Caution: If you don't read this interview right now, your life is going to be boring and dreadful for eternity. Yes, Cricistan is a blissful place today as we finally post the 14th Member Interview of one of its most cheered posters. He is fully Irish by nationality and half-Pakistani by wit and humour. It's never a dull moment on this forum when @Donal Cozzie is online. So what could be better than his own exclusive detailed interview to peek into his life, mind and history... good or bad but here are all the cunning questions many of us asked him and the very interesting responses on them from Donal: | Life on Cricistan/Forums | So Mr. Donal, how did you get into forums? Was in the build up to the 2013 series. 2011 WC made me into a proper hardcore fan, had been casual enough up to that point, so I scoured the internet for news about the Ireland series and the 2015 WC which, at the time, was scheduled to be a ten team no qualifiers allowed event. One of my google searches around then led me to my first forum, once I found it i was amazed at the activity and membership level. Had never even seen a forum to that point tbh. Was hooked. Checked it regularly from then onwards before biting the buller and becoming a member December that year. The rest, as they say, was history Does it feel weird being on a Pakistani forum as an Irishman? At first yeah, because I mean come on its not exactly "normal" for a then Irish 17 year old to spend his time discussing cricket online with desis lol. But I've always seen myself as being an eccentric kinda guy, I like what I like and screw anyone who says otherwise. I mean when I was five years old I was reading books about Genghis Khan thanks to Age of Empires 2, safe to say I've always had different interests to most people! I've learned to take pride in these things tbh, I'd rather be who I am, with wacky interests and passions, than a boring person. I learnt that after my teenage years. Ultimately its what makes me who I am. I've had countless positive experiences and meetings with people due to my wide ranging interests and the like. Honestly I've learned really that our differences across races and so on are nowhere near as large as they might seem, at least in most topics and themes. Ultimately we all wanna have fun, talk cricket and be entertained. Doesn't matter if I feel like a kangaroo amongst a herd of emperor penguins sometimes lol. Sure, at first I didn't post much, but I quickly learned that nobody gives a damn where you're from on forums, once you ain't talking rubbish. Are you a member of every cricket forum on internet? Lol, technically not far off! The two Pakistani ones are the main ones for me. Had an ICF account for the 2015 WC but that quickly was abandoned because that forum sadly is, well, best say nothing lol. The Bangla account I rarely use, mostly when Ireland play Bangladesh, or there's major cricketing news. Its weird being the Irish representative on forums, feel like I gotta defend my team everywhere since if I don't nobody else will! There's an Irish forum founded 18 months back recently too with about 6 or so active members. Nice to have a "home" forum at last! In general my forum activity levels have declined drastically since 2014 or so. That year I was doing a low level course since I had to defer my now completed degree due to financial reasons for a year, so in the meantime did a 1 year course in my local college to pass the time. Obviously I had a tonne of free time back then, plus my cricketing passion was finally being fed through online discourse and the non cricket discussions were fascinating since I was learning so much about people around the world, so I racked up about 5000 posts within 12 months. In the nearly 4 years since I've probably not posted that many lol. Mainly on cricistan I'm active for drafts and the like, not so in the cricketing section. The other forum mostly when Ireland play, nowhere near as active as before. Are you different in reality compared to your online persona? It depends where you meet me. I wont lie if I'm in a big crowd of people, particularly people I don't know, I tend to close off a bit and do my own thing. I don't like large crowds of people and when I meet people it takes time for me to open up. But among my friends I'm exactly like I am here. Always joking, talking complete nonsense and extremely well spoken I've also gotten considerably better at opening up to people since my first year of university. Ask people here what kind of person I am and ask my friends and people I met on Erasmus the same question, I feel the answers would be similar. My issue in first year of university was confidence, while I'm still far from a confident bloke, I'm way more comfortable than I was, hence I'm more willing to chill with people. How did you get to know about Cricistan? Of course you'd ask this one Munna hahahahaha. Was funny as hell tbh. So PPCL (Pakpassion's simulated league for those of you who don't know) was enduring a purge of sorts. Members were getting banned left right and centre and the banter aspect was kinda dead. I knew nothing about what was happening it felt a bit like Alien were one by one every crew member got picked off. Anyhow, SOMEBODY, who shall remain nameless (it was Munna) tagged me in a tonne of posts on the other forum making cryptic messages about a "little birdy" carrying a message for me or some absolute hogwash. At the time I had a twitter I literally never ever used, Munna and @Choi Saab had opened DM's with me telling me about this place but I didn't know as I hadn't checked. Anyway I kept telling Munna on PP wtf he was trying to say until he basically just said "check your twitter you idiot!". Lmao and thus I found cricistan. What do you like about Cricistan? What do you think can improve? As I said before the user base. Its just good craic as we Irish would say and the mods here are amazing, perfect balance between accepting humour and moderating a discussion. Its a real shame Merc and co are so inactive these days, many of the mods are, the older ones anyway, and while the new mods are great, the founding members I feel are the ones who need to shape the sites direction and drum up member numbers, and they ain't around so much. Its also a close knit community of sorts. Everybody knows everybody. Like a little rural Irish village. If you could change one thing about Cricistan, what would it be? User base. This place is amazing and the members are genuinely unique, but there just isn't enough and the older ones don't come around much anymore. This