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BICN 8-21 Feb 2001

Volume 4 Number 11

From the Editor

Update on the Asha Project

Feature Article

"A Newcomer's Guide to Angkor Wat -- A Personal View"

Community Announcements

Establishment of Bangladesh Caucus (USA) - From Bangladesh-American Foundation 

Aerobics For Baby Boomers

Events Calendar, Dhaka & Beyond


BACUSA - Bangladesh Association of ChicagoLand

Standard Chartered Grindlays Bangladesh

Non-Commercial Advertisements

Subscription, Advertising, & Other Details

Next issue submission deadline Tue 20 Feb 2001.

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

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From the Editor 

Mike & Rosey Whittles' Asha "sponsoring girls into education" project has gotten off to a strong start, with an amazing response from BICN subscribers and others. Asha was featured in the last edition of BICN and within 24 hours of publication, Mike had received a dozen emails from BICN subscribers around the world expressing an interest in the project. Many in the Dhaka community have come forward as well. Well done!

And an update on the Asha Project from Mike & Rosey Whittles:

"We are calling this venture the Asha Project (asha = hope). What we are seeing today is the firstfruits of God's promise to us three years ago, before we even considered coming to Bangladesh. God promised us then that we would bring hope to the poor. It is exciting to realise that this is beginning to happen.

"Asha is presently reaching some of the young working girls of our area of Dhaka. We now have eleven enrolled in four local schools. Three of these schools happen to be Christian in foundation and support although all of the children are Muslim at present. Children are chosen because we have got to know them and relate to them on the streets and they are matched to whatever local schools are suitable and available. Our concern is only to help those in need by a practical demonstration of the love that God has for them.

"It's very early days for us yet. Five of the older girls enrolled only on Saturday and afterwards they came round to our house in the evening to tell us all about it over a Bangla meal. They then presented us with a variety concert of dance and song in celebration! They seem happy and able to make a go of it but we realise that this is a new life for them and may take some adjusting to. We are praying that they may be able to adopt good study habits and receive much encouragement from their teacher and families. School is only for the afternoon so that still leaves the problem of time on their hands in the morning. Some of them are still drawn back to the market and the streets- a lifetime's habits are hard to change - but I would like see some training time begun for life and work skills as soon as possible. Premises and instructors will be needed for that.

"We manage to keep in touch with all the girls. Four younger girls who started last week were telling me today that they have been unable to get their class one Bangla books. There's somewhat of a nationwide shortage at the moment. We are going hunting for books tomorrow afternoon because we don't want them to get bored or disillusioned so soon. This evening Selina, now into her third week of school in Class 3 after a four year absence, was here with her brother for tea. She's very keen & trying hard to catch up, getting up at 5am to do her housework tasks & homework before school.

"Rehennna and Moyna, our local brick-breaker friends also visited us, as they do most days. Their school uniform dresses should be ready for them at the tailors tomorrow. Rehennana, aged eleven, shy with a Mona Lisa smile, has had no previous schooling. Her sister, a year older and very bright, is starting again in Class Six after a year's absence working on the building sites around DOHS.

"As money comes in we will get more girls placed. Already I am receiving requests from other girls who have heard of the scheme. I also know of two girls, Mirani and Dolly who have, over Eid, begun work as houseservants in Gulshan 1, yet would love to have gone to school instead. It remains to be seen if I can extract them from their positions. Often, young girls can face considerable risk of abuse in domestic service, and some end up almost as slaves, tied seven days a week to their employers with hardly any remuneration. Mirani and Dolly are apparently receiving Tk100 a week ($US2) each for living in and working seven days. I intend to enquire further.

"There are boys who are desperately in need of help too. On Saturday night I went out on the Circle with a Bengali friend to see Khanif, a twelve year old orphan who ekes out an existence at Dui Number. Just before Eid time I spent a long evening in Gulshan Thana (police station) trying to get him released from a prison cell. Surprisingly, at 2am he was at last released into my custody, without even the need to pay a bribe. My wife and friends were praying and we thank God for the Chief of Police's change of heart. My Bangladeshi friend already cares for several boys rescued from drug abuse situations. After chatting with Khanif, it seems he might be willing to take one more! We are arranging to take Khanif to his home this week. Once there I am hoping to provide a level of support similar to the teenage girls and get him into school. He's a lovely lad, affectionate and polite, but on the brink of disaster if he doesn't receive help soon.

