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The week in re(ar)view

Land of the intellectuals
Bangladesh is soon to be run over by intellectuals. Literacy rate will shoot through the roof except it may not be the type we need for a developing country. According to the Cabinet Committee (no, they don't make furniture) have finalised recommendations that will bring out many graduates and master degree holders. Now that's not a bad thing unless you consider the implications. Islamic 'Fazil' and 'Kamil' degrees are now equivalent to graduate and masters degrees under the National University.

We are not saying that Islamic studies is bad. Far from it. Our concern is that are they really learning the actual teachings of Islam? Already we are labeled as a country that fosters fundamentalism and religious extremism.

Newton disproved
Newton's law of inertia has a flaw. It is because it was not developed with Bangladesh taken into consideration. Newton said what goes up must come down. Unfortunately here, what goes up must keep going up and never come down. High Court on 23 August declared that supplementary duty and VAT on mobile SIM amounting to taka 1628 is illegal. But you won't really see that effect when you go to purchase. Bu the moment someone mentions the INCREASE of price, that good will become expensive even before the law or even a recommendation is passed.

The illegal tax was created by National Board of Revenue at 2172 taka. This was later revised to the present amount due to a freelance journalist Abu Sayeed Khan who filed a writ against the duty and VAT.

Irony defined, yet again
Irony is well defined in Bangladesh. Ours is an agricultural country where water is as important as it can be disastrous. Usually it floods and kills people. This time it is killing people by its absence. About 1,24,000 hectares of land in the north are lying fallow due to lack of irrigation and drought. In fact, the rivers are at the lowest level since 1980. That means farmers cannot grow crops. And to think this is the rainy season. if you still don't understand irony then look at the city where we don't really need all that water but the slightest amount of rain causes floods. Of course, that is thanks to Dhaka City Corporation that creates faulty drainage . Maybe we should make them create drains in the villages so that water remains all over the place when it should theoretically drain away.

Droughts of course may not be such a bad thing:
· No one can commit suicide through drowning by jumping off a bridge. But they will be dashed to pieces if the river bed is dry.
· Launches will no longer sink.
· Empty fields can be used to play football and cricket and foster national sports.
Anybody else has suggestions feel free to send us a hoot.

By Gokhra and Mood Dude

RS Mailbx

RS Mailbox
The one stop junction for our readers' love hate, frustrations and of course, financial donations. Send all your articles as well to the following address risingstars @thedailystar .net

Re: Coaching Phobia
Thanks for the nice article 'Coaching Phobia' by Humaira on 24 August. By this article (knowingly or unknowingly, I don't know), you have pointed out the issue of attitude and tolerance that I find quite disturbing about a lot of people in Bangladesh. I have lived 18 yrs of my life in BD and almost about 2 yrs in the USA. From my experience, I find people here even after all these terrorist incidents, are more tolerant and respectful to Islamic belief and traditions compared to BD, which happens to be a Muslim country. Anyways, I wish you good luck with your efforts. I also liked the quote of Faber.

Skateboarding anecdote
Reading the cover story last issue reminded me of my experiences of skateboarding. I put on my knee and elbow pads and tiny helmet and stepped out onto the streets to practice. I received a lot of stares as if I was an alien from outer space. I adapted to the balancing act quite quickly and continued for a few days without any mishap. But the stares got to me and I took off the pads. And that very day I slipped up and scraped my elbow. So this goes out to the readers. It's a fun sport but as with any such sport, maintain safety at all times.
Amer Qudrat

Asia Youth Leadership Summit in Singapore

I was selected on a full scholarship by the International Young Leaders Foundation, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program and the National Youth Council of Singapore, to attend the Asia Youth Leadership Summit which was held from July 25th to July 29th 2006 at Singapore. The conference was about the United Nations Millenium Development Goals and how young people can gain the leadership, diplomacy, public speaking and other skills in order to implement these goals. There were professors from Harvard University, Senior Economists from World Bank, United Nations Environment Program Regional Director, Oxfam International's campaigners and other international personalities who presented their papers and held lecture sessions for the young people at the conference. For about five days, we discussed how young people can fight the present world problems, how we can equip ourselves with the leadership and diplomacy skills, etc in order to make the world a better place for all of us. From the 300 delegates at the conference, 12 delegates were selected to host workshops at the conference for the participants. I was one of these 12 delegates and therefore I hosted a workshop on child labor and exploitation in Bangladesh. It was attended by a huge audience of high school students from all over Asia and in the words of the Conference Manager Jared Tham, my workshop was highly commendable. I also made many new friends from Singapore, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia and many other countries. At the end of the conference, we toured around Singapore. We visited Sentosa Island, a tropical paradise where you could indulge yourself into nature and have lots and lots of fun! Singapore is a clean, modern and strict city with the big Merlion (a half lion and half mermaid monument sprinkled all around Singapore) as it's official landmark. To sum up, the entire conference was very educational, informative and inspiring.

By S.S. Rishad


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