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Wind Chimes

Pakistani Society Part 2

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Problem No. 2

Choosing a Career:

When we are growing up we are always asked a question that

“When you grow up, what would you want to be??

We innocently say whatever comes to mind. But that was childhood.

We are not allowed to choose the field of study. Our parents select it for us.

I remember after completion of 10th grade I wanted to be an engineer because I was good at mathematics and physics but my father forced me into becoming a doctor and I was least interested in being a doctor. And here I am stuck somewhere in between. Neither a doctor nor an engineer.

Injustice?? Yes I believe it is. Career should be determined according to the aptitude of a child.

I had a teacher who always advised me to study according to my aptitude. But I did otherwise. I did not want my dad to be angry with me. I did start to study pre-engineering in 12th grade but then my dad did not talk to me for one whole week. I had to give in. So I quit and went for pre-medical.

What do you guys think should be done in this scenario?

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This is not a Pakistani problem but I take that you are Pakistani and this is why you are framing your questions with reference to your home society which is fine.

There is a strong desire to get into well paid, "super" careers in Eastern cultures where competition is very high but opportunities are very few. Anything less than that is considered a failure, socially. (You can't be a manager of a bakery or run a pharmacy to qualify as "successful"). Besides money, it brings social capital too aka power and prestige. So that's why parents don't want their children "wasting time" on studying things like fine arts and Urdu literature at university.

In your case the choice was between two lucrative careers but you know there are very few females that take engineering to university and fewer who are willing to and/or manage to get jobs in engineering fields (which are heavily dominated by males) in their backward home countries. Your dad could see you wasting your time, effort and money on something that will not pay dividends later in life. (Medical) doctors, on the other hand, is a lucrative career and one which is easier for females to enter. Almost every single practicing lady doctor on average manages to earn 5 times more than a bank manager earns in a month. And prestige and social standing is icing on the cake.

Should your child study what s/he wants, likes or loves? Yes, obviously. But make sure s/he has stable means of passive income to last for life when s/he doesn't find a decent enough job after studying, say, painting and sculpture at university.

Majboori...

Edited by Marbles

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Well this is a social problem here, but in my case i went for engineering which was my choice then.

But now i feel i would have excelled in social sciences much. So along with the parent factor,

another factor is the amount of exposure one happens to get till FA/FSc. or 12th grade. With

time one keeps discovering more and more interesting and promising. But ab to wakt guzar chuka

hy, so no need to complain :)

So concluding it, children should be given a choice to follow plus enough exposure to the possibilities

as well.

Edited by Hasan0404

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I actually agree with parents in this scenario. Sometimes people have to be forced to choose something since some kids are just too stupid to know what they want in life. Best example is out here in west where parents leave it up to their children to do what they feel like and well that ends up with the child picking something retarded.

Whatever you are whining about, my brothers did the same thing. Older bro was always upset that dad didn't give him a choice but now he is a doctor and my younger bro an engineer and i remember when we were young both of them had no idea what they wanted to do. One hated studying, the other couldn't do basic algebra.

Parents should be more flexible with the careers to choose from but they should definitely not leave the complete decision on a kid. In my experience, teens are generally stupid and look for easy ways out. If a guy is choosing arts (i have nothing against arts for women) or some other bs like that then he is wasting away his life.

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I actually agree with parents in this scenario. Sometimes people have to be forced to choose something since some kids are just too stupid to know what they want in life. Best example is out here in west where parents leave it up to their children to do what they feel like and well that ends up with the child picking something retarded.

Whatever you are whining about, my brothers did the same thing. Older bro was always upset that dad didn't give him a choice but now he is a doctor and my younger bro an engineer and i remember when we were young both of them had no idea what they wanted to do. One hated studying, the other couldn't do basic algebra.

Parents should be more flexible with the careers to choose from but they should definitely not leave the complete decision on a kid.

Sure, some input from elders (parents, relatives, friends etc) should be given to those teenagers who are not sure about their field of study so as to help them determine what's best for them. But ultimately it depends on their choice of subject and their aptitude for it. You shove engineering down the throat of a teenager who doesn't like to play with machines - you make a bad engineer with an average career.

Moreover, you are automatically assuming that all parents invariably know what's better for their children, which is a big assumption to make. Parental recommendations to their kids depend to a great deal on their (parents') own educational and professional backgrounds (or the lack of both), not some objective reasoning.

