June 27, 2007

"Made in Bangladesh" - from Clothes to Personalized Homepages

When I was young (and it is quite far off and not as recent as I like to pretend), there was this distinct feeling in the air that "Made in Bangladesh" was somehow not good enough. The 90s saw that memorable TV ad in which a father comes back from that oft-visited place called "abroad"/"bidesh" and hands out gifts. With typical bad acting, all the recipients of said gifts feign surprise when they find out that they were "Made in Bangladesh" (MIB).

The 90s saw a new born belief in Bangladesh and its abilities, culminating in the 2000s where almost every advertisement on television is draped in the red and green. So it surprised me when a good friend of mine expressed reservations about wearing MIB as recently as last summer after my annual Bongo Bajar/ Dhaka College shopping spree. How far this was a class issue (after all, she was wearing stuff from Westecs, also MIB), and how far this was the old colonial hangover I couldn't tell. A bit of both I suspected. It is definitely an elite issue. Since the elite have economic and social trend-setting power, making them consumers par excellence, this makes it an important factor for entrepreneurs to reckon with.

And it is a colonial hangover. It wasn't for nothing that Gandhi spun his own cloth. True, the immediate purpose was to break the monopoly of British textiles. But the long-term impact on the Indian psyche has been to rid them of the shame of consuming Indian, at least among the elite.

Bangladeshi entrepreneurs toil under this burden. Given two equally good choices between a Deshi and a bideshi product, most of my generation would choose the bideshi one. Most of the time of course, we were given a choice between a far superior foreign product and a very mediocre MIB product. BTV, with its unintentionally funny ads as described above and even funnier news, is a good example of this.

Clothes however do not fall into this category. Bangladesh pretty much clothes the entire world. What we don't do is make Armani shirts. Maybe we do, but "they" put in the logo and reap the profits when our elites buy them.

Here we come to the thorny issue of cultural products. Whose "culture" is better? Is English/bideshi music and movies really better than Bangla ones (no to the former, yes to the latter; it's simply a matter of taste and there's no right or wrong when it comes to that)? Whose brands are better? I used to know people who would wear nothing but Nike and would probably gouge their eyes out anything else MIB. Yes, it was that intense.

Needless to say, I wear my MIB clothes pretty proudly in foreign lands. True, I don't have a swish or a union jack showing, but I find I can live without such symbols. I, however, refuse to wear lungis. No cultural inferiority there (I hope), just never got used to them.

Recently, I've been hearing a lot about Pageflakes. 3rd world view did an entry on it last month which tickled my curiosity. It’s a personalized home page, with different modules known as "flakes" allowing you to build it up from scratch and individualize it to your heart’s content.

What really got me interested is the fact that their Chief Technology Officer is Bangladeshi. 3rd world view also reports that 18 Bangladeshis currently work for it, while Patricia from Underdogs Fight Back tells us that 3 Bangladeshi engineers were the original core developers. Bangladesh Corporate Blog mentions it when it wonders if a Bangladeshi MNC is ever going to be possible (incidentally, they forgot to mention by name the one city in which a truly Bangladeshi MNC would need to base itself in. No points for guessing which city.)

So here’s my small request to my readers. I’m not urging you to use personalized home pages (I don’t). I’m not urging you to switch from one in which you’re comfortable. I’m not urging you to sign up for an inferior product out of patriotism (economic nationalism is over-rated and passe). I’m simply saying that if you’re thinking of starting a personalized home page, you MIGHT consider consuming something MIB over Google or Yahoo. At least till some red and green seeps into the top tiers of those companies too!

In the meantime, I’ll see what I can do about the lungi-phobia.

93 comments:

Fugstar said...

im a flagrant violater of londoner dress codes and flaunt futwas, sherwanis and panjabis on a daily basis... if its cold i will don a magrabi jedi cape. not because of love of the sahaba, more sheer ummahtocultural vanity.

the deshi-bideshi thing bothers me a great deal. today i wanted to buy honey. I doubted my ability to get genuine deshi-sundarbani honey, so i got a foreign import.

at home, i see clothes that are made in desh, but usually they are of the budget variety and if thats what im buying, thats what ill get. though i have mixed feelings about the rmg industry.

sometimes nationalising consumer habits can only promote rubbishness(ie. biman). I really am looking for the nice stuff, but at the end of the day i dont really buy much other than food , transport and books.
anyway, thanks for page flakes.

now bring me an autonomous culture of science!

Purple said...

