Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Somewherein, Bangladesh & Norway: A Bridge to Future

When I was in the school, we were often asked the most common quiz question about Midnight Sunrise in Norway. Excitingly, it has appeared as a sudden midnight sun in Bangladesh for the internet savvy and blogging nerds who have quickly found opportunities for expressing themselves in Bangla with traditional Bangla key board!!! Somewherein, an off shore Norwegian company along with few talented Bangladeshi young people, who worked on a PHP platform, has unlocked opportunities for us to blog in Bangla.

In order to show my deep appreciation to Somewherein, I have put together few striking features on Norway and Bangladesh. Norway has been helping Bangladesh since 1973 in major areas of Education, Private Sector Development, Human Rights and Governance, and Culture.

Norway became independent in 1905 as the country peacefully ceded from Sweden after staying together for 91 years without dropping a single drop of blood. Whereas, Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan in 1971 after staying together only for 24 years through a freedom fight that claimed three million lives.

If you walk a mile in Norway, you’ll meet only 15 people as 46 million live in a country twice the size of Bangladesh. If you walk a mile in Bangladesh, you’ll bump against 1015 people as 114 million people live in a country half of the size of Norway.

Both Bangladesh and Norway proudly boast for its natural beauty. As a riverine country, Bangladesh can present silver water from its rivers; on the other hand Norway can proudly present white snow and glacier from its mountains. I don’t know whether Norway can consider exporting snow to Bangladesh so that we can keep our heads cool!!! Norway can show us how e-governance works. I’ve also enjoyed Norway’s wonderful travel site, as I’ve felt like I am visiting Finnmark on a dog sledge when I browse it. Hi Techy folks in Bangladesh, could you please do something like that fascinating travel site on our Sunderbans?

Norwegians put fish in their breakfast as sea food is their second largest export item. Traditionally, Bangladeshi villagers also pleasantly eat dry fish with rice (panta bhat) as a breakfast item. Anthropologically, do we have Norwegians descendents in remote Bangladeshi villages?

It is really fascinating to find turf roofs (torvtak) in Norway which is an old custom to put and grow grass on the roof of houses. Some of us may wonder whether Norwegian cattle will graze on the roof or not. It’s actually their love for nature. A lot of you may not know that Norwegians cow climb up to the mountain to graze. We need to import few cows from Norway so that they can teach our Bangladeshi cows how to go under water to fish for living.

Being a rich country, Norway discourages its citizens from driving and owning vehicles by making it expensive. This is an attempt to slow down the rise of emission gases to protect their environment. In Bangladesh, we are working very hard to put more cars on congested city roads to protect our flourishing car dealers so that we can enrich our car centered culture.

In Norway, their highways sometimes end at big lakes (fjord) for scenic destinations. In Bangladesh, we try to occupy hawor/water lakes (Gulshan Lake or Dhanmondi Lake) and river banks, fill them up quickly, so that roads can quickly take us to high rise buildings.

As a predominant Christian country, only 3% in Norway attends churches regularly. May be their spirituality lives at home, so they don’t have to look for God at Churches. In a predominant Muslim Bangladesh, our spirituality is fleeing away from our homes as God is now owned by our religious parties on the streets!!!

In terms of bilateral relationship, Bangladesh can help Norway in increasing its literacy rate. Education from six to sixteen is free and compulsory in Norway, as 99% people are literate, I don’t know what happened to 1%. Bangladesh can easily absorb 1% illiterates from Norway so that our friends in Norway can boast for 100% literacy. Bangladesh can proudly teach those 1% illiterates the literacy of survival within few days.

Do you know that Norway is aging as their population growth rate is very low? Bangladesh can offer technical assistance to all newly-wed Norwegian couples by placing them in our rural areas where on-site hands-on training will teach them the value and charm of bringing new lives to families.

It is said that gender equality in Norway has been achieved as women are better treated than any other place in the world. In order to ensure gender equality in Bangladesh, we have at least put two women in leading political positions so that they can proudly present our country’s striking progress!! The way Norway honored and protected the aboriginal Sámi tribe could be a learning experience for all of us when Bangladesh thinks about its Hill Tracts population.

We are proud of our taxation policy. Norway imposes tax on everything including food, so that citizens can maintain their subsistence and poverty level consistently after paying all their taxes. In Bangladesh, we evade taxes (income tax, property tax, VAT, etc) most of the time, so that poor industrialists, businessmen and tax collectors can be rich and escape from poverty level all the time.

Norwegians found prosperity after finding oil and gas reserves on its coastal border in early sixties, whereas in Bangladesh, we let the gas wells burn down in Tengratila so that we don’t have to ensure prosperity for all.

In Norway they’ve been maintaining the Royal dynasty that people don’t have much to say where in Bangladesh our politicians work hard to create a royal dynasty all the time that people always put it down. When will poor Bangladeshis realize that they need Prince and Princess as celebrity icons? We’re working hard to inspire people about royal highness through media outlets right now.

Norway has been ranked as the Best place to live in 2005 as the country tops in wealth, education, and life expectancy. Bangladesh is the best place to escape from as political infighting and violence top every thing else (no ranking is found). Thankfully God has given us the Bay of Bengal on the South to hold all of us within our boundary. Otherwise all of us would have walked out altogether one day to baffle our political leaders as they would not a find a single breathing human being in their grand rallies!!!

If you want to study world literature, you can not escape from Norway. Norway is going to celebrate 100th year anniversary of the Norweygian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), as he has forced us to reflect on our fundamental rights and values. It is often said that Ibsen is the most popular dramatist after Shakespeare.

Addabaj (Gossip guy) finds inspiration in Ibsen’s Dr. Stockmann’s idealistic truth telling. So, let's enjoy the most favorite quote from Ibsen’s play:

“At present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over. But, good Lord!—you can never pretend that it is right that the stupid folk should govern the clever ones... Oh, yes--you can shout me down, I know! But you cannot answer me. The majority has might on its side--unfortunately; but right it has not. I am in the right--I and a few other scattered individuals. The minority is always in the right”- Enemy of the People (1882).

Click here to read this posting in Bangla:

may i translate this into spanish ?
Ofcourse!!! It'll be my pleasure. Please let me know, I'll try to learn some Spanish, too. Gracias!!
Addabaz asked "When will poor Bangladeshis realize that they need Prince and Princess as celebrity icons?"

Don't we have two royal families in Bangladesh who are above the law of the land and may do anything their heart desires? The catch is they may do so only when their party is in power. The monarchy in power always accumulates humongous personal wealth during their rule so that Bangladesh can remain poor forever and donors can be approached to finance grandiose projects whose only objective is to support corruption through contract awards and kickbacks. The other monarchy in the opposition creates anarchy to ensure that they be put back into power asap so that they can replicate or outdo the same shamelessly. The only losers in this game are the people of Bangladesh who seem to be destined to carry the most corrupt nation seal on their forehead forever. We need a Mahathir Mohammad to break out of this cycle.

Anyway we have a swinging monarchy system because every five years Bangladeshis vote for the other monarchy that was not in power alas in the hope that the country’s fortune may improve. So, Bangladesh has invented the only democratic monarchy system in the world and we may claim our fame for this like starting the micro-credit system!

Jokes aside, Addabaz has shown that Bangladeshis are resilient people and have achieved a lot without government’s help and will not be constrained by their ruler’s whim and desires. This nation will emancipate itself from all tyrannies. It is only a matter of time before it happens.
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