Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Big Sister Is Listening

Does end always justify the means?

Well Americans seem to agree. Through their Patriot Act authorities there now have unprecedented means of spying on their own citizens. Recent reports of its abuse are only a Google search away! Now not only are their citizens not safe, neither is the world. Who around the world will listen to the US when they talk about “freedom” and “liberty” when their might be a CIA torture cell next door?

Well it seems that our leaders have learnt from the lessons being taught by President Bush’s men… the cabinet has, as you might have read, approved phone tapping measures. From now on without prior approvals, any “intelligence” services can not only eavesdrop but also use recordings against you in court. Better be careful next time you make a comment on a particular Minister’s hairstyle – you might redefine the “bad hair day” concept altogether.

So where does this stop? Extra judicial killings seem to have gotten the citizen’s approval. Similarly no serious attempts have been taken to bring to justice the murderers of our elected leaders –Ammanullah Master or SAMS Kibria! Are we safe despite the wire tapping? Who will defend my rights? Do I have any rights left anyway? Hey way the election rolls are being done soon I might not even have the right to vote!

Censorship is a dangerous tool, my friends! Loss of Privacy the same! I hate to think of the day when they figure out what is a blog! Till then, as they say in any good Police drama serial… “You have the right to remain silent…”

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I'm Afraid Laughter is the Devil!

“Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith. For without fear of the devil there is no need for God.” – Sean Connery

I think I found my link between Corruption and Happiness! (See Corruption is Happiness below for the problem)

As Sean Connery explains it quite succinctly, we need to ask the question without fear why do we need Allah? Without our belief in the Almighty or the Judgment day do we need to be in our best behavior?

Islam is quite clear in that hypocrisy and corruption are amongst the worst crimes possible to be committed. And everyday Allah fearing Bangladeshis do exactly that. At one breath we say that we are devout Muslims and while we extend our hands under the table to collect that envelope. I have mentioned it before I too am guilty of corruption (See My Article : Repentance of a Sinner – sidebar for link) by not saying anything against it or refrain from taking part myself in giving it.

Given we are amongst the happiest countries does it mean that we have forgotten faith? We have forgotten to fear? And has that leads us to be so brazenly corrupt? Hmm more food for thought!

I sign off today with another of Sean Connery’s sayings on fear:

“If you fear nothing, you love nothing. If you love nothing, what joy can there be in life?”

I hope we can learn to love our Maker, our country and our lives enough.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


On a lighter note to celebrate the article in the Danish IT magazine here is a song.

Hum to the tune of Hotel California by Eagles!


On a dark crowded highway
Brylcreem in my hair
Warm smell of parathas
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance
I saw a shimmering light
My eyes grew heavy and my head grew light
I had to stop for the night
There they stood in the doorway
They were desis you could tell
I got out fearfully
Saying this will surely be hell
All around us were buildings
Sun, SGI and Dell
I slowly unloaded my things
In the shadows of Intel
And still those parking lots were full of Hondas
Waiting up in the middle of the night
To be driven home by programmers
Welcome to the town of Sunnyvale
Such a desi place, such a crazy place
We're livin' it up in the town of Sunnyvale
Such a nice surprise, so many people with no lives
My heartstrings were twisted
I wanted to feel at home
Where thousands of desis existed
And no white man dared roam
Sambar stains on the ceilings
Mango lassis on ice
Sit and watch the paint peeling
Or make daal and boil rice
But my mind revolted
At the very thought
I grabbed my bag and bolted
I'd escape no matter what
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
I can hear them say
Welcome to the town of Sunnyvale
Such a desi place, such a crazy place
We're livin' it up in the town of Sunnyvale
Such a nice surprise, so many people with no lives
I wake up in a cold sweat
Thank god it was a dream
There is no need to fret
I still live in Marin
Oh, I still live in Mariiiiiiin

(Author unknown)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Danish IT Press Article on Graphic People

Oh my gosh who is this fat fellow in the picture???

In case you guys know Danish this is an article on our GraphicPeople project that appeared in a Danish IT magazine called Com On. [www.comon.dk]

Monday, January 23, 2006

Corruption is Happiness

Interestingly my ongoing Google search for the source of the Happiest Nation on Earth Survey (see below) is throwing up another interesting find. Apparently at times the distinction also belonged to Nigeria. That if you recollect is a fellow country near the top of the Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International. Hmmm... that's a food for thought ain't it? Corruption = Happiness!

