Halloween and The Cup

Shuvo shokal from Dhaka,
               Running a Melbourne Cup sweep in a foreign culture is hilarious. Apparently, this hasn’t been done routinely at our school, so I took on the gig. I tried to include all of the staff, as I have always done with such things, but this is not as simple as publicising the sweeps on a poster. (At International School Dhaka “the staff” are the locals who cut the grass, cook the food, clean the rooms and pay the bills etc. The “faculty” is the mostly non-local teaching staff. Naturally, the distinction offends the egalitarian sensibilities of an Australian son.)

The slight problem is that absolutely everything – including what a horse race is !! – has to be explained. Afzal said, “Is it some kind of game?”. Jabbar said, “We all get a horse!?!?” Manik said, “But I can’t ride a horse”. Monir said, looking at the draw on Tuesday morning, “What do I do now?”

Protectionist is a horse.

It was not a high priority – as you can imagine – to actually watch the race so the results were slightly detached from the event itself but the whole occasion generated sufficient interest to cause two participants to ask when we could do it all again. Of the winners, we had three Australians, two Canadians, two Bangladeshis, one South African and one Kiwi. This was a reasonably globalised result, reflecting the recent history of the race itself, I would contend. Monir had Protectionist and won 750 taka (not quite a king’s ransom, to be sure). When I announced the fact to him he gave me a bear hug.
     For those dear readers who think I’m imposing an alien sub-culture on an impressionable nation, rest assured no-one was affronted; on the contrary. This is especially so since Halloween was celebrated here earlier in the same week. These people are open to globalisation.

Other photos from hereabouts

impromptu concert in the village
water pump in the village

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