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The week in re(ar)view

Ships moving faster
Following the state of emergency declaration in January, performance goes up by 30pc, business cost reduces by 40pc. Ah, if only this was possible last year, so much more could have been smuggled in and out of the country with ease.

At the moment, there is no ship congestion at the port. Sometimes 5-8 berths remain empty due to lack of ships. A medium-sized ship's per day cost of waiting is around $10,000-15,000.

Passport offices live in ancient age
Developed countries have biometric passports. If the name sounds too techie then that's what it is. In Bangladesh , citizens of Bangladesh continue to carry passports filled out manually and prepared with primitive technologies. That's not really the story. The point is that we should be lucky we are able to have passports in the first place.

Only 15 passport offices across the country deal failingly with the growing demand for passports. Apparently, introduction of modern technologies will lead to curbing of corruption in the passport offices. We say that we can corrupt any form of technology.

A report revealed that the police, middlemen and a section of government officials illegally collect Tk 21 crore a year from citizens. Surprised? Now think of it from a different angle. You the public is paying 21 crore a year. Angry? Should be.

Police learning new tricks
A two-day training course for the police personnel of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) ended at Special Branch (SB) Training School at Malibagh in the city on 10 may. You may be wondering what they learned. Definitely nothing new. They already know all the various ways money can be coerced out of the hands of public (that's you and I). They also know how to do nothing when they most need to do something. In fact, they are pioneers in many cases.

The objective of the course was to sensitise the trainees about the danger of drug dependence, HIV/AIDS and their own risks as they deal with drug dependence and other high-risk groups.

Quickest polls now on mind
The voting news is now old news. Even new news is born old. The whole photograph and ID fiasco still continues albeit with renewed enthusiasm. The Election Commission (EC) is looking for ways to prepare the voter list with photographs in the shortest possible time within an 18-month time frame.

However, the EC may not go door-to-door for voter list. They want to do it the democratic way by letting people decide for themselves whether they want to vote or not.

They expect people to come to camps set up for this purpose, say cheese, get their photographs taken and so on. Sounds cheesy.

Fire burns
Fire Service and Civil Defence Week 2007 began on 7 may with a view to create awareness among people about the devastation of fire. As usual we have a few suggestions. Lighting a fire under their bottoms usually makes people quite aware about the devastating effect. Better yet, take their money and light it up. Nothing can be more painful.

A total of 92 people were killed while properties worth about Tk 238.76 crore were gutted in 9,542 fire incidents recorded in 2006.

By Gokhra and Mood Dude


This week's topic: “Do you think Coaching Centres have a positive effect on the educational development of the young generation of our nation?”

As more and more students flock existing to coaching centres, we find new coaching centres popping up here and there. As an increasing number of students now do “double school” (real school in the morning, and coaching at night), the number of students achieving outstanding results also increases. Also, it can be found that many coaching centres have job offers (as teachers) to brilliant students.

All in all, you may eventually begin to wonder at the way coaching centres have influenced our lives. Let's see what other people are thinking of this:

“This question will ALWAYS have a biased opinion, because someone who goes to private coaching will make it sound like a flowery candy land; those who don't will make it sound like the deepest chasm of hell. I feel that if a student requires help he or she should go for it. Otherwise, why bother?” Ibtisam. Age: 15. Scholastica.

“I think coaching centres are helpful at times. Usually, though, the teachers just talk about their life history, but sometimes they do teach properly.” Ali Latif. Age: 16. Scholastica.

“Sometimes coaching centres are helpful, but not always. If it's not possible for the student to concentrate in class then he or she ought to seek help outside of school. Coaching centres keep their teacher to student ratio around 1:10, so that at least they can concentrate on their students properly.” Ishtiyaq. Age: 26. MBA, BRAC University.

“Coaching centres are really good and helpful but students sometimes tend to depend totally on their private tutors and that is never good for them in the long run.” Ruha. Age: 15. Scholastica.

“I think coaching centres are not necessary if we're taught properly at school. And if it is really necessary then we ought to opt for private tutors over coaching centres because at least private tutors can give us the attention that we need.” Azmain. Age: 15. Scholastica.

“I think it depends on the teacher that runs the coaching centre. If there is a good teacher, then it will influence a child's development a lot. However, a bad teacher with low degrees will have a negative effect.” Deea. Age: 16. The Aga Khan School.

“Getting unfair advantages form coaching centres is wrong and should be stopped. But then you wonder, what IS the solution for the weaker students?” Shehzeen. Age: 15. Scholastica.

“It actually depends. There are basically two classes of students. One class are people who go to school only to do 'adda'. So when they come to coaching centres, they are still in that 'adda' mood (since coaching centre environments are freer). They do not work seriously at coaching centres, so it has a negative effect on them. I'd say 70% of students today are like this. Then there is the remaining 30% that are serious and come to coaching centres to improve their exam results. Coaching centres have a positive effect on such students.” M. Z. Reza. Age:20. Former student and presently teacher of MHT Coaching Centre in Uttara.

