Sunday, 29 June 2008

Perceptions and Deceptions

When mentioned about how much more fun it is to live in Malaysia, my Singaporean friend immediately responded :

"It's more dangerous in Malaysia-leh and politically it is so unstable now-leh, can easily get killed on the road or on the streets-leh! "

"But I have no problem staying there throughout my life!"

"You might just have been lucky! Look at all those media reports in the newspapers and TV, you must be joking to say its safe there! and to drive on PLUS highway is never safe......and ....."


As a seasoned traveler, (although most of the time for business) I am well aware that every country has crime and their social problems. Yes, each and every one of them, the Brits have too many drunk people on the streets; the Americans can virtually buy a gun from their supermarket and start shooting people at will; the Japanese commit suicide as often as we eat ice cream; and murder/rape/traffic accidents DO happen in Singapore!

Someone get killed in Singapore

The only major difference is, what kind of perception does the people have on their own country and on other countries. Top that up with the microscopic coverage of the media, be it CNN, BBC or Channel News Asia, a small incident that does not affect anyone could sound like a disaster for that country. However, when the country is peaceful and doing well, it will not be reported, as the news will not sell, true?

Someone get killed in Singapore, again

No news means good news for the citizens, but not to the media.

Luckily, Malaysia is not the only victim, and it's not the worse victim.
One of the worse victim, due to the irresponsible bias media coverage is Pakistan.

Being assigned there for a week for business, I managed to "interviewed" several working-class Pakistanis.
Local Pakistanis are generally very friendly,even if you do not give them money!

"Do you think Pakistan is a safe country?"

Local #1:"Why is it not safe? Do you see any sort of violence throughout your stay?"
Thousands of devotees visiting the Tomb of Abdullah Shah Ghazi

"How is the political situation affecting your daily activities?"

Local #2:"Nothing, people are still busy with getting money to feed their family, and the political system does not directly affect the bureaucratic system over here. For example: the Prime Minister can change, but the Ministry of Education still runs, the Ministry of Finance still does it work, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority still ensure the development mobile phone networks."

"What do you think about your President?"

Local #3:" There's a President and the Prime Minister. The president is not holding any actual power, he's the one who is always in the media spotlight, but he does not do anything. In contrast, the Prime Minister holds actual governmental power, and he keeps the country running."
A sneak shot of the President's Office, highly secured!

Though I've only visited two cities in Pakistan, Islamabad and Karachi, but I could confidently conclude that, despite all the negative reports on the country, the people here are too busy to plant bombs in the city where they can easily kill their own friends and relatives. (Bombs only planted at certain foreign offices). The Talibans are not from Pakistan, and the people here are well fed due to overwhelming agriculture produce and there's a lot to see, eat and experience in Pakistan.

Busy scenes on the streets of Karachi, climb the bus!

There's briyani rice,mangoes, bananas, peaches, Pashmina shawls, Cashmere carpets, the colourful buses and trucks, the small un-metered yellow taxis, the more than dirty streets and the out-of-nowhere huge shopping malls.

Taxi ride here could not cost more than RM10 no matter where you go!

With good agriculture conditions, and a strategic geographical location, there's every reason to believe, that the country of Pakistan could emerge as a powerhouse in the future. Just do not write them off yet!

Ride on the bus instead!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Land without Landmark

Was sent to some weird place in another part of the world.
This is the land where you can find good Arabic and Indian food.

Mutton Briyani Rice

This is a place where most of the locals dress up in Kandura and Keffiyeh.

Back to school?

Streets are small and old, and are usually crowded.

Gold is said to be cheap here, I wonder why?
Another tourist imagining all those golden bracelets are his....

Abra is a local name for a small wooden boat, used to transport people over the creek.

Hell yeah, lots of people using the water taxi!

I had some free time before leaving this place, and asked the taxi driver to bring me to some interesting place, and he took me to.......

This is so sad......WTF!

And he 'accidentally' drove pass a couple of buildings by the name of Emirates Towers.

They are building MRT also......

And I was told this is the most interesting place in this sad is it to have a self acclaimed 7 start hotel as your city's least we have the Petronas Twin Towers in KL ! Haha......
Oh, in case you do not know already, it's called Burj Al-Arab and it is in Dubai!
And no, Dubai is not a country! Dumb ass!