The human brain has a curious way of forgetting the most significant and important events of the decade and remembering the tiniest little things that probably won’t matter much in the course of history. Just like every other year, 2010 has had its up and down, it’s been great for some, crappy for others but mostly it was a rollercoaster ride for us Bangladeshis. As Bangladeshis our list of “The most memorable events of 2010” is a little different from the rest of the world, with the possible exception of the worldwide craze for FIFA world cup 2010. So here’s a list of the most memorable events (custom tailored to Bangladesh).
Best moment in reality TV: Big Momma’s House
In a country where millions are unemployed, homeless and extremely broke, a battle so ridiculous raged on our national television that made MTV’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen” look mature and profound. I kid you not, for those who are not familiar with “My Super Sweet Sixteen” it’s a show where obscenely rich teenage girls make their parents spend an obscene amount of money and go ballistic if a tiny little thing doesn’t go their way. Well the house controversy exceeds and goes beyond the insanity of selfish little rich kids parading around on MTV. First I must bore the reader’s with a history lesson so they can judge for themselves whether the whole incident was worthy of the hullaballoo and the hoopla not to mention all the tear jerking on live television. Apparently the govt. decided that the opposition leader was living in her house illegally for over four decades. The drama began to heighten from the evening of November 12th when a month long deadline for Khaleda Zia to leave the house had expired. The PM “implored” Khaleda Zia to leave and have mercy on the Army officers. While Khaleda Zia fought tooth and nail to keep her home and finally left the house. There was a huge tear jerking session on national tv where Khaleda Zia told her heart wrenching tales of forced eviction. Then there were some army people on TV telling us that Khaleda Zia left of her own free will. Whereas Khaleda Zia claims to have been kicked out of her own house. Of course there were consecutive hartaals over the eviction, cars were burned people got hurt, all because one lady thought in a nation where people don’t even have a regular supply of gas or electricity, the most important issue was to evict the opposition from her house immediately. While the other lady instead of moving to any other one of her half a dozen of luxurious homes would rather throw a fit and have her people run wild on the streets in the name of hartaal.
Biggest Irony of 2010: Digital Bangladesh
In case someone has been living under a rock for the past year, I’ll provide a short description of “Digital Bangladesh” is all about, straight from the horse’s mouth (the PM’s office). Here’s the official memo on digital Bangladesh procured from the Board of Investment.
The use of information and communication technology has been playing a vital role in the 21st century due to globalization and the government is encouraged to adapting with the coming future. The democratic government has declared the “Vision 2021” in the election manifesto which targets establishment of a resourceful and modern country by 2021 through effective use of information and communication technology-a “Digital Bangladesh”.
“Digital Bangladesh” does not only mean the broad use of computers, perhaps it means the modern philosophy of effective and useful use of technology in terms of implementing the promises in education, health, job placement, poverty reduction etc. Therefore, the government underscores a changing attitude, positive thinking and innovative ideas for the success of “Digital Bangladesh”.
While making all the fancy speeches and wordy statements about a Digital Bangladesh, one forgot to mention a tiny little snag that might put a damper on the plan: WE DO NOT EVEN HAVE ELECTRICITY!! For the better part of the year there was an enormous power crisis. Infuriating govt. policies to save power such as one hour of electricity means you have to go without electricity for next to hour. Want gas? Wait in line behind a hundred cars because gas stations are closed from 3 to 9 to save power! I guess only in Bangladesh a govt. can declare a vision for “Digital Bangladesh” and get away with outrageous policies like the ones mentioned above.
Best Moment in Science and Innovation
2010 was a remarkable year to say the least in terms of science and technology. Hawaii based Bangladeshi scientist Maqsudul Alam successfully decoded the jute plant genome opening up a new vista in the development of variety of the world’s most adorned biodegradable natural fibre. Maqsudul Alam, a professor of the University of Hawaii, who earlier decoded the genome of papaya in the US and rubber plant in Malaysia, led from the forefront in sequencing the jute genome. Experts said this gene sequencing would help improve the fibre length and quality, including colours and strength; and develop high yielding, saline soil-and pest-tolerant jute varieties through genetic engineering. For a country which is the second largest exporter of Jute, this innovation could revolutionize Jute cultivation as we know it. Kudo’s to Dr. Maqsudul Alam and his brilliant research team for giving us something to be proud of.
Speaking of science and innovations later this year a Bangladeshi scientist made a ground breaking innovation in medical history: the first ever implantable artificial kidney that can be powered by the human body’s circulatory system. On September 2, 2010 A ten member group of UCSF researchers, led by Dr. Shuvo Roy unveiled a prototype model of the first implantable artificial kidney, in a development that one day could eliminate the need for dialysis. “This device is designed to deliver most of the health benefits of a kidney transplant, while addressing the limited number of kidney donors each year,” said Roy, an associate professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy who specializes in developing micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology for biomedical applications. “This could dramatically reduce the burden of renal failure for millions of people worldwide, while also reducing one of the largest costs in U.S. healthcare.” The technology, which has already been proven to work on the sickest patients, can be feasibly shrunk down to the size of a regular kidney.
Currently Dr. Roy is working on Roy’s goal is to apply silicon fabrication technology, along with specially engineered compartments for live kidney cells, to shrink that large-scale technology into a device the size of a coffee cup. The device would then be implanted in the body without the need for immune suppressant medications, allowing the patient to live a more normal life. Kudos to Dr. Roy for making 2010 a great year not only for Bangladeshis but millions of people worldwide who are sure to benefit from his invention.
Now moving on to more light hearted incidents of the year, which probably won’t make a dent in the course of history but are still memorable nevertheless.
Best “WHAT THE HELL” moment of 2010
Something that can only happen in this fair country of ours; On 17th December a HUGE number of people went “WHAT THE HELL” as the giant screen of the international airport was broadcasting obscenely perverted porn video. The video ran for about 5 whole minutes while some stared, some drooled and some gaped with their jaw hanging open while parents clamped their children’s eyes and ears in horror and our middle eastern brothers made violent gestures and outbursts in very aggressive Arabic. Apparently some genius in the broadcasting room was watching porn and didn’t realize he was on live broadcast. The screen is meant to show cultural programs and documentaries about Bangladesh to educate foreigners about what this country is all about. Well, we sure taught those foreigners a thing or two! The Civil Aviation Authorities acknowledged the incident and issued an official statement only after the incident was tagged in newspapers and online newspapers and went viral on facebook. I guess they were hoping no one would notice pornography playing on a giant HD screen.
The Clash of the Flag Giants (which never happened)
A great thing about this country, we tend to overdo everything. 2010 was the year of the FIFA World Cup, which means more flags of Argentina and Brazil flying all over the place then our own flag during Independence Day. The competition heated up right before June, numerous groups in facebook opened up where Argentine fans could trash talk to Brazil fans and vice versa. Various pictures of messi holding a bodna and kaka doing something very unflattering were posted all over the net. On 2nd June Brazil got knocked off the World cup by a team that never even made it to the finals before, Netherlands. The Brazilian fans were immensely cranky to say the least where Argentine fans rejoiced all over the country. The feud was escalated to the point where some kid in puran Dhaka got drunk and wanted to kill himself while Argentine fans smeared him with rotten eggs. The very next day Argentina got clobbered by the Germans, a tragic 4:0 scoreboard depicted Argentina’s second biggest loss in the history of FIFA world cup. Argentine fans hid under rocks and deactivated their facebook accounts while Brazilian fans rejoiced all over the country claiming “At least Brazil left with some dignity”. After Juner 3rd “ek hali goal” was a common expression that irked Argentine fans to no end.