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Cultures in the hot seat

What is culture?" That is the first question that ran through my mind when the essay topic on the blank paper mocked me. Is culture about the dance and music-the festivities on stage? Is it about the way we celebrate weddings? As far as I can tell, culture goes a little deeper than that. In my opinion, culture actually deals with a living style of a people. And of course cultural values and traditions vary from people to people. In fact, the best example that is staring is in the face is the stark difference between the Bangladeshi and the Western Culture.

First of all, let us look at the role that family plays in the Bangladeshi and the western culture. If you look at us Bangladeshis, you will soon come to realize that family is very important to us. Though many of us cannot boast of living in joint families anymore, we still maintain very close contacts with our relations. Thus it is not difficult to comprehend why the whole of Dhaka city turns into a cemetery during the Eid holidays when almost all its inhabitants rush to visit their dear ones in the villages. Moreover, you will see that in Bangladesh, after getting a job and even after entering into matrimony, many children live with their parents and support them in their old age. In contrast, in the West, so much importance is not places on family ties. For instance, it is quite accepted for children there to move into their own apartment once they have finished college and gained financial independence.

Moving on, the importance of the individual is another issue on which the two cultures clash. On one hand, in Bangladesh, society dictates everything from social etiquette to how people should walk, talk, smile, dress, eat, cough etc etc. Other people's opinions often take the main stage thus casting one's own wishes and opinions into the shade. Hence it is not unknown for many youths to study medicine or engineering solely because their parents desire so. Often, even the choice of one's life partner is heavily dependent on one's family's likes and dislikes! On the other hand, the West places a great deal of emphasis on the individual; one's personal views and opinions colour one's choices. So they usually choose their own careers, marry whom they fancy and lead their lives unencumbered by stringent demands of society.

Lastly, even the way people interact with strangers differs in the two cultures. For example, in Bangladesh, people tend to be more open about personal affairs and they also tend to be more inquisitive.

I would not even bat an eyelash is by the end of a train journey I know even the most minute details about my fellow passengers' sons and daughters, their spouses, their education and financial affairs. People here tend to be more interested in others and are willing to lend an ear and the proverbial shoulder to cry on.

That obviously explains why most of us can dispense with a daily visit to the psychiatrist. In contrast, people in the West tend to be more reserved. Most of them would consider it the height of impertinence to ask such prying questions. This is made quite clear by the famous conversational topic pounced on by the British, i.e., the weather.

Thus we can see that the word 'culture' really has a deep-rooted meaning. It does not merely deal with trivial factors like music, food, clothes etcetera etcetera. Instead culture encompasses almost every aspect of a people's lifestyle.

By Saima Khan

Time to play the GAME

It's time to play the game. Now, please don't get ready for a ha-doo-doo or kabadi match. This is about… about 'The Game' Triple H: and he is THAT damn good! Now, many of you may be confused till now. So let us make things clearer. This is about Triple H, one of the greatest wrestlers and one of the baddest (peeeeep!) kickers on the planet. Those of you who are World Wrestling Entertainment fans are bound to know about this attitude stricken, wrestle-freakin, breech kickin, really cool bad guy.

Triple H has always entertained the wrestling fans through the 'evil side', and has reached the very peak of it. Starting from his super cool entrance theme, to his attitude strides, to his devilish smirks and even his famous water spraying in the air everything appeals to the crowd. That is the reason why, the 'The Game', even though one of the 'villains' of WWE, he was always cheered for.

He began his journey as Hunter 'Hurts' Helmsley (HHH). But he came in as just another ordinary guy, challenging other equals or at best, chasing the Intercontinental Championship title. But the only thing that was pretty noticeable was that he used to bring in managers with him (ladies), and someone else always took them away. So HHH kept bringing new managers, until one new manager came and changed both of their careers.

Chyna was the name of the new manager. Her monstrous figure clearly separated her, and she soon became the 'Big Show' among the ladies. In fact, she began to wrestle male opponents too, and finally became the first female Intercontinental Champion in the WWE history.

With Chyna, Triple H easily grabbed the spotlight. His entrance was much more important, and his killer move The Pedigree - became much better known. But that didn't seem to be enough. HHH then stunned the world by coming together with Shawn Michaels, flanked by Billy Gunn (Mr. Ass) and Road Dogg, closely followed by X-Pac. This team grew to be one of the greatest teams in the history. It was known as D-Generation X (ah! now you remember!).

