Dec 29, 2011

bdnews24 has a wide reader-base, and now they have grown a wing to serve us entertainment news - titled Glitz (http://glitz-us.bdnews24.com/)!

As with all entertainment or art efforts from those not in the very mainstream (we actually have many mainstreams, and just no underground), they lack publicity. The TV channels don't give them a chance, the medium with a most prolific reach. Its good that more platforms are coming up, albeit at first glance showing me two Bollywood superstars.

This lack of channels is not new in this subcontinent I suppose, as I read this article about India's efforts to emulate the Coke Studio show.

Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2011

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Dec 28, 2011

Dhaka has many cafes and small restaurants that are places where you can rest your bones, and chat with friends for hours over coffee and maybe even get something to eat. I have once before blogged about places to eat in a post called "In the Mood for Food", and now there are at least two places to add to that list and a dishonorable mention for one who I didn't name in the previous post. I name them here today, in my title (after "Boo"), since they really reallly did a number on me the other day.

My friends like that place since its a nice setting, and now its nicer one, having relocated in Gulshan to the top most floor of a building with the choice of sitting inside, or in the balcony where you get the view of the Gulshan area. Its especially attractive at night time. They serve a dish called Poutine - potato wedges with mozzarella and meat sauce said the menu. I usually avoid ordering anything but coffee there since I know better (so, it could be my fault outright), but I was also very hungry and desparate having just got out of the office at the end of a workday. When the dish arrived, it was a pleasant sight I admit. The serving was plenty, which is quite unusual for many posh cafes where prices usually don't match quality or quantity. The potatoes were well cooked and the only thing that bothered me was the meat sauce at that point. It was just sweet, and really seemed to lack any meaty essence! I shared it with my wife and we both eventually came to the same conclusion. Instead of the meat sauce, it was Daal (lentils), cooked to resemble a meat sauce. Talk about cost savings! Crooks! It maddened me, but I failed to spot anyone who looked like a manager there. Eventually, I decided it was no use complaining, I should just do a better job of avoiding Coffi11 when I am hungry!

However, there are two new superstars if you are looking for a Cafe to linger in.

Hotbrew Coffee - This is on Road 12, a small place. If you just got on Road 12 from Road 11, it'll fall on your right after just a few houses. My wife and I spotted them one day and decided to try, and we were quite surprised with the quality of their coffee. They smelled good, they tasted better and we've been back there quite a few times now already. We have already tried their wedges, which are a little spicy, but really tasty, and they have superstar burgers - beef or chicken. Though, the burgers were a little bit pricey, I am sure to go back there. Their pizzas are not that good yet, but they were very open to our feedback and have promised to improve them.

Northend Coffee Roasters - This is a great place for coffee, and pastries! They owners are US citizens who had been teaching at schools here for years. Bangladesh has grown on them and they eventually decided to stay longer. The mister is a coffee aficionado and the missus on the pastry side of things. My favorite from there are their cinnamon buns and brownies! They don't serve anything savory yet, by they are open to it. The only 'ugh' with them, is their location. They are on the road when you turn from the US Embassy towards Badda. Its a busy road, and you have to drive quite far through traffic to take a U-turn to get to them. I usually try to get what I want on weekends.

I end my rant today, with a very naive wish that businesses would just focus more on product and customer satisfaction than just squeezing the money out of us anyway they can. I found a forum online that is operated in India for consumers to report and vent about times they felt cheated, and I wonder how difficult would it be for a check to be set up for businesses who just lack heart. If you want my money, then just try to give me some value in return!

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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Sep 29, 2011

Don’t dismiss the Wall Street occupation

  - Anthony DeRosa

Link

 

A local Update > Link

Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2011

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Sep 20, 2011

On and off I read newspapers. Blah blah blah...., I tend to find my looney head oppose the habit after some time.

But what of the times, when something you know happened doesn't reach the news? What exactly is happening there? Who decides people should know about it, or not know about it?

Human rights, was that part of achieving MDGs? I hear we have jumped leaps and bounds in getting to our MDGs - statistics are being built right now to make sure we do. But anway, yes, who decides? I know rock music, especially those who growl and screech are not very mainstream - meaning not liked by a majority. So, minorities of youth, are the ones listening there, and when DJuice a brand thing of Grameen Phone, arranged a series of contests to find rock bands and award them a recording contract, it provided a much needed platform for the musicians living underground. The winner of the last contest, was a band called Powersurge, where Nahiyan was a guitar player. They didn't sing songs I usually listen to, but I could appreciate the energy and the power of their genre and their performance. So, anyway, one fine day Nahiyan gets arrested for stealing gold from a neighbor. Now I've seen news of young guys getting picked up and tortured before, and I've read news of stolen gold also. But in this case, neither seemed to make a stir! Two of the english papers put something out, other than that, zilch.

While trying to see whats there online throught Google, I find other instances where the news seems to have been selectively spread.

Labor rights activist Moshrefa Mishu

If our news dealers don't realize the power they hold, in keeping this country honest,  then there is not much left to write here. Its all quite useless.

Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011

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Sep 6, 2011

Been thinking about writing down my thoughts on the hullaballoo that is going on over increasing road safety. Before I could do so, Mr./Dr. Mohammad Ali Akbar Mallik, who is an engineer, already put his in Prothom Alo which I readily agree with.

BRTA's corruption is of course the first area to discuss. I have been to their Ikuria campus and the mirpur campus, and its easy for any simple man to get lost there. Its not that the place is big, but its crowded, with "Dalals" - the unofficial middlemen. The counters are either not labeled, or they are empty. The only way to determine what a counter is meant for unless there is a line in front of it, since then someone might entertain a question or two from you. It is indeed not a friendly place, and no civility is there. In terms of the writer's urge to modernize BRTA in the form of making a bigger campus, I hardly think that should be necessary. Considering how Dhaka has spread over and is jammed all the time, I think their operations should be more decentralized. The written tests, verbal tests etc, all tests short of the driving test, doesn't require a large area, and those could be arranged according to where people reside.

The idea of showing a video explaining road etiquette, how road accidents occur, and what the effects are of road accidents to the victims is a very good idea. That is just in line with how I was thinking about it. I drive everyday along the airport road, along Biswa road, and I see that most drivers are in fact, professional drivers. Regardless of whether there is a boss in the backseat, they are driving like absolute lunatics. I have usually seen car owners drive their cars cautiously, my father, my uncles, my wife, myself, or my friends, except maybe my younger brother and other youngsters who are mostly thrill seekers, and not really driving for practical reasons*.  Our professional drivers, they either have very little regard for the vehicles they drive, or just no regard for people. They wil cut into your lane very abruptly creating a risky situation, or come dangerously close to your car, to make you feel threatened and stop. Most of the time, a owner in the backseat, doesn't even care, as long as they can get to their destination fast. Others, like my father and eldest uncle, can go through 3/4 drivers in 3/4 months. My father currently doesn't have a driver. Meanwhile, the bigger the vehicle that a professional driver is manning, the bigger the risks he brings to everyone else. Buses have a habit of stopping in the middle of the road to take on customers. While the police can be seen stopping my car or other private vehicles often, they are very kind to these buses. Buses can be seen competing with other buses, to the point they drag along each others bodies. I have seen such a display on many occassions in the presence of the police. There is no reason to allow those drivers to sit behind a steering while for the rest of his life! These are clearly perverted individuals.

Whereas the author mentioned a video, I was thinking licenses would be conditional to a more elaborate training BRTA would conduct, including road safety issues, and visits to a hospital treating those who had lost a limb or suffered in any other way from an accident. Also, owners of vehicles should feel more responsible about how their hired drivers are conducting themselves. You can be the safest driver in town, but due to the professionals all around you, you are in now way out of danger. Talk to your drivers, and let them know what is right and what is wrong. Be human, for everyone's sake.

Related:  সড়ক শৃঙ্খলা: বিআরটিএ সংস্কারে কিছু সুপারিশ

* So, there is a good reason to restrict licenses to younger people. As far as I've heard, in USA licenses are given in stages. A 15 year old can only drive when in presence of a father or mother who can also drive, and then they graduate to being able to drive any family member, but not friends, and then slowly graduate to being able to just drive.

Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2011

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Aug 27, 2011

When an established actor, sets up a TV channel, can you expect him to run things differently? There is an expectation, on my part, that he will remember the hardships that went into getting to where he is today. He would have experienced first hand, what goes into making a show, the people, the story writers, the post production team. All that should amalgamate into an executive who values his employees, values the creative people who are contributing to the success of his channel, and he will reward them justly so that they may continue to contribute and excel. What happens when he doesn't keep an eye on things and people within his organization are withholding rightful payments? An aggrieved client may write a public opinion that this is wrong, and force them to pay up to avoid a media scandal. Should the reaction then be to announce that the client can expect no more business with the channel?

Our country lacks the amount of universities to cater to the amount of students graduating out of high school. So new universities are starting up all around. My wife recently almost signed up to one of them for a job as a lecturer. Why would a new university advertise faculties they haven't been able to staff at a point of time? Should this not be taken as an urge to earn a lot of money rather than to start small and establish a good base? Why would a university urge that salary should not be important since the person applying as a lecturer has a family that can support her? Taking all that into consideration, when signing up she found out that they also want her to teach something in another faculty. The grand total of subjects she would be teaching at the university, had she taken the job would have been 7.

Music, as with other fields in the arts, are areas where you are nothing without passion. Lets face it, parents don't push their children into the arts - there is no future there, not like becoming a doctor, or a banker. Musicians die of old age, and some of them through lack of treatment they could not afford. Since the birth of this country, I have felt that we've seen a decay in the quality of music, and cinema. I cannot claim to know much of the literary world, but a few friends who are passionate there have claimed similar. Its not that there aren't excellent people in those fields, but that the mediocre are crowding up the space by their ludicrous large numbers. Had we had proper nurturing of the arts by those who could, instead of a run for quick bucks through cheap thrills, I might have been in a different mood this morning.