"Every one of these lovely kids needs help, shelter, education, and love, and my desire is that Asha can somehow be for them too and others like them. This summer I am intending to give up my full-time teaching job at the International School and work in the slums and streets. I can hardly wait; there's so much to do and who knows how much time to do it in. I am able to raise my own support to continue in the work and my wife will continue to work as a teacher. We have no intention that our fundraising should benefit ourselves at all. We have a basic lifestyle here - no car - we bought a rickshaw instead for Nurul our rickshaw wallah - and much of our own resources are presently channelled into the lives of other people.

"We have an immediate need for funds to enable us to make payments to needy children, to arrange school enrollments and purchase uniforms, books etc. We would therefore be grateful if some people could consider making a contribution to our presently limited resources. If you wish to make a monthly donation for sponsorship these are currently Tk800 per month or Tk9600 taka per year (about USD175). We will inform you how your sponsorship has been allocated or you can wait to be informed of a possible candidate. For more information on how you can contribute, email whittles@citechco ."

Feature Article

A Newcomer's Guide to Angkor Wat -- A Personal View 

By Carey N. Gordon, USAID/Cambodia [Reprinted from The Jute of last year sometime]

What is known as "Angkor Wat" is actually comprised of dozens of separate temples and monuments spread out over about 50 square miles, most built during the period 950-1150 AD. The largest is the Angkor Wat temple itself. My favorite temple is Ta Prohm, but each time we go we see new temples, which never cease to amaze us.

The jumping off point for a visit to Angkor Wat is Siem Reap. Air travel between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap takes about 35 minutes, and costs about USD110 roundtrip on Royal Air Cambodge. Also on some days there are direct flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

Siem Reap has a multitude of hotels and guesthouses at all comfort levels and prices. We have stayed three times at a modest medium-sized place called the Bayon Hotel, which is centrally located in Siem Reap and costs about $30 per night for a double room. Rooms have good a/c, shower, comfortable beds, cable TV and a small fridge in the room. Not a glitzy place, but extremely good value. The Bayon Hotel telephone number is (855) 015-631-769, and the fax number is (855) 063-963-993,. Ask them whether they will send a car to meet you, which is their custom. The driver will be standing outside the air terminal (a small building) with a sign with your name on it. No charge to get you to the hotel. On the off chance you are not met, a taxi to the hotel should cost $1 or $2.

We have also stayed at Angkor Village, which is about $75/night for a double, charming in its local flavor -(lots of wood, built on stilts), with a small swimming pool, but no TV or fridge in the room.

Siem Reap also has several top end hotels. The Grand Hotel is Siem Reap's fanciest hotel, refurbished and reopened late last year, which caters to upscale tourists and tour groups. We often go there for a pre-dinner drink in the lobby bar of the hotel. The Grand Hotel also has a bakery and a shop that sells English language books about Cambodia.

The going daily rate to hire a car and driver for your use all day including dinner hours is $20 per day. Most drivers speak enough English to do basic communication.

I recommend you hire a guide if this will be your first visit to Angkor Wat. We did this on our first visit; it helped orient us and to take us to places we would otherwise have missed, although on subsequent trips we've just hired a car and driver. An English-speaking guide who knows the monuments and temples costs $20 per day. The driver and guide are generally not the same person; you have to hire the guide separately.

If you're feeling more adventurous, you can also hire a moto with driver for transport (about $5-6 per day, I'm told). You can also do self-guided touring with a guidebook if you're so inclined. Either the driver or hotel can obtain a guide for you.

One afternoon, when you want a break from visiting temples, I strongly suggest a visit to the "Vietnamese fishing village" on the lake (Tonle Sap), about 20 minutes from Siem Reap. Have your driver or guide help you hire a boat to take you around the houseboats, which should cost you about $10 for a couple of hours. Very relaxing and very interesting.

