Thursday, November 22, 2012

What happens at the ISCKON Temple?

Photo Courtesy: ISCKON Hong Kong
The International 
Society for Krishna
Consciousness, also known as ISKCON, is a Hindu organization founded in 1965 by Swami Prabhupada. Much of ISKCON’s teachings are based on the thousands of years old Hindu scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita.
In Hong Kong, 
The temple gives food, arranges yoga classes, holds prayers several times a day and organizes readings and recitals of the holy Hindu Scriptures.
The ISKCON temple is located on Chatham Road Southern in Tsim Tsha Tsui. 

Back with a big bang!



Hey there! I am 

         for not being around for such a long time


Monday, May 14, 2012

We were always obsessed with Aishwariya's weight


Ever since Aishwarya Rai-Bachan appeared in public having retained some of her pregnancy weight, the internet has been ablaze with unflattering and intrusive comments for the actress:
Fit babe to fat aunty.
Hot chick to mother hen.
Beti-B flab.
Aishwarya shocks us with her double chin.
These are just some of the remarks floating around about the former Miss World.
The web is inundated with such news about the extra pounds this glamour goddess has put on. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Paying for the Breaking News


Every year, thousands of articles, news stories and features appear on May Day. These expose the gloomy plight of laborers in mines, brick kilns, factories and other industries. Yet there is one industry, where a lot of undue exploitation happens internationally yet it is seldom written about. This industry is the media itself.
The guys who give out the news about other peoples’ exploitation seldom find the liberty and forums to register their own. There are several ways this exploitation happens. The main victims are the print journalists as the pay-scale in electronic media is generally higher. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to deal with Gummersbach!

Gummersbach is a heaven on Earth, and those going there for the first time, are in for a lot of intellectual excitement. By the way, today is 8th May and my Gummersbach anniversary- I entered that metallic rectangular building for the first time in my life. 

Now here are some tips for those going there for the first time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Media frenzy over verdict


The media was frantic much before the Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani arrived at the Supreme Court. There was a sharp division between the PPP supporters and non-supporters. Some were fuming while others struggling not to lose their bearings knowing how cool the Supreme Court is about its own contempt.
Almost every noted TV anchor covered this verdict and the day was as ‘eventful’ as last year’s May 2 [when OBL’s assassination drove media crazy]. Analyzing the media reaction to the verdict is almost impossible because much of it was a prolonged vomit. The live transmissions, tickers, political statements, Asma Jahangir’s press conference and everything related to the verdict reached the public in real-time.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bad Politics


The image in TFT
Imran Khan was welcomed in Balochistan because Balochistan needs to become socially and politically re-integrated with the rest of Pakistan. Mainstream political parties can be of immense help in democratizing the province. Yet within the first ten minutes of his speech, Imran Khan declared Nawaz Sharif the reason behind all the crises in Balochistan, without providing any evidence to substantiate his statement.
Today's Balochistan is infested with complex political and military problems, which are aggravated by a weak federation and a lack of political will and dialogue. Imran takes a sensitive approach to the missing persons but evades mentioning the real culprits behind them. Instead he equates the abducted to Aafia Siddiqui, whose case was quite different. And above all, Imran didn't mention the sectarian militant groups that have been targeting an ethnic minority.
Accusing Nawaz Sharif or any other politician of perpetuating this violence and chaos is not only tactless and unfair, but also very dangerous. Imran knows that the agencies and militant groups are dangerous, so he did not mention them. Instead he decided to blame his political rival. He is misleading the masses and that is no way to find a genuine solution to the problem of Balochistan. This is bad politics and complete dishonesty to gain popularity.
This letter was first printed in the Friday Times

Peace and MFN


A few weeks ago, I was doing a piece on Hafiz Saeed, who seems to be a loud opponent of the status of "Most Favored Nation" status recently given to India. Most Favored Nation, according to Wikipedia, means that the country recipient of this treatment must receive equal trade advantages like low tarrifs or high import quotas.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Get rid of FB Timeline

To get rid of timeline ( use Google

Chrome, timeline stays on IE):

1- Click the little wrench in upper right 
corner


2- Click TOOLS


3- Click EXTENSIONS


4- Then click bottom link-GET MORE


 EXTENSIONS


5- Type in TIMELINE REMOVE


6- A post will appear on right of page


, select and Click ADD TO CHROME,




(Don'r HAVE TO LIKE IT) then REFRESH FACEBOOK- Old FB Wall is Back! Life is beautiful again :D






Check out this Community for more help and find free ways to remove the Timeline here



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Journalistic Delights


It appears from a distance that newspaper journalists are listless and idle ideologues, lost in the saga of a by-gone era. This will seem very true if you visit the office in day-time. But in the night, the picture is very different and happening.
Most journalists are creatures of the night, because major newspapers with national circulation go for printing at mid-night and therefore the page deadlines are a few hours before that.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Acid Chaudry: Acid Logic


