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judy smith Apr 2015
The Pakistan Fashion Design Council in collaboration with Sunsilk presented the fourth and final day of the eighth PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week. Indeed the 8th PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week marked the twelfth fashion week platform initiated by the Pakistan Fashion Design Council [with eight weeks of prêt-à-porter and four of bridal fashion] and was a direct manifestation of the Council’s commitment to sustainability and discipline within the business of fashion and the facilitation of Pakistan’s retail industry. Indeed #PSFW15 endeavoured to define and present trends for 2015, focusing specifically on fashion for the regions’ long hot summer months. Day-4 featured High-Street Fashion shows by the House of Arsalan Iqbal, Erum Khan, Chinyere and Hassan Riaz and designer prêt-à-porter shows by Sana Safinaz, Republic by Omar Farooq, Syeda Amera, Huma & Amir Adnan, Sania Maskatiya and HSY.

Speaking about the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week platform, Chairperson of the PFDC, Sehyr Saigol said: “With the 12th iteration of our critically acclaimed fashion weeks, the PFDC is always working to streamline our prêt-à-porter platform to make the PSFW experience more beneficial for all stakeholders in terms of show experience, exposure and ultimately, retail value. To that end, each year we look inward to find the best possible formats and categories to benefit the very trade and business of fashion. In this vein, we introduced 3 separate categories for Luxury/Prêt, High Street and Textile at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, giving each entirely separate show space, times, audience exposure and viewing power. Our High Street fashion brands had been given a standalone show time on two separate days as early evening shows and Textile brands a separate dedicated day for Voile shows on Day 3 of PSFW 2015, a measured step to further highlight Pakistan’s textile prowess and high street fashion strength which are of significant importance to national and international fashion markets. As per past tradition, we continue to work closely with all our emerging designers and mainstream brands to help hone their collections for the runway through mentorship by senior PFDC Council members and with retail support through the PFDC’s own stores and network. We are grateful for the committed support of our sponsors and partners which provides us the stimulus to further enhance our fashion week platforms and put forth the best face of Pakistani fashion on a consistent basis.”

“The Sunsilk girl is an achiever, with an air of enthusiasm and positivity. Great hair can give her the extra dose of confidence so with Sunsilk by her side, she is empowered to take on life. Fashion is very close to this aspirational Pakistani girl making the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week a highly valued platform for us. We recognize PFDC’s efforts to promote the fashion industry and experienced and upcoming talent alike. Sunsilk has been a part of this fantastic journey for 6 consecutive years and continues to shape aspirations, taking contemporary fashion directly to the homes of consumers and encouraging them to script their own stories of success” said Asanga Ranasinghe, VP Home and Personal Care for Unilever Pakistan.

On the concluding day of #PSFW15, the Chairperson of the PFDC Mrs. Sehyr Saigol also made a special announcement on behalf of the Council and its Board Members, where she shared the Council’s plans to establish Pakistan’s first ever craft based Design District, a multi-purpose specialized facility that would assist in developing and enhancing the arts and crafts industries, which are an integral part of Pakistan’s rich cultural legacy. In addition to being a centre for skill improvement and capacity building, the Design District would also house a first of its kind Textile Museum.

The official spokesperson of the PFDC, Sara Shahid of Sublime by Sara also announced the official dates for the Council’s next fashion week, PFDC L’Oréal Paris Bridal Week 2015 which is scheduled to be held from 15th September to 17th September 2015.

Indeed the success of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week continued to prompt private sector associates to grow in their engagement of the platform to launch new marketing campaigns and promotional activities. To this end, the PFDC’s evolving partnership with Sunsilk grew exponentially this year whereby in addition to their title patronage; Sunsilk also took over the coveted PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week red carpet and the Green Room/Backstage, as sponsors. This extension of their support is indeed a manifestation of the brand’s belief in and commitment to the platform. Also in continuation of their support for the platform, Fed Ex – GSP Pakistan Gerry’s International returned to PSFW as the official logistics partner, offering the PFDC a special arrangement for international designer consignments.

PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 was styled by the creative teams at Nabila’s and NGENTS. Light design, set design, sound engineering, video packaging, choreography and show production from concept to construction was by HSY Events, front stage management by Maheen Kardar Ali, backstage management by Product 021, Sara Shahid of Sublime by Sara as the official spokesperson for the PFDC, logistics and operations by Eleventh Experience and photography by Faisal Farooqui and the team at Dragonfly, Hum TV/Hum Sitaray as the Official Media Partners, CityFM89 as the Official Radio Partners with all media management by Lotus Client Management & Public Relations.

High-Street Fashion Shows

The House of Arsalan Iqbal

The afternoon High-Street Fashion Shows on the final day of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 were opened by leading fashion brand The House of Arsalan Iqbal, who showcased a collection titled ‘Devolution Chic’. Inspired by street art across the world by various artists, European high-street trends and technique of quilting, Arsalan Iqbal garnered personal portfolios of graffitists from myriad urban cityscapes such as London, New York, Tokyo, Barcelona and Cape Town, juxtaposed with some unique in-house created patterns including those of Pac-man, calligraphic flourishes and aqua and tangerine bands and circlets. Based in chiffon, the ensembles were molded into voluminous structured silhouettes including draped tunics, edgy jumpsuits and wide palazzos dovetailed with off-white and ecru charmeuse silk jackets created with a revolutionary quilting process. Along with menswear pieces, the collection also included in-house footwear and jewellery made in collaboration with pioneering Karachi-based street artist SANKI.

Erum Khan

Designer Erum Khan followed next and made her PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week debut with ‘The Untainted Shine’. The collection took its inspiration from the sparkle of twinkling stars, a walk on pearl dew in the morning and the enchanted glow which is produced when “a magic wand” is waved around the body, making it glow in a pearlescent white and exhibiting a jewel themed lustre on the body. With neat and straight structured cuts, Erum had used fabrics such as organza combined with silk, 3D flowers, patch work and antique katdanna in a collection which was based in a white colour palette. Trends highlighted in the collection were high waist skirts to button up pants and sheer long dresses. Acclaimed Pakistani musician Goher Mumtaz and his wife Anam Ahmed walked the ramp as the designer’s celebrity showstoppers.

