Archive for December, 2008

The Convent Model United Nations Part IV

So here is a “small” review of the talent show that took place last night. I liked the setting “yet again”. The social events team really did wonders with the place they call the “back ground”. The lights, the graffiti back drop and not to mention the chairs in circles with an “angeethi” in the middle.

The evening started off with a Traditional dance of The Philippines done by 4 ladies clad in white. The dance was “interesting”, not much going on, a little sway here, a little sway there. Then again, I guess it’s the cultural divide that forces us to laugh at everything that isn’t “us”.

After the dance, the delegations lined up to show the judges who were seated in front of the stage how much talent they actually had. There were people who did rap over backing tracks, a rather annoying mimic of “the shrimp” from Shark Tale done by the delegate of Iraq. Later I could hear/see her making fun of every act that did come on stage. Rather annoying if you ask me, considering that she herself did the corniest/lamest act. Interestingly enough, the delegation of India did an “improvised” song which had acoustic guitars ( The Gmaj and the Cmaj chords used heavily) and interesting lyrics. Yes, the only thing they sang was “ho ho marasi ho ho ho”. But then again, improvisation is interesting every time. The female delegate from China sat and beautifully sang “Saiyyan” by Kailash Kher. Very hard song to sing, specially without the help of any instruments. Good job done by China.

After China was done, the delegate of Japan came on stage to show the crowd exactly how much flex he has. And yes, he had lots of it (which is why I couldn’t get a picture :P ). Good job done by Japan as well. After Japan left the stage, the delegate of Israel along with his Misri Tabla came on stage to do some percussion work. Nice try, but timing issues, consistency issues and monotonous beats, but it DOES take guts to go on stage with just one instrument so good job done by the delegate of Israel as well. The North Korean delegate went on stage with his white warlock guitar and did some shred and a rather interesting version of “eruption” by Van Halen. I think the cold took it’s toll and one could easily tell he was feeling uncomfortable playing.

Other than the acts mentioned above, none of the acts were that good to be reviewed or maybe it was just me but it was the same boring rap/karaoke/rap again/dance/karaoke over and over again. I left early but it was an event that did go well. Again I’d like to stress on the point that these kids DID work with a lot of effort and commitment :)

The Convent Model United Nations Part II and III

So here is day two of the Convent MUN, the part where the “Actual” thing starts so to speak. I went in at 9 am because that is when the committee sessions were supposed to start. There were a total of five committees in all which were

1) DISEC ( Disarmament International Security)
2) UNHCR( The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees)
3) MEMS( The Middle East Multi-lateral summit)
4) WTO( World Trade Organization)
5) UNSC( United Nations Security Council)

Initially I planned to sit in all committees one by one to get a gist of all of them but then it turned out that it wasn’t really possible for me to do so I just went inside the DISEC committee. In every committee there needs to be a chair and the chair for this very committee was Zain Khan. Profiles of all committee chairs will be put up on the last day by yours truly but for now let’s discuss the sessions. My first impression, a bunch of enthusiastic kids with a vision to change the world gathered together in one room to talk about topics that effect mankind in general. The reason I’m writing part II and III together is that I wanted a complete roundup of the committee session so I waited a day for my view to be completed so to speak. The voting was done, and the topic chosen to be discussed was the “Blood Diamonds in West Africa” now I may seem dumb here, but before this I didn’t know that blood diamonds were an actual problem (yes, like most of you I knew it as the Hollywood flick too). So not only was I enlightened I thoroughly enjoyed the debate as well. Problems were linked together, blood diamonds, Rebels, Child soldiers, trafficking, and terrorism and so on and so forth. I was very impressed by the way a few of the delegates spoke. Diplomacy is like I mentioned in part I, one of the key areas that the delegates are judged on and if you ask me, all of them have the gift of being VERY good diplomats. Speakers spoke about their country stance, moderated caucuses were raised, un-moderated caucuses were raised to make allies, working papers and discuss the whole situation at hand

What caught my attention was also the fact that most of them looked like they had done their homework. Iman Hazir, the delegate of Afghanistan in my opinion show cased amazing knowledge regarding the history of blood diamonds, the effect of their export etc. Other notable delegates that stood out in my opinion were the delegates from The United Kingdom, Russia, Iraq, South Africa and Israel. But my pick of the day was the delegate from Bangladesh. So I decided to do a little profile on her because In my opinion she deserves to be commended.