A couple of weeks ago, after the high-profile acid-burn victim Fakhra Yunus committed suicide, Javed Chaudry wrote an appalling op-ed for the Daily Express.
Fakhra Yunus was a young woman with ties to the red–light area of Karachi, mother of a son and wife of a politician Bilal Khar who burnt her with acid in 2000.
The article titled “Chala Goli” (Shoot) starts with a very macabre description of what happened to Yunus’s face, something that reminds one of Scream 2. Such vivid description, which otherwise adds appeal to the article, appears very grotesque here because Chaudry is sensationalizing Fakhra’s misfortune. The details are indeed agonizing. In the same paragraph he praises Khar for his “beautiful foreign clothes, excellent shoes and he had degrees from a reputed British university.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Rahul-Bilawal Affair


About a fortnight back, Bilawal Zardari and Rahul Gandhi re-discovered each other, though not much to the world’s surprise. There are old family links, a political dynasty with a bloody past and political careers (that are not taking off) in common. The boys are also very young, spent their time studying abroad, and lost a parent to murder.
The parties they come from are also very similar. Both the PPP and the Congress are socialist, like to give popular statements about the poor (without doing much), like to sound secular and pro-minorities because they want their votes (though can’t do much for them either) and ruin everything economic.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Malignant-LeJ


The last few weeks have seen a shocking increase in the Shia killings in Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan. According to the Human Rights Watch, some 275 Hazaras have been killed in Balochistan since 2008. In the last ten days, some 30 Hazaras have been gunned down. No one has been charged with these crimes
There was no legal or political support to Hazaras after the September mayhem, in which some 30 Hazara men were removed from a bus in Mastung (near Quetta) and shot dead. The daily Dawn called it “descent to a new low”.

Friday, April 13, 2012

King of wrong timing?


President Asif Ali Zardari visited India recently, the first Pakistani President to do so in seven years. However, the positive vibes expected at home could not materialize because of the Siachen tragedy. The avalanche which cost us around 120 soldiers, forced many people to question the timing of the presidential visit, arguing that President Zardari should have stayed home and focused on relief efforts in Siachen.
This argument seems defective. Yes, he took forty odd members in his delegation, including some government members, but this isn’t enough to make the country dysfunctional. The Leader of the Government- the Prime Minister- was present along with other key members of the cabinet and parliament. There are mechanisms to deal with in the President’s absence.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

To all the Pakistani Brides about to marry Americans


A few days back, a rather na├»ve blog appeared on Tribune’s website, posted by a would-be Pakistani American bride of some American Catholic.
My heartiest congratulations to the couple but the post seemed very inappropriate. I don’t understand why she thinks it is a big leap anyways, because Pakistani women have been marrying foreigners, and even out of religion, for ages now. Her case is particularly run of the mill because she and her man are based abroad and like most Pakistanis, she is converting him to Islam.
Read More: 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Educuation not ban


The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) decided to block all pornographic content from the internet October last year. The Internet Service Providers like Wateen and Worldcall verify this news, saying that PTA has given them directives to block sites with explicit content. According to the daily Express Tribune, the PTA website was hacked in October and the hacker left behind a threat (possibly inserted in the server) that the PTA would face severe consequences if porn sites were not immediately blocked. The hacker was apparently perturbed on Pakistan being tagged "Pornistan" by a Fox News report last year which claimed that  Pakistan ranked first in the Google porn terms search.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Problems in Air


TNS fittingly nicknamed PIA as “Problems in Air”, last year. I chanced to travel by PIA recently and indeed, it is neither short of passengers nor problems. I have not travelled far and wide but so far only PIA planes shake and wiggle like an old Suzuki on the bumpy GT road to Mandi Bahauddin. A few days ago, there was this funny news about some passengers travelling in the PIA toilets, with the consent of the on-flight staff. I will explain later why the toilet isn’t a bad idea.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reluctant Martyr


Hafiz Saeed, the “Amir” of Jamaat Ud Dawaa (JUD) is India’s most wanted man. The JUD is a charity organization banned in Pakistan for its alleged ties with Jihadis and Al Qaeda. Saeed is also one of the founders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the deadliest Jihadi outfits around with the motive to free Kashmir from the Indians.
Saeed holds a double masters from the Punjab University (he served the Islamist vigilante-Jamiat there), spent 25 years at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, and eventually got training in Saudi Arabia (the wonderland for Jihadis). Saeed was initially opposed to make on-screen rappearances but has changed his opinion, now.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Little Helpers

One of the many middle-class delights of Pakistan is the cheap and easy availability of domestic helpers. Most of these helpers are under-18. A younger maid offers many benefits. She can run after the children few years older to her, eat less, sleep in a nook or corner, does not attract attention of the male members (hopefully) and is easier to discipline than an adult.  
In 2003, UNICEF reported that eight million under-14 children were labourers in brick kilns, carpet weaving units, agriculture, small industries and homes while a 2004 International Labour Organisation (ILO) report states that around 264,000 Pakistani children are labourers. The ILO has introduced a domestic labour convention but Pakistan has yet to sign it. 