Chinyere

Following Erum Khan, fashion brand Chinyere showcased its Spring/Summer 2015 High-Street collection ‘Mizaj-e-Shahana’ at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015. An ode to the era of the Mughal royalty and their imperial aesthetic, the collection comprised of modern silhouettes and traditional embellishments with organza skirts paired with cropped tops, angarkha-peplum tops with embellished cigarette pants, sheer knee-length jackets paired with structured digital printed bustier-jumpsuits, diaphanous wrap-around boot-cuts and embellished boxy sleeves with soft A-line silhouettes. Chinyere also showcased ten menswear pieces comprising of waistcoats, jodhpurs, knee-length sherwanis paired with gossamer sheer kurtas. The colours used had been divided into a collection of distinctive Mughalesque pastels and jewel tones. The pastels included the classic marble ivory-on-ivory, the bold black, saffron, gold and ivory. The colour segments also included metallic gold and grey sections, with accents of bronze and black. The jewel tones included jade, emerald, ruby and sapphire.

Hassan Riaz

The concluding High-Street fashion show of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 was presented by Hassan Riaz who showcased his ‘Contained Shadows’ collection. Inspired by the diverse facets of the human soul that explore both the dark and light sides of human nature, taking into account yearnings, desires, and anxieties that make us distinctly human, Hassan had based the collection in summer twill, organza and summer denim in shades of blue and white with a gold accent to reflect upon his inspirations. ‘Contained Shadows’ made use of structured and drifting silhouettes, cage crinolines with corsets and bustiers with distinct trends featuring cropped tops, nautical accents, experiments with transparency and patchworks of metal mixed & matched with flowers.

Designer Showcases

Sana Safinaz

PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015’s evening [rêt shows on the fourth and final day was opened by premier designer label Sana Safinaz. Sana Safinaz’s PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week collection was inspired by monochromatic structured looks with pops of color. The collection was based in luxe fabrics such as kattan, silks, fine silk organza and dutches satin in a colour palette majorly based in black and white with strong vibrant pop infusions.
Key trends being highlighted were the oversized T, constructions-clean lines, simplicity of cuts and effective embellishments.

Republic by Omar Farooq

Following Sana Safinaz, acclaimed menswear brand Republic By Omar Farooqshowcased a collection titled ‘Que Sera, Sera!’ (whatever will be, will be!). Omar Farooq had used a variety of luxe fabrics such as suede, linen, chiffon, cotton, cotton silk and wool silk. A collection for all seasons, the ensembles built upon the label’s signature aesthetics while providing a new take on contemporary menswear. Acclaimed media personality Fawad Khan walked the ramp as the brand’s celebrity showstopper.

Syeda Amera

The third Prêt show of the final day of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015 was presented by designer Syeda Amera who made her ramp debut with ‘The World of Sea’. Inspired by love for the enchanting underwater, the collection was based in premium quality organza, jersey, nets and silks with delicate cuts and embellishments consisting of beads, sequins and feathers to reflect the collection’s aquatic theme. ‘The World of Sea’ featured a palette of aqua marine, scupa blue, powder pink, grey blue, tequila sunrise yellow, orange and lagoon green with trends that employed skirt layering, frills and ruffles and flared pants.

Huma & Amir Adnan

Following Syeda Amera, Huma & Amir Adnan showcased a joint collection for the first time at a fashion exhibition. Both Huma and Amir feel that as a couple they share their lives and draw synergies and their collection ‘Symphony’ was an epitome of how two people can revolve around the same concept in harmony, while maintaining their individual distinction. Showcasing both menswear and women’s wear at PSFW 2015, Huma and Amir had used a mix of fabrics, textures and embellishments with a complex collection of weaves, prints and embroideries in silk, linen, cotton and microfiber. The color palette included midnight blue, emerald green, wet earth, aubergine, ivory, old paper, turmeric, leaf and magenta. Key trends highlighted in the collection were long shirts, double layered shirts, printed vests and jackets, textured pants, colored shoes for men and layers of multi-textured fabrics, tighter silhouette, vests and jackets for women.

Sania Maskatiya

Designer Sania Maskatiya showcased the penultimate Luxury/Prêt collection of the evening at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015. This S/S ’15, Sania Maskatiya took audiences on a fashion journey to ‘Paristan’ – a place of fairytale whimsy at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week. With a colour palette ranging from the softest shades of daybreak to the deepest hues of nightfall, ‘Paristan’ was a collection of playful, dreamlike prêt ensembles. Featuring luxury fabrics like silk, organza, charmeuse and crepe, the pieces followed the brand’s signature silhouettes, both structured and fluid. Beads and sequins embellished varied hemlines and multiple layering, all set against captivating scenes of mirth and magic. Motifs ranged from the sublime to nonsensical; friendly mice and naughty elves, clocks and teapots, flowering fields and star-filled skies, princesses and ponies.

HSY

Day-4’s finale was presented by acclaimed couturier HSY who showcased a collection titled ‘INK’; a collection inspired by Asia and specifically HSY’s journeys to The Land of the Rising Sun. INK represented the essence of Langkawi, Indonesia, Nagasaki, and Yunnan with natural and indigenous yarns, hand-woven to perfection. The collection featured the traditional dyeing techniques of Shibori from Nagasaki, Batik from Indonesia, and Gara from Sierra Leone infused with mackintosh, saffron, aubergine, eggshell, rosette, indigo and ochre. Created with the scorching sub continental summer in mind, INK channelled versatile hemlines to suit a diversity of younger, older, working men, women and homemakers alike.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-brisbane
There it was on the calendar, Saturday May 11,2013. Big red circle around the date and written in black pen in the middle…SPELLING BEE. Plain as day, you couldn’t miss it. One of the biggest days of the school year for geeks and nerds alike.





