Seven New Greeting Cards from Pakistan
What is the best way learn about a society? Exploring their land, participating in their customs, or studying their history may seem like a good place to start — if you’re a sucker. I propose that the most efficient way to understand a people and their culture is to examine their greeting cards. It’s like reading their mail before they send it.
Take Pakistan, for instance. Consider the following sample of authentic Pakistani greetings, freshly smuggled into the States. Note: You will encounter a wide assortment of spelling and grammatical errors, so I’ll just offer a single [sic] to cover everything.
Better Luck Next Time
“To attain your full measure of success, chain your talent
to hard work. Hard work alone can produce results,
though too little, but ability without hard work,
is of no value at all.”
“Just heard the news of your fiasco but you
should not be disappointed. Once a failure does not
at all means always a failure. I know that you’d worked hard
but next time try a bit harder and give-in your best
and by the grace of God success will be yours.
So what can we learn? These people are honest. These are the universal thoughts of disapproving parents and grandparents throughout the world whenever their loved ones cause fiascoes. This must be a tolerant culture. It would seem that Pakistanis don’t punch each other in the face when someone says, “I know you’d worked hard, but next time try a bit harder.”
They’re also into both hard work and faith. The card is saying that even with talent and hard work, you’d still better “keep faith,” because in your case, success is going to also require a miracle.
“I know that your new car
Is worth more than a thousand
miles in your heart…
Wish you lovely rides and
giggly drives on it.”
“Happy New Car”
What can we learn? Perhaps getting a new car is an occasion worthy of more celebration. After all, we will have far fewer new car days in our lifetime than we will birthdays. But do you get the feeling that the guy sending this card is planning to ask for a ride soon?
“Only in important,
Butterfilles and bess
bursh the breezes,
as the meadows whispers,
the flowers have visitors.
And the world is a
because of their
“You visit my heart
often, and I wanted
you to know,
my world is a
because of your
What can we learn? Never mind the societal understanding thing. This one’s all about gleaning a few chuckles from the mauling of the English language. The flowers have visitors…that’s so rich!
When I say meow meow
“You say whoof whoof
When I say whoof whoof
You say meow meow
Our love is a never-ending argument
May it stay this exhilarating forever!”
What can we learn? In Pakistan they look on the bright side. Either that or it’s a sneaky way to openly complain to the very person who’s troubling you. There’s probably another card that says, “You are no longer attractive to me; but don’t change a thing because it makes loving you more of a thrill-packed challenge!”
For My Dear Mother
“A very Warm & Loving Message For you
Mom You’re So Mean to me
A Mom always takes time
for the little things~ She gives them such
patience and care…”
Etcetera, and so on. Actually, the “Mom You’re So Mean to me” is the only funny part.
There are Other Places to Sleep…
“The Road is to Move on with Brains
What can we learn? A traffic -enforcement system is officially broken when drivers resort to using greeting cards to admonish one another. It’s really quite admirable; it’s the very opposite of road rage. And they’ve figured out that a cuddly critter and his pet cats bring some much-needed levity when you need to tell someone they’re endangering the lives of the entire community.
I’ll never forgive you all my life…!
“You ruined my life
i hate you
i hate you
i hate you”
What can we learn? In some cultures you needn’t get all giddy just because you find a large, colorful, card-sized envelope in your mailbox. It may be a response to a personal failure, a thinly-veiled criticism, or a reminder that you’ve ruined another life.
(Special thanks to Matt Snyder for visiting Pakistan and for his fantastic taste in souvenirs.)