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     Volume 4 Issue 68 | October 21, 2005 |

   News Notes
   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Food For Thought
   Life Style
   Time Out
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

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Material kids and street children
We live in a country where some children beg at traffic signals while others go to fast food and toyshops to seem "cool". SWM's October 14 cover story "If You Love Me Buy Me This" vividly described money culture and children being used as target groups. The average salary of jobs here does not permit parents to be over-generous about buying their children necessities, let alone fancy things. I think black money was an issue missed in the article. The amount of money a child from a well-off family spends each month could well be enough for the whole family of a street child. Parents of cool super-brats should think twice before squandering such huge amounts of money.

Political culture and democracy
Democracy is a government by discussion. It is impossible to run a state in a democratic manner without the healthy development of political culture. Ours is a parliamentary democracy, which in itself is a significant achievement for us. In such a parliamentary form of government, parliament is the focal point of politics. But our parliament is virtually ineffective due to the absence of the main opposition party, which is a vital part of a parliamentary government. Our two main party leaders hardly speak to each other. There is only mutual distrust and suspicion between them. They are both intolerant of each other's views. Meaningful dialogue between the two of them is very important for our economic progress and social peace which are impossible in an environment of social instability. Our politicians have to stop blaming each other and we need to reach minimum consensus on national issues. Our present political crises can only be solved through negotiation and compromise. The people of Bangladesh do not want to witness the death of the country's functioning democracy.
Saleh Md. Shahriar
Department of Political Science
Chittagong University

On the September 30 cover story
SWM's cover story on September 30 was partial. It had pictures of bearded men in panjabis and caps, which may hurt the sentiment of many Muslims. The writers did not have any good arguments to back up their statements. Statistics taken from newspapers are not dependable. In order to fight terrorism, we have to have good arguments. Extremists have become a part of our society. Instead of simply criticising and further enraging them, we should look at things neutrally and convince them in the same way. The majority of our people are Muslim and we shouldn't target devout Muslims. This will invite unnecessary foreign intervention at a time when we should all be united.
Ashraf Ahmed
Department of English
Chittagong University

On "Pool pleasure"
I cannot agree with Sadat's views in Dhaka Diary "Pool pleasure" (SWM, September 30). Pool centres are great places for recreation for teenagers. Some people may smoke there but that's nobody else's business. We just go there to play pool. What's the point of being stuck on campus when classes have been cancelled or teachers are absent? Life without recreation is no life at all. Sadat's description has created unnecessary concern among parents who have since been caging up their children at home. Nerds like Sadat should stay clear of such places and not spread false notions about them.

Chintito perked me up!
Recently, I had been feeling lonely and dejected, unable to concentrate on anything. Reading Chintito a couple of weeks ago, however, perked me up. Suddenly I realised that life is very short and once we die, this is it and we won't get back this life. After realising this, everything around me started to seem beautiful. I agree with Chintito that we should enjoy every moment of our lives and find happiness in the smallest things. Thank you, Chintito.
University of Dhaka

A good review
I am writing to commend you on the excellent review provided in SWM on October 7 for the opening of Souldance's latest outlet. The writer took the trouble to provide a critical review, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of the store, and giving specifics of what the consumer can look out for. As a result, it made far more interesting reading than, for example, last week's article on Kay Kraft.
Bangladesh has a number of exciting designers and clothing outlets, and they should be appreciated as such. However, the uncritical admiration heaped on designers such as Bibi Russell is neither interesting nor informative. Personally, I would like to see more well-rounded pieces like the Souldance article!
Salim Erfan

Real excitement!
If it's thrills and excitement you're looking for, you don't need to go to any amusement park. Many office-goers, including myself, get such excitement every day. The thrills are heightened for women in saris or men with walking sticks. What can be more exciting than saving your life or stopping yourself from becoming disabled? With "Traffic Month" on in full swing, the traffic police add to the fun. All this is available at Motijheel Shapla Chattar and for free! Crossing the roads here, with no over-bridges or underpasses which have been built in less central places, is highly dangerous. I cannot understand why the relevant authorities have not considered the matter. Perhaps they enjoy this sort of excitement -- or just seeing us gives them a thrill.
Md. Sohel Saklain
Pubali Bank

Stop spitting everywhere!
Spitting anywhere and everywhere is common in our country. During Ramadan, the phenomenon heightens and becomes a public nuisance. Many among us have created an imaginary nexus between fasting and spitting. Many are of the view that if your own saliva is swallowed your fast will be broken. This is ridiculous and an idea resulting from sheer ignorance! Like many others, I shudder with disgust when people around me spit relentlessly. At times I wonder whether our sense of hygiene has completely taken a backdoor. We must be conscious of the nuisance we are causing if we are to rid ourselves of this disgusting habit.
Md.Nazrul Islam Sumon
Department of English
Dhaka University

An inadvertent mistake crept into the last issue of the Star Weekend Magazine. In the 'Voice Box' Lutfozzaman Babar, state minister for home, was described as the deputy home minister. We regret the error.

Submission Guideline:
Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary and Write to Mita, with the writer's name and address, should be within 200 words. All articles should be within 1,200 words. A cover letter is not necessary, but every write-up should include the writer's name, phone number and email address (if any). While SWM welcomes unsolicited articles and photographs, it cannot accept the responsibility of their loss or damage. SWM does not return unsolicited articles and photos. Response time for unsolicited write-ups range from three weeks to two months. All articles submitted are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity.
All materials should be sent to: Star Weekend Magazine, 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Fax: 880-2-8125155 or emailed to: <starweekendmag@gmail.com>
It is recommended that those submitting work for the first time to the SWM take a look at the sample copy beforehand. Our website is: http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine

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