Archive for January, 2010

Superstitious Zardari

I read a hilarious news report in today’s Dawn. The news report pronounces President Zardari’s superstition and the adopted measures to protect Mr. President from ‘black magic’ and evil eyes’. According to the news report, the measure taken to protect our dear President from black magic is an everyday slaughter of a ‘black’ goat. Sure, currently, our President is confronting some harsh criticism from political parties particularly PML-N, nevertheless, I really wonder if Zardari is really taking this criticism as ‘black magic’? But this news item really shows how progressive Mr Zardai is. Holy cow, if we made rough calculations then probably at least 600 goats have already been slaughtered so far.

Golden…

This year, Islamabad turned 50.

Islamabad has been through ups and downs of her life, but she has always managed to emerge as a beautiful and a lovable place to live.

May Almighty bless our city with the peace and stability that she was once popular for.

Amen!

YLES’10 comes to an end

*Sigh of relief*… Yes, today was the last day of the leader and entrepreneur summit. I can safely say, it has been fun, and it’s been tiring, it’s been annoying, disappointing, smiling and so on and so forth. Today was the final round of the Business idea competition which I don’t know who won but I’m sure the chosen team was the deserving team *I hope*…

The event that I did attend (well half of it) was the PLAY-IT ad making competitions final. The selected teams were to re-present their ad to the panel of judges (new panel; more later) and also make a 40 second radio jingle along with it.

I’ll be very honest here, last minute good judge backing out is bad. It showed, the panel of judges consisted of the guitar player of the band Irtaash from Islamabad who “has worked in the telecom industry”, and three other people that I did not catch the name of. Now I might be biased, or jealous or simply bitching. But I’m sorry to say, the FINAL, didn’t really get the right panel of judges. And well, I don’t know who won or who lost, because mid-way I lost interest (Sorry everyone, I just did)… so I’ll find that out later *again*…

The closing ceremony is under-way, so as the delegates bid each other farewell and receive their certificates. I need to mention that whatever the competitions were like, or the social events and all that followed. It was a very very well organized event *organized*… I bear witness to the fact that it takes months and months of pre-event logistic work, organization, tears, sweat, hard work etc. But the whole team put up an amazing 4 days for the people.


I am extremely thankful and very grateful to Momna Azad, who was the external affairs director for YLES’10. She tolerated my annoying calls, she got me an observer tag, she made sure everything worked fine, and even though she wasn’t as visible as say the social event manager or the media manager, she did a mighty fine job and worked super hard. So Thank You Momna =)

Goodbye everyone =)

Play it. Sway it. Slay it. YLES’10

Today was solidly an uneventful day. Well in the start at least. The same foggy state of mind and thought prevailed as I got on the rickshaw to make it to LUMS. Yes, again at 8:30 am. I have learned my lesson now. Never ever will I go anywhere on time in Lahore.

Today, the starting events were the “leadership quiz” and the “Harvard case study competition”. Again I had to choose between the former and the latter. And I chose the latter simply because I think (or perhaps thought) that case studies are fun (More on this later). The delegates were handed out a huge pile of papers that I’m sure made little sense (if any) to 70% of the delegates, or maybe it was their facial expressions that gave out that very impression.

I read a little through the case study and it was basically a case study that talked about raising finance options for the tea company called “Honest Tea”. The judges for this competition were an MBA student from LUMS, and a faculty member of LUMS as well. I couldn’t get their names (so if there is a 1/10000000 chance of anyone actually reading this from this very competition… I’m sorry *sniff* ). What made me really let go of my usual serious stance and laugh was how the delegates took the “BCG MATRIX” and totally raped it


“This firm is a star firm, just like starbucks”…. WTF? =p


“They should.. erm.. aah.. like.. ahh.. like… umm… you know.. like.. ummm.. do something? ” …. Ahawn!?
=p

“The company should opt for venture capital because it’s a coperation and they should cooperate”… R missing anyone?!

For all the people who know what this finance is. This would make sense to them. But at the end of the competition, one team was selected from that room to compete against the teams selected from the other room in round two. I unfortunately couldn’t attend round two because I couldn’t. So I don’t know which teams made it to the final.

Next up was PLAY-IT. The competition which requires teams to come up with a 1 minute advertisement for an assigned product. Again the teams were divided so I could only sit in one room. The advertisements that were played in the room I was in were interesting. Some very good and catchy, some crappy and sloppy, one ripped off advertisement as well (Funny no one noticed). Some notable mentions were the advertisement for “Total petrol pumps”, “Rafhan Jelly”, “Knorr ketchup”.. and “Dairy Milk”… The results weren’t announced right there, right then so I will find out tomorrow who made it to the finals.

