May 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Denmark?” Or more accurately “Danmarkkkk!?” followed by “why on earth would you want to move to Denmark? You don’t even speak Dutch!”is it like German(deutsch)?? Those were the typical responses I got from one of my friends Rehan Khan from London on the telephone when I announced to him that my intention to move to Denmark. “It’s Danish, not Dutch,” so the idea isn’t that crazy, is it?” Typically the next comment from my friend-turned-opponent at this point would be “isn’t it like freezing cold, dark and depressing most of the year there?” The answer to this one was Pakistani friend obvious: “khuda ne marna Haram kiya aur tujh jaise doston ne jena” (God imposed us sucide death Haram and a friend like your are making Haram on me to be alive) so dude ! live and let live whatever I am going any way…than I hang up telephone receiver.
Denmark: Perception vs. Realness
A little while ago I was speaking to another friend from Karachi who wanted to visit me in my new host country following my move to Denmark last year. I said the usual refrain: “come in summertime, with Copenhagen at its most hospitable”, but was surprised to hear his response of “I think I prefer to come in the middle of winter – I’m thinking Northern Lights and all that”.
His comment got me thinking about how far reality is from most people’s perceptions of Denmark around the world. I should be more accurate and say that in fact most people around the world don’t have a perception of Denmark at all – to my friend’s credit at least he knew Denmark was a country, somewhere in the Nordics. After living 9 months here I still get the occasional friend abroad asking me how my Swedish is progressing, and whether I’m getting along with the Norwegians. Yes, it might be a surprise to many Danes, but most people around the world tend to refer to Scandinavian countries interchangeably, and Denmark often seems to be more easily forgettable in relation to its higher-profile neighbors’. And there are still those who think that people in Denmark speak Dutch (as I wrote earlier about my friends from London reactions. when i told him we had decided to move to Denmark), or that Denmark is the capital of Sweden or Holland.
Those however who do know that Denmark is a country (and even those who know that the residents of Denmark are Danes, and that they speak Danish) still seem to have fantastical ideas about it: from those thinking it’s an arctic Nordic country home to igloo dwellers and ice hotels, to others imagining a place where everything and everyone is stunningly beautiful, stylized and super-modern. Then there are those who think it’s a haven of nudity and promiscuity, or efficiency and austerity. Or all of the above. Perhaps the funniest contradicting perception of Denmark is that of a place where everyone is happy, yet many are depressed and commit suicide.
Of course some of these perceptions have a kernel of truth to them, but basically they’re all pretty far from reality in my opinion. So why is it that Denmark has such a low profile in the world compared to other Northern European countries like the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden? And why are perceptions of it seem to be so removed from reality?
To answer to the first question, it might be the fact that Denmark is smaller in population compared to countries like Sweden and the Netherlands, that it doesn’t have oil like Norway, that it never managed to attract as many tourists from countries outside the region as its neighbours did, and that it never had global consumer mega-brands associated with the country like the Swedish brands IKEA, Volvo and even ABBA (there are of course Lego and Carlsberg, but no-one seems to associate them with Denmark). Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that for many years there wasn’t an internationally known mainstream Danish figure in contemporary culture or sport (something that’s changing now with phenomena like Noma and Wozniacki).
As for the second question – perceptions of nations are often extreme and one-dimensional, but they might be even more removed from reality (and influenced by anecdotes) when the country in question is little known and seldom visited.
While undoubtedly a low profile can hurt a country’s economy by limiting export, investments and tourism – there’s something to be said for a country that is relatively obscure abroad. I find it quite entertaining when people I speak to don’t exactly know what Denmark is and where it’s located – almost like a quaint little place I can keep all to myself.
Then again I have to admit I too experienced a gap between my own perceptions and reality of Denmark when I moved here and realized that Copenhagen is much less international and cosmopolitan than I had previously imagined, despite having visited the country more than a dozen times in the past. Perhaps the flip side of being unknown to the world is that the world is a bit unknown to you. It might be a good idea to work on raising that profile after all…
yes,one more thing being a foreigner gives one a great insight into things taken for granted by the locals. And every so often it means being shocked and puzzled in the most unexpected situations, while the locals look at you in wonder and dismiss you as weird. As you probably guessed by now, I quite enjoy those moments.
