Stories about money

Grad schools: Expensive education

‘Profit-making machines! That’s what these educational institutions have become’, I keep shouting out, sometimes to my friends, at times in my head. I just can’t stop cursing our top grad schools; they are so unaffordable, especially for the average income families. My frustration arises from the fact that our educational institutions have transformed into these lucrative profit-seeking businesses that leave ‘consumers’ (as they would call the ‘students’ in their business jargon) drained of their earnings and savings. I finished my undergrad programme almost a year back and now I’m hunting for grad schools in Pakistan. After having made my parents go ...

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Male feminist: The day I learnt the meaning of ‘anti-climax’

I was hooked on to him ever since I read his profile. The ‘about me’ section proclaimed,”I am a male feminist.” That sentence blew my mind. This was the guy I had been looking for high and low, and had given up all hope of finding. It was high time I found someone. All my friends had successfully found (read: lured) wealthy, eligible and (kind of) cute bachelors. I felt like an outcast in their discussions which went on sometime like this: “What shade of lipstick should I wear with my new black suit?” “You know what? My guy gave me this imported ...

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Identity for sale

My fellow countrymen, everything in this country is for sale. Let me elaborate. Recently, my cousin completed his graduation and his family thought it was time to send the boy abroad for higher studies. My uncle, his father, got him all geared up with all the necessary files and documents, but little did he know he was in for a surprise. When they reached the passport office, they were told that there was a problem with my cousin’s identity card. The passport officials then directed them to the office of the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) where the real problem ...

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The man who taught me how to give

I was not too surprised when I saw the elderly man on the side of the Islamabad highway. Beggars are a common sight on the road and drivers are used to ignoring them. But as I waited at the traffic signal, I noticed the man stepping onto the road. The light had just turned red and the timer had started. He only had a few seconds to get someone’s attention. Watching him from the car, I assumed he was asking for money, but his movements suggested otherwise. There was no weariness, no weakness in his movements, which is usually associated ...

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Punished for living near Mangla dam

We learn nothing from history. Our incompetence makes sure of it, and the common man bears the burden. The issue of affectees of the ‘Raising of Mangla Dam Project’ is another such case of incompetency and mismanagement, where state institutions have failed to deliver promised and much-touted respite to the people, not because of its low capacity but due to its lack of foresight and poor institutional coordination. Affectees of the ‘Raising of Mangla Dam Project’ have once again been staging protests against the incomplete and delayed process of compensation. Grievances run deeper than that. A high ranking official in the ...

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Easy education: How to spot a fake school

It is not so hard to to attain a student visa for the United Kingdom nowadays and go there for higher education with a dream of becoming rich. Indeed the process has now become very easy – even students who have just completed 12 years of education get admissions in universities in the UK. The UK earns nearly $1.8 billion annually from international students, most of these are from Asia. A pertinent question here is: does every university in the UK provide quality education and are all properly accredited? No. According to research conducted by a UK based background screening company in 2011, ...

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Don’t ask, don’t tell

Summers in Lahore are not a cup of tea for us Karachiites. Here in Karachi your face is perpetually damp with humidity. Come Lahore, there’s no sweat, parched lips and your throat’s begging for fluids. Naturally, flights in this disapproving season are not a merry affair. But as I collect my luggage and walk towards the small office to rent a cab back home, the only soothing thought is lying down in bed and feeling at home. However, my cab driver seems to be oblivious to the testing surrounding conditions. He is hyperactive. He flashes me a warm smile. I ...

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Osama’s death will not stop the dollar’s decline

The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death will open new dimensions for the US dollar but only for a short while. The reason I say this is because while global financial markets are terming the news of Bin Laden’s as good news for the currency, the dollar will continue to stay weak in 2011. Stock markets will rally in the US, Europe and Asia, but these efforts will all be short-lived and the status of the dollar will go back to its original position. Analyses of the past The bull market for the US dollar is like an invisible man. An important aspect ...

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Your daughter did not get in to KGS

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called me on the phone. He sounded extremely excited, “My daughter got into Karachi Grammar School!” I was surprised as the KGS office wasn’t supposed to announce results until April 29. Curious, I decided to investigate. “Which grade?” I asked. “Nursery,” was the reply. “Who took the interview?” “Oh, we were not interviewed at all.” My friend explained that a distant relative had given him a registration form and he had taken his daughter for an admission test to the Marriot – where they were offered admission on the spot. “There were close to 20 other applicants,” my friend told ...

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PCB raises: Robbed by the board

Allah be praised ! It has finally dawned upon the high and mighty at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to award much-awaited annual pay raises to their employees. But, it is the PCB after all and there is a catch. An across the board 20 per cent increase in salaries of all employees was announced. At the face it, it appears to be quite handsome and therefore Butt sahib and his courtiers must be congratulated on their act of benevolence. But, sadly every thing is not s cheery. Against policy The uniform raise defies all logic and common sense, but more importantly ...

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