Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

Ok, before I post nonsense as usual, I would like to make mention of something related to how much corruption there is in Pakistan, something that my Mother Dearest (da momma) mentioned in the comments of my last blog.

On paper, police officers earn 3,000 rupees a month, which is roughly 45 dollars. Additionally, on paper, anyone who earns only 3,000 rupees a month is eligible to receive zakat (charity/state support). You see how little police officers earn? And you see how hard it would be for them NOT to start taking bribes. 3,000 rupees won’t even rent you a small apartment, for that much money you’d be renting a single room in someone else’s apartment, and still you’d have zero money left over for food, utilities, medical bills, and God forbid you should have children (whose school fees would be 1,500 a month minimum) or a wife, and God forbid they should want to EAT or anything… 3,000 rupees is only enough money for a bachelor to live in a closet and eat lentils (20 rupees a plate) once a day, every third day and wear absolutely nothing. I’m not joking. It’s a ridiculously small amount of money. Government school teachers earn about the same, sometimes more, sometimes less. Low-level clerks, the ones who do most of the bribe-demanding (second to cops anyway) earn 2,500 rupees.

That’s like trying to live on a hundred dollars a month in the US in a big city. Maybe if you lived in a log cabin in the middle nowhere and grew your own food and had no electricity or utilities, you could get by on a hundred dollars, the same way you could live in a village here in a mud building on your family land and work on the family farm.

Although the pathetically low pay of policemen doesn’t relieve them of accountability, it sure shifts much of its weight onto the government’s shoulders. You see why it’s so common here? Most government employees, when faced with the choice of starving honestly or surviving dishonestly, choose the latter and not the former.

But anyway, back to nonsense. I brought half of the swimming pool home with me the other day. I was keeping it in my left ear. It’s all part of a devious plan to steal the swimming pool, one earful at a time, not unlike Radar and the jeep he was sending home in pieces. There was a difficulty with the plan though, I didn’t realize that having an earful of water would affect my hearing so badly, or that I would be unable to get the water out when I got it home. So I spent half of my day with my hand cupped around my ear and the other half of it going, Wha?

There are two morals to this story. The first one is, Thank Allah for your health, well-bring, and senses. Don’t take them for granted, you’ll never know what you had till they’re gone. The second moral is, Don’t steal swimming pools. They’re too much trouble. Steal the lifeguard instead.

What was the other nonsense I wanted to mention? I know there was something…nuts. Can’t remember. Wait, how silly of me to forget. Here we go.

It is said that all good things come to an end. I suppose this is the reason why our phone line (being a good thing and all) has once again come to an end. I feel like a broken record saying this, but the phone line is down. How long was it functioning? Two days, two hectic days in which I typed replies to the backlog of emails in my box that was a mile deep. I just sent the last of them off this morning, and this afternoon the phone line is gone again. Wow. Excuse me one moment.

(solemnly dons camo jacket, hunting hat and boots. picks up turkey rifle and resumes place in front of keyboard.)

Oh great, it’s back again now. But it’s too late. Phone line or no, I’ve made up my mind.

-ahem- Open season is hereby announced on all PTCL turkeys. Gentleman, happy hunting.

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