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Pied Piper’s Papa from Pakistan

Peace is NOT coming to our financial world as well…

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The unraveling of Bear Stearns is a shock, we all agree. If the Chairman of the US Fed Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is to be believed, it was a situation that if left to its doings could have broken the bones of American economy and those of all the economies of the world. Timely and thankfully, the Fed came to our rescue at the last minute, and facilitated a hotchpotch of a deal to enable JP Morgan Chase take over the sinking ship. In the process, the Fed had to foot a bill for US $ 30 billion in return for assets whose real worth no one in the world yet knows. No one, imagine that in the backdrop of all our smooth talking laptop ticking oracles of the financial world who pretend to know the fair value of the entire universe to the nth.  

I am not much interested in the Bear Stearns saga, other than that I am now on the short side of the market, eagerly awaiting a local version of Bear Stearns to happen. Well, not a total collapse, but just a little drag down. Even a five rupee fall will be fine with me. 

What I am more interested in is to point out the blunt resemblance between Donald Rumsfeld of the Peace in Iraq fame, and Ben Bernanke and all those who accompanied him during his testimony to the Congressional Committee. He and his companions deserve the highest trophies in the Talk-to-Waste-Time category, for having munched meaningless hollow phrases for many hours over two days, without revealing a word that we didn’t already know. As the speakers talked on and on, they looked more and more like some meticulously prepared mini models of that greatest time-wasting-talker of our times, whose “coming soon” Iraq peace hasn’t turned the corner for years.  

And that tells me something else. Peace is not coming to the financial markets, just like peace has not landed in Iraq till this day, in spite of all the assurances of the all the phrase munching mouths of the world.  

I can bet all my money on it, and yours as well.

Written by baryaal

April 4, 2008 at 2:23 am

It’s virtual, but hurts real…

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Having stayed active on quite a few online forums for many years, I had always taken words for granted, until I was rudely awakened just recently.  In an online exchange, I was being slightly misread by someone. I posted something, and got a response that was, to put it mildly, unexpected. I tried to salvage the situation with a humorous tilt (at least, I thought it was humorous), and there I was hit by another straight-slap-in-the-face of a response. I felt hurt, and simultaneously could feel the pain I must have caused at the other end. Feeling sorry, I was sure that any clarifications will further exacerbate the bitterness of the moment.  

In that one moment, so many instances where I had somehow deliberately evoked emotions online, flashed in my mind. Looking back, I now feel really sorry for all those who had silently drifted away from my virtual life, after those last exchanges which I had taken as virtual victories (sort of). I am now sure that most of them went quietly away, only because they knew that talking beyond the point would lead to further misunderstandings, hurt, and humiliation.

A little too late, but I have realized the full impact of virtual words. Virtual, but the pain can be real, and may give someone a sleepless night without you even knowing it!

Written by baryaal

March 29, 2008 at 1:42 am

Ministers of Truth: Masters of Doublethink, Doubletalk

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These days, one can find pro-establishment mouthpieces in wholesale quantities in Pakistan.

Don’t know how they have managed it, but the result is fantastic. Everyday, we find articles, analysis, predictions, and posts, humiliating the politicians who are yet to take their seats, blaming them for all things that have happened and that which may happen. The propaganda bombardment is immense, incessant, and from all sides.

The mouthpieces come in all shapes and sizes; paid journalists, paid TV channels, paid programme hosts, paid political analysts, and now the fresh crop of new mouthpieces, the gems of the Pakistani blogosphere. 

They all pretend to be true patriots weeping over the shabby state of affairs in the country, and in turn try to take the blame a decade back precisely to the era of the 1990s, totally bypassing the misrule of the recent years, that we are still enduring, and the consequences of which even our children will face. Precisely, they also stop short of touching upon the dark age of the 80s. They weep over the lack of justice for the common man, and in the same breath criticize the lawyers’ movement to be hampering the deliverance of justice to the public because they are too concerned with the restoration of a few judges. 

Orwellian tendencies are at their peak. There is no escaping, and even the most intelligent readers must read really intelligently to be able to see the fine-print between the lines of the prejudiced half-truths of our new and old ministers of truth.

Let’s not worry though, since as long as we have freedom to think, truth will prevail. I also strongly recommend reading at least some chapters of George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty Four, to have some basic insight into the workings of the complex minds of our new ministers of truth. 

