Shaaz Nasir

Archive for the ‘Experience’ Category

Boys are just Not Good Enough

In Business, Canada, Economics, Experience, Globalization, Uncategorized on March 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

A unfortunate gap between females and males continues to grow. It’s great that females are improving their skills in general, but the males are falling behind which means half the world is struggling.

I was reading the PISA 2009 assessments and below are some major points to be noted (the entire document is over 20 pages)

Introduction

Throughout much of the 20th century, concern about gender differences in education focused on girls’ underachievement. More recently, however, the scrutiny has shifted to boys’ underachievement in reading. In the PISA 2009 reading assessment, girls outperform boys in every participating country by an average, among OECD countries, of 39 PISA score points – equivalent to more than half a proficiency level or one year of schooling.

  • On average across OECD countries, boys outperform girls in mathematics by 12 score points while gender differences in science performance tend to be small, both in absolute terms and when compared with the large gender gap in reading performance and the more moderate gender gap in mathematics.

The ranks of top-performing students are filled nearly equally with girls and boys. On average across OECD countries, 4.4% of girls and 3.8% of boys are top performers in all three subjects, and 15.6% of girls and 17.0% of boys are top performers in at least one subject area. While the gender gap among top-performing students is small in science (1% of girls and 1.5% of boys), it is significant in reading (2.8% of girls and 0.5% of boys) and in mathematics (3.4% of girls and 6.6% of boys).

Similar prosperity…different educational results

  • Countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. The balance of proficiency in some of the richer countries in PISA looks very different from that of some of the poorer countries. In reading, for example, the ten countries in which the majority of students are at Level 1 or below, all in poorer parts of the world, contrast starkly in profile with the 34 OECD countries, where on average a majority attains at least Level 3. However, the fact that the best-performing country or economy in the 2009 assessment is Shanghai-China, with a GDP per capita well below the OECD average, underlines that low national income is not incompatible with strong educational performance. Korea, which is the best-performing OECD country, also has a GDP per capita below the OECD average.
  • Indeed, while there is a correlation between GDP per capita and educational performance, this predicts only 6% of the differences in average student performance across countries. The other 94% of differences reflect the fact that two countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. Results also vary when substituting spending per student, relative poverty or the share of students with an immigrant background for GDP per capita.

Enjoying the Learning: NO

In all countries, boys are not only less likely than girls to say that they read for enjoyment, they also have different readinghabits when they do read for pleasure. Most boys and girls in the countries that took part in PISA 2009 sit side by side in the same classrooms and work with similar teachers. Yet, PISA reveals that in OECD countries, boys are on average 39 points behind girls in reading, the equivalent of one year of schooling.

Why?

PISA suggests that differences in how boys and girls approach learning and how engaged they are in reading account for most of the gap in reading performance between boys and girls, so much so that this gap could be predicted to shrink by 14 points if boys approached learning as positively as girls, and by over 20 points if they were as engaged in reading as girls. This does not mean that if boys’ engagement and awareness of learning strategies rose by this amount the increase would automatically translate into respective performance gains, since PISA does not measure causation.

But since most of the gender gap can be explained by boys being less engaged, and less engaged students show lower performance, then policy makers should look for more effective ways of increasing boys’ interest in reading at school or at home.

PISA reveals that, although girls have higher mean reading performance, enjoy reading more and are more aware of effective strategies to summarise information than boys, the differences within genders are far greater than those between the genders. Moreover, the size of the gender gap varies considerably across countries, suggesting that boys and girls do not have inherently different interests and academic strengths, but that these are mostly acquired and socially induced. The large gender gap in reading is not a mystery: it can be attributed to differences that have been identified in the attitudes and behaviours of boys and girls. Girls are more likely than boys to be frequent readers of fiction, and are also more likely than boys to read magazines.

However, over 65% of boys regularly read newspapers for enjoyment and only 59% of girls do so. Although relatively few students say that they read comic books regularly, on average across OECD countries, 27% of boys read comic books several times a month or several times a week, while only 18% of girls do so.

Many issues will arise as females become more capable in contrast to their male counter parts. Although International Women’s day has just past…let us not forget the other half.

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Ohhhh Those Eyes

In Advice, Canada, Experience, Globalization on January 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Your eyes are one of the most important ways to  communicate. When words fail your eyes will pick up the slack and transmit messages beyond comprehension. Eye contact in any scenario from work to friends, heightens the connection at least  two fold. One can determine lies, nervousness, confidence, and truth through the eyes. There have been many times when people would be saying one thing but their eyes another.  Eyes also have tendency to break down barriers of language and culture as through my travels I have been able to understand people simply by the eyes. Physical distance can be destroyed when engaged in eye contact, while people could literally be standing in front of each other, but without eye contact they feel a cold distance.

