Echo

GOOD POTENTIAL NOT HARVESTED WELL  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

Like India, Bangladesh also has a potential to be a good source of trained IT people. But after the IT education industry boom in the late nineties nothing has gone right for Bangladesh in this sector. The govt. has not been able to bring submarine Optical fiber cable connection to this country to join into the high speed internet hub. We are still in the dial-up era and linked to the world via V-SAT.

People are blaming the quality of IT education in Bangladesh as in this editorial of the The New Nation. But my view is that there is no significant growth in the entrepreneurship of Software related products. The only growth this sector had is the increased PC & Peripheral sales. There are no big software companies set up by the leading industrial groups who could create large number of IT related jobs. Unless there is sufficient demand of IT related jobs within the country, there will be no competition and growth among the IT education institutes and their quality will fall down. The international jobs are also decreasing.

BANGLADESH government has set a target to earn more than $ 2 billion by the year 2006 through software export. I want to know on what basis they have projected this.

 

Posted by Rezwan

MY GOD IS YOUR GOD

John Kearney, a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has wrote an Op-Ed article urging that US media should stop calling Allah "Allah", and just use the name "God" to signify that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same deity.

Kearney asserts:

"There is no god but God" is the first of Islam's five pillars. It is Muhammad's refutation of polytheism. Yet to today's non-Muslims, the locution "there is no God but Allah" reads as an affront, a declaration that inflammatory Allah trumps the Biblical God. This journalistic rendition distorts the meaning of the Muslim confession of faith.

Read more here (free registration required).

The Arabic word for god is ilaah and God is Allah. This has nothing to do with religion. Allah is clearly stated in the Koran to be the name of ilaah, just as Yahweh is the name of God (Eli) in the Torah. The word for God in Greek and Latin is derived from the word for Zeus.

A reader commented in the LGF post:

Islam, Christianity & Judaism all three religions (or any religion for that matter) are based on fundamentally anti-Western, barbaric, de-humanising elements:

(1) the belief in something supernatural, based on faith, i.e. believing something without evidence, reason or logic.

(2) accepting morality based on faith, on obeying commands, rather proving, rationally, with evidence and reason, the correctness of those morals.

(3) positing a being superior to the individual, subverting the individual's happiness to something higher.


My opinion: Whats in a name?

EXPLOITING CHILDREN AS CAMEL JOCKEYS  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

I don't know much about camel racing, which is a traditional sport in the Arab countries. But I have heard plenty of it during recent times as many Bangladeshi children are being exploited by the camel racers. Jockeys being small and lightweight are a winning potential. Mounting camels three times their height, the children - some as young as six - face the risk of being thrown off or trampled. They are often starved to keep underweight. They are brought to Arab countries by child trafficking racket. One women was caught recently at the Dhaka Airport trying to smuggle 5 children declaring as her own.

Human right activities in Bangladesh as well as in other countries are vocal against these rackets and the use of child as jockey. Recent reports suggest that Gulf states aim to halt camel jockeys trafficking. There are strict laws in UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia banning exploitation of children as camel jockeys. In UAE the use of children aged under 15 and weighing less than 45 kilograms (100 pounds) as jockeys is prohibited. In Saudi Arabia the minimum age of a Jockey is 16. But I doubt whether the authorities are able to implement those laws in great effect.

It can be compared with the black people, who were used as slaves in western countries centuries ago as their masters were more powerful & rich. I wonder why there is no protest in the Arab countries by the Arabs against these inhumane exercises.

MYSTERY DISEASE IN BANGLADESH  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Recently I succumbed to strong headache and feverish conditions. A family member raised the question whether I had caught the mystery disease which has taken 15 lives in Northern Bangladesh. But to assure everybody I recuperated shortly.

The outbreak of the disease is really of great concern as doctors could not determine in a week what virus is causing the disease, which produces high fever, headache, vomiting and spells of unconsciousness and death at last. However the symptoms the disease could be encephalitis. Samples have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for analysis. It will take weeks to determine the type of the disease. Read more here.