Today was the day. In two hours, The 87th Annual Cross Cultural Twin Counties Co-Educational Public School Spelling Bee, would begin.  This was a huge event in the history of Thomas Polk Elementary School. It would be one of the biggest, if not THE BIGGEST in the history of The Twin Counties.



There would be twenty-one schools represented with their best and brightest spellers. The gymnasium would be full of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and media representatives. Yes, invitations had been sent out to both of the local papers in The Twin Counties, and both had replied in the affirmative. Real media, in Thomas Polk Elementary School, with a shared photographer….the big time had come to town.



Inside the gymnasium, work had been going on all night in preparation of the big event. The Teachers Auxiliary Group had set up bunting across the stage, purple and white of course, for the school colours. The school colours were actually purple and cream, but, there was a wedding at Our Lady of The Weeping Sisters Baptist Church later, and they had emptied the sav-mart of all of the cream coloured bunting and crepe paper. So, white it would be.



It looked spectacular. There were balloons tied to the basketball net at the south end of the gym. It wouldn’t wind up after the last game, so something had to be done to hide it. Balloons fit the bill. There was three levels of benches on the stage for the competitors, a microphone dead center stage and two 120 watt white spot lights aimed at the microphone.  Down in front, was a judges table, also covered in bunting and crepe, with a smaller microphone sitting in the middle. There was a cord connecting it to the stage speaker system, taped to the gym floor with purple duct tape, just to fit in. Big time, big time.



The piece de resistance sat at the right side of the judges table. An eight foot high pole, with an electronic stop watch and two traffic lights, donated from the local public utilities commission, in red and green. The timer had been rigged up by the uncle of one of the competitors, possibly to gain an advantage, to help keep the judges honest in their timings. Besides, it looked fancy, and it had a cool looking remote control.











The gym was filled to capacity. One hundred and Seventy Five Entrants, visitors, judges and media were crammed into plastic chairs, benches, and whatever lawn chairs the Teachers Auxiliary were able to borrow, that weren’t being used for the wedding at the Baptist Church. It was time to begin….



The three judges came in from the left of the clock, and sat down. The entrants were all nervously waiting on stage on the benches. The media representatives were down front, for photo opportunities, of course.



Judge number one, in the middle of the table clicked on the microphone in front of him and turned to the crowd. In doing so, he spilled his water on his notes and pulled the duct tape loose on the floor in front.



“Greetings, and welcome to the 87th Annual Cross Cultural Twin Counties Co-Educational Public School Spelling Bee.” There was some mild clapping from the family members, along with a few muffled whistles and two duck calls from the back. The weak response was due to the fact that most of the parents either had small fans (due to the heat), donated from the local Funeral Home, or hot dogs and beer (from the tailgating outside), in their hands. Needless to say, it was still a positive response.



The judge carried on…”Today’s competition brings together the top spellers in the region of the Twin Counties to do battle on our stage. All of the words used today, have been selected from a number of sources, including Webster’s Dictionary, from our own school library, Words with Friends from the inter web, keeping up with modern culture, and finally from two books of Dr. Suess that we had lying around the office. Each competitor will get one minute to answer once his or her word has been selected. We ask that you please refrain from applause until after the judges have confirmed the spelling, and please no help to the competitors. We now ask that you all turn off any electronic media, cell phones, pagers, etc. so we can begin”.



He then turned to the stage and asked all competitors to remove their cell phones and put them in the bright orange laundry basket, usually reserved for floor hockey sticks. Each student deposited their phones, all one hundred and thirty-seven of them in the basket.  We were ready to start.





“Competitor number one…please approach the microphone and state your name and your school” said Judge number two. Judge number two would be in charge of calling the students up, it seemed. She was the librarian at Thomas Polk. She had typical librarian glasses, with the silver chain attached to the arms, flaming red hair, done up in a bee hive uplift, just for the event, and was called Miss Flume. She was married, but, being the south, she was always addressed as Miss.



The first student advanced to the front of the stage. She had bright pink hair, held in place with a gold hairband, black shoes, and a yellow jumper. She looked like a walking number 2 pencil. The two duck calls came from the back of the gymnasium along with scattered applause. All three judges turned and looked to the back, and then turned to face the young girl.



“My name is Bobbie Jo Collister, I am a senior at Jackson Williams School of Fine Arts and Music”. “Thank you Bobbie Joe” said Miss Flume. Bobbie Jo, smiled nervously and put on her glasses. “Your word is horticulture” announced Judge number one, “horticulture”.  Bobbie Jo took a breath and without asking for a definition, usage, root of the word or anything, just ripped through it without fail in three point two seconds, according to the mammoth timepiece at the end of the table. After conferring, the judges clicked on the green street light and she sat down, amidst more duck calls and clapping.



Student number two went through the entire process as did students three through eight. Each one had glasses, no surprise there, and were all dressed in monochromatic themes. Together, they looked like a life sized box of crayolas ready for a halloween party. Each child spelled their words correctly and were subsequently cheered and applauded.



Student nine then approached the microphone, stopping about a good seven feet short and three feet right of it. “My name is Oliver Parnocky” squeaked the lad. “I go to George W. Bush P.S 19 and am a senior.” Miss Flume, grabbed the small mike in front of her and said “Oliver…put on your glasses and move over to the microphone.” She leaned into the other judges, and said “He goes to my school, he doesn’t like wearing them much, and he’s always outside at recess talking to the flagpole after everyone else has come inside”.



“Oliver, please spell Dichotomy” said Judge number one. Judge two started the clock and they waited….and waited…then out burst this voice….DICHOTOMY…D I C H O T O M E E, , no, wait..D I C K O….****!” The crowd erupted in laughter, Oliver was busted. The judges conferred, and after informing poor Oliver they had never heard it spelled quite that way with an O **** at the end, they triggered the red light and Oliver left the stage to sit in the audience with his folks.