In my experience, teens are generally stupid and look for easy ways out. If a guy is choosing arts (i have nothing against arts for women) or some other bs like that then he is wasting away his life.

This is exactly the mindset we're talking about. Glad tidings. Your children will be doctors, engineers and lawyers and they will have one thing in common: They will be moneymaking machines whether they like it or not.

Edit: I have had this before and it seems like a widespread problem. Denouncing arts and "other bs" such as, I presume, social sciences, as useless and a "thing for women" reveals a deep level of ignorance of human society and how it advances.

It's one thing to laud and want to specialise in science/engineering degrees due to their marketability in the globalised capital-driven system; it's a separate thing to think of science degrees somehow as having better educational value than the social sciences and/or arts. It's an arrogant assertion and a deeply flawed one at that.

Suppose you are a certified Chartered Accountant. So what is your education and what have you learned besides punching numbers and balancing imbalanced sheet? Does that make you an informed human being? I doubt it. Does that make you a rich employee? Aye, it does.

No society can prosper and function solely on the back of machines and numbers. A balanced and civilised society leads humanity in nearly all faculties and disciples like the West has led the way for too long over a few centuries.

Edited by Marbles

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Edit: I have had this before and it seems like a widespread problem. Denouncing arts and "other bs" such as, I presume, social sciences, as useless and a "thing for women" reveals a deep level of ignorance of human society and how it advances.

It's one thing to laud and want to specialise in science/engineering degrees due to their marketability in the globalised capital-driven system; it's a separate thing to think of science degrees somehow as having better educational value than the social sciences and/or arts. It's an arrogant assertion and a deeply flawed one at that.

Suppose you are a certified Chartered Accountant. So what is your education and what have you learned besides punching numbers and balancing imbalanced sheet? Does that make you an informed human being? I doubt it. Does that make you a rich employee? Aye, it does.

No society can prosper and function solely on the back of machines and numbers. A balanced and civilised society leads humanity in nearly all faculties and disciples like the West has led the way for too long over a few centuries.

Brother, you are assuming people become doctors, engineer etc for money (which might be true in a lot of cases). I am biased in my approach. I believe a healthy society will only be reached when people learn to give up on their dreams and work towards making the society better. Right now, it means advancement in science and technology (views shared by Rahbar). If that changes in future I would be more than willing to do my part.

When it comes to Arts, I have a neutral perspective. I usually wonder if Imam (as) would approve of such a thing. I am almost certain that some form of arts he (as) would not like. You are assuming I am implying social sciences. I am not. On the contrary, I love sociology and have taken few courses. I strictly meant painting, sculpture, music, theatre and bs like that.

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Doctor's profession is highly regarded in Islam but the reason is that they save lives, not because they earn more money. They should create few more options like pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses, they should get high pay so that people have more options. In the current situation, there are limited seats in medical colleges and everyone wants to become doctor. A very low percentage gets accepted and all others spend their lives regretting that they didn't work hard. I think there's too much difference between rich and poor in Pakistan. I have a problem with the idea that if your car is less expensive than the car behind you, then that car will keep honking until you move your car to the next lane. That expensive car will not change lanes, You have to change lane, that is so unfair. It seems like all moral values are derived from "survival of the fittest" or "might is right" rules.

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Parents should encourage a path that they know will be good for their children and not force it. Most children are too young to see the future, and parental advise can be of great help, that is, if the children listen to their parents' arguments. And the intention of the parents should not be to brag about it later on in life, but to create a comfortable life for their children so that they can be helpful for society ^_^

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I actually agree with parents in this scenario. Sometimes people have to be forced to choose something since some kids are just too stupid to know what they want in life. Best example is out here in west where parents leave it up to their children to do what they feel like and well that ends up with the child picking something retarded.

Whatever you are whining about, my brothers did the same thing. Older bro was always upset that dad didn't give him a choice but now he is a doctor and my younger bro an engineer and i remember when we were young both of them had no idea what they wanted to do. One hated studying, the other couldn't do basic algebra.

Parents should be more flexible with the careers to choose from but they should definitely not leave the complete decision on a kid. In my experience, teens are generally stupid and look for easy ways out. If a guy is choosing arts (i have nothing against arts for women) or some other bs like that then he is wasting away his life.

By extension, you would support forced arranged marriages as well.

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Economic considerations are not just for parents. Being exposed to all sorts of people and news outlets, I now, too, have to deeply consider the impact of my degree programme on my future economic prospects. I can't simply go about studying something at university, knowing that I will have to make it with a lack of job opportunities and a non-existent industry.

