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BICN 04-17 Jan 2001

Volume 4 Number 9

From the Editor

Feature Article

Jim Seymour on 'Giving Back'

This Issue's Sponsors (Paid Advertising)

Ebenessel Intl School - Another Educational Option for Expatriate Families in Dhaka

Employment Opportunity for Coordinator and English Teachers for EIS English Medium

Contemporary Bengali Instruction

Ethnic Bandarban Hilltract Tours: Specials for Dhaka Expats

Community Announcements

Matlab River Cruise for the ICDDR,B Hospital Endowment Fund

Kid’s Theatre Group Starting

Bangladeshi Organization Sought for Collaboration on Child Labor Research Project

Request for an Environmental Journalist from Bangladesh

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) Awarded to Manchester Bangladeshi Community Centre Chairman

Events Calendar, Dhaka & Beyond

Webby! ­ Check Your POP3 Mail From Any Browser!

Thailand Holidays

Non-Commercial Advertisements

Subscription, Advertising, & Other Details

Next issue submission deadline Tue 16 Jan 2001.

(c) BICN. Items may be freely reprinted with this attribution: "Source: Bangladesh International Community News ( / )."

Get BICN on your handheld! Visit:

From the Editor 

Welcome back, if you went away. I stayed in Dhaka and had a great time with my friends and my kids. Very relaxing!

Feature Article

Jim Seymour on 'Giving Back'

From, reprinted with permission Jim Seymour. Mr. Seymour is a columnist for, an investing website.

[Ed: I would be hard pressed to explain or defend why I think this article is appropriate or relevant to the BICN community. I guess I would say that living in Bangladesh means living among large numbers of people who are suffering, from disease, malnutrition, domestic violence, etc. It can be overwhelming and one tends to get desensitized, partly as a psychological self-protection. Rediscovering and reconnecting with your compassion - which is what brought many of you to Bangladesh in the first place - is something we need to do every so often. The other thing I would say, is that I thought this article was just so well-written, that I wanted to share it with you. I certainly hope you don't feel preached at ... that wasn't the intention.]

"Every year at Christmas time, I've asked and [investing websites] readers to step back, think about how well they've done over the year, and find a way to give back to their communities.

"This year, when so many of us have been brutalized in the market, the idea of giving back some of your "gains" may seem a stretch. But I believe you give back, in the broadest sense, every year, not as a measure of how much money you made the previous year.

"Anyone reading these words is almost certainly among those who have been treated well by chance, time and our society ... and so yes, it's that time again.

"Even worse, in a sense, this year I'm not only after your money, but also a chunk of your life.

"I don't just want you to send some charitable outfit a check -- I do want that, but I want more. I like the notion of giving back from our store of our time, our treasure and our talent. This time I'm after you, not just your money. Your soul, maybe.

"Two months ago, an old friend called me and asked me to lunch ... on a park bench. Turned out he was too embarrassed to talk in a restaurant. Over sandwiches, he asked for an unusual favor: Would I please accompany him to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting the next night?

"He'd faced up, he said, to the notion that he had become an addict. He knew he needed to do this -- to save his life, he said. He had not been to one of these meetings before. He had not acknowledged his addiction to another person before. And he could not do it alone.

"Of course I said yes.

"The next night I sat for an hour and a half with 30 of the most extraordinary men and women I've ever met. All were, in their own words, addicts. They included straight business people, multiple-pierced punks, people who'd done serious time in the pen, people on parole, people who sold their bodies and people who bought others' bodies.

"They had just one thing in common: They were addicts.

"No, two things: They had the courage to say that, to open up about their lives and problems, with a candor and directness than sometimes scared me.

"About an hour into the meeting, my friend spoke up. 'My name is Xxxxx ... and I'm an addict.' The words were scary to hear. I knew him well, and had for 23 years. An addict? I'd never noticed anything. What did he use? When? Where?

"To make a long story short, I've been back to NA meetings with him a dozen times since then. He goes almost every night. I couldn't take that intensity; a couple of times a week is about it for me. He's tougher, more courageous than I am. Heck, all those men and women in those NA meetings are more courageous than I am.

"I've been blessed in that I've never had a problem with alcohol or drugs. Not virtue at work, I've come to realize, so much as simple chance. As a visitor at these meetings I'm not allowed to speak, but just to sit there and take in what I see and hear.

"And it has been a life-changing experience, a transformational experience, for me. You think you've been fortunate in life? You don't know the half of it.

"A couple of nights ago -- my friend now has 57 consecutive days 'clean,' longer, he tells me, than he has gone without drugs in more than three years -- we got a cup of coffee after a meeting, and he said, quietly, "Thank you. You know, you saved my life."

"I think he got it backward. He saved mine. By shaking me up, by giving me the privilege of meeting and being with such an extraordinary group. By watching a guy I never knew used drugs confront what he had done and dig down inside himself to find what it takes to change.

"My God, I realized in that moment, how jealous I was of his strength and utterly new sense of purpose.

"I told him that I appreciated the compliment, and took it at face value. 'But,' I said, 'I've come to realize I don't go to those meetings just for you. I go for me. Because I listen to brave people talk about my life, about all our lives, about the stresses and fears and anxiety we all have. I'm the one who owes you thanks.'

"Do that. Reach out. Help someone. Hurt with them. Grow with them.

"What I want to ask you to do this year is not just to give some change, so to speak, but to get some change: Give a chunk of yourself, your time, your spirit. Call the Salvation Army and ask if they need help. Or Goodwill Industries. Or a battered-women's center. Or Reading for the Blind. Or teach CPR. Or join Big Brothers or Big Sisters. Or join a local group that goes out on cold nights with warm clothes for the homeless.

"I don't care what you do, but rather that you do something. Give of yourself. Not just your money, but also that costlier, scarier stuff: your time, your life.

"Money-back guarantee: I promise you will be glad you did.

"And that you won't stop.

"Best wishes for the holidays and a joyous new year ahead, good friends."

This Issue's Sponsors

Ebenessel Intl School - Another Educational Option for Expatriate Families in Dhaka

Starting next year, Ebenessel International School (EIS) in Bashundhara, also known as the Korean School, is opening its doors to expatriate families of all nationalities. We provide an American educational curriculum, based on a Christian perspective, covering primary (grades 1-6) and secondary (grades 7-12) levels. Currently EIS has eight excellent teachers, two Canadian and six Bangladeshi, teaching 32 Korean and Indian students. For next year, EIS will be recruiting more Western teachers and is planning to expand enrolment to over 40 students.

The curriculum consists of English medium instruction each morning for all students, and national instruction each afternoon for students to study their own language, history, etc.

Fees are very reasonable and bus transportation is provided.

If you are an expat family interested in finding out more about EIS for your child, please contact Paul Lee, Principal, tel 8812922 / 8911254, email  or  .

Employment Opportunity for Coordinator and English Teachers for EIS English Medium

EIS would like to recruit a Coordinator and English Teachers with the following qualifications:

o Foreign passport holder o Native English speaker o At least one year teaching experience o ESL, MK and International school experience & training is an advantage o Expat spouses are encouraged to apply o Women are preferred for the teaching positions

For more information, please contact Paul Lee, Principal, tel 8812922 / 8911254, email  or  .

Contemporary Bengali Instruction

Nondita Chowdhury offers Bengali instruction to individuals and groups:

+Course 1, Survival Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions focusing on speaking and understanding

+Course 2, Basic Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions with the introduction of reading and writing

+Individual instruction - tailored to students needs

Courses run for five days per week over four weeks and cost Tk6000 per person for groups of two to seven, or Tk7500 for one person, includes all materials. Individualized instruction is also available at Tk400/hour per person. Ms Chowdhury was principal of Heed Language Centre (1991-97), and has over 20 years experience in Bengali instruction. Lessons given at her school in Gulshan or learner's home or office. For more information, call Ms Chowdhury at 8020650, or email , include your name & telephone number.

Ethnic Bandarban Hilltract Tours: Specials for Dhaka Expats 

January is the last month to enjoy our introductory 'Expat Specials' -- book this month in groups of 4-6 for tours anytime in 2001 and get up to 25% discounts! Profits go directly to indigenous projects. Join us in the Bandarban Hills in southeastern Bangladesh and visit the easygoing tribal people, boat along the Sangu river, walk through verdant hills, stay in a hilltop cottage, imbibe a little moonshine, and sway to hypnotic Mru music! Contact Reng Yu, your tour coordinator, anytime at or mobile 018-318345, or click

Community Announcements

Matlab River Cruise for the ICDDR, B Hospital Endowment Fund Saturday January 20, 2001 7 am to 9 pm

Games, music, morning tea, a shipboard lunch, and evening tea will be provided during 3.5-hour cruise downstream from Naranganj to Matlab, a portside town on a tributary of the Megna River system just 55 kilometers southeast of Dhaka. The new Parjatan boat, the Atlas Sun, easily accommodates 200 people with areas for entertainment, rest, western toilets and decks for viewing river life and fresh water dolphins. Refreshments are being donated by supporting businesses and will include bottled Duncan Brothers mineral water, donated RC colas, snacks from Nabisco and Prang as well as fresh peelable fruit.

