Giving up on idyllic island life


High-rises in Male, which by some measures, is the most densely populated island on earth. — ©2024 The New York Times Company

TO live in the Maldives is to live in one of two worlds. Either you belong to the capital – Male, a micro-Manhattan in the Indian Ocean – or you are out in “the islands”, among the quietest and most remote villages.

It is in these places – far from the archipelago’s walled-garden resort atolls, where no Maldivians actually dwell – that the country is picking between two visions of its future, like much of the rest of Asia, but more so.

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