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     Volume 4 Issue 24 | December 10, 2004 |

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in a


One of the fruits of SAARC or for that matter any international conference of significance being held in the capital is that the city gets refurbished. It's like doing up your living room for a dawat and hoping some nosy guest does not linger into the kitchen or the other toilet.

The last time around we got the famous SAARC fountain where presumably member countries have been represented in not the most befitting of manners. The last thing I imagine when thinking about a country, even USA, are spheres (gently speaking) made of steel.

Talks were on for its removal or relocation to pave the way for smooth movement of traffic through one of the busiest roads in the country; the upcoming regional meet has perhaps put that idea on hold. The setting up of Basundhara City has only multiplied the urgency of replacing the existing roundabout with a signaled crossing.

Just like the baithak khana only the roads that the organising officials believe the South Asian visitors shall be using are being decked up albeit with constricted flowerbeds along the median of primary roads. There is nothing wrong with that as city dwellers will always welcome as many green patches and lines that the city fathers will gift.

Unfortunately, because signboards can be made quicker than foliage can sprout on a bed, ghastly placards proclaiming immodestly in indecent size and shape the name of the sponsor that has undertaken the obligation to beautify (?) the road shoulders.

A good person does not have his name printed in all possible places of the human body. Nor does a serene river have its name painted all along its banks. A pretty bird does not carry a name card. The doel would look rather silly with a badge safety-pinned on its breast. A flower speaks for itself and not through a hoarding. The best cars in the world are identified by their logo, made famous by performance and hardly by boast.

This is a very beautiful country, much more than the islands that sponsors are curetting for our neighbours. But we don't have to write in all possible locations with one-mile high letters so that passengers on an aeroplane may know that they have reached Bangladesh.

It is commendable that some of the major business and financial houses have responded to the call to help beautify the City in time for the SAARC get-together. There is an apparent indication of patriotism. But need they have their name flaunted in fonts larger than the struggling plants in their squeezed up cots? Does financial mileage have to be the only yardstick even for a job that such institutions have perhaps undertaken to do the country proud? Have they got nothing out of this country? Can they not give a very small percentage of that back to this country? If money was the measure for patriotism then this country would have only a handful. Thankfully that is not true.

Surely it is not the expectation of the parties concerned that an emissary shall open an account in a local bank during his short visit to Dhaka, or shall invest in property here, or buy a bar of soap by judging which road island has the best plantation. Then pray, why this fuss of out-fonting each other? If it is to impress the high-ups in our government, and that I agree is important, they can certainly convey their message in ways other than that which stinks of uncouthness. They could advertise in the media using images of their very creation. Even DCC could post ads thanking generously all the companies that have come to the aid of the City.

One can only pray that common sense, rather rare these days, shall prevail, and all signposts that local sponsors have displayed repeatedly alongside their minimal contribution to society shall be removed in time for the delegates. Let our local good intentions not transform into an international laughing stock.

We sincerely pray for the continued growth of all the sponsors in any field that benefits the public. Let such magnanimous donors not doubt for moment that their seeds of goodwill are not appreciated. Thank you from all of us, but let modesty be thy name.

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