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BICN 22 Feb - 7 Mar 2001

Volume 4 Number 12

From the Editor

Late, Late, Late

What IS Going to Happen in 2004