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     Volume 4 Issue 65 | September 30, 2005 |

   News Notes
   Straight Talk
   Cover Story
   Time Out
   In Focus
   Food For Thought
   Life Style
   Slice of Life
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
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Ban corporal punishment
I think it's about time the government in this country banned corporal punishment in our schools. There is no corporal punishment in most of development countries and so what justification is there for having it in Bangladesh? Is it so that teachers can bully the children, take out their frustrations from home and mentally scar them for life? There is an interesting article in this month's Readers Digest about why the children in Finland are ahead of the children in the rest of the world in reading and science education. Needless to say, beating the children is not part of the learning process there.
Aryan Khan
Gulshan, Dhaka

Thanks and some corrections
I/we would like to thank you for publishing the feature "Arch.Kids Take Wings". It was very inspiring to our combined effort of creating awareness among the future generations to make them conscious about the environment and its architecture.
I would like to clarify some of the information that appeared in the feature. Arch.KIDS is an ongoing outreach programme of the Department of Architecture, BRAC University. Among various programmes organised for the Arch.KIDS, 'My Dream Street' was a workshop session. It was a combined effort of the teachers and students of the Department of Architecture of BRAC University. The Arch.KIDS workshop was not initiated by me as the feature suggests, I worked as the workshop coordinator. In future, Arch.KIDS has the intention of working with different groups of children, enabling them to take leadership roles in building a better environment and to support good architecture. Also, slip in the feature need to be mentioned. Only Sunbeams school has its premises in Road 27, not Sunnydale School which is located in Road 7 in Dhanmondi.
Huraera Jabeen
Department of Architecture, BRAC University

Crossroads, the Pakistan experience
The growth of fundamentalism may prove very detrimental to the future of this country and needs to be nipped in the bud. This is a critical time for Bangladesh, situated between what are two soon-to-be "super-powers" -- India and China. We have to ensure that we take advantage of this position. Our neighbours are being courted by the West, we also need to have something to offer in order to help our citizens climb out of the poverty cycle through the creation of employment and wealth. Pakistan had always been entertaining the notion of being very "Islamic" by supporting the Taliban, but after 9/11 when asked to pick a side, Musharraf didn't hesitate in shunning the fundamentalists (much to the astonishment of the Islamic right wing in his country). Now, Pakistan is happily growing along with India and China and has been avoiding becoming a pile of rubble like Afghanistan. Musharraf has taken a hard line against religious zealots in order to distance his country from Islamic fundamentalism. Our government also needs to take this hard line and needs to provide adequate schooling for the children who are turning into zealots out of economic desperation. The future of this country lies in co-operation with our neighbours and encouraging business, not fanaticism.
Jewel Matin
Gulshan, Dhaka

"The Price of Passion"
The article "The Price of Passion" by Kajalie Shehreen Islam and Srabonti Narmeen Ali was mind-blowing. This article caught my eye for two reasons. The first reason was that, women writers are finally coming forward to write on such controversial issues and the second reason was that the article related premarital sex with the spread of AIDS. I was extremely impressed as the article gave us young readers a lot of knowledge on safe sex. As I lived abroad, I agree with the fact that youths of our country lack proper sex education. But the saddest part is that the story is sure to face much criticism. I hope it does not discourage the SWM writers. I hope to be reading such articles in the future! Keep up the awesome work, SWM!
Anika Bhuiyan
Southpoint School and College, Chittagong


I am really concerned about the increase in premarital sex among today's youth and SWM's cover story of September 9, "The Price of Passion" drew my attention. From the article I learnt about Keya who killed herself when her boyfriend refused to marry her after she became pregnant. I also learnt that 90 percent of abortions in our country take place because of pregnancy before marriage. Islam does not permit sex before marriage. I thus appeal to the young women of today not to trust their boyfriends because they will spoil their lives. Even children are adversely affected by sex today. I think some necessary steps should be taken to protect our young generation from the negative effects of movies with sexual content shown on tv chanels, along with pornographic video CDs and DVDs. These should also be banned. Cyber cafes should prevent access to sex sites on the internet. Thank the writers of the article for focusing on such an important topic.
Arif Khan
Mirpur, Dhaka

BTV -- Boring Television
Bangladesh Television (BTV), the national television channel of the country, is a government-controlled medium. It is a great admirer of the ruling party. BTV is supposedly the voice of the country, the soil and its people but it seems to be only that of the party in power. The voice of BTV changes with the ruling parties. I think BTV should be given full autonomy, which would result in broadcasting neutral programmes. I urge the government to allow all media to function freely.

Student politics and its impact on students
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world. Education is the only way out of the darkness the country is in. But student politics destroys the academic career of many students. In our country, students are usually introduced to student politics at the HSC level. Many colleges, and even some universities, have a "political quota". Students who cannot get admitted into general seats take the help of political leaders already in the institution to get into this quota and later become their weapons of political power. This is very harmful for the students. I think student politics should be discouraged and believe that SWM can play a major role in pressing for this.
NS Shamim
Khulna University

Submission Guideline:
Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary and Write to Mita, with the writer's name and address, should be within 200 words. All articles should be within 1,200 words. A cover letter is not necessary, but every write-up should include the writer's name, phone number and email address (if any). While SWM welcomes unsolicited articles and photographs, it cannot accept the responsibility of their loss or damage. SWM does not return unsolicited articles and photos. Response time for unsolicited write-ups range from three weeks to two months. All articles submitted are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity.
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