Maybe we can ask Dr. Steven Levitt the author of Freakonomics to find a co-relationship. Actually on a side note do look at his blog http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/

You're Happy So I Am Happy

So we seem to have toped another list. But this time it is a more "happier" list. Matter of fact it is a list that throws my job of the Optimist in jeopardy.

I am not sure as yet how it was calculated. All my Google search is throwing up are articles mentioning the above but not the study itself or its methodology. I would be grateful if someone could point the way for me. In midst of my joy the only thing that seems to be bothering me is that Bangladeshi's in general are a pessimistic bunch. Even when we are doing well we tend to say that things are not too good. Just ask any Bangladeshi businessman the simple question "How's business?" And you will get a longish lecture that depicts a business cycle as down and downer!

Matter of fact the similar question asked to any Bangladeshi will give us not only their medical history but also that of their Uncle's younger brother-in-law's eldest great uncle's next door neighbour from 50 years ago!!

Well it’s not like me to make people feel depressed… so I say go on, have a blast! Feel free to smile or laugh! And at least for once see that things indeed are good with our nation!

Bangladeshis Are Happiest, Survey Reports


Bangladesh is the happiest nation in the world, the World Happiness Survey said the United States, on the other hand, is a sad story: it ranks only 46th.

That's way behind India, the fifth happiest place in the world, and others including Ghana and Latvia, Croatia and Estonia. Research led by London School of Economics professors into the link between personal spending power and the perceived quality of life has conclusively proved that money can buy everything but happiness.

The study revealed that people in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, derive far more happiness from their small incomes than, for example, the British (32nd on the list) do from their relatively large bank balances.

In fact, people in most rich countries including Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and others are much more unhappier than their poorer counterparts in countries like the Dominican Republic and Armenia.

Most unfortunate, however, are Russians and people in some other parts of the former Soviet Union. They are neither rich nor happy, the World Happiness Survey indicates.

Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria and Moldova follow the United States in the list to bring up the rear. The study shows that although the British have twice as much money to spend in real terms compared with 40 years ago, their perceived quality of life has not improved.

Earlier surveys revealed that many Britons thought money could bring happiness. The new study shows that such a link still exists in poor countries because a small increase in income can mean large improvements in lifestyle.

However, beyond a certain income-level, direct relationship breaks down. According to the research, happiness in rich countries now is far more dependent on close personal relationships, good health and job satisfaction.

People in Britain are generally less happy than they were ten years ago. Two-thirds would rather see the environment improved than have more economic growth and personal spending money, said Robert Worcester, visiting professor of government at the LSE and co-author of the study.

The researchers have concluded that, although Britons are rich compared with most other countries, many suffer from an emotional poverty caused by consumerism and the breakdown of family life.

Source : Independent. {Click the title to take you to the page}

Saturday, January 21, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

As it is customary, here is THE list of promises I’ll break this year:

1. Be more regular in keeping my blog updated
2. Biriyani is the Devil’s way of enticing me
3. Liposuction! … or at least get on a treadmill from time to time
4. I shall not covet my neighbour’s car (bought myself a nice one recently!)
5. Figure out why I am late to work despite waking up before 7 am.
6. Maybe Biriyani isn’t bad after all.
7. Develop a new version of my fake smile.
8. No one really cares the rating of the songs in my iTunes!
9. I do not need all the song on my iPod – rationalise!
10. I do not need yet another iPod – Steve Jobs is rich enough.
11. Stop preaching
12. Stop belching as well
13. Learn Sylheti
14. Don’t be superstitious. (why is this one on number 13?? Is that an omen??)
15. Exercise. Or at least stretch.
16. Actually answer a phone call or two!
17. Not laugh at pointy haired ministers.
18. Not laugh at any ministers.
19. Not laugh at any past or future ministers either.
20. Not laugh at the policies that they make
21. Not laugh at the statements they make
22. What the hell?!?! If I don’t laugh at them where is my entertainment?
23. Play a sport… (FIFA 2006 does not count!)
24. Did I mention Biriyani???
25. “Yes and No” or “More or Less” are not specific answer.
26. Stop bugging Faiza or at least pretend to.
27. I don’t really need another gadget to figure out something I am not interested in.
28. Ditto with toys
29. Well maybe not!
30. Fakruddin’s Biriyani is not actually not Biriyani! Yes that’s my excuse!
31. Sign the petition to make wearing lungi to work!
32. Stop watching OC!
33. Eat vegetables! Shrimp and Chicken count as veggies!
34. As does Biriyani
35. Make shorter lists

Anyting else I should attempt at not keeping to?