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Affaf Anwer

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I am currently on a gap year studying A-level Chemistry and Biology, aspiring to pursue a degree in biomedical sciences at university starting in 2020.

I enjoy reading books ranging from autobiographies, novels, historical fiction and many more genres which captivate me. I am also interested in architecture, art and history and enjoy watching documentaries detailing different historical events.

My fervour for history and the global world stretches to my liking for languages which I exercise through watching foreign language films, TV shows, Duolingo courses and by travelling to different countries which i hope to continue in the near future. I am a volunteer for Team London created by the Mayor and I wish to continue helping my community and supporting key issues.

Affaf Anwer



KS Learning

KS Learning provides tuition for all ages inluding GCSE and A Level for a wide range of subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, French, German, Spanish, and more, in the Boroughs of Richmond-Upon-Thames, Hounslow, Kingston-Upon-Thames, and surrounding areas.

Tuition for A level and GCSE for students at school or home schooled in subjects like maths and english



Porridge and Rice

Porridge and Rice combats poverty in the Nairobi slums, home to some of the poorest people in the world, by enabling pupils at partner schools to obtain a sound education.

Porridge and Rice is fighting poverty through education for the extreme poor of the Nairobi slums




Contact

If you have thoughts that you would like to share with the world, please submit them by email.

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KS Learning

KS Learning provides tuition for all ages inluding GCSE and A Level for a wide range of subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, French, German, Spanish, and more, in the Boroughs of Richmond-Upon-Thames, Hounslow, Kingston-Upon-Thames, and surrounding areas.

Tuition for A level and GCSE for students at school or home schooled in subjects like maths and english



Porridge and Rice

Porridge and Rice combats poverty in the Nairobi slums, home to some of the poorest people in the world, by enabling pupils at partner schools to obtain a sound education.

Porridge and Rice is working to combat poverty through education for the extreme poor of the Nairobi slums




Contact

If you have thoughts that you would like to share with the world, please submit them by email.

Note that the editor will decide whether to publish and/or edit emails before publication. No discussion will be entered into.


Contact

If you have any thoughts that you would like to share, please feel free to email

Interests

Books Climbing Walking Cats Charity Kenya Nursing French Puzzles Craft Reading Craft Child Development French Nursing Hygiene Charity Cats Walking Climbing Books


Affaf's Blog

With a strong interest in the world of science, Affaf is working towards a career in Bio-Medicine studying appropriate A levels and learning as much as she can about relevant fields.

Affaf has interests in many areas besides the world of science like reading, and writes about any topic that takes her fancy.

Pollo Picante by Vapiano's

8 May 2020

Businesses have had to adapt to new lifestyles, especially restaurants. A popular restaurant Vapiano also had to close its doors for pasta-lovers amidst the global pandemic. Nevertheless, Vapiano has been sharing their loved recipes on their Instagram since the lockdown was imposed and I tried their Pollo Picante recipe. At home, we always make different kinds of pasta dishes, however, most are often made with a spicy style so this style of pasta was authentic, and new to us at home (though we had eaten this at Vapiano prior to making it at home). Recipe from @vapianouk on Instagram.

Ingredients

  • Boneless chicken
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Chopped garlic and ginger
  • 1 pak choy (2 if baby pak choy)
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour - I used orange)
  • quarter tsp corn flour (add more depending on desired thickness)
  • 75ml orange juice
  • 50ml sweet chilli sauce
  • Fusilli pasta (any shape you prefer)

Method

Heat oil in a pan, add your chopped vegetables and chicken (in this order: garlic, chicken, salt and pepper, ginger, pak choy and bell pepper). In a different pan, prepare your sauce by adding orange juice, ginger, sweet chilli sauce and corn flour to thicken the sauce. Then, add your sauce to the pan of chicken and vegetables and stir, then add the boiled pasta and stir for 30 seconds.

