Friday, July 30, 2010

Why I Didn't Become A Journalist

Ladies & Gentlemen, believe it or not, once upon a time, I was actually contemplating a career as a journalist. I had always been a pretty good writer (as well as public speaker, poet, rugby player, Star Craft player, Checkers Champ, etc but why be arrogant about my God given talents?) I was in high school, in Karachi Grammar School (KGS) when I first started writing professionally (getting paid; I was trying to earn my way to my first cell phone), I was a pretty productive writer (unashamedly money, resume and intellect driven), I even founded a 'Journalism Society' (read "Club I founded & appointed myself President; true Pakistani style"). I used to write incessantly for the likes of  Dawn group's Young World, Education Pages, Review, Books & Authors, The Star (Designated: Youth Editor), etc. Many assumed that I'd continue on with that writing fervor and commit my career (and possibly my potentially short-lived life) to journalistic endeavor.

Well, I didn't. I discovered this wonderfully practical thing called economics, then finance and voila here I sit today, a cog in Pakistan's well functioning Financial juggernaut. I have no regrets and never will. But I still write, and will probably continue to do so till it utterly bores the inspiration right out off me.

 As far as I was concerned, it wasn't a bait and switch to get into college (I had a phenomenal resume and list of extra currics). I was actually more than mildly interested in journalism. I could write, I had an inquisitive mind, a flair for witty prose, but sadly I lacked passion for journalism, the search of truth in itself. Perhaps more importantly (to me anyway) I discovered that I didn't actually like most journalists. For a social animal like myself, great people to work with tend to matter.

The media industry, as cool as some of it's folk are, is heavily laden with self-important, overly clever, under talented individuals *who*seemed to be put on this earth to aggravate my early morning happiness. Now, to be fair, I'm a rather judgmental  person and not the greatest morning person to start with, but I'm forgiving, have an analytical mind and tend to care about the news; quite a nice lad infact.

Journalists seem to enjoy this "I'm searching for the truth & enduring hardships" mindset that may seem adorable to an 13 year old idealist child, but I found it (and still find it) extraordinarily annoying. All these veteran truth seekers seem to want to talk about was how much secret information (dirt) they had, how the government tries to hide the truth (which I'm sure they do), or how some XYZ person was completely corrupt and how they were going to uncover the truth and expose them all for their crimes (probably guilty); they barely ever did; they were however, very quick to blame the government and their publishers who probably wanted something called 'verifiable sources'.

I do recall an occasion where one particularly irrate pompous Journalist was claimed that the government refused to allow him entrance into a particularly dangerous hostile area. It was a hot spot for decapitations and murders...can you blame the government for not allowing journalists in the area? I don't. Now if they did let the Journalist in question get himself killed, the head lines would rage about how insecure the area and how the government ought to have provided personal protection to the individual. Which if the government actually did they'd be criticized by the Journalist for constraining his movement and not letting him get the entire picture. It's a perfect damned if you and damned if you don't situation. Because a newspaper always seeks a headline, even if it has to create one. That's another thing I hate about journalists, everything is in hindsight.

On the rare occasion that these stalwarts of truth, justice and freedom were successful in uncovering whatever massive conspiracy they had arduously pursued, they always seemed embittered by how little people cared. How ignorant the general populace was about their ground breaking achievements (Most failed to realize that over half the population can't even etch their name).

Pakistani Journalists don't write with a passion for the truth or some mildly noble cause, they write for accolades, and a fleeting sense of self worth; one headline at a time, byline by byline. As if a newspaper article would catapult them onto the national stage and shower them with prestige. Evidently it doesn't, at least not in the lofty social circles that they expected it to (they want fame & fortune like everyone else).

Every journalistic rant is laced with enough generic platitudes to send an elephant into a coma and begging for an enema, or at least therapy. Journalists brandish unspecific ideas, abstract concepts and ridiculous prose as if they are Paul Coelho. They are not. they are scribes, and there is nothing wrong about that, but for my morning news, I'd love a little clarity.

The 9th time I read 'betterment for our country', 'morality', 'cultural values', 'Islamic ideals', 'democratic ideals' and 'not our culture', I stop caring what else the writer has written. Because he has no clue what he's talking about. Or at the very least can't convey his thoughts in an effective enough manner that an English educated Foreign graduate like myself can't fathom what the hell he's talking about.It's a waste of my mental acumen to concern myself with what he may or may not mean.

