humour

The Arabic Exam

exam

I haven’t really found anything interesting to write about. All I did the past week was take exams. The only thing worth narrating is my hilariously horrible answers in the Arabic exam. The Arabic exam was (obviously) in Arabic. And I don’t know Arabic. I am learning it gradually though, but still, it is a pretty difficult language. I can, of course, do things like grammar and single-paragraph comprehension passages (in which I just locate the sentence which contains words similar to those used in the question and write it down), but things like antediluvian literature and poetry are beyond my capabilities.

Anyway, earlier I used to take a sort of special exam in which a translator helped me. Basically, all I had to do was tell the translator what I wanted to write in English, and she translated it for me. The grammar I took was pretty easy too. This time, however, I was forced to take more-or-less the same exam the rest of the class was taking. This included evaluating the weird poetry of some guy called “بشار بن برد”and writing a full-length essay. The topic of the essay was mercifully easy. Although, I was told later that I was really supposed to write about something like the advantages of respecting teachers; in the exam, all I understood was the single word “معلمة”, which I know means “teacher”. Hence, I wrote an essay on teachers in general.

The biggest problem I faced was the fact that I didn’t know a thing about Arabic sentence structure. So, I had to create weird anglicized Arabic sentences, substituting an English word where my lack of proficiency in Arabic became apparent. For example, here’s my answer to the first question directly after that بشار guy’s poem which, I think, asked for the main theme of the poem or something. Reading it is a somewhat herculean task. I suppose it should be read from right to left starting from the end, temporarily switching to left-to-right when reading English phrases. Although this seems utterly ridiculous, it was better than returning a blank answer sheet. I was desperate.

.chasing useless dreams وقت its ضياع doesn’t أنت. دماغ than شاطر  is comparatively more دماغ  that قلب  to قال  شاعر

The essay went comparatively better than poetry evaluation. Although I used devastating grammar and infuriatingly irrelevant verb forms, I think it was more-or-less intelligible  When the Arabic teacher (who was in another room, our class is split up into different rooms during the exams) briefly toured our room to respond to queries and allegations of the questions not being related to the syllabus, she glanced at my sheet. For some reason she burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter while reading my essay. Perhaps what I wrote didn’t exactly mean what I thought it meant?

Anyway, I’ll probably fail the damn thing. These are dark times, lad. Dark times.

Examination Stereotypes

Exams have a weird effect on people. They affect different people differently. Let’s look at some examination stereotypes.

The Predators

The Evil Teacher

teacher

Some teachers just love to make the lives of their pupils miserable. Their torture increases exponentially during the exams. When they make the exam they try their best to use the obscurest terms and the weirdest grammar known to the English language. Even if you know the answer, you spend hours simply trying to decipher the different levels of meaning hidden in the question, until you develop schizophrenia and start believing the modern education system was developed by the Illuminati to torture the new generation and force them to yield. Here’s an example.

What the teacher is really asking:

What is Newton’s second law?

The question she writes in the exam:

State the sacred arrangement of words and symbols that is widely believed to be the second testament of the Enlightened One who was hit arbitrarily by a scarlet apple in the days of yore.

The scope of her exam too, leads one to suspect the involvement of sinister forces…

What she teaches: 2x + 4 = 5

What she gives in the exam:

standard_model

The Conniving Head-mistress

principal

Armed with her evil grin and her time-table organizing capabilities, she is a force to be reckoned with. She excels in the art of making the worst possible exam schedule in order to ensure a sleepless night for her students. I can imagine her though process…

Hmm.. Let’s see. I have eight subjects and two weeks. I can of course give two holidays before each science subject and one holiday before each arts subject to give the students ample time for preparations and revision. But that’s too main-stream. Let’s spice things up a little. Why don’t I give 4 holidays before English Language, an exam that doesn’t need any revision at all, while give no holiday for Physics? That would be fun. Better still, why don’t I schedule the Maths and Physics exams on the very same day? Hmm… that is pure genius. Muhahahahaha!

