One of the inexplicable highlights of randomness that I see on a regular basis is the bizarre Kyrgyz Consulate Beautification Scheme near Banani Bridge. This “beautification” of Dhaka consists of several weather-beaten, scratched concrete animals including a horse, a tiger and a pair of zebras with their…um…man-parts rather well polished. I shake my head with barely suppressed laughter every time I bike or rickshaw past these haggard creatures. I truly love them, obviously not because they turn Dhaka into a tourist hotspot but simply because they make me smile each time I pass by.
First of all: Kyrgyzstan. Why would the consulate of the gorgeous, mountain-country of Kyrgyzstan (one of my dream travel destinations coincidentally) bother to install a series of poorly constructed concrete animals in the megacity of Dhaka, Bangladesh? Why adulterate the reputation of such an amazingly beautiful and historic nation? What do the citizens of Kyrgyzstan gain from placing these animals in a remote corner of the South Asia?
Secondly, there is no Kyrgyz Consulate in the country of Bangladesh. “Where is this Kyrgyz consulate,” you might ask? Apparently it’s in New Dehli, a solid 1,700 kilometers away. So the Kyrgyz consulate in New Delhi decided, in their infinite wisdom, to place a series of concrete statues in a neighboring, country that bickers incessantly with the consulate’s host government of India? Great choice!
Thirdly, the choice of tigers makes sense; Bengal tigers do in fact live in Bangladesh. The choice of a horse is very fitting for the equestrian-heavy culture of the nomadic Kyrgyz people. But ZEBRAS?!? How will zebras ever be relevant to the relationship between Dhaka and Bishkek?
In my humble opinion, Kyrgyzstan’s mission to beautify Dhaka has largely failed to make Bangladesh more scenic but it has certainly given me many a laugh. If I ever end up in Kyrgyzstan I’ll do my best to construct a concrete llama or ostrich. You know…to improve Kyrgyz-Canadian political relations. It would be the obvious choice!