Many a times it is the teenager himself who has no idea what he wants to get into, in such cases, with mummy daddy bache, it is up to the parents to decide on a future career path.

What do you guys think should be done in this scenario?

Talk. One should talk openly with his parents about one's aptitude and skills. Make them realise it's your happiness on the line, one wrong step can end you up with a bald head and and on prescribed Prozac. In our culture, it is mostly the child who gives up in the end, but there's nothing wrong in trying.

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My father's friendenemy mocked my brother to a ridiculous level when my brother told him, he was studying psychology! Apparently it wasn't manly enough for him. This friend also told my father to stop wasting his money on educating a girl and to get me married. IGNORANCE! Glad my father rebuked him and he stayed out of our business from then on. People didn't understand why I studied maths and most ladies proceeded to remind me that at the end of the day I was only going to make rotis so studying interior designing at Indus Valley might be more suitable.. The way societies function is so strange. There are so many expectations, false ideals and irrelevant concepts that can bring pride or shame! Well, now that you are doing medical, you might as well persevere with it for some time. Maybe try talking to your father and explain to him your dissatisfaction, I am not sure you can, but you could reapply to universities for engineering.

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My father's friendenemy mocked my brother to a ridiculous level when my brother told him, he was studying psychology! Apparently it wasn't manly enough for him. This friend also told my father to stop wasting his money on educating a girl and to get me married. IGNORANCE! Glad my father rebuked him and he stayed out of our business from then on. People didn't understand why I studied maths and most ladies proceeded to remind me that at the end of the day I was only going to make rotis so studying interior designing at Indus Valley might be more suitable.. The way societies function is so strange.

Tell me about it!

My sister initially wanted to study psychology. For some of our jaahil friends, psychology is directly associated with having to deal with some mental illnesses that a medical doctor can't cure and people who study psychology somewhat go off their heads themselves (khiskay huye = a tad insane). I kid you not.

I laughed at this when I first heard of this but when I realised this myth had more currency than I had thought, the only thing I could do was hold my head in my hands...and wonder in utter amazement at the ignorant displayed and their insistence on their ignorance.

This is how some disciplines are reviled and mocked on and students taking those courses descend into inferiority complex about their choice of subject. The same attitude you'll hear about....

1) History (what's the point? It's gone, it has happened, so why waste your time on something that's gone?)

2) Sociology (only those who fail to get admission in any decent course end up studying sociology. It has no "scope")

3) Philosophy (Are you going to sit and write unintelligible books? Also, philosophers are actually half mad)

4) Literature (English lit: Yeah, well you can teach at schools. Urdu lit: you're just so backward)

5) Fine Arts. The best argument is reserved for those: HARAM!

Edited by Marbles

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In Afghanistan every time someone asks any kid as in what they want to be in future whether its on tv, radio, paper, or in person... or whether they are rich or poor..or whether they are intelligent students or those failing.. the answer is always the same and without a fail- A doctor.

...except my little cousin who planned to be a baker...poor guy was probably too tired of standing in awfully long bakery line ups during the civil war...and at times during -10 and low degrees. Now he is a little businessman and also very successful.

Edited by Wahdat

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People didn't understand why I studied maths and most ladies proceeded to remind me that at the end of the day I was only going to make rotis so studying interior designing at Indus Valley might be more suitable

(salam)

Good for you sis :) A young woman at mosque came up to me and said I should not be an engineer or a doctor because it does not become a woman to "show off" intellectually and as a woman I should be more interested in the latest fashions. I did reply saying if we don't encourage women to strive in these fields, we shouldn't complain when we can't find any good female doctors and have to be treated by men and it is surely better to be proud of ones intellect than wardrobe choices. But I was shocked at the hostility!

It's so infuriating when it's the women who put you down and for totally unIslamic reasons!

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My sister initially wanted to study psychology. For some of our jaahil friends, psychology is directly associated with having to deal with some mental illnesses that a medical doctor can't cure and people who study psychology somewhat go off their heads themselves (khiskay huye = a tad insane).

This is how some disciplines are reviled and mocked on and students taking those courses descend into inferiority complex about their choice of subject. The same attitude you'll hear about....

1) History (what's the point? It's gone, it has happened, so why waste your time on something that's gone?)

