Stories about solution

In a society where you are either heterosexual or just “messed up”, is there any room for asexuals?

My great grandmother had a cousin who spent her whole life single. She had a successful life, to say the least – she was a practicing doctor, she had a wonderful social circle and she indulged in numerous hobbies. And she was really, really content. Contentment is a strange emotion; you can be happy but not necessarily content. She, however, was tremendously satisfied with her life. She had everything, except a husband, and not because she wasn’t able to find someone, but because she didn’t want one. She had a great upbringing in a moderately liberal family with happily married ...

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Dear Indonesia, rejecting the “condomisation of society” is not the solution

“We reject the condomisation of society.” Nope, that’s not a headline from The Onion or The Oatmeal. And it’s not taken from any satirical website. I am quoting directly from the Wall Street Journal’s report on Indonesia’s top Islamic authority, Indonesian Council of Ulema. Local news daily Republika reported that there is a ‘crackdown’ on shops to check whether, in effect of Valentine’s Day, shops are selling condoms with chocolates. Ma’ruf Amein, the man who uttered the golden words quoted above, insisted that if shopkeepers sold condoms to unmarried couples, it would increase the chance of sex out of wedlock. I hate to break this to you, Mr Amein, ...

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The West may have to intervene to #BringBackOurGirls

The social media campaign to bring back over 200 school girls, kidnapped by Nigeria’s Boko Haram, has helped draw a lot of global attention to the activities of this vicious organisation. The campaign has help put some pressure on world leaders to act and assist Nigeria in the fight against this militant group. The United States, the United Kingdom and France have offered to help. However, the prospect of western intervention on this matter is generating a lot of debate. There are concerns that such an intervention could turn Nigeria into another Afghanistan. The issue here is this: what is the alternative to ...

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Does anyone in Pakistan know how to save money?

While I was visiting a friend, I came across something very peculiar. His domestic help, who was serving us tea and refreshments, had headphones plugged into his ears and kept chatting away to someone over his phone. His behaviour remained consistent during my four-hour-long stay and I wondered how he was able to talk so long without his mobile balance running out.  Giving in to my curiosity, I asked my friend about his servant’s excessive phone calls, to which he explained that of the Rs10,000 that he received as salary, a major chunk of it went either to buying a new phone ...

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Who decides who is a beggar and who is an imposter?

Sameer is returning home from New York for the first time in six years. He passes the immigration counter, gets his luggage and comes out of the airport, relieved that he is finally through with all the hassle. Then, he squints around for a familiar face, anticipating a relative who’d be there to pick him up. Suddenly, he feels a tug on his shirt and peering down, he sees two mud-ridden little girls looking up at him, hand outstretched and wide-eyes brimming with expectation. He hesitates and tries to find some Pakistani coins in his pocket to give to them. While ...

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Tempted to commit adultery? Indonesian governor says ‘Go pray!’

Are you afraid that you will be so attracted to the opposite sex that you will forget your vows to your significant other? Are you afraid that your sexual urges will no longer be in your control and if you’re an employer, you will most definitely sexually harass your employees? If yes, it may be time for you to move to Indonesia. A governor in Indonesia has found a cure for adultery – prayer. Apparently, he has never known an adulterer who prays five times a day. Either that or he feels that the longer he keeps men and women on the prayer mat, ...

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Building ‘Traffic Pakistan’ and the problem with start-ups

Around three years ago M. Ali, a close friend of mine, built a very neat road traffic reporting system. This was a low tech version (dealing with real time traffic and incident reporting) over text messages and tweets. This was before we knew that something like Waze (later developed via Google) existed. Since Pakistan was gradually becoming a country with a majority of its population having access to cell phones and the internet, this idea made sense. Being pragmatists, we decided to name the scheme ‘Traffic Pakistan’. The idea was quite simple. Pakistani roads are horrible and often get congested. ...

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Is there a solution to the Kashmir dispute?

The news from the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir is not good. Five Indian soldiers have reportedly been kidnapped and murdered by terrorists wearing Pakistan Army uniforms. However, the Pakistan Army denies any part in this. I believe that this action, like similar actions in the past, has most likely been carried out by the Jihadi groups who like to derail any process of rapprochement between India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, this has caused tempers to flare across the border and the Indian establishment has sounded off against Pakistan and its support for terrorists. On the Pakistan side, the reaction has ...

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Operation bring back Mohammad Amir: Bad idea!

The summer of 2010 was indeed a horrifying one for the Pakistan cricket team and its fans all around the globe. Three Pakistani players were accused of falling prey to the evil of spot-fixing in the fourth and final test match between England and Pakistan at Lords. To add to the despair, these players were key members of the Pakistani squad; Test captain Salman Butt, swing sensation Mohammad Asif and boy wonder Mohammad Amir. After sufficient proof was provided against them, the guilty cricketers were punished severely in the form of jail time and a ban from playing all sorts of competitive cricket. The ...

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Why firing Maya Khan is not the solution

The protest has borne fruit: Maya Khan has been fired and her show has been taken off air. One more host of Samaa TV has been shown the door, after a clamour of complaints following the fateful episode of her morning show. This is the moment of vindication for the online community of journalists, bloggers and ordinary citizens who were incensed (and rightfully so) after watching Maya and her coterie of minions prey on couples dating in a public park. But lest these critics lapse into complacency over an accomplished mission, they must know that there’s more to the story. There’s ...

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