Stories about China

The Great Wall: When Hollywood marries Chinese mythology, and it just doesn’t work out

The East and the West have teamed up for the monster flick The Great Wall, a CGI-drenched, high budget action fest that comes off as nothing more than a wasted opportunity.  The Chinese-American co-production tries to marry Hollywood blockbuster sensibilities with Chinese mythology but forgets to add anything compelling to the mix. The premise revolves around the legend that the Great Wall of China was constructed as a barrier against the Tao Tei – a horde of alien monsters that rise every 60 years as a reminder of what happens when greed is unchecked. Two European mercenaries – William Garin (Matt ...

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Chalay Thay Saath: Refreshing, scenic, and lots of eye candy

The most endearing element of Chalay Thay Saath’s teaser is its originality. Refreshing, different and low key, the trailer advertises a film that seems to be very different from all the other Pakistani films so far and borrows little, if anything, from Bollywood movies. The trailer features a number of scenic views of Northern Pakistan, shot prudently with both confidence and skill. Hunza forms the backdrop of the coming-of-age story of six young friends who embark on what ends up becoming a journey of self-discovery, liberation, growing up, intellectual awareness, and spiritual awakening. The film features the brewing of romance between a young, adventurous Pakistani doctor, Resham ...

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After signing Gabriel Jesus, can Manchester City win the 2017 Premier League?

There comes a time, twice every year, when football fanatics ignore the on-field war games and are glued to the off-the-pitch reports of the ins and outs of their beloved clubs – yes, the most anticipated time of the year for us diehard fans, the transfer window time. I myself am very guiltily proud of spending (read: wasting) hours every day during these months, scanning through news and gossip columns on the transfer updates, scouring through all the stats and info of the rumored players who may be heading towards my team. Oh, the sheer thrill and excitement when the ...

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Chai please, it’s not coffee

It all started with the Nestle Nescafe advertisement. The obvious commercial interest was to drive the conversion from tea to coffee. That too, to an instant coffee mix. To me it looked more like a quick brazen attempt to drive convenience. Tea requires ritual and hard work to get the right cuppa. Instead go for an instant coffee mix, which will give you a quick strong fix. Notice no comparison of taste or tradition. This is the modern quintessential person, who has no time or interest in the softness of palette. He or she is in a hurry to fix it with a strong ...

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Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

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What is Afghanistan’s problem?

On Monday, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, once again blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in his country. The blame stemmed from a presidential statement following the Kabul terrorist attacks when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, called President Ghani. Despite the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff’s offer to share intelligence and cooperation with Afghanistan, in order to curb terrorism in the region, the president blamed Pakistan for the terrorism in his country claiming that the terrorists were trained in Pakistan. Afghanistan has been going through a period of transition since the United States’ (US) invasion post 9/11, when the US and its allies ousted the ...

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Is the Pak-Cheen dosti really that zindabad?

‘Pak-Cheen Dosti Zindabad!’ is a household anthem, isn’t it? A sea-pack, sorry, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) appears to be Pakistan’s Achilles heel. Under this partnership, Pakistan is to receive a $51 billion investment over the course of three to eight years in the form of power projects, roads and railway upgrades, transmission lines, infrastructure, hospitals, technology and much more. Undoubtedly, such an investment is a welcome sign for Pakistan but the deal is strategically far more important to China than it is to Pakistan. We were on the brink of dragging the over-burdening economy with no imminent increase in exports, tax revenues, ...

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An open letter of gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Dear most reverend archbishop, Justin Welby, I am not sure how I am supposed to address you; may I call you the reverend father? This seems more appropriate considering the impression you’ve left behind after your visit to Pakistan. Reverend father, you are the head of a worldwide Anglican community which includes Pakistan. You landed in our country last Friday night and, despite the protocol, you did not attend many meetings with the high and the mighty. One official courtesy call to the Foreign Office Minister, Mr Sartaj Aziz was necessary. The purpose behind your visit to Pakistan becomes evident when ...

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Is China only supporting Pakistan to get back at India?

India and Pakistan have had a tumultuous mutual history. Violent separation followed by continued disputes and clashes have created a climate of suspicion and conflict. This is a tragedy of epic proportions given the shared history and heritage of the inhabitants of this land, stretching over thousands of years.  While the circumstances of their separation were unfortunate and sowed the seeds of this distrust, a lot has happened over the years to keep those embers burning. There is considerable anger in India over Pakistan’s support for separatism and terrorism in India. Indians also feel that Pakistan has not done enough to curb or punish anti-India activities. The sight ...

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There is no genuinely liberal political party in Pakistan today

At times, the electoral landscape – which by the way is still dominated by apparently moderate parties – is cited as an example of Pakistan’s resilience against growing fundamentalism. It is often claimed that Pakistan has never voted for religious parties and this is trumped as some kind of evidence of moderation or even quasi “liberalism”. Without sounding over pessimistic or critical in a self-fledgling kind of a way, I beg to refute this perception. I think the electoral landscape is misleading. Yes, while it is true that Pakistan has not become Iran, it is by no stretch of the imagination still a ...

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