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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 415: Who Wants to Win a... Baby?

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/29/world/asia/pakistan-baby-giveaway/index.html?hpt=hp_c5

Karachi (CNN) -- Plumbing new depths in the battle for television ratings, abandoned babies are being given out as prizes on a controversial prime-time game show in Pakistan.
TV host Aamir Liaquat Hussain presented baby girls to two unsuspecting couples during his show, which is broadcast live for seven hours a day during the month of Ramadan.
"I was really shocked at first. I couldn't believe we were being given this baby girl," said Suriya Bilqees, now a mother of a two-week old. "I was extremely happy."
Another baby, a boy, is due to be given to another couple at some point in the coming days.
The show's host has been described as a religious scholar, TV megastar and even a sex symbol. His heady mix of religion and entertainment is often followed by controversy.
"At Christmas there's Santa Claus to give everyone gifts, it's important for Christians. For us Ramadan is a really special time so it's really important to make people happy and reward them," said Hussain.
His show -- Aman Ramazan -- has been dubbed Pakistan's version of The Price Is Right, with members of the 500-strong audience receiving prizes in exchange for answering questions on the Quran.
The giveaway bonanza includes motorbikes, microwave ovens, washing machines and fridges.
He also cooks while men sing Islamic hymns and discusses religion with children in a garden full of rabbits, snakes and goats.
The baby girls given away on the show were found by an NGO, the Chhipa Welfare Association, which says it receives up to 15 abandoned babies a month.
"Our team finds babies abandoned on the street, in garbage bins -- some of them dead, others mauled by animals. So why not ensure the baby is kept alive and gets a good home?" said Ramzan Chhipa, who runs the organization.
"We didn't just give the baby away. We have our own vetting procedure. This couple was already registered with us and had four or five sessions with us."

I was going to write about some other psychology topic tonight - that is, until I came across this article. Hmmmm. Interesting. Babies. 

On the one hand, WTF. Seriously? Babies? 

On the other hand, the babies now have parents - should the parents decide to actually keep the baby. 

Sure, there are so many orphaned or neglected children living on streets around the world - but why decide to do it on a TV show? What is the reasoning behind that?If the parents have already been vetted and approved by the charity to adopt a baby, what's the use of the TV show? Sensationalism. Everything is a popularity contest now. Sure, this show is doing some good (the host plans to do shows for the minority religions too, to promote acceptance)  - but this baby thing is maybe not so kosher. 

Pakistan is a very religious country - there is no denying that. Most of the Asian-Arabic-Islam-Hindu-etc countries are fanatical about something. North Korea has its illustrious leader and giant army. South Korea has its super dedicated computer gamers and plastic surgery obsessions. The Islamic countries have Sharia law. The Hindus really like deities. China has China. Japan has doughnut heads. You know? When those guys like something, they really like it. Back to my point: obviously it makes sense that this show is pretty religious. At this point in time, I doubt that the show could make any kind of positive strides without being all about religion. It would be nice if religion was not in the picture, if people could be kind to each other without their god(s) having to convince them. Small steps I suppose. 

Religion is basically the major cause for the turmoil in Pakistan. What with the suicide bombers and whatnot. 

There are some proponents for the theory that religion was created to soothe our fear of death. We fear that our lives will be meaningless, so we created magical beings in elaborate fairy tales, and then went so far as to accept the ramblings of some possibly bat-shit-crazy people as the "word" of the magical being who created all life and really likes contradictions and suffering and stuff. Like birth defects. The magical being(s) must really hate some babies. I wonder why, seeing as he/she/it allegedly created each baby.

Anyway, stay tuned - tomorrow I will tackle some Social Psychology. Should be fun and/or funny.

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