Karachi   ->   Sweden   ->   Karachi, again   ->   Dubai   ->   Bahrain   ->   Karachi, once more   ->   London and Leeds

Monday, October 03, 2005

On Fellow Human Beings

I saw an ad in Swedish on the department's notice board a few days ago. When translated to English it meant something like, "I need help with Haskell. If you are very good in Functional Programming, I can pay you upto 150 kr per hour."

I was desperately in need for money and the offered money was approximately Rs. 1100/- an hour. Despite the fact that I am not good at Functional Programming and my Swedish is not better than George Fulton's Urdu, I thought of contacting the person. It turned out that she had failed the course exam 9 times.

I feel sorry for people who want to be successful in something yet there is some fundamental problem with their approach. With individual attention, they can succeed - just if somebody is there to guide them. I find it interesting that in this culture of pubs and discoes, there is someone struggling with a course and nobody is there to help her.

There would be many people in a similar situation around you and you could easily be their savior. Why do we put in day and night with an intention to become as famous as Alonzo Church or Alan Turing with sheer brute force, when there are friends/ colleagues whose lives would change just with a little help?

But there is another face to this picture. There are people who can be quite troublesome: When I was in Karachi, I once received a phone call at 1 am from a friend in England, asking me to do a programming assignment for him, which he had to submit in the morning. I refused. He said the he would fail the course and I told him that he MUST fail. He was not pleased, of course.

So, who is genuinely in need for help? Somebody who fails again and again but doesn't let it go as well as somebody who is suffering from health or financial problems. I quote from a talk on "Major Threats to Humanity" by Dr. Inayatullah, reported by Dawn:

... 1.3 billion people survive on less than one dollar a day and 840 million people go hungry when alleviation of income poverty needs roughly $80 billion — less than the combined net worth of world’s seven richest men.

I am not sure if the statistics of Dr. Inayatullah are accurate because if you combine the wealth of just two of the US wealthiest, it amounts to $91 billion. But a more shocking statement is, "Around 30,000 people in the world die every day because they are too poor to stay alive."