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Our Not-So-Funny Political Carnival

Today's scenario is an incestuous child of a series of unfortunate and unnecessary events. Anyone who doesn't have to live through the harsh realities of political turmoil that we have in Bangladesh will actually find the situation funny.

In a country of 140 million people, the will of the masses cannot be silenced. The past government cannot return to power through appointing partisan electoral officials and both Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia have to realize this. It was completely fruitless for the past government to appoint controversial people in important official and electoral posts. It's not hard to foresee the agitation that will surely follow, given the confrontation and nature of this country's politics. Awami League (AL), on their part for once should show a quarter ounce of maturity and express their dissent and dissatisfaction in a civilized manner. Our country has an institution where political leaders can argue out their differences. It's called The Parliament. Our one just happens to be Louis Kahn's self-declared masterpiece! So why does our national 'leaders' order their various followers to confront each other on the streets with boitha-s and boti-s? Sheikh Hasina has to understand that the alignment of electoral officials won't make a difference to the ultimate verdict and the time, energy and resources she so lavishly bestows on her various pet agitation programs would be much better spent on constructive campaigning. This will also save the people a lot of trouble. Plus, AL should remember that Sheikh Mujib is the father of the entire nation and not just the exclusive property of their party alone. What's the point in “not sharing” his national ideals with everyone?

BNP is no longer a political party, but rather a “cluster of mutual interests”, solely aimed at financial gain and they have used up all the political capital given to them by Zia's exemplary honesty. Most of the voters' opinions were in favour of the Awami League, due to the price-hike extremism, inefficiency and corruption that marred the BNP regime. However, Sheikh Hasina is doing neither Bangladesh nor her own party any favour through the constant street agitation. Ridiculous programs like logi-boitha and various hartals she calls disrupt social and commercial schedules of the already long-suffering general public. Hence, it only alienates her party further from the people.

General Ershad must be having the time of his life. Things have never looked so good for him ever since he got kicked out of power by the people! In previous elections, Jatio Party (Ershad) has never made a commendable showing. They only got roughly 2.5% of the votes and carried barely 10-12 constituencies. Now, under the forthcoming alliance with BNP, he's probably going to ask for around 40 seats in parliament (something he could never aspire to on his own). It's painfully obvious as to why he is being found innocent on a succession of graft cases. So, he gets to get away with years of corruption, gluttony and swindling the Bangladeshi public.

It is a matter of shame and disbelief that any party that opposed our independence should even be allowed to compete for seats in our parliament. The leaders of Jamat-E-Islami are known beyond reasonable doubt to have participated in the rape and genocide of '71. Their existence is an insult to our sense of patriotism. It is a measure of BNP's desperate political bankruptcy that they would actually associates themselves with such a group of people, especially given the fact that it was General Ziaur Rahman who declared our independence. Jamat loves flexing their muscles and beards in shows of gang strength, street wars and threats to liberal members of the society, but that doesn't spare them from the 'cruel' political reality that they don't have any base among the voters. That's because most people find them and their fanatic ideals repulsive!

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by former President B.Chowdhury and Col. Oli are the only remaining political entity that has not yet played an active role in Bangladesh's legacy of corruption and disruption as a team. As such, they are given a fresh birth in the public opinion. Very few arguments can be given against the records of senior members of the party, such as B.Chowdhury and former Power Minister Talukder. However, it still must be known that several members of the party are defectors from BNP who are dissatisfied with their previous party with questionable records. In the spirit of fairness, we must give them the 'benefit of the doubt' in the upcoming election.

It's humiliating how the major political parties have become irrationally desperate for power that they do not plan towards constructive campaigning. In their shameless 'tug of war' for power, our political players have put up quite the carnival sideshow for an international audience. We have had enough of this horseplay and as voters; we must do some serious soul-searching in order to cast an informed, well-thought-out vote, so as to put the best possible people in the seats power.

By Aaqib F. Hossain and Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Tete-e-tete with YGTL contestants

Pantene's 'You Got The Look' (YGTL) is a beauty pageant different from the rest. It is arguably the most sought after event in Bangladesh's fashion scene, providing youngsters interested in modeling and fashion a chance to show off their skills and receive a sort of platform to boost their own careers. Rising Star got a chance to interview five of the top ten finalists of the YGTL 2006 show, which was the 6th successive show of its kind Tulona, Shima, Salman, Reshad and Refayat.

Tell us a bit about yourselves?

Tulona: I've passed my intermediate and I'm looking to get admitted to a university very soon

Shima I'm doing my honours (2nd year) at City College

Salman: - I'm doing my MBA at Dhaka University

Reshad I'm doing my BBA at AIUB

Refayat: - I'm studying Architecture at Brac University

How did it all happen?

