Stories about culture

Fashion will save Pakistan from terrorism n’ stuff

Fashion is not just what you wear. Sometimes, it’s a statement; sometimes, it’s a call to action. But in Pakistan, fashion is resilience – an ‘in your face’ to the forces that aim to destroy the country. Pakistani fashion is fast evolving into the counter-narrative that will put this nation on the fast-track to progress. Don’t believe me? Below is a selection of just a few of the ground breaking, era-defining, nation-building and instantly wearable designs that are fast eroding the cultural malaise we are experiencing. Behold! Design sense: Po-mo (post modern vs postmodernism)  trash bag chique Inspiration: Neon signs, California beaches, trash bags. The ideal dress for the upcoming ...

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Mathira’s wardrobe malfunction: Nudity or modernity?

“It wasn’t part of the show. It was an accident!” pleaded designer Sanam Chaudhri after the scandalous Mathira fashion faux pas at her showcase on day one of Fashion Pakistan Week. Chauhdri spoke in Mathira’s defense saying “I felt so bad for her, and she started crying the moment she got off the ramp.” But when something of this nature happens with a personality like Mathira (whose last name is Scandal) people most likely assume that it was deliberate. Fashion writer and cultural commentator, Mohsin Sayeed, certainly thinks so. “Of course, it was deliberate,” he said. “If it wasn’t then why did the ...

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VIP protocol: Thanks for the extra sleep!

Over the last few years, Pakistanis have become accustomed to measures that are routinely taken to ensure security for VIPs of the land. Of these measures, blocking roads to ensure safe and free flow of traffic for our VIPs while the general public is stuck in huge traffic jams for hours has now become an accepted part of our culture. This indignity, inflicted on us in the name of providing foolproof security to senior political and military figures, has no roots in Pakistan’s original culture. It has been imposed on the citizenry, much like inflation, corruption, unemployment and poverty. However, ...

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I’m a Pakistani marrying a gora

The past 10 days have been very eventful for me – no, scratch that-  they have been momentous; I received some excellent news about my future, went on a wonderful business trip to the sunny state of California, and yesterday my gora (foreigner) best friend asked me to marry him. I said yes, in case you were wondering. Yes, I am the other half of an interracial couple. The funny thing about being in an interracial relationship is that in a world where everyone is always talking about race, that’s the last thing on my mind when I’m with C. To me, he isn’t ...

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Lahore from Karachi eyes

After spending seven great days in Lahore, I am convinced that Lahore, being the cultural hub of the country, is one of the most beautiful cities of Pakistan. I applaud the chief minister of Punjab, who despite having a barrage of flaws in his governance, especially with regards to health, education and law and order sectors, has successfully been able to maintain the beauty of this city. Unlike any other provincial government, the government of Punjab makes a conscious effort to give beautification the priority that it deserves by strictly adhering to a no-graffiti policy; hence we are greeted with beautiful and clean walls as seen in ...

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Emo kids get shot in Iraq

So I was going through the news a couple of days ago, and came across a rather odd piece of news – ‘Iraq emo killings raise alarm’. The first thought in my head was “whoa, did they run out of bombs?”. And the second was: – I have short hair – I wear black – I have a pierced lip. If I was in Iraq would they put my name on a hit list just because of the way I was dress? According to a news piece published in Huffington Post on March 11, 2012, these so-called ‘emo kids’ are being killed because as a ...

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I speak Punjabi (but my kids might not)

‘Ik Sutti Uthi Dooji Akhon Ka’ani ’- Do you understand what this Punjabi idiom means, or do you need a translation in English first? The literal translation may be “one just woke up and the other one is partially sighted!” but that isn’t what it means.  This funny phrase refers to a person who has just woken up and then on top of their disheveled appearance is cross-eyed as well. It is used “icing on the cake” in English. Most people wonder why everything in Punjabi sounds so comic? Maybe our ancestors just appreciated humour. If you belong to a Punjabi speaking family and couldn’t ...

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One dozen provinces, please

Recently, the voices calling for the division of Punjab have been getting louder and louder. But do we really need to? What will the consequences be? What are the advantages? My personal view is that many people are demanding division for their petty agendas, but the step is not in the larger interest of Pakistan. Keeping personal interests aside and treating the matter without bias we have come to the conclusion that: Pakistan has certainly developed but not uniformly, many smaller cities have been overlooked (not only in Punjab but in all provinces) Facilities are not provided equally to people of all regions A ...

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Let’s bring back concert culture

So what do people my age talk about when they meet? When I say my age I mean the mid-30s where almost all of us have settled down to something or someone. We don’t talk about politics like everybody younger than us (thanks to Immy K) and older than us (thanks to the rest) does. We don’t talk about cricket because frankly, we are too busy to remember all the names in this ever changing team which is divided for us into the Afridis and the Misbahs. So what do we talk  about? Music. Yes, definitely music. The one force that binds us ...

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A new year in the land of Hitachi

The beginning of a new year in the land of the rising sun was a very memorable experience for me. I learned a lot about Japanese culture when I spent my first new year away from my homeland here. Like the fact that Hitachi is defined by many Japanese people as the ‘rising sun’, where hi means ‘sun’ and tachi means ‘to rise’. December 31 and January 1 saw hordes of people on the streets, making their way to shrines, temples, and matsuris (festivals). On December 31, I made my way to Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. It is a small city full of ...

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