And what more experiencing i am getting in DAnmark will share you time to time on my up coming posts ……..
May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
We are well aware about the extent the awfulness of Pakistani Government and PPP politicians specially. There are numerous examples that testify the claim, but the limits of this insanity have unfortunately not been determined as yet.
An example of this was demonstrated when the convicted Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gillani was recently interviewed by a CNN journalist Becky Anderson on his visit to United Kingdom. Even though there were various issues that were discussed, some of the answers by the Prime Minister were either equivalent to doing a stand-up comedy or make you pity the state he leads.
Please have some Gillani-ology
While leaving, http://youtu.be/z9x_KX6JwSw?t=4m34s
The super and final dose of entertainment arrives at the very final stage of the video. When asked about the increasing dissatisfaction and trust deficit that prevails among the people of Pakistan, Gilani’s answer amazed us.When asked about the latest Gallup poll which suggests that one-fifth of Pakistanis want to leave the country,
The premier didn’t hesitate to respond: “Why don’t they just leave then”.
The matter-of-fact response was followed by, “Who’s stopping them?”
While his comments were followed by an apparent awkward silence between the interviewer and interviewee, the CNN interview clip has gone viral on the internet by fervent tweeters and bloggers.
In either case you have to give full marks to the defiance and courage with which he defends his illogical logics. A couple of such instances have been provided below in the form of time managed sequences.
You listen to this and you feel like burying yourself alive twenty feet deep. The reaction of CNN’s Becky Anderson is actually priceless. Is it humiliating and embarrassing? Sure it is. It is the equivalent of the Prime Minister telling a 180 million people to go to hell. It’s as if he’s saying, I have a dozen problems of my own, my son is being tried in a narcotics scam case, I have been convicted and you guys are worried about your visas?
Mr.Gillani didnt u feel shame while you said this ???
Did,nt you feel guilt while she said a pakistan is disfunction-al society ,rater you ware laughing while answering .its such a shame full act
Well then, this is the Prime Minister of Pakistan for you…
May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
Five years in the making, Port Grand finally opened its doors bringing hope of some entertainment to Karachiites
Work on the much talked about project began in 2006 in karachi pakistan. I for one had been waiting for it to open impatiently. The management promised a much earlier opening date but delays and lack of funds meant that it took almost twice the time to complete the project, Some of my friends who,s living in karachi specially Danish Siddiqui ,Mr. Rathore they discussed about that and we made a plan on phone when i ll be come to karachi will ll be hang out togather,in the mean time I visited Port Grand’s website and Facebook page to look at the entertainment on offer and loved what I saw. Some of my friends who went on opening night said that as promised, Port Grand has delivered a complete entertainment package from shopping to theatre to an array of dishes from the world over. when the day finally came, I couldn’t wait to check the place out.during my previous visit to Karachi ,pakistan in 2011
All of these raised my hopes and as the weekend approached, I called up a Danish Siddiqui & Raza Agha to make a plan to go there on Saturday night. It was only when one of them asked me how we planned to get in without taking a girl along that I learned of the admission policy and all my hopes were crushed. It was supposed to be a guys’ night out but that is too much to ask, I guess.
Discrimination goes ‘grand’
Living up to its name of making everything ‘grand,’ Port Grand has taken discrimination to a new level with its admission policy of ‘Families only’ or in other words barring single men or a group of men/boys from entering.
Single girls or a group of single girls are welcomed with open arms, though.
What social values are the owners trying to convey?
That all single men are inherent trouble makers or that it is not acceptable in our culture or society to go out in public without a lady’s presence?
Are we implying that going out with the ‘boys’ suggests homosexual tendencies and this is intolerable in our society and religion?
A group of girls hanging out seems not to raise such concerns. This type of polarised thinking only exists in this country. Even India, our immediate neighbour and with whom we share a big chunk of our culture, does not promote such practices.
