Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 41, Tuesday March 16, 2004






Banking Tips

Nasreen Sattar, Head of International Sales, Standard Chartered Bank

Q.Mr. X issued a bearer cheque to Mr. Y for Tk1-lac drawn on a particular bank. Mr. Y presented the cheque to the bank that issued a token to him getting his signature on the back of the cheque. As Mr. Y had another work to do, so he left the bank but unfortunately on the way he had an accident and lost his leg. He sent another man Mr.Z with the token to the bank to collect the money. The bank became suspicious and refused to pay the money to Mr. Z on behalf of Mr.Y.

Is the bank justified in refusing the payment or the bank should have paid the amount against receipt of the token from Mr.Z? A clear-cut decision is solicited.

A. The bank is justified in refusing the payment as when Mr.Z (who was given the token by Mr. Y) presented the token, the bank must have asked him to sign on the back of the cheque again which is the practice to verify whether the earlier signature on the cheque (signed by Mr. Y) was the same as this one.

Q. I need to urgently take an overdraft facility from a bank. I have 10 Lac worth of Sanchaya Patras, can I use this as security and if not what are my other options?

A. As per the Bangladesh Bank circular dated 31.12.03 Ref : FRTMD(PDS) 04/2003-15
under the subject " Regarding Amendment of Sanchay Patra Rules 1977" banks can no longer offer any loans against Sanchay Patras.
However, overdraft or any other secured loan is possible against Fixed Deposit , Wage Earners Development Bond (WEDB), Dollar Bond , ICB unit etc


Interpreter of Maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist

Q. My father recently passed away. I myself am very depressed. What makes me more sad is the condition of my 7 year old daughter. She was very close to my dad. When he died she took part in all the religious affair like an adult. She does not express herself in any extreme way but I think she is gradually slipping away from her studies. She is becoming very quiet. It is not like her. She is very young. I do not want this to effect her life afterwards. Please advise.

Ans: Dying is an integral part of life but quite frequently we find it extremely difficult to handle. We tend to see death as a dreaded issue and try to avoid it in all possible ways. Death of a loved one reminds us, we all will die- it is only a matter of time. Death is part of human existence, of growth and development, as being born. Your depressed feelings are very appropriate and an essential component of healthy grieving process. Your daughter's participation in all religious functions is appreciable and it will provide her the strength to recover from the loss. However, children's reaction to death differs widely. Death is not a permanent fact for three to five years old children and they tend to believe that the deceased is on a temporary trip to somewhere else and will be back again. After age five, children imagine death as a horrific man or power that snatches away the beloved one and believe it as the result of an outward intervention. Realistic concept that death is a permanent biological process seems to kick in by age nine. So, your seven-year-old daughter is still probably struggling to understand what has happened to her grandpa. Her silent withdrawal and inability to concentrate in her schoolwork could be signs of her emotional turmoil. Encourage her to talk freely about her feelings even if it is anger towards you, the deceased, or Allah. As from a religious point of view, when we tell our children that death occurs as a result of an order from a Higher power (Allah, Bhogoban, God- whoever S/He is), it would be interesting to explore how that little mind is processing that piece of information. Children of this age group can not even differentiate between wish and deed. They sometimes hold themselves responsible for killing the person by secretly wishing so and feels guilty about it. They also fear impending gruesome punishment for their secret thoughts. Their understanding allows them to believe that they have somehow played a pivotal role in all these occurrences. Thoughts of burial and what happens to this body inside there are other sources of fear. Children imagine it in terms of bruise or cut they had suffered when they fell down from a bike or so. Try to clarify her understanding as best as you can. Some children of this age group are by nature quiet and reflective. They need to discover the fun of learning and of school, they are usually very sensitive about how they are treated by others. Whatever be the underlying reason, allow her to ventilate, show that you understand her. Discuss more freely about death and after life in a comforting way.

Q.3. My sister got divorced a year ago. It was an affair marriage. She is now 28. All our family members think that it is time to move on. My father is looking for some one new for her. One of our cousins is interested in her. The problem is she will not get involve with anyone anymore. She feels betrayed. We are trying to make her understand that she is very young and has all her life ahead. Some how we failed to impress her enough to meet any new suitors. She needs to understand that when she is middle aged she will feel lonely. At least that is how we feel. Can you help us? Thank you.

