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     Volume 7 Issue 24 | June 13, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  Food for Thought
  Photo Story
  Writing the Wrong
  One Off
  Against the Odds
  Book Review
  Dhaka Diary
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On 'The Impossible Cost Of Living'
I would like to thank the author of the article 'The Impossible Cost of Living' (May 9, 2008) for highlighting such a significant topic. The increasing price of essential commodities is really becoming an issue for most people in Bangladesh. The misery the people of our country go through is beyond reason. It has become almost impossible for people from low-income groups to make ends meet. Is it not possible for the well-off people of our country to create enough employment opportunities for them? There are possibly millions of people in our country due to the unfair gap between rich and poor. As a nation we can never really move forward if we deprive these people of the things that they really need. It will be an utter shame and disgrace on our part if we can't improve the miserable conditions of the people who are currently living in the grip of starvation. We all have to show overwhelming courage, sincerity and honesty to stand by these people and extend them our helping hands. So, I would like to request the government to make a conscious effort and also take proper initiatives to ensure stability, accountability and a better life for these helpless people.
Lastly I would like to thank The Star for allowing people like us to voice our thoughts, opinions, ideas and also for allowing us to discuss such significant issues.
Tasneem Khaled
South Khulshi, Chittagong

Good Luck 'The Star'
I congratulate the entire team of the Star Weekend Magazine on successfully completing 12 long years of publishing and I also welcome 'The Star'. I believe that The Star magazine has raised the level and standard of media publications and newspaper-magazines in the country. The magazine team has been doing its job phenomenally well for over a decade now and I believe it would have its far-reaching effects even strengthened with the new format. I enjoy a bit of all the columns and my favourite ones remain Chintito, Events, Reflections and Health.
I have no complaints whatsoever with the writings in the magazine but I would request for a couple of additions to the new magazine. I would enjoy section on discoveries in the scientific world, especially concerning astronomy. I would also like to request for the English Language and vocabulary building columns that were a part of the magazine before to be added again. And I would also like to request for a regular column that would cover important events taking place in Hollywood, where the latest movie previews, thoughts and rankings would be there.
Wishing good luck to the new Star of the world and its team.
Hasan Faruk
Mohammadpur, Dhaka

The Friendship Train
Train service between India and Bangladesh was resumed on April 14 of this year after a gap of 43 years. The restoration of the passenger train service will further enhance the bilateral relations between the neighbours. There's an enormous amount of emotion attached to the resumption of these links and this was evidenced in the kinds of responses we saw both in Dhaka and in Kolkata. Dhaka and Kolkata had railway links till 1965. After the war over Kashmir in 1965 railway links between the two sides was kept on hold. Despite subsequent good relations between India and Bangladesh the railway link was not re-established due to a variety of reasons, including topography, fencing and the kind of monitoring regulations that were required.
But now there are hopes that this rail link will renew the relationship between the two countries. The Maitree Express would only be meaningful if it could be used to contribute in trade relations between the two countries.
Thanks to The Star for covering this issue in the cover story 'An Old Route Revisited' (May 16, 2008).
Jewel Rana
MS Student, Dept of Biotechnology
Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh

Election 2008 and the Future
The general elections are nearing very fast. But a lot of controversial issues are in front of us. The long-awaited dialogue is the most significant one which is about to start but involves a great deal of uncertainty. Because it is the dialogue which can either ensure the general election or lead the country to complete chaos.
Because of the lack of good governance, accountability and transparency Bangladesh cannot still be said to be a full democracy. Besides, we couldn't rule out the domination of the major political parties which facilitate nepotism, dictatorship, unbridled corruption and other evils.
It is entirely our fault that we could not keep our glorious achievements in the field of RMG, shrimps, leather and other products. Rather we have managed to lose our good name. Our politics isn't an anomaly to our character. There is no absolute progress in any sector in our impoverished country.
However, we can still hope for a better future after the root of corruption and other evils for the first time in history is being dealt with. So, we can hope for a new beginning in the next year with democracy in real terms. But everything depends on the dialogue which can only bring mutual understanding, co-operation and a consensus among the parties involved to make the general election happen for the greater welfare of our nation and its future.
Amit Abdullah
Department of finance, DU

Fraudulent 'Tuition Media'
Tutoring is a vital source of income for many students. Students, who don't get financial support from their families, often depend on tutoring others to get themselves through their academic lives. In Dhaka and some other cities, many organisations are playing the role of mediators in providing such jobs to the people, largely students, who are interested in tuition. These organisations call themselves 'Tuition Media'.
In June 2007, my roommate decided to earn some extra money by tutoring during our summer vacation. We went to a renowned tuition media in Kakrail and met the head of the organisation. He demanded Tk. 200 as membership fee and said that one has to pay half of one's first month salary in advance. My friend accepted all his terms and conditions and paid the membership fee. The director assured that he would get a tuition job with a salary of more than Tk. 5,000 (Five thousand) per month within one week and took another thousand Taka in advance. My friend never found a job and when he demanded his money back he was advised to contact them the following year! Recently I found out that another friend of mine had been cheated by the same organisation. He was given an address that turned out to be a fake one. This organisation regularly advertises in the newspapers.
Everyone should be aware of these fraudulent organisations. It is very easy to cheat students who are desperately looking for jobs in this very simple way and they know the students are unable to do anything against them in the absence of proper laws and regulations.
Syed Rajaul Akmal Sajid
Department of Economics
Dhaka University

Failure in English Language
Most of the students in Bangladesh at secondary and higher secondary level do not do well in English. The students have a lot of inhibitions about learning English. They prefer to stay far away from English. For them it is just important that they pass the compulsory exam
The teaching methods applied in Bangladesh are not modern. They cannot help the students learn English well. In the towns it is easy for students to find essential study materials and better facilities. But the students of the rural areas are being deprived of getting these opportunities and are losing out on a lot. Moreover, there is a huge shortage of qualified teachers in the villages.
Since English is needed immensely in this globalised world, it is essential to do something to overcome the barrier for learning English. It is hoped that the concerned authority will give more attention to taking fruitful steps to improve the present condition of learning English in Bangladesh.
Ashim Kumar Paul
Department of English
Govt. Edward College

The Invisibles
Hats off to the author of the article 'The Invisibles' (May 23, 2008) for writing such a beautiful article and portraying the society's labour issues. Yesterday I was arguing with my mother about sending our maid to school. She did not seem to understand the importance of doing so and added that I should mind my own business. In my opinion the first steps to eradicate poverty would be to educate the poor. Everyone should treat their domestic workers well. We should always remember that we could have been in their place.

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