We always eat lunch at Chez Sophea, which is one of a group of small open-air (with roof) restaurants directly in front of the main entrance to the Angkor Wat temple. It's set back about 150 yards from the road along with the other restaurants there (Chez Sophea is the one on the far left as you're looking at the restaurants from Angkor Wat) . This restaurant is operated by a friendly Frenchman and his Cambodian wife, originally from Algeria but who's been in Cambodia about nine years. A very interesting fellow (speaks good English) who likes to visit with his guests. After long mornings of visiting the temples we usually end up taking a long leisurely lunch there. He has a standard menu with wonderfully marinated steak, fish, chicken and pork, and a great salad with his own special dressing. Dinner and drinks for two: about $25.

For dinner, we usually eat at the Bayon Restaurant, not associated or connected with the Bayon Hotel, about a 5 minute drive from the Bayon Hotel. It's the most popular expat eatery in Siem Reap, which also attracts some Cambodians, with very good inexpensive oriental food. Dinner for two with drinks will set you back about $10.

Community Announcements

Establishment of Bangladesh Caucus (USA) - From Bangladesh-American Foundation

"We need your assistance and need it urgently.

"I just received a telephone call from the Office of Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY07). He is interested in taking a lead in establishing a Bangladesh Caucus on the Hill.

"I am writing to seek your input on an urgent basis.

"First, please indicate the Congressional districts with highest number of Bangladeshi-Americans in TEXAS, CALIFORNIA, Detroit (IL), NEW JERSEY and New York.

"Second, suggest a Republican in the Congress who has a significant Bangladeshi-American constitutency and who might be interested in co-sponsoring, which is necessary to register the Caucus.

"Third, suggest names of Congressman and Senators, such as Senator McCain, who might be sympathetic to a Bangladesh Caucus whether or not they have a significant Bangladeshi-American constituency.

"Fourth, tell us if you know members of the Ways and Means Committee whom we could approach to join the Caucus.

"Please respond quickly with these information. We need to have the relevant information by this Thursday [8 Feb].

"Please mail your information directly to .

"For information on the objectives and activities of the Bangladeshi-American Foundation, please visit ." [no longer online]

Aerobics For Baby Boomers

New class consisting of 15 minutes warm up with weights and stretches; 20 minutes step; 10 minutes toning with weights and floor exercises; 7 minutes ab work; 8 minutes cool down stretch. Sunday and Wednesday 5:30-6:30pm at the American Club. Open to all expat club card holders, Tk1500 for the series 4 Feb - 21 Mar. All profits go to Saturday School, AIS/D HS Service Learning Project.

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 February

February - Street Children's Party, BAGHA Club. Date TBA.

8-17 Feb - Polly Hope's 'Spaces & Places' at DRIK Gallery. Last Exhibition of Chobi Mela 2000, open daily 3-8pm. "Polly uses various art techniques and forms in her work, where photographs are mainly used to give a view of 360degree space, or you may call it 720degree space. Her work presents an entirety of events happening around any point on one large canvas. She prefers to term her work as 'the archival documents about places and experimental work of a camera as lively as a paint-brush.' Some of the decade-old places of Bangladesh can be seen with amazement in her work, which reveals that our own surroundings are moving through various changes."

10-11 Feb - The British Council presents, "State of Bengal," Asian underground from the UK plus Miles and a fusion session with Dhaka classical musicians. At 7pm in Osmani Hall. Admit cards Tk80 at British Council, British Council Teaching Centre, Sagor Publishers Bailey Rd, Video Connection Gulshan, Film Fair Video Dhanmondi.

Mon 12 Feb - BAGHA Quiz Night.

Tue 13 Feb - Valentine Dinner & Dance, International Club, 8pm. Tickets Tk1000 per couple for members, Tk1500 non-members.

Wed 14 Feb - "Lady in Red" Valentine Dinner Dance, ARA

Thu 15 Feb - Pub Folk And Blues Night at the BAGHA.

Thu 15 Feb - Valentine Disco Dance, Canadian Club, 10pm. Tickets Tk300.

Fri 16 Feb - AIS/D International Fair, 3-6pm. Admission Tk50, under 3 free.

