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Say no to one-way streets

On the theme of friendship day, we should celebrate all those friends who mean the world to us and are there for us every step of the way. I had a friend once who I thought was just that supportive, cheerful and caring. Except that when I was around her I didn't feel all that cheerful or satisfied myself. This was a few years back and this friend was my best friend, in the truest sense of the word. I had other friends but she was my ultimate confider, my ally the person I needed every day.

But as mentioned before, I wasn't completely happy in this relationship. Every friendship has its ups and downs but there were certain things I knew were lacking. Although I knew X was always telling me how prettier I would look if I wore this dress or how cool I'd sound if I said that, the result was that I thought I was neither cool nor pretty. And X being one of the most popular kids in school didn't help. Although I had no desire to share the limelight, I did yearn to be a bit noticed. When I tried to do so, I couldn't help noticing how critical X would become in front of others. If I told someone I had gotten an A in a really difficult math exam, X's comment would certainly be something like 'Oh that test? Yea, I got a B and that too after only two hours of studying. Imagine what would have happened if I had studied the whole night!' That was one thing she always did make it about her. She had a knack of turning things around and making herself the subject and I detested it.

So why was I still friends with her? X had ways of showing me what a good friend she was. She would always defend me vigorously against everyone and wouldn't hear a word against me. She was also very supportive when she had the time. But I had made the grievous mistake of thinking then that X's good points made up for all the ways she made me feel bad about myself. Because I had finally realized that was what she did. Whether it was to make herself look and feel good in front of others or whether she really didn't care, she made me feel like I would never be as pretty, smart or popular as her. I was just the person in the background who had to be there when her heart broke or when she had a bad day.

We're still friends now, X and I but I am grateful now I have much better friends than her. I'm sure many of you have encountered people like this or still do in your daily life - people who try to upgrade themselves by downplaying you and who you are. Try not to make the mistake of letting them do that or letting them get to you. They may have their good points but if they make you feel bad about yourself often, don't bother giving them a special place in your life as a friend; friendship is a two-way street.

By Nisma Elias

Made in Bangladesh

Waterloo, Canada. I walked into the Levi's store with the sole intention of buying a pair of direly needed jeans. Scanning the columns and finally spotting something I liked, I quickly scanned the tag attached to it; and then did a double take. It said 'Made in Bangladesh'.

There's something about finding your country sitting smugly in a far-off country that is utterly and completely euphoric. 'Made in Bangladesh', however, is no longer uncommon. The almost silent revolution (how many times have we heard that term?) of the apparel and ready made garments (RMG) industry in Bangladesh has seen to that.

Today, Bangladesh is one of the chief exporters of ready made garments around the world.It is the highest earning sector of export for our country, having raked in over 9 billion US dollars in 2006 and 9.21 billion US dollars i.e. 75% of Bangladesh's export income till June 2007. Besides contributing to the country economy, it also employs a major portion of the nation's population. In the apparel sector alone, there are some 2 million skilled and semi-skilled workers, and there are another 10 to 12 million more workers in related industries. 80-90% of these workers are women- another milestone.

The RMG business, which started in the 1970s, consists of 2 sub-sectors: knitwear and woven, the former of which is fast overtaking the latter in terms of export. This is because knitwear is more or less self-sufficient - 75% of the total requirement is fulfilled by local yarn suppliers. Storage and transport costs are saved due to locally made inputs and knitwear is now exported to around 90 countries in the world. Besides, the knitwear industry also supports the spinning, dyeing and fabric industries of our country.

The garments industry has had its fair share of problems, The labour force deserves more benefits for the fabulous job it is doing, some of which may include better wages, housing and transport services;but in spite of all this the garments industry continues to churn out fabulous material that is in high demand for its price advantages and quality of stitching . There was speculation that the Bangladeshi garments industries will collapse once the global trade quotas are abolished, resulting in massive unemployment; but hey, guess what? We survived that too, like we survive every other disaster nature throws at us. 38% of all our garments exports ends up in USA and Bangladesh is now the 3rd largest exporter of apparel to USA in terms of volume, 3rd only to China and Mexico.

'Made in Bangladesh' has evolved into a brand. It is the face of Calvin Klein, Levi's, GAP, Van Heusen, Zara, H & M, Ralph Lauren and many other renowned brands; which is just as well, because hey, that's another reason to be proud of our small country of prodigious potential.

By Anika Tabassum

Kick bad habits by playing games

Can't resist the urge to munch another chip or fire up another stogie? Maybe you just need to play more Peggle.

