Echo

 

Posted by Rezwan

POWER OF A BLOGGER

I am surprised to learn that a blogger tilted the French vote rejecting the European constitution. (via Buzzmachine)

That does not help the cause of forming a stronger and united Europe, which is required to have a balance in the world powers.

 

Posted by Rezwan

CRICKET: ON BANGLADESH'S TEST STATUS

Following the lacklustre performance of Bangladesh at Lords against England, the media went crazy trying to strip Bangladesh's test Status. Ex-players like Richie Benaud & reigning stars of cricket like Shane Warne are also vocal for the axe to fall on Bangladesh.

However Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland talks some sense:

"Ten countries isn't a lot of countries to be registered Test playing countries and in order for the game to continue to grow, which is what we want to happen, it's important that countries like Bangladesh are given the best possible opportunity to do that."

His suggestion is to better manage the tour schedule of stronger teams with the weaker teams to avoid repeatations of one-sided games.

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore says:

"Trying to achieve what everyone wants us to achieve is tough but to solely take Bangladesh out of international status full representation is just pure folly, ridiculous. We need to have a means to an end."

I remember one saying:

"If you bully a child every time it falls, it will never try to walk again."

So true.

 

Posted by Rezwan

LINK-O-MATIC

* Its a wiki, wiki world.

* A Day in the life of a brick in Bangladesh.

* You are invited...please don't come.

* I have come to hijack the plane... but I won't.

* Have you heard of Niche blogs?

* Royal blogger takes on the world.

* The World's Longest Commercial Flight.

 

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FAMOUS BANGLADESHI SHOWCASE: BIBI RUSSELL

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Last night while surfing TV channels, I got glued to a fashion show in a Pakistani channel GEO TV, where models were on a catwalk wearing gorgeous and colorful outfits of the Indian sub-continent. The most striking thing of the show was that there were Bengali folk songs playing in the background which blended extremely well with the festivity. I had little doubts but soon the title came up on the screen- "Bibi Russell Productions" , the pride of Bangladesh performing in the "Textile Asia 2005 fashion show". A review of the show says:

Bibi Russell presented contemporary clothes that drew heavily on the Bengali tradition. Kurtas, lachas, turbans, topis, and bags in bright colours stormed the ramp. Her collection was especially designed for this region and she was out to show how natural weaves and primitive designs can be so exciting. Her choice of colour and presentation was nothing like anything I have seen on the local fashion scene.

From the same review:

Bibi is a 1975 graduate from the London College of Fashion and a veteran model for top international fashion brands including YSL, Karl Lagerfeld, Armani and Kenzo. She has shared the ramp with models like Jerry Hall, Iman and Marie Helvin and later Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer. Using her exposure to the international fashion scene and her eclectic education, Bibi decided to use her craft to help the craftsmen of her country. She propagated the theory "fashion for development" and her first Paris show titled "Weavers of Bangladesh" found work for over 30,000 craftsmen there – something our fashion industry should learn from.

Bibi's return to Bangladesh in early 1990s was to fulfill her dream of promoting Bangladeshi fabrics and crafts. She spent much time in rural areas to learn different languages and dialects of the weavers, their ways of life, and earned their trust. She established "Bibi Russel propductions" and from the colours weaved by the villagers, she reached out to the world. In 1999 Bibi was named "UNESCO Special Envoy: Designer for Development". Yes that is her motto - "fashion for development" and she provides work for more than 35,000 small scale weavers of Bangladesh. In her words:

"I believe in the potential of the rural craftsmanship of Bangladesh. For me, this was a soul-searching question, especially in the West, when i came across opinions with regard to Bangladesh's poverty, devastating floods and other stereotyped negative images. I developed a positive attitude, almost as a defensive mechanism. I tend to show the beauty of poverty, not the misery. And this beauty abounds in this country."

Beautiful is who beautiful does. I remember her final words to the Pakistani audience in the abovementioned show which went like this: "There are so much beautiful elements in our culture which we do not explore. Pakistan has a rich culture. So dig out the beauty. No one is stopping you."

Yes no one can stop Bibi Russell. They only can and should follow her.

Related articles:

* Bibi Russell -weaver of colored dreams
* Bibi's fashion with a purpose
* Bibi - fashion for development.

