Thursday, March 17, 2011


The Best Organization Of Boston Society (BOOBS) invites applications for a Faceless Employee. This is a full-time position with great benefits that apparently compensate for the hilariously small annual salary. This role is perfect for someone who loves abuse, passive-aggressive managers, career non-development, self-obsessed co-workers, and abuse. This position is based in Boston, unless it becomes convenient to outsource it somewhere else.

- Nod aggressively at everything the CEO says.
- Answer all e-mails as soon as you get them (optional: read and understand original e-mail first).
- Sacrifice social life to complete assignments that will never see the light of day.
- Lie.
- Destroy the dreams of at least 400 youth.

- An advanced degree in either Pure Bullshit or Gratuitous Sucking-up.
- Inability to stand up for self.
- Inability to detect hypocrisy.

*Preference will be given to candidates who are single and resigned to workplace abuse and discriminatory practices.

To apply: Have lunch/coffee with CEO and fawn over all ideas presented. Bonus points for sending a thank-you e-mail with the words "innovative," "visionary," and "distinguished" included.

We look forward to working with you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lessons Learned

How to Survive as a Faceless Employee in Dhaka

1. Smile! Because no matter what happens, somewhere there is delicious food waiting for you.

2. Think happy thoughts. If someone is being extra annoying, mentally transform them into your favorite animal and pet them, unless your favorite animal is a scorpion / jellyfish / puma / etc.

3. Accept the will of God. When things go horribly wrong, remember that Jesus wants it that way.

4. Take deep breaths. *Not recommended outdoors, where the pollution is so bad your boogers become soot.

5. Overeat! Because anything worth doing is worth overdoing!

Monday, March 14, 2011


JFK gives me only 20 minutes of wifi so I'll make this quick.

ZOMFG I'm so happy to be back in the US. I am skimpily dressed for the weather, with only a long-sleeved shirt and a vest that was too hot to put on back in Dhaka and Dubai. I've been traveling for 20 hours now and smell wonderful. Also, I just gobbled up a tuna salad so my mouth and my 'pits will have to compete for the honor of being Smelliest Body Part.

I cannot wait to pet my poor kitty, who has reportedly been meow-bombing at 5 am since I left. Come to think of it, she does that when I'm home, too...

CNN is covering the Japan disaster pretty thoroughly. I hope my friends in Tokyo are okay. Let's keep praying for everyone who's affected.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just kidding.

I did go. Note: the "V" sign is actually "Y," for you-know-who. Note my Protest Face.

Afterwards, we wandered around Old Dhaka.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Good Man

Everyone has faults, but some people shine brightly enough that we can forgive them for theirs. Personally, I'd say Prof Yunus is one of those people, and I'd say a metric ton of folk, ordinary and high-powered alike, would agree with me. Consider his story: an economics professor so moved by famine and the plight of the poor that he forged a banking institution for them basically from scratch. And he had help, as he freely admits in Banker to the Poor. Others were enthused by his ideas. And so we should be! He said, sure, charity is nice, but why don't we give the poor the tools they need to stand on their own two feet? Let's give them credit, and trust in their abilities and determination to pay back their loans. Let's give them dignity. For founding Grameen Bank, the Philippines honored him with the Ramon Magsaysay Award ("Magsaysay is my guy!"), a full 12 years before the Nobel Committee decided he was Super enough to get their Prize.

The common perception here is that the ousting of Prof Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen is a one-woman rampage of revenge. Apparently, the current Prime Minister is the one deserving of the Nobel Prize. At least, that's what her loyal followers are saying. How canny of her to go silent after she launched the first attack with her "sucking the blood from the poor" speech! She may not be a stateswoman, but she's a politician for sure. And, since she's let her people do all the attacking, in the future she can throw them under the bus and claim that she didn't know they'd go so far. Brava! Brava! World, beware a woman scorned.

Prof Yunus was kind and gracious when I said goodbye to him before leaving the office. Yesterday was my last day at the Centre. If you can judge people by their handshake, then Sir (we usually call him "sir," or DMY -- Dr. Muhammad Yunus) is an Awesome Human Being. I'd say it's the best goodbye handshake I've ever had. It's not the most memorable, though -- that distinction belongs to an Englishwoman who almost crushed my hand at our first meeting. Urgh...

Anyway, since my little blog is SIKROT -- you haven't told anyone, have you? -- I'm almost certain I won't be killed/tear gassed at the human chain tomorrow, at least not for what I've been writing. But if something happens, everything goes to Mark. Just kidding. Except not really. Ha ha ha... (trails off weakly)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another Day, Another Human Chain

Today's human chain calls to mind the deep philosophical question: if people form a chain in a forest and no news media is there to cover it, should they have just stayed in front of their PCs?

No! A thousand times no!

As evidenced by this young woman from Grameen Caledonia College of Nursing (Exhibit A), the benefits of forming human chains outweigh the costs. For one, protesting injustice improves cardiovascular health and muscle strength. Note that Exhibit A is standing very upright (strong abdominal and back muscles) and holding her arms straight (ligaments in excellent condition). She is also smiling, clearly because she is out in the fresh air, thereby enhancing her lung capacity. Finally, her direct gaze into the camera indicates high self-esteem, which in turns points to a direct correlation between standing up for what is right and good physical and mental health.

You too can be an agent of justice and in tip-top condition! Being a single candle in the dark has never been more appealing! Come join the sane bits of Bangladesh society as they nimbly hop out of the way of government's crushing heel!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Human Chain for Prof Yunus

The skinny: everyone at Grameen headquarters went downstairs and formed a human chain along the road. Some folks distributed signs in Bangla that said we strongly protest the court ruling. News cameras tracked the people who held those signs. The police came. Then the riot police came. We stood for an hour and then went back inside peacefully, but not before the people with signs held them up for the cameras.

