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Little men with big beards

Last week I found out an odd fact. 90% of all the quarrels between guys and their parents are about facial hair. Ok, maybe the figure is a bit exaggerated but I know many people who have this problem with their 'loved ones'.

Facial hair is a rite of passage. It's one of the most beautiful and satisfying thing that can happen to a guy. When you grow a beard, you know for one, that yes, you are a guy. Secondly, you know you are growing up. And thirdly, you don't have to look like some childish looking geek.
Unfortunately bearded men are looked upon as scoundrels of the society- and the beard itself has become in many cases a cursed attire sported by rough and uncouth 'animals'. A guy having a beard is immediately identified as either a 'mastan' or a 'mullah'. If the beard is a really cool one, then the guy is branded as a “noshto chele” (a lost case).

A clean shaven face is seen as the epitome of propriety and decency. You are expected to go to office and parties with a clean shaven face and even schools follow that such a look is a must.

No one seems to notice all the positive aspects of keeping a beard. Beards can give your face that extra flavour which can make you a hit with the ladies. And it can also save you from becoming a hit with the ladies- if you want that (you would be a very weird guy, if you want that, though).

A Beard can hide your ugliness! And as Sabrina F Ahmed goes, it can make a thin long face look wider and who can deny the power of Sabrina on judging men's looks? Most important of all, beards actually need very little maintenance. So you can avoid the hassle of shaving every day which every growing guy must love!

Still no parents seem to notice the positives, least of all my parents. Whenever parents notice the beautiful outgrowths and you gather the courage to oppose them, rest assured that a full-blown war is about to erupt…

Son: What's the problem?
The problem, well there are billions of problems! You look like a mess. You look like a “mastaan”! If you go out of the house you will get arrested! People would think you are a Molbi!! They will kick you out of school! People will laugh at you and the list goes on and on.

Son: I just don't know what the problem is, Dad.
Father: The problem is I don't like it (there you go: there is no problem other than the personal hatred issue)! I hate it! You will shave it off tomorrow or else, somebody is going to get hurt badly…

It doesn't take a genius to figure out who that somebody would be! Though Daddy dearest doesn't really hurt you- he could end up pestering you until you are forced to submit to his will. Then again you can keep a beard until it becomes noticeable enough for him to start barking- and then allow the cycle to continue. That's how I manage to keep a beard 18 days out of 31, despite the violent opposition! You see, I calculate: it takes 3 days for beards to grow. And 3 days more for daddy to notice something is growing on your face.

And 1-2 days of argument before you are fed up and cut the thing off your face. So that leaves you with a total of twenty days with a beard. Not bad?

Of course to keep a beard you have to maintain it properly for at least a few weeks so you really don't end up having anything much to show. Still for facial hair rebels like me, it's the best we can do!

By Reggie

Centre Culturel Européen: Nurturing tomorrow's leaders

The Centre Culturel Européen (CCE) is a leading institution in Bangladesh, offering opportunities for rounded professional development through courses in business communications, expert negotiation skills and language courses including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese and Arabic. What sets this institution apart from most other sprawling centers all around the city is the dedication of Shamim Hamid, Director of CCE who holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. Hamid has decades of experience in the development field, having worked in the United Nations agencies in Bangladesh, Rome, Geneva and Bangkok. She's also the author of the books Zuleikha's Dream and Other Stories and Why Women Count.

CCE started in January 2005, as a private initiative. The purpose of this Centre is to nurture students and professionals by equipping them with the required communication and negotiation skills so that they can utilize their full potential of becoming a leader in their own fields. CCE aims to open wide the doors of opportunity to enable the Bangladeshi youth, especially, to compete for jobs and develop business, trade and industry, both in the global and the local markets.

'People in our country started to realize how important it is to learn an extra language apart from English and their mother tongue. In this time of rapid economic growth of Bangladesh, and the process of globalization that aims to make this world free of barriers, we have seen how learning an extra language can open up opportunities.

It's not just the field of business that I am talking about, but in every field, starting from education, profession to tea parties, knowing another language always helps,' the Director states.

