Sunday, November 11, 2018

On Dina Tokio Taking Her Hijab Off

It's her own effing business!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Top 10 How To Know You Are An Adult

TOP 10 ADULTING skills every person looking to marry should have

I am now at the age where people ask me to find someone for their younger brother or sister, or in some cases children. Must be my grey hair. In trying to arrange such things, I discovered a few facts.

Young people, particularly from our community, are incredibly immature, naive and clueless, and yet thinking about marriage. Now I am a big proponent of people marrying young, but you also have to have some level of adult-giri.

1. You should not be running to your parents for every single thing. Be prepared to be an adult and have some responsibility. This goes especially for brown girls and guys. Most of them have lived cocooned lives under the strict "protection" / prison of their parents, and have no clue how to live on their own. This mentality takes a lot of adjusting.

2. You should be able to make three decent meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No, I am not saying you have to be a chef of a five star restaurant, but at the very least you should know how to make tea, an omelette, rice, some meat item. This is actually basic survival. If you were dropped off in a strange city on your own in a fully stocked house, can you live? And no, frying frozen nuggets do not count.

Women sometimes get insulted when asked, "can you cook". The correct answer to it should be, "Yes, and also, can you?"

Many guys who live on their own in university can cook to a passable degree. But if a guy is living at home with his parents, you MUST ask him this.

3. Be clean and tidy. Not only is this part of the faith if you are Muslim, but you need to not be a slob. Especially boys - your mother is not going to do your laundry forever. Take the clothes and put in the washing machine. Tidy up after you eat. Clean your bathroom (you need to know how). Learn how to iron. I still can't iron properly, but if needed, I can press a shirt and pair of trousers.

I am not certain how you ask someone how clean and tidy they are, but a good clue is their car. If you get into their car and it's dirty as hell, ALL THE TIME, it's a good bet they are a slob. As a tactic, just ask them how often they wash their car.

4. Budget. If you are not paying off your credit card every month, or you go on expensive vacations ALL the time with no savings, you need to back off. No one on Instagram that is commenting on your nice bags is going to come lend you 3000$ when you suddenly need it. In two years after your graduate your student loan should be paid off. Live interest free. If that means a cheaper, second hand car, that's what it is.

Have you ever gone grocery shopping? Start doing it regularly. You need to know how expensive is a head of a lettuce, a pair of lemons, tomato on the vine, bunch of apples, a pound of meat etc. Dollar store can be your friend, but not for electrical stuff.

Guys sometimes get insulted if asked how much they make. Don't. The correct answer should be a range, along with how much as a percentage of your earnings you try to save every month. Also if the girl is working, she should be ready for the question as well. What's sauce for the goose, etc.

5. Plan your wedding. This goes especially for kids that leave everything to their parents. DON'T. If you feel like you are not adult enough, don't get married. If you are going to get married, plan your wedding. That includes how much should be the expense, how many people you want to invite, the venue, the date etc. Each and every detail. This shows you are willing to take responsibility.

This goes especially for girls. Most of them are only focused on the dresses or the dance rehearsals, leaving the burden of the planning to the parents.

DON'T.

This is your first big test of adulthood. Remember point 1.

6. Learn how to host people and how to have fun and make friends. This is much more for ladies as our society puts this responsibility on you. You should be prepared to receive guests in the house at any time. Yes, in Canada people SHOULD call, but sometimes they don't. Also, look at point 3.

7. Have a 5 year plan. This is a must. If your prospective person does not have a future outline of a plan, where they want to be career wise, family wise, or education wise, RUN. A person who is coasting through life, or is aimless and has no focus, is unlikely to be a good partner in life. They make good friends, not life partners.

8. Watch the news. You MUST know what is happening in and around the world. I am not saying be updated on the latest activities of each and every incident, but have a general idea. You MUST be able to string an intelligible paragraph on current events.

ANYONE watching only Indian serials, especially when you are in your 20s, is someone you want to RUN from. There is NOTHING good that comes out of Indian media except an Aamir Khan movie every now and then.

Bonus: If someone says their favourite all time show is "Friends" - it's a good sign.

9. DRIVE. Learn how to drive. Seriously. What's the matter with you? Especially if you are a guy. Just. Learn. How. To. Drive.

10. Hobbies. You MUST HAVE HOBBIES. I really don't know what to say if you say your favourite past time is sleeping or watching TV. Those don't count. Play some sports. Read some books. Travel. Hike. Cook. Develop some interests.

Those are my top adulting skills that I think any young man and woman must have. What do you think?

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Homosexuality, Minority and Human Rights, and Islam

India's Supreme Court today has recognized gay sex, and has deemed that it is no longer a "criminal offense". Despite opposition from India's Hindutva movement and religious conservatives, especially in the vast rural heartland, this decision is from the nation's highest court and is the final say on the matter.

As someone who has lived in Canada for the last two decades, and where gay marriage was legalized more than ten years ago, it's interesting to see the evolving nature of how various countries (and communities) deal with homosexuality, from desire to practice. Just this week, in Malaysia two lesbians were caned for engaging in sex in a car in a public space. Meanwhile, there is a huge concentrated push in North American Muslim circles to accept not only feminism, but LGBTQ as legitimate causes to get behind.

While politically this is in large part due to the pro-left stance of many Muslim organizations (especially in the USA), with the right actively demonizing Muslims, but it is also due to general trend in greater acceptance of LGBTQ behaviour and causes. In light of all of this, let's see how it plays out in various angles.

Religion

From a religious point of view it is very clear what is Islam's (and any major religion's) stance on homosexuality. You can "re-interpret" it any way you like, the story of Prophet Lut (known in the Bible as Lot, peace be upon him) is pretty clear. His people were engaged in the sin of homosexuality, and Allah punished the whole community who were engaged in this "evil and unnatural act", sparing only Prophet Lut and his followers. The parable, and the conclusion, is pretty clear.

Or, is it?

Remember, that Islam has a core stance of basic dignity and rights of all peoples, and differentiates it from promoting homosexuality and the actions associated with it. Allah has given humanity a choice, as mentioned many times in the Quran, and man exercises the choice in either following the laws of the Quran or going against them.

So being gay is not a sin in itself. It is a desire of the body, and a temptation of the nafs. What is a sin is when you act on that desire. This is clear from numerous source in religion, and in particular the story of the wife of the soldier during Caliph Umar's time who wanted to commit adultery but didn't. Many other stories and incidents make it clear that desire itself is not a sin. For someone who is gay, we Muslims do not need to debate on nature vs nurture. It is enough to know that you may have these tendencies - it doesn't matter how it developed. What matters is whether you act on it.

