The Weekend Crunch
The past three days have been jam packed as I attended “Mast Morning Show with Maira Khan” show at DAWN News on Friday morning, went for Bloggers Conference on Saturday and attended TEDxMazarEQuaid on Sunday; my weekend has never been this full before.
Mast Morning Show with Maira Khan (July 15, 2011)
I accompanied Abid Beli to DAWN News office where we attended Maira Khan’s morning show regarding our National Anthem event. Waqas Pai and few other volunteers like me joined us as well that made a sizable team to present our views. Abid Beli and Waqas Pai, the creators of the event “World Record for Most People Singing National Anthem” took the stage and created awareness among the masses about the event, what was the philosophy behind it and how we will accomplish this feat. They also highlighted the problems that we are facing and ongoing struggles especially in the wake of continuous deteriorating situation of Karachi.
Volunteers (including me) were called to the stage where we stood with flags and sang our National Anthem. For me it was 8 years back when I last sang the anthem and it was a refreshing experience which I also explained to Maira when she asked about how I felt singing the anthem after such a long time (it was telecasted Live but on repeat telecasts the interviews with the volunteers were edited out). It felt good to finally create awareness about this event on television, telling the common masses about it rather then only notifying the Facebookers, Twitterati and Googlers.
Bloggers Conference for Pakistan’s National Interest (July 16, 2011)
On Saturday morning I found my way towards PIA Training Center located near Airport and went into the auditorium only to find Youth Parliament of Pakistan in session with members from Conservative and Liberal presenting their motions to the Speaker. I sat in the Visitors Gallery (the right section of seats in the auditorium) along with other invited bloggers where I was joined by Abid Beli and finally got to meet Sarfaraz Khan whom I had been interacting with on Google Plus for the past few days.
Once the session concluded, the conference began with several media persons joining us and effectively turning it into a workshop. From DAWN Newspaper senior journalist Mr. Shameem, the anchor Shahzad Iqbal of The Pulse program from Business Plus, consultant Shahzad Nawaz and anchor Hameed Bhutto among others. All the anchors unanimously agreed that media’s role has not been in the best interest of Pakistan and highlighted several factors that result in bad reputation of the country at both local and international level, some of which are as follows:
– The rating system of the programs (how much viewers liked watching it) takes precedence since it generates more viewership and, consequently, less unbiased journalism.
– Viewers enjoy watching politicians fighting each other and anchors playing the role of judge, thus forcing the journalists to act the way people as well as top management want them to.
– Prime-Time which should be giving informative programs to the viewers is instead littered with Hollywood & Bollywood news, funny Youtube videos and current affairs programs that only continue to spread despair.
– Fault is at both sides, the viewers who prefer to watch bad news and current affairs shows with politicians fighting each other and the journalists who play judge on screen, encourage violent behaviors in order gain more viewership and show bias in reporting. Most of all, it’s the fault of the top management of media houses that completely disregards Ethics of Journalism.
Shahzad Nawaz, a media consultant and drive force behind launching Geo and other channels, was most vocal about the irresponsible actions and behaviors of the media. He sketched a morbid picture of Pakistan’s situation that has been largely generated due to careless attitude by Pakistanis themselves and irresponsibility of the media channels. His session was most vibrant and energetic as everyone was hooked to his words and most questions were asked from him during the Q&A session.
TEDxMazarEQuaid (July 17, 2011)
A few days back I came across TEDxMazarEQuaid event page on Facebook and signed up to receive invitation to attend this Sunday. I soon received confirmation and printed out the ticket on Saturday. From the details on the page, it was evident that the team will show recorded videos from recently concluded TEDGlobal event (provided by TED organization itself) this year and two young leaders from School of Leadership will conduct sessions.
A few other people that I know had also confirmed to attend the event but I only met Abeer Afridi, classmate from my A level days, at the venue “The W Training and Networking Center“. At the main desk I ran into a old acquaintance Sualeh Qutaibah but failed to recognize him on time. When I did, he had already jotted down my name on the writing pad and had instructed his colleague to hand me red ribbon to be tied around my arm. For one wild moment it seemed like Aids Awareness Campaign, so I asked them the purpose behind it. Turns out it only marked me as attendee of the event and nothing more and I went right to the auditorium.
From first glance it was evident that whoever was operating the computer was struggling with creating proper playlist of the videos and my offer of help was politely refused. The event started half an hour late and the graceful host Nazia (who was also suffering from fever) began the program with a recent TED video about Lie-spotting. The videos from JR (street artist and founder of Insideout Project) and Majid Nawaz were greatly received by the sitting audience that clapped as enthusiastically as those at the Live event. Each video took between 15 to 20 minutes of run time and the only glitch was the computer operator, otherwise the event went perfect until the break 2 hours later.
The break provided some freshness as we walked our stiff legs, straightened ourselves and enjoyed McDonalds burger and coke which was surprisingly generous, in a really pleasant way, of the event hosts. Once the break was over, another video was shown that was followed by Talha Iqbal’s session “Back to the Basics” where he made us all perform “Bellowing Breaths” exercise and the 15 minutes of his session went by in a blink as he was replaced by another trainer from SoL, Zain Goplani.
Zain’s session was story-based that highlighted the concept and benefits of “Resilience” irrespective of how hopeless the situation was. It was a wonderful session that was worth listening to till the end. The young leaders from School of Leadership do seem to be making their mark in Pakistan’s corporate sector for quite a while now and newer recruits are doing a good job of maintaining that bar of performance.