I ain’t scared of no Pig!

Being raised predominantly in the United States, even though I was originally born in Bangladesh, has turned me into a chocolate Twinkie. So it was quite a social shock when I first went back to visit my home country after spending most of my childhood years in America.
One of the first difference between the US and Bangladesh that is glaringly noticeable are the rules of the road. Never mind the confusion when my cousin directed me to what I thought was the driver side of the car or the fact that he shifted using his left hand and drove on the left side of the road. That was like “oh ok, it’s one of THOSE countries, I forgot about that.” But then he continued to honk aside cars and passengers and pass them by only inch margins, switched to the right side of the road when it was more convenient for him, and passed through intersections with cars coming in from all directions as if he was Ludacris, rhyming along the way “MOVE B**ch! Get out the way..”
Which was all cool and fun to my 11 yr old mind, but even I noticed the glaring problem with such driving. Traffic jams. Hours and hours of traffic jams.
Here in America, most people think that traffic laws and rules are solely for the safety of people on the road. But in fact, the primary reason for the basic rules such as lanes and stop lights are for efficiency. Issues of safety is the effect of following laws, when efficiency gets to a point where people are able to move at speeds that can kill others or themselves. Safety isn’t much of an issue in Bangladesh because rarely could you even go over 20 miles per hour (or “32.18688 Km/Hr” as those wacky Bangalis say) before you have to break suddenly for a passenger, rickshaw, motorcycle, bike, or another car.
And it’s pretty annoying when you spend 5 hours to go from one city to another that is only 100 miles (or “160.9344 Km.” And yah, they do go to the ten-thousandth place. They are very precise with their scientific notation) away, where in America it would take you an hour and a half.
And you know what’s funny? There are lines on the road, at least on the main roads in the cities. And there are stop lights also. But they’re all ignored unless there is a uniformed police officer standing in the intersection with a whistle in his mouth and a stick in his hand.
And it’s not hard to connect that without efficient travel you’re basically crippling businesses and slowing the economy to the same crawl as everyone in the USUAL mid-day 4 hour traffic jam.
And it’s also obvious as to the cause of the difference between how traffic flows in America and how traffic flows in Bangladesh. It’s fear. Fear of the police. In America, people are less afraid of their lives as they are of the police. Have you ever seen anyone straddle two lanes for more than the few seconds it takes to switch lanes in the US? Why not? Is it because everyone’s afraid that something terrible will happen to them and their car if they do so? No, they’re afraid that at any moment they’ll see flashing red and blue on their rear-view mirror.
Here in America you have the mentality of “I don’t know when or how, but they’re always watching, I’m not gonna take any chances.” Because you really don’t know when or how they see you, but whoever has ever been stopped by the police here in America knows the feeling of “WTF! Where the hell did he come from?”
In Bangladesh both the cops on the road and the judges in the courts are untrustworthy. And not just on the road system, but in other fundamental aspects of society such as property rights, business fraud, and personal grievances.
Over here in America, a landlord can call the Sherrif to physically remove a contract violating tenant. A wife can call the police to control her abusive husband. A business or an individual can sue another business for fraud. And a traffic violator can defend themselves in a court of law in front of a judge for being accused of not stopping at a stop sign. From the most basic and smallest to the most complex and largest issues, the American legal system is largely there to provide defense for your rights and the rights of each individual and corporate entity.
No such guarantee exists in a country like Bangladesh. If someone begins squatting on your property, you’ll have to either have the right connections or have enough money to pull enough stings in the legal system to get something done. A deed to a property is almost worthless without the right stamps on the right pieces of paper to say “yes, this guy does own this property, not that other guy, so get rid of that other guy.”
If you get into a car wreck in Bangladesh, you figure out who pays who right then and there and collect or/and have verbal and physical violence to duke out who’s fault it was.
Imagine a scenario of an American who rear-ends someone in Bangladesh.
“Oh I’m terribly sorry, I was distracted. Here, I’ll call the police.”
“Woah! Wait! You have the direct mobile number to a police officer? You don’t have to involve your friends in this. Here. Here’s some money. I’m sorry for being in front of you like that and causing damage to your car like that. Here, is a thousand enough? How about two?”
But why is it like this? Why does such a difference exist? I believe the cause is in the human conditioning. Resignation is a human disease and it’s the cause of the downfall of any justice system.
In a justice system there are three parties involved. The individual citizen, the enforcers of justice, the administrators of the system. The individual citizen is easy enough to understand, it’s you and me. The enforcers are the police and judges and all the people who carry out the sentencing, punishments, and rewards. The administrators are the politicians who provide funds to pay the enforcers and creates more systems and methods and laws to enforce. In America, sure there is corruption, but in large part there is trust from all members of all three parties involved in justice. The individual trusts that the enforcements and the laws being enforced are mostly fair and partial. The enforcers trust that the administrators are going to pay them properly and create fair laws that aren’t too confusing or complex to enforce. And the administrators trust that the enforcers are doing their jobs right and that most of the population of individuals are law-abiding so that too much money won’t have to be directed to over-worked enforcers.
Beyond a few strains and tensions and finger-pointing, the system in America works pretty well. It may not be perfect, but any American ignorant of the laws and the justice system has a sense of comfort that if anyone messes with their rights, the right punishment can be inflicted.
But this sense isn’t in the hearts of the individual in Bangladesh. Nor is it in the hearts of the enforcers or the administrators. All that exists for each of the parties in Bangladesh is a high level of resignation. The individual is resigned to the fact that there won’t be any fair and partial judgement, that it’s the one with the connections and the money that will win. The enforcers are resigned that the people are largely stupid and the administrators are corrupt and doesn’t pay them enough to even survive and so they need to supplement that income by taking bribes from the stupid people they have to deal with. And the administrators are resigned that the entire country is going to hell, the police are corrupt and can’t be trusted to do their jobs, and the people are stupid and corrupt and can’t be trusted to follow any laws, even if it’s good for them.
What is the solution? The solution, and solutions, are in how you fight resignation as an individual and as a collective society. I personally don’t know the answer, I’m daily fighting my own resignations and the resignations of the people who affect my life. Right now I’m just another person complaining about the shitty situation of their country, I have no solutions to offer.
But I do have a unique perspective, and a different focus to a solution. Remember that I’m an awesome leader, I don’t just complain about how crappy things are but also create new and unique ways of looking at them and finding solutions for them. Please refer to Two Pronged Leadership to refresh your memory of my awesome leadership qualities.
Fight the resignation inside you and help others to fight it in themselves, and that will be all the solution you need to change the world.

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