Well, it turns out I’m a bit of an ignoramus when it comes to politics in Bangladesh (and Australia for that matter). The caretaker government here are currently preparing for a general election which will then decide the next government. At the end of October, the BNP government collapsed after 100 leaders left to join another party, the Liberal Democratic Party. So the new party is going to stand against the BNP and the other major political parties in the next election, due in January. Adding to this, the Awami League have not accepted the caretaker government. If Chobi Mela had been scheduled earlier, I don’t think we international visitors would have been able to get into the country.
In other news, French head-butter Zinedine Zidane has arrived in Dhaka to rebuild his profile as a caring, sharing sort of fellow, Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death by hanging, and Bangladesh is now the number one supplier of denim clothing to Europe. Now that’s something to think about when you’re contemplating your next pair of Tsubis, fashionistas.
Today I felt like a bit of a fifth wheel at DRIK and everyone looked a little more frazzled. I accompanied Robert Pledge to the office and asked Reza a few questions about the installation. There is a problem at the National Museum because the caretaker government has made Tuesday a holiday, so being bureaucrats, the museum staff naturally can’t come in to work. So Robert is also naturally a bit concerned about the turnaround time for the installation of Contact Press’ show. When I left he was working with Reza and other members of the team towards ironing-out a few issues about the space before they get into it on Wednesday.
The framed works for Trent’s show are due to arrive at DRIK tonight, by “midnight express” as Robert commented, and we could possibly start to install the work tomorrow. Reza (who is being incredibly helpful, despite all of the stress around him) is using phrases like “the situation is in control” and then running around talking to multiple staff at once and answering two phones that never stop ringing. I am wholly assured by his affirmations…not! In Bengali, you use nā at the end of a sentence to make it a negative. So you can sound like a Valley Girl if you leave enough of a pause. Āmi bānglā jāni… nā!
So I took a walk back to Ambrosia via some main streets and I’m plucking up the courage for a solo shopping adventure early morning.