pakistan

The Stirring of a Breeze

Note: This post was also republished here.

Hostels

I see posts from numerous freshmen on the LUMS Class of 2018 Facebook group discussing their upcoming departure and preparations for their new life at LUMS. Everyone is expressing their joy and excitement. How they can’t wait for the orientation. How their dream has finally come true. When they are planning to depart for Lahore. What they are looking forward to. What their plans are.

Although this is what I, too, should be feeling right now, as I sit here in my soon to be vacated room with shopping bags and boxes beside my bed filled with clothes and presents for relatives in Pakistan, all I am feeling is an overwhelming sense of sadness and… emptiness; along with an inability to appreciate the fact that all this is actually happening. I’m really leaving.

Quotation-Carl-Sagan-space-sense-Meetville-Quotes-211390

It’s sort of strange when you think about it. All through the A-Levels and the SATs, this is what I have been looking forward to: going to a prestigious university and learning Science and Engineering. I still remember looking up the requirements of universities online and going through the immensely tedious and annoying (akin to torture, really) admission processes. I was excited then… restless, motivated, driven… but not sad. Not the least bit sad or anxious.

Maybe it was because I was so occupied with what I could gain from achieving my goal that I hardly took the time to contemplate what I will be losing, at least temporarily. I think I can handle living in the on-campus accommodation (especially considering it’s probably one of the best in Pakistan). I also believe I can handle the tough workloads and competitive environment of a Science and Engineering School. I also hope that if I work hard it won’t be difficult to get into my desired major, Electrical Engineering, along with a minor in Physics. However, the biggest problem I think I will face is the fact that, well… I’ll miss my mom a lot.

This is for grad school but most of the stuff is applicable to undergrads as well. Especially the last part.

What I must realize, however, is that times have somewhat changed since the departure of 19 year old Chandrasekhar on a ship to Cambridge for his MSc. in Physics. I’m going on an airplane instead of a ship, for one. Not to mention, I can contact my family instantly via phone calls, emails, social networking etc. instead of sending ye olde letters or waiting for the telephone operator to finally put an international call through. Hence, I definitely need to stop acting like a baby.

I can’t live on my dad’s money forever and I know it. On top of that, university will provide me with something I have always craved and hungered for… knowledge. Especially knowledge about Physics and Engineering and all sorts of other scientific fields. I guess I should stop sulking like a kindergartener and act like an adult for once (which is pretty difficult for me, considering I have a maturity and IQ level less than that of an average elementary school student). When I was young, I always assumed I’d be far more mature and grown-up-ish at the age of 19. Yet, here I am, as stupid as ever.

Also, on a more positive note, this is my 96th blog post. Only four more left till I reach the goal of publishing a 100 posts on this blog. I still vividly remember the day I made my first post after transitioning from my previous blog about three years ago. Ah… the memories.

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Pakistan: Science and Research

Pakistan’s contributions to science are embarrassingly few compared to countries like, say, Japan or Germany or even Korea. However, recently I found out that our scientific research infrastructure isn’t as horrible as I expected. In other words: believe it or not, we have actually done something as a nation other than producing nukes and terrorists. In fact, unless Mian Sahab and the other idiots in the PMLN end up politicizing, corrupting and/or decreasing the funding of the few educational organisations and research institutes we have, I think Pakistan might actually produce a few Nobel laureates in the next few decades.

Why do I say these things? Well, I’ve found some things I didn’t know about earlier.

National Center for Physics

Chairman PAEC with DG CERN

Yes, incredible as it might seem, we actually have a National Center for Physics; and yes, they actually do something besides hogging the tax-payer money. There’s also a Joint CERN-Pakistan Committee. In addition, if the Tinday Baradraan don’t mess things up as I said earlier, Pakistan might even become an associate-member of CERN soon (see here and here), not to mention the 42 Pakistani physicists working at CERN.

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission

paec

Yes, the same highly-classified department that created and maintains the nukes. The very same war-mongering, budget-draining, international-reputation-ruining, sanction-inducing, economy-ruining, inflation-causing monster all us Pakistani leftists love to despise. People will hate me for saying this but I think it actually gave a (very) slight amount of benefit to the country. No, I’m not trying to give excuses for all the problems it has caused. I know the incredibly high amount of money the government wastes on the PAEC can be used for health, education, homeland security, development and poverty alleviation.

