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    Volume 9 Issue 21| May 21, 2010|

 Cover Story
 Special Feautre
 Writing the Wrong
 A Roman Column
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Change We Don't Need!
When something goes well, we don't need to change it. However, in the case of Bangladesh, no one will deny that many things need changing. But it should be change that is constructive in nature. These days, we see many changes that we could do without. First and foremost we notice the government energetically changing the name of our airport and various institutions all over the country erasing the names of their political opponents. It is true that the present opposition also did this when they were in power, but this was supposed to be the government of change! We notice the changes in the law and order sector. Our law minister always tells us proudly that the law and order situation is fantastic when we, the common people, see the opposite scenario! We clearly notice what changes are going on in different educational institutions especially in public universities. What revolution has been brought by BCL in the tender process, and the lives of the students! The public procurement rules have been changed to benefit party loyalists. If we look at the supply of electricity and gas we observe the same chaos. Moreover we have got a recent change in the area of freedom of the press -- the banning of channel 1 without due judicial process! The government has also changed the Anti-corruption Commission by making it toothless under the control of the government! We are tired of sweet talk and negative politics -- we want to see the change that the country need.
Mohammad Zia-ul-Haque
English department
International Islamic University

On Keyboard Layouts

I have just read your Perspective piece "The Fight Over Fonts" (May 14) and wanted to add my two cents' worth of thoughts.
Patenting a piece of software is the right of its owner, but patenting a keyboard layout is downright wrong. When making a keyboard layout, the designer considers ease of use. He will place the most frequently used characters in the right places on the keyboard so they can be tapped frequently and easily. So common sense dictates that when a second designer wants to make another keyboard for the same language, her layout would be more or less the same. There will be a small percentage of difference between them. So if Jabbar claims that he designed his keyboard following good design principles, he must admit all other layouts will closely resemble his creation. Copyrighting the layout will be considered as an attempt to thwart progress and making his pocket a little deeper.
The fact that Bijoy layout is so widely used is not because it's a very good one, but mostly because it's the first one of its kind. So people started using it and got used to it, even though phonetic typing system is much more efficient (you don't have to memorise the lay out in your head). Consider the QWERTY keyboard used around the globe in all computing devices. It was designed specifically to slow down ultra-fast typists so they would not jam the mechanical typewriter machines. Later on, a man named August Dvorak came up with a much more efficient layout, but it never became as popular as QWERTY, because people didn't want to switch to a new layout. Transition is difficult.
I ask the authorities concerned to reconsider Jabbar's ownership of the layout. He should enjoy full ownership of his software, but as long as he owns the patent of the layout, he'll block the path of others looking to innovate in the field of Bangla Computing.
Rubayeet Islam
Software Engineer
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

Image of the Pharmacist
Most people in Bangladesh don't know the duties and responsibilities of a pharmacist. Pharmacists are those who are licensed to dispense medicine and provide drug information. They are experts on medication. But in Bangladesh a pharmacist has no image to speak of as a healthcare professional.
The people who are sitting in pharmacies dispensing medicine have no qualifications, although to become a registered Pharmacist in Bangladesh one has to have a B Pharm/M Pharm degree from an accredited University, and has to be accredited by Bangladesh Pharmacy Council.
Each year a huge number of new medicines are placed on the market by different companies. Both the doctor and patient expect the pharmacists to be knowledgeable about them. But the people who fill the prescription often have no knowledge about the side effects of the drugs. Properly trained pharmacists can play a vital role in the healthcare system.
Md Fokhrul Islam Monju
Department of Pharmacy
International Islamic University
Chittagong (IIUC)

Difficult to Digest!
While reading the May 14 issue of 'The Star', I came across an article titled 'Calcutta Characters-part II' under the section named Food for Thought. I am from Calcutta and have been living in Dhaka for over five years. During my stay in Bangladesh, I have come across several characters that I would rather forget when (and if) I write my memoirs. But I would very fondly remember those excellent Bangladeshi friends who helped make our stay pleasant.
When I narrate my experience of Bangladesh to my friends during my frequent trips to India, I tell them about Rezwana Chowdhury Banya, Mita Haq or Fatema Tuz Zohra. I narrate the colourful festivities of 'Poila Boishakh'. I have carried at least 10 copies of 'Jyotsna O Janani'r Galpo' (by Humayun Ahmed) and several books of Zafar Iqbal and others for my friends to acquaint them with the treasure-house of contemporary Bangladeshi literature.
I will forget the Hartals I saw three years ago. I would forget the 'Cross-fires', Malam Party, Agyan Party and terrible traffic bottlenecks. I will not remember Dhaka for the drug addict who robbed my colleague after brutally stabbing him. I would rather proudly tell my friends that I was charmed to meet Bangladesh's lone Nobel Laureate.
Describing Calcutta through the eccentricities of a colonial era club, may amuse some people, but it cannot represent Calcutta.
Shyamal Ghosh


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