 

Posted by Rezwan

GUILTY MULE



Schapelle Corby, an Australian girl set out with her family on a 10 day holiday in Bali to enjoy the beach and the surf. She accidentally stumbled into a criminal network when the drugs were slipped into her bag once it cleared security checks, to be collected by a worker later. The Indonesian customs officials found 4.1 kg of Marijuana worth $80,000 inside her boogie board and she was put behind bars. After a controversial trial, Corby was sentenced to twenty years sentence and a fine according to local law as there were not enough evidences to prove her innocence. This blog claims that the prosecutors will appeal against the above verdict and plea for a death sentence, the maximum penalty for the crime.

This website "Innocent without a doubt" shouts support for the presumably innocent girl and asks Australian government to intervene.

I remember there was one case in Bangladesh where two US nationals were caught and convicted for drug trafficking. They were later repatriated to US in one exchange program.

But this can happen to everyone, who remains unconscious over the matter. International travelers beware of the laws of the destination.

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE OTHER HALF

According to this report, seventeen percent of the population of Bangladesh is "moderate poor", 31 per cent ultra poor and five per cent is destitute. That makes more than half of the total population below the poverty line. But how are our political leaders & parties and the government addressing this issue?

* A political party called 2 days general strike for murder of one of its activist which lead to postponement of HSC examination and disrupting livelihood of the daily-laborers. An auto-rickshaw driver was brutally torched to death because he brought out his vehicle during strike. No general strike called because he belongs to the other half of population.

* Activists of another group of political parties gathered after the Friday Juma' prayers to denounce alleged desecration of Koran in some other country and hurled a lot of hated remarks against the US and blah blah but they had never mentioned the recent death of hundreds of poor people by consecutive ferry disasters. They did not want to waste energy on that other half.

* The transport minister had to eat his own words to take strong action against the ferry owners curtail because some of the ferries are owned by the prime minister's family. Which half would he benefit?

* The railway is again facing huge loss. Lots of money are required to revamp the infrastructures so that poors get benefit from this medium of transportation. But the govt. ministers are keen to introduce magnetic levitated train in capital for the rich. What a brilliant idea (tip: one of the ministers is associated with the local agent of the supplier)! Screw the other half. There are also other examples of puting cart before horse.

* The other half will remain neglected in this unbearable heat wave, when the power authorities will manage its deficit power by load-shedding in impoverished areas of the cities stopping the electric fans, while the posh areas will have continuous power to run the air-conditioners.

This other half will continue to be exploited this way by the political leaders, the NGOs. Why people like us are remaining in a "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" state?

 

Posted by Rezwan

BANGLADESHI ROCK SCENE

Manish of Sepia Mutiny writes quoting Bangladeshi-American rocker Arafat Kazi that Dhaka rock scene is incestuous than India and Pakistan. The bands have a common cluster and are inspired by up-to-date music around the world. Elephant Road is a street which has three stores (namely Rainbow, Gitali, Ganer Bhuban) which has all kinds of LPs and later on CDs which they copy onto cassette for you for a fee (screw copyright).

Read this post in the "Tales from the subcontinent" for more.

Also read Maqsood's (blogger-cum-rocker) article on the history of Bangladesh rock.

I remember that in my teens "Rainbow" was also my favorite shop for recording songs of my choice into cassettes. The owner Kabir was famous for knowledge in world music and his collection.

Links to Bangladeshi music portals: (1),(2) and (3) -thanks Arafat.

 

Posted by Rezwan

FIRST EVER TRAFFIC RADIO CHANNEL IN BANGLADESH

The capital Dhaka today gets its first ever traffic radio channel in FM. Bangladesh Betar, BRTA, National Road Security Council, Traffic Department of Bangladesh Police and Dhaka City Corporation will coordinate the channel.

That means I have to get my car radio fixed. I ignored it for long as I use the player only. Now there is a potential use for the radio too.

 

Posted by Rezwan

This blog is fasting today for Mojtaba

via Chan'ad Bahraini

 

Posted by Rezwan

AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE

* Joe brings you the 6th Bangladesh film festival from London.

* Iftekhar writes about VOIP and its future in Bangladesh.

* 'A baby makes love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten & the future worth living for' ~ Anonymous

- quote brought to you by Simika and I wholeheartedly agree.

