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     Volume 7 Issue 22 | May 30, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  One Off
  Photo Story
  Writing the Wrong
  The Star Diary
  A Roman Column
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  Straight Talk
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The Star Diary

When I am on the road in Dhaka, I usually avoid looking out for fear of accidentally seeing men treating the streets, islands and sidewalks as their private restrooms. But once in a while people I know will be frantically waving or trying to say hello from neighbouring vehicles and I almost miss them. So the other day, when I could see through the corner of my eye someone sticking their head out of a taxicab right next to me, I thought it might be one of them. To my horror, however, it was a woman I did not know throwing up out of the window. This is not the first time I have witnessed such a scene. Splatters of vomit are often to be found on the sides of buses or pouring out of windows of vehicles of every kind. A friend of mine who travels on his motorbike is always careful not to stop beside and below buses for this reason. I wish people who have a tendency to do this would carry bags of some sort to avoid exposing people to such nauseating scenes. It is one that is common on the streets of Dhaka but which just does not get any less sickening with every time it happens.

Coaching Centre Policies
The other day, I was teaching one of my students a geometrical term from his textbook. After teaching him, I asked him to read his textbook by himself so that he would have a better understanding of whatever I taught him. To my surprise, he refused to do so. It seems that the coaching centre that he goes to after school, told the children not to study the school textbooks. They were instructed to, instead, read the sheets supplied to the children by these centres. I can't help wondering, what is the use of a textbook then?
Mushfique Wadud
Department of English
Stamford University Bangladesh

Diary from Melbourne
Away From Home
I have been living in Melbourne for the last couple of years, doing my undergrad studies. Last Friday, while travelling on a tram on my way to class, I was observing the passengers and their activities. All of a sudden, when the tram stopped at one of its stations, I saw an old oriental woman trying to get on the tram (passengers usually have to step up high to reach the steps on a tram). She had a shopping trolley with her, which made it more difficult for her to step up. Commuters were actually pushing her to get onto the tram themselves, let alone helping her. She was really vulnerable and didn't know what to do. Eventually, I got down and helped the poor woman get on the tram. This was the simplest form of humanity that one could show and I was stunned by the lack of it from the other passengers who pushed her away. I let her sit on my seat. She gave me a motherly smile of gratitude and said to me in broken English, “Thank you son,” she said. “They don't want us here because we different from them.” Obviously, she was unhappy but was used to the whole scenario of discrimination against Asians living in the foreign country. The old lady asked me about my parents back in Bangladesh and had lots of questions about my country. Before she left for her destination, she said in her broken words, “God bless Bangladesh and its countrymen.” Living in a foreign country away from the people I love, the old lady's words made me warm within. I sometimes wonder though. How is the western world more civilised? Inconsistency is a major issue in the world, which needs to stop.
Mohammed Ulfat Toaha
Victoria University


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