The next three kids, all with glasses, like it was part of an unwritten uniform dress code for the day, all advanced and sat down. The next entrant, number thirteen, luckily enough stood from the back and struggled down to the front of the stage. There were gasps and some snickering from the crowd. She was taller than the previous competitors,  and a little more pregnant as well. “Please state your name” said Miss Flume. “My name is Betty Jo Willin and am a senior at

Buford T. Pusser Parochial School”. At this announcement there was a cheer of “Got Wood at B.T. Pusser” from the crowd. The judges turned, asked for silence and the offending nuns returned to their seats. “Miss Willin, how old are you exactly?” asked Judge number one. “Twenty Two sir”. “And you say you are a senior?” “Yes sir” came the reply. Betty Jo was shuffling a bit as the pressure on her bladder must have been building standing there in her delicate condition. After conferring, judge number one said “That sounds about right, your word is PROPHYLACTIC”. The few people in the crowd that knew the meaning of the word laughed, while the rest continued eating their hot dogs and drinking their sodas and beers. “Please give a definition sir..I don’t believe I know that word”. The judges looked at each other with a definite “I’m not surprised” look and rattled off the definition. When she asked for usage, the judges really didn’t know what to do. Should they give a sentence using the word or explain the usage of a prophylactic, which regardless would have been too late anyway.

After a modicum of control was reached, she attempted the word, getting all tongue tied and naturally messing it up. The red light was triggered and she left the stage.



More strange outfits, bowties, hair nets, jumpers, clip on ties, followed. It looked like a fashion parade from Goodwill and The Salvation Army rolled into one. Most attempted their words and were green lighted onwards to the next round, while those who failed, were red lighted back to the crowd and the tailgate party in the parking lot. As each competitor was eliminated, the betting board that was being manned outside by one father was updated with new odds and payouts.



The first round was approaching an end with only three kids left. “Number nineteen please approach and state your name” said Miss Flume. He plume of red hair was starting to sag and was sliding slowly off of her head due to the humidity in the gymnasium.



Number nineteen came forth, glasses, tape across the bridge like half of the previous spellers. He was wearing the most colourful shirt that any of the judges had ever seen. It was not from Dickies, they surmised. “I go to J.J. Washington P.S 117 and my name is Mujibar Julinoor Parkhurloonakiir”. The judges froze. He obviously was new to the district. They had never heard a name like that before, ever. Not even in Ghandi. This was a powerful name. There had been sixteen cominations of Bobby, Bobbie, Billie, Jo, Joe, Jimmy, Jeff, Johnson and Jackson prior to Mujibar. Stunned, judge one asked “Son, can you spell that please?”

Mujibar, not sure what to do, spelled his name, unsure of why he was being asked to do so. “Thank you son” said Miss Flume. The odds on the betting board in the parking lot changed right then.



“That boy is gonna win fer sure” said Jimmy Jeff Willerkers. Jimmy Jeff ran the filling station two concessions over and had fifty bucks on his nephew Bobby Jeff, who had already flamed out on “yawl”. “How was he supposed to know  it had something to do with boats?” asked Jimmy Jeff. “That Mujibar is gonna win…jeez, he’s been spelling that name for years….anything else is gonna be easy breezy.” The odds went down on Mujibar and the money was flying around that parking lot faster than the rumour that the revenue people were out looking for stills in the woods.



“Mujibar…please spell SALICIOUS”…asked the now red pancake headed Miss Flume. Doing as he was told, Mujibar, spelled the word, gave the root, a definition and a brief history of the word usage in modern literature. Judge number one was furiously scribbling down notes, and trying to figure out how he would get a bet down on this kid before round two started.



Entrant number twenty from Jefferson Davis Temple and Hebrew school advanced which brought up the final entrant from round one. “Number Twenty-One please advance to the front of the stage”. After adjusting his glasses, after all he didn’t want a repeat of what poor Oliver did, he approached. “My name is C.J. Kay from William Clinton P.S 68” Judge one, confused by the young man’s name asked him to repeat it. “C.J. Kay” said C.J. “What is your full last name boy, you can’t just have a letter as your last name….what is the K for?” “Sir, my last name is Kay”, said C.J. “It’s not a letter”. “It most certainly is son…H I J K L…rattled off judge one. “It has to stand for something, you just can’t be CJK, that sounds like a Canadian radio station or worse yet, one of them hippy hoppy d.j fellers my granddaughter listens to. What is the K for?”. C.J said sir “My name is Christopher John Kay… not K, Kay” and then spelled it out. This only confused judge one more than he already was, and the extra time figuring out his name was doing nothing to Miss Flume’s hairdo.



“Christopher John….please spell MEPHISTOPHOLES “ said Judge one, after realizing he was never going to find out what the K was for. The crowd was getting restless and wanted to get to the truck to get re-filled and change their bets. C.J. knocked it out of the park in 2.7 seconds…”faster than Lee Harvey Oswald at a target shoot in Dallas”, one man said.



After a ten minute break, to get drinks, ***, re-tape some glasses and prop up Miss Flumes ruined plumage round two was set to begin. This went faster as the words were getting tougher, although randomly selected, judge one was inserting a few new words to keep his chance of winning with Mujibar alive. PALIMONY, ARCHEOLOGY, PARSIMONIOUS, TRIPTOTHYLAMINE , and many other words were thrown at the competitors. Each time the list of successful spellers was reduced, and the amount of clapping and the duck calls were less.

The seventh round began with just Mujibar, B.J. Collister and C. J Kay left. Before the round began the judges reminded the crowd that the words were random, and to please keep the cheering until the green light had been lit. There were more duck calls at this announcement and very little applause. Jerry Jeff was still manning the betting board, the tailgate barbeque was done, and there was only about thirty people left in the gymnasium.