place feels more like a little social media site for those of us already here to have banter and joke lol, thats what I love about it, but at times it does feel slow, and the "social media" side I just mentioned can be a problem because nobody is interested in proper discussions or they've had them countless times already, particularly the Pavilion section which seems dead enough at times. But the main thing I'd change, effective immediately and with full support of everyone here I'm sure, is this. REOPEN THE FORUM EXPERIENCES THREAD IMMEDIATELY. Has a better script than most Hollywood films, more twists than GOT and its still ongoing I'm sure. BRING IT BACK. Who are your favourite posters on Cricistan? Ooof, tough question tbh because I think almost everyone has their own characteristics. @Markhor, despite his phobia of Irish cricketing teams, is an amazing poster, one of the best. I like @iZeeshan for his humour which everyone else takes dead seriously which cracks me up. @Munna too obviously although nobody takes him seriously rofl. Mercenary is amazingly balanced in discussions which I love because I always try to follow a similar mould. Honestly I cant name any specific "favourite". I don't treat forums like a TV show with favourite characters and whatnot. I'll say this, there's very few posters here I dislike, virtually none in fact. Everybody has their own merits and quirks. What has been your funniest moment on the forums? Posting on the Cricistan Chit Chat thread that Munna brought me to Cricistan for him to reply within 10 minutes saying he'd been banned. LOOOOOLLLL. How did it feel to finally meet Prince Pathan in real life? What is his redeeming quality? Freaking scary. Guy has no sense I swear. My first semester in college, guy just bounds up in front of about 14 desis, me the only white guy, "HEY YOU'RE THAT PAKPASSION GUY". Sake. I'm a quiet guy around people I don't know, but I really open up among friends. That said I tend to be quiet among larger groups, such as for example a university cricket club lol, so PP's first impression of me would've been of someone fairly shy and quiet, plus trash at cricket. In all seriousness it was cool to meet him. Fairly random too if I must say. His redeeming quality is that accent. Freakin' love people who look foreign with big culchie (slang for rural folk in Ireland) accents. Its bloody hilarious. Plus our accents rock. If Mohsin was elected PM of Pakistan and invited you to visit, would you come? Give reasons for your answer. Yes obviously. Would love to visit many countries, plus I could earn some amount of money from his enemies by agreeing to assassinate him. If you were to marry anyone from CS, who would it be and why? Prince Pathan. Just to taste that Karahi. Good God I need to taste that Karahi If you were to kill anyone from CS, who would it be and why? Prince, once I have the Karahi recipe. In all seriousness nobody, y'all are sound. Do you find Indians more racist than Pakistani posters? Nope not at all. More nationalistic, yes, racist? God no. No difference at all. | LIFE IN IRELAND | (In one word) Life of an Irishman man is................... Cold Do you enjoy living in Ireland? Would you consider moving somewhere else? Yes, I like living here. I could move elsewhere on a temporary basis for sure, but I like Ireland as my home and plan on keeping it that way. No earthquakes, no volcanoes, no hurricanes, no snakes, no poisonous animals at all, no massive insects Cant complain really! Moving elsewhere for a year or two I could do, mentally I'd be OK with that, but permanent relocation would take a much larger toll and I don't know if I could manage that. Makes me respect all our ancestors who had no choice but to flee all the more. As an Irish, what is your most favourite thing about Ireland? And the one you hate the most? The people. Again, exceptions obviously, but generally Irish people are up for fun, have decent sense of humour, love a good beer but are also respectful and open to other cultures even if they don't know much about them, and are reasonably humble. There's a reason why every football tournament we go viral for little things like singing to babies and fixing tyres! Just love a bit of craic. We know we're a small little island but we've made a big impact on the planet due to the people who love on it. Obviously not all are like this, like every country we have our share of absolute scum and idiots. As for what I hate? Damn, thats a tough one. Life here is pretty decent all things considered, but I hate one thing about Irish people, parochialism. Man I hate it, hate it with a passion. To give you an example, parochialism is when lets say a hospital is built in a town of 100,000 people, 20 minutes away from a town of 2,000 people, and the people in said smaller town whinge and complain it isn't where they live, even though anyone with a brain can see a smarter decision was made. Parochialism also infests our politics, with wherever our Ministers live by pure coincidence getting more development than others even if its not really needed. Hate it, bloody hate it. How often do you experience the fabled "luck of the Irish"? Never. Luck of the Irish was an ironic term created to mock the fact Ireland as a nation has had horrendously bad luck in general over history. So in that aspect yeah my luck particularly in betting is fairly crap! Guess i have experienced it then! | CRICKET | Is cricket your favourite sport ? I'll be honest, its a tie with it and football. Football for its faster pace, Cricket for its insane amounts of tension and how beautifully balanced a proper cricketing pitch makes the sport. Cricket has become a real passion of mine because the Irish team epitomises all the qualities I want from any Irish team. Hard working, honest, decently talented, afraid of nobody and play with respect. Plus who doesn't love an underdog. Particularly if its you How did you get into cricket? Did you follow it at all before 2007? Nope, prior to 2007 I knew the Ashes existed and that was it. Assumed cricket was a snobby sport for rich English gentlemen sipping tea and eating sandwiches all day. 2007 WC game vs Pakistan is the only reason I ever discovered this passion. Talk us through your emotions when Ireland beat Pakistan in the World Cup. Was only 11 years old and was my first ever time watching cricket. Didn't even know Ireland had a team or that there was a WC happening until my Dad heard something on the radio. Remember not really understanding too much but picking up the rules quickly, being really nervous when Pakistan reduced us to 7 down with about 12 runs still needed but celebrating a lot when Trent smacked the winning six. Was widely reported on the next day, first time the country knew we played cricket if I'm honest. How long do you think before Ireland become a powerful force in world cricket? Errrr, never lol. Best case scenario we become like Zimbabwe were around the late 90's. A solid team without being proper contenders. It'll take a long long time though, everything is starting from scratch. The domestic system, the facilities, the youth systems etc. It'll take years for that to even be at a decent standard and then more years after for it to produce results. There's also the financial side. We'Re getting 40 million in the next financial cycle, double what it was before, but still half of what Zimbabwe get. To expect Cricket Ireland, in a country as expensive as ours, to do as much with that money as say Sri Lanka can do in a far poorer economy is unfair. It'll be difficult and I wont lie I am worried we may lose young players still to the county sides as they offer better facilities and more regular domestic cricket. Issue there is with the ECB's rule changes any young players need to declare for England to obtain a county gig, theoretically ruling them out for Ireland at least in the short term. Do you think Irish cricket will go down the route of Bangladesh in Tests? I assume you mean pre 2015 Bangladesh? I don't think it'll be quite so bad? At least not at home anyway. Away from home, particularly in Asia, I can see us being obliterated as we don't have spinners who spin the ball and cant bat vs spin either. However at home I can see us competing vs the West Indies, Zimbabwe's Bangladesh's and Sri Lanka's. Bangladesh for years on flat pitches got belted by crap teams within 3 days. Cant see us sucking that much on a consistent basis, least I hope not. Long term, do you see a future for Irish Test Cricket or do you see interest slowly trickling away? Cricket in Ireland survived a century of outright hostility and attacks on it by our society. It ain't going anywhere. Will we see Irish people take to it the way we have football and rugby? I don't think so, not any time soon anyway, but I definitely see room for it to continue growing. Test Cricket will be tougher due to the costs, but I can see us playing Tests every year from now on, even if it is 1 match. Due to our proximity to England we're probably more friendly to Tests than some other Test sides. Thoughts on Ireland test team? Hard working, respectable attack atm so long as Murtagh still plays. Very orthodox however and little if any attacking penetration. Batting is technically sound but lacking skill and quality. Where do you see Irish cricket in 10 years time? Similar to now. We'll have the odd performance to remember vs a bigger side, maybe a win or two, but we'll still struggle to be consistent and have a few hammerings along the way. Stirling will be regarded legitimately as a top quality cricketer around the world because he is one, and we'll have some youngsters showing promise as our new academy systems et al take hold and produce better players. Should have an actual pacer or two capable of 140kph by then. Will also cross my fingers and predict in a couple years that Trent Johnston will become manager, once all the older batch have retired, with the likes of KOB and co. involved also in coaching roles. Have you seen any difference in brand of cricket Pakistan plays in post-Misbah era? If yes, then what difference have you observed? Definitely a more aggressive side than before. Pakistan used to just play expecting to be 4 down in quick time and just wait for Misbah to crawl you guys to 200 odd, now you seem to actually target winning scores in ODI's. Also seems to be more of a willingness to try out younger players like Hasan Ali, Shinwari, Afridi et al, although obviously some undroppables remain cough Hafeez cough. I think 5th is a fair enough reflection of Pakistans standing. I don't think they're at the top level of ODI cricket, though on your day you are as the CT showed, but rather a decent enough team who can beat anybody but also lose to anybody. So not too different from any other Pakistan team I suppose! Are we too biased? Do we go to extreme after a win or lose? Do you think we're self-critique? Sometimes. I hate it when every time Pakistan have a disaster people just assume Pakistan were garbage instead of maybe thinking that the opposition just played well, but generally I think the fans have the right balance. Unfortunately the loudest forumites are the stupidest generally, and I love logging in when Pakistan have a poor show to witness the meltdown. "Sack Micky!, Sack Sarfaraz! Sack Inzamam! Invade Kashmir raaawrrr!!" One day they're Kings, the next they're beggars. So yeah there's definitely too much of an extreme when you lose, but don't think you're too self critical. Its good to be self analytical at all times, only then can the issues be seen and solved. Honest opinion on Pakistani fans and how they come across on forums? In general, I think most Pakistani fans ignore Test cricket. Even expat Pakistanis didn't really turn out in too many numbers for the Ireland Test. I reckon even if a team toured Pakistan for a Test series, after the first Test, crowds would probably start to dwindle hugely (assuming both Tests are in the same city as tours to Pak are atm). In general though I like them. Cannot speak for them all because like all fan bases they have their share of idiots and morons, but in general I think most have an appreciation for the game of cricket as a whole and for the opposition, hence the welcomes SL, WI and Zimbabwe have gotten, and the fantastic spirit with which our recent Test was played. I just feel unlike Indians they don't attach quite (emphasis on the quite) as much of their personal or national pride onto the sport, which means they aren't as nationalistic, arrogant and so on as some Indians can come off as ( HEAVY emphasis on the some). Obviously there are exceptions but thats my general summary. I think the general feeling for this is that, well, most Pakistanis know how their country is portrayed and just accept it, whereas Indians obviously feel their country, due to its overall wealth and population, should be better portrayed and get incredibly defensive even in cricket because of that. Just look at how the BCCI's thuggish approach to world governance is defended by most. Least most English and Aussie fans criticise their boards self centered