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2008- A year of transformation

It is needless to say how 2008 zoomed by so fast. One moment, we were all wishing 'Happy 2008' and suddenly comes 2009 with a bang. Now we all pretty much know what major incidents occurred in the year 2008 but let us see stuff that actually caught our attention.

The theme of 2008 was probably 'change' and change is what we saw in a lot of aspects. First of all the fact that most of us became first time voters was a revolutionary change in itself. Till now the youth used to turn an apathetic eye towards election but post 1/11 and the voter IDs things had definitely changed. There was a whopping 31% who were first time voters. Where nobody even knew which candidates stood from their locales, now people not only know them and their background history, they actually analyzed to vote for a worthy candidate. The numerous Facebook groups and live campaigns were proof on how active the youth have become for the election. The 'No Vote' system also served as a novel concept, which was unheard of prior to the 2008 elections.

As Awami League won a landslide victory, it signified how Bangladesh was fed up of the corruption-filled and tyrannical rule of BNP and the four-party alliance. The election results also showed that people were now ready to shove the war criminals out of the political frame. Militancy and an insult to the assailants of 1971 were given a tight slap.

Speaking of elections, how can one overlook the historic win marked by Barack Hussein Obama who became America's first black president. Obama not only showed the Americans dreams of change, but also inspired millions across the globe of a better life minus violence. His charming and charismatic persona rekindled hopes of peace and prosperity for the terror-stricken and financially crippled world. His tough journey from being a son of a trite Kenyan farmer to the White House was a stand-out example which showed hard work and determination can take people to places.

President Bush got his perfect farewell gift in the form of a shoe. Muntadar Al-Zaidi, an unknown figure prior to the event became a celebrity and every sane person's hero overnight. The news and videos of the incident spread everywhere and was rejoiced by old and young alike. News has it that somebody even offered a million dollars for one of his shoe! Weird huh?

China demonstrated its opulence by hosting the Olympics of 2008. The youngsters Micheal Phelps, Usain Bolt and Rafael Nadal broke records. Phelps became the highest record holder in Olympics history by securing eight gold medals in one single Olympics tournament. 2008's Olympics was all about record breaking it seemed!

Harry Potter got itself a new competitor as the Twilight series became crazily popular worldwide. The main character Edward Cullen took the breath out of most girls and made them wish that he would exist for real.

End of November was a challenging period for Mumbai as it faced the deadliest terror attack ever. It was a war out their as unidentified gun-men took over the posh places like Taj Hotel, Grand Oberoi and other public places. More than 150 lives were lost including a lot of foreigners. What was more disturbing was the fact that the attacks were carried out by youngsters not more than 25 year old. Seeing this one might wonder in what direction the youth of today is heading into.

A worldwide financial crisis was evident by mid 2008. Many blamed it on the inaccurate policies of using credit while other put their fingers on depleting natural resources. Whatever the reason was, everyone suffered a shock as oil and food prices rose up to a dangerously high level. Leading banks and corporate giants were declared bankrupt; unemployment was disturbingly high.

Well 2008 did have its fair shares of ups and downs. There was rising hopes and condemning incidents. As we brace ourselves for a new year, we must all try to follow our good resolutions and give up on the bad ones. Let us also not forget the thousands of people killed in war and sieges everyday and pray for these victims and their families. Here's to wishing all of you a Happy New Year!

Faria Sanjana


In order to take advantage of the burgeoning numbers of gamers, their unquenchable thirst for more games and their lack of options, gaming zones have now been sprouting all over the city. Though computers and consoles have become a commodity in our everyday life, some of them still find themselves lagging behind when it comes to availing the latest equipment needed to enhance their gamer experience and satisfy their need for constant improvement.

MetalGear, a brand new gaming zone has now official opened for business with an idea to provide all that there is to ensure the best gaming experience possible. Located at the heart of the bustling residential and commercial zone of Dhanmondi, MetalGear hopes to attract a lot of hardcore gamers. But it is not only the location that they are banking on, but rather they are relying on the quality of their service and the passion that they owner of this venture has for games.

Equipped with 15 PC units armed with the best possible PC configuration, MetalGear inaugurated on 16th December, already packed with nearly 25 gamers who all participated in the FIFA '09 tournament which was held that day. The tournament was a success and it all went without a single glitch or complain. Standing amidst all the chaos generated by the excited gamers, we met Kazi Zubair Ahmed, the man behind MetalGear. 'Being a passionate gamer myself, I decided to do something for the gaming scene in Dhaka. I know what the gamers are looking for, what other places lack and what is needed and thus I tried to make this keeping those questions in mind.' He responded when we asked what the inspiration was behind MetalGear.

What set MetalGear apart from other gaming zones could easily be deciphered. The place was spacious, the gamers weren't crammed together, but rather had ample time to breathe. The décor was also cozy and relaxing complimenting the friendly environment. Two gamers, aged 21 and 18, identified themselves as Blak Knight and Hulk, made time to give their opinion about the place. 'We are very happy with this set-up and have no complaints at all.' Blak Knight informed us. 'Having a N9800GT Graphics card for each unit, there is possibly nothing more required. Tell that to the gamers and they will understand.' Hulk added. Having 8 years of gaming experience between them, their words are obviously not to be taken lightly.