And what if you act on it? Again, from numerous source in how Islamic law is applied, especially during the early Caliphate, we know that only public manifestations of the act were punished. What you do in your private space is left between you and Allah, and many times Allah has said He will forgive those sins that the sinner does not publicize. This is the crux of what happened in Malaysia.

So from an Islamic point of view, it is clear: homosexuality (just like incest) is an unnatural desire and should never be acted upon. If someone has those tendencies, they need counselling, love, understanding and guidance. And if they fall into sin, repentance and forgiveness.

Minority and Human Rights in Political Sense

That is theory. Now let's go to the practice. 

We are living in Canada. An officially secular state where no religion (in theory) has supremacy (even though Christianity has a privilege) and where same sex marriage is legal and same sex relations are normal. We are expected to support LGBTQ rights around the world and advocate for same sex marriage everywhere. In that scenario, what should our stance be?

To me, people complicate the situation far more than it needs to be.

Weed is becoming legal in Canada soon. It doesn't change the fact I personally will not do it, or that it is haram in Islam, or that I won't encourage my kids to try it, or that I will accept an imam in my community saying it is OK. We have a personal practice of our religion, aided by our community, and then we have a code of conduct in Canada as a whole. it is the same with same sex relations and homosexuality. 

We will never advocate violence against those with different beliefs. If tomorrow someone wants to argue that incest should be legalized (it's still a crime), we wouldn't advocate violence against that individual. If that person is our colleague or student, it doesn't change the working nature of that relationship. We still have rights on each other as community members. Just because we do not accept one aspect of that person's sexuality, it doesn't mean we do not love or accept that person for who he or she is.

The Question

Lakum deenukum waliya deen. To you your religion, and to me mine. Live and let live.

I am officially neutral on same sex marriage. I have no strong feelings either way on this. In Canada it's a done deal, a finished debate. But it's not a finished agenda, is it?

Now it has become that if you do not condone, or promote this way of life, you are a bigot. You are someone who promotes hatred. If you do not attend Pride Week you are a hatemonger. Why? Why can't you accept my beliefs on this topic, just as you ask me to accept your way of life?

That is now the next question.


Monday, July 16, 2018

In Favour of the PC Sex Education Curriculum Move

I actually don't mind the PCs reverting the sex education back to 1998. This is because:

 1. It fits in with what the majority of the voters want. Initially when brought in 2015, only 50% of the voters had a favourable view of it, and equal number was opposed. The opposition has only grown.

As per Globe and Mail, 50% of Ontario opposed the new curriculum. Given that Raymond Cho won a bielection in Scarborough with PC party promising to change it, and then Ford won the main election promising to change it, you can assume that more and more people are opposed to the new curriculum. We cannot just say ALL of Ontario are fools who are misinformed. People in general do not like the new curriculum and think it is too far out left.

2. I don't mind them teaching about consent and being aware of consent. No one should abuse anyone, especially a minor. Kids need to be taught these boundaries and to report any untoward behaviour. This needs to be kept in any new curriculum.

3. I don't think kids need to learn about gender fluidity at grade 4. At grade 4 you are pretty sure you are a boy or a girl. You don't even question it. Gender fluidity is more of a modern concept - a bit of social engineering from Wynn. Kids should go to school and learn math and science, and not come home thinking am I a boy or a girl.

4. Ditto about masturbation. Why does a grade 5 need to know about this? Maybe at grade 8 or 9. And even then, our society teaches us masturbation is healthy, and there is no warning given in the sex ed curriculum about the dangers of pornography. Grade 6 students being taught that “exploring one’s body by touching or masturbating is something that many people do and find pleasurable” is absolutely horrendous to teach at that age. Let parents be the judge of when the kid is ready and teach accordingly. And any curriculum that does not preach about the evils of pornography is catering to only one side of the issue.

5. Our sex ed curriculum comes from the view that any sex is good - here is how to do it safely. Whereas the moral point of view that sex should be with your married spouse whom you love is not taught because that is "too religious" and better left to parents. Why? If one view can be taught, why not other? i.e. Abstinence? That is after all being COMPLETELY safe.

6. The previous government says parents were consulted. When? Where? I don't remember any school notices or circulars given out widely when McGuilty first introduced (and then backtracked) and then when Wynn imposed her social engineering views on us.

The government has to be more transparent. When the majority of the province's parents oppose it - that means the parents they chose can NOT be the proper sample.

7. In Grade 1 (that's 6 year old kids) they wanted to teach body parts openly in the class. What is the need for that? This is better for later grades.

I agree there was SOME good in the 2015 curriculum. Sexting, gender based violence, consent, homosexuality was addressed. Those need to be re included in any new changes. But the 1998 one isn't so bad as people are making it out to be. We are a conservative society. Let us not try to use government to do sexual social engineering at a grand level.

Friday, July 13, 2018

World Cup 2018 - Final Predictions

And then there were two.

Well, in fact there's still four. But Belgium and England are going to play in a meaningless 3/4 place match. Ironically when they first played their group match, it was almost meaningless, and now they are in the bronze medal game, it's the same. Except this time we might get to see their first choice teams battle it out. After my semi final thoughts, I have reached the final maintaining my 100% record of not being 100% in my predictions, so here are my crystal ball musings for the final games.

Belgium vs. England (3/4 place)
Winner: Belgium

I really wanted England to win against Croatia. And they almost did. But suddenly after the equalizer, it seemed as if they just switched off and it was back to 2014 Euro. They just did not have any organization. Kind of how Bangladesh has managed to turn the clock back to the 2000s in their recent campaign in West Indies.

What I said in the semi final still holds.

What England lacks as opposed to France is quality. They have one or two good players but nowhere the quality of France or Belgium.

Sometimes the team that is worse comes out winner in the 3/4 game as the other, better team is so dejected at not playing in the final. But I expect Belgium to be fully focused in the game and make England pay.

France vs. Croatia
Winner: France

I fully expect France to lift the World Cup trophy on Sunday. Their team has just gotten better and better as the tournament progressed. In the semi final game, at the beginning Belgium was ALL OVER France but then France just turned it up a notch and bossed the game. You have to kill off the game when you have your chances, and both losing semi finalists didn't do it. France just gets better as the game goes on, just like Croatia, but their reserves are a better quality. They have the perfect blend of youth, experience, talent, and luck. And they would want to make up for losing the Euro final at home two years ago.

Having said all of this, even if Croatia manages to pull an upset, it will be richly deserved. Croatia was involved in some of the best games this World Cup and I hope the final continues that trend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My Problem with the #metoo Movement

Let me just say straight off the bat that I am not an ardent feminist. Too often feminism today is used as a cudgel to spread hatred against men, organized religion and the clergy, as well as promote rampant deviant sexual behaviour and norms. I am a feminist when it comes to equal pay for equal work, equal legal rights under a secular legal system, and a workplace free from unwanted sexual harassment. However, too often nowadays feminism is much broader than that, and encompasses such radical ideas (such as #SlutWalk or female imams for mixed congregations) that it is impossible to say "I am a feminist". Especially when they provide blanket support to the #meToo movement.