decisions. Plus Pakistani fans have been put through some amount of pain and stress by their incompetent team lol. That probably contributes to the lower expectations and general better approach to sport. As a fellow cricket lover, what would be your suggestions to make our beloved game truly "global"? Its incredibly simple to be honest. Incredibly simple. Step 1 - Olympics. Its a no brainer. It'd give every single cricket board, every single one from Zanzibar to Afghanistan, increased money from their governments, so the ICC wouldn't even have to pay. It'd boost the sports profile, give it an event on the calendar, make more people aware of it and grow the game. It is staggering the lengths the ECB (who are now in favour tbf) and the BCCI in particular have gone to NOT be at the Olympics. From suggesting nonsense like indoor 5 over cricket to outright refusing to enter, it is baffling. Look at rugby, they bit the IOC's hand off to be at the Olympics, cricket literally refused it. Madness. So Olympics for 1, step 2 obviously is to change the WC formats. Another staggering example of cricket's idiocy. 50 over WC's should have 14 teams minimum. I personally didn't mind the old format of two groups of 7. All it takes, as Ireland showed in 2015 and England showed in 2011, is 1 upset and the group is thrown wide open. We only missed out on the QF's in 2015 on NRR, and England nearly didn't qualify in 2011 after two losses to Ireland and Bangladesh. Every single argument against Associate representation from "one sided games" to "no interest" has been debunked time and time and time again. T20 WC's should simply be four groups of 4 with a Super 8 stage. T20 cricket is where many sides are at their strongest and they could, easily, topple a major side on a good day. Cricket has never in its history had more competitive sides and yet its shrinking more and more with regards to WC's. Its tragic. Look at Scotland, beating England last week. In the past 18 months they have lost ODI's to Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Namibia. They only missed out on the WC due to rain and umpiring incompetence. If India are afraid of being knocked out early, they only have to beat two teams to make it, maybe even 1 depending on results. Its annoying because there's a simple compromise to this TV money debate which is the whole reason WC's are so small anyway. The Champions Trophy. Make it a round robin event of 8 teams and boom, issue solved. In the unlikely event India crash out early like in 2007, the CT comes along and gives them 7 minimum games and the TV coffers keep flowing. Issue solved. Nobody cares if the CT is an exclusive event, but the WC is a WC, it needs to be open. The next event, not because Ireland didn't make it, will suck, hugely, because of the crap English pitches, absolutely zero interesting new teams to follow and a farcical format that creates a monstrously long group stage where the bigger sides like India, England etc will bat the other teams into submission and half of all teams will be knocked out within their first 3 matches creating endless dead rubbers. So to summarise, 1 - Join the Olympics as a t20 competition. 2 - Expand the T20 and ODI World Cups. 3 - provide any current Associate teams with genuine potential (Nepal and Scotland) with guidelines to follow towards full membership and regular games vs A teams and lower Full Member teams. Thats it. None of this 32 team WC nonsense, its just that simple as I've set out IMO. Your top 5 cricketers of all time? Oof, tough one. Not an expert on non Irish/Associate cricket by any means but, in no specific order, and considering I'm avoiding any pre 2007's players because they were well before my time and I've only followed cricket since. AB De Villiers Steve Smith MS Dhoni Shane Warne Kumar Sangakarra No Pakistani's guys, sorry. Name 5 cricketers from current era you wish were playing for Ireland ? Morgan Rashid Khan Bairstow Rabada Hasan Ali If you were allowed to kill a cricketer, who would it be and why ? Mohammad Shahzad. Fat, arrogant ugh. Cant stand him. Most and least favorite Pakistani cricketer? Least favourite Shehzad by a mile. I absolutely hate arrogance, despise it in fact, and he is one arrogant self loving piece of work, with little to back it up. Hate such people. Favourite, probably Misbah. I generally love hard working, gutsy uncompromising kinda players like Porterfield, Rogers etc. Misbah fits that bill fairly well! Was delighted he got a proper send off. Why Pakistani cricket? Why not Indian cricket? Pure random. Had I found an Indian forum first might have been Indian, just luck I came across a Pakistani one first and that the Pakistani ones are far superior in terms of quality. I'll be honest I'm not on forums just for Pakistan, I'm obviously an Irish fan first and foremost. Just chance that the more global forums are Pakistani. Would you like to be BCCI President? If yes, what changes would you bring? Nope, no way. Far too much political crap involved in that job, plus they seem to be constantly arguing with one another. Do you often play cricket? How good are you at the great sport? Have sadly never played outdoor but that will be changing. Next year I reckon I'll join the local team here since I'll be staying in my university city for my Masters and then 3 year training contract. I've wanted to play since I was a child but there was never a club in my town, my town would be quite rural and traditional, basically 1 Rugby club, several Gaelic Football clubs and a handful of football clubs, nothing else. However last year one was founded, and won a local award for their work. Alas! I'm not there anymore to actually play. Its not easy to get into a sport like cricket this late. Its expensive for one, with insurance and equipment setting you back a couple hundred euro already I reckon, and the skills are harder to learn in adulthood. But I'll give it a shot for sure, would be criminal not to. Would've done it this summer and planned on it but with my summer job I'm simultaneously working 5 days a week while not earning too much money either! As of now I'm pretty trash won't lie. I'd put my batting as a solid #10 and the bowling, which has definitely improved the last couple years, is still trashy. No pace or accuracy but the odd ball I somehow get to swing, don't even know how I do it lmao. Won't get much better until I do the outdoors and invest the time. In short, ask me this again in 3 years haha! Have you ever been to watch a game live? If so how was the experience? Nope, not yet