Archive for the ‘Social’ Category

iMULLAH Touch

Coming out of his “official” house given to him by the lovely Government right next to the very Mosque he chairs, Molvi sahab gathers all the phlegm he can and spits it on the side walk because apparently the quote of cleanliness completing half the faith is only valid inside the mosque making every area outside void of any Shariah clauses. After delving into the holy ritual of spitting, molvi sahab gawks at the female population passing by and as an immediate response to an external stimulus i.e. a female life form, a reflex action magically happens making molvi sahab reach for his crotch and scratch it like he’s about to win the lottery. Subsequently as expected he blames Satan for everything that is happening right before his eyes…

“Kia zamana agaya hei, humara eeman kamzor hogaya hei, aurat zaat ko dekho, kia kia kartee rehtee hein”

Surprisingly enough, he doesn’t think that scratching his crotch in public like a gazillion mosquitoes rammed in from somewhere is anywhere near as sinful as a lady driving. But oh well, such is life from the mullah’s eyes….Refreshing. The kids in the madrassah start to gather around molvi sahab (half of the kid population being his own, ten wives just had to leave their impact no? ) and he starts to tell them the values of “life”. Coming from someone who doesn’t know the repercussions of letting out his bodily toxins/fluids in public which can cause serious health hazards, the kids are NOT in good hands at all, but then again he’s their father and it is his right *yawn*..

After the call for prayers is made, molvi sahab returns to his house and freshens up, takes out his itr bottle and religiously pours it all over him so that he can smell like he means faith-y business. It is Friday and he has to give a sermon, molvi sahab knows exactly what he’s going to say, he’s going to rant about “Amreeka” and then call them “Jaahil” and read a few verses and then sway to the sound of his echoes and look at all the people sitting in the front rows listening to him. It’s all chalked out..

“Everyone is requested to switch their mobile foons off, my fellow Muslimeen, Amreeka is bad, amreeka thinks they are god, but there is only one god, so amreeka is blasphemy, amreeka is monogamy and polygamy, and amreeka is pathology. Amreeka is the reason the world is such a bad place because what we do is way less than what they do, we kill ourselves, they kill us, we have the right to kill ourselves, they have the right not to, amreeka is kaafir, amreeka is jaahil, and everything made by amreeka is to be boycotted effective immediately”..

“Phone rings”…

“YEH KIS JAAHIL KA PHONE HEI?”..

And a kid in the front row screams “BABA AAP KA IFOON HEI”…

*shakes head*…

Originally posted at HABLOID

Hold your horses…

The other day I was driving on the margallah road and I had a unique sight. A horse galloped past my car and I being a very responsible citizen called rescue police.

I said I am driving on Margallah road and a ghora is following us, I fear there might be an accident.
The guy said, what would be his age.
I said how would I know, but it is white in color and has a grey tail
The guy said, oh you mean ghora.
I said yeah Einstein
He said sorry, I thought you said Gora

Heh, I am sure the misunderstanding was because of the blackwater fuss that has been going around in our country, but the pics are worth seeing.

And in a totally different mindframe, Bollywood no longer makes movies like Amitabh’s “Mard
” in which his horse “Badal” saves the day.

Fables are actually interesting.

Well..

A diabetic in a pastry shop…

Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons in Islamabad. Unfortunately, not for everyone. I said this last year too. This year, it’s gonna be tougher and tougher and I can feel it.

So yeah, people please stay safe and secure and try precautionary measures.

I know, it’s not fun being a diabetic in a pastry shop.

But sometimes that’s how life is…

Working Women and Accommodation Problem

If you are a single working woman and you have taken up the bold decision of working in another city like Islamabad – please beware, you are going to encounter innumerable problems. However, one problem which you are going to face for sure is that of finding a reasonable accommodation. Yes, finding an accommodation in Islamabad is not going to be an easy task because the options available are limited for us ‘ working women’.

The first option before you is of staying with relatives if you have got the nerves to bear their objections and criticism with patience. This option is not a very practical one because your relatives can assume the role of your “guardians” since you are living with them and can simply ignore your own ‘privacy’ . The second option is of finding an independent flat or a portion if your pocket allows you to do so. However, my experience suggests that finding a flat or a portion for a single working woman is not an easy task. The house / flat owners will refuse to open their house for ‘inspection’ for you because they had some ‘bad’ experiences with earlier women tenants and they had observed some ‘objectionable movements’. In addition, the house/flat owners would also try to judge you by your overall appearance. They will straightforwardly refuse to take you as their tenant if you look ‘modern’ in any way.

The third option is of living in a hostel. Unfortunately, there are only three working women hostels opened by the government in Islamabad. Two of these government run working women hostels are only open for government employees. The third one, Nusrat Hostel is open to women working in private sector nevertheless it is not easy to get a room in Nusrat Hostel and you should have some “ tagri sifarish” if you want to get a place there.  The women workforce employed in the private sector is left with no option other than that of living in one of those un-registered private hostels which are opened up like wild mushrooms in every nook and corner of the capital city without any sort of check by the government.

