Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Critic's Picks
Web sites sighted

I have been bugged by the YouTube fever! It is vindictive! Addictive! Incomprehensive… but if you want this awesome disease, log on to www.youtube.com and start posting ridiculous, hilarious and insane video clips. And watch out for my favorite member HappySlip's postings. . . I bet she will make you laugh your nerves out!

You Tube has recently been 'THE' place for video-blogging and social networking. After being bought by Google, the video features a larger screen (typical winamp size) and also more advertisement capabilities. Speaking of social networking, there are quite a few sites online which are crammed with users like me who have nothing better to do all day! www.circlebd.com is one such Bangladeshi network place that is simple, and plain to use, but has so many of the features combined together in one place. There is everything that a virtual networker wants: chatrooms, blogs, forums, picture ratings, advanced word filtering, searching, events logging, organizer and whew (you want more?)! You can even import your contacts from various e-mails. If you hate the kiddish outlook of hi5.com, then CircleBd is the 'deshi' scene you can join!

Everyone who is not a child anymore and has no time to be IM-ing people (time management) can join www.facebook.com , the hottest new international web portal that categorizes people according to countries and even colleges and universities! I was surprised to learn that as a new member and at the end of one month 'tenure', I had 35 friends from Bangladesh, 14 from Britain, 17 from USA, and 3 from Canada and the rest from various colleges. There are even amazing discussion groups in different categories like movies, bikes, cars, dolls, chics, hunks etc etc! For me, I got in touch with my friends who were with me back in class 7 and I love it! The best part is possibly the photo uploader which allows you to upload photos fast and easy. The whole layout is simple, blue and classy! Extreme security settings allow you to hide from those prying and randomly adding nincompoops. Search for your long lost friends since the users all have their own names and no ghostly 'amipolapain' or 'hotmale78' kinda nick!

Now I shall be a little bookish. Zorpia or "Zone Of Real People Interacting Actively". is a free social networking website that offers unlimited photo storage, blogging, forums, groups, user profiles, skins, e-mail notifications, and friend network. Members of the site are referred to as Zorpians. Zorpia is similar to many other popular social networking websites, such as Myspace, Friendster and Facebook. One advantage of Zorpia is that musicians can upload unlimited music in their account for public viewing. So if you are a budding musician and just need to get the message out, then Zorpia is a good place to hang out online. Waltz it at www.zorpia.com

MySpace.com is still the slowest (thanks to the US bloggers being online all time) and the most popular social slash blogging network and has gained popularity as most high-profiled artists often post their music videos here for a listener rating at initial stages. The artist and fan interaction is pretty high since the MySpace can easily be viewed by those you have your account name. Remember Rockstar INXS? Well, the contestants had MySpace interaction with their fan base all over the world! However, if you have a slow net connection like mine, then do not tell me I hadn't warned you against MySpace!

Friendster was considered the top online social network service until around April 2004 when it was overtaken by MySpace in terms of page views, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Friendster has also received competition from all-in-one sites such as Windows Live Spaces, Yahoo! 360 and more recently, Facebook. However, it is still pretty popular for teenagers around these countries: the Philippines, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. If you want a hike then click on www.friendster.com

I know that there are possibly a zillion social sites out there, but today I have given the top few ones from abroad. Next week check out another series of web waltzing experiences. Any comments/request/info feed can be directed to critico.nino@gmail.com

By Critico Nino

Jackson Heights & the bangladeshi settlement in the US

The last thing I expected while pacing through the roads of New York was to hear the words, “Oii, dahl e lobon deso?” Honestly, neither did I expect such varied Sylhoti, Noakhailla and Barisal tones shouting at each other on either sides of the road as people rush out in front of cars in New York! Yes, I am talking about the all-famous Asian hide in America the Jackson Heights!

