Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The beautiful thing about my jobs now is that I spend my time helping people. I teach, I reach out to people that no one has reached out to, I make my little contribution to making the world a fairer place.

Is that cotton-fluffy enough for you yet?

But it is a beautiful thing, and it is frustrating as you slowly discover just how damn difficult things can be. My worries and problems have always been about me. Not enough time, not smart enough, not enough discipline etc.

I will never understand what it is like to have problems that I can't do anything about.

The only female student in my class revealed today that she had been out of sorts all day and uncharacteristically gloomy because her parents are trying to force her into marriage. At the age of 21, she's not about to give in without a fight. "What can I do?" she said rhetorically.

But she held back her tears and she tried to contain her anguish under a sweet smile and tried to reassure me, another female just barely older than her and a girl will never understand what it is like to be a girl in this country, that "I will manage. No problem, I will manage." And I can just barely begin to fathom what she has had to manage in her life.

And I have been corresponding painfully with a photographer in Africa, and I can't imagine how he translates my English but Google Translate is taking care of his letters in French.

I will never understand what it is like to be in his shoes, but I have to try my best to anyway. Lost images taken by European agencies with no way of getting it back, no fucking internet unless at a cafe and really I don't want to know how much they charge for it there. And yet, a talented photographer that has exhibited at Noordelicht, no less, but still in this same shitty condition.

This is a heartbreaking business, but I'm quite glad and willing to have my heart broken this way.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Miss Her.

Her Evilness

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rinse and Repeat


Go here and then click on the Majority World link to see what I've been up to.

Am rather exhausted.

Waiting for alms

But probably not as exhausted as him.

And probably not as exhausted as those behind the petition to repeal 377A. Feeling very empty after reading the news reports on it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I have to go because now that I am eating regularly again I actually get hungry. I kinda miss my days of non-food reliance. The diet didn't last long.

So, Trond and Rajiv decked out in their "finest" for Eid while I plainly forgot that women are supposed to be adorned and appeared at the house in my grubby clothes. This is akin to showing up at Chinese New Year visiting in your pajamas.

Merry Christmas to you too

But truth be told, I had nothing to wear even if I wanted to dress up. All I brought are grubby things and I'm feeling too miserly to go buy nice clothes.

As a result, one of Rajiv's relatives stopped in her tracks when she saw me. She pointed at me and said to Eli (Trond's fiance), "Girl?" With raised eyebrows and shocked/bemused chuckle.

Quite the compliment, I must say. And I am not being sarcastic.

And then these are some Kushtia photos. Have better onces (in my opinion) but... am hungry.

Lalon Festival


The town breaks out in merriment and a festive glow especially in the areas near the Lalon Mazar. Whole lot of sitting around and doing nothing and listening to people sing Lalon songs all days long. Oh and eating, of course.

Rock Star

And then, there was the River.

Gorai Nodi

Gorai Nodi

Will get around to editing the rest at some point in my life, I'm sure.

And my father sent me a bunch of photos of cats as per my request, and as the thumbnails in Gmail started to load slowly I smiled and laughed at the antics I saw and they were mostly of the third and second cat.

Some thumbnails didn't load though and I had to download the whole batch to view them. And I was just smiling stupidly to myself, scrolling through the pics and I reached the ones that didn't load properly in thumbnail before and they were of her and I swear someone must have cast a spell on me because this cat has a ridiculous hold over me and when I saw her face I just burst into tears. And I still do. So I can't look at this photo.


I want to be her paw.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Manyhow, Anywhen

Trond and Eli left this morning. I feel quite sorry that they live so far away and have to put up with an insane amount of air travel and plane switching, and very sorry that they had such a spate of bad luck here that both were admitted into the hospital (not at the same time, thank goodness) and even though they're alright now it must SUCK to have to go back earlier than you expected.

I hope I do not have to see the inside of the hospital here. Fingers crossed.

As it is I can barely breathe at night because of my rabid obsession with ridding the room of mosquitos and I think I should do some research on the long term effects of breathing in the smoke from mosquito coils.

My hatred of mosquitos is at an all-time high. Little fuckers.

Other than that, we finally got a stove which made me do a celebratory dance around the empty apartment because I want my EGGS and I want them NOW. Awesome.

Kushtia was fun in a way that doesn't make you go COOL AND AWESOME. It was fun because it was different and I had to discard my traditional standards of cleanliness.There is no Dirt. Really there isn't.

Plus I'm always bullshitting about how I like roughing it out.

Also, I can now boast that I slept in a small room with eight guys and nothing happened.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Off to Kushtia. Again.

Haven't had the proper chance to write a proper entry because of all the ruckus what with the moving in and the looming project deadlines.

But I leave tonight for Kushtia, Khulna to attend the Lalon Shah festival which I did two years ago but without my digital camera. I'm not too sure if there will even be a difference, but we'll see.

Moving house was a nightmare. It was the third day of continuous rain, always threatening to pour and drizzling constantly. I had already moved the smaller suitcase (filled with food) a couple of days back, and it took me about 2 to 3 days to make sure the lights and fan were properly installed.

So when it came to the big day, I had to lug a hug suitcase in the rain across town. There was a lot of waiting involved, mainly for the rain to subside.

I must admit, that while I was finally squeezed into the CNG with my suitcase, that I felt downright miserable. But in a good way, I suppose. Life is way too easy in Singapore and my pampered ass is getting whooped real good.

