Thursday, July 29, 2010

Weddings - Where are they more fun? Desi or here?

Two nights ago I was having a conversation with someone in Bangladesh. I happened to mention to him that I was going to head out to a wedding.

"Ah, another wedding." He replied. "You guys miss the proper fun we have in weddings in Bangladesh. Weddings in your Canada can't even compare to weddings here."

Now, given that a) he has never been to Canada and b) he finds every thing from Bangladesh to be better, the comment did not surprise me. I have long been used to people from Bangladesh who somehow think everything from there is the best (only the best flowers grow in Bangladesh which is God's own country, watered by God's own rivers in a natural paradise designed personally by God). Of course give them an immigration paper and they are the first one out of there, but I digress.

So, it got me thinking, are weddings more fun in Bangladesh?

Now, there is no doubt that weddings in Bangladesh can be a grand, lavish affair.

Even though more than half the people live below poverty line, those who can afford spend huge on weddings. Labour and flowers are both cheap. Especially when those desis living in the west go back to have a reception, with the favourable exchange rate they can host a grand affair.

Literally, you can throw money at everything and get it done. Being Bangladesh, it's also not hard to come across good mehendi and desi make up artists who will do a good job of making up the bride.

Of course the art of "make up" in desiland seems to be to dump a whole lot of white powder on the bride to make her look like Casper the friendly ghost but again, I digress.

However, lost in all of this pomp and show are the small, touching, intimate moments that make a wedding memorable.

In Bangladesh, it's not hard to imagine a crowd of 1000 people attending a wedding reception. Why, and whether you really know your father's co-worker's daughter's husband is a moot point. They will be at your wedding. Here, people limit (or should limit) their guest list to people that actually matter to the couple.

In Bangladesh, literally no one has the time for anything. Everybody seems so busy, leaving the office at 7 in the morning and coming home at 7 at night. You want something to be done for your wedding? Relax, throw some money and hire some people who do this day in day out.

Here in Canada, you rely on your true friends and relatives. Need a song or a skit performed? Get (and coax) some friends. Want a sari designed or imported? Ask another friend. Need such and such stage decoration? Go talk to this aunty. People and friends come together to organize a wedding. Aunties and women go together for wedding shopping and everyone pitches in for some of the work. It's a small affair - the way it's supposed to be - and it involves everyone.

Personally, I enjoy a wedding where it's people I know performing to some skit or some dance, even with mistakes, rather than some flawless performance by a hired hand. However, Bangladeshis are impressed by pomp and show, and therefore to them I leave their perfect weddings.

I think we have much more fun in Canada.

Pictures courtesy Google Images.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lameass Conversations of The Week - 5

Two women, clearly mother and daughter, in line for coffee at Tim Hortons.

Daughter: "So, mom, NEVER comment on ANY of my Facebook pictures again, please!"

Mom: "But all I did was say how lovely you are looking!"

Daughter: "So. Embarrassing."

* * *

Friend 1: "So, did you bring any CDs for the drive? It's gonna take at least a couple of hours."

Friend 2: "Well, I have some Bollywood remixes in the car..."

Friend 1: "Hmmph! Bollywood remixes - what are they? A romantic lovely song periodically punctured by the sound of a gun being fired."

* * *

Have I told you how much I HATE people talking in the washroom? So I am in the stall at the mall doing my thing when this tall black person-of-African-Canadian origin guy gets in.

"So," He turns to me, while clearly starting his business, "waiting to see the Lebron James announcement tomorrow?"

"Who?" I asked him.

[a moment of pause. time slows down. birds chirp in slow motion]

"Er," He tried to continue the conversation with clearly-not-in-the-mood-to-talk me. "You don't watch the NBA, do you?"

"No," I replied. "I am not too much into hockey."

The rest of the short washroom vigil was finished in pleasant silence.

Link: Previous Lameness

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Final World Cup Post

So my friends and I were watching the Spain vs. Germany semi final. All of us cheering for Germany, we got frustrated as Spain passed and passed and passed and passed ...

"JUST SHOOT THE BALL!" I screamed into the telly.

Spain got a corner. Some guy stepped in to take the corner - and passed.

"Even their corner is a pass." I remarked in disgust.

"I think," one of my friends offered, "if Spain gets a penalty - they will pass that also!"

Alas, that was the only cheerful moment of the game for us as Spain won.

So, here are my final predictions:

Holland vs. Spain:

Spain has shown the ability to wear teams down while giving only a few chances, while Holland has shown themselves as a team to be crap for the whole game yet be brilliant for just a few chances. So this should be a cagey, but open game. Hell, Paul the Octopus picked Spain so I will too, and I think both teams are good for goals so I will make the score 2-1. Spain is definitely the better team and has better players in each position.

Prediction: 2-1 Spain.

As for the 3rd/4th game, I am writing this post a little late, but I did predict a 3-2 win for Germany on Facebook. My reasons were that both semi-final losers are a bit sad to play this game, and usually it goes to the underdog as they have something to prove. Except when they play against Germany. Here's the screenshot of my Facebook status!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

World Cup Semi-final Predictions

Uruguay vs. Holland:

While I would like Holland to lose, given that I prefer one South American in the final, I can't see it happening. Holland players know how this team is working (as per Seedorf on BBC) and I have to agree. Uruguay are without their unofficial goalkeeper striker Luis Suarez, and only Diego Forlan to create chances. I predict a workmanlike game.

