Ball, bribe, birthday, bridges and beef | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:03 PM, August 07, 2017

Ball, bribe, birthday, bridges and beef

It had been heralded last month that Bangladesh has moved up two notches in FIFA ranking. Wow! You sit up to bask in the glory that we could be, say thirty-forty places behind Germany or Brazil, Spain if you fancy Flamenco, because in a classroom situation that's how at worse fares the untalented, inattentive and unruly student. They make great “politicians” though.

Owing to my sports journalism experience, not to my surprise though, I find that we are one hundred and ninetieth (as of yesterday). That's a lot of football-playing countries. Not many, including those with other humbug backgrounds know that there can be so many countries in the world. Now, thanks to Bafufe's uphill playing field, we know there are at least 192. The attentive geography student will tell you there are about 220 topographical expanses identified as countries.

With Bangladesh Football Federation's (that's Bafufe in Bangla) development programme, competition schedule and international performance at arguably their lowest ebb, the only reason we had moved up two places was because some other countries slipped more than us. While we can sympathise with those fallen foreign counterparts, we owe them a big thank you.

Infield skill and off-the-pitch organisational management do not always reside in the same person. The world does not have too many instances of great players graduating to become successful administrators.

It is better not to draw the parable of France's iconic footballer Michel Platini. As an administrator, look where he has dragged his boss, the equally disgraced president of the world body, Sepp Blatter, serving a six-year ban from FIFA since 2015. Lesson learnt: a footballer should keep his eye on the ball.

Another newsflash that belies arithmetic is an officer arrested cash-handed while receiving Tk 13 lakh from a desperate job-seeker. As a school teacher, the briber's earnings would be around Tk 10,000–20,000 including salary and private tutoring. What he can save after paying for rent, bills and other monthly expenses is as simple as two plus two. Assuming that he is not eating half the month, remains a bachelor, strictly no dates, and lives and eats off his rich father-in-law, he may save around two grand. Oh, and no smoking.

If you are bothered how he could be unmarried and still have in-laws, it gives me immense pleasure because you are paying attention. In doing maths, that is necessary.

It would take the teacher, teaching his students not to take ghush, about 50 years to recover the bribe money. Of course, the payback time could be reduced considerably if he asked for pecuniary help for helping his beloved students with leaked question papers and undeserved enhanced grades. Or if he married a working woman, who hopefully got a job without spending a penny.

This should have been sad even if it was the only stray case. But, there are other teachers doing likewise. Earlier in May 2017 the Anti-Corruption Commission caught an inspector of the Education Ministry red-handed while he was taking Tk 2 lakh bribe from a school headmaster, helpless he may have been. Lesson learnt: you can't get caught if you want to be a teacher.

Once upon a time birthday parties were fun. They ought to be. Cake cutting at 5pm, okay 10pm, but the house was full of people. I have never been part of a couple in a dark room at a birthday party. These days are not good for birthdays. Some birthday boys, not man enough though, seem to have this spoilt-child understanding that their big day is a license to invite girls over well after dinnertime with malintentions. What appears more surprising is that there are girls willing or enticed to land up at such hellish situations, often with bag and baggage. Lesson learnt: don't go unless the guy knows no means no. The question is how you will know.

One certain way is not to tread into unknown waters; actually I mean property. If you do not know each other, meet at daytime in a public place. Oh! So you are working. In that case it should be early to bed, your own bed. 

Another tactic is to fix an early time for dinner, always healthy, and maintain that schedule when some half-known guy or a stranger is having a do. If a known guy jumps around and starts fooling around without as much as consent, revert him to 'unknown' status.

Yet another policy is not to be invited or to accept an invitation over telephone. When talking face-to-face, you can in most cases observe and infer from a person's attitude, eye story and body language unless he is some actor and can act his way through. But, a woman can see through a man like muslin unless she is hand-in-glove with the late-night sojourn.

A collapse is not a happy sight. Exception being the tumbling of wickets when your side is fielding. This bridge in Chittagong did not actually collapse. But we Bangalees thrive on exaggeration. It was reported in mid-July that a 60-ft bridge on Dhopachharhi Canal (Chandanaish Upazila, Chittagong) costing Tk 60 lakh was on the verge of collapse about two months after it was built. Now that's bad news for people looking forward to improved communication. However, as bad construction would have it, huge cracks surfaced within three weeks.

The local MP missed a golden opportunity to show off that it was his dream come true for the welfare of the people, as pledged at election rallies by all the candidates. But, in order to do that, he had to ensure beforehand through local coordination that all aspects of bridge construction were being maintained. Oh! Is that not his work? Well, neither is refusing to inaugurate a sagging bridge. 

It is a disaster of sorts and appropriately so because the bridge was built (or was it?) under a disaster management ministry project. Lesson learnt again and again: Never compromise on technical support in technological works.

I will be very brief about my final B because it is beyond my understanding. Reported in NDTV (India), July 10: Maharashtra's specially trained policemen will be equipped with a kit (cost: 8,000 rupees) to instantly test whether meat that they have seized is beef or not. For God's sake, ask me!


Nizamuddin Ahmed is a practising architect at BashaBari Ltd., a Commonwealth Scholar and a Fellow, a Baden-Powell Fellow Scout Leader, and a Major Donor Rotarian.


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