Liking Bangla movies is definitely wrong, especially if they're from Desh.

asif said...

"Ummahtocultural vanity" - live it to you to coin words like that. Heheh... yeah I used to wear this Kashmiri cap to Eid prayers back home and got some pretty weird stares may I add. The same stares I get when I wear my punjabi on Eid day. My mother has made sure that she has given one for every Eid I've been away from home. They're piling up fast!

Purple, would you count Matir Moina in that too?:) Nahh I stand by my statement. It's a matter of taste. I cannot objectively and in good conscience tell someone that "Beder Meye Josna" (typical Dhaliwood fare) is worse than "Die Hard" or even "Remains of the Day". All art really is a matter of taste.

Sajid said...

Hm. My roommate, who's a Literature guy, is big on high art and low art. For example, he listens to Hindustani and Western classical and eschews a lot of stuff that plays on my ITunes. I gradually broke him into some Indian Ocean and Junoon. But he insists that some artistic productions are more "learned" than others. To be honest, I haven't thought this through, and I am probably divided on this.

Btw, we've restarted our blog.

CHECK IT.

Sajid said...

Forgot to type the link.
http://addafication.com

Anthony said...

Hmmm.... I had to read the post a number of times to make sure that I understood it. Some observations.

1. Preferring bideshi item over deshi one may be elitism/colonial hangover. But there is also a simpler, economic, explanations. The purpose of a brand is to signal information about its quality. Bideshi brands signalled quality. For most of our lives (and those of our parents) bideshi manufactured products were of higher quality. So even if a deshi product has exactly the same quality as its bideshi counterpart, given history (and uncertainty about the quality), it is rational for the typical consumer to choose the bideshi good. A consumer will only buy the deshi product when it is head and shoulder above the bideshi one.

2. What constutes superior culture? Man, why even raise a question like that?

3. Notwithstanding number 2, I can offer my personal experience on Bangladeshi movies. After a decade abroad, I returned to Dhaka in late 1999. I wanted to brush up on the 'ancholik' Bangla and thought Dhallywood would do the trick. This didn't really help me with Bangla, but it did endear me to house helps (result being extra pampering of the 'bideshi bhaijan'), and I came to really enjoy the movies. Fast forward to Jan 2007 and a DVD shop in Rifle Square. I asked for Bangla movies. The guy at the counter said 'ei sir-ke classic boi dekha'. I said 'bhai classic chai na, commercial nai?' The poor guy couldn't believe that any 'bhodroloke' would want that stuff.
I did manage to buy 'Sujon shokhi', 'Rongbaaz', 'Rupban' 'Teen konna', 'Dossu Banhur', 'Masud Rana' and 'Pitch dhala pothe'. Bangla cinema zindabad!

asif said...

Anthony,

Sorry for the late response. Kinda forgot this comment of yours, which was as challenging as usual.

1. Yes, I'm aware of that angle of the brand argument. Which is why I focussed mainly on clothes, which is sometimes the same in Bongo as in Bologna. The difference is seriously the logo, which rather than symbolising a brand and the information it carries about quality/durability etc., has come to symbolise prestige. And how prestige is determined is slightly dependent on the postcolonial dynamics you had to admit. More Veblen and less von Neumann-Morgenstern, I'm afraid ;).

2. I confess, nothing but the simple desire to create some controversy and get some roaring responses. Sadly, I seem to have failed.

3. Good on you mate! 'Cause frankly we need to revive Dhaliwood. Enough of this arthouse-matinee dichotomy bullshit. Bring your blog's fantasies to Dhaka and we'll see what we can do!:D

L said...

I am looking for clothes from Bangala because i am going on a trip in august any sudgustions?please email me asap!

holdingontochrist@gmail.com
thanks a bunch!

Sincerely,
Laura H

web wings said...

it s a very creative thought an attractive idea for people those who are looking for online jobs. Your thoughts and idea gives opportunity to earn money.
VISIT : http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

web wings said...

I have read this blog and I found it interesting . It’s a great web site promoting online jobs, if you are interested earning dollars daily visit our web site
www.online universalwork.com

Catharine said...

Hey ! Genuinely it’s really possible to earn money online; I really felt that this website is quite impressive and a great idea to earn hundred’s of Dollars daily.

VISIT : http://www.earnglobalmoney.info

Anonymous said...

You need to collect more stuff, dude.

Anonymous said...

A useful tip

kimberly said...

