Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'Bangladesh'

The Simple Can Be So Difficult

December 27th, 2012 · No Comments

A few days before Christmas, a milestone of sorts was reached at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology: for the first time ever, a few eggs were cooked on a kerosene stove. This was significant not because of the quality of the meal produced, but rather because the stove generated eight watts of electricity […]

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Simple Things

August 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

As I have previously explored, Bangladesh has some of the world’s most lethal roads. The nation’s motor vehicle-related fatality rate is about fifty times greater than in any Western country. As this piece makes clear, that sad fact is creating a massive drag on the Bangladeshi economy: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road […]

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Half Past Never

November 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Stealing a day to write before picking up Microkhan Jr. from preschool. Back tomorrow with something on the evolution of bomb-squad armor.

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Mass Hysteria in Bangladesh

July 12th, 2011 · 4 Comments

One of the issues I’ll be exploring in my next book is the notion of psychological epidemics. How do certain behaviors go viral, and how do the arcs of such epidemics mirror those of their physiological counterparts? To this point, a lot of my research has focused on incidents of mass hysteria, which are endlessly […]

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Justice Too Swift

July 6th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Years back, in an effort to quell football fan violence, authorities in Philadelphia set up a courtroom at Veterans Stadium, so that drunken brawlers could be punished within minutes of being arrested. Sure, such a legal arrangement wasn’t in the constitutional spirit, since the accused weren’t permitted legal representation or a chance to review the […]

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Dodging Zeus

July 5th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Virtually every ancient mythological system included a deity who was fond of hurling lightning bolts at unfortunate humans. Concocting the notion of such violence-from-above certainly took little imagination on the folklorists’ parts, since lightning fatalities were commonplace in bygone times. In fact, as the chart above shows, it is not until quite recently that the […]

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Copywronged

June 7th, 2011 · No Comments

The passing of Bangladeshi pop idol Azam Khan is notable not just because he was an all-around champ—a former guerrilla fighter turned platinum-selling artist—but also due to the fact that he exited this world with barely a taka to his name. In fact, Khan had to suspend his cancer treatments in Singapore because he couldn’t […]

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A Different Kind of Road Rage

April 12th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Because Bangladesh’s public institutions are rickety at best, frustrated citizens often feel as if they have no choice but to resort to vigilantism. That’s certainly been the case in regards to the country’s abysmal road safety situation, as the police seldom exhibit any interest punishing drivers who mow down pedestrians or rickshaw pullers. The result […]

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The Rickshas Tell All

January 20th, 2011 · No Comments

I’m a big fan of the theory that the key to understanding societal shifts is to pay close attention to the art of the everyday. A Chinese politician who may or may not have been Deng Xiaoping is credited with summarizing this logic during the sunset of Mao Zedong’s reign, when he was asked to […]

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The Trick of a Dreadful Trade

April 9th, 2010 · 5 Comments

We realize you need no convincing that life in a Bangladeshi brothel is beyond abysmal. But this NGO’s dispatch from the frontlines of the South Asian nation’s flesh trade is still a stunner. As if a prostitute’s lot in life wasn’t bad enough already, there is now tremendous pressure on brothel employees to warp their […]

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The Seeds of Blowback

March 19th, 2010 · 1 Comment

The Chittagong Hill Tracts rarely make the Western news, unless they’re being invaded by wave after wave of hungry rodents. But there is a great deal of conflict in that remote corner of southeastern Bangladesh, an area traditionally inhabited by tribes that are ethnically distinct from the nation’s Bengali majority. As settlers have moved into […]

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Six Months for a Jest

November 16th, 2009 · No Comments

The Danes are not alone in their ability to infuriate pious Muslims with drawings. A Bangladeshi cartoonist has just been sentenced to six months in prison for a work deemed blasphemous. The original kerfuffle occurred two years ago, when Arifur Rahman’s cartoon sparked riots in Dhaka. The offending artwork can be glimpsed here. The translation […]

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Even More on the Venom Trade

September 22nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

On the heels of yesterday’s post about the snake-catching monopoly enjoyed by India’s Irula people, we thought we’d turn our gaze slightly east and see who runs the reptile round-ups in neighboring Bangladesh. Though the erstwhile East Pakistan has no formal caste system, its society does tend to frown on a semi-nomadic people known as […]

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Vital Boost or Glass Ceiling?

June 24th, 2009 · No Comments

As we walked across Little Senegal this morning, a throng of devout Muslim men got us thinking about Bangladesh. That may sound like a non sequitur, but our internal logic went something like this: Though most Islamic societies obviously feature male-dominated governments (note, for example, that all of Iran’s mullahs are male), Bangladesh’s two leading […]

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Sippin’ Sizzurp in Dhaka

June 18th, 2009 · 8 Comments

The preferred tipple of DJ Screw and Big Moe is making serious inroads in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the paramilitary force responsible for enforcing the nation’s drug laws is suspected of carrying out the extrajudicial murders of university students—killings that the government euphemistically refers to as “encounters.”

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The Greening of Shipbreaking?

March 25th, 2009 · 3 Comments

A surprise court decision in Bangladesh may shutter the nation’s vast shipbreaking industry, at least temporarily. The judges were swayed by arguments made by the Bandladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, who have long contended that the industry is among the planet’s dirtiest. Indeed, you probably don’t want to know what happens to the guts of a […]

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The Rodents’ Revenge

March 2nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

Bangladesh has its fair share of problems nowadays, including the aftermath of a bloody mutiny and a shaky transition back to democracy. Since the world can only process so much Bangladeshi news at once, some equally troubling stories have yet to receive the attention they deserve. Exhibit number one: A massive rat infestation in the […]

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