Dhaka worst livable among 140 cities

Normally I avoid damning reports on anything to do with Bangladesh because they are normally unjust and lacking evidence, credibility or understanding. It is difficult to do this when you read a report from and Bangladeshi newspaper itself. This quote comes from the Daily Star website and the link to it follows:

“Dhaka is the worst livable city among 140 others around the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2012 Global Liveability Survey.

In 2011, Dhaka ranked 139 among 140 cities.

The liveability report surveyed the locations to assess the best or worst living conditions.

Ranking 140, Dhaka scored 38.7 out of an overall rating of 100 measuring political and social stability, crime rates and access to quality healthcare.”

Read the rest of the report here:

Dhaka worst livable among 140 cities.

What is most remarkable for me about this report is that we here at LAMB look forward to our breaks away in this capital city! What does that tell you about the state of things here? Actually, not a lot because LAMB is really a lovely place to visit. I guess that familiarity breeds contempt though and when you live and work with people without space 24/7, sometimes you need to get away.

Even to the city that is ranked 139th out of 140 cities…

About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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20 Responses to Dhaka worst livable among 140 cities

  1. I sorry, im not gonna stand by this, i know many things you are saying are right but looking at it from my point of you its different. I am telling you real life experiences.
    I know you’ll find in books about who stole the jewel in the crown but what i meant is if you go and tell this to the ordinary brit they would be quick to deny it

    Free Enterprise exists i know but never before i have seen competition that weakens the economy in this way. Yes, i am a 2nd generation, it used to be ok in the days when the sweatshop industry was flourishing. I am at the moment working side-by-side with one whom undermines the work i do for a price i normally work at and I have not had any effect with Free Enterprise before but only recently when the influx of students and work permits started flooding the country.

    People cant live on minimum wage or below but its forced upon them and not in my industry its never happend people dont shrink a huge paycheck to peanuts. Yes, many asians send money working hard in jobs they wouldnt want to do but they dont actually mind, for example, i never sweep the floor or empty the filthy bins where i work but there is one who enjoys it, and you can where hes from. I dont enjoy being treated as filth but there are people out there who would do anything even for very little pay, im not that type, they do this type of demeaning hard work, save-up the pennies and send it off while in uk they are living a hard life back in BD they think they’re earning like a king.

    Actually for the rest of us its a fact we cant live on a low wage but have no choice.

    btw, all this is called ‘abusing the system’ i have know huge numbers of students who flooded in to uk to study but most of them would not attend they came to work for pittance, no wonder employers would take on the people who would get paid the least for the same work – the economy has been undermined and damaged. I have seen very little clothes in shops from BD and i have experience of wearing them, thank you. Yes, all these countrys are bring ing money in to the UK economy and thats good because you only ONE cheap shop and thats Primark the rest is only for wholesale and we dont see any low priced products.

    I know what it means to be a bangladeshi, not only all the things i mentioned, but my bile and bigoted nonsense are true life experiences i encounter every day and im sick of it.
    As for ‘amar shonar Bangla’ well, i never experienced it even though i been in that country a few times.

    I dont need to listen the people or read your blog again, i have and also i know about the poor people and how hard they work and how.

    When i say a particular kind of people behave badly, or are dirty, or are uncivilised for me these are not accusations – there are some things i experience from these poeple in daily life and i wonder why they behave like that, i have seen and read your blog but the people you are dealing with are not like that i can see they are nice/good people and this has got thing to do with racism its more about ditching the way the live in villages and adopting to the society the come to live. To me its looks as if you cant differentiate between racism and somthing else bcoz i never talked around the colour of ones skin anywhere i and know people from all walks of life, looks BNP is only group of people you know of.

    im not saying western cultures be considered more civilised and humane but the new comers that act when get here is appalling and whats worse is they dont change.


    • You probably aren’t reading this now – that’s fine. But it is my blog and I’ll have the last word, for public record if for no other reason.

      A few points I want to raise in bringing this conversation to an end:

      1) I’m glad to read you acknowledge some of my points as true. So you should. The people I deal with here are no nicer and no worse than anyone else you’ll find here in Bangladesh.

