Stories published in September, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians may not be Oscar-worthy but it definitely is as captivating as it is entertaining

As I walked into a packed theatre in Birmingham, Michigan one evening, I was somewhat excited to see so many local ‘white Americans’ and ‘African Americans’ gathered to watch a film about ‘Asian Americans’ aka ‘immigrants’. Our stories do matter, after all. Technically, I am also an Asian American; South Asian American to be specific. The movie Crazy Rich Asians is specified as a comedy, but according to my humble opinion, it is more of a comedic satire. A bold sarcasm on the handful of ‘brand conscious’, ‘wealth managed’ crazy rich people who are found not only in Singapore (where ...

Read Full Post

India’s undeclared emergency: Dear BJP, arresting a citizen for calling you ‘fascist’ makes you… a fascist!

Dissent breathes life into a democracy, which is why when you stifle free speech, you strangle your democracy. Sadly, freedom of speech and democracy have never felt as suffocated in India as they feel today.  The latest example of this is the detention of 28-year-old Lois Sofia at an airport in Tamil Nadu, for the crime of shouting a slogan against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The incident escalated because Sofia shouted in front of the Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, “Fascist BJP government down, down.” This is a normal way of expressing displeasure and discontent with the functioning of ...

Read Full Post

If things don’t improve, our performance at Asian Games 2018 will serve as a preview for Olympics 2020

Thirty-five sports disciplines, around 250 athletes, and only four bronze medals, this is the dismal summary of Pakistani athletes‘ performance at the Asian Games in Jakarta. This is our worst ever performance in the tournament, lowest total medal count (same as the Asian Games in 2006) and the first time that Pakistan failed to win a gold or silver medal. The bronze medals came from four different categories: athletics, kabaddi, karate and squash, while the men’s field hockey team missed out on a medal only for the second time in the history of the Asian Games. Two of the four bronze ...

Read Full Post

RIP Anam Tanoli: Worse than being a woman in Pakistan is being a victim of depression and bullying

“Be grateful for what you have.” “Always look at people who are less fortunate than you.” “If you believed in God, you wouldn’t feel hopeless. You need to pray more – it’s the devil making you depressed and miserable.” “It’s all in your head.” “Stop being cynical, be positive.” “Stop overthinking.” “Stop overreacting.” And here is the worst one, “Stop pretending you have mental health issues to gain sympathy and attention!” If you have ever had anxiety, depression, stress or any other mental health issues, I bet your Pakistani family, friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbours, or even complete strangers would have used at least one of the aforementioned phrases after ...

Read Full Post

Tag: How far are you willing to go for friendship?

For almost two and a half decades, a group of childhood friends have been playing an amusingly absurd game of ‘tag’, an activity that started in school and has been carried over into adulthood as an offbeat way for the cohorts to stay in touch. For one month every year, the players go through ridiculous lengths to tag each other; the last person tagged is “it” till the next year. Their story came to light through a 2013 piece in Wall Street Journal. Inspired by the real-life shenanigans of the aforementioned group, Tag tells the tale of six grown-ups who have turned a ...

Read Full Post

From honouring our martyrs to a mere date on the calendar – have we forgotten the importance of Defence Day?

It was August 14th a few weeks ago, and with the newly elected government, Independence Day was fervently anticipated this year. People rejoiced over Naya Pakistan and await the change that was promised. A little over three weeks later, Pakistan commemorates Defence Day ─ now just another day, for so many of us across the country. Just over two decades ago, Defence Day used to be an annual public holiday. It ceased being so, when the then government categorised September 6th as a counterproductive day off; I believe this was circa March 1997. As we speak, the only sign of the importance of ...

Read Full Post

Journalism vs sensationalism: The Front Runner explores how the media can make or break a politician

In the era we live in today, we have made peace with the fact that no matter where we are or what we do, we are surrounded by the media. Politicians in particular have a love-hate relationship with the media, a relationship that clearly leans more towards the ‘hate’ aspect. The media’s job is to keep a close eye – perhaps too close – on politicians, especially since they never match up to the public’s expectations, which in turn is why politicians hate the media. The media will call its constant hounding and meddling ‘journalism’, while the politicians call ...

Read Full Post

Ehsan Mani: For the first time in a very long time, PCB is in capable hands

They say there is no suspense in inevitability, and Najam Sethi may have sensed that his goose was cooked when Imran Khan was sworn in as prime minister. As Sethi inevitably resigned, former International Cricket Council (ICC) President Ehsan Mani was named his successor. An appointment which was made official yesterday, after Mani was elected unopposed as the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Mr. Ehsan Mani has been elected Chairman PCB by the Board of Governors (BoG.) Mr. Mani was elected unopposed in the BoG meeting convened at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore today for a period of ...

Read Full Post

Damage control: Why Imran Khan needs to put foreign diplomacy before domestic issues

In the globalised world of today, the foreign policy of any state is the most vital component to its progress. This is how states interact with each other and negotiate their interests, as you have to figure out how to fulfil your national interest while also giving other states a way to fulfil theirs. In Pakistan, it has been the control over foreign policy that has been the cause behind major rifts between civilian governments and officials of other institutions. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were all elected leaders thrown out of power due to their efforts ...

Read Full Post

“It’s raining”: Do Pakistanis know how to use Facebook?

“You know what? You can travel to any place in the world without updating your status on Facebook!” “What’s the point of sharing your pictures on social media? What do you want to prove?” “What are people supposed to do with what you are having for dinner at XYZ restaurant?” To start off, I am not a big fan of changing my display picture every week or putting my selfies on social media; it doesn’t interest me. I never share where, what and with whom I am eating. I have never posted about how many pounds I lost or gained in the ...

Read Full Post