"Piracy" is another thing that we hear of these days when the music industry comes in question. Labels have been under scrutiny from artists for not establishing intellectual property rights and being greedy with the income of music. Musician get a down payment of money for handing over al rights to their work to the label - that was the norm. The storm that was kicked up did well in some aspects, since now someone like Grameen Phone wants the labels to show that they have the rights to distribute the music in the form of 'welcome tunes' or ring tones, etc. I just signed such a paper yesterday to a song my band recorded. Labels have joined in the fight to stop piracy, and to them, its the fight to stop their sales from diminishing. We have so far, given away three singles to a series of compilations from the same label, so I have signed away the rights before, also, but the last time I was not there for the 'lecture' The 'lecture' is what the labels are telling kids who are forming bands and eager to release their songs and eventually make an album. Its goes like this:

"Tell your friends, not to download the songs! Buy the originals, stop piracy. Don't put up your singles on your websites! If you know the administrators of the forums where they put out these songs, try to get in touch with them. If they are downloading for free, its like 'stealing'!"

At that point I just smiled. There was one reason we are giving our singles away - we wanted these songs to be out there, for people to listen. We knew the risks, yet we complied. BUT, I have a feeling that the label was so short sighted, they didn't realize there could be other ways of doing this - mainly, taking a lesser cut to make the bands feel appreciated. A compilation CD is packed with singles from different bands. Considering the costs of putting out a CD here, the label will make enough with just the sales from the friends and family of each of the bands' members during the ecstasy of eid. More friends than family. The label is just paying up the recording costs of the songs, and then its the cost of pressing CDs and printing the sleeves. This is the 4th release in this series and the third time that its a double CD. I believe they have figured out the marginal cost/profit ratio here of releasing one CD vs. two. What they could've easily done in the third cycle, is to arrange some royalty for the bands' works, instead of buying it up and advocating against piracy. Oh, the irony! Its almost like they are counting on the bands to carry on a few years like this and then to get disheartened and disband along the way. Instead of establishing good faith between these fresh, passionate bands, they choose the old ways. Talking of intellectual property rights, I don't see much relevance here since most of the labels are unscrupulous businessmen who would just lie about album sales and you have a far worse fate than the old down payment.

I heard the chairman of a start up software company once say, "we want to make money, but if we wanted it to make it quickly, we could have gone into internet pornography or internet poker, but we wanted to do something that helps people, even if it takes time". That software company makes billions a year now creating software for a niche within the health sector in USA. The proper mindset is needed, a bit of humanity alongside the profit seeking. The lack of vision and greed I see, I blame it on our education system (not just schools and teachers, but parents too), which puts us in a race very early in life that helps shed values.

Posted on Saturday, August 27, 2011

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To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else. ~ Dalai Lama

Our two sarkars are involved deeply with each other, and the depth of their perverse romance or rivalry causes an equally deep scar in the progress of our nation.

Picture two children, insisting on doing one thing, with the reasoning "He did it first!". The question of 'first' doesn't usually have to enter the picture, so just the "He did it too!" is often heard. If you took a child and scold her for doing something wrong, you might also expect this as an answer. She doesn't understand the right and wrong of it yet, knows only that she has seen her brother of the same age do it. We can see the same happening here, on a national scale by the two children we've elected year in and year out to lead us somewhere. Digital Bangladesh or not, we have been continuously made to feel bad for our choices over the years.

Let us take into account, the pardon granted recently by our President to the convicted murderer and his accomplices. Proving that we are still holding on to some sense, questions were raised as to what overtook our main man to show such sympathy for the devil. The Man didn't answer, and we failed to understand what went through the head of the man, whose wife was murdered in a bomb attack meant for the current PM. Forgive and forget? None of those should have been his prerogative, when in this case, he was not victimized. When the media reached out to the government for answers, we received replies unexpected. We were told that the President acted within his rights, and we should not question it. Some replies even carried the connotation that it was wrong of us to question it. While they were answering, they also spit out the "He did it!".

The deaths of 5 on a bend of a highway that claimed many lives before, included two very liked personalities (see previous blog), that pulled a cloud of gloom over everyone. It also brought out statistics of how many people die on road accidents, and the lion share which involved buses and trucks. Two issues lay in here - the insufficient highways (slimmer than the roads in our city!), and the dangerous antics of our professional drivers. A brief hailstorm came out of all this, when citizens took these issues out and demanded they be corrected immediately - citizens want safer roads, and responsible drivers. First, the communications minister tries to weasel out of it, denying that roads are not in bad shape. He has been working on some big projects, and he didn't think it worthwhile to keep an eye on the current state of roads. As bad fortune will have it, at that moment highways in many areas had been damaged badly and filled up with rain water, increasing the travel time along those road to two times or more. Also, in that same moment our shipping minster showed face, said whatever insensitive statements came to his loyal-to-the-party and loyal-to-the-bus-truck-drivers mind. Previously, a news report claimed that he was pressuring the communcations minister for licenses of 24000 professional drivers licenses to come out. To that, he did not perceive a conflict of interest, in representing a minsitry and also an association working on behalf of transport businesses. He and his family apparently, are also owners of buses. He claimed that there wasn't any pressure, that the authorties were unable to handle such large amounts of licenses in a short time, and also went ahead and said that we should consider giving out licenses to those who don't have a formal education as long as they can identify signs - in his words, as long as they can distinguish between a goat and a cow.

A representative of the government did come to TV and claim that the roads were bad since it was raining. So, we needed that guy to come and tell us that our roads are in the shape that they are, by no fault of the government. Meanwhile, in one parliamentary session, some government members got up and strongly criticized the two ministers for their actions and words. The citizens had meanwhile been rallying up support for the sacking of those two. People suddenly started feeling that their voices might finally be heard! That was until three days ago, our PM took center stage in parliament and criticized those who were criticizing. To her ministers, she said, why focus on things that went bad, and why not talk of the good things we are doing!? Then, she listed some of those good things. Then she even criticized the citizens who were protesting. She alleged that many of them are also holding licenses they took out without getting tested. An ironic comment, since that only points to the corruption that exist in BRTA. So, she came to the defense of her two ministers. An in that speech she blamed the past government and the caretaker government, the prodigal son, for the state of the roads.

The statement that really annoyed me, was "don't arm your enemies!". This was a message to her ministers to not criticize their own. Was she totally blind to the public reaction that was similar to those ministers' critique? Is there a reason that the public shouldn't construe her words to mean, that the citizens are the enemy? Likeliest, is that she meant the brother of the same age.

Both parties had had their golden days, and what we're left with is bickering children. If we look back to our lives over the years, we'll also see that our situation was better than now. We should not always look to the politicians to fix things, but we do expect them to support us in living the right way, doing the right things. This needs a lot of thought. Please vote responsibly.

Posted on Saturday, August 27, 2011

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Aug 17, 2011

কাঁদ বাঙ্গালী কাঁদ

This was BAL's instruction to us. Just like last time, the city is appended with posters with this clear instruction. I was appalled the first time at the thought that our government was giving such a message, when there should have been so much more to do and say about building a better city, better lives, a better country.

 This time, its a little different. I am on the "ON" cycle of reading newspapers (almost daily) and even following the news on television, and I must say, this month IS PRETTY SAD! Worth crying over.

There is a list of dreadful events in my last post, and it leads a big tragedy - the deaths of Tareque Masud, the film-maker and Mishuk Munier, who was the CEO of ATN News and a man in love with the camera. They had started on movies together, leading to a film called "Runway". In the recent days, very little has been happening in the world of cinema that I would call noteworthy, and this man Tareque Masud was one of the few I had been looking out for. He puts an effort into his cinema that speaks loudly for the passion he holds for it. Unlike anyone else, he was taking his cinema to the different parts of Bangladesh himself with his crew, which includes his wife and producer Catherine Masud, enjoying the reactions and debates that would come from his movies. I loved the way he spoke and carried himself - grounded and humble, and how he had partnered for life with a kindred spirit and were doing what they love. Mishuk Munier must have been a genius, since the little I see of Runway now in its trailer blows me away! Breathtaking pictures of the rural.

They had gone to visit a spot for their new movie which had the working title of Kagojer Phool (Paper Flower). A few friends went along with them. The accident claimed 5 lives, and one of the friends was artist Dhali Al-Mamun, who is still on life support. They were traveling in a micro-bus, which ran into a bigger inter city bus from the other side on a bend, where other accidents have taken place before.

Just leading up to this accident, there were some noteworthy news - one stating how 41 people identified and proven as corrupt by the Anti-Corruption Commission who are still working, and some with high positions, in the department of Roads and Transport [সড়ক ও জনপথ (সওজ) অধিদপ্তরে]. Another news, stated that the Minister of Shipping, Shahjahan Khan, was putting pressure on the Ministry of Communication to have 24000 professional licenses granted bypassing the normal procedures, since this man and some of his family, are bus owners. He took out 10,000 licenses on a previous occasion.

The accident of course resulted in a lot of voices being raised for road safety issues, e.g., Why hasn't the government taken any steps to implement the recommendations made by the leading engineering university of the country - BUET? Why are professional drivers still so reckless even after a high number of deaths and destruction? Isn't it because they go unpunished every year backed by the strength of their lobbies? People like Shahjahan? Shameem Osman?

A ruthless businessman, Shahjahan did what was expected, denied that road accidents are the fault of the drivers in front of a panel of reporters (who I assume were quiet either for the fear of their lives, or they did not figure out how to go down to his level and communicate). Any one who drives on our roads and highways, will tell you the buses are driven in the most reckless fashion. The communications minister is now always seen with the minister of shipping. They are the new BFFs, the new Paris and Nicole, only lethal.

Whereas everyone is now sitting at home or even taking to the streets, claiming that these ministers step down, it is unlikely. The ministries they are in, are potent money making ministries and now with the road safety concern in the public sphere, I assume its an opportunity for them to fill new pockets. Even though the PM made promises to review her ministers regularly to make sure they are on track, its clear these people are somehow necessary for some plan.

Everyone is in grief. Talk shows are hosting old AL politicians who reminisce their golden days and state clearly how the party is derailed at the moment. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina expressed sorrow for the two talented individuals we lost in that accident through a PR statement, and that was all we heard of her for a while until last night. She was on TV, referring to her counterpart in BNP, saying that people who celebrate birthdays on the death anniversary of Sheikh Mujib can't be expected to do any good for the country. This? That is all you have to say? The people are expecting you to do something about your openly corrupt and inept ministers! Fire them. Declare them unworthy! And yet, you are silent, anyone is guilty but your office, circling in the old blame game with BNP. Unworthy. Unacceptable. I did all I could to not spit on the TV screen

মিশুক মুনীরের স্ত্রী মঞ্জুলী কাজী, মানববন্ধনে রাজনীতিবিদদের উদ্দেশে: "আপনারা বলেন যে মানুষের জন্য রাজনীতি করেন। এমন মিথ্যা কথা আর বলবেন না। রাজনীতি আপনাদের ব্যবসা"
সড়ক নিরাপত্তা কাউন্সিলের তিন মাস পর পর বৈঠক করার কথা। কিন্তু এই সরকারের পৌনে তিন বছরে বৈঠক হয়েছে মাত্র তিনটি। মন্ত্রণালয় সূত্র জানায়, এই তিনটি বৈঠকের একটি করা হয়েছে নৌপরিবহনমন্ত্রী শাজাহান খানের অনুরোধে। - প্রথম আলো

Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

3 comments

Jul 24, 2011

I am writing this at the backdrop of many happenings.

A prime minister is persecuting the murderers of her father and many other family members while a president just pardoned a murderer who butchered a man... a murderer well known, and known to be an ally of the rulers.

"Gonotontro", or Democracy is on every politician's lips while they push changes to the constitution that'll strengthen their stances as a ruling party against anyone who wishes to raise a voice against them.

A truck carrying over 40 young boys collapsed on highway resulting in most of them dying while drivers grow even more daring and even more restless.

6 boys from the city are beaten to death on the suspicion of being burglars, whereas some months ago, a woman at another village suffered the same 'cause of death' (almost, as she was stoned to death), and a few cases of sexual assault on girls from teachers made the news.

Grown men are in apparent loss of direction or leadership again (happened once before in another party), or just bending backwards waiting for an inept leader, or the leader's child to come and take the helm, and lead them on. Shame!


I have often ranted on the lack of 'value' for the goods or services we pay good money for. However, this is not just bad service at a restaurant, or an inferior material on a shirt. It also includes many critical things like medicine (remember please, the case of the "paracetamol" that killed many children) and health care. The latter is an industry here which is also myopic in its business goals to get the money from their customers' hands. Recently, large and fancy hospitals have been built in the city which resemble five star hotels from the outset, and yet fail to deliver 'care' services.

Some argue, that this has always been and shouldn't alarm me so. That statement has always failed to calm me, and I just see how our education or our religions did not equate to enlightenment. We are busy, very busy and cannot stop to make way for others, or stop to think for one minute of what can come out of our actions. So now, everyone fails - teachers, lawyers, doctors, police, politicians... you, and me.


Related:
Citizens Blacklisted Docs and Hospitals
Stand Against Medical Negligence in Bangladesh
No More Road Accidents

Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011

2 comments

Jul 4, 2011

One of the remarkable things about AL is the iron hand with which it is dealing with protestors of ANY kind. When the opponents try to get out of their party or organization offices to take part in a rally, no matter how peaceful it might have been intended to be, the Police has been playing their devoted roles in breaking them up and inciting arrests, so to speak. It happened last week when BNP tried to go out to protest the dismissal of the Caretaker Government system (don't confuse yourself, but it was put in place by AL in the first place by means of rigorous protests which had the country in a standstill for a looong time back then) which takes care of holding elections. Now, prior to this, the caretaker government held a brief stint in which it tried to bring forward corruption charges against the leading politicians from both camps. There has been a lot of talk about it on the TV talk shows and the newspapers, but all in all we've managed to put our apathetic hats on for the most part.

Some people, didn't care for that hat last sunday (03/07/2011), when the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports (NCPOGMR) called a strike to protest the deal thats in the making with ConocoPhilips to do some offshore drilling for gas which sleeps underneath us. Bloggers of Bangladesh got out, tearing up their hats, and under the sun and held before them long cloth banners which told of their protest. And the police, faithful to their leaders and not the tax-paying citizens came out piously to break them up and make some arrests. Law and Order, Gentlemen, has been ... er... restored. Educators and bloggers, and non-political citizens who are concerned are now prisoned.

Coming up, is a 4 day strike called by the bigger guns, the political and shaky BNP and Jamaat. I wonder, after their last attempt at a strike was so vividly broken down by the police, what they are planning to redeem themselves. Kinda scary, and at the same time soap-opera-exciting.

That what this is... a political soap opera.

Related:
Interview of an activist of NCPOGMR
Dinmajur Blog
Half Day Hartal (Prothom Alo)
The Wall Street Journal Picks up this story
Our Students in Sweden Protest for the Protestors

Posted on Monday, July 04, 2011

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Jun 30, 2011

An update from my last post on buses, which are affectionately also called "public transports"

A video ..

And also, fresh from yesterday's episode of 'life', a picture:





This, of course, came with the title -
"দুই মিনিবাসের পাল্লায় প্রাণ গেল দুই যুবকের"

Honestly, if we cannot hold the bus company owners liable for such incidents, we can continue expecting this kind of public service in years to come. When, riding speeding buses, commuters are happy to feel they're getting home or to work faster, but the injured commuters of the bus shown above, took part in beating the bus, which I imagine didn't have much of a well kept body anyway. And fellas, you were a little too late with the outrage don't you think?



Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Jun 28, 2011

In my climb to a full grown lunatic I do not recall a time when I read anything in an editorial written by a prime minister! all hail the 27th of June, the year is 2012, and Sk. Hussina has written out her heart's woes in a long long long lauuuuuunnnngggg… article. Its got heartbreak, slight hint of bitterness and of course, an overall 'its lonely at the top' aura. I say this article must be preserved.

