|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 89, Tuesday, October 27, 2009|
Coping with seasonal flu
Drink plenty of warm liquids.
Taming those allergies
Pour a cup of tea
- LS Desk
Remember how fascinated we were when rail first came in this region? Or how it felt when the first plane flew over? Probably not, because we are a generation many decades ahead. But the nostalgia of airplanes and steam locomotives remain. We love to learn about inventors and pioneer aviators, and their tales are told in books, novels, magazines and the silver screen time and time again.
If you liked "The Aviator", here is another movie that will surely grab your attention. Released on 23 October 2009 in the United States and many parts of the world, "Amelia" is already making record book entries and some critics have gone as far as considering it an Oscar pick.
The all-star cast includes Richard Gere, Ewan Mcgregor and Hilary Swank, of ("Million Dollar Baby" fame) as Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly around the world. This, readers and all aviation aficionados, is our Pick #1 of the week.
As for the surprise of the week, we dwell further into "Amelia" which by the way is directed by Indian filmmaker Mira Nair. Yes, of "Kamasutra" fame. Could this be another Indian night at the Oscars in March 2010? Only time will tell but one thing is for certain, whether we like it or not, Bollywood is definitely infiltrating Hollywood!
"19" is our Pick #2 of the week. Adele stormed into the music industry in 2008 with a fabulous voice and a heart-rending tenacity. Her powerful voice and that loud Afro-American tone leave one guessing about her musical and ethnic origins. She is however, from Wales, despite which her early life experience with the Black community has had a profound impact on the music she does. But the most important aspect of Adele and her soul music is that it retains a flavour of her time, our time. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is reported to have said- "With the troubles that the country's in financially, you're a light at the end of the tunnel." Adele is indeed a classic singer.
Our Pick #3 is more on a serious note. Social networking sites have found a wide audience here in Bangladesh, as it has the world over. While exchanging a fair share of personal information is necessary for social interaction in such sites, how much of it should be accessible to the casual viewer has been a burning issue. Facebook, the most popular social networking site, has undergone immense changes to preserve the privacy of its members. Some loopholes however remain. Just google "5 Facebook Schemes That Threaten Your Privacy" and you will get the link to a PC World article that will make you think twice about personal security. 'Facebooking' will never be the same again.
Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" is our suggested read of the week, Pick #4. Although it may not have reached the bookstores of Dhaka as yet, one can only wait for the arrival of this eagerly anticipated title having won the prestigious Man Booker Prize 2009. If you fancy tales of royalty, of love and of betrayal, this book, set in sixteenth century England, will quench your thirst for a good read.
But one book that you will get at your nearest bookstore, Pick #5 is “Like a Diamond in the Sky” by Shazia Omar. Dhaka, with a population of over 150 million, rich culture and social diversity has a colourful palette. The urban background of the book provides a glimpse of contemporary Dhaka, its joys and woes.
By Mannan Mashhur Zarif
On The Cover
Tap into your inner child for a bit of wicked fun. Lurch into the centre, and we'll show you how
How long must we sing this song?
We live in a strange world. No, not planet earth, but the world that Bangladesh forms. It would be a presumption, but I think a correct one if I was to say that everyone reading this are fortunate enough to avail of the three basic necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. I too am of the fortunate ones.
But when we are outside, combating traffic jams and what not, we often ignore one of the most, if not the most, heartbreaking sights. Most of us, most of the time, through necessity have developed the skill of ignoring these visions, looking through them. The vision I am talking of is of a baby, usually younger than two, asleep with their mouths open on their mother's shoulder, while she is begging for money. They are often dark in complexion, baked by the smouldering heat and sunlight, and we do our best to look away.
I can already hear the counterpoints rolling in. I myself have been of the camp of toughies: “They will only be spoilt if you give them money, they will never learn to earn their living,” we say of the beggars. All fine and good, all fine and good. But there is one aspect of that argument which does not sit well with the aforementioned situation. What about the babies, what did they do to deserve this?
A lot of you will have heard the story of the ayah of a household taking her employers' baby out on the streets to use it as a prop to score alms. Even if true, all this story proves is the wickedness of adults, and does nothing to hide the fact that the situation is atrocious.
We love the babies in our families and dote on them, giving them anything that would bring a smile on their faces. They are the embodiment of innocence, beauty and the miracle that is life. We congratulate others who have given birth. But perhaps it is a necessity that we look beyond the half smiles, the longing gaze of the toddler on the streets. Maybe they hit too close to home.
I myself have begun noticing these soul-crushing scenes after I have really become close to a baby in my family. There are no obvious solutions. There probably is a reason why tax payments are so low in this country. These scenes are our tax, and it is up to us, the fortunate ones, to take some initiative. It does not mean giving handouts; there are many ways, if there is a will.
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