The Macho Invigilator

invigilator

These people are nightmares. Their purpose in life is to cancel papers. A slight whisper, and they come running at you and write a huge “Cancelled. Cheated.” on your exam sheet. If they can’t find a culprit, they just select some random person sitting nearby, invent something up, claim to have seen him cheating and cancel his paper. I think they have a secret competition or something. The invigilator who cancels the most papers in a single exam session wins.

The Parasites

The Nervous (Lazy) Guy

nervous

These are usually the people who cared least about their academic standing during regular school days. Some of them suddenly get this exam-phobia that totally makes them go bananas. They will begin irritating their class-mates by asking them to explain stuff which they did not understand (or even listen to) earlier because they were too busy cussing each other and being a general nuisance in regular classes. They don’t actually study either, their nervousness and concern is only limited to the class where they can use it to annoy people in the vicinity.

The New ‘Best-Friend’

exams

These are the people who, in normal school-days, are extremely rude to you. They make fun of you constantly, make racist remarks and annoy you in class. However, suddenly, a day or two before the exams their behaviour alters drastically. They start sitting beside you, start back-biting about other people in front of you to instill a sense of alliance or something, start hanging out with you in the school break and stuff. Then half an hour before the exam they’ll say something like this in a half-conversational, half-threatening tone, “Why of course you’ll help me out in the exams won’t you? Just tilt your sheet a little when I whisper the question I want to see. You’re my best-friend…”.

The Prey

The ‘Don’t Care, Didn’t Study’ Guy

NERD

These people spend all night studying hard for the exam. They have every concept and equation on their fingertips, but yet act as if they don’t know a thing. When people come and ask them stuff, they act stupid. But somehow they always manage to get surprisingly good marks. I always wondered why they act stupid. Perhaps they do this to protect themselves from being victimised by the New ‘Best-Friend’ and the Nervous (Lazy) guys.

The Evil Nerds

evil_nerd

These guys are evil. Evil, I tell you! The teacher gave something out of syllabus in the exams? “No problem, Miss. We know it.” Speak for yourself, dammit! The teacher forgot to take the test today? “Miss, today was the test…”. Curse you! The teacher forgot to give the homework? “Miss, what is the homework?” You son of a …! The teacher is absent? “Let’s go to the principal and demand a substitute teacher.” Kill yourself.

People Like Me

me

These guys are complete punch-bags. They are moderately affected by the examinations. They get victimised by the parasites. They get bullied by the predators. And all they can do about it is write ambiguous blog posts.

Sheikh Rasheed

sheikh

Normally I try to isolate myself as much as possible from the news, politics, political talk-shows etc. They make me feel suicidal and give the impression of Pakistan being on the brink of destruction. But there is one guy I always look forward to listening. Sheikh Rasheed. Rest assured, I don’t support him politically. Neither do I agree with his views. The reason I watch his talk shows is for entertainment. Need a good laugh? Forget Chris Rock, watch Sheikh Rasheed! He is famous for his hilarious replies, ridiculously funny statements and his bachelorhood. I once saw a picture somewhere showing a shop with the sign, “Credit or borrowing is not accepted until the marriage of Sheikh Rasheed“. Seriously though, the guy is hilarious. Five minutes of  Sheikh Rasheed will result in at least an hour of hysterical fits of laughter. I think he may be more successful as a comedian than as a politician. If he ever does a stand-up comedy show, I, for one, will be the first to buy a ticket.

In addition to his popularity, he is also a very big asset to television channels. Whenever the viewer ratings start to drop, news channels call Sheikh Rasheed. It is rumoured that one Sheikh Rasheed-ish talk show can potentially triple the ratings of a channel. Commercials literally flock towards a Sheikh Rasheed programme. All in all, he is a pretty entertaining guy. His humorous quotes and cheerful, albeit slightly eccentric, personality give much needed joy in the dark days Pakistan is facing, and the even darker ones that may come in the future.