The balloons on the basketball net had long since lost their get up and go, and were now hanging limply like coloured rubber scrotums and were flatter that Miss Flumes hair, which incidently, was now starting to streak the right side of her face from sweat washing out the dye. She was beginning to look like an extra in a zombie film with a brilliant orange red streak across her forehead.



“C.J.” said judge one, “please spell ARYTHMOMYACIN”. C.J. gave it a valiant effort ,but unfortunately was incorrect and the red light sent him off to the showers. This left B.J. Collister and the odds on favourite, Mujibar. The crowd was down to twenty seven now, Bobbie Jo’s folks and Mujibars immediate family.



Round after round were completed with neither one missing a word. Neither one blinked. It was a gunfight where both shooters died. These two were good, and it was never going to end. Judge one leaned over and told the other judges, “we have to finish this soon….I’m due at the wedding over to the Baptist church for nine o’clock to bless the happily marrieds and drive them both to the airport. They’re off to Cuba for their honeymoon.” The others agreed…”C.J. please spell MINISCULE said Miss Flume”. She did so, without a problem. This caused judge one to yell out “Holy Christmas” just as Mujibar got to the microphone. Thinking this was his word, he started as the judges were giving him his word. Seizing the opportunity to end it…judge one woke up judge three who red lighted poor Mujibar, ending his run at spelling immortality. “Sorry son, you tried, but, today a Mujibar lost and a B.J won.”. Before he tried to correct himself, knowing what he had just said didn’t sound quite right, Miss Flume congratulated both finalists and began the award presentations.



Thankfully, next year the eighty eighth version of The Annual Cross Cultural Twin Counties Co-Educational Public School Spelling Bee will be in the other county. Now the job of sorting out the cell phones in the orange basket begins. By the way, Betty Jo Willin had a boy …you can just guess what she named it!
not a poem, as you can see...it's a rough draft of a short story. I would love feedback on the content, not the spelling or grammar as it is in a rough stage still and needs editing.
Ayad Gharbawi Dec 2009
THE STORY OF SARA

OR A REFLECTION ON OURSELVES

Ayad Gharbawi

Chapter 4: THE HALLOWED PURIFICATION PROGRAMME




  One night, Omar began to thunder on:
  "No more of the disgusting concepts and ideas created by the Pigs! We should eliminate from our minds every single Pig that is influencing you, and I must say to you all, that I'm not seeing any progress."
  The audience suddenly went all quiet.
  Our leader was not satisfied with our emotional progress.
  We were not purifying our minds in a manner and speed that was satisfactory to the Great Noble Leader Omar.
  "I am looking at you all. I see you; yes, I, Omar, see each one of you. Your eyeballs seem to me to be unsure of what's behind them – I mean, your brains."
  Omar's voice began to talk in a tone that was almost a whisper, whilst the vast audience strained their ears to catch his every precious word.
  "And inside your brains lies our minds. Well, I'm talking about your minds, my friends. I'm not seeing progress. Yes, you do this riot; you **** this Pig; you burn this Pig school – and all of these acts are crucial to our holy cause. But, what about you yourselves? What about your own minds? Maybe you, too, are tainted with some of the Pig mentality yourselves? Now, how about that? Yes? What do you think?"
  The audience gasped.
  Omar began to raise his voice again.
  He was taunting this audience.
  Mocking them.
  Sarcastic.
  "Why, you really are telling me, that you think and feel and believe, that you have the right to **** Pigs?"
  At this question, Omar stopped.
  The audience gasped louder.
  I knew what they were thinking.
  Is our Great Noble Leader questioning our faith in him and in the cause itself?!
  He screamed, almost blowing away the microphones!
  "Why, who gives you the right to be soldiers in this unforgiving, merciless and ferocious war we are waging every day against vastly superior forces? I'll tell you 'who' gives you that right."
  The audience waited in tense anticipation at our leader's answer.
  It was so silent in this vast stadium, you could hear a pin fall.
  "What gives every man, woman and child the right to be a soldier in this brutal struggle is when that soldier has the purest heart and mind. It's as simple as that. And to be 'pure', my friends tonight, is the one who has not a shred, and does not have one ounce of Pig matter. That's right, you heard. Pig matter. Any dog that has even a fleeting Pig thought, is a Pig him or herself!"
  The audience now began to whisper among themselves.
  They seemed to be receiving the light from the words being delivered by Omar.
  Many were saying among themselves, that, 'Yes, we do have Pig thought and ideas and emotions and feelings in our hearts.'


  Omar continued, in a soft voice, after allowing his audience to digest his last words:
  "Yes, that does come as a surprise to you, doesn't it?"
  "Yes!" roared back the audience who now fully submitted to his question and answer.
  "So, I ask you – who are you?" he screamed!
  And the crowds immediately screamed:
  "Pigs! Pigs! Pigs! We are ***** Pigs!"
  Again and again, the crowd seemed to be going a little bit hysterical.
  Some began tearing off their clothes, as if they were trying to 'cleanse' themselves from their Pig thoughts!
  "That's right!" screamed back Omar, furiously and wildly staring with those maniacal eyeballs, like some trapped, ferocious animal, at his audience:
  "Why you yourselves are Pigs! That's right! Come on now! So, what are going to do about you? If you give yourselves the 'right' to **** Pigs, then why don't I have the same 'right' to order my best elite troops to **** you too?"
  "Save us! Save us!" screamed back the audience.
  "Save yourselves!" Omar screamed right back.
  "We are filthy! We are Pigs!" the audience began to insult themselves in all sorts of words and phrases.
  At this point, Omar was shrieking!
  "That's right! You are filthy Pigs yourselves, aren't you now?”
  The audience continued to scream and you couldn’t understand what they were saying anymore.
  Omar went just as suddenly silent.
  He just looked at his followers, and allowed them the need to express themselves.
  After some twenty minutes o this chaotic screaming, Omar became impatient and quickly motioned his followers to be quiet.
  Silence.
  He continued, with a soft tone:
  “So, I hereby announce the following."
  Once again the entire audience become tense.
  What was Omar going to order now?
  "I hereby allow you all, and I mean all our soldiers and not just those sitting with me here in this stadium; I order all of our soldiers to purify themselves of every Pig matter. You will have three months. And then, after that term ends, we will establish courts, to decide wether you have succeeded in cleaning yourselves from these cancerous and murderous feelings and emotions you have. Our courts and our hallowed judges will next decide, case by case, wether you are clean or not!"