Verdict

This pasta tasted fresh, zesty and fiery. My mum, sister and I all enjoyed this pasta as we typically do not add orange juice (or any juice) and sweet chilli sauce to the pasta that we normally cook so this was a good change and tasted amazing. The flavours are uplifting and I will definitely make this again!

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Spicy Chicken Burger

1 May 2020

With the lockdown in place, getting our usual (unhealthy) fast food intake was harder than before, for obvious health and safety reasons. However, I decided to make spicy chicken burgers with homemade spicy mayo and homemade DIY buttermilk with products readily available in everybody's pantries. The video was recorded when I first tried the recipe, and it was an immediate win at home, so we tried it again THREE more times! Each time, there was an addition of something new, as we perfected the recipe and made it tastier. I will briefly summarise the first recipe: the simplest with no additions, and then I will summarise the other three tries detailing what changed each time and then ranking the best one: hence identifying the BEST version of the recipe.

Recipe is inspired by @gimmedelicious on Instagram.

Ingredients

  • Medium sized brioche buns, sliced

For the chicken

  • Chicken (2 breast pieces cut in half = 4)
  • Paprika - 1 tsp
  • Garlic powder - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder (optional) - half tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1tsp
  • Hot sauce - 1tbsp
  • Buttermilk (below)

DIY buttermilk

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice / vinegar
  • Mix together and warm for 20 secs to speed the process. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Breading

  • 1 cup flour
  • half cup cornflour / corn-starch
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk
  • Chilli powder (optional - to taste)
  • Cajun spice (from grinder to taste)

Spicy Mayo

  • half cup mayonnaise
  • Hot sauce (I used dragon hot sauce and sachets)
  • Paprika
  • Salt + pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cajun
  • Chili powder
  • Mix together.

Method

Marinate the chicken as above, and heat oil in a deep fryer. Dip the chicken into the breading (note: you can double coat by dipping the chicken into the buttermilk marinade again then breading and then fry - I single coated here). Shallow fry until the chicken is golden brown.

Prep your brioche buns by toasting on a pan with some butter. Spread the spicy mayo on both sides and place the hot, chicken piece on the bottom bun and finish by placing the top bun.

Notes

  • I added jalapenos to the burger to add some extra kick, and lettuce.
  • The burger was a success at home, the taste was fresh, and definitely spicy!

The second time that I used the recipe, there were few additions. I used a sesame seed bun instead, and added lettuce. This time, however, it was not such a big hit because I did not measure the spices correctly and ended up using a lot of garlic powder. The taste of garlic unfortunately overpowered the rest of the recipe and was hard to ignore. The third time, I added yellow cheese slices and lettuce and it was clear that the recipe will become a family favourite because the cheese, jalapenos and the lettuce added a different dimension to the burgers and tasted almost gourmet. The only setback was that the chicken cooked perfectly but it did not have the golden-brown colour - this may be due to the oil being too hot or the chicken not being coated enough. The fourth time was the best one to date: I used brioche buns, added sliced lettuce mixed with normal mayo, jalapenos, sliced tomatoes and cheese, served with seasoned curly fries (air-fried).

Overall, this recipe is easy to follow and evidently very open to improvisations to suit your own taste with the basics followed the same way.

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Everyone Should Be Bilingual

24 April 2020

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Women Are Underrepresented as Nobel Laureates in Science

17 April 2020

For years, women have been disproportionately disadvantaged in STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and this has certainly reflected in the recognition they receive. They face countless numbers of hurdles in building reputable careers in science; breaking traditional stereotypes at every step. Women are not less hardworking than men, women are not less intelligent than men, but women are less likely to be recognised for the same or more amount of contribution in their respected fields. A prominent example of this are the Nobel Prize awards.