Done by: Iftikhar Azam & Shehtaz Huq

RS Mailbx

Send your love and hate as well as contribution to this address risingstars@thedailystar.net

A ruined poster
As an old reader of RS, I remember when finding typos in RS was a regular matter. The recent improvements have been big to say the least. Which is why things get a tad disappointing when a big oversight turns up. The movie review had a poster of the movie “Premonitions”. The beautiful picture had the image of a woman formed by the tree branches in the background. Too bad the headline was placed smack dab in the centre ruining it.

Now that everything is better in RS, these single imperfections are more eye-catching. Otherwise, love the mag.
Samiha Qaiser

RS makes good tissue paper
A few days ago I went to meat fried in day old grease amid a sand and dust. Yep, it was near Abahoni field. Everything was fine till they served the oil soaked super tasty meat along with strip of newspaper to wipe our hands with. The paper was RS.

Couldn't decide whether to be outraged or amused. So while I contemplated, I continued eating and reading some of the small items. Good entertainment and also good at absorbing the oil. So decided to stick to amusement.

Cool Adda

Location- A cell in the central jail.

How to get there- Getting into jail shouldn't be too difficult. Try GTR (Grand Theft Rickshaw) or you could “impersonate” a dog and then try to bite everyone claiming that you have dengue or bird-flu, or if your mother is the prime minister of the country then it should be particularly easy, just use your power and influence to get 10% commission from every major business deal taking place, you should be in jail in no time.

What to bring- A five feet long bamboo stick, preferably a pointy one. I don't think you would be allowed to take a five feet long bamboo stick into prison, so you have to conceal it somehow. Considering how inventive and innovative we Bengalis are it shouldn't be too difficult, if you try real hard and “push” even harder.

The Adda- Once you manage to get yourself inside the jail you are in for a great treat. You will soon find yourself surrounded by some of the most intriguing characters ever to walk on the face of this planet. These people are full of interesting stories and ideas so the adda should be really interesting. However first you have to earn the compassion and trust of your fellow convicts. Try complementing Kala Kuddos on how fair and handsome he is looking, or tell Ghar-tera Mafij that his neck seems to be straighter then ever before. Then, to spice up the whole thing use the 5 feet long bamboo stick to poke the corrupt politicians in the cell next to you. The responses could range from “son of a….stop poking, it hurts” to “ok…that's it, I am telling the guards”. You can even try to turn these politicians against each other by saying that the whole getting busted thing was completely the other politician's fault. This would soon ignite a blame game and possibly might even turn into a fight. If that happens, thank your lucky stars, then, together with your fellow convicts start betting on who is going to win the fight. In this way you might even be able to make some easy bucks. However, before betting on someone, always remember- the size of the tummy of a corrupt politician is inversely proportional to his strength but proportional to his agility.

The cons- The other convicts could get tired of your incessant poking and may decide to use your head to break out of prison, literally. This might cause massive brain damage, impairing its ability to function, leaving you as a retard.

The pros- If that happens then fear not, just fly to India; you will most likely become an iconic movie actor or maybe even the president of that country.

By Sadman Alvi

5 Things Girls Can't Do Without

Warning: This article is not for the male species--- ah, heck, they're too dumb to understand it anyway.

5. Make-up and Accessories: Unfortunately, these must-haves these are banned from all schools (picture Amitabh Bachchan in Mohabbatein). But will the super-stylish girl comrade stop? NO!

Ever wondered why her cheeks shone or her eyes looked unusually thick or why she smelled like a rose the other day? Easy: the power of face powder, mascara and (duh!) rose-scented perfume. As for those lips, that's not a miracle of nature. They are just Tk 90 lip glosses you can buy from Almas. All these require a full view of the “facial territory”. THAT requires a mirror. And THAT can be found at the school toilet reeking of femininity, tucked away wee back. NOW it dawns you. *sigh*

4. Gossip: “Didn't you hear? X got ditched by Y yesterday. X was so sad” “R was looking like a wicth yesterday in the red kameez yesterday” cluck, cluck, cluck---that's what girls do when we have nothing better to do… ummm… we NEVER have anything better to do. The flames of jealousy burn deep within us *cough*.

3. Beauty Salons: Girls come here once a month, pay a bosta-ful of money to enhance their beaut and then leave looking just the same as they did before they entered the holy shrine.

2. Showing-off: “My dad bought these bangles from Armani's collection (Armani designs bangles? mystified). They are SO expensive,” said Girl X, raising her 'dupatta' (wasn't that the main aim?) and showing-off the bangles she bought from a random street-vendor in Noakhali.

1. Boys: Truly speaking, all these not-so-futile attempts at looking prettier; throwing mud on other, more successful women; the diets and all the other beauty-enhancing activities which women take part in, are only to attract the wandering eyes of the significant other.

Before I am beheaded for writing such oshleel stuff (oshleel in the eyes of the school authority), I would like to bid adieu and give my ashirbaad to all you women--- KEEP LOOKING GOOD.

By Sadiaa



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