sadly. Again, lack of money and none of my friends or family are cricket fans, though I'm confident I could get them to go to a Test for the drinking aspect lmao. Most Ireland fixtures to now clashed with my exams, but I 100% plan on attending a game within 12 months. Even a low level game vs an Associate, would love to see it unfold for myself. Tickets aren't very expensive, about 20 euro, would have to travel up and down the same day though, hotels in Dublin are outrageous. ------------------- | About Pakistan | Your views on Pakistan, the country? Won't hold back. An extremely troubled country with a myriad of social and political issues that hold it back severely. The society seems to be governed by an extremely conservative and IMO backwards core that leads to minority persecution, human rights breaches and a lack of security. The majority of people generally seem like any country to be decent folk but the issue is its governed by a religiously oriented elite class and the bottom class and extremely poor have been manipulated through lack of education and religious brainwashing to be extremely supportive of said elite. Normal people seem to witness so much insanity like poverty, begging, crap infrastructure and suffering they tend to just become immune to it and focus on their own family, which I cant blame them for. Its a bit crazy tbh. One day I read about a positive story and you think to yourself "Y'know if they can sort the issues they can prosper". Then the next day I see a documentary on how bus drivers regularly abuse and kidnap young boys and how hordes of the poor things walk the streets at night selling their bodies for money and drugs when they aren't even 12 years old. Literally in the open. Its insane I'll be honest. Pakistan has been unfortunate with its colonial past (The Brits again shock shock) and its neighbours pretty much wanting to destroy it for most of its history, but its been 80 years, they aren't valid excuses anymore. Social and Economic change can be very rapid once it starts, see South Korea, China, India or even Ireland for examples. If it is ever, I mean ever to prosper, it simply needs to ditch the ultra conservative approach to social values, take religion completely out of the constitution and improve its democratic systems and educate the population, that being the most important point because without education the population are easily manipulated and/or don't care, they'll be too worried searching for basic amenities to care about who rules the place. Can't blame them either. I don't say these things to be the preachy foreigner thinking their way is best. I genuinely try to be pragmatic as possible. But without separating the personal religious beliefs of a certain sect from the actual governing of a country which is supposed to benefit every single person, even of different religions, abuse will always always run rampant. Can't think of a single example that goes against that statement. I'm not exactly hopeful tbh. When you see the population boom ongoing, the continuing brain drain, lack of any political alternatives for people to vote for, continuing abuse of minority communities, the resource scarcity which will only get worse with more mouths to feed, you cant be particularly optimistic on the country's future. Hope I'm wrong, India has a long, I mean lonnnnggg, ways to go but they've made great progress in short time. Up to Pakistan to follow that model because the two societies aren't that different from one another. Would you ever visit Pakistan on holiday? If so, which cities/places would you like to go? It would be very cool to do I won't lie. Would probably visit Islamabad and Lahore. The Islamic architecture looks fantastic, won't lie, I've heard they're the most progressive cities to visit and I saw an image somewhere, of a garden or park in one of these cities which looked amazing. Hope it doesn't turn out to be in Karachi or somewhere lol. But I'd be doubtful of it ever happening. Will definitely visit India once, have friends there, so maybe I could do a stop over in Pakistan while there but, its a long way away if it ever happens. We'll see, I'll stay open minded towards the idea. Have you ever read about Pakistan's history? If so, than what in your opinion, is our Achilles heel? (Don't be coy about the answer. Give me your most honest and brutal answer) I'm no expert but I studied the partition of India as part of my Leaving Cert History curriculum, and have read more about its history through my time on forums. The Achilles Heel for me would be the religious angle . Jinnah seemed to be the perfect role model to follow, respectful of other faiths and IIRC he never even wanted an Islamic state? He was more for a state for all citizens, not just Muslims (although obviously he wanted Pakistan founded to be a safe space for Muslims over an Indian Hindu dominated government). Sadly his original vision seems to have been lost. I've got to thank @Markhor and @DW44 here for their posts over the years have informed me a lot about the gradual change in Pakistani society and culture over the years and various governments. But the general gist here isn't for me to bash religion and blame it for all of Pakistans issues, that'd be false. Religion is perfectly fine, but having a country governed under the ideology of one faith, instead of governing it neutrally for all while allowing all to freely practice said faith, is just asking for big problems. Human beings just constantly abuse religion, which is why it shouldn't be allowed dictate power. I also think allowing the Army to wield so much power has been a massive error. Army has its place, particularly in such a volatile region, but it should be miles away from the halls of Government. Miles! Once the Army gets involved with Government, nothing good ever happens typically. Ireland faced a similar conundrum post independence when our, at the time, large army, fresh from the War of Independence, threatened to defy the Government's orders to demobolise. The Army generals responsible resigned under pressure, could've resisted but didn't, and our army was subsequently dismantled and the majority relocated to the Garda (police) and elsewhere. Had that not happened, I reckon Ireland would still be a basket case of upheaval and uproar. Meddling in the affairs of its neighbours through proxy funding and supporting of certain groups has also been a gigantic mishap which has probably cost many many thousands of lives over the years. That should never have been allowed to occur You've said it