Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |  Volume 6, Issue 05, Tuesday, February 01, 2011




Of tiger mums and their cubs

This week Time magazine's cover story, 'The Roar of the Tiger Mom,' really stirred me inside out. It was on the book -- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother -- written by Amy Chua, a Yale law professor and a self-described tiger mother. The book addresses Amy's Chinese way of parenting - an orthodox, stern view on thumb rules of parenting. The Time article brought to surface a whole lot of unusual perspectives on parenting for me and many of which I am still pondering.

“Spare the rod; spoil the child” -- does this or our very own strict, rigid, traditional form of parenting work? This will forever be a dilemma with no solution for all of us. Honestly, after a lot of thinking, I came to the only possible conclusion, each child is different and beautiful in their own way, and they grow up to be individual adults, so during their childhood they should not be treated like they are clones of one another. What might work for yours will simply not work with mine; the quicker you realise this, the better for you.

There is no formula to parenting and no guidebook. You make mistakes and amend them as you go by. But you keep trying; that I guess is the key word. You will fail miserably at times but don't let your meanness or rigidity stand in the way. You have to knock off walls come what may and never let go of your focus.

This, as I write, is like a self-preaching sermon that I continue to hammer inside my mind every day. But this concept of tiger mums raised a few questions inside me. I am beginning to falter and doubt my ways; because if you ask my child I am surely a worse tiger mum than Amy, but if you ask me I would say I am like the weak, indulgent Westerners whom Amy dislikes so much in her book and talks about in the article.

So, it is how you want to see things rather than how it is or should be. Parenting is a one-to-one affair; it can never be a wholesale theory.

My mother was lenient with my brother but very stern with me, yet we both ended up the same; ill-tempered, borderline arrogant but very honest and responsible adults. So I guess this proves my point. Well, maybe. Again you will never know really what works out in the end.

For me my mum was a tigress when I was growing up but over the last few days, when I was going through the most difficult patch of my life so far, she was my only light. She held my hand, let me cry, she cried with me and for me but she didn't let go of her focus, which was to put a smile on my face.

She gave me hope and stayed with me till I came ashore. I only wish I will be like her when my child needs me. I hope my child finds her beacon in me. Here's to all mothers old and young, being a mum is a lifetime job, never give up.

-- Raffat Binte Rashid


Winter with Menz Klub

The chilly winter is fading away and serves as the perfect opportunity to flaunt your light winterwear, which not only serves as warm clothing but also acts as a fashion statement. The winter collection of Menz Klub is thus a representation of fashion savvy attires -- sweaters, polo shirts and casual blazers which are sure to attract the city's fashionistas.

Contact: 01678080801-16

Aneela's Valentine

Aneela Haque has recently launched her Valentine's Day collection including a great variety of party attire focusing on the colours red and black.

Valentine's Day is a symbol of love that transcends all boundaries so the clothes are designed for wearers of all ages. Men can wear casual jeans with a fancy shirt or jacket and women can opt for creative tops for the western casual look or saris for that traditional appeal.

The children's line includes red fatuas and petite party dresses. There are also varieties of ponchos, shawls and serapes to throw over your saris or western tops.

A new range of glass and bead jewellery is also available to add finishing touches to you look, along with creative botua bags.


Cooking competition held @ Australian International School

Australia is a vibrant and invigorating continent, a land full of interesting creatures, distinctive cultures and remarkable cuisines. Australian International School Dhaka therefore, had a lot to do during its week-long commemoration of the official national day of Australia, which is on 26 January.

On the last day of the one week of celebrating Australia, a cooking competition, named “MasterChef”, was held where the participants (parents) had to make at least one of the items from a selected range of recipes provided by the authorities and bring it to the school for the judges. The culinary treats were chicken & vegetable pastry rolls, fish and chips in beer batter and Italian coleslaw, traditional jelly lamingtons, and brownies.

The judging panel was headed by the much celebrated Tony Khan, Executive Chef at Culinary Kitchen at The Westin, along with two special guests: the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Kilmeny Beckering Vinckers and Mrs. Ishrat A. Ahmad, the chairperson of the Department of Law at Eastern University.

The Principal of the school, Melissa R Newman shared her insights. “The competition is based on the popular show, MasterChef Australia. And there is also a cooking competition in Australia known as MasterChef Junior. So we thought of an Australian cooking competition and had the parents of the students participate in it and our local experts judge the items. We hope that our kids will learn to enjoy cooking for their families and friends. This is the first year we have arranged this kind of competition, and we hope to get more and more participants in future”.

However, the cooking competition was not the only activity. The kids enjoyed a whole week of learning about Australia and then carried out a costume parade, puppet show and musical performances. Other activities included games such as Aussie Rules Footie, sack race, egg-and-spoon race, etc. “Since we follow the Australian curriculum, we thought the students should learn, enjoy and appreciate the land where it comes from”, said the Principal.

By M H Haider

Pitha Utshob at Westin

Despite the growing warmth of the winter sun, the evenings can still put a chill to your bones. As our body burns energy to keep us warm, we crave tasty, filling snacks. Nothing does the trick like a freshly made, warm pitha. In keeping with our long-standing traditions, Westin, Dhaka held a Pitha Utshob on January 28 and 29.

The event took place in the main lobby of Westin, beside the café/restaurant. A band of musicians equipped with dotara, electrical keyboard and drums performed folk songs while guests and reporters alike roamed the two stalls set up for this occasion. One was basically a buffet table, the other, where the pithas were being made, was shaped like a thatched village kitchen, with actual pumpkins with leaves and flowers on the roof. A lady under the employ of Westin, garbed in the traditional Bangali sari and 'tip' made bhapa pitha with gleaming kitchen utensils.

The pithas on display ranged from the common bhapa pitha, narikel kuli, taler pitha, etc., to more exotic versions such as the pakwan pitha, lobongo lotika and sirish pitha. Lobongo lotika is served in some parts of Bangladesh as a traditional dish to brides and grooms. It is shaped like a flower, with a lobongo or clove at the centre adding to the flavour. Pakwan is a crispy, curled pitha dipped in sugar syrup that tastes fabulous.

Tony Khan also said, “This event is to promote Bangladesh's identity and culture.” Since the event took place in the main lobby, guests of the hotel came over to satisfy their curiosity. Noor-e-Safa said, “We already sent invites to all the guests to come and experience a slice of Bangladesh.” Westin prides itself on the quality of its food, and they understand that it may not be possible for foreign guests to try the pitha on the streets. All in all, it is a commendable initiative.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique





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