Friday, May 22, 2015

A Western Union Online Chatting Experience

Western Union Online Chatting Experience--May 22, 2015, around 11: 15 am [California time]
[Time notes added later]

 Jasmine: Hi, my name is Jasmine. How may I help you? Ali: Yes, Jasmine.  Want to send money to Pakistan. Ali: If I pay in cash at a Western Union location, will there be a fee? Ali: Are you there? Ali: Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ali: ? Ali: ? Ali: ? Ali: Anyone there??????????????????????????? [Several minutes later]
 Jasmine: Hello. Ali: Finally. Jasmine: I apologize for the late response. Ali: Apology not accepted yet. Jasmine: Yes, there will be fees if you send your transaction at a location. Ali: How much is the fee? Ali: Or, Fee-wise what's the least expensive way to send money to Pakistan?
[Several minutes later]  Ali: Are you once again ignoring me, Jasmine? Jasmine: I am checking. Ali: thanks. Ali: Still checking, jasmine" Ali: ?
[Several minutes later]  Jasmine: there is a fee in sending it to Pakistan. Ali: You already said that.  How much? Jasmine: For example you sent $100, the fee would be $9.99 Ali: Is it better to send the money through WU web site, or better to walk to a location?  Which one incurs less fee? Jasmine: To a location. Less hassle and the money will be available within minutes. Ali: But the fee? Ali: Same? Jasmine: The fee is $9.99 for $100 transaction. Ali: Sending online vs sending from a physical location of Western Union? Jasmine: How much do you intend to send? Ali: $120 Jasmine: Same fee, $9.99 Ali: thanks, Jasmine. Ali: but that's not what I see online. Ali: I am afraid you know very little about the company you work for. Ali: You need extensive training. Ali: In manners, in education about WU services, etc. etc. Jasmine: Ali: Bye now.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Remembering 145 schoolchildren of Peshawar

Light rain did not deter around one hundred people to attend a candlelight vigil at the Stanford University, held to remember the 145 schoolchildren of the Army Public School, Peshawar, massacred by a group of terrorists on December 16.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tina Mann at Jashn-e-Tashie Zaheer

Any given day Tina Mann can have Hadiqa Kiani biting the dust.

A better audio of this song is present here
starting from 02:04:20.

Tina Mann with Ashneel Singh on tabla and Ali Shahabuddin on the keyboard.

Monday, December 08, 2014

The Murder of Ibolya Ryan: A UAE National Day Celebration…of an evil kind.

The United Arab Emirates celebrated its National Day on December 2.  There were flags everywhere..flags to tie your misplaced identity to, flags to hide your identity if you can cleverly use them to cover the registration plate of your car.  Dala al Hashemi used an Emirati flag to hide the number plate of her SUV, when she went out to stab to death a Romanian-American, and place a home made bomb outside the residence of an Egyptian-American doctor.  The attempt to kill the American doctor (fortunately unsuccessful) was premeditated--Dala allegedly went to the doctor’s residence, several days earlier, to make sure he lived there. But Ibolya Ryan, the special education American teacher, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Dala stayed in the women’s room of a mall for an hour waiting to kill an American, any American…Ibolya finally walked in; it is not clear how Dala identified Ibolya as an American.

For those of you who have been fortunate not to visit the UAE, understand that that union of seven Sheikhdoms along the Persian Gulf reeks of gaudy phoniness.  It is a place of the foreigners, for the foreigners, (build) by the foreigners--all three groups of foreigners pretty much living in mutual exclusion.   This is where European-descent people and the wannabes can shamelessly get a taste of life once lived in the colonial era.  The social hierarchy is hard to miss: Westerners at the top, non-Emirati Arabs and skilled workers from other places in the middle, and disposable labor from South Asia, Philippines, and other countries at the very bottom.  Many have been wondering how long this last vestige of ‘colonialism’ will last.  Ibolya Ryan’s murder may be signaling an end of that era of exploitation.

Thanks to the surveillance camera footage; Dala’s folly of visiting the doctor’s residence for reconnaissance, days earlier, when the registration plate of her SUV was not covered with anything; and the hard work of the Abu Dhabi police Dala al Hashemi was nabbed.  But what can be done about the malice that exists in the hearts.  Can Dala’s arrest deter others who might be harboring the kind of ill-will towards Americans and Westerners that Dala holds?  Probably not, especially if such people are driven by religion. 

Many in the Western expatriate community of the UAE must be thinking along these lines.

Photo, courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Police.


Sunday, December 07, 2014

Iqbal Day program at the PACC

Iqbal Day program at the PACC
A belated Iqbal Day--normally observed on November 9 or on a weekend close to it--was celebrated on Saturday, December 6, at the Pakistani American Cultural Center in Milpitas.  Over forty people attended the program.  The centerpiece of the event was a paper on Iqbal’s poetry book ‘Javid Nama’ presented by Sabahat Rafiq, a Bay Area community leader.
Atiya Hai and Talat Qadeer Khan sang Iqbal's poetry.
The program was moderated by Dr. Waheed Siddiqui.
Complete audio of the program is here: