imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for October, 2006


  • Filed under: labour
Oct 3,2006

So Tanvir Mokammel is directing a film about the garment girls of Bangladesh, and I am producing it and have done some of the research for it. The bangla name for the film will be Bastrabalikara.

Tanvir bhai has written a poem. You will find the pdf here. (13kb)You will need SutonnyMJ installed. Haven’t quite worked out how to do print postscript and send the fonts to Acrobat. Or maybe the flash file will work - here it is.  If any of you wish to attempt a translation, send it my way. And who knows if it is good - we might use it!

Review of KFC in Gulshan, Dhaka

  • Filed under: Food
Oct 2,2006

It seems a lot of you are searching for KFC and finding my earlier entry on the restaurant. Now that I have been to the restaurant I am in a position to give you my thoughts. And people - please don’t lift my images again. Get your own! You will have to buy me a plate of beryani somehwere in Dhaka if you do…

counter of KFC Gulshan

Colonel KFC, Gulshan Dhaka

KFC Gulshan Dhaka
Now for the review. In a word, its chicken shit crap. If Pizzahut up the road can taste like the original, indeed even better, then why not KFC? The gleaming, shining interior promises so much. Yet the taste is nothing like KFCs elsewhere, and believe me I have tried them the world over….The original flavour chicken pieces are not original flavour at all. And the zinger burger was unrecognisable. The mayo tasted strange and there is an inedible spicy sauce alternative to the ketchup. AVOID. I was with another aficionado, a petuk of grand proportions, and he agreed with my conclusions. The only thing they got “right” were the fries. What is the point of such a fancy place if only the aloo bhaji is edible? The chef needs to do something - maybe a new batch of massala from HQ? Don’t let the side down Mr Chef - inward foreign investment is at stake!

Reporting worker violence

  • Filed under: labour
Oct 1,2006

Check the difference in the reporting of the violence that took place in Uttara yesterday. The New Nation reports the number of injuries in the clashes and then in the very second sentence gives the reason for the eruption of violence:

The clash erupted centring (sic) forcible removal of workers and injury to four of Syntax Garments by hired goons.

Three paragraphs later it again details the reasons for the violence. It reports that four workers were forcibly removed, and “some eight to ten hired terrorists led by PM Matin” with sticks, knives etc left several workers injured. Yes there are allegations there but the cause of the flare-up is given. Almost balanced reporting, I would say.

Not so the Daily Star. Indeed the Daily Star gives the story an entirely different slant. The headline is this: RMG workers ransack Uttara police station (RMG - ready made garments). The second sentence is about how the “marauding” workers had to be battled. And the next sentence is how they “vandalised” markets, banks, restaurants and vehicles and how this “vandalism” disrupted traffic for four hours. It is not until the 7th sentence, yes the 7th, that you get a whiff of the reason for the eruption, and then only a whiff. Incredible. All that the article reports may indeed be true but why get to the reason for the “vandalism” and for the “marauding” so late in the story and in such a perfunctory way?

This is routine in Bangladesh. The behaviour of poor people and of workers is casually and routinely described in a disparaging way to make it sound mindless and without justification. And of course, as we know from the garment sector’s experience earlier this year, worker action is often linked up to conspiracies and such. Bhadrolok journos and pundits are unable to check their preconceptions, and regurgitate the same old views and perceptions over and over. The crudeness of their analysis (often employer-fed I should mention) not only prevents dialogue and understanding but perpetuates divisions and tensions.