By Zafeer A. Khan
almost a synonym. Every year the low-lying areas of our country get
inundated with water. It might not be devastating every year but I sometimes
wonder the patience of the people who have to become nomads once every
year. And when I went to my village last month I saw a small 'chor'
(temporary island), on the Padma River, filled with houses. It's almost
like instead of cultivating crops on those islands people have turned
them into dense residential areas! My father says floods used to occur
every ten years in the past. So the culprit? Global warming. What crepuscular
sin we have done to deserve this? We are already burdened with poverty
and corruption and now we can add a natural disaster to the list.
the 150 million people of this country will go when it is completely
submerged in water, the answer remains a conundrum. Worst, no one is
worried about it. I think as usual everyone feels some sort of serendipity
will save us in the end, since sometimes people knowingly overload a
passenger ferry and head-off towards bad weather. My sister once did
a report on the overloading of passenger ferries during before Eid.
When she asked an old man at Sadarghat about to board a ferry, why he
isn't worried about the probability of the ferry sinking with so many
passengers on board, he casually replied life and death is in the hands
of God and he has no control over them. A foreign exchange student from
Netherlands was with her and after hearing this she was so astonished
she included this incident in her report of our country. The authorities
concerned either give us verisimilitudes that everything is fine or
draw up quixotic ideas. At least that is what it seems since I don't
see any improvement of the situation. As far as I know the only option
is to build dykes in the littoral areas. Look at Hungary; they used
to have floods like us and now, no problemo! Fine, building dykes will
probably cost billions of dollars. But at least for a change we could
use money for the welfare of the people of the country; instead of buying
fighter planes whose maintenance cost is too high for us, or buying
frigates that move back when it is in front gear!
believe the long run benefits will far surpass the costs. And if we
continue to disregard this problem it will become our bane. People coming
from foreign countries are amazed by the pulchritude of our country.
They are surprised that when we have so fertile soils, so lush green
landscapes and so many floras how can we be in poverty? My chemistry
teacher once said it is waste of resources. England is covered by snow
for six months and their climate is not very suitable for crops. Also
size-wise they are not very big, but still they can produce all their
own food. And we can't. So maybe floods destroy our crops or greatly
reduce the space available for cultivation. All economists say that
a country can never stand on its own feet as long as it has to import
food. Also the cost of rebuilding infrastructure will be greatly reduced
since we won't have to make the same roads again and again every year,
though the authorities seem to enjoy this as they mostly break the roads
and rebuild them again when mother nature doesn't help to do the breaking.
our population density is very high and floods make this even worse.
Though I am surprised that during the '97 floods people did not come
pouring into the drier parts of Dhaka for shelter. My parents were even
prepared for any village relative that came to seek shelter at our house.
My English teacher who lived in Baridhara had to come to drier parts
of Gulshan by a small boat (for Tk.20) and then travel by car to school.
Must have been very interesting for her since she included a photo of
that experience in that year's school magazine. While those of us living
in Dhanmondi carried on our usual lifestyles without any heed of the
flood ravaging the rest of the country.
the impression of our country, alas, will change if the floods can be
stopped. My friend's twelve-year-old cousin came to Bangladesh, for
the first time from USA, a few weeks back. On the way from the airport
he pointed to some empty lands with a few 'tiner ghors' and asked if
my friend lived in a house like that. All the Western world seems to
know about us is floods, poverty, cyclones and more floods. Whereas
I believe our country has got great potential for all types of things
may it be tourism or development. This year the flood seems to be pretty
bad but it still remains to be seen, since the worst is yet to come
until August is over.
Finally the people are not properly informed about floods. It is only after a lot of time has passed does the newspaper make the situation a headline. Well, I guess no use blaming them since they probably have taken floods to be a way of "Bangali' lifestyle.
By Sabrina F.Ahmed
time means holidays…endless hours of sunshine, loads of time to kill.
Even for someone who's been furiously overworked before the advent of
the holidays, more than a couple of days of this idyllic existence would
invariably lead to boredom. Those who are able to do so could take off
for a holiday abroad. The rest of us, to give credit where it's due,
still have a lot of entertainment options available to us the usual
hangouts, the summer concerts, blockbuster movies on TV, and so on and
so forth. Unfortunately, most of these options require a steady supply
of cash, and even if that were available, how long these options can
keep one entertained is anyone's guess. Hence a lot of youngsters today
have found a fruitful way to utilize some of the free time in summer:
by doing summer jobs.
What I'm going to right now, is to give you a lowdown on the three most popular summer jobs that O and A level graduates do over here. Why I chose this age group is because those who are younger have less avenues open to them, and those who are older usually get into a job that lasts beyond just a summer. So if you're an O/A level graduate on the lookout for work, start paying attention, because the next few paragraphs could prove most enlightening.
Okay, so you've just undergone the GCE exams, and have a lot of fresh
information bubbling in your think-tank. The quickest way to make a
tidy bundle is to share the knowledge. Well, there are two ways to do
this: a) you become a house-tutor, and b) join a school. Minimum requirements
for either job are good grades in the subject to intend to teach (many
parents today would want to look at your mark sheets, so be careful),
and good communication skills. Now let's take a closer look at what
either job entails:
tutoring: Pros: You can choose your own working hours, and take a few
days off whenever you have to. You're your own boss, and the size of
your income depends on the number of students you teach. A typical O-level
graduate can demand and expect a salary of Tk 1000-1500 per student,
while an A-level graduate, who can easily teach O level subjects can
reasonably expect Tk 2000-3000 per student. Of course, these numbers
may vary with individual students, but these are more or less the standard
ranges. From the students' perspective, a one-to-one learning experience,
or even a group (provided it is a small group) study session, supervised
by a teacher who is close to the students' age is very conducive to
learning. This is because the younger teacher is more flexible and creative
in his/her teaching methods, and is better able to communicate with
the students because he/she can see things from the students' perspective.
Cons? The only one I can think of is the fact that you are solely responsible
for your student's performance, and so if the kid doesn't bring home
that A, the first person the parents will blame is you.
in School: Okay, at first glance, compared to home tutoring, this job
might seem restrictive. You have to abide by the school's timings, (which
often involves early mornings) and the school rules, and your salary
is fixed by the school, so it might be less than what you could earn
as a home tutor. The work is also harder than that of a home tutor,
because you'll invariably be working with a larger group of children.
Another problem is that schools usually prefer to employ, even on a
temporary basis, A-level students as compared to O-level students, for
then, this job has its perks. For one thing, there's a lot more variety
in the kind of work you have to do, like projects and different activities.
Teaching in a school is a learning experience in itself, plus, working
with other teachers can do a lot towards developing your interpersonal
skills. Let's not forget the fun things about working in school: the
class parties, the field trips, and the science fairs…things that are
usually sponsored by the school, so you get a good time for free. Finally,
the school you work for, provided you do a good job, will provide you
with a recommendation, which counts a lot when you're applying to universities,
here and abroad.
at an NGO: Okay, people…I don't know exactly how to go about getting
into one, but I know that a lot of young people, mostly between their
O and A levels, are doing short stints for various NGO's. The work varies
with the kind of NGO, so you could find yourself doing anything from
helping conduct a survey for a research program to working with disabled
children at a hospital. In many cases, the work is voluntary, i.e.,
you don't get paid, so maybe in the strictest sense of the word, it
really isn't a 'job'. However, needless to say, it is an enlightening
experience, and a rewarding one. One of my friends worked for UCEP for
a short while, and one of her jobs was to go and interview slum-dwellers
about their opinion of the organization. She says some of the experiences
she had during her interaction with her interviewees, taught her a lot
about the beauty of human spirit, and she's a much wiser person now.
The minimum requirements for this kind of work would most likely be
a good grasp of the English language (in case you're asked to proofread
texts), some basic computer skills, and basically a willingness to devote
your time to a worthy cause.
for a teen magazine, like RS: By rights, this is a very popular job,
since a lot of people would love to work here, or for the other youth
magazines, like the Young Observer, and the Young Independent, to name
a few. The very basic requirements for this kind of work would be a
good grasp of the English language (not really necessary if you want
to write for a Bangla youth magazine, which is another fun experience
in itself), some basic computer skills, and loads and loads of creativity.
Even then, because these magazines usually operate with a specified
team of writers (those who actually get paid for their work), getting
into one is very, very difficult, and you'd have to have references,
at least from someone who's already working there. By the way, RS is
inundated with writers, so chances are getting in are very, very low
(read: impossible) at the moment. I think the other magazines would
be easier to approach.
you do manage to get the golden ticket into this job, it's a load of
fun. If you've been following my "Rising Soap" (tee hee, a
quick bit of advertising here), you'll know that life is never dull
at a newspaper office. There are always loads of work to be done, places
to visit, people to interview, etc. Not that it's easy. You'll be expected
to actively participate in the brainstorming every week where we decide
what to write about, and if you can't volunteer a good idea at least
once in two weeks, you're dead meat. 'Deadline' is another word that
is painfully incorporated into your weekly vocabulary, and there's hardly
a fate worse than facing the consequences of meeting one of those. Also,
if you write an article that doesn't go down well with the readers,
man, are you in trouble! Even so, at the end of the day, there's a certain
amount of satisfaction in seeing your name in print. Yes, they even
pay you for it.
Well, that's it, folks…the three most popular summer jobs for O/A level graduates. Hope I've been able to clarify a few points. If you have any more ideas, let us know. For now, have a great summer!
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