Love it or hate it, however, one can’t deny the PAEC’s role in the scientific and technological advancement of the country, Besides, compared to all the other unnecessary stuff done with the defence budget, I think this might actually be seen as productive. At least it helps generate a bit of electricity via nuclear power stations. Not to mention its research contributions and collaboration with CERN.

The Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), which is part of PAEC’s domain, is the most advanced research institute in the country. It has three nuclear reactors and a particle accelerator (yes, they actually have a particle accelerator!).  I couldn’t find any picture of PINSTECH online, probably because of all the ‘top-secret highly-classified’ aura that surrounds it.

Jinnah Antarctic Station

jinnah_antarctic

It turns out Pakistan is one of the few countries that has a research station in Antarctica, and the majority of us Pakistanis don’t even know about it. Pakistan is also an associate member of Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission

Badr-1_satellite

To be frank, SUPARCO hasn’t really done much since its establishment in 1961, except for launching a few satellites (Badr-1Badr-2 and PakSat-1) and create a satellite ground-station. This is mainly due to the embarrassingly low budget it gets (a miserly $75.1 million, only about 0.004% of NASA’s prodigious $18.724 billion). But hey, we have a space program! that’s still something, right? And it might even do something significant in the future if the government decides to spend some money on actual scientific research instead of topping up the nuclear arsenal.

On a side note…

Abdus Salam

AbdusSalam_m_0730

All of the organisations I listed were directly or indirectly established by this legendary man. He was the first chairman of SUPARCO in 1961 and envisioned a great future for the program. Truly a great Pakistani.

Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb

eating_grassThis new book written by Brigadier General (retd.) Feroz Khan gives a complete account of Pakistan’s journey to becoming a nuclear power. The title alludes to Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s famous quote:

we will eat grasseven go hungry, but we will get one of our own (atomic bomb).

Skyscrapers and Calculators

Graphing Calculators

graphing_calc

Recently, I’ve become quite a fan of graphing calculators. Sure, scientific calculators, especially good ones like the Casio fx-991MS (or ES) are good enough for normal high-school mathematics, but when you get to the Calculus and Differentials, you begin to appreciate the value of graphing calculators. In fact, the College-board has made graphing calculators a de-facto requirement for the SAT II Subject Test in Maths Level 2. They are also very useful in trigonometry and geometry, not to mention a hundred times more fun and cool as compared to boring old scientific calculators.

On top of all this, there are some things (in fact, a lot of things) that you can do on a graphing calculator but are pretty much impossible on scientific calculators. A redundantly obvious example is (you guessed it!) drawing graphs. You can also use a graphing calculator to find the maximum and minimum points on a curve which makes differentiation a gazillion times easier.

Now, the problem with graphing calculators is that they’re pretty damn expensive. You can get some of the latest, most advanced scientific calculators such as the Casio fx-115 ES or the Texas Instruments TI-30XS for about 6 Rials ($ 16.5). In comparison, some of the more advanced graphing calculators such as the Casio Prizm or the Texas Instruments TI-NSpire have a prize range of 60-70 Rials ($145 -170). That’s more expensive than my cell-phone. I’m planning to buy something comparatively cheap yet dependable such as the Texas Instruments TI-83 or the Casio fx-9750.

The Tallest Building in The World to be Built in Karachi … Wait, What?

tallest_building_karachi

I still find myself in a state of incredulity, even after the news has been repeatedly broadcasted on several news channels, printed in several newspapers and mentioned in a lot of online articles (see here, here and here). It’s too good to be true. I mean, it’s one thing for a country like the United Arab Emirates, ninth richest in the world, with a thriving economy, a small population, tremendous resources and excellent international relations, to initiate such a large scale project, but Pakistan… seriously?

I’m also a bit worried about the security problems the building may cause. A huge skyscraper like this isn’t a good idea in a country infested with several terrorist and militant groups. It’s like literally inviting the Taliban to do a second 9/11. Anyway, the project was initiated by the (in)famous Pakistani business tycoon, Malik Riaz. The building is to be called Bahria Tower (the name is still uncertain, though) and it is planned to be built in or near Karachi, Let’s hope all goes well and this building helps recover Pakistan’s doomed economy (and it doesn’t get hit by hijacked planes).

