Thank you Tina, for starting this group! September 03, 2004 6:56 AM
I would like to hear more about Bangladesh from the people who live there. We only hear what the BBC says about your country... the flooding there mostly is what gets the most media attention.
I'd like to know about the schools there, what life is like, if Americans are liked or not by the majority of the people, what living conditions for kids & women are like there, what your thoughts are about your leaders and the political parties you have there.... I'm just really curious I guess!
Thank you for being here & I look forward to discussing many topics with you all.
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The first thing that I have to say before describing Bangladesh is that the average per capita income here is around USD 300, while it is around 15000 in the developed economies, like that of USA (I am using info of 1990s). Yet, people here are actually the happiest in the world.
There are innumerable problems here, some may seem like most horrible that may ever have been on this world. But on an average people are happy with what they have. Say, for example, some schools are so poorly constructed that students literally get wet when rain comes, but still they go there and have fun. And sometimes people here don't even complain about the fact that they are starving. So, in a sense life is good here. But there are real problems there when floods take place or hurricanes strike. At those times it is really bad place to be in for all.
What are the solutions? UN and organizations like ADB and World Bank had been working on that for a long time. But I really don't think they actually want a solution to the problem. They want to do what is good for the people here after ensuring the best for the developed world.
The attitude here about Americans is not good, but not very bad as it may be in Middle East. There are different groups here they fight each other. Some groups are totally anti-American, who may account for 0.1% of the entire population. 70% don't have any opinion about Americans if they are at all aware of that word. And the rest are mostly friendly about Americans, although they would never agree to any american on killing muslims for peace. 1% may even agree to that. So, in total, politically Bangladesh is more or less neutral. But it could have been much better if the communications between American and Bangladeshi people could be improved.
I hope I have given a brief idea about some aspects of Bangladesh. I shall try to discuss more in future.
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Thank you Ishtiaque for responding. I appreciate it. September 04, 2004 12:50 AM
I just went to http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/bg.html
for more information about your country. It's nice to know that everyone over 18 can vote... do you happen to know if most people do?
I noticed that many people work outside the country. That would be so hard to be away from family and close friends! Maybe this network can help... maybe it will be a real blessing... I hope so. =)
Before I read about your country I had no idea that Bangladesh is mostly Muslim, my only real "contact" with Bangladesh so far (except for chatting here of course!) is to buy woven products from http://serrv.org/
I would like to hear more when there is time for anyone here who wants to write in to this thread (I'm tracking it).
ps: when is the rainy season there? Right now that is a really hot topic here in the U.S. because of the hurricane that will be hitting Florida soon...
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Ishtiaque, for the invite to the group. I look forward to learning more! Our schools ( when I was a kid) conveniently left out Asia when discussing Social Studies. Only as an adult, and ashameldy until September 11 was I even remotely exposed to Islam or Muslim practices and beliefs. A blessing to be treasured, stirred by September 11 that promoted flyers and booklets about the religion that naivity easily blamed for the tragedy of that day.
In a note to you that got lost under " your log in session has expired" , I had explained that as a child, little girls dreamed of India, as a whole, from the white-washed movies like " The King and I" and " The Little Princess". I grew up with dreams of silks and satins and friendy faces, fantastic elephants treated finely, magnificent tigers revered and beloved, exotic birds and flowers and jewels, no polution, no cruelty, a paradise.. Utopia, had I known the word then.
I think had one asked me when I was little where I thought the best place in the world could be, I would have answered with excitement in my eyes, INDIA!
If only our child-like ideals could come to fruition when we grow old enough to make it happen. That doesn't go for just the troubles of the one place I thought immune to them, but everywhere. One could easily drown in the world's distress. Thank goodness for laughter and good hearts and the ability to pluck out blessings from tragedies. My daughter will not grow to be so naive. She ( I sent this part to you in the long lost note too Ishtiaque) on her own accord, looked up India in a book we have called " Circling the Globe, a young people's guide to Countries and cultures of the world". She had heard of Taj Mahal, I gave her my pathetic bit of information and we promptly looked up the country. She was mezmerized by the infrmation. Next thing I know, she is drawing free-hand, this beautiful pic of TAj Mahal. The child is seven btw..
