MAY 5-11 2013
TICKEBR? OM TIMEB OM
BREAKING NEWS 100 channels and counting, a shrinking advertising pie and â€“ no space on your remote control
how long can Pakistani TV keep this up?
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MAY 5-11 2013
The grateful dead
Pakistan on Facebook
Blurred vision Four channels have just hit the airwaves in Pakistan and 10 more are in the offing â€” how much more can the viewer take?
Coffin making is a 24-hour business in Peshawar
Facebook turns out to be the number one visited website in Pakistan
6 People & Parties: Out and about with the beautiful people 38 Reviews: Sophie Kinsella disappoints in Wedding Night 42 Safe Living: Beach Safety
Magazine Editor: Mahim Maher and Sub-Editors: Ameer Hamza and Dilaira Mondegarian. Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Jamal Khurshid, Anam Haleem, Essa Malik, Maha Haider, Faizan Dawood, Samra Aamir, Sanober Ahmed. Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi. For feedback and submissions: email@example.com Printed: firstname.lastname@example.org
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Haseena Moin, Khursheed Hyder, Lal Majid and Shanaz Ramzi
PHOTOS COURTESY XENITH PR
Lals Patisserie launches a savoury line at its Karachi cafe
Fatima Naqvi, Shafia Agha and Kiran Haroon
Deepak Perwani, Madiha Sultan and Nabila
Rukaiya Adamjee and Frieha Altaf Sania Maskatiya
6 MAY 5-11 2013
MAY 5-11 2013
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Heritage Luxury Suites celebrates The Moorâ€™s 1st anniversary in Lahore
Yasmin, Saira and Ayesha
Shiza, Mahwish and Hina
Mian Mahir Ahmed, Adeela, Ayesha and Asad Moeed and Bunty
8 MAY 5-11 2013
Mr and Mrs Bandey
PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR & EVENTS
Rabi, Moni, Misty, Hamda, Komal and Sadaf
MAY 5-11 2013
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Aneeka and Rima
Aisha Imran launches her flagship store in Lahore
Arooj and Shahida
Ayesha and Maria Lubna
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PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR & EVENTS
Alyzeh and Fizi
MAY 5-11 2013
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Imran and Natty
Alyzeh Gabol PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR & EVENTS
Faiza and Azka
Madiha and Aisha
Sarah and Saira Sam
12 MAY 5-11 2013
MAY 5-11 2013
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Lauren and Dania
Anoshia and Rabia
Ansa and Chanda
PHOTOS COURTESY QYT EVENTS
The multi-brand store Libas Lounge launches in Lahore
Aniqa and Amar
Faria and Faiza
Faiqa and Ali Lubna
14 MAY 5-11 2013
MAY 5-11 2013
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Schzreh and Alizeh
PHOTOS COURTESY QYT EVENTS
Resham and Ayesha Sana
Nadia and Wajeeha Saim
16 MAY 5-11 2013
MAY 5-11 2013
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Sana and Ayesha
Mariaâ€™s Salon & Institute opens in Karachi
Mona Rameez, Maria and Khadija
Safina Behroz Abeer
18 MAY 5-11 2013
PHOTOS COURTESY ANASTASIA PR
MAY 5-11 2013
PEOPLE & PARTIES
Kashaf and Sarmad
Super Squad, a clothing Aleena, Musa, Maleeha and Gulmina brand for kids, opens its doors in Lahore Gull
Maria B and Fatima Amna Kardar, Saima and Khadija
20 MAY 5-11 2013
PHOTOS COURTESY BILAL MUKHTAR EVENTS & PR
Meg and Rima
MAY 5-11 2013
VISION 24 MAY 5-11 2013
BY GULRAIZ KHAN IN KARACHI & ANJUM N RAHMAN IN ISLAMABAD Four channels have just hit the airwaves in Pakistan and 10 more are in the offing — how much more can the viewer take?
hannel surfing now feels like drowning. You turn on the television and desperately search for clarity. Breaking news is the prime minister breathing. Talk show analyses smack of doomsday conspiracies. But we also realize that Pakistan is no ordinary country with its coups and carnage. We watch helplessly as the 7pm news cycle is steamrolled by events unfolding at 9pm. There are over 100 channels to watch so why does it seem like nothing is on? From the people we spoke to, it appears that the landscape is shifting but at a rate that we cannot feel. So far this year, four new channels have gone on air. More than 10 are planning to begin working later in 2013. How did we get here and where are we headed?
