10 Reasons Why It Is NOT Awesome Being a Woman in Pakistan


Someone thought it would be a good idea to write a post about how awesome it is to be a woman in Pakistan. I started reading it, highly expecting it to be sarcastic. It wasn’t.

So here’s my take.

1. People Always Compliment You.

They will always refer to you as

khoobsurat, sexy, kya kamar hai

and many other endering terms. They also go the exrta mile by offering to take you home – their home. 

“aa ja meri cycle te beyja”, “chalay gi kya?”, “behen to hai aap ki kami hai”. 

So polite. #POS

2. They will make way for you.

Teeming crowds of men will make way to let you pass through them safely. Or not.

Once you’re ahead of them, they can safely grab your butt without being spotted. So nice.

#ThanksButNoThanks

3. It’s always ‘Ladies first’

Men will always insist you go first when waiting in a queue. Once you’re safely up front, the conversations are priceless.

4. Public transport stops for you every time!

 

Image by: Pakistan Today: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/05/24/comment/ladies-only/

Image by: Pakistan Today: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/05/24/comment/ladies-only/

5. Help is always readily available

Unless you’re them:

 

1

3

4

 

6. Convenience for working ladies

You know your workplace is awesome when your boss sidles up to you and puts his hand on your shoulders. #JustCoz

7 & 8: Sales, Jewelery and Clothes

 

That’s supposed to make up for all the shit we put up with? #ShoveIt

9. So many options available to spend your time leisurely

While you would need a car, a dedicated driver or a loyal partner to make the daily trips for these awesome leisurely options available to ALL Pakistani women; I suppose you could make do with these otherwise.

10. Chivalry is definitely not uncommon <3

“holding the door open for you, making way for you and getting you flowers is something very ordinary to a woman in Pakistan. We aren’t spoilt, but we’re definitely pampered.”

#IDontEven #ShoveItAgain #SingleStoryPerspective

 

No, You Don’t Need Social Media


 

Everyone is jumping on the social media bandwagon these days. From small, local shops to larger businesses, the realization that they are missing out on an important form of marketing has hit hard.

As Ted Coine put it recently:

“Businesses are going social by droves – some with gusto and aplomb; many others with no shortage of trepidation and struggle, but the word seems to be out: 2015 is the last year to become a social business or to officially be a laggard.”

They have all heard it can “increase sales”, “get more visibility” and “enhance customer loyalty”. What they have not heard is that social media may not be the pill they need if their product or service is something no one likes. You need to gain loyalty before you can enhance it, right?

A few days ago, I was contacted by a business owner who wants to “do social media”. For the sake of privacy, I won’t disclose any names, but will only say that they are a business in the services industry. After the usual introductions, the conversation started with him saying:

“We have a great website, but we are not getting any leads. Our competitors are using social media and they have thousands of likes on their Facebook page. We want to get into that market. How many likes do you think we can get?”

As it turned out, his business wasn’t getting any new customers and he was frustrated beyond measure. So, I told him I would get back to him after some research (read: stalking).

After 30 minutes of “googling” them, I learned the following about the business:

  • – Almost all of their customers had complaints about their arrogant attitude, lack of customer service, irresponsibility, inability to make good on promises and the list went on
  • – Their services were outdated
  • – People who had worked with them would not even recommend them to their worst enemies

 

Basically, no one was willing to touch them with a ten-foot pole.

Here’s What You Need to Hear

If your product or service is awful, social media is not going to help you. While social media can tremendously improve the odds of a great service provider, it can also throw your already bad business into the deepest pits of internet notoriety. Social media has not only given you new tools and platforms to reach your customers, it has also given those customers an equal, if not more, number of avenues to vent their very public dissatisfaction with your services.

Build Before You Broadcast

Think of it this way: would you invite friends and family over for dinner when your house is a mess? Of course not! Then, why would you want to invite the whole world over to your business when it is not even equipped to provide the most basic services it advertises? You would not and you should not.

Take a long hard look at your business model, learn from what people are saying about you and fix it. If you are not willing to do even the bare minimum of what is required of a good business, don’t expect people to give you their money. Remember, social media is a spotlight that can highlight all the good things about your business; it will also make all your faults glaringly obvious.

You need to get your house in order before you invite me in. No one likes a dirty home. Do you?

Wannabe Writers Everywhere: Get Off My Turf!


 

Warning: This is a rant.

Almost every Twitter profile carries the word “writer” in the bio section. Why? Because it’s so easy being a writer. I assume the mental dialogue of such people runs something like this:

deciding a twitter bio

All you have to do is, well, write. How hard could it be, right?

Wrong.

While it seems pertinent to mention the years I’ve spent working on my writing, learning, perfecting and still not really being there, I won’t. What I will mention, however, is that a professional writer is someone for whom writing is not just the act of putting down words.

