March 2009


Not the best month for Pakistan. Political stability “supposedly” improved, financial strength deteriorated and Pakistan is obviously losing its war against terrorism. Not only has it been unable to control the attacks, but rarely is a suspect or a terrorist captured. Being from Lahore, I know how crowded the “Liberty chowk” can get. It amazes me on how a couple of fanatics gunned down numerous policemen and open fired at the Sri Lankan team’s bus without getting caught. It was a big failure for Pakistan’s government but no resignation announcements came. Instead of focusing on throwing the ball in each other’s court; the national, provincial and local governments should have collectively focused on capturing the culprits. Shameful! Let’s have a quick recap of March now.

 

March 3rd – 8 gunmen attack the Sri Lankan cricket team near Liberty Market, sri-lanka-team-attacked-11Lahore. Around a dozen policemen die. Two Sri Lankan players get shot. 250 suspects arrested but none really turned out to be affiliated with the real assailants.

 

March 16th – Pakistan’s president (Gillani? Right?) reinstates the sacked judges including Iftikhar Chaudhry.

 

March 28th – Governor Rule in Lahore comes to an end as per Zardari’s orders.

 

drone_attack_obama_090123_mnMarch 29th – Obama promises that there shall be no more Drone attacks in Pakistan without taking Pakistan’s approval (Pakistan’s approval or Zardari’s consent?)

 

March 30th – Ten terrorists (dressed as policemen) attack the police training centre in Marwan (near Lahore) and kill about a dozen police recruits. One terrorist actually gets caught while 3 blow themselves up to avoid arrest.

 

March 31st – Shehbaz Sharif gets restored as the Chief Minister of Punjab. Pakistan receives USD 840 million from IMF and USD 500 million from World Bank. Zardari takes out his calculator.

 

Lahore stayed in the news mostly for the bad reasons this month. Hope April brings some hope and peace to Pakistan.

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sean_penn_filming_milk_in_20083. Sean Penn for his amazing performance as Harvey Milk for which he won the academy award for the best actor. Penn’s performance in Milk even surpasses his previous best Oscar winning performance in Mystic River. He, however, makes it only to number 3 on my list J

 

2. Mickey Rourke. Yeah even I didn’t know his name before I the-wrestler-02saw this movie. The guy is an actor turned boxer turned actor. His performance in the 2008 movie “Wrestler” is astonishing. It seemed if he was born to do the role. Highly recommend this movie to all especially to the fans of the “WWF” era of wrestling. In fact this movie and Mickey’s acting is bound to move you even if you are not a wrestling fan at all.

 

heath_ledgere28099s_joker_wins_oscar_xlarge11. Heath Ledger: Okay not only did Ledger deserve the 2008 best actor award for the Dark Knight, he deserved an award for the best actor of the decade. Can’t recall such a powerful performance in recent years. The movie has made billions worldwide and all credit goes to Ledger. Too bad Ledger didn’t live long enough to receive his first (and last) Oscar.

 

Why sssoo serrriouss???

jobcuts

Though there is no single occupation which is completely recession proof, some professions are less affected by a recession than others. In my opinion, the following professions are going to suffer less from the current world financial recession:

 

 

 

 scrubs1. Healthcare: Yes as long as people keep getting sick, there will always be a need for healthcare services. For those who still have an option of deciding their careers, the medical field is a safe bet. To be more specific doctors, nurses, pharmacists and physicians are stable roles. Healthcare professionals are decently paid in most parts of the world.

 

2. Education: There will always be a strong need for education. Especially teacher-doris-daytoday when many unemployed individuals will try going back to school to learn new skills and flairs that can help them develop their careers. Also K-12 schools will always have a demand for teachers as the population rises. To be more precise, for schools it is best to be a Math or Science teacher and for College being an Accounting or Literature instructor will keep you away from the sack. Education industry pays well and provides with decent benefits in many parts of the world.

 

  1. rambo3. Public Safety: Public safety includes professions like Police, Firefighters, Army, Navy, Air force etc. These are respectable professions and will be least affected by an economic recession as a recession doesn’t force a country to cut down its expense on safety, security, law and order.

