Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 28, Tuesday December 9, 2003






Banking Tips

Nasreen Sattar Head of International Sales, Standard Chartered Bank

Q.1 Is there any tax on interests earned?
Yes, there is a 10% tax on any interest earned from bank deposits. This tax is deducted at source, meaning the bank deducts the tax before giving it to the customer.

Q2. What is a credit bureau?
A credit bureau is an organisation that collects and maintains credit records of every person in a country. In Bangladesh, the Central Bank has a credit bureau. It is a negative credit bureau - meaning it only contains information of people who have defaulted on loans.

Q3. I am a resident of Bangladesh. I have just returned from training in Bangkok. I still have some of the Dollars that I endorsed before going there, and I want to keep them. How can I keep the dollars?

Bangladeshi residents returning form trips abroad can keep their unutilised foreign currency in Resident Foreign Currency Deposit (RFCD) Accounts. Almost all banks offer this account. The minimum balance to open differs from bank to bank. While opening the account the applicant must sign a declaration that the funds in the account are not from exports proceeds or from payment of a service rendered inside Bangladesh. This account must be opened within 30 days upon the person's return to Bangladesh.

Interpreter of Maladies

DR. Nighat Ara Psychiatrist

Q1. My seven year old has the tendency to say no to everything I say, be it food, clothes, going out, study everything, as a result we are always fighting. I was wondering how to handle this, because come teenage years I'd be completely bowled out. I do want to keep communication channel open with her. Please advise.

Ans: Your seven-year-old daughter could be going through a developmental phase where children try to experiment with their autonomy and explore their self-worth. However, this negativistic attitude is quite normal for two year-olds (popularly known as "terrible two") and children eventually grow out of this stage. The persistence of this trait or recurrence at a later developmental stage can be considered as a significant symptom which may require further exploration of any other disruptive behaviour to justify a psychiatric diagnosis "oppositional defiant disorder".

If her tendency to say NO is really excessive compared to her age group and there are other symptoms like: temper outburst, refusal to comply with rules and other annoying behaviour which exceeds the limit etc. a complete psychiatric assessment will be helpful. Clinical skill is required to assess the degree or severity of symptoms, duration and extent of disability caused by the symptoms also need to be taken into account for diagnosing a psychiatric problem. Assertiveness is a behavioural trait, which becomes apparent by ones ability to say "no" to others and expressing her independent choice of behaviour.

Some people are constitutionally or temperamentally very assertive in their behaviour. It would also be wise though to explore, whether it has become a" power or control struggle" between you and your daughter. If you have an excessive need to control your child, then it could evoke a reaction in your child which will mimic symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. If you are fighting with her over this issue, then it is serving as a negative attention and further reinforcing her behaviour. Abnormality in parent- child relationships is to be detected first to remove the reinforcers of this undesired behaviour.

A safe relationship with a counsellor or therapist can give her a platform for this transitional period of change. It would be wise if you seek help to a psychiatrist and discuss in details. Behavioural techniques are used to get rid of undesired behaviour and a suitable technique can be found only after full assessment. Girls who suffer from "oppositional defiant disorder", are at high risk of developing personality disorder at a later stage of life.

Q 2. How can we break the news of our pregnancy to our eight-year-old? He is very keen on having a sibling, but we are being cautious. Can you let us know what sibling rivalry is?

Ans: Children usually welcome the news of a baby arriving in the family. Your son must be delighted to know that he will have someone to play with. Some kids tend to show a gender preference and may revolt if the new comer doesn't have a gender of their choice. However, preparing him for what he can expect will definitely help the situation. Tell him stories of relevant topic, give him an impression that he has an important role to play in this situation. Ask for his help so that it boosts his sense of pride and responsibility. The birth of a second child may change the whole family dynamics. Each member in the family has to play a new role. This change can be challenging and adjustment may require some time. Competing for attention and affection, sharing almost everything with another one may not be an easy experience for him and precipitate the sibling rivalry. A supportive environment can enable him to deal with the situation more competently so that he enjoys the companionship and develops a healthy bondage with the baby. Make it clear that you (both parents) will continue to love him as dearly as before and his participation is very important in child rearing. Give him compliments for his co-operation and encourage him to take the (glamorous/bossy/heroic) big brother role. Take it easy, everything will be fine.

Dental wise

Dr. Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS (Dhaka), PhD (Japan) Oral & Dental Surgeon BIRDEM Hospital

Q.I am 38 years old. I don't have any bad oral habits (smoking, chewing pan etc). Recently, however, I observed that my teeth are developing yellowish discoloration with black staining. Why and can I do anything to make it whiter?