The social event for today is the “grand dinner”. And the theme for this dinner is “Greece”. Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite will be plenty (I hope). For today.

C ya? =p

The business idea competition at YLES’10 and all that followed.

I left early in the day (7:30 am) in pursuit of a rickshaw to get me to LUMS so I wouldn’t miss the business idea competition which was “scheduled” to start at 8:30 am. But due to the state of mind that is prevalent these days, it didn’t start till my watch sounded the 11:00 am hourly chime.

In my head was the though that it’d be the best that YLES has to offer, but an hour into the presentations, I couldn’t stop yawning. Oh and since there were A LOT of teams, there were two places where there were presentations so like I mentioned previously in my earlier posts, I trusted my instinct and went into one of the two venues. Oh and yes, they were boring, didn’t catch my attention, except for 2 or 3. But then again that is my view. The judges for the competition were:-

a) Ambreen Waheed who is an executive director at Responsible Business initiative.

b) Sadaf Adnan who is the regional head for the National Fullerton Asset Management Limited (NAFA)

c) Iram Fatima Jafry who is the manager advisory for KPMG Tasweer Hadi and Co Lahore.

The presentations revolved around one team wanting to open a fitness center, another wanting to open a Cafe’, another wanting to open an institute to groom ACCA students. (Being an ACCA student, I particularly found his presentation very offending =p). One team wanted to open a security company and one individual wanted to open a Fashion swapping business, which in my discussion with the judges after wards floated as their favorite presentation. Half of the total number of teams who presented their ideas were chosen for the second round.

Though I’d like to mention here that the judges were very careful as to what they say to me, or maybe it was the fact that they just didn’t like me *laugh*.

  • ROUND TWO:-
  • Round two had the first round chosen teams presenting in detail to a panel of judges the financial plan of their business followed by a question and answer session. I’ll be honest here, I was half asleep by then and the judges (except for one) were asking STUPID questions in my opinion. Regardless of the presentation or idea at hand, the judges shouldn’t shove their “experience” or “thoughts” in the faces of the teams who have worked really hard. One judge even had the nerve to go up to one team (after the computer was troubleshooting) and say ” beta koi chota idea socho, woh na socho j o tumharay baray bhee na kar sakay hon”.In my view, that is as demotivating as a Maulvi trying to tell you to be a nice person.

    Anyways, the results will be announced today so I will update that later on. The social event for the night was a concert. The band playing at the concert was none other than “a thousand girls dilo ke dharkan”…. NOOOORI.

    I sat through 3-4 songs. The concert though was marred by sound issues, and pretty much an average performance by the band.

    That’s about it I guess.

    The Networkathon at YLES’10

    Day two activities at YLES’10. The day started with a rickshaw wala “trying” to rip me off. I say “trying” because over the course of the past two days I have gained wisdom as to why I get ripped off and what I should do to prevent me getting ripped off:-

    1) I apparently look like a “forun-er”.

    2) Judging by my body language, it seems I have a lot of money *laughs*

    And to prevent the outcome of the above mentioned points, the only thing that got me out of this dilemma was to speak in Punjabi.

    “Punjabi ich bolo tay masla solve ho he janda ay ustad”Learned rickshaw wala

    After I got to the venue, I was directed to a huge canopy tent with 4-5 big screen projectors displaying the rather interesting video clip of the song ‘Billi Jean” from Micheal Jackson’s Budapest 1992 concert. I say interesting here because the crowd in this very concert went absolutely “cuckoo” when they saw Mr. Jackson. One could see screaming, crying, dancing, stoned, sober, semi-stoned, semi-sober and other humanly emoted people present. The crowd were seated and Umair Jaliawala started the proceedings. He tells the history of his last name as the “remembrance of his grand father meeting his grand mother in the Jalianwala garden”.