Prediction: 1-0 Holland
Result: 3-2 Holland

Spain vs. Germany:

So the psychic octopus has picked Spain, but I would dearly love Germany to win this cup. Their play has been brilliant as Spain has been boring (pass pass pass no one shoots). However, Spain is tough (and frustrating - give up the ball and wait for 20 minutes to get it back). I don't think there will be a lot of goalmouth action here.

Prediction: 1-0 Spain
Result: 1-0 Spain

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Multiculturalism and Salim Mansur

When racists usually begin a rant against a group they love to hate, they usually begin with "I have many friends who are [blank], so it's clear I am not a racist, but [insert racist rant here]."

Better still, if you can find a spokesperson against the group who also happens to be from that group. "After all, he or she is a member of [insert race group], so they can't be racist against their own race, can they?". The States therefore has Michelle Malkin, who despite being of Oriental origin said it was right to intern innocent Japanese during the WW2, and we in Canada have Salim Mansur.

Apparently he is a professor in Western Ontario. I feel sorry for his students who must listen to rants that make no logic. For evidence, I refer to his latest column in the Toronto Sun, titled "Multiculturalism has undermined unity".

I read his article for any evidence to the fact that he refers in the title. First, he himself is an immigrant to Canada in the 1970s, so he is a beneficiary of Canada's multicultural immigration policy. Having gotten entry to an exclusive club, he now wants to shut down that door to newer entrants who play by the same rule. In my book, that's called being selfish.

Mansur writes of Wilfred Laurier (one renowned Canadian) that "Laurier belonged to an age not too long ago when a people could readily, as Scott did a century earlier, unashamedly express love for the country that was their home." Apparently we now live in times where people do not do that, due to multiculturalism.

I was on Parliament Hill on Canada Day. I saw people of many languages and places, all dressed proudly in red and white, unashamedly proud of being Canadian. We love what Canada is and what Canada symbolizes. I saw hijabis in white hijabs and red dresses, I saw French Canadians exchanging high fives with Latino Canadians, and I saw a huge crowd of diverse people that celebrated with gusto the fantastic fireworks over the river Ottawa.

"However charitably we consider the good intentions that launched multiculturalism as a policy for Canada in its second century, the consequences — especially when examined since the events of Sept. 11, 2001 — have increasingly undermined the ideal of Canadian unity."

How? And how does Sept. 11 figure into a discussion about Canada? What specific consequences of multiculturalism has divided that unity?

"Multiculturalism demonstrably promotes politics based on ethnic loyalties in a multiethnic country — countries built by immigrants arriving from different parts of the world are by definition multiethnic and not multicultural — and, thereby, sharpens ethnic quarrels it was supposed to dissolve."

First of all, what does this mean? Second, when have people of different ethnicity quarreled in a similar fashion in Canada? Serbians protested when Canada bombed Serbia, Arabs protested when Israel did something to Gaza, Tamils protested actions in Sri Lanka, and then everyone went home and continued their lives. Should people not protest? All protests were mostly peaceful. Moreover, no Serb, Arab, Tamil, etc. remain consumed by the quarrels in their country of origin. Rather, as Canadians, they all share common concerns such as mortgage, taxes and why the Maple Leafs suck as a hockey team. As a rebuttal of this psuedo-argument, you can take Toronto. A great city built by immigrants from all corners of the world that remains at peace. Despite some bitter obstacles placed in their path by the Canadian system, immigrants come out shining in Canada and have always helped make it better.

In his whole article, not one time does Mansur say WHY multiculturalism is bad. He just says it is. He never says how it undermines unity. Only that it has.

Frankly, what undermines unity in Canada is pure hate mongering drivel sprouted by the likes of Salim Mansur.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

World Cup Quarter Final Predictions

I have to say the best 7 teams have reached the last 8 of the world cup. Still not convinced Paraguay deserved to beat Japan, but that's the heartbreak for you. Here are my quarter final predictions.

Holland vs. Brazil:

This should be the game to watch. I still remember Branco's free-kick in Dallas (USA '94) when Brazil led 2-0 only for it to become 2-2 and then the free kick deciding it in Brazil's favour. This time, I have not seen too much flair from Holland, so I am going to give it to Brazil.

Prediction: 3-2 Brazil.
Result: 2-1 Holland

Uruguay vs. Ghana:

They didn't look too spectacular against South Korea, and I was super impressed with Ghana's physical prowess in the first half of their game against USA. Ghana needs to maintain that pace though, for the whole game.

Prediction: 1-0 Ghana.
Result: 1-1 Uruguay won on penalties

Argentina vs. Germany:

Can both of these teams win? I really liked all their games, especially Germany. Germany looks like a team and plays like a team. Each of their players seem to know where the other will be. I expect Maradona's run to end here.

Prediction: 2-1 Germany.
Result: 4-0 Germany

Paraguay vs. Spain:

Not much to say here. One team will defend and the other will attack.

Prediction: 1-0 Spain.
Result: 1-0 Spain