on several occasions, why do you say (with such authority) that Kashmir belongs to India despite what you see/hear from a very sizable number of the people of Kashmir itself and despite the fact their very first PM (Nehru) himself promised to conduct a plebiscite? I think you've misunderstood my point here. I don't say that to mean its Indian and should be Indian, I mean it more in the sense that it is, as of now, controlled by India and lets be real here won't ever be leaving, not without massive massive casualties. Kashmir should of course have a neutral plebiscite conducted, but that won't ever happen. Its not fair, its not right and its not just either but thats the world we live in. I do find Kashmir very interesting due to the parallels between it and Northern Ireland, which I'm also keenly interested in since I live thirty minutes from it. But the way I see it Kashmir would be better off if both India and Pakistan quit the pathetic conduct in the region and just managed their own respective areas of it decently. Indias behavior in the region is horrific and is prolonging the conflict, if they invested in Kashmir, gave the locals jobs and prosperity then the separatist movement dies within 50 years, people go with what makes them better off at the end of the day. However, the funding of terrorism in the region helps nobody either, just creates more dead innocents and soldiers, and the brutal crackdown of Kashmiri civilians which seems eerily similar to the conduct of the British Army in NI, just feeds the separatist movement further. Two nations who really don't care about Kashmiris themselves really, they just want to provoke one another endlessly, or have attached too much nationalistic pride to just let go and make the compromises necessary to ensure peace. Its just a sad sad case overall. The Kashmiris lose either way because they had the misfortune of being located where they are. What are your perceptions of Pakistanis/Muslims and how have they changed based on your interactions on the forums? Just normal people like you or me. I definitely think they're a tad too socially conservative but there's nothing wrong with conservatism once it isn't at the cost of other people's freedom. Live and let live! Perception has definitely changed I must say. Not like I viewed them all as aliens or something beforehand, but its weird, you can see and read and hear so much about people, you can't beat interactions, thats what I've done, and I've learned a hell of a lot from it. Knew a couple of Pakistani Muslims before forums but not very well, its different. Just from talking to people you see how really we are different but ultimately want the same things. Without interactions its easy to build up this "us and them" kind of outlook where you perceive more differences to exist than in reality, when you may in truth be surprised at how similar we are underneath the existing differences. I lived with a Moroccan guy for 12 months anyway, he'd be a casual Muslim for sure but even then, you learn and see things from such experiences. Who do you think will win the Pakistan elections this year? Not near knowledgable enough on any parties aside from knowing who PMLN and PTI are, but not PTI anyway. Don't think it'll be allowed to happen and even if it did, PTI won't be any different to the current people once Imran leaves. Corruption under another name. Have you watched any Pakistani TV shows? if yes, which one Good Lord no, thats one of the most offensive things anyone has ever said to me Have you ever had a crush on any Pakistani? No, guy I know's sister sat next to me on the bus once she was pretty attractive. Not seen many Pakistani women in real life tbh! If you were to marry someone from India or Pakistan, who would you pick? Depends on the person. Don't care about nationality or religion. Not gonna pick just based off of what country they're from. ------------------------------ | GENERAL SPORTS AND GAMES | What other sports do you follow? (If any) Football, massive Leeds fan. Rugby I follow slightly, would watch the odd Ireland game. Follow nearly all sports on a casual level e.g. tennis, golf. Ireland did well in the Euros but still did not make it to Russia, what went wrong in the next 2 years? Style of football. Martin O' Neill has no faith in Irish players to play any sort of decent football. We're not deluded, out golden generation of the 90s is long gone, but look at other teams like Iceland and co and there's no reason Ireland cant also be playing decent football and producing results. Problem is when players play under a manager who doesn't rate them whatsoever and sticks with defensive long ball tactics, things get stale and fast. We had a glorious chance at qualifying for this World Cup. Were looking good to make it automatically but, we reverted to defensive football and dropped points to Georgia, Austria and Wales. Even then we had a do or die home match vs the Serbs where to be fair we gave it a shot, but too late. Should've played that way in the previous matches where we dropped points instead of aiming for draws. Then the play off with the Danes and, well Eriksen took us apart. Bottom line is the FAI are an inept and corrupt institution so Irish football wont be improving from our current level for a long while methinks. Irish fans also need to take the blame here. I myself support Leeds but I attend local matches when I can, too many don't, and without a decent domestic league you'll never get far. The days of Premier League teams developing Irish players for us are long gone sadly. Who is your sports hero? None, I try to avoid idolizing people, it just leads to bias. I do admire the likes of Federer, Sergio Garcia, Porterfield et al however. Predict the 2 finalists of the current Fifa World Cup? Still think the Germans will be there, gonna go for Croatia also. Your favorite sports kit? Fantastic question! Probably the UAE cricket one I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for grey and I think their kits generally look fantastic. If not that then the VFL Bochum UEFA Cup kit in the 90s. 90s football at its best! Just wacky colours yet it works somehow! I'll attach some images, the eagle on the UAE kit is just so masterfully designed it really is gorgeous IMO! Are Messi & Ronaldo better than Pele & Maradona? Incomparable. Two sensational groups of footballers from two completely different eras of footballing history and sporting professionalism. I'd still have Pele as the GOAT, but its too tough to call really. All 4 are legends and we're privileged to