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Thought of the week:
""Religion is like a candle flame; it can light up your home, or burn down your house"

Hey all,
Last week, I had a letter requesting our discussion forum to raise the issue of religion. I was pleasantly surprised to note that this request was met with huge response. Before I get into today's featured letter, as the moderator of this discussion, let me first lay down a few ground rules.

The sensitive nature of this topic means that there'll be a hundred different opinions, and so I'll request you all to respect each other's views, and not take your disagreement to a personal level. Abusive language and slang will not be tolerated. Also, due to space concerns, I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to keep your letters short and succinct. Please try not to cross 150 words.

Now that that's taken care of, let's get down to business, shall we? The letter of the week this week comes from Ridwan, and he says:

"Personally, science has made it impossible for me to become an atheist by discovering the complex nature of human beings as well as proving that life could not possibly have originated through random chemical reactions. And it is universally admitted that if any religious book gives us clear insight and accurate information about the mysteries of this universe and the creation of life, it is the glorious Qu'ran. Islam also gives us practical methods to achieve our dreams like preventing corruption, reducing poverty, bringing about equality between the sexes, preventing minority repression, ensuring religious freedom and education for all while also proclaiming the universal brotherhood of man.

However, extremism in religion is something that both the Qur'an and our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) warned us about, but has become painfully evident in our country. The responsibility, I feel, has to be shouldered by every single member of the society. It is my belief that, because some Muslims in our country has become unwilling and insincere in performing even their basic religious duties, to counter this effect extremist groups are rising up like mushrooms all over the place. It's a common social phenomenon, I assure you.

Therefore, I feel that only through willing and united efforts to know more about our beautiful religion of Islam, we can ensure a progressive and well-balanced society. That's why I am really eager to see what appears in your column in the following weeks."

Well, you're not the only one. I'd also like to see what the others have to say.

One more thing before I bid you adieu for this week: on page 6 we have a story 'Against All Odds', which starts off our 500 Feat, a contest for stories within a deadly word limit of 500 words. If you think you can come up with a neat, original story within that word limit, just grease your grey cells and start spinning your stories. Check out the contest notice on Page 6 for more details.

Alrighty folks, I'll see you next week.

Send your polls, love letters, hate mails, and opinions to thegirlnextdoor1@hotmail.com, or mail me at my yahoo address at teteatete_tgnd@yahoo.com

By The Girl Next Door

Shout Out

Hey people!
Hey people!
The British Council gave me the shock of the century when they recently announced the release of the May/June results! At least that mess has been cleared up and finally, for the January candidates, its time to party. Come May and the column will witness a few irregularities, since I have my exams then, so please bear with me. Shout will be published in May but all messages have to reach the shout address by the 12th of April, in order to be posted. So tap into your calendar and find out what events are marked for the month of May and be sure to send in your shouts well ahead of the deadline. By the way, don't forget to wish your friends and family who're preparing for their exams, I sure they'll need it. Send in your messages to shout13@gmail.com

Dearest Apuli,
Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day and don't worry, I promise to be as annoying and irritating as ever for years to come.
From the greatest brother in the world,

Dear Asif Ahsan (Mitul),
Congratulations for the 6 As that you got in your O' level exams! I don't think you read my last message to you, for you haven't responded yet. Anyway, I want you to know that you have a gorgeous smile and that I really want to be your friend. Please write to me at ananya1910@yahoo.com.

Hey Shoony
You've made all of us madly proud with your result…so its time to celebrate. (Ahem) Let's NOT forget the rest of the exams in May…but we know you'll be extraordinarily good in them too!
Lots of love,
All your friends

Hi Anina
I wish you a Very HAPPY BIRTHDAY and wish that this new year of your life
brings all the excitement and happiness that you wish for! Have a beautiful, beautiful day!!
Your friend,

Dear Sajid
Just wanted to let you that I really value your friendship. It means a lot to me. Perhaps these are some of the best days in my life. Ironically happiness does not last long for me. I know after sometime you shall walk away and I shall see you doing so. Destiny has carved our meeting to part with sweet memories. No idea what the future shall unfold but as for me, I dont want to lose you at any cost. This bond of intimacy is getting me one step closer to our distance everyday. I'll MISS YOU LOTS.
Love, Farah.

History shows the achiever to get the laurels plus the lady. O levels are the 1st step to prove yourself. You be wise, boy, or you'll end up cleaning boulevards. sothis

Hi Brown-Haired Girl,
I saw you once at a wedding ceremony. How mesmerizing you were that day! The purple colour of your dress resonated with your beauty in the most captivating way! Alas! I couldn't even talk with you. I just kept on staring without realizing I am letting you go .Now I regret why I didn't say anything .Now here I stand clueless. I wonder whether I'll ever get to meet you. If you recognize would you please give me a chance? At least mail me.... email : stand_clueless@hotmail.com
Guy with glasses .