* Nitin points out how political religion uses terror to its advantage and Wamy shares the lessons he has learnt from the recent bomb blasts in the Indian Cinemas.

* Tim Blair looks closely at the lyrics of the Eurovision Song Contest.

* In Bangladesh, many prefer deshi (local) chicken to foreign varieties breaded in firms. Owukori points that Ghanaians loves their local chicken and detest the imported akuko (second-hand) chicken.

* Desoumal of CSF links to a business of contract killing. So, who are you getting killed today?

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE 100 MILLION MISSING WOMEN IN ASIA DOCTRINE

Owen has pointed me to an article which discusses the above misleading doctrine.
It all started when the Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen claimed in an essay that there were some 100 million "missing women" in Asia. Amartya Sen meant that the mistreatment of girl Childs and selective abortions in populous countries like China, India, Pakistan & Bangladesh lead to this unequal ratio of women and men comparing to the West. Sen might be true in some extent but I do not agree to the figures which seems highly hypothetical.

The biggest surprise is Emily Oster's (an economics graduate student at Harvard)
Hypothesis that the regions with the most hepatitis B were the regions with the most "missing" women. Researchers had found that a pregnant woman with hepatitis B is far more likely to have a baby boy than a baby girl. This soon-to-be-published paper try to establish the fate of roughly 50 million of Amartya Sen's missing women.

This doctrine is misleading according to me as there has never been instances of Hepatitis B epidemic in the regions specified (at least I know in Bangladesh). It is still a sexually transmitted disease like AIDS and in a closed society it is most unlikely to spread in a panic speed without others noticing.

Moreover, the government Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) provides the costly Hepatitis B vaccination to all infants in Bangladesh free of charge. Even my daughter has completed the course within first 6 months. So I hope only future can tell that Emily Oster's hypothesis is wrong.

Selective abortion is not encouraged in India now-a-days. The law has forbidden the clinics to tell the sex of a child in an ultrasonography scan which I think is a bold move and extremely effective in rural population. I think this should be introduced in rural areas of Bangladesh too to be on the safer side.

I hope these measures will turn around the current trend of imbalance of men-women ratio in Asia.

 

Posted by Rezwan

HEALTH UPDATE II

I usually do not give much importance to my health. But this time I really was sick. The food poisoning thing got me bed-ridden for a couple of days. Because of diarrhea & vomiting, I dehydrated too much in a night and was suffering from electrolyte imbalance. Lucky for me that I started the ORSaline intakes much earlier and could continue to have fluids in during the treatment. Otherwise the physician said there was no alternative to transfer me to a hospital. I am glad ICDDR'B invented this handy treatment for such fluid losses.

Lucky for me there were these two consecutive holidays (one day courtesy of Awami League's hartal) followed by the weekend. I could really rest and recuperate.

The land phone was out of order. So I was completely out of the reach of the internet. It felt great to spend some days on the other side of the digital divide. Thanks to everybody who expressed concern over my health. My daughter recuperated much earlier but her mother has caught viral fever. The demon did not stop hunting us.

Back to the hectic life. Pending works...list of unread mails...catching up with the world. Regular blogging will resume shortly.

 

Posted by Rezwan

HEALTH UPDATE

We are having a hell of a busy time as our eight month old daughter has become sick with food poisoning. Her mother suspects probably it is from a new cereal she introduced to her. Its very sad to watch a kid vomiting the meager intakes and all activities reduced due to fever and dehydration. She is under ORS medication and primary investigation reports show no sign of bacteria infection.

On the other hand I have become sick from yesterday night too. The signs are the same - food poisoning. Probably the extreme heat and the excess labor got me down.

Please pray for us.

 

Posted by Rezwan

GALLOWAY GALLS THE US SENATE COMMITTEE WHICH HAD ACCUSED HIM

George Galloway, the British MP, charged with profiteering from the Oil-for-food program in Iraq during Saddam regime has blasted the US senate committee, which had accused him earlier. In a rhetoric speech apart from boldly claiming that he is innocent, he accused the legitimacy of the accuser of reaching a verdict without proper evidence and without giving a chance for self-defense.

From the Guardian:

He told Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican who chaired the senate investigations committee "I know that standards have slipped in Washington in recent years, but for a lawyer, you're remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I'm here today, but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question,"

"I met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him," Mr Galloway went on. "The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns, and to give him maps the better to target those guns."

