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Archive for February, 2008

Farewell, Bukhari*

*An Afg heater filled with saw dust or firewood.

Am so glad we can finally get rid of this! the weather has warmed up to 10 degrees celcius. Still not warm, but much better than the minus weather. It takes up too much space in the room, looks ugly because it has a huge pipe attached from the wall to the bukhari in an upside down ‘L’. But it did us good.

I didn’t have one in my room because of the maintenance and the smoke and soot.I survived through the winter with my gas heater and 3 blankets. Sometimes even a jacket and a woolen scarf wrapped around my head.

And that was my first complete winter in Kabul.
Cruel winter days, glad it’s over.

This is what a bukhari looks like – Thanks for the pic, Hik

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Kabul in pictures IV

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^ Ohmigawd, Gitmo prisoners have been sent to Kabul to clean the streets as punishment, community service.
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^ Pedestrians passing through. Zig zag crossing- Afghan style.
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^ Why did the sheep cross the road? To buy a phone card (them dangling things).
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^ Guess which school? They recently painted it ugly blue. Lycee Naderia.
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^ Polytechnic University. Or as Afghans pronounce it, Puleh takhneek.
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^ A smaller side of Kabul University.
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^ A recently built university in Karte 3. I love the Iranian-Arab architecture. Will take better pics when i pass by again. Below is also the university
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From my H-jan

Decided to take a few snapshots of things in my room. Here are some of the many things H-jan has spoilt me with.

dsc04765.jpg ^ My Valentines teddy

dsc04693.jpg                                                                       ^ The first bunch of roses H-jan bought for me.

dsc04766.jpg                ^ Meet Khaanum Fattoo and Aqayeh Fatty, aren’t they so adorable? We went shopping together during Eid and came across this. I liked it and H-jan bought it for me. Oh and the Allure perfume behind Khaanum Fattoo, was one of my eidee pressies. O- so- Sweet.

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Back at work after 4 days. I took an extra two days off because i felt ‘sick’. and also had some shopping to do. I went yesterday with mum, baby sister, my sister and her hubby. My baby sister had her first ride in a trolley yesterday! Should have seen the smile on her face. took her pic.

Went to Chicken St to buy my Afghan traditional dress. I thought it would cost $80-$100 max. but it ended up costing $260US. but it’s all good, the dress is very antique, a lot of work done on it, hand embroidery etc (check out the pic below). Also found the jewelry, that thing below is the headpiece.

Will write more later.. have a lot of work to catch up on.

maateka.jpgafg-dress1.jpgafg-dress-back.jpg

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An innocent civilian was on the way to his brother’s wedding when he was mistakenly shot dead because he failed to slow down at some check-point. Coalition forces controlling the area or those working for them thought he was a talib…

This happens nearly ALL the time. While i dont agree with it at all, Afghans know the consequences of following too closely. They shoot at you if you follow too closely. But they tell you on the news, they tell you in ads on TV and in newspapers, they have pictorial signs on the back of tanks, on bulletin boards, translated Dari, Pashto and English. Soldiers motioning for you, warning you to slow down but ppl just don’t seem to learn! They still drive in close proximity to the convoy or they zig-zag, trying to pass through the convoys, reckless driving. obviously the troops feel like it’s a suicide bomber about to detonate. I’ve seen how these ppl drive.

Let’s ignore that they are ‘American’ and ‘evil’ for a second. 

I see it happen all the time, a convoy of tanks are passing through the road, they’re trying to get by as fast as they can. They motion for other cars to slow down, they have their weapon, ready to fire.

One time, we were driving and my driver and i saw a car accident. So his attention was diverted towards the scene. All of a sudden we heard someone yell out ‘OYYYYYYYY” it was the Italian convoy, passing by. our car was about to hit them. The driver slammed the brakes. The convoy passed on as normal.

I agree and sympathise with the Afghans that this is our land and we should have the right to do whatever we want. But let’s face it, these coalition forces are here. You want to play stupid by outrunning them, you WILL get shot. Having said that, i believe the forces can come up with an alternative.

Despite them being ‘American invaders’, Afghans need to learn to follow the law.

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Danishgah, danishkada, daanishmand, daanishjoyan…

Say these words on Afghan TV and you’re busted.

Three Afghan journalists working for government-owned media have been fined five days salary for using words from the wrong language (Persian).

and for not “observing cultural and Islamic principles”.

Abdul Basir Babai had been reprimanded for using three words from Persian, as used in Iran, instead of their local equivalent derived from Pashtun — the language of the Afghan majority.

One of the word was daanishgah instead of pahantoon to refer to university.

Farsi speakers suggest that there’s nothing wrong with the terms, Pashtoons say otherwise. Why change our language? Why be influenced by external factors, namely Iran? Unfortunately, i’ve witnessed this on Afghan TV where majority of the newsreaders and hosts adapt the Iranian accent and terminology. At the same time, I don’t think journalists should have lost their jobs over it. What if the journalist has spent most of his/her life in Iran? Can’t blame them can you?

I’m sitting on the fence here.

A Mazar-i-Sharif journalist was sentenced to death by a provincial primary court last month for downloading from the Internet and distributing articles said to question Islam. (AFP, 11/02/08)

And how is this justified? Islam encourages Muslims and Non-Muslims to question and debate the religion. There are no mistakes in the Quran or in it’s teachings, so let them question on. What is wrong with these people?! So upsetting.

