Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 91, Tuesday, November 10, 2009




History in the making

The hospitality business is still deemed a new frontier in our country; but no doubt a trend that is making remarkable progress and fast opening up doors for opportunities.

Yet, when it comes to reaching the peaks of success in this arena, Bangladeshis seem to have kept a low profile, thus lagging behind. At least until now.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the operator of The Westin Dhaka and owner Noor Ali have very recently jointly declared the appointment of Atique Rahman, a Bangladeshi American, to be the General Manager of The Westin Dhaka.

The charismatic new executive at the helm of the Westin is anything but low profile. His achievement heralds not only the dawn of a new era at The Westin, Dhaka, but also paves the path to an exciting new prospect for those of us who wish to pursue this creative sector. Rahman is a pioneer who has broken the barriers of a mindset that has long since been outdated.

In an enlightening interview with the enigmatic Atique Rahman, he explains how the hospitality industry is an extremely healthy business for young professionals of our country who seek to work in an environment that is proficient and at the same time fun, allowing immense scope for creativity.

After having completed his HSC from West Pakistan, Rahman went for graduate studies to the USA, where he studied at the State University of New York, and it is while studying here, and working at local restaurants like so many striving students, that his life took a swerve.

“My career in the hospitality industry was not planned. I was, in fact, studying as a business student, but when I began to work part-time at the local fine-dining restaurants as a student, I realised how much I enjoyed it.” Rahman reminisces. “It was a whole new experience, meeting and interacting with different people.”

“Restaurants are not just places to eat, but should be places of entertainment also. My early days at fine-dining French restaurants taught me a lot, while going about my duties and waiting tables, I gradually built great relationships with many customers, who would, in later visits, ask particularly for my services.”

Rahman further goes on to say, “After I graduated, I joined as an Assistant Restaurant Manager at the world-famous Renaissance Hotel, and I consider those years to be the most invaluable in my career. The General Manager, who hired me, made me work in almost every station, from dish-washing to room tidying, all of which contributed to the first-hand experience that I gathered, giving me the full confidence in whatever I do today.”

Prior to taking over this new assignment, Rahman was the owner's representative for The Westin Dhaka and alongside managed Lake Shore Hotel as their Executive Director.

During his long career, Rahman has worked in Executive Level positions with Radisson Hotels & Resorts and Ramada International Inc., besides working and owning a fine dining restaurant in USA. He was also the first Executive to be the Director of Operations for Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts, The Sonargaon Hotel.

Rahman's professional life has taken him to innumerable places all across the globe, and he stresses this as being most important in this industry. “You need to travel to bring in new exposure, which is an absolute necessity in this business.” And when asked about his personal work philosophy, he states, “Nothing is more important than being ethically strong, making no compromises. As well as keeping a healthy balance between professional and family life.”

Rahman's achievement is certainly a fresh new start in the hospitality industry of the country. The industry celebrates this occasion as a great milestone and hopes this opens the door for our local experts to be internationally recognised. Rahman thanked the owning company Unique Hotels and Resorts and operating company Starwood Hotels & Resorts for showing the confidence in him. He expressed the hope that with help and cooperation of all concerned, he would be able to prove that Bangladeshis are capable of successfully managing top hotels. His achievement as the very first Bangladeshi to hold a top position in one of the world's leading hotel brands can indeed be termed as history in the making.

By Farina Noireet

LS Shuffle

Weekly buzz

If you enjoyed Stephen Hawkings' "A Brief History of Time" chances are you will enjoy this just as much. Not your cup of tea? Well you might enjoy "The First Three Minutes" still! Considered one of the best scientific accounts for the layman, Steven Weinberg in his treatise divides up the early Universe into six frames (a possible hint to the biblical account of creation), some lasting less than a second while others extending for more than a minute. In some phases, energy dominates while in others matter has the upper hand. Weinberg details the incredibly energetic reactions that took place in the early Cosmological stew of the first few seconds of the Universe. If your interest lies in metaphysics, or astronomy this is your pick #1.

For those who like to show off their ensemble gadgetry, the Samsung S3650 Corby is tech-savvy and fresh that goes beyond what the new generation of mobile users look out for and more. The set, available in myriad funky colours is keen to keep today's techie fully geared and up to date. The frugal price tag gives a general overview of what you may expect but the wide range of features is absolutely relevant to the target audience. On the social side, the Samsung S3650 Corby offers Facebook, MySpace and Twitter integration, while photo and video sharing are taken care of with direct uploads to YouTube, Flickr, Picasa and Photobucket. You can update your status on the various social networking sites and receive updates from your friends via a neat pop-up notification feature. All that is a tap away on the 2.8" capacitive touchscreen. Our pick #2 of the week is the Samsung S3650 Corby!
Still addressing the tech savvy generation, mobile etiquette is much talked about and quite understandably so. However, those tuned to the latest music offerings through your iPod must also learn a lesson or two. Get upgraded and updated about the ins and outs of iPod etiquette. Log on to http://themorningnews.org/archives/the_thoughtful_user_guide/ipod_etiquette.php, our pick #3.

Last week witnessed the several stage performances of "Motimba". If I may quote a re-viewer "Motimba is a new recipe brought to the streets of London via La Habana, Cuba. Ingredients: Generous portions of hot Carribean sauce [a spicy blend of Cuban Timba, Salsa and Reggae] mixed into an urban London stew of latin, funk and afro-jazz. The only ingredient missing is cheese!" Check out their album "Monkey Vibrations", our pick #4 of the week and dance to the vibrant tune.
Until next week. Ciao!

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif

On The Cover

As the mercury finally begins a slow decent it's time to break out the light winter gear. Hoodies add a touch of sporty chic!
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Sami
Wardrobe and styling: Cats eye


A change of heart comes slow

BEFORE the U.S presidential elections when all the talk was about the possibility of there being an African American president, I expressed amazement to a friend at the fact that a country that prides itself on equality and opportunity hadn't yet had a non-white leader. My friend then reminded me that that was not the truly amazing thing; rather it was the fact that there had not yet been a female president. Before I could argue, my friend pointed out that there were far more women in America than there are African Americans. Only then did the pervasiveness of male chauvinism hit me.

We like to believe and congratulate ourselves that women are no longer seen or treated as unequal or inferior. Yes, there have been improvements globally in women's rights, with their wages increasing and more and more women occupying positions of real power, but in the context of Bangladesh especially, the situation isn't very equal out in the streets or in households. It's our hearts and minds that have to change, not just employment statistics.

It is just not the men who practise discrimination. Star Magazine on October 30 ran a story, “The Mystery Remains Unsolved,” about a young female doctor who had been found hanging from the ceiling fan at her residence, or more appropriately, the residence of her in-laws. If you have read the story, you will know that Dr. Tamanna Haque Munira had suffered torridly at the hands of her mother-in-law, who happens to be the chairperson of a private bank.

That story, as well as countless similar ones we have heard tells us that even educated people, women among them, act in the most uncouth manner imaginable towards women. It is common to hear that parents force their daughters into marriage as soon as they finish their education (the lucky ones). The overwhelming idea in Bangladesh seems to be that the fruition of a female life comes from marriage and nothing else. This is obsolescent thinking to say the least, and should be done away with as soon as possible.

Discrimination against women seems to be the only form that is still acceptable. We all hear stories, experience first-hand their struggles, but remain quiet about it. It may be a cliché, but it holds true that admitting the problem is the first step. This applies to all of us.





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