      2) There are benefit cheats and those who defraud others in every country. I grew up in a town that didn’t have a single person who wasn’t white-skinned pretty much. Yet I knew lots and lots who cheated the system and did so as a matter of pride! They were not immigrants, they were just greedy people. Greed comes to all kinds of people.

      3) You say you are not being racist because you ‘never talked around the colour of ones skin anywhere’. Racism does not need to be about skin colour. It is about dictating that that certain group of people behave in certain ways irrespective of the fact they are individuals. It was you who said that the Government will ‘shut the door on the lot of you’. That’s racism. If you prefer, substitute the word ‘prejudice’. It’s the same thing in this instance.

      4) Maybe you should come and live in Bangladesh for a few years. It might give you a better understanding for people who had not had the privileges you seem to have had. You might even discover that ‘shonar Bangla’ if you try. It IS there, I assure you.

      5) Alas, the BNP are not the only ones I know. I know very ordinary white British people of both sexes and all ages who believe much the same as you though the extreme degree to which you have spoken is at the level the BNP speak at. The oddest thing is, you clearly see yourself as British, or British Asian and not like these ‘dirty immigrants’ at all. Yet, in the eyes of these types of white British, you are no different, no less dirty, no less a cheat, no less someone who should be thrown out of the country along with your family because this country is not yours. The very things you think about immigrants, those who would agree with you think about you yourself. Trust me – they do. I’m sure when that it directed at you, you see it as racism. Learn.

      6) You made my point for me by talking about people who ‘like’ to do those jobs you don’t like to do. It’s nonsense. They just have a pride in the work they do – they don’t live to clean floors or empty filthy bins. My maid cleans my floors, washes my clothes and cooks my meals. Then she goes home and does the same for her family living in a mud hut. She doesn’t do it because she likes it. She does it because it is a job. She takes pride in her work. And I think she is one of the most special women I’ve ever known. The work you do is not the measure of who you are. It is how you approach it that makes you.


      • Hey MrThinkaloud, I didnt want to write about these things, i could of wrote about nice things but I was just ‘thinking aloud’ as well in response to your title on the page which says ‘Dhaka worst livable among 140 cities’ and yeh i dont have pride in doing that type of work which is dirty but one thing every native organisation i worked in, i never had to do any dirty work but for every south-east asian business they make you do it – they think we’re all the same.

        There are endless things i can go about before the country got flooded with these people and which i didnt encounter any of that before they arrived but the way you look at things and I look at things there is a big difference.


        • Well, it says KEN thinks aloud though I do welcome the thoughts of others. But I will disagree with whosoever I see fit and, in our case, we will have to agree to disagree quite definitely. I’ll just make a couple of final remarks to your last comment and then we will call it a day on this subject.

          The title of the post came from the Daily Star report on it and I didn’t judge the people in any way, just commented on the city – in fact I go out of my way to point out I actually enjoy Dhaka and I lived there for three months when we first came to Bangladesh and every year take our O level students on a trip there to enjoy the wonderful things there are to see and do. There is condemnation of Bangladeshi people in this report.

          You definitely see those south-east Asian business who ‘made you do’ dirty work as being bad. In fact, I would take pride in it. I am now convinced that when I return to the UK I will fight to change society’s view on farmers, cleaners, refuse removal men, shop stewards and assistants to one that sees them in a better light than sales, business, banking, legal firms and so on. If I am able to, I even hope to take up some of these smelly jobs for a while if I can to really experience what it means to work in that. I think society needs to change how it views these jobs which are absolutely VITAL in society. I DO think ‘we’re all the same’. Sorry if that offends, but that is where I stand.

          Lastly, you talk about immigration as though it is a new thing. Immigrants have been accused of ‘flooding’ the country since 1947. It has been a favourite topic of the gutter press for decades. They were invited in by the Government because, as much as anything, we had lost a lot of men in the war and did not have enough people to fill the jobs that were needed. Did you know we’re in danger of the same thing happening again? A doctor friend of mine pointed out a fact known to doctors but NOT being reported by the press like immigration is – that is the increasing infertility problem in the UK and other European countries. One in six couples are infertile and possibly as much as 35% of men. I checked various statistics to source what my doctor friend has been saying for years. He’s right – the stats for the UK are horrifying. In other words, whilst the press would have you believe that immigrants are ‘taking over’ the truth is that we are going to need them more and more.

