Echo

Quote Of The Day  

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Switzerland, after centuries of striving for civilization and enlightenment, has just about reached the same level of tolerance as that exhibited by a small Gulf Wahhabi country (Qatar), the people of which were mostly Bedouins only a hundred years ago. - Juan Cole

Now Listening: Fair and Kind  

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Fair and Kind — the duo of Arthi Meera and her brother, Anand Subramanian

Washing Label Humor  

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Women’s disproportionate responsibility for housework and childcare.(Via Sociological images)

Tea gardens at Ciatar  

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Hot water spring  

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Tangkuban Parahu crater  

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The road uphill  

Posted by Rezwan

The road uphill to Bandung was interesting and it took long because of traffic. We went right through Bandung and now heading towards the mountain tangkuban Paradu.

Sadly its raining heavily. Hope rain does not spoil the day.....

At Bandung  

Posted by Rezwan

The traffic at the Toll road was lean. So it took about one hour and 45 minutes to reach Bandung. In the picture above is the toll booth. We had to pay about 4.5 dollars for using the toll road.

But inside the city we immediately face a long traffic jam.

The road was well paved and some interesting scenaries of mountains and villages. Sadly we did not stop anywhere to take pictures.

The weather is great and sun is smiling. Looking forward to seeing a volcano crater.

On the way to Bandung  

Posted by Rezwan

We are on the way to Bandung, the fourth largest city of Indonesia and the capital of West Java island. The city lies on a river basin at a height of 768 m and is surrounded by volcanoes. It takes almost 3 hours from Jakarta by car.

Its the day after EID HOLIDAY and there is no jam.

I will try to update you on our trip.

Eid Mubarak  

Posted by Rezwan

Probably this is the dullest Eid day in my life so far. Hope you are enjoying the holiday, spending time with friends & families.

**Sent from a mobile device...

Mobile Facts  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Here is a list of top ten Asian countries according to the number of mobile phone users:

1. China - 644.8 million
2. India - 391.6 million

These two countries share 25 percent of total mobile phone users in the world, that is 1.04 billion subscribers of the world’s total number of 4.15 billion.

3. Indonesia - 144.6 million, followed by Japan.
5. Pakistan - 93 million
6. Vietnam - 73.2 million
7. Philippines - 71.7 million
8. Thailand - 62.7 million
9. Bangladesh 46.3 million
10. South Korea 46.2 million

The list seem to be symmetrical with the list of most populous countries and Bangladesh falling behind 3 places.

The top ten countries for mobile users in Asia have 3.48 billion people and 1.68 billion mobile users.

(source)

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The proposed education policy in Bangladesh  

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There is a saying that "when your only tool is a hammer all your problems look like nails." It seems the only tool of some of the Islamists is bringing death to somebody.

The latest act of some religious nutcase is to send a death threat to the Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid. His fault? Leading the formulation of a proposed "national education policy for Bangladesh" and posting the draft on the ministry website [bn].

The salient features of this new education policy which is set to be enacted this December:

  • Increase primary education from 5th to 8th class.
  • It will integrate Madras education and vocational education into the general education
  • It will establish mandatory core subjects for primary-level education: Bangla, English, mathematics, Bangladesh Studies, social environment and climate change, and information technology and science.
  • Every School will have a mandatory library equipped with necessary books
  • More scholarships for the poor
  • No physical punishments
  • Arrangement of lunch for the students
  • Education for indigenous students in their mothet tongues
  • Facilities for the disabled
  • Standardization of teachers qualifications
  • More training for the teachers and promotion will be connected with experience and training and many more

In a nutshell the national education policy will make changes at the grassroots levels of the education system.

Nirmal Gomes, a specialist in Educational Administration & Policy Studies, wrote in E-Bangladesh about this new education policy. He discussed the importance of a complete education system and this policy is close to that:

A holistic education policy implementation is most essential in the reality of Bangladesh. Every students need to be developed their emotional, physical, social, and intellectual growth. The education policy must acknowledge and emphasize the spiritual, intellectual, social, physical, and psychological needs of young children from the beginning of its establishment and this will continue to foster growth in each child. Besides promoting skill-based education, the policy must encourage children to learn and nurture the social and cultural values, integrity, tolerate, respect and love others, service to others, and to be a responsible person. The students can learn all these good values from schools.