So I end this post with a quote

“Those eyes will be your saviour as her voice whispers closer but her eyes scream run.”

Are you a Douchebag?

In Advice, Attire, Blog, Business, Culture, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Uncategorized on January 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Are you really insecure about your identity?

Base your life on what people think of you?

Well at Gucci we understand your psychological problems and dedicate ourselves to manipulating them  in order to make money.

3D GUCCI GLASSES

No, not sunglasses or eyeglasses.

3D GUCCI GLASSES YOU CAN ONLY WEAR TO A THEATRE!

Stand out in a pitch black room full of strangers as you watch Avatar 2 or make a statement about your disposable income  to compensate for certain areas you lack in while enjoying Harry Potter.

Inspired by douchebags for the insecure.

BUY THEM NOW

 

Purchasing brands for yourself is great but this is a clear indication of serious personality defects. Mind the Gap is about to unleash a feature on why people wear brands. In this feature, it will be all about douchebags and what it means for our western society. Motives behind douchebags from the clubs and yuppie douchebags will  be assessed through the lenses of consumer behaviour, international marketing strategies, and psychology.

Mind the Douchebag.

How to lose 5 pounds without Exercise

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, Culture, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fasting, Fat, Food, Friends on January 3, 2011 at 11:01 am


Dream of dropping 5 pounds without intense exercise,
or maybe you are already fit and are struggling with the last five. Fret no more and GTF…what!?

WAIT and read

I will begin a new series based on sharing some of the tips and tricks that helped me shed the 52 pounds. Alongside with international economics, the latest fashion movement, and other important topics will come short bursts of advice on dropping  weight. Soon a cultural study on what it means to be attractive in various societies and why the western concept of  “hotness” has prevailed  will be released.

For now something a tad lighter …

Shaaz’s Green Tea Flood (GTF)…

Step 1 – Drink 4 cups of green tea a day

Step 2 -Drink 5 to 6 glasses of water a day

Step 3 – Reduce your salt intake

Green tea has a trillion benefits from  externalities such as lush extravagant hair to flushing out those bad toxins in your body. If you do not classify yourself as a very active person chances are you have a good amount toxins in you. These toxins slow your body down and prevent your natural hair, nails, and  skin from reaching their true potential. The biggest impact is how green tea speeds up your metabolism. When combining green tea with the increase in water consumption, your body at first will..logically… want to pee a lot. However, give yourself three days and your body should regulate itself accordingly. When your body lacks water it tends to keep your fat from leaving since it truly believes you are going to die.

Lacks water..how do I know?

The moment you become remotely thirsty…you are dehydrated. Sounds weird and wasteful, but it’s the truth. You should never feel thirsty which means keeping a healthy surplus of water in your body.

Wait…can I just keep GTF’ing and lose 5 pounds all the time?!

No. Your body will experience diseconomies of scale as the impact of green tea will diminish as you consume more over time.

Problems with GTF

I am a 6 foot 2 inch Indian man that weighs 200 pounds. If you are a 5 foot 1 blonde cheerleader from spain or a 70 year old man living in China…well first thank you for reading MTG… but…. I cannot say this will work for you. However, as a general guideline anything less than 4 cups a day will not have much impact. Plus if you eat like a pig no amount of GTF will help you.

Let this be your first step to a healthier you not just your only step.

Within 10-14 days you should feel the difference through your nails, hair, skin, and weighing machine  (please get one)

Alright now I am off to find the meaning of beauty around various cultures to report on the gaps and reasons behind them.

Before you try anything please talk to your doctor as MTG is not your doctor.

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How to lose 20 pounds

In Advice, Attire, Blog, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fat, Film, Food, Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 at 1:20 am

Why 20?

Since 2006 I have been on the quest for a healthier lifestyle. As mentioned in one of the most popular posts on MTG, https://mindthegapcanada.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/how-i-lost-52-pounds/ , phase one was covered.

Now I stand weighing 200 pounds at 6 foot and 2 inches and ready to enter the final phase of reaching my potential.

200 pounds leaves me at 25.7 on the BMI which is still considered overweight

at 180 pounds allows me to enter a sweet spot of 23.5 which is classified as normal.

Phase 1 was mainly based on cardio through sports and especially a ruthless treadmill regime. The “icing on the cake” was to switch over to jogging 5 km around 3-4 times a week.

