While teaching English in Jakarta in 2008, I didn’t expect to spend my vacation days running around the Saddar district of Karachi, Pakistan looking for a pirated dvd of a video that I first saw at an Indian restaurant in Shenzhen, but then again, neither did you. (Wildly practical link thanks to Taj Indian Restaurant)
In 2006, before said restaurant was renovated twenty times in five years (I’ve been back a lot) I was watching a tranquil video of a na’at, or poetry praising Mohammad, narrated by a Pakistani named Al-Haaj Muhammad Owais Raza Qadri. Nary a word was understood, but it had a pleasing (to me…) rhythm, and was filmed with him seated by a worthy cliff. I videotaped a bit of this (guess I’m part of the bootlegging trade too) in order to show it to the fakemongering (dealers of fake goods) south Asians in Chungking Mansions, a true saint among Hong Kong buildings, clean, wholesome and ebullient in every manner (except for the manners of being clean and wholesome; saint might fit the profile–the building deserves its own post). (Link thanks to Chungking Mansions) I crossed the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border a few times to ask about that particular na’at (or to just get a inedible snack at the HK shop “Lost City of Snacks”) and found some rather helpful if incoherent dvd sellers guiding me to various stores smaller than my elbow, but to no avail. However, one vital piece of information was on just about every Pakistani dvcd package that I looked at-Rainbow Centre, Karachi.
Wikipedia says the Rainbow Centre is the largest pirated video market in Asia. I’m not going to argue a side, and considering my (now lost) purchase of the na’at I was looking for, I have no valid way to do so, but it seems blatantly apparent that it sells bootleg products, notably dvds and cds. Which it continues to do. Now. With all Karachians (Karachise? Karachos? What’s a demonym for people who live there? Edit: Karachiite. Blah) aware of its illegal dealings, who’s going to stop it? It certainly won’t be them. (Link thanks to thaindian)