Fri 16 Feb - Masked Ball, 8pm BHC Club. Tickets Tk1000 each at BHC Club & BAGHA Club.

Mon 19 Feb - BWA Committee Meeting, 7:30pm. Email for venue.

Tue 20 Feb - Deadline to submit items for next edition of BICN.

Wed 21 Feb - Shaheed Dibash (Government holiday)

Late February & Beyond

Mon 26 Feb - BAGHA Quiz Night.

Fri 2 Mar - Waitangi Day celebration. For more info, email .

Fri 2 Mar - Annual Fund Raising Ball, The United Kingdom Association of Bangladesh is having its at the Dhaka Sheraton. Tickets and details from Ian Maitland on maitland@bangla .

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

Wed 7 Mar - BWA Monthly Meeting, 3:30pm. Talk on earthquake preparedness by Dr. Sara Bennett. Email for venue.

Wed-Fri 7-9 Mar - AIS/D High School presents the musical, "The Little Shop of Horrors," 7pm. Adults Tk200, students Tk150.

Mon 12 Mar - BAGHA Quiz Night.

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

Mon 19 Mar - BWA Committee Meeting, 7:30pm. Email for venue.

Mon 26 Mar - BAGHA Quiz Night.

Mon 26 Mar - Independence Day (Government holiday)

Mon 9 Apr - BAGHA Quiz Night.

Mon 23 Apr - BAGHA Quiz Night.


BACUSA - Bangladesh Association of ChicagoLand

"Bangladesh Association of ChicagoLand recently redesigned their web site . This is a good informative site for Bangladeshis living in USA and Canada. It also contains information about immigration to the USA and Canada, INS form, passport-visa information and application form, local news and special activities throughout the N. America and Greater ChicagoLand area.

"Here's how you can have access to more than 30,000 exclusive images of Asia in four easy steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Browse or search for images by keywords
  3. Pay through credit cards via secure transactions
  4. Download the image/s

"If you are targeting the Asian market, we can offer you royalty-free Asian images for your creative and publishing needs at competitive prices, from as low as US$30. For a catalog, go to and download our FREE e-catalogs and browse at your own convenience."

Standard Chartered Grindlays Bangladesh

Is at: 

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.

ITEMS FOR SALE: End of March beginning of April, 2001. 1. Car Toyota Sprinter, 1981 Engine 6 months guaranty. No passbook needed. Tk 75,000. 2. Air Conditioner General. Compressor guaranty: 20.05.2001. Service guarantee 20.05.2005. Tk 31,000. 3. Air Conditioner Carrier. Guaranty: 20.06.2002. Tk 28,500. 4. Automatic Washing Machine Samsung. Guaranty: 28.06.2001. Tk 18,000 5. Refrigerator Samsung. Guaranty: 14.05.2002. Red colour. Tk 15,000. 6. TV set Daewoo, 14'' Tube guaranty: 31.05.2001. Tk 12,500. 7. Gas stove General Electric. Spark ignition. Two burns.No oven. Tk 2,500. 8. Book shelf Medium size. Tk 1,000. 9. Corner sofa set 5 pieces. Deep blue. Tk 5,000. 10. Iron table. Tk 300. 11. Curtains. Two types. For 5 windows. Tk 3,500. 12. Mattresses (2+2) and Pillows (4) For double beds. Tk 1,500. 13. Plates and cups 6 pieces. Tk 1,500. All prices are negotiable. Please contact Eugene Bourlakov at or office tel (9 a.m. 6 p.m.) 8126204.

BLENDER WANTED - If you've got one you don't need anymore, or never really got around to using, I'll buy it from you. Email ..

WANTED TO BUY: Audio equipment: stereo hifi amplifier and loudspeakers. If you have either for sale, email Tim@Expatria.every1 ..

EMPLOYMENT SOUGHT: "Sukomar, my part-time roof-top gardener, is available for additional part-time or alternative full-time employment as chowkhidar, chowkhidar-cum-mali or mali. Email osinskip@citechco "..

EMPLOYMENT SOUGHT: For more information email . Joynel - Cook/Bearer. Choku - Mali/Assistant Bearer/Day Guard. Tuku - Night Guard.

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  .

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.

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