Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home






The Evil That Men Do

By Hamdu Mia

Man is a social creature. That's what wise men like me and foolish men like me say. (For some reason, I get the feeling that this is going to be the most annoyingly decent, orthodox and boring intro I've ever written.) And as we thrive as social creatures, we develop habits and practices. Those habits make us an integral part of the society. However, amongst all those habits, there are some habits that are not exactly characteristic of social being like us. Then again, once the whole society develops those habits, they become a feature (?) of our society. We Bangalees are one such society. (My essays in school used to start like this.) We have many daring habits that people from other parts of the civilised world would rather call "disgusting" and not "daring". As you read on, you will understand what habits I'm talking about and will also understand that I'm an obnoxious brat, an imp who'd better be sent on exile to the Deep South a.k.a. hell.

The footpaths and roads of this country are not safe. Now if you think that I'm going to present statistical data on yearly road accident now, you're wrong. The roads are not safe because you'll find various assortments of things lying around there. Banana skins, rotten mangoes, dead crows and rats and other stuff are all included and absolutely free. Also don't forget to include the things we spit out all too often, like food, saliva, nasal liquids etc. We probably don't like keeping things inside so we put them outside. WE even do this from our flats and apartments high above the roads. We throw stuff and also spit stuff through our windows towards the footpaths down below. Who the hell cares about the pedestrians? They're the ones who need to worry about rotten stinky stuff being showered from the skies above (actually windows above). So from now on, why curse a crow when it answer's Nature's call on you? Curse the Homo Sapiens living high above. I've got a theory that crows picked up the habit of bombardment from us humans, the social creatures!

Then comes the habit of excavation. Archeologists dig and search for things in ruins. We humans do something similar. In polite society its known as nose picking and don't forget the teeth. And that's as polite as we can be. Some people are completely fixated with this pastime. However, if you are a jinxed person and were born under wrong stars, you may not find any enjoyment in all that.

Another bad habit is making all kinds of unacceptable sounds while eating and drinking. Those sounds cannot be expressed; you've got to hear them for yourself. (Just listen to someone burp after drinking too much Coke.) They're just so bad! One thing's for sure: you definitely wouldn't like to have those sounds as your ring tones or as the warning sounds in your PC.

You could say the worst habit of all is scratching. Scratch here, scratch there, scratch, scratch and just scratch! They show dogs scratching themselves all the time on cartoons. They never show us Bangalees doing that, although one could argue that we scratch ourselves more than our best friends. For some unknown reason, our scratching tools i.e. our hands descend towards the all parts of our body. Scratching can be accounted to dandruff and lice (ew!) and that's why they always show ads of anti-dandruff and anti-lice shampoos on TV. Scratching the backs and arms (not pits) and other parts makes stuff like prickly heat powder and "Ring Guard" become super-hit commodities (not for me). Unfortunately, as these products rule the markets, we have to go through the torture of watching hair-raising ads where the models give haunting and sickening expressions as they sincerely scratch their body parts. That's the worst thing about scratching. The guy who's scratching himself might be having the time of his life but believe me, people who witness would rather keep their eyes closed and think of something pleasant, like driving a convertible with a Hollywood star by your side. But haven't I already said too much?

That was all about the bad habits associated with our physical actions. We display lots of other bad habits while we communicate with people. For example, a habit I've seen being practised widely is asking a newly acquainted person questions that even people at the U.S. Embassy won't ask you. "How much do you earn?", "How long will it be before you get a promotion?", "How much are you going to earn once you get a promotion?", "How much are you going to earn 10 years from now?" and other similar questions are all too common. It appears we are extremely curious as a nation and thus can't help asking people about their professional lives, especially about their earnings. Sometimes people get so curious that they start inquiring about your personal life. As if they've never had a better pastime than playing the role of social detective! Actually this curiosity can be found in all our daily actions. A perfect example would be peeping (or should I say gazing) into someone else's wallet or purse (not to mention one's neighbour's window). Whenever I'm paying a fare, a bill, fees or anything that has to be paid, I find people around me staring into my wallet. "God! What's there to stare at in my wallet? I ain't rich so DON'T LOOK AT MY WALLET! You expect to see some girl's photo in there. Man, the most you might see is a spooky picture of Ozzy Osbourne! And if you're so damn interested to look how much money there is in other people's wallets, look at any politician's wallet. The sight of that wallet will be so unbelievable that you could end up in hospital with a heart attack. BUT DON'T YOU DARE STARE AT MY WALLET!"

To err is human, to forgive divine. So the next time someone displays his/her bad habits in front of you, just don't worry about it. You know why I'm giving this priceless piece of advice. Well, if you actually take the habit to heart and worry too much about it, you're going to go nuts because everywhere you go, you'll come across people with such horrendous habits. Till then, try not to develop the habits yourself. It won't be a pleasant experience.

P.S. Send in your hate mail and fan mail (both are actually the same) to hamdu_mia@hotmail.com. Coming soon, "The Drinks and The Drunks: Part III"

Where Children are allowed to be Children

By Rayhaan J Chowdhury

A few days back, as the guardian of my only child, I attended the Enrollment Fair of the Australian International School at Gulshan-1. I was somewhat surprised to find that a lot of people were also there, some of them are like me guardians of already-enrolled children and others aiming at enrolling their children into the institution. There were at least five hundred impressed-looking parents and God-knows-how-many deliriously happy Children romping about the premises. The children put up a great display for us. They sang, they danced. A kiddy art exhibition was also held, where we saw a lot of pictures drawn by the future maestros. A lot of VIPs were present at the event, including the Australian High Commissioner.

I particularly chose to enroll my child in Ausis because a number of my colleagues' children also studied there, and as I heard from them, this school had a particular style of teaching which children found highly enjoyable. No unnecessary pressure is put on the children in this school, because of which they don't lose their interest in school/studying before their minds even develop properly. Rather, as I have seen in my child, he misses the school in the weekends. They are able to learn their lesson through fun and merrymaking, and as a result, they can remain children, not mindless drones who simply swallowed their lessons without chewing them.

However, before I got to know the school too well, there was another particular point which discouraged me to try to get my son into AusIS -- no homework were issued to the children from the schoolteachers. This, however shocking it might sound to the seasoned Bangalee ear, is actually good for the children, since warping the minds of children with homework at such a tender age isn't particularly a very good idea. The subjects taught at AusIS weren't much different the ones taught at other schools, but the method of teaching them is certainly different. The school don't go for the typical style of teaching of Bangladeshi schools, but decided to try the playful approach. All the children receive the same amount of attention from the teachers, and often, the lessons are planned in such a manner that children don't even realize that they have just learned their lessons!

The principal of the school told me a story -- one day, a parent had come to him and demanded what sort of things they were teaching at school. This particular parent seemed enraged, because his child had gone home and told him, "We played at school all day." This had frustrated the gentleman, to whom the through of a day at school without any studying is a nightmare. The principal asked the parent to ask his child what gave did he play at school. Upon asking, he received the following reply -- "Amra dokan-dokan khelechhi." And who doesn't know, in this game of 'dokan-dokan' (shopkeeping-shopkeeping), a knowledge of stock control, handing out proper change, product management etc is a must! The teachers had the students learning the basics of applied mathematics, and had them thinking all the while that it was just a game! is that brilliant, or what?

So, it is no wonder that creativity flourishes in Australian International School better and at a much younger age than anywhere else. Every child gets his/her share of common sense, and the well-experimented style of teaching helps them not only to absorb the knowledge, but actually make sense out of it! Also, because of all the extra attention given to them, the children's talents also blossom to their fullest extent. Their individual personalities are carefully harvested by the wonderful teachers of the institution, who have played a great part in making this school what it is.

Anis Salahuddin Ahmad, one of the entrepreneurs and directors of Australian International School, has thoughtfully pointed out, "This isn't a money-making venture for us. It's just that we have become successful people in the course of our lives, and we want these young representatives of the future generations to become successful people, too."

Mark Gower, the principal of Australian International School, has thirty years of teaching experience in his bag, and the children like to have him around. Gower, too, is extremely fond of the kids, and he enjoys working in this place. Before he came to Bangladesh to work for AusIS, Gower used to work with the aborigines of Australia, where he worked to eliminate the racial barrier that existed between the Australians and the aborigines. Mark Gower holds high hopes about the future of the school, and he believes the students of AusIS show great promise and potential.

With all this great stuff going on inside its premises, AusIS is truly a multicultural school. It helps its students to become citizens of the world, not of just one single country. I'm proud to state that my own son is a student of this school. I'm wishing all the best to Mr Gower and all the other great people who are involved with this institution, and I sincerely hope it continues to invade the hearts of child and parent alike.

Public " In justice "

By Nusrat

Scenario 1

It was another busy morning in the city. Mirpur Road, one of the busiest during rush hours was again packed with vehicles and people. At around 11:00 am, a certain doctor who was riding a motorcycle stopped at a traffic signal. A private car came along and halted beside him. Unnoticed by either the car driver or the motorcyclist, the car's protruding bumper was just behind the latter's leg. As the light turned green the driver pulled forward his car and the motorcyclist's leg got tangled with the car's bumper. The doctor fell off the motorcycle and was dragged along with the car. Instead of stopping the car to free the man's leg, the driver frantically sped away at full speed, ploughing the doctor along Mirpur Road up till Samorita Hospital at Panthapath, in front of which the car driver abandoned the victim, bleeding profusely to his death, and fled. The doctor was immediately rushed to the hospital where the doctors declared him dead.

Scenario 2

It was a fine morning, but not for some certain people who were not aware of what destiny had in store for them. At around 11:00 am, on Mirpur Road, a private car and a motorcyclist, who was a doctor met with a dreadful accident. Somehow, the doctor's leg got caught in the bumper of the car. The concerned car driver, shocked at what had happened, immediately stopped his car in order to save the doctor who was still alive. No sooner had he stopped the car, he discovered that a huge mob of angry people were approaching him. Before he knew anything else, the mob attacked! The ruthless crowd started breaking the glass of the car with stones, rods and whatever else they could find. They dragged out the bewildered driver and started beating him up mercilessly. Some people even went to the extremes and set the car alight. Until the car had been damaged severely and the driver beaten up critically, did the angry mob repose.

The first scenario, as many of us already know, is unfortunately a true incident. The shocking news released through TV and newspapers under the title "Doctor dragged to death by crazy driver" imposed upon us hatred towards the driver and disgust towards such an act. Yes, it was truly inhuman to drag a live person over a kilometer and kill him, but most probably the driver did not dare to stop the car in order to avoid the second scenario where his own life would have been at stake. He definitely knew that the public would not even wait to hear any explanation before jumping to conclusions and sentencing him to death, with immediate execution.

Had our general mass behaved in a more civilized way and not become immediate Judges of any happenings on the streets, probably the consequences of this accident would not have been so ruthless. Probably the victim would have been taken to the hospital and his life could have been saved while the driver would have been put on a fair trial in the Court of Justice. In this way many other accidents could also have been limited to a minimal casualty if the general people behaved in a rational way and not take justice into their own hands. However both the instances, you must understand, are crimes and should not be pardoned under any circumstances.





home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2003 The Daily Star