A drawing will be held on the boat for appropriate prizes donated by local filmstores (Kodak, Agfa, and Konica), sports shops (Sports World), and warm weather clothing manufacturers.

Once in Matlab, families have many activities to choose from:

  • Speed boat rides 
  • Rickshaw tours of the Saturday country market 
  • Fishing contests 
  • Volleyball, badminton, & horseshoes
  • Tea on the rooftop, under the palms, or on the famous floating barge

And for those interested in seeing rural community development and health projects first-hand:

  • Van tours of community projects (ICDDR, B health substation, BRAC school, village cooking demonstration, water purification)
  • Hospital treatment centre tours
  • Demographic surveillance briefings

While you are having all this fun, the funds generated from your ticket purchase will be put towards treatment of severely ill patients at the Matlab hospital

Tickets are limited, so buy or reserved yours now. Tk1500/person at Folk Bangladesh, Road 104 Gulshan, or call Vanessa Brooks, ICDDR, B External Relations, 988 1626. Under two years old free!

Venue details: Ticket holders arrive at the ICDDR, B Mohakhali hospital parking lot by 7am on Saturday, January 20, to board the Centre's buses and vans for the 30 minute drive to the Marian Anderson ghat in Naranganj. The buses will return to the Centre before 9 pm that evening.

What to bring: Windbreaker jacket or sweater, sunscreen, hat, binoculars, camera, picnic blanket, snacks (if family members have unique food preferences), and board or card games if you like.

Matlab, our destination, is a rural thana in Chandpur District located south of Comilla, between several large rivers with a major embankment running through. Matlab is known throughout the health science world as a leading research site for community interventions for health and population problems. Maternal and child health/ family planning programs, procedures for successful village clinics, diarrheal treatment experience (including Oral Rehydration Therapy), new vaccines and community health worker strategies tested at Matlab have been widely adopted by many other developing countries. Matlab's longitudinal Health and Demographic Surveillance System is the largest and oldest of its kind in the world. In addition to Matlab's hospital, labs, and data centers, its unique training facility offers international medical courses and provides air-conditioned rooms and computers for conferences and workshops for many other organizations.

Kid’s Theatre Group Starting

We (myself and my nine year old theatre nut daughter) are starting a kid’s theatre group in mid-January. The idea is to get together some (self described) “theatre nuts” ages eight to eighteen, initially for theatre games, readings, skits, workshops with adult “theatre nuts”, etc, and later for productions.

We are seeking between five and 15 other kids to participate. We’re also seeking some support from the adult “theatre nut” community ­ if you have experience with kids theatre and would be willing to help with one or more sessions, loan us materials (books, scripts etc.), or advise on curriculum, methods, activities, etc., we would love to hear from you.

Tentatively we are thinking of meeting once or twice a week, for a couple of hours each time; eg Wednesday 4-6pm and Saturday 10-12pm; at my home or at Grace International School. The arrangements will be finalized once we hear from those who are interested. Also, given the potential age range, there could be an older group and a younger group; or, this could be an opportunity for experienced older theatre nuts to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm to the younger ones.

If you would like more information, email Sara Bennett at  .

Bangladeshi Organization Sought for Collaboration on Child Labor Research Project

Delwar Jahid, a journalist and academic from Bangladesh, is currently investigating child labour at the University of Vigo, Spain, under the Faculty of Educational Science, Pontevedra. The research is dedicated to the documentation and analysis of the child labour situation in South Asia and Europe and will address issues from Bangladeshi and European perspective.

The University is looking for partner organisation to utilize more resources with exchange of information and documents to strengthen the child rights movement. This research is supervised by the Vice-Rector of the University of Vigo Prof. Antonio Fernandez Aluarez and Ms. Luisa Alonso Escontrela, Director of the Faculty of Education. The project began in December 2000 and will continue for three years.