Ans: Your sister got divorced only a year ago. It seems that she is yet not ready to be in another relationship right now. I believe when she says "no", she means no. Normally people need variable length of time to grieve and mourn the loss in order to finally let it go. Studies show that, first few months after divorce are usually more difficult and by the end of a year these emotions gradually get levelled off. You have mentioned that she feels betrayed by her ex, feelings of betrayal are usually associated with anger, resentment and sadness. Her trust in men could be threatened by her past experience. If your sister moves into another relationship suppressing all those emotions, it could be disastrous for the next marriage too. Though it is my personal opinion only, I don't think it is fair on your cousin to make him a victim of this situation. I'm not clear what make you think that marriage has to be the first step to move on with life again. In our social context, marriage gives a woman- a confiding relationship, financial and social security, home, sex, children etc. How many marriages are devoid of these basic properties? Besides, most of these are achievable even without a wed lock though it has to be congruent with the beliefs, values and attitudes of the person concerned. Is your sister asking for advice? I doubt whether advice is going to work on her, she 'll do what she wants to do. She is probably experiencing an emotional roller coaster after her affair marriage ended in divorce. Instead of insisting on remarriage, I guess your sister may try another option of self-care, self-love and self-development. Enjoying the freedom of a single life and being the queen of her own world are lucrative alternatives. She is only 28years old, she can expect at least 15 more years of her reproductive life to go. Loneliness is a very personal experience, while you are feeling scared others may embrace it gladly. We can feel lonely even in the midst of a crowd, as a mother of ten children and so on. Ask your sister how lonely she felt in her previous marriage. Hopefully, your sister will get back her spirit to love another man in future (if your cousin is romantic enough, he can wait and try then!). I couldn't understand, who needs advice? Do you want to explore your anxiety around your sister? In our collective society, sometimes people develop a desire to be an emotional care taker of another person and our social attitude also expect us to take up that role. We forget that we have limitations and can not overstretch ourselves. Social stigma, "poor you!" attitude of others towards a divorcee, shame and blame on the family and sense of insecurity- all these are great challenges for the family members to overcome. If you have anxieties around those issues, then these are your stuff. Deal with it effectively without displacing it on your sister. Be supportive to her and let her know that you'll care for her regardless her decision to get married again or not.






One-Degree of separation

There is a formula that follows when a fellow Bangladeshi meets another Bangladeshi for the first time. The formula of finding the common link. I heard every person in this world is separated from the other by six degrees, as in they are six links away from knowing each other. In other words, between me and the president of Uganda there are only six people, I met someone who met somebody who met somebody who met another somebody who met the President of Uganda, or Queen Elizabeth or you name it, who ever your heart might fancy. For us Bangladeshis, we chopped down the middle three in between and kept one, so we live in one-degree of separation from each other. You don't believe me? Well think and tell me how many times in your life did you meet someone Bangladeshi and after a conversation you discovered either they are related to you, or they are a close relative of a friend or a friend of another friend or some acquaintance or other. I don't see this one-degree of separation as being such a bad thing. This makes it easy for us to blend in with each other, decide the person's class (accept it, we are conscious about those issues), status and circle of familiarity.

Us Bangladeshis living abroad depend on this one-degree of separation almost religiously. We adopt this certain mentality here when we associate with most Bengalis: "If I were back home I would have never have mixed with this type of Bengali crowd, it's only because I am here and I have no choice, I have to associate with such uncouth people."

Those of us who grew up in Bangladesh, we love to look back and be proud of our preeminent(even if it wasn't so glorious) backgrounds, our memories of what we remember and were related to seems more exclusive than anything anyone has come from, so we in our minds remain the supreme. Then there are those of us who didn't grow up in Bangladesh, but only heard stories from their parents about Bangladesh, and the parents usually trying to give their American-born Bengali kids the best picture of Bangladesh enlightened the clueless kids about their opulent backgrounds and the high-breed blood flowing in their veins. I love how everyone and their mother claim to be a jamidar's(massive landlords) great grandson or granddaughter; here I thought our land was of farmers, if everyone was a jamidar, who cultivated the rice and lentils?

Since most of us believe that we come from the finest backgrounds, we automatically assume no one is worthy of mixing with us, unless they can relate with that one common link, the one-degree that keeps us apart. Two Bangladeshi strangers both with suspicious minds, holding on strongly to their imaginary status come together in harmony when they find that one common link, that one cousin, that one uncle, that one lost love.

So what happens when you cannot find that one-degree? What happens when you get stuck with someone who knows no one you want to be related to? I don't mean to sound biased here but I do think women cope with situations of this sort better than men. Women tend to start talking about clothing, jewelry or some other safe materialistic topics when the common link is not found, while I have seen men sitting in front of each other, with complete uncomfortable silence watching CNN with sour faces and a missing link in between.

Us Bengalis living abroad live in a cult culture. Bangladesh is already a small place as it is, then we have got the different divisions. I didn't realize how much those divisions meant to people until I lived here. In America, the highly populated Bengali areas have a different mosque for people from different parts of Bangladesh. In New York there is a separate mosque for Sylheties, there is a separate Noakhali mosque, there is one for people from Chitagong. I find it amazing how we have alienated each other even in this distant land with cults and made-up sense of belonging to different narrow sects.

In U.S.A we trust an unknown white or dark face more than a semi-familiar brown one. No one wants to be insulted, cheated, hated or judged by their own kind after moving this far from home, we rather be disappointed by other races, loved or hated by white and blacks. We do end up searching for that for that one-degree whenever we strike up a conversation with an unknown Bengali stranger, and in the process of talking to strangers we become that one-degree that separates all Bengalis.

By Iffat Newaz



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