Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 46, Tuesday April 20, 2004






Banking Tips

Nasreen Sattar Head of International Sales, Standard Chartered Bank

Q1. What is the amount that I can bring back undeclared each time I come back from an overseas travel? Has there been a change in the annual travel quota?

A. As per the latest Central Bank FE circular # 03 dated 23rd March 2004, a person can now bring in upto USD 5000/ undeclared. Previous to this, the amount was USD 3000/. The travel quota remains the same - USD 3000/ for all countries and USD 1000/ for the SAARC countries.

Q2. I had an overdraft account with a bank here - the account was secured by my Shanchaya Patras which I had purchased over the years . I got a call from my Bank Manager that I cannot continue with this facility since the Central Bank will not allow overdraft accounts or any loan accounts to be secured by Shanchaya Patras. Please advise me as to what should I do?

A. This answer was given in the Daily Star - Lifestyle in the month of March 2004. However, I am answering it again for your convenience.

Obviously, your overdraft facility had expired and cannot be renewed against your Shanchaya Patras (SPs). One option is if your SPs have matured you can encash them and open a fixed deposit account to use as security for your OD account (allowed by C. Bank) or purchase ICB unit bonds also allowed to be used as security.

Q.3 I have an account with your bank, recently I lost my cheque book and asked the bank to issue me a new cheque book. I was told that this was not possible and I need to close my account and open a new account where a new cheque book will be issued to me. Why is this necessary ?

A. This is for your own security and prevention of any kind of forgery in your account. Anyone can get hold of your cheque book and may try to forge your signature. What the bank advises is quite simple - your existing account will be closed and a new account opened, fund in the old account will be transferred to the new account and a new cheque book issued. You can continue to do your normal transactions from the new account..

Q4. What is the significance of having an 'Account Payee' cheque? I need to pay a big payment to someone who wants a cash cheque, but would like your advice in this matter.

A.The words 'Account Payee' in the crossing have special significance because they intend to make the cheque more safe. These words constitute an instruction to the collecting banker that he should collect the amount of the cheque for the benefit of the payee's account only , i.e. to credit the amount to the account of the payee only and nobody else. I would definitely advise you to make the payment through an 'Account Payee' cheque to avoid any kind of fraudulent.

Q5. My son has got admission in a College in USA. Can I send her fund from here for her educational purpose?

A. As per Bangladesh Bank Guidelines foreign exchange may be transferred for studies abroad by Bangladeshi nationals in all regular courses (subject to being consistent with the Education Policy of the Bangladesh Govt.) in recognised institutions. Certain formalities will have to be completed before funds can be transferred. Please contact your bank manager and he will be able to assist you in this matter.

Dental wise

DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS, FSDCE (USA), PhD (Japan), Post Doc. (Japan) Specialised: Crown and Bridge work, and Periodontal plastic surgery (USA) Senior Medical Officer, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM Hospital

Caring for your child's teeth
Parents often have questions about how to take care of their children's teeth.

When should you start brushing?
What kind of toothpaste is best? When should you go to the dentist? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you keep your kids' teeth healthy and cavity free.

Although you don't necessarily need to brush them yet, you should start cleaning your infant's teeth as soon as he gets his first tooth. At first, you can just use a wash cloth to clean your infant's teeth. As he gets more, you can use a soft children's toothbrush.

Because there is some danger if your child gets too much fluoride, your choice of toothpaste is important. Keep in mind that most brands of kids' toothpaste are fluoridated. They just have different flavours and popular characters on them to make them more fun for children, but that doesn't make it safe for your children to swallow too much of the toothpaste.

If using a fluoride toothpaste, use a small, pea-size amount of toothpaste, so that there is little danger of your child getting too much fluoride if he swallows it. And begin to encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste at a young age.

The other alternative for younger children is to use a non-fluoridated toothpaste, such as Baby Orajel Tooth and Gum Cleanser, until they are spitting the toothpaste out.

In every western country they have central supply of fluoride (1ppm) in regular drinking water. In Bangladesh we still don't have this facilities. I have every doubt whether they maintain strict ratio of fluoride concentration in commercial mineral water or there presence. But now a days local fluoride application has been started in Bangladesh in few dental clinic. Where you can have local fluoride application for your children by which you can protect about 30-40% caries free teeth.

The timing of the first visit to the dentist is a little controversial. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that children should see a dentist when they get their first tooth and not later than 1 year of age. In contrast, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, unless your child has risk factors for having problems with his teeth, such as sleeping with a cup or bottle, teeth staining, thumb sucking, etc., the first visit to the dentist should be by around the third birthday.