Hey Rudro,
We hope you will be shifted to morning section soon. LOLZ. Keep messaging. Life with you always seems ROCKING!
All the best to you friend,

By the Hitch-hiker

[ ATTENTION: This column is NOT responsible for any negative (or otherwise) outcome of the messages printed in it. Please do NOT abuse the column by using it to play pranks etc. Also, all personal information including email addresses and telephone numbers will be printed at the sender's expense and we do NOT take ANY responsibility for any inconvenience to anyone. ]

When I was young
I used to reach out at the sky
But it remained out of my reach
It remained so high
I flew a kite this morning
I flew it yesterday
I flew it high
In the scorching month of May
I wondered if it went
Over vales and over hills
And went over the mountains
The chimneys of distant mills
I wondered if it landed
On a land blessed by God
I thought it to be a blessing
Though the thought was rather odd
I sat on a tree
And a bird alighted
It sang with me
And I was much delighted
I stood upon a cliff
And watched the world so free
The heavens bowed down
And The Lord looks down upon me
I looked at the clouds
And reached for them, they were so high
And then realized the sky is limitless
There is no sky
By Azmi Syed

Love and The Soul
Never could I imagine that I would see
The light of love shine so bright
In your eyes it's something
That I always wanted to see
Never could I imagine that I would see
Our love grow into something so
Furious and so agile it's something
That I always wanted to feel
Never did I realize how beautiful
You looked, a glow on your face
That seems to last forever
Never did I realize how this world seems
A better place again now that I found you
It's a hope that I have regained
The feeling of ecstasy, the magic of fantasy
Can't you feel it too it's in the air
Going by reality, times are changing'
The world is twirling, as our love is shining
And it's going keep on shining as long
As the soul is trying,
Never did I imagine
That it would turn out like this
Where reality and dreams would
Come to co-exist to fulfill the joys
Of a soul that wants to keep trying
Just keep on trying...
By Hedayetullah A Solenkhi (kaiser)

A Moment Of Isolation
Stand all by myself
Keeping the world aside
A solitary moment
A being as a whole
With a soul,
A fortitude and
The core.
A moment of rift
A slow motion drift
It goes on
But me, a weak mortal
on the face of earth.
Isolated me
Was I less loved
Was I betrayed?
Ambivalent about all
That happens around me.
A stranger walks by
Asks me about love,
A reply,cynical about it
Barely believe in its resistance.
By Bushra Ahsan

Press Release

The Victoria University English Language Centre (VU ELC) offers a special English course for the candidates of who appeared for the 2005 SSC examinations.

In April and May, the VU ELC is going to offer a special English course for the SSC examinees who just finished the exams this year. VU ELC conducts the IELTS test and offers short English courses approved by VU Melbourne, Australia.

The aim of the course is to improve the skills of the young SSC candidates in English so that they can get a broader perspective of English language and at the same time come across the practical use of English to be able to use the language in their daily life. Taught by professional ESL/EFL teachers from home and abroad, this course will integrate classroom and outdoor activities where the participants will be exposed to use what they learn in the classroom.

The latest and practical methods of teaching are used to teach the course in keeping with the international standards and practice. The course is designed to be fun and fruitful for the participants so that they are not stressed with just another bout of homework and study right after the SSC hard work.

The first course begins on the 10th of April '05. For further information participants are to contact Mr Shakawat Hossain at Victoria University, House-55, Road-4/A, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1209.

Mohammad Badrul Alam
Manager Operations

Did you know?

The Egyptians used a process called embalming to preserve the bodies of the dead. At first they used the process to preserve the body of the pharaoh. Later the custom of embalming became more widespread. To embalm a body, the Egyptians placed it in the wooden box and covered it with a chemical called Natron. Natron dried up the water in the body, causing the body to shrink. After the shrunken body had dried, it was wrapped with long strings of linen. The wrapped body was also known as mummy.

The Bermuda Triangle is a large area, mainly sea, which lies between Puerto Rico, Bermuda and Florida. For over 500 years many people have been convinced that there is something odd about the area. Several theories have been suggested. Some say that all of the incidents can be explained by sudden storms, or by fast-moving currents. However some more unusual reasons are also suggested. Some believe aliens are studying our planet and have taken 'specimens' from the Bermuda Triangle. Others believe that the disturbances are caused by the activity in the Earth's crust which leads to earthquakes and whirlpools. And some also suggests, that there is magnetic activity in the Earth's molten iron core.

However, the fact is that no-one really knows for sure.

By M Zaleeha Mazen Khan


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