imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for the ‘Gott im himmel’ Category

Mar 8,2011

So who is to blame for the Yunus fiasco?

First place  has to go to the Norwegians. They (NRK) made a documentary which set Bangladesh on fire and then at crucial moments, like for example the whitewash Norwegian investigation into Grameen and the disgraceful pronouncements of Erik Solheim (the aid minister) exonerating Grameen, NRK was totally absent from the debate. NRK did not chase Solheim despite having all the facts and figures at their finger tips. Solheim was duping the Norwegian tax payer and no one bothered to take him to task about it.  When NRK finally did respond, it was in Norwegian and they did not supply an english translation. Bangladeshi journos were frantically emailing me to get a translation. The Solheim spin enabled Yunus and his supporters to go on the offensive and attack the documentary. So a totally needless own goal there by the scandinavian producers of the documentary.

Second it has to be the Norwegians again. A bunch of them sit together every now and then and give out this gong called a Nobel Prize. The process is entirely opaque. This prize has come to be seen as some kind of conferment which absolves you of everything. No matter what you have done, if you get one of these gongs, you are sorted …well almost. Thankfully, the High Court of Bangladesh did not take this into account - unlike so many pundits, bloggers and other defenders of Yunus whose only knowledge about this whole issue is that Yunus has a Nobel Prize and therefore ought not to be knocked off his pedestal and needs to be praised to the high heavens whatever he or his outfits do.

Third, for helping to sow much confusion about the reason for the entire debate, the finger has to be pointed at Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh. Why did she so flagrantly intervene - calling Yunus a “blood sucker” etc - when news first broke of the illegal transfer of funds to Grameen Kaylan? She should have had the common sense to keep out of it, and let the facts speak for themselves. She did not. She allowed confusion to reign as Yunus’ supporters went to town turning this serious issue of transparency and financial accountability into one about Hasina and jealousy.

Fourth, well it has to be the press, led by my friend and former proletarian champion Matiur Rahman of Prothom Alo. The poor seem not to be his priority anymore? Nor indeed are they the priority for the Daily Star which has served as the mouthpiece for Yunus.

Finally, one has to acknowledge the role of Yunus himself. Rather than go quietly having been caught , he assembled the most formidable array of foreign politicians, dodgy US ambassadors and senators and newspaper editors to spread the confusion. Talking of newspaper editors, he even got Dr Kamal Hossain’s son-in-law, David Bergman, a hack for the New Age, to be generally “economic with the truth.” Wil Yunus stop now? I doubt it. Has his grin been wiped off his face for good? I doubt that too but one can hope.

Jul 22,2009

Awesome images from all over Asia.

This one from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Eclipse

What a spectacle

Jan 28,2009

The BNP has yet again walked out of parliamentary proceedings in Dhaka. This time it is complaining about seating arrangements. A BNP party spokesman said “We have only been allocated 4 seats at the front, and that is insufficient to even hold Madam Zia’s spectacle case let alone our lawmakers.”


Taj Mahal in Bangladesh

Dec 10,2008

Taj Mahal in Bangladesh

Is it a joke? Seems not to be. Of all the things that need money…this geezer decides to replicate the Taj? If you think of all the archaelogical sites in Bangladesh which could do with an injection of money and a bit of TLC, this guy wants to build a replica of the Taj Mahal? If you think of Paharpur, Charpatra Mura, Gokul Medh, Bhaga Mosque etc etc etc….ah this is unbelievable. I am going to lie down for a bit.

Oct 15,2008

Here is a video of Muhammad Yunus talking to Business Week about the financial crisis. Why is he confusing the banking crisis with a capitalist crisis? What is this self-correcting system he is advocating? What is the fund he is talking about which is proportional to the business deals undertaken by banks and which will act as a safeguard? And after the interviewer intervenes he says  banking should be a “social business?” What the hell is he talking about? Someone please help me.

Sep 23,2008

is THIS ONE by raghead Sultan Al Qassemi. It is a cracker. Bangladesh is thrown in with Pakistan for no discernible reason apart from the fact that it was once East Pakistan and possesses characteristics shared by many third world countries. India is not even a player in the hypothetical drama.

All reasonable and progressive people think the 1947 partition was a disaster but the premise for this nonsense article is out of this world. Too much riding about in the hot sun on a camel could explain it I guess.

Please email the tea-towel wearing moron at and tell him what a cretin he is. Oh make sure you read the thing entirely…there is a punch line of sorts at the end. It is a gem. Surely there must be some blogging award for clowns like this one?

Anti-slip bath mats

Aug 26,2008

I am hereby submitting my anti-slip shower and bath mats for any imminent Government of Bangladesh tenders for suppliers of these products. This high quality product is guaranteed to prevent traffic explosions, deaths, train engines catching fire etc. Additionally the mat features a textured anti-slip surface with a special bubble design to massage and soothe your body should you happen to take a fall anyway given the pressures of life in government facilities. The mat makes a strong lifestyle statment and can, if judiciously used, preempt helpless spouses from appearing on national and international TV pitching for the sympathy vote. All for a very reasonable price.

Bangladesh: Olympian flops

Aug 8,2008

This is how the BBC commentator introduced Bangladesh: “The largest nation in the world never to win a gold medal in the Olympics.”

Eh? Has Bangladesh even won a medal in the Olympics??

Here is an item about the hurdles faced by Bangladeshi athletes including the swimmer who trained in ponds. :-)

Jul 29,2008

If you have been wondering why my blog posts are so sparse, I am ready to reveal to you my humiliating secret. I am addicted to playing Carrom. I pronounce it Karam. Personae Studios,  who have developed it for the iPhone and iPod,  call it Carrom. This Singapore based software outfit have done the blogging world a great service by effectively removing me from blogging activity for long periods of time.

