Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another Bloody Basant

The day before yesterday, the residents of Lahore along with thousands of tourists celebrated the 'Basant' festival. Last year, the Punjab government had imposed a ban on kite flying - a rare commendable step. This year the kite flying was allowed for two days on 24th and 25th February. Many objected the relaxation in the ban knowing that it would attract several accidents risking many human lives. The concrened authorities turned a deaf ear to these voices and were adamant at giving it a go.

As it stands now, as few as 11 have died in various incidents. Fortunately this number is low as I had feared more. A school going 11 years old boy in my uncle's neighbourhood died as a sharp string cut his throat.

It's so disturbing to know that it was all imminent and yet nobody could prevent it. Who is to be held responsible for this manslaughter? - our reasonbly incapable leaders who lifted the ban, the law enforcement agencies who could not enforce the law, you and I who could not do anything except writing in the media and on the blogs.

There is something seriously wrong with all of us as a nation. We need to fix our attitudes before its too late.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Commenting Service Moved!

I have shifted to HaloScan.com for the comments on this blog. The default commenting system provided by Blogger is not accessible from Pakistan. I'll have to manually copy-paste all the comments from Blogger to HaloScan whenever I feel like doing it. I guess I'll probably keep all the nice comments and do away with not-so-nice comments ;)

So 'Comments' section is up and running - give it a shot.

Monday, February 05, 2007

MS - What is it worth for?

Last year I had an opportunity to attend an open house session with the final year class of my undergraduate school, FAST-NU. The session was aimed to provide an insight to the students about the employment and the higher education opportunities available after they graduated. Alongside me, there were several other alumni mostly from local software industry and graduate business schools. One impression that I walked away with after the session was that somehow people from local industry thought that a MS would be a waste if anyone was willing to work in the software industry. Some of them passionately opposed going for a masters degree. I used a few arguments as a rebuttal to their misconception during the session. I intend to present the summary of some of those arguments in this post. One reason that inspired me to blog on this topic is the increasing number of questions that I am repeatedly asked by friends, colleagues and fresh graduates about the significance of a masters degree. Here is what I have to say on this issue [and it is limited to a MS from abroad]:

- Going abroad in a new country is a different learning experience altogether. Your faculty and class mates come from many different countries and possibly from various backgrounds. Each one has a different problem solving approach. Therefore working with those guys, learning in the class and outside the class is immense. I had my class fellows coming from more than 13 different nations. Some of them had been to schools like Caltech USA, Monash Australia and EPFL Switzerland etc.

- One important thing that a foreign degree contributes to is the broadening of vision. You get to know what the world is doing and what you want to do in it. Also, you get exposed to lots of opportunities that are almost inaccessible from Pakistan. To reach out for these opportunities, a masters degree is one right step in this direction.

- You learn to live at your own. No more pampering by the parents, you are virtually your own mom and dad. All this exercise does a world of good to your confidence and goes a long way in completing your personality.

- It looks good on your resume and you can use it to impress your colleagues and friends :)

Each of these points can be stretched to pages but I'll keep it to what it is right now. If any of the reader has had a similar experience of studying abroad, I solicit your input to make this list complete. Let's hear what you have to say on this topic.