To hear these and more, click here. Also view the 47 minute video clip (Real Media) if you have sufficient bandwidth. Here is a transcript of the speech.

It is surprising that besides the BBC and some Reuters reports, not much coverage of this hearing was seen. However I watched it in CNN which brought it live.

Jeanne says in her blog:

If you want to disentangle yourself from the wrapping the opposition has put you in, that's how you do it. No cheap shots and bitch slaps. Just truth upon truth.

Yes that is how Galloway did it. Inflicted truth upon truth on the US senators about the legitimacy of US invasion of Iraq and mocked that the real profit makers of the oil-for-food program was the US oil companies.

 

Posted by Rezwan

SMS IN BANGLA AND THE MOBILE WAR

আমি বাঙলায় কথা বলি, আমি বাঙলার কথা বলি ।

For the first time in Bangladesh Bangla SMS is offered by the cell phone provider Citycell. Kudos to the four students of Computer Science & Engineering Department of BUET and part time programmers who developed the conversion software. The system they implemented converts Bangla Messages in English alphabet into Bangla Messages in Bangla alphabet and then transforms it into a compatible picture message. I hope the other mobile phone operators also join the race soon with better and simpler technology to give more value to their customers.

With the introduction of Teletalk, the government entered into the celluler phone market, which is very lucrative considering the meager teledensity of Bangladesh. Orascom's Bangla Link started the war offering mobile connections at down-to-earth rate. Now AKTEL and the pioneer GrameenPhone are also offering connections/SIMs at unbelievable rates (as low as $3). However the call rates (incoming and outgoing) are not reducing much. There is a fierce competition for giving reduced pulse as low as 10 seconds, but in the end the providers will reap from the stagnant high call charges. If we consider economies of scale, the rate should drop along with acquiring more customers. Hope to see some change in this once Teletalk gets fully operational.

 

Posted by Rezwan

SHORT TAKES

* After numerous protests and deaths around the world Newsweek says that their report of Koran desecration at Guantanamo Bay was wrong. Roger L. Simon says that Newsweek quoted the news from anonymous source. Some say that the Newsweek incident should not pass unpunished. Chapati Mystery posts his views regarding this in the context of the Indian sub-continent.

* According to this poll, 76% given verdict that the Awami Leagues boycott of the Bangladesh Parliament is not a right policy. Does AL read the statistics?

* Nabil al-Wazer, a prominent Journalist in Yemen was kidnapped Tuesday for a ransom of approximately $50,000 U.S. dollars. Jane reports that he has been released.

* For MP3 music hunters The Tofu Hut has an extensive list of MP3 sites.

* Ennis says it is illegal to be a homosexual in India.

* Technocrati now indexes more than 10 million blogs. It has grown five folds since December 2003 says Tigerhawk.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BANGLADESH FERRY DISASTER

Yet another passenger ferry disaster in leaving more than 100 persons feared dead. If you look at the chronology of the disasters from 1986, you will see that the disasters are happening every year. The problem lies in licensing the makeshift ferries, which have poor structural designs and do not meet the safety standard. Although life-jackets are prescribed, they cannot be found in these ferries. Poor warning systems and overcrowding of ferries are also to blame.

Bangladesh has one of the largest water network in the world with a total number of about 700 rivers including tributaries with a total length of about 24,140 km. The ferries plying in these rivers provide cheap transportation to many villagers and poor people who live in remote areas, not accessible by road.

The transportation minister has been able to do nothing except giving compensation of a goat each for the poor victims families. The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has a development project for preventing the ferry (called launch) accidents. The project duration is from July 2004 -June 2006. But from the website it is evident that allocation for money is yet to been given for that project. How many more lives will it take for these people to take any action?

 

Posted by Rezwan

HAPPY SLAPPING - SADIST OR NOT

People believe that comedies and spoofs are part of our lives. That is why television shows like Candid Camera & its localized derivatives like MTV Bakra are popular all around the world. The "Candid Camera" pranks usually don't hurt the victims physically.

The current most alarming craze in UK is "happy slapping" and here is how the prank goes: teenagers look out for unsuspecting targets – mostly people minding their own business on buses or streets – and slap them in the face as hard as they can whilst a friend films it with their mobile phone. In the worst cases it goes beyond slapping to punches and kicks, or even - in one case - setting a sleeping drunk alight.