D-Generation X was a sort of N.W.O of WWE (The New World Order first existed in the WCW run by Kevin Nash and Scott Hall). Through this team, Triple H traveled right on top. After a strong feud between Brett 'The Hit Man' Hart, who was sent to WCW, D-Generation X ruled the WWE. Triple H, who was one of the wrestlers chasing the World Heavyweight Championship Title, was on his very best. Later, he married the C.E.O.'s daughter Stephanie McMahon in WWE.

Triple H is now known as one of the biggest and coolest devil out there. With his lethal weapon, the sledgehammer and his killer move, the Pedigree, and a hell lot of evil plans, Triple H is on the spotlight. Currently he has formed a new team called the Evolution with Ric Flair (The Nature Boy) and Randy Orton (only the second 3rd Generation superstar in WWE after The Rock). He is currently the World Heavyweight Champion (this is being written a day before Summerslam is shown on Ten Sports). The self-proclaimed 'that DAMN good' wrestler is on a role now and it is unpredictable as to what will come next. It is just known that it's time to play the game. Are you ready?

By Azhar Chowdhury

Is it a dream or is it a sign?

Dear readers, today I want to share with you a dream that I dreamt on 28 august 2003. We all have heard about

the fact that mars has come so close to us that some say that we can see it from our roof just as we see the silver moon.

The dream goes like . . .
My mother, grandmother, my brother and I were in an airport bringing back my maternal uncle's luggage back home. My mother was driving a jeep while we were returning home. I was sitting in the passenger seat beside the left window. Suddenly, I remembered about what one of my accounting class mate said. She said that we could see mars from our roof. So I quickly looked out the window and saw a red ball with three spikes around it and was a bit smaller than the serene moon next to it. Now I was excited! I asked my mother to stop the car so that we could take a good look at it but guess what ammu couldn't stop the jeep, it was out of control, and it kept going. Maybe mars was controlling the jeep or maybe because it was a dream. We reached home, now comes the vague part, that is I can't or didn't see how we made our mad jeep halt. After we went inside our house, we turned on the television and tuned in Discovery Channel where they were telecasting Mars- live. I quickly ran to my mother and asked her to come and see what they were showing on TV but ammu didn't bother to come, she was busy doing something. I ran back to our TV room and there I saw that Mars has come so close to the earth that it looked bigger than the moon now. I again ran back to ammu and gave her this information but still she wasn't shaken! I went back to the TV and those who were watching the TV turned off the TV. I understood what they were doing so before they could I ran to our veranda to look at mars with my own two eyes. As I was still on my way to the banister, a small piece of something really really hot fell on my, I think, right foot. When I looked at the ceiling I saw . . . . .

Like rain, pieces of mars were falling and penetrated our ceiling and got in our house. You see those small pieces were so hot that it could even get in our house through our roof! I thought that if I was excited before for seeing Mars than I am damn well not excited now! I ran back to my mother and told her what was happening; not that she needed to be told for the hot pieces were falling all over the world. I found ammu lying on the bed with a thin sheet covering her regardless of what was happening! I was so scared by that time that I didn't know what to do. Somehow I felt like that this natural disaster could be escaped through natural help- that is if we could get in a stone cave than maybe we could stay alive, but were could I get a stone cave in Bangladesh! The next thing I know is that we were all lying on the bed with my mother with a thin sheet over us while the hot Mars pieces fell on us and burnt our skin. It somehow felt like nothing mattered any more. Then suddenly while this hot rain I heard a hen talking. It was the hen from the house behind our house!

I woke up from this dream feeling very hot inside. I felt like my inside was burning. I went to the bathroom and while I was brushing my teeth, I felt like that nothing really mattered like I did in my dream. But then my brother, suddenly, played music which somehow helped me get back to this world. Now I wonder what this dream really means. I told my mother about this dream and she said that, 'you might have seen a tiny part of THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT.' she also said that this might also be a signal from God that we are going too fast and that Allah can destroy everything we are building in a matter of seconds. This can also mean that all the buildings and bulletproof cars and houses that we are building on this world to stay alive can be penetrated by a small part of Mars. Again it can also be just a dream.

P.S. - I REALLY SAW THIS DREAM. I never saw a dream this vivid and I think that there's got to be a significance of this one.

By Karishma Hyder







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