Touch of Grey | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 18, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 18, 2016


Touch of Grey

FOUNDATION make-up is expensive. 'Foundation', when spelled wrong, is REALLY expensive. A good chunk of Bangladesh Bank's dollars don't make it out of the US Feds – it sure pays to flunk the Spelling Bee. So, Who Wants to be a Millionaire (WWM)? Just play the Spelling Bee with lines borrowed from WWM: “Do you want a SWIFT line? Is that your final transaction?”

Meanwhile, many go out and buy the latest Kaspersky Anti Virus, thanks to an expensive US$ 101 million reminder. Well, that large sum of money also enriches the English vocabulary of many with the word 'heist', something that Taka 800 English courses don't teach, but claim (unless the digital ad that went viral was photo-shopped) to ensure successful hacking.

Bloggers are hacked and now, bankers are hacked as US$ 81 million of Bangladesh Bank's money goes from Poisha (Taka) to eventually Pesos (ok, via gambling chips). This is another PPP: Poisha-Peso-Partnership.

Sigh. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus and Maia (girl) Santos-Deguito is from Jupiter (Street, Makati City branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation). Her trip to Disneyland, Tokyo ends as quickly as the US $81 million withdrawal goes through her branch despite stop orders. Another world record is created – the first ever bank statements (of 4 accounts) printed in landscape, thanks to the smallest number of lines and the longest string of zeros:

RCBC account statement March 1, 2016

Previous balance: $500.00

Deposit: $30,000,000.00

Current balance: $30,000,500.00

If only those dollars were kept in some of the local banks in Bangladesh, they (the local banks) would have been so happy while any transaction would have come with bombardments of SMSs and call centre phone calls…

The heat is on, the Finance Minister is on fire and Bangladesh Bank revisits its firewall. While just about everything in Bangladesh is foreign – advice, consultants, the IT firm now investigating the Bangladesh Bank firewall that it (the IT firm) itself built, even the concept of resignation for a major mess up, the now former Governor of Bangladesh nationalizes the last. After a series of successes over the past 7 years, he fumbles, takes responsibility like a true leader, then resigns. This is an exception to what we're used to seeing – a string of failures and then the final failure of not resigning. Trying to remember, if anyone resigned when Sonali Bank was hit by multiple heists...

Many are bringing up the father of the now former Governor. Hmm, if lineage is so crucial, then why is it that Ferrari owning sons of elites can become ferrari ashamis?

Perhaps suspects are being rounded up based on spelling 'foundation' as 'fundation' while those who write 'Privete' on CNG run auto-rickshaws are presumed to be hackers who never took a Taka 800 course in English.

We wait and see. Another weekend starts while The Doors of Bangladesh Bank close to the tune of Come on Baby Light My Firewall. Every cloud has a silver lining – but at the moment, every silver lining has a Touch of Grey…


The writer is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of ABC Radio's Good Morning Bangladesh and the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club. E-mail:

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