Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hello. I Deal With Stupidity

First let’s get the pleasantries and back-slapping out of the way. I would like to thank Ahsan, NB and AKS for inviting me to contribute to this blog. Five Rupees is one of the rare Pakistani blogs I read for insight and intelligence rather than material to mock (I’m looking at you, Pakistan Spectator and Pkpolitics).

My blogging style, if it can be called that, is simple and repetitive. My first theory is that Pakistanis as a people are not too bright, as evidenced by the cricket star with a history of illegal substance who got caught with drugs at the airport of a country where such things are punishable by death.(I’m only surprised that it was Mohammed Asif and not Shoaib Akhtar.)

The kind of stupidity I am talking about can be seen in this letter to the editor published in today’s Dawn. The non-oil segment of the Nigerian economy thrives on people like this:

"SOMEBODY rang me up today (June 2) to inform and congratulate that I have won a prize of Rs1,000,000 in a draw of PTCL Wireless phone numbers jointly conducted by PTCL Wireless and Mobilink. He said the draw result has been appearing on TV channels in recent days and wondered how I missed it…"

"Since the money was to be electronically transferred to my bank account, he asked me to give him my bank account number, CNIC number and home address which I did…"

The potential for humour comes not just from their stupidity but their belief that they are cunning and unfoxable. Just take a look at this letter writer’s pride as it belatedly dawns on him that he may be taken for a ride.
"Where I smelled a rat was his insistence on paying him Rs3,000 as processing fee before the cheque could be sent."
Secondly, when you add guns and religion to the mix, that stupidity reaches heights that have not yet been attained even by some of the lower-IQ Gulf states. As evidence I would like to present this story from yesterday about what any sane person would consider a tragic but routine incident at a factory in Karachi.

"Confusion continued to prevail regarding the fainting of 30 employees of a factory in SITE on Saturday. The authorities concerned have closed the factory (S.M. Denim) for one week for inspection to acertain the cause. However, with a cause yet to be attributed to the incident, the ‘debate’ about whether the fainting was a result of “ghosts” or the release of poisonous gases inside the stitching department, raged on."

My third theory, and one that I never shut up about, is that the news media in Pakistan is hopelessly agenda-driven. This often results in unintentionally comically-worded stories, a disregard for logic and a mistrust of facts. There is, however, one exception to this rule, as shown by the extract below. When confronted with matters of science versus superstition, our journalists (and government for that matter, as you can see by their response to the fainting incident) maintain a scrupulous objectivity that they would never consider applying to politics.
"Many workers of the factory are of the opinion that there are some “ghosts” present on the premises of the industrial unit, that were behind the fainting of these employees. They believe that the factory used to be the exclusive abode of these ghosts, who were angered by the presence of human beings. Scientific experts, however, scoff at such an explanation, stating that they believed that the cause was the sudden release of chemicals used in the factory. Ostensibly in an attempt to assuage both sides of the debate, scientific and spiritual, the inspection team will consist of both a team of the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) and Ulema."


Ahsan said...

The PakPassion thread on Asif is hilarious. In particular look out for the Aussie who details every drug he's ever taken, including some I've never even heard of, and then tells "kids" to "stay away from drugs".


bubs said...

I loved the guy who said this was probably recreational drugs and so he won't be banned by the PCB. He will 'only' have to go to jail. Also, no one there seems to note the irony of people with poor English calling Asif a paindu

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. If you had to shut down A&S because it took two minutes for your employers to identify you, then why are you blogging with the same name now?

bubs said...

Laziness always trumps caution and I didn't want to make the effort to create a new Blogger account. I'm going to hope I don't get caught this time. Blogging is too much fun to give up.

Anonymous said...

Bubs, welcome to the site. Happy to have you blogging again

AKS said...

Welcome aboard Bubs. It has always been a pleasure for me to read your blog so it'll be mighty nice to continue reading your musings.

Anonymous said...