Written by baryaal

March 26, 2008 at 12:35 am

Try saying it without “I”

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Why is it getting more and more difficult for us to be able to talk without “I” in the age of iPhone 

Maybe, it’s about self importance and our sense of supposed individuality. Supposed, because the more we try to pretend different, the more we look the same, thanks to globalization and advertising which together have steadily diluted our diversity into a monotony, or why would the female models look so alike: same makeup, similar hairdos, same styles, and even the same gestures and voice tones. Maybe, it’s the realization that we are losing ourselves into the same sameness that we so hate.  

Some say superiority and inferiority complexes distort our personalities. Others argue that there is no such a thing called “superiority” complex at all, and all personality distortions stem from this or that sense of inferiority. Thus, those who try to look superior are trying to hide some weakness. Those who start every sentence with an “I” perhaps need it as a reinforcement of their  own existence. Gone are the days when writers used to write “this author” to avoid writing “I”. The expression “the undersigned” is also vanishing fast. Seems, we are losing our gentlemanly (pardon if it sounds sexist) courtesies, one by one, to selfish crap.  

At this rate, we soon will be replacing “Yours truly” with “I, the truthful” in our correspondence. 

In advertising, we were taught to always emphasize on the word “You” even if it sounds repetitive, so that the audience could relate to the message, and have that “feeling of being important”. For many years, this single trick has worked wonders for advertisers, BUT when the same audiences start talking to their own audiences, they miss out on the very basics of advertising themselves.  

“You” sells better than “I”. Try it!

Written by baryaal

March 19, 2008 at 3:47 am

Another spy, same story

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Enters Manjit Singh…  

He insists his real name is Sarabjit Singh, and he was caught because the law enforcement had misidentified him for another Manjit Singh, who is said to have been involved in spying and terrorist activities in 1990, which had claimed the lives of 14.   

Sarabjit/Manjit Singh was awarded a death sentence in 1991, but fortunately or unfortunately, he lived on to suffer 18 years of jail. According to a media report, he will be hanged on 1st of April, 2008, or the famously known Fool’s Day. If that happens, Manjit will suffer half of Kashmir Singh’s fate and half Khalid Mehmood’s. 

Whether the specific date has any message for anyone, only the “anyone” can decipher it, but Ansar Burni says he will send a Mercy Plea to the President for his release. I sincerely wish Burni success this time (We’ll pick holes later J), but this one will be really difficult to pull off.  

“Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.”
John Dryden 

UPDATE I: The execution of Sarabjit Singh has been delayed for one month for reasons best know to the Authorities. 

Written by baryaal

March 17, 2008 at 2:43 am

Tired of theories

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We are monkeys to Darwin, sex maniac donkeys to Freud, a hierarchical bunch of selfish needies to Maslow, and are yet to be explored, and further explained. Everyone takes us for a ride with his own expertise, experiences, experiments, estimates, philosophies, theories, readings, hypothesis, findings, guesswork, and nonsense.  

Everyday we come by some final word on our wellbeing, happiness, spirituality, religiosity, behavior, values, attitudes, self esteem, fears, illnesses, sufferings, and everything in between, to be nullified by yet another paper by yet another polymath. Everything is hocus-focus, getting more tormenting by the moment, with more warnings, fears, doubts, qualms, suspicions, cautions, and gibberish of all assortments.  

Ignorance is bliss. Knowledge sucks.

Written by baryaal

March 15, 2008 at 6:10 am

The Peak of a President’s Unpopularity

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“When elephants fight, ants get trampled,” or so the Urdu saying goes. But how often do we see ants fighting and hurting an elephant in the process?

Khwaja Asif of PML (N), a few days back, alleged that Amin Fahim had been meeting the President of Pakistan, in secrecy in the past. Amin threatened him back with a Defamation Notice, which Asif has just confirmed to have received.

This is extraordinary since in Pakistan defamation notices are strictly a rarity, and one often gets money for defaming others. Yes “MONEY”.  It is also exceptional since the apparent reason for the defamation happens to be the allegations of meetings with the President; something which otherwise should be a source of pride for any Pakistani.

I always thought one wouldn’t go lower after having hit the ground. A friend enlightened that disgrace is a bottomless pit, and one could keep falling forever, and still keep falling.Isn’t it time for Mush to go? Or shall we wait for more “I-know-you-met-the-President-last-summer” allegations, and counter defamation notices flying around like paper kites on a Basant day.

Written by baryaal

March 13, 2008 at 11:12 pm