So meet Aaminah Reshi. She is a student at BMI i.e the Beaconhouse Margalla campus. She has taken part in a number of MUN’s before so she is no newbie. I asked her a bunch of silly questions just to get her opinion on a number of things. She thought that the DISEC committee sessions were active and lively but the level of debate lacked quite a bit. She also thought that the chicken crossed the road because it wanted to and that if she were to be the president of Pakistan for a day she would ban all alcohol. I also asked her what she would do if marijuana was say, legal? And she said that “this is just absurd”. She likes to listen to music, read and write and in her opinion, her chances at the Best Delegate shield are high because she thinks she did well. When asked to give any last messages, she said ” Honesty is NOT the best policy it is the ONLY policy”

Kudos to Miss Aaminah, I hope she does win an award.

The committee sessions were followed by social events. The first event was the Bonfire, my band Sketch was to play at the bonfire. I would SPECIALLY like to mention here that the whole social events team worked REAL hard to get the event together. Decor, the stage, lights, the food. Zainab Zakeer did an AWESOME job in getting the team together. A profile on her will also follow come the last day. The sound messed up, so we had to cut the performance short, but people seemed like they were having fun. Since I was playing, I have no pictures of the bonfire but as soon as I get hold of them I will upload. There were dances, challenges made, charpais broken (courtesy me ofcourse) and some dirty dancing was done as well which proved to be a source of concern for the administration.

Enter day 3, I went in a little late so I just got to see an “entertainment session” and a “crisis situation” was underway the time that I left. The entertainment session wasn’t entertaining at ALL. Same sex jokes were being laughed at. It sometimes appalls me that even though we express discomfort over gay jokes, people still enjoy them and laugh at them like they are really funny.

Today, what struck me was the endurance level of the delegate of the UK, a profile on him will also be done (hopefully).

I guess that pretty much covers everything, I am off to the social event i.e the TALENT SHOW. Let’s see how talented these poised individuals are :)

Adios.

Islamabad blogger meetup – my take…

Yesterday’s event was a nice one.

If you don’t know, I’m talking about the Blogger meetup session.

It was live-blogged over here. And it covers the crux of the event, so I will just put in my two cents and my takeaway points.

I don’t remember the names of the people from IEEE Bahria university, but they did a marvelous job handling the event. Three cheers for them.

Badar, the country representative of Google gave a pretty informative introduction to blogging for newbies and introduced how blogging can be used as a means to make both ends meet. He introduced a couple of case-studies from Pakistan which were pretty interesting to hear about. Those including pinkwool.com, sizlopedia.com, paperpk.com and some more.

There were six panelist speakers.

1) Atif from Brightspyre
2) Shehzad from bytesforall
3) Nadir from Naqsha.net
4) Faheem from paperpk.com
5) Saad from Sizlopedia.com
6) Me from right here :)

It was a very inspiring talk.

My take-away point was that all of the people took their passion and gathered the right kind of audience and then made money though it. The way everyone was talking about their projects made an aura in the atmosphere that was pretty much addictive.

Atif from Brightspyre proudly presented the fact that those guys used HR as a SAAS(Software AS A Service), probably the first in the globe to be doing that. And they very successfully are deployed at many clients. Shehzad from Bytesforall was pretty much eloquent about the wrongdoings that have been happening w.r.t the blockage of blogs in Pakistan. Nadir told about how much facilitative their website is, check out their site – you’ll be thrilled.

