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     Volume 4 Issue 24 | December 10, 2004 |


   Letters
   Voicebox
   Chintito
   Cover Story
   News Notes
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   A Roman Column
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Letters

Fiction and Fact
Chintito never fails to amaze his readers, but I especially loved his piece "Fiction and Fact".
He has spoken about something that has been on my mind for a long time. We are not very careful with our use of the word "fundamentalism." Western countries have used this term loosely and ignorantly and, as a result, caused confusion and misunderstanding. In Germany a Green party member proposed a holiday to mark the holy month of Ramadan. He was ridiculed in a local publication in a political cartoon in which he was drawn with a long beard and turban. I cannot even think what would happen if something like this took place in Bangladesh. There is a part of our society who is always eager to discriminate against fundamentalists. I want to add that sometimes I am disgusted with the artificial secularism showed by The Daily Star. A good newspaper should have the courage to call a spade a spade.
Saif
Dhaka

Writing Gracefully
Friday is exceptional to me not only because it's a weekend but also because it's a day where I get to read SWM. The first target is to read the Letters page after which I go to other items of the magazine. In the November 26 issue an article entitled "Writing Gracefully" by Dr. Syed Saad Andaleeb pages struck me as very interesting. I agree with the writer's evaluation and accusations whole heartedly. The negligence of English in higher studies is the only cause of deficiency in writing and speaking fluently. It sometimes becomes clear to me that the difference between a student of Rajshahi University and a student of Dhaka University is easily comprehensible in terms of English proficiency. This may also be the reason why students of Rajshahi University are less likely to get prestigious job offers and are having trouble competing with students of Dhaka University. Almost all the teachers of Rajshahi University are in the habit of delivering their lectures and speeches in Bangla. This is nothing but a lack of communication between teachers and students. We need to declare the medium of study as English. Continuous exercise and study in English will promote the graceful writing and speaking of English. I think the administrations of educational institutions should do this soon.
Md. Masud Parves Rana
University of Rajshahi

Hijacking of 'V'
I'd like to thank Neeman Sobhan for her last column on "The Hijacking of 'V'". As a "probashi" student, I keep in touch with family and friends mainly through instant messaging, and it's incredibly frustrating to watch them type "v" instead of "bh" (although the typing of Bangla in Roman characters is itself a matter of linguistic compromise). While I realise that her column is tongue-in-cheek, I would seriously implement most of her suggestions if I were in charge of the language. Another recent practice I've come to absolutely hate is how people type "hai" or "hain" instead of the affirmative "ha". I don't know whether they're trying to establish a nonexistent khandan or whether they're trying to sound more West Bangali with the suffixed "n" becoming the "chandrabindoo" of Calcatian wisdom, but the only narrative purpose it serves is to annoy the receiver of such messages. Ms. Sobhan points out how other languages have overcome their limitations to speak English without error and, more importantly, deal with using it as a global lingua franca. The Bangla alphabet and phonetic system is such that we can pronounce almost all sounds from most modern languages. Given our natural advantage, our rich heritage and what I believe is our native intelligence, we really should make more of an effort to not mangle our own language or anybody else's.
Arafat Kazi
Boston, Massachusetts

Good Travel Story
I would like to thank Imran H. Khan for the excellent travel article titled "Where cloud gives way to roads". It's an excellent piece (though incomplete as mentioned at the end) of writing and I must also give credit to his observant skills alongside his words. I met the writer at the border and later, momentarily while he was browsing through some artwork, at the mall. I was also amongst the many Bangladeshis who demanded a break from their regular tight schedules. This was a great piece and I hope to read more of the article in later issues. I would like to end by saying, "Since the time I left my school in Darjeeling, I have grown old but the city and my school (St. Paul's School - or "the Main Hoon Na" School) looks young and fresh as ever".
Rubnoid
On Email

Don't Drop Mita
I like to give many thanks to the "Dear Mita" editor because in this column, people write about all kinds of personal matters and get advice on how to deal with them. However, I have noticed that sometimes, the Mita column is missing from the issue. Since it is one of my favourite columns in SWM my request to SWM is to please try and include it every week for those of us who really enjoy reading it.
Milon
Dhaka

Great Endings
Neeman Sobhan's article in the first issue of December was fantastic. She talked about an important subject with touches of humour. That is the best thing about her writing, which undoubtedly makes her the best writer of SWM. Her language is lucid and eloquent. What I like best about her writing is the way she finishes off every article. The finishing is so powerful that the reader is convinced of the whole article. The last few lines of Sobhan's last week's article were so well written that I must thank the writer. Keep it up Neeman Sobhan!
Wajahat Anwar
On Email

ANNOUNCEMENT
SWM's e-mail address has changed. From now on, please send all your e-mails to starweekendmag@gmail.com.


Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary & Write to Mita with the writer’s name and address, should be within 200 words. Articles should be within 1,200 words. Articles and photos submitted will not be returned. Plagiarised articles will not be accepted. All materials should be sent to: Star Weekend Magazine, 19, Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Fax: 8125155, or e-mailed to <starweekendmag@gmail.com> Articles may be edited for reasons of space and clarity.
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