Tue 7 Oct 2008
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Sun 6 Apr 2008



The Scene : Two Top American Executives at IBM Offices in United



Year: 2030


Alex: Hi John. You didn't come to work yesterday.


John: Yeah. I was at the Pakistani Embassy trying to get my visa.


Alex: Oh, really? What happened? I've heard that these days they

have become very strict.


John: Yeah, but I managed to get it.


Alex: How long did it take to get it stamped?


John: Man, it was a long queue. Bill Gates was waiting in front of

me and they really gave him a hard time. The poor guy even brought

the property papers for his house in Seattle to show them that he

will return to USA. I went there at 4:00 a.m. to get in the queue and

there were tons of people ahead of me.


Alex: Really? In Pakistan, at the US Embassy it only takes an hour

to get a visa for USA.


John: Yeah! But that's because no one in Pakistan would want to come

to USA, except Americans who have taken Pakistani nationality and

want to bring their kids here.


Alex: So, when are you leaving?


John: As soon as I get my tickets from the company in Pakistan. I'm

so excited. I will be getting a chance to finally fly with the

world's fastest growing airline, Pakistan International Airlines

(PIA). Sort of dream come true, you know.


Alex: How long are you planning to stay in Pakistan?


John: What do you mean "how long?" I will try and settle in

Pakistan. My company has promised me that they will process my Green

Book as soon as possible.


Alex: Really? Man, you're lucky. It's very difficult to get the

Green Book in Pakistan. Last year my cousin and his family went there

on a tourist visa and they're not coming back now.


John: Yeah. That's why I'm planning on marrying a Pakistani girl

there and then sponsoring my parents and my brother and sister from

New York to Pakistan.


Alex: But I hear you can find lots of good American girls in Karachi

and Lahore.


John: Yeah, but I prefer Pakistani girls. They are so much more

superior to our girls.


Alex: What city are you going to?


John: Karachi. The company has a downtown office. Yeah, the salary

is good but the cost of living is quite high because of all the

people flocking to this high-tech mecca.


Alex: I hear the exchange rate is now $100 to a Rupee! That's just

too much. What about Rawalpindi and Islamabad? What are they like?


John: No idea. But they're cheaper than Karachi, which is the

world's headquarter for information technology now.


Alex: I hear the quality of life in Pakistan is incredible.


John: Yeah, man. You can buy a BMW for Rs.30,000, and a Mercedes for

less than Rs.45,000. But my dream is to purchase a Suzuki Turbo FX-

800 which costs roughly Rs.90,000. But what a sweet design, great

curves, and it purrs to the touch.


Alex: By the way, which company are you gonna work for?


John: Haji Jalal Puttarjee & Bros. Technologies, a pure Pakistani

conglomerate specialising in embedded software.


Alex: Man, you're so lucky to work for a pure Pakistani company.

They are really intelligent and unlike any American body shops that

have opened their fly-by-night outfits in Pakistan. The Pakistani

companies pay you even when you're on the bench. My friend, Paul

Allen, used his bench time to visit the Makran Coast, the most

gorgeous resort in Pakistan, I hear.


John: Yeah, man, you're right. I hope the US learns something from

them and follow in their footsteps. It seems all we do is borrow more

and more money from the Prime Commercial Bank.


Alex: How are you going to cope with their language?


John: I've been learning Urdu since my school days. I always dreamed

that one day I'll head for Pakistan ever since my uncle bought me

that T-Shirt from Islamia College. At the Consulate they tested my

proficiency in Urdu and were quite impressed by my score in U-FEL.


Alex: Boy! You're so damn lucky.


John: Yeah. I'll be travelling in the world's fastest train, Tezgam,

I'll be visiting the world's largest theme park in Changa Manga, and

I'll be visiting the famous Lollywood where I might meet the sons and

daughters of movie legends like Nadeem, Sultan Rahi, Anjuman, Reema

and the late babe, Barbra Sharif.


Alex: You know, the Pakistani President is scheduled to visit USA

next year and I hear that he may increase the number of employment



John: That's very true. Last month, their Labour Minister, Naswar

Khan Pakhtoon, visited the White House and donated Rs.20,000 for the

re-development of the World Trade Centre at Silicon Valley, and has

promised more if we follow the models of the fast developing high-

tech cities, Quetta and Peshawar. Bill Gates was lucky to have a

chance to meet him. Very lucky person.


Alex: Will you be calling on Dave? I hear that he has made it big

there and has a beautiful house on the Lyari River in Karachi.


John: Yeah, I'll be meeting him.


Alex: Anyway, nice chatting to you, John. Good luck, you lucky dog.


John: Yeah, and the same to you, Alex. By the way, don't ever go to

the Pakistani Consulate in the Pakistani local dress because they

will think you're too Pakistanised and may doubt that you will ever

come back, and your application will be rejected. And yes, don't

forget to say to the Visa Officer politely: "Asalam-o-Alaikum. " It

will show them you're a cultured person.

Categories : Thoughts / Lessons
Comments (3)
Fri 6 Apr 2007

Blood groups 'can be converted'
Supplies of blood are always stretched

Scientists have developed a way of converting one blood group into another.

The technique potentially enables blood from groups A, B and AB to be converted into group O negative, which can be safely transplanted into any patient.

The method, which makes use of newly discovered enzymes, may help relieve shortages of blood for transfusions.

The work, led by the University of Copenhagen, is reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Using incompatible blood during a transfusion can put a patient's life in danger.

The blood cells of people with group A and B blood contain one of two different sugar molecules - known as antigens - which can trigger an immune system response.
People with AB blood have both types of molecule, while those with group O blood have neither.
People produce antibodies against the antigens they lack.

This means groups A, B and AB can only be given to patients with compatible blood, while O - as long as it is rhesus negative - can be given to anyone.
The new technique works by using bacterial enzymes to cut sugar molecules from the surface of red blood cells.

After a search of 2,500 fungi and bacteria the researchers discovered two bacteria - Elizabethkingia meningosepticum and Bacterioides fragilis - which contained potentially useful enzymes.

They found that enzymes from both bacteria were able to remove both A and B antigens from red blood cells.

Trials needed

However, they say that patient trials will be needed before the conversion method can be used in hospitals.
Writing in the same journal, blood experts Geoff Daniels, of the Bristol Institute for Transfusion Sciences, and Stephen Withers, of the University of British Columbia, Canada, welcome the research.

They said the use of enzymes to convert blood group has long been proposed, but has proved to be impractical due to the inefficiency and incompatibility of available enzymes.

However, they say the enzymes discovered in the latest study may finally overcome these problems.

They write: "Their method may enable manufacture of universal red cells, which would substantially reduce pressure on the blood supply."

The new process cannot do anything about another antigen that can trigger an immune response. Blood which carries this antigen is known as rhesus positive.

This means that only rhesus negative blood can be used to create the new type of group O supplies.

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