I was very much excited to hear from Fahim of paperpk.com and Saad from sizlopedia.com, because both of them are earning (masha’Allah) a lot from their online presence through programs like Google adsense.

Google sponsored give-away gifts for the audience and the panelist (Yo, I got a brand-new ferrari-red colored Google mug as well, hehe) Red bull gave away free Red bulls to keep us awake during the session, and Wateen provided the wireless connectivity during the event.

The event was a very entertaining one and more soever, an educative one in a peer-to-peer Socratic kind of a way. As the saying goes that when one teaches, two learn. I was extremely thrilled to meet some bloggers who I probably would never have had the chance to meet if it wasn’t for this beautiful world of blogging.

I hope that such events continue in the future and that by next time we have much more real-time case-studies.

Hey, I almost forgot.

CIO Magazine was one of the organizers as well.

Three cheers for them too.

If I’ve missed up someone, my memory is to be blamed, not my sincerity.

Thanks!

    Update:

there are pics available as well!

Dulhan

quinchi poetry, originally uploaded by tango 48.

Written on a bin ;-)

Meetup…

I just returned from this meet up.

It was fun, will blog my take-away points soon.

Stay tuned!!!

The Convent Model United Nations- Part I

For those of you who don’t know what an MUN or a Model United Nation conference is, it is basically a conference where committee sessions of the United Nations are simulated in real time. Institutions send teams who are designated different countries and each participant or delegate is assigned a different committee. Heated debates, political inclination, diplomacy of all the things are checked, marked, evaluated and resolutions are made to a set of different problems that are to be discussed. What an MUN does is that it enables individuals to nurture their debating skills, their diplomatic skills, and their conflict resolution skills which contributes heavily in the future.


Today happened to be the first day of the 1st Convent Model United Nations, venue being The Islamabad Convent School (ICS). As is tradition, the first day is the opening ceremony and the Global Village. The opening ceremony took place in the school Library which was quite spacious for a library. I was expecting a plethora of long boring speeches and bland crammed scripts, but came out to be the exact opposite. There was a welcome speech, the Principals message and a word from the sponsors Islamabad Tubular Society, University College of Islamabad and Cherat Cement. I don’t remember what people came up and said but the Principal said something that I really liked “An individual makes up a family, a family a community, a community a society, a society a country, a country the whole world “. After the Secretary General declared the event open, most of the delegates rushed outdoors to the tent where they were to set up their Global Village stalls

I sneaked out to grab a bite and I’m sure what happened between the time the opening ceremony ended to the time I made way to the Global Village area wasn’t much that was missed. So let’s just get straight to the Global Village.

There were 33 countries in all or so I was told. I did speak to most of them but some were average, some weren’t interested and some were rude (I have no idea why though *shrug*). So the following countries, in my view stood out:-

North Korea:-

The delegates of North Korea were an independent team though all of them were students of West Minister College Islamabad. I got to talk to Jahangir and Rabia. I specially enjoyed talking to Rabia because she had a very unique perspective regarding the war against terror, global economy, nuclear arsenal and her vision if she was to be the premier. Jahangir was a nice fellow who explained how Korean music used the harp and harmonic scales. In my view, this team would do good if they stick to their thought process and originality.

Germany:-

The delegates of Germany were from The Saint Mary’s academy, Lalazar Rawalpindi. Their stall was interesting and had loads of car magazines, two bottles of “celebration drinks” put to portray beer and a guitar and a football. They looked confused and a little unprepared but I guess first times at MUN’s are always like that, though it was interesting to see a paper poster which had the NAZI sign and the “Hail Hitler” slogan on it. When asked whether they were pro Nazi, or anti Nazi, they had nothing to say. Moreover them not knowing that Hitler was actually born in Austria and not in Germany was disappointing.