Government sources are saying that the situation seems to be under control now as there are not many new patients. But when you don't know what you are fighting, everybody feels helpless.

This disease is not the bird flu which has spread in many Asian countries. Moreover Bangladesh banned import of chicken from Asian countries where there is bird flu.

I think that WHO or other international organizations should have an unit with specialists and modern equipments to reach those infested areas as soon as the disease outbreaks so that they can identify any new or rare disease at the shortest possible time and prescribe medicines to minimize deaths. Otherwise SARS or other new disease can come out large and threaten an epidemic anytime, anywhere.

WHEN THE RIVERS RUN DRY  

Posted by Rezwan in , , ,

The movement of marine transport vessels in Bangladesh waterways have become extremely slow and risky because of rising river beds from siltation. After the establishment of the Farakka Barrage in India during the mid seventies, the length of the waterways of Bangladesh shrank from 24,000 kilometres to some 7,000 kilometres. During winter, due to the lack of water flow the water level has shrunk drastically and siltation took its toll by reducing the total waterways to some 3,000 kilometres. This is a grave news for Bangladesh where water transport is one of the main (& affordable) mean of transporting goods and people. Lack of govt. budget will make it difficult to dredge huge areas of silted waterways. Read more here.

That is the reason why Bangladesh wants India to abandon its proposed river-linking project.

QUOTES OF THE DAY  

Posted by Rezwan in


A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

- Winston Churchill 1874-1965, British Statesman, Prime Minister

The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and people whose aim is to disrupt society always know how to make good use of them on occasion.

- Denis Diderot 1713-1784, French Philosopher

Fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity.

- Edward Gibbon 1737-1794, British Historian

TASLIMA NASRIN'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

Taslima's latest visit to Kolkata is creating much controversy. Take this and this for instance. She is always in the news.

Despite the clerics latest fatwa "a prize of 20000 Indian Rupee($440) for the person who smears tar on her face", she is valiant as ever.

Read the latest interview where she asserts:

I am not scared of anyone. I will write and publish my books. Why should people accept such a decision in a free state. It is for them to decide what is obscene. There cannot be a jury.

True indeed.

Grameen Bank Model helping people in Rhode Island, USA  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

Thrive, based on the international Grameen Bank from Bangladesh, brings tools from the village for Western women to gain financial independence. The goal of this program is to create economic self-sufficiency among predominantly struggling women in Woonsocket city and surrounding communities. Read here for more.

Bangladesh is proud of Dr. M. Yunus and his Grameen Bank which has become a micro credit icon in the world. The Grameen Bank was started in Bangladesh in 1976 as an action-research project that attempted to provide tiny loans to very poor people to allow them to start "micro-businesses." Now Grameen Bank has 2.4 million borrowers, 94% of whom are women, and has loaned more than $3.7 billion in amounts averaging less than $200. Grameen Bank models are replicated in many countries of the world.

Mr. Yunus's views:

We can remove poverty from the surface of the earth only if we can redesign our institutions - like the banking institutions, and other institutions; if we redesign our policies, if we look back on our concepts, so that we have a different idea of poor people.

To learn more about Grameen Bank click here.

TWO BANGLADESHES  

Posted by Rezwan in ,



There have been reactions from all quarters on the recent treatment of the minority Ahmadiyya sect in Bangladesh. The govt. has recently banned the Ahmadiyya publications to ease tensions created by a fanatic group of right wing Islami activists. Their claim is that the govt. should declare Ahmadiyyas as non muslim. I really don't understand what good that will bring to others.

The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in the late 19th century in what is now Pakistan with the professed goal of reviving Islam by stressing non-violence and tolerance. The sect breaks sharply with mainstream Islam by not insisting Mohammad was necessarily the last prophet.

Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan (who is a born Bangladeshi) expressed her views regarding this:

there are "two Bangladeshes": one that has witnessed "a growth in abuse without accountability," including attacks on the Hindu minority, and another with dedicated groups committed to women's rights, children's rights and other issues.

She also said:

"It is a very worrying sign that the government is sending mixed messages"

We feared this sort of things would happen when the Islami parties was called as partners of BNP & JP to form the current coalition government. In fear of loosing them as partners, the govt. is bowing down to these silly requests of the Jamayat-i-Islami and other Islami parties. The opposition parties have widely criticized and protested govt.'s role in this affair.

 

Posted by Rezwan

David Hookes in coma

Australian cricket legend David Hookes clings to life in a coma after being knocked to the ground by a pub-bouncer in a scuffle outside a Melbourne hotel last night. - Sidney Morning herald reports.

Hookes, best known for his sleazy remarks on cricket, was coaching the Victorian cricket team as well as sports commentating.

If you are a cricket fan then you will have plenty of amusement (and anger) reading David Hookes' thoughts. e.g:

"Ganguly came to me and said 'It's our first day on the tour, we should just bat'. So once he went well past that and his tailenders didn't bat properly, I thought 'bugger it' - we were pretty annoyed. They didn't learn to play cricket ... it was a staggering approach." - November 2003, on India's tactics in a tour match against Victoria.

Click here for more.

But right now, we should pray for him.

Update: The news came in that Mr. Hookes has succumbed to his injuries. May his soul rest in peace.

David Hookes (1955-2004) profile & tributes.

 

Posted by Rezwan

QUOTE OF THE DAY


O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

- Percy Bysshe Shelley - PLATO- 1792-1822, British Poet

 

Posted by Rezwan

BLOG ROUNDUP

Its time for another Blog roundup. I will bring to you some interesting links found on various blogs.

* FishBase is a global information system with all you ever wanted to know about fishes. It is a relational database with information to cater to different professionals such as research scientists, fisheries managers, zoologists and many more (ofcourse with some fee). FishBase on the web contains practically all fish species known to science. (via worldchanging)

* Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. This program uses your processor power when it is free and sends back the analyzed Data to SETI. It is the largest grid computing effort in the world, with 4.7 million computing nodes. The SETI team manages 0.1 percent of the world's total computing capacity with only six programmers and system administrators (each member of the team is handling about 800,000 PCs). via smartmobs.

* The winners of Bush in 30 seconds, a political advertising contest has been announced. go see for yourself.

* Brian Micklethwait writes an article in Samiz Data about the growing popularity of Cricket in India and how England can be part of it. He points out: When Tendulkar bats against Pakistan, the television audience in India alone exceeds the combined populations of Europe. In contrast, when England played Germany in Euro 2000, the combined audience of BBC1 and ITV was 17.9 million.

* Google has a blog too with many useful tips & links.

A COLLECTION OF INDIAN DIAMONDS  

Posted by Rezwan in

The second annual Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) is set to be celebrated on 16th of January in New Delhi, India which is an attempt - and more than symbolic - to bring the 20 million-strong Great Indian family spread across the globe back to their native land, physically, emotionally - and financially (reports Asia Times).

Over 2,000 people of Indian origin worldwide are converging on the capital. They include Noble Prize laureate Sir V S Naipaul, management Guru C K Prahalad, economist Jagdish Bhagwati, entrepreneur and philanthropist Lord Raj Bagri and business magnate L N Mittal, both of Britain, and veteran West Indies cricketer Rohan Kanhai.

Other steps of the Indian Government to lure back the investment and other contribution to Indian society & economy are:

* Dual citizenship
* Foreign Contribution Act, an attempt to ease or remove the bureaucratic, financial and other impediments encountered by people and institutions in undertaking voluntary work in India.
* A handbook for Non-Resident Indians, which will give them rules and guidelines on taxation, property rights, special programs offered by state governments

And the Indian Government is also polite in their approach; as Vajpayee said at the inaugural gathering last year: "We do not want your [Indians abroad] riches, we want the richness of your experience."