2) Sociology (only those who fail to get admission in any decent course end up studying sociology. It has no "scope")

3) Philosophy (Are you going to sit and write unintelligible books? Also, philosophers are actually half mad)

4) Literature (English lit: Yeah, well you can teach at schools. Urdu lit: you're just so backward)

5) Fine Arts. The best argument is reserved for those: HARAM!

I hope people develop a different attitude towards psychological illness soon because they other than the mental affects they tend to have very real physical symptoms. For example a panic attack comes with intense chest pains which might feel like a heart attack.. Anyways I know there is a lot of stigma associated with mental disorders and the 'main pagal nahi hoon' concept. I'll add to the common things we hear back home..

1) siraf rata laga k pass hona hai, history students don't do any real learning

2) siraf gup likhni hai, aur correct English and you'll get marks in sociology

3) Philosophy demag ki dahi hai and it's not even a hard science, what a waste

4) lol my mum did her masters in eng lit and her sister did it in Urdu lit lol back in the day my mum was embarrassed of it and she laughs about it now

5) woah how's fine arts haram? Never heard this before, I don't really know what fine arts is tbh. Is it singing and dancing?

something others have touched upon, your social status, family background and most importantly financial position does dictate what you study. I usually tend to find excuses for the less wealthy because reality is when most of your time is preoccupied with trying to put food on the table you don't ponder upon philosophical concepts. A person who needs to put food on the table will usually go with a safe option that lands him a job in the future no matter how interested he is in the art of horticulture. Most people are not selfish to jeopardise their family's future by studying an unmarketable subject. That leaves the financially well off, they need to be less ignorant and stop stereotyping.

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While it is unfortunate, it is understandable that parents in Pakistan push their children into relatively more lucrative fields. Finding a decent job with a history major is hard enough in the west, its nearly impossible in Pakistan. Heck, even law is not considered a worthwhile profession in Pakistan. It is either the armed forces, chartered accountancy, medicine or sometimes engineering. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to rent ourselves in order to survive, so it is first a matter of basic survival. Economics, once again, inevitably determines culture. Although medicine is worthwhile career, it hardly requires much intelligence, but much in the way of effort. Without progress in arts and sound economic reform, it becomes increasingly difficult to civilize ourselves and tackle these regressive and unfair social norms.

Edited by Mutah_King

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(salam)

Good for you sis :) A young woman at mosque came up to me and said I should not be an engineer or a doctor because it does not become a woman to "show off" intellectually and as a woman I should be more interested in the latest fashions. I did reply saying if we don't encourage women to strive in these fields, we shouldn't complain when we can't find any good female doctors and have to be treated by men and it is surely better to be proud of ones intellect than wardrobe choices. But I was shocked at the hostility!

It's so infuriating when it's the women who put you down and for totally unIslamic reasons!

Someone said to me once 'what I thought only astronauts studied maths'. Do you want to go to join NASA and go to space? And he wasn't even joking! And others in the room agreed! I was baffled he even knew what NASA was.

Do you know what needs to be changed is the concept of educating women only so that they are marraige material. My baradari was horrified at my subject choices, my uni choice and so on. Most people put me off as a spoilt brat who had no regard for our culture or religion. I've had a lot of hostility. A close Aunty reprimanded me once by saying I'll have to answer God for my actions so I shouldn't study these subject!

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5) woah how's fine arts haram? Never heard this before, I don't really know what fine arts is tbh. Is it singing and dancing?

No, singing and dancing as known in the West are still not taught in universities here. Although a couple of universities have degrees in musicology and film/drama but visual arts are still exceptions. By fine arts I mean painting, sculpture, printmaking, interior design etc. With the rise of puritanism, some people have been agitating against painting and sculpture. As for musicology I need not say a word.

I usually tend to find excuses for the less wealthy because reality is when most of your time is preoccupied with trying to put food on the table you don't ponder upon philosophical concepts. A person who needs to put food on the table will usually go with a safe option that lands him a job in the future no matter how interested he is in the art of horticulture. Most people are not selfish to jeopardise their family's future by studying an unmarketable subject. That leaves the financially well off, they need to be less ignorant and stop stereotyping.

This is very true. I have a family friend who went to a US college to study - wait for it - Bachelors in Creative Writing of all degrees. Paid thousands of dollars and spent 4 years there and now happily freelances for various English newspapers. She's also trying hard to write a novel but I suspect it's not going well. So yeah, a bank officer's son in her position would definitely opt for a cheaper institution and go for a degree that promises better job prospects. And I, too, don't blame him for studying out of necessity and not out of choice and interest.

