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The week in re(ar)view

Turtles are not safe
That is, they are not safe from us. According to a news report, 'uncontrolled human activities' along the beaches of St Martin's Island is reducing the number of turtles arriving to lay eggs. We are wondering what the term in the apostrophe means. Also, dogs do their bit for endangerment by having the eggs for breakfast.

A local NGO has barred tourists from lighting campfire along the beaches or using flashlights at night so that turtles could safely lay eggs. Also, 17 guards have been hired to protect and to serve. If only more turtles would take up ninja activities, they could fend for themselves.

Ouch, it sizzles!
With summer approaching and no proper power plants in sight, expect about 1500-2000 megawatts of load shedding.

At present, the country generates about 3,600MW electricity against a demand for over 4,700MW though the demand is not officially recognised. Since the caretaker government took over, no major power plants have been set up.

Death from above
When compared to living, dying is relatively easier. You don't even have to do anything for the latter. You could be serenely walking along, whistling the tune of you favorite jungle and looking up at the billboard of your favorite ad. And suddenly you realize that the billboard is one heavy piece of architecture. Of course, you don't have any time to think of the weight other letting out a primal cry. Or whimper.

We have sinking lunches, mob beatings, police custody, adulterated food and now billboards on the list of violently unusual killers. Billboards fall often during storms. Lats Wednesday one fell near Jigatola in Dhaka. Another fell near Chandrima Super Market killing one. Last year there were two deaths and many injuries.
Most outrageous comment of the week:

In fact we have two.
1: Outdoor Advertisement Owners' Association (OAOA) general secretary Mohammad Rashed claimed billboard collapse did not kill the youth. The youth was killed when a piece of "tin fell on him", he told The Daily Star. Could it have been a tin billboard then?

2: The same person (also owner of ad firm Century Art), "When a lot of people are getting killed in various accidents including road, river and even building collapse, a few deaths due to billboard collapse are not something exceptional."

It seems lone deaths are trivial when compared to greater instances of death. Except to the lone dead.

PC, PC everywhere
Intel Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the education ministry for supplying 1,000 personal computers to schools in the country's 64 districts. We are sure that the computers will be delivered. And our hopes lie along the line that the students will actually get to see them. It would be even better if they get to use them.

The PCs are $250 "Classmate" computers, shock-proof and spill-proof.

Action English
A nine-year-long programme on 'English in Action' will be implemented with the help of the British governments provision of 50 million pounds sterling, equivalent to around Tk 700 crore. The job at hand is to develop the English language skills in Bangladesh.

Cops to cough
Cops are sick and tired at the thought of becoming sick and tired and having no one to look after them. 380 staff members at all seven police hospitals in the country are not receiving their salaries for the last seven months due to bureaucratic tangles.

And to think they were initially recruited in 2004 under a project titled 'Modernisation of Police Hospitals in Bangladesh'. The idea was to improve health services for 1.35 lakh police personnel.

Question is what are they still doing there for 7 months? A number of unpaid 3rd or 4th class employees of the hospitals are resorting to unethical means including selling the medicines of the hospital on the black market. That's what they are doing. When nature calls (we mean hunger), it is hard to listen to morals.

Many wait as they are told they will receive money. Some borrow money to continue living, others sell what they have.

By Gokhra and Mood Dude

Colours of Freedom

The spirit of freedom has evolved far beyond what we sought in our War of Independence in 1971. Freedom in the modern world symbolizes more than just the liberty of choice or expression. Freedom defines our rights, equality in society and the creation of opportunities for everyone. In pursuit of this freedom and in remembrance of our glorious Independence Day, the Mastermind Community Service Club (MMCSC) organized an art competition for the underprivileged and autistic.

On the 24th of March 2008, the premises of Mastermind Senior Section was in a frenzy of activity with the colour of balloons, posters, and children. Art is symbiotic with the freedom of expression and as the brushes stroked colours of liberty, our theories were not proven wrong. The event commenced at 3:30 PM, with the lengthy registration of the participants. The participating organizations were Autism Welfare Foundation (AWF), Caring Glory, SEID, SWAC, Ekmatra, Afzalunnesa Foundation and Uttoron. Each of these institutions has played an incredible role in catering to the needs of those less fortunate than us, and we salute their selfless dedication.

The inauguration (with the huge flying balloons which you might have seen around Dhanmondi) by the chief guest, Syed Fakhruddin Ahmed (Principal of Mastermind School) and the participating children took place around 4:00 PM. Finally, at the end of the speeches, the art competition started around 4:30 PM. The children were divided into three groups: Group A Autistic children (Ja Icche Tai Aki), Group B Nursery to Class III (Amar Chokhe Bangladesh) and Group C Class IV onwards (Shadhinota Andolon). The hour that followed was filled the mayhem of the young and eager painters. An extra dimension was imbued into to the atmosphere by the budding musicians of Group A and their solo performances. The scene of hysteria was completed by the overworked volunteers running around trying to find clipboards, erasers, paint and brushes.

