Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 13, Tuesday September 21, 2004






Banking Tips

Nasreen Sattar Head of International Sales, Standard Chartered Bank

Q. What is the meaning of the term 'foreign exchange' ?
A. The term 'foreign exchange' has different meanings. Often, foreign exchange is used to denote foreign currency. When a bank buys or sells foreign exchange, it deals in claims on foreign currency. Thus, foreign exchange may mean foreign currency and claims on foreign currency. The term foreign exchange also includes: (a) the means and methods by which the currency of one country is exchanged for that of another, (b) the causes which make such exchanges necessary, and (c) the forms in which and the rates at which such exchanges are conducted.
In local banking sector "Foreign Exchange" also means "Foreign Trade" i.e. import and export business.

Q. Can you explain the term 'Cross Rate' ?
A. The rates of exchange arrived at or quoted by expressing the quotations for any two currencies in terms of a third.

Q. My company had given me an account payee cheque which unfortunately I have lost. The amount of the money is quite large. If someone finds it, is it possible for that person to draw the money?
A. An account payee cheque can only be deposited in the payee's account, so the chances of it being deposited in any other account is not there. Despite that, you must immediately advise the bank of the lost cheque giving details of cheque number date, payee's name and amount. The bank on receipt of the instruction will immediately put a 'Stop Payment' on that particular cheque.

Dental wise

DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS, FSDCE (USA), PhD (Japan), Post Doc. (Japan) Specialised: Crown and Bridge work, and Periodontal plastic surgery (USA) Senior Medical Officer, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM Hospital.

Dear Dr. khan
What is bonding filling in dental practice? How long will it last? what's the merits and demerits of this kind of bonding filling? Is it costly?
Ali Ajhar

A. A composite resin or bonding filling is a tooth-coloured plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Introduced in the 1960s, dental composites were confined to the front teeth because they were not strong enough to withstand the pressure and wear generated by the back teeth. Since then, composites have been significantly improved and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well. Composites are not only used for restoring decay, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

Advantages: Esthetics are the main advantage, since dentists can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.

Disadvantages: Along with the higher cost and the extra placement time, the patient can experience post-operative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee, spicy food or other staining foods. The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the color from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth color. Another drawback: composites tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, al-though they hold up as well in small cavities.

Studies have shown that composites last 7-10 years, which is comparable to silver fillings except in very large restorations, where silver fillings last much longer than composites.

Dear Dr. Khan,
You have mentioned in your early issue that back of tongue is one of major source of bad breath. Can I smell it myself? How do I know when I have bad breath? Should I use mouthwash, and what kind of mouthwash is better? When is the best time to rinse? Can having any of my teeth pulled be a remedy for bad breath?
Sultan Mahamood

A In healthy people, the tongue is probably the major source of oral malodor. You may not believe such a statement, so I suggest the following simple experiment. Stick out your tongue as far as it will go, and give one of your wrists (preferably one without perfume) a good lick. Wait five seconds, and take a sniff. Almost everyone's tongue has an odor.

Some people who come to me with claim that they can smell their own breath. They do this in a variety of ways some ingenious. The most common thing to do is just to cover your mouth and nose with your hands and take a deep whiff.
Some people smell their odor on the telephone receiver after a conversation. Others rub their gums with their finger and smell it. One woman claimed to be able to smell her own bad breath by covering her head with a blanket.

Most people have bad breath at one time or another. The best way to find out if your have it on a regular basis, is to ask someone close to you. Provided that they love you, and that they have a sense of smell, family members will find a way of telling you the truth. You can also ask a very close friend.

Should I use mouthwash, and what kind of mouthwash is better?
Mouthwashes were invented several thousand years ago for breath freshening. One concoction, suggested in the Jewish Talmud, consists of dough water, salt and olive oil. Commercial mouthwashes usually contain a concoction consisting of flavor, alcohol, and antibacterial agent(s). Several types of mouthwash have been shown to reduce malodor in clinical trials, including 0.2% chlorhexidine mouth rinses 1% povidine iodine.

Sprays and regular mint candies are considered to be relatively ineffective in combating bad breath. Don't be fooled by the burning sensation - it is your own cells in pain, not the bacteria.

The best time to use any mouth rinse appears to be right before bedtime. Since in many instances, bad breath involves the back of the tongue, it is probably helpful to gargle the mouth rinse. Some clinicians recommend extending the tongue while gargling, in order to allow the mouth rinse to reach farther back.

Can having any of my teeth pulled be a remedy for bad breath?
No! I know a woman who, during the 1986 had her teeth pulled by a dentist in order to cure her from having bad breath. In 2003 she came to me with the complain of bad breath and I found that she still had bad breath originating from her tongue. Don't make the same mistake. When you get your dentures or bridge, make sure to consult your dentist on how best to take care of them, including how to prevent them from taking on odor.

Visit Dr. Khan’s website “www.aikodental.com” for more information on oral and dental health.


