Sunday, August 25, 2019

Far From the Madding Crowd, Hardy and Me

Today I got off from the board meeting early and my flight was in the evening. I had a few hours to kill with nothing to do. I chanced upon a YouTube video snippet of Bathsheba Everdene and Sergeant Troy's sword scene of 2011 remake of Far From the Madding Crowd. I didn't like it at all, there was no mystery, no suspense and no thrill that I remember experiencing when I first watched the scene in the original 1967  British movie starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Peter Finch and Terrance Stamp. Knowing me, YouTube presented the Terrance Stamp interview recorded just before the remake. He had played Sergeant Troy in the 1967 BBC movie. The interview opened a flood of memories flashing across my mind of the various times of my life when i had seen the movie and the times that I have read the book. It brought to my mind my struggle to derive meanings of various scenes. My first viewing was at a time when I had limited understanding of what was happening as our exposure to the themes discussed in the book were not discussed openly in my time. The book itself dealt with these themes in a roundabout manner making it difficult for school boys to fathom. I first saw the movie around 1977. I started going through the various scenes being presented by YouTube and connecting them with my earlier stage. Terrance stamp was saying that the original 1967 team involved in the movie consisted of luminaries of British Film making and were the who-is who of the British cinema. He predicted that it would be really difficult for the remake to break the spell weaved by the original. How true was that:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Forthright and Courageous Gentleman-Col Raza Kamal at KIET

Col (r) Raza Kamal from 17 Baluch (2 Sind). A thorough gentleman and a great colleague. His commitment and dedication as Director College of Management Sciences at PAF KIET was exemplary. I had a long 10+ years association as Dean n Vice president of PAF KIET with Col Raza Kamal. It started during KIET's initial years at Korangi Creek Base Campus. I had joined in Feb 2001 after leaving IBA. This time was about six months after KIET had moved to its PAF Base campus from its city campus location on Shahrah e Faisal. The campus had been vacated by CBM. KIET got the contract with PAF after after obtaining the charter. 

Col Raza had been with KIET since its inception in a Sindhi Muslim Society Banglow in 1997. When I joined PAF KIET, he was HoD of Management Science department. HoD Computer Science department was Mr Adnan Manzoor. A few months later there was a change in higher management and Air Commodore Khalid Husain took charge as the President from Mr Adnan Arabi. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dynamic Role of Abstract in Guiding the Flow of Writing of a PhD Dissertation

Abstract is the first thing in a dissertation that is read, and is often the last. A dissertation is at most read by 1.6 people from end to end, including the author [1]. PhD dissertation is written to enable a researcher to find all information necessary for replicating the results and understand the thesis. Hence, the detail. However, most readers are only interested in finding out a few items about the research which are typically provided in the abstract. These include the problem statement, thesis statement, contribution, and significance. Details of what a dissertation should contain has been amply documented elsewhere. In this post, I will discuss the role of abstract in guiding the flow of PhD Dissertation during its writing stage. 

Islamabad Think Tanks Running Out of Options

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
"Think-tanks" have yet again run out of options when IK exclaimed in the joint session of parliament:
ہم کیا کریں؟ کیا انڈیا سے جنگ شروع کر دیں؟
This indicates No "think", only "tanks"! It is pathetic that there are No out-of-the-box thinkers!

Is there a severe قحط الرجال and dearth of thinkers in scores of Islamabad "think-tanks"? Do these think tanks only consist of visionless ex career bureaucrats and ex generals whose distinctive qualification is often their career promotions based on a system that only rewards obeying orders diligently? What great distinguishing accomplishments of enterprising, creative, innovative breakthrough and out-of-the-box ideas in successful execution do they have in their testimonials?

They stand blinded, listless and clueless the same way they stood after 9-11 when threatened by US, and capitulating on a single call from Assistant in State Department.

