Here's who won social media in 2016 — and who failed terribly

Updated 22 Dec, 2016 04:12pm

From Chai Wala to politicians doing push-ups, here are this year's 12 most unforgettable social media moments

From inappropriate memes to viral holiday pictures, here are this year's 12 most unforgettable social media moments
From inappropriate memes to viral holiday pictures, here are this year's 12 most unforgettable social media moments

It's a tricky thing, social media.

When you put up a post and get tons of likes and comments, it can give you a sense of self-regard. It can also be a savage place, filled with people waiting to pounce on every slip-up.

Nasty breakups, emotional political arguments, embarrassing pictures; somehow the things we want to keep private the most end up on public mediums. And unfortunately, if you err in the virtual world, it may as well have been a permanent fixture because screenshots will not let you forget.

The aftermath? A mixed bag of wins and fails.

As we wave goodbye and good riddance to 2016, we've decided to take a look back and reflect at some of the best and worst social media moments from Pakistan's entertainment scene with a few Bollywood ones sprinkled in there:

Social media wins of 2016:

1) Arshad Khan aka #Chaiwala had the internet crushing on him

This is one hottea who just won't stop giving off steam!

Okay, that was a horrible pun but come on, we all know the frenzy Arshad Khan caused when this shot of him taken by Islamabad-based photographer Javeria Ali surfaced on the world wide web.

Just look at that smolder than that smile; Tyra Banks would be so proud!
Just look at that smolder than that smile; Tyra Banks would be so proud!

The 18-year-old tea vendor has since landed a modeling gig for retail site and walked the ramp at Bridal Couture Week for Ziggy Menswear. He's also starred in a music video and has just bagged a film deal.

It's heartwarming to see that he wasn't just given his two minutes of fame and then forgotten about; the attention has actually resulted in a career for him.

Hey, if he can make making chai look glam, he deserves all the attention and more. Lord knows we don't look half as good slaving in the kitchen making green tea for mom...

2) Ahsan Khan's heartwarming viral video of this articulate homeless man

We see him on television as the leading man in dramas and now films, as well as dancing his heart out at awards functions and shows. But his true fans know that Ahsan Khan also has a more humane, empathetic side to him, one that cares about giving back.

Read more: We need to make a better place for our kids: Ahsan Khan on setting up Wall of Kindness

The actor was out and about in Karachi when he spotted the man on the streets. He was homeless and had a sad story to tell, which Khan recorded on camera and proceeded to share on Facebook.

The man in the video shares: "I just need a job... anything in the office except for the computer, I don't know anything about computers! But.. an office assistant? Going to and fro, photocopies, telephone... anything like that."

He goes on to say that he lost his family in a car accident, after which he was deprived of his life savings.

Khan revealed that several people reached out to him offering to help the homeless man. And in the end, it was IT solutions company Amtech Systems that gave the man an offer of employment and "warm accommodation." Isn't that just darling?

3) The Pakistani woman who honeymoon'd alone...well sort of

Walking around Greece, hand in hand with your significant other sounds like a hell of a honeymoon, doesn't it?

Too bad Huma Mobin couldn't experience it — and she made sure everyone knew it.

Huma was devastated when her husband Arsalaan's Schengen visa got rejected for their second honeymoon/family trip; the green passport curse strikes again!

She decided to make the best of a bad situation and soldiered through; she stuck to her itinerary, documenting her every move so Arsalaan knows just how much she wished he was there.

Huma's in-laws went along with her shenanigans with a smile
Huma's in-laws went along with her shenanigans with a smile

Just in case Arsalaan thought she didn't miss him, she came back with ample proof.

They say time heals all wounds...well, not for Huma! The longer she spent away from her significant other, the more she missed him.
They say time heals all wounds...well, not for Huma! The longer she spent away from her significant other, the more she missed him.

While her sense of humour kept her afloat, the whole incident is also a win because it sheds light on how the visa issues Pakistanis have to deal with are truly ridiculous.

Huma's hilarious pictures got the attention of publications from all over the world, from Cosmopolitan to BBC to name a couple. See the all the pictures on her Instagram here.