The trend which has been observed as far as these private hostels are concerned is that the houses in which these hostels are opened up are not owned by the hostel owners but rather are rented ones and therefore the hostel owner will not pay any attention to the maintenance and cleanliness no matter how much you complain about it . You will be shown your way out of the hostel if you complain ‘ a little’ ‘ about the cleanliness to the hostel owners. As I said earlier that the hostel owners themselves are somebody else tenants therefore you should not expect a longer stay in any such hostel. Any hot argument between hostel owner and the real owner would result in hostel owner moving to some other locality and you hunting for another place you for yourself.

The rent of these private hostels could range from 6000-10,000 Rs on sharing basis and most of the time you will be sharing one small room with three or four other women. There is no guarantee that the room would be properly ventilated and the furniture (the only furniture available in most of these private hostels is bed and a closet) in not broken. If you want to get a single room in such a hostel then the rent could range from 16,000-32,000 Rs. You would not be allowed to cook in the hostel but would have to eat the hostel mess which normally comprises “daals and daals and vegetables full of spices” a sure guarantee that you eat less and therefore you are not going to put on extra weight as long as you are going to stay there.

In addition, to make your stay more exciting and entertaining for you and others,  from cook to the hostel owner, every one in the hostel would spread baseless gossips and rumours about you among other hostel tenants in order to keep their level of general knowledge updated about you. These gossips could be “Iss ney khufia shadi ker rakhi hey or apnay ghar waloon sey chup ker hostel mein reh rahi hey (she has married without her parent’s consent and that’s why she is living in this hostel), yeh dhanda kerti hey (she is a prostitute) so on and so forth.

It is ironic that working women, who are making every effort to be productive to their country, go through so many problems in Islamabad where unaccountable amount of money is being spent on providing security to VVIPs.   The unavailability of reasonable accommodation can effect mental well being of working women and their performance in their work place.  I wonder, why our government does not take concrete steps as far as provision of reasonable accommodation for working women is concerned? Yes, Why????

Scavenger Children at Work in Islamabad

Scavanger Children at Work in Islamabad

This is summer vacation time in Islamabad for school going children but not for  Afghan scavenger children who in their ragged clothes, unwashed faces travel long distances everyday to pick recyclable waste in their waste collection bags from waste dumping points located in markets, residential areas as well as hospitals. Their parents are unskilled, illiterate and live in abject poverty. Parent’s poverty forces these kids into scavenging. While other children of their age are going to school, these scavenger children become earning hand of their poor families living in abject poverty. Nevertheless, they are not only exposed to various health hazards but also become victims of sexual abuse. We should appreciate the hard toil of these scavenger children because they, unlike hundreds of beggar children found begging in various markets and roads of Islamabad, are not begging but are earning their living through hard means.

Despite the fact that the Government of Pakistan is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, the steps taken by the government to protect children rights are still invisible. I wonder if this is the sorry state of affairs in Islamabad as far as the implementation of Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 is concerned then what would be the situation of child scavengers in other parts of the country. My question to all of you is what our government should do to protect child scavengers from all sorts of exploitation and hazards? Should the government ban scavenging altogether keeping in view the associated health hazards for scavengers and promote a culture and awareness of recycling at the household level as is done in developed countries or should the government formulate a comprehensive policy for the rehabilitation of scavenger children while providing them free education and offering their poor parents some monitory assistance or should the government continue doing business-as-usual?

Sense of Pride

Saw this pic on Duffer’s blog:

(Taxi driver Bilal Mehmood told that a person bought a goat and booked his taxi for going to Islamabad. He was following on his motorbike. At the decided place, the taxi driver couldn’t find the person.  Owner of goat can plz contact at the given number)

And I felt so proud.

He said a loud No to corruption, innit?

Originally the Ad was published in Jang.

Usability – my take, my perspective…

I went to the Usability CEO speak-up session arranged at the brand new, glorious campus of NUST.

First of all – I want to say that I have the exact opposite of a Photographic memory. Infact, the movie memento is based on my life (just kidding), so – don’t take my account of the event too religiously.

To err is human, to forgive divine.

First of all, the attendance of the speakers was not 100 percent.

Osama Hashmi of Green&White fame, Murad Akhtar of TinTash and Atif Mumtaz of Brightspyre did not come.

Frankly, I went because I really wanted to meet Osama as the two technical blogs from Pakistan that I absolutely adore are his Green&White and the Tech Lahore. Obviously there are many others like Mohtashim’s IT blog but the choice of these two blogs is a strictly biased selection totally thrashing any merit of any sort.

Haris Khan, the CEO of Zigron was the host and the moderator of the talk. And like any host of any good talk show, he did a splendid and a marvelous job. He never let the talk go astray in either the pits of boredom or to the heights of excitement. I would say attaboy, well done.

