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


Jan 7, 2011



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!

Prothom Alo,
January 5, 2011)

Posted on Friday, January 07, 2011


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

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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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