Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 58, Tuesday August 16, 2005




Beauty Talk

Sadia Moyeen, Beautician La Belle

Dear Sadia,
I am a 21-year-old girl and have very dry hair. I shampoo my hair regularly but have been switching brands regularly. I have tried everything from Flex to H&S to Garnier to Pantene to Sunsilk. Right now I am using H&S`(hydrating smooth and silky). I also have to oil my hair every single day since it becomes unmanageable.

1. My biggest problem is I have got split ends. Please tell me how can I can get rid of them? Any household or commercial tip will do.

2. I also straighten my hair with straighter (ceramic plate). Does it do any additional harm to my hair because I have found my hair becomes more reddish than it was before. Can you please suggest anything that would help my hair to stay long and silky after straightening? Also, what exactly is a mousse`? Please, help.

Thank you, Sharmin

Dear Sharmin,
You are just over drying your hair by shampooing everyday as well as using a straighter. Your split ends are also a result of this. For starters, get a hair-cut, just enough to get rid of your split ends. Shampoo your hair only twice a week and you must follow it up by using a rich conditioner each time. Before the shampoo use olive oil & massage it well into the length of the hair then apply the yellow yolk of two eggs. Wrap a hot towel on your head for 20 minutes before your shampoo. You can then use your straightener. Mousse is used to give body or keep a style in place for longer.

Interpreter of Maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist

Dear Madam,
I have been reading with utmost curiosity and care your psycho-analyses of various psychosocial problems faced by our people. I love to read the substance and style with which you discuss those intricate issues. Here is an emotive topic on which I seek a scientific response from you. In this country, majority of our working civil servants are found with one common behavioural trait designated as arrogance. Ordinary members of the citizenry fear to approach their offices for the redress of any genuine problem in the face of the arrogant disposition of these officers. More than two-decade experience of mine as a civil servant suggests that arrogance at the individual as well as institutional level is spreading like wild fire; it has, as if, become ingrained in the very body politics of administration. The result is that the work climate is becoming a source of stress and de-motivation for the committed officials. It is observed that a fresh graduate who joins the Service and is otherwise known to be modest is seen infected with this malaise and

swiftly turns arrogant. Does it, madam, imply that arrogance is more acquired from people or environment around than genetically transmitted from parental figures? What is your psychoanalysis of this unwelcome behaviour? As a layman I perceive arrogance to be the manifestation of a misperceived or perverted concept of power stemming from an authoritarian mindset. Another probability is that it is a defense mechanism for the inefficient who inevitably suffer from a deep sense of insecurity and resort to arrogance to shield himself or herself from externality? What are your views? Can you suggest any any remedy for neutralising this unhealthy, negative emotion?

Syed Naquib Muslim
Bailey Road, Dhaka-1000

Dear Mr.Muslim,
Thank you so much for raising this question for which I am searching for an answer too. I can relate fully with your experience and almost started reading more than you have actually written. My wounds are yet raw enough from my personal experience and I truly share your feelings as I have already lived through it. I chose to distance myself from this uncontrollable stressor (a method of stress management to cope with my negative feelings). From your description, I can easily visualize those arrogant, "I'm all, you are nothing " attitude faces that irritates me to no end. Can I agree more that I too have observed so many well behaved, modest, brilliant, committed people at the fresh entry level gradually transforming in to "sick people" after serving in this system for a substantial period of time. I was afraid that it would be my fate too. Please note that, I also had experience of working with wonderful, genuine people and I salute them for their resilience and envy their majestic personal qualities that kept them alive in this woeful working condition. I don't have much expertise in the specific field of occupational psychology though, but I still feel the urge to share my views with you. Politicalisation of government employees (hence unethical power distribution) has reached an unbearable level. Ugly wealth and muscle display for which respectively ineffective taxation system and law and order situation are primarily responsible is inadvertently taking its toll on public life.

Arrogance is a mask to defend against toxic and feelings of shame. Source of this shame could be social (e.g. unhealthy competitiveness), familial (e.g. poor parenting), financial (e.g. poverty ) etc. People, who are very fragile inside, build a shield to feel less vulnerable. They behave like a superhuman (perfectionists-never make mistakes or can not tolerate mistakes) or less than a human (arrogant-put down others to feel great, grandiose-build an inflated self ego, anger/rage-totally unapproachable people). Our system feeds this behaviour by rewarding them and looks down upon average genuine humans (rather makes them look like a fool!). Our system nurtures people who can easily strip off their morality to grab power and wealth (treating them as smart people who take short cuts to reach their goals without paying the full price for it). This surely is a learned behaviour (social learning) and has very little to do with genetic traits. Role modeling by seniors, poor in-service training about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, burnout due to internal or external factors, little feedback about performance at behavioural level, little scope for expressing grievances in a systematic manner-all these probably play a certain degree of role in it. No wonder, average normal humans are feeling squeezed by this growing number of super-humans and sub-humans.

Dear Sir, I don't know its complete remedy but believe in the general public, who will definitely some day claim back this power (which they generously gave away to others) and eventually take the responsibility of building a healthier life and community of their own. You have correctly studied your environment. I highly appreciate your depth of understanding. At individual level, I would suggest- take enough breaks to refresh yourself, develop other areas of life to feel rewarded (to combat feeling discouraged, cheated, used, unappreciated as a result of working in this terrible atmosphere), re energize yourself by watching the nature (wild beauty) or practicing yoga, meditation, regular prayer etc. One may not excel in work in this way but has a better chance of becoming a decent citizen, good positive influence on others, a precious gift to the family and an asset to this poor nation. Believe in your own power to mold your future and take back all the power from those arrogant people by deciding not be influenced by them at all. A secret trick is to imagine them in their underpants or stand on one leg while talking to them (symbolic meanings!) so that they cannot manipulate you by their arrogance. Be courageous to break this vicious cycle and take pride in serving the civilians, not trying to be their masters.

By The Way

For inner peace

Inner peace is very important in life. It gives you strength. With the hassles of modern world, inner peace has gone astray and it is often hard to retrieve. There is, however, a way that can help retrieve the lost peace. Learn to meditate for instance. Here is how you can try. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, or focused on something such as a candle flame. Concentrate on your breathing and relax your shoulders, neck, jaw and face thinking of something soothing like a beautiful song or a serene river and its ripples that you once witness. It will help you focus. Meditate for 10 minutes a day and you'll feel calmer.


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