Reshad: - Well the 'You Got The Look' form came in the newspaper and so I decided to try it out.

Tulona: - 6000 people or so applied.

Reshad: - Yea and 50 were called back: 25 girls and 25 boys. We were all called back to Sheraton Hotel for another interview where the top 16 were selected. After that we were subjected to 3 days of grooming where we were taught how to walk and talk. After that, the top 10 were selected. Then followed a rigorous 21-day training session after which the main show took place, where the final winners were selected.

Refayat Almost of us were basically newcomers and we were told at first to forget everything that we knew before so that everyone whether he or she was a professional model or not - would be on the same level.

Shima: - The main event occurred at Capital Recreation club for duration of 3 hours during which a total of 11 titles were given out. I got Best Talent; Reshad got Most Photogenic, Most Popular and Best Hair: Salman the best couple

Reshad: - First there was a profile of all the contestants then the ramp walk. Then we all had to perform in a dance, question and answer round and then the awards were given out.

What was the experience like?

Reshad: well obviously it was a good experience. I got a lot of media coverage, which was very nice. We also got to meet celebrities like Amitabh Reza.

Salman: Yea, same here. I also got to learn a lot of new things, which I hadn't known before seeing how I was a newcomer and stuff.

Shima: Yes it was a good experience and also we all made some new found friends whom we all stay in touch with

Tulona: - Yeah, we created our own group. And although I wouldn't say that my experience was drama free; I thought that some partiality went on but I'm happy that I got to make some really good friends there.

Refayat: - I definitely don't regret doing the show though there was some mismanagement. For example the award for the Congeniality award was an open one; it depended on our votes. Well, we all did vote and then did a rough estimate of who would be the winner and it did seem like the most votes had been cast for me. But then right on the day of the show, we were told backstage that the votes were lost and to vote again. So using eyeliners and pieces of tissues we voted again. This time around we all voted for Tanvir whom we were sure would get the award. But later the Congeniality award was given to Omit. And none of us have any idea how that happened.

But isn't it safe to say being on the show did open up a lot of opportunities?

Reshad and Salman: - Oh, yea definitely.

What are your upcoming projects?

Tulona: - Well I had already started modeling long before I entered this contest so I am currently quite active in ramp shows (probably having done more than 100 of them by now). I've also done ads for Nescafe, Grameen Phone, Standard Chartered Bank, Dutch Bangla Bank among many more etc.

Reshad: - I've done some ramp shows and there is an upcoming project I'm doing for the British American Tobacco co. with Salman.

Salman:- Yea, the same for me.

Refayat: - Actually, I wasn't here during the few months after the contest due to my residential program at Brac at Savar but I did used to get calls for doing ramp shows! In the meantime, I've choreographed three shows at my University.

Shima: - I've done some music videos and danced at ramp shows. I also have an upcoming natok on Channel i

What would your advice be to youngsters interested in modeling and entering beauty pageants?

Reshad: - Be patient; never give up. You never know when your dreams might come true

Refayat- Grooming is needed in order to make it in the fashion industry. You got to know how to walk and talk and how to interact well with people (strangers around you). And of course being confident never hurts.

Thanks guys for taking the time to talk to us and good luck
Everyone: - No problem! Thanks!

By Nisma Elias

Campus news
Canadian International School, Dhaka celebrated their First Anniversary on Thursday, November 9th, 2006 at the school's premises.

A short cultural programme in tribute to the recent Eid Holiday highlighting the abilities of its students was organised. A cake cutting ceremony that was graced by Ms Bonnie Meehan, Principal of Canadian International School and Begum Dilruba Azam, Chairperson Bangladesh Air Force Ladies Welfare Society, followed the cultural programme. All students, parents, teachers and staff of the Canadian International School were also present.

Meet the leader at NSU
AIESEC in North South University organized a seminar on 8th November,2006.It was held at STR300 in North South University.AIESEC is the international platform for young people to discover and develop their potentials to create a positive impact on society.It is recognized as the world's largest student organization by the United Nations.AIESEC starts its journey in Bangladesh from North South University.The title of the seminar was "Meet The Leader 2006".The key note speaker and the leader of the seminar was Mr. Sanjiv Mehta, the CEO of Unilever.While The chief guest was Dr. Hafiz G A Siddique, the Vice Chancellor of North South University and a renowned educationalist.Mr. Mehta showed a Multimedia presentation.The 45 minute long presentation was about leadership.Students of NSU were very interested to attend the seminar and to know about this leader.Later Mr. Mehta faced a question answer session where student of NSU asked him about leadership,Unilever,Bangladesh's current economic situation and his career.AIESEC organized "Meet The Leader" seminar before,they want to arrange such seminar regularly with great business leaders of Bangladesh in future.

By Mostofa Saikh Chowdhury


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