So i link it here: http://www.prothom-alo.com/detail/date/2011-06-27/news/165577
and paste it there (told you its long! so I'm left with no choice but to reduce the font size)
ভালো চাই, ভালো
ভালো নেবেন গো ভালো?
আরও ভালো...
আরও ভালোর পসরা নিয়ে কলম ধরেছেন অনেকে। যতই কাজ করেন। তাঁদের কিছুই ভালো লাগে না। তাঁদের বক্তব্য হলো, ‘এই সরকার (আওয়ামী লীগ) কিছুই করছে না, মানুষের অনেক আশা ছিল, কিন্তু তা পূরণ হচ্ছে না। মানুষ হতাশ হয়ে যাচ্ছে, দেশ একদম ভালো চলছে না। দেশের অবস্থা খুবই খারাপ।’
লেখালেখি, মধ্যরাতের টেলিভিশনে টক শো, গোল টেবিল, লম্বা টেবিল, চৌকো টেবিল, সেমিনার—কোথায় নেই তাঁরা? তাঁদের এসব কথায় সাধারণ মানুষের মধ্যে একটা প্রভাবও পড়ছে। বিভ্রান্ত হচ্ছে, অনেক সময় নিজের অজান্তে এই ডায়ালগ বলে দিচ্ছে। যাঁরা এটা করছেন, তাঁদের এই ‘বলার’ কথার ফুলঝুরি কি সব সময় অব্যাহত থাকে?
সব সরকারের আমলে? না না, তা শোনা যায় না। যেমন ধরুন, সামরিক সরকারের সময় তাঁদের কলমের কালি বা রিফিল থাকে না। কলম চলে না। মুখে কথা থাকে না। তখন বাঘের গর্জন বিড়ালের মিউ মিউয়ে পরিণত হয়। এখন যাঁদের কথায় টেলিভিশনের পর্দা ফেটে মনে হচ্ছে বেরিয়ে পড়বেন লাফ দিয়ে এক্কেবারে সরকারের ঘাড়ের ওপর। ‘সর্বনাশ’! পারলে এই মুহূর্তে সরকারের ঘাড়টাই ভেঙে দেবেন আরও ভালো কিছুর আশায়। এঁরাই আবার কখনো কখনো চুপ থাকেন।
তাঁদের ডায়ালগ বা বাক্যবিন্যাস অথবা উপদেশ শোনা যায়নি ১৯৭৫ সালের ১৫ আগস্টের মর্মান্তিক হত্যাকাণ্ডের পর বা ৩ নভেম্বর জেলহত্যা, একের পর এক মুক্তিযোদ্ধাদের হত্যা, সিপাই-জনতার বিপ্লবের নামে একটার পর একটা ক্যু, তাণ্ডব ও হত্যাকাণ্ডে। অন্যায়ভাবে ফাঁসি বা ফায়ারিং স্কোয়াডে সামরিক অফিসার ও সেনাদের হত্যা, রাজনৈতিক প্রতিপক্ষকে নির্যাতন, রিমান্ড ও হত্যাকাণ্ড ঘটানোর সময় তাঁরা চুপ থেকেছেন। তাঁদের বিবেক জাগ্রত হয়নি ভালো না মন্দ, তা দেখার জন্য। বরং ঘাপটি মেরে নিজেকে বাঁচিয়ে রেখেছেন বাতাস কোন দিকে যায়, সেটা বুঝে নিয়ে সময়ের সুযোগে উদয় হওয়ার জন্য।
১৯৭৫ সালের ১৫ আগস্ট থেকে ১৯৮২ সালের ২৪ মার্চ পর্যন্ত সময়ে তাদের সোচ্চার হওয়ার একটা নির্দিষ্ট ক্ষণ ছিল, সেটা হলো মিলিটারি ডিক্টেটরদের রাজনীতি ও রাজনৈতিক নেতা কেনাবেচার সময়। যাঁরা নিজেদের উচ্চ দরে বিক্রি করতে পারলেন তাঁদের একধরনের সুর। আর যাঁরা কপালে কিছু জোটাতে পারলেন না তাঁদের সুর হলো দৃষ্টি আকর্ষণীয়-অর্থাৎ ‘আমরাও আছি, ক্রয় করুন, সেল-এ পাবেন।’ অর্থাৎ (‘use me’.)|
এরপর যাঁরা অবশিষ্ট থেকে গেলেন, তাঁরা তখন বাতাস ঘোরার সঙ্গে সঙ্গে সুর পাল্টিয়ে বিপ্লবী হয়ে গেলেন। এটা আমি ১৯৫৮ সালের জেনারেল আইয়ুব খানের মার্শাল ল জারির পর দেখেছি, আমাদের কত রাজনৈতিক ‘চাচার’ দল। যাঁরা আব্বা মন্ত্রী থাকা অবস্থায় নিজের বাড়িঘর সংসার ভুলে রাতদিন আমাদের বাড়িতে ঘুরে বেড়িয়েছেন আর প্রশংসার ফুলঝুরি উড়িয়েছেন, তাঁরাই কেমন ডিগবাজি খেয়েছেন। সুর পাল্টিয়েছেন তাও দেখেছি। ১৯৬২, ১৯৬৬, ১৯৭৫, ১৯৮২, ১৯৯১ সালসহ বিভিন্ন সময় বিভিন্ন রূপ দেখার সৌভাগ্য বা দুর্ভাগ্য আমাদের হয়েছে।
১৯৯৬ সালে সরকার গঠনের পর যারা ভালো থেকে আরও ভালো, আরও ভালোও হয় না কেন বলে লেখালেখি করেছেন, মুখের বুলি আর কথার ফুলঝুরি ছড়িয়েছেন, সমালোচনায় জর্জরিত করেছেন, তাঁরাই সুর পাল্টিয়ে ফেলেছেন। যেমন একটা উদাহরণ দিচ্ছি:
১৯৯৬ সালে ৪০ লাখ মেট্রিক টন খাদ্য ঘাটতি ছিল। খাদ্য উৎপাদন এক কোটি ৯০ লাখ মেট্রিক টন ছিল। ২০০০ সালের মধ্যে ঘাটতি মিটিয়ে চাল উৎপাদন দুই কোটি ৬৯ লাখ মেট্রিক টনে বৃদ্ধি করলাম। কী শুনেছি? ‘না, আরও একটু ভালো হতে পারত।’
পাঁচ বছরে আওয়ামী লীগ সরকার ৭৯ লাখ মেট্রিক টনের বেশি অতিরিক্ত খাদ্য উৎপাদন বাড়াল, তার পরও শুনে যেতে হলো, আরও একটু ভালো হতে পারত। ২০০১ থেকে ২০০৬ সাল পর্যন্ত চালের উৎপাদন কতটুকু বেড়েছিল? বিএনপি সরকারের পাঁচ বছরের মধ্যে চার বছর কোনো উৎপাদন বাড়েনি, বরং হ্রাস পেয়েছিল। অর্থাৎ উৎপাদন ছিল নেতিবাচক।
আর একটি উদাহরণ বিদ্যুতের ব্যাপারে। ১৯৯৬ সালে বিদ্যুৎ কম বেশি ১৬০০ মেগাওয়াট উৎপাদন হতো। চরম বিদ্যুৎ ঘাটতি। সঞ্চালন লাইনগুলো জরাজীর্ণ ছিল। দ্রুত সরকারি ও প্রথমবারের মতো করে বেসরকারি ব্যবস্থাপনায় উৎপাদন বৃদ্ধি করলাম। সঞ্চালন লাইন উন্নত করার কাজ শুরু করলাম। চাহিদা বৃদ্ধির সঙ্গে সামঞ্জস্য রেখে বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদন বৃদ্ধি করার জন্য নীতিমালা গ্রহণ ও প্রকল্প প্রণয়ন করে গেলাম। ২০০১ সালের জুলাই মাসে আওয়ামী লীগ সরকারের পাঁচ বছর মেয়াদ শেষে চার হাজার ৩০০ মেগাওয়াট উৎপাদন বৃদ্ধি করলাম, তখন শুনেছি না ‘আরও ভালো করা যেত।’
কোনো তৃতীয় পক্ষের সাহায্য ছাড়া ভারতের সঙ্গে দ্বিপক্ষীয় আলোচনার মাধ্যমে গঙ্গা পানি চুক্তি করলাম। দীর্ঘদিনের একটা সমস্যার সমাধান হলো। দুই দশক ধরে চলা অশান্ত পার্বত্য চট্টগ্রাম সমস্যা সমাধান করে শান্তি চুক্তি করলাম। অথচ একশ্রেণীর কাছ থেকে কখনো এ বিষয়ে ভালো কথা শুনিনি।
২০০১ সালের পয়লা অক্টোবর নির্বাচনে বিএনপির নেতৃত্বে চারদলীয় জোট ক্ষমতায় এল। কতটুকু বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদন বৃদ্ধি করেছিল পাঁচ বছরে? যেসব প্রকল্পের কাজ শুরু করে গিয়েছিলাম, তার কয়েকটা শেষ হয়েছিল তাতে উৎপাদন যা বেড়েছিল তাও ধরে রাখতে পারেনি।
২০০৭ থেকে ২০০৮ পর্যন্ত তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকার ক্ষমতায় ছিল, তারাও উৎপাদন বাড়াতে পারেনি। আমরা এসে পেলাম কত? তিন হাজার ১০০ মেগাওয়াট, যা রেখে গিয়েছিলাম তার থেকেও ১২০০ মেগাওয়াট কম। পাঁচ বছর যারা ক্ষমতায় ছিল তারা যে কিছু করতে পারেনি, সে সম্পর্কে এই ‘ভালোর আশাবাদীরা’ কী ভূমিকা পালন করেছিলেন? আরও ভালো করার জন্য ১/১১-এর পর যারা উচ্চ দরের ডিগ্রিসম্পন্ন ও ওজনদার ব্যক্তিবর্গ— তারাই বা কি উন্নতি করতে পেরেছিলেন?
সে কথায় পরে আসব, কারণ তারা তখন এ কথা বলেনি যে, আওয়ামী লীগ সরকার ভালো করেছিল, কাজেই নির্বাচনের মাধ্যমে আওয়ামী লীগ ক্ষমতায় আসুক। তারা তখন আরও ভালো মানুষের সন্ধানে ব্যস্ত ছিল, সৎ মানুষের সন্ধানে সার্চ লাইট নিয়ে ঘুরে বেড়াচ্ছিলেন। উদ্দেশ্য ছিল গণতন্ত্রের সৎকার, অর্থাৎ কবর দেওয়া।
এই ধরনের আরও অনেক দৃষ্টান্ত আমরা দিতে পারব। সব থেকে মজার কথা হলো, এই আরও ভালোর সন্ধানকারীদের নিশ্চুপ থাকতে দেখেছি ২০০১ সালের নির্বাচনের উদ্দেশ্যে তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকার গঠনের প্রথম দিন থেকেই। প্রশাসনের ১৩ জন সচিবের চাকরি থেকে বের করে দেওয়া নিয়ে যে শুরু, তা সামরিক-বেসামরিক প্রতিষ্ঠানকেও কীভাবে প্রভাবিত করেছে ও ভীতসন্ত্রস্ত করেছিল, তা তখনকার অবস্থা স্মরণ করলেই জানা যাবে। শপথ অনুষ্ঠান হলো বঙ্গভবনে, সচিবেরা উপস্থিত ছিলেন। ফিরে এসে আর নিজের অফিসে ঢুকতে পারলেন না, কারণ চাকরি নেই। রেডিও-টেলিভিশনের মাধ্যমেই ১৩ সচিবসহ অনেক অফিসারের চাকরি খেয়ে ফেলেছেন। শপথ নিয়ে তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকারের প্রধান উপদেষ্টা তাঁর পরিষদ গঠন করেননি। ১০ জন উপদেষ্টা নিয়োগ হয়নি তখনো, অফিসেও বসেননি, কারণ শপথ অনুষ্ঠান অফিস সময়সূচির পরে হয়েছিল। তখনই কীভাবে চাকরি থেকে অফিসারদের বরখাস্ত করে? এমনকি নিজের জিনিসপত্রগুলো গুছিয়েও আনার জন্য যে অফিসে যাবেন, তারও সুযোগ দেওয়া হয়নি।
গণভবনের টেলিফোন লাইনও কেটে দেওয়া হয়। আরও ভালোর ভক্তরা তখন এই অন্যায় কাজের প্রতিবাদ না করে বরং বাহবা দিয়েছিল।
প্রথম দিনের এই আচরণের মধ্য দিয়েই কিন্তু নির্বাচনের ফলাফল নির্ধারিত হয়েছিল। অথচ বাংলাদেশের ইতিহাসে যতবার ক্ষমতা পরিবর্তন হয়েছে ততবারই রক্তপাত ও সংঘাতের মধ্য দিয়ে হয়েছে। সুষ্ঠুভাবে, শান্তিপূর্ণভাবে কখনো হয়নি। ১৯৯৬ থেকে ২০০১ সাল পর্যন্ত আওয়ামী লীগ সরকার প্রথম পাঁচ বছর মেয়াদ শেষ করে শান্তিপূর্ণভাবে ক্ষমতা হস্তান্তর করেছিল। কিন্তু রাষ্ট্রপতি সাহাবুদ্দীন আহমদ ও প্রধান উপদেষ্টা লতিফুর রহমান যে পক্ষপাতদুষ্ট ও অসহিষ্ণু আচরণ দেখিয়েছিলেন, তাতে জাতি বিভ্রান্ত হয়েছিল। আওয়ামী লীগের যে গণতন্ত্রের প্রতি অবিচল নিষ্ঠা ও বিশ্বাস, সে কারণেই গণতন্ত্রের স্বার্থে তখন আমরা নির্বাচন বয়কট করিনি। নির্বাচনে অংশ নিয়েছিলাম। এত প্রতিকূল অবস্থার মধ্যেও ভোট পেয়েছিলাম সংখ্যার দিক থেকে বেশি কিন্তু সিট সংখ্যা ছিল কম।
আরও একটি কথা, সাহাবুদ্দীন ও লতিফুর রহমান দুজনই প্রধান বিচারপতি ছিলেন। আইনের ব্যবসাও করেছেন জীবিকার জন্য, আবার জাস্টিস হয়ে আইনের রক্ষাও করেছিলেন। কিন্তু একটা প্রশ্নের উত্তর এখনো পেলাম না, সেটা হলো জাতির পিতা বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমানের পরিবারের সদস্যদের অর্থাৎ জীবিত দুই কন্যার নিরাপত্তা দেওয়ার জন্য একটা আইন পার্লামেন্টে পাস করেছিল, সেই আইন বলবৎ থাকা অবস্থায় এবং সদ্য বিদায়ী প্রধানমন্ত্রীর সরকারি বাসভবনের ফোনের লাইন ও বিদ্যুতের লাইন কীভাবে কেটে দেয়? পানির লাইন কেটেছিল কি না বুঝতে পারিনি, কারণ পানির ট্যাংক তো ভরা থাকত, শেষ হতে সময় লাগে। একজন সাধারণ সরকারি কর্মচারীও সরকারি বাড়ি ছাড়ার জন্য একটা নির্দিষ্ট সময় পায়, কিন্তু আমাকে সে সময়টুকুও দেওয়া হয়নি কেন? বিবেকবান বা আরও ভালোর দল কে কে তখন এ অন্যায়ের প্রতিবাদ করেছিলেন?
আমার নামে ছড়ানো হলো, আমি গণভবন এক টাকা দিয়ে কিনে নিয়েছি, কিন্তু কেউ কি কোনো প্রমাণ দেখাতে পেরেছিল? পারেনি। কিন্তু মিথ্যা অপপ্রচারে ঠিকই মানুষকে বিভ্রান্ত করতে চেয়েছিল। সত্যটা কিন্তু কেউ বলেনি বা কোনো ডকুমেন্টও দেখাতে পারেনি। আমি পাঁচবার সংসদ সদস্য নির্বাচিত হয়েছি, এ পর্যন্ত কোনো সরকারি প্লট নিইনি।
