The Internet always REMEMBERS :-)

My Brother and I were discussing resume writing. Joel Spolsky’s post on do’s and dont’s of resume writing (see “Getting your resume read” – Joel Spolsky) just had to come up. The first time I read the article, the one point that stuck in my mind were his views on correct spacing. The specific line read something like this:

“Attention, the entire population of India: whenever you have a comma, there is always exactly one space and it’s always after the comma and never before it. Thank you.”

Thankfully, Joel changed it to read as follows,

OK, this one really bugs me. Learn where spaces go in relation to other punctuation. Whenever you have a comma, there is always exactly one space and it’s always after the comma and never before it. Thank you.

Unfortunately, the Internet never forgets. I suspect that it was key feedback from Raj Aryan that got Joel (and the others on Joel’s forums) to rethink their atitude towards English and nationality. The discussion topic can be found here on Joel’s forum.

At one point during the discussion, someone wrote back that he has come across material in India where there was a space before the comma. I suspect it was Joel who thought that it is culturally acceptable in the country but that he later realised it was a mistake.

The specific line in Mr. Spolsky’s rant I had intended to address was “Attention, the entire population of India: whenever you have a comma, there is always exactly one space and it’s always after the comma and never before it. Thank you.”

While I wasn’t born in India and certainly haven’t traveled through the entire sub-continent of India, I have been in half a dozen cities there over a period of three weeks and I recall seeing such variants in printed material I encountered. I’ll search through my photos and see if I can find a picture to post as an example.

I regret not focusing my point of contention more narrowly since in not doing so, I was essentially guilty of something similar to what I took issue with in the original article: the blanket nature of the above-quoted statement which still seems rude and overly general at best.

To clarify, a space before a comma is not accepted practice in any nation that speaks the Queen’s English or any other variant of the language. No respected, well-known publisher in India would allow spaces before a comma knowingly. In any case, Raj Aryan then replied with his thoughts which I rate as very humourous, I suggest reading it!

Really, entire population of India suck in English, there English is very poor, but who would make these American CEOs understand that they would get such a bad English in India!

By the way, why don’t Americans (with there much better English) apply for jobs in India?

Raj Aryan
Monday, January 26, 2004

Raj’s comments sparked a flame war. The conceited geeks were schooled by him. Lesson learnt. If you see some geek railing and ranting about how all Indian programmers suck, or why their command over written and spoken English are poor, don’t stand for it.

Raj,
I presume the grammatical errors in the last comment were deliberate?

John
Monday, January 26, 2004

What eroors?

Raj Aryan
Monday, January 26, 2004

Raj the fetid troll asked:

“By the way, why don’t Americans (with there much better English) apply for jobs in India? “

Because India doesn’t have a H1-B program for Americans and other non-Indians like America has for foreigners.

George
Monday, January 26, 2004

> the fetid troll

Is that English? I told you my English is poor, can you be simpler?

> Because India doesn’t have a H1-B program for Americans and other non-Indians like America has for foreigners.

Thats because Americans are welcome anytime, just try!

Raj Aryan
Monday, January 26, 2004

Raj,

American Software programmers are some of the most broad minded and informed people when it comes to other cultures. Yes, George is right in saying that Indian labo(u)r laws are a lot more protective when compared to american laws. Also we have to thank THE Raj (pun intended 😉 ) for our perfect English speaking skills!

A note to American Programmers : If genome research picks up in America tomorrow, all us Indians/Chinese would be getting our *third* masters degree in Genomics :-p. There are some Indians whose English speaking skills are really good and some whose skills will never be perfect. Don’t judge people based on the way they dress up / talk. Its as silly as comparing cocks. A good number of us are geeks too and just want to have fun!

Thanks,
Sriram

PS. Can none of you spell ‘grammAr’ right?

Sriram
Monday, January 26, 2004

> American Software programmers are some of the most broad minded and informed people when it comes to other cultures.

You mean they have oblong or recantagle shape minds, unlike Indians! 🙂

> Yes, George is right in saying that …

Yeah, Customer (especially an American one) is always right!

> A note to American Programmers : If genome research picks up in America tomorrow, all us Indians/Chinese would be getting our *third* masters degree in Genomics :-p.

I guess what you are saying is that American parents should start encoraging their kids to major in Genomics! 🙂

> There are some Indians whose English speaking skills are really good and some whose skills will never be perfect.

Oh come one, most of the Indians are poor at English, they don’t know a squat, its ONLY because of cheap labor (or is it labour) the get American jobs.

Raj Aryan
Monday, January 26, 2004

The comment is a specific one; it appears that misspacing of commas is so common among Indians that the OP thought it was a legitimate regional variety.

Non-Indians don’t make that mistake so often, so why include them.