Now the #meToo movment has had a lot of positive impact. It's hard to deny that sexual harassment occurs, and has occurred, especially in  highly competitive industries such as entertainment, media and politics. While harassment by definition targets both genders (such as the famous Kevin Spacey case), the overwhelming number of times it is the male perpetrator against a female victim. The #meToo movement has brought out these cases in the public and made it easy for women to report such advances, as well as brought on awareness. That is a good thing.

However, there are serious problems.

1. All women who allege harassment are speaking the truth and their allegations are to be believed.

There is a concentrated effort to say that ANY women who alleges certain harassment allegations is speaking the truth (because why would women lie) and therefore MUST be believed. Why would a woman come out with these "troubling incidents" if it wasn't true? Pardon my French, but what sort of legalized weed are you smoking?

The best example of this nonsense was during the celebrated Jian Ghomeshi trial. Even though Ghomeshi was legally charged and then legally acquitted of ALL five charges, rabid feminists still insisted that we MUST believe the women who came out with claims of non-consensual sex against him. EVEN though the court of the land found him not guilty. Even though the defense lawyer was able to prove inconsistencies in the witness's statements. Even though there were records of the alleged "victim" saying she loved what was done to her, after the incident. In an ironic twist, these same radical feminists turned on his lawyer Marie Henein - a female - for daring to take on the case and defend her client. You know, doing her job. Apparently the right to choose only goes so far.

Women lie. Women can lie. Take the case of Patrick Brown. The poor guy was all set to become the Premier of Ontario when two unproven allegations derailed his career overnight. His own political party, besotted with lust for power, turfed him. Then it turned out one of those cases had a glaring dishonesty, and now the whole thing is in front of the courts.

No one should be immediately believed when they bring forth a case of sexual allegation. Rather, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof is, and should always remain, on the accuser.

2. A woman should be able to remain anonymous when she makes the accusation.

Take the case of Aziz Ansari (and more on that in the third point). I am no fan of Aziz Ansari. I don't find him funny, I don't find him relevant and I hardly watch any of his shows. I also hate the fact that he is presented as a "true good liberal Muslim" and anyone who is not like him is a fundamental extremist. Anyone who drinks alcohol, has premarital sex, and presents those things as proper and not Islamic cannot be a good Muslim.

Yet, his career threatened to unravel when someone (called "Grace") wrote an article, anonymously, accusing him of sexual harassment. Almost overnight he was embroiled in the scandal and lucky for him it unraveled quickly enough. But again, you say that the accuser should be known so the accused can publicly defend himself (or herself), and then you will be accused of "victim shaming". Whatever that means.

I understand there is sometimes reasons for concealing the name of the accused, especially if the person being accused is in a position of power. However, this is only in case of an investigation (either from work's HR or from the legal prosecution). After the investigation is over and a charge is made, the name of the accuser and the accused should be a matter for public record. There should be no trial by media. Which brings me to my final point.

3. A bad choice by a woman is not a sexual harassment.

If you consented to it, without there being pressure of losing your job or life or something similar, it cannot be sexual harassment. Take the same Aziz Ansari case. It was a first class example of a date gone wrong (if it's true), but it's not sexual harassment. If he asked for something, and you gave in, you can't say he forced you. If you had said no, would he have harmed you? If not, then it's on you, not on him. Yet the #meToo movement ignores this vital aspect.

Another thing it ignores is that women are conscious, thinking individuals who are adults making their own sexual choices. Take the celebrated Nouman Ali Khan case, for example. Let us say it's true, and for argument's sake let us assume the scholar did marry (and then divorce) many women.

Did he force those women into marriage? Did he threaten those women's livelihood or life if they did not marry him? Did they not willingly start an affair with him, or exchange sexually graphic messages and texts? Are they not equally guilty?

All of this is of course if you believe the story, for argument's sake. Yet the feminists will say no, only the scholar is guilty. Why? Something called "spiritual abuse". Whatever the fudge that means.

Completely ignored is the fact that just as people can be attracted to beauty, they can also be attracted to power. Whether that power is political, economical, or the flowering oratory of a preacher who commands the attention of millions, is irrelevant. If people feel an attraction towards a preacher because of his position, that is not "spiritual abuse". That is giving in to your momentary desires and lust, and then later regretting it and trying to blame the guy, calling it "spiritual abuse".

IF it's true. Till now we have no idea WHAT the specific allegations against Nouman Ali Khan is or WHO even are the accusers. But feminists will tell you it doesn't matter, just believe these unknown, unnamed women who are "hinting" at something. So a man's career and life's work must be ruined, because, feminism. #meToo.


Monday, July 09, 2018

World Cup 2018 - Semi Final Predictions

So it has come down to this. After 32 nations, only 4 remain. These 4 teams each have two games left. They will each will play the semi final, and then depending on the result will either play the meaningless third fourth match, or the all important once-in-a-lifetime final.

You can take a look at my quarter final predictions. I correctly managed to predict three out of the four semi finalists. So here are the semi-final lineups.

Belgium vs France
My pick: France

Everyone is talking about Belgium finally fulfilling their promise and being the favourites. Me? I am still not convinced. Brazil had a high number of chances against them and that result could have easily been 5-2 win for Brazil rather than a 2-1 loss. Belgium is weak in the back and France just oozes quality. Sure, Argentina scored 3 against them but no other team has come close. France has just gotten better as the tournament has progressed and I think they will defeat Belgium.

England vs Croatia
My pick: England

What is different about this England team? Not only are they a young team, but compared to previously star studded English teams this bunch seems to actually enjoy the world cup and each other, playing with fun without pressure. We all thought Sweden would give them a tough game but they bossed that game. Sweden hardly ventured out to score, and when they did, they found a resilient goalie in the English nets. When has that happened? What England lacks as opposed to France is quality. They have one or two good players but nowhere the quality of France or Belgium.

Croatia is a good team but their focus is their midfield - which is amazing. They are also a resilient team that somehow has found a way to win. Whenever they went behind they quickly equalized. This is actually a tough game to call. I am going to give it to England just because I am supporting them, so I want to watch the game and cheer on both my team and my blog!

Friday, July 06, 2018

World Cup 2018 - Quarter Final Predictions

So I had a 50% success rate in the Round-of-16 predictions. Which means analysis aside, I could have just flipped a coin - this is s a great example of the science of probability. Now let's get to the last 8 teams standing.