The Nobel Prize is not necessitous of an introduction; it is well-renowned for rewarding pioneering innovation and research in science as well as literature and humanitarian work through its Nobel Peace Prize. To put their work into numbers, 919 individuals have been awarded a Nobel Prize since 1901, and only 53 of these individuals have been women; just over 5 percent. In 2018, Canadian physicist Donna Strickland became the third woman ever to win a Nobel Prize in Physics, since 1963. These figures highlight the existing disparity amongst men and women in STEM careers which can be traced back to schools whereby the ratio of girls studying A level Physics to boys is unfavourably low.

There are many factors that can be attributed towards the low number of recognition as well as the low number of participation of women in science. For example, gender stereotypes, bias in the industry and the Matilda effect. .

The Matilda Effect is a bias against acknowledging the achievements of those women scientists whose work is attributed to their male colleagues. This is clearly evident in the case of renowned astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. As told by Burnell herself in an episode of the podcast Life Scientific, she was at the receiving end of misogyny, gender discrimination and bullying by her peers and professors in a male-dominated field. Burnell continuously had her ideas dismissed, her research disregarded, and her curiosity undermined to the point where her colleagues received the Nobel Prize in Physics for her ground-breaking discovery of pulsars.

Burnell, with the help of her peers, spent two years building equipment as a PhD student, installed over 100 miles of wires and analysed 3 miles of graphical paperwork of her findings. Burnell's attention to detail noticed a repeating pattern - only a quarter of an inch in size - on her graphs. The regular pattern that she had spotted are now known as pulsars. The core of neutron stars that are formed when a bigger star (supernova) collapses creates this regular pattern of rhythm and flicker as they emit electromagnetic radiation which captured Burnell's attention. Pulsars were a poignant discovery as they made the existence of black holes more credible and accelerated rigorous research into the 'dark' side of the universe.

Burnell's story resonates with the story of scientist Rosalind Franklin, whose work also went unrecognised on the discovery of DNA as her male colleagues, too, won the Nobel Prize for her research. Although the stories of these 'hidden scientists' remain inspirational, we must understand these are stories of women who faced institutional sexism, treated as outsiders and alienated amongst a sea of entitled men. A female scientist struggling to be credited for her work, struggling to be enrolled and struggling to merely work in an uplifting environment must not become a norm and must not be glamorised. They should have won the Nobel Prize for their contribution to the discoveries and be remembered for their research, intelligence and resilience.

In her early life, Burnell had to fight to study science at school at a time where curriculums for boys and girls were segregated with science being taught only to boys. As a young adult in the early 1960s, Burnell was the only girl in University of Glasgow enrolled in Physics. Physics and sexism are historically inextricably linked. For centuries, women have been pushed into a mould of interests they can develop: frantically reading romantic novels, utilising their 'caring' nature in professions such as teaching and nursing while men pursue careers which require grit.

As a society, these stereotypes have been ingrained and stand as a hindrance to progression of women. Secondary schools, colleges and universities in the UK are working tirelessly to increase female participation in traditionally male dominated fields such as engineering, physics and maths through access schemes and workshops, and still 0 girls studied A level Physics in almost half of all schools in England which enrol girls in 2016. This raises an important question of whether we are doing enough at the grassroot level - starting from early education - to ensure girls are supported and are not burdened by societal pressures when pursuing careers in non-traditional fields with phrases such as "maths is for boys" or "physics is too difficult for girls".

This idea of established gender roles and related professions from an early age may explain why more women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature and Medicine/physiology than they have in Physics. Does the higher number of women winning Literature Nobel Prize contributes to an already stereotypically disadvantaged system? Nevertheless, pioneering scientist Burnell has expressed that more female colleagues and mentors would have made her experience smoother. On the one I hand, I agree that it is vital to have senior women working together to normalise female presence in male dominated fields. On the other hand, it is equally important that we enhance the curriculum to celebrate women scientists explicitly of all ages, race and ethnicities so that they are not alienated and belittled by their male colleagues.

The world is increasingly changing and progressing, and more and more women in science have reclaimed their space in traditionally male-dominated spaces and the future is bright. We must not repeat history by continuing to dismiss female scientists and stripping them off their well-deserved recognition and do more to eradicate the thought of gender-associated careers and professions.