Now it seems a quarter is not liking the idea of a unified education system. The idea of introducing Science and mathematics to Madrassa students seem to be detrimental for some people's agenda. They think this policy is not emphasizing on religious education. It seems this idea is fed by the Islamist political parties as if they lose control on Madrassas then their politics will be difficult.

I think this education policy is not the ultimate solution for Bangladesh, but its a start. Lets not derail this road of change paying heed to threats of some religious fanatics. The policy needs your support.

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Blogspot banned in Indonesia?  

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Well that question did not come into my mind albeit I had troubles accessing my blog (which is on blogspot domain) yesterday.

Today when I could not access multiple sites on blogspost, I tried them via proxy and could access them successfully. Then I realized that something is wrong and started Googling for news. It seems only the Jakartass blog has the information. It reveals:

A few Indonesian ISPs - namely Fastnet, CBN and Smart - blocked Blogger yesterday, albeit temporarily. Why these three, and not the major ISPs such as Telkom and Indosat, interpreted a letter issued by the Ministry of Information and Communication (Menkominfo No 598/M.Kominfo/11/2009 tertanggal 19 November 2009) to mean a total ban on the world's largest blog host server, I cannot say, or even conjecture.

As far as I can make out - all my info comes from Indonesian language sites - one blogger, Nabi Muhammad SAW upset someone somewhere, possibly by expressing 'blasphemous' thoughts.

Read VivaNews for the thoughts of "blogger senior" Enda Nasution.
Well its working again and I am able to post this and surprisingly the targeted blogsite is also unbanned. So I wonder what was the point of this whole exercise?

Google Chrome OS  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Google Chrome OS is a lightweight computer operating system devoted to using the internet. (Check the Video to learn more)



Although it is set to have a publicly available stable release during the second half of 2010, probably in a netbook, a version of it is already available for download via ZeroSec. Continued...

Now Listening: Meghdol - Ommm  

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Ommm:


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Brilliant music from Meghdol, a theatrical(!) band from Bangladesh. Listen to their albums here.

More information about them can be found in their Last.fm page:

The Girl Who Silenced the UN For 5 Minutes  

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Severn Suzuki, gave this speech in 1992. Wondering how relevant is it after 17 years.

Wake Up! The Clock Is Ticking  

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Imagine you lived in a world of water. Your home is two-feet under. You wade through it, cook on it, and sleep above it. This is the reality for hundreds of thousands of people around the world, coastal populations on the front lines of climate change.

The latest PBS documentary called "water world" shows the effects of climate change in Bangladesh and how it threatens the world.

The situation has become so alarming that Dr. Atiq Rahman says that 'climate change', 'global warming' - these are soft words. We should be referring to this phenomenon as 'catastrophic climate destabilization'.

Dr. Atiq also talks about the climate refugees and the plea to the world to take them. Bangladesh wants $10 billion to fight climate change. But I think the climate refugees issue should be brought forward and plans should be made for their shelters and livelihood.

This video by Shahjahan Siraj of Machizo shows the victims of climate change:

Corporate Social Responsibility and $1 Adidas training shoes  

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This is a very welcoming news:

Adidas, the German sports giant, is to make €1 trainers for millions of people around the world who cannot afford to buy shoes, with pilot production to begin next year in Bangladesh.

This is rather at a conceptual state still as the final price will be slightly higher than this. But the important thing is that the shoes will be sold on a non-profit basis by Adidas. other sports companies accused of exploitation in the developing world, Adidas is keen to improve its image and reputation for corporate social responsibility.

The original idea came from Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh's Nobel prize winner and an Adidas spokesman said "It is correct that Adidas Group in conjunction with Muhammad Yunus aims to put such shoes on the market."

According to the report Dr. Muhammad Yunus convinced Adidas that Bangladesh needed "social businesses" which would create jobs in the country.

