Pakcord

#64 – The History Buff

Satir Ahmed is a 22 year old history buff (fan) currently living in Newfoundland, Canada, for his studies. He has also lived the majority of his life in Qatar.

Newfoundland is an island off the east coast of the North American mainland. The capital of Newfoundland is St. John’s. The island got global coverage earlier in 2020 when a historic blizzard pounded the city with 30+ inches of snow (dubbed “snowmageddon”).

In the episode Satir talks about life in Newfoundland, and shares his perspectives on history and modern issues, challenging some mainstream opinions.

Pictures of the 2020 blizzard shared by Satir.

More pictures and details are available in articles such as this one.

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The Population Crisis

Pakistan’s population has spiked dramatically in just a few decades. The nation had fewer than 35 million inhabitants in 1947. In fact, present-day Bangladesh , then referred to as “East Pakistan”, was larger in population than “West Pakistan”! Today, the country has over 200 million people – growing over 6x since inception. This is not a population increase – it’s an explosion.

The fertility rate is another aspect to consider. It is defined as “births per woman” – ie. the estimated number of children that an average woman will have throughout her lifetime. In 1951, the fertility rate was over 6 children per woman. Many families were exceeding the average – having 8+ children was not uncommon. Today, the fertility rate of Pakistan is 3.4, which is still higher compared to other Muslim-majority countries like Indonesia (2.3), Malaysia (2.01), Bangladesh (2.05), Turkey (2.08), Saudi Arabia (2.34) and UAE (1.42). Pakistan’s fertility rate is also substantially higher than nearly all developed countries like U.S. (1.78), Canada (1.53), U.K. (1.75), Japan (1.37), France (1.85).

In hindsight, the “bache do hi ache” (“just 2 kids are good”) campaign has proven insuccessful in the nation. As of yet, the population boom has seemed to exacerbate poverty. Most families having a greater number of children are not financially well-off. Their children, often growing up to lead difficult, labor-intensive lives, end up having more children themselves in an effort to build a support system and a retirement plan. This has created a domino effect on poverty at a macro level.

The past cannot be changed, but the future can. Many believe that this population boom could be used as an advantage for the country. According to UNDP’s 2018 report on youth, 64% of Pakistan’s population is younger than the age of 30. A younger population entering the workforce could increase economic output.

Will the fertility rate be lowered by a more educated, stable youth, and the increase in women entering the workforce? What are your thoughts?

#63 – The Ertugrul Conundrum

We bring back our old “Do Takkay” squad from episodes 48 and 49 – Myrah Shafiq, Manahill Shafiq, and Hamza Farooq, to discuss the great Elephant surrounding Pakistan’s entertainment industry: Ertugrul. Ertugrul is a popular Turkish show based on the rise of the Ottoman Empire. After PM Imran Khan promoted the show to Pakistanis, the government-owned PTV channel started airing episodes of the show in Urdu dubbing. The show became instantly popular, and extremely well-received by the majority of watchers. Needless to say, the show’s quick rise to fame in Pakistan also attracted critcisim. In this discussion, our guests share their feedback on the show and address much of the controversy around it. The Episode widely switches between Urdu and English; but if that’s no issue and you are up to date on Ertugrul and Pakistani pop culture, this will be a very entertaining listen.

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#62 – Love Letters to Pakistan

Several old and new guests come together to share monologues (“love letters”) to Pakistan, to celebrate August 14, 2020. Celebrate with us by tuning in !

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#61 – PUBG Ban and Teen Mental Health

In this episode we want to shine a light on teen mental health.

3 teenager suicides took place around June of this year, one after another. All of these suicides were linked by authorities to a popular video game called Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBGHere is a Gulf News article that we read out on the podcast. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) responded by putting a temporary ban on the game on July 1st, calling it “addictive, and waste of time”. The ban was lifted a few weeks later, but it had already started a flurry of discussions and feedback on the internet.

This episode’s guest: Aisha Sanober.

Aisha is a child psychiatrist in Pakistan, and one of very few people in the country to have completed a fellowship in adolescent psychiatry. She is a much-needed expert in a starving field that doesn’t get enough focus in Pakistan – the mental health of our youth. The focus of this discussion is to answer the question : are video games the actual problem here, or is it something else ? And what can we, both parents and children, do to mitigate this issue?

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#60 – A Story of Religion and Love

A love story from Canada, featuring married couple Sana and Will Saleh. Sana is of Pakistani background, born and raised British Columbia, Canada. Her husbad Will is a born and raised Canadian and a convert/revert to Islam.

In this 50-minute episode, Will and Sana share the story of how they met each other, how Will decided to convert from Atheism to Islam, getting her traditional Pakistani parents on-board with the idea of the mariage, and how they got to where they are; happily married with two kids ! They also answer many frequently asked questions along the way.

They have decided to use their story to inspire and help other people and create original content from their angle. Feel free to follow them and message them using the below links!

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#59 – Stop Wasting Time!

