of the same story by other news sources:
          cnn: “Tourist couple abused during Maldives wedding ”
          Belfast Telegraph: “Maldives wedding pair humiliated at ceremony”
          Ceremony at Maldives Resort”
          AP: “Tourists conned by Maldives marriage officiator”
          Hindustan Times: “Their local Christian minister may be boring, but safer”
          Daily Mirror: “Swine jibes wedding staff held in Maldives”
          Fox news: “Marriage Con in Maldives”
          Brisbane times : “Disgust as couple mocked during Maldives wedding ceremony”
          TVNZ: “Police probe foul-mouthed wedding ceremony in the Maldives”
          The Jackson Sun: “Maldives marriage officiator cons tourists renewing vows”
          Evening standard: “Couple blissfully unaware as ‘minister’ calls them ‘infidel’ and ‘swine’ during Maldives wedding”
          Bigpond News: “Wedding ‘blessing’, a torrent of abuse”
          Kitchener- waterloo record : “Swiss tourists in Maldives cursed at by officiator during supposed renewal of marriage vows”
          Newstalk ZB: “Wedding vows not a blessing”
          Minivan News: “Foreign couple mocked as “infidels” and “swine” throughout resort’s ‘wedding ceremony’

          Our point is that the heading minivan used was designed to cause maximum shock value, and maximum publicity.

          4: As for minivan reporting on strikes, we do not encourage strikes in resorts for strikes sake. We commend minivan where its due and we will express our disappointment where its due.

          5: as for highlighting what minivan is said to have omitted; there does not seem to be any reason for that now. The damage has already been done and going through and dissecting the whole saga anew does not seem to be of use to anybody now.
          6: we do indeed agree that where criminality is established, punishment shall follow. We are not the judge or jury in this matter, so we will refrain from urging this punishment or that punishment for the workers embroiled in this case. A court of law would be more suitable to deliberate on that matter.

          Thanks once again for visiting our blog and sharing your views.

          Most respectfully yours

  14. You are bound to be defensive as the perpetrators of this disaster for Maldives are YOUR Team mates! You have a right to be defensive – but to attack free and independent media is dangerous and takes us back to dark days – is that what you prefer – when you had NO rights at all? You would be better to accept wrong has been done by your Team mates – Grow UP – Apologise, ensure it doesnt happen again, get over it and move on! Having the support of ‘Tomato’ is nothing to shout about – hehe.

    1. We are by no means attacking free media, rather we are trying to explain the situation in the right context. We have an edge over others who are merely repeating the story of someone else. We know the situation, we are aware of the context, the usage of language etc. As for the rest of your comment we kindly ask you to read the our last posts.
      We thank you for visiting our blog and sharing your views.
      Respectfully yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s