I have been reading SWM for the past two years and honestly I have enjoyed every bit of it, especially Richa Jha's articles, which have made their re-entry! I congratulate her on the arrival of the little angel in her life. May God bless your child. My friends say that I am too young to be reading SWM, as I am only a student of class 10. But, I think SWM has a lot for us, especially teenagers like me, to learn. I hope SWM keeps on shining and all the writers are great. And of course hats off to my favourite writer, Kajalie Shehreen Islam! You rock! Keep up the good work, SWM!
Southpoint School and College,
Reducing generation gap
I really liked Shamser Chowdhury's article "Reflecting on the Generation Gap in Bangladesh" printed on September 2, 2005 in SWM. It was really a timely and thoughtful article which focused on something which most of us do not care about. I am a 27 year-old-man and to this day, I have not faced any serious generation gap with my parents. The reason behind it was probably that my parents gave me the independence to express my thoughts, and give suggestions if I didn't agree with anything. Thus there was always a frankness between us and I could talk to them about anything. What my parents did want from me, though, was the truth, and, if I admitted I was wrong, they would always sympathise with me and understand me. At the same time, I have seen some of my friends and relatives around the same age as myself, facing constant problems with their parents. They were often hesitant about talking frankly with their parents afraid or these people have enjoyed all the luxuries life except for time with their parents. Shamser Chowdhury was right in saying that both parties must have an open mind. I think if the older generation came forward then the younger generation would also try and understand their position, reflecting on the past while building their own futures. This would be the only way to decrease the generation gap.
On "The Price of Passion"
Finally, someone has actually printed the blatant truth. Growing up I saw so many friends and acquaintances who had to deal with intimacy and sex without much knowledge or support from anyone. The entire topic of sex was so taboo that most of us had to pretend that it didn't exist and our parents or the older generation were happy with this. But the problem arose when these kids in most part acted on their curiosity or feelings and entered into physical relationships. Many got away with it while others suffered from repercussions in the form of diseases, pregnancies or even being ostracised. Those who suffered had no one to seek advice from because you could not discuss it with your elders, or find a venue to obtain information. Sex education still does not exist and while today you can obtain a lot of information online it is still does not measure up to actually voicing all your concerns to someone.
I have to applaud SWM for having the courage to point out this obvious lack of sex education for our youth and how we as a society cannot continue to turn a blind eye to "sex". Protecting and ensuring that the younger generation is healthy and not subjected to diseases such as AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are more important then having societies' sensibilities hurt. Its about time people opened their eyes and took notice. Your article is an excellent start to actually getting people to sit up and take notice.
Zeenat Z. Syed
I am a teenager really impressed by your story on sex education. I have studied abroad most of my life and, like you, am concerned about the hazards of unsafe sex and the lack of information regarding it. I was surprised at the ignorance of some of my peers regarding STDs and other risks associated with unprotected sex. I think it is important for issues such as sex and sex-related risks to be talked about.
Last week's cover story, "The Price of Passion" was indeed "food for thought". Kajalie Shehreen Islam and Srabonti Narmeen Ali did a great job in talking about an issue which we usually try to remain ignorant about. However, after reading it, the question I have been asking myself is, what can be done? We are all aware of the mishaps that take place at Ramna Park, brothels and other places, but who's responsibility is it to do something -- the government's, ours, or should all of us just do our bit?
Asif Ahmed Noor,
On "Law and Disorder"
"I don't intend to come back home," said my uncle conversing with me on the phone, who got his MBA from DU, is now studying in London, "though I love my country". The reasons he gave were the deteriorating law and order, political turmoil, and the question of security. I was able to relate this to the piece "Law and Disorder" published in the August 26 issue of SWM and also realised the reason behind the brain drain, a common phenomenon in Bangladesh. How can we tolerate it when faultless people like Mohammad Ali and Aklima are tortured by RAB and we are powerless to do anything about it? They are accused of killing, theft and unlawful toll collection throughout the country and harassing innocent schoolboys. We can't expect peace and security to be established by them. If we want to stop the brain drain, we have to get rid of such elements and ensure a favourable environment.
M Alauddin Ansary
Zahurul Haque Hall, DU
8Teen's recent piece "Law and disorder" was quite an eye-opener. It was mentioned that teens are eager to leave Bangladesh due to the poor service rendered by the law enforcing agencies. However, one of the major reasons why teens like myself feel frustrated with the city is the amount of traffic jams on the roads. We have to travel to our private tutors all over Dhaka, but due to traffic congestion it is quite a strenuous job. Ironically, I was horrified to see that the communications minister received an award a few months ago for easing traffic jams, when in reality jams are increasing by the day. I would request SWM's writers to write a cover story on the horrible condition of traffic in the city. SWM's cover stories are quite enlightening and no doubt this issue will be appreciated by readers.
On the September 9 cover story
I really enjoyed your cover story on September 9. It was very well-written and exposed many of the taboos and dangers of putting undue restrictions on sex. After living abroad for so many years, I was surprised at how some people still have the old fears regarding sex, especially women who fear that they have to remain a virgin to have a good marriage and that no man will respect them if they have premarital sex. The double standard of men going around and having sex and expecting their wives to be pure saints is very disturbing. I think that people should be educated on safe sex methods as people will have sex anyway. With education, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies would be reduced. Its also interesting how it's the middle class who have the most hang-ups about sex. They are probably the judgmental, close-minded group that fear all change and try to impose their views on others. The public should have a choice and your article will give them something to think about.
I enjoyed reading the cover story in SWM (September 9), "The Price of Passion", by Kajalie Shehreen Islam and Srabonti Narmeen Ali. Although sex is still taboo in our society, many people, especially the young generation, are slowly engaging in premarital and extramarital sex, which can lead to serious problems in the future.
Whenever such incidents happen and we point them out to discourage the younger generation on the matter, we simply blame Hindi movies and Western culture for their vulgarity. What we fail to understand is that we cannot blame television and these commercial films entirely. We cannot stop our children from watching Hindi and other foreign films, but we can educate them on the issue of sex so that they are careful about it and they keep in mind that free mixing is not a part of our culture or religion.
On the August 17 bomb blasts
Those responsible for the August 17 bomb blasts claim that they want "Islamic Law" in Bangladesh, but WHY? Where in the world has "Islamicising" the country made the citizens better off? Why would a system invented for people centuries ago be appropriate now? Did the Taliban do any favours for Afghanistan? No. In all predominantly Muslim nations, a modern approach has benefited the country, led to economic growth and a better quality of life for the people (e.g. Malaysia). Wherever there has been fundamentalism, there has been suffering, poverty and human rights violations at the hand of the so called "clerics". Modern drugs and surgery didn't exist then, but these terrorists are enjoying them now. Maybe they should allow themselves to die like people did at that time, and not be hypocrites who use "heathen medicine" from the West such as antibiotics. Modern weapons such as bombs are are modern concoction, so they must be un-Islamic too. They like to pick and choose the lifestyle they want to follow from the "old days" while enjoying the "heathen" modern conveniences from the West. The people are tired of these terrorists using the name of Islam to satisfy their lust for power and fame.
Our very own talent shows
Although the recently introduced talent hunt shows are being shown on our local television channels, they have failed to elicit considerable public response. These shows were obviously inspired by Indian shows like "Indian Idol". But while shows like the latter are commercial shows, they also have the objective of finding real talent. They encouraged the common public to contribute to the show by allowing them to vote for their favourite performers. This is not the case with our talent shows. Frankly speaking, the quality of our talents is really not that good, and even the judges do not always make correct evaluations as their field of expertise is often different. Another reason for this is our conservative society where many hidden talents still refuse to come out in public. Talent shows should be encouraged for the development of our country, but they should not be a frustrating presentation for the people.
Response to Nayeem Islam's letter
Nayeem Islam's letter published in SWM on September 9 titled "djuice and s", is founded on an entirely fallacious argument. As a fan of their ad campaign, I need to point out that first of all, phrases like "kothin vaab" and "kat kat" existed in colloquial language long before djuice came to Bangladesh. How is it then a "distortion" of the language if one utilises terms already in wide use? Furthermore, ad campaigns are inspired by popular culture, not the other way around. So if you want indictments made against severe offenders of Bangla, attack everybody who speaks it. Regarding the use of Roman characters to spell Bangla words, well, Nayeem Islam sent a letter to a weekly magazine which practises this all the time, as does every other Bangladeshi magazine or publication in English. Finally, I felt that djuice's television commercials were elegantly planned and beautifully crafted, but I will admit that I cannot justify a personal aesthetic choice.
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