And that's not all. Huma and Arsalaan have been sponsored by InterContinental Hotels to go to Europe for their anniversary and New Year's. Sweet!

4) Zahid Ahmed's inspirational zero to hero life story

When Zahid's 'before and after' pictures recently started circulating on social media earlier this year, people were left stunned by the actor's major transformation.

The actor posted two pictures of himself, a before image in which he is heavier and has visibly less hair as compared to the image placed beside it; the after picture which shows his tremendous weight loss and hair surgery. Along with the pictures, he shared a timeline of the past five years, the good times, the bad, the worst and then his rise.

"If I can rise after a broken back and shattered career then everyone should just put their faith in God and themselves and never give up."

With his story he hoped to motivate and inspire others to always have hope and work towards making themselves better and we're sure he did just that!

5) When Madiha Tahir's Facebook post started a conversation about periods and more

When students from Beaconhouse National University (BNU) taped 25 sanitary pads on their university’s wall in order to kickstart a conversation about period-shaming, many men started squirming. Shocker.

Sure, men are okay with hurling the word PMS at women every time a woman acts in a way that's "unacceptable" to them
Sure, men are okay with hurling the word PMS at women every time a woman acts in a way that's "unacceptable" to them

One of these men was Shaan Taseer. His critique of the demonstration quickly turned ugly as he tossed insults at journalist Madiha Tahir.

But Madiha didn't back down without a fight. She used the on-going conversation to highlight male privilege in Pakistan. More power to her for giving more traction to a much-needed conversation about menstruation!

Also read: How Shaan Taseer's reaction to period-shaming exposes male privilege in Pakistan

6) When Momina Mustehsan called out a hater for saying she looked like a "maid girl"

Momina recently found herself in the limelight after her Coke Studio debut with 'Afreen Afreen' and while many have been swayed by her physical beauty, one person feels she looks like... a 'maid'.

Read more: In Pakistan, we tear each other down instead of building each other up: Momina Mustehsan

In a comment on Facebook, an individual curtly attacked Momina's physical desirability by comparing her to his household help. He wrote, "... no offense but she resembles the maid girl in my house."

To which Momina gracefully replied, "... resembling your maid isn't offensive, I'm glad I have lookalikes who work hard, even if it's a maid at someone's house #RespectAll."

The negative associations we continue to ascribe to people providing services like cleaning will only go away once we start respecting all individuals, their professions and the hard work they put into it.

After all, everyone is simply working towards providing the best they can for themselves and their families and there's no shame in that!

Social media fails:

7) This female flashmob in Lahore tried to send out a message about women empowerment

We know that Pakistani brands are still struggling to understand feminism.

One such brand is Do Your Own Thing. For an out-of-the-box idea, DYOT hired two NCA students to choreograph a flashmob of five girls dancing to Beyoncé's 'Run The World (Girls)' on the streets of Lahore and received a lot of flak for it.

The now deleted two-minute clip showed a woman throwing her chaddar to the ground and breaking into a dance after being teased by a male passerby. Seconds later, she is followed by four other girls who copy her dance routine.

Read on: Did this female flashmob in Lahore send the wrong message about empowerment?

Is that really liberation? It isn't about the ladies exhibiting "unladylike" behaviour that bugged us; it's about what empowerment truly entails. Feminism suffers when the privileged 'rebel without a cause' lot start to lead the movement, with issues that have little to no appeal to the average woman.

It has to go beyond dancing in the street. That's just freedom of expression.

Not to mention that when the company started to get flak online for their tone-deaf approach to feminism, the brand decided to distance itself from what they were trying to convey.

"We didn't do this to 'reclaim space,' and we don't claim to be making a stand for women's empowerment through this video. Our brand's perspective is that you should 'do your own thing,' and no one should bother anyone else for how they choose to express themselves," said the brand's co-manager to Images.

If you're going to roar about a social injustice, at least own it and not retreat when things hit the fan.

8) Politicians doing push-ups...sort of

Our politicians are known for a lot of things but fitness has never really been one of them.