২০০১ থেকে ২০০৬ বিএনপির ক্ষমতার আমল—১৫ জুলাই ২০০১ সালে যেদিন তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকার ক্ষমতা গ্রহণ করল সেদিন থেকেই আওয়ামী লীগের নেতা-কর্মীদের ওপর নেমে এল অমানবিক অত্যাচার। নির্বাচনের দিনে একদিকে বিএনপি ও জামায়াতের ক্যাডার দল, অপরদিকে সামরিক বাহিনী ও পুলিশের নির্যাতনে নেতা-কর্মীরা ঘরে ঘুমাতে পারেননি। রেহানার বাড়ি দখল করে যখন পুলিশ স্টেশন করা হলো, তখনো কারও কাছ থেকে এই অন্যায় কাজের প্রতিবাদ শোনা যায়নি। অপারেশন ক্লিন হার্ট নামে যে তাণ্ডব সেনাবাহিনী নামিয়ে করা হয়েছিল এবং মানুষ হত্যা করা হয়েছিল, তা নিশ্চয়ই মনে আছে। আওয়ামী লীগের রিসার্চ সেন্টার থেকে ১৫টা কম্পিউটার, ১০ হাজার বই, ৩০০ ফাইল, এক লাখ ফরম, নগদ টাকা নিয়ে যাওয়া হয় এবং সেন্টারটা তালাবদ্ধ করে রাখা হয় পাঁচটা বছর। এটা কি গণতন্ত্রচর্চা? তাদের কাছ থেকে একটা প্রতিবাদও শুনিনি এর পরই শুরু হলো র‌্যাব গঠন ও ক্রসফায়ার। তখন তো সবাই র‌্যাবের প্রশংসায় পঞ্চমুখ। কেবল আমিই স্রোতের বিপরীতে দাঁড়িয়ে প্রশ্ন তুলেছিলাম ও প্রতিবাদ করেছিলাম, তখন এই বিবেকবানেরা আমার সমালোচনা করেছিল। কাজগুলো নাকি খুবই ভালো হচ্ছিল বলে মন্তব্য করেছিল। এখন অবশ্য উল্টোটা শুনি।
সাধারণ মানুষ আওয়ামী লীগকেই চায়, কিন্তু তাদের ভোট দেওয়ার উপায় নেই। ভোটকেন্দ্রের ধারেকাছেও যেতে পারেনি। বিশেষ করে, হিন্দু, খ্রিষ্টান, বৌদ্ধ যারা আওয়ামী লীগ বা নৌকায় ভোট দেয়, তাদের ওপর অমানবিক নির্যাতন করা হয়েছিল ২০০১ সালের নির্বাচন চলাকালীন। তার পরও জনগণের ভোট আমরাই পাই কিন্তু সিট ঠিক গুনেই দেওয়া হয়। সরকার গঠন করার আগে থেকেই বিএনপি ও জামায়াতের তাণ্ডব শুরু হলো। গ্যাং রেপ করেছে, ঠিক হানাদার পাকিস্তানি সামরিক বাহিনী ১৯৭১ সালে যেভাবে নির্যাতন করেছিল, ঠিক সেভাবেই নির্যাতন চলছিল। একটা সুখবর হলো পূর্ণিমা ধর্ষণ কেসের আসামিরা সাজা পেয়েছে। সাধারণত, সামাজিক লজ্জার ভয়ে কোনো পরিবার মামলা করতে চায় না। পূর্ণিমা সাহস করেছে বলেই বিচার পেয়েছে। আমার মনে হয়, এই একটা দৃষ্টান্তই যথেষ্ট। হাঁড়ি ভরা ভাত একটা টিপলেই তো বোঝা যায় সব ভাত সিদ্ধ হয়েছে কি না। ঠিক তেমনি একটা মামলার রায়ই প্রমাণ করে, কী ধরনের নির্যাতন বিএনপি ও জামায়াত দেশের মানুষের ওপর করেছিল। আমি এর বিস্তারিত বিবরণ দিতে চাই না, কারণ এত বেশি ঘটনা যে এখানে সব উল্লেখও করা যাবে না, শুধু এটুকুই বলতে চাই, তখন দেখেছিলাম অনেক বিবেকবান চুপ করে আছেন। মুখে কথাও নেই। কলমের জোরও নেই। তাদের জোর বাড়ে শুধু আওয়ামী লীগ ক্ষমতায় থাকলে।
ঠিক স্বাধীনতার পর যখন যুদ্ধবিধ্বস্ত দেশ গড়তে সবাই ব্যস্ত। তখনো বিশ্বব্যাপী অর্থনৈতিক মন্দা, খাদ্য ঘাটতি, দেশে দেশে দুর্ভিক্ষ চলছে। আর বাংলাদেশে তো ‘মড়ার ওপর খাঁড়ার ঘা’ যুদ্ধবিধ্বস্ত দেশ গড়া। দিনরাত পরিশ্রম করে শূন্যের ওপর যাত্রা শুরু করে দেশকে গড়ে তুলতে ব্যস্ত, তখন ‘আরও ভালোর’ দলের সমালোচনা শুনেছি। কিছু নাকি হচ্ছে না। তখনো দেখেছিলাম তাদের কলম ও মুখের জোর। আর পরিণতি মার্শাল ল জারি এবং স্বাধীনতাবিরোধী যুদ্ধাপরাধীদের পুনর্বাসন। স্বাধীনতার মূল চেতনা থেকে দেশকে পিছিয়ে নেওয়া। ক্ষমতা দখলের ও ক্ষমতা নিষ্কণ্টক করার লক্ষ্যে মানুষ হত্যা। ১৯৭৫ সাল থেকে ১৯৮১ সাল পর্যন্ত সামরিক বাহিনীতে ১৯ ক্যু ও পাল্টা ক্যু হয়েছিল। দেশবাসীর অকল্যাণ হয়েছে, দেশ পিছিয়েছে। স্বাধীনতার ৪০ বছর পরও সেই ১৯৭১ সালের পরাজিত শক্তির প্রেতাত্মারা থেমে নেই। যতবার জনগণ তাদের পরাজিত করে, ততবার আবার তারা পরগাছার মতো বেড়ে ওঠে। এবার আওয়ামী লীগ সরকার ক্ষমতায় আসার পর তারা যেন মরিয়া হয়ে উঠেপড়ে লেগেছে।
১৯৯৬ সালের ১৫ ফেব্রুয়ারি ভোটারবিহীন প্রহসনের নির্বাচন, ১৯-২০ মে সামরিক ক্যুর অপচেষ্টা হয়। সাবেক প্রধান বিচারপতি মুহাম্মদ হাবিবুর রহমানের নেতৃত্বে গঠিত তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকারের আমলে সংঘটিত সামরিক ক্যু গণতন্ত্র ধ্বংসের চেষ্টা করেছিল। নির্বাচনের পর সরকার গঠন করতেও টালবাহানা করে আবদুর রহমান বিশ্বাস। এসব কারা এবং কেন করেছিল এসব কথা আমরা কেন বিস্মৃত হই?
দেশের অবস্থা কী? খাদ্যনিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিত আছে? ২০০১ সালে যে মোটা চাল মাত্র ১০ টাকা ছিল (আওয়ামী লীগ সরকারের আমলে), সেই চাল ২০০৮ সালে ৪০-৪৫ টাকা দাম হয়েছিল, তা কমিয়ে ১৮ টাকায় আনা হয়। কৃষকের খরচ পোষানো হয়। প্রতি কেজি চাল ৩২-৩৪ টাকায় ঢাকার বাজারে এবং ঢাকার বাইরে ২৬-২৭ টাকায়ও পাওয়া যায়। সরকার ৪০-৫২ টাকায় বিদেশ থেকে চাল কিনে এনে মাত্র ২৪ টাকায় খোলাবাজারে বিক্রি করছে। ফেয়ার প্রাইস কার্ড, রেশন কার্ড, ভিজিএফ, ভিজিডিসহ বিভিন্ন উপায়ে খাদ্যনিরাপত্তা দিচ্ছে। না খেয়ে কেউ কষ্ট পাচ্ছে না। ৩৬ টাকায় বিক্রি হওয়া আটা ২০ টাকায় বিক্রি হচ্ছে।
কাজেই খাদ্যনিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিত আছে। আওয়ামী লীগ আমলে দেশে মঙ্গা হয় না।
সামাজিক নিরাপত্তাও নিশ্চিত, মানুষ নানাভাবে সাহায্য পাচ্ছে। বয়স্ক ভাতা, বিধবা ভাতা, মুক্তিযোদ্ধা, প্রতিবন্ধী, স্তন্যদানকারী মা, সন্তানসম্ভবা গরিব মা, স্কুলে গমনকারী গরিব শিশুর মাসহ এ ধরনের নানাভাবে সামাজিক নিরাপত্তা সৃষ্টিকারী আর্থিক অনুদান সরকার দিয়ে যাচ্ছে, যা দারিদ্র্য বিমোচনে অবদান রাখছে। গরিব মানুষের কষ্ট লাঘব হচ্ছে। ১৯৯৮ সালের বন্যার পর আওয়ামী লীগ সরকার নয় মাস দুই কোটি লোককে বিনা পয়সায় খাইয়েছে। ১৯৯৬ সাল থেকে এসবই আওয়ামী লীগ সরকারের আমলে করা। ইতিপূর্বে আর কোনো সরকার এদিকে দৃষ্টি দেয়নি।
শিক্ষার হার, ভর্তির হার বৃদ্ধি পাচ্ছে, পাসের হার বাড়ছে। প্রাথমিক ও মাধ্যমিক শিক্ষার্থীদের জন্য ২৩ কোটি ২২ লাখ বই বিনা পয়সায় বিতরণ করা হচ্ছে।
বিদ্যুৎ সমস্যা সমাধানে সরকার বলিষ্ঠ পদক্ষেপ নিয়েছে। সরকারি ও বেসরকারিভাবে প্রায় ৭১টি বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্র নির্মাণের পরিকল্পনা বাস্তবায়ন করা হচ্ছে। দুই বছরেই ১৫০০ মেগাওয়াট বিদ্যুৎ অতিরিক্ত উৎপাদন করা হয়েছে।
গ্যাস উৎপাদন বেড়েছে, আরও বৃদ্ধির কাজ চলছে।
আইনশৃঙ্খলা অবস্থার উন্নতি হয়েছে, তার প্রমাণ আইসিসি ওয়ার্ল্ড কাপ, হজ, ঈদ, পূজা, বড়দিন, পয়লা বৈশাখ, বিজয় দিবস, স্বাধীনতা দিবস, মাতৃভাষা দিবস শান্তিপূর্ণভাবে পালিত হয়েছে। সবার বেতন-ভাতা বৃদ্ধি করা হয়েছে একদিকে, আর অপরদিকে দ্রব্যমূল্য নিয়ন্ত্রণে রাখতে সক্ষম হয়েছি। মূল্যস্ফীতি ১১ ভাগ থেকে কমিয়ে ছয় ভাগে আনা হয়েছিল, এখন কিছুটা বেড়ে আট ভাগ হয়েছে। শ্রমিক ও দিনমজুরদের আয় বেড়েছে। সরকার সদা সচেষ্ট আছে এসব বিষয়ে। ১৫০০ টাকা যারা শ্রমের মূল্য পেত, তারা ৩০০০ টাকা পায়। ধান কাটার সময় ৩০০-৪০০ টাকা দিনে মজুরি পেয়েছে। রাস্তাঘাটের উন্নয়নের কাজ শুরু হয়েছে।
অনেক কাজ, যা এই সরকার আসার আগে সাত বছরে হয়নি, তার থেকেও বেশি কাজ সরকার দুই বছরে করেছে এবং করে যাচ্ছে। ডিজিটাল বাংলাদেশ গড়ার কাজও সুন্দরভাবে এগিয়ে যাচ্ছে। ৪,৫০১টি ইউনিয়নে তথ্যকেন্দ্র খোলা হয়েছে। শিক্ষা, স্বাস্থ্য, কৃষি, টেন্ডার সর্বক্ষেত্রে তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি ব্যবহার করা হচ্ছে। শিক্ষাপ্রতিষ্ঠানে শিক্ষার পরিবেশ ফিরে এসেছে। কোনো ঘটনা ঘটলে অপরাধী যে-ই হোক, সরকার সঙ্গে সঙ্গে তার বিরুদ্ধে ব্যবস্থা নিচ্ছে।
বিডিআর (বিজিবি) হত্যা ও বিদ্রোহের বিচার চলছে। জঙ্গিবাদ দমনে সরকার তৎপর ও সফল। যুদ্ধাপরাধীদেরও বিচার চলছে। সরকারের বিরুদ্ধে দুর্নীতির কোনো সুনির্দিষ্ট অভিযোগ এ পর্যন্ত কেউ করতে পারেনি। বরং সরকার দুর্নীতি ও দুর্নীতিবাজদের বিরুদ্ধে ব্যবস্থা নিতে বদ্ধপরিকর। এবার বোরো ফসল বাম্পার হওয়ায় কৃষকের মুখে হাসি ফুটেছে। ১০ টাকায় ব্যাংক অ্যাকাউন্টে ভর্তুকির টাকা সরাসরি পাচ্ছে। ডিজেলে ২০ শতাংশ সাবসিডি পাচ্ছে। হাওর এলাকায় ও এলাকাবিশেষে বিনা মূল্যে সার ও বীজ দেওয়া হয়েছে। ব্যাংক রিজার্ভ সর্বোচ্চ। রেমিট্যান্স বেড়েছে। দুই বছরে নয় লাখ মানুষ বিদেশে গেছে। ফিরে এসেছে এক লাখ, যা স্বাভাবিক।
সার্বিক অর্থনৈতিক অবস্থা বিশ্বমন্দা সত্ত্বেও যথেষ্ট উন্নত হয়েছে। প্রবৃদ্ধি ছয় ভাগে ধরে রাখা হয়েছে, এবার বৃদ্ধি পেয়ে ৬ দশমিক ৭ ভাগে উন্নীত হয়েছে। প্রতিটি ক্ষেত্রে সরকার দক্ষতার সঙ্গে দেশ পরিচালনা করছে।
চাকরিজীবীরা সন্তুষ্ট মনে চাকরি করে যাচ্ছেন। ব্যবসায়ীরা এত শান্তিতে কোনো দিন ব্যবসা করতে পারেননি। একটু অতীতের দিকে তাকালে স্মরণ করতে পারবেন। একদিকে ছিল হাওয়া ভবনের কমিশন ও ভাগ দেওয়া, অপরদিকে তত্ত্বাবধায়কের সময় ছিল আতঙ্ক, মামলা, দেশছাড়া। অন্তত আওয়ামী লীগ সরকারের আমলে সে আতঙ্কের পরিবেশ নেই। মুক্ত পরিবেশে শান্তিপূর্ণভাবে নির্বিঘ্নে ব্যবসা-বাণিজ্য করতে পারছেন। রপ্তানি-বাণিজ্যে যা টার্গেট ছিল তার থেকে বেশি রপ্তানি হচ্ছে। বিনিয়োগ বৃদ্ধি পাচ্ছে বরং, জমির অভাবে জায়গা দেওয়া যাচ্ছে না। কাজেই সার্বিক দিক থেকে দেশ এগিয়ে যাচ্ছে। মানুষের মনে স্বস্তি আছে।
চট্টগ্রাম সিটি করপোরেশন নির্বাচন, উপনির্বাচন, স্থানীয় সরকার নির্বাচন সুষ্ঠু ও শান্তিপূর্ণভাবে হয়েছে।
এসব প্রশ্নের উত্তরের পরও আরও ভালোর দল বলবে, তার পরও দেশের অবস্থা ভালো নেই। এর কারণ কী? কারণ একটাই, অগণতান্ত্রিক বা অসাংবিধানিক সরকার থাকলে তাদের দাম থাকে। এই শ্রেণীটা জীবনে জনগণের মুখোমুখি হতে পারে না। ভোটে জিততে পারে না। কিন্তু ক্ষমতার লোভ ছাড়তে পারে না। তাই মুখে গণতন্ত্রের কথা বলে, কিন্তু অগণতান্ত্রিক বা অসাংবিধানিক সরকারের যে খোশামোদি, তোষামোদি ও চাটুকারের দলও প্রয়োজন হয়—এরা সেই দল। বিশেষ করে, মুক্তিযুদ্ধে বিজয়ী ও চেতনায় বিশ্বাসীরা ক্ষমতায় থাকলে দেশের মানুষের উপকার হয়। আর দেশে মানুষ যদি দরিদ্র না থাকে, তাহলে এই শ্রেণীর বাণিজ্য শেষ হয়ে যাবে, কারণ দরিদ্র্য মানুষগুলোই তো তাদের বড় পণ্য। যাদের নিয়ে তারা বাণিজ্য করে নিজেদের ভাগ্য গড়ে।
আমি বেঁচে থাকতে আমার দেশের মানুষের ভাগ্য নিয়ে আর খেলতে দেব না।
২২.৫.২০১১
টরন্টো, কানাডা
শেখ হাসিনা: প্রধানমন্ত্রী, গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ সরকার।
 
