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    Volume 9 Issue 24| June 11, 2010|

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Students doing Odd Jobs

It was very touching for me to read of the astonishment of the Dhaka University student (see article 'A lesson learnt' in The Star magazine of May 28th) who woke up to the fact that the rickshaw he had just got off was driven by another university student who needed to make money. It reminds me of the letter to The Daily Star from some years ago by someone who deplored the fact that Bangladeshi students in London were having to work in restaurants and do cleaning jobs to earn money to pay their bills.

Welcome to the real world! It is surely only in places like of Bangladesh that education is considered to give you such status in the community that you would not DREAM of doing a low-status job! In the rest of the world, especially the 'rich' world, students do all sorts of lowly jobs to earn money!

In particular, some wealthy parents are wise enough to tell their student children that they will only provide them with enough pocket money for basic things and, if they want any more, they have to go out and earn it! It is surely very important for all young people to realise that money does not grow on trees!

I have a lovely great-niece, whose brother is studying at Oxford, and she works on weekends in a local Italian restaurant to raise some extra cash while she studies for her A levels! Why not?

The snobbery of some students here is highly dangerous. They turn up their noses at the idea of doing an honest day's work in a humble job. Some of them may even be drawn into crime and corruption.
Angela Robinson


Woes of Single Women Also!
A few weeks ago, the write-up on “Woes of Bachelor” on the Letters' page shook me up. It is not only bachelors who have such woes but also single women. Nowadays, many single working women do not have a place to stay in Dhaka. An independent woman whose husband lives abroad or a widow or divorcee with children can't live in a hostel or a relative's house, she needs a house to live with her kids. But a woman without a man has a really hard time finding a place to stay. Why is this an issue for the landlord? If she can pay her house rent regularly and follows all the rules and regulations stipulated by the landlord then the landlord has no right to humiliate her by saying, “I don't want you as my tenant because you don't have any male guardian”. Why don't they understand that women are independent beings? Landlords need to change their ways of thinking as well as the way they talk to people. Refusals to rent out places should not be made in such a way so as to hurt someone's feelings.
Bandana Amir
Uttara, Dhaka

Bijoy, Avro and Intellectual Property Rights

I was noticing the mild debate going on over the write-up “Fighting over Fonts” in The Star magazine (May 21). My special thanks to Mustafa Jabbar, the inventor of Bijoy Bangla soft, for his active part in this debate. I have read all his arguments regarding the issue in a letter also published in The Star. I have no disagreement about his question on the title of the write-up, not even about the copyright laws. Mr. Jabbar without question has been able to have his name written in the history of Bangla software through his glorious invention of Bijoy keyboard and software and people of the country have a deep respect for him. This is not a matter of debate that whenever someone gets applauded for any noteworthy success, ethically his or her level of responsibility, to some extent liability, widens in terms of further innovations or improvement.

However, I am surprised to see his formal approach centring the clauses of those laws. Who creates laws and for whom? Who are the off-screen role players of IPR laws? Have they originated in our local context? Can we not justify anything when the gains outweigh individual interest? Avro is a freeware, as Diya mentions and everyone knows well. So, before making any comment on Jabbar's claim of Intellectual Property Right, the question who the beneficiaries of Avro software are and who the benefactor is should be taken into account. Simply, the nation itself (as beneficiaries) and Mustafa Jabbar (as benefactor as he claims). I do not dare to compare the contribution that comes via Bijoy and Avro, rather, I want to share my personal feelings in this regard. I had looked up some topics writing them with Avro into Google and Yahoo search engines. What made me so happy was to have found a number of resources written in my native language; more importantly, most of them were done with Avro. My concern was not the quality of resources, but rather to see something readable by those who are from our mother tongue. Isn't it a matter of pride for one to read one's alphabet in the universal locators? Does it not make us optimistic about spreading our own language and culture across the globe?

Bijoy was invented by Mustafa Jabbar several years ago. Further innovations are naturally expected. which can help to promote our free expression and to disseminate our voices worldwide. I admit the patronisation should have come from our incumbent governments, but it didn't. For people used to Bijoy for so many years, a new keyboard setting may also be difficult. However, Avro gives its users more options, not excluding the former Bijoy users, for using its keys with comfort. In this sense, the innovator of Avro should be applauded. Freedom of expression and dissemination of information are the demands of the times and they must be freed from the restrictions of intellectual property rights or patent laws.
Ala Uddin
Regional Masters
Department of Mass Communication and Journalism
University of Dhaka

The Old Culture of Politics
The people of Bangladesh dream of a prosperous peaceful Bangladesh where people live in happiness and where there is no political instability. We see this dream everyday and hope that one day this dream will become a reality. In the last three years, we came close. We thought that our political leaders understood the adverse effects of destructive politics. Businesspersons did not have to worry about their daily operations being disrupted. Students thought their classes would continue uninterrupted. Day labourers thought there would be no more political unrest and the general people thought there would be a new culture of politics. But our hopes have been destroyed. The main opposition party BNP has called a hartal on June 27. Why? There are many ways for expressing their grievances to the government. Do they want to stop the wheel of the economy? Do they want to close educational institutions and create a destructive situation? I would request the opposition to reconsider. Bangladesh has much possibility to become a strong economic giant, we should not pave the way for it to become so.
Md. Mahi Uddin
Department of Business Administration
Shahjalal University of Science & Technology


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