or Digital Bangladesh – why my computer is in Hanoi
Ethos, according to The Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as “the characteristic spirit, prevalent tone of sentiment, of a people or community; the ‘genius’ of an institution or system.” The current ethos in Bangladesh is that of “Digital Bangladesh”‚–what Bangladesh needs to be a modern thriving country is to be Digital. So when I read the paper every day I see the new policies which the government is implementing as part of the new “Digital Bangladesh.” Some of these ideas seem noble and others just seem to be off the deep end.
I’ve mentioned the power problems in Bangladesh. One thing the government tried to reduce electricity consumption was to implement Daylight Savings Time. Seems simple, change your clocks and take advantage of longer days. It hasn’t gone well. There are many reasons for this, but mostly because it wasn’t really understood. The first problem is that some people didn’t change. Others, like the bus companies, changed their clocks but also changed their schedules so there was no real change. The remainder actually moved their patterns forward, but the end result was confusion and people started asking whether events would take place at “Digital time” or old time. However, even asking that question wasn’t a guarantee of success. Buses and meetings often start an hour late. Our office in Bogra changed our clocks, kept with the government schedule and after a few days of confusion things were sorted out and seemed to run relatively smoothly.
Aside from the logistical challenges, another problem is ‘Digital time’ isn’t so easy to deal with in the Digital world. Most electronics keep time based on Greenwich time and an offset and know nothing of politics in Bangladesh. I’ve had to set all my gadgets(computers, phone, etc.) to the Hanoi, Vietnam time zone so I can get the “correct” time. Daylight savings time was supposed to end September 30, however the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, was out of the country and as a result the switch didn’t happen. The latest news is that we’re going to stay in this new time zone because they can’t figure out how to move back. With the shorter days this makes 8:00am seem very early for office hours.
In Bogra, we changed our office hours. Ek lafe tal gache ota jae na – One doesn’t climb a palm tree in one jump.