Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 59, Tuesday March 17, 2009



What is the lowest amount required for a fixed deposit? What are the things that I should be aware of when opening a fixed deposit account?
The lowest amount requirement could vary from bank to bank. A prospective customer primarily should be looking out for the best return during the period for his/her funds invested in Fixed Deposit and the reputation of the Bank. It would also be prudent not to invest all the fund in Fixed Deposit in one bank, rather spread the eggs in different baskets.

Can you please let me know in detail about merchant banking? I have heard that one can do stock business through these banks. Can you please elaborate?
In banking, a merchant bank is a financial institution primarily engaged in offering financial services and advice to corporations and wealthy individuals on how to use their money. The term can also be used to describe the private equity activities of banking. Merchant Bankers invest in corporate stock to finance the start of new ventures or to support the expansion of existing business. Yes, in a way you are right, a banker providing this service would become your temporary stockbroker and would bear considerable risk because the stock purchased may decline in value.

I have a daughter who is 13 years old. She participates in different television programs, the payment for which is made through a cheque. Is it wise to have a separate account on her name or would it suffice to have a joint account with me?
Your daughter who is 13 years old is still a minor. Therefore banks wouldn't allow a joint account with you. However, you could open an account on behalf of her (a minor account) where you would be the guardian and where you could deposit the cheques she receives as payment.

What is a cash management service provided by banks?
This is a service where the banks agree to supervise its corporate customers' cash collections and disbursements and to invest in the company's cash surplus in short term interest bearing securities and loans till the customer needs to use the cash to pay for bills. Most banks provide business cash management services but the trend is growing to offer similar services to consumer customers as well.

What is equipment-leasing service?
Business customers of a bank are often offered to purchase equipment through a leasing arrangement with the banks. In this arrangement the Bank buys the equipment for the customers and then rents out to them.

What is a venture capital loan?
The start up cost of a company being financed by a bank is quite common nowadays. These loans are of increased risk for which banks often grant these loans through venture capital firms, a subsidiary of a bank holding company. Banks also bring in other investors to share in the risk.

Can banks sell insurance policies and retirement plans?
Yes, in a lot of countries banks can sell insurance polices and retirement plans. This is mainly done for customers who are granted loans. These customers are sold insurance policies so that if a customer dies the loan is guaranteed. Retirement plans are basically encouraging individuals to save money through pension programs so that they have some savings when they retire.

When I was young I used to suffer from chronic infection in my left ear. There used to be a lot of pain and a smelly discharge. The condition improved with medication. After almost two decades, I am facing the problem again. What can be the cause of this?

Dear Reader,
You probably had a perforated drum or infection in the external ear, which repeatedly got infected as a child. The condition probably improved over the years. Due to some reason such as entry of water or itching with cotton buds or clips there was re-infection, or there may be a totally new pathology present.

Whatever the reason you definitely need to get it treated as repeated ear infection may lead to hearing loss. In the meantime please make sure there is no entry of water into ears, use oil soaked cotton balls or earplugs while bathing, and definitely consult with an ENT specialist for treatment. If you have a perforated drum it can be treated very easily by tympanoplasty, an operation which can be successfully done in Bangladesh.

I have recently pierced my nose. There has been a painful inflammation and the wound is simply not healing. Please help.
- Smita

Dear Smita,
Well, you probably got the piercing infected. This may be due to the use of non-sterile instruments while piercing. Also, the jewellery that you are using, if any, may not suit your skin. If it is not gold then please take it off and use a gold nose pin, as gold is usually non-toxic. If the infection persists you need to close the piercing and let it heal. You may also need some antibiotics to help in the healing process. If you want then you can get it pierced again later after the nose has healed completely. You really have to treat it quickly as there may be granuloma formation, which will look bad. Please consult a cosmetic surgeon for treatment.

People suggest weird remedies for burn injuries like applying toothpaste. What are the things that one should actually do after having a burn injury? I would also like to know about the degree of burns.