A close Aunty reprimanded me once by saying I'll have to answer God for my actions so I shouldn't study these subject!

She must be joking? Answer God for studying mathematics at university? :wacko:

But well done for showing courage and perseverance in the face of hostility. One of my sisters opted for a degree in info tech major. She was also questioned incessantly for going into a man's field. But she graduated summa cum laude. I just think she might have been a wonderful engineer. I'm quite good with machines and technology but where I give up, she steps in :D

Edit: The youngest sister took political science major. She got many amusing glances and questions like "Are you going to become prime minister?". They were thought of as light jokes but they also revealed the mindset and the ignorance that feeds it.

Edited by Marbles

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Someone said to me once 'what I thought only astronauts studied maths'. Do you want to go to join NASA and go to space? And he wasn't even joking! And others in the room agreed! I was baffled he even knew what NASA was.

Do you know what needs to be changed is the concept of educating women only so that they are marraige material. My baradari was horrified at my subject choices, my uni choice and so on. Most people put me off as a spoilt brat who had no regard for our culture or religion. I've had a lot of hostility. A close Aunty reprimanded me once by saying I'll have to answer God for my actions so I shouldn't study these subject!

(salam)

Wow, that's ridiculous. I agree, people's perceptions on women being educated needs reform. Moreover, people need to learn how to differentiate between what Islam dictates and what culture dictates.

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(salam)

Wow, that's ridiculous. I agree, people's perceptions on women being educated needs reform. Moreover, people need to learn how to differentiate between what Islam dictates and what culture dictates.

Ws

Cultural perceptions are quite often inextricably linked with religious beliefs and people have a hard time separating the two. Wrong but universally true.

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Ws

Cultural perceptions are quite often inextricably linked with religious beliefs and people have a hard time separating the two. Wrong but universally true.

(salam)

I agree wholeheartedly with the second part of your statement however regarding the idea that cultural perceptions are entangled with religious beliefs, perhaps initially they were but now people don't know why they are blindly adhering to many traditions. Moreover, the religion that seems to have the most influence on this mentality is not Islam but Hinduism.

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If we take into account the economics and financial stability of a particular field, aren't fashion designing and cookery profitable fields?? Some men who opt for this field are resembled with eunuchs. Why??

The first time when I heard people saying this I was in deep shock. Shocked at their mind sets. Need I remind them that the best cooks and designers in the world are men.

Khair.......

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This is completely ridiculous. :mad: How can someone else/your parents choose what you should study or what your future career should be. :wacko:

My parents never even hinted what we should do when we grow up. They just let us decide whatever it is we want to do. They wouldn't even care if we didn't go to college. All they wanted is for us to be good and happy.

I feel sorry for you Pakistani. :( Your parents choose your brides/husbands and they also choose your career. I'm getting depressed just thinking about your life. :(

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(khiskay huye = a tad insane)

Heard of that.

You might have heard of a common nickname for the poor vets, dangar doctors. I mean come on, a human being can tell where it hurts and where the pain is. Whereas an animal cannot. And they still treat them quite effectively.

It is very degrading.

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They wouldn't even care if we didn't go to college.

I don't mean to sound mean but how is that even a good thing? Maybe you come from a different background so I might not get it (and again i apologize i honestly dont mean to offend you), but my parents did absolute everything in their power for us to get education. Not to gain money or respect but rather my mother's advice was always to be a sign of pride for Ahlulbayt (as), to help fellow shias, gain education and then educate fellow Momins.

My ethics teacher once told me to get the highest form of education and earn the highest position in world because only a Momin deserves that spot as he would actually help the cause of Imam (as).

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If we take into account the economics and financial stability of a particular field, aren't fashion designing and cookery profitable fields?? Some men who opt for this field are resembled with eunuchs. Why??

Yeah, it is seen as gay lol. They are profitable careers if the person has what it takes to rise above mediocrity. Cookery and fashion design both, they are partly arts perfected with genuine talent. Whereas anyone can become a mechanical and chemical engineer. Just be good with the memory and repeat what you are taught.

They wouldn't even care if we didn't go to college.

That would give heart attacks to parents if their child doesn't get higher education.

There is a reason for this impatience and the desire to see your children take the most profitable and prestigious education. This is how you find decent enough money to live a decent enough life where non-educational alternatives do not offer much (unless you have large and well established family business). This is also about prestige and social standing which you lose if your child is just a high schooler. In countries where non-degree routes to making reasonable money exist, people there do not much fuss about what to study or whether to go to a university at all.