  Later, when it appeared that our mostly pathetic, ***** and sick 'soldiers' were simply unable to cleanse their minds from the Pig establishment in three months – since they had no instructions or guidance - Omar, in his eternal grace, patience and humanity, decided to help them, by allowing classes to be held where one teacher would help each and everyone to 'cleanse' themselves.
  Personally, I thought that our Great Noble Leader was decidedly wrong in being so gracious to these so-called soldiers, because, in my opinion, this lot were not worthy of being in our party, and they ought to have been immediately expelled.
  "But, Sara," Omar would gently explain to me in his humble office, surrounded by his most trusted officers, "if we were to purge every undesirable element in the party, I would be left with practically nobody!"
  I took in his gracious words. and then thought about it.
  Why, he was correct, yet again, in his thinking!
  Indeed, if we did purify our party from the filthy ones, we would be left with little more than a handful of true, faithful and clean combatants and that, obviously, meant our self-destruction!
  "You're right, Sir; as usual, I think too hastily. That's why you are the only leader for us; my God, if I, God forbid, were leader, why I would have destroyed the party and our eternally holy cause years ago!"
  "Indeed, indeed, my dear," Omar softly said, but he seemed to have already forgotten my words, and, he was already somewhere else, thinking deeply about another problem.
  And so I, of course, went silent, so as not to disturb him.


  "You know what?" suddenly he asked me, his eyes sparkling with passion.
  "Yes, Sir?"
  "These 'classes' I was talking about. You've studied psychiatry, and I believe that we must use psychiatric methods to purify my subjects."
  Suddenly a strange feeling overcame me; I found the word describing the party members as 'my subjects' a little bit odd.
  Also, didn't Omar call psychiatry a Pig subject for all those years? Indeed, he said everything they taught us at university was evil, and that even the institutions of universities were dens of evil. And, yet, now, he was asking me to help him using what I was learning from my university days?
  "Yes, I can see the path I am talking about Sara. We need to get psychiatrists, like yourself, to tear out, yes, tear out, the filthiness in our party members."
  Suddenly, he got quite excited by his visions.
  "That's right, my dearest one, Sara. Yes, and I appoint you to supervise this programme of purification. That's right, and I shall call it by its simplest name, the 'Programme of Purification'!"
  Suddenly, I got excited as well, forgetting my previous disturbance.
  "That would be such a heroic move on your part, Sir." I gleefully told Omar.
  I feel that not only was he the saviour for our nation, but that he was also a personal saviour for myself.
  "Yes, I see my vision where it is leading us to. My dear Sara; you will set up these classes and you will bring the psychiatrists and you will purify the ***** elements in our classes."
  I got nervous again, for I just realized the magnitude of the job Saviour Omar was demanding I do for him!
  "And therefore, I Omar call for an immediate ceasefire against all Pigs!"
  Everyone in the office stood there in a state of shock!
  A ceasefire against the damnable Pigs?!
  Holy Omar could, of course, read our faces and smiled.
  "But Holy Sir," one officer softly asked, "how can we have a ceasefire against the most evil forces in the history of our country?"
  "And, Sir," asked another officer, "if we stop our eternally pure and humanistic battle against the disease-ridden pigs, wouldn't the latter take that as a sign of weakness on our part?"
  Next, saviour Omar raised his hand.
  Everyone went silent.
  He looked at us.
  There were no words from his mouth.
  We waited humbly.
  Geniuses take their time to formulate the right structure of words, not because they don't know what to say, but they do so that we fools can understand what they have to say.
  It is out of concern for us.
  Omar finally spoke:
  My clean, pure soldiers. We must declare a ceasefire, for I have no other choice. As a humanist, how can I allow impure elements from our party to fight and **** Pigs, when they themselves are still 'impure'? Where is the morality in that?"
  Suddenly, I couldn't help but feel such fanatical love for this man; I can only describe his man and his words, as pieces of Heaven coming down to us inferior beings, and if we are decent, then we must grab every shred and piece that he utters, so we can, in turn, save our impure souls.
  "Beautiful thoughts indeed, my Gracious Leader!" I said.
  Then I turned to the listeners:
   "What's wrong with the rest of you? If, one of our 'own' party members was impure, then by what right does he and she have to fight and **** Pigs? We must cease all out activities, until we have a purified party! It's simple and obvious!"
  Thereupon followed silence.