have witnessed all four alive! What is your favorite genre of video games? Hmm, Action Adventure. Why do you like Assassin's creed so much? I'm not some superfan lol. I've loved history as a kid, especially Roman era, and since most of those games literally recreated that era to play around in and meet famous historical figures it'd be surprising if I didn't love some of the games tbh. That said recently I've gone off them. Origins was fantastic but took so long to beat I think I'll skip the new one for a while. Skipped Unity and Rogue as was burned out and they looked crap. Would've skipped Syndicate too but was bought for me as a gift, was perfectly average, unmemorable. I bloody ADORED this series multiplayer however, stealth action skill based gameplay at its finest, if they bought that back I'd buy them Day 1 tbh, was so underrated. First ever game you played? Age of Empires 2, still my favourite ever. Proudly own all the Age of Empires games to this day. When I get my new laptop will buy the Definitive Edition too. Spawned my interest in history and in a way really shaped my life in a profound way. Your top 10 favorite games of all time? In no order: Age of Empires 2 Uncharted 2 Uncharted 4 The Last of Us LittlebigPlanet Deus Ex Mankind Divided The Witcher 3 Crash Team Racing Assassins Creed Brotherhood Borderlands 2 Probably could've doubled the list tbh. Why don't you have a gaming PC? Time, money, couldn't be bothered assembling and reassembling and I'm not a graphics whore. 90s pixely PS1 games had an amazing art style and atmosphere and creativity due to their limited graphics. Couldn't care how a game looks. Consoles are far handier to have anyway, but the disc and boom you're ready, no minimum specs and ports to worry about. --------------------------------- | EDUCATION & CAREER | What are your plans for the future? For the time being, I have my Masters degree next year to complete. After that I have a three year training contract at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms to complete. After that? Don't know, won't look too far ahead. Perhaps try to work at the Irish Central Bank. How and why did you go to Germany? As part of my Commerce with German degree we had to spend a year as part of the ERASMUS program in Germany to enhance our language skills. I've always wanted to learn a language since I was young and I did German during secondary school so it made sense to continue it. I also wanted to do a degree with a bit of a global outlook, hence my choice. Was delighted with it, that year abroad was the best year of my life without doubt. How would you describe your school life? Solid. Had some tough times around the age of 13 or so which thankfully didn't last too long, but I was always a shy and awkward kid at that age, certainly didn't fit in with many of my age group at the time. Fairly uneventful aside from that though I'll be honest. Were you a popular kid at your school? Nah, was never bothered about popularity. Had my circle of friends and was happy with that. Wasn't disliked or hated by anybody, generally tried to get on with everybody and for the most part I'd say most people back then would've said I was an OK guy, if a bit quiet. The people who would say otherwise were d**ks anyway lol. Share your most embarrassing moment of school or college life? Ehhhhh, nah. Once bad mouthed a teacher when she was standing right behind me in the hallway. Oops. Is Irish education system better than British or American system? Can't say as I don't know much about the other two. Irish system is pretty good I can say that, not perfect, but certainly gives you enough to work with to achieve what you want, in the end isn't that all you can ask for. The amount of foreigners coming here to study would indicate to me that the universities are pretty damn good too (mine is in the top 1% of the world ) ----------------------------- | GENERAL & RANDOM | Do you have freckles? Yes, not many, and none on my face, least not right now, got them on my arms though. In sunny weather I'd get more naturally. Do you turn into a leprechaun? Yes, all Irish people go through one year of Leprechaun service protecting our rainbow gold, similar to the way Turks and Koreans have to do 1 year of military service. Do you ever speak Urdu/Punjabi in real life? Hahahahaha no. I know about 10 words. Have drunkenly said things like "mashAllah", "subhanAllah", "Hafiz e Quran" to some absolutely astounded and amazed Jordanians though. Are you a religious person? Depends what you mean by religious. Do I consider myself atheist? No. Do I pray or attend religious ceremonies often? Also no. Up until I was 18 I attended mass weekly as the parents would be a bit religious. At that stage I became somewhat disillusioned with all organised religion and view most of it as a scam or an abuse of power. So I consider my relationship with whatever God, if any, is out there, to be between myself and him, and to try and be as good and accepting a guy as possible. I try every now and again to pause for some quiet reflection within myself about things in general. I'd consider that and my thoughts to be my "prayer" so to speak. Don't think any God would value the constant repetition of the same words over and over and over again by billions of people to be any good. How religious are you? What is the level of religiosity in Ireland? My religious level I already answered. Ireland as a whole is no longer religious however, its kind of amazing. Ireland from the 1930s to the 1980s was less tolerant than Pakistan was tbh. We were hyper religious. Mass every week, sex before marriage sent certain women to mental asylums, divorce was banned, homosexuality was a crime, every family and village had dirty little secrets to be hid from the neighbours lest you became an outcast. I heard of a local story, which is true, back in the 1950s where an individual lived and grew up with another relative instead of their own mother for the first two years of their life as the baby's hair colour, being fair instead of the parents colours, would've led to suspicions of an affair then all sorts of rumours the family being shunned. It really is quite insane. Any sort of rumour back then made you a social outcast as the Church dictated everything about peoples lives. As I mentioned women who became pregnant out of marriage were literally sent to either mental asylums in some cases, or Church ran sweat shops called Magdalene Laundries for the rest of their lives. They were affectionately known as "Fallen Women". The "lucky" ones had to undergo the pleasure of giving birth to a baby, then immediately having the nuns enter the room, take the baby minutes after birth and the mother would never see it again. The mother would return to their normal life but the family would never ever refer to the incident again and would hope none of the neighbours or townsfolk noticed anything, lest they be shunned anyway. These babies were then sold yes, sold, to Americans and other nationalities looking to adopt children, who were unaware of the actual origins of their new child. The "unlucky" babies were sent to mother and baby homes where many died of malnourishment and were buried in unmarked graves and septic tanks, yes, I kid you not, septic tanks. 