Jahid previously worked as a researcher on child labour at the University of Education in Freiburg Germany. He was Editor of the Weekly Samaj Kantha and contributed to the national dailies of Bangladesh. Jahid is the author of "Freedom of Thought : Religion, Human Rights, and Contemporary Politics" published in 1997 at the National Press Club, Dhaka. He has received several awards and medals for his writings on human rights and a national award from the Institute of Rural Journalists, Dhaka, in 1995.

For more information please email jahid@uvigo 

Request for an Environmental Journalist from Bangladesh

Greetings from CUTS Calcutta! Kindly allow me to introduce Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) one of the premier consumer and environmental NGOs of India. CUTS is accredited to UNCTAD and UNCSD and works on a number of issues relating to environment, trade, sustainable consumption et al which has a bearing on the consumer.

We are jointly with UNEP and SAWTEE (South Asia Watch on Trade Economics and Environment) organising South Asian Consultation on Atmospheric Issues, February,2001. However could you provide us name and coordinates of an environmental journalist from Bangladesh with relevant experience in ozone depletion and climate change. If you have someone in your contact list kindly send us the details at the earliest.

Looking forward to your kind cooperation, Rajarshi Roy, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), 3, Suren Tagore Road, Calcutta-700019. Ph: 91 33 440 6245, Fx: 91 33 440 7669, email: , website: 

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) Awarded to Manchester Bangladeshi Community Centre Chairman By the Queen in Her New Years Honours List

Mr Abu Taher Mohammed Mohiuddin Chowdhury of Manchester UK has been awarded an MBE. Mr. Chowdhury was instrumental in setting up the successful Bangladeshi Community Centre in Manchester. As Chairman of the Centre, he helped to raise over one million pounds to aid the victims of the 1988 Bangladesh floods. He received former President Ershad of Bangladesh to present the donations collected from all sections of the public. In recent years, Mr. Chowdhury he has been reaching a wider audience a guest on local radio stations.

Mr Chowdhury arrived in England in 1963 and came to live in the City of Manchester in 1966. After working in the banking sector for nine years he joined the Department of Social Security and has been in their service ever since. Mr Chowdhury has an on-going commitment as a Magistrate and has been part of the Manchester City bench for the past 15 years.

In response to the honour,.Mr. Chowdhury stated that he was "delighted to receive the award of the Member of the Order of the British Empire as it is the ultimate beacon of recognition and a huge honour which I will treasure for the rest of my life."

Events Calendar, Dhaka & Beyond 

To have your Bangladesh-related event - in Dhaka or anywhere else in the world - included in the next Event Calendar, please email the time, date, place, description, and email contact address to  by Tues 16 Jan 01.

All events are in Dhaka unless otherwise noted. Entry to some events is restricted, eg to members - contact event organizers for more information.

Early January

Sat 6 Jan, New Orleans, LA - Association for Economic Development Studies on Bangladesh (AEDSB) session at the Allied Social Science Associations meeting January 5-7. AEDSB session title, "Efficiency vs. Equity: Emerging Issues in Capital and Labor Markets in Bangladesh." Presiding: Erik Thorbecke, Cornell University, M. Kabir Hassan, University of New Orleans, Anisul M. Islam, University of, Houston - Downtown, and Syed Abul Basher, York University, Canada.

Sat 7 Jan - Orthodox Christmas, services at the Armenian Church in Old Dhaka.

Sun [sic!] 10 [sic!] Jan - BWA Monthly Meeting at 3pm, talk by Angie Roques from the British Council about nursing in Bangladesh. Email for venue.

Thu 11 Jan ­ Back to School Disco Party, ARA 7-11pm, for kids ages 12+

Fri 12 Jan - Jazz Night at the BAGHA. BAGHA & BHC members free, Tk50/person for other club's members + one guest each.

Sat 13 Jan ­ Kids Mini Olympics, ARA 9-12am, for kids under 11

Sun-Tue 14-16 Jan - UK Trade & Education Fair 2001. Dhaka Sheraton. For trade info email Jon Geddes, Commercial Section, British High Commission Dhaka, . For education info, contact Ripa Walie, education Promotion Manager at British Council Dhaka, .

Tue 16 Jan - Submission deadline for next issue of BICN.

Late January & Beyond

Sat 20 Jan - ICDDR,B Hospital Endowment Fundraiser, River Cruise to Matlab. Tk1500/person, families welcome. Day will include speed boat rides, bazaar shopping, fishing, and other family fun. Leave Mohakhali at 7am, return 9pm. Contact jsack@citechco for tickets. These tickets make great holiday gifts! See “Community Announcements” in this edition for more information.