France vs. Uruguay
Winner: France

This is like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Offense vs Defence. This is very hard to call as the teams are almost equally matched. France has a great selection of fast, young strikers while Uruguay has a pair of experienced and exceptional strikers. Where Uruguay has the edge is their miserly defenders. Now will France have the key to pick the lock? I think so. They responded well to the pressure of going behind against Argentina with magical strikes. Their confidence must be sky high.

Brazil vs. Belgium
Winner: Brazil

Now I support Brazil. Yet I am afraid of this one team - Belgium. A team that knew that winning their last meaningless group game would land them in the tougher bracket and yet they had the guts to go for it. A team that went behind 2 goals in a knock out game, with 20 minutes to go, and still emerge victorious. A team that is full of talent.

So why Brazil? People forget that their defenders only allowed one goal so far. This is not the Brazil of 2014. They look good and are good (even Neymar's acting skills deserve an Oscar). You need something special to defeat a team like Belgium and I think Brazil has it.

Russia vs. Croatia
Winner: Croatia

Whenever I think of Russia in 2018 I am reminded of South Korea in 2002.  A host nation making an unexpectedly deep run in the tournament, "supported" by the referees and pure luck. Yet I think with the advent of VAR, most of the refereeing in the tournament has been pretty good. So I think Russia's luck will run out against Croatia. Spain really defeated themselves. Passing the ball around (1000 passes!) with no meaningful shots to show for it. Croatia knows how to go for the kill.

England vs. Sweden
Winner: England.

One word (ok two words. New England. This is a different England team. I don't know if the cup's coming home, but I know they look good. Yes they only scored 1 non fluke goal in open play. Yes they are dependent on set pieces and Harry Kane. But luck seems to be smiling on them at the moment.

Friday, June 29, 2018

World Cup 2018 - Round of 16 Predictions

So the group stages are over, and the knockouts begin tomorrow. Before I give my Round-of-16 predictions, let's see how I did over all with my group stage predictions.

Group A (predicted): Uruguay, Egypt; (actual): Uruguay, Russia

To be honest, I made the Egypt prediction before Mo Salah got injured in the Champions League final, so he was a non-factor for Egypt's first game. He managed to score in the games he did play, so one wonders what would happen had he been 100% fit. Then again, Egypt lost to Saudi Arabia. How do you manage to do that? And what the heck happened to Russia?  Home advantage, wow.

Group B (predicted): Portugal, Spain; (actual): Spain, Portugal

I think no one imagined the resistance that Morocco or Iran would provide but in the end you have to score goals. That was their weak point - finishing.

Group C (predicted): France, Peru; (actual): France, Denmark

I had originally said Peru despite Denmark's great strikers, and in the end it would come down to that missed penalty for Peru. Had they scored that, they would have gone through.

Group D (predicted): Argentina, Croatia; (actual): Croatia, Argentina

Hard to believe, but Argentina was as bad in the league stages as they were in qualifying. They only managed to qualify for the knockouts with a last gasp victory. I thought Messi would be a factor, but their defense was practically no defense.

Group E (predicted): Brazil, Switzerland; (actual): Brazil, Switzerland

Group F (predicted): Germany, Mexico; (actual): Sweden, Mexico

Well, what can I say. I at least got the second position right!

Group G (predicted): Belgium, England; (actual): Belgium, England

Group H (predicted): Colombia, Senegal; (actual): Colombia, Japan

So, as you can see, overall I did pretty OK with my predictions. Now let's come down to the knockouts that begin with the Round of 16.

Argentina vs. France

Winner: Argentina.

Yes I am going against convention and form, but Argentina has got out of a pressure cooker situation and I believe they have enough in the tank to shock France, who has looked pedestrian even in their victories.

Uruguay vs. Portugal

Winner: Portugal

One man cannot win you the trophy, but if that one man is Christiano Ronaldo, he already has the Euro in his pocket. He is playing well, and his team is responding. Uruguay has not conceded any goal so far in so many matches, so this might come down to a magic moment. Or penalty kicks.

Brazil vs. Mexico

Winner: Brazil

Mexico's 32 year old curse of being knocked out in the first stage of the knock outs will continue. Brazil simply has too much class and talent to be pipped at the post by Mexico.

Belgium vs. Japan

Winner: Japan

I would like to say "Thank you Japan, for coming. Please go back to making Toyotas and Hondas".  But I think Japan has a ridiculous talent as a team for seeing the big picture and not panicking, and being ultra cool about it. I know Belgium is super talented, but sometimes you need luck and discipline. I think Japan might just, might just, pull off the upset here.

Spain vs. Russia

Winner: Spain

Russia's merry adventure will come to a screeching holt. They faced ONE quality team and were blown away. Now they will face Spain.

Croatia vs. Denmark

Winner: Croatia

This is pretty hard to call as both teams boast excellent talent, rigorous discipline and a similar style of play. Croatia just has the extra oomph in their mid field.

Sweden vs. Switzerland

Winner: Sweden

Boring game. Who cares. Probably 1-0 or 0-0 to penalty kicks.

Colombia vs. England

Winner: England

Haha. You gotta hand it to England. They lost so they could win. Be a Baazigar. Let's see if it works out for them. They tried the same thing last Euros and got knocked out by Iceland. This time though, England look to be good. Very good.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Brooks Farm - Good Day Out with Kids

As summer is here and the weather is gorgeous, we are always keen to find out things to do with kids outdoors, even if it is Ramadan.


So what if it's hot and we can't drink, we can take the kids out for a picnic. Summer is something rare here and we had a good stretch of nice weather in May.







One of the places we took the kids out was to Brooks Farm. It's about half an hour drive up north, and the farm has a lot of activities for kids.




You can meet with some animals, take a wagon ride on the vast estate, go fruit picking (starting mid June), climb on to fire trucks, or jump in vast haystacks.



 
There's zip lining (for kids!) and even a mini water/splash park. Of course the most fun was jumping on the giant trampolines!








So do check it out. It's just a short drive from anywhere in Toronto.

Address:

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Did dumping Patrick Brown cost the PCs?


I am the perfect undecided voter.

I like the local Liberal candidate in my riding, but I am extremely unhappy with the Liberals (or, as I call them, Lieberals). McGuinty (well, McGuilty) looked straight into our eyes and said there will be no new taxes, and then proceeded to levy a health "premium". And did our healthcare increase as a result? No! Our eye care went away, and then our hospitals are reduced to "hallway medicine". When Wynne came, we thought we would be spared from the scandals, but no. Mismanagement and extremely left wing policies spurred the deficit on. Spending money like it's going out of style is never a prudent fiscal policy. So it would be extremely unlikely I would vote Liberal.

So let me consider the NDP. With the mismanagement of Bob Rae still fresh in our minds (anyone remember Rae days?), the NDP had a chance to turn the leaf. Instead, their policy calls for a dubious buy back of Hydro shares that is fantasy (to be polite). Subsidized daycare for all? Why? It would be a boondoggle for the ages. And who knows how much my taxes would go up under them.