    Deemed Umair the Turner on his website:-

    School of Leadership website

    The start to his presentation was rather interesting. He apparently likes to “turn people on”. Sexual innuendos were a plenty linked with a lot of interesting ploys and activities to do for the delegates present. He started off with explaining why the youth needs energy, how they can nurture it, how self love is important ( or maybe that was later on in the show but it cracked me up). His theme for the whole workshop was “Screw it, let’s do it”, based on the Virgin Empire mogul, Richard Branson’s autobiography by the same name. Delegates were divided into groups, assigned a Leadership facilitator. Made to ask people random questions, get question papers filled, hug each other, basically network. Which came to par with the theme. The most interesting activity in my opinion was him telling the delegates it’s lunch time. The lunch time announcement was received very well but he had something else under his belt (NO THIS IS NOT A SEXUAL INNUENDO). He told the delegates that they had to make their lunch from the raw materials present there and sell it to some other team. Interesting exercise in my opinion. Then at the end of the day they had to use trash to make something useful that was “sellable”..

    This is in fact a very brief summary of what happened but I’m pretty sure I covered everything. A little profile about Mr Umair is available on the website I mentioned above. Worth mentioning is:-

    His humble exterior and age doesn’t echo the crowds he has transformed, at SoL (including YLC, TTYT & HPJ) and other schools, colleges, universities, and organizations (including Habib Bank Limited, The Citizens Foundation, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP), Aga Khan Sports and Welfare Board, All Pakistan Memon Foundation, Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Iqra University, Karachi University, PAF KIET, Foundation Public School and Beaconhouse School). He immediately relaxes his audience, guards down, receptive to learning, before he shakes their paradigms again. His sessions are a rollercoaster journey of change, exercises/games, questions, quotes, challenges and realizations.

    At the end of the day as I sit in the computer lab (brilliant lab I have to add) and write the tale of today, I reflect back on the day and I find that I did learn a couple of things to:-

    1) Never get ripped off EVER AGAIN.
    2) The Chicken Cheese shawarma from Cock N Bull (NOT ANOTHER INNUENDO I SWEAR) SUCKS.

    And a couple of other things too which are not relevant or maybe they are. But then again, I might have forgotten them. Too much knowledge is a hassle after all.

    Oh and currently there is a “surprise event; social event” going on which I couldn’t be bothered by because it’s just a snazzy version of the kiddy scavenger hunt concept.

    A workshop will be conducted at 10 pm related to the “PLAY-IT” competition which I will write about when it takes place.

    So I depart. *wave*

    The Social Enterprise Challenge at YLES’10.

    In today’s world, more than ever before, we need sustainable and innovative entrepreneurship. That is why this years YLES them is Sustainopreneurship.

    The Social Enterprise Challenge at YLES, will provide you with a forum to resolve issues of ecological, economic, and social sustainability, through entrepreneurial ventures. Being in line with the concept of Sustainopreneurship, the Social Enterprise Challenge would set out to find and creative innovations to solve these sustainability-related problems.

    The above mentioned paragraphs blatantly copied off the YLES delegate handbook would have given you a slight if not the whole idea about what this competition was about. Teams had to highlight a social issue pertaining in their native city and elaborate it briefly through a photo essay followed by a presentation that had to highlight the problems and come up with an enterprise or an organizational solution to these problems.

    At first you could see that the teams present in the room (There were two separate rooms so I followed my instinct and by theee graays aaf aal mie-tee Allah I went in room a-12, or was it a-11. I don’t remember), were full of enthusiasm to go out there and kick some major behind. Two of the judges introduced themselves, one being some Punjab rural organizations chief internal auditor (Funny chap, and no not because of his humor *laughs*), and the other judge who had ventured into the CNG, mule breeding, construction and a lot of other businesses (Another funny chap, and again not because of his humor). Later the judge panel was joined by a couple who were funnier. One being a lawyer in THE UK for the past 40 years and the other his wife who was a “lecturer”.

    On with the competition, the first team came in and talked about the issue of pollution, followed by teams talking about child poverty, medical waste issues, sewerage problems, green housing societies, garbage disposal units, pollution (again) and other issues. And in my view, I don’t think any delegate actually came up with a ‘solution”. Forming an NGO, or asking for the government to solve the problems is NOT a really leader-y thing to do. But then again, I guess no one got the point of it or maybe they did. I wouldn’t know but in my opinion, the delegates lacked presentation skills and a specific vision (later pointed out by funny chap 2). At the end of the challenge, I was glad I was out, because it was in fact not up to mark with the objective it had to achieve ( it could be awesome if it was directed).

    The results have to be announced today (i.e the 20th of January’10) so I will update later with the results.

    The Rock Star Carnival was nothing to write home about so instead of whining about how much it sucked, I’ll choose to ignore it but I’d like to specially mention the “psychic sisters”. Funny “sisters” who were reading palms. With the funny big glasses and the specially concerned people about their future. I wanted to re-create Richard Dawkin’s “enemy of reason” interview with a psychic but to my surprise, the pukhtoon team got to the chair before I did and then I just lost interest.