Most journalists have their own little (or large) pet cause or NGO that they support and strive very hard to make them relevant (sometimes for an additional commission). They feel that their patronage is the most important part of the organization, never mind the hard work actually done by the NGO's foot soldiers.  

Journalists feel that it's their God given right to bash the government over any and everything. The default crux of anything printed somehow revolves around the government's inefficiency. I understand, Public Sector enterprises cost the government (give or take) almost $3 billion dollars in bailouts last year. But which private (preferably foreign) company would want to buy a bloated, unprofitable enterprise? PIA has negative equity. Which in layman terms means you have to pay someone else to take it over.

On the flip side, does anyone really want mass unemployment? because if the Government did make such a move, the media would be loaded with stories of how the government was 'ending the livelihoods' of so many people and 'destroying' their lives whilst the politicians load up on corruption. It's a perpetual blame game in which journalist can sit back and criticize without any actual value creation; though some esteemed journalistic icons have expressed how by criticizing and holding the government accountable they were infact 'saving the nation (usually from some form of far-fetched conspiracy)'. Basking in hindsight journalism is about as useful as completing a marathon on a broken foot. You can complain about it, but shouldn't you have rested the foot instead of navigating the rest of life with a limp. Pro-active versus Reactive.

Because Obviously it's okay to kill anyone other than a Journalist

"More things in politics happen by accident or exhaustion than happen by conspiracy."
Jeff Greenfield
Everything is a conspiracy with a delectable combination of the government, various political parties, United States, NGO's, IMF, Indian secret intelligence (RAW), the army and the ISI (Pakistan's version of the CIA). As much fun as drawing room conspiracy theories are to discuss. They really ought to stay away from News Papers. News Papers should have a grounding in Facts. Unless it's the funnies section; I love the funnies section...till the publishers shortened it to expand their pulpit space.

Maybe it's an inherent part of our 'culture' to blame anyone in a position of authority stemming from a 'colonial mind-set' but eventually we need to stop making excuses and own the government that we have. Cut them some slack when deserved and bash them when they do mess up gloriously.

Call me an elitist demanding snob, but if I'm going to devote the 50 odd seconds or so of my day perusing some poorly spell checked piece I demand that it not only be properly written but have some actual actionable result. Bemoaning the lack of government involvement is a cop out.

I did ask myself if I wanted to be the man that changed that? And the truth is that I lacked the conviction too. Everything I wrote would either be edited, dumbed down or rephrased in such a way that the authors style was scrubbed from the piece and the editors meek voice reigned supreme. Personally, I also hate it when people edit my work. Hence the bloggery with all of my mistakes is still my preferred outlet. 

I still write more than a few satire pieces and general free lance articles for Dawn, Pakistan's largest English Daily Newspaper, but I write primarily as a mental release. I'm selfish in that I write to amuse myself (and possibly a few others) and enjoy the perks of being published (of which there are none that I actually care about).

To be fair there are some Journalists that I have a massive respect for, but I had and still have no desire to be in their place; though there are pleasures to be had as the Saint in the land of Sinners. Just not for me.

* Thanks Alec

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Football & Religion: Bad Combo

Of all the crazy shit......

Malaysian Clerics Urge Muslims To Shun Manchester United Shirts: 

Islamic clerics in Malaysia have warned their followers not to wear Manchester United shirts, as the club's nickname and iconography depicts the Devil.

United's traditional nickname of the Red Devils and the use of the symbol of a devil on the club badge has prompted clerics in the Asian country to issue the warning.

"This is very dangerous. As a Muslim, we should not worship the symbols of other religions or the devils," said Nooh Gadot, a cleric from Johor state, according to The Daily Mail.

"Even if it is a gift, we should decline it. It is even more sinful when people realise this is wrong and still buy these jerseys to wear."

Believers in Malaysia are also understood to have been urged to shun the national shirts of Brazil, Serbia, Portugal and Norway, as well as Barcelona's jersey, because their use of the cross is also considered un-Islamic


Now, if this is the case and some insipid Malaysian Cleric feels that he has to go on the record and claim that my club, Manchester United's long held Red Devil symbol actually causes displeasure to God, then as far as I'm concerned the facts speak for themselves. 