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Rain is a blessing in this part of the world. It might feel like a curse to the people living in the UK as they alter or cancel their plans whenever it starts pouring. But here in the Middle East, we love rain. We cherish it. We celebrate it. All our plans revolve around the rain. Whether it’s making some “rain snacks” at home (Yes we actually have some rain snacks in Pakistan like samosas, pakoras etc), or having chai (tea) sitting in the balcony or in a park under the shade.

In UAE, however, there is one snag to the rain….

 

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Traffic!

 

Yes the traffic in Dubai is horrible already and the rain makes it worse. The reason being the entire city and its entire road infrastructure is not at all prepared to handle the rainy season. Maybe it was never forecasted that there will actually be a rainy season in Dubai when these road infrastructures were designed. The global warming though has added a rainy season to the Dubai calendar. For the last 3 years, Dubai is witnessing a prolonged rainy spell during the end of the first quarter of the year. I think its time the authorities take this matter seriously. There needs to be drainage systems implemented across all the highways and inner city roads. These little pools of water accumulating on the roads not only cause traffic jams, but often cause serious accidents. Plus it just portrays a bad image of the city.

Okay let me first make it really clear that I do not consider the Burj al Arab an “architectural wonder”! Its an ugly building too obese from the outside and too Gody from the inside. Unfortunately my personal views do not prevent the world from fascinating this overhyped hotel. I am glad its image was removed from the UAE license plates otherwise every car in Dubai would be carrying an image of this hideous building. Not just UAE but even the world outside admires its unsightly curves. A Chinese cellular phone company has released a cell phone which looks like this:

 

 

 

 

 

Burj Phone? 

 

That’s not all Lian Li has released a computer with a Burj Al Arab chassis! It actually looks better than the building itself.

 

Burj PC?

 

For all those who disagree with me on the ugliness of the Burj, why not get your wedding cake made Burj Al Arab style?

 

 

burj-cake

 

 

The prestigious Foreign Policy Magazine has released a list of the top 13 biggest losers (in terms of reputation) in the world. Guess who inadvertently made it to the top 5?

 

 

  1. Josef Fritzel
  2. The pope
  3. Bernie Madoff
  4. Chris Dodd
  5. Asif Ali Zardari

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Yes ours truly, Asif Zardari is there just behind people like Madoff and Fritzel. Actions are being taken against Madoff and Fritzel as they sit behind bars waiting for gruesome punishments. Even Chris Dodd has been media-targeted heavily and might even appear in court very soon to explain the failure and malpractices at AIG. But Zardari, who is as disrespected abroad as he is within the country, enjoys the presidency of a country with a 170 million strong population. Unfair! Pakistanis need a better representative. Someone who has actually gone to a real college and not some “fake” university Zardari’s resume includes. Pakistanis need someone whose criminal record isnt full of hundreds of bullet points highlighting corruptions, murders and power abuses. Pakistanis need someone who actually intends to solve the crises the nation faces today. I hope Zardari’s tenancy contract at the Presidential house expires sooner than expected.

 

Humaari Qaum Bechari ki Pehchaan Zardari?

 

 

 

 

People living outside Dubai keep asking me, “Hey dude are people still going to malls in Dubai?”. Yes they are. Even in the midst of the worst economic crises of our times, Dubai malls remain packed with people. Why so? Is Dubai immune to the financial crises? No it isnt. I personally believe four reasons are responsible for this unique Dubai mall traffic pattern.

1. Dubai malls are not just a “shopping place”. There are many who come to these malls purely to entertain themselves by going skiing, iceskating, watching a movie or simply having a sheesha.
2. The weather’s getting hot. Many just want to stroll down a mall instead of walking in a park in this humid weather.
3. Many tourists just come to these malls to appreciate the architecture of these malls. They arent seen with shopping bags. All they have is their cameras.
4. Many people just come to Geant or Carrefour for their grocery shopping needs. In UAE, most of the larger grocery marts are situated in malls.

So what ends up happening is a lot of mall traffic with very little impulsive shopping stretching the retailer’s faces even longer. Even 50-75% off doesn’t let the consumer bring out the golden plastic. There is only “one” way to lure back the shoppers.

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