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Bad Friendships (and How to Lose 'Em)
By Shehtaz Huq & S. N. Rasul

LADY Gaga dons a white leather jumpsuit and pops out of a capsule, flanked by other jumpsuit-clad androgynous specimens, and sings of a Ra Ra Bad Romance. On this side of YouTube we pin up our pocket calendars to our tables and count down the days till Friendship Day, another Hallmark-induced phenomenon, so that we may have a legitimate excuse to intelligently dissect and thusly mull over this dilemma that is Bad Friendship.

Welcome to my life as told by Facebook
The aforementioned friend (and 'friend' as in the Facebook sense of the word, which has subtle variations from the 'friend' that we befriended via time-tested means of communications i.e. the implementation of vocal cords and such), whether for lack of entertainment or of a social life, parks his/her posterior in front of a computer screen and proceeds to update his/her Facebook status every passing minute. The antics of much-loathed classmates, a failing grade, a fight with one's mother, what one had for breakfast, suddenly these nuggets of irrelevance find a much larger scope to feel more wanted. Whether the aim is ever achieved is another matter altogether. Though one might suggest that the quickest way to get rid of aforementioned friend is simply to hit the 'Remove Friend' button at the bottom of one's Facebook profile, we believe a much more… humane approach would be to hit the 'Remove Friend' button at the bottom of one's Facebook profile. Oops. Any hurt feelings were completely incidental.

Can we pretend that the airbrushing on my profile pictures is just my natural aura?
Flawless skin, heavily lined eyelids, teased and sprayed hair spilling wondrously around a virtually unblemished face, and a barrage of photo comments from (virtual) air-kissing friends, and one finds oneself saddled with another bad friendship. Enter the Photoshop Maestro. By Maestro we are in no way indicating a person who possesses adequate mastery of said software, minus perhaps a seasoned familiarity with the airbrush tool. Changing saturations and hues, cropping out the unsightly rooftop or bathroom mirror and replacing unsavoury backgrounds with paparazzi flashbulbs and a rain of money, and wonderfully (grammatically incorrect and in most cases misspelled) photo captions such skills are much valued in friendship. Surely the sarcasm is noted. Also, that Remove Friend button might come in handy again.

“Friends, haters and random-person-sitting-next-to-me, lend me your ears…”
“ …I come to air my woes, not suppress them.” Here is a variation of the constant Facebook status updater, though with a heady dash of melodrama and an overwrought sense of self-pity thrown in for good measure. These friends cruise the social scene for sympathetic faces, preferably friends whose relationship statuses are set to Single (for they are unaware of dating dilemmas and would thus be less sceptical of any implausible claims). Any stray comment is an invitation to let loose the flood of tears. “So, I hear that a new lounge opened up…” “Don't even get me started on lounges! Do you know what my boyfriend did when we were at Lounge EFG? I don't want to talk about it, but let me tell you, if I ever go back to him again…” The next hour (or two) (or three) of one's life is kissed goodbye. If one's eardrums vibrate with the constant mewl of dismay, the best thing to do would be to listen until one feels one's neurons go comfortably numb and then proceed to daydream of Technicolor unicorns flying through rainbows of candy floss. The body's defense mechanisms are unfailing like that.

“Guys, where'd this knife in my back come from?”
These are the most abundant of all friends, their slithering tongues sneaking into your life like snakes too small to detect, but too poisonous to ignore. You'll find yourself explaining to your mom why your friend's mother told her that you have a boyfriend and sometimes use your rooftop for private 'chhad sessions' or explaining to your best friend why Sumaiya THIS told Nuzhat THAT that you told them she was fat. And the list goes on and on. These are regular occurrences in all our lives, and in celebration of Friendship Day and the regular occurrence of these human but painful moles in your butts, I have no option but to ask you to resort to the most heinous of solutions: remember the Doctor's words. Revenge is your best option of extermination; fight the hell back. They'll be hating you as much as you hate them in no time.

“Call the police! No, not the band!”
Oftentimes, if you're a woman of petite diminutions, you'll find yourself plagued by these evangelically obsessed yo polaz who are sure of their love for you. They take Sting's words a little too seriously, and think it'll make them look cool and further enhance their yoness. You'll find them standing outside your apartment door, or breathing down your neck (literally) in class, or sending you SMSes or calling you repeatedly on your cell phone telling you how his life is meaningless without you, screaming out words of unrequited love from stereotype-induced bands like Switchfoot or Lifehouse. These are hardly ignorable, we know, but the solution is simple and highly superficial: stop trying to be pretty. Don't shower or do make-up, or use deodorant, or anything for that matter. You'll be a stinking mess, and may even lose your current boyfriend/crush's approval in the process but HEY! Stalkers are worth the sacrifice.

So that's that. I'm sure there are more such examples of these rascals, good-for-nothing tall midgets (lomba bamuns), sons-and-daughts-of-ugly-dogs running through your mind, but alas, we don't have the resources for more thorough research and on top of that we have a limited budget. Please send us lots and lots of money. We'll discuss more solutions for you, our readers, whom we love so much. 'Til then, be happy and of course, friendless.

The week in re(ar)view
By Mood Dude & Someone

WELCOME to a week of doom, gloom and snooze. We'll start off with the snooze because after the doom and gloom, snooze never happens.

Dreams on the green
Golf is an insomniac's sport of viewing choice. It's also the sport making headlines for Bangladesh. Siddiqur Rahman won an Asian Tour professional golf tournament as the first Bangladeshi on Sunday. The 26-year-old from Madaripur won the Brunei Open title in Bandar Seri Begawan. Slow and steady does win the race. Enough with sports.

Fight to study to fight
The week saw a long series of protests all based on increasing cost of living. Economics students will point out a directly proportional growth trend whereas we will show you a propensity to break things. Bring in the psychology students.

A few hundred students of private universities on July 26 barricaded the Airport Road at Mohakhali in Dhaka demanding withdrawal of 4.5 percent VAT levied on their tuition and other fees. That means they vandalised vehicles and fought the law, the institution and each other.

Students of North South University, East West University, American International University of Bangladesh (AIUB), BRAC University, Dhaka International University and other private universities participated in this get together. Government is imposing 4.5 percent VAT on private universities while subsidising public universities. No wonder VAT is considered a regressive tax making the middle and lower income people suffer more.

Pay to wear
Prices of basic commodities have increased by 70 percent since 2006. Pay for RMG workers? Not so much. So they got together and protested. That meant breaking stuff. Again. At least 350 garment factories in Savar, Ashulia and Fatulla suspended production on August 1.

The government announced the new minimum salary structure at Tk 3,000. Of that Tk 800 is for house and Tk 200 in medical allowance. Last we checked that amount was only good for renting cardboard boxes (top and bottom flaps cost extra). The new wage structure will come to effect from November 1, 2010. Garment worker leaders were disappointed as they have been bargaining for Tk 5,000 for years. So far, the RMG workers accepted.

Endangering the food chain
Who would have thought chickens and fish have such bad taste in food? Raw tannery waste is part of the ingredients in producing poultry and fish feed. No wonder the creatures stink.

The High Court last week directed the government to shut down for three months such factories and business enterprises. During this time they run tests to find out among other things why chickens cross the road. This question forever mystifies us.

00 for overseas
Mobile callers will be able to use 00 as a uniform international dialling code, starting August 1, at a cheaper rate. The charge of the 00 code will be the same as the rate for 012, the previous low-cost code, also known as economy international subscribers' dialling (EISD). EISD covers around 55 countries and charges Tk 6/min to Tk 16.5/min, according to the BTCL website. We can't help thinking 007 would have been cooler numerals.





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