5 Scams on Facebook You Thought Were True.

After the hoax email period, we now have an era of Facebook scams. These spread faster than your average flu, a person to four hundred more; if you pressed the share button, it is likely 20 people on your friend’s list did, too.

Below are 10 of the most common hoaxes found on Facebook in the recent years, some of which even date back to chain e-mail messages.

1. Celine Dion Death Hoax

Hollywood Breaking News – R.I.P Celine Dion At about 11 a.m. ET on Sunday (October 20, 2013), Celine Dion died in a plane crash. The culprit for the story is Global Associated, aka Mediafetcher. “Celine Dion presumed dead in private plane crash”, Global claims that Celine died today at “Denver Peak-Regional Airport”. a small private aircraft in distress ceased radio contact with the control tower and fell below radar frequency after reporting engine trouble and smoke in the cockpit. Actress, Celine Dion was believed to have been a passenger on the flight. Raw footage of her accident has been recorded and leaked to fox news but cannot be broadcasted over the air so it was uploaded via the internet for the public to view. Due to the graphic content of this video, please be advised 18+ only. Watch Full Exclusive Video–>

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If you saw this post on Facebook, and were sad about her demise, cheer up! Dion is well and alive.

This post, which is normally accompanied by a video, installs an Application which then sends out the false death reports to all of your friends. By clicking on the link, you have unknowingly shared this hoax with your friend’s list on Facebook. There are reports of this link tricking the user into downloading malicious software as well. Beware!

2. Facebook Likes for Money Hoax

This particular scam is perhaps one of the oldest ones in the history. It tricks the user into thinking that ‘liking’ the picture accompanying this post will actually generate money which will then be used to treat the child in the picture.

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Facebook has not, and will not, donate any money based on your likes and shares of any post. However, there will be an increase in the popularity of the page on which these posts are present. Most hoaxes which suggest that liking a picture of an injured person will somehow help them are created by people looking for ways to boost the popularity of their pages.

The child in the picture is Xiao Bao from southern China, whose story you can read here.

3. Facebook Profile Viewer Hoax

Stalking someone on Facebook and worried that they might find out? Well, don’t. Every time someone claims to show who visited your profile last, don’t click on it, because it definitely is a scam. Facebook does not allow users to find out who last visited their profile.

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In the worse case scenario, clicking on the link will lead to multiple verification processes, eventually leading to important account information being leaked to the scammer. This person will then be able to hijack your account with considerable ease.

4. ‘Birds Can Die from Discarded Gum’ Hoax

The picture below has been circulating on Facebook for quite some time now. It claims that birds mistake chewing gum on the ground for bread pieces, and leads to their slow and painful demise.

gum-birds-die

This sounds correct and maybe even logical. However, experts have said that while birds might accidentally lodge chewing gum in their airways, the fact remains that it is very unlikely to happen. Birds in parks tend to peck on the gum and, once they realize it’s not something they want to eat, they leave it and move on.  (Source: CBS21 ‘Lie or Legit’)

Despite the message itself being a hoax, it is important to remember that it comes with an important moral, that is, to be responsible with our trash and to dispose off it as soon as possible. Leaving trash on the ground might not kill birds, but it can be harmful to others.

5. ‘Child Missing at Legoland’ Hoax

This hoax is actually a false warning regarding a kidnapping that took place at Legoland. The details are sketchy and inaccurate, and there is no record of any such incident being reported. The message circulated is as follows:

legoland_discovery_center

To everyone who have a child, please read!!! This incident happened last sunday, at legoland. My friend’s friend family went to legoland for a holiday last sunday. While queueing up for food, she took her eyes off her 6 year old son for a moment. In just a few seconds, she realise her son was missing. Quickly she report to the legoland staff and they close down the exits in the area. The whole legoland staff was alerted and a wide search was conducted for a few hours. Finally they found her son. What was horrifying is that her son has been shaved botak, changed his clothes and shoes, and was placed in a stroller being pushed out of the place. The kid was found to be in a drowsy state, believed to be given something to smell to knock him out. Please share to warn all your relatives to be careful when bringing your family out on a holiday!!!! Please spread

 Unlike what the post says, kindly do not spread the warning. A similar warning was issued back in 2011, about an incident occurring at Wonderland. In fact, it is suggested that different versions of the same story date back as far as the 1980s!

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5 Things You Hear A Lot if You’re From a University Affiliated with Karachi University.

If you have studied in, or are studying in, a university affiliated with the University of Karachi (Karachi University; KU), you must have come across these five instances at least once in your life. If you haven’t, then immediately bow down in gratefulness and praise the Lord for that beautiful moment when KU stopped being itself!