Phase 2 will bring things back to the basics as I embraced the treadmill once again but introduce heavy amounts of weight training. Starting as soon as possible, regular sessions will be scheduled among my school work and such. Aiming for 4 times a week at uOttawa or/and Good Life.

Mind the BMI!!!

Some flaws with the BMI, I am sure some healthy football players are classified as overweight as weight and hieght are the only things factored in. Furthermore, some healthy guys are big boned and may be misdiagnosed as overweight in which loosing more would actually be unhealthy.

Since I would be weight training there is a strong chance of me actually gaining weight. But as long as I feel and look superb who cares about some number?

I shall use the 180 as a motivator

Before
Now
Future
?
note to readers: please talk to your doctor before trying anything. MTG does not replace your doctor.

Mind the Fakes

In Advice, Canada, Culture, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fasting, Globalization, Uncategorized, World on December 24, 2010 at 12:46 am

the fakes stay close , like a shadow , during the sunshine

but those fakes leave us when we must enter the shade

be afraid of being played while you enter the meadow blindly

led ever so kindly

 

 

Mind the Laugh

In Experience, Failure, Friends, Future, Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Laugh….it’s all I can do. At the mirror, everyone, the world… just laugh it all out….lol or lmao whatever you call it, it’s all I can do

I must admit.

Laugh with or at over some chit-chat or combat

who wants to have the backbone to be the last one laughing on a self made thrown

all alone ?

Doubt Me.

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, China, City Council, Culture, Economics, Economics Association, ESA, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Film, Football, Glasses, Globalization, google, GQ Magazine, Greeting, Life, Metrosexual, Orientation, Packing, Tennis, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

Doubt if you must, it’s something I have grown accustom to. If people don’t doubt you it means you’re not pushing the boundaries, not daring to do something that can’t be done. The moment people stop doubting you it’s not because you won them over but rather because you lost yourself.”

– life experiences

From the start people will doubt you and your aspirations. In an attempt to clip your wings all types of methods will be used; no matter what you must resist the barraged of attacks. At the end of high-school after 4 years of planning to become a psychologist I discovered the world of economics. My plan for the next 10 years was scratched in 10 minutes as I frantically scrambled through my research to determine the prerequisites of my new dream.

The Chinese could not have built a greater wall than what stood between me and economics.

The hurdles added up to around 2 years of more schooling. I scurried over to my high school academic advisor to devise a master plan in which my dream would become a reality way sooner. Little did I know, she would doubt me.

“Shaaz, why are you trying? Just give up on this goal of yours. You can’t do this it’s just too much for you. Stop and settle for what you have; you would probably need 3 years of schooling to get the perquisites. There is no way this can be done.”

Some great Academic Advice eh?

So I picked up the pieces of my shattered goal from the floor and made a quick exit. After some consulting with my family and other sources (you can smell my sheer determination at this point, never give up), the solution was found!

Take that Risk

I had a meeting with the department of economics at Carleton which produced a a risky choice. I could take a harder version of  grade 12 calculus at Carleton (some hybrid version which means more in-depth/challenging) and VOILA  I would be majoring in economics at uOttawa. However, the chance to waste money, time, rejecting job offers and failing was high as I had ZERO experience with math at that level.

Of course I took the class.

LONG days LONG nights and NO Summer with LOTS of stress. On average 5-6 hours of studying a day everyday period.

Raw brute force.

Result?

Determination worked as I finished in the top 10% percent of the class with a 79%.  Proved a good amount of people wrong but more importantly proved to myself I could live out my dream, no matter how tall those walls were.

Now I am only 7 months away from my degree in International Economics and Development with a minor in Business Administration. I have 3 years of government work experience. I have the privilege to be the VP Finance of uOttawa’s Tennis League and  the VP Academic uOttawa’s Economic Student Association. Furthermore, I been lucky enough to embark on a 20 day economic delegation to China and Malaysia as a Trade Ambassador.

This message  is not about me or my life but rather about the powers of doubt itself.

Keep pushing the boundaries and doing what’s not possible time and time again.

So for those people please continue to doubt me and MTG.

It only means good things are coming our way…

Mind the Economy: Jobless Recovery…Give me a break IMF

In Advice, Business, Canada, Culture, Economics, Experience, Faith, Future, Globalization, Life, Shaaz Nasir, Success, Technology, Trade, Traveling, World Bank on October 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

Four challenges: IMF

Strauss-Kahn highlighted four challenges to be addressed by the officials gathering in Washington…..