Fruity Cosmetics

Just the other day, while we were discussing aromatic compounds and stuff, the discussion somehow came round to fruits and cosmetics. Miss Yasmin mentioned some extremely weird natural cosmetic products. The authenticity of these products has been proven by a mixture of science, experience and Philippine tradition. I’ve even googled them and they have turned out to be completely accurate. Basically, everything you buy at a fruit stall has some use or the other in the cosmetic industry. I’ve decided to share some of the home-made cosmetic recipes she mentioned, to the world. Let’s hope the beauty industry doesn’t sue me for ruining their business. After all why would anyone buy expensive beauty products when they can make them at home using  fruits and vegetables?

Avocados

Are the branded moisturisers too expensive? Use avocado! Apparently, avocado has some kind of moisturising effect on your skin which reduces wrinkles and softens it in winter. All you have to do is mash the avocado and rub it on your face.

avocado

Bananas

I always thought ketchup was made from tomatoes. Hence the name tomato ketchup. However, after the enlightening lecture, I also learnt about another way to make ketchup. You can also make ketchup from (drum roll)….. Bananas!!! Not only is it edible, banana ketchup is actually tastier than tomato ketchup!

banana

Pineapples

Ever wanted to remove all those acne scars and dark spots from your skin? Can’t afford laser treatment? Well, worry no more, Pineapples are here to save the day! Apparently, pineapples have the power to remove all those scars and spots, not to mention all the extra tan. It also leaves your skin soft and fresh, and decreases pimple production. Leaving it on your face for too long will burn the face though.

pineapple

All these revelations have left me in a dilemma. Now, every time I see someone buying fruits from the market, I can’t help but wonder. Is he buying all this for eating, or for moisturising his skin / removing spots and pimples / making ketchup etc. Mind = Blown.

The Legendary Rickshay Wala

pakistan_wallpaper_by_mu6_by_mu6-d3l8d3x

Inspired by Dr. Adil Najam’s old blog All Things PakistanI decided to make my own contribution to describing some of the unique aspects of Pakistan and Pakistaniat. However, I ran into a problem. What is the most unique aspect of Pakistan? Well, at first I thought about the things I like about Pakistan. These include the Pakistani culture, prestigious Pakistani institutions like LUMS, NUST etc., the LUMS Olympiad, Pakistani schools, Pakistani students, the Pakistani Army, the Pakistani Air-force, the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission, the Pakistani cricket team, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dr. Abdus Salam, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad and the various other Pakistanis who’ve made us proud. However, I was not particularly inclined to write about any of these great people and organizations. So, I tried the opposite tact. I thought of the things I hate about Pakistan. Well, there was Agha Waqar, load-shedding, corruption, the Taliban, terrorism, sectarian terrorism, broken roads, Rehman Malik etc. What else did I hate? And then I finally hit upon it… the Rickshay Walas.

rickshaw

The Rickshay Walas aren’t just unique, they’re legendary! Their disregard for traffic rules, their epic turns, their bizarre stunts and their sky-rocketing charges make them a force to be reckoned with.  The most astounding thing about Rickshaws is their tendency to do things that defy both classical and modern Physics. There are three cases where the laws of classical Physics break down, a big-bang, a black hole and a Rickshaw. They should make “Need for Speed: Rickshaw Edition”. Seriously, I’ve seen Rickshaws going faster than the speed of light. Take that, CERN!

karachi_rickshaw

It isn’t just the stunts that make-up the legendary Rickshay Wala. A true Rickshay Wala should also have catastrophic driving skills. By “catastrophic”, I don’t mean those ordinary mistakes people do such as driving in the opposite directing on a one-way road or overtaking someone without flashing an indicator. In order to become a Rickshay Wala, one has to do something really catastrophic, something that will not only affect you, but will ensure that everyone in a 50 km radius stays jammed in traffic for the next two hours. Examples include parking your rickshaw in the middle of the road in order to go out and greet a friend you saw walking on the foot-path, not looking at the traffic signals and colliding head-on with the on-coming traffic, and trying to drive through the middle of two cars with less than one inch of free space between them, hitting both cars as a result. It is things like this that distinguish an ordinary driver from a Rickshay Wala.