The message is resoundingly clear; The Clerics are all Arsenal Fans.

Here are some thoughts I've compiled:

Sacred Publicity: Firstly these Clerics are suffering from some attention seeking disorder that requires immediate medical treatment: Personally I vote electric shock treatment. Assuming that these poor chaps aren't completely insane in their relevance, I think it'd be safe to assume that they are looking for an entry point into the big time retarded fatwa business that the nut job Arab clerics appeared to have a copyright license on. 

Watch out Arabic Cleric Supremos, you got competition. Next up. I'm waiting for a ban on Fried Chicken , because it's obviously a tool of repression deployed by the evil west to make Muslim Men unfit for battle against the Dark Lords of the Sith. Wait for it.....Farmville is next in line. 

I wonder what this does to their donation inflow: particularly since the majority of Malays tend to hold the Red Devils close to their hearts....and their arms

Zionist Conspiracy: There is obviously some Zionist conspiracy in the Manchester United Symbol......I mean, duh, there has to be. The Malays just aren't clever enough to figure it out. The group that really ought to ban Football in general are the Christians, after all, it kills their Sunday Church Attendance.

Arsenal Investment: The clerics have secretly bought shares in Arsenal Football club and are hoping for a big pay day when the entire billion plus Muslim world professes their love for the Gunners. I'd like to point out that the greatest 'Gunnar' of them all never even played for Arsenal; His name is Ole 'Gunnar' Solskjaer. 

Squad Representation: None of the players from Norway, Serbia, Brazil and Portugal play for Arsenal ....and conveniently Arsenal is trying rather hard to keep their captain from ditching to Barcelona...coincidence, I think not! ...maybe Cesc is secretly Muslim. Manchester United on the other hand have Vidic (Serbia), Nani (Portugal) and a plethora of Brazilians (Anderson, Possebon, Fabio & Rafael)

Arsenal = Muslim Compliant: Manchester United have no Muslim players. Arsenal have Abou Diaby, Bacary Sagna, Robin Van Persie (apparently he doesn't talk about it).

Football Grounds: They don't realize that although some dramatic columnists refer to football fields at as Sporting Cathedrals, that they are in fact not places of religious worship. 

Emblem Kissing: United players do it alot because we do this quaint thing called winning games....we tend to do it alot. Arsenals players on the other with theirs until they are deemed worthy to leave the club in search of actual sporting success: Trophies

Numbers: A great deal of jealously has emerged as the 76,000 plus attendance Manchester United's historic home stadium Old Trafford  garners far out strips the minute number of worshippers that attend their local service in Malaysia. They are possibly of the view point that the only reason that so many people congregate in such vast numbers (not to mention the TV audience) is because of Satan. duh. 

The clerics actually believe that we care what their opinion with regards to our footballing interests is. I'd like to beat the kid who brought it up in the first place. Someone who obviously has little self worth and needs a cleric to tell him how to live his life. That ladies and gentleman is where Suicide Bombers come from. 

They don't trust the smiley face on the red devil. The vision of trophy less Arsenal fans crying year after year after there team loses again and again....and again, probably sits better with them.  

I have a developed substitute symbol which I think all Clerics, Islamic, Moronic, Platonic and otherwise can appreciate and get behind....well...not literally...Unless they are into that sort of thing.
And now, that that's sorted. Get onto some real business. Like educating Muslims about their religion and spreading a message of peace, love and tolerance, which may of course preclude them from supporting Arsenal.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

No One Cares About Your Degree...

Academia is boring. Studying is annoying. Degrees are useless. Kids go to school/college to socialize and hang out with their friends, hit on girls (if your privileged enough to go to a liberal (read Co-ed) school) and to avoid spending all day at home being shamed by their families into getting a job; the only people that attend school for the sheer purpose of academia are the ones whose best friends’ have names like Stanlake, Shakespeare and Farkhanda Noor. Not exactly the greatest conversationalists.

Now, I have no problem with these bright eyed few who equate educational water carrying to future greatness. I’d just like to point out that they are sorely mistaken if they think their hard work matters.

Why? Because in Pakistan, we don’t care about education. We pay lip service like every other country (good politics), but we don’t do anything about it (great politics). After all, why bother doing something about a ‘problem’ no one cares about?

Firstly, the numbers speak for themselves. We spend more on a single piece of military hardware than our entire education budget; Defense PKR 442bn versus PKR 34.5bn for education.....thank god foot soldiers are cheap…and largely uneducated. It’s also much easier to load up PSE’s with useless employees and then provide subsidies. Again, great politics, because people don’t care about education, they care about jobs. And you’ll always take time out of your day to help out the political party that gets you a job.

Secondly, contrary to popular opinion having a wall full of degrees doesn’t make you successful. It means you spent a lot of money and time in the hope that people will find it impressive. Pity that they don’t. “A's may pay, but D's get degrees”; wrong, a degree is a piece of paper. If one wants to succeed in Pakistan, they don’t need a degree. They need ‘contacts’, friends in high places and a liberal relationship with morals.

Dozens of officials are being slammed for possessing fake degrees. Instead of admonishing them, we ought to celebrate their brilliant complicity; after all, they didn't need a degree to be rich, successful and elected to parliament! The venerable Governor of Balochistan went as far as to claim that there is no distinction between a fake or real degree, after all, as he logically surmises, a degree is a degree. After all, they’re both a piece of paper. Never mind the difference between an elected leader and a military dictator…..after all, they’re both Presidents aren’t they?

On a financial stand point all of our Political head honchos are raging successes, and they did it without that measly piece of paper that everyone contends has value. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn't need one either. Education does not equate to success or measure ability, it measures time wasted, opportunities lost.

The Forever Talented Masses: I am tired about hearing how much untapped 'talent' there is in Pakistan. Now if there was so much talent, you'd think they'd be doing more with it. But they are not. In the unlikely scenario that this youth is more talented than your average vegetable, what have they done…. Other than complain? Verifiably awesome at that.

Pakistan is an agricultural economy. We grow stuff. We don't make computer chips. If you gave an average Pakistani farmer a fistful of $1000 Pentium chips, he'd dump them in his fields, and try to grow it...and they don’t, he'll blame the fertilizer , the government and the Zionists. We don’t need more computer science majors; we need people to work the fields and drive those Government subsidized Tractors, a computer programmer makes a terrible farmer…unless he plays Farmville.

Uneducated Electorate = Subservient sycophantic electorate. No Pakistani politician has ever democratically won his seat thanks to the 0.5% privileged rabble rousing educated segment of the population. They win because of the masses who couldn't tell the difference between a boti roll and a hot dog. Political parties have a greater scope to fool the masses if they haven't been taught how to think.

So, let's stop pretending that we education really matters. Over half our country is illiterate, and they seem to be doing alright. It's no biggie. There aren't any revolutionaries threatening to break down doors of parliament demanding things like good governance or any sort of Africa style famine pictures adorning our media's front pages. Things are A-OK.

In Pakistan degrees don’t matter. There. I said it. We don't need education. Well, let’s be generous and say we don’t need any more education (wouldn’t want those feisty ghost schools to go out of business). All we need is the Quran, and chaps that can interpret it for us, we tend to prefer the ones that we agree with.

Why bother investing in education when you can invest in bombs, bullets and government perks? No one cares about your degree; it’s just delaying your entry into the real world and considering the world we live in, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. No one cares, atleast not in Pakistan.

A Version of this Piece was Reluctantly Published on

Monday, July 19, 2010

Forever Proud to be Pakistani

I have rarely been one prone to self doubt (I'm fairly certain that I'd struggle to put together a workable definition), but even I am sometimes amazed about the stereotypes that foreigners (or locals, after all, I was in their country) had about Pakistan. In class, everyone tries very hard to be angelic, but once the class room vanishes, peoples prejudices have the ugly habit of rearing their elephant sized heads. Being a Pakistani, I generally enjoyed taking classes on politics; I dubbed it my 'genetic imperative', and whilst I was happily debating foreign policy, domestic policy the workings of governance, I never really took into consideration of what others thought of me, of my country, I naturally assumed that they thought I was brilliant were debating my idea's with a blind eye to my Nation. I was sadly mistaken in my naiveté, because you can choose to be whoever you want in college, but it doesn't change what others see...or worse, what they wish to.