After an hour of drawing, colouring and scrutinizing, the competition drew to a close. Chips, drinks and chocolates were distributed to the participants, their representatives and the teachers. The pieces of art were collected to be judged by Bikash Haldar, Nishat Jahan and Asilatul Afra (teachers from Mastermind) in the half an hour that followed. During this interval, Shandhani from Bangladesh Medical College and Hospital conducted free blood grouping for everyone interested. Against a backdrop of an art exhibition by Classes VI and VII of Mastermind School, face painting and clown performances were held. Balloons were burst, posters were torn and general chaos was rampant.

The event culminated to its apex with the much anticipated prize giving ceremony. Awards were given out by the chief guest amidst the loud cheers and applaud of the audience. Adil Haque (SWAC), Abeer (AWF) and Nabi Hossain (SWAC) won first, second and third prizes from Group A respectively. Josna, Poli and Sonya from Ekmatra were winners from Group B; while Abul Kalam Azad, Labiba and Azmain Ikthidar picked awards from Group C.

The event was ended by a speech from Project Leader Sabhanaz Rashid Diya that received a standing ovation (and many catcalls) from the crowd. Though the event was over around 6:00, volunteers could be seen on campus long after, busily clearing out.

MMCSC is indebted to Syed Fakhruddin Ahmed, Neera Habib (Director, Administration) and Nina Huq (Vice Principal and ECA-in-Charge) for their constant support and enthusiasm. Without their encouragement, this event would not have been possible. Amongst all its current projects, MMCSC Art Competition 2008 will be remembered as one of their biggest events, and hopes to inspire equality of opportunity in the generations to come.

Photo Credit: Mushfiqur Rahman
By Chowhdury Anato Osman

Say What?

It’s a bright sunny day. The skies are clear, the birds are singing and the grass is green. You'd think one would delight in the beauty of nature on such a fine day by talking a walk. However, two girls, kilometers apart in the small city of Dhaka decided to delight in the beauty of something else instead the extremely low call rates early in the morning.

Girl 1: 'Hey! What's up?'
Girl 2: 'Well the sun just came up, ha ha. Nothing's really up with me. Just finished talking to Fardeen.'
Girl 1: 'Really? I just finished talked to Abrar. We just beat yesterday's record today 6 hours non-stop! I can really feel a connection here!'

Girl 2: 'Wow, that's cool. But listen, Fardeen and I were just discussing, and I think you ought to know…'
G 1: 'Shhh! My mom just woke up! Now she's gonna be listening at my door to see whether I'm talking or not.'
G1 opening door and yelling: 'Yes Ma, I Did sleep. Just calling now to jot down what I missed last day in school'

G 1: 'Yea rite. God, now Mom's gonna be eavesdropping. Anyways you were saying about Force?'
G 2: 'Uh, yea. Force was telling me how he doesn't think that Atom is being honest with you.'
G 1: 'What'd you mean? Atom is the sweetest chapter in physics I've come across!'

G 2: 'Well you might want to look into his motives. Do you know Force saw him that day flirting with Mysha, I mean, Mitosis over at the game room?’
G 1: 'WHAT? Mitosis??!! I can't stand Mitosis! All those diagrams and steps, you can see it's all fake anyway. Are you sure about your facts? 'Cause I heard that Mitosis and DNA have something going on.'

G 2: 'Uff, that DNA. You can never trust him. One day he's running after RNA and the next day it's that newbie - Virus. By the way, I've also heard that Demand and Supply have broke it off.
G 1: 'You're kidding! Seriously? After so many years?'
G 2: 'Yup. Demand is now back with Market. He says he doesn't like things so fixed anymore like they were with Supply.

G 1: 'Good for the economy. Do you know that day I saw Potassium trying to cheat on the mock from Oxygen?'
G 2: 'What? But Oxygen is the best student in the class! Did she get the answers?'
G 1: 'Nope, Oxygen wouldn't let that happen you know inflammable Oxygen is.'

G 2: 'Did you get a good look at the new girl in class Profit? I heard she was creating a stir in the section B'
G 1: 'oh you mean she joined the firm? Interesting. Apparently, Profit is very high and mighty.'
G 2: 'And snobbish. Always tries to hang around with those dudes at the Balance Sheet.'

[Background G 1's mother yelling to get off the phone]
G 1: 'Yea mom! Okay so that covers physics, chemistry, economics and accounting. Will have to catch up on geography and math tomorrow okay? Bye!'
G 2: 'Bye!'

G 1 to Mother: 'You're such a pain mom. I was just getting some notes. Why the big fuss?'
And the birds kept chirping away and the sun shone. No one just bothered to notice.

By Nisma Elias

Earth Hour

Dear Readers, take part on 29th March from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm local time, on Earth Hour. The whole world, will each be turning off all their lights on this hour. This movement has attracted interests from concerned citizens, businesses, leaders and even some cities. This is our time to send a strong message to the world, that we do care. Let's us all stand together to demand a action on climate change. What can one man do? Spread the word, set the example, involve your people and be proud, because for one hour, you have lived to serve your Mother Earth. Make the difference

By Osama





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