I was speaking the obvious.
  Finally, a voice spoke:
  "So, how exactly are these psychologists going to 'purify' the 'minds' of our party members?"
Good question – one that I had not thought about.
  Indeed, how, and by what means, were we going to purify the undesirables?
  And then, just at the right moment, Omar spoke his words:
  "Yes, that is a great question. There's no use giving orders that no one knows how they are to be carried out. You see, it will not only be the job of psychiatrists who will purify the filthy ones. No, we will force the filthy ones, to ***** out every filthy thought, feeling, and idea; and we shall make sure that all these impure thoughts and feelings and convictions will be screamed out of their minds."
  At that last phrase, once again, I found myself pausing and thinking, what an odd thing to say!
  I got lost in my thinking.
  After all, Omar always, and I mean always choose his words carefully, for he would always make it a point to be so careful with the choice of his words, so that his credibility would never be in doubt and so people do understand that that he means exactly whatever he says.
  I must confess, I was completely confused.
  On the one hand, I had such deep reverence, complete love and a total need for Omar, and then, there was a part of me, that simply didn’t understand what he was talking about!
  I remembered, once more, how everything was so nice and easy and simple with Tony.
  But, I assume, that Tony was a general doctor, whereas Omar was a surgeon, and so, with Omar, we had to face a far more complex situation.
  "What do you mean by that, Sir?" asked one of the officers, waking me up from my thoughts.
  "I mean, it shall be the duty of every party member to purify every other party member. We must all be psychiatrists! This will be done, of course, under the supervision of the leader psychiatrist in each class. He or she will guide you, as to how to get every party member to rip out every Pig attribute in our party members. It's as simple as that."
  At that, Omar gestured to indicate that the meeting was over, and so we left.
  I kept thinking that his idea was, I'm sure, utterly brilliant, but how in practice were going to do this?


  He left his office far too soon.
  We had too many questions to ask, and yet, by leaving us, Omar was, in effect, giving us a 'programme' to do, but without clear, precise orders.
  So, how were we going to carry out his orders?
  What did he mean that 'we must all become psychiatrists'!
  That was absolutely absurd!
  Untrained people cannot simply 'become' psychiatrists, even if they are 'led' by psychiatrists – or to use Omar's words, to be 'guided' by psychiatrists.
  So, Omar's idea seemed to me, to be really a recipe for a catastrophe for our party.
  The more I thought of it, the more I found my mind asking myself the question: why was Omar insisting on this 'purification programme' in the first place?
  Couldn't the party and its members simply continue the struggle, without having to enforce this ridiculous programme?
  And didn't Omar realize that his insistence on us carrying out his orders to do the purification programme, was going to cause absolute chaos, disruption and ultimately mass desertions and expulsions from our party?
  In other words, Omar's sudden 'need' to 'purify' our own members seemed to me to be a self destructive act that would seriously damage the party.


The ceasefire announcement was barely noticed by the Pigs – which came as a shock to many of us.
  The government didn't seem to actually care at our ceasefire announcement.
  Indeed, the Pigs declared that what they termed as the 'social troubles' was, in effect, 'over' and so, therefore, the country could breathe a sigh of relief, and people could now be 'happy'.
  I didn't believe what the government was saying.
  I was of course nauseated by the hypocrisy of the Pig leaders, because, their pronouncements were lies, as usual, and they would of course, continue their merciless war against us, while we had to cease our fire.
  Yes, Leader Omar was probably correct, but I was **** frustrated, because it seemed to me, for the first time since I joined the party, that the Pigs may now well win the struggle.
  It was obvious to me!
  For how on planet earth could we 'win' a war, when we were not allowed to fight, while the same eternal enemy would continue his war against us?!
  Also, to be very honest, I'm not sure that we could 'purify' Pigs in the first place.
  It seemed to me to be a contradiction!
  I would simply have to swallow whatever Leader Omar ordered us to do.
  God knows, he's proven to be correct every time before, and maybe, he will confound us once more with his superior wisdom.
  Have faith, Sara, have faith!
  Never question the Great Leader, for he is superior to all of us; after all, that’s why he’s the ‘Great Leader’ in the first place!
  Keep the faith!
  How can we understand what a su
anonymous999 Jan 2015
DEPRESSION IS REAL.
depression is not being sad. depression is gray-tinted glasses that affect how you see the world, depression turns your emotions from stone to glass, you never knew the meaning of "emotionally unstable" until someone drops you half of a foot and you shatter. until someone cancels on you and somehow you find yourself sobbing in your room because the demons in your head tell you that nobody ******* cares about you, nobody ******* cares about you, nobody ******* cares about you.
depression is real. i can feel it in my chest and on my eyelids and in my head and i can even feel it's iron death grip on my throat.
some days i swore to God there was a four-ton elephant sitting pretty on my chest, but i was the only one who could see it. some days there were five-pound weights hanging from my eyelids and the only way to keep myself awake was to pump myself so full of caffeine that my hands shook while my eyes were still tired, making me exhausted and anxious and hyperactive all at once. some days it took hold of my head, squeezing my eyes so that my reflection was warped and twisted and grotesque, whispering into my ears that i needed to eat less. you need to eat less. some days it attacked my heart. i can not describe the sensation better than to say that some days it felt like my aortas were being beaten by dull wooden stakes or like my blood had been replaced with icewater.
you're sitting in class enjoying a captivating psychology lecture when that thought pops in your head: "why are you even alive?" and your blood freezes, your ribs tighten, and something grabs hold of your windpipe so that all you can do to not say "i want to die" when the teacher calls on you is shake your head and say "i don't know."
you're sitting in math class and you're supposed to be learning about integrals but all you can think about is everyone's reactions if you didn't wake up the next day; you're sick but all you notice is that no one noticed you were gone. maybe no one would notice if you were gone.

one year, food was all that could make me feel happy; i found hope in the dopamine rush from the sugary calories; i rejoiced at the satisfactory feeling i got from devouring half of a pan of brownies.
the next year, yes, i know i have always loved dark chocolate but today i just can't seem to taste it. or anything for that matter.
the only thing i could get myself to ingest were liquids that would take my memories away for a while. i had no problem pouring cheap caramel apple ***** down my throat but could not get myself to pick up a golden delicious and bite into it because i knew i wouldn't have be able to finish it anyway.

depression is real. depression is a ****** up monster that leaves no part of you untouched and can steal the very essence of who you are if you let it. depression can ******* rip you apart. someone will tell you that they love you and all you will be able to say in return is "no you don't."
depression takes away who you are. because you haven't always cried every day, you haven't always been unable to eat, you used to be able to stomach an "i love you" and you used to smile when you saw your little sister.
this is not you, this is depression, depression is real. you are not pretending, you are not 'not trying', you are not 'broken'; honey all you have are some unbalanced chemicals in your brain. but we're going to try as hard as we can to make them go back to normal. i know you're in there.