At Centre Culturel Europeen, each course is specially customized and tailor-made according to the needs of the students. For example, if you wish to learn more of spoken Spanish than writing, then a course could be tailored for you exactly that way. This is another exception that CCE is known for. Unlike most other centers, which have a stiff set of courses, CCE offers you to choose the course just the way you want. Currently, the Centre offers courses in French, German, English, Arabic, Chinese (and other languages on demand by a group), as well as customized English courses, such as hospitality etiquette, business communication, etc. CCE also runs courses on professional development and management skills, negotiation and leadership skills and public speaking skills. The organization aims to keep its course accessible for all and offers concessional fees to those who need it.

Around the world, in this period of rapid globalization, learning English and an extra language comes in handy in all conversations, personal, professions and business. It's not just pilots anymore who have their breakfast in Rome and dinner in New York. Globalization has led to the opening-up of a new world where businessmen, students and professionals alike can enjoy the advantage of having a laugh with friends at a New York party and doing serious business back in Paris.That reminds me to end this article with a lovely quote by the French Frederic Chopin, 'Les gens qui ne rient jamaise ne sont pas des gens serieux,' which means “People who do not know how to laugh can never be serious.”

If you want further information about Centre Culturel Europeen, visit the Centre at House# 69, Road# 16, Block A, Banani, or at www.centreeuropeen.org. Or call at 011-99-812696. You can also e-mail them at cce@bangla.net

By S.S.Rishad

Laff Lines

Bravery can equal to stupidity
A man died and went to The Judgment. St. Peter met him at the Gates of Heaven and said, "Before you meet with God, I thought I should tell you -- we've looked at your life, and your really didn't do anything particularly good or bad. We're not at all sure what to do with you. Can you tell us anything you did that can help us make a decision?"

The newly arrived soul thought for a moment and replied, "Yeah, once I was driving along and came upon a woman who was being harassed by a group of bikers. So I pulled over, got out my tire iron, and went up to the leader of the bikers. He was a big, muscular, hairy guy with tattoos all over his body and a ring pierced through his nose. Well, I tore the nose ring out of his nose, and told him he and his gang had better stop bothering the woman or they would have to deal with me!"

"I'm impressed," St. Peter responded, "When did this happen?"
"About two minutes ago," came the reply.

Birds and the bees
Donald Ogden Stewart, the writer, had a son away at prep school. When the boy reached the age of fourteen, Stewart wrote him the following letter: "Dear son, now that you have reached the magic age of fourteen, the time has come to tell you about the bees and flowers. There is a male and a female bee, although I haven't the slightest idea which is which. As for the flowers - we get ours from the Plaza Florist, Inc. Well, that takes care of that.
Write soon, Affectionately,

Book review

So you have this wildly popular novel that everyone falls in love with and it gets made into a memorable silver screen saga, and then someone else decides to write the sequel? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? Sometimes it actually works out fine.

Margaret Mitchell took the world by storm with her Pulitzer-winning Gone with the Wind (GWTW) published in 1936.
This saga tells the story of an Atlanta belle Scarlett O' Hara who breaks all social conventions to get what she wants, be it the heart of a man who belongs to someone else, or to keep a roof over her family's head during the Civil War… While she's out doing this, she loses the people that really mattered to her; her parents, her favourite daughter Bonnie, her best friend Melanie 'Melly' Wilkes, and ultimately her husband Rhett Butler.

Alexandra Ripley's authorised sequel Scarlett was published in 1991. The story takes up where GWTW left off, at Melly's funeral, and Scarlett is left to pick up the pieces of her life. Spanning over seven years, and travelling across the continent from America to Ireland, this book celebrates Scarlett's personal growth and ultimate, but bittersweet triumph.

The novel, despite some scathing reviews by GWTW purists, was fairly successful.
I personally felt that Ripley was very true to Mitchell's novel, and all the characters retained their essence in this book.
Scarlett's progression from a vain, catty clotheshorse to a responsible maternal madam was convincing and heart-warming at the same time.
Sorry girls, but I did not like Rhett Butler!

The first time I read the book, and its prequel was in Class VIII, and when I mentioned this fact, all the other girls chased me around the school. Sure, he's handsome and charming, but then so are all Judith Mcnaught heroes…and you can't really tell one from the other. Scarlett, however, is hero enough for both of them, and she's reason enough to go read the book.

My copy of the book was a chance find at a bargain bin in Omni books…but I think interested readers would probably find it in Nilkhet.

Sabrina F Ahmad


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