Use Aps store on your phone to download it. It costs £0.59

Jun 17,2008

You make a lot of acquaintances when you start a blog. There are some inspirational characters out there. Among them I would mention House Negro’s blog. There are some nutters too. Yes bengali ones. But Mr Lodhi is in a category of his own. His comments on posts are always entertaining and filled with multi-layered meaning, sarcasm and irony. He sometimes loses it though and THIS POST HERE, where he takes Drishtipat to task, is the text version of the angry german kid video! It all started “innocently” with his habit of signing himself as Md[pbum]. ;-)

May 20,2008

This is indeed bizarre.Take a look at this story. It has not hit the mainstream press. I guess the only thing that happened here is that the good principal got an extra bath on that day. This sort of thing is mild - unbelievably. Bring back Taslima Nasreen…then you will get your headlines.

Shamokal News (pdf)


Shamokal News item 2 (pdf)

A rough summary in English would be:

Fatwabajis ( Mullahs who engage in issuing Fatwas) have forced a college principal of Syedpur, Sylhet to undergo a “cleansing” and “re-induction” process into islam for his alleged statements against the prophet and islam. Relatives of Syed Abul Ahmed were pressurised by the mullahs to take him to the mosque and give him a bath to purify him. He was then made to recite the necessary passages to re-introduce him to the faith.

The principal’s problems began when he was discussing the constraints on cultural and social functions imposed by the local religious leaders. He was doing so in a private capacity in a shop with some other people. He spoke in favour of Cable TV and he criticised the mullahs for their intolerance and terrorism. That very evening, upon hearing the principal’s commentary, the Taharikul ulema decided to act. They also decided to take to task the suppliers of cable TV in the locality. The mullahs view them as purveyors of all things “haraam” or forbidden. They have called cable businesses to assemble at the mosque in order to renounce their activities. They have also been instructed to wrap up their cable businesses.

The visit

Mar 20,2008

Brown and Fakhruddin

CA: What shall we talk about?
PM: Usual stuff about extremism and terrorism ok with you?
CA: With respect, I would like to talk about a Catering Institute in Sylhet.
PM: What??
CA: Yes my friends in Jago Bangladesh have told me to. You have put new restrictions on chefs visas and they don’t like it.
PM: Look can we not talk about more urgent things like democracy?
CA: You mean like what you are promoting in Iraq?
PM: Erm..well, hmm. But why do so many of you chaps want to come here in the first place? Its giving me a bloody headache.
CA: Well the country is sinking under the sea for a start. And you like lamb vindaloos and chicken rogan josh.
PM: Fine! Great idea to link it with something green. We will have a couple of conferences on global warming stuff. Junkets for your civil servants and so-called experts. That should do it?
CA: Human rights. You need to make me look good on that..
PM: Oh yes that old crap. I guess we owe you on that one. Yes, lets trot out something about institutional reforms of the caretaker Government, the mandate of the Anti-Corruption, Election and Public Service Commissions and the Human Rights Commission?
CA: Cool. What about some money for English lessons?
PM: Eh? You went to Princeton for god’s sake!
CA: You don’t want illiterate mullah types to come and be a pain in your backside do you? We always come with a begging bowl. Its our tradition. I can’t go back empty handed can I?
PM: You are right. You will get £50 million for an “English in Action” programme. That will fit in nicely with our new language requirements also for UK nationality.
CA: £50 million for 25 million intendeded beneficiaries of that programme? But, Gordon, that adds up to £2 per person. A miserable 250 takas ….
PM: What do you expect? I am a thrifty Scot after all.

Bangladesh in Texas

Mar 10,2008

Powderburn and Bangladesh Fans

Yes you have come to the right place my faithful readers. Surprised by the photo above? Don’t be. They are Bangladesh and Powderburn fans at a recent concert in Rock City Icehouse, Texas . When I say “Bangladesh” I refer to a heavy metal band which has recently entered the scene in that most bohemian of US states. Do they play bangla heavy metal you ask? No. Lets just say that it is not quite the sort of music you turn to soothe your troubled soul. Even the graphics are enough to make you wonder what the hell is going on in that part of America. Check this:


Having trouble believing all this? Go to their home page here. (Cotton plugs advised). But before you react with nationalist contempt take a look at their spiel…their raison d’etre for the selection of the name:

The message of Bangladesh is simple….Rise up against, and separate yourself from, everything that keeps you from reaching your fullest potential. Everything about Bangladesh embodies this concept. It is heartfelt, hardcore sincerity served up with an intensity that simply cannot be matched.

Enough to warm your nationalist cockles? Some one should invite them to Bangladesh’s premier venue for Heavy Metal (which is sadly across the road from me in Road No 35). Here are the tone-deaf bunch of nutters musicians themselves:

Bangladesh Heavy Metal

Jan 12,2008

Is it an effort to catch the headlines? Is it simply that Yunus is used to hyperbole? Or is he demented? What made him say the things he did in New York? He basically said that Bangladesh had made enormous strides and that if things kept on going like this….then BY THE YEAR 2030 Bangladesh WOULD BE A MODERN COUNTRY FREE FROM POVERTY.

Not since my fresher year have I heard such nonsense. I remember Montek Ahluwalia’s “inverted U” hypothesis of income inequality and development. A simple story told elegantly but totally unrealistically. All you development economists out there will know what I am on about. And we had a great time poking fun at the poverty of neoclassical economics. Yunus, unlike Ahluwalia, has no pretensions to base his argument on regression analysis or stats or comparative examples or history. He is just shooting his mouth off saying what he needs to for his own reasons. Give it a rest Mr Yunus. You are making a bloody fool of yourself.

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