10. NOTES

BLUE ROOM
Bones of Xindian: Usually pronounced as Zeendeean but also by wags as Ex-Indian. Dorky restaurant on Dhanmondi Road 27, smashed by rioters on Day 3. Later these ‘civillian’ targets were used to argue that riots had degenerated from anti-government to score-settling.

No Signal: All mobile phone networks were shut off from 4-6, the 2 hours that curfew was lifted. You could shop, but you couldn’t call fellow rioters.

I Didn’t Want To Sit: I thought of inserting Otobi (largest corporate furniture company in Dhaka) in thetitle, but since I already had 2 restaurants and superstore Agora, one more would just run over the lawsuit line.

All You People: I have to defend Micheline. When she said “all you people look alike”, it’s in line with black/brown post-pc riffs we always do together. But Nader Rahman’s review slammed her, not taking it as whimsy (I think he also didn’t realize from the image that she’s black, although he may respond “doesn’t matter”).

That Felt Good: Orgasmically good. It took surprisingly long time to smash the phone, old bulky Nokias were tough! While I was in swing, the gallery manager came in quite concerned. He’s in the background.

SOCCER ROOM
Army Leaves Dhaka University Gym
A very trivial matter: The 2007 riots started at a soccer match on Dhaka University campus grounds. The Army had taken over the university gym since 1/11. A few soldiers came to watch the game, and got into an argument over an open umbrella (yes, bizarre). Suddenly the soldiers started beating up one student. Lit match on gasoline. The campus exploded, and by 7 in the evening smashed cars, fire everywhere on campus. Stunned by the ferociousness of the riots, the Army actually withdrew from the gym by the next day. At a press conference, a senior officer said “the whole thing started over a trivial matter”. But sports is never trivial and this is not the first field-to-street conflagration.

For those who know their google map, the armed reds are guarding Cantonment, and the unarmed yellow bees…well.

GREEN ROOM
The Sign Said Stop, so err I Didn’t: From the Pantha Path barricades.

Something Happening In The Air: Those who were in the Flying Circus project in Vietnam know where this came from. 🙂

Hello Moto, Where’s Your Wall On Facebook?: From a conversation with Zaid on Facebook after I posted this image–>
Z: Hello Moto, where’s your wall on Facebook?
N: I shut off my wall. Don’t believe in this corporate shit of Facebook..
Z: You’re on Facebook, sweetheart
Shahreen (my cousin): well said..haha

Yes, that wall is not in Dhaka, but it could be, one day, nu?

SHOPPING ROOM
Superstore: Hijacked version of Agora superstore’s logo. I reworked it to say “Aroggo”, which is high-falutin Bangla for “getting well”.

RED ROOM
Bones of Four Seasons: Another restaurant victim of collateral damage. This one a Chinese restaurant called, naturally and without permission, Four Seasons. Oh, and just to confuse further, Xindian (few panels back) also serves “Chinese” food. I originally called this Killing a Chinese Bookie, but found out later the owner is er..not Chinese

It must be true, I heard it on TV: The image is taken off that night’s TV news, where state TV enacted wonderland, and private channels blasted wall-to-wall riot coverage.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep: This really is my mobile phone, after getting smashed (accident!) from hitting a taxicab door. This is the last image I took with it before the whole thing gave out.

NO CAKE
No Cake, Eat GPA 5.0: The SSC is the national examination after 10th grade, the HSC after 12th grade. Two decades ago, 50% or more students used to fail. We also had an arcane system of 1st/2d/3d division, Letter (getting over 80 in one subject), Star Mark (750 marks), and Stand (coming in 1-20th in the entire country). It was a brutal meritocracy which destroyed souls. I know classmates who were shattered by SSC results and never recovered (especially those with sky-high parental pressure).

About ten years ago, Bangladesh switched to an American-modeled GPA system, and an examination system with easier questions, more multiple choice. Pass rates started rising. This year, the SSC pass rate was over 70%, an all-time record. Behind the scenes, conspiracy theorists said the CTG government had given instructions for liberal grading of papers because the country needed “good news” to distract from food price crisis and the deadlock over “transition to democracy”. I wish these conspiracies were in play when I was in 10th grade.

Urban legend is that former PM Khaleda Zia (head of the rightist BNP) popularized the ubiquitous V sign at political rallies. The legend is fed by party loyalists. Who knows how it entered Dhaka teenbeat and into the schools as shorthand for ‘mom I passed’.

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