A 'Stir' is Born
THIS week we shall let you off with only a small announcement.
In celebration of The Daily Star's 15th Anniversary January 2006, the newspaper is publishing in book form a compilation of Chintito from when it all began 1995, and therefore A 'stir' is born.
The all-colour volume of 96 weekly episodes up until 1997 contains over 400 illustrations. Except for a handful of cartoons by gifted Sharier Khan from the original issues, the bulk of the book's illustrations have been added now.
Mahfuz Anam, Editor, the Daily Star, has written the Foreword, Aasha Mehreen Amin, Star Weekend Magazine editor, has dissected Chintito in her epilogue Last Word. Architect Dr. Nizamuddin Ahmed, a regular contributor to the daily, has volunteered to edit the book.
The birth pangs are getting frequent by the day and we expect the book to be out after Eid-ul-Fitr.
Here then is a preview from the book minus the illustrations. This piece was published on 17 July 1995 in the column 'Pinch of Salt' in broadsheet several months before the birth of Star Weekend Magazine.
Sadly, much of the content is relevant even today, more than ten years after it was written.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Tourists Away
IT never happened the way its authors contemplated! The bird simply never took off. For about quarter of a century, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation's feathery logo has been the sole witness of several abortive attempts to make the tourism industry in this country flourish. Despite the tourism business booming in neighbouring India and Nepal, the BPC officials have this far failed to find their Wright (also spelt right) brothers.
In the absence of any insight, paucity in forethought and lack of prudence by the powers that be, the Bipicians could afford to make a scapegoat of the local political, and law and order situation. But, are things less volatile in Delhi or Kathmandu?
Then again the officials (under the protection of the winged bird with no flying experience) are so overawed by everything phoren that they hardly can find the right artefact to lure fellow humans from abroad. So, they go on these learning trips abroad and return with the ideas which foreigners are using to entice Bangalees. Consequently, BPC is busy implanting on our fertile soil tourism notions that may at best allure the affluent deshis and veritably keep away the foreign exchange. For God's sake! You can't outdo the tourists in terms of swanky bars, discotheques, fashion shows… But, try daaber paani. Introduce an Am-Kathal Festival where people have to pay to wear lungi and squat on the floor to relish in these truly Bengali dumplings.
Actually, tourism has always been heading in the wrong direction. So, the bird never had a favourable wind. BPC has most often been offering tourists the very things they are running away from. Unless the visitors can find something unique in Bangladesh, they are cheaper off staying home.
Playing Western music to this chap from Philadelphia is like Clinton crooning Barir manush koye amaye bhoote dhoreche to Runa Laila in the White House. For all you know this Phili could be a pop star who has just had enough of it and was looking for some shade under a coconut tree beside some dried up river of Bangladesh. So, give him just that and take his dollars. Haven't we been robbed abroad?
Stop serving imported apples to these imported people. This guy at the table could be owning the biggest apple farm this side of Cali-fornia. He is perhaps vacationing to see anything but an apple. And the first thing he encounters is this waiter with a Jamai-type grin pouring out the 'apple-a-day-keeps-the doctor-away' poppycock. The apple lord is out on the next plane. Actually, this apple-a-day business could be keep-ing the tourists away.
Tourists are looking for some-thing new, some adventure, something to write home about. For those interested in climbing, we have tall buildings where the lifts are either inadequate or not working. People interested in weightlifting could be asked to carry their luggage at Kamlapur and Sadarghat.
You want sauna? We have plenty of saunas, including in house movie. So, put them inside a cinema hall showing Booker Dhawn (don't even think about translating that). For rollercoaster thrill seekers, a seat on the rooftop of an Aricha-bound bus should cost at least $50, excluding insurance. I tell you these they will write home about.
Offer them bed and breakfast in a mud house in Mymensingh. Queen Elizabeth II (as far as memory goes) was on the treetops of some Kenyan jungle when she ascended the British throne. The visitors would love a romantic night trek through a real Bangalee village. Trekking is a passion to many. Boating across Padma would rival any similar excitement down any mountainous rush. If we can partake in 'pick your own' afternoons on English raspberry fields, why not let Jack and Jill bring down their own coconuts? Oooh! How exciting. Come on, BPC! There is much more to Bangladesh than imported liquors, borrowed music, out of-nowhere dresses. Show the world the true Bangladesh and don't forget to take their yens and marks. That's why you are paid in Takas.
For tourism to flourish, this land has all the resources. BPC should cul-tivate the one they lack imagina-tion. If tourism declines any further, BPC may begin to mean Biriyani Poorey Chai or Bird Perhaps Chained.
17 July 1995
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