Dear Sadique,
Thank you for the question. Actually it's very important to know how to manage a burn injury at home. The first thing to remember is that the affected area needs to be washed off immediately with plenty of running water. This is to cool off the area and to wash off chemicals (if any) that may have caused the burn.

If there is any clothing around the burnt area it needs to be removed, and the area surrounding the burn needs to be cleaned by normal saline or clean, cool boiled water. Please do not use Savlon or any other solution around the area. If there is a blister formation then it needs to be pricked by a sterile needle but this is best left for the doctors to deal with.

Do not apply anything on the burn area. If possible put a sterile dressing on it. Some dressing materials are available in pharmacies like sterile gauze, sofratulle, etc. If nothing is available, use a clean cloth. Do not rub ice on it. If the patient is in pain you can give a painkiller and lots of fluid. Then definitely the patient needs to be seen by a doctor, its good if a plastic surgeon can see the affected area.

You asked about the degree of burns. That usually depends on the amount of body surface area that got burnt and also the depth of the burn is considered. It can be superficial or deep. Any patient with more than 15% burn needs fluid replacement by intravenous (I/V) route. The doctor will clean the wound, apply a proper dressing, give a tetanus shot, prescribe the patient with an antibiotic, painkiller and start I/V fluid if needed. However, even for small burns, maybe it's always best to consult a doctor and get it treated.

To all my Farhanas of the 2th of Feb '09

TODAY I am going to call all of you collectively, Farhana. Because my Farhana represents all of you. I see each of you in my Farhana's brave, strong, practical and ever smiling face. I, along with the nation, bow our heads in shame, because we couldn't protect you from such an unimaginable fate. I do not think we can ever look into your eyes and say anything, which will ever redeem us in your souls.

I met my Farhana in 1999, when we both went to work for the Aga Khan School under the leadership of George Kays. We became friends instantly. I loved her take on life and her infectious joie de vivre.

We shared our tiffin, our joys, and bits of our lives as our working days went by. I always wondered in awe, how single handedly she was bringing up her two boys while her husband, who I knew as Shumon, a valiant true son of the soil, was serving the country by being where ever he was needed. To give the boys stability, she stayed in Dhaka for their education. We two used to have a good giggle when Shumon used to come visiting the family. I would joke with her by pointing out how lucky she was to have so many honeymoons through her married life. Finally he came back home to them. The last fifteen months were pure bliss for her. Finally she had someone to share her daily decisions. Her younger son, still the baby of the family, had his father home. The older son, in university. Everything was finally, falling into place.

Farhana, I do not know why this happened to all of you? I cannot find any answers while I am awake, nor can I make any sense of my chaotic nightmares. But all I know is, we all are also hurting. The hurt is so intense, as if someone has taken our hearts out of our bodies and is kneading it and at the same time trampling it with their merciless boots. With each and every passing moment, with each breath we feel your pain. The pain is sharp, claustrophobic at times, and sometimes so over whelming that is mind numbing. Only the tears are unstoppable. It is like someone has opened a gushing tap next to our eye sockets.

Farhana, I know your loss is irreplaceable. Nothing and nobody on this Earth can fill Shumon's shoes and the rest of the 49 pairs of shoes beside him ... but life has to go on. And while you all have to try to start living again, I hope we all can be by your side to help rebuild your shattered lives and dreams.

I know Farhana, those last phone calls will haunt you for the rest of your life, but remember what he said. How he wanted to go as a soldier. With courage, spirit and valour.

Death is inevitable. And even in death there should be dignity. These brave soldiers were even denied of this basic right. The whole nation weeps for them. In grief, United we stand.

Finally, to all my Farhanas, take a deep breath, wipe your tears and try... to be strong. If not for yourself, try for you children, your parents, your friends and lastly for the nation. If you give us one tremulous smile, it will be like a thousand fireworks up in the sky. I know I am asking a lot.. but I am sure all the 50 stars twinkling up in the twilight will smile right back at all of you.



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