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If only......

She was the worshipper of beauty, a lady with an incredibly acute aesthetic sense. Throughout her life, she had a strange incl nation towards brightness; in fact, she insisted on keeping all the lights in her room switched on, even in broad daylight, and shunned the use of any kind of dim lighting. We, as her family, were always amused at this disposition, and often told her so. But we never got the chance of telling her, that the moment she stepped into a place, we no longer needed any artificial lights for illumination. Her smile, her voice, and in fact -- her sheer presence radiated a warm brightness; a brightness that the eyes could not see, but one that the heart felt and rejoiced in.

The lady whom everyone knows as the torchbearer of female emancipation, a passionate social worker and... a martyr was my Grandmother, my Unna. Yes, indeed I am talking about Mrs. Ivy Rahman, who lived her life like a paragon and who, in death, has risen above the need for any introduction. The firm determined and yet flawlessly beautiful face, the indomitable voice, and the rebel like attitude are now known to everyone. But we, her family, knew the tender, warm hearted and lively woman who was cloistered within this persona. She had so much, but yet she preserved this adorable, and in fact, admirable quality of finding happiness in so little. One only had to offer her chocolates and ice creams and her face would break into a smile, the innocence of which paralleled that of a child. When we praised her beauty, she would smile coyly and say that we were just flattering her. But at heart she knew how right we were and we knew how delighted she was. Whenever we forgot her birthday, she would wait all day, and when at night no one seemed to remember yet, she would call us up -- angry and offended. But her anger melted the moment we apologized, and when she got her birthday presents, all traces of offence would vanish into thin air! With us, she was this kind of a lady -- so easy to please, so easy to beguile and so easy.... to love.

What amazes me most about Unna is the remarkable way in which she created a balance between her social, political and family life. The task must have been so difficult and yet, she handled it with a delicacy and an indefatigable attitude that was so characteristic of her. No matter how busy her schedule she never deprived her family from the love and affection that one expects from a mother and a grandmother. In fact, she gave us much much more than we expected, and more than we perhaps deserved. She would be falling asleep with exhaustion, but still continue telling stories so that her grandchildren would not be disappointed. Even after returning worn out from a daylong procession, she would insist on cooking with her own hands because she knew how dearly we loved and admired her cooking. She was so much like every other woman, and yet she was so different. She was, in fact, a true woman of substance.

The fact that these moments which we took for granted as a part of life, have now become frozen in time as mere memories seem inconceivable, almost impossible. It is hard to grasp that no one will ever wear those countless saris that are arranged in her almirah and from which her lovely scent still emanates; it is hard to believe that we shall no longer hear that tender voice, which called us up a dozen times a day just to invite us to dinner. While she was alive -- we denied her request countless times. But now we would have given anything -- everything within our power to see her one more time, touch her, hear her voice and just to feel her presence in our lives, in our sorrows and happiness. Unna who dedicated her whole life to fulfilling the tiniest of our wishes has left us aching with one desperate wish; if.... only if we could have held her when she lay helpless and wounded and told her, "Don't worry. We are here for you just like you were always there for us." If only, we could have told her... how much we loved her...

By Tanisha Bukth

The audacity to confront the evil

"I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.'
John Wycliffe (1329-84) English religious reformer

Darkness of the evil cannot be abolished as long as we accept it as one of our common companions. It inevitably stays in everyone's life and each of us should take potent steps to identify the dark and the evil sides of life in order eventually to eliminate them. Not only in our personal life but also in our social life the adversities of the evil invariably exist and persist strongly as long as our courageous intrepidity does not grow formidable enough to negate them completely.

In our society the darkness exists in disguise of innumerable social dilemmas. Poverty, terrorism, illiteracy and fundamentalism are some of our major social problems. These problems are eating the marrow of our society constantly and making us deeply enervated. However, it's certain that no matter how extensive the opposition of the darkness is, if we have enough courage to face it fearlessly and if we have the guts to fight for the truth, then our conquest against the darkness of the evil is irresistible. We all know that eventually the truth prevails. 'We seek the truth, and will endure the consequences' (Charles Seymour).

In our country where countless fundamentalist powers are active and where the evildoers often get rigidly blind and compartmentalized by their idealistic principles and do not care for the basic human values, it's really difficult to stand against the evil dauntlessly. Subsequently, which brings enormous risk to one's life. We do not have sufficient freedom of speech. If you speak the truth you'll end up inciting some absurd people's monstrous savageness. As a consequence who would either kill you or cause intolerable disturbance to your innocent family members.

On the other hand if you speak half the truth then some others would feel attacked and do the job of harassing you. Perhaps, the one and only sensible thing to do is being utterly dumb and deaf. And that's what the socalled smart and intelligent people of our country do. We cannot speak what we believe, we can't write what we think and we can't express what we feel. These jungle rules are acutely evident in our everyday reality.

Nevertheless, the fortunate fact is even when this is the case some uncompromising men do show the resolute courage to bring forth the authentic liberty for us. Professor Humayun Azad was one of those men who do not hesitate to sacrifice their lives enthusiastically for a noble cause. Intrepid writer and freethinker Azad was brutally stabbed by the sordid miscreants on February 2004. (Fortunately he survived the catastrophe). He never compromised with the noxious darkness that lives in our personal and social life.

He never compromised with the obscure selfishness that lives inside our mind and makes emotionless hermaphrodites out of us. A real human being is one who expresses whatever he believes to be the truth in order to create full-bloomed conscience among the others. In this Dr. Azad did that quite well. His departure (on 10 August 2004 in Germany) is a tremendous loss for our nation. I believe, only condolences and commiserations are not enough. We must take him as an ideal personality to be as audacious and leonine as he was. If we can be able to achieve the courage to confront the evil fearlessly, then the darkness of the evil won't last long to confine us in it's segregated cells.