Last night, I looked in the book to see where Bangladesh fit into Asia exactly, and found it has it's own page. My first knowledge that it would be considered it's own country. Jordan, my daughter, and I will read about it today. i have told her of you and our correspondence. She will be excited to learn more on this group, as will I. But she will know truths and sorrows exist in lands she dreams of, just as they exist here. This, I truely believe breeds compassion and activism, and most importantly, PEACE through the will of our young.
OK.. enough rambling.
Be well and Stay safe all.
In Peace and Hope,
Sarah- an American.. though many here have accused me and the majority of NOT being as such regardless of our birthplace due to our fury regarding the current occupation of Washington D.C.
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Our Bangladesh (Part 1) September 07, 2004 3:12 AM
Ruth and Sarah, I thank both of you for joining this group and taking interest in Bangladesh. As Ruth described in her posting, the CIA fact-book is a good source of information. Even we, as students, often looked into CIA fact-book for statistics about Bangladesh. It is true that from there you can have some idea about our country, but some facts are not described in statistics. I shall come to that later.
I have prepared a reply for Ruth’s queries before, but I was not sure whether it would be appropriate. Because, it was not happy. I don’t want to give any impression to you that Bangladesh is sad and bad place to be in, like BBC and CNN might do. I want to describe Bangladesh from a citizen’s viewpoint. I am not a reporter who can only sell disasters from Bangladesh. I can tell you hundreds of things more, which never comes to TV. However I shall begin with answers to the enquiries of Ruth.
It is a fact that all citizens over 18 in Bangladesh can vote. Vote is now a part of our life, and people are aware of their rights which they were not even a few decades ago. Although the right to vote is ensured in our country, foul play in vote casting and counting occurs on a regular basis in almost every vote. Unless there is evidence of huge foul play, the result is often accepted no matter what. And that often goes in favor of the ruling party. Still it is likely that in national elections, which is governed and monitored by an intermediary government, there would be few incidents of foul play to jeopardize the results of the election. However, in my opinion, the election is like choosing between firing squad and poison gas as a means of death penalty. Because, all the major parties have come to power once or more than once but failed to show any hope to the people here in terms of the real problems, such as political stability, education, healthcare, food safety and employment. Still, the process of election is sound, and there is hope for future, people here now knows how to participate in shaping their own future, which is a real good sign for the actual improvement for the people.
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Our Bangladesh (Part 2) September 07, 2004 3:13 AM
You see, good things actually happen when the people get the right to choose their own government. For example when United States started to create pressure on Bangladesh to export gas, we, everyone in Bangladesh knew how damaging that would be for the ordinary people here. But, the pressure from US was immense, very hard for a country like Bangladesh to bear. But in the end the government decided not to export gas. The commerce minister of Bangladesh at that time said at a meeting in Washington DC at the US chamber of commerce (which btw is a very powerful body of lobbyists of US companies) that the reason the government couldn’t export gas was because it was a democracy. I learned it from a friend of mine who was there at that moment. Today, if you come to Bangladesh and ride a 3 wheeler CNG vehicle and ask the driver how much the natural gas has helped him, you will be able to learn the positive side of the ability to vote. It has increased their income by large. If the gas was exported, the money earned from that would have been used for some government project at the cost of around 50% loss due to corruption. Furthermore those projects rarely have any direct impact on the lives of the ordinary people.
I have lost my focus on Ruth’s points, sorry for that. She noticed it right that many Bangladeshis live outside the country and yet many more are eager to migrate to some other country. There is a reason for that although it is a fact that people here live happily. In a country of 130 million people, ‘many’ is a word that can be used many times to describe small portions of the population. People here can be categorized according to their income. Majority of the population are too poor to even think about a migration. From the minority, a certain portion of the population finds themselves without job or any source of income when they need it to support their family. Employment is a problem for any economy, but in our country, due to the pressure of population and low income, market size, etc. the problem is kind of life threatening. I know a person whose elder brother works in Middle East 12 hours per day at day-time in a fruit garden and gets USD 200 per month. Out of that he keeps 50 for himself and sends the rest back to home. Now, the person I know (the younger brother) is selling almost all his earthly possessions to collect USD 5000 to go to his brother and work there too. Furthermore there is no guarantee that he will be able to go there like his brother. Then why is he doing so? How much he earns now will help you understand that, he works almost all day in an office here as maintenance clerk and gets less than USD 30 per month. It is an example of an unskilled laborer. The urge to go abroad is more for the skilled workers, particularly when they remain unemployed for long time. But it is true that people when work abroad feel very lonely, but the speed at which the world is getting smaller, soon it won’t be a problem.