Our very own Sindh Sports Minister, Sardar Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar, or so we've so lovingly dubbed him the Sardar of Swag, tried to change that mindset by reinterpreting the Misbah Push-up Challenge and doing 50 push-ups.

Well, he tried,

Also read: Sindh's new sports minister has some serious swag and wants you to know

As far as fitness goals go, we're not sure if Mahar was aiming for a modified 'cobra' pose or some other yoga-inspired move. We do know that his strategic camera placement worked to to make sure his faults were mostly hidden, but unfortunately for him, we saw right through it.

Many other politicians followed suit and no, just no.

For the love of God, get a trainer guys or at least a workout app!

9) Priyanka Chopra thinking refugee and immigrant is the same as traveller

In November, Condé Nast Traveller put Priyanka Chopra on their cover.

She's rocking the barely there make-up look with wet hair and a problematic white vest.

Of the four words on the tank, three; refugee, immigrant, outsider, feature a red strikeout and the fourth, traveller, has been left as is.

Oh PC, first your comments on feminism, now this...
Oh PC, first your comments on feminism, now this...

The cover stirred controversy — and for good reason. After all, how can you equate being a refugee with a traveller? The former is not a matter of choice.

Like in cases of cultural appropriation, Priyanka wore "everything but the burden"; yes, we're sure she must be stereotyped as a brown woman in Hollywood but even then, she comes from a place of privilege and by wearing that tee, is only minimising the plight of people who leave behind their homes and loved ones and run for their lives.

It's not even fair to group these terms together, they're far from interchangeable.

Keep in mind that in the same interview, she also said, "You don’t need a house. You just need a great travel agent!"

10) When Anupam Kher tweeted about his imaginary visa being rejected

For bibliophiles and book worms, February was an exciting time; it was Karachi Lit Fest time!

Along with many local speakers, we were expecting some talent from across the border too, like veteran actor Anupam Kher.

However, it was reported just a couple of days before the event that Kher will not be attending the festival because his visa to Pakistan has been rejected.

"I am very sad and disappointed that out of 18 participants, 17 were given visa and I was denied," said the actor while speaking to the news agency, ANI...and went on this very heated, very long Twitter rant.

It's okay, Anupam Kher, refer to Huma Mobin's story above. She knows the feeling.

Things took a turn when the Pakistan High Commission went on record to state that the actor had never even applied!

Kher hit back, revealing, "The fact is that the Indian invitees to the Karachi Literary Festival did not have to apply for visas. Only when the organisers were given the NOC from the Interior Ministry of Pakistan were we supposed to send our passports across to the High Commission for the visa to be issued. Factually speaking, not even one of the other 17 invitees in the delegation did apply for a visa either."

Um, awkward. We're not quite sure what got lost in translation here but if we were him, we'd sure be wishing we hadn't emotional tweeted the whole incident!

11) Ahsan Khan sharing this horribly inappropriate meme

Just goes to show how social media is a slippery slope. Ahsan Khan gets another shout-out on our list but this time, it's not all good news.

This year, the actor appeared in Udaari, an intelligent serial which tackled the very sensitive topic of child abuse. He was lauded for his performance as the manipulative abuser Imtiaz and was getting some of the best reviews of his career.

So we were really perplexed when he shared this creepy meme on social media:

It really threw us off; why would you play the character of a child molester to send out a message regarding child abuse and then turn around and make light of the whole issue at hand?

Writer Vasay Chaudhry was quick to call him out on it and the actor then deleted his post but that doesn't change the fact that this does highlight a problem with our psyche. This attitude that sexual violence is something you can joke about is why it isn't taken seriously in communities like ours.

12) When Mufti Abdul Qavi's selfie with Qandeel got him suspended

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Qandeel Baloch did many things in her short lifespan to show Pakistani society the mirror. One such thing the Facebook celebrity did was take a selfie with Mufti Abdul Qavi.

Not surprisingly, the unlikely pair's picture stirred up a storm, resulting in his suspension from the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee as well as the National Ulema Mushaikh Council. Ouch.

Qandeel also went on to reveal that the scholar tried to get intimate with her, claims he denied.

Read more details about the entire debacle here.