Sun 21 January - UNWA newcomer's tea, 10.30am. Email for venue.

February - Street Children's Party, BAGHA Club.

Fri 2 Feb - Annual ICDDR,B Endowment Fund Ball, Sonargaon Hotel. Tk1500/person. Reserve a table of 10 now by contacting ICCDR,B External Relations at 988-1626. Raffle tickets @ Tk25, book of four @ Tk100 will be available and announced shortly. Raffle tickets make great holiday gifts!

Wed 7 Feb - BWA Annual General Meeting at 3pm. Talk & photo exhibition - details to be finalised at a latter date. Email for venue.

Mon [?] 12 Feb [?] - Echoes of the Heart, dinner, show, & disco, Sonargaon 7pm, organized by the Filipino expats & Phillipine Embassy. Tickets Tk1200/person, proceeds to charity.

Wed 14 Feb ­ “Lady in Red” Valentine Dinner Dance, ARA

Wed 21 Feb - Shaheed Dibash (Government holiday)

Tue-Thu 6-8 Mar - Eid ul Azha (Government holiday, subject to moon)

Wed 7 Mar - BWA Monthly Meeting. Email bwa@bicn for details.

Sat 17 Mar - Bangabandhu's Birthday (Government holiday)

Mon 26 Mar - Independence Day (Government holiday)

Webby! ­ Check Your POP3 Mail From Any Browser!

If you are one of those who use a hotmail or yahoo email address so that you can continue to get email while away from home base - or if you just forgo email on the road, this service is for you. It's free, secure (SSL encrypted), fast, and dead easy

To log into your regular POP3 email account and send/retrieve e-mail (and attachments!!) from any web browser:

1. Go to 

2. Click the "enter" button

3. Enter your email username, password, and email host (eg,, [If you are not sure what yours is, look in the Options area of your email client.]

4. then automatically gets copies of and displays your incoming messages list on a webpage. Click to read, delete, etc., whatever messages you wish. does not delete messages from your email host until you ask, so you can download them later into your regular email client, if you want to.

Just think: No more hotmail addresses when you travel! No more monkeying with email programs on your relatives' and friends' computers! WONDERFUL!!!

Thailand Holidays

It can be quite disconcerting to arrive in a country and discover that one of your "working days" is one of their "holidays." If you are going to Thailand, have a look at the Thailand Tourist Authority list of Thai holidays (currently the list is still for 2000) at: 

Lists of holidays for "all" countries can be found at 

The information at this resource is indicative rather than authoritative, however, as a comparison of the Bangladesh list with the official GOB holidays will show.

Non-Commercial Advertisements 

Always free in BICN - personal classified ads, this means ads to buy or sell personal household items, to hire or place household staff. For security/privacy reasons, ads contain only names and email addresses - residential addresses and phone numbers are not normally published.

FOR SALE: Quarter size child's violin in excellent condition, Tk12,000. High quality imported wooden high chair with tray, very good condition Tk3000 (new equivalent would be ~Tk5000); USA child carseat (for older baby up to about four years old), excellent condition functionally but well worn in appearance, Tk3000 (new equivalent would be ~Tk4000).  Email

WANTED TO BUY: A dehumidifier in good condition--either 110V or 220V. We live in Chittagong but we could arrange to collect from Dhaka. If you have one for sale, please email long@aob.globalctg 

SEEKING OLD FRIEND: From William Li: "I am an old friend of Mr. Pamesh Haasan from Hong Kong.... I hope that you will transfer this message to him or give me his new contact to me if possible." Email  ..

Subscription, Advertising, & Other Details

BICN is a free email newsletter published first & third Wednesdays, September to May, from Dhaka Bangladesh. Sara Bennett, Editor.

Contact Info - Email all inquiries & items to . BGD tel +880(2)988-1708, USA fax +1(978)418-8132, mail H28 R4 Blk C, Banani Dhaka.

Always Free - 

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  • Letters to the editor
  • Press releases
  • Articles
  • And of course subscribing!

Economical Ads - 

  • Offer your apartment/house/land for rent or sale 
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  • Offer products/services for sale

Ads cost only USD8 (Tk450) for up to 100 words, half price for repeats booked with the original order. Payment accepted in Taka cash/check, USD cash/check with payment pick up for reasonable Dhaka addresses, or by Credit Card, secure payment on & offline available worldwide!

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