Now here is the real truth:

The US Census Bureau has pegged the Indian American median family's annual income at US$60,000, compared with the national average of $38,885. Despite the recent recession, the dotcom bubble burst and the tech meltdown, the estimated annual buying power of Indian Americans still stands at $20 billion. It seems Indians began to be associated with software and computers rather than elephants and snake charmers.

No wonder, many of the Indians abroad are diamonds and their country wants them back.

(via worldchanging blog)

QUOTES OF THE DAY  

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The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery.

PLATO- BC 427?-347?, Greek Philosopher

An effeminate education weakens both the mind and the body.

Edgar Quinet- 1803-1875, French Poet, Historian, Politician

NEED FOR A CHANGE IN EDUCATION SYSTEM  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

The Bangladeshi education system is divided into three different branches. These branches are: a) The English Medium, b) The Bengali Medium, and c) The Religious Branch. Many of the school and colleges are Government or semi Government. Tution fees are heavily subsidized in full Government institutions but they lack sufficient infrastructures. Students are free to choose between government or private institutions provided that they have the means.

The detailed structure of the mainstream education system in Bangladesh can be found here:

But the problems of this system are:

1. Almost all of the funding of Govt. mainly contribute to the salaries of the teachers of the Govt. & semi Govt. educational institutions. There are very nominal budget for sports facilities or other developments of school. Good quality private schools do not have that problem because they impose much higher fee to students to cover up these costs. But many of these private schools are out of reach of lower middle class or poors.

2. Enrolment at primary schools is only 77%. That means, 23 percent of all children of Bangladesh aged 6-10 do not have access to primary education. Many of them drop out of school as they progress.

3. Govt. educational Institutes have limited seats for students at secondary level. Private Institutes are there to fill the gap but are costly and only wealthy families can afford.

4. There is no mechanism for assessing quality of the primary students. SSC or HSC examinations are standardized, but no such assessment before 10th class.

5. There are controversies regarding the curriculum and the authorities of the religious educational institutions.

6. Education imparted at Govt. funded universities have little relevance to the needs of the economy and job market (absence of adequate technical or professional faculties).

7. Many university graduates, produced at considerable cost to the society, (public universities being almost entirely state financed with little sharing of costs by the beneficiaries), have to remain unemployed for a considerable period of time before they find employment often in areas outside their fields of study.

In the view to overcome such problems, I think Bangladesh can contemplate on changing its education system. One model can be the German education system, which is stated elaborately here:

In brief the German system features:

1. Pre-school and primary education up to class 4.

2. After Class 4 they phase out to four categories of schools according to the merit, class 5 being the orientation phase irrespective of school type.

3. Hauptschule and Realschule are for pre-vocational or technical students. Gymnasium is for students willing to go to tertiary level of education (i.e. Universities). After the 10th grade the four schooling systems have the exam "Abitur".

4. In the second tier of education there is technical school and on the job training phase. After 12th class they end education and go for a job. For the students willing to go to Universities go to Gymnasium.

5. In the third tier there are Universities and other technical higher educational institutes.

In this system students are classified into different kinds of schooling according to their merit well in advance (in 5th grade). So a student does not have to study higher math in 9th or tenth grade if he does not want to study science in higher classes or go to University.

For a poor country like Bangladesh, the Govt. cannot simply afford to ascertain higher education for everybody through subsidized Govt. Institutes, which is also not required. Instead Govt. can establish more vocational institutes where students passing SSC or say HSC can study for two years plus one year on the job training, which will qualify them for a market oriented job. More efforts are needed to keep adequate budget to ensure primary education for maximum number of children eligible for school. There should be one central examination after 5th grade to classify the students for different categories of school according to their merit.