So let's take the PCs. Under Patrick Brown, I would have gotten roughly the 'good' parts of the Liberal policies, such as protecting the environment, having a sustainable wage, and commitment towards transit spending. Brown also spent a lot of energy making the PC party very diverse and broad. He was the first one to honour Bangladeshi Canadians and make a Bangladeshi night at Queens Park. It is not a stretch to say I probably would have voted PC had Brown been the leader.
Brown knew that people liked most of what the Liberals were doing, but not the Premier. So he offered change, but not too much change. And that is why he was popular. And that is why the NDP is now popular.

Now comes Doug Ford. A man with no plan. No way to know how he will pay for all of his outrageous promises. A man who likes Donald Trump (less said about him, the better). A man who is running for job as Premier without knowing basics of how laws get passed in this province. A man who proudly says in a debate "we have to protect our own" when talking about a program to ship immigrants to the north. A man who nixed the badly needed LRT plan in Scarborough (remember Transit City?). If not for the Fords, Scarborough would have had proper transit by now. This man now wants to run our province and he couldn't even run a city. So how can I vote for him?

 So I am back to square one. And like me, how mant supporters did the PCs lose when Patrick Brown was set up and sabotaged? Who knows. Maybe it will be a moot point come election night. But boy, if it turns out the PCs get far less than what they expected, wouldn't it be fun?

Friday, May 25, 2018

World Cup 2018 - Group Stage Predictions

Group A: (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay)

Host countries usually do well in the World Cup. Even USA got out of the group (with a surprise, and later tragic, win over Columbia) in 1994. Remember Korea's magical run in 2002, and Japan qualifying for the second stage as well? However I don't expect Russia to repeat those feats. Uruguay will easily top this group, but expect Egypt's Mo Salah to carry them through. Maybe it's my romanticism of being a Salah fan, but I don't think Russia has it.

My picks for this group: Uruguay, Egypt.

Group B: (Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran)

This is almost a no contest. Portugal are the Euro 2016 champions. They still have Ronaldo. Spain - despite being a pain to watch - are still Spain. Iran, Morocco - thank you for coming. Hope you enjoyed the goal fest. Have a safe trip home.

My picks for this group: Portugal, Spain.

Group C: (France, Australia, Peru, Denmark)

It’s hard to look past a strong Danish side with an on-song Christian Eriksen, but Peru are ranked 11th, ahead of Denmark. Yes, football rankings are a bit hit and miss, but Peru had a great qualifying campaign. Australia are no slouches, but they don't have the pedigree in soccer they have in other sports. They always manage to give a good fight and then lose. Cahill or no Cahill. France will blow everyone away in this group.

My picks for this group: France, Peru.

Group D: (Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria)

I actually expect Argentina to win it all again this year (and hopefully in a final against Germany), so will pick them to top this group (and also, Messi). The second place is a harder pick. The young Croatia squad is a strong one, while Nigeria is also no slacker. It’s hard to see Iceland getting much out of this group. Their dream ends here. Croatia vs Nigeria will decide the 2nd place, and I expect Croatia to win it. With probably a disputed penalty in the 90th minute.

My picks for this group: Argentina, Croatia.

Group E: (Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia)

Well, Brazil, despite the painful memory of 7-1 against Germany, is still Brazil, so expect them to top this group. The question is who will join them. Costa Rica may have done us all a favour by denying the Americans a World Cup place, but I don't see them repeating their 2014 heroics. Serbia hasn't been a power for so long, so it has to be the Swiss.

My picks for this group: Brazil, Switzerland.

Group F: (Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Korea)

They say football is a game of 22 players kicking a ball and in the end, the Germans win. So expect the defending champions to get out of their group in pole position, but they won't have it easy. All the other three sides are equally competent and would have gotten out of the group had they been in ANY other group. What a waste! I would have to pick either Mexico or Sweden, and I think it has to be Mexico for their firepower up front.

My picks for this group: Germany, Mexico.

Group G: (Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England)

This should be a straight forward campaign for England to get out of their group. Should be. Then again, this is England. Expect Belgium to top the group, and the English to huff and puff their way into second place. The heart wants Tunisia to qualify, but it probably won't happen.

My picks for this group: Belgium, England.

Group H: (Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan)

This is the hardest group to pick. Any one could beat anyone. Who cares though? None of them are strong enough to win the Cup. But they can all win their group. I would have to go with the flair of Senegal and the hardwork of Colombia.

My picks for this group: Colombia, Senegal.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Power of Voice

Take a look at this picture.
For many of you, this might not be such a big deal. Here's a food booth at a cafeteria and they have halal meat. So common here in Toronto.


But this is not Toronto. This is a city way up in the north of Ontario. Now let met tell you the story of the power of the voice that leads to this picture.

When I moved here in Canada, not only were halal stores far and few in between, but food and religious services in campuses across Canada were not very minority-friendly. In the late 1990s, a major Quebec university actually went to court to prevent the Muslim students from booking a room and using it as a prayer space. And there was a scandal as one of the universities were serving "vegetarian" food but the gravy was beef based, which incensed the Hindu students.

Now there had been Muslim Student Associations (MSAs) and Hindu Student Associations (HSAs) in Canada for a long time, but they had often been neutral in student elections, existing merely to organize some cultural events. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, that started to change. Both the MSAs and the HSAs started to actively participate in student elections. They would field candidates and promote candidates. Often many of these organizations would collaborate and coordinate to create a voice. After all, it's nice to have a student president who is friendly to Muslims (or Hindus), but only a Muslim or a Hindu student would know the importance of dietary restrictions and ensure school functions would either cater properly to a diverse student body or at least label their food properly. In addition to prayer spaces. After all, in a Toronto university, a Hindu pooja function set off the fire alarm. Letters of request written to the university had no effect.

Suddenly, these candidates started to win. And ALL of a sudden, you could see the affect. UTSC first got a permanent prayer space in 2001. Suddenly other universities followed suit. Halal became widely available across student cafeterias, as did proper vegetarian, vegan and other options. Prayer space fire detection system at the University of Toronto Multifaith Building now cater for pooja that will have incense and fire, etc.

These are not just mere stories or the achievements not just mere trivial issues. They are important to those who take their religion and their lifestyle seriously. MANY of the things we take for GRANTED today came about because SOME people ahead of us chose to UNITE, ORGANIZE, and create a VOICE.

The first step is of course to vote.
YOU MUST VOTE.

The second step is to run.

Be a Candidate.

