Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 29, Tuesday February 28, 2006



Banking Tips

Q. I recently saw a newspaper advertisement on one of your new products called the Travel Card. What is it and how does it work?
Travel Card is a Prepaid Visa Card, which offers you a convenient and secured way to carry foreign currency when travelling abroad. This card will be issued against your annual personal Travel Quota entitlement and will have your name printed on it. Moreover, you don't need to have an account with SCB to purchase the Travel Card. Simply walk into any of our branches in Bangladesh and apply for a Travel Card.

This Pre-paid Card offers you the freedom to shop anywhere in the world and provides access to the currency of your destination. It can be used at over 850,000 Visa ATMs worldwide and at over 13 million Visa Merchant Establishments worldwide. This card cannot be used for payments in Bangladesh.

Q. How much money can I put on a Standard Chartered Travel Card?
It depends on the Travel Quota entitlements as set forth in the Foreign exchange related guidelines. In a calendar year you can avail up to US$ 1,000 for all SAARC countries (including Myanmar) and US$ 3,000 for all other countries. The minimum deposit value of the SCB Travel Card is US $ 100.

Q. Please advise me as to what is the foreign currency travel allowance for a Bangladeshi national travelling overseas? Has there been any change from 2005? What is the entitlement for a child?
No, there has been no change from 2005.
The travel allowance for a Bangladeshi national is as follows :
a) For SAARC countries the allowance is USD1000/ or equivalent per annum
b) For countries other than SAARC countries the allowance is USD 3000/ or equivalent per annum.

Please note you are entitled to take USD1500 (or equivalent) in cash and the balance in Travellers Cheques. Necessary documents such as passport with relevant visa, ticket etc, have to be submitted at the time of endorsement. A child (12 years or below) having his own passport is entitled to 50% of the allowance.

Q. I have an account with your bank. Recently I lost my chequebook and asked my Bank Manager to issue me a new one. I was told that it would be better if I close my account and open a new one and then a chequebook would be issued to me. Please let me know why I cannot keep my old account and why a chequebook cannot be issued against that account?
The reason why the Bank Manager asked you to close your existing account and open a new one is because of the security issue. You see someone may get access to your lost chequebook The procedure to close your account and open a new one is very simple and your fund from the old account will be transferred to your new account and a new cheque book will be issued to you. In the future please keep your chequebook in a secure place.

Q. For SLR & CRR, is there any security applicable against this? If not, how does the bank maintain it and how much?
For CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) there is no security applicable. It has to be maintained in cash balances with Bangladesh Bank. For SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio), Treasury Bills and other Government approved securities qualify. Also foreign currency balances with the Bangladesh Bank qualify for SLR. Banks usually try to maintain SLR through Treasury Bills.

Q. What is the meaning of 'spread' in banking terms?
Broadly speaking, 'spread' can be defined as the difference between cost and revenue for a transaction. However, spread can be further classified as: (1) Lending Spread and (2) Deposit Spread in the banking sector. For, foreign exchange transactions, spread can be defined as the difference between the buying and selling rate.

Spring Fashion Window

This is the season when colour plays the most important role. Bursting, blooming, and electrifying. Pink in all its' candy shades has remained a favourite. Tangerine, saffron, peach, strawberry and plum are all great fashion colours that work. The secondary colours are in turquoise, emerald, khaki, and lime. All these colours can very well work on their own or be combined with a neutral hue. I don't think we should write off white. It is back as a very important colour. White can be dressed up with tons of jewellery or dressed down as easily. White is fresh and springy. It can get textured with the application of prints.

This definitely is a big print season. Animal prints being the most important category - zebra, cheetah, snake. The next would be layering of textile elements, like batik, screen print, tie and dye, and woven. This creates depth and innovative surface patterns. Bold stripes, pin stripes and polka dot combo and a battalion of camouflage prints. The idea is to wear interesting textiles with depth of colour and richness.

The romance in clothing is back in a baby doll shape. This will not work for everybody, only for those who can carry a delicate dress with an umpire waistline and flared hemline. Looks great with spaghetti strap. Shift style is one, which works well for a dress, or a kameez with fitted churidar. This is simply a straight sheet of square cut outfit, which is understated, acutely minimal but just great. Shirtdresses are also good with collars and open front buttons. These can also work well as a kameez.