(I'm dedicating this piece of writing to Humayun Azad and his altruistic sacrifice)

By Kh. Asef Safa Kabir

RS Study Buddies

SAT Preps part II: secrets of the SAT's

What makes the SAT such a tough examination to score well in? That's a question that arises especially because the basic requirements for acing the exam aren't that demanding. According to the College Board, all you need are decent reading skills, a good vocabulary, and a clear concept of basic high-school math. What the College Board doesn't tell you, however, is that it's equally important to know how to take the SAT. Read on for some quick tips and tricks that are bound to boost your scores.

The first thing you need to do is to get hold of a sample SAT paper and learn the format. These aren't hard to find, since most SAT prep books will have sample SAT papers. 10 Real SAT's is a good place to look. Pay special attention to the instructions about how to fill in the ovals, how to use the grids, and the other little details. If you know your way around the test booklet from beforehand, you can save valuable time during the exam, which would otherwise be wasted on reading directions, and trust me, every second counts!

Time management: You get approximately a minute to answer each question, so if you get stuck on a tricky question, leave it and move on. Do not waste time thinking about it; instead, answer the easy ones first, so that you can come back and work on the tough ones later. Each question carries the same marks, so you don't get any extra for the difficult ones. Hence it's better to answer as many as you can.

Order of difficulty: The questions in the SAT are arranged in an increasing order of difficulty. Which means, as you progress deeper into the exam, the questions get harder. This also means that the correct answer on a difficult question is bound to be the least obvious one. Beware of 'traps'. These are answer choices that are designed to look appealing, so that you're tempted to go for them. The later questions in the test are riddled with these traps, just to test how logical and alert you are, so be careful.

Guessing: This is a tip that might not only get you extra points, but actually saves the amount of energy you spend learning all those words for the Verbal section. Don't be afraid to guess answers. Especially in the Sentence Completion section, you don't have to know all those tough words. Read the sentence carefully, and guess the meaning of the word from the context it is used in. Remember, if you get a correct answer, you gain a point; if you make a mistake, you lose only a fraction of a point, so it pays to guess. This is one good thing about the SAT's consisting mainly of multiple-choice questions.

Eliminating answer choices: To increase chances of guessing the correct answer, try narrowing down your answer choices. Reading the question carefully will show you at least one answer choice that is obviously wrong. Cross it out, so that you can concentrate on the ones that look right, and you'll find that you're making fewer mistakes. Go with your gut feeling, but make sure you back it up with a clear concept of what you're working with.

Shortcuts: Guessing might be easy to do in the Verbal section, but when it comes to Math, it's a totally different ball game. Your best bet is to use shortcuts, instead of going step by step the way your high school algebra teacher taught you. Here's how it works: the answer to the question is staring at you in the face (except for the grid-ins and quantitative comparisons). So, plug in the answer choices into the equation given, and see which answer fits with the equation. Here's a tip: start with choice C, because it's the one in the middle. If it fits, you've got the answer right away, and if it doesn't, you know whether you need a higher value (choices D and E) or lower value (choices A and B).

These tips and tricks might make you better prepared to deal with the SAT in a more strategic fashion, but remember: nothing beats good, thorough preparations, so make sure you study hard. Even if the SAT is a long way off, it pays to practice basic math problems to hone your skills. Above all, I cannot stress enough the importance of good reading habits. Switch off the TV for an hour everyday at least, and invest that time in a good book. Trust me, it's a much better way to learn than by memorising 3000 alien words a few days before the exam.

Well, that's all the info I have on the SAT's. Best of luck with your exams!

By Sabrina F Ahmad


1st WFUNA model UN conference for the Asia and Pacific region

The first WFUNA Model UN conference for the Asia and Pacific region, hosted by UNA
China, in Beijing from 19-21 August 2004 was on the theme of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There were thirty-one delegations from twenty-two countries-namely Australia, Canada, Cambodia, China, Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States of America.

Much of the success was attributed to the close cooperation between WFUNA leaders, the great efforts made by the host UNA-China and its co-host China Foreign Affairs University, the support of UNAs, as well as the enthusiastic engagement of students with the challenge of achieving the MDGs in the region. Students and UNA representatives felt a real sense of adventure and were warmly rewarded by the presence of the Foreign Minister of China, LI Zhaoxing at the closing session.

The Model UN conference was a simulation of the fifty-three-member Commission of ESCAP, together with its three committees on Poverty Reduction, Emerging Social Issues and Managing Globalization. This event had the active support of UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Mr Kim Hak-Su.

The aims were to promote Asian/Pacific regional cooperation, educational opportunities and networking among university students, fostering this skills in research, advocacy and negotiation by focusing their attention on the critical trade and development issues associated with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

By linking the Model UN conference to the MDGs, students were encouraged to see their activities an integral part of the Global Millennium Campaign. Participants gained:
* Knowledge of how the UN and the World Bank work with governments, civil society and corporate sector to achieve the MDGs.
* Understanding of the strategic, political, economic and commercial issues that are being debated and need to be resolved if the Goals are to be achieved.
* Skills to research, analyze, debate and negotiate on issues relating to the Goals.

Dr Syed Mohammed Shahid, the secretary-general of the Untied Nations Associated of Bangladesh, headed the Bangladeshi delegation. Taufiqul Islam Joarder, Shammy Wadud, Shahjalal Karim and Farhan Rahman were the delegates from Bangladesh.




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