          But then, Britain always has. Despite the fact we re-invent ourselves and constantly forget our past, the fact is – we’re a mongrol race. We have no ‘pure blood’ at all. We are made up of countries and nations from all over the world. We’ve always been like that. It is one of the few good things about Britain as far as I’m concerned. Today’s immigrants are tomorrow’s Great British public. Nothing new there. And none should know that as well as you do Todayscontroversy.


  2. oddznns says:

    It’s all relative isn’t it? I love going to Saigon, and according to these rankings it’s way below Singapore where I actually live. Having said that, I love coming home to Singapore after Saigon. It’s change that spices up our lives;)


    • Yes, exactly! Part of me is wondering whether this is all a good sign – that we are finally beginning to reach a point where the ‘worst’ places in the world are actually ‘not too bad’. I don’t think we’re there yet, but if Dhaka is nearly as bad as it gets, then that gives hope that one day we won’t see death, disease, famine and destruction in places outside the capitals of the world. Maybe I’m hoping for too much there…I don’t know.


  3. Monique says:

    We like living in Dhaka, but as you said, it is nice to ‘get away’ from the city once in a while. And, in our case, the grass IS actually greener….We don’t see much grass here 🙂


  4. Not only Dhaka, other places in bangladesh are also bad as well and bad people from that country come over this country or where ever they go and spread their corruption everywhere.


    • Hmm…I was intrigued by what you meant by ‘that country’. If you mean Bangladesh, then I can’t entirely agree. I wrote an article called ‘Corruption in the Ranks‘ and followed it with a sequel all about the fact that I think that there is nearly as much corruption in the UK as there is in Bangladesh. It just comes in different forms. A Government official may insist on a bribe here to get your paperwork done (and LAMB staff refuse to pay bribes – which causes havoc for running the place), but elsewhere they give six-figure sums to Top Bank chiefs to get rid of them when they’ve wrecked the economy! Or, as I read recently, Banks start charging money to use their services WHEN ITS OUR MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE! As far as I’m concerned – the white guys are every bit as good at corruption as anyone else!


    • Awaal says:

      You are an idiot with no credible reference. Shut your mouth and eat rotten sushi and sleep.


      • “eat rotten sushi and sleep”????
        Thank you for my first – and by far, the strangest I’ve seen on any blog – insulting comment on these pages! And sleep?! Really?…


      • Look, i know the country and the people inside out, they have come to UK and made life here a misery for the rest of us, you keep your filth and corruption where you are.

        ..and LISTEN…i voted the tories, so the immigration will KICK YOU OUT of the country and shut the door to the lottofya!


        • Ok…I’m going to allow that comment in todayscontroversy but, quite frankly, it was a stupid thing to say (at least “eat sushi” is harmless drivel).

          I don’t care how long you may have lived in London and seen Bangladeshis around – you clearly don’t know them and don’t understand them. You obviously know nothing about British history or you would have some inkling of just how much us British owe to the Indian subcontinent. You wouldn’t HAVE a London if it were not for the riches we stole from the ‘Jewel in the crown’ not all that long ago.

          And as for voting tory? Wouldn’t the BNP be a better place for you? You believe the drivel that comes out of the gutter press about immigration whereas the truth is the same as it always has been – the Brits consider themselves too good to do lower paid manual work. We INVITED immigrants over in the first place to do the work we couldn’t be bothered to do. The Tories will never ‘close the door’ on immigrants because they know that would cost the country a stack of income. The clothing industry would shut down for a start off because it is our garment workers here in Bangladesh that make all the clothes to make rich British people look pretty…

          Come to Bangladesh and you will find more than 100 million men women and children who aren’t afraid of working hard – they do it every day. I’m proud to be associated with them and work alongside them as an equal.


          • Finally, someone admits that the Brits stole from the ‘Jewel in the crown’, too right you are.