depression is real. but so are you.
Terry O'Leary Jan 2014
as the PROPHETS of profits, WE lead and WE’re fair
while WE’re living the life of the poor BILLIONAIRE
– silver yachts, pearly castles, cash (plenty to spare) –
with the world on OUR backs... ah! the burdens WE bear!

being HAVES (not the have-nots) as nature decrees
means WE’re certainly the better (they’re vermin on ******).
if they pray for a lift in their dark fantasies,
WE just kick ’em downstairs, get ’em off of their knees.

yes, WE offer great jobs (much too busy OURSELVES!)
for maintaining the toilets, restacking the shelves,
and WE teach ’em to fear god and play with the elves,
thus dispelling ideas where the dark demon delves.

though they build mighty bridges, twin towers and more,
peddle pizzas and popcorn, sell guns door-to-door,
still they gotta have BOSSES to tell ’em the score
else WE’d never be needed, WE’d thrive nevermore.

when OUR profits are plunging, they do their part too
for they dine on the dole! yes, no hullabaloo!
soon OUR fortunes  redouble, rebound and accrue –
since WE fare well without ’em, WE bid ’em adieu.

’stead of wishing for welfare and standing in queues
or parading with pickets (look! holes in their shoes!),
they’d be better off scabbing to save union dues.
while WE whistle and warble, they’re singing the blues.

whether heroes or hoboes, like spiders and lice
they just crawl all around us in life’s paradise,
but WE’re patient, big hearted and oft sacrifice,
spewing charity, kindness (though each has its price).

if they’re beaten or punctured or suffer assault,
are unhealthy or crippled or walk with a halt,
or ******* or helpless, it’s all their own fault –
just like US they should worship the DOLLAR exalt’!

protesters and loud mouths, you’ll find ’em aplenty
some older, some younger, the worst not yet twenty.
they’re shameless and brazen (unwashed, soiled and scenty)
impugning the prestige of brave COGNOSCENTI.

if they’ve got clashing colors (or shades in between)
or opposing beliefs in the hidden unseen,
well, WE’ll always exploit it, deflecting their spleen,
for with god on each side, would WE dare intervene?

WE maintain many methods to keep ’em in chains –
daily rags and the tube spin OUR circus campaigns:
“to pretend you’ve a voice”, an announcement explains,
“you can vote and decide on which ONE of US reigns”.

OUR policemen protect US, they stay on the ball
(they arrest ’em, no questions per law’s protocol,
and then jam ’em in jail with their backs to the wall) –
if you’ve lucre for lawyers there’s justice for all.

down the ROYAL road of justice WE march all alone
– WE condemn their defiance, set ways to atone –
since WE’re sinless, unsullied, WE cast the first stone
(while WE cloak REGAL fetor with eau de cologne).

politicians, bald bankers, grand idols galore,
attend meetings, fete banquets in which they explore
how to rid US of rodents (the weak and the poor) –
well, just round up the riff-raff, dispatch ’em to war!

ah! OUR wars are, well, just...... just a thing of the past
........... and the present............... and future... WE sure make them last!
if they frown as they gaze (Armageddon!) aghast,
then WE smile back with pleasure, OUR treasures amassed.

useless ranting and raving (in rags, when they’re clad),
leads to losing their teeth (my! their gums are... egad!).
WE’re unselfish, indulgent, WE’d never be mad
if they drowned in the sounds of themselves feeling sad.

as the paupers are princes in midnight’s domain,
they have pipe dreams to lose, certainly nothing to gain
if they’re hoping OUR fortunes will wither and wane –
for “WE’re here by god’s will” as WE often explain.

yes, they wish to be US, with OUR wisdom and grace,
keeping up with ol’ CROESUS, maintaining the pace.  
but perverseness or rancor? they’ll see not a trace –
for WE hold ’em at bay with a fist in the face.

WE’re la CRÈME de la CRÈME, yes! the proud UPPER CRUST,
and OUR clothes are the finest, OUR hair never mussed –
WE imbue ’em with piety, duty and trust
and they’re fed bread and water (if feed ’em WE must).

but they’re thieving, aggrieved, want a piece of OUR PIE
and request WE endure ’em, see EYE to black eye.
since they live in OUR land where OUR strict rules apply,
they must feast on the crumbs that We cast to the sty.

though OUR largesse and bounty WE don’t mean to flaunt,
yet the pittance WE pay ’em they surely can vaunt –
salty peanuts and pretzels (what more could they want?)
thereby keeping their kiddies so healthily gaunt.

yes, there’s room for the rabble (the back of the bus)
’cause WE treat ’em like equals, so what’s all the fuss?
all can rise to the top (yes! it’s always been thus),
to the suites in OUR penthouse (to sweep up and dust).

while OUR CHILDREN have tutors, the finest of schools
(being bred for the forefront, THEY’re nobody’s fools),
their own school of hard knocks teaches: “follow the rules”,
building brawn ’stead of brains and broad backs strong as mules’.

and to keep ’em in line (to ensure WE prevail)
WE now monitor phone calls and read all their mail
(civil rights? what a notion! at best a detail!)
and if worse comes to worst...... well...... guantanamo jail!

WE’ve OUR quandaries and questions and headaches full blown
(like deciding design and decor of OUR throne...
whether diamonds or rubies... to gemstones WE’re prone) .
when WE deign to appease ’em, WE chuck ’em a bone.

now you know all OUR problems, OUR pains and travails
– like preparing foreclosures, evictions  and sales –
but WE’ve no need for worries or gnawed fingernails,
’cause WE’re sailing OUR yachts through tempestuous gales
(with them bailing OUR banks when OUR stock market fails)
sipping daiquiri sours, champagnes, ginger ales.
:-)

— The End —