I took a Political theory class on good governance, and as was custom, a bunch of the students got together and established a study group, or a 'think tank', as we liked to call it, though truth be told, there were relatively few thinkers and more jock 'tanks' in the group.

Since I knew some of the tanks through various joint activities, some of which involve this wonderful sport called cow tipping. I would typically give them a hand on their essays and edit their relatively un-impressive finished product (My nascent expanding ego was in full force). On one occasion a person who I had considered as a friend took some criticism I had on his paper rather badly, to be fair, I was in overly good spirits hence, couldn't help my self from amusing myself over vast number of spell checkable errors (which he has disabled because he thought it was 'dumb') and what was the last straw for him was his argumentation that in order to promote good governance, people ought to take a religiously principled morality test before they were allowed to join the government, elected or either wise. Now, I have no problem with a morality test, as long as it fits my morals. However, this particular 'Tank', felt that 'Does, Jesus guide you in your every day life' was an appropriate question for anyone desirous of joining the United States government.

Now, whilst I should have gently explained him the ludicrousness of the question and how it wasn't practical or ethical for a country founded on the principles of division between religion and government, (as most would have expected) I instead took a far more humorous route and made several satirical caricatures of how Jesus's guiding, could open the door for the government to be dominated by alcoholics and chemists trying to find the right formula for turning water into well as how Chris Angel could very well make the argument that as a master of walking on water, how he should be accorded the same status.

Needless to say, as funny as the rest of the group found my attention seeking antics, 'Tank' did not, he felt grossly insulted and felt that I was belittling his faith (I wasn't, just his stupidity). He immediately responded that I didn't have a right to criticize him as I came from a country run by terrorists. Now, to say I was shocked into silence would be accurate, but the truth was that I was fuming. How dare he criticize my beloved country, even with our imperfections, it was the only home that I had known. Unable to come up with a proper argument to admonish him for his ignorance, I retorted that my country wasn't the one that murdered thousands of civilians through repeated air strikes just to find one man.

My country wasn't the one that invaded nations to take advantage of their natural resources, my country wasn't the one that propped up Israel, despite the massive atrocities their forces commit in the west bank and finally that my country wasn't the one with the largest military and nuclear arsenal in the world (I may have forgotten to mention how his country collapsed the entire global economic system).

No, that was not my country. My country was the one that stood by the side of his country as an ally should, my country was the one that turned over suspected terrorists, and my country was the one that set up the meeting that ended the cold war. That is my country, what had his country done for the world lately other than throw money around, murder innocent women and children and prop up west-friendly dictators in the name of 'Democracy'. From that moment on, I knew who I was, I was Pakistani, and forever I would be Pakistani. It would be my home through disaster or prosperity and my love my nation could never diminish despite all the imperfections and negativity surrounding it. All countries are imperfect in their own way, just as they are perfect to each of our own.

In a media dominated world, we hear all the negativity, but we fail to see past our troubles and enjoy the small victories, whether it's an NGO providing environmentally friendly light bulbs or the fact that we have the cheapest tractors in the world to boost a strong, prosperous agricultural economy, we have many reasons to be proud, and it was a 'Tank' that made me really 'Think' about it. I know that despite the odds that I may live in many other places, that I am forever Pakistani and I will never doubt my own patriotism ever again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dear United States Senators

Dearest Senators, Kerry, Lugar and Berman,

Thank you so much for your interest in the great nation of Pakistan. We are indeed the greatest nation in the world….well, not greatest quite yet, but we’re getting there. Did You Know that we are ONLY the 10th most failed state in the world. We trample the likes of Somalia, Zimbabwe in terms of honesty, endeavor and progress.

Know that your USD $7.5bn package will be well allocated to the neediest segments of Pakistan…well, after the military and government bureaucracy takes it’s cut, we promise to allocate the several hundred dollars left to uplift the lives of millions of Pakistani….pinky swear

In the spirit of our infinite partnership and a celebration of the billions of dollars you’ve chucked down our tube wells and into military hardware (thanks for the F-16’s), we desire an extension to our historic partnership. After all, we’re like BFF (Best Friends Forever)

We’ve even come up with a particularly feasible set of terms which would prove advantageous to all concerned….in the long run….hopefully. We naturally would like money, dollars preferably, but since your slightly less great, Muslim hating, Nuke toting nation can simply print more without answering to the IMF, we feel that we are getting you an absolutely fabulous deal in the process.   

