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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 70 | August 3, 2008|


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It's Only Words….

Zannatul Lamea

I find the species of Homo Sapiens pretty strange. God almighty has bestowed us with the capability to control our fate, and yet we blame it simply on luck! Many a times, we do not realize what strength we hold within, what intrinsic options we have to turn our fate in the direction we want it to. The most common factor bothering today's youth is frustration. Most of these frustration results when we want something and the wants remain dissatisfied. But then again, according to economists, wants are endless; once one ends, there is another one replacing it. So where does that leave us - the common mass?

When we take a decision, at the back of our mind, we already know its implications or at least can have a fair guess at what it can turn out to be. So, if we have a snippet of the repercussions already, doesn't it lead to the fact that it is us who are making it happen? Or in simpler words, it is us who act as the major controller of what we are letting happen and what we are not, through designing our activities.

The point I am trying to make here is that, we, human beings, sometimes let bad things happen intentionally and then blame it on fate. Even if something unexpected happens, a few of us actually have the intention to set it right. We are selfish creatures, very. As long as our state of mind is not stirred, we don't care what people near and dear to us are going through.

We don't realize what power words hold. Words aren't only comprised of letters, it is the combination of your tone, gesture, feeling and expression. So when you utter something to someone, it might not even strike you what extensive effect it can have on the listener, but it does so in reality. Young people are always in hype, with their emotions swapping within seconds. Anger makes our mental state irrational, and we say things abruptly which we don't even mean. The fact that you shout and say things that hurt people badly is not your fault; your fault is when you calm down and realize your mistake but still stay indifferent instead of apologizing and setting things right.

I have seen friends fighting over simple matters, I have seen problems among co-workers, I have seen angry people shout their heart out and act like animals. It didn't occur to me as irrational. Human beings are all subject to anger, some have the ability to control it, some don't. What bothers me is when I see those people continue being angry for a prolonged period of time and acting indifferent to how many people they inflicted pain upon.

A lot of people have the notion that apologizing hurts one's ego and makes one appear weaker towards your counterpart. If you but knew what huge fallacy this is! A smile, a few warm words, can set every wrong right. It is the intentions and realizations that matter- not actions. Once you realize your mistake, don't sit back and act indifferent. Express your repent, justify your unexpected action.

The locus of control is what you want. If you care less about your near and dear ones and continue unjustified action, remember that action and reaction are just two sides of a coin-you never know when the other side will flip on your fate. It doesn't cost you a million dollar to smile, it doesn't require a decade to say some nice words- all it requires is a pure mind with feelings that make us creatures - humane. Words do carry immense power to make someone sublime with elation, realize this power and try to utilize every bit of it. It's your call after all you define yourself with your action, you decide what you want to be - a human being? Or just simply a living creature?

Silver Jubilee of JU Philosophy Department

THE Silver Jubilee celebration of the Philosophy Department of Jahangirnagar University began on July 3, 2008. The Department has completed its 25-year journey with great success. A six-month-long programme was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University, Prof. M Moniruzzaman as chief guest and Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Prof. Nasiruddin Ahmad was present as special guest. Chairman of the Philosophy Department, Prof. Farid Ahmad was in the chair. Founder chairman, Prof. Obaidur Rahman addressed the occasion.

The Vice Chancellor in his speech talked about the importance of studying philosophy. He said that all great men in the world were philosophers. He stressed that philosophy can solve present challenges faced by the people of the world. The Department has taken the decision to organise three workshops on Philosophy, Logic, and practical Ethics and it will publish three books on the subjects. It will also organise three seminars that will invite eminent national and international philosophers. Finally it also will arrange reunion with the present and former students of the Department. In this regard, the present chairman said, " I am looking forward to this grand celebration with great hopes."

The Thailand experience

Md. Mahamudul Ghani

I recently had the opportunity of attending a seminar in Thailand, at the head office of Double A Int. Business Co. Ltd. To qualify for attending the seminar, I had to sit for an extensive Online Test (OT) controlled from the Thailand office.

After successful completion of the test, the Country Director of Double A, Bangladesh office interviewed each of the selected candidates. In the middle of the interactive interview, he discussed the purpose of organizing this kind of seminar that would eventually help the participants coming from multicultural backgrounds, to share their views on different aspects of business. Finally four participants from Bangladesh -- Muhammad Sazzad Mahmud, Wahiduzzaman, Faizul Momen from Dhaka University and myself from BRAC University got selected to attend the seminar in Thailand, the business hub of south East Asia. The whole tour was sponsored by the organization.

On our arrival at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand, we started to feel the difference in culture, language and the hospitality of the Thai people. There, we were received by the Double A representatives. We were then taken to the “Tawa Ravadee Resort” situated in Prachinburi, which is approximately 2 hours from the airport, and more importantly, it was situated near the Double A factory.