Located in the northwestern portion of the borough of Queens in New York City, Jackson Heights is not only a joga kichuri of different cultures but it is also probably the most unclean portion of NYC, which floods my mind with pictures of Dhaka. Seriously, never before did I think that waste papers flying in the streets and broken dilapidated walls would make me so nostalgic! Anyways, if you are an International Relations student and/or are interested in different cultures, this is just the place for you. It is an urbane melting pot bubbling with various ethnic populations. The Asian- American community consists of immigrants largely from India (there is also a place called Little India consisting solely of Indians; people, they are taking over the world!), Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Korea and the Philippines. There is also an extremely large Latino population present there with mixes from mainly, Columbia, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia and Uruguay. In addition there are also many inter-bred, cross-pollinated, multi-generational Europeans of Jewish, Irish, Polish and Russian descent. There is also a pretty large Italian Community here.This one time when I was in Roosevelt Station (which you use to reach the Queens borough) all of a sudden a lady pops out of no where and starts saying, 'Cuatro dolares!' Luckily I know a little bit of Spanish and it means 'four dollars.' Apparently the lady did not have money for a ticket and was asking for money. Thank God I didn't say yes! Hey come on, I am having a tough time with finance myself! This other time I was asking people for directions and this one guy started speaking in fast Italian for straight three minutes, without even thinking whether I knew Italian or not. Like come on, as far as I know, I don't even have a single hair of the Italian mustache! After staring at him with a dumb-founded expression and not understanding a single word he said, all I could do was nod my head and say 'Grazie mille,' meaning 'thanks a lot.' That's my Italian vocabulary to the max. I just forgot to add the sarcasm in my tone.

People here in general are really friendly, but the fact is that the people are extremely diverse and many do not know English, which however, is not that big a deal if you are living in Jackson Heights, as people here like to stick around their own kin. If you have relatives in the US, it can be the most fun place in the whole world; but if you don't, in time you are bound to feel suffocated. After all, humans cannot survive alone. Speaking of which, let's get back to the issue of Bangladeshi community settlement in Jackson Heights.We Bangladeshis really have built a mini fake home (which is a real home for some) away from home here is Jackson Heights.

Not only that, we have crowded up the place! Thousands of Bangladeshis can be seen roaming around the area, the old with native Bangladeshi accents and the younger generation with fluent American accent. Roads have also been crowded with Bangladeshi stores and signboards written in exclusive Bengali, including hotels (you know the road side hotels in Bangladesh, exactly like them!) such as 'Alauddin Sweets' where I had a delicious cup of tea along with chingara and roshmolai. Reggie and I, while roaming around, also spotted a fake (and famous) Aarong store, where items from Aarong, Jatra, Nitto Upohar and other such places from BD was being sold, and City Cell T-mobile service in the area. Heck, there are also local Bengali newspapers in Jackson Heights! We Bengalis know how to do business I tell you.

The second most Bangladeshi inhabited place is Jamaica. Although I could not find any exact estimation of the total number of Bangladeshi Immigrants in NYC, in a January 2005 article of The New York Times, it was stated that New York's immigrant population is believed to be 3.2 million, with Bangladesh being one of the three countries with the fastest growing population.

Most Bangladeshis come to the US for higher income and a better standard of living (like duh). Although this factor may be satisfied for some, the sacrifices made are a lot. Many of the older generations who had first settled in the US are saying that the country has completely dried them up and they want to return home. Of course, many have also properly settled, especially those with a good number of relatives living here.

On interviewing a Bangladeshi engineer, he said, “My main reason for coming to the US was a better education and a safer and better environment for my children. My children were born here and grew up here and now I am thinking whether I had made the right decision or not. You see, our children here grow up in a completely different culture and hence the Bengali tradition and culture in them are almost not present. I know many Bangladeshi-American children who cannot even speak Bengali. To them this is home, and hence for them settling in Bangladesh is near to impossible. I wanted to return to Bangladesh long time back, but I couldn't because of my children.”

Several Bangladeshi Immigrant families are facing this. The children also do not have any fault. They spent their entire lives here, going to Bangladesh only occasionally for short periods of time, and hence are bound to be Americanized. Another problem is that, in the next generation or two, the tidbits of Bangladeshi-ness in them will be completely lost. On the other hand, there are also many who have managed to guide their children to grow up completely, or at least partly, like Bangladeshis, but the majority of the previous category is prominent.

There is also another category of Bangladeshi Immigrants who come to the US with hopes of a better future but ending up earning a living by simply doing odd jobs, and consequently a very hard life. Those who are shrewd quickly come out of this state by finding a well paid job, but many also go back to the country even more broke than before.