Get involved in the political parties here. Know the issues. Knowledge is power.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cherry Blossom, Spring 2018 in Toronto

As winter sunsets and heralds the dawn of spring (and then summer), the weather can change drastically in Toronto. You would remember we had an ice storm in mid-April and the landscape was tundra-like. That is all gone now, and one of the first true signs of spring (and the oncoming summer) are the cherry blossoms.


A cherry blossom is the flower of a cherry tree (usually in Canada it's the Japanese Sakura tree). The flowering of the Sakura trees is spectacular, but peak bloom (typically in late April to early May, depending on the weather) only lasts about a week.


This weekend (May 11-13) was peak viewing time. Typically almost everyone in Toronto descends on to High Park, where parking, traffic etc. can become a nightmare if you don't plan your trip strategically. But there are a few other spots in Toronto that also have lots and lots of trees.


The beauty of the cherry blossom is of course the huge number of trees blooming at the same time, which makes the white and red background striking and extremely majestic. Moreover, as the flower blooms, its petals slowly wither and drop to the ground. In the wind, with hundreds of trees and thousands and thousands of flower, it can make a magical sight.


But if the crowds in High Park there are just too much for you, check out the other top places in the GTA to take in the spring sight and snag that perfect Sakura selfie:

Trinity Bellwoods: There’s a cluster of young trees on the southeastern part of Trinity Circle. Plus visitors have the advantage of looking at the CN Tower through the beautiful flowers.

Centennial Park: This Etobicoke garden is believed to be the second largest place for the cherry blossoms in Toronto behind High Park, with over 200 cherry trees.

Toronto Islands: There are about 30 Japanese cherry trees on Centre Island near the fountain at the south end of the bridge, a great alternative for those seeking to avoid crowds in mainland city parks.

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre: The first ever cherry tree to be planted in Toronto was a present from the citizens of Tokyo, so it’s fitting that the garden at the Japanese cultural centre in North York (near Eglinton just off DVP) would boast some of these blossoms.

Robarts Library at the University of Toronto: Dozens of cherry trees are planted on the Harbord-Huron stretch, forming a beautiful canopy for the university crowd and passersby when in peak bloom.

Kariya Park: The Japanese-style park near downtown Mississauga has its own cherry blossoms. The garden is named after the small city southwest of Tokyo, which has a strong relationship with the city of Mississauga.

Royal Botanical Gardens: Cherry blossoms at this Burlington park are scattered at various locations, but the main collection is near the Rock Garden.


As the cherry blossom ends, another flower slowly marks its appearance. Yes, it's now time for the annual tulip festivals across the country. The Abbotsford Bloom Tulip Festival in BC has just ended, but the Canadian Tulip Festival (in Ottawa) has just begun. Below is the picture of a tulip I snapped near one of the cherry trees in Toronto.
 

Did you attend any of the cherry blossom viewings in and around town? Let me know what you thought of it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Visiting Cuba for the First Time


Everyone in Canada needs a break from our (seemingly) never ending winter.

I was of the type who takes vacations to sight-see and discover new cities, but this winter my family decided to take a sunny vacation.

We were not alone; Canadians do it by the hundreds of thousands. After debating for some time, we decided on Cuba.

Why Cuba? a) it was cheaper than other sun vacations b) it was a short flight away c) it had all inclusive so we didn't need to worry about restaurants etc.


People had warned me about the food in Cuba but our resort had really great food. My family eats zabiha halal only so we stuck to seafood and veggies, and there were LOTS of options.

 

None of the food was labelled, however, and for vegetarians there is always risk of cross contamination with meat as same spoons/ladles were sometimes used at the buffet line for meat / non meat items. Even the guy making eggs during breakfast used the same dish for bacon and meat omelettes as for veg omelettes.

 

 

Seafood was fresh and really tasty, and often grilled right in front of you. For the very strict observant folks, there will always be issues of cross contamination, but you have to overlook that.

The beach was really good.


White sands, blue water.

 

The sun shone brightly. People at the resort (mostly Canadians, many of them returnees) told us this year it was colder in Cuba than it usually is - but we got lucky.


Every day we had 26 degrees in the day. We went out on a couple of excursions and it was really comfortable.


At night time after sunset it got low (20c) so you may need a light windbreaker for the kids. I was in my T-shirt and shorts all day.


We were also told that Cuban standards for hotels were really low. This was true - we booked a 5 star and it is really a 3 star anywhere else.


So if you want Western standards of hotels, Cuba may not be for you, but if you want an affordable sun destination close by, Cuba fits the bill. 53% of tourism in Cuba comes from Canadians. Overall we had a good stay, but I felt Cuba must improve certain things for a much better experience if they want to get a larger share of the tourism market.


For example, on our first night the toilet didn't work from the very beginning and we had to call the plumber three times (the last time he finally came with proper tools and did an OK job). After that the rest of the stay there were no toilet issues. It wasn't a good check in experience after a flight to be honest. Moreover, the light circuits malfunctioned throughout our stay (there were some loose circuitry). It didn't bother us much but it is definitely something you don't want in a hotel on a holiday. Daily room cleaning was light, at best.

 

Where do YOU go for your sun destinations?


PS. Some people have asked me what to take to Cuba (due to it being a poorer country, and things being less available due to embargo etc.). Here is the list I used.

Cuba THINGS TO TAKE (PACKING LIST)

Toiletries
- toothpaste
- toothbrush
- mouthwash
- shaving kit
- lotion
- shampoo & conditioner
- kleenex (small box)
- toilet roll (1 roll, for emergencies)
- sunscreen (kids and adult)
- small first aid (band aid)
- small bath gel/body wash
- ladies sanitary products
- hand sanitizer
- baby powder

Medicine
- Tylenol
- Advil
- Motrin
- Peptobismol
- Octavin
- MultiVitamins

Clothes
 - Socks & Underwear (if you plan on wearing either!).
- Sandals.
- Sea Socks (good for Catamaran Trips and exploring the island).
- Baseball Caps.
- T-Shirts (Fast-Dry Type).
- Shorts (Fast-Dry Type).
- Sweater (for cooler nights...hopefully you will never need it!).
- Jeans / Khakis etc...
- Rain Jacket (hopefully you will never need it!).
- Dress Shirt, Pants and Shoes (for A La Carte Restaurants and local Disco clubs...Cubans always dress their very best when going out in the evenings).

Electronics
- Power adapter / converter
- multiplug
- camera battery charger
- cellphone charger
- cell phone
- camera

Extras
- Pen
- Duct tape
- Face cloth
- Scissor
- Copy of ALL paperwork
- Get Hepatitis shots prior to arriving in Cuba (see Health).
- Beach Towel
- Lemon (will have to see food regulations)
- Ziplock bags
- Lifestraw water filter?
- Torch

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Inflated Desi Weddings

I was reading an article on cheap weddings and how a couple managed to get married on $4000 in a city where the average wedding cost was $27,000. That led me to think about our own desi weddings and how and why the costs are so inflated, and what we can do to lower the cost of a wedding so it is easier for everyone.