Read More: 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Imran-Rushdie Saga


Last week, Imran Khan withdrew at the eleventh hour from the eleventh annual India Today conclave in Delhi. The reason cited – presence of the fatwa-struck author Salman Rushdie – had its pros and cons, but on the whole the gesture was a very unimpressive one. Firstly, this was blatantly a publicity stunt because the list of speakers had been sent to Imran Khan weeks in advance, but more importantly such a step is eons away from any kind of positive ideological “change” that he has been promising.
Imran has affiliated with the right-wing suggesting talks with the Taliban, refusing to rebuff terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and even sending some of his party members to a terrorist organizations’ congregation. He probably wants to counter PML(N)’s influence in these partially overt and partially underground movements. This may not be very tactically wise either, because most political parties are either quasi-supporting these terrorist outfits or are at least too scared to oppose them.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catch-22 of Charisma


Historically, charismatic leadership has not been very advantageous. And a brief look at the past can substantiate this claim. The worst examples include Franco, Mussolini and Hitler during the World War Two, whose paranoid visions and prejudices cost some 50 million lives, along with six million Jews. Leaders gain immense popularity, but eventually misuse their power.
We will go by the definition of charismatic leadership that comes from Max Weber’s “Tripartite Classification of Authority” in which he defines charismatic leadership as: "a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.”

Kindle the passion


Kindle as a technology has certain drawbacks but is totally worth it. It’s thinner than your wallet, perhaps lighter than your grandfather’s ink pen but smart enough to carry your entire library in it — and more. This New Year, I acquired the most well-known of all the e-book readers in the market. I got myself the Kindle. Though Kindle’s latest version is Kindle Fire, I have an older model. Kindle has arrived in my life, like Faiz puts it: “Jaise saihra mein holey sey chaley bad-e-naseem” (As, slowly, in the desert, moves the breeze).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Security on Campus

About two weeks back, the newspaper Dawn published a shocking report on widespread and systematic sexual harassment being committed in the International Islamic University, Islamabad against several female students and subordinates. An economics professor and librarian traded sexual favors for higher marks, and resorted to threats if the young women refused. Sahabzada Sajidur Rehman, acting President of the university, confirmed that lately a professor and librarian quit the institution after being accused of rape, and that “the situation is much worse than is apparent”. And then he gives a rather absurd, sexist, almost Victorian statement that the university didn’t take action because the rest of the women there will suffer from the bad name these cases will bring.
Read More

Sexual harassment on campus


I am disturbed by media reports that some members of staff at the prestigious International Islamic University were allegedly involved in sexual harassing some female students. The university’s acting president has verified these allegations and I would therefore request that the police step in and carry out an inquiry — and if the allegations are true, the culprits be charged under the applicable law.
Any attempt to brush this under the carpet will only lead to more cases of sexual harassment. According to the reports, two employees — one a professor and another working in the library — have been accused and if the charges against them are proven, they should be dismissed from service.
The government passed a sexual harassment law through parliament last year and the Higher Education Commission needs to ensure that it is enforced by all universities.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boys play Galileo

Students of Lahore Grammar School Johar Town Branch ( LGS-JT) performed the play ‘The Life of Galileo’ by Bertolt Brecht. The performance that started on the Feb 10 lasted three days — and ended just three days before Galileo’s 448th birthday. It was presented by Real Entertainment Productions and directed by Karen David and Omair Rana.
The plot revolves around a poor Galileo who replicates the technology of a telescope and sells it as his own invention in the Venetian Republic. He uses this to validate Copernicus’s theory about the solar system that it contains planets, including Earth that revolves around a stationary Sun.

Arab Spring: A year on!

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Francis Fukuyama's thesis "The End of History" was much hailed. It was claimed therein that mankind was moving in a rather teleological manner towards the "universal" values of market democracies. Then, 9/11 put spotlight on Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" and made Fukuyama's hypothesis seem naive to the dangers of political Islam to some. Moreover, the financial crisis as well as the rise of state capitalism in authoritarian China and Russia further seemed to have postponed, if not muddled, the end of history. At the very least, it seemed that any historicist synthesis towards free-market capitalism and liberal, democratic republics would go through a very slow thesis of radical revolutionaries (socialist or religious) and a violent antithesis of the establishment's inevitable backlash. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Surviving against odds


One of my doctor uncles once joked that “ aapki zindagi likhi hu tu aap hospital mein bach hee jayengein” ( if you have a long enough life, you will survive the hospital). This pretty much sums up Pakistani  healthcare system.
The first time I came out of my happiness bubble, was when I interned for a rural health clinic in Hafizabad. It was a microcosm of Pakistan, with extreme and diverse limitations that had ugly outcomes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Who fears Muslim League?


Governance at an all-time low may be sufficient to cost PPP elections this time, but can the PMLN come back to power? Or will the “Imran Tsunami” hit the PMLN ballot box hard? Here is a brief synopsis of how PMLN has fared in the last three years.
First for a few months PMLN was in a coalition with PPP. But it had to separate paths when the "Charter of Democracy" was breached and PPP refused to reinstate the judges. However, the label “friendly opposition” did not serve PMLN well, because it meant approving and towing to PPP’s guidelines. Nonetheless, resistance over not reinstating the judges gave PMLN a political and popular edge over PPP and of course, spelled disaster for Zardari attempting to escape the corruption cases under NRO.

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