Stories published in February, 2013

The Fair and Lovely effect

I recently saw Killing Us Softly 4, a documentary in the Killing Us Softly series by Jean Kilbourne, acclaimed author and filmmaker. Although the movie centers on the image of women in advertising, as submissive and obedient to their male counterparts, it brings to light the importance of race and the appropriation of the Caucasian look — something that has assimilated into Pakistan’s mainstream and popular culture. Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are bombarded with billboards advertising skin lightening techniques, creams and makeup that are designed to enhance the tone of your skin. Ironically, women of all socio-economic backgrounds in cities like New York and London, frequent ...

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No sympathy for men

Picture this headline, “Married woman doused with acid by ex-boyfriend”. Now think, what would follow that little news item? TV cameras and reporters would surround the victim, while NGO personnel, politicians, and every self-proclaimed human rights activist in town would be running to the cameras to show how evil the incident was and wail over the state of our society and the state of human rights. When it came to light that the police never collected physical evidence and never properly recorded the co-accused’s statements, thus eliminating any chance of a conviction, everyone would have a field day screaming about the fact ...

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Get the look: Oscars 2013

The Annual Academy Awards is about fashion as much as it is about great cinema. It is a grand fashion show where stars dress to impress. Just because you did not attend the Oscars, doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun. Local designers on the pulse of fashion are second to none when it comes to glamour. If you have an upcoming special occasion, let A-list actresses inspire your style. Here are 15 of my favorite looks. Getting the look means keeping it simple, elegant and modern. Safia Abbas’ silk gown channels Amanda Seyfried’s gorgeous Alexander McQueen gown with a halter neck, crystal beading, ...

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I didn’t choose to be poor

A small hand knocks at the car window, gazing inside with hungry yet penetrating grey eyes. Her round face is overshadowed by her tousled dusty mane, the paleness of the skin now brown with dirt and dust. Her fragile body moves in a huge shabby sweater twice her size. She stands on her toes as the ground is too cold for her naked feet. The December fog has covered her, the wind piercing into her skin. She scratches her head and knocks again staring at the faces in the car. Three faces of little girls glare back at her, as they sit ...

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11 interview tips that could get you a job!

I am only a non-HR professional with about two and a half years of professional experience, however, I always believe that interviewers for all sorts of jobs typically look out for more or less similar traits in their interviewee. Below is the list of 11 things that contributed to my successful interview. 1. The first impression This is the least one can do. Walking into an interviewer’s office in a neat-pressed suit, manicured nails, polished shoes and well-done shave can help you bag those instant free marks. Whereas, on the other hand, showing up at the interview just out of bed can totally turn your interviewer off. Yes, ...

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When there is a blackout, Karachi isn’t completely in the dark

It was nearly midnight last night when we lost power here in phase four of Defence, Karachi, and I could immediately tell that it would be a long blackout. As a citizen of this nation, I am unfortunately quite familiar with such outages, and can often tell the nature of the incident in the way the power goes out. Typically, a loss of power that happens swiftly and on the hour is normally a scheduled piece of load shedding (rolling blackout), though occasionally can also be a half-day long shutdown for neighbourhood maintenance. A loss of power that occurs at ...

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When your husband is also a reporter

By tying the knot with a fellow reporter next month, who is equally passionate about work as I am; I would be committing myself to journalism for life, and surely for eternity. This means that arguments and discussions between a husband and wife might entail, ‘I didn’t like your intro!’ or ‘Why didn’t you add colour to your story’ or ‘Your question in the press conference was really dumb’. This implies that the happy moments between a husband and a wife would be basking in the glory of having one’s story printed on the front page of the newspaper, and smiling endlessly to the positive feedback ...

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The tale of transgender people: When hate starts ruining lives

Recently, some of my friends and I made a short documentary on transgenders to participate in a documentary competition held at my university. To collect the required information, we visited their homes and were shocked at what we discovered. Passing through the narrow alleys, I was disturbed to see open drains and human waste all around. After having spoken to Sahiba, Sapna, and a few other transgenders, I was able to form a clearer picture about this particular gender and the appalling exploitation of their rights. Sahiba, the president of the transgender society in Bahawalpur, started the conversation; “God created us, as He created all. ...

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Why won’t you give Hazaras asylum, Australia?

On February 16, 2013, when a 1000kg explosive laden water tanker exploded in the midst of a crowded market in Hazara Town, Quetta, it not only destroyed lives and property but it also destroyed Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of a tolerant Pakistan. In the mulch of torn pieces of women, children, tradesmen, charred vehicles and rubble, lay dead the ideology of Pakistan. Let it be plainly said that Pakistan is not safe for Hazaras anymore as the state has clearly failed to provide security to this community, let there be no argument on this. So what to do? Where to go? Resist and be ...

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Gora complex unabated

George Galloway came, he saw, he conquered. Conquered who, one may well may ask?  Karachi’s literati and liberal elite who intermingle, for one, who fawned over the UK Member of Parliament (MP) at the recently held Karachi Literature Festival (KLF). With high expectations, one went to hear him speak at his first session with Irfan Hussain as moderator. After all, Mr Galloway had no less than three outings at KLF, the last being as being the keynote speaker at the closing of the festival, so evidently even the Oxford University Press was not immune to his galloping charm. Mr Galloway arrived, ...

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