Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


The week in re(ar)view

Thar she bloats!
The Bangladesh Navy purchased a friggin' frigate costing 500 crore taka and decommissioned it on 13 February 2002. All this time it was lying in the water providing seagulls with a very expensive toilet. That kind of money could have provided pizzas for the entire population of this country for ages. That too with extra toppings!

Equally realistically, it could have been used to provide housing and education for thousands of underprivileged children. They are thinking of re-commissioning the frigate again. We suggest turning it into an amusement ride, invite all the poor kids and give them a ride. Show them how their future paid for a useless piece of floating metal.

Peace, please
According to a survey released by a group with a lot of time and money on their hands, Bangladesh comes in at number 86 out of 121 countries focusing on peace. That's not a particularly significant number. In fact, it is not about numbers at all. What surprises is that Bangladesh ranked at all in a ranking of peace. It was based on factors like military spending (stupidly, pointlessly huge for size of country), weapons of minor destruction like guns and stuff (we use sharp objects mostly) and regard for human rights (hardly).

Off with the trees
Osman Ghani, the former chief conservator of forests, loved the forests so much he decided to spread it around all over the place. In fact, thanks to him the forest is now in all our homes. Sure, it takes the shape of furniture but don't be silly! Imagine how silly an actual tree would in the middle of your beautiful living room. Next time you relax on your vaguely comfy armchair made form the endangered woods of Sundarban, thank Osman Ghani.

Of course, all forest officials and lumber mill owners thank him with fat loads of cash. Ever official had to pay upwards of taka 1 lakh just to get the desired post. But that is just sawdust sprinklings compared to what they end up earning in bribes later. They also sell off trees to recover that investment. Since Ghani was the top woodpecker, every official is therefore equally corrupt.

Bars and stripes
Luthfozzaman Babar, our extremely stylishly spiked haired former minister for home is having a hard time these days after being arrested about a week ago. In all his pictures he has a grim expression. We asked why. Apparently they confiscated all his jars of hair gel.

One of pending cases against him is that of accepting a 20 crore bribe to keep a murderer on the streets. Apparently, the son of the boss of Bashundhara killed someone of equal high profile. To save his son, the boss guy then paid the stylish minister a heck load of money.

Moral of the story: Killing can be an expensive pastime. Shoot-em-up computer games are a better alternatives.

By Mood Dude and Gokhra

Interview of a roadside CD seller

I don't have internet in my home, ridiculous as it may sound. So my only way of sending in assignments, is through the cyber café above the Midnight Sun restaurant near the Nilkhet book stores. If you have been to Nilkhet, then you've definitely met the CD-hawkers. The other day, one guy kept following me. So I sat down to have a chat with him.

Me: What's you name?

CD-hawker: Arif.

Me: Alright Arif, how old are you?

A: 22-23 years.

Me: How long have you been doing this?

A [anxious]: Why are you asking? Because I didn't recognize you?

Me: No, no, I'm just curious.

A: Oh! Well, I've been here for about eight months.

Me: How did you get in this business?

A: Through a friend.

Me: What's your friend's name?

A [looking a little concerned]: It's confidential.

Me: Oh, okay. So, did you go to school or college? Did you have a job before this?

A: I dropped out of school in class nine and then I started driving.

Me: What did you drive?

A: Everything, except motorbikes.

Me [smiling]: Yes, they can be quite dangerous. Tell me, where are you from? What about you family?

A: I'm from Faridpur. My parents and my younger brother live in the village. The brother looks after the land we have, and we don't have much. My elder brother works in a government office. Something to do with export.

Me: No sisters?

A: Nope. Just three brothers, that's all.

Me: Married?

A [laughs]: Not yet, no.

Me: How much do you earn in a month, on an average?

A: Well, it depends upon sales really. But usually around Tk.5000-7000.

Me: And how much did you earn driving?

A: Tk.5000 a month.

Me: So you're doing this job, which gives almost the same money as your previous job, with the added risk of getting caught by the police. Why?

A: Sometimes it pays more, you see. If sales are good, I can get Tk.8000 a month, maybe even more. But, you're right about the police. I got caught once. Had to pay Tk.20000 to the officer.

Me: What happens if you have bad sales?

A: I usually earn enough to get by.

Me: Where do you get all these CDs?

A: We have suppliers.

Me: Do you have porn?

A [excited]: Yeah! You want to buy some? I got some great stuff that just came in recently.

Me: No, no, I'm fine, thank you. How much does it cost, by the way?

A: Depends on what you want. The movie based foreign ones are about Tk.120-150. the Indian and the deshi ones range between Tk.70-100.

Me: And you sell it to anyone who pays the money? Even kids?

A [slightly defensive]: Well, I don't sell it to kids. But there are some people who do.

Me: Don't you feel that it is wrong to sell such things to teenagers? I mean, pirated mp3s and movies we can live with, but this?!

A: If I don't sell this stuff, someone else will. As for selling it to teenagers, they'll find new ways to get this stuff. First it was magazines, now it's the CDs. They'll always find a way. And for what it's worth, I'm thinking about quitting this job. Driving was a steady job, after all. And I hate all this running every time a cop comes around.

Me: Thanks for your time, Arif.

Arif: No problem. If you ever need CDs, find me. I have good CDs too, you know.

Interview taken by Kazim Ibn Sadique

Howlerious quotes

1. Edward P. Tryon - "In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time."

2. Every so often, I like to stick my head out the window, look up, and smile for a satellite picture.

3. he average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because the average man can see better than he can think.

4. There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

5. When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car

6. Behind every successful man is a surprised woman. - Maryon Pearson

7. Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers. - Homer Simpson

8. What are the three words guaranteed to humiliate men everywhere?
'Hold my purse.'

9. "... industry giant Microsoft Corporation... a company that has become successful without resorting to software testing..." -- Unknown

Weird Facts

1.A crocodile can't stick its tongue out.

2.A shrimp's heart is in its head.

3.It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

4.A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

5.Horses can't vomit.

6.If you keep your eyes open by force, they can pop out.

7.A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second!

8.Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.

9.23% of all photocopier faults worldwide are caused by people sitting on them and photocopying their butts.

10.Most lipstick contains fish scales.

Complied by Nayeema Reza



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star