            How can Brits consider themselves to do lower paid manual work – you cant live on that wage –
            whats more immigrants from south-east asia come to uk and take decently paid jobs and do them for nothing (free) or for peanuts and that really sucks, and you tell me i dont know anything about them ? Let me give you an example: a certain job costs about £400 – £600 to do, students come and do the job for peanuts or less than minimum wage, small businesses set up a shop and take the same job for £125 – THAT IS JUST SO WRONG!, so what do you know, huh ?! fink again m8! wake-up, smell the coffee!

            There is no work left for us bcoz immigrants from all over the world these days specially india, pakistan, BD and now the poles take the jobs and we dont have any left.

            …and dont think i am BNP or any or i dont know anything about the their country or culture – YOU ARE WRONG!! bcoz i will reveal the secret to you now, and you will be suprised…i know a lot…why ? BECAUSE I AM ONE OF THEM!! I KNOW the culture, their language and how they act, you’re just living in a bees nest where the honey is 😀

            The tories have made immigration very tight now, its next to impossible to get in, the clothing industry has alredy almost disappeared only little remnants remaining. Most of the garments go from india and china, very little goes from BD bcoz the design and fitting of the clothes and material suck and its backwards, which world are you living in ?

            I have been to BD enuf times, and im only speaking about the bad people, there are lots of good people out ere like the ones bought-up in this country they’re kewl. Im sorry but i have to tell you these freshies need to adopt to the social culture in western countries and act more civilised and humanely.

            1) Can you speak their language 100% fluently ?
            2) do you know the dirty tricks they get up to ? you would if the 1) true.

            In addition they make everything dirty and filthy.

            Good for you that you’re with a nice bunch of people not getting much of the trouble we face here, i dont have anything against that, I am pleased you are working and living there and helping them and hope you also make them good citizens who respect other cultures and learn to blend into and not take their tribal cultures with them 😉


            • Where to start with these comments? So much that needs correcting…

              “Finally, someone admits that the Brits stole from the ‘Jewel in the crown’, too right you are.”
              Well, I don’t think that is any big secret. Just read any history book and you’ll find it is all there even if some Brits don’t like to admit it. It has been acknowledged for a long time though.

              “small businesses set up a shop and take the same job for £125 – THAT IS JUST SO WRONG!”
              Actually, I think it is called Free Enterprise and the West has been doing for centuries. It is not an Asian thing. You say ‘we’ can’t live on these but most of the Asians I know living in Britain DO and usually manage to send money back to their families in Bangladesh or India as well. ‘We’ just expect to have lots of disposable income to spend on expensive holidays and booze. Britain is one of the richest countries in the world – please don’t tell me people can’t afford to live on these lower wages and that is the reason they don’t do them! I’m a teacher and I read report after report from Employers about how they have to take immigrants on because the British REFUSE to take the jobs they need doing! The fact is, even now, the jobs are there if people are prepared to do them. And they’re won’t? Then there are others around who will. Just because you think that cleaning floors is ‘beneath you’ doesn’t mean that the rest of the world has forgotten how to work.

              “Most of the garments go from india and china, very little goes from BD bcoz the design and fitting of the clothes and material suck and its backwards, which world are you living in ?”
              I live in this one – where a substantial part of the GDP comes from that industry that you claim has ‘disappeared’. When my family and I were back in the UK last year, we went around the major clothes retailers and, yes sure enough, many were from India. But most were from Bangladesh. Just come to Dhaka and watch out of your window first thing in the morning and you will see the garment workers walking to the factories in their thousands. You miss the point in all of this, of course, Bangladeshi, Indian, Chinese – they’re all ‘not British’ and they are all bringing money into Britain. The West was built on slavery and oppression of the rest of the world. Only the form of that slavery has changed but it still carries on. And Bangladesh is a world-renowned place for the garment worker oppression which carries on because the WEST demands its cheap goods.

              “you will be suprised…i know a lot…why ? BECAUSE I AM ONE OF THEM!!”
              No, I already figured out you were probably 2nd or 3rd generation Asian because of the kind of comments you have made in the past and from your own blog. I still stand by what I say that I think you have no idea what it means to be a Bangladeshi. I don’t claim to be an expert – far from it – but you speak with all the bile and bigoted nonsense I hear from many of the British all the time. You’re not one of them, regardless of whatever your skin colour or family background may be. I don’t believe for a minute that you really know what “amar shonar Bangla” truly means.