Decade of growth You can measure the growth in media by the height of an anchor’s backcombed bouffant. For the first time since 1964, when Pakistan Television (PTV) was launched, private television channels were granted licences to broadcast news and current affairs in 2002. That opened the floodgates. Between 2002 and 2005, the number of satellite and cable channels tripled. Advertising spending on them increased 17 fold (from Rs200 million to Rs3.5 billion). Suddenly there was no revolution
except television. Between 2002 and 2012, television viewership went from 40m to 124m. Since 2008, the economy has been in a slump. Advertising has shrunk too. That did not, however, stop new channels from opening. Right now, there are over a 100 out of the 122 licences granted by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), according to industry sources. What is more, another 40 to 50 applications have been made, said an official at Pemra on condition of anonymity, since no one besides the Pemra chief is authorised to speak to the media. To be certain, all of these applications have been made by private investors, but what are they thinking, and why are they investing?
One word: Influence For most media conglomerates in Pakistan, having a television channel is not an end in itself. Few are dependent on it for their bread and butter, and they largely use it as a way to plug into influence and clout. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that most media conglomerates are owned by political families or large business owners with diversified interests. “News channels are almost like a private militia, maintained for protecting political clout, or other businesses,” said the owner of a major television network, on condition of anonymity. “We are seeing many investments in news channels for this reason.”
25 MAY 5-11 2013
BREAKING NEWS Another industry expert, who ran one channel and now serves as a consultant to media groups, seconded this opinion. “Media outlets not only give you easy access to the corridors of power, but also indirect benefits from other ministries where their applications for other businesses are pending,” he said. Channels are also launched for money laundering and diversion purposes, he added.
There is never a good or a bad time to launch a channel. We have hired and trained a young and vibrant team to give news a youthful and fresh perspective. We are focusing on the copy and the story Nasir Baig Chughtai, who is the CEO and director of News and Current Affairs for Ab Tak, part of the Urdu1 group
Funding the clout None of this comes cheap though. “When people approach me for starting a news channel I give them a feasibility of Rs1.5b for the launch, Rs4b to run it for three years since it very difficult to break even before four to five years,” said the consultant. This figure of around one billion rupees to get a decent-sized channel up and running was corroborated by the media group owner. That’s just the first bitter pill. Then come the other costs - licence and annual payments to Pemra, satellite transmission, contributor feeds, DSNG vans and other systems to cover and broadcast news live, bureaus in at least the top ten cities. But for any news channel the biggest bill comes in the shape of salaries. According to an industry insider, one top Punjab-based channel needs to pay salaries in the Rs60m range. A channel headquartered in Karachi (off II Chundrigar Road) pays its staff a little over Rs30m. It shells out thrice that amount to operate. PTV Black & White: 1964 the first official television station starts transmission broadcast.
1964 26 MAY 5-11 2013
PTV Colour: Colour transmission begins
“The cost of running a news channel is pretty steep nowadays because of the enormous salaries that top anchors demand,” said the media consultant. “All of them get more than Rs1.5 million.” Entertainment channels are cheaper though and their major cost is the ‘software,’ or the content. “[Their] capital expenditure is minimal, and so are operational costs since they can get their software on 90-day credit,” the consultant said. While a top-tier channel would earlier spend roughly Rs100m a month on content, the arrival of foreign, dubbed plays has brought the bill down drastically. That explains why media groups have expanded to include entertainment channels and why there has been a scramble for Turkish dubbed plays, but that has yet to translate into profits. Why? Since all channels are available free on cable, there is only one source of revenue: advertising. Unfortunately, that pie has not kept
PTN (Peoples Television Network)/ STN (Shalimar Television Network): First semi-government TV network launched. Later renamed STN.