There is scope for many discussions and contemplation on this subject. But it is disheartened for the Bangladeshi People that the ruling governments spend their time and energy in the unnecessary affairs like changing political history in the curriculum according to their liking.

INCREASING NUMBER OF PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES IN BANGLADESH  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

As the literacy rate is rising in Bangladesh, there is an ever-growing demand for institutions for higher education. Each year more and more students are passing SSC (10th class) & HSC (12th Class). But there are not enough Colleges, Universities or other vocational institutes to accommodate all of them. The conventional education system up to mid nineties has been supported by massively subsidized education through a very small number of state-run institutions to a very narrow spectrum of students chosen out of fierce competition. The Govt. Institutions are supposed to be of high quality but lack of management, increasing cost and fixed budget are hindrances to maintain their quality. After the mid nineties many private universities have been established and the number is increasing each year (+ 50 as per last count).

There are controversies about the quality and motto of these private Universities. M. Omar Rahman, an ex-Harvard Professor working now in one leading private University has written an article claiming 'Private universities are springing up like tea stalls'.

He points out to the demerits of the private universities: "rampant consumerism, narrow spectrum of course offerings, and low quality of instruction". but he is also optimistic about the fact that as the public deciding factor is quality & choice of subjects and eventually only the higher quality institutions will survive.

I also think that there is nothing wrong in having more educational institutions. However we can argue that there should be proper control over them to ensure quality and other ethical obligations. As far as I know, the govt. has imposed some requirements for opening a private University like they have to have their own campus; a huge sum of money (100 million Taka) has to be shown as collateral/deposit etc. But I am in doubt whether there is proper control over curriculum. However as many such private Universities claim that they are affiliated with leading Universities in USA, Australia or UK, the curriculum is not supposed to be of a lesser quality.

As per Mr. Omars point of view: these are the advantages of Private Universities:

(i) increased choice and or access to those students who either are unable (due to increased competition) or unwilling (due to the characteristics of the institutions), to enter the public system; (ii) timely completion of degrees unhindered by session jams as in the public system; (iii) a safe and secure environment free of student violence -- a particularly attractive feature to parents; (iv) a semester system of education where one is evaluated continuously and multiple times in circumscribed courses, rather than in one anxiety provoking end of course final exam which can make or break one's career; (v) coursework in English, competence in which is increasingly recognized as the passport to jobs in the global economy; (vi) linkages or the promise of such to universities in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand which then provide an avenue for students to pursue higher studies and possibly future employment in the global market place; (vii) the promise of potentially higher quality faculty who are paid substantially more than their public peers and presumably hired on merit rather than through nepotism; (viii) better physical facilities (classrooms, laboratories, libraries, computer centers, cafeterias etc) due to the higher resource mobilization from tuition fees; and (ix) the promise of expanded research and scholarly activities funded partially through higher tuition fees.

So we should welcome such private ventures to ensure good quality education in the country, which should stop many students from wealthy families going abroad for education.

As far as the quality of the Universities is concerned, I know that in job market you cannot progress only with your degrees. Quality and your performance count everywhere. If a private University render poor quality education, then its alumni will not get good job and thus would not attract new students.

ENGRISH FOR FUN  

Posted by Rezwan in

I often feel disgusted when I find a grammatical or spelling error in my post. As English is my second language I am trying to develop myself and I hope that I would be excused by my readers. But any criticism is welcome.

Recently I found the link to Engrish. If you want to enjoy some hilarious mistakes in English then this is the right place for you.

The site explains:

What is Engrish?

Engrish can be simply defined as the humorous English mistakes that appear in Japanese advertising and product design.

Is Engrish found only in Japan?

No, Engrish can be found all over the world,


Don't miss the recent discoveries.