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Our Bangladesh (Part 3) September 07, 2004 3:15 AM
Enough of boring discussions (rambling – according to Sarah ). I want to say a few things about the rainy season here. It is the most romantic season in our country. People here know how to focus more on enjoying life than focusing on work or career. So, they take the rain as an opportunity to take time off work and have fun with friends and family. Poets are crazy about this season, and the people in general too. Yeah, people may suffer when floods occur, but otherwise rain is considered as a blessing here. Because it helps the agriculture a lot, since there is still huge dependence on natural source of water rather than irrigation. Bangladesh is predominantly an agricultural country btw. And it is always good to have a cold rainy day with the magical sound of rain outside rather than a hot and humid day. (As far as I know Hilary Clinton said, “To enter Bangladesh is like entering a sauna”, and how appropriate was she although I had never been to a sauna!) Those who live without electricity, appreciates the rainy season a lot more. There is also fabulous food items associated with rainy season. I can name a few delicacies here, like hot “khichuri” (fine-rice cooked with pasted turmeric for yellow color) with spicy beef curry and smashed potato. The taste of this dish can be best understood when you are hungry to the fullest and there is rain outside, and either there is a load-shedding of electricity going on or you are in a remote rural area where there is no electricity at all. And your appetite will increase 100 times more if you can get some home made sour mango pickles too. (I am not sure whether pickle describes “achar” properly, I hope it does). If the dish is hot enough, you could use some village made ghee (melted butter) directly to make the dish even saucier. You can always use some fresh green chilies if you are a fan of spicy food like I am. Let me tell you what, once you taste this, you will never forget the taste. And if you come to Bangladesh, you are invited to our home for dinner to taste the dish, although I can’t promise the rain or the load-shedding.
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Our Bangladesh (Reply to Sarah) September 07, 2004 3:16 AM
Now, I get to reply to the posting of Sarah. It was already difficult for me to write about my country in a forum like this one, where I want to draw the actual and real picture of the country but also feel responsible for representing my country. You have made it more difficult for me to write now. I wish I could write about Bangladesh in such a way that your daughter could think of this country in the way you did, a white washed movie like “The king and I” and “The little princess” or the way I did when I was young “The greenest place on earth or the fairy land where impossible things still happen” but I am afraid that image is neither in my mind anymore nor would that be a true depiction of the real Bangladesh. But as I am a dreamer, I believe, your daughter will be able make her own dreams about Bangladesh that we have given up trying long ago. I know it is important to learn about the real world, but if a child does not get to dream about a beautiful world what would she thrive to build when she grows up? So, please don’t tell her the part where I will describe you how a 4 year old in our country waits all day for her mother to bring home food under the hot burning sun, only tell her how that baby becomes happy to eat only boiled rice at night and to hold her mother with all her strength while she sleeps. Or don’t tell her how the 7 year old in this country has to run all day in busy streets in front of some 5 star hotel to sell her hand made garlands of Camellia at the least possible price, only tell her how that 7 year old gets up every morning before the sunrise and races with her friends to the nearest park to collect the flowers for her garlands. Or don’t tell your daughter how an 11 year old in our country searches for food and wasted paper from the dump yard all day long; only tell her how he saves money to buy his mother a new dress because her old dress is torn.
I am totally hopeless. I wanted my writings to be happy, and this is what I end up with. I should really ask someone else to write for you guys. Describing Bangladesh is not my work.
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No, you are doing a brilliant job Ishtiaque!!! September 07, 2004 9:27 AM
... now you know why so many of the posts about U.S. politics are so unattractive! =)
The truth (everywhere, I think) is that corruption makes politics even more ugly... but it happens everywhere. The keys are, in my opinion, a factually informed population & to have more people voting. That's why the free press is SO important... and international accountability (to keep politicians more honest!).
There's so much infrastructure that's needed for a stable government & CONTINUOUS improvements are necessary to prevent bullies & cheats to take advantage of their positions of trust. It's a constant battle here too! Don't feel bad about your country... at least it's on a good path... now it's just up to the people to keep improving it.