NTM (Network Television Marketing): a joint venture between STN and a private company. Said to be the first private TV channel of Pakistan. Was not allowed to transmit news and current affairs programming.
up with the new channels. “On the face of it, advertising is growing 20% per year but the number of channels is increasing even faster,” said the media group owner. There is fierce competition and almost all news channels are being subsidised by other businesses, he said, adding that more than 90% of news channels are running in the red.
The technological brick wall Paying for it all is not the only concern for big media groups. The entire industry has hit a technological brick wall: the analog cable system that only allows a maximum of 85 channels to be transmitted via cable operators. As a result, channels are now fighting for a spot on your remote control. Fed-up cable operators asked Pemra to stop issuing new television channel licences in 2010, said the chairman of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, Khalid Arain. But given that this was not the solu-
PTV 2: The fullscale satellite broadcasting service starts. Renamed PTV World in 1998.
NTM goes off the air due to financial losses. PTV and STN launch Channel-3 as a joint venture.
The government opens up the media industry by allowing private TV channels to operate openly even to telecast their own news and current affairs content. Geo TV launches on October 1.
tion, Pemra gave cable operators a 2014 deadline to switch to digital systems. That switch would cost cable operators anywhere between Rs8m for a Chinese system or Rs35m for American equipment. But they won’t be the only ones paying. Customers will have to buy a set top box that costs roughly $45 without tax. For Arain, that is precisely the barrier to a technological switch in a country where people pay between Rs200 to Rs1,200 for a monthly cable subscription. “The government should consider subsidising the set top box or waiving the tax so it becomes more affordable,” Arain argued. The box will mean more room for more channels and more ways for media companies to earn. “The digital television landscape, that allows more than 100 channels, would make it possible to make money on pay-per-view TV, or subscriptions,” said the media group owner. Arain pointed to a growing appetite for digital cable services. A few companies are providing it to roughly 5,000 consumers in Karachi. But what is surprising and promising, is that Sukkur has 2,500 to 3,000 digital cable service consumers, he said.
New players on the block Even though no new licences are being handed out, three channels - PTV World, Capital TV and Ab Tak - started transmission this year and more are in the pipeline. A Pemra official clarified Business Plus launched on July 2004. It is owned by the Total Media Solutions Company. Dubai based news channel, ARY News launched on September 26, 2004. It is a part of the ARY Digital Network, which is a subsidiary of ARY Group. Sindh Television (STV), Sindhi language news channel owned by Dolphin Media House, launches in October 2004.
Start killing off the channels FAROOQ TIRMIZI For the Pakistani television business to live, most of the news channels must die. The problem is a simple one: according to Dawn’s advertising Aurora magazine, during 2012, Pakistani television stations earned about Rs21.6b in revenue that has to be split not just among the 25 news channels, but also the 23 entertainment channels, 14 regional channels, seven music channels, three religious channels, three food channels, and the dozens of other assorted channels. Against 25 news channels that broadcast 24 hours a day in Pakistan, the US, the largest media market in the world, has just three mainstream channels, and three business channels. For Pakistan to have quadruple the number of news channels as the US makes no sense. Advertisers are not going to start spending more money just because there are more channels. TV networks get a slice of that pie, depending on how many viewers they reach. The pie is growing, but the more channels there are, the more slices there have to be. The less revenue a channel has, and the more fiercely it needs to compete for eyeballs to get the next advertising rupee, the less likely it is to invest in high-quality content. It takes a lot more than a ditzy host and a camera crew to do a show that explains to people why, for example, the country has an energy crisis and why their lights are going out. You need an intelligent host who could be making millions elsewhere, and you need this person to be paired with a large team of analysts and reporters dedicated to just this show in order to be able to pull off a high quality production that raises the level of public debate while keeping viewers engaged. The problem with doing such a show is that the ditzy host and camera crew come Channel-3 goes off the air. AAJ News launched by the Business Recorder Group. Geo News, owned and operated by Jang Group, starts broadcasting in November. CNBC Pakistan starts broadcasting. It is owned by Vision Network Television Limited.
cheap. They will attract as many viewers as that international-banker-turned-anchor with his expensive analyst staff, and probably faster. So instead of a high-minded debate on possible solutions to the energy crisis, we get Maya Khan hounding young people in parks. Now imagine this scenario: instead of 25 there were only three channels chasing after the Rs9.5 billion in advertising that gets spent on news channels. So even the smallest news channel would probably be pulling in at least around Rs2 billion in revenue (which is currently what the highest rated news channel makes). There would be a lot more money to go around at the channels, and a lot less paranoia about the ratings. Who knows? They might even give a job to a LUMS professor who wants to do a show about public policy matters. Now imagine if we had such a show in the early Musharraf years when he started promoting the use of natural gas. Maybe, just maybe, instead of the economically illiterate “commerce” reporters in Islamabad, the government would have had a well-credentialed expert asking them the right questions — do we have enough gas to sustain our energy needs, can we find other cheap sources of energy — and we may have avoided the disastrous policies that led to the electricity and gas shortages we have now. But we did not get that. Instead, we had Zaid Hamid musing about Jewish conspiracies, Talat Hussain spending a whole hour trying to deny that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were done by Pakistanis and Hamid Mir promoting the water car. Let us hope, for the sake of our republic, that the advertisers come to their senses and stop patronising more than three or four news channels and let the rest just die off, starved of revenue and withering on the vine of economic infeasibility.
PTV renamed PTV Home and PTV World renamed PTV News. Dawn News launches as Pakistan’s first 24-hour English news channel. Khyber News launches with programmes only in Pashto and English. Royal News, a Lahore-based Pakistani news channel, owned and controlled by Royal Group and Leads Group, starts broadcasting in August.
2007 27 MAY 5-11 2013
COVER STORY Homes with TVs
was the number of households in Pakistan with a TV in 2002 and this grew to
by 2012, aided by cheap imports, of course
The cost of running a news channel is pretty steep nowadays because of the enormous salaries that top anchors demand. All of them get more than Rs1.5m A media consultant
News ONE, owned by The Interflow Group of Companies, starts operations. SAMAA TV, owned by Jaag Broadcasting Systems (Pvt.) Limited, is launched.
2007 28 MAY 5-11 2013
that these were licences either issued on court orders or were old ones renewed upon a change of management. What prompted them to start? “There is never a good or a bad time to launch a channel,” said Nasir Baig Chughtai, who is the CEO and director of News and Current Affairs for Ab Tak, part of the Urdu1 group. “We have hired and trained a young and vibrant team to give news a youthful and fresh perspective. We are focusing on the copy and the story,” he added. Fahd Husain, who is the CEO and director for News and Current Affairs for Capital TV, also believes there was “definitely space to launch a channel.” “Almost all news channels are doing the same thing - they lack variety,” he said. “Capital TV will be different in terms of news presentation, format and
Express News, an Urdu language news channel is launched on January 1, 2008. It is owned by the Lakson Group. Waqt News, owned by Nawa-i-Waqt media group, is launched. GEO English was an English-language television channel owned by the Geo TV network. The channel was shut down in October 2008 before even making it to the airwaves. Dunya News, an Urdu news and current affairs television channel is launched.
news anchoring. Our philosophy is that we will go back to journalistic basics. We want to end sensationalism and reenactments and stop the race to the gutter. I want to go back to the very roots of a news channel.” State-funded PTV World, however, hopes to bridge the gap of an English news channel in the country after Dawn News switched to Urdu and Express 24/7 pulled out. “After the closure of two TV channels in the private sector due to a lack of advertising revenues, there was a vacuum in terms of an English-language channel that would cater to the demand of the international community present in Pakistan, and the Pakistani diaspora for a news source other than the English language newspapers,” explained Asmatullah Niazi, who is Controller
Express 24/7 launched on February 5, 2009. It is the second 24-hour English news in the country. The channel was owned by the Lakson Group.
Dawn News converts to an Urdu news channel on May 15, 2010 after suffering a financial crisis.
NEWS ALERT Reporting for PTV World. This channel would be broadcast in 62 countries wherever the footprint of the AsiaSat 3S satellite is available. Apparently there was nothing odd about launching three news channels back to back. According to the media consultant, the most preferable time to launch a news channel is in election season, when viewers largely shift from entertainment to news. Geo TV was launched in Pakistan in August 2002, two months before the general elections. The channel hit the airwaves in the US and UK at the time of their elections as well. PTV World, meanwhile, gives the government a way to not just communicate the country’s official stance with foreign diplomats and governments in an election year, but also beyond that in 2014 as US-led forces withdraw from Afghanistan. “Pakistan’s point of view must reach foreign governments and their diplomats based in Islamabad. There is no English news channel they can watch and listen,” the consultant added.
What lies ahead? While each of the three new entrants believe they will not only be able to survive but also transform the media landscape, the existing players are less than enthusiastic. “The news media business is already over saturated,” said the owner of a news channel. “We are headed for a period Express 24/7 shuts down on November 28, 2011 after suffering financial problems.
Hero TV is launched by the Lakson Group.
We want to end sensationalism and reenactments and stop the race to the gutter. I want to go back to the very roots of a news channel Fahd Husain, who is the CEO and director for News and Current Affairs for Capital TV
After two private channels closed due to a lack of advertising, there was [no] Englishlanguage channel to cater to the international community in Pakistan and the diaspora as other than the English language newspapers Asmatullah Niazi, who is Controller Reporting for PTV World of continued launches, because people who have made money are entering the media, but also a period when many players are pushed to the brink to cut costs or exit or be unable to compete,” he said. Some media conglomerates, however, continue to buck the trend. Geo, a subsidiary of Independent Media Corporation, has recently launched another news channel, Geo Tez, and an enter-
Pakistan Television’s English-language channel, PTV World, is launched on January 29, 2013. It is currently the only English language news channel in the country. Capital TV launches on April 10, 2013. Ab Tak TV, owned by Urdu1 starts broadcasting on April 18, 2013.
tainment channel, Geo Kahani. Hum Network Limited, the only publicly listed media group, has also launched a third channel, Hum2. “Somewhere in distant future we should see business closures and some form of consolidation. But I have no idea when this will happen,” said an industry insider. Until then, it seems, the bubble will continue to grow, and float.
The list of television channels is a long one. Some names, other than those listed in the timeline, include Awaz, Apna News, Roohi, Sachal, Punjab TV, Aruj TV, Vibe, Indus News, Metro One, City42, KTN, Dharti, Wasib, Roshni, TV Today. In the pipeline are said to be BOL TV, Dais News, Pearl News, Herald News, Al Jazeera Urdu News Channel, BBC Urdu, Jinnah TV, SANA News Channel, and News+. Note: This is not a comprehensive list.
2013 29 MAY 5-11 2013
FEATURE Life is stranger than fiction in the snarled streets of Peshawar’s walled city. Past midnight, I walk into one alleyway that brightens up from the sound of a muffled ditty. It is coming from a television
somewhere in the bowels of a shop. Inside the establishment,
a Shakespearean funerary scene unfolds. Its proprietor, Abdul Latif, sits hunched over a gas stove, waiting for some green tea to reach its full flavour. He is surrounded by honeycomb coffins.
“My wife tells me she won’t pray for my business to pros-
per,” he says wryly. But given Peshawar’s human sacrifices to extremism, she would hardly need to. His business of making
coffins runs into the millions of rupees. He started it 27 years ago after getting married upon his return to Pakistan from the
Middle East where he worked as a labourer. “Someone stole my
herd of cows. I was left with nothing so I started this business.”
Only a city like Peshawar would need a 24-hour coffin maker and man with the stomach to do the job
By Iftikhar Firdous Photos by Muhammad Iqbal
The ‘specialty’ of Latif & Sons is not that it claims to be the only
such store open 24 hours in a city which has suffered so much death that its residents now mark their past by the body count — but that
the shop has never closed once since it opened. The fact of the mat-
ter is that Latif & Sons not only serves the general public but also has a contract with the armed forces in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. That necessitates a 24-hour service.
“Death is the business and it’s booming,” he remarks, estimating
a 200 per cent growth in the last two years. Terrorists have killed 803 people in this city alone in 2011. The figure is much higher if the surrounding region is included.
Latif trails off, his gaze fixated on his fuzzy reflection in the
brassy bulge of the kettle. He is a terse, cryptic man and his sentences are difficult to decipher, something I put down to the nature
of his profession. Mercifully though, the silence is broken by one
of his friends, a middle-aged Riaz Ahmad who pops in regularly MAY 5-11 2013
for a chat. “Usually people walk past the shop — they do not want to bother looking into it,” he explains. “Our only friends are the
policemen, who’ve made it their nocturnal abode, calling it ‘Latif
to Rs32,000. “There are people who cannot afford it sometimes so we give them away for free,” he adds.
The most expensive ones are made of lamination sheet and pop-
lar wood. A simpler 22,000-rupee one uses check board and poplar
tif emerges from his reverie to recall one of the worst days. A bomb
planks. For larger bodies they build them seven feet long and three
As the green tea cools, the clock’s hands inch closer to 2am. La-
ripped through Meena Bazaar, a few paces from the shop, killing
137 men, women and children. “We earned a lot that day. We provided over a hundred coffins,” he says. “My heart wept but I had to do what I had to do.” Learning from that lesson, he keeps a stock of three hundred coffins at any given time.
But coffins are a recent phenomenon, as Muslims keep their buri-
wood and the most basic coffin is just put together with wooden feet wide, otherwise the standard size is 6.5 feet by 2.5 feet. “We also make caskets for children for Rs500 to Rs1,100,” Latif says. These customers are usually the Sikhs who prefer to put the child in a cradle and release it in the Budhni stream on the outskirts of the city.
The men fall silent again. Sip their tea. I look around the shop and
als limited to a shroud. Latif explains why the trend changed; bod-
something silver and shiny catches my eye between the planks of
The process of making a coffin takes a day or two. Latif employs
body from England and gifted the casket to him. “We now rent it
ies were arriving mutilated.
three carpenters who work in shifts. The prices range from Rs1,800
wood. “That’s Dracula’s casket,” Latif explains. Someone brought a out to private productions.” Life’s little ironies are not lost on him. T MAY 5-11 2013
BY JAHANZAIB HAQUE
Who would have guessed in 2004 that the newly launched social network Facebook would end up with over one billion users across the globe today?
Who could have made the even wilder prediction that 2012 onward, Facebook would be the number one visited website in Pakistan (Alexa.com), outranking the all-mighty Google. Today, the social networking giantâ€™s growing impact in the country cannot be denied, and by 2015, with greater internet penetration, its influence on all aspects of our lives, from politics to entertainment will be profound. Possibly revolutionary. t
the numbers donâ€™t lie total monthly active facebook users in Pakistan grew by more than
facebook penetration of online population
8,648,000 1,162,040 in 6 months
facebook penetration of overall country population
26.69% position in global list of countries visiting facebook
70% 6,068,700 pakistanis
Dedicated to console gaming
Big on cooking
Have an interest in dancing
Like literature or reading
Own old computers
34 Note: Fun facts are based on what Pakistani Facebook users have included in their personal timelines. MAY 5-11 2013
Brands and celebrities on facebook with the most Pakistani fans Akon
Pakistanis joining Facebook: April 2012-2013
Most Pakistanis on Facebook are between 18-24
30% 2,557,960 pakistanis
13 - 17 Years
18 - 24 Years
25 - 30 Years
30 - 40 Years
40 and over
All stats reflective of April 2013, and gathered from socialbakers.com, facebook.com
Newly wed in the last year
Number of declared parents
Smart phone/ tablet users
Relationship status single 35 MAY 5-11 2013
The end of my affair with Sophie Kinsella
Even romance novels need plot and depth of character even if they are light reading BY AYESHA RIZWAN SIDDIQI
Our three picks of romantic novels in which friendship evolves into love 38
MAY 5-11 2013
We guiltily loved Madeleine Wickham aka Sophie Kinsella because of her best-selling six-book Shopaholic series. Since Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary in 1996, chick lit had no better champion. It was a well-lacquered critique of consumerism balanced expertly on the Louboutins worn by a single 30-something. Thus we came to expect from Kinsella loveable, clumsy heroines. We followed them through their compulsions, confessions and credit card defaults. However, in Wedding Night Kinsella disappoints in the creation of the protagonist Lottie. After one reading, it saddens me to say that my closeted love affair with Kinsella may have come to a screeching halt. This work is Kinsella’s first attempt at narrating the story from two differ different points-of-view — that of Lottie, and that of her older sister, Fliss. The difference between the voices of the women is jarring, their actions too different. Lottie is young, idealistic and longs for romance, whereas Fliss is a recently divorced mother of one, who cannot help being bitter about love. The result of this severe dichotomy is that neither woman is easy to relate to, neither seems real. Furthermore, the central plot of this novel doesn’t have enough meat to to support almost 400 pages: Lottie is devastated when the love of her life, Richard, does not propose when she expects him to. At this point, a summer fling from fifteen years ago makes a convenient return, proposes marriage, and she says ‘yes’. She instantly lets go of her long-standing visions of what a wedding should be, and jets off to Greece for her honeymoon. The ensuing hundred-plus pages illustrate the tragicomic attempts of the newlyweds to consummate their marriage. Obstacles are put forth by Fliss, who wants the marriage to be annulled, the best man Lorcan, and, of course, Richard, who suddenly realises that he does want to marry Lottie, after all. Don’t expect any twists and turns — the end, too, is rather predictable. Over all, this book loses out on many fronts. The one-dimensional characters and the insipid dialogue make for a slow read. Granted, there are awkward situations and funny moments, but moments of true hilarity are few and far between. I’d go shop for another author. T
Wedding Night is available at Liberty Books and is currently on sale for Rs931
The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts This is the second book in her Inn Boonsboro trilogy. Nora introduces you to the Montgomery brothers — Beckett, Ryder and Owen — who bring an intimate bed-andbreakfast to life in their hometown. Like the Wedding Night, this book is also about a friendship turning into a romance which is believable, authentic and deep-felt.
Runabout by Pamela Morsi When Tulsa May is jilted by her fiancé at their engagement party her best friend Luther comes to her rescue. Soon enough, she realises that, as Luther says, “Friendship can turn to romance in the blink of an eye.” Set in an unusual historical era, early 20th Century Oklahoma right before WWI, Runabout is a friends-to-lovers book that will leave you spellbound.
A Place in This Life by Julie Rieman Duck Natalie Miller is anything but experienced with boys. But when Todd comes into her life, all of that changes. A Place in This Life captures beautifully what it feels like to be a young girl on the verge of womanhood, wrestling with budding desires and falling in love with a friend who is struggling with leukaemia. It is the first of several books written by Julie Duck that commands the interests of young adults.
35 APRIL 28-MAY 4 2013
Space survivors battle oblivion Oblivion is an ode to classic Sci-fi. It has the aliens, a devastated planet, an anti-hero, the satisfying click of a neat ending that resolves the mystery. And much like the brilliant Looper, you are kept guessing until the end about the permutations and combinations of possibilities linking the characters. Co-written, produced and directed by Tron: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski, Oblivion is based on an unpublished graphic novel of the same name. In the film, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last remaining drone repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth, which was nearly destroyed 60 years ago due to This visually searing new an alien invasion. Helping Jack is Tom Cruise Sci-fi flick is a Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) tautly paced psych thriller who mans the operations post at their sky-high condominium. Their mission control commandBY AMEER HAMZA AHMAD er is Sally (Melissa Leo), who guides them from the Tet, a tetrahedral space station that was humanity’s escape vessel after the war. Jack and Victoria’s mission is almost complete and they are scheduled to leave the planet for the lunar colony on Titan in two weeks. Jack cannot, however, shake the feeling that all is not as it appears. He cannot seem to understand why the humans had to abandon the Earth when they had won the war. The beauty of this film is keeping the suspense till the end. And as it takes its time to reveal the plot it floods your senses with breathtaking visuals of a desolated Earth as Jack struggles to complete his mission. Sci-fi lovers will also be taken in by the smashing gadgetry, tech accoutrements, surgical white drones and Tom Cruise’s transformer-esque motorcycle. Along with the plot, director Kosinski also focuses on building atmosphere — so important in this genre. In the beginning you’ll feel sadness, loneliness and uncertainty but just as quickly you’ll feel fear and hopelessness. If you’re going in to the cinema thinking Oblivion is going to be adrenaline-pumping action flick, I would advise you to watch something else. It’s an expertly drawn out psychological thriller. Don’t forget to stick around for the credits that are set to M83’s brilliant title song, Oblivion featuring Susanne Sundfør. T
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Upcoming Sci-Fi Movies Pacific Rim Described by director Guillermo Del Toro as “a beautiful poem to giant monsters”, this is one movie I am most excited about. Why? It’s Gundam+Godzilla, that’s why! Set in a world where giant monsters have risen from the ocean, humans retaliate by building large mechanised suits to combat the threat.
Elysium If you loved District 9, then it’s impossible not to be excited about Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to the movie, Elysium. Set in a time when the wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarised worlds.
Ender’s Game Remember Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel, Ender’s Game? Well, they’re making a movie about it. Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future alien invasion. The cast includes Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Aramis Knight.
SAFETY AT THE BEACH Feeder current Feeder current
Watch out for rip currents
When the summer monsoons arrive, our coastal waters become extremely rough and dangerous as the winds travel across the seas and blow inland. The average levels of the high tide also increase. The most dangerous beaches from May to September are Cape Montze, Kanupp Point, Manora, Sandspit Zone 1 and Sandspit Zone 2. They become dangerous because of rip currents, which are the number one cause of drowning. PALS Control Center Paradise Point Cape Montze
French Beach Hawkesbay
Your PALS at the beach
A rip current or tide is a strong, narrow surface current that flows rapidly away from the shore. They form when excess water accumulated along a shore due to wind and waves rushes back suddenly to deeper waters. You can drown if you try to swim directly back to the shoreline. • Relax, float and attract attention: Sometimes, rip currents can flow in a circular pattern which will return you back to the sandbank where you can stand up. • Escape the rip current, by swimming parallel to the beach towards the breaking waves.
An estimated 2m people visit Karachi’s beaches every year and unfortunately about 250 people lose their lives there as well. To control this high drowning rate, Pakistan Life Saving (PALS) was created in 2004. It is a registered NGO and represents Pakistan in the International Life Saving Federation
Pakistan Life Saving Foundation Command & Control Center: N-69, Kakapir Village, Mauripur, Sandspit Hawkesbay Road, Karachi. Helpline: 0300 356 2000 Email: email@example.com Website: cmpals.org facebook.com/PALSLifeSaving twitter.com/PALSLifeSaving
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Bluebottles or the Portuguese man o' war Bluebottles commonly washing up on Karachi shores, during the onset of the monsoon season. Their tentacles will cause a sharp, painful sting if they are touched. Rubbing the spot makes it worse. The Portuguese man o' war is often confused with jellyfish. Their venom differs.
Treatment for bluebottle sting
+ For bluebottle stings, immerse the area in warm water (45°C) for 20 minutes. + Do not use vinegar. + Do not apply fresh water as this will activate the stingers. + For all stings except those caused by bluebottles, apply cool compresses to the spot. + Urine is not a recommended treatment for a jellyfish or a bluebottle sting.
Illustration: Jamal Khurshid
Coast to Coast