Stories about Singapore

Pakistan and India have cheap labour too, so how is Bangladesh surpassing them?

Lisbon, Portugal, is a scenic and hilly city which has preserved its old Christian traditions and has a hint of romance to it. It’s also rare to come across any South Asians there, unless it’s a Bangladeshi. So is the case in Madrid, Spain, where I lived for some time. From the deserts of Saudi Arabia to the concrete jungle of New York, wherever I have travelled in the world, I have always come across Bangladeshi people. After some research, I have found out that my chance encounters with Bangladeshis in every nook and corner of the world were ...

Read Full Post

Travelling the world amongst the roaring sea: Memories of a Pakistani sailor

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Aspiring for a career and finally achieving employment is a blessing for anyone. When I was young, my dream, like many other kids, was to roam around the world, to see far off places and to experience different cultures. One practical way to achieve my goal was to join the Merchant Marine. At a young age of 17, when one is full of hope and ambition, I finally had the selection letter tucked gleefully in my pocket after a gruelling selection process. It was a pleasant February afternoon in 1974 when I joined the ...

Read Full Post

The Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme is a great initiative, but can it survive the curse of corruption?

In keeping with the theme of ‘change’, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government recently launched the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, aiming to build five million homes in five years. It is evident from the very start that a project of this magnitude will require a lot more input than just land, which the government will be providing. And while they say they will not be involved in construction directly, arranging funds to provide basic amenities to residents alone will be a herculean task. We have launched our most ambitious, landmark housing policy of building 5mn homes in 5 yrs. InshaAllah this ...

Read Full Post

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

Political parties are promising jobs in their manifestos but snub education – how does that work?

Pakistan has one of the largest youth population in the world. Forty-six million of these will be voting for the first time in about two weeks; a number that is by no means small. To put it into perspective, if these voters were a country, they would be the 30th largest country in the world in terms of population. They will most likely vote for the party that has promised them jobs, and no one can fault that logic because jobs get you money and as we all know, money makes the world go around. But there is a slight ...

Read Full Post

“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?”

“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?” Those are the words of Filzah Sumartono from AWARE – a group dedicated to women’s rights – when she tries to talk about the taboo subject with members of her community. It is astounding that people avoid this topic with a wave of the hand, branding it as a “small cut” especially when the effects of such a procedure can be damaging – both physically and mentally. According to Orchid Project, girls and women can suffer from emotional distress throughout their lives, not to mention having feelings of fear, helplessness, ...

Read Full Post

Oman’s inspiring cricket journey

Oman’s meteoric rise in international cricket took the world by surprise, much like Afghanistan’s. It all began during the Asian Cricket Council T20 Cup. Relentless prayers back home finally went answered in 2014 as Afghanistan took on the big names in the Asia Cup. Photo AFP Oman entered the World T20 2016 qualifier as the underdog, was ranked 16th in the world and was up against some of the Associate heavyweights. With nothing to lose, Oman played for the thrill of the game. After suffering an early defeat at the hands of Kenya, Oman went on to beat the much experienced Netherlands, Afghanistan and ...

Read Full Post

It’s good to be back…

There are expats and then there are people like me, returnees. I’m going to take a literary liberty – without meaning to offend any intellectuals – and call myself an ‘inpat’. I think people like me deserve a special made-up name. Mine is a story like many others. I went to London 25 years ago to study and it took me that long to return. Not because I was particularly dumb and took 25 years to finish my education, but because the rat race rollercoaster of life took over. To cut a long story short, after 13 years in London ...

Read Full Post

I am the daughter of a man who served in PIA for 37 years

In wake of PIA’s possible privatisation, a lot of people have taken to social media to give their two cents worth. Fair enough, it is a debate of public interest. However, most of the statuses I have read are targeted towards PIA’s employees – not the organisation as a whole, but the employees alone. Facebook statuses and subsequent comments have said things like, “Good for nothing (employees)”, “Useless employees”, “They are being overpaid”, and “Now who would want to lose a job which pays even when you are sleeping.” I am the daughter of a man who served for 37 years in PIA. All of my life, my father ...

Read Full Post

#ProfileForPeace defeats the mind games Shiv Sena tried to play by using Malala

Sometimes it is easy to forget the bond between Pakistan and India. Growing up in the Middle East, I had a number of Indian friends, and there was never an ounce of animosity between us, except of course, during a Pakistan-India cricket match. During one of these events, the passive aggressive jokes were as bare knuckled as they could get. We took great pleasure in beating the Indian cricket team during matches at Sharjah, while they enjoyed returning the favour at World Cup events. But even during these hot moments, empathy somehow found its way. After Pakistan was decisively beaten by India ...

Read Full Post