After read this blog i stay impressive with the whole information because is absolutely interesting and wonderful .I like the new ideas raised in this blog. I must to say that I liked a lot the design and the way it was written. Simply wonderful.
buy viagra

Anonymous said...

It is a pity, that now I can not express - I hurry up on job. But I will be released - I will necessarily write that I think on this question.

Anonymous said...

What excellent interlocutors :)

viagra online said...

The 90's was the best years of the history and I think that the typical bad is one of the best information in the world, I read a lot of thing that say (MIB)

buy viagra said...

Wow, nice post,there are many person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.Thank you for sharing to us.Please one more post about that..

Generic Viagra said...

I have never been there but I would love to go there. Because I heard that it isn't an amazing place.

viagra samples said...

Your blog is outrageous! I mean, Ive never been so entertained by anything in my life! Your vids are perfect for this. I mean, how did you manage to find something that matches your style of writing so well? Im really happy I started reading this today. Youve got a follower in me for sure!

hotels denver airport said...

Great resources of it! This is one of the best post I've ever seen, One thing I just want to say is that your blog is so perfect! Once again thank you for sharing this list of blogs! I like how your website has very clean and simple style, but also very elegant at the same time.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cialis.cx cialis asd [url=http://www.cialis.cx]cialis[/url] asda
http://www.viagra-online-pharmacy.org Viagra online asdasd [url=http://www.viagra-online-pharmacy.org]Viagra online[/url] asdasd
http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com viagra asdasd [url=http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com]viagra[/url] asdasd

Anonymous said...

where can i buy xanax online xanax and alcohol hallucinations - buy xanax online legally cheap

Anonymous said...


viagra, [url=http://www.ooizit.com/members/arch58text]viagra[/url],

http://www.ooizit.com/members/arch58text

viagra, [url=http://price72frame.deviantart.com/]viagra[/url],

http://price72frame.deviantart.com/

viagra, [url=http://photopeach.com/user/landdiving4]viagra[/url],

http://photopeach.com/user/landdiving4

viagra, [url=http://artepages.com/bookmarks.php/cartdetail7]viagra[/url],

http://artepages.com/bookmarks.php/cartdetail7

viagra, [url=http://dsouzapraveen.com/test1/story.php?title=viagra-online-without-prescription-124]viagra[/url],

http://dsouzapraveen.com/test1/story.php?title=viagra-online-without-prescription-124

Anonymous said...

viagra online cheap herbal viagra online - generic viagra mastercard accepted

Anonymous said...

My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your
post's to be exactly what I'm looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content available for you?
I wouldn't mind creating a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome web site!
Here is my web page calories

Anonymous said...

Thanks , I have recently been searching for info approximately this topic for a
while and yours is the greatest I have came upon till now.
However, what about the bottom line? Are you positive about the supply?
My page: Luis Souto ecommerce projects handled accesorios nauticos

Anonymous said...

generic viagra online prescription viagra buy online - how to buy viagra online in us

Anonymous said...

viagra online without prescription best generic viagra online reviews - viagra 100

Anonymous said...

generic viagra viagra buy in usa - buy viagra kuching

Anonymous said...

generic viagra buy real viagra online us - viagra online dr thom

Anonymous said...

buy soma online radio stations soma - generic soma markings

Anonymous said...

buy soma online allstar weekend soma san diego - drug interactions for soma

Anonymous said...

soma sale discontinued soma bras - buy soma hair care products

Anonymous said...

buy soma online muscle relaxer better than soma - soma apartments bellevue

Anonymous said...

buy soma online buy soma from usa - employee discount soma intimates

Anonymous said...

order soma buy soma ga - soma buy online no prescription

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma san diego lay dying - soma online no prescription-overnight delivery

Anonymous said...

order soma soma with codeine - want to buy soma

Anonymous said...

soma online online somali translator - soma medication coupons

Anonymous said...

buy soma watch deadly soma online - history of soma san diego

Anonymous said...

soma 350 mg muscle relaxer better soma flexeril - buy serostim somatropin

Anonymous said...

soma 350 mg soma san diego show times - soma buy online no prescription

Anonymous said...

soma muscle relaxant soma san diego history - soma 80s underground

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online get cialis online pharmacy - cialis soft reviews

Anonymous said...

soma without prescription soma bloomington - soma muscle relaxer street value

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online buy cialis online free shipping - online rx for cialis

Anonymous said...

tramadol buy tramadol 50 mg much take - tramadol 50 mg kapseln dosierung

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online buy cialis online in australia - cialis price at cvs

Anonymous said...