              “you’re just living in a bees nest where the honey is”
              These are the words that get me most riled. You have clearly NO idea about me, where I live or what kind of people I mix with. We live amongst the very poorest in Bangladesh. Only a few places in Africa can claim any greater poverty. Medical students come here and work with patients who have problems they’ve only ever read about in text books. It does not get much more real than it is here. There’s no nice middle class, fat-cat ‘borolok’ here. This is not Dhaka. This is life as it is for over 100 million Bangladeshis who live off the fields and the rivers and work damned hard to do so. How dare you accuse me of living ‘where the honey is’? Read the pages of this blog again and listen to the stories about the actual people contained within them.

              “1) Can you speak their language 100% fluently ?
              2) do you know the dirty tricks they get up to ? you would if the 1) true.”

              1) It can always be better but, yes, pretty fluently. I read the paper in Bangla, read Rabindranath Tagore in Bangla and I’m translating a 60,000 word Physiotherapy handbook into Bangla for use here. I know the intimate details of our friends because they trust us and we do this all in Bangla. Yes, I speak the language. Do you?
              2) I do – probably – know the so-called ‘dirty tricks’ you talk of. We’ve seen the effects of them every day. Do you really know the ones that are played in the UK? I don’t think you do. I’ve seen those too. They are far more insidious even if they are not so obvious. The saying worth noting here is “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It is the same whatever nationality you are.

              “I have been to BD enuf times, and im only speaking about the bad people, there are lots of good people out ere like the ones bought-up in this country they’re kewl. Im sorry but i have to tell you these freshies need to adopt to the social culture in western countries and act more civilised and humanely”
              You began to redeem yourself here and then blew it. Thank goodness you actually acknowledge that there are some GOOD people in Bangladesh! There are some good ones in Britain too! Of course there are bad people here and corruption happens – but my point is that it happens EVERYWHERE. As soon as you start saying a particular kind of people behave badly, or are dirty, or are uncivilised (accusations you have made in these comments so far) you head down the road of racism. Again, it really doesn’t matter what skin colour you may be. I say again that your comments are much more in keeping with the BNP. In fact, it is only when I have researched their website in the past that I have ever come across such animosity on the web before. You should check it out and take a deep look at yourself.

              Why the hell should western cultures be considered more civilised and humane?! It’s nonsense – I’ve seen more honour, more social concern and care amongst the poorest people here than I’ve ever seen in the UK. As far as I’m concerned the West has everything to learn from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan than Asians have from the West.

              ” I am pleased you are working and living there and helping them and hope you also make them good citizens who respect other cultures and learn to blend into and not take their tribal cultures with them”

              WHAT?! Just clarify for me again – where does your family come from originally? IS it Bangladesh? Has it taken such a short period of time to make someone like you think that West is Best and that other cultures somehow have to be made to ‘blend in’ and lose their ‘tribal culture’? If I thought, for one moment, that this is what I am teaching to Bangladeshi students every day, I would pack my bags and return to the UK now.

              It deeply distresses me that ANYONE in the UK thinks like this. But, unfortunately, I think that if we were to take a vote on this amongst the UK population, you would find that you would not be the only one to believe what you have stated here. Your supporters would probably outnumber mine. Your voice would be more likely listened to by the ‘great British public’ than mine.

              For this reason, I think I would prefer to stay here in Bangladesh with my ‘uncivilised’,’dirty’,’less humane’ and horribly ‘tribal’ friends. Somehow I feel more truly human by doing so…


  5. SassySass says:

    Ouch! Karachi made the bottom ten… Ironic considering I just wrote about how much I miss visiting. But as you said, its remarkable that those places are where we look forward to going for a break! The grass (in a weird way) always seems greener on the other side, and sometimes just for a short vacation of sorts.


    • I know! We do find it funny actually that many ex-LAMBers who live in Dhaka come UP to LAMB to ‘get away’ from the city while we’re all busy coming DOWN to get to the city! The grass, as you say, is always greener…


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