  • اسلام آباد تھنک tanks میں قحط الرجال: 
    sycophants جن کو جنگ اور آدھ گھنٹے کے مظاہرے کے درمیان کوئی out-of-the-box اسٹریٹجی نہ سوجھی
  • PTI Think Tanks:
    معیشت میں 4 مرغیاں و 1 مرغا، کٹے سے شروع ہو کر IMF تک- اب diplomacy میں جنگ سے شروع ہو کر آدھ گھنٹہ مظاہرہ تک

Government Spending, Keynesian Economics and Pakistan's Economic Slide in 2018-19

This issue was the beginning of the start of destruction of economy. So many apparently sane people people lost it through his charisma.
We need to take a hard look at how criticism for the sake of criticism destroyed the "development" cycle of Pakistan's economy. Development expenditure on flyovers, metros, motorways etc increases the money circulation, which increases the disposable income of people, which increases the GDP, which increases the growth, which increases the tax/revenue collection of the government, which increases the "development" expenditure. This cycle was destroyed by IK and his uncouth advisors. This is macro economics 101. Take any first level textbook of economics and turn to chapter on Government Spending and growth. Grand Tabdeeli: For the first time in decades our debt is more than our GDP. A two pronged attack on economy (1) destroy GDP, (2) increase debt by the Economic Hitmen of IMF.

Imran Khan's Criteria of Fascism and Treatment of Opposition

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
Our Honorable Prime Minister Imran Khan in the recent joint session of Parliament on Kashmir's annexation by India, reminded the MNAs and Senators about Hitler's fascism and Nazi Party. He explained fascist governments are those that "drive opposition to the wall'. IK reminder comes as Déjà vu in the situation we confront. Thank you IK for reminding Pakistanis about Nazi Party's Germany: Hitler-Modi's Fascism: 1)Imprison all opposition, 2)Total censorship, 3) Dreaded SS & Gestapo agencies, 4) Forced disappearances:

Can I be a Bulwark against Criticism of People

Consider the posts like these running around on social media:
"If you're skinny, you need to gain weight.... If you're fat, you need to lose weight. If you smoke weed you're a druggie. If you drink, you’re an alcoholic. If you get dressed up, you are vain, If you dress down you've let yourself go. If you speak your mind, you are rude. If you don't say anything, you're snobbish. If you are sociable, you're a party animal. If you keep yourself to yourself, you’re detached. If you are young, you are immature, if you're old you're dispensable.

YOU can't do anything without being criticized. We live in a society where people can't survive if they're not judging the next person. Love me or hate me, but you will never change me. Get to know people before judging them. Let's build each other up. We are all doing the best we can, in the same game called life!!

If you're proud of who you are copy and paste this with a pic of you!!"

I saw this copied on a student's wall with her picture on Facebook. Here is the advice that I gave her:

This type of criticism exists in every culture and during every epoch and in every country. Nothing to worry about. Do what is right. Right and wrong comes not from people's comments or self centered-ness but from universal principles. Read Covey's Principles Centered Leadership. You need to have a pivot, a reference or a "center" of your life that will help you decide whether the criticism is right or wrong or irrelevant or a distraction. Our self-worth should not depend upon what people say or do to us. Our self-worth is independent of the people's likes or dislikes if we are principle centered. Problem is we often choose other "centers" of life that make us dependent upon people's opinions, likes and dislikes, and this exacerbates the problem as we are forever trying to please them. Following are some of the popular "centers" that people use to decide what is right and what is wrong for you: 
  • Some people design their lives around their parents as center (but they grow old and eventually leave this world). Right and wrong is determined by parental likes or dislikes. 
  • Some people design their lives around things as center; the latest fashion, the latest smart phone, the latest food/restaurant, the latest car model.... (the latest is always superceded by another better model/fashion). Here our self-identity becomes associated with the "thing". However, the moment we see someone having a better car, or mobile phone, or a house than others, we become depressed. Even if we get the best around, it becomes obsolete the moment it gets completed, because there is always another newer, better version about to be released. 
  • Some people design their lives around friend(s) as center (but soon their interests diverge, they move away, settle in another country). The friends determine what is right or wrong. 
  • Some people design their lives around their children as center (but soon they grow up, become independent, get married and move elsewhere). Children's adulations are transitory. They change with their independence. 
  • Some people design their life around their own self (self adoration, self beauty, self centeredness, aka narcissism, but, alas, we all grow old and wither away).
The secret of happiness is to design your life around "principles"__ universal principles, which never grow old or lose their value or importance. They are here since humans came on this planet. They transcend time, place, countries, people, race, religions, and of course our life! These are superior to all other potential contenders for centers. They will remain whether you shift your interests, move away, migrate, grow old, or die.