On a strategic level you can continue bullying Iran, seal off a few trade routes, flatten Afghanistan to extract that lovely lump of lithium y’all discovered, peeve off China AND best of all, threaten India with greater effectiveness than we ever could (the last would supremely please the Pakistani people, we assure you). Never again will anyone call India a rising superpower. They can be your Cuba….along with Iran, Afghanistan and China. See how generous we are being? You are so lucky to have us!

Our demands…ahem…requests are quite simply that you triple our ‘Aid’ package, deposit an equal chunk in our Swiss bank accounts (we suggest you get a few too…we’ll teach you how), give us US Green cards and in return we’ll give you Pakistan. All of it. Our nuclear launch codes, Mineral deposits, Lassi’s and even our souls….the 180 million people worth of body parts (we got’em all, kidneys, hearts, livers etc) are a bargain in itself. What Joy!

We look forward to announcing you as the Pakistani Tri-Partite to the General populace. Imagine how wonderful it would be never to lose an election again! We assure you, this is truly the will of the people…we should know, we are the democratically elected parliament dummy!

Respectfully Yours (For a Price, See above terms)


Democratically Elected Pakistani Parliament

PS: Please ignore this crazy woman. She is an atrocious liar, we deny having the ability to read which makes being paperless quite efficient.

PSS: Don’t get the Military mad…seriously….they have guns….your guns in fact. They use the constitution to wipe their behinds.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dear Britain

Dear Former British Oppressors, 

Has anyone told you how amazing you guys are? Well, we love you. You guys are awesome, and we’re not just saying that because you are (allegedly) giving us close to a billion dollars in aid. We also have great affinity for your Football League and currency. Just check out the exchange rate! Manchester United Rocks! (Seriously, you have to close Sir Alex Ferguson).

In recognition of how terrific you are, we’d like to humbly submit that you retake Pakistan. Our government as you may have noticed is quite useless. The poor security situation, obdurately rising food prices, unemployment and incessant load shedding is wreaking havoc on our general populace.  And no one is better suited to combating these problems better than you!

You definitely know how to tackle terrorist elements, as the IRA can attest to. Your inflation is a mere 3.4% compared to our 13.07%! You obviously know what you are doing.  You hate waste, so you can put our unemployed blokes to work….picking cotton if need be….but those quaint unemployment benefits seem nice too! We know that you’ll set up a few power plants and hydro projects (or just drill a few dozen cavities into Baluchistan).

We’re also quite keen on that National Health Service (NHS) you all have got; we’ll sleep easy knowing you’ll do right by us. Subsidized education is a nice bonus too! Uncle Sam Out, Queen In. In the Queen we Trust, God Save the Queen….we like Charles and William too. But be sure to give the old Lass a big desi hug from us all… 

Now we realize that you had to put up with a lot of whining and malcontent when you previous um….occupied these lands, but we can assure you with substantial evidence that we have since developed into quite a docile bunch. Look at our politicians….we keep (democratically) re-electing corrupt, ineffectual fake degree toting cheats; we have no standards, we are as accommodating as they come.

Couple that with the massive yearning we have for all things gora/white, just look at our fair and lovely facial whitening cream consumption! The mommy folk are totally obsessed with their daughters (and daughters in-laws) gora content. 

We’re also be highly appreciative of your parliamentary system (we mimicked it after all…poorly as things stand), but you’d have no problems over MP’s expenses over here. No sir. Never.  In fact, we may teach you a few things on how it’s done.

Now you are probably wondering, what’s in it for you? Well, for starters, we know how much you love your Cricket, can you even imagine how many world titles we’d win with Afridi and Peterson in the same team? That’s fairy dust magic just waiting to happen! You’d even be able to retain the Ashes from Australia…we do solemnly swear. 

You can justify your huge deficit by telling the world how you intend on increasing your tax revenue to GDP ratio, we’re one of the lowest, so it’s a game we can play together for a while. Take that IMF. 
We couldn’t help but notice how your great, but tiny nation is running out of real estate space; well, we have plenty.   

We also have lots of natural resources and we don’t have a history of kicking out invaders like Afghanistan. …er….except for you.  But seriously, in hindsight, we realize that you weren’t really invaders as much as pillagers….um…Managers. Gora Saahib Zindabad!