I first came to know about it from Shapir last November. See the comments on his post where pragmatism collides with sadism. Yes I would prefer this word. Sadism is the practice of intentionally inflicting pain or sensation upon another human being. And I see no reason why some people should endorse these. A commenter said "I think its the funniest thing coming out of England in a long time". Blame the Mr. Hyde in us. Otherwise why do we love laughing at the sight of somebody falling or getting beaten?

David B. of Gene Expressions talks about the ethnical aspect of this phenomenon:

I suspect that this is another case (like crack, gangsta rap, and 'hoodies') where a fashion has started among young blacks and spread throughout the underclass of feral teenage scum.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S JOTTINGS

* "Cookie Monster" turned into "Biskit Pagla": "Sesame Street", the long-running US public television children's series has successfully localized the educational series into "Sisimpur" for Bangladesh. Read details.

* Jail blogging in : This blog promises to publish personal accounts of bribery, injustice and torture in the Dhaka Central Jail.

* When will we be truly secular: an Indian perspective.

* UN declares United States "Failed State!": from unconfirmed sources.

* Health hazard looms in Bangladesh streets: The Daily Star reports that the drinks sold in the Dhaka streets to chill the people from summer heat (as high as 40 degree celsius) are prepared in unhygienic conditions.

* Festival of Humanity: The annual event in US will raise money for the construction of a Bangladeshi orphanage this year.

 

Posted by Rezwan

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

When rain falls in the earth,
it is turned into well-water;
When rain falls into the river,
it is river water;

Only the container
tells us
which is which.

-Lalon Shah

 

Posted by Rezwan

BOOK SALE IN DHAKA

The publishing industry of Bangladesh produces about 1500 titles every year and it seems not enough for a population of 140 million. But the circulation is meager by any standard and the readership is not building up as expected when the literacy rate hovers around 50%-60% of the population. To improve this, initiatives like encouraging "reading societies" and building libraries in every educational institutions are mandatory. Moreover the cost of books should be at par with peoples' purchasing power, improving quality of the publications and stopping piracy is a must.

The University Press Limited (UPL) , a leading publishing house of Bangladesh is offering a sale of its books. UPL publishes high quality books in English and Bengali and sells some imported ones too but unfortunately these are expensive in Bangladeshi standard. Me & my wife went rushing to their office in Motijheel after seeing their advertisement in newspaper that they are offering discounts up to 75%. They have amazing collections and we went to home with 17 English and Bengali books including:

* Living Silence (Burma under military rule) - Christina Fink

* Eating Out at Home -Mona Verma

* North and South -Elizabesth Gaskell

* The Life of Muhammad -A. Guillaume

* International Relations and Bangladesh - Harun ur Rashid

I was pretty sad when I had to put this book back to UPL shelf because both of our parses were exhausted.

The sale will go on up to tomorrow. Book lovers don't miss this opportunity.

 

Posted by Rezwan

FACE OF BANGLADESH

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Gurudasi Mondol gave herself up to madness in 1971, during the Liberation War of Bangladesh, as she watched her entire family being killed by the Razakars, the collaborators of the occupying forces. Imprisoned and raped by the commander of the Razakars, she was freed months later by a unit of the Bangladesh Liberation army. Thirty years later, she continues to roam the streets of Kopilmoni, in small-town Bangladesh, in search of all she has lost; snatching at will from strangers and breaking into spaces normally reserved for men. She is unafraid and scornful of authorities. In her madness, she has found a strategy for survival. In Kopilmoni, Gurudasi has attained near legendary status. Through her indomitable presence, she has kept the spirit of the Liberation War.

Via Mustafa Jamil

 

Posted by Rezwan

SHORT TAKES

* Bangladesh Cricket team starts well in their first warm up match in England. Khaled Masud is eyeing for a county contract.

* Read how tough it is to be a maid in Mumbai. Not much difference from the maids in Dhaka only in the fact that the maids are usually brought from remote villages and the intelligent one's switch to a more lucrative job in a garments factory within a short period of time.

* Create your very own cyberfireworks show!

* Many in the GCC countries are flocking to Dubai for none other than a Destiny's Child concert.