• Sovereign debt. Fiscal sustainability remains a problem for some countries, particularly those that entered the crisis with very high levels of debt. “So we are strongly in favor of medium-term consolidation, but it doesn’t mean that in the short term every country will have to tighten as much as possible. It depends a lot on their own situation and it is very country specific.” Where the recovery remains fragile and private sector demand is weak, support for demand is still needed.

• Jobless recovery. Just reviving growth is not enough. “We need growth with jobs. Growth without jobs doesn’t mean much for the man in the street. So obviously, for us, the crisis will not be over until the unemployment rate decreases significantly.”

• Financial sector reform. While a lot has been done to address improved regulation, particularly through the new Basle III accord, a lot more needs to be done on supervision and regulation of the financial sector, which was at the heart of the global crisis. In addition, Strauss-Kahn said the IMF supported moves to introduce taxation of the sector.

Global cooperation. The world got through the economic crisis through very close cooperation, but now the momentum was decreasing. One example of this is emerging competition between countries to adjust their currencies to gain an advantage. “What we all want is the rebalancing of the global economy, and this rebalancing cannot happen without a natural consequence of it, which is a change in the relative value of currencies.”

Politics +  Economics = headache

I have been noticing over the past two years that policy makers in the lime light or politicians using the phrase “growth without jobs is horrible” or ” we cannot face a jobless recovery ARHHH”….

Are these guys missing the point or adhering to misconceptions of growth and recovery formed by the pubic?

Depending on what sector, companies around the world  must experience substantive growth for around 12 to 20 months before they can consider hiring once again. Furthermore, during (and as a result of ) recessionary periods, companies examine  their internal workforce and re-prioritize organizational objectives. The restructuring period may lead  to massive overhauls (bigger than Wario’s) for the company’s structure and size. For example, GM…they cut their company in half by killing about 6 brands….people cannot expect them to hire the same amount of workers….

Furthermore, demographics  also play a vital role in unemployment rates. In Canada the time it takes for unemployment rates to return to pre recession levels takes twice as long for young professionals (defined as youth 16-25)…why..that’s another post for another day.

For now,

let us focus on these four challenges and the realization that time is the best public policy tool in the fight against unemployment rates, not fuelling economic misconceptions.

Shaaz in the Amazing Race Malaysia Video !!!

In Advice, Blog, Business, Culture, Experience, Failure, Film, Friends, Global Vision, Globalization, Greeting, Success, Technology, Uncategorized on October 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Racing in Malaysia

While in Malaysia we were fortunate enough to take part in the Global Vision Amazing Race!

Same concept as the real deal as our team was superb while running around like mad people in Malaysia for hours. We got a chance to see Malaysia thoroughly from using all types of transportation to find monkeys and much more!

Twist Baby Twist

Here was the twist, at the end of race you had a few hours to produce some type of presentation to the judges. The faster you completed the race the more time you get to prepare and make that crucial presentation that laid out all the answers.

Half way through the race our team realized that we could run around and simply take pictures to complete the tasks or take the time and actually talk to the locals and experience the culture. Furthermore , we merged with another group which did slow us down but on the positive side we really did engage in meaningful discussions.

Nonetheless, we finished last place because of shift in focus and merging with more people.

With only around 2 hours for 10 people to collect their answers, brainstorm, and produce a video….time was running out. After taking showers and coming up with a plan we I had 14 minutes left.  In contrast to teams that were half the size with double amount of time to work on the project.

14 minutes

We decided to create a video and I was the one with the skills and the mac book (iMovie). I had to capture the essence of 10 + people while summarizing around 6 hours into 4 minutes in 14 minutes …this was quite the challenge.  It was a solid team effort where the people generated solid ideas and unique marketing concepts. Keeping cool under pressure is a trait we all need to master as it allows you to find a strong foundation to be productive in an environment of utter chaos.  In other words, “just chill”.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it

Results

While I was making the video, the other team players were perfecting their pitch to the panel of judges. We all came to the conclusion that despite what some clock said…we did not come in last. The point of the amazing race was to better understand and immerse ourselves in the culture as your team, communication, and stress management skills were put to the test.  Not run around simply  taking pictures and pushing people out of the way…yes that would make a great impression on the Malaysians….

Thus we felt confident that although others “raced to the finish line” we took the path less travelled and “learned” to the finish line. With 1 minute remaining the video and pitch was in sync with our team roaring to go.

Everything went according to plan and as a result we went from dead last (10th place) to 3rd as many of those “racers” got numerous questions wrong and missed the point of the whole race.

3rd ….solid team effort with only 14 minutes to prove it.

Enjoy the video (dam youtube downgrades the video quality)

Keep in mind we had three presenters talking about what we did to further add to the video!