Our tour was designed for two and a half days. During this period, we visited the AA factory and attended the seminar, which was our core purpose of visiting Thailand. The Double A factory produces paper for laser printing as its core product. It enjoys fully automated value chain in its production process. Two of its most prominent features are quality and environment friendliness. It uses Eucalyptus tree as its basic raw material and it recycles every single portion that comes out as wastage. We came to know that thirty kilograms of Laser paper could be produced using a single Eucalyptus tree.

On the next morning, we would be presenting our views and suggestions on two different topics, entitled “Six month Action Plan for AA” and “New Market Policy and Strategy”. So, coming back from the factory we engaged ourselves for the last moment preparations. We also exchanged our views with the other participating teams from different countries. And that is what AA group wanted from us most. The organizer emphasized on learning from different culture by making cross-functional teams from the participating graduates.

The next morning all the teams presented their planning in front of the panel of judges. We felt proud that, apart from a few arguments, most of the strategies developed by our team were well appreciated. At the end of the program we were awarded with the certificates of appreciation.

Then we participated in different games that were quite new to us. Each of those games were designed to test our mental stability along with physical strength and above all to observe how well we utilize team effort to tackle a given challenge. Of all the games played by us, the “Punch Drum” was most exciting. We were required to fill up a drum containing thousands of holes, with water in just twenty minutes of time and we had only our shirts and belts to stand against those holes. At that very moment, irrespective of our cultural differences we became a dedicated team to win the race. Throughout this tour I learned a lot from different experiences. I enjoyed every single moment. This short journey would remain as the first real life platform for me to learn important business issues and I will not forget the Thai people and their cultures and my teammates from Bangladesh. All of us enjoyed a lot, which cannot be expressed in words. This was in fact a milestone for all four of us.

The times they are a-changin
Revelation in Chittagong

Asrar Chowdhury

Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'
- Bob Dylan

MY first encounter with debating at the Theatre Institute in Chittagong is one I won't forget for a long time. I again had the privilege of witnessing debating of Chittagong school students, again at the Theatre Institute organised again by Drishty. This time it was a Bangla debate competition.

It was the closing debate of Drishty's 16th anniversary. The debate followed the British Parliament. Chittagong Collegiate School represented the Government. Chittagong Government High School represented the Opposition. The topic: “Economic backwardness, not political backwardness, is the main reason for Bangladesh not being able to develop forwards”. The Teams based their arguments on theory and empirical evidence to establish what is the cause of our backwardnesseconomics or politics?

Both Parties based their analysis on economists. The Government Party relied on Karl Marx's analysis of capitalism that economic foundations determine the basis of other institutions of a society. The Opposition Party relied on Amartya Sen and his entitlement approach that the right to the access towards a resource determines the right of its use. Indirectly, Sen's analysis of property rights hints towards political dimensions determining economic actions.

It's not a question of which team won. One team has to win. I was once again amazed at the extent of reading the students did. The references they were making gave me a 'false' impression this was a debate of the British Parliament between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The young debaters rightly pointed out the economic and political problems Bangladesh faces. Such maturity at such an early age left me bamboozled. One debater caught my attention, Muttakin Chowdhury, the Leader of the Opposition. I was impressed at him being as cool as a cucumber in tackling 'attacks' from the Government Party. If only we also could learn from this little 'kid'.

I have one observation. Although economic dimensions are a necessity towards development, they aren't a sufficient condition. 'Usually', it's the stability of political institutions that guides a country forward. When we make a statement like A implies B, and if such implication has sufficient empirical evidence, it gives one party an added advantage over the other in a debate. Drishty and other debating clubs may want to consider subject matters that are open-ended.

Real education is 'seldom' learned in the classroom because a classroom is bounded by four walls and a roof. To convert knowledge into wisdom one needs to break the boundaries of the classroom and its roof to look at the Cosmos with no fear of the unknown. This is where I'd like to thank Star Campus in making an 'effort' to identify organisations like Drishty that try to encourage students to go beyond the boundaries of the classroom. It's indeed a pleasure to be associated with Star Campus and meet the talent of tomorrow's Bangladesh.

After my second encounter in Chittagong, I'm optimistic two times round. If something happens once, it doesn't happen twice. If something happens twice, it definitely happens a third time. This is Paulo Coelho's hypothesis in The Alchemist. Following Coelho, something tells me these 'kids' will make a reality out of the dreams of our generation and those before us. “If we can't lend our hand”, we should simply get out of their way, for “the times they are a-changin”!

The writer is a teacher of economics at Jahangirnagar University and North South University. Email: asrarul@gmail.com


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