I was wondering how in the hell I would get the suitcase across the alley way (too narrow for vehicles to stop and there's no sheltered concourse) and then up to my room (I live a couple of storeys up, sans elevator) since it was so heavy I could barely walk a couple of steps with it.

Then the nice night watchman promptly came to my rescue in the rain, heaving the suitcase up onto his head and brought it all the way to my room. Easy-peasy. I was laughing because sometimes the Bangladeshis really do have all the best solutions.

I used to live in a more suburban part of the city, where things are slightly more orderly (as orderly as Dhaka could get), and next to a main road.

My new place is located in the heart of a not-so-suburban area, but still relatively better compared to the older parts of the city.

This is akin to moving from Sengkang to Geylang, I suppose.

And because of Eid and work, I have been fasting for the last three days. Ok, semi-fasting. I had my first meal of the day at roughly 9 pm every night, and I think its amazing-fabulous because I did not feel hungry the whole day (I drank water, which is why it was semi-). I just did not realise that I could survive on so little food.

Although I did end up behaving like an energy-deprived zombie, so there's no fun in that.

Nothing else much to say, only that I have proven myself right in believing that there is just no logic or rationality behind the chemistry between two people. Language schmanguage.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bedside Picnic.

Haven't had time to post. Moved into new place. No internet in the house. Work is piling up in mountains. Eid is almost over. Rained for three days. Back to hot now.

House is ok, empty. Roommate is nice, but language barrier poses problems. No stove yet so no cooking yet.

Having a hangover because I had too much of my own bottle of tequila yesterday. Feeling shitty, hence the shitty post. Rather inappropriate considering the muslim festivities going on.

But it was a nice picnic by the bed.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ami amar biral ti kay miss korei.

So the lights are working (finally), and the fan is fixed (finally) and the bed is there - which mean I'm all ready to move in.

This would be my first bona fide apartment, since hall doesn't really count. I didn't expect to have to fix up an entire room from scratch, learn about where the hell to get ceiling fans from, how many locks it takes for a house to be considered safe, and why a 10TK starter is a world of difference from a 5TK starter.

Really, having lights and a fan made me squeal like crazy.

Plus I'm making a trip to stock up on alcohol tomorrow, so things are looking up. So even if the power gets cut again tomorrow (like the previous two nights), I'll be christening the dark and hot room with a good strong drink.

Although I kinda wish I had one right now to say goodbye to this guestroom and its lovely aircon in the corner.

And if you're going to visit, let me just say first that furniture and electrical appliances such as a fridge or television WAY overrated. At least I've figured out that basic living means having lights, fan, bed, working toilet.

I'll probably be able to wriggle out a table and chair from some place, I think.

Oh, and the sentence above means "I miss my cat very much." Which I do. I could be an actress here, really, because all I have to do is conjure up her face and I can cry on demand. It is stupid, but it's true! I've been testing myself at various times and various locations and it really works!


I told him that he stressed me out because he had accomplished so much in life.

And I really was jealous. In a healthy way, but still jealous, nonetheless. The places he has gone, the things he had done. I explained to him that I have high expectations of myself this trip because everything I've done so far seem to have ended in a failure of some sort. And I know I shouldn't have such expectations so at least then there'd be nothing to fail. But I can't really help it.

And then he held up his wrist to show it to me, and told me that high expectations can be a dangerous thing.
UPDATE: Just had the first lesson at the university. This is just so fucking difficult.

Ok Jess is in whiny mode for the next couple of days while she does some serious character-building exercises. Pardon all the angst please, people.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I had the internet, water supply and electricity die on me in the span of one hour.


Anyway, great article below from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Singapore, a friend indeed to Burma

The island-state may have much to lose if Burma's generals don't retain control, writes Eric Ellis.

SINGAPORE is not just skilled at mandatory executions of drug traffickers, running an excellent airport and selling cameras on Orchard Road. It also does a very useful trade keeping Burma's military rulers and their cronies afloat.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Goods Transport

So everyone says that I'm fat now. They don't mince their words here.

"Jessica! You are fat!"

I am not only fat, I'm also a mess of perspiration. I can feel it under my scalp, tiny waterfalls, all freakin day long. Its not particularly hotter than Singapore, and I really don't know why its so bad.

The locals say they don't sweat because it's fasting month and they don't drink water.

I want fasting month to be over. I can't be politically correct about consuming my water for much longer. Feeling embarassed because I'm thirsty and then disappearing off for a few minutes to drink in isolation. I just don't want to offend anyone or make their fasting even more difficult than it already is.

Rain Play

Before I left one of my (many) mentors (self-proclaimed, they've no idea) told me to "shoot my ass off".

Seeing how my job is more or less desk/classroom-bound, I think I'm going to have to.

By the way, I am loving my job more and more. I've always thought I'd only be fulfilled in a job that requires me to shoot all day. Well that's true, but I think other things could fulfil me as well, and this would be one of them.

Doing something I believe in. Who'd have thought.

So I spied the four thrashing around in water as I sought shelter (both literally and metaphorically, I do miss my capitalist comforts) at a restaurant. I ran across in the rain as soon as I found a plastic bag (not so easy in this country) but they saw me and stopped.

So I gave in, happily, to their camera-whoring. My feet were soaked in mud and the rainwater seeped into my hair and my camera was about to drown and still the euphoria of getting back in the game was worth it.

Char at Night

Goodnight. I'm exhausted.