2 years ago hundreds of babies and children's remains were discovered in one behind a church ran home. Every single family back in the day would've had a relative or known someone affected by this. Its a stain on our history. Fast forward twenty years we're one of the most socially progressive countries, hard not to feel a bit proud. The middle and older generations would still be religious overall, without being hyper religious, but the younger generation isn't religious in any way at all. The country is still "culturally" Catholic i.e funerals, weddings being conducted by priests and celebrating events like Christmas and Easter, but thats it. The census has 87% Roman Catholic or thereabouts I think, but in reality out of that percentage I would reckon about a third are actually regular mass goers or believers. Its become such an issue for the Catholic Church, its hard to see them surviving. Ireland was a very rural nation, yet even then back in the hey day of the 60s every parish of even a 100 or so people would probably have more than 1 priest, now there are barely any being trained and the average age for the profession is above 50. In a couple decades I foresee dozens and dozens of smaller churches being closed down and or used just for special occasions. In a way it'll be a bit sad, but in another way considering the untold damage and misery the Catholic Church wreaked upon this nation, with no apology I might add, it'll be a sign of forward progress. With the history this country has had, how could anyone actually place faith in a religious institution. Would you like to settle in another country? If so, which one and why? Germany being as I've lived there before and possess the language. But I'd rather stay settled in Ireland. Would be happy to work temporarily somewhere abroad though. Would you like to visit India? If yes which places and why? Absolutely. Kerala will definitely be a destination since one of my school friends is from there. Haven't marked down any other "must see" places however, aside from the usual ones like the Taj Mahal. Its some thing I think I will do, but I've not researched any specific areas as of yet. How often do you drink? Haha! It varies. In general, once a week. Certain times of the year such as mid-December to early January, perhaps two or three times. Can also then go a couple of weeks without any issues. I'm not an addict or anything. How did you develop a liking for desi food? And what's your favorite? Just tasted it a few times over my life. Obviously our versions of your dishes pale compared to the real thing, but they aren't fakes either, so my Mother would occasionally cook curries and Kormas and the like, plus the odd takeaway. Over time I've learned to make some of my own and tried it in proper restaurants, just liked it more. My favourite haha, damn, would be close between biryani and Tandoori Butter Chicken. Honestly, if I was desi I'd be morbidly obese, the stuff is just too good and I could eat rice literally plain. I love it so much. Thing about Ireland is we don't have any distinct cuisine of our own due to our history as a poor nation of labourers who mostly ate simple meals. So we aren't like India or Italy with a multitude of classic indigenous dishes. We'd have a handful but they're quite simple really, An Irish stew, Shephards pie, Colcannon or Boxty being the more complicated ones. Anyway what this means is most families here eat a wide variety of cuisines. As a kid my mother might prepare in a week carbonara, bolognese, curry, roast beef, shephards pie etc. Just whatever we feel like really, not limited by our cuisine. Would you marry a Muslim girl if you ever fall in love with one? Why not. I wouldn't change who I am to make it work but I'd be open to compromise for her or her family's sake if it was requested and sensible. I'm pragmatic, not stupid enough to expect no compromise but I wont alter everything about my beliefs and personality to suit others, they'd need to meet me halfway. Favourite TV character of all time? Ah Jesus, this is the toughest question yet. I'll divide it into anime and TV to spare me some time. Anime, would have to be Greed from Full Metal Alchemist. I just love a good anti-hero. Honourable mentions go to Lelouch, L from Death Note and Ed from Cowboy Bebop. TV, probably Saul Goodman. Better Call Saul I think is my favourite TV show of all time, and its just amazingly written. No character is better written than the title one in this case, so I'd name him. Also a hilarious character in Breaking Bad. Honourable mention goes to Flint and Vane from Black Sails, without doubt the most underrated show of all time, and Jaime Lannister. Love a good anti hero as I said, Jaime being one of the best ever. Tbh he'd be tied with Saul now that I think about it. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt in your life? Never rely on others for happiness. If you cant find inner comfort or inner contentment no amount of fantastical thinking, ideas or hobbies or time spent with other human beings will ever ever bring you the happiness you seek. If people screw you over, screw them, get up and move. You don't need others to be happy or enjoy life, if means must, do it alone. You are who you are, don't hide or be someone you're not, be yourself and you'll find the people you need. If you rely on others to find inner peace, you'll never ever fix the source of your problems. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm sure you must have thoroughly enjoyed reading Donal's answers above. Thanks to all the posters of CS who submitted their questions. It was exciting to conduct this interview and I was super glad when Donal accepted my request for it. It has to be one of the easiest interviews I have managed so far. So a super big thanks to Donal for his eagerness, time and efforts... Cheers!!!