Article: 262040 of talk.bizarre
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
From: Ken Johnson <kenj@bim-mail.napier.ac.uk>
Subject: Back from Bangladesh: My diary, part 2 of 2 (Long)
Message-ID: <DJ7uq5.4GF@cogsci.ed.ac.uk>
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Organization: Centre for Cognitive Science, Edinburgh, UK
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 12:30:05 GMT
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Sorry I had to split this in two, but this newsposter won't post
the whole lot at once. Don't ask me why.

Ken Johnson



Saturday 2 December
A new Dutch colleague has arrived on assignment. He is Theo, 
an expert in small scale brickworks, here for a two week 
feasibility study. Most important, he has brought with him 
supplies of coffee, cheese and sausage. All very welcome. The 
airline has sent his luggage on to Sylhet by mistake, and it 
will take several days to get it back. This is pretty good
going for the airline, as there is no airport in Sylhet.
Visiting the office in order to telephone the airline about 
his luggage for the fiftieth time, Theo notices that a fax 
has arrived for me from Hunterskil, the employment agency, 
saying that they have a short term job in London going.  This 
could yet save me financially: I will be replying 
enthusiastically. C programming, HTML, Internet experience, 
graphics. They also want something called Java, which I have 
never heard of, but you can't have everything. Suddenly it 
becomes vitally important to read "Ace That Interview!".
Sunday 3 December
This is the last chance for the Novell Network to arrive, and 
it doesn't. Maybe I'll be invited back if ever it is 
installed.
Aslam has planned a farewell party for me tomorrow, so this 
being my last free evening I ask Alamgeer if he would be kind 
enough to take me to see Mithila again. I teach her some 
silly songs but she says she sang a lot yesterday and doesn't 
feel like singing any to us.  She feeds us with sliced papaya 
and sweet croutons, and we exchange addresses.  Auntie, a 
skilled dressmaker, offers to make a dress for Louise and we 
discuss colours and costs, and I say I'll send on Louise's 
measurements and some English currency. This, of course, 
means that we have exchanged addresses.
Monday night's party has been arranged at my residence but 
entirely without consulting me: it was announced to all the 
other staff at yesterday's Staff Meeting while I was trying 
to fix a misbehaving version of Excel Five. I don't know how 
much of a success the party will be, but at least the Excel 
Five is now running normally.
Tuesday 5 December
Even as I leave, the Opposition Parties are calling another 
extended Hartal, to start in two daysí time and apparently to 
continue indefinitely.  There used to be an election 
commentator who appeared on all the BBC election programmes 
for many years.  In one of those rare lucid intervals when he 
stopped waving his arms about and his brain appeared to start 
working, he once observed that the wonderful thing about 
democracy is not that the party with the most votes takes 
power: it is that the other parties give up without a 
struggle. Bangladesh does not seem to have reached that point 
yet.
 
On returning to Britain my first telephone call is to 
Hunterskil, to ask about the job. Yes, I had all the necessary 
technical qualifications and yes, they had forwarded my 
application to the company. But no, I had not got the job.
Iím too old, you see, itís a young company, I just wouldnít
fit in.