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Sale, Sale, Sale - Every Now and Then: From Black Friday to Gyara Gyara Online Shopping Event

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The sale on 11th November advertised heavily as "Daraz.pk 11.11 Sale - Gyara Gyara Online Shopping Event" is one of the impending sales, heavily advertised, over official website of Daraz and on electronic media for previous few years. What's so special in this date? Why 11th November (written as 11 11 in the advertisements)? The curiosity of people may increase now about the date. Some negative cultural transformations are underway silently but quickly and a serious concern is needed. This is so because this and many other pollutants will ruin our culture which is not a good sign for our society.

A brief history is needed before talking about the referred cultural pollutants. Daraz.pk found in 2012, incubated by Germany (Rocket Internet) is operating in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Nepal along with Pakistan. The first silent pill of cultural transformation was given to our society almost two years ago (in 2016 from Germany in the name of Black Friday) and firms did record sales of Rs. 1 billion as a result. We may have heard less voices at that time, less people were aware or concerned about the name "Black Friday". The next year, some good number of people agitated and made companies change the name from "Black Friday" to "Big Friday". Still brands succeeded to secure four times more orders and earned about Rs. 3 billion. To some extent the resistance shown and the change in name from "Black Friday" to "Big Friday" was a sign that we still have the courage to protect our culture.

The next dose of cultural deformation which was made available for Pakistani people was an imported one. China's Giant Alibaba Group acquired Daraz Group for an undisclosed amount in May 2018. No doubt both countries are having a good friendly relations termed as "higher than mountains, deeper than oceans and sweeter than honey" at multiple instances. We contributed a lot in the name of Pak-China friendship, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), (a discussion of which can be kept for some other time) but keeping the beauty of own culture should never be compromised.

Let's get back to the initial question, what is so special in this date? 光棍节 (Guānggùn Jie') referred as the "China's Singles' Day" was found by Nanjing University students in 1993 to push back against social pressure - "to be in a relationship". To symbolize their solitary state, they set up an "anti-Valentine's Day" with 11.11 chosen as the date. The digit 1 is meant to symbolize a person who is single. The typical snack on this is also symbolizing, i.e. deep-fried breadstick (油条) because its shape is just like "1". People usually eat 2 or 4 sticks to symbolize 11.11. We being Muslims and living in an Islamic society never celebrate and name such days. This statement is clarified with the excerpt from Daraz.pk 11.11 sale page under the heading Daraz.pk 11 11 Sale in the year 2018- Gyara Gyara Online Shopping Event in Pakistan which says "This November 2018, Daraz.pk is hosting an incredible Gyara Gyara Sale event for the first time in the history of Pakistan! It is the 11.11 Sale! November 11 is known to be China's Single's Day and is the biggest online shopping spree of the world"""..".

We are already celebrating enough of such days and this Single's Day is not something which we should celebrate. The term single commonly means people who are not in a relationship or are unable to find their better half (husband or wife) and live a single life. If the story of this term ends here maybe it is acceptable and we have a pity feeling for those living a single life. Even the next heading on the said page of the website is more alarming under the heading Daraz.pk Gyara Gyara (11.11) Sale Online in Pakistan with the words "Make the 11.11 singles day a memorable one with Daraz.pk. Gear up for the most happening Gyara Gyara sale of the year and get your favorite products in the most reasonable rates"""."

There are already a lot of cultural impurities arriving along with CPEC including learning Chinese at even school level, changing people mentality and to make them work on public and religious holidays of Pakistan etc. We are the host country and rather than asking them to observe our practices like learning Urdu, celebrating our festivals (which usually happens when we start living permanently or temporarily in another country). Countries even conduct tests like IELTS, TOEFL, HSK etc. to gauge the suitability of one's ability to adopt to the newer environments. No such test was being conducted when Chinese people started shifting to Pakistan either on CPEC projects or for their business extensions. In fact the opposite is seen in our case e.g. we are learning Chinese to facilitate them, the rate of Chinese men marrying Pakistani girls etc. Contrary to that when, Chinese law is reforming by which foreigners are not allowed to marry their women. Why we are selling our homeland by giving others the right to own businesses solely in our homeland, buy land in Pakistan while others restrict this by various ways. It is also noticed that we are opening up coal power plants in our country while all around the world these plants are banned. People working in these power plants are even underpaid. We are ruining lives of our people as locals work all day, and Chinese workers following their own culture follow their business etiquettes like taking a nap, eating at their timings etc. The locals are asked to work overtime (non-paid) till late night while the Chinese spend their time following the "more the merrier" party time at expensive villas. The list is never ending, and these are just few of the examples which everyone is seeing around.

Again a question reiterates which we as a nation should ask ourselves. Why are we not willing to protect ourselves, our culture and why are we happily allowing others to pollute our culture? The sooner we find the answer of this question, lesser will be the loss.

 

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Dr. Tahir Mumtaz Awan - Academician, Marketing Professional, Fluent Chinese Speaker

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Sale, Sale, Sale - Every Now and Then: From Black Friday to Gyara Gyara Online Shopping Event

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