Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society


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My old chum Patrick Smethurst, he originally of Tumbridge Wells, once-upon-a-time teacher at Beaconhouse Schools in Lahore where he tried to get some sense of geography into a nation that cares naught for this wonderfully intriguing and edifying subject, has today sent me word on ‘Post Tortoises’.

Paddy (as we call him) says that is the way British parliamentarians are. If they are like that, ours can only be far worse. I once thought that the best description for politicians is: ‘Politicians are like a bunch of bananas. They hang together, they’re all yellow and there’s not a straight one amongst them.’

But what Paddy sends is far more appropriate for politicians anywhere in the world – evermore for ours. Read and look around and you’ll find this country crawling with post tortoises. For this enlightenment, don’t forget to say thank you to the good man Patrick Smethurst in old Blighty.

Post Tortoise

An elderly farmer was in the Emergency Ward having stitches put in his hand, due to an accident with a piece of machinery.

The doctor carrying out the procedure struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to politicians and their role as our leaders.

The old farmer said, "Well, you know, most Politicians are 'Post Tortoises'.''

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him, what a 'Post Tortoise' was.

The old farmer said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that's a post tortoise."

The old farmer, seeing the puzzled look on the doctor's face, continued to explain.

"You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he's elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumbass put him up there to begin with."

Best explanation I've heard yet.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:30,


At 18 December 2013 at 12:45, Anonymous Khalid Rahim said...

We are the bananas who place the tortoise on the pole :-)

At 18 December 2013 at 12:53, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Not far off the mark, Khalid Rahim. But are you the one from St Anthony's? Asad etc cousin?

At 18 December 2013 at 17:55, Blogger Lahoremassagist said...

Even bananas and tortoise are not as disappointing as our politicians. All of them.

At 19 December 2013 at 14:47, Anonymous Kamran said...

It is very apt definition but irony is no one bothers. And secondly Tortoise are now wise enough to stay up there for ever. Let people keep talking

At 30 May 2014 at 13:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The definition is true to many big wigs in most of the institutions in Pakistan who are elevated there beyond their ability to function. Also true during military regimes btw.

At 30 May 2014 at 15:11, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

How could you ever imagine the military to be any better than the politicians or bureaucrats. It's incompetence all around.


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days