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The week in re(ar)view

Greeting the PM
The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned from a trip to US of A. People thronged to meet her. Unfortunately, the thronging took place all the way from the airport to her office. The traffic, always at a standstill, grew roots and went into hibernation. Never before have so many people carrying so many flowers caused so much trouble doing absolutely nothing but just standing. Some even skipped studying for exams to stand and greet, albeit involuntarily. Party activists politely suggested to students of their respective halls to join the celebration instead of studying. Or else they would have to utter, 'Or else!'

Sheikh Hasina received the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Award for Bangladesh's outstanding achievement in reducing child mortality. However, she could not find out the reason why Americans mispronounce Iran as a verb. I Ran, anyone?

Babar now possible 'shotru'
Lutfozzaman Babar is equally well known for his stylishly gelled hair, his coinage of the word 'shotrus' and also for being former state minister for home. He has been accused and shown arrested in cases linked to the country's largest ever arms haul in Chittagong on April 2, 2004. 10 trucks were seized. No word as to whether the evidence included a crate of hair gel among the ammo.

These included submachine-guns, AK-47 rifles, rocket shells and launchers. Should we be afraid or just very afraid?

Train wins. Again.
Trains are unstoppable unless faced by a bigger train. Anything else is like a small physically challenged, arthritic senile old ant against a military boot. This is proved time and again in Bangladesh as cars, buses and soft fleshed people get hit by trains. And yet, more testing is required for proof that trains are strong.

September 29, a train rammed two buses on Sayedabad level crossing just like last June. In between those months, a few more solitary hits took place. This time 6 died. Turns out the Gateman did not close all the gates on time. Couple of buses got stuck, people disembarked seeing the train but the bus went flying like so much wet cardboard landing like so much dead concrete on a rickshaw, shop and people.

Garments police or fashion police?
The industrial police, a specialised unit of law enforcers, formally started its journey on October 3 aiming to maintain order in the country's four industrial zones. Initially, 1,580 personnel deputed from the police department will make up the force. Their job? Ensuring no outsiders can incite violence or create anarchy in the industrial sector. Er, what about insiders? The special force is trained to deal with further chaos and help settle disputes.

Freeing up parking space
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) began yet another drive this week to demolish illegal structures in car-parking spaces. The first victims were five buildings at the city's Rokeya Sarani. Portions of Limu showroom, Hatil Furniture and Probal community center were chopped out.

Chemicals win over people, as always
Combustible chemicals are still stored at shops and housing storage in Old Dhaka. Following the devastating Nimtoli blaze, the government directed the traders to move their fiery stocks to safer locations. The deadline ended September 30. Everything remains where it was. 124 lives were lost previously.

Fire is our friend and thus we should keep it close to our hearts. Of course, when fire kills, it becomes our foe. But then, a popular saying says 'Keep your friends close and foes closer'. So we sleep with our fire hazard toxic chemicals. Relationships can't get any closer these days.

By Mood Dude and Someone

The Punisher

Ggrowing up, punishments have played a significant part in all our lives. They say what you are today, is because of the punishments you received yesterday (okay, so maybe I made that quote up, but it's true). We would all have been making the same mistakes over and over again all our lives if it weren't for the punishments we received for making those mistakes. Heck, the only reason I am not robbing a bank right now is because of the fear of being thrown into jail (which is a form of punishment, as you all know). But this article isn't about how punishments and death penalties are the core of our legal system, that's the job of your overpaid, under-qualified A levels law teacher. I am here to talk about the bizarre, peculiar and sometimes fatal punishments we got as kids or teenagers.

School is the first place we all get a taste of all the bad things the world has to offer. So it is no surprise that this is where we get most of our punishments and in some cases, all of our punishments. Now I am not being biased or anything but Bengali Medium schools dish out the most effective form of punishment i.e. beat the crap out of the student. Although this method of punishment is unthinkable in English medium schools, it is quite common in Bengali Medium schools even today. The teachers in these schools know how to inflict some pain. There's the usual, slap on the wrist with a metal scale (which I hear is extremely painful) and the classic "standing in the corner" punishment. English medium students also get the "standing in the corner" punishments but our ones usually last for an entire period. But I have heard that in some Bengali medium schools you have to stand for an entire school day, that's approximately six hours. I mean what the punch, this is just WRONG.