However, an early visit to the dentist is a good way to learn proper oral hygiene at an early age, including avoiding night-time bottles or cups of formula or juice, proper toothbrushing, and a diet that promotes good dental health. You may also want to see a Pediatric dentist early if your child has a medical condition that puts him at risk of having dental problems, such as Down Syndrome.

You should also talk with your dentist about using sealants in your school age child. A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the teeth, hardens, and provides a barrier against plaque and other harmful substances. Sealants can be applied to the 1st and 2nd permanent molars to help protect the grooves and pits of these teeth that can be hard to clean and are prone to developing cavities, and appropriate premolars as soon as possible after they erupt (usually after 6 years of age).

What about flossing?
Flossing is an important part of good dental hygiene. You can usually begin flossing once your child is about 3-4 years old, but they likely won't be able to floss on their own until they are 8-10 years old.

In addition to teaching your children the importance of regular brushing and flossing, routine visits to the dentist and a healthy diet, it is important that you set a good example by also practicing good dental hygiene.






Findings in search of spring

If you turn off your heater, leave one of your windows open just a tad and stare out, it feels like monsoon is here. Rain has been the basic theme for spring in Washington DC this year. Not only rain but cold rain. We are forgetting whether it's summer that is coming or winter, if this is fall or spring. Only half the trees have bloomed and the other half still stand naked and dry. Who would know this is middle of April if it wasn't for the tax return deadlines and retail storefronts decorated with spring fashion?

The gloominess has gotten to me. I am only generating dark thoughts. Finding an outlet I am blurring out the negatives and only the negatives. I have been thinking about shaving my hair off, moving to a different state, picking a fight with near and far ones; anything that seems remotely disturbing has been considered. Thought of leaving this foreign land and so-called-home has crossed my mind as well. As I pondered deeper into that thought of how different America is from Bangladesh a few realisations suddenly dawned on me. The comparisons and contrasts of two observed conditions, and the strikingly sad similarities of a hated state and an adored one.

My observation: I have found after close observation and being raised in Bangladesh and in America a good portion of my life, that our Bangladeshi culture, government and mind are the closest to Conservative Republican Americans.

You are probably sitting there shaking your head. How can we be like Republicans, the Republicans who declare war, kill innocent people, and the Republicans who are capitalistic? No Bengalis in their right mind can support a Republican government, you are saying. Really, you think so? You will get a true answer to that when you ask a Bangladeshi business owner who is saving tax money only because of the Republican regime. Conservatives believe in "trickle down economics." The theory that if you cut taxes on the rich they will reinvest those savings in the economy and the benefits will trickle down to the lower classes. In reality rich people don't reinvest those savings; they keep them to make themselves richer. What makes you think this Bangladeshi business owner (and yes there are plenty of them) will be voting for a democratic government? This Bangladeshi might not support Iraq war but he sure supports the current government for his tax breaks.

Conservative Republicans are for the businessmen and Liberal Democrats are for the working men. In Bangladesh, what is the state of a working man? Is an average working man earning enough to support his family? Has the rate of employment gone up in the past few years? Take a look at our Bangladeshi business tycoons building empires in and around Dhaka. Seeing that, you don't think Bangladesh follows the capitalistic way of Conservative Republicans?

Conservative Republicans are pro-life when it comes to abortion issues, meaning against abortion. An average Bangladeshi doesn't even openly discuss sexual matters, or believe a woman has the brains to choose for herself. What makes you think they would be pro-choice like the Liberal Democrats? The abortion clinics in Dhaka might continue doing their job but the society will always look at them with a negative connotation.

Conservatives feel that it is okay to censor ideas or art they disagree with or find offensive and voices that disagree with them. Liberals know that censorship is the biggest threat to democracy. If Bangladeshis were not like Conservative Republicans why would they ban Ahmadiyya publications? If Bangladeshis were more liberal why would they let their journalists get death threats and deadly attacks one after another without punishing the criminals?

Conservatives believe that homosexuality is a choice and that it is deviant behaviour. Liberals examine the scientific evidence and know that homosexuality isn't a choice and that it isn't deviant behaviour and exists in almost every species in nature. Gay marriage in America has been a huge controversy for the past few months; needless to say the conservative republicans are not for this kind unnatural unity. We Bangladeshis refuse the state of homosexuality; we overlook if homosexuality exists in Bangladeshi culture and refuse any evidence that might show the presence of such being, I am sure we are all clear on where Bangladeshis will stand if there was a question of gay marriage in Bangladesh.

So now you tell me where to go? Between the cold rain and monsoon floods, stepping on the donkey's toes or riding on the elephant's back, in which land of the free and home of the brave can this back stabbing, pessimistic, self-destructive Bengali find spring again?

By Iffat Newaz



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