Pleated head to toe is right on this spring. Use it on your hem, or your waistline. But ideally pleating is also a great trimming for your sleeves, yoke. It also looks great layered in one or two colours. Pleating gives a great edge to any design. It is the stiffer fabrics that pleat better. But permanently pleated on soft fabrics is a rage this season. You can also try to crinkle and hand wring skirts and dopattas.

Lace and crochet, crafty details with cut outs and fancy applications is a fresh look to pick up. A straight a-line top, layered as a bolero jacket, or as a corset blouse. It can also be used as trimmings on your ensembles or accessories. I would suggest lace fabrics be used on entire panels or separates. Large wide collars are also a good option.

Finally this season flaunts cascades of ruffles, puffed shoulders and voluminous airy shapes. Fitted blouses with bubble sleeves, or ruffled collars, necklines. It also looks great on tiered skirts and jackets. Ruffles can also be applied on saris or shawls.

These styles are directions by famous designers and can be used as an element of inspiration. I suggest you pick the concepts as and when it fits your personality. It should mould with your body shape and mood. The minimal or excessive use of any style is your prerogative but don't turn into a fashion victim.

By the way

You have neglected your homes long enough during the festival season. Now it's time to get on with some spring-cleaning. It is very important to clean out your fans and shelves, especially because they accumulate the most dirt.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz

Bangladesh not Bangladeshi

I am a heartless wench more often than I want to be. And it's often around Bengalis that this characteristic of mine comes out. Or perhaps it's around Bengalis that I am more conscious of this quality of mine. Non-Bengali strangers can care less if I am a wench or an angel just like I can care less if they are ex-boy band singer or Harrison Ford's dad.

I still wake up certain days when I am consumed with this pain, a hollowness within, a cry for a place that is oceans apart. I long for the fulfillment that I only feel sitting in Dhaka, where I grew up, sitting in Dhaka traffic, or on roof tops, or in a quiet afternoon looking out the window, that feeling of “I don't need to be anywhere but here and there is no destination after this now,” that feeling, I miss it more strongly than usual on certain days.

But this piece of Bangladesh of mine has got nothing to do with Bangladeshis. It has nothing to do with a Bangladeshi that I may meet in America, because many of them don't remind me of the goodness of my far away homeland but the flaws of it. I know I sound harsh, but judging from a typical set of question from one Bangladeshi to another, I think more out there will understand what I am talking about.

A typical series of questionnaire from a fellow Bangladeshi:
So where do you live?
Who lives with you? Do you live alone?
Where did you go to school?
Are you married?
Where do you work?

And each answer follows with a very judgmental “oooo” and “accchaaaa,” It's all fun and game but the questions usually continue to a level of prying and then the forceful exchange of numbers, and invitations that you politely turn down. All of it is just uncomfortable.

Because we are away from Bangladesh, it doesn't mean we necessarily have to stick together in America. Stick together only if you feel like it, only if you find the company you would have normally associated with back in Bangladesh, but most of us end up uniting with groups that are mismatched, which leaves us either bitter, or transforms us to a changed, nosy person, in the middle of dirty Bengali politics and strange frozen backward standards. I really wish the end of that.

Of course, there are other questions from the more religious Bangladeshis, like if I gave qurbani this year or last, if I eat halal, if I fast during Ramadan…and then it all ends with some sort of preaching or lectures, or educational message. Who gives anyone the right to educate or discipline just because we were once a part of the same place that we called home! No one.

I know I sound miserable, but I am only being truthful to myself and to others. I do long for Bangladeshi company here in the USA, but not just any Bangladeshi crowd for the sake of speaking Bangla and eating Bengali food, if that's the case I can run to my Mother or my brother. I miss the particular connections that exists among certain Bangladeshi crowds that I felt a part of back home, I miss the bonds that existed because of similar backgrounds and upbringing. The love for Bangla is not the only thing that will draw me to Bangladeshi strangers; it really has to be more than that.

I know this can be categorized as discrimination or a form of snobbery. But I think for everyone's sake it's best that mismatched Bangladeshis stay unmatched; we ex-patriots love all of Bangladesh, but that doesn't mean we love all Bangladeshis.


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2006 The Daily Star