GUEST LIST

I think this is the no. 1 reason for a desi wedding to cost so much. I have seen a growing trend, particularly among second generation Canadian Bangladeshis, to have a smaller wedding. You simply don't have to invite your father's office colleagues whom you don't know, and whose kids don't for sure know you.

I personally feel you should invite only your close friends and relatives to your wedding. Relatives always should get priority, simply because they have a right over you, followed by close family friends. A typical wedding guest list for the average couple shouldn't really cross 100 people (at most).

This also has to involve a change of mindset of everyone, particularly the elderly.

"Oh, did you hear so-and-so is getting married, and didn't even invite us! How dare they?"

Well, if they are not close relatives of yours, they don't really owe you a wedding invitation (and even then, it depends on how close a relative). If I hear so-and-so is getting married, I simply wish them well, even if they didn't invite me. I love to give the example of a close Companion in Medinah getting married, and not inviting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He didn't take it to heart and in fact gave him some valuable wedding advice that is passed on to this day. If the Prophet was living in a Bengali community, I always joke, he would be attending a wedding every day.

"Oh, how can you NOT invite the Prophet?"

This is a big lesson for us. It shows us that none of us should expect a wedding invitation and it also lessens the pressure on the wedding couple to have a big feast.

ACCESSORIES

Some of us who got married ten years ago, or more, now like to say we were lucky we got married before the Instagram age (aren't we old!) and Facebook was in its infancy when we got married. So much of weddings that we attend now seem to have, for lack of a better word, accessories, that make for a good Instagram picture.

Any wedding cake will not do. It has to be seven layered with two of the layers as separate cakes. Dessert is not some desi sweets - you MUST have a chocolate fountain so people can say WOW. A wedding car is not just any car - a limo or Hummer will not do any more - now you must get a super car. I have attended weddings where the car was a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari.

You MUST have a Photo Booth now - it's a standard. AND a wedding hashtag. After all, we have to check the social media after to see everyone getting 'tagged'. #XwedsY2018 There's no risk you will offend anyone you haven't invited because of course you have invited EVERYBODY.

I mean it's all nice if you can AFFORD it. And that's the key word. AFFORDABILITY. Your wedding should not be a burden on you.

What are some of the ways YOU think a wedding cost is inflated in our communities? 

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Moving to Canada - Part 2 - Weather

 
See also:
Part 1 - School and Housing

Let's talk about the weather. All Canadians love to talk about the weather.

This is a cold country. It is cold for almost 6 months of the year. And that is in the good places. In the best of times. Take a look at all brochures of Canada, or Canadian universities, or Canadian tourism, or even our citizenship book. They all show glorious pictures of Canada, but in the summer.


Take a look at the "Canadian" television shows. They all show summer. And why not? Summer in Canada is gorgeous. It is amazing. It is spectacular. It is a wonder of nature.

It is also short.

In Toronto, summer can be June and July. And usually August. That's it. It's cold till almost May, and starts getting cold again at the end of September. Snow is usually from end of November to end of March. In other places, it can be worse. Only in British Columbia (and Vancouver as well as Victoria) is the weather much better.

Otherwise, it's a deep chill. Take a look at some Snow Day pictures.

All of this takes a toll on your health. There is the psychological and depressing effect (also known as "winter blues") at the reduced sunshine half the year. There is also the flu.

Every year in October the government of Canada offers free flu shots to everyone. And why not? The flu season officially gets underway with the onset of winter, and lasts till spring. So better get used to these names.

 
Tylenol.
Motrin.
Advil.
Buckleys.

And the children's versions.

This winter (2017 - 2018) the flu season has been really bad and virulent. And there's only so much you can do against viral attacks.

How does winter affect you other ways?

Think about groceries. If you are a new immigrant, you probably don't have access to a car yet. It's winter, it's snowing and you need groceries. So you have to bundle up and wait outside in the cold weather for a bus that's probably late. And if you are driving, good luck with the terrible weather conditions.


Also, there are Canadians for whom this is perfect biking weather.

Think also about the children. In the Spring, Fall or Summer you can take them outside for activities. In the winter, you are stuck indoors.

So how DO Canadians deal with the winter?

First, by NOT being here.



From November, you start seeing ads of what is called "sun destinations".

Cuba, Mexico, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, the whole of Caribbean, etc.

These vacations, in particular Punta Cana and Cuba, are very popular. Almost everyone goes for their "sun escape" at least once, if not twice a year.

Second, bundle up and take it on the chin.

Canadians are very resilient people. We take our flu shots. We always listen to the weather forecast so we can make (or cancel) our plans accordingly. We make sure we are properly attired for the weather. We make sure we have proper winter tires. We enroll our kids in winter activities such as karate or crafts. We make sure they know skating and skiing so they can take advantage of living in a winter country.

And above all, chin up and be optimistic.

After all, whether it's snowing outside or not, you still have to go to work.

My point in writing all of this?

So that immigrants to Canada immigrate for the right reasons. Don't be fooled by glossy brochures and TV images. Be prepared for the True North.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Moving to Canada - Part 1 - School and Housing

 
I have a lot of friends who are moving to Canada from the Middle East, so I have noticed the questions they ask sometimes follow a common thread. I thought I would pen this note down on some of the usual things to consider when uprooting your whole family from one place to Canada. This is specifically for moving to Toronto, but with a little change can apply anywhere in Canada.

This is probably part 1 of a multi part series.

Schools

Public education is free for all legal residents of the country and is funded by the province, and handled at the municipal level.

Schools in Canada are from September - June. During March, there is a week's break called March Break (also known as Spring Break). The exact dates of the breaks vary from school board to school board.  This is the Toronto school board calendar for 2017-2018.

Almost all public schools are of a similar standard.

In Toronto, the schools in North York are a bit better as the area is a bit more posh (and expensive). There are some schools that should be avoided as they are in areas commonly inhabited by refugees from poor countries and other people who are economically disadvantaged, so they have some issues (such as drugs, gangs). Although with time, those issues are being tackled, but you should be aware.

In Ontario, you can take a look at some rankings here.

http://ontario.compareschoolrankings.org/elementary/SchoolsByRankLocationName.aspx

Don't rely too much on them. Anything 5 and up is ok. You should always be dealing with a reputable real estate person (a realtor) who will be knowledgeable about these things, which brings me to my next point.

Areas in Toronto

Toronto is divided into boroughs - Scarborough is generally affordable and ethnically very diverse. Downtown is very expensive. North York is good and expensive. I have no idea what's there in Etobicoke (sorry). If it were up to me, I would see North York and then Scarborough as an option to reside in.