I feel sorry for you Pakistani. :( Your parents choose your brides/husbands and they also choose your career. I'm getting depressed just thinking about your life.

Relax. These threads make it sound as if Pakis en masse are on the verge of hanging themselves from the ceiling fans but actually it's not that bad. Most parents can be persuaded after a little wrangling IF they try to shove their choices down their children's throats but no, it's not like our lives are predetermined by parents.

My ethics teacher once told me to get the highest form of education and earn the highest position in world because only a Momin deserves that spot as he would actually help the cause of Imam (as).

Ummm is it not a bit of a stretch? Somewhat like giving religious colouring to the degree-obsessed Paki culture?

Anyway, I wonder how, say, a corporate financer or a telecom engineer going to help the Imam. These are mundane careers for mundane reasons.

But I agree that Muslims should strive for higher education and do so at the most prestigious of universities. If anything we need more education not less. I will myself be very upset if one of my children came to me and said "well dad, I've done high school. Don't you think I should start a travel agency for all the expertise you throw around for free?".

I'm going to disown him -_-

Edited by Marbles

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Heard of that.

You might have heard of a common nickname for the poor vets, dangar doctors. I mean come on, a human being can tell where it hurts and where the pain is. Whereas an animal cannot. And they still treat them quite effectively.

It is very degrading.

Dont worry, doctors get nicknamed kasaab, nd engineers mistri :P

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This is completely ridiculous. :mad: How can someone else/your parents choose what you should study or what your future career should be. :wacko:

My parents never even hinted what we should do when we grow up. They just let us decide whatever it is we want to do. They wouldn't even care if we didn't go to college. All they wanted is for us to be good and happy.

I feel sorry for you Pakistani. :( Your parents choose your brides/husbands and they also choose your career. I'm getting depressed just thinking about your life. :(

Pakistani life is not as dramatic as we’re making it sound. I feel like I am on defense mode while replying to your post. I can’t help it, despite all the flaws in Pakistan I do love the country, so now I have this urge to tell you how fantastic Pakistani parents are when it comes to education at least. I’ll try to justify situations and circumstances.

Very few young adults know what they want to be when they are 14 – 18? If you don’t study biology at GCSE then chances are you cannot become a doctor, so when you are applying to universities’, if it dawns upon you that your true calling in life was to serve humanity by saving lives then I don’t know what you are going to do. This is where parents step in because they tend to think long term and they bestow their children with pearls of wisdom. Yeah, I know, some parents go overboard in asserting their authority but that happens everywhere in the world. So it is nothing to get DEPRESSED about.

What most parents try to do in certain situations is completely understandable. They are trying to secure their child’s future! In the OP’s case and as Marbles pointed out, Medicine is a field which accepts and integrates women into it relatively easily, as compared to engineering.

Yes there is an obvious disparity between the genders in the workplace. Most developed countries have it too. In light of the fact, most parents do technically want the best for their children and tend to become excessively controlling in attempts to protect them only, I think the OP’s father probably had this in mind.

We do have this saying though, which sums up the society’s mindset pretty well – Kheloge kudoge to hoge kharab, parhoge likhoge to banoge nawab - basically playing games and wasting time will lead to the deterioration of your life but studying academically will ensure you become a king or a rich person. Roughly translated..

Again, given the extreme poverty in the country we can’t really blame people for wanting to escape it. Education is the most reliable, hopeful and promising escape. Thus parents don’t want their children to study courses that don’t look good in the job searching process. Nobody wants a life where they are unable to provide for the basic means to live on. Given that we don’t have a benefits system not going to college is only an option if you are the heir to a hell lot of wealth.

In a more preferable situation children should shadow in the workplace.. way before they choose their university course. They should be given a thorough understanding of the different subject materials so that they can make more informed decisions. SO on and so forth.. Our relatively disintegrating, mismanaged and outdated Pakistani Board system which everyone constantly complains about needs massive reform. Employment opportunities are another issue. Until these issues are resolved, parents will continue to recommend – sometimes forcefully, what children need to do for another good few decades. I feel guilty blaming Pakistani parents because they are sometimes put into difficult situations but it’s just life really, we have to make the best of our circumstances..

So until then, children will continue to say they want to be doctors when they grow older. Or in my 10 year old cousin’s case an ABU JEE (daddy) when he grows older.

