Stories published in August, 2011

A year in America, and what I learned over there

It was in 2006 when I came to know of Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program. It is a scholarship program for students aged 15-16, allowing them to spend one academic year in the United States, where an American family hosts the student. My uncle mentioned that his 15-year-old daughter had gone to America for a year to study in an American high school on a YES scholarship. My dad asked me: “Do you want to be an exchange student in America too?” Being just twelve, I had at least three more years before I could apply to the program. However, the idea ...

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Karachi violence: What teenagers think

Amidst the violence and turmoil Karachi has witnessed recently, the youth of our nation has not remained silent. Below are the opinions of three teenagers on how they feel about the current situation in Karachi. Natasha Faisal “Four killed as a wave of violence haunts Karachi” read a headline of the nine o’clock news bulletin. I felt terror as the newscaster went on in a monotonous tone. We have formed a shield around ourselves and no matter how many bullets shower over this shield, we stay unscathed, thanking god for the protection he has provided us with. “All the shops will remain closed ...

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Pakistan’s (love) hate affair with India

While contemplating the widely proclaimed idea of nations bearing distinct personalities, my thoughts recently forayed into what diagnosis a shrink would have proposed for Pakistan as a ‘person’, considering the events that it has endured. The country’s genesis in the year 1947 as a result of a disturbing, gory and a relentless bloodbath with its Siamese twin (though many would call it our step-brother) left the nation in  an erratic frame of mind. We can not dispute the fact that there have been numerous skirmishes in Pakistan’s early years with its so-called brother, followed by  a serious scuffle over the ...

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5 modern day video games you should be playing

Having worked for five years as a video games journalist, when I learned that I could do a top five blog on video games, I was quite excited. Initially, it started as a list of the greatest games of all times, but the comprehensive list grew too unwieldy to be any fun. I then decided that a personal top five would work better, but realized that talking about ten year old classics like Deus Ex and Baldur’s Gate served little purpose. For similar reasons, I decided against a ‘top five games of the past decade’ list, and it was too ...

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Who is @Kalsoom82 Lakhani ?

Kalsoom Lakhani is founder and CEO of Invest2Innovate (i2i), LLC, a global social enterprise intermediary that matches investors with social entrepreneurs in emerging markets, with the pilot market launching in Pakistan in Fall 2011. Prior to starting  i2i, Kalsoom was the director of Social Vision, which provided seed grants and hands-on support for social enterprises, and innovative initiatives in their start-up stages, mainly in Pakistan. Kalsoom is also a managing editor, and helped launch Think Change-Pakistan– a blog that tracks the social entrepreneurship and innovation space in the country. She also founded and runs the popular blog, CHUP, or Changing up ...

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What Ijaz Butt should learn from Steve Jobs

When I first told my friend that Ijaz Butt should learn from Steve Jobs, he told me I had totally lost it; comparing a legend with Ijaz Butt. I also felt a little stupid for saying that, but then I realized that it actually was true. A few nights ago all over the internet, the biggest news was that Steve Jobs had quit from his post as CEO of Apple Inc. He left the company with a short letter, an excerpt of which is: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet ...

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Commercialising our campuses?

So there is a proposal of putting up advertisement billboards inside the Karachi University (KU) premises. The 1,800 acres of campus houses numerous departments, research centres and teachers’ housing societies. It has its own marketplace with shops for grocery, tailoring and electrical repair work. Huge billboards are precisely what this city-like campus is lacking. But is KU an educational institution? How can it have advertising billboards on its premises? Shouldn’t an education institution’s sole purpose be to impart education to its students? And how would setting up billboards on campus fit into this scheme of things given that its main purpose would ...

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Video blog: Why Toffee TV is awesome

I’ve always been concerned about what children watch on TV every day. The absence of quality, locally-produced cartoons in Pakistan has always been disheartening for me. I remember a teacher who went through a lot of trouble and spent a huge amount of money only to order a Spanish cartoon TV series Pocoyo for her pre-school children, because the ones that are aired here in Pakistan are not appropriate. A recent laudable effort by Rabia Garib and Talea Zafar, called ToffeeTV, was a welcome sign. The online initiative is based on promoting our ...

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Arabization of Pakistan: Bringing the desert home

There was a land of cavaliers and cotton fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their ladies fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a civilization gone with the wind. – An introductory foreword to the film Gone with the Wind (1939) Civilizations can never be made up, this is all hitherto history has to tell us, but yes they can be ruined to irretrievable notwithstanding. Societies are ...

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Shahbaz Taseer kidnapped, and a scream that never ends

This is my country – a place where governors are murdered for fighting for minority rights by bearded men claiming higher moral ground in the name of religion. This country – where entire families are targeted for the alleged sins of a single individual. A place where justice is a joke, and every good deed can be counter-argued with ten evil deeds making us all, indeed, rotten to the core. I am talking about the abduction of the late Governor Salmaan Taseer’s son, Shahbaz Taseer today. I wake up to yet another morning of screams inside my head; visions of death, ...

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