Avoid, AVOID, renting or living near an area called Jane and Finch (the intersection of Jane St and Finch St). Never go there. Also avoid Kennedy and Eglinton. Also avoid Westhill.

If you go out of Toronto, then you can look in Mississauga (west of Toronto) or Pickering (east of Toronto). I would go with Mississauga as it's a hip and happening place.

Regarding availability of housing, May and June is when most people move or change residences in Toronto. So you will get lots of vacancies around that time, but also lots of people are looking so things get snapped up very quickly. So, for example, if you move to Canada in March, there should be less listings (less choice) but the landlord is more likely to negotiate the rent down.

You can rent an apartment, a condo or a house. An apartment is a flat in a building - the whole of which has been made to rent to renters. It's cheaper than a condo, which is also an apartment, but the building it's in is mostly owned by individual people, and not one corporation. Condos are more upscale than apartments, and expensive, and have facilities such as pools and gym.

All rent estimates I am giving below are by area, so better area = higher rent. Also, this is as of late 2017.

Rent:
Condo 2 bedroom is $2000+,
1 bedroom is $1800+ (per month).
Apartments may be 100-200$ cheaper in the area.

Utilities (if not included in rent):
Water - $100
Gas+Heating - $100
Electricity - $100

Other costs:
Internet - $60
Transit (bus) - avg 1$20 / person/month (kids are free)
Each ride on bus is $3.5, monthly pass is 145$
Grocery (family of 4) $500-$800
School - free
General Health Doctor - free
Medicine for kids - free

As I said, this is likely to be a many part series. In some other (future) parts, insha Allah I will talk about cultural factors, children, society etc. when you move in.

Check also my Dubai vs. Toronto series.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

How To Do Arranged Marriage Wrong (Especially Girls)

I once wrote an article defending arranged marriage in response to a nonsense CBC 'article'. In this post, I want to talk about some of the regressive attitudes and behaviours that make arranged marriages a fiasco in some South Asian families.

Warning: The writing may be blunt and to the point. It may make you uncomfortable, especially if you are one of the liberal secular feminist type. It's the truth.

More and more it seems arranged marriages in the South Asian diaspora are becoming a type of "last resort". The boy has played the field and now wants some "domesticated girl" so turns to his mother for help. The girl has been with a boyfriend for so long but suddenly the mother of the said boyfriend decided her "golden boy" would be better off with someone she chose, and the boyfriend is too spineless to say otherwise, so now the girl is left looking for a poor sucker who has no idea where she has been before.

Now these people are in the same 'market' as the boy and girl who has kept away from any physical relationships, kept themselves pure and looking to get married, but finding it extremely difficult to do so.

Parents of Girls

Don't reject a good proposal from a boy just because he is not a doctor or engineer. Despite it being 2017 2018, there is ... unbelievably ... desi parents who still are looking for a doctor or engineer for their princesses. Any other proposal from a thousand other good professions, be it teacher (2 months off, hey), public policy (stable job for life yay), consultant (travel the world, wow), lawyer (moolah much), writer (intelligent people), and so on are all rejected. Automatically, without even a glance. Now that is serious limitation to a good prospect for your girl. In the end she does end up marrying a doctor ten years older than her. Good, bad?

The other thing they do is they tell, convince, argue, threaten and cajol their daughters to please ... PLEASE ... do not get involved in any relationship ... we WILL find someone good for you, and the poor daughter believes it.

And then when it's time to look for a groom, they have all these reasons to reject perfectly good candidates:

He's not a doctor or engineer (civil doesn't count).
He's still living with his parents.
He does not want to leave his job and resettle to where WE are living.
He's not from our biraderi, gram, upojela and so on.

Meanwhile the girl who managed to land herself a good boy is looked at upon jealously.

Oooh oder to chokkor choltesilo (oooh they were having an affair)

Parents of Boys (especially the mother)

Your son is not the Prince of Persia. He's not even the best looking boy in your street. Yet you reject any girl who falls short of Aishwarya Rai standard. You are rejecting girls because you saw her once at a party and she was talking too much. You rejected a girl because she was from Borishal and everyone knows Borishali girls are like this (replace Borishal with Noakhali, Chittagong, Dhaka, NSU, Foridpur, English Medium, as appropriate). You are rejecting girls because they are only three years younger than your son and everyone knows 4 is the ideal number. You are rejecting a girl because she is a Project Manager at BoA and everyone knows career oriented women do not make good wives.

And when I say everyone knows I mean your fellow aunty circle and the good old Indian television serial.

Meanwhile the poor boy doesn't even know of any of this and is wondering why there is a shortage of girls and he should just have tried his luck with the Vietnamese girl in his study group.

Please ... PLEASE ... have an honest discussion with your son to find out what matters to HIM. Half the stuff people write in their biodata is pretty much useless. Who cares what your uncle's son's occupation or grandfather's place of birth was.

Girls

You are at a serious disadvantage in this process. Just accept it. Guys and their families (usually) hold all the cards. If you are aware of this fact, you can definitely not screw up even more.

One definite way to screw up is to have a relationship before and then broadcast it to the world, and then something happens, and now you are screwed. Your heart is a precious real estate - not just anyone and everyone should be let into it. Be very wary of falling for playboys and smooth talkers and please, for goodness sake, stop watching rubbish Indian serials. Life is not Bollywood. Life is more like the Quentin Tarantino movie.

If a smooth talking boy charms you, it's not spiritual abuse - you have been played. Be smart.

Also, Liberal feminists like to say to women that a) you are all pretty b) you are all good just the way you are. OK ... false, and false.

First - looks matter, whether you are a guy or a girl. So, rule number one. Please shape up. Maintain yourself physically. Now I know this is rich coming from me, but it is the uncomfortable truth that looks do matter more for women than men.

Second, be educated. It's a common myth that man-hating feminists like to spread that men are scared of a women who is educated. We are not. No man I know is turned off because a woman has a Ph.D. It's usually other reasons.

Third, have an opinion.
DO
NOT
BE
A
DOORMAT.

Another common fallacy by feminists is that men are turned off by women who are opinionated, strong willed or confident. No... we are turned off by women who are cocky. There's a big difference. If you want to know, its the answer to this question.

Question: What do you think of Justin Trudeau ?
Wrong Answer: Oh he's so cute .. heheheh
Right Answer: I think he has governed well enough, but I don't like the fact that he couldn't get a pipeline built in Alberta ... and so on.

Contrary to what feminists say, a young pretty intelligent girl will win over a young pretty dumb girl any day.

And that's the last point. Be young. If you know marriage is something you want to do, do it when you are young.

Boys

Please grow up.

Really.

I could go on and on but half the problems would be solved if desi boys would simply grow up, let go of their mother's apron strings and grow a spine.