The case for Bangladeshi students who grew up in Bangladesh and come here for future studies is also varied. There is a high number of students who come here with partial scholarships and with only one years worth of full payment and think that they will pull up the rest three years of tuition by working. Little do they know from before that it is extremely difficult for a student to study and to work to pay even half of the tuition. On average, an undergraduate student earns around $2,200 per year with the heavy course load. Consequently, there is a high drop out rate of immigrant students in the US.

Students with better financial situations and management usually follow two courses: one major portion blend in the American life and settle down, whereas the other portion complete their studies, work for a few years and return. The good news is that the numbers of the latter portion are gradually increasing. No matter what, home is home. To all the students planning to come to the US, my saying is that come, study, gain some experience, and return to Bangladesh. There really is no home away from home.

By Adnan M. S. Fakir

RS Mailbx

Hello RS
I was very glad to see a well done RS after a long time waiting.In last issue,the music mantra was awesome. Dido's Thank You was the best to mention. I'm a complete music freak and I've many old songs in my collection. But that's not why I'm telling that Dido is not that hard to find. Although there are some good and heart touching song these days.There is now Meatloaf's It's all coming back to me, a really good song to hear when you want to remember the left one. Now there's another song from Take That's Patience. Well it's not that kind song but it's tune will sure touch your heart. Hey there are so many songs. Also, Life For Rent, the story was really appretiating.

Now I've a complain. Is that Bee jock is RS's National jock? Another thing is, some of your writers are from abroad. I know they are Bangladeshi but the fact is there are writers in BD too. Aren't they worth enough? Or the are illiterate?? It is bad to see articles starting by telling the writer is in USA or UK or whatever.
Now I thank Reggie again for his music mantra.Keep that up.
Best Regards
Lord Shessaemaru.

We Chatgaiyaas...
I would beg the RS to emphasise on the life of the miserable teenagers of Chittagong. I dunno how much the Dhakaiates are concerned about the "Chagaiyaas" (not Chittagonian 'Gaiyaas') but there is a huge contrast between both. Firstly, two third of the Chittagonian students are nerds and the rest are gangstas. The nerds are in love with science and math. After several months of my research, I found out that there's a huge proportion of 'Lafangas' and 'Tsesras' who simply roam around the streets with a tatooed bad on their shoulders. They usually say "Ur eyes are so beautiful...so I think I Laabh You!" to beauty-fool girls they once or never spoke to! Is that the way to propose to a girl!! Many are infected with 'Misscathermia', the disease of giving 'misscalls' to knowns and unknowns without knowing that they are damn irritating! How would you feel when ur cellphone vibrates canstantly after 2 minutes?

The girls (not all) around here are in my view- Paddy Fields. They often forget to remove the price tags from their newly brought shoes. Oh! Did I miss out the 'Fakaiyaas' around here? They are almost uncountable!
You would definately find the so-called 'Chatgaiyaa' language rather odd or funny, cuz you would hardly understand a word of it! But it is really interestig and amazing. Its sometimes similar to English. For example, "I" in English has the same meaning as "I" in Chittagonian language. The 'Shuddho Chatgaiyaa' sentences always end with "je". For example, "khemon aso je?" (How are you?) for which the reply is "Bhalo asi je...onne khemon asen je?" (I am fine, How are you?) So its really khool, I mean Cool!
There is one thing I hate about 'Chatgaiyaa Polapines' that they are addicted to Star Plus and "Jhalak Diklaajaa".

They are hardcore fans of Hindi Music. The prom nights (which usually starts at day-time) are grooved with "Ek bar aja aja aja aja...". The galz love Tashaan and Habeeeb cuz they are 'cuit and chweet'. Dear reader, I would like to remind you that not all guys and galz are like this. There are people who listen from Hoobastank to Cradle of Filth. The are many Hip-Hop and R&B fans too. There are awesome underground bands like AOD (Act of Defiance) and Silent Prayer, but they don't show up frequently. There are few underground concerts in Chittagong compared to Dhaka because there are more lunatic Hindi-song-buttbangers than Psychic Metal Headbangers. But still I love Chittagong. It has got many things which Dhaka doesn't have. It has got fresh air, cleanliness and goody goody roads compared to other cities. The people around here are very hospitable. But I sometimes hate Chittagong for its sissies and immatured beauty-conscious girls. So friends, come to Chittagong atleast once in your lifetime...you'd certainly find it mindblowing!
Gothic Punk Chittagong.


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star