Getting the perfect shoe

How to get the right shoe is a dilemma for some people. They can't seem to get it right. Well here are some easy steps for getting the perfect shoe. The best time to try on shoes is usually at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen. However, don't abuse this rule of thumb: if you've just completed a sightseeing tour which required 10 miles of walking, and that's not your typical exercise routine, then by all means don't try on office heels that night. The point of waiting until the end of the day is to make sure that the footwear can fit you at your widest-- kind of a "worst case scenario" check.

The first shoe you try on should be for your larger foot. For most people, their larger foot is the opposite from the hand they write with. For example, if you're right handed, your left foot might be bigger. Always fit the pair of shoes to this foot.

Stand up with your shoes on. Walk around a bit. You should be able to wiggle your toes in the front of the shoe.
And finally, do not buy shoes that are too tight.



Fair and Lovely

A few years after surviving his teens in 1976 my father had married a teenager who was 19 years of age, 5 feet 1 inch, and had features sharper than an average Bengali girl but a skin tone darker than the average "good-looking" Bengali woman. The definition of "good-looking" in Bengali terms that is, "fair and lovely," maybe accompanied with puffy cheeks and dull features, but definitely with a light skin tone, a light skin-tone which balances out all negative aesthetic qualities and associates the word lovely to make our minds bound to believe fair is lovely and all other below fair are therefore lesser beauties.

The 19-year-old dusky beauty felt very much out of place at her new in-laws house regarding the skin-deep issue. There everyone had the polished-fair-skin-tone, the women-in-laws of her wore colors to make them glow, yellow, orange and hot pink, the colors almost forbidden for darker girls, as apparently colors of such make a dark girl look even darker and therefore dimmer.

The 19-year-old bride at 21 became my mother. Secretly disappointing many I wasn't born with the trademark pale-fair-skin-tone of my father's side of the family. I was neither dark nor fair, somewhere in the middle I guess to keep all semi-satisfied.

My grandmother use to rub a paste of turmeric and orange peels all over my body before I would take my bath with the hope that I might just get a few tones lighter. It didn't work…though I did start looking pale by not getting enough exposure of the sun (I was told over and over again to not be under direct sunlight as I was already not so fair), God forbid what if I got sun-burnt and actually got a few shades darker, what would happen to me then?

During my years in Bangladesh, at school, at home, and even on television the issue of fair shades came up over and over again. Fair women trying to be fairer and dark women trying to be lighter; I don't blame them. Being fair in our society does carry a certain status the invisible color codes that we go by is quite a crucial one…
After I shifted to USA, for a while I almost forgot about the complexion complexes among Bengalis. Just to make up for my sun-deprivation I soaked myself in sun every chance I got, went to summer camps where we spent days under the scorching sun, to a point when my skin had turned red. My mother never protested, being a victim of color-inequality I guess she wanted me to be out of the shaded boundary, she wanted me to be liberated…
So I was liberated until again when without knowing I bumped into the shaded walls of Bengali minds. I think it was another one of those Bengali gatherings, when a women taking pride at her straight forwardness told me "Nitu Kalo hoye gecho," basically telling me I have become darker, she had that smile in one corner of her mouth, the smile that pities and mocks at the same time, so I gave her some smart answer like "wow really? Thanks, I really have been trying to get a bit tan this summer" and quickly moved from the vicinity thinking living in a country with countless shades of skin tones and countless racial mixing, how can we still hold on to the "fair and lovely" values?

20-some-years have passed since I was born, 40-some-years have passed since my Mother was born, I know and see that we Bengalis have come far, far enough to incorporate jeans with kurtas, get shorter trendier hair cuts and accept facial hairs need to be waxed and finding refuge to do such beauty regimes at beauty parlors. The same beauty parlors where one can also get a fair-polish, bleaching one's skin to be of a lighter-tone, a bleached unhealthy deteriorated skin, what a symbol of beauty…
My Grand mother who lived through most of her life with the bias towards lighter-skin-tones, (at weddings she would check the brides arms not her face to see of what shade the bride really was. She knew the face would be made up with powdery make-up, poor woman!!! Only if she knew now days the hands and arms are also painted white of brides to give equality between faces and arms) stood away from her belief on fair equals beautiful in the later part of her life. Living with my Mother for teen-some years she realized true beauty doesn't depend on a person's complexion, she finally saw through the dark skin of my mother and realized how striking her daughter-in-law's features were.

My Grandmother was born in 1920 something; I forgive her backwardness and biases, even she overcame these dark mental blocks and shaded hurdles. Sadly some of us still haven't accomplished what she could; we still have skin-polishing and bleaching creams gladly in business. The Bengali media still keeps the fair Bengali face as a front not exposing olive-toned beauties as a face of the Bengali media, Bengali women still hold a grudge against the rays of sun touching their brown or pale bodies... For the sake of all Bengali women demanding our right to soak in sunlight and seeking the end of complexion complexes and shaded discrimination, signing off, I the not so fair Bengali girl…

By Iffat Nawaz


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