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Showing posts from September, 2004

Fake Medicine: Dracula

The symptoms of Dracula do not seem any different than someone suffering from rabies - his deadly fear of running water, sunlight. He would bite people - when he did they too would be infected with rabies. It is said he fought the Turkish army and was known as Vlad the Impaler. When he captured Turkish soldiers he force them to convert to Christianity and when they did not, he would impale the forehead to a tree. The cross was his guide but became his curse because he was bitten by some animal which was is a rabies a carrier, a dog or a fox. So when he saw the cross it reminded of the time he contracted rabies. His hate of the Turks was so much that even hated the food they ate, which had plenty of garlic in it. Dracula developed an aversion to garlic. Hence the myth grew that in order to keep Dracula away was to have garlic hanging around. Perhaps in the days of Dracula rabies manifested in some other form, it may result in madness but not death. Dracula would stay out of light and w…

Cars and motorcycles a luxury?

Commuting in a city the size of Karachi is very difficult. The policy of the junta as regards the price of fuel is inconsistent – because of this the owners of public transport – be they taxis or buses do not have fixed fares. Those who travel in buses are not sold bus tickets and taxis do not have meters – they justify this on the grounds that the price of petrol varies from one day to the next, so it is impossible for them fix the fare. When it comes to taxis (or rickshaws) one has ask the driver how much he will charge for going to a particular place. The shorter the distance the more the fare, the longer the distance the fare is comparatively less. If one wants to go to some residential area – the fare is higher, because in such places people usually have their private vehicles and rarely rely on public transport, so taxis go back without any passenger aboard. But if ones destination is a major shopping area, then the fare is great deal less, because the taxi driver will most like…

Know nothing

Proud of my ignorance? Certainly not - but I must admit do not know much about anything - rather for the most part I am absolutely have no clue. If am told the world is round and it has been proven to be so - I must agree - but my personal experience tells me it is flat. Why do things fall it said I am told there is such thing as gravity then I am told there is nothing such as gravity it is the curvature of space - whatever that is supposed to mean. I wish scientists were to make up their minds. What are those tiny bright dots I see in the night sky? I have no idea - I am told they are stars and they are so far away no one will ever be able to reach them. Whatever the reasons for that I will never venture to ask, I have never had a telescope in my life so I can never see that far.
Why does my mobile do the things it does? - I do not know. Why can see so many TV channels, when at one time I could only one - is beyond me. Why I can see TV is at all is even harder to explain. There a…

A stranger

Insinuations, euphemisms, gossip, superciliousness are make up his conversation. He always contradicts himself. He has proven that without the shadow of any doubt that he is a hypocrite. If it is possible he will try never to listen, but when he does – he likes to interrupt and starts arguing. Every conversation degrades into a pointless and meaningless argument. All sense of fun and levity has gone from him, perhaps it was never there.
He derides anyone with a sense of homeliness, warmth and closeness. He finds it discomfiting to laugh out loud at something which is genuinely funny because he is so used to ridiculing and scoffing at everything. It is apparent his has all but lost his sense of humour.
He cannot tell the difference between opinion and fact – he mixes both of them up. When gossip is not involved in any conversation – he starts an extensive interrogation seeking every tiny detail which is actually a desperate bid to find fault so that he can start an argument. He does no…

IDEAS by pinheads

For three days Karachi is suffering from another bout of traffic jams because of an every shady arms fare called IDEAS. No one knows who is selling what to whom. Several parts of the city have been cut off and the normal flow of traffic has been seriously affected. It is as if the people in Karachi are a major security risk. The people are not a security risk it’s the pinheads (none other than the over-rated military) who by exaggerating the importance of the arms deals fare. This only creates even more resentment, because the junta deliberately is alienating the people of Karachi from everything.
Before Karachi was the country’s capital – Islamabad became the capital – but Karachi’s commercial and financial importance over the decades and it become the commercial capital of the country. The junta receives 75 per cent of all taxes from Karachi, yet the city and its citizens do not get return on the taxes paid.
Now the pinheads that instead of finding an appropriate place to have the a…

Internet surfing doomed 2

This following is becoming turning into incredible hurdles in surfing the Internet. Who would want to use the Internet if this goes on. The Internet Service Providers blame PTCL the telephone monopoly which in turns blames PTA the supervising organisation of all telecommunications including surfing the Internet which blames the ministry of communications which blames the overall policies of the junta. In a country when there are only 6 per cent of the entire population of the country surfing the Internet, in which in most cases one is lucky of getting connected to an ISP which are normally dead slow and broadband cable is readily available and where it is available it is also unreliable and extremely expensive so the junta does not have filter the Internet just make it so slow that no one access anything anywhere at any time - the whole point of the exercise of blocking Internet Websites is pointless - because the entire system has been transformed into a decrepit, unreliable mess …

Animals eat people, what?

