Kunal Mukhopadhyay

Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

The big three.

In Blogging, Globalization, India on February 14, 2007 at 10:06 am

I was chuckling at the caption on the BBC news website today, referring to China, India and Russia as the ‘Big Three’. In one way the description is apt indeed – the two most populous nations in the world, and the world’s largest country. What a formidable team. And what a formidable coalition if they were to join and form a unified entity of sorts. China and India with their super industrious economies that are already steering global economics in one way or the other. With the capitalization of their largest resource – human capital, they are indeed, the new ‘superpowers’ of the world (even though I hate that term). The challenge ahead of politicians in both nations is to be able to make the most of this advantage, striking while the iron is hot. There is a need to address the pressing needs of the country in the area of planning and development, poverty and healthcare for the masses.

It will be interesting to see with time, how and what roles the Big Three play in the world. Their global presence will definitely have a large and far reaching impact on other nations in some way or the other.

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The Saga of Iraq

In Iraq, Politics, Social trend, USA on February 14, 2007 at 9:55 am

The US House of Representatives is to debate on the issue of Iraq. At the centre of the debate lies the decision of The president and his allies to increase the US presence in Iraq by dispatching an additional, whopping, 21,500 military troops. I can almost here the words scream out ….”to achieve what??”

The debate couldn’t have come earlier. What part of the growing global & domestic antagonization caused by the entire situation with Iraq, do the politicians not understand?? Is it not embarrassing enough that the very reasons for entering Iraq, the presence of WMD, were flawed and false from the very beginning? Or are they that thick skinned that it doesn’t affect them??

A growing fraction of the public (American & global) are fed up of the high cost of lives, and financial expenses being meted out for the sake of political games and gains. This isn’t a game of chess the Congressmen can play in the comforts of Washington sitting on padded chairs while servicemen and Iraqi people die on the streets of Iraq! Pull out the troops to calm the flared hostilities and engage neighboring (and far) Arab nations in the effort to rebuild Iraq. What this would demonstrate to the Iraqi people, and the world, is that the US government is indeed interested in the wellbeing of Iraq at heart and not its own selfish gains. Unless of course the truth be otherwise!

In my experience, the average American that I have interacted with, has never travelled abroad. Maybe once, if you are lucky. A very limited fraction of the American people know and understand foreign culture – and most often it is not because they travelled abroad, but rather because of the high diversity and presence of peope from different cultures in the US. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much more people in Sweden and Europe, in general, travel to other nations – even though the reason may be for vacationing/holidaying/leisure. At the very least, they see what a foreign land and its people are like.

How ironic then, that the US government almost assumes an air that it knows best and can help other nations  solve their problems. Does it really? Is the government a real reflection of its people? Not really, if you ask me. How many languages can the average politician in the US speak? Impress me, by just being able to speak spanish or latino….without a native twang, and I will start believing. Otherwise, I am afraid that the image of the “pompous big brat” nation that is popularly becoming the view in the worlds, will be a heavy price to pay by the US.

Pride goes before destruction.

David and Goliath…… live happily together?

In Globalization, Social trend on February 13, 2007 at 3:34 pm

I started this text as a comment but didn’t want to take up whole page, so figured might as well post it here. It was in context to the post by Magnus on his blog, about the future of the idyllic town of Alingsås. The string of thought concerns itself with the “mega” construction project on Kungsgatan, of a new shopping mall with mostly (not all) chain store shops. Magnus worries about the implictions of such an endeavor with respect to the well being of the smaller idyllic shops in this historic town. It is this very unique character of finding a smaller town away from Göteborg, where one can spend the day enjoying the open market in the town square or sip a cup of coffee in one of several cosy cafés, walk the the narrow streets in town through some very pretty old houses, that attracts folk and business from all over.

An interesting observation to a classical dilemma. How does one preserve the richness and originality of a idyllic town while keeping abreast with the pace of modernization?

With globalization re-defining the fabric of lifestyle in almost every part of the world, it is a big challenge to ensure that the economy of the town does not collapse/stagnate in the wave of departmental stores and low price chain stores. One can study a whole lifetime of examples from history of a country like the US where “waves of trends” literally turned towns from tiny establishments to booming industrious wealthy hubs and subsequently to just a historic shell/ghost town/tourist destination (e.g. Jamestown, NY).

Having lived in the US – experienced the fast-paced big city lifestyle in Philly and New York as well as smaller rural setting (Centre county, PA), I find Alingsås the ideal compromise to big city and small town setting. Yet, who doesn’t want the latest, newest, hip and cool shopping experience? Especially when the targeted consumer segment is the 13-30 yr market!

So, yes Alingsås needs the modern shopping mall nested in the midst of all the cafés and small pretty shops. The challenge, I believe the politicians need to face upto, is finding a way to keep the smaller shops and premises to remain in business, perhaps by offering greater incentives and providing assistance in keeping up with the fierce competition. It is, in the end, a David and Goliath situation, only this Goliath is not as “evil” perhaps?

Blog-on yo!

In Blogging, Carl Bildt, Social trend, Sweden on February 8, 2007 at 9:15 pm

If you blog you’re hip…..or at least a bit geeky. Well, if you still had doubts, then here’s a source of inspiration. Carl Bildt has a blog site too! Another demonstration of the… power of blog!

Not the only one

In biography, different, multitalent, Uncommon, unique on February 6, 2007 at 12:56 pm

Sometimes it can be tiring when you are different than everyone else around you. It isn’t so much the obvious physical appearances and such, but even one’s biography and related facts.
Thus, in this as it is complex world, it is quite welcoming and warming to meet someone alike oneself, to discover some commonality in some way or the other without losing one’s originality. Would be cool to have a network of such uncommon people together. Or not?

Here’s the person of the day – A lawyer from a former East european country (now an EU state), who is also a polyglot, living and working in Sweden. Talented, intelligent and pleasing – all the ingredients for the perfect candidate in the currently expanding EU commission. If this potential is not tapped, it would indeed be a tragedy. However I am quite confident that in time she will vindicate herself. Hope someone takes notice of her….anybody listening?

Destination India

In Blogging, India, IT, Travel destination, Travel log on February 6, 2007 at 12:56 pm

There was a time when one read and heard of stories of going to far away lands on dangerous missions. There are no more far away lands (although recently Mars has been promoted to the club) in today’s world. But missions and adventures continue to all sorts of places (once again, Mars inclulded) but with a difference.
Spoke recently with Terese who is studying to become a nurse, who is right now at the time of posting, en route to Loni in Maharashtra, India, on a 3 month program involving IT and medicine. Go figure – the land that typically evokes pictures of cows, camels, exotic destinations and half clad people and more; is now the one-stop destination for evolving technology, emerging trends and IT-nurses!
Good luck to Terese and Åsa….waiting to hear/read of their experiences.