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     Volume 4 Issue 25 | December 17, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   A Roman Column
   Face to Face
   Slice of Life
   Time Out
   Straight Talk
   Eating Out
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
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   Write to Mita

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A Neutral Magazine
I love reading SWM. I started reading it about five to six months ago and it has already managed to successfully influence and intrigue my thought process. Incidentally, I would like to ask the SWM team whether you have any plans to further aid in the protection of women who suffer from acid violence. This sort of torture is tormenting not only for the victims but also those of us who are powerless to help them. As an avid reader, I feel that SWM is a very neutral magazine. Some columns that I am especially fond of are: Newsnotes, Voicebox, Chintito, Education and many of the other features written by the staff writers. As a reader I hope that SWM will be even more bold in the future, while at the same time remaining neutral.

STK Karmokar Taposh Bogra

Grameen Phone
Your recent interview with Ola Ree, the departing Managing Director of Grameen Phone (GP), would have been welcomed by GP as a free-of-charge promotion of their mobile phone services. However, as a subscriber to GP's "Easy Gold" pre-paid service, I would have welcomed it if your interviewer had inquired about GP's lack of transparency regarding their tariff structures. Why should I, as a GP subscriber, have been unable to obtain any kind of leaflet on the tariff structure of my GP mobile phone services, even when requesting this from the GP customer service office on Gulshan Avenue? Since GP does not feel itself obliged to provide full information on their mobile phone tariffs on its own initiative, it would be welcome if GP and other providers were required to do so under Government regulation.
Petra Osinski

Poetry Please!
SWM is an excellent magazine for all its readers. I read this weekly magazine every Friday and look for every regular column. I find every page to be colourful and superb. Now that I see that SWM is publishing Fiction I would like to suggest and request that you also start a poetry page. I know many people, including myself, would be interested in contributing poetry to your magazine. It is my belief that you would elevate not only my love for poetry but everyone else's if you started a new poetry page.

Writing Gracefully
The letter regarding the article "Writing Gracefully" by a Rajshahi University professor (Dec. 10) criticises professors from his university for teaching in Bangla (probably Bang-lish), and wants to declare the medium of study as English. Just look around the world. China, Korea, Japan, Russia and all continental European countries teach at all levels in the people's languages -- which is exactly how whole populations have become modernised. South Asian, Central Asian and African countries think that education (at least higher education) should not be in the people's language -- an important cause of why they have not developed well. Modern civilisational creativity is achieved by the population as a whole when modern and scientific ideas flow through it in the people's language. As long as a self-styled creative elite minority vaunt another language, the cultural system as a whole won't change much. Rather, there will be an unbridgeable gulf between the "educated" and the rest, along with a gulf of economy, lifestyle, and attitudes about other social classes. Do we want democracy in Bangladesh, or not? We cannot have democracy with an aloof social class being created by English medium. See the horrible class formation in Delhi and Mumbai, where 60 percent of people live in slums, excluded from the modernisation process.

Bangla is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, with 250 million speakers and a vast treasure of learning. If countries like Denmark and Israel with only 6 million people have all education in the people's language, why not Bangladesh? Lack of books is no argument-- when the demand is there, they will be written. In Korea, in 50 years education in Korean has driven the country from one of the most backward to one of the most influential, with books in all subjects written in Korean. Bangladesh should follow the continental European model: education in the people's language at all levels, with students finishing 12th class having mastery of two other languages which they improve as 2nd and 3rd languages during university. They can then get any jobs anywhere. Now see how Bangla will be the vehicle of modernisation in Bangladesh.
Clarence Maloney
Social Science Consultant and Professor working in Bangladesh

Being a citizen of Bangladesh sounds embarrassing to me. After I completed my A'Levels all my male classmates went abroad. According to them there is great happiness abroad which can never be found here. Some of them also say that they will never come back here. But why? What more happiness can there be outside, which cannot be found here? Why can't we be like the Indians--'Our Neighbours' who sing 'Dil Hai Hindustani' and learn to be patriotic? Why can't people in our country love our land and dream of a prosperous future over here instead of finding happiness abroad? Why can't they dream of returning here for the development and improvement of our country as well as help our indigent brothers and sisters? Unfortunately, these are questions which always remain unanswered.
Manifa Osman Dhaka

Last issue's cover story carries an inadvertent mistake. Dhamrai was mentioned as a thana of Gazipur. It is actually in Dhaka district.

Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary & Write to Mita with the writer’s name and address, should be within 200 words. Articles should be within 1,200 words. Articles and photos submitted will not be returned. Plagiarised articles will not be accepted. All materials should be sent to: Star Weekend Magazine, 19, Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Fax: 8125155, or e-mailed to <starweekendmag@gmail.com> Articles may be edited for reasons of space and clarity.


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