Admittedly, we’ve done a fantastic job of messing things up, with our religious infighting and blaming Israel for everything, but with your guidance (and love of Desi food), we’re sure that we can do better. So we implore you, take over and together we can re-kindle the glory of the British Empire!

Respectfully yours, Your Former and soon to be your current Colony

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bravo: What a Beautiful Budget!

One must applaud our government's inherent ability to pull off the absolutely fantastical; Miraculously that uneducated lot (or the IMF) have constructed a budget worthy of our great nation. What a feat! Victory to Democracy! Revenge Rocks and all that!

Here are some of the salient features that I’m particularly impressed by:

Weed-Cigarette price equivalence policies: One may infer that the massive increase in tobacco taxation is completely in line with the Governments long standing desire to bring Drugs and Cigarettes to an equal price parity. However, I’d like to suggest that next time (assuming this government is around for a next time, future is rather uncertain), just legalize and tax Weed and say the IMF made you do it....or the Zionists. Trust me, you’ll make a lot more than the Rs. 30bn increase you have slated now. (Note: The Pakistani Youth may get around the tax increase by smoking their tobacco without filter rods: We do not wish to theorize how they gained their joint rolling skills). The 5% cut in imported drugs (pharmaceuticals) is truly broad minded as well. Bravo you Liberal Lot!

Go VAT!: October 1st...ish. We'll see…(That’ll teach the IMF from telling us what to do), notably the last Prime Minister that implemented a comprehensive sales tax was ahem…relieved of Office by the “Military Protectorate”.

Capital Gains Tax: Terrific, let's drive out our local small investors and the foreign investors that were attracted to our market in the first place because of our relative cheapness. Say good bye to the Brokerage business. So, where are you going to make up their Tax Revenue shortfall....and all this for an expected Rs. 5bn in Tax revenue? Short sighted much?

Minimum Wage Increase: Brilliant move by the Government, bravo. I expect all government workers are excited by these proposed increases. Now if the government were able to do something like 'enforcement' this may have some impact on the wider economy. Oh, and by the way, when you increase the minimum tend to increase unemployment. Aren't we lucky that the government doesn't collect Unemployment data? It could be potentially embarrassing you know. 

Income Tax Exemption Increases: Sweet. Now how about growing the economy and ensuring that people actually have an income in the first place. That would be incredibly sweet of you.  

Turnover Tax on Loss Making Companies increase from 0.5% to 1%: Yeah, let's bankrupt our Fuel's not like they are important. And hey, I'm fairly ambivalent towards my cell phone usage too....

Withholding tax of 5% on Air Travel: Why are we putting a Tax on domestic travel versus International? Is there a vendetta against moving around in Pakistan? Is the government trying to encourage people to use Pakistan Railways....

9.5% Inflation Target: With the 1% increase in GST, new taxes, further tariff increases due to cuts in subsidies and downward sticky nature of prices.....wishful thinking much? Fingers crossed we can….adjust the numbers.

442bn for Defense: The wonderful 17% increase in our defense budget is an inspired idea. We’ll bomb our country to shreds and have the international aid agencies ‘rebuild’ it because ‘they made us do it’. At the very least they’ll ask us less about how we’re spending out PSDP funds….

Taxing Cold Air: 10% FED increase on Air Conditioners and Deep Freezers. An inspired choice I must say; so much more original than regulating the load of hot air emanating from our parliament. 

Circular Debt Crisis Resolved!: about not. still evaluating options.... Details to follow…eventually. Basically the current idea being thrown around are placing the financing burden on the big 5 Banks....because they've been sooo open to lending recently. Private Sector lending can be expected to crash even further. Good luck in meeting your growth target without ensuring sufficient credit to the Private Sector. 

All in all, this is truly a remarkable budget, encapsulating all of our hopes and dreams and providing genuine relief to the common man by…by….well, that’s in next years budget….or the one after that. 

Superman: The Desi Edition

I have will always love Superman; fighting for peace, justice and the American Pakistani way. I think he embodies alot of what we wish for in todays corruption ridden world. An individual who is unflappably decent (severe lack of gray moral areas), courageous (well not really, next to nothing can hurt him) and freaking unstoppably awesome.