The talk was a well diversified talk show kind of a thing. Babar Khan, the Country Manager of iKonami went on an extra mile to tell how his company invested in making the product they have for hospitals in the Uk easy to use for disabled people. Faizan Buzdar, the dude from Scrybe quite interestingly told of his affiliation with the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway project from his GIKI days and how there were flaws in some areas with regards to usability from a users perspective. He also seemed pretty nostalgic about his days at Elixir when he spoke very high of the Usability practices at Elixir.

That reminds me that most of the audience were the employees of iKonami and Elixir technologies.

Dr. Khalid Latif gave the academic perspective of usability and gave specific examples of functional vs non-functional requirements in usability. He talked about how usability differed in different products. He said that how regression is a more important thing in mission critical systems and how aesthetics are a more important aspect of an entertainment related web site.

An employee from elixir technologies pointed out the fact that how different kind of viewers should be catered to when making color schemes for a web site, like different color combinations that can not be distinguished from each other by color blind people. At that point in time, an employee of iKonami technologies who was in the audience too mentioned the fact that these kind of requirements are specially catered to in the medical support system by them.

Dr. Arshad Sahab, who is a personal mentor of mine since university days very wisely pointed out the paradox that like ethics, it’s extremely difficult for the right kind of people to be found for teaching usability. Since most of the people who are academically qualified to teach such subjects do not practice the concepts themselves. He also pointed out the fact that usability can’t be totally taught right out of text books, it should be an amalgam of textbook stuff with the latest findings and practices that are freshly cooked out of the oven.

The crux of the matter is that albeit it was not totally the kind of a talk I went to attend and Helvetica is definitely not the kind of film I would chose to show in a Usability talk, but nevertheless it was a treat to be there. The event was gourmet material. And was indeed very aesthetically arranged in one of the very beautiful classes of the newly made campus of NUST-SEECS.

The Chinese saying goes like “A thousand mile journey starts with a single step”. And I absolutely loved the amalgam of industry-academia in this talk.

Three cheers to the organizers, the participants and the audience.

I hope such events continue in the future!!!

Awe-Inspiring Tale

Few months back, I saw a wonderful insightful post on Social Bridges. I immediately thought to share it on Islamabad Metroblog as well but thanks to my short-term memory retention, I forgot. Thanks to my link saving habit though ;) I remember now.

Quoting what Osama wrote:

When I was visiting Quaid-e-Azam university a month ago for a seminar, I stopped in my tracks to notice this very interesting custom-modified motorcycle parked in the garage. The students with me started telling me the story of this gentleman who drives this highly modified vehicle that helps him overcome his physical challenges.

I think this is a highly inspiring example of overcoming any personal challenge with innovation, even if it doesn’t relate to physical disability. I also think this vehicles like these can tap into an amazing new niche market.

Atlas Honda – why are you guys missing this opportunity? It just requires one new mechanical harness at the back and you can create these niche bikes and make good money selling them. We wont blame you for earning profits from your product, rather we’ll recognize you for your socially aware product design.

I was genuinely happy to read this. Do you know of any such examples nearby?

Earthquake Relief for Balochistan

A powerful earthquake has hit different parts of Balochistan this morning. The current confirmed death toll is 165 and thousands of people have been injured who have been shifted to local hospitals. Thousands of homes have been completely destroyed leaving at least 15,000 people homeless in extremely harsh cold weather.

According to Ziarat’s mayor:

“There is great destruction. Not a single house is intact.”

Our duty to our brothers and sisters in Balochistan calls us. We did whatever we could for the victims of October 08, 2005 Earthquake and our efforts didn’t go in waste. We make an appeal to unite again and show a greater level of unity, enthusiasm and love for our Muslim brothers and sisters in pain.

Karachi’s FAST come up with instant plan for relief. You can view details here to be a part of the relief program.

Image Courtesy: Dawn

Post Text courtesy: Pakistaniat

Startup Insiders

startup
NUST Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) along with BrightSpyre & P@sha is going to host an exciting startup session on April 4, 2008 in the premises of NIIT. The purpose of this session is to provide a platform to motivated and brilliant people, who are thinking of launching a startup, get a handle on really what they’ve got and way to make it a success- an idea, a feature, a product, or a business and what not. This session will feature a panel of serial entrepreneurs with remarkable business experience. They will lead the audience through a series of evaluations critical to success. The theme for the session is “Startups”. You are encouraged to avail this fruitful opportunity to become a successful Leader of Tomorrow!!!! Following is the list of panelists for the session:

– Rana Saad ( PI Sigma)
-Jehan Ara, President, PASHA
– Murad Akhtar (Tintash) http://www.tintash.com/
– Mansoor Salim (Jin Technologies)
– Atif Mumtaz & Faisal Chohan (CEO BrightSpyre)
– Babar Khan (Ikonmai) (Outsourcing software house)
– Adnan Shaukat (CEO, Classic Entertainment, Internet Radio)
– Amir Jahangir (Consultant CSF and Social media entrepreneur)
– Osama Hashmi (Green and White)
– 2 NIIT Alumni

For more information and registration check this link:
http://www.niit.edu.pk/Seminars_workshops/pages/startup/index.php

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