A. As you mentioned that you don't have any bad oral habits that are responsible for teeth staining, so the actual cause for your case is really hard to determine without first examining your teeth. Regarding your black staining one possibility is drinking water from tube-well.

I would like to elaborate the reason behind tooth discoloration.

Internal Stain: This means the stain occurs from within the tooth. This type of stain cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. Some causes of internal staining are injury to the tooth, certain medications (such as tetracycline) taken during tooth formation.

External stain: This is staining of the tooth surface. Some sources of external stains are cigarettes, cigar, pan, coffee, tea or foods that contain a lot of spices.
Yes, we can make it whiter according to cause. External staining can sometimes be removed by good tooth brushing habits or by your dentist.

By scaling and polishing it is possible to make your teeth brighter. Scaling is recommended once in a year after 16 years old.

For further information visit www.aikodental.com



The Grey Area

He grew up smelling curry and hating it. He grew up loving Burgers and Steak and Cheese. His parents fed him chicken nuggets from McDonalds to make him stop crying when he was little. He shortened his name from Mohammad to Mo to be an average Joe, which to him was a big accomplishment since he could never shed his brown skin. He went off to college, hoping to cut the last tie with Bangladesh, leaving his Bangladeshi Parents in another state.

People like him always make sure to move to another state when choosing a college, to go as far away as they can from the idea of being Bengali. He ignored all the Indians and Bangladeshis and related associations. If he was lucky enough, he joined a fraternity or at least a sports team and become as White or Black American as he could. Never brown, though. He dated girls from all over the world, all but South Asia. He even lived together his third year of college with a Tiffany or Megan whom he saw being bonded to eternally. Those, however, usually lasted two semesters or maybe four at the most. He moved on, then, to others: white, Black or Spanish girls. A South Asian never caught his eyes; it was repulsion never an attraction.

He graduated from college, started working for some big company, made oodles of money, sent some home, only occasionally stooping to set foot in the house full of spices. He changed jobs; it only got better for him, just like the girls. Then it stopped, and there was nothing more to climb to. At least for a while, it was time to settle, and he looked around, and he realised the real meaning of being settled. It means to reconcile, to patch up things, and perhaps that's when he understood, the white and black girlfriends where only white and black to him and nothing more, the face and the body were just colours and the personality was never real enough for him to respect, or trust.

He never belonged to anyone, but was fascinated, and the fascination too wore off. Now his origin was a bigger mystery to him than the land he easily discovered and re-discovered every day. Above all, it scared him, that the Americans were so popularly throwing the word 'divorce' around all the time, and ideas of alimony, child support. It dawned on him; a simple girl from Bangladesh is the solution to his problem. People like him still think Bangladesh is in the age of innocence where women are purer than thou. Whatever it might be, it worked for him, he needed someone to trust. So he turned to his nagging parents after years, and said yes to them finding him a sweet Bengali bride, fresh from Bangladesh. He was done here; seeing white and black only left him in the grey area, where there is not much to search.

I know him today. He comes over to the same Bengali grocery store as I, to shop for spices and new Hindi flicks. With him is his bubbly, round-faced fair-complexioned wife, just arrived from Bangladesh a couple of years back. She loves putting flowers in her hair and giggling for no reason. She is far from sophisticated in the American sense, but has potential. He follows her around the store, picking up the same spices and asking her to make dishes he once promised would make him vomit.

He skilfully picks the best fishes from the frozen fish section, picks up a box of ripe mangoes and gets two samosas to go for the drive back home. If I bump into them, they always end up inviting me for this party or that, being hosted at their house, just like his parents once did to their friends. He is just a taller and more American version of his father. He admitted and came out of denial of being White or Black and finally chose the middle.

There are many like him, roaming around sari shops to buy the latest styles for their wives, or looking through Arabic names for their unborn children. Others like him who didn't settle for Bangladeshi ones and went for spouses of other nationalities might be happy too. Some of them are truly blessed with a peaceful understanding and belonging they searched for and brought into being. Others ended up in divorce or a empty marriages where the space between the two is infinite; the only enjoyment for this empty crowd is to make dirty jokes in Bengali in front of their non-Bengali wives.

It's not his fault. He was presented with too many choices at an early age, and forced into one. So he rebelled and chose another, some of him came back to his forced first preference, and some remained with his rebellious decision. In the end no one knew what would be the right way, it's all a matter of time isn't it, until colours fade?

By Iffat Newaz


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