* A commercial stunt to cash on Muslim sentiments. The company, which is alleged to instigate propaganda against the US soft drink giants also pledged to donate a portion of its profits for the welfare of oppressed Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. I wonder whether they are actually doing it or not. I would go for tastes, not the politics when it is a question of quenching thirst. Because you never know who cheats you more.

* Jamaat-e-Islami of may publicly apologize for their roles in 1971 war of independence. Sources say that it may come before the next parliamentary election. This leaves people guessing that they are not doing it from heart but for more tactical reasons.

 

Posted by Rezwan

DEMOCRACY PREVAILS IN BANGLADESH

With the overwhelming win of the opposition party(Awami League) candidate Mr. Mohiuddin in the Chittagong city corporation mayor election, it has become clear that the voters in still have power to choose. There was a strong ruling party campaign lead by many government ministers and high profile political leaders sadly at government expense. But the defeat of their designated candidate Mr. Nasiruddin, the current minister for aviation suggests that their confidence of popularity was disillusioned.

But I must say the BNP government has done the right thing in not trying to rig the election to bring it to their favour. Election engineering was being predicted and protested by the Opposition. Ironically Mr. Mohiuddin and the supporters had to stay the whole night outside the election commission camp where the vote was being counted to make sure that peoples' verdicts are not manipulated.

Nearly 2000 poll observers from both home and abroad were active during the polling and everybody termed the election fair albeit some minor irregularities and incidents. A large number of voters had turned out.

Now my take on this Mohiuddin feat for the third time is that he is basically a good and hard working leader and has contributed much for development of the Chittagong City. He is not a hard core party politician of Awami League. Being a mayor, many of his decisions were apolitical. So people had more trust on him.

I think the time has come for the people to loath party politics to bring Bangladesh out of the political dichotomy. They should vote for the right candidate irrespective of which party he/she belongs. And the political parties should appoint deserving candidates as their representative, not some crooked businessmen who pays large amount of cash in party fund only to recover them later.

Let this be a learning lesson for both the ruling coalition and specially the opposition, who termed this election as an index of pendulum swaying on their side. Its still a long way till October 2006 election. If they do not make the right decisions, they might be disillusioned too.

Related reading: Lessons from the election

 

Posted by Rezwan

PARTY BLUES

I had a great time last Monday night as we invited some of the friends and their spouses for a get-together. Although apparently it meant to be a celebration of my birthday and the recent promotion but my intention was to have a gathering of my friends, who are alienated by cruel realties of the busy life. I have not seen these faces for months whereas 10 years ago we used to interact almost everyday. There was so much to gossip and be updated and socializing with the spouses.

S. took the pain by taking a leave an preparing some lovely dishes. Items included were Rogan Josh of Mutton, Butter Chicken, and Kasmiri Pulau. She has downloaded the recipes from internet and could really impress her in laws and the guests as well with the delicacies. I must say that is a commendable achievement when somebody rarely cooks.

My contribution was to help her buy the ingredients, take a leave and baby-sitting while she was preparing the food and arranging the dishes. All for that I got a cake from my seven and a half month old daughter(courtesy: her mom) which I cut with a red-face.

And my daughter got most of the presents as many thought that I am too old to get gifts. And that made me even happier.

 

Posted by Rezwan

SCRAPINGS

* A tribute to mother on the mother's day.

* I am amazed that a 13 year old girl can write this well!

* More abuse of foreign workers in the middle east.

* Gwynnth's Streets of Bangladesh Photo Album is available now. The tagline "The sights, the sounds, the smells of Bangladesh... The way Gwen sees it..." promises much and the close to 200 pictures will not disappoint you.

* A firsthand account of an Arab woman about the changing treatment of women and elderly in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, where the holy Kaaba is. Some think Wahabbis are responsible.

* A fundraiser for the garments tragedy victims. There are lots of politics going on regarding what should be the compensation amount for the poor workers families. These employees were not insured. And I don’t know what will happened to the injured workers. I think its time that the government makes a law, which will ensure that the workers will be under insurance cover to prepare for the worst.

* 12 ways to become a younger you.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BEGGING TAKES AWAY ONE'S MORAL

Snapshot 1: An women in ragged cloths with one dirty infant in her arms approaches my car which stopped at a red light in Shahbag. I become so moved by the thing that the baby is of about the age of my daughter. Looking tired from exposure to the hot sun the baby lays its head on the women's shoulder, who gently starts knocking in my window.