The Port Grand management appears to be reinforcing the belief that all groups of single men should be stereotyped and marginalised. It is promoting a gender based social apartheid, and because of this a time might come where any new place or anything great to happen to Karachi might be off limits to people based on their gender. They seem to be sending out a message that single guys and their groups are socially inferior/unacceptable.
Sexism is bad business
The owners may be scared that if they do not put such restrictions their business might be affected with females not wanting to come being scared of any untoward incident because of single guys roaming around. popular entertainment places that are thronged by number of people everyday including many females and do not have such a discriminatory policy in place.
Tourists don’t have dates
Port Grand is supposed to be a tourist attraction but my question for the owners is:
How is a single man, visiting Karachi on business, supposed to come and see this place if he does not have female acquaintances in the city, or if he does not want to pay for a ‘Date Experience’ as Charlie Sheen would put it?
One of the basic lessons taught in management classes dealing with policy making is never to devise a policy based on a minority segment. I concede that there are some men who visit places for the sole purpose of ogling at girls and at times pass comments too. But they are in minority. The majority of the boys, against popularly held belief, are well behaved. And, this minority will be kept out by the three hundred rupee entrance fee in place in the first place and if not, then the security people deployed at the place will keep them in check. Therefore this discriminatory policy is superfluous and should be repealed. The sooner the better!
May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
The movie will definitely lead to heated debates as to why Kavvya had to stoop to being “the biggest prostitute of the country”. Is this approach in keeping with a well-educated, contemporary journalist? Can the mere glance of cleavage make any man, no matter how shrewd he is, succumb and give away any information? And why did the protagonist have no security guards knowing well enough that the antagonist could have her killed at any given time?
The highlight of the movie is it’s twisted and unpredictable ending. The cat and mouse game between the victim and the anti-hero leaves a mark in its own way. In short, Hate Story does grip you, but is also disturbing at the same time.
I think there is only one phrase that defines this movie perfectly: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
My name is Sheheryar Khan.( A true Khan u can say) by profession i am a Computer engr. when I visited to Pakistan since almost 6 month back, than I like browsing through morning talk shows when I’m waiting for breakfast made by my mom who, like your colleague said in a particular clip, is like my friend and I confide in her often. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I do. She’s never demanded an oath of eternal confidence in her. We’re humans, and we love our private space. You might be thinking, “Why is he telling me this?” I thought I should let you know about the knitty gritty of my personal life since you do enjoy delving into deeper details. Wise people always do.
Maya? I love parks. Parks are amazing. Did you know that top ten parks in the world are located in London, Vancouver, San Francisco, Tokyo, Lisbon (don’t worry – not ‘lesbian’), Chicago and Bangkok,Copenhagen,berlin,stuttgart? If you show up in Lahore in the same park that I go to, it might become the most famous park in the whole world for what happens right after we encounter each other. Parks have lots of nice, lush grass and benches. I love benches. Parks also have trees and swings and sidewalks for people to walk on, and sometimes chase people after. Parks are amazing. My dad used to take me to my favorite park when I was little, you know? Sometimes couples passed by us and my dad would bring his Sony high definition video camera out and run after them, inquiring of their marital or non-marital status based on his idea of morality. Kidding. My dad just yawned and pushed the swing higher for me.
Hey, Maya? Sorry, I know I’m rambling. Just bear with me. Come on, we should confide in each other. suppose If i really like someone. than what ???? Most young people do. It’s natural, don’t worry. Nothing extraordinary, absurd or heinous about it. We hang out often. Since we’re on a nice, equal wavelength, we enjoy spending time in places that are simple, easy to go (unless someone decides to chase us with a cell phone camera to document our stray presence) and open-spaced because I love sitting in the sun on a winter afternoon. or any grill programme,sipping pinacolada…etc etc Do you know where we go? A local park. That’s right.