Another commendable quality of a Rickshay Wala is the ability to feel completely at home on a busy road. This is especially useful when arguing after an accident. I’ve seen cases where Rickshay Walas have won a road-side argument, even when the accident was clearly their fault, just because the other person was too tired to continue arguing.

rickshaw-Wisdom

Perhaps one of the best things about a rickshaw is the great literary and artistic work printed at its back. The exquisite language and unique style surpasses even Homer and Shakespeare. Forget about universities and libraries. The next time I want to read quality literature and poetry, I’ll drive behind a rickshaw. In my opinion, one should automatically be awarded a PhD. in literature after reading things written on the back of more than 20 Rickshaws.

War on Rodents

Yesterday, I forgot to close my apartment’s front door when leaving for school. Unfortunately this allowed a certain mouse, who happened to be passing by, to infiltrate our humble abode. At first, things went well and the critter was able to establish a temporary military base in the living room. However, before it could carry out further tactical operations, my mom observed the enemy from its first vantage point in the toy basket. Chaos ensued. My mom, armed with my little brother’s toy robotic armatron in one hand and a wide variety of floor wipers and spatulae in the other, launched a campaign against the rodent.

For the next few hours the house became a battlefield. Crashes, bangs, screams and war-cries echoed in the air. Every single piece of furniture was displaced. Although my mom, with her domestic weapons, ruthless tactics and natural hatred for mice, was a force to be reckoned with, she was no match for the deceptive strategy of the experienced rodent. Ultimately my mom had to temporarily declare cease-fire.

The rodent made its second appearance the next day while my mom was using the washing machine. Apparently the rodent had taken shelter in the pipe of the washing machine and was now back for another battle. My mom put up a good fight but the mouse, now aware of its opponent’s strategy, had become even better at guerrilla warfare. The second battle ended sooner than the first one, with the rodent emerging victorious.

Personally, I feel sorry for the poor guy. All it wants is to live in our house. I suggest we create a secular residential system in which men and mice can both live in peace and harmony, respecting their differences and elevating their similarities. The somewhat cliche quote, “Are we men, or are we mice?”, should be banned since it offends both parties.

Note: Although I was strongly tempted to name this post, ‘A Mouse in the House’, I think the present title is more appropriate.

Universal Stupidity

Haven’t posted new stuff for quite some time, have I? Well, that’s because school has started. Today is a weekend, however, and I am forcing myself to write this just for the sake of consistency. Now the question arises… What do I write about? Well, I don’t know.  So I’ll just do some general ranting about the stupidity of this planet and it’s inhabitants.

Let’s Jump from Space!!!

When I first heard of the Red Bull Stratos project, I thought it was retarded. Now that it has been successfully completed and Felix has made about 3 world records… I stilthink it’s retarded… and a waste of money. Apparently, the only justification given for the millions of dollars wasted on the project is that it may be useful in scientific experiments, which is pretty vague. Why can’t they do a Red Bull Stop Global Warming or Red Bull End World Hunger project? In addition to all this, I can’t pronounce Felix’s last name. Is it pronounced Bomb-Gart-Nur or maybe Bam-Gar-Nur or perhaps Baoom-Gardener ? Whatever.

You Called A White Dress Black? Hilarious!

I’ve never understood my class’s twisted sense of humour. Only yesterday, a teacher entered the class wearing a white dress. A class-mate cheekily asked her why she was wearing such a dark dress. Apparently, this was funny. The whole class lol-rofled for an unnecessarily long amount of time while I awkwardly grinned and wondered why I was surrounded by idiots. Seriously, by what stretch of imagination is calling a white dress black even remotely funny?

My Awesome Maths Teacher

I could write a whole book on my new Indian math teacher. I learnt a lot of, well… unique concepts from her. I learnt that and are numbers, while 1,2,3 etc. are variables. And apparently, the correct spelling of ‘laughing’ is ‘loofing’ and ‘tomorrow’ is spelt ‘toomarow’. She also seems to have a rather mixed up teaching plan. One day we do Quadratics. The next day she  teaches how to multiply two numbers (and I’m in grade 11!). And did I mention that using any other method or formula than the sacred one which She taught is considered blasphemy?