These instances tend to increase in frequency as the year draws to a close.

1. ‘Beta, date agayi?’ (Has the date been announced, child?’)
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 This question will be asked a million times and the answer, every time, will be in negative. 
2. ‘Third year start hogaya hoga na?’ (Your third year must’ve have started, right?)
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 Wrong. Since I haven’t really taken any exams and therefore haven’t actually cleared the previous year. This is followed by pitiful glances and question number 3. 
3. ‘Fail tou nahin hogayi?’ (I hope you didn’t fail?)
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Ha. You’re so funny I think I’ll die laughing. That joke would’ve been funnier (and perhaps more credible) had I actually attempted the examinations. 
4. ‘Still no date?’
open-mouth-shocked-face Um, no?
5. When did you start studying in Karachi University?!
Shocked-Kitten-Face-640x360I…didn’t? I think you misunderstood the word ‘affiliated’. 
 
 
 

V-Day Special: My Unrequited Love for Señor KU.

While everyone’s busy looking around for ways to impress their significant others, this Valentine’s Day I sit by my computer, as melancholy as one can possibly be, and write about my unrequited love for Señor KU.

Yeah, KU, one day I'd like this to be us.
Yeah, KU, one day I’d like this to be us.

Señor KU, otherwise known as Karachi University (or University Run by Men without Watches) and I share a unique relationship, one that, like many other love stories, is marred by tragedy. I would say that ours is a love-hate relationship, but then I would be commonizing something that is just so unique.

As I sit here, tears welling up in my eyes, all the betrayal flashes by my eyes. I remember when I chose you over everyone else, thinking that you would be kind to me. But, no. You had to go and ruin everything.

Despite your continued rejection, and the fact that your receptionists are simply rude (insert swearword), I never stopped calling you. I fumed every time the phone was shut in my face, thinking it was the last straw, but no. I always found my way back to you, begging you to answer my questions.

I immersed myself into my studies, hoping that one day that call would come – the call that would summon me to your oddly huge, dread-laden, lodgings. I was worried that I wouldn’t finish in time, that when the call came you would not find me good enough for you, but that fear is long gone. In our eternity apart, I managed to go over each and everything (although I’ll never be good enough for you!). I think, Señor KU, a call is overdue.

You’ve made me cry (come to think of it, you’ve never made me laugh), but I did have that nice rain moment once (in which you played no significant role). Nonetheless, I wait for you all day and all night. Just say the word, and I’ll be all yours.

But seriously dude (sorry Señor KU), it’s about damn time.

In the words of a cheap Pakistani V-Day silencer-less motorbiker:

KU, meri jaan, ab date dey bhi do naa.

The Fault in Our Stars – Book Review.

For a bookworm, reading is second nature. From Dr. Seuss to Rudyard Kipling, from Suzanne Collins to Rowling and Tolkien, the bookworm has read everything. There are books that are just excellently written stories. Then there are those which absolutely engross the reader, and during the journey the characters and their problems seem to sound like our own. These books tug at our heartstrings; we cry with them, laugh with them and love the characters like they were family.

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The Fault in Our Stars book cover

John Green’s ‘The Fault in our Stars’ struck the perfect note. Narrated by sixteen year old Hazel Grace Lancaster, a cancer patient, the book addressed something faced by a large majority of teens today, something the healthy ones know very little about – lives of the patients after diagnosis.

With every word I read, I lived a little, laughed a little and ultimately, died a little inside. The resolve shown by Hazel and her parents moved me, but my insides tore every time she showed the reader her sensitive side – the side that remained veiled for everyone else.

‘The Fault in our Stars’ gave a new meaning to life – and to death. It glorified the innocence of faithful relationships, the irrevocable love of a parent for her child, and the beauty of seeking refuge within another person. It made the reader realize the importance of enjoying even the minutest things, before – using a word from the novel, itself – everything disappears into oblivion.

The book mainly revolves around the romance between Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, another cancer patient, their struggle with cancer’s ‘side-effects’ and Hazel’s almost unhealthy obsession with Peter van Houten’s ‘An Imperial Affliction’, from which she derives most of her philosophies about death. The conversations between the two protagonists and their interactions with the rest of the characters are portrayed in such a terrific manner, that all of it just hits right home.

‘The world is not a wish-granting factory.’

‘Grief does not change you, Hazel, it reveals you.’

It talks about how, by trying not to pain someone, we may end up hurting them even more.

‘I’m a grenade and some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?’

‘You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you.’

The alluring manner in which Green declared less to mean so much more enraptured the reader even further.

‘Maybe ‘okay’ will be our always.’

I feel like I’m giving away a piece of myself when asking others to read this book. I know, however, that it is impossible not to give in to the sentiments that erupt within oneself during the course of this book.

A movie based on the book is set to release in June 2014.

Summing it all up in the words of Green, himself, ‘Books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection seems like a betrayal.’

Order of Bravery for Pakistan’s Hero

The internet is always abuzz with something or the other. More often than not, it’s an attention-seeking celebrity or the divorce of Hollywood’s chummiest couple bouncing off the tabloids. Recently, however, the social media, especially that of Pakistani origin, has been on fire, demanding that a Nishan-e-Shujat be awarded to the late Aitzaz Hussain.

Aitzaz Hussain – who? If you haven’t come across this name in the past few days, then you’re missing out on one of the most heroic acts Pakistan has ever seen. What makes the whole thing even more amazing is that the martyr – Aitzaz Hussain – was only fourteen years old.

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Aitzaz Hussain

Hussain achieved his heroic status when he challenged a suicide bomber outside a school in the Ibrahimzai district of Hangu. The bomber, who was targeting a local school, was intercepted and restricted by Hussain, who was only in the ninth grade. Records of the eyewitnesses’ statements say that Hussain first pelted the bomber with a stone, and when the bomber fled, chased after him. The bomber blew himself up in the process, killing himself, and Hussain.

The entire district of Ibrahimzai is obliged to Aitzaz Hussain for saving the lives of hundreds of students and teachers present within the school premises. These innocent lives would have been lost at the hands of a brainwashed suicide bomber, had Aitzaz Hussain not been present.

That being said, it’s only fair to say that Aitzaz Hussain is Pakistan’s very own superhero. He has won the hearts of Pakistanis, who now, feel the need to recognize his sacrifice in every possible way.

Currently, an online petition has been doing rounds, demanding that Aitzaz Hussain be awarded the Nishan-e-Haider; the award, which is not meant to be awarded to civilians, is presented for the highest acts of bravery. Considering that very few instances exceed the bar set by a fourteen year-old  sacrificing his life to save friends and teachers, the petition demands that an exception be made in this case, and that the Nishan-e-Haider be awarded to a civilian just this once.

Others suggest that the Nishan-e-Shujaat, the civilian equivalent of Nishan-e-Haider, should be awarded to Hussain for his bravery. The government has, as of this writing, only suggested that this act was worthy of an award, without any follow-up.

I request, respecting the sacrifice of Aitzaz Hussain, that his efforts be recognized, and that he be granted an order of bravery award soon. Not only did a fourteen year-old lose his life that day, but his parents lost a son and his classmates lost a friend. We owe it to them to make his sacrifice count.

But most of all, we owe it to the martyr, that is, Aitzaz Hussain, himself, who gave his life up so that hundreds more could live. I salute this man, and with it I pray that terrorism soon becomes a thing of the past. 

 

If you agree that Aitzaz Hussain should be awarded with the Nishan-e-Haider, then you can sign the petition herehttp://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/award-nishan-e-haider-to-aitizaz-hussain

Of Manners and Spoilt Brats.

When I began writing this blog, it was supposed to be a story about an innocent being crumpled by the corrupt. I wrote a paragraph from the point of view of a patriot, and then stopped. I could’ve gone on, but there is no fun in negatively portraying something so close and dear to you. 

It got me thinking. 

When I was listening to the news earlier today (which is all about Musharraf and his supposedly treason case), I couldn’t help but feel sorry for that poor man. I try to distance myself from politics as much as possible. The fact that my knowledge in that area is minimum doesn’t help much either. Looking at the news and all that they are showing about Musharraf’s past, it isn’t hard to figure that he is a good man who just happened to come across some very poor circumstances and even worse people. 

I won’t write about what I don’t know. I’ll stay on my level and talk about Musharraf who, for me, was a breath of fresh air. What little ‘positives’ I know about Bhutto and Sharif tenures come from my history books, and even those don’t make me like these people any better. However, when Musharraf was in power, I felt safe. When he was to be impeached, and Pakistan plunged into the ‘Dark Ages’, I, like so many others, was mortified. When he decided to come back to Pakistan to contest in the elections, I was jubilant, albeit a little scared inside. 

Fastforwarding to today, when Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in his childish tweets, degraded a man of his honor and standard, I was enraged. Not because I didn’t consider it a stunt (because I know what politicians – every politician – is capable of) and not simply because I disagree with him. I was enraged, because Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is a twenty-five year old kid (excuse the expression) while Pervez Musharraf is a seventy-year old ex-army chief. 

Hearing BBZ talk about Musharraf like that sounds like listening to that eight year old kid mouth off in front of adults just because his parents forgot to teach him manners. I don’t care what his views are (yes, everyone has them) and I don’t care if he considers Musharraf a traitor (more than half the country does). What I care about is him talking about an ex-army chief and ex-president like he was his personal slave. 

Now, Mr. BBZ. If you are going to contest the 2018 elections, and you plan on winning them (considering there is no rigging that is) I, for one, wouldn’t want the misbehaved kid that no one likes to be my Prime Minister. Considering that these are values instilled in most Pakistanis from Day One, I think I can count on several thousand other people who would chide you for those tweets. 

This is not how we speak to our elders in this country. If you plan on representing us, you might want to learn the basics first. 

 

New Years’ Eve Special: Interview with Shazaf Fatima Haider

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    Photo courtesy: Penguin India

To kick start my new year, I interviewed someone who came out with her first novel earlier this year. To say that it has been a huge success would be an understatement. Her book How it Happened perfectly captures the beauty of Pakistani marriages, the social (and apparently religious!) stigma regarding inter-sect marriages and most of all, has portrayed immaculately the innocence of adolescence.

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Book cover of ‘How it Happened’

First of all, I would like to thank her for agreeing to do this interview, and for responding promptly to the interview questions I emailed to her. 

Me: So, tell me a little about yourself. Do you come from a background of writers?

SFH: You know, if you look hard enough, everyone comes from a background of writers. Everyone wries secretly and has masterpieces that go hidden or are lost because no one believed in them. I was rummaging through the bookshelves and saw that one of my mother’s cousins was a poet – and he wrote the wittiest Urdu poetry I’ve read. But he died a long time ago and possibly self published this anthology. I felt so sad because had he been born in the right place, connected to the right people, he could have been famous. Now all that’s left of him is a tattered book of faded yellow pages. But otherwise, no, I don’t think I’m related to any famous or great writers. 

Me: What inspired you to write ‘How it Happened’?

SFH: Frustration. Too many ‘suitors’ marching in, exhibiting bad manners in my drawing room and then marching off; the demeaning of women by other women. I suppose at one point when the anger fades away, you’re left with frustration and all you can do is laugh or cry. I chose to laugh.

Me: Did you worry about the kind of response you were going to get, especially by the elders of a ‘Shia-Syed’ family?

SFH:  I didn’t, because a lot of the Shia-Syed community agrees that this sort of sectarian division is ignorant. The kind of people who disagree don’t read.

Me: What was the biggest obstacle you faced while writing?

SFH:  I was working as a full time teacher up until this year. I just didn’t get the kind of time to really delve into my writing as I wished. That was highly problematic.

Me: Is there any particular song you like to listen to while writing?

SFH:  I listen to music mostly when I’m exercising – music distracts me. But I’m a huge fan of Alanis Morisette. 

Me: Any particular time of the day that suits you better while writing?

SFH: Morning is the best time. Now that I teach part time, I’m done with classes by eleven, so I go to a cafe and write for two hours until lunch. Sometimes, when the mood strikes, I work all day – but that doesn’t happen very often

Me: Are you working on any other project right now?

SFH: I’m actually done with my second novel – the story is on paper, now the long process of editing, proof reading is left.

Me: What is it about?

SFH: It’s about Jinns. Very unlike the first novel, I should warn you.

Me: Considering the low literacy rate of Pakistan, what can you say about the scope of writers in our country?

SFH:  People love stories. And there are more readers than you know. The  problem isn’t literacy ( a lot of people who can read just don’t) it’s the availability of cheap books and the lack of a local publishing industry. If books were cheaper then students would buy them, people who wanted to read them wouldn’t have to think twice about their price. That’s the real issue with reading in Pakistan.

Me: Were you turned down by other publishers before Penguin India decided to publish your novel?

SFH: No, actually. Penguin was one of the first publishers to get back to me. 

Me: Quick question time. Give me one word responses to these.

Caffeine – Headache
On your bookshelf –  Dust
In your DVD player – Thor 2
Revolutionary – Jaun Elia
Paradise – Family
Corruption – Big fat politician in waistcoat
Inspirational – Marquez
Politicians – Scum
Deadlines – Never a problem

Me: Lastly, what advice would you give to young and aspiring authors?

SFH: Keep writing and be patient. Believe in yourself. And listen to criticism as constructive feedback.

 

 

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