 

Posted by Rezwan

WHAT FAME + BABBLEFISH CAN TURN YOU TO

The result of the Asian Weblog award 2003 has been announced some days back. I did not notice it till I saw some unknown websites linking to me. They have posted the list of the winners (including me) with their comments. One of them is a Japanese one kept by Matsunaga Hideaki. I tried babblefish to translate the site and I almost fell from the chair reading the comment for my site:

Bangladesh: The 3rd World View
"Point of view of the 3rd world" of lesbianism one. English. Considerably it seems like serious contents. Blogger use.


Well I don't know Japanese and can't verify whether this is the right translation or not. But I think there is something terribly wrong somewhere. Does my blog indicate that I am *******? Look what fame can turn you to.

THE AUTORICKSHAW SCANDAL  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

It was a bold move by the government to phase out 40,000 petrol-driven two-stroke three-wheelers to cut air pollution in Dhaka. The replacement is compressed natural gas (CNG) autorickshaws. But the government allowed only one agency Uttara Motors to import 10,000 CNG autorickshaws. They have sold 8,000 vehicles to local buyers since January 2002.

Now here's the truth. The CNG Autos made in India costs around 90000 Indian Rupees. The Showroom price of the vehicle was initially 167,000 Bangladeshi Taka ($2880). But due to increasing demand and shortage of supply the price shoot up to Tk. 367,000 ($6327) and still these are being sold.

A parliamentary body recently wanted explanations from the Communications minister as why only agency was allowed to import. Read the news here.There are reports of corruption also in the registration process. The minister refuted all such claims.

There will be committees, investigations to probe allegations but the bottomline is that the autorickshaw owners won't get back the premium amount they paid for no reason.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BEWARE OF 2 WAY MIRROR

Jivha tells that there is another threat to your privacy lurking behind the two way mirrors in places like female changing rooms or hotel bedrooms. I am not sure whether these are actually happening but here is a clue to detect 2 way mirrors:

CONDUCT THIS SIMPLE TEST: Place the tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface and if there is a GAP between your fingernail and the image of the nail, then it is a GENUINE mirror. However, if your fingernail DIRECTLY TOUCHES the image of your nail, then BEWARE, IT IS A 2-WAY MIRROR! (there is someone seeing you from the other side). The reason there is a gap on a real mirror, is because the silver is on the back of the mirror UNDER the glass. Whereas with a two-way mirror, the silver is on the Surface. Keep it in mind! Make sure and check every time you enter in hotel rooms. May be someone is making a film on you.

So better be safe than sorry.

 

Posted by Rezwan

ARE YOU BLOGAHOLIC?

Take this test and find out yourself.

My Score is 64 out of 100, which means:

You are a dedicated weblogger. You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!

Source: WannabeGirl.

THE COMING OF AN AMERICAN EMPIRE  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

M Abdul Hafiz, former Director General of Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies (BIIS) has written one article titled The coming of the American Empire criticizing the role of America in today's global affairs. Some excerpts:

There had been rise and fall of empires in the past and each one of them had its rival to contend with. But America is not only the world's sole superpower, it is also the sole empire -- something that never happened before in history -- a sole empire global in scope that seeks to reinvent the nations of the world in its own image.

Some nations feel happy with the US' new identity, viewing it as benign liberal empire that can protect them from the ambitious local powers while some grudge it because it stands on the way of their goal. Still others accept it as a hard fact of life and acquiesce the US' new status.

The pursuit of moralistic project under self proclaimed righteousness has undermined not only American interest, but also the American values. The double standard and deception have become all too common.

It is also condescending to claim that America has the right to impose democracy on other nations and cultures regardless of their circumstances and preferences. Treating democracy as a divine revelation -- and Washington as its prophet and global enforcer -- simply does not square with the historical record of this form of government, nor with the geo-political realities of the modern world. The principal problem is the mistaken belief that democracy is talisman for all the world's ills, including terrorism, and the US has a responsibility to promote democratic government wherever in the world it is lacking irrespective of whatever are the social and political costs involved.


Read the rest here.

MORE GOOD NEWS  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

After many bad news (specially in the recent months) we have some good news at last.