Young people fall in love all the time( your belongs to media industry and you know better than me cuz all those things are media Gifted to society)right?. Sometimes they don’t – it’s just infatuation. Sometimes they do and they’re confused as hell and they still go out to understand the significance of the other. In the process, they pick a location like normal people do where they can sit down and spend time together. I’m sure you liked someone when you were in college. No big deal. See, guys can also fall in love pretty much every single day of the week and so do girls. Sometimes they make the right decision, sometimes they make mistakes. It’s called being human. But trust me, they don’t need a team of middle aged women hounding them down public places to enlighten them about their decisions. And trust me, their mothers will handle whatever happens. No one asked you or anyone else to take the responsibility of scrutinizing them. See, what worries me a lot is when public figures like you with considerable influence on viewers morph into moral police. In a country like Pakistan where public vigilantism has exceeded levels of brutality, the last thing the youth needs is a team of moral watchdogs sniffing around for “impure” behavior.
If indeed your concern is sincere (which I still have qualms with – since the privacy of a person’s choice is most cogent; they’ll ask for help when they ask you) then invest in sex education or how a female can avoid getting hurt in various situations. Better yet, do a segment on respect for privacy. Now that’s a talk show I would make my entire neighborhood subscribe to. I understand that you might be fretting about the welfare of young women in this society. I do too along with thousands of other well-to-do folks. But there’s a difference between you and me: I don’t publicize their actions on a local TV channel, I don’t chastise them for going out on a date and I don’t expect people to slut-shame the girl or the boy into hiding. I let them be unless and until they ask for help or if there is eminent danger.
Hold on. I’m Muslim too. However the ethos of my faith urges that unless I am perfect in my moral conduct, I have no right whatsoever to point my finger atanyone for anything. Whatever is done is left between the individual and their conscience. Hell, no one ever told me to demand for someone’s nikah-nama when they’re sitting together. It doesn’t concern me or you or anyone else. Sometimes I am ashamed to be from the same faith when I see people like you dictating immaculate morality for others. Furthermore I am mortified as a Pakistani when I see wardens of rectitude making dangerous spectacles of common citizens simply to boost hits on their show or to become shining role models for people of equally disappointing, mediocre thinking.
If that young couple gets hurt – which happens inevitably as a result of your irresponsible moral policing – you will be held accountable for reinforcing the sick obsession our society has with prying and needling into privacy. I thought media ethics would’ve taught you and several others the art of Letting People Be. It’s not too hard, really. All you have to do is mind your own business and find other mature, commendable ways of increasing popularity for your show. Say, have you seen that reporter who raided on someone’s residence for possessing alcohol? Don’t you think it would’ve yielded a decent conversation if you, let’s say, entered Cosa Nostra or Espresso or CTC or Cinnabon, where privileged folks like you go to, and accosted an unmarried couple for sitting together in their unmarriedness? Isn’t it pathetically convenient to interrogate a harmless couple in a park? Can someone please explain why haven’t these righteous correspondents ever barged into a conspiring terrorist’s household to expose their plans? Or maybe into a conservative political figure’s cozy room when they call over hookers (I don’t even care about that, honestly) or when they approve of policies that render our lives a lot more miserable than it already is? That takesguts.
You’re smart enough to understand by now that I am legitimately aggravated and so are others. Invasive moral policing is not just hypocritical, it is harmful.and I’m signing this while making yet another sinful plan of sitting in a park with the Girl I like.ha..kidding:)) Is this a one-way ticket to hell and destruction? I’m sure it is. No skin off my nose.
Assuming your action was religiously motivated, I was wondering how you would react if a raging maulvi decided to hound you on his morning talk show for not covering your hair. And assuming your action wasn’t religiously motivated but only carried out as a display of social concern, I wonder how you would feel if someone verbally quartered you for making the decisions you have by telling you, you were foolish and misdirected for doing so.
Now if you don’t mind, I have plans to make. If some one spending unmarried time with the girl Its like in a few days. thay’re so unmarried, it’s amazing. Sometimes in our high unmarriedfulness, he hold her arm and we walk through the park past closet Maya Khans and Zaid Hamids who genuinely detest us for our open display of joy, comfort and affection. I can’t wait to have you show up and ask us for our nikah document. This is what I’ll give you as proof: