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     Volume 4 Issue 64 | September 23, 2005 |

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Reality bites
SWM's September 9 cover story, "Getting Real" was an outstanding, brave, informative and eye-opening piece of writing. ouples have to accept sex as a natural part of a relationship; but if they have sex with ambiguous hopes and dreams, thinking that it is nothing, it is completely wrong. It has psychological affects and can cause a lot of problems. A boyfriend should be supportive towards his girlfriend. He shouldn't fear society for if he does -- in the worst case scenario -- she might lose faith in him and start to hate him. I request all true lovers to have sex only if they are honest with each other and can deal with the responsibilities it involves. Don't just do it for experience, because some experiences are better not had before the right time.
Shirajul Dhaka

On the September 9 cover story
The cover story published in the September 9 issue of SWM was an informative feature on premarital sexual relations among youngsters in Bangladesh. There is no denying that premarital sex has been a common phenomenon among them. Many men have sex with women simply for pleasure. So do some women. Many people are also ready to pay for it. This happened in the past and will also happen in the future. It cannot be prevented until the youth grow a sense of morality within themselves which, unfortunately seems to be declining at present. It has thus become urgent to grow awareness about sexually transmitted diseases and other hazards of unsafe sex, for it is suicidal to engage in unprotected sex and, in such cases, the price of passion will be too high. Special thanks to Kajalie Shehreen Islam and Srabonti Narmeen Ali for such a timely story.
Mohammad Mizanur Rahman Department of English University of Dhaka

Encouraging a wrong practice
I thought SWM's September 9 cover story, which virtually aimed at making premarital sex more open and accepted in society, will give rampant rise to social problems like widespread family breakdown, perversion and promiscuity. Societies in the First World countries, where sex is open, are no less anarchic. Western psychologists and sociologists frequently call for the revival of family bonds. I cannot make out why we should adopt the trend the West is trying to get rid of. Will we never come out of this vicious circle of following the West indiscriminately? We are steady in our own values -- why should we go about borrowing those of other cultures?
Azim Uddin Department of English University of Chittagong

Why we need sex education
According to the writers of SWM's cover story (September 9), educating the youth and making them concerned about sex is necessary. There is no doubt about this. But the writers' discussion, arguments and examples made it seem like we need sex education only to get rid of the consequences of premarital sex. But the fact is that sex education is needed mainly for after marriage. I am actually doubtful about the authors' intention of whether they were trying to make us understand the importance of sex education or to encourage premarital sex.
Certainly, premarital sex is not compliant with our culture and heritage. It is also a serious crime, only common among enthusiasts of Western culture (mainly, in the upper classes), who do not have any respect for their own culture, heritage, religion and law. The cases cited in the story were of university students and these things happen more in private universities. They are very rare in public universities. Such rare cases should not be cited as common ones. Though the story had some vague logic behind legalising premarital sex, it did not say how many people actually desire it. I don't think it will be more than 10 percent of the population. Although some people view premarital sex as natural, it should not be legalised in our society. The acceptance of premarital sex will lead to a further acceptance of extramarital sex, as the story itself said that many people are not satisfied with a single partner. We certainly do not want a society where extramarital affairs are legalised, for this will increase divorce rates.
The idea that legalising premarital sex will solve social problems such as harassment or rape does not have a strong basis either, as we can see that even in many Western countries where sex is open, sex-related crimes are still rampant. Rather, I think our position should be one of reducing premarital sex by teaching people that it is not legally or religiously accepted in our society. I think the government should censor satellite channels and enforce strong laws regarding pornography on the internet. We need sex education not to allow premarital sex but to prevent it and ensure happy, stable marriages.
Md. Selim Dept. of CSE Shah Jalal University, Sylhet

Muslim Brotherhood is Bunk?
Just after the big tsunami hit last year, I was in London watching money being raised internationally for the victims. Indonesia, Maldives, countries with huge Muslim populations suffered the most. British kids were giving their lunch money, old people at post offices were contributing from their pensions. It was amazing to see the spirit with which it was all raised for largely Asian/Muslim victims far away, especially in the post-9/11 world. The British people alone gave $198m USD; the Japanese government offered around $500m, Germany around $600m, the USA then upped their initial, lower offer. When the offer from Saudi Arabia came in I was shocked to see them offer only $10 million USD and the UAE offer $2m. It made me think, when push comes to shove, who are our true brothers? The Saudis can invest $7 trillion in the USA but can give only $10m in a crisis to their fellow Muslims? It was embarrassing and shameful; it also didn't escape the notice of the Western media. It just goes to show that when it is convenient we are all brothers, but when a crisis hits, we may be getting food from the hands we have been biting.
A. Khan Gulshan

In response to Rania Islam's letter on 17/8
Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It is a safer country to live in than secular Bangladesh. There are almost no rapes and, in the last five years, there have been only fourteen murders. The Taliban have done Afghanistan a few favours -- like lowering the number of rapes after they came to power. But the Taliban do not represent Islam; neither does any Moulana or Imam. They themselves have violated the Shariah law. Bangladesh is a secular country. Has "modernisation" improved the lives of the poor? In my opinion, the rich only got richer and the poor poorer. Why wouldn't Islam be appropriate in this day and age? If laws aren't strict, what is the point of having them at all? I advise the writer to study Islamic law carefully from authentic sources before coming to any conclusion.
Abrarur Rahman

On the two-day weekend
The government has recently declared a two-day weekend in a bid to curtail government expenditures. By doing so, the government has reverted to the office hours of the previous regime. A five-day week was introduced by the previous regime for austerity measures as well. Four years have passed in the meantime. The government should be held responsible for the additional expenditures incurred by keeping the offices open six days a week for the last four years. Moreover, the government is yet to inform the country about the total amount to be saved as a result of the new office timings. Businesses are definitely going to suffer and the country will possibly be preparing for another population boom.
S. Ahmed Bangla Motor


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