This is how we little people fight.


Live in Dhaka. The High Court has rejected Prof Yunus' petition.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Funny stuff

Managed to wheedle my way into getting some beer, finally. Here is HUNTER, the "local" beer, but really it's based off Foster from Australia. I'm buzzed so I'm not sure if I'm making this up or not, but the facts are that this beer is mine and it is tasty.

Speaking of facts, the Nobel laureate hullabaloo is at a fever pitch, with yet another court delay adding some delicious uncertainty to the proceedings. Yes, it's not fun if you think your job's on the line (like most folks in the Y Centre), but I am conditioned to believe that I can be fired based on my boss' mood, and so have become very Zen about this whole "job" business.

This brings us to today's Lesson of the Day: the grass is seriously green on the other side of the fence. I fantasize about being jobless and just bumming around all day. But I am now old enough to know there is truth in the saying, "Be careful what you wish for (you just might get it)" -- the phrase in parenthesis comes from a Pussycat Dolls song. Anyway. Here, I go to meetings at embassies, which might sound Glamorous or A Heavy Responsibility, but really they could just send along a cardboard cutout of a penguin and it would achieve the same effect. Ho ho ho.

Still, there are perks, yesterday's being a certain top diplomatic official's random tangent. I was at [CENSORED] yesterday, and the guy was like, "Oh my assistant is alone here, he's looking for a girlfriend," which immediately made me think of that comedy sketch "Nail Salon," where the first question the customer gets asked is, "You have boyfriend?" Haha, what is this obsession with a significant other?

Still, I kind of get it. After being single for a year now, I'm starting to get really weirded out by the idea of intimacy. I'm like, what, we have to share bathrooms? Ewwww. Give me a fluffy kitty any day. Speaking of which, I miss my little girl. It's just not the same, sleeping all the way to 7 am without having whiskers shoved up my nostrils at 5 am.


Blog post done for now.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


As the country recovers from the traumatizing defeat at the hands of the West Indies cricket team last Friday, citizens -- elite and commoners alike -- are in an uproar over Professor Yunus' court case. It was supposed to be decided today, but another petition has been submitted so the order will be passed tomorrow (Monday the 7th). Just type "Yunus" on any search engine to read the latest.

Meanwhile, I finally did what I really came all the way to Bangladesh to do: be Staples. Specifically, the Print & Copy Center of Staples. For you see, I have been promoted from minion to chicklet, meaning I have More Important Things to Do, such as stay up until 12 AM to print stuff and make sure they go in the right packets. (By contrast, minions stay up until 3 AM to print stuff and make sure they go in the right packets; notice the difference?) Then I deliver said packet to the actual Important Person, whom I then accompany to the embassies in case, y'know, someone needs a pen or something (I carry two!!!). Also, I nod and smile at the appropriate moments, which is something chicklets are expected to do very well. Minions are usually never seen or heard, being chained to desks.

The chandelier symbolizes the tears of blood that my heart cried after I discovered I was really a traveling Staples.

Moving on, I learned that it's always great to start the day off horribly, so everything else that happens is cool. Today, for example, the first embassy meeting was at 9, and the car picked me up at 9:04. Brilliant. Then, 20 minutes later, the driver stopped to ask directions because he had no idea where he was going. Well, gosh, neither did I.

It didn't help that I had a cold and I think half my brains dripped out of my nose at around 8:30 am. Also, since complaining is fun -- unless you're listening to someone else and then it's annoying -- let me add that I have woken up with a sore throat two days in a row. Now, this is what I usually look like. My lack of picture-taking skills using the front-facing camera on the iPhone also cleverly conceals the fact that I have gotten chubbier from all the greasy food here, especially since my helper revealed that she can make french fries. Also, ghee. I was at a friend's house staring at what I presumed to be a jar of lard when I was told about this magical dairy product, which Wikipedia says is butter. And yes, the lard was ghee. Everything I eat has ghee in it. EVERYTHING.

I digress. When I'm sick, this is what I look and feel like. It's really not fun being unwell. Thank the Lord every day for your health because health is seriously wealth! Feeling like someone punched you in the throat from inside your throat is not fun. However, I am happy to report that I am feeling better as of right now, because I just came back from shopping, and it's the weekend for Boston so I am being left alone! Ah, bliss!

This blog post makes no sense to me, either. I should go to bed, after eating more french fries.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Venting through comics

Sometimes, humor is the only way to go on.

Banana Productions presents:

"Up Mine"
A Faceless Employee comic

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oh, royalty

Today a scanner gate greeted us as we tried to get into SIKROT office. Everyone had to line up and give up our bags for checking before stepping through the scanner. Being foreign and therefore upstanding global citizens, we got through without our bags being opened. We also passed a bunch of snazzily-dressed MIBs (Men In Black); see photo.

Turns out Princess Anne (UK) is here for her three-day visit. Here's the article in the local news. Now, based on personal observation, there are three VIP classes: VIP, VVIP, and YAP (You Are Pondscum). Since I wasn't actively harassed, nor did I get a feeling of impending doom, I'd say the Princess is VVIP, which is good, because the YAP classification should really be reserved for clubs in LA.

Oh, royalty...


I have a question: why do they say "meteoric rise" to describe someone's ascent through life/work? Don't we know about meteors because they plunge into our atmosphere to deliver Kryptonian babies? Shouldn't it be "meteoric fall," or possibly "meteoric FAIL"?