tramadol online tramadol 100mg dosage - tramadol hydrochloride 50mg uses

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol cash on delivery buy tramadol online cod - tramadol 50 mg recommended dose

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax sizes - alprazolam xr 0.5mg tablets

Anonymous said...

generic xanax xanax bars rap - buy cheap xanax online no prescription

Anonymous said...

generic xanax xanax bars 5mg - xanax side effects palpitations

Anonymous said...

xanax online what is xanax for anxiety - xanax abuse

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg do drug tests test carisoprodol - carisoprodol name brand

Anonymous said...

generic xanax xanax withdrawal day 2 - buy xanax bangkok

Anonymous said...

xanax online is buying xanax online illegal - long recover xanax overdose

Anonymous said...

xanax online do jobs drug test for xanax - generic xanax same real xanax

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol hcl 50 mg a narcotic - tramadol 100mg beipackzettel

Anonymous said...

buy generic tramadol tramadol 50 mg to get high - tramadol to buy

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol dealing with tramadol addiction - buy tramadol in usa no prescription

Anonymous said...

cheap cialis 20mg what is generic cialis called - buy cialis us online

Anonymous said...

xanax online extract movie quotes xanax - xanax xl

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax effects drug test - buy prescription drugs online xanax

Anonymous said...

cialis online cialis coupon trial - cialis online discover card

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online cialis stories - cialis cheap fast delivery

Anonymous said...

http://landvoicelearning.com/#38471 tramadol dosage kids - where to buy tramadol in usa

Anonymous said...

aaa!!! Generic Topiramate - topiramate no prescription http://www.topamaxbestonline.net/#order-topamax, [url=http://www.topamaxbestonline.net/#order-topamax]Topamax Online[/url]

Anonymous said...

03 Cheap Imitrex - generic imitrex http://www.cheapimitrexbuy.net/#imitrex-online, [url=http://www.cheapimitrexbuy.net/#imitrex-no-prescription]Imitrex No Prescription[/url]

Anonymous said...

buy klonopin online easy overdose klonopin - klonopin side effects slurred speech

Anonymous said...

4, lasix cost - lasix 40 mg http://www.lasixordernow.net/#lasix-cost, [url=http://www.lasixordernow.net/#lasix-cost]lasix online[/url]

Anonymous said...

http://www.integrativeonc.org/adminsio/buyklonopinonline/#3081 klonopin for anxiety panic - street value 2mg klonopin

Anonymous said...

cheap tramadol online tramadol hcl medicine - buy generic tramadol no prescription

Anonymous said...

learn how to buy tramdadol tramadol buy online usa - tramadol withdrawal insomnia

Anonymous said...

all, sumatriptan without rx - sumatriptan for sale http://itrafficgeneration.com/#sumatriptan-for-sale , [url=http://itrafficgeneration.com/#order-imitrex-no-prescription ]order imitrex no prescription [/url]

Anonymous said...

&&& Viagra Online Without Prescription %%% [url=http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz]Viagra Online Without Prescription[/url] 778856 http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz ((()0
Cialis &&&& [url=http://www.cialis.gd]Cialis[/url] %%% http://www.cialis.gd (()) Viagra **&& [url=http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com
(()) Viagra **** [url=http://www.viagra.gd]viagra online without prescription[/url] %%% http://www.viagra.gd
$$%% Cialis Online (()) [url=http://www.cialisonline-usa.com]Cialis Online[/url] +++ http://www.cialisonline-usa.com

Anonymous said...

http://southcarolinaaccidentattorney.com/#60124 buy carisoprodol online no prescription needed - carisoprodol taper

Anonymous said...

My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right.

This post actually made my day. You cann't imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

Feel free to visit my webpage ... coffee machine

Anonymous said...

&&& Viagra Online Without Prescription %%% [url=http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz]Viagra Online Without Prescription[/url] 778856 http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz ((()0
Cialis &&&& [url=http://www.cialis.gd]Cialis[/url] %%% http://www.cialis.gd (()) Viagra **&& [url=http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com
(()) viagra online without prescription **** [url=http://www.viagra.gd]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra.gd
$$%% Cialis Online (()) [url=http://www.cialisonline-usa.com]Cialis Online[/url] +++ http://www.cialisonline-usa.com

Anonymous said...

