<%-- Page Title--%> Letters <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 143 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

February 27, 2004

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The cover story on Solar Power
I really enjoyed your cover story "Harnessing Power from the Sun" in the February 13 issue of SWM. It was a ray of light in the darkness. It is no doubt the only way to substitute our conventional grid energy. We need to give more emphasis on producing SHS (Solar Home System). I would also like to suggest renaming the device SRS (Self Reliant System) because introduction of the device on a mass level can help our government cope with the problem of load-shedding. SRS may be a good substitute for UPS (Uninterrupted Power System). I hope the cost of SHS will be a little cheaper so that the rural poor can afford it. The government may substitute high cost transmission lines from the national grid with the device.
Imtiaz Alam

Praising Brick Lane
I would like to thank Jackie Kabir for her excellent article on Monica Ali's Brick Lane and people's response to it. It expressed my appreciation of the book and the international accolades it has received as well as my exasperation with the likes of the Greater Sylhet Welfare and Development Council and Tazin Abdullah with their meaningless criticisms, along with my disappointment with the authorities for refusing Monica's visa. Can we not simply celebrate the fact that for the first time a well written book by a Bangladeshi (by origin) author has received international acclaim instead of holding forth on how "shameful" it is or that it is yet another tale about an immigrant woman? I don't understand what is "despicable" about saying it the way it is. I would also like to point out that books about immigrants have been, and will be, around for a while. It is the insight and sensitivity with which Monica Ali handles the subject -- the isolation and loneliness of a Bangladeshi woman -- which raises her work above the ordinary and reaches it to a wider audience. It is strange that all criticisms of Brick Lane come from Bangladeshis and all appreciation from the world over! We are so full of ourselves yet when genuine praise comes our way we are unable to acknowledge it graciously.
Ruby Ghuznavi

On "Bread and Traffic Jam"
I found your article, "Bread and Traffic Jam" in this weekend's SWM both funny and insightful. It gave me a more entertaining and, thus, a more acceptable perspective on life in this city (and indeed in this country) that I had come to regard as chaotic, desperate, and fatally sad. But, now, I see that some of my more pleasurable (and valuable) moments were spent in the suffocating air of Dhaka city traffic- rediscovering Dostoevsky's insight and wicked humour, cleaning and organising my laptop, updating the PDA, and capturing those subtle and fleeting tremors of creative thought. Or, perhaps, it was the potholes or the train tracks or the various nondescript piles of trash littering the roads that I felt. I have yet to take my drawers with me on the road but surely, seeing that on this score the writer herself has failed to live by the words she preaches, I can be forgiven this small transgression. Your article was arguably (forgive my cheap effort at irony) my one definite moment of Zen here in Dhaka. Thank you!
Jonathan Munshi

Some Comfort
I am a regular reader of SWM and I particularly look forward to reading your articles. Your article "Bread and Traffic Jam" was brilliant. You couldn't have put it any better the frustration one has to go through in this city. I am a resident of Chittagong but often visit Dhaka for business purposes. Unfortunately, I don't like to be driven around, thus I drive my own car all the time. Just imagine the frustration one feels sitting in the back seat of a car. Now imagine what the driver goes through. I wish I knew how to explain it. I have a bad temper and often tend to lose it when I am stuck in traffic. My girlfriend, on the other hand, does not understand what it's like to drive in this crazy city and often we end up arguing about my temper, which I tend to lose while driving. Someone should tell her! I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your article. I wasn't having a particularly good day yesterday but when I came home at night and sat down to read SWM, your article made me feel much lighter.
Petros Mendes

On a Mathematics Section
I would like to thank Abdullah Imran for his idea in the January 23 issue of SWM of including a section on mathematics in it. I absolutely agree with his opinion because mathematics is a subject that sharpens the mind and helps the brain to work faster. I think SWM should start this section. I look forward to the editor taking this initiative.
S. M. Mahfuz Alam

Weight Loss Plan (part deux)
I liked your article on weight loss in SWM. Your advice to keep fit was very encouraging and your techniques matched with some of mine. My suggestions are totally different, however. If you have any plan to start a business of your own in our country please try and find out how feasible it would be to a open a swimming pool for ladies only, which will be open from dawn to dusk (keeping in mind the ladies who work). Although there are lots of clubs and hotels with such facilities but the majority of the females are not comfortable in a unisex swimming pool. So such a step would really be helpful for over weight working women like us, who are willing to pay to lose weight and who really want to do it by working out after office hours. Swimming is the best way to keep fit and getting rid of all that fat.
Rahnuma Alam

The Poor Dhaka Zoo
I was shocked to see the condition of the Dhaka zoo. Instead of improving, even the number of animals is decreasing. The zoo probably receives large funds to maintain and improve the zoo, its condition is extremely poor and the animals are underfed, dying of starvation and given poor treatment when sick. The public, especially the large middle class, does not notice this. It has gone so far that domestic animals are being placed there instead of wild animals. It is really pitiful. I wonder what the government is doing.

Azmi Syed

A factual error crept into our cover story on Bangla Academy published on February 21. Burdwan House, which later became Bangla Academy, was the official residence of the then Chief Minister Nurul Amin and not Monem Khan. In fact Monem Khan was governor of the then East Pakistan in the '60s.
The cover of many of the issues of February 21 was disfigured due to a technical glitch. We sincerely regret the errors.

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