Archive for the 'The Mundane' Category

04
Apr
11

In-Education?

As if we needed any more confusion regarding education, this is what breaks,

Message from Dr. Atta ur Rahman

Dear Colleagues

In a shocking move, the present government approved the shredding of the Higher Education Commission into pieces and handing the functions to the provinces. The Cabinet formally approved this last week.

 

This was illegal as HEC was a Federal Regulatory Authority and protected under the 18th amendment of the Constitution like other Federal Regulatory Authorities . It was also completely autonomous, and reported directly to the Prime Minister. However it was treated as if it was a part of the Ministry of Education, and since the Ministry of Education was being devolved, so this was too. HEC had developed many enemies when I was its Chairman as I was determined to strictly follow merit and not compromise on principles. Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Executive Director, continued these policies, after I resigned, as did the new Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari. This annoyed many Parliamentarians, specially on the matter of forged degrees as HEC refused to testify them as genuine.

This is disastrous for the future of Pakistan as it will lead to horrendous problems. it will lead to multiplicity of standards and cause the same chaotic situation that exists in our schools. It will also lead to massive corruption as the provincial governments will now be able to exert direct pressures to appoint their cronies at key positions in universities. Greedy politicians have their eyes on university lands worth hundreds of billions of rupees and these can be swallowed after appointment of their own persons at key positions. Universities that are favourites will be better funded and the formula-based funding evolved by HEC will vanish. The $ 300 million committed by the World Bank and $ 250 million agreed to by US AID will also no longer be available as these were linked to the status of HEC not being changed. The written commitment of the Ministry of Finance with the World Bank to give sizeable increases in funding to HEC, resulting in doubling of its recurring and development budgets over the next 3 years will also now no longer be honoured as funding will now be a provincial responsibility except for the few Federal Universities. Most importantly, the national focus to train manpower in key areas of national importance, in harmony with the long term development plans, will be replaced by a fragmented approach.

I recently held a Press Conference in Islamabad on the platform of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (of which I am now President) calling upon the government to reverse this decision to shred HEC. I also discussed the matter with Dr. A.Q.Khan who wrote an article for The News. This was published (as views expressed by him) in The News (Islamabad edition) 2 days ago and in the Karachi edition yesterday.

I have also written an article which is attached. It should be published in a national newspaper within a couple of days.

I would like each of you to take a strong stand on the matter and write articles in national newspapers urging the government to reverse this decision.. We cannot be bystanders as the HEC is shredded into pieces. This was one sector that was working well, six years of my life went in into building this vibrant institution as its founding Chairman. The work of HEC drew much international praise. Alas it has now been destroyed.

Will you act?

Kind regards

Atta

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15
Jul
09

Violated…

Am miserable.  Had my I-pod nano stolen from my desk at work today.  One of those untrackable crimes I’m afraid, where it’s near impossible to both track the goods or the perpetrator.

It was a birthday gift from my bro and what is more upsetting is that it had pics…  old and new, family and friends and yes, a few that perhaps I kept as a reminder of a few skeletons in the closet, pics that I had no business putting in something that I was carrying around in a place of work or otherwise, anywhere outside my room.  Nonetheless, it’s been done and lost.  And I am getting a tension headache that’s grabbed the back of my skull and traveling all the way to my temples in these measured pulses of numbing agony…

He’s so going to kill me.  I have half a mind not to tell him, who told me repeatedly never to put pics on an i-pod but I in all my superiority then was arrogant and condescending about his faith in my taking care of my things and my privacy…  This is called falling right into shit!!

My mind is now filled with panic inducing, far reaching implications of the pics that rival armageddon.

Allah, please protect me and give my mind peace.  Everything is yours and to you it will return and you know all…  Keep me safe from the evils of Satan, of this world and the people in it, my own intentions and my own deeds… Ameen!

05
Jul
09

If Nothing Else, am Well Read

Saw this tag on Xeb’s blog and thought I’d get to it some day…  the spiel is that:

1) Look at the list and highlight the ones that you’ve read.
2) Tally your total at the bottom.
3) Tag a few people you think would enjoy sharing similar information about their book interests.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon.
60 Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jone’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchel
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Hmmmmmmm…. 75 out of the given 100 is not so bad me thinks.

26
Jun
09

In This Place You’ll Feel There’s No Hurt Or Sorrow

“If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.”

So said Michael Jackson and I hope in his passing he found the peace that eluded him in his life.

Michael Joseph Jackson – August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

So, Michael Jackson’s Dead.  Kind of hard to believe.  I didn’t track him career like a hound but he was hard to ignore… The ever changing skin colour, the physical transformation and yes the scandals of child molestation.  There were other things too, which I’m sure will be fed to us by the foaming at the mouth media till its all but coming out of our ears and nose and but cut the guy a break.  It’s bad enough to have every facet of your life examined to the point that your body being taken by paramedics outside your home is captured by the papparazzi of all things…  And then in death, every person deeming it their right to talk about you as if you were their best friend…  Yet death comes to you alone.  I always feel sorry for all these stars… sorrier as they become more famous because suddenly they are public fodder.  They’re not allowed to be human, to be flawed or insecure or to hurt.  Plastic!

It takes death to humanize them but we don’t let them have that either… They are now angels, fallen or otherwise, glorified in death and made a spectacle out of…  Their life and death sold on the streets… Like 20 dollar t-shirts with the king of pop’s picture on it selling outside the UCLA medical center where he died within hours of his passing! And it’ll go on… His albums, songs, videos, his life… Items he used, his home and whatever his last rites may be..  will be catalogued, labeled, valued and sold and resold like so many trophies… and will make people rich!

There was a time when I thought that there only was one singer in the world and his name was Michael Jackson.  As in ALL songs were only ever sung by MJ.  And his videos are still fun to watch.  Who hasn’t watched the boyfriend turn to werewolf to boyfriend to amazing dancing zombie in Thriller.  I know as hell that I did.  And tried to copy them too.  The moon walk, the pelvic thrusts, the spin, the twitches and grunts and shouts and the “Ow”… all of it.  I still know the words to Beat it, and Smooth Criminal and Billie Jean… All the rest… Dirty Diana, Remember the time, Black or White, Heal the World, Man in the Mirror, Who is it, Give in to me and They don’t care about us….  Oh so many!

I hope you find the care in the other world Michael Jackson, that you didn’t get here….

Salute!

12
Jun
09

Referencing kills

All those people who invented bloody styles of thesis writing and referencing, should be thankful that they’re dead…  Because they would surely be dead now if I ever laid my hands on them…

Aaarrrrgggghhhhh.. khud mar gaye and museebatein hamare liye chhor gaye!!  Ufffff!!!

08
Jun
09

Yay Me!

First three chapters of the paper written and e-mailed to supervisor…  Waiting to see how much of the copy paste can actually be detected although am hoping that the English switching I did all over, will get me through it…

Actual findings and discussion still to be written though…  But mind has shut down and going through 6 pages of statistical results is a bit much!  Will have a day that’s going to drag in the morning…  work day segmented into small slots of actual productivity and hell of a lot of lean time to waste in between…

Eyes burning…  Sleeping!

07
Jun
09

Deadlines

Everytime!!  For all my protestations to the contrary and resolutions to refrain, every time I have to work on a research paper, I end up thinking about writing it the week it is due and then spend the night before  it’s to be submitted swearing,  sweating and typing my way through it punctuated now and then with screams of absolute agony…




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