 As you can see, it was written in May this year, while she was in Canada. Its almost like she tore a page out of her "Dear Diary", where shes venting about how unappreciated she and her party is. Tsk Tsk Tsk... shame on you Jonogon! and Reporters! Why didn't you complain when she and her ministers were being investigated in various corruption cases (don't complain about the other camp being investigated, cuz, aha.. ha.. they're obviously guilty!). A few days ago, she poised the question, of who was more patriotic than her, which of course, no one dare answer, since you know...
yeah, well...

Reading papers online does have that benefit of being able to read people's comments! And they were heartbreakingly sensible! Where has all the lunatics gone!???
E.g-
মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রী,
আপনার কথার সাথে সম্পুর্ন একমত। কিন্তু বিশ্বের মাঝে আজকে বাংলাদেশের অবস্থান কোথায়? সবাই যেখানে এগিয়ে যাচ্ছে সেখানে আমরা পিছিয়ে আছি প্রতিটি ক্ষেত্রে। এর জন্য দায়ী আমাদের অব্যবস্থাপনা। দয়া করে অব্যাবস্থাপনা দূর করুন। জানি ৭১,৭৫ এর পর এদেশের রাজনীতি হয়ে গেছে অবিশ্বাসের রাজনীতি। রাজনীতিবিদদের অধিকাংশ সময় কাটে ষড়যন্ত্র আর অবিশ্বাসের মধ্যে। আপাত দৃষ্টিতে এর থেকে পরিত্রানের কোন উপায় আছে বলে আমার মনে হয় না। আমাদের দেশ কোনক্রমে টিকে থাকবে পৃথিবীর বুকে অনন্তকাল ধরে। এটাই নিয়তি। আপনাদের দায়িত্ব সমস্ত প্রতিকূলতার মধ্যে এই ডুবন্ত তরীটাকে ভাসিয়ে রাখা। সেটা আপনারা সাফল্যের সাথে করছেন। কে যেন বলেছিলেন,"যে দেশের মানুষ যেরকম তাদের সরকার হয় সে রকম"। যতদিন না মানুষ জন সীমাহীন লোভ, দুর্নীতি, আইন আমান্য করা এসবের উপরে উঠতে পারছে ততদিন আমাদের মুক্তি নাই।
ধন্যবাদ
More sanity over at BDNews24 from the Jonogon.



Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1 comment

Jun 21, 2011

You can tell how powerful and connected the bus owners' alliance is by the amount of things they get away with. Their buses are absoulute mounds of hazards running around in high speed and crunching cars and pedestrians alike. They pimped up their rides inside to fit in as many seats as possible by calculating the 0% of comfort they could provide a passenger, and they stuff the buses full till there are people standing against each other, breathing down on each other.

They have killed on many times and the bus driver's window is just large enough for him to escape through just so people don't catch him and beat him down. If that latter didn't happen, the driver probably wouldn't run, since he has no reason to really. He is protected.

If anyone caught the recent (June 18) indecent event that took place during a meeting to discuss bringing down bus fares, they'd know exactly what kind of people are protecting them.

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No comments

Jun 15, 2011

As says Wikipedia:
An Elizabethan collar or space collar (many people call it a cone) is a protective medical device worn by an animal, usually a cat or dog. Shaped like a truncated cone, its purpose is to prevent the animal from biting or licking at its body or scratching at its head or neck while wounds or injuries heal.

The biting and licking is of course prevented by limiting the animal's field of vision.

Moving on, there was an article yesterday in BDNews24 titled:
Twisted between two parties: CEC

Though Mr. Chief Election Commissioner A T M Shamsul Huda shows some love for the smaller parties, at large the concepts of elections and democracy seems to exist as delusions in people's heads when I peep through their ears. Years of shouting 'democracy!' and 'democratic!' is not really enough when people don't see what is happening around them. When I ask people why they vote to have this merry-go-round of AL and BNP going for years, everyone would say what? That there wasn't any other choice, or that we needed a party with experience, or something of that sort.

We've been on this merry-go-round long enough, and by now it should have started to appear, and not just to me, as a downward spiraling roller-coaster where everyone is wishing for it to stop.

Elections produced a government with a majority seats going to one party - and now, if the majority of that voting population who chose the winning team would be opposed to the abolishing of elections under a caretaker government, who would speak for them? BNP is constantly being called to the parliament to 'discuss' these matters instead of holding strikes. Its a sly move on the part of AL since any vote taken inside parliament will go in their favor no matter how much discussions there are. Some of the smaller party members who have become part of the government by forming an alliance with AL can be seen raising caution on matters of the government itself, and they are aware and weary of the situation - they are outnumbered.

I hope people see that there are many other nice shapes and pictures on the ballot paper the next time they look at it besides boats and paddy. So much for your alliances or the 'lesser of two evils' strategy.

Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No comments

Mar 9, 2011

Brain Drain

I think its fair hour that we contextualize 'Brain Drain'. Its no longer just the fleeing masses who just happen to like 'A Good Life'! The threat now lives among us. This metaphorical drain is draining and its visible in the clogged streets and the clogged physical drains and the dark waters of the Buriganga! We could all write books and books on titles like "Nonchalancy" or "Guide to Self Aggrandizement at the Cost of your Neighbor" and that's the result of our education system and society at large.

To prevent this drain, read more books than the doctor prescribes, and think before you do anything. Sitting silent in a room and breathing deeply is also recommended. Listen to rock music. Oh, and heres a concept - "Decency"!


Democracy?

This -cracy continues to allude and make people -crazy (not the lunatic kind)! Come election time, people usually head back to their mindset of 'I must pick the winning side'. Its all a game, and all it ever was, like betting on a winning horse! The horses dress up nice just before the race and its really tired and wants to sit back and be fed carrots and get manicures after its won. No shit!

I know coups are illegal, but what if the military had the obligation to run in an election? Then, if a mass is really tired of a "Merry-Go-Round" of political choices that are not really comfortable or fun, or they don't want the ACC being neutered, they could opt to go on a Paintball shootout instead!

To get more out of democracy, remember:
- You don't have to win. "Winning" could very well mean "Losing"!
- Be not afraid to post a ballot in the name of someone who you've never given a chance (that should rule out a least a couple of parties and parties 'friendly' with those couple of parties).

Related:
The Decency Project
What is Self Agrandizement?
Evergreen Democracy

Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2011

1 comment

Mar 1, 2011

Firstly, I am here to discuss the issue of mobility, and not a revolution or politics. Just in case ...

Dhaka's population is now at a very bad size. I don't know the number exact number, but the effect of it is not invisible. The government is taking and pondering drastic and desperate steps, such as not approving any more power lines for new apartments or houses, or gas lines (which would be used for cooking), where as there are many people moving into this city and waiting to move into their new apartments or houses. Construction work all over the city is rampant, since that demand is ever increasing with the movement of people into Dhaka. The roads, transport systems are all insufficient at the moment to support this many people.

Long term plans to avoid a deadlock situation someday in this city is however not clear to me. My feeling is that "labor mobility" could be one answer. Dhaka, as the capital, has justly become the place for commercial enterprise, education, entertainment, etc., and also has the largest international airport.

So far as I can see, any suggestion for industries to move out of Dhaka has meant to move to Gazipur or Ashulia, somewhere adjacent, and not really going that far out of Dhaka. As things are going, those places could one day be part of Dhaka City. I think the government should take a more active effort to develop other parts of the country to specifically serve one or two industries and improve communication to those parts with major cities such as Chittagong and Dhaka.

From the top of my head, two industries come to mind -
1. Education (Honors and higher), and
2. IT

Both these industries could be lured in with simple incentives. The government could scope out land that would be suitable for universities and keep them priced low, provided, that a university will be set up with the proper measures. The land's development could also be controlled by dictating what amount of land goes into playing fields (considering university level development of future athletes, footblallers and cricketers?) and parks, and what into buildings for classrooms, offices and lodgings. This should be accompanied by a ban on further development of universities in the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong. The capital possessed by anyone preparing to invest to build universities in Dhaka should be more than enough to carry on with the phased development of universities elsewhere. Research in those universities should be directed around potential sectors of its locale.

For IT companies, in this day and age, deliverable items are most likely transferrable online. Technology companies need good infrastructure, and the prime one is good connectivity. The government should consider building up a massive region with proper ground up planning of infrastructure considering consistent power and connectivity. Silicon Valley might have gotten its reputation as a place for technology companies by natural turn of events, but Malaysia used it as a learning experience and built Cyberjaya and its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) from it. The government actively pursued companies to be part of it, and also universities who specialize in technology to go there and set up. Its a beautiful place, with the proper infrastructure, with everything people need in proximity. Being in the IT industry myself, I am pleased just imagining myself living and working somewhere from where Cox's Bazaar is an hour or hour and a half's drive and all the roads to there and Chittagong or Dhaka are so well made and well kept that the drive back to my hometown of Dhaka is a breeze and even enjoyable! If anyone wouldn't be pleased by the thought of that, then I don't know what! I have seen many signs of "IT Park" or something close to that in the city, where its really just one building! I think if we had a whole expanse of land where office buildings (already constructed) or land (for those with the capital to construct their own) was offered up by the government for a real and true "IT Park", it would have to be something like Cyberjaya, possibly scaled down in different aspects.

We obviously have lots of construction companies working in Dhaka now, and an undertakings such as these could utilize a lot of their expertise, and related industries would also flourish in making this a reality. Once complete, other business opportunities would naturally open up around these areas to support both the companies and the population that reside there.

Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011

No comments

Feb 27, 2011

There was a desperate effort during the term of the interim government to try and salvage a few things - like a corruption free political field, and a society led by intellectuals. During that period, they coined a term 'সুশীল সমাজ' (pronounced 'shusheel shomaj' and translates loosely to 'decent society'), which I have seen met with lots of ridicule. To my discredit, I don't get whats so funny!

I laughed when I was a student at a Malaysian university about a decade ago, when I found out there was a subject titled "Moral and Ethics". I laughed since I believed, these are obviously things you pick up at home and just redundant as a university course. Over a few years, I changed my mind on that. Another target of ridicule is that person who has returned from outside and complains about the way things are. I could say if someone has been to a country better off and not found things here worthy of complaining about, then that person has spent time abroad with his vision stuck to the pavements they treaded there.

Lets unfold now from inside out, starting with the complaining individuals who has just returned. Those who complain, has just experienced a different way of doing things which are simpler and more efficient. Hence the complaints. The ridicule, I imagine, comes from not being able to comprehend that point of view. My ridicule for 'Moral & Ethics' as a university subject is definitely not there anymore. Now, I would say we need that kind of a course every year, coupled with extensive community service programs. I don't think people learn how to live as a community at home. I shudder at the thought of what the spineless and corrupted who are amassing large volumes of wealth, or the bitter public servants who are reliant on bribes are teaching their children. As for the term 'সুশীল সমাজ'... It could be possible to use it more casually in a decade to come, when all traits that define 'সুশীল' have disappeared almost completely, to reminisce, for some of us, about times gone by. Those who find it funny now, I see them as a reflection of me laughing at the thought of studying Moral and Ethics in a textbook.

Posted on Sunday, February 27, 2011

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Feb 4, 2011

The Prothom-Alo "Bodley Jao, Bodley Dao" billboards once filled the cityscape and airwaves, tv channels. What I thought was a well made campaign and empathized with, also met with a lot of sarcasm from a lot of people. At the same time, a lot of anti-corruption billboards also blocked the skyline along with the usual commercial ones.

Government offices are also adorned with posters with such messages, the same offices where they are still practicing what the the posters are frowning on. This really makes me think that we have no way to fight this! Its so deeply rooted into the characters of these people who get these jobs, after passing the BCS examination, which tests their knowledge on the government and history and I don't know what else.

I can understand that some of us are helpless victims of that corruption, but its also not unusual to find a so-called educated man accept this corruption as a rightful way of life. They would tell you, there is nothing wrong with paying for a service! Imagine going to a restaurant and ordering food, and the waiter is looking the other way and not listening to you, in wait for a bribe to take your order and bring you your food. A payment over the price of the food, the VAT, and Service Charge that the restaurant has set for their services. This is right?