Indians are notorious for missing out the definite and indefinite articles. Spaniards, French and Germans don’t do that so you wouldn’t need to overgeneralize.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen …

> it appears that misspacing of commas is so common among Indians that the OP thought it was a legitimate regional variety.

OP is not thinking!

“legitimate regional variety” – what kind of crap is that? how many Indian resumes are there in market at any given point in time and out of that how many freakin Indian resumes you or anybody have seen? If somebody thinks that they have seen enough to give stupid statement like “misspacing of commas is so common among Indians”, don’t hire that person!

> Non-Indians don’t make that mistake so often, so why include them.

Some more bullcrap, hunh …

Non-Indian = Everybody on freakin earth minus Indians.

Do you really think you have seen THAT MANY resumes.

> Indians are notorious for missing out the definite and indefinite articles.

Oh boy, you don’t stop do you? You must be a known racist Mr. Jones!!! Say no more.

Raj Aryan
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

E-mail gems (or turds)

I followed Kunal’s “Ceteris Paribus” to Aadisht’s “Maajorly shadymax arbit fundaes“. Aadisht leaked some juicy emails exchanged between on a newsgroup that he belonged to. The emails are written in Hindu – Punjabi and are between a moderator of group and an irate lady member of the group. Well, perhap’s not a lady after all.There are some real gems there that I recommend reading for a laugh. Don’t take this too seriously either.

At a lab I was working a couple of years ago, a co-worker and friend of mine was a thet-Punjabi (hard-core North Indian). He was a member of an esoteric mailing list on AI. One day, he decided to post asking for help on a topic that was frequently discussed on the group. Some french guy thought this is a good day to crack a joke. He obviously had worked with other people of a particular community before and he recognized the name as one belonging to that community. He replied saying it was a great day for the group since even people of this certain community were beginning to take interest in the subject. The french guy stirred up something in my friend. He replied in the heat of the moment that if the french guy would just send certain female member’s of his family over, he would love to teach them AI. Admittedly, my friend reacted a little too excitedly, but the french dude on the list had it coming. Then again, it wasn’t really just my co-worker who lost his marbles over this.

here is a (censored) transcript, not meant to offend anyone, we all have our faux paus’.

“i am a student from india . i a want research in *** *** so i want a tutorial of it . if any body has it plz send it as possible earlier . it is very urgent”

Smart-ass French guy posts back…

“A S***** doing research in *** ***!!!!!!!! indeed these are interesting times”

Here it comes…

“M*** c***, (french guy). Apni maa c***vani hai kya tuje sardar se. Bh*** vale. Apni b**** de ke dekh sardar ko Tere ko pata chalega,”

Now, someone was obviously confused by the mails and their authors, but understood what the intent of the last one was:

“Dear Moderator, Being an Indian, I was shocked to read an humuliating and abusive language mail by (the french guy). I request you to block the id of (the french guy) and take precautionery action to avoid like this situation in the near future”

To which the moderator, who wasn’t Indian, and was apparently powerless replied:

“The list is self-moderated. You can take some solace in the fact that the vast majority of the readers could not read the (apparently regretable) message involved.”

The original perpetrator then pops back into the conversation 🙂 hilariously pointing fingers:

“it wasn’t me who use the abusive language see the mail thread, it was mr. (my lab-mate) who used it. i don’t know what invoked him to use such an abusive language, i couldn’t even comprehend what he stated in his language.”

My lab-mate read this and flipped, he quickly sent in a reply and took self-moderation to the next level:

“Oh really, Can any one tell me if following stuff you wrote is not abusive? It is not only abusive to one person instead abusive to whole S*** community ‘A S**** doing research in g**** p****!!!!!!!! Indeed these are interesting times!’ You should better keep yourself in limits. I do not want you to post further messages on group. You can take it offline and e mail me directly if you still have concerns. I will tell you how it feels.”

Up until this point, only the Indians had understood what had transpired. The moderator sent out another groupd of messages in an effort to control the damage and get past the issue. So what follows was almost anti-climactic. Another member of the list actually had the e-mail sent out by my buddy translated :-D. So now, a thousand plus researchers were suddenly aware of this:

“> You can take some solace in the fact that the vast majority of the
> readers
> could not read the (apparently regretable) message involved.

In case anyone’s interested: I read it to an indian friend of mine, and as I understand it, the deal was that one person made fun (in English) of the other person being S***. To which the response (in an Indian dialect) basically said a bunch of *highly* offensive slurs, plus a call to S***s solidarity. Basically we were witness to bigotry.”

Well 🙂 I think my lab-mate’s post honestly paled in comparision to this last one. I’m sure when I meet him again we can all have a good laugh over this.

NYTimes: The Lap of Luxury

An article on some idiot who is suing a strip-club, albeit one-sided. Read on for a psychoanalysis of strippers and strip clubs.