They will spend hours obsessing over whether “irregardless” is a proper word or not; but will always complete the client’s work well before the deadline and still manage to produce excellent work.

A professional writer does not simply stuff your articles with relevant keywords; they make sure your reader relates to the feeling behind their words.

Someone who strings words together is not a writer; someone who threads emotions, experiences and stories into those words is a writer.

A professional writer knows there is always room for improvement; an amateur thinks they produced a work of art each time they put a pen to paper or finger to keyboard or whatever.

I could go on and on but the effort to keep this “rant” civil is taking a lot of my energy right now.

I am angry. I’m angry because clients come out and say things like “Oh, but all you have to do is write 1500 words about the history of shoe-making. It should hardly take an hour,” because a “writer” told them they could do it.

I’m frustrated because clients say: “You charge too much. I know a writer who’ll do it for $10.”

My reaction to the above statement has changed while writing this post. It went from this

Morgan-Freeman-shocked

 

To this

shocked

Finally, to this:

ani-yeah-right

 

If your definition of a “writer” is someone who spews words on paper (or a word processing program) with no real knowledge of what writing involves, well, be my guest and hire the wannabe who will write you an e-book for $10.

And so, I wait for the day clients will understand how they are damaging their business by hiring cheap amateurs.

waiting

 

PS. The GIFs helped improve my mood a lot.

PSS. If you think the use of animated GIFs is immature, you’re right.

Digital Storytelling to Combat Violence Against Women – Presentation


When Influence is The Only Law


 

The “free media” continues to present a lopsided view of incidents; the police continue to ignore the facts; and the wives of feudal lords – like the niece of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Hina Gilani – continue to forcefully employ child laborers and then even kill them for “daring” to try to drink juice from their pitcher.

Here’s the whole story:

Javed aged 9 and Jameel, aged 13, were forcefully taken from their parents in Kotla Rahm Ali Shah. Faheem Abbas Shah, the feudal overlord in the area, took the kids to his home in Multan, to act as servants. The parents wanted their kids to study but Faheem thought domestic work was far more lucrative a career.

Following their ‘hiring’, the kids were not allowed to meet their parents for many subsequent months.

On Thursday afternoon, June 6, Jameel poured himself a glass of juice from the fridge and broke the glass pitcher in the process. Faheem’s wife, Hina Gilani, was so enraged that she beat him badly and then slammed the broken glass jug against his head.

Jameel started crying and bleeding but retreated to the rooftop, which was his only refuge. A rooftop with no place to shelter himself.

June 6th was the hottest day of the year for Multan with temperatures reaching 116.6 F (47 C).

In the blistering heat of Multan, he continued to hemorrhage while Hina Gilani and her family did not provide any medical assistance. When the 9-year old brother, Javed saw the critical condition of his brother, he rushed downstairs, crying and pleading to seek help for Jameel.

Naturally irked by the ‘irritating’ kid, Hina beat him as well. The kid ran back and sat by his dying brother on the hot, cement rooftop.

By next morning, Jameel was dead. Hina called up her husband, Faheem, telling him of the inconvenience. Another elder brother of the two kids, Saeed, was also a personal assistant of Faheem.

He was told that his brother had incurred food poisoning and they needed to go see him. On the way, Faheem told Saeed that Jameel had died. Once the duo reached Multan, Jameel’s body was lugged into Faheem’s car and taken back to the village. Meanwhile, the 9-year-old Javed was so traumatized and dehydrated that he fainted and was taken to the local hospital and admitted. He stayed in a very critical condition for a long time before reviving consciousness.

Back at the village, Faheem barred the local imam (the person who leads prayers in the local mosque and is usually responsible for giving a body its last purification bath before burial) from viewing or washing Jameel’s body.

He instructed another person, Maulvi Shafi, to wash the body instead. However, when Shafi uncovered the boy, he was shocked to see the bruises on the body and the sharp shards of glass in the boy’s skull. He immediately asked for an autopsy but was told to shut up. Due to the profuse bleeding from the child’s head, it had to be dressed with wads of gauze just before the burial.

When probed by Shafi and others, Faheem claimed that the wound was due to a head sore and that, while his body was being transported, the kids’ head hit the window of the car, causing the bleeding. According to him, Jameel had already died of typhoid back at Multan.

The devastated father of the two dead kids, Hameed, has filed an FIR against Hina Gilani and Faheem, under article 302 and 356. However, the DCO of Multan, Gulzar Shah as well as the Commissioner of the city are distantly related to the perpetuators. This is precisely why Hameed is currently under an immense pressure by the authorities and attempts are being made to persuade him to back off.

The case will be heard in the Multan court tomorrow (3rd July, 2013). However, it remains to be seen if justice will prevail.

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