With a huge selection of the latest games to choose from and constantly improving with times, Zubair has THE idea. Considering and taking action according to what his clients inform him, he is shaping MetalGear to fast become one of the hottest gaming joints in Dhaka. 'Financial hindrances and lack of choice are big reasons why some of us cannot play all the games we want. I wish to remove those obstacles and deliver to the people exactly what they want.' Zubair offered as his conclusion while adding that he wished to expand much further and make sure that no one is deprived from being able to pursue their passion. We wish him all the best of luck with his ambitions. MetalGear is located at house#53 (3rd floor), Road# 3/A, Dhanmondi, Dhaka R/A, and we urge you to check it out whether you are a hardcore gamer or one who wishes to escapes the drudgery of everyday existence, even if only for a few exciting hours.

By Osama Rahman

Top up revision

Leaving revision to the last minute can be really stressful. So what do you do, if you know you haven't done enough? Do what you can. Everyone knows the first rule of revision don’t leave it until the last minute! However what if, for any number of reasons, the reality is different? If you do find yourself in that situation try to be real with yourself and accept that there is no way that you're going to be able to prepare in depth. However the worst thing you can do is give up and say there is no point. Although time may be short, you can still make a difference to your grade. There is always something you can pull off.

Face facts
So what's the best way to make the most of the time you do have? Start by using the time you have left constructively, don't put it off anymore and keep at it until the day of the exam.

You probably know more than you realise, so concentrate on the areas that you feel most confident about. Better to do a few things well rather than a lot of things badly! Ask yourself which subjects are most likely to come up? If you're not sure perhaps you can ask a friend, or your teacher to help you identity the subject areas that are the most important.

Once you have prioritised topic areas, try to pick out the main facts and points of that subject. Don't get bogged down with the small details, go for the main facts first. If there's a big topic you don't understand, try to get help immediately. Swallow your pride and ask a teacher for help, or perhaps a friend who you know is better at that subject.

If you have made notes in the lead up to exams, use those revision tools to help you take in the main facts. Try also to focus on subjects that you already have some knowledge of.

Practice run
One of the best ways to do last minute and top up revision is to work through past and mock exams. This will also help prepare you for the type of questions you are likely to see and the way the exam will be laid out.

If you're doing GCSE's, the BBC's Bitesize site has lots of mock exams you can download as well as interactive help and games. For A levels and even some degree courses you might also find the revision-notes site helpful.

The night before
Experts say that one of the biggest problem surrounding revision and exams is stress. It can make even the most thorough reviser think they can't remember anything and even lead to panic attacks. So, even if you know you could have done more, try not to get stressed. Staying up all night before the exam is never a good idea. Being over tired will mean you have poor concentration and probably won't remember most of what you've read anyway. Instead try to have an early night and keep calm. Don't focus on passing or failing.

Second chance
Fingers-crossed you'll pass. But failing doesn't mean you're a failure in life. It simply means you didn't manage to make the grade in a particular subject - this time around. And hopefully next time you'll remember the golden rule.
Now stop reading this and go and revise! Good luck.

Melodies of the past

“The melody struck my mind as I was lost in the moment…”

To classical music lovers, the songs are harmonious tunes coming from the most ecstatic part of heaven. The songs were a part of lives of the common people, and his songs still are engraved in hearts of his admirers. From nature to love, sadness to happiness, these songs have always covered those areas that touch human sentiments like a drop of rain on a summer's day. The portrayal of the characters and the depth of his lyrics, beats and compositions can touch anyone's soul and wash them away to a phantasmagoric world of bliss.

With days, these songs are becoming a monument of history, but at the same time it is losing from the hearts from this new generation. It is becoming a lost tradition in which we will have to lament the loss of consciousness of the need to acknowledge something great. So much new genres and new cultures have mixed into our culture that we don't like our own culture anymore. The new so called musicians or I should say people in the underground music scenario are killing Bengali 'music'. I remember an old friend saying, 'Chi… You listen to classical bangla songs! How drab!'

But on the other side, artist Meeta Huq has to say that the number of Rabindra Sangeet admirers has not decreased. 'If you see in the long term and survey the whole country, you will still see that Rabindra Sangeet is still dissolved in our souls', she says.

'Today's Rabindra Sangeet has lost its real theme and meaning and that is just because people are mixing it with different genres of western music and remixes are killing them,' says Rudraneel, age 23, a student of NSU, who used to be in Chayanat.

'The generation is moving on, the people in the past liked these songs, but it's not necessary that we also have to show interest in this genre. Respect is there, but interest lacks!' says Sadaf, studying in St Joseph, HSC first year.

Attempts to rejuvenate this shrine have been made by several new artists, and some have been successful in this quest, like Arnab's song in the album 'Doob' titled 'Noyon Tomare'; but some remixes have totally messed up the whole thing. It has contaminated it and made it totally obscene with the blend of music that makes it sound devastating. Anyone and everyone today is a musician, all they need is a guitar and some people who can unite to be called a 'band'. Appreciation of good music has worn out; people barely hear good music anymore.

Time will change, and so will the future, but we need to save what brought us fame in the whole world. With more relay and stronger communities, we can still keep what we have, for classical music is the history, the column that will be valued, eternally.

By Raida Kifait Reza





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