20 year old Myda Baig from Lahore is a Psychology student, and she’s here tell us to stop wasting time ! Too many people are spending their days binging one movie after another, or lazing around, or not having any kind of short-term plan for success. Myda believes in having a properly structured day, with time allocated for productive work, family, reflection, sleep, and fun.

“I practice what I preach,” she says – she sleeps at 9 pm and wakes up around 4 AM, and that early-morning schedule is key for her routine of productive days.

Later in the episode, Myda also discusses common misconceptions that people around her have about psychology and mental illness.

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#58 – a Muslim-Hindu Marriage Story

Meet Hina Husain, 32 year old living in Canada, here to tell us her life story, especially a major part of her life that involves marriage. Hina had a very nontraditional marriage, because she did not get married to a Pakistani man, or a Muslim man, as most Pakistani girls do. She married an Indian Hindu man, named Sai, who she met nearly 10 years ago. In the rest of this episode Hina tells us the story of how she met Sai, how they began dating and the relationship progressed, how her family reacted to her decisions, what it’s like to be in an inter-faith marriage and many other side topics along the way.

Disclaimer: This episode contains strong adult themes compared to the majority of our episodes, as well as strong language / swearing which has not been censored in order to preserve the story. Some of the content may be offensive from an Islamic or religious standpoint. Our intent by airing this episode is not to support or promote any actions taken by the characters in the story, though we do recognize their rights to make those choices safely, but to continue our goal of sharing as many Pakistani voices and stories from around the world as possible. Real voices, real stories.

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#57 – Dana Wang on Pakistan

We speak to someone not actually from Pakistan. She’s not of Pakistani descent either, yet she has built a connection to the country. Our guest is Dana Wang. Dana is a travel enthusiast, photographer, and food addict from Australia. She also studied Law and recently graduated and got her first full-time job in Sydney. She’s visited Pakistan twice and made several friends there. A lot of her posts and stories on Instagram are related to her experiences in Pakistan. We get to know Dana a little more as a person. We ask her questions including: how she got into traveling, what lead her to Pakistan, what was her favorite city in Pakistan, her favorite food, does she prefer tea or coffee, how much Urdu has she picked up so far, how does she budget for her travels, etc.

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#56 – The Foodie!

Meet Arifah, 22 year old from England. She’s here to talk to us about various things, but mostly about her most passionate subject: Food. She even wrote her dissertation on food!

Arifah was born in England, moved to Saudi Arabia at a young age, then Italy, and then back to England. Although she’s never lived in Pakistan, she says she has a ‘very desi family’, and is very well connected with her desi roots. Tune into this awesome, fun conversation and discover a wonderful person!

Quotes

"My mom brought us up Muslim separate from Pakistani culture. She taught us the things she loves of Islam and it was really empowering. She said, [with this knowledge] we would not feel the peer pressure of drinking when growing up. I found Islam empowering in those ways.⁣ ⁣ If people ever asked me, 'oh, you don't drink?' I would say, 'I never have and never will.' I've never been curious, and will never do it. And they have so many questions, it's funny! I find it sad that when I ask most people, 'why do you drink?' they often can't give an answer. The most they'll say is, 'I like to relax / it's a social thing' and I can say, well, I can socialize and relax without drinking. ⁣ ⁣ I grew up in Italy - there weren't many Pakistanis or Muslims. I've always grown up around goray, and all my friends have always been non-Muslim. A lot of my friends were people who didn't want to be drinking at such a young age, actually, and going to parties and stuff. And my friends would use me as an excuse, as empowering them to get out of peer pressure. So if someone asked them to go to a party, they'd say 'Oh no, Arifa can't go, so I won't go.'⁣ ⁣ In school, we'd see American movies and TV shows showing these crazy things happening when kids partied, and I think there was pressure to create these memories as teenagers. So the kids would have these parties, but they would be really lame in England, not the same as America. They felt the need to come up with these stories, and say like things like, 'George got so drunk or whatever and did this...' And I started noticing - it didn't seem like anyone really had that much fun. I'd rather just sit at home and eat good food. Or invite my friends around for a sleep over."

"I never cooked for me alone. Every single meal I cooked at Uni, I cooked for another person. I don't think there was ever a time I cooked just for myself - maybe breakfast when I had oats, but even that I would make for my flatmates.⁣ ⁣ "I think I just had that desire to show other people Pakistani culture, growing up in a western country... and i think food is a really easy way to share that, without it being political or heavy. This street food kabab is not my culture, it's not just your drunken takeout, it's actually this - a home made kabab, taste it. And everyone loves it. And I must have fed easily 200 people at Uni. It's just so nice.⁣ ⁣ I think it was more for me, because I grew up eating every single meal with my family. It was only us five in every country, and we would have every meal that we could, together everyday. And I needed that when I went out - my sister got married, my brother left, and I was at Uni, so I did it more for me. I had people around, we ate together, and it was so nice - we didn't need anything to tlak about, I'd just be like, "Here's food!" And the topics really come out of food, when you share food with someone - random topics and stories come out. It's so fun."

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