I sprung from the sitting position just to pull my wallet to give her something. S. stopped me warning that the light will turn green at any moment. And then she tells me a shocking fact that there are babies for hire which are exploited by beggers like this women who are not actually the mother. She said: "just look at the women, she looks poor but is young and is able to work. But she has probably hired this infant to generate sympathies among the people like you and cash on it. These babies are kept devoid of food the whole day, while these beggars do not forget to nourish their stomach." S. expressed anger over the parents of these babies, who let them exposed in this misery and commented that we should not encourage these criminals by giving alms. As we moved on I argued that maybe these babies are orphans and probably with little help they can survive. But in the end I also echoed with her that there are orphanages and other charitable institutions in the country for people like these and Bangladesh is not in a condition that people are dying without food. Exploiting these babies is a case of tricky begging profession. There are also reports that kids are disfigured so that they can be used in begging. It is part of a powerful racket as beggars have to give a portion of their income to people who secure a place for them beside a road or under a leafy tree. It reminds me of this post from Daniel.

Snapshot 2: Tanya writes a touching article about how she was moved by one one-legged Cycle-Rickshaw puller who was proud to carry on with his dream and marrying off his three daughters with his hard-earned money. When you meet persons like this you see the aura of pride and joy of life. He could be a beggar instead and cash on his physical conditions but he chose to keep his head high.

The reality: I have written in a previous post warning that more and more people are taking begging as a profession. In our country a successful beggar can earn more than a day laborer, because the tradition is to pay something to the beggars. But paying to beggars turns out to be patronizing a profession, rather than helping a needy. In western countries some individual beg by playing some instruments or drawing something. In the subcontinent, beggars cash on their poverty like conditions and virtually earn without any creative work (except if you consider the art of asking for money as creative).

Probably those people are lazy in nature as they are choosing a more less laborious profession as begging than the struggle to keep their pride.

 

Posted by Rezwan

MORE LINKS

* The puzzle of Bangladesh

* Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, RIP. Bangladesh remembers.

* More rant about fencing of borders and killing of innocents.

* Virtually yours from Bangladesh.

* The issues with the newly introduced Google web accelarator.

 

Posted by Rezwan

JOTTINGS OF THE DAY

* "Keetha Oilow" and "Keetha Failam" may sound funny but they are two bright stars of the Sylheti film industry. For non-Bangladeshi readers, the Sylhetis are originated from Sylhet, a district of Bangladesh and they represent the most Bangladeshi migrants to UK starting from early twentieth century.

* The job crisis in curry houses of Britain due to new government immigration rules will disrupt serving of around 2.5 million curries a week to the Brits. The industry currently employs 70,000 people mostly from South Asia.

* Asians disappear on prime-time in the US.

* World Press Photo of the year - 2004 via Extra Extra.

* Some pictures of Bangladesh -beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

* Global Voices Online provides an almost daily world blog roundup. Don't miss that.

* Beware of fake Viagra pills. via Flying Chair

* Afghanistan's Burka band rocks!

 

Posted by Rezwan

I'M BACK

Did you miss me? I was on a forced hiatus from blogging to meet a couple of work related deadlines. I usually don't skip deadlines and do whatever it takes to finish the job (my boss said this while awarding me a promotion!). But long working hours makes my life miserable as the family gets ignored and that is why I hate deadlines. I have a couple of more personal deadlines to meet. Write one article for a magazine which is making a debut shortly and there is one guest post offer by Nitin. I believe that the main difference between creative work and commercial work is the term deadline. But sometimes you have to compromise and make it happen at a stipulated time. And sometimes I am just darn lazy regarding doing anything for myself!

 

Posted by Rezwan

GOOD NEWS FROM BANGLADESH

* Salahuddin Shoaib Chowdhury is finally released on a bail. His affiliation with Inquilab TV (deemed as propaganda machine of right-wing Islami parties) is still an enigma to many (read my previous post).

* The good news is that the number of internet users of has crossed 1 million. But it is still less than 1% of the population.

* Bangladesh's export earnings rose to 12.5% in the first nine months of the current fiscal year July'04 - June'05.

* Thanks to the introduction of rigorous law (death penalty) against the abusers, acid throwing attacks on women have been reduced.

* Bangladesh has been elected a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights for 2006-2008.