* Bangladesh foreign exchange reserves hit 8-year high: due to higher remittance and export earnings, disbursement of foreign aid and foreign investment.

* Pakistan resumes air links with Nepal and Bangladesh: after a two-year ban was lifted on Pakistani flights entering Indian airspace.

* SAARC Summit starts with high hopes: offering a key chance for its giants India and Pakistan to meet for the first time since near war in 2002. Agendas include free trade and anti-terrorism agreements plus a social charter. The seven nations of Saarc -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka -- make up one of the world's most populous and poorest regions.

* A feast of computers in the Dhaka "City IT 2003 fair": offering multimedia PCs assembled in Bangladesh at as low as $322 (Tk. 18,699) and accounting softwares produced in Bangladesh at $3.45 (Tk. 200) only.

MORE TEA PER PERSON  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

In a recent report it is feared that as tea export earnings falls by 60pc, spiking local demand may turn Bangladesh into an importer.

Tea was introduced in Bengal by the British in the late Sixteenth century. Historians tell that tea was distributed free to create addiction and taste. The British have established the industry here and Bangladesh is the 5th largest tea exporter in the world.

Last five years export figures show the significant drop because of the fact that "Internal consumption is going up 3.5 percent every year against 1 percent production growth".

But I think we should not be panicked with the situation as the Bangladeshis are preferring local tea because of its quality and cost effectiveness if nothing else.

Now steps should be taken to set up more tea plants and increase production. Bangladesh produces about 55 million kgs of tea a year on 119,000 hectares (297,500 acres) of land. Good entrepreneurship, proper management and help from government could increase the productivity to a great extent. Any investors or entrepreneurs listening?

What did you learn in school today?  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

- a song by Pete Seeger

What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned that Washington never told a lie.
I learned that soldiers never die.
I learned that everybody's free,

And that's what the teacher said to me.

I learned that Government must be strong;
It's always right and never wrong;
Our leaders are the finest men
And we elect them again and again.

I learned that war is not so bad;
I learned about the great ones we have had;
We fought in Germany and in France
And someday I might get my chance.

That's what I learned in school today,
That's what I learned in school.

CHILLY DAYS  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Bangladesh is being hit by a cold wave across the country. At least 51 people, mostly children and the elderly, died in the last three days.

The temperature is not that low, as you would imagine hearing this news. It is around 9-12 degrees Celsius, the northern region being the lowest. But it is well below the usual average 15 degrees in winter. Extreme foggy conditions are making things worse specially hampering Air traffic and marine transports. Tiny dewdrops are falling like rain and its even biting in Dhaka where the temperature was around 11-14 degree Celsius. The fog is absorbing body heat and thus intensifying cold.

This cold is being dwelt in the urban areas well but in villages, many houses are not equipped to protect people from this cold (as they are made of Bamboo or wood/mud). The cold wave is taking its toll on the poor who does not have heavy blankets or winter cloths. The only recluse for them is to light bonfires to fend off the bite of cold and urban people are preferring to stay indoors.

The bad news is that the cold wave will last a few days more. We have seen some extreme temperatures both in summer and winter as the weather is changing. Hope the poor survives this winter. The people of Bangladesh, especially in village areas should now contemplate of equipping their houses with insulating materials to fight out severe colds in future. That would be a huge task for the poor households and I think govt. and NGOs should come up with an action plan.

There are programs of donating winter cloths and blankets to the have-nots being taken by some organizations. I think these programs should extend to all parts of the country and distribution of clothes and blankets in time should be ensured.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  

Posted by Rezwan in

2003 was not an year to remember for many reasons. Terrorism, war and many deaths marked the whole year.

I wish that 2004 would be somewhat different. We want peace, stability and wish that human virtues would be uphold in every corner of the world.

But it will be difficult. You call it a jinx but Blogger & Blogspot were down when I tried to post this message. What an way to start the new year. But there is no fun in the life's adventures without hurdles.