    Au revoir

    The YLES’10 opening ceremony

    I hath returned to haunt the realm of the world wide web. Ah enough dramatic horror bullshit. On with the opening ceremony. I got in a little late so I think I missed what a few guest speakers said. But I did catch the enthralling and super energetic opening done by Nadeem Chawhan. He had the delegates laughing, and having fun. I can remember him saying “yaar yeh jo lafz hei na IS FIELD MEIN SCOPE NAI.. I hate it”.. made me laugh. He had the crowd of delegates clapping, cheering, dancing, chanting.

    He later introduced what he thought the youth of today needed. Energy, and the concept of doing something because you want to be successful were on his card for the ceremony.Then he introduced what he called the “concept of chawhanization”.. Which he described later to me as a “personal high anyone can nurture within himself to achieve something”. I then, can call my elusive state of mind as “the concept of hashimization”. That would be elite and awesome.

    “Nadeem Chawhan likes to describe himself as “The Pirate of Corporate Storytelling.” He is an MBA by education, but a revolutionist by nature. Prior to consultancy, Nadeem worked with different organizations such as Procter & Gamble, Shell Pakistan & Domed Medicals in marketing & business development capacities.”

    Nadeem is senior facilitator, management consultant & director at Navitus. He enriches our work with his rare contributions of analytical & creative thinking. Nadeem focuses on personal & team development through areas like interpersonal skills, entrepreneurial spirit, sales, transformational leadership, overall strategic planning & dealing with the future.

    This can be found on the NAVITUS WEBSITE

    He also talked about “Wake Up Islamabad”. A venture he is working on to enlighten the youth. This venture is arranging an event at the Convention Center, Islamabad on the 31’st of January’10 to get people together for the show stopping event called “Takmeel-e-Pakistan” which is going to be held at the Minar-e-Pakistan. Because according to him, it’s been more than 6 decades since the last declaration of independence was passed, and that we need another one that integrates modern needs, wants and the dressing of success.

    He also thought that the chicken crossed the road because it was afraid it’d get raped by a certain individual (the name I could not get), present there. This is in fact a major issue in itself and should be address on a larger scale as chickens play an important role for the high and dry and the leaders who think they can fly *Wink*…

    All in all, it was fun, energetic, and got the delegates rolling for the event to follow which was the Social Enterprise Challenge which I will write about tomorrow. For now, I need to get my Rock Star groove in motion and go to the themed carnival. Theme being “Rockstar”.I also can bear witness to the fact that social events play a very important role in events such as YLES. So my friends, compatriots, my friends, compatriots *Oh wait I already wrote that*..

    Toodles. Viva La Revolucion.

    Lights.Camera.Action

    And the yearly extravangza known as the Young leaders and entrepreneur summit (YLES’10) begins. This being my biggest assignment yet. Assignment that was taken up by me, myself. I would say I but that would just be ruining the norm.

    Lahore, amidst all the fog and the super cold weather looked pretty different to me. New roads, new everything, same old me. *Blah*…

    I will be covering the whole event, from all the competitions to the workshops and the social events, so that is something to look forward to. I hope. *crosses finger*.

    The opening ceremony awaits yours truly.

    Au revoir.

    Pakistan’s First Annual Blog Awards

    Pakistan Blog Awards

    Blogging is becoming a popular medium of expression in Pakistan. In recognition of this fact, Google Pakistan and OIC Pakistan in partnership with Dawn News are organizing Pakistan’s First Annual Blog Awards. The news about annual blog awards was announced in Lahore and Karachi Tweetups 2009 by Mr. Badar Khushnood, Pakistan Country Consultant Google Inc. At present, a website by the name Pakistan Blog Awards is functional where Pakistani bloggers can submit or nominate their blogs under any one of the listed categories. There are three broad categories namely general categories, topic area categories, and arts & letters categories. Each of these categories is further divided into at least nine or more sub-categories. Additionally, rules of game have also been articulated as ‘entry guidelines’. Till to-date, Pakistani bloggers have either nominated / submitted 120 blogs to the first annual blog awards. However, neither the closing date of the competition has been announced yet nor there is any information available regarding the date by which blogs/bloggers for each listed category will be selected and announced as winners. But still, the competition is on. So guys and gals, if you have an active blog and you want to compete then rush and nominate yourself for the blog awards here, here and here…

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