However, teachers these days are getting more creative, and like Facebook and over-priced coffee shops, newer methods of punishments are making their way into Dhaka city. A friend of mine had this high school teacher who devised an extremely creative and equally embarrassing type of punishment for his students. If someone did something wrong he/she would have to pick a slip from the "punishment jar" (which is a jar with all these folded chits inside with weird things written on them). One of them was to kneel down in front of the teacher and recite a love poem to him and you had to stay in that position the entire class if he wasn't impressed with your poem (what a drama queen). There was this other one where you had to open the window and yell "I love you" to the first person you saw after opening the window. An unlucky student was stuck with this particular punishment and the first person he saw out the window was the school bully. He did yell out the words "I love you" and the bully also showed him some "love" after school.

And then there are the punishments rich parents give their perfect little angels. And let me warn you guys that these are some of the most vicious and cruel forms of torture imaginable. Do you know what happens to daddy's little princess when she comes home after hours, half drunk and half naked? Her allowance is reduced for an ENTIRE week and she has to take the Premio instead of the BMW when she goes out. Poor girl, how on earth is she supposed to survive with just 25000 taka? I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it. But hey, you wouldn't mind wasting your money on your kid if you owned a dozen industries or half of Dhaka city.

All jokes aside, there are actually serious punishments out there. This kid in India actually died for a punishment he received at school. He was asked to circle the school grounds several times for coming late. He collapsed after just two rounds and never got up. Those slaps in the wrist don't sound too bad now, does it?

By Alvi Ahmed

Fun Fads

Wikipedia describes fads as 'any form of behaviour that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behaviour's being perceived as novel in some way'. Roughly, fads are just a great way of people making money making fools of others. Over the years, as hundreds of fads have come and gone, some stand out as outrageous and downright dumb. Today, we explore the world of fads to get a better look at how companies managed to make millions out of these weird ideas.

Slinky: Who has not seen one of them climbing down stairs? Slinkies are cheap, fun and suitable for people of every age. The Slinky was invented by Richard James, who was a naval engineer in the 1940s. The toys that were only $1 became a more than just silly looking toy that jumps up and down, it became a teaching tool in classrooms, wartime radio antenna and even NASA has been using them in physics experiments for years.

Pet rocks: Popular culture have blessed us with many bizarre things, but having a rock as your pet and paying $5 for it should be on the top of that list. I mean, seriously? Having a rock as your pet is just making a fool of yourself! You either have a living animal as your pet or you don't. Potty training your pet rock or teaching it to 'jump' is quite impossible (given they are, in fact, rocks!). However, 'attacking' was quite simple and this made marketing executive Gary Dahl one rich man in 1970s.

Rubik's Cube: Rubik's cube is a timeless toy. Invented in 1980 by Erno Rubik, this 'magic cube' has sold more than 350 million units worldwide turning it into the world's best-selling toy. It not only helped establish who was smarter but became the flag for geekiness. There are hundreds of ways to solve the puzzle and there are even some competitions that require the competitors to solve them blindfolded or with one had! Everyone takes the pride in saying how fast they were to solve it, but since the world record is 22.5 seconds, we can't expect to hear about it broken anytime soon.

Super balls/Bouncy Balls: All of us have, at least once in our lifetime, played with the super ball. When Norman Stingley was experimenting with a high-resiliency synthetic rubber, he accidentally came upon a new object; a small ball which when compressed under a large amount of pressure would exhibit incredible abilities to bounce. Wham-o marketed the ball in 1965 and it sold around 6 million units, and even today, kids and adults both love it just as much.

Fads are fun. In those few short years of their lifetime, they perform marketing miracles, make some smart people very, very rich and when they do die out, leave the next generation perplexed as to how they ever became popular. But the few which goes on to become classics actually shape and define our culture.

Sources: Wikipedia.org
By Orin






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