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She must be joking? Answer God for studying mathematics at university? :wacko:

Edit: The youngest sister took political science major. She got many amusing glances and questions like "Are you going to become prime minister?". They were thought of as light jokes but they also revealed the mindset and the ignorance that feeds it.

Her argument sadly was that I will not be a good mother and wife and also its a MAN's world.. apparently. I have seen people insinuate on this website that more educated women / women educated more than the husband tend to be too problematic which I guess is sort of in sync with what my aunty meant. I probably need a few practical lessons in life because I don't see why men wouldn't want to marry girls who are very educated. I see it as a more informed and educated family and I don't want to go into the benefits of education as I feel I have derailed this thread too much already. Seems like most people imply that the more a woman is educated, the more arrogant and the less of a homemaker she becomes. Well education is the solution really and that'll take years to bring change.

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Ummm is it not a bit of a stretch? Somewhat like giving religious colouring to the degree-obsessed Paki culture?

Anyway, I wonder how, say, a corporate financer or a telecom engineer going to help the Imam. These are mundane careers for mundane reasons.

I am not sure what you meant here.

Regarding the second part, helping Imam (as) means helping his people or helping his cause.

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Ok enough of paki parents bashing......

If you stand in their shoes, you will see they want what's best for us. Them making us stick to Med. or Eng. degrees only is for their desire to not work as hard in bringing food to the table as they did. In all third world countries, the opportunities are very few and the competitons are immense due to rabbit rate increase in population. What else you want them to do? Push you under the bus and let you go focus on being a teacher?

To tell you the truth, fine arts, history, literature are a subjects which are more of a 'nice to have' than 'must have' in 3rd world countries. I've seen many people here in US who have nice careers and then they go to school later in life (in 30s, 40s, 50s) to study history or literature or fine arts along with their careers.

Let me also talk about this mania of "job seeking" among Pakistani people (Indian culture is much much better in this regard).

Pakistani youth (and older generation) HAS to get out of this job seeking mentality. Entrepreneurship should be taught in middle schools and reinforced in high schools and beyond. Youth should seriously start looking into starting their own businesses as their chosen careers. Why won't a paki parent want their little daughter to hone her fine arts skills, her communication, her accounting math, and teach her markets so she starts her career by opening a high end boutique, or be a designer or a home decorator, or a airplane interior designer, or an architecht, and so on. Same goes for other careers. Don't lawyers have their own practices running in Pakistan, why the job of a mechanic has to be relegated to uneducated and so on. Unfortunately I've seen perfectly reasonable graduates in Pakistan going crazy looking for 'jobs' and half way less educated people making millions in running small businesses.

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Seems like most people imply that the more a woman is educated, the more arrogant and the less of a homemaker she becomes.

Succinctly said. That's how the stereotype goes. To be honest, in our previous generation and the one before that, when women were just discovering modern education and going out of the confines of the four walls, nearly every woman at that time had to rebel against established norms to achieve some education. This meant giving up the strict purdah system of traditional families and having professional relationship with outside men that was a social anathema back then. In doing so, those women were not let to take on the traditional roles of wives/mothers and in some cases not able to follow those roles due to the nature of their social lives.

This phenomenon is well documented in Urdu literature and press of the time and the generation of people who are in our times aunties and grandmas grew up with a negative view of those women who go into unconventional educational routes and careers.

What most parents try to do in certain situations is completely understandable. They are trying to secure their child’s future! In the OP’s case and as Marbles pointed out, Medicine is a field which accepts and integrates women into it relatively easily, as compared to engineering.

Yes there is an obvious disparity between the genders in the workplace. Most developed countries have it too. In light of the fact, most parents do technically want the best for their children and tend to become excessively controlling in attempts to protect them only, I think the OP’s father probably had this in mind.

This phenomenon is not limited to Pakistan. Look at India. The pressures are just the same. Some Indian high school students have committed suicide int he past because they couldn't get ALL As and hence couldn't get into one of three top engineering/medical colleges they had in mind. In one of such cases it turned out that the parents had put so much mental pressure on the child to get into XYZ university that if he didn't, it was as if thw world had come to an end. The world did come to an end for him, and hene the suicice.

Same with China. Many students every year commit suicide there for failing to get top grades or for failing to get into XYZ university.

The issue is the same: Too much competition and too few opportunities. And an absolute conviction that the world is going to end for them if they don't succeed academically and land into a reputable job.

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