China:-

The Chinese stall was a rather interesting stall. With the ladies dressed in traditional Chinese dresses with small Chinese fans in their hand. They looked nice and they were of the opinion that China savours on their labour and should be categorized as a “developed” country rather than a “developing” country and that the west doesn’t want them to be on top. Interesting views, oh and they had traditional Chinese food as well. Who doesn’t love a good dose of Chowmein and chop soy?

Iraq:-

I didn’t talk much to the delegates from Iraq but they were nice young girls who had a point of view about anything that I asked them. I talked to Urwat from the delegation and she was well spoken and very kind in answering all my questions regarding Iraqi culture, food, and heritage. They also had kebabs and some sort of rice as food items.

Ethiopia:-

The Ethiopian team consisted of budding accountants from the University College of Islamabad. The team consisted of Asmat Fayaz, Ibrahim Marghoob and Daniyal Khan Hoti. They had a nice lively stall and a lot of food to go with it. Asmat who looked like she was interested in writing said “war itself is terrorism” when asked about her views on the on going war against terror. Goes to show that all accountants “aren’t always that boring :)

Afghanistan:-

The Afghani stall was rather interesting. It had two girls dressed up in traditional pukhtoon topis and beards made with markers apparently portraying the Taliban. The delegation of Afghanistan were from Headstart and the little conversation that I did have with them, was enlightening. It was rather pleasing to see that two of them came up to me and asked me if I could get their view across. I obviously said sure and asked them what it was, they i.e Maham Faisal and Iman Hazir were blatantly against the war and said that the only way that the world could see peace was via peace and tolerance itself. Kudos to these young individuals.

Along the way I talked to lots of other country delegates as well. I would distinctly like to mention that the delegates from the United Kingdom were offensive, rude and ill-mannered but then again, teens are supposed to be like that. The delegates of France were nice as were the delegates from South Africa, Bangladesh, Canada and Egypt.

Credits to Miss Zainab Zakeer, who happens to be a student of O2 and also the Social event director for managing the first social event with a lot of responsibility and devotion along with her team, noteworthy mentions being Rahima Zia.

A lot of pictures were taken but due to poor light, the cold, a trembling hand and a point and shoot, most of them came out blurry so they had to be deleted, let’s hope that tomorrow will be a good day with respect to pictures. For all those who I mentioned without a picture, my apologies =)

Au revoir!

Islamabad blogger meetup…

There’s this meet-up planned tomorrow.

Register & Come

Of orange and black

Peanuts anyone?!

Winter is incomplete without peanuts. I’m sure all of you would agree. There’s nothing like having an old newspaper, sitting infront of the heater taking out the peanuts from their pods and munching on them, throwing the empty pod on the newspaper and cleaning out later.

Meet Munir bhai, he’s been selling peanuts for the past three years. His base camp is right across the double road infront of Mr Books in F-6. He says that in summers when there aren’t any peanuts, he makes a living by selling “channas and nimko”. I asked him if he was satisfied with his work and he said:-

“Jee bhai, araam yeh hei kay apnee rairee hei aur apna karobar hei”

According to him, a lot of peanut sellers worked on rented carts and for this he feels blessed to have his own business. He complained that wheat went from 320/kg to 500/kg, acknowledged “president” Zardari in many colourful words (with all due respect ofcourse and language that cannot be written here), and he thinks that Musharraf could “stick it to them”. He was accompanied by a friend who was more keen on getting a picture taken and was very anxious as to where it would be shown or printed.

So yes, winters are nothing without peanuts and razais ofcourse :)

Stay warm :)

“Pictures joined together by Aimen Rashid Ghani http://www.flickr.com/aimenrg

Clear day

I’ll let the pictures speak here.

But I’d like to add something. On the drive back down the hills, I saw a baby monkey killed by a car. A little overspeeding is acceptable, but the specified speed limit is 35km/hr. There should be some way to make people accept this speed limit. A simple change in attitude like respecting traffic laws might just convince the lord to save this nation.

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