Same is true here in the U.S. Here, less than half the population votes... and many trust the mainstream media for all their information. Our media sources are owned by big businesses (that often give politicians money... & they vote in favor of businesses more often than the good of the poor).
I don't mean to say that it's 100% bad, I love my country. But there is plenty of room for improvement to say the least! I look on the issue of improving government/society (especially by tolerance & exposing corruption & voting) as the responsibility of every citizen... it's not "pretty" ... but I feel it's important work.
Ishtiaque, I just read all your posts... September 07, 2004 10:04 AM
I'm sorry I talked about politics in my previous post... after your beautiful & heart-wrenchingly human words, mine looks very harsh... I apologize, I should have read all yours before responding to the first one...
You have a very clear and "to the heart" way of speaking... you are probably too smart to get caught up in politics but you would probably be a great leader. Your family must be very proud of you. I appreciate your views & vision, thank you for sharing them.
... yes, politicians seem to forget why they were voted into the job, don't they?
We have the same problem here! I wish I knew a solution, but all I can think of is better free press and voting by more people... what do you think? Is there something that you would change about your system there?
I would think that parlementary system might be more fair than our "checks & balances" system (which is more unbalanced than it should be). Having a president & prime minister seems more reasonable than having one person for both the "cultural" and the "strategic" needs of a country. What is your opinion?
Take care, Ruth ps: Of course anyone can add to the answer... that is part of what makes open forums like this really interesting! =)
Thanks a lot for your nice comments and suggestion! I think we are in the right track have a parlamentarian govt. system, but most of the people of our country of found of discussing politics. We are a bit lazy like to pass time on gossiping and that is also not contructive. Hope one day everybody will be aware of this nesty politics.
the way things are going right now.. its my opinion that students should be kept out of national politics. its true that student movements have played a crucial role in forming our nation. no one can deny their contribution during the language movement or uprooting the dictatorial government. however nowadays it seems like students are just pawns to be played in the disputes of the political parties. anything happens and the so called student-leaders impose strikes on universities. i really don't see what has been achieved by not going to classes except for ruining our own future.
You are right in the current aspects of our country as the students are running behind the politicians and being great opportunistics they the graved the chance and are using the students....... I don't know when our students will be able to understand this facts! Well, in a democratic country everybody has rights to take his own decision, but it does not mean that one has to be the slave of the politicians! Students do politics but thats for the welfare of general students not to used by the politicians, politicians should run behind the students.....This fact has been observed by me in one of good university where I am staying now.
Hi whats happening!!!!!!!!!! February 05, 2005 8:25 AM
We don't for how long we have to see this non-sense politics of deadbodies!!!!!!! May Allah bless us and forgive the dirty political leaders who are dare enough to take away others innocent life.
thanks my freind for sending the sending the green star.
why are silent, since longday no new topics in this dicsuusion page, it seems you people are very busy, ya!!!!!!
wish you all the best and success always
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congrats and very good to hear that you have got your computer repaired. So whats up! What about out the current situation of our nation? How is it running? I am asking because I am away from the country.
Hi there, I am a bewbie, and have been reading all that is written here. It is truly great to find people from different cultures who can communicate as you are doing here. I live in Perth, Western Australia, and we have that problem with our politicians, out for what they can get out of the system,another word is feathering their nest, not what they can give to the country instead. It really is a shame that the word politician's here is a dirty word, not to be trusted. I love to have contact with people from different cultures and customs, cos I never had much of an upbringing myself in that area. My parents were very poor and there was much neglect in how to raise a family with us too. By the way I am now 64 years old too. There is the problem we have here in Australia called the Stolen Children generation, when the govt. thought it was best to take aboriginal children off their parents and had them brought up in institutions, (slave labour) it was really. In hind sight they realize that they would have been better off with their parents. Sad, many of those children, now grown up themselves don't know how to bring their children up and passes onto the next generation etc. Alcohol and drug abuse etc is rampant in some communities too. They are now trying to work something out to help with these communities how to help them to be parents etc. by doing courses on parenting. But aborigines think differently to us, just as easterners do also. So.... not sure whether that will be successful or not. The govt. needs to discuss the problems with the communities and how they can help to overcome the problems themselves. Not sure whether this is the right thing to do, sharing this with you all. I mean this is a Bangladesh Group. If you don't like it, feel free to delete.