One of the trademarks of Dhaka city, these canvases on wheels are sure to give you a ride to remember. Rickshaws have convertible roofs as well as polythene curtains to save you from the sun and rain, and each has a bell that rings to no avail from the car owners ahead. They are everywhere and can take you anywhere at anytime. They are also affordable and green, perfect for the already over-polluted air of Dhaka.
Richshaws are also credited for the pop art trend that had started in Dhaka: Rickshaw art. The art is extremely colorful—almost psychedelic—and consists of flowers, birds, popular actresses, or whatever the driver desires to put. Jatra, a major lifestyle outlet in Bangladesh, was the first to market their products using Rickshaw art.It has since become a “superhit blockbuster” (referring to the theme of Bangla movie posters in the paintings itself) trend, whether in coffee mugs, pen-holders for decoration, or printed in salwar kameez for fashion.
I know any Dhakaites living abroad reading this must be dying to get a ride on one because it is really more than a cheap, easy to go, colorful transport. To us, it is part of our culture, part of our memories as it is an ever-present character in the drama of a Bangladeshi’s life.
Khan Samiuzzaman is a guest blogger from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
One of the biggest Korean pop labels called SM Entertainment (often referred to as “SM”) recently released news that it was going on another “SMTown World Tour” in 2012, the first stop being Los Angeles. Excitement ensued, until the prices were released.
For those who don’t know, SMTown concerts are concerts featuring all the major artists under SM Entertainment. The past line-up has included the groups Super Junior, Girls Generation, DBSK, SHINee, F(x) and the soloists Kangta and BoA. Considering that Kpop concerts in the U.S., especially of this scale, are extremely new and rare occurrences (there have only ever been two SMTown concerts in the U.S., the first occurring in 2010), having an SMTown here is kind of a big deal.
REPORTING FROM SEOUL — On his third visit to South Korea, President Obama seems to have caught the “Korean Wave.”
The term for the surge and spread of Korean pop culture — “hallyu” in Korean — popped up in the president’s speech on Monday, along with a sprinkle of other in-the-know references intended to show he could hang with the kids of Hankuk University, the audience for his otherwise policy-heavy speech. Before launching into a review of his nuclear weapons policy, Obama name-checked South Korea’s hugely popular social networking sites — Me2Day and Kakao Talk, the latter claiming to transmit 1 billion messages daily. He praised the young Koreans’ optimism and promise — and tech savvy.
“It’s no wonder so many people around the world have caught the Korean Wave — hallyu,” Obama said, in one of his biggest applause lines.
My president mentioned Hallyu. I’m only slightly freaking out (in a good way).
Engineers are pumping fuel into a rocket that is set to carry a satellite into space, according to officials at the North Korean space agency’s central command centre…Paek Chang Ho, chief of the launch command centre, told reporters…the rocket was ready for liftoff as early as Thursday, the start of a five-day window set for the controversial launch timed to coincide with mid-April celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.
North Korea’s decision to launch the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite has triggered a series of criticisms and precautionary plans from surrounding Asian countries, as well as the United States. Hilary Clinton stated that the US will take “appropriate actions” should the launch turn into a threat. The Japanese military has set up several antimissile weapons in open fields, and no-fly/no-sail zones were placed into effect in Philippines in case debris from the launch endanger any citizens. Even China, North Korea’s usual ally, was unsettled and threatened to stop food aid for the impoverished country.
Nevertheless, North Korea seems determined. In an interview, Paek Chang Ho stated that North Korea “does not care about the opinions of foreign countries,” and that they are “going all the way” for the nation’s own interest and development. Only time can tell what will happen to North Korea and its various international ties.
Japanese manga artist and director Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿) is known for his award winning anime films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Castle in the Sky. In particular, his 2001 film Spirited Away won Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, and became the most successful movie in Japanese history. As a feminist, his films oft-times deconstruct gender roles with strong female protagonists, such as Kiki and Chihiro from the above-mentioned movies. While the 1997 film Princess Mononoke shares similar feminist qualities, it is in some ways very different from him other films.
From Reuters - Myanmar's Suu Kyi poised to win parliamentary seat
Myanmar held a landmark election Sunday that was expected to send democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi into parliament for her first public office since launching her decades-long struggle against the military-dominated government.
Sunday’s by-election, to fill a few dozen vacant seats, followed months of surprising reforms by a nominally civilian government that does not relish ceding ground to Suu Kyi, but which must appear more democratic in order to emerge from decades of international isolation that have crippled the Southeast Asian nation’s economy.
Suu Kyi’s party and its opposition allies will have almost no say even if they win all the seats they are contesting, because the 664-seat parliament will remain dominated by the military and the military-backed ruling party.
But if Suu Kyi takes office as expected, it would symbolize a giant leap toward national reconciliation after nearly a quarter-century in which she spent most of her time under house arrest. It could also nudge Western powers closer to easing economic sanctions they have imposed on the country for years.