Now, this may be groundbreaking step in the fight against poverty. One of the noticeable differences between the developed nation and the developing nations is the wider gap of rich and poor. From looking at the people in the streets of Berlin, Milan or New York you will rarely make out who is earning minimum salary or who is from higher middle class. Because there is a wider choice of apparel and footwear according to the power of wallet and all are in a standard quality. But if you look at the streets of Dhaka, Delhi or Lahore, you can easily make out who are poor from their clothes. There are cheaper versions of apparel and footwear for them but neither they are manufactured by brands nor do they keep up a standard quality.

The Tata Nano in India revolutionized in saying that car is not a luxury item and even lower-income groups can afford them. So why not lower-income groups should be allowed to afford more items from renowned brands in reasonable qualities? If you want to eradicate poverty then you need to bridge the gap between rich and poor.

Quote Of The Day  

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"As more of us become absorbed in publishing content we become less talented at listening and paying attention to others. Here today we are not communicating with one another, we are talking past each other. We are more interested in what each one of us is saying – and how others react to what we say – than in what others are saying. We are increasingly forgetting how to listen." - David Sasaki aka El Oso.

Rainy Season Begins in Jakarta  

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The long rainy season of Jakarta falls between late October and early May. We experienced first heavy rain of this season today. The flood situation is normal but heavy traffic jam occurred as seen in the above picture (visit Aulia's posterous for more).

Another Travesty of Justice  

Posted by Rezwan in ,


Another travesty of justice happened in Bangladesh today. After cartoonist Arif was acquitted by a higher court last year, a lower court in Jessore finds him guilty.

From BDNews24.com:

A Jessore court has handed down two months of rigorous imprisonment to cartoonist Arifur Rahman of satire magazine Alpin, a weekly publication of the daily Prothom Alo.

The verdict was given in the case regarding publication of sacrilegious cartoon in the magazine in Sep 2007.

"Arif is at large. The verdict was given in his absence," his lawyer Alamgir Siddiqi told bdnews24.com.

However, Arif told bdnews24.com that he knew nothing about this case.

He said treason and blasphemy cases against him have been dismissed in court.

The case was filed by ATM Shoaib, the imam of the Jessore Collectorate Mosque, at the Executive Magistrate's Court on Oct 23, 2007. The case alleged that the irreverent cartoon on prophet Hazrat Muhammad had hurt religious feelings.

Prothom Alo publisher Mahfuz Anam, editor Motiur Rahman and Arif were accused in the case. Later, the court issued arrest warrant only against Arif.

This shows that there is no coordination between trials in the courts of Bangladesh. And how can the court finishes the trial without the presence of the accused? Why is he deemed absconding from law when he knows nothing about the case. He also worked for government after he was released (read his interview).

Arif needs legal support now. Is there anybody in Dhaka who can help him?

Background:

* Bangladesh: yet another Muhammad cartoon controversy
* Attack against freedom of speech: Bangladesh cartoon controversy update
* Cartoonist arrested over harmless play on name Mohammed.
* One Arifur Rahman and his fight against corruption
* Muhammad cat: Clerical Hypocrisy
* Free Arifur Rahman - an update
* Court orders release of Arifur Rahman
* Interview with Arif

Aminul Islam Bulbul's Cricket Journey To China  

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Those who are familiar with Bangladesh cricket must know Aminul Islam Bulbul. He is one of the successful spinners of Bangladesh and has played for Bangladesh for 15 years since his debut in 1988 in the Asian Youth Cup cricket tournament.

Ever wondered what he is doing now? He is working as the ACC Development Officer for China, Brunei and Myanmar. And from this video you will notice that he speaks decent Chinese to do his job to spread the game in China:


Talent From Bangladesh  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

This September when I was in Dhaka, I met some netizens from Dhaka whom I know from blogs and other online activities. One of them was Mehdi hasan. He is a young Bangladeshi in his mid twenties and keeps a low profile. I was surprised to learn that he is the one who wrote the Avro software, the versatile and open source Bangla typing software which is used by thousands of Bangladeshis because its free and supports multiple platforms including Mac OS and Linux. It was first released in 2003 by Omicronlab (Mehdi is the CEO) and since than it had many updates which makes it a perfect Bangla typing software.

