Stories published in July, 2014

With Transformers 4 has Micheal Bay reached his Age of Extinction?

Having lowered the bar of expectation to such an extent that it disappeared from my own eyesight, I felt vaguely prepared for another venture into the Hasbro franchise’s latest offering – Transformers: Age of Extinction. I’ll get to the irony of the title a little later on in this piece. First off, I am a huge transformers fan. From the cartoon movie, to the comic books, TV series and the action figures, I’ve been through all the different stages of growing up with this franchise… and then in walked Michael Bay. Director Michael Bay attends the european premiere of ...

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Why the French burqa ban upsets me as a secular feminist

The European Court of Human Rights has weighed in on the face veil ban in France and, in a flagrant exhibition of institutionalised bigotry, has upheld the government’s decision. As goes France, so goes Europe. The verdict breathes fresh air into an old debate, in which the opposing sides had begun to take comfort in the thought of this restriction being a French anomaly, not representative of the general European psyche. But we’ve faced disappointments before. We’ve been led to believe that we may choose either one of the two positions: – Burqa is benign, and must be allowed – Burqa is a harmful, patriarchal icon, ...

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Do you have a Sarah in your house?

Whenever I see her, her eyes haunt me. The sadness in them is unspeakable and the horrors of her life, incomprehensible. She is young and beautiful yet her heart yearns for a minute of peace and happiness. She is Sarah*, a married girl who lives with her in-laws. Sarah married into a family of four sisters where her husband was the only son. The torture began almost immediately. Her three unmarried sisters-in-law cannot stand the very sight of her. They never speak a kind word to her, and always address her with stern and blank expressions on their faces. The very faces that smile ...

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Where did the voodoo go wrong?

A skilful elemental shaman is a fearsome thing; he can smite the mightiest of warriors and bring down the holiest of priests, a man equally capable of healing the weak and of destroying the powerful. That, however, is only true in World of Warcraft. In reality, shamans are the ‘holy’ equivalent of the homeless man who talks into his cup. This World Cup though has seen its fair share of priests and shamans claiming use of their ‘powers’ to influence matches. It started off with a Ghanaian witch doctor claiming to be behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury worries before Portugal’s match ...

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Brazil versus Germany in pictures

The Brazil versus Germany semi-final was an exhilarating watch. If you had gone to the fridge to grab a snack in the first half, bad luck; you are certain to have missed at least four goals. It’s not just that five-time World Cup champs Brazil were massacred in their backyard while playing host, but the fact that Germany scored so many goals that there was hardly time for a replay before they scored another one that made the game so thoroughly enjoyable.   There was such shock around the situation that social media was abuzz. My Twitter timeline had me in splits, ...

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Everything is NOT Zia’s fault – here are 6 reasons why

In the 1980s, there was a grocery store in H-Block, Model Town Lahore, called ‘Blueberry Bakers’. Now that I think about it, I wish I had asked the owner, known to me only as ‘uncle’, why his establishment was named as such, especially since I am 100% sure the store did not have a bakery and neither did it ever offer any blueberries. Blueberry Bakers was one of my go-to points for Super Crisps and RC Cola.  While I might enjoy waxing nostalgic about where I bought junk food from as a 10-year-old, I’m guessing that’s of little interest to the ...

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The black and white of sexual harassment

The Oxford dictionary defines sexual harassment as, “Harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks” Gauging from this definition, the meaning is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? Apparently not. I am often surprised (read: unimpressed), by the type of conversations I hear surrounding the so-called ‘dubious’ nature of sexual harassment. A few years ago, a colleague came to me saying she felt awkward by the way her now ex-boss would treat her while they were at work. She wasn’t sure if he was interested in her, or if he ...

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Do impaired individuals deserve to be made fun of?

He has had speech impairment for as long as I can remember. Each word uttered has to be a deliberate effort for him. His sentences spoken are often unclear and difficult to comprehend. Perhaps, he also faced bullying whilst growing up but that never shattered his confidence, for his career demands him to interact with large crowds and be a public speaker. Despite the lisped sentences, his statements hold clout and his opinions are always sought. People make fun of him and glances are exchanged around him, yet he only fumbles, never stumbles. He is the 14th prime minister of Pakistan, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. ...

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Beat the price hikes with vegetables of your own

The connection between humans and plants is as sacred as any religion in the world. They are our ‘fellow beings’ and for better productivity, it is important to understand the divine logic behind a human-plant relationship. When proper care, love and affection is extended towards them, they reciprocate the love by giving us fruits, vegetables and flowers. The recent soaring prices of vegetables have raised drastic concerns among the masses. Tomatoes have touched a record high of Rs180 per kilogramme (kg), potatoes for Rs60 per kg and onions for Rs100 per kg. The reasons behind this uncalled for price hike ...

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Karachi Board of Education: What happened to the sanctity of honest earnings?

Recently, I had to pay a visit to the Karachi Intermediate Board of Education in North Nazimabad because I had lost my original Intermediate admit and enrolment card, without which my Intermediate Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) could not be issued. In other words, I knew that I was bound to suffer that day at the hands of inept and inconsiderate government workers. I took a day off from work to run my errand and headed towards the Karachi Board Office, where numerous students were sitting on the side-path, waiting for the administration office to open. Apparently, mornings at the Karachi Board ...

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