According to a survey commissioned by RealGames, playing casual games can help promote healthier lifestyles by distracting us from bad habits like smoking and snacking.

Conducted by research firm Information Solutions Group, the study polled over 4,500 casual gamers. Nearly 60% of respondents agreed that playing casual games online helped distract them from overindulging in snacks, while 42% reported a decrease in the frequency of tobacco usage. And across the board, participants noted that playing games left them feeling "relaxed and relieved of stress." Clearly, they have yet to try beating GTA IV.

But what about the notion that game themselves are nefariously addictive? While the study doesn't mention the issue, it should be noted that the RealGames survey comes one year after experts from the American Medical Association officially rebuked claims that excessive video game playing was a formal addiction, denying it entry into the DSM pending further research.

Marked by savvy game publishers shifting significant resources into self-help games, the news reflects a changing tide in video game design. Nintendo's health game Wii Fit is a bona fide hit, while third-party giant Ubisoft recently unveiled the diet-conscious DS game "My Weight Loss Coach" and the anti-smoking game "Easyway to Stop Smoking.”

By Ben Silverman
Source: Internet

Hear us loud

Since private universities are popping up like pimples on the face of Dhaka, I have three surrounding my apartment. While one concentrates on Baishakh and International Mother Language Day and the other is strangely inactive, the third one is my favourite. “Law Academy” attached to some place in England, these lawless hooligans spend most of the year 'round singing and dancing over everything. To honour Friendship Day, their home band(s) put up some performances recently (followed by biriyani and unlimited soft/hard drinks). Believe me, the vocalist stole my heart away!

The show kicked off with Bangla folk songs, incorporated with the same guitar intro for each of them. The drumline was basically the same for all the numbers, regardless of language, genre or any other aspect that generally would differentiate between songs. The cymbals sounded like the times when I was five and annoyed my parents by beating on tin paateel or haari with wooden rulers and the vocal was a refreshing mockery of the Banglish crowd. I'm pretty sure he never meant it to be that way - it was his “originality” throughout.

I was privileged to listen to the worst cover of Elita's “Kothay” (Raaga) and what's best, it was a guy singing it. Imagine those feminine notes from a brute's vocal chords! Not to mention the unnecessary stretched and oddly creative (on the negative note) remix of “Bhalo Achi Bhalo Theko, Akasher Thikanai Chitthi Likho”. The never-unpopular forced “rrrr-s” on any Bangla word that characterizes poseurs and I'm-too-cool-to-speak-Bangla-properly generation on folk numbers was shockingly hilarious.

When they finally switched to Hindi pop and dance mix (and ever-famous Jhal's “Woh Lamhey”, item numbers and hoozoo-g Reshammiya), the over-enthusiastic crowd decided they should give their excitement some motion, hence doing something that can be loosely described as 'dancing'. The vocalist initiated it by shouting “Ki bhai-bonera, eto chupchap kan? Moja lagtase na? Ashen, amra shobai miile enzoy kori!” All I had to do was comfortably station myself on the couch next to my window and watch a bunch of dudes and chicks waving their hands and shaking their hips and heads non-stop. It was worth recording on my handy cam for TMA Studios!

Ow, at one point, they did sing some English songs, but honestly it sounded Hebrew-ish and took me till the third composition to figure out that it WAS indeed English. I wasn't hallucinating. The classy vocal by then had “evolved” his accent to a strange combination of American-Australian-rrrr, while they had sirens blowing from God-knows-where for enhanced effects. He might as well have growled (or something that sounded like an unrehearsed grrrrowl) to intensify his solo performance. He possessed ingenious versatility.

Entertainment has taken a whole new definition in my dictionary. If giggling over the most unreasonable celebration of the year wasn't a doze enough, then listening to some nerve wrecking music next to my room surely made my night. I got to watch a LIVE “concert” (or, comedy) from my bedroom window and by the time it was finally OVER (thank God) around midnight, I was laughing with a 103 degrees fever up my head. The only person who suffered was my little brother who had his second-term Science exam the following day. He isn't much of a Science-person and was studying the syllabus for the first time, while “muzik” pounded on his brain like a meteorite. Tssk tssk.

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Point, click and redo

Shudhui Bangla Photographic Association (SBPA) is arranging its first photography exhibition comprising of young talents. The exhibition is from 31st July to 4th August 2008 between 3pm to 8pm everyday at DRIK Gallery. Everyone is invited to take a peek!



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