So, for those of us who do think this is wrong, is there really a way to fight back or stop condoning these practices? If a thief who nabs a purse and runs away, can be beaten to death on the streets, what makes us feel that bribery is an acceptable thing?

NOTE: Hope no one responds with a 'Every country has corruption' or 'Everyone Does It' like Mr. Suranjit Sengupta did on TV. I am not looking for excuses and you're blind if you do not see we're taking corruption to a new level.

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

1 comment

Feb 2, 2011

Found out through Faizul Khan of The Independent that awards were given out for people in the IT industry! Pretty good!

Visit Contest Site

Related:
Ministry of Science and ICT

Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011

No comments

Feb 1, 2011

It seems that one property of a government is they want to be right. I had no idea that the Egyptian people held so much beef against their government, and from the news you can see how hard it was to prove to the government that they were wrong.

Relative to that, we have a news today that the TIB officials who were accused of libel have gotten their bail. Poor chaps tried to gather people's opinions on what the people thought were the most corrupt sectors of country. Through this lawsuit, TIB is being told that they are wrong, and since the TIB report, and subsequently, a portion of the country's people accused mostly government offices of corruption, the government's stance here is that they did, or rather DO, nothing wrong.

Article: TIB officials secure bails

Meanwhile, my last blog about the need for an online account of bribery in the country has led to a reader from India pointing me to this website:
www.ipaidabribe.com! I think This shows a kind of vigilance that is really required in countries where corruption and lawlessness is dangerously a way of life almost!

Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011

No comments

Jan 27, 2011

You can dress a worm like a butterfly, but it doesn't change anything. As I collect my thoughts around my recent experiences and a few others of paying taxes, they accumulate into a wish for dissent, and sense of shame of where and what we have come down to.

Our government has tried to pursue its citizens to pay taxes and tried to embed a sense of the greater good of such acts over the years and held a few 'camps' too which would make someone think they're thinking out of the box regarding this. I had myself convinced a long time ago, that I would pay taxes. I had complaints about what the government is doing even then, but I told myself, I have to do this to say that I have done what I can to make this country better.

However, if you're supposed to pay bribes in getting your tax papers processed, and again, to collect the finished tax certificate, you are in a system that has gone really bad. The accounts manager of our office has gone till the manager of the bank where these are handled, only to get a "that's just the way it is" as a response. Alas, their way was accepted and the papers collected for an organization of over 75 employees. I have gotten mine, and I see a stray ']' printed one a blank part of my tax certificate and the slip they provide with the tax id number, says my taxes have been paid for 2010 - 2010! I am fearful that these little things will bite me quite hard the next year.

As we talk of moving into a digital age, assuming we have the power situation fixed by the time we set up the facilities for online financial transactions, we still have time to use the internet to some advantage during this time of lawlessness. I propose a website where you can get the running rates of getting something done to be a 'lawful' citizen. I could say I won't pay taxes as a protest, some corrupt policemen and a corrupt bureaucracy will no doubt come and arrest me for breaking the law. So, why not make it easier for ourselves and get a website going where everyone can see and update the rates of bribes for getting things done at the government offices! I would truly love that. Describe the process, how much for the desk clerk, how much for the senior official?



More Tales:
At BRTA, corrupt staff flaunt license to bribe:
Article from The Independent, Aug, 2010
A Look at DMCH:
Article Archived in Facebook
A Probe into Power Abuse by Dhaka Police
Human Rights Solidarity Website
The policeman and the Fish Truck:
Demotix Article, Jan 12, 2011
Rehash of 'that' TIB Report:
Dhaka Mirror Article, Dec 24, 2010
দুর্নীতি দমন: কাগুজে বাঘের হুংকারে আর লাভ হবে না:
Prothom Alo Editorial, Today

Most reports out there are for very major corruption and graft cases, and there is really no fully reported account of what a common man will have to do just for yearly survival and interacting with the public service sector.

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

4 comments

Jan 7, 2011



AL or BNP

?

NOTE: The author is busy collecting his thoughts.
A blog post will be posted soon.
Please enjoy the illustrations in the meantime.
Do come back soon!








(Photos:
Prothom Alo,
January 5, 2011)

Posted on Friday, January 07, 2011

2 comments

Apple has the qualities of a trendsetter. They had their iPhones out, and every company knew, they had to do it! Same is happening with their iPads!

Just in this week: Motorola Xoom Tablet Unveiled At CES 2011 They have also separated their mobile development unit into a share selling entity: Motorola Mobility.

Whereas Apple has their own platform, the iOS, Samsung and a few others have been quick to adopt the Android platform. Android is brought to us by the good people of Google, and it really gave the other companies a good start in creating both touch phones, and tablets that contend with the popular Apple devices.

Samsung have been advertising in India a lot, which of course catches our eye, and just like Motorola, Dell and a few others have entered this field: Apple iPad Alternatives from Amazon, HP, Dell and More.

I remember I saw the first tablet PC back in 2003 or 2004, which was an HP. A friend who worked for a German buying house was given one from their office for their work. Its not anything new, but of course, Apple has the magic touch - or gives everyone the magic of touch. Their interfaces are good looking, easy, and usable. Android has created the equivalent of the experience of that magic, where others are still trying, had tried or starting to use Android.

Who Invented the First Tablet PC?


I am not a fan of tablets. Not as yet. They're handier than a laptop, but you'd still need a bag to carry around, and be mobile, so to speak. I was thinking of getting a netbook a while back, but had already gotten rid of that idea. Right now I am just contemplating the Motorolla Droid 2 Global instead - a good phone with the perks of touch technology, and a full keyboard so I can blog and do other tasks on the internet.

Posted on Friday, January 07, 2011

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Jan 5, 2011

We've had a lot of software producers in the country since the 90's, and recently the PM when doing her selling bid during the last election created a lot of (or some, if you don't like exaggeration) talk, with her promise of a "Digital Bangladesh".

As of now, we're still not able to make financial transactions online, but we hear that Bangladesh Bank has made some progress and we will hopefully be able to use credit/debit cards online soon. And we hope so cuz there are now many sites where we could use this to good use, of course once we also establish a good delivery system.

Online Classified Ads in Bangladesh
Cell Bazaar Logo, one of the online Classified Ads site
Logo of ClickBD.com, an online Classified Ads site of Bangladesh
Deshi Listing, an online site for Classified Ads in Bangladesh
GoromCha.com is an online Classified Ads site and very good looking too
Logo of eBazaarBD.com, a Bangladeshi classified Ads site
Bangladesh Free classifieds at www.olx.com.bd
www.idhaka.com - Classifieds of Bangladesh
Website of Sell-Buy... Classifieds to Sell and Buy
Online Classifieds site

CellBazaar and ClickBD are probably the oldest of the classifieds sites. GoromCha is new and I love the way it looks. There are lots more, click on the logos on the image above, and see for yourself. The newer ones obviously have lower number of listings, and some also have usability problems. Most of them list things from cellphones to land! Job listings are also available in some.

There are also specialized sites listing only cars, or real estate. There is actually quite a few of the latter, as the land and construction industry is growing without bounds, as it should not be. I found another interesting site called Expat Blog for anyone who is living outside of his or her country. They also have a classifieds section for the sake of those in the same country.

Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011

No comments

Jan 3, 2011

My reputation is of having really strong reactions to small negatives that often don't bother many people. The following may as well fall into that category. My general feeling of visiting most restaurants is that I am paying for their rent. The prices are high, and do not translate into good food, or good service. Waiters can be pushy or unfriendly, and most of the times I raise an issue, I am met with a debate I cannot even fathom, let alone win.

Advertising in most fast food places probably get their images from Google, and they don't represent what they offer!

The anatomy of a burger. A bun, and a little piece of meat that fit well into it, and some old salad.

I do however have a few picks which I'll recommend to anyone I know:

Roll Xpress: This place in Banani is one floor below the place where I took the burger pic above. Roll Xpress, as its name suggests specializes in kebabr rolls! These are quite tasty and filling, and priced appropriately. You can sit outside and enjoy your food or inside. Its a good looking place, and the staff are very accomodating. Oh, they've got free WiFi too if you're technologically inclined.

Shawarma House: Just like R. Xpress, they specialize in what they put in their title. I actually went there quite often, and always wondered how their waiters could come to a table of 8 or 12 without any pencil or paper and not mess up their orders! The food and drinks here are really good, and prices affordable. I don't know if they are going through some management changes since the last two times I was there, I saw none of the staff that I recognize, and they did mess up the order!

Nandos: If you've had Nando's in another country, you might say the ones in Dhaka do not taste the same. Even then, it is a place where you can still have a good meal considering everything else around it. The places are well lit, well decorated, and their staff do their best to accommodate the customers.

Bar-B-Q Tonite:: If you're on road 27 in Dhanmondi, you can very well blow off Nando's to go to BBQ Tonight! Its the first place I had "romali ruti" (Handerchief Roti, thin and big round tortilla-like delight), and its the only place I want to have it. They have a one page menu, and they do it all very well. Their chicken tikka is the best in town for me! They have fast service, and and option to sit outside or air conditioned indoors.

Spaghetti Jazz: This is my favorite place for pizza. Though they've raised their prices recently, their flavors are still unbeaten by the others in my opinion. Their steaks and soups are alright too.

@Corner: I think its a funny name for a Thai restaurant, or rather the best Thai restaurant in Dhaka! I just love their soup, and have not had one time where something was below par. Consult their waiters about how much heat from spices and chilly you can stand when you order. You can also check their chilli meter on the menu - from zero to three chillis beside the dish's name to give you an idea of how much heat its packing.

As I heard from a colleague who has just returned from Thailand, about how inexpensive and good the food was during his trip, he got out the worst in me ... ranting, again, about our local restaurants. The truth is, in countries like Malaysia and Thailand, a large part of the population in cities eat out. A busy lifestyle where the majority of the people in a household is working leaves none at home to cook for others, and the resulting demand for places to eat out creates a market where food's quality is good and prices are affordable for daily consumption.

Posted on Monday, January 03, 2011

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