&&& Viagra Online Without Prescription %%% [url=http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz]Viagra Online Without Prescription[/url] 778856 http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz ((()0
Cialis &&&& [url=http://www.cialis.gd]Cialis[/url] %%% http://www.cialis.gd (()) Viagra **&& [url=http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com
(()) viagra online without prescription **** [url=http://www.viagra.gd]viagra online without prescription[/url] %%% http://www.viagra.gd
$$%% Cialis Online (()) [url=http://www.cialisonline-usa.com]Cialis Online[/url] +++ http://www.cialisonline-usa.com

Anonymous said...

Hi, discount nexium - nexium for sale http://www.wolverinefoodandspirits.com/, [url=http://www.wolverinefoodandspirits.com/]discount nexium[/url]

Anonymous said...

hedgeAliege xaikalitag Fiectiveboutt [url=http://uillumaror.com]iziananatt[/url] lallKayadiusy http://gusannghor.com GoftRotoHob

Anonymous said...


Cialis [url=http://www.cheapcialis.biz] Cheap Cialis[/url]http://www.cheapcialis.biz
Buy Cialis [url=http://www.buy-cialis-online.biz] Cialis Online [/url]http://www.buy-cialis-online.biz
Buy Viagra Online [url=http://www.buy-viagra-online.info] viagra online [/url]http://www.buy-viagra-online.info

Closeing Spinn ----->

Anonymous said...


Generic Cialis[url=http://www.generic-cialis.ws]Generic Cialis[/url]http://www.generic-cialis.ws
Cialis [url=http://www.cheap-cialis.name] Cheap Cialis[/url]http://www.cheap-cialis.name
viagra[url=http://www.viagradiscount.us] Discount Viagra [/url]http://www.viagradiscount.us

Anonymous said...


viagra [url=http://www.cheapviagra.cc]viagra [/url]http://www.cheapviagra.cc
Meridia[url=http://www.meridia.bz]Meridia[/url]http://www.meridia.bz

Anonymous said...


Viagra[url=http://www.viagra.gd]Viagra[/url]http://www.viagra.gd
Purchase Cialis[url=http://www.purchase-cialis.us]Purchase Cialis[/url]http://www.purchase-cialis.us
Order Ambien[url=http://www.order-ambien.us]Ambien [/url]http://www.order-ambien.us

Anonymous said...

Youг own artiсle providеs proѵen
necessarу to me peгsonallу. It’s геally useful and you're naturally really educated in this field. You get exposed our sight to different thoughts about this particular subject matter using interesting and reliable content material.
my webpage: Xanax

Anonymous said...

&&& Viagra Online Without Prescription %%% [url=http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz]Viagra Online Without Prescription[/url] 778856 http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz ((()0
Cialis &&&& [url=http://www.cialis.gd]Cialis[/url] %%% http://www.cialis.gd (()) Viagra **&& [url=http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com
(()) viagra online without prescription **** [url=http://www.viagra.gd]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra.gd
$$%% Cialis Online (()) [url=http://www.cialisonline-usa.com]Cialis Online[/url] +++ http://www.cialisonline-usa.com

Anonymous said...

&&& Viagra Online Without Prescription %%% [url=http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz]Viagra Online Without Prescription[/url] 778856 http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz ((()0
Cialis &&&& [url=http://www.cialis.gd]Cialis[/url] %%% http://www.cialis.gd (()) Viagra **&& [url=http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com
(()) Viagra **** [url=http://www.viagra.gd]viagra online without prescription[/url] %%% http://www.viagra.gd
$$%% Cialis Online (()) [url=http://www.cialisonline-usa.com]Cialis Online[/url] +++ http://www.cialisonline-usa.com

Anonymous said...

&&& Viagra Online Without Prescription %%% [url=http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz]Viagra Online Without Prescription[/url] 778856 http://www.viagra-online-without-prescription.biz ((()0
Cialis &&&& [url=http://www.cialis.gd]Cialis[/url] %%% http://www.cialis.gd (()) Viagra **&& [url=http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra-no-prescription.com
(()) Viagra **** [url=http://www.viagra.gd]Viagra[/url] %%% http://www.viagra.gd
$$%% Cialis Online (()) [url=http://www.cialisonline-usa.com]Cialis Online[/url] +++ http://www.cialisonline-usa.com

Anonymous said...


3##$$ Cialis ^^&& [url=http://www.cialis.gd]Cialis sfsd [/url]http://www.cialis.gd **//
(()) viagra online without prescription *&&^ [url=http://www.viagra.gd]viagra online without prescription[/url] **//* http://www.viagra.gd (())g

Anonymous said...

Buy T-shirts at reasonable price in Dhaka