The remarkable thing is that he is medical student (Mymensingh Medical College) and IT is his passion, not business.

And it turns out that he is a damn good photographer too. Check out his photographs at Flickr. I am sure you will be immersed into the photographic depiction of Bangladesh, its people and nature.

Image by Mehdi Hasan.

Learning Indonesian (Bahasa) - Online Resources  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

I have started to learn Indonesian with the help of some great online resources. I scrapped the idea of taking classes after I found them. But self learning is sometimes more time consuming as you don't have deadlines and exams. So I haven't had much progress. But hope I will be able to speak decent Bahasa in three months time.

Here are the online resources for learning Indonesian.

Learning Indonesian - It is a product of a small family business run by Shaun and Cici. It has free resources like great audio guides for downloading and paid program with study texts.

Indonesian in 7 days - Michel Bordt & Liswati Serum

Flirting In Indonesian - Great online language resource even if you're not in the game of flirting.

Learn Indonesian - Language Guide

Beginning Indonesian - For practicing online

Indonesian Tutorial - by Vremita Desectia

Bahasa Indonesia study aid

Podcast: Indonesian Language Guide for your iPod

Indonesian Language Course at Wikibooks

Learn To Speak Indonesian - Free audio courses

Indonesian reading and Conversation materials

More links for online dictionaries and vocabulary aids

Hope these help those who want to learn Indonesian.

Digital vs. Analog TV  

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What happens to your old TV when you switch to digital (LCD/Plasma) TV?

"The major digital TV switchover in north-west England has coincided with a huge increase in dumped analogue TVs" - reports The Guardian:

This year, the council has recycled 50,000 analogue TVs thrown away by households, of which 30,000 could have been upgraded to receive digital TV signals with a simple £20 set-top box.

The e-waste dumps in developing nations are piling up. US government is even thinking about asking electronics manufacturers to offer free door-to-door pick-up service of used devices. Tree Hugger reports:

In the US, only about 18% of the 23.9 million toxic CRT TVs thrown out in 2008 were recycled. And Sarah Westervelt, a Basel Action Network official, said about 80% will actually be shipped abroad to be "recycled" in China and Africa - and that is a violation of provisions of the Basel treaty that ban the shipment of toxic waste from the rich countries to poor ones.

Over the long run, it is likely better to have an extra set-top box and not a new TV. It's just a matter of actually telling people this, and encouraging them to keep what isn't broken.

Image via Jaymi Heimbuch, Tree Hugger

Timeline of Withdrawal of US Forces From Iraq  

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(click on image to enlarge)

The draw-down from Iraq includes the withdrawal of approximately 128,700 U.S. troops, over 115,000 contractor personnel, the closure or transfer of 295 bases, and the retrograde of over 3.3 million pieces of equipment.

U.S. Government Accountability Office has this excellent report on the progress of this draw-down.

Via Raed Jarrar.

A Thrilling Match  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

"They are going to be talking about those three consecutive sixes for a long time in Chittagong."  - Cricinfo
The match situation was like this:

End of over 47 (3 runs) Bangladesh 198/9 (24 runs required from 18 balls, RR: 4.21, RRR: 8.00)

Then something happened:
47.2 Chibhabha to Naeem Islam, SIX, Naeem dances down the track and launches that on over long-on for a six to bring up his half-century, that was a length ball

47.3 Chibhabha to Naeem Islam, SIX, wow, what a shot that is, another length ball, Naeem gets under it and whacks it over the bowler's head for another six

47.4 Chibhabha to Naeem Islam, SIX, A hat-trick of sixes, Naeem Islam is going berserk here, Chibhabha not learning his lessons, offers a length ball again, Naeem smashes it over wide long-on for another six
 And Bangladesh went on to win the match clinching the series against Zimbabwe 4-1. All hail Naeem Islam. A hero was born today.