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Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa

10 April 2020

A Tragedy As Told By a Child

In Bapsi Sidhwa's Ice-Candy Man, a heart wrenching story of India's worst religious riots is told through the lens of a young Parsee girl living in the epicentre of the 1947 Partition bloodshed, Lahore. This novel cleverly and solemnly discusses many key issues with postcolonial literature and the representation of female characters. As a result, Sidhwa denounces the victimisation and suppression of women with a strong set of female characters to steer the novel forward. There is also a recurring theme of violence, murder and abuse perpetrated by both men and women, towards women.

The narrator is a young Parsee girl who is polio-ridden and aged 5-8 during the years 1942 - 1947 named Lenny. This is significant because Parsees were a marginalised group and were not the targets during the riots as the riots were particularly between Hindus-Muslims-Sikhs. Therefore, unlike traditional postcolonial literature, where Partition is a recount of religious tensions and ignores minorities, Ice-Candy Man discusses life before, during and after Partition from the perspective of a young girl and it provided a fresh and a raw account. Using a child narrator is also used to eliminate impartiality and bias towards postcolonial history.

In the book, Lenny quickly learns that marriage is to be the most important part of a girl's life, highlighting societal pressures. Her doctor, Col. Bharucha, suggests marriage will be the key to 'lead a carefree, happy life' as Lenny's mother expresses her concern towards the sudden halt in Lenny's education due to her polio. This further implies that in a patriarchal society as such, education served no purpose in a woman's life - limiting them to the four walls of their domestic sphere as suggested. Women are continuously shown as less important and their abilities are overshadowed by societal norms which undoubtedly leads to violence against women as the supposed 'lesser beings'. Furthermore, Lenny is also exposed to sexualisation and objectification of women through the treatment of her Hindu eighteen-year-old Ayah (caretaker) Shanta. Initially Ayah has many admirers: the Muslim Ice-Candy man (Dilnawaz), the Sikh zookeeper and many more; this turns bleak as her admirers turn against her in light of the horrifying Hindu-Muslim riots.

Sidhwa does not end the novel at the expense of Ayah's pitiful suffering, as other postcolonial literature tends to, instead she uses her other prominent female characters as saviours and rescues Ayah from the brothel Ice-Candy Man forced her into upon a forced conversion and marrying her. Lenny's mother, previously shown as a housewife, becomes a social activist during the riots as she houses and rescues many women who find themselves at the hand of national upheaval whereby torture, abductions and rape of women are used to infuriate the men as they fail to guard their 'honour'. This idea of honour and the symbolism of women as the epitome of respect for a nation was a warmongering tactic to further the riots. It also implies that women had very little control over their own identities. However, the role of Lenny's mother and Godmother portray that roles of women expanded beyond domesticity as they assumed new roles and responsibilities at a chaotic time. Eventually, women were the saviours of their own as Ayah returns to her hometown to be with her family after leaving Dilnawaz.

Indisputably, Sidhwa discusses the British 'divide and rule' tactic here in India to break up into two nations: India and Pakistan. As shown in the first few chapters, there is no animosity between Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities as the characters continue to coexist as friends and house-helps of Lenny's household, however, this takes a sudden change as a dangerous atmosphere around them is intensified. The future is uncertain of the possibility of Hindus and Muslims coexisting. This creates enemies amongst friends at a time of sheer ambiguity leading on to violence with no reasoning other than to avenge violence.

The overarching significance of the novel is that Sidhwa very impressively attempts to reclaim traditional postcolonial literature by reconstructing Partition from a female perspective. Sidhwa succeeds in doing so because her novel does not end in a pity against women, but instead shows women as survivors of horrifying violence in a deeply misogynist, patriarchal society able to rebuild their lives from afresh. Her semi-autobiographical novel also urges communities to reflect beyond their immediate surroundings to bring social change to protect women, children and each other from divisive tactics and violence.

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