Monday, December 06, 2004

fooling the leaders of South Asia

Dhaka city is in the middle of a beautification drive. Trees are being planted in the middle and sides of roads. Lane markings are being painted on.We are even having a special anti-mosquito drive.
Why all the sudden flurry of activity?
Because Dhaka will host a summit of the leaders of South Asia in January 2005. Presumably, we think they don't read the papers. Will they be impressed by our spring clean? Don't they know the stats about Dhaka?
I guess the best way to impress others would be to make tangible improvements in people's lives. Being able to announce that they had set up clinics providing free medical treatment to slum dwellers would mean something. Like what's happening in Caracas, perhaps.
Unfortunately, the authorities are more interested in image. Style before substance. Perhaps they have learnt something from New Labour?
Of course, the Asian leaders won't be fooled. It boils down to our own leadership's need to massage their egos.

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