Of ‘class hatred’ and other related disorders

I read a piece in the City section of The News today. It was titled “Habitual invasions of Seaview drive residents up the wall.” Why have I decided to write about this piece? Because almost every bit of the article stank of “class hatred” — contempt for those who do not enjoy the same “privileges” as others (using the word “privilege” strictly in the conventional, capitalist sense).

And who defines “privilege” anyways? I believe a person who is capable of enjoying a beautiful day on the beach is more “privileged” than a person who prefers to sit within the confines of her house and then whines about it.

The article in question is quoted below (comments outside blockQuotes):

“All those who are familiar with the city, will bear witness that on every Sunday, every national holiday, every rainy day and every other day when anything out of the ordinary takes places, all and sundry head to main Seaview to enjoy themselves and make residents of the area quite miserable.”

Oh? So a bunch of people who’re trying to enjoy themselves after a week of hard work make you miserable? Let’s see how, shall we?

“On these days, as resident steps out of the walled security of their sectors, they find a very crowded main road, with motorcyclists whizzing past every five minutes, performing various ill-advised stunts on their way. In addition to these daring testosterone-high individuals, are those of comparatively mild dispositions, who come with their entire families in Suzuki Pick-ups, trucks, buses and overburdened cars. They are nonetheless, equally determined to have their share of fun and equally unwilling to miss this rare opportunity for recreation.”

While I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that stunts such as “wheelies” (and some more, the names of which I’m not very familiar with) are extremely ill-advised (and annoying to the core), I wonder what made the writer of this article (Maria Kamal) believe that they’re only practiced by the “all-and-sundry-who-flock-to-Ms.-Kamal’s-precious-beach.” I’ve seen loads of kids from relatively “affluent” households, on more expensive bikes, perform the same stunts all over the city.

Ms Kamal further goes on to refer to families who come in “Suzuki pick-ups, trucks, buses and over-burdened cars.” Yes ma’am, not everyone has access to a-car-for-every-member-of-the-family. Forgive them for not being rich enough to be able to afford more than one vehicle to transport an entire family. Bah.

“Bewildered residents are at a complete loss as to where they should go in the face of this invasion of their residential area. Going out on their regular walks is out of question. The rowdy young visitors miss no opportunity to tease innocent women out on their evening strolls. Furthermore, driving in and out of the area becomes a real test of the nerves as cars, motorcycles and buses crowd the roads. Even the service lane is congested with a line of cars parked on account of nearby food joints and stores frequented by the happy mob.”

First of all, sweetie, the beach is PUBLIC PROPERTY, and is NOT part of “your” or anyone else’s “residential area.” YOUR residential area ends at the gate of your house. The remainder of the paragraph is such a bunch of self-contradictions, that I will refrain from commenting on it.

“While all these ‘aliens’ indulge in numerous festivities such as reckless driving, kite-flying, diving into the sea and dancing along the roadside, harassed residents are cooped up inside their apartments, unable to step out of their homes for fear of encountering this rowdy lot.”

ALIENS??? They have as much of a right to be there as anyone else! They are Pakistanis, and they pay taxes! ALIENS, indeed!!! Coming to the bit about “reckless driving,” I don’t see anything more reckless than drunk driving. Not many of the families-who-come-to-Seaview-in-SuzukiPickups-trucks-buses-and-overburdened-cars can afford liquor.

The writer then goes on to lament the fact that “harassed residents are cooped up inside their apartments, unable to step out of their homes for fear of encountering this rowdy lot.” You make it sound like an invasion, ma’am. : ) The dainty little Miss Muppets were scared home by the “rowdy aliens” that invaded their “residential area.” Oh my!

“In the wee hours of the morning, the last of the visitors head back to wherever it is they came from, leaving behind an already polluted beach, even more polluted than before. There is trash all over the place. The entire beach is covered with wrappers that indicate the refusal of our people to undertake a small walk to the nearest bin screaming ‘USE ME’. One wonders why there is this inherent tendency in our people to shrink away from all that is defined as civilised and responsible behaviour. Needless littering is but one glaring example of our complete lack of concern for our surroundings, our city. It is most ironic when these very people who don’t think twice before tossing an empty packet of chips on the road, also make quite a display of their strange brand of patriotism by dancing to ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ and ‘Jazba Junoon’ on main Seaview, the very road they are polluting, on August 14.”

From “an invasion of the alien barbarians,” we move on to “civic education-101,” eh? While I agree with the part about people generally not caring about cleanliness and all, the “us-and-them” tone of the paragraph is absolutely derogatory, and hence, stupid — and by virtue of its stupidity, begs to not be taken seriously.

“Of course residents of Seaview have to wear earplugs when to go to bed on these nights.”

And good riddance, too!

Another reason I decided to raise the issue here on KMB was because the sentiments mentioned in the article in question are echoed in a lot of places. What I fail to understand is, why? Do we not realise that by spewing forth hate-mongering, bourgeoisie rants such as these we actually end up alienating our fellow citizens of Pakistan? Or do we believe that they’re lesser citizens just because of their economic standing? Do they not have the right to use the beach? Waisey bhi Sea View is the only stretch that is accessible to “the masses” in general — why are we hell-bent on taking that away from them, too?

I’ve left a lot unsaid here, because I (generally) respect The News as a publication. Instead of merely filing a rant, however, the writer should have approached the authorities concerned and should have tried to offer solutions. THAT would have made a better story. What I mean is, Ms Kamal raises some valid issues — the presentation of these points should have been different, though.

Needless to say, I’m VERY pissed off, but I’ve tried my best to keep my tone civil. There are places above, however, where I couldn’t try “hard enough,” so oh well! :P

In the end: Live and let live. Every Pakistani has the right to the beach. Stop whining, and grow up.

56 Comments so far

  1. Saima (unregistered) on July 11th, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

    Umm, may be, YOU should get your facts right. Or even context, for that matter. The very term “personal attacks” cannot be used for countless people. When you talk about a large number of people in one fell swoop, it’s called a generalisation. Which is exactly what you seem to be doing. As the profound William Blake once said: “To generalise is to be an idiot.” I think there is a lesson in there for you somewhere. Now THAT’S Context 101 for you, sweetheart!

    I am not sure how or when DTism came into this whole thing. I never mentioned where you work or how you work or even what your work is. A case of sour grapes, perhaps? Jaani, do you really want to wash your dirty linen in public? There will be a whole lot of mess if you do that and I am sure you would be more than unwilling to clean up.

    And now, I HAVE TO get back to work. You can continue to huff and puff the evening away replying to all that I have to say on this oh-so-inconspicious blog of yours. Three cheers for yellow journalism, darling! :)

  2. Bolshevik (unregistered) on July 11th, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

    “Dirty linen”? This should be fun. In the words of whoever: “Bring it on.” : )

  3. Adil Mulki (unregistered) on July 11th, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

    @ Ms Hussain
    @ Bolshevik
    “I usually come here to read thought-provoking stuff :)
    …Act 1 Scene 3
    Exit: logic,
    Exit: thought-provoking stuff
    Exit: me :)
    …And oh! Does it coincide with someone’s entry? :)

  4. Salman A. (unregistered) on July 11th, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

    “come here to read thought-provoking stuff”??

    i come here to read jokes since i already have discovery and cspan channels on TV….

    and what’s this “dirty linen” thing? the next episode of ‘girls gone wild’? who’s starring btw??

  5. Arifa (unregistered) on July 11th, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

    Wow and I thought only men could stoop that low….way to go Ms. Saima…..

  6. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

    wow wow wow, after a long time Ladies are fighting :)

    expressing / trying to OUTCLASS each other :) GUYS LET US watch it from distance :)

    it is more interesting then Balma & BR0KE

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