This time it’s an executive from Missouri named Robert McCormick, who, treating himself and friends, ran up a $241,000 bill at Scores on his corporate American Express card two years ago. American Express is now suing him for refusing to pay up. Several other unhappy customers have also sued Scores over large bills.

Among strippers I worked with, the most dreaded customers were not the obese or the lame. Rather, we feared customers who thought they were exceptions to the rule. They were just handsome enough, or successful enough, to foolishly think that their own sex appeal was tip enough.

— “The Lap of Luxury” The New York Times

A Hilarious blog on the modest aaloo

On following a trail of blogs, I came across an analysis of the mystery of the potato and tomato [Amar Akbar Anthony].

In India, the tomato is known as – tamatar, and the potato is strangely called the aaloo and also the batata. The analysis tries to determine from where did the aaloo in the saag (spinach-potato) appear?

An excerpt:

Aaloo: A Hindutva Perspective?

What horror. Foreign vegetables have arrived and taken the names and identitity of our native vegetables! Further, the potatos are reproducing so heavily that they have taken over as the most populous vegetable, while elephant yams have become a minority in their own country. And did we mention the native vegetables had the name aaloo first! Historical injustices must be corrected, the potato must give up its claim on the name aaloo if it wants to stay in Desh!

A New Bushism Is Born

From wired.com:

A New Bushism Is Born
President Bush has refused to “negotiate with myself in public.” The president coined the Bushism when faced with a question about the future of Social Security at a televised news conference. “Now, the temptation is going to be, by well-meaning people such as yourself and others here, as we run up to the issue, to get me to negotiate with myself in public,” Bush told the questioner. “To say, you know, ‘What’s this mean, Mr. President? What’s that mean?’ I’m not going to do that. I don’t get to write the law. I’ll propose a solution at the appropriate time.” English translation: Bush will discuss facets of Social Security reform with congressional reps who write the law, but not with the media.
— Jenny McKeel

Yeh hai US meri Jaan

ey Dil, hai mushkil, jeena yahan,
jara hatke, jara bachke,
ye hai US, mera jaan…

kahin building, kahin dramey, kahin motor, kahin mill,
milta yahan sab kooch,
sirf milta nahi ek dil
kahin building, kahin dramey, kahin motor, kahin mill,
milta yahan sab kooch,
sirf milta nahi ek dil
insan ka nahin kahin namo-nishaan

ey Dil, hai mushkil, jeena yahan,
jara hatke, jara bachke,
ye hai US, meri jaan…

Funny Slashdot thread

I love this one, about Klingon programmers! – Santosh
Oldie but a goodie:

Top 12 Things A Klingon Programmer Would Say

12. Specifications are for the weak and timid!
11. This machine is a piece of GAGH! I need dual processors if I am to do battle with this code!
10. You cannot really appreciate Dilbert unless you’ve read it in the original Klingon.
9. Indentation?! — I will show you how to indent when I indent your skull!
8. What is this talk of ‘release’? Klingons do not make software ‘releases’. Our software ‘escapes’ leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in its wake.
7. Klingon function calls do not have ‘parameters’ — they have ‘arguments’ — and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
6. Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak.
5. I have challenged the entire quality assurance team to a Bat-Leth contest. They will not concern us again.
4. A TRUE Klingon Warrior does not comment his code!
3. By filing this SPR you have challenged the honor of my family. Prepare to die!
2. You question the worthiness of my code? I should kill you where you stand!
1. Our users will know fear and cower before our software. Ship it! Ship it, and let them flee like the dogs they are!

The original Slashdot thread.

My new housemates

My housemates, 19321 S.E. Newport Way and their one-liners!

The originals:
* Daniel: “I am 99% personality!” – Daniel on why he is so well-liked by the fairer sex!
* Douglas: “Your loud and brash, you can’t be an Indian Hindoo” – Doug when talking to Vishal!
The additions:
* Vishal: “Yaar, Akshay to bada Goli-Baaz hai” – Vishal complaining about Akshay in Hindi. Literally translated – Akshay shoots a lot from the hip!
* Akshay: “Sometimes I feel Programmers should earn licenses from the Department of Programming before they are allowed code” – Security expert, Akshay on why he hates programmers
* Barry: “Watch me clean and better take notes ;)” – Barry helping me clean out the kitchen after an extended BBQ
* Matthew: “Hey! Get out of my tools!” – Matt, annoyed to discover I borrowed his tools 🙂
* Jeremy: “Was it you who saw me on the trampoline with my GF? not you? Good! Whoever saw us might have thought we were making out on the trampoline” – Jeremy perturbed over the fact that someone saw him and his GF on the trampoline at 3am in the morning

We have all types here… Note to detractors: THIS IS NOT A FRAT HOUSE! We are all responsible adults!