Pakistani Weddings

I haven’t been to a lot of weddings so my knowledge of the various traditions and rituals that form part of a typical Pakistani wedding is limited. Even in the weddings I have attended, I’ve spent most of the time waiting for the food to be served, and after it is served, eating as much of it as possible. So I’ll only describe the features and segments of a Pakistani wedding that I know about.

The Food

shaadi_food

I admit, quite frankly, that the main (and perhaps, the only) reason I go to weddings is because of the food. Usually, when my mom asks me if I would like to accompany her on so-and-so’s wedding, the discussion goes like this:

Mama: Would you like to come with us to my friend <name>’s wedding?

Me: Will they serve Biryani?

Mama: I am not sure.

Me: What about Chicken Korma?

Mama: Yes.

Me: Okay. I’ll be ready in a minute.

But I am pretty sure I am not the only one who does this. One thing I’ve always found amusing (and scary) is the way people attack the food at Pakistani weddings. It isn’t just your ordinary polite, well-mannered tussle, it’s an all out invasion! I sometimes wonder if there is something like a competition between the larki-walay (the bride’s family) and the larkay-walay (the groom’s family). The side that eats the most, in the shortest period of time, wins.

shadi_army

Children and teens are usually sent to the front-lines, to make swift, repeated raids on the enemy. The old uncles and aunties take on the role of generals, commanding their troops to invade and immediately take control of all resources. Some of them also engage in rather underhand tactics, such as trying to engage enemy troops in conversation or sending them on errands in order to distract and prevent them from eating the food. I confess, I am usually one of the fastest militia on these occasions.

For obvious reasons, people tend to eat an extraordinarily large amount of food at weddings. I’ve seen people filling five plates with Biryani and eating it all in a single sitting. In fact, my parents once actually scolded me for not eating a lot.

The Stage and Cameramen

shadi_stage

For some reason, the bride and bridegroom sit on a sort of stage in the middle of the wedding hall. All the important visitors are expected to meet them there and get their pictures taken. There are also some cameramen shooting a video of the entire ceremony.

A long time ago, when I first saw this unique ritual, I was so awestruck that I somehow got it into my head that they were shooting an action movie and I was the main protagonist. I used to watch a lot of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Lee movies so, to the embarrassment of my parents, I started posing in front of the camera, flexing my muscles and punching in the air until someone dragged me out of the way.

The Politics and the Yassu-Panju

Since you can’t really bring your laptop, play-station or television set to a wedding, one can only do one of three things. You can either discuss politics and cricket with all the old uncles, discuss jobs and people with all the not-so-old uncles and the bhais or play king-stop and yassu-panju with all the annoying kids. Since discussing  jobs and people bore me, I usually do a mixture of option 1 and 2.

Who was Jinnah?

mr_jinnah_1

Today on his 136th birthday, I would like to say a few words in honour of the great man, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Who is Jinnah? For those who don’t know, he is the founder of Pakistan. Now, in this article, I won’t discuss his political views and the two nation theory. The things that usually get dragged into a Jinnah biography. What I want to talk about is Jinnah, the man. I want to discuss his views, his habits, his unique qualities etc. So, I ask again, Who is Jinnah? And what makes him different from the Quaid-e-Azam?

From the picture above, one sees a very charismatic man, considerably elegant with a sharp, intelligent face typical of a lawyer or a politician. In fact, he was both. Now, although this may be a matter of opinion, Jinnah’s countenance shows nothing of the stolid stupidity seen in Pakistani politicians today. In fact, it somewhat radiates an aura of intelligence and discretion. There is something about him, that emits waves of propriety, respectability and charisma. As if he stands on a kind of podium, that elevates him high above even the greatest of his peers.

As a lawyer, Jinnah was sharp, inquisitive and incredibly competent. Known to be one of the best lawyers in both India and Britain, in the court, he was a force to be reckoned with. However, Jinnah was very very expensive, and extremely picky in his cases. He didn’t work for the small fry. He only fought cases for the elite and the royalty of the time.

As a politician, Jinnah was regal, commanding and charismatic. His profound speeches were popular and attracted huge crowds. Listening to the speech embedded above, one can see it is filled with political and intellectual insight. In fact, it is even applicable to the political scenario today. The one thing that convinces me of the accuracy of his political views is the fact that the radicals of the time were his bitter enemies. Allegedly, some guy even attempted to assassinate him claiming he was a liberal “Munaafiq”. Now, experience has taught me that radicals always oppose the good guy, the guy who is actually trying to make the world a better place. Hence, the knowledge of this occurrence has made me very much in favour of Mr. Jinnah.