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Valentines Day in Kabul

This is a backlog.

Valentines Day was on Thursday. Thursday is generally referred to as golshanbee by all engaged couples as the next day is a national holiday. A day where most engaged couples spend together.

Anyhoodles, Valentines coincided on this day. My day started out pretty normal. Came to work. Snowing heavily. A colleague of mine wanted to buy her fiance a valentines gift. So just before lunch time we headed to Flower St.

My colleague was choosing a bouquet of roses when i noticed a young girl and her mother walking briskly in and out of the small shop, looking for someone. The young girl had lined her lips thickly with bright red liner. Her pierced nose had a loop nose ring. Chewing gum in a very unladylike manner. Soon enough the mother spoke out in Dari.

Lady: ‘Where’s the younger guy who works in the shop?’

Sales guy: There is no younger guy, it’s just us.

Lady (in a stern tone): No, i know there’s a younger guy who works here.

Lady takes out a gift wrapped present, rips the wrapper open revealing a bottle of perfume. She grabs the bottle and throws it on the bitumen. Shattering glass everywhere. Everyone gathers to see what the commotion is about.

Lady: Tell your salesperson to save roozeh ashiqaa (lovers day, referring to valentines day) for someone else. Grabs her daughters hand and walks down the road. Everyone is murmuring by now, asking each other what’s going on. Afghans.

Sadah az yak dist namebrayah (my fav Dari saying which interprets as you need two hands to make a sound (clap) i.e there is always another party). If the girl hadn’t given him the chance to present a gift to her, this wouldn’t have happened. I reckon, perhaps there was chemistry between them.

Our next stop was Chelsea, where i bought junk food and a few toiletries. Also bought my baby sister her first tooth brush. Awwwww…

Final stop, Kabul City Centre. I needed a Valentines gift also for H. The cafe downstairs had four young women dressed in red. Other stores had red hearts everywhere and on display. One store even offered free gift wrapping special for the day (I didn’t know Kabul had that).

I bought my beloved an ‘I love you’ teddy bear, a nice mug and saucer (so he can think of me everytime he drinks his coffee/chai and a card.

That evening he came over with a huge bouquet of roses, chocolates and a big plush teddy bear. I was surprised because he was telling me that he wanted to celebrate V Day in Dubai etc.

Anyhoos, that night we went for dinner at Red Hot Sizzling… an Australian restaurant (one of the few that’s got very tight security and is on H’s allowed list). It was very pleasant. Food was great.

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* Pronounced as Tayy Maskan. Thanks for pointing it out Hameedjan.

For those of you who have been to Kabul. Do you remember seeing those tents lined up in Tayy Maskan on the side of the road, to your right when heading towards Khair Khana? Ppl living there and you feel terrible for them. My dad’s uncle has returned from Australia only for helping the poor (currently owns an orphanage, has built mosques etc).

Anyhoodles, he decided to do something about it. so he went and spoke to a few officials and asked about getting a house where he can accommodate all these ppl and provide them with food, education (including English and computer skills). As for money, they were to find jobs to support themselves.

So my dad’s uncle went to them and told them that he has a house for them, one large room per family, daily meals provided etc. they all agreed. so he brought buses and transported them to the house where they settled.

A few days had passed and one of the guys from the house arranged a meeting with dad’s uncle. He asked dad’s uncle what his plans were for them, he told him that he’s put a roof over their heads, provided daily meals and education for their children. The parents were to find jobs and earn a living for themselves.

It wasn’t good enough for them, they wanted more. The guy told dad’s uncle that they were better off in tents, the ‘kharijees’ would pay them more money upon sympathising. They said that they thought he had big plans like getting them out of Afghanistan and to ‘kharij’.

So they all packed up and went back to their tents.

Now there are two dimensions to this story.

1) These ppl have adapted to the ‘moftkhoor’ (free) attitude.

2) Lack of jobs, jobs don’t provide adequate income for a large family.

I personally agree with point 1, they can at least start by taking small steps.

Point of the story is, when attempting to assist Afghans in Afghanistan. Look for the Mustahaq poor people. Don’t be fooled.

Aschiana has done an excellent job in helping the street children.

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I’m posting this for the sake of posting. Yes, I know i have become slack. Or simply because my fingers are frozen and typing seems like a difficult task. I have even slowed down in replying to emails.

Since the last post, there have been wedding preparations, wedding preparations and more wedding preparations. I had a nightmare the other night that it was my wedding day, but my wedding dress was all wrinkled. My groom was late to pick me up. terrible! i woke up, fell asleep. only for the dream to continue.

Weather has been warming up a LITTLE. yesterday morning the office thermometer said -5 degrees celcius. electricity has been extremely kind. We have had electricity for the past 48 hours. Bought a large screen TV.

Found the hall we’re getting married in. HUGE! Accommodating 1500 ppl.

I was panicking last night about not being able to find a dress while shopping in Dubai/KL. Hope all goes well.

H-jan and his bro came over on Thursday, spent the night at my place. Spent the entire weekend looking for halls. Benazir is the current trend, but much too small and not to my liking at all, too colourful.

Ummmmmmm… sometimes my conscience comes into play and i reconsider the wedding and feel like paying the money to the poor and needy. But…

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