And just when I thought I couldn’t hate her more, an incident happened that made my blood boil. From the day God descended my unique maths teacher from the heavens and sent her to my school as punishment for past sins, she has taken a total of about 2 tests. I have taken full marks in both and have the highest average in the class. But for some reason, she told my mother in a recent parent-teacher meeting that I am not performing well! I mean, seriously? How can I perform better when I am already getting full marks? My mom says the teacher probably confused me for someone else with the same name or something. But still, it’s infuriating. 😦

Things like this make me wonder how India managed to become the world’s third biggest economy. However, I shouldn’t really judge a country by its expatriate math teachers. Maybe they keep all the good ones for themselves and send all the bad apples abroad. Thank God I had the good fortune of being taught by excellent math teachers at my last school in Pakistan.

Learn Coder-Jargon

This article is intended to teach ordinary mortals a language used by the elite. A language similar to English in syntax, but very different in expression, everyone has a different name for it, but I like to call it ‘Coder-Jargon’.

When I began learning how to program, or ‘write code’ as I thought it was called then, the thing that troubled me most was the weird but cool-sounding jargon books and documentation used.  I spent hours on a mere sentence simply trying to decipher the meaning behind it. For example:

The implementation can be decoupled even more by deferring the presence of the implementation to the point where the abstraction is utilized.

It’s sentences like these that made me waste hours, now it may seem as if the author is talking about something extremely complex beyond the knowledge of mankind, but it actually is quite obvious, once you learn Coder-Jargon. Here’s the English translation of the above sentence:

You can break code into more pieces to make it simple.

See. Wasn’t that simple?

Common Phrases

Anyway, here are a few common English expressions and their Coder-Jargon equivalents to get started you started in writing and reading Coder-Jargon. The English version is stroked through and  the Coder-Jargon version typed in place.

  • I think : It is widely believed.
  • Me and my friends think : It is universally accepted
  • This is confusing. : It has some design flaws
  • It’s not working as I thought it would : Unpredictable run-time behavior.
  • It’s cool! : It is object-oriented!
  • Damn, I can’t get this thing to do as I say! : There’s a bug in the code-base

Words To Remember

Here are some important and their meaning to remember:

  • Functional Programming : The New Thing No One Understands But Talks About All The Time
  • Code Base : All Your Past Mistakes
  • Third-party Code : Code Mindlessly copied from CodeReview.SE or TopCoder.com .
  • User-Friendly : Has Lots Of Shiny Buttons, and comes with a Manual written in Arabic.
  • User-Interface : The Thing The Above Mentioned Manual Forgot to Discuss because it was too busy telling you how user-friendly it is.

If you’re also learning about writing Business Applications, you should learn these:

  • Intended-Audience : People we’re trying to rip-off.
  • Competitors : People we’re hoping to sue ( Learned this from Oracle ).
  • Demo Version : Exactly the same the Complete Enterprise Edition, but keep notifying you about how good the Enterprise Edition is compared to this one.
  • Open-Source : Software that was too buggy and useless to sell, so is being given out for free. (looking at you, Unix! ).

Some Translations

To make it easy, I’ve translated some sentences.

English Version

I like money, let’s try to make more of it and get richer!!!

Code-Jargon Translation

It may be considered a prudent step by the CEO, Board of Governors and the Human Resource & Development Staff to focus more on increasing investments in more profitable technology. This will over the course of time prove to be economically beneficial to all parties and will result in the company’s capital increasing, which in turn will result in increasing employee lending and will contribute to increase staff motivation and morale.

English Version

There’s this awesome new language out called C-Sharp! At first people thought it was just a Microsoft rip-off of Oracle’s Java, but now It’s got those cool feature called ‘lambdas’ that people think are awesome!

Code-Jargon Translation

C# is a general purpose programming language designed by Microsoft as part of it’s .NET strategy. It’s syntax is strongly based on Java, but there have been recent changes in newer versions of the language that have made it distinct. Newer Versions C# have implemented some features differently and have also added LINQ, a step which has increased its popularity and has strengthened it’s community.