Friday, November 26, 2010

Scams, Spams and I.

I've been like an alien to blogs and articles until a friend of mine started writing blogs about her life and experiences which attracted me a lot and are pretty interesting too. She asked me that why don't I start writing blogs. At first I thought she was kidding or making fun of me because frankly I'm not very good at writing all this kind of stuff. Well, she was very much serious and kind of convinced me to start blogging, in a way (she does that all the time). I asked her what to write about and she told me I don't really have to be as good as HER to write a blog (just kidding), I can write about anything that's in my mind. So, I gave it a thought and realized that there is so much information that I come across that is truly useful and I don't always have time to write an article. In many cases the ideas don't require an entire article anyway. Blogging seems to make a lot of sense as an actual time saver for me.

I remember the time when my inbox used to be filled with scams and spams from different blogging sites. That reminds me of the numerous Nigerian email scams I used to get, before web-mail providers started offering better spam protection. I once decided to respond to one. The scammer claimed to be a member of some African Royal family who fled during a military coup and was supposedly being given asylum at a church in Dublin. He wanted me to help him retrieve his $60 million fortune, for which I would receive something like 20%. I played around for a few email exchanges and made him think I would help, then asked for an advance on the money,which he ignored, of course. Finally I wrote a very excited email telling him about a friend of mine whose father works for the U.S. embassy in Ireland and had agreed to help him after I showed him all the emails I'd received from the 'Prince', which was a lie of course. The guy sent me back a furious email telling me the whole thing is off because I'm unprofessional and untrustworthy for telling others after he'd asked me to keep our correspondence a secret. Good times!

Remember the awkward times when suddenly a window used to open, promoting some porn sites with photos of nude girls, from no where and we used to go like, what the hell? So, I was at my grandmother's place with my laptop and I was minding my own business. Back at those days laptops used to be a big deal. My cousins were there too and they were curious as to what I was doing and why I was being anti-social. Ultimate Guitar was open and I was searching for the chords of 'Highway to Hell'. Suddenly, out of the blue a spam page covered my screen. If seen out of context, that page would beg certain questions: Is he perverted? Aren’t there laws about shit like this? My mum entered from behind. I had no idea she was there, but she had snuck up behind me a few seconds prior and obviously saw the pictures. I turned to see her and she pretended like she hadn’t been standing there looking at my screen for the past 3 seconds. “I was just coming over to see … what you’ve been …” she said awkwardly. Then, in that fake voice people use to continue a farce, I said,“Aaaaamm ... Guitar stuff and ...” as I was furiously trying to [X] out of the spam. But I couldn’t [X] out of it and in my panicked state, I forgot how to use my own computer. Like a desperate man caught with his pants down, I held down the power button, turned to mum and said, “It’s a virus kind of thing, ask dad, he knows. Is the dinner ready yet?”  Although she believed me but the whole scenario was very much awkward for a guy like me who always avoid getting involved in such situations.

Well, we have to admit that scams are not just on Internet. We are surrounded by them in almost all the time. Very recently, the DAWN newspaper apparently featured a story that was titled: “Every Week, Two Teens Commit Suicide”. That’s bad. I’m well aware of the fact that troubled minds don’t always seem to find a way out and opt for the (to them) easiest way: ending their life. In my humble opinion, suicide is a selfish way to go. If you think you can make the world a better place by punishing the ones you’ll leave behind, you’re not only stupid but you definitely lack respect for those who love you and are left behind with a load of questions and insecurities. And believe me, there’s always someone who loves you. They might not always show it or say it, but there’s always someone who cares. I'm saying all this because I've made some very immature decisions in life myself.Coming back to the topic. Today, in the afternoon, my doorbell rang and some Afghan fugitive was standing there. The type of beggars you usually see in the ‘big’ cities, holding a plastic-wrapped medical report that states they have seven kids and no home, usually with a paper cup or a can in the other hand. Only this time it was a plastic-wrapped newspaper article that asked to sign the petition against teen suicide. This pissed me off. Not only didn’t the woman spoke English language, she didn’t seem to be alone either. I looked out my door and saw another women on the other side of the street going door to door as well.
I refused to sign. I’ll tell you why.
The other reason why I refused to sign is: I agree that there is a problem with teen suicide, if that article is real (I haven’t seen it myself in the papers I read, in fact this seemed new to me in Pakistan). Heck, I know that there’s a problem, even without that article. But collecting signatures while going from door to door isn’t going to make the situation better. How can any troubled teen benefit from the fact that ‘x’ people are against teen suicide? That doesn’t help the teen, it doesn’t solve the problem and it sure doesn’t make things better. There was no official organization backing this up. If it would have been a recognized organization that went door to door, then I’d have signed, but surely not paid. I wouldn’t have signed ‘against’ teen suicide. I’d only have signed if it was to help troubled teens. If they would have sold a calendar for their organization, stickers or anything like that then it would have been different. But this was clearly an illegal scam where some imported women were dropped off by the dozen to go around and scam some citizens. I should have called the cops, come to think of it.
How can anyone fall for this? It’s so obviously fake. Even more: how can you go around exploiting a weakness like teen suicide? Dammit it’s stuff like this that makes you narrow-minded, I know. I’m not a racist. I agree that everybody should have a fair chance and that some rotten apples can spoil it for an entire community. That you have to look ‘around’ the rotten apples. But man, there sure are A LOT of rotten apples lately. And apparently a lot of naive people too.

Our nation, our people and most importantly our Religion are in great danger just because we ignore so many little things(scams) happening around us. If you can't do anything to stop them,  then please pray to God that He helps us in every situation and that He gives us enough sense so that we can distinguish between good and evil. 

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be blessed. 


  1. Wow Hassan, you *like* his post but you relate mine to people who certainly do not match up to my words. :P

  2. @Hassan: Thanks a lot buddy. :)
    @Mashaal: I really don't know the story but I'd love to hear it. :p

  3. You can read his comment under "Professionalism?"