I tried to imagine what a realistic Desi Superman would be like... What qualities would he embody? What would he look like? What would he spend his time doing (let's face it, in todays world he's more likely to be Lex Luthor than Mother Theresa).  

For starters, physically he would be fat. I'm sorry, but if you have the ability to fly/float, your not going to spend a lot of time running, working out or even walking for that matter. Cardio burns fat! Natural floating buoyancy doesn't.

He would not want to be called Super Man...he would want to be called Super Saahib. The man is a Pakistani dammit!

Since, Super Saahib would have a pot belly rivaling the entire consolidated Sharif clan, there is no way he would prance around in physique hugging tights, hell no; the man would dress for comfort and rock out in a shalwar kameez, good golly they are darn he'd look sick with a cape.

Do you honestly think the most powerful being (next to God ofcourse...unless you think he is God) would roam around in tights and wearing tighty whity underwear on the outside? Let's get real. He doesn't need to prove anything or impress anyone! He's freaking superman. Besides, his Desi Mum would cry a river if he dressed like he was the spokesperson for the Gay Pride Parade.

Now, I doubt that Mr. Super 'My clothes are indestructible' Saahib would be rocking anything other than a plain white Shalwar Kameez, but in this day and age he'd have at least a few sponsors...Mc'Donalds, Coke & Chernobyl Resorts (A special resort only Super Saahib can go be completely by himself, minus a few cockroaches, and contemplate how amazingly gifted he is).

His favorite past times would include chilling on his farm on a lazy boy chair (multiple cup-holders), drinking sweet lassi and watching his crops grow while the latest damsel in distress he just saved feeds him peeled grapes and other fruits. Luckily his job doesn't require a lot of strenuous labor...  (oh and he'd write a screen play for his autobiographical movie)

Super Saahib wouldn't disguise himself and be a lame non-descriptive news reporter; he'd be Super Saahib all the time and occasionally work as a 'consultant'; charging fees that would even make Pakistani Politicians look reasonable. What up to super powers. Super Saahib can build a mega dam in ten minutes.  

Because of his ability to perform miracles with his super human strength and special powers, more than a few may even consider him a deity. He'd be worshiped the world over. Vapid Hindu's would turn him into a variation of an Idol, Fundamentalist Muslims would call him the next savior, Buddhist would simplly make buddha statues just like him....minus the pot belly.

I imagine that he would be muslim so he could have 4 wives...then again, he wouldn't bother having to justify having as many 'wives' as he wants, a wife/girlfriend in every zip what if it breaks a few hearts and laws, what are they going to do? He's freaking Super Saahib!

He would have a hot iranian professor chick girl friend (the degree would be online, via University of Phoenix) but he would love her for her....Lois Lane is too much of a feminist for him.

In order to placate his mistresses, I mean wives, he'd be guilted into certain world peace (it's the only one all Miss Worlds can agree upon). The things the man could do in order to get laid would be endless.

Mad rich. seriously insanely rich. As in 'buy Europe, piss on it as it burns to the ground and still have enough money to do it all over again' rich. 

He'd also be a very practical fellow, and buy all of the world's Kryptonite and launch the poison straight into the sun. Burn it out of existence faster than a version of the Pakistani constitution.  

He'd even rid the world of all of it's nuclear material. for no other reason that the banging sound that they may eventually make hurt his uber sensitive ears.  

Super Saahib would live in super neutral Switzerland, because he'll love chocolate and the cute clocks that they make (awesome), the proximity to banks would make protecting his wealth very sensible, the additional protection money he'll recived from Swiss bank would also augment his he'd have a place for his art collection.

He'd get super manicures and have his hair done at Tony & Guy, he loves the way the make him look so pretty. They'll even massage his vedera mustache. 

He'd be really charitable, he'd donate (by donate I really mean sell) all of his toe nail clipping for cancer research. Super Saahib's tears are fabled to bring the dead to life, however, he only cries when Pakistan loses a cricket match or a particularly emotive Indian drama is on.

We are a country that yearns for Super Men. Because they contain the best in us, and none of our egregious faults. They may have some flaws, but their ability to overcome them is what makes them super heroes in our hearts, minds and our history. We are on a perpetual quest for our own Super Saahib, albeit one who is more Superman than Super Saahib.

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