If one tells children these days that lions and other predators can eat people, they laugh insanely. The reason simply being that first of all being they have never seen these creatures roaming around free at least and there has been no reported case of any of these animals actually have done this in recent times. Humanity has been very proficient in eliminating these creatures from the face of the planet - now the only predators are people and their machines. It is more likely to be run over by a car than to be eaten by a tiger. No matter fearsome these creatures may look, children and many grown ups have stopped thinking of them as a threat. Kids collect T-Rex figurines and just because of the movies they enact how they growl and devour people - but since they know such creatures just does not exist they are just having fun, they could easily have other predator figurines it would make no difference whatsoever Perhaps a few hundred years ago, would be terrified when wolves howled a…

No place to walk no place to park no place to drive

It is wonderful if one could park ones car ( motorcycle) without someone claiming a part of the road as their own. These are: Managers of banks Cigarette (and other junk) sellers Tea shops Fruit juice sellers Milk shop owners All these get away with this because they bribe all those responsible for enforcing he law and this does not mean jus the police. The stalls usually next to the pavement where cars are parked, or on the pavements - so that people have to abandon the pavement and walk on the road and risk getting hit by any vehicle. Other than the danger of getting hit by a vehicle the danger is also of falling into uncovered manhole, because drug addicts steal the lids which they sell in order to support drug addiction - that is the most common story - it could very well be that in order to give the contract to supply manhole lids, the previous lids are removed and declared stolen. A contractor supplies manholes and gives a huge bribe to the people who approve the contract - anything …

Fallacious History: Why empires do not expand and why they fail

It could be a strange beginning to an idea - Julius Caesar was a military officer a general in the Roman army. His actions were based on political decisions made in the Roman Senate. Plans of for the conquest of specific territories were debated and finalised in the Roman Senate. The annexation of territories were planned and were given a specific time frame. Caesar captured Gaul on the orders of the Senate. The conquest of Egypt perhaps already was already in place. Though Caesar had carried out a coup and made the Senate subservient to his will, the mission to occupy Egypt had to be done because of a prior Senate decree.
But after the military took over the affairs of Rome, the Roman empire stopped expanding, because one military dictator after another, proclaiming themselves Caesars were not really interested in expanding the empire. If the Julius Caesar had not staged his coup and the military was never involved in politics – it could very well be that Romans would have been able …

Language politics

In 1958 the people of former East Pakistan now independent Bangladesh - protested against Urdu and wanted Bengali to be the 'national language' - perhaps nowhere in the world has ever heard of rioting and demonstrations over the issue of language and nothing else. That is a lot of water under the bridge now - Bangladesh exists, Bengali is the national language, though the truth is everyone prefers to speak Urdu - it is the language of South Asia. There may be a few places where Urdu is not understood or not spoken at a;;. So many people regardless of rank and status would rather speak in Urdu then in Bengali. They all know that language issue was for political reasons and nothing else. The language of the government prior to British rule was Persian - Urdu was the language of the common people. During the British Raj, English was the language of the government, Urdu remained the language of the common people - Urdu did not discriminate between religions, everyone spoke it. Afte…

An army of ministers

The new selected prime minister by the military has over 32 ministers in his cabinet. A minister for every single task whether it requires a great deal of expertise and or it is downright menial. Ministers get all the privileges which mean they have mansions, ten chauffeur driven cars, free petrol, free electricity, free water, and free gas. It does not matter that the rest of the people in the country are suffering due inflation and paying inflated electricity and telephone bills. The salaries of these ministers will be millions of rupees. 75% of these ministers are retired silly high ranking military officers, during their working years they were completely incompetent and as cabinet ministers they will be much worse, they would be positively rabid – because throughout their working lives they learnt only one thing how to bark orders. The rest of the ministers comprised of former bureaucrats and failed politicians who could never dream of being a cabinet minister. had there been a…

Spillover effect

Karachi has been the target of a number of terrorists attacks - there are of several type - there are those amongst religious sects the Shias and the Sunnis, there are factions between both Shia and Sunni groups. They primarily attack eachother's mosques or assassinate eachother's leaders. Then of course there is the international 'War on Terror' - the result is some terrorists slip into the city and try to attack the consulates of the countries forming the coalition forces in Afghanistan or those who are in some way affiliated or sympathetic to the cause.
The residences and offices are targetted - but these are scattered all over the city. Immediately after an attack has taken place, then all traffic on that road is stopped indefinitely - causing unnecessary traffic jams elsewhere.
Things have come to such a state that many major roads cannot be used and alternative ones have to be used - this is time consuming and extremely irritating. Most Karachites are seeing …

Internet surfing doomed

As can be expected from a fanatical regime, which is bent on denying everyone here the least amount of freedom - the Internet like all other media is very closely monitored, filtered and websites which people use to visit on a regular basis are now are blocked - a message called 'time out error 110', which is a way of saying 'don't ever visit this website again'. Instead of lowering charges and providing good services, the state owned telephone company PTCL is making it increasingly impossible to surf the Internet.
In a population of 150 million people only 6 per cent people use the Internet - whereas in more properous countries up to 40 per cent of the entire population uses the Internet. Internet access is doomed, because the network of telephone lines does not exist, besides the majority of the people do not know how to use computers leave alone surf the Internet.
The use of computers and the surfing of the Internet is a previlege not something which everyone i…