Bangladesh

STEVEN KRUIT: LIVING IN BANGLADESH

Triton Textile is providing professional guidance in out-sourcing of ready-made garment production in the most competitive markets in Asia. Steven Kruit is the General Manger of the Bangaldesh’ office. Living in Bangladesh since 10 years, we wanted to know more about his way of life, his work, his favorite places and good tips.

-Mostafiz Uddin

For how many years are you already working in Bangladesh?

I am the General Manager for the Bangladesh office for Triton Textile, and I am living in Bangladesh already for more than 10 years. The first time I visited Bangladesh was in September 2004. I instantly saw the opportunities and possibilities in this country. In those years I did get offers to be stationed in other countries, but I always decided to stay in Bangladesh as here it is happening. Massive improvements have happened in the last few years, in terms of compliance, production capacities, and product innovations. We are specialised in (functional) sportswear, and we produce more items out of Bangladesh than from the traditional sourcing market China? If you see the products that nowadays we can produce here, you will be surprised. Buyers who still have the mindset of “Bangladesh is for Basics”, have not been paying attention the last few years.

How is it for a European to live in Bangladesh ?

Life did change after the July attack, and social life in public places I keep limited and restricted. Acts of terrorism are happening all over the world, but as a European in Dhaka you do stand out of the crowd, so that makes things different than in Europe. Your personal safety is something you have to take care of, also in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a very accommodating country and makes our expat lives very comfortable: There are not many places in the world where you can easily afford to have people to take care of your personal life. I am thankful and appreciative every day when I come home and the house has been cleaned, the bed is made, and the shirts are ironed. I appreciate the support I get from my office team, including the driver and the other support staff. It is really good and makes life so comfortable.

Living in Bangladesh must be very different to living in the Netherlands.

It is different for sure, but not necessarily better or worse. It’s different, and that is what I like about it. When I first left to Bangladesh, many people asked me: “The Bangladeshi people must be very different to the Dutch people”. But in fact, despite the obvious differences, I found many similarities. In my voluntary work for the development organization 1WE.com: all people have the same goals and targets, we want a warm family, shelter and enough food, and a good job to earn an honest salary so that we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones. So when it comes to the real important things in life, there are not so many differences, as we are all human beings.

“I like to visit the historical site of Sonargoan, Panam City and to wander around.There you find the old ruins of the former capital.”

Can you tell us a bit about your favorite places, the insider tips, to enjoy the country?

The best way to enjoy the country is to enjoy and to mingle with the locals. I am fortunate to have travelled to many places in the world, but it’s difficult to find the abundant enthusiasm and high level of hospitality as you will encounter in Bangladesh. The people are so friendly, so welcoming, and so proud of their country. I like to visit the historical site of Sonargoan, Panam City and to wander around. It is less than 2 hours from Gulshan, and located at the high way towards Comilla/Chittagong. There you find the old ruins of the former capital. It’s amazing just to walk around, discover the buildings, and fantasize what the city would have look like back in the days.

What are your favorite places to explore Bangladeshi nature, mind blowing sunsets?

I think the remote places in the country, like Sylhet, Shundarbans, and the coastal regions are very beautiful. But what I like most is the simple village life and you do not have to travel very far to discover it. Next time you are on the road to visit a factory, just take a side road of the main road and visit any village. Just stop the car, and walk through the village.For sure you will meet very curious locals, who can become your new best friend within minutes.Just walk through, see the houses, see the life. It is so peaceful, so nice, and for me the best part of the countryside. For me it’s like a scene from a movie. Many times I take my camera and take some amazing pictures of the people in those villages.

Which Museums, restaurants, bars would you recommend?

When I first arrived in Bangladesh, I did not like the spices so much. Nowadays I am the first one to grab the chili flakes if a pizza is served, and I get upset in Europe when they don’t serve it in the restaurants.I can give you a small insight tip where you

can get the best indian/bangla food in the country:it’s a small restaurant in Banani called Tarka. Try the chicken reshmi kebab, the grilled paneer, and the butter chicken with the butter naan. I will guarantee you; you will come back again and again. There is another hidden gem that I would like to share, for the best coffee in town I go to the 300ft road near airport road. Opposite the convention center there is a small local coffeehouse called The Terrace Cafe. It has a rooftop terrace and a great view. There the friendly staff serve the best coffee in town, I call it my own little local Starbucks. M.U.

 

 

 

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