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       Volume 11 |Issue 41| October 19, 2012 |


 Cover Story
 Current Affairs
 Special Feature
 Writing the Wrong
 A Roman Column
 Star Diary
 Write to Mita

   SWM Home


Conscientious Tourism

I would like to thank the Star for bringing an issue of pressing need to light. I think the cover story published last week was very informative and important. It highlighted the importance of protecting nature and enjoying its beauty with love and care. Day by day the world's climate is undergoing a negative change. Low-lying countries like Bangladesh will have to endure the effects of this change to a large extent. Cyclone Sidr (2008) is an example of it. The writer pointed out how the Sundarbans protected us from nature's wrath during those natural calamities. Nowadays in the name of tourism people are treating the Sundarbans carelessly. As a result, the biodiversity of the greatest mangrove forest is being destroyed day by day. We know the Sundarbans stands as one of the most beautiful tourist spots in Bangladesh. But unregulated unconscious and careless tourism may drive the Sundarbans towards great disaster. So I appreciate all those solutions suggested by the writer and would like to draw the government's attention to the need for better protection of the Sundarbans from pollution and any kind of destruction and damage.

Shirin Akter Popy
University of Chittagong

Poor English, Poor Nation

I fully agree with the view expressed in last week's article 'Growing Confidently with English'. I am not at all surprised that deficiency in English of some (the writer is very modest) senior officials is reflected in discussions and negotiations with delegations of development partners and have usual consequences. A few letters, only which concern development partners, are written in English in government offices. I have learnt the hard way that it is an offence to correct the boss or his imposed language in official letters which represent Bangladesh to a foreign agency.

Surprisingly this is not limited within the government circle. One of the supposed expert users of English (a PhD, highly-placed person working in an UN-based organisation), in an international seminar, was stressing the fact that Bangladesh is a disaster-prone country. Over and over he was saying how Bangladesh is visited by “violating” storms every year. It reminded me of the famous speech in the movie '3 Idiots'. But it was particularly disturbing when he informed one of the foreign delegates that “the refreshments are in the toilet.”

One monthly publication of a government agency proudly stated how the relationship between Bangladesh and a foreign country had “passed the examinations of time” (a time tested relationship). The examples can go on and on. But I am “pom” Bangladesh. Through a series of bitter experiences I have learnt to shut up and not to jeopardise my salary at the end of the month.


Photo: Zahedul I Khan

Powerless from Power Outages

Your cover story 'The Price of Going Rental' on 5 October 2012 was very impressive and read well. Our power sector at the national level has become a great concern for all of us. It has already affected our industrial sector, resulting in the gradual increase of production costs, for which the entire population of our country has been paying a lot for. At an individual level, the people living in cities and towns are greatly disturbed by the frequent failure of electricity, and some of the useful items like fridges, washing machines, AC and many other electric gadgets are being spoiled almost every day.

At an academic level, students suffer a lot from power supply failures. Young people cannot prepare themselves effectively to sit for the tests for fresh recruitment in governmental and non-governmental organisations. In rural and urban areas the crime rate has been increasing due to power failure. The whole country is greatly affected. How to end the existing problems, officials close to power do not know. Violence, agitation and lawlessness now reign supreme in the country. Significantly, the corrupt people take full advantage to make us unhappy, angry and frustrated. The loss of private properties is huge at the moment. Movement of people on the road and highways are not safe either.

It is high time to keep law and order as perfect as possible. In last week's newspapers we learn that Bangladesh is considered one of the happiest countries in the world. I ask readers, what is its index?

Abul Ashraf Noor
Via e-mail

Children in Our Homes

Last week's 'Cleaning Up Our Act' on a draft law for domestic workers was an eye-opener for me. I live in a family of five, with three live-in domestic workers tending to our needs. One takes care of my disabled grandmother, another cooks for us all and the youngest, not older than 14, cleans our cluttered home. It never bothered me that as an educated (and let's be honest, privileged) 19-year-old I would order this 'child domestic worker' to take away my rubbish bin or make my bed -- not until I read the Star's article.

It made me think about when this girl came to us three years ago and how I have witnessed her growth from a child to a young teenager. She is not like my 15-year-old brother, who enjoys his Xbox, junk food, and socialising, because she has had to grow up before her time. Her birth is the only thing that defined her place in our society and it is unlikely, with her lack of education beyond class 6, that she will improve her lot.

Sadly I suspect the proposed law may never see the light of implementation. So I implore other readers to take it upon themselves, regardless of the law, to treat child workers in their homes not just better, but more as children, not workers. I, for a start, took our young girl out for an afternoon in a park on Saturday and while she was shy to be out with me, I think I saw something of that lost childhood in her smile as she ate her ice cream.

Sumaiya Ahmed
Mirpur, Dhaka

The opinions expressed in these letters do not necessarily represent the views held by the Star.

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