Jinnah also seems to have had an excellent taste in attire. Frankly, he looks pretty fashionable, even by modern standards. I don’t want to point out anyone or make any comparisons, but this quality was sadly lacking in some of his contemporaries. A few of whom even preferred wearing a weird tunic thing instead of tailored clothes, resulting in hundreds of Pakistani jokes today ( 😀 ). There is an excellent article on the Express Tribune’s website highlighting Jinnah’s tastes in fashion, books and furniture. A pretty good read. In the last paragraph of the article, the writer makes a pretty epic concluding statement:

To be Jinnah was to be knowledge, grace, class, commitment and above all sacrifice personified

All in all, I am pretty thankful that Pakistan was founded by a man like Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Frankly, one can’t wish for a better leader.

What’s Going Right in Pakistan

This is a kind of update to Dr. Adil Najam’s post, which has the same title. In his article, he discussed things from a more abstract perspective. In my version, I’d like to highlight the individual people and organizations that are making a change. The various things, big and small, that act as beacons of hope for the country. The little things that make life worth living, and show signs of a better future.

Kachee Goliyan

kachee goliyan

For those who don’t know, Kachee Goliyan, is perhaps Pakistan’s first (more or less) commercial comic book series. Why is it called “Kachee Goliyan”? I have no idea. Anyway, the main characters, JC and Sufi, are perhaps Pakistan’s first superheroes. The guys who created it, Ramish Safa and Nofal Khan, may be the pioneers of something like a Pakistani manga renaissance. Even though their humorous plots and bizarre, but nevertheless relatable, characters like Maula Jatt (perhaps a parody of Sultan Rahi?) are pretty influential and popular. The thing that makes them part of this list is their off hand and humorous way of representing Pakistan and its problems. It takes a huge amount of skill and experience to be able to make people laugh at themselves, and these guys are experts at it. An interesting thing about Kachee Goliyan, is that the two main protagonists are caricatures of the creators. One can see the obvious resemblance between JC and Sufi, with the creators of the series, in this picture:

kg_creators

In my humble opinion, the biggest achievement of the Kachee Goliyan franchise is that it has triggered a phenomenon. After their exponential success, a dozen other Pakistani facebook pages have been created purely for posting comic strips. Perhaps the only thing that stopped the numerous artists in Pakistan (or its diaspora) from publishing their own comic books was the fatal question, “Will people even read them?”. Kachee Goliyan is living proof of the fact that, yes, there is a large and critical comic book and manga audience in Pakistan that is willing to not only read, but actually buy and advertise comic books.

Lahore University of Management Sciences

living_at_lums

If there is one good university in Pakistan, it is LUMS. It is my ambition to get admitted in LUMS SSE, and major in something cool like Electrical Engineering. There is a lot of stuff I like about LUMS. There is the Olympiad, the campus, the faculty (Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy has left though. He was a gem.), the alumni and the general outlook on education. LUMS encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Perhaps this is why many LUMS graduates often end up making large companies like Mushrooms and Nishat Chunin etc. My grandpa is a (retd.) professor of education at the Bahauddin Zakariya University, he once told me his university hires LUMS graduates without even an interview. Seriously, it’s like “Hey, you’re from LUMS?!”“Er… yeah.”… “Okay, you’re hired!”. Now that is awesomeness. Also, Dr. Adil Najam, the person who wrote the article I mentioned in the first paragraph, is the current vice chancellor of LUMS.

National Engineering Robotics Contest 

nerc

The NERC, is usually held at National University of Science and Technology (NUST). Mostly in H-12 or EME. It is pretty good. It gives the country’s talented future engineers to try their hand at creating robots. The challenges are pretty interesting too. It is also a nice, albeit somewhat inaccurate, way of comparing the skills and talent of the engineering alumni at different universities around the country.

National Outreach Programme

The LUMS NOP is one of the greatest forces for change in the country. The NOP has fulfilled the dreams of hundreds of underprivileged students across the country. An excellent example of Pakistani philanthropy.

These are just a few of the billions and billions of things that seem to be tiny rays of hope penetrating the clouds of despair, ignorance and intolerance that loom over Pakistan. Clouds are temporary. They clear away after rain. But these rays of hope will keep on shining day after day, until their light reaches every troubled soul in the country.

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.

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.

Patriotic Trolls

this_is_the_internet

I don’t usually talk about the India-Pakistan issue, but what I find really annoying is that on sites like the Express Tribune and Youtube, on every damn post, video or article there is always some guy (whether Pakistani or Indian) who re-instigates the Pakistan vs India ideology and begins a comment war. For example here is a potential provoker:

provoker

This is usually followed by an accusation of the commenter being an agent of the enemy:

accusation

The battle rages for several months, even years, until both sides are exhausted. At first the commenters (almost) make sense. They outline the geo-econo-political issues faced by both countries and give their (apparently) unbiased opinion on which country is better.  However, the comment stream gets increasingly idiotic as time passes. In the end it consists of a couple of meaningless, retarded, racist and abusive phrases repeated again and again in CAPITAL letters.

this_is_the_internet

All these comment wars do is prove how retarded both countries are, to the rest of the world. It doesn’t really help anyone. In fact, it can’t even be called patriotism, it’s just fanatic blundering. Seriously, people! Grow up. What’s done is done, and you can’t change the past. However, you can help build a better future. It is estimated that free-trade with India and a co-operative economic policy can increase the GDP and HDI of both countries drastically. So basically, you’re just harming your own country by these fights. Think about it.

MIT, LUMS and De La Salle

Yes, I’m talking once again about one of my greatest obsessions, universities. I am so obsessed that I sometimes wonder if I’ll end up being a university professor like my grandpa. I really like lecturing people. Actually, lecturing is an under-statement. I talk so much I gnaw the ears off of my mom and teachers. I can actually see them wincing sometimes at the end of a two hour exclusive lecturing session. Anyway, I’ll write about some universities I’ve been researching for the past few days.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Yeah, MIT. I talk about it so much that my brother leaves the room immediately when he hears the word. Anyway, I learnt that MIT gives need-based scholarships to selected students. This means the incredibly high-fees may not be a problem if I can get really good grades in my A Levels, my SAT reasoning test, my SAT-2 Subject tests and the Omani GED that I am doing. Frankly it depends more on my SAT-2 and A Level grades. However, even if I get straight As or something, the chances are still pretty slim. It is stated on their website that out of the nearly 4000 international students who apply, only about 150 get admitted. This is pretty unnerving, and depressing. But still, one must live up to the challenge.

Lahore University of Management  Sciences (LUMS)

The more I hear about this university, the more I like it. It is obviously not on par with MIT, Harvard, Stanford and like, but it has still got class. Whether it be in academics, facilities, innovation, society or just plain awesomeness, LUMS scores a 10. Another good point is that it is not uncommon for lumenites to get scholarships to awesome universities like MIT and Harvard. So, if I (god-forbid) don’t get an undergraduate full-bright to MIT, there is always hope for a graduate scholarship. Or if things get desperate, at least a doctorate scholarship. However one of the main problems of LUMS, at least for me, is that it doesn’t really offer any good engineering degrees, with the exception of electrical engineering. So basically, all the Lahore University of Management Sciences is good for, is well…. management sciences. And, perhaps, computer science. I would actually be pretty satisfied with a BS in Computer Science from LUMS SSE, however there is yet another problem. You can’t choose your major. In the first year, they teach you everything, and after that they decide your major. Of course, they can choose something really good for you like Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or Physics. However, you can also be subjected to something nightmarishly horrible and excruciatingly, unbearably painful… like Biology (shivers). Therefore going to LUMS has its risks.

De La Salle University

This university is actually pretty perfect. Actually, I am actually hoping to get admitted to it. It offers the degree I want (mechatronic engineering), it has an extremely awesome ranking, its fees are affordable, awesome on-campus housing and it accepts both the SAT and the A Levels as a basis for admission. However, there is one devastating catch. It requires you to give an on-campus admission test and interview. That means I will have to fly over to Manila and give the admission test if I want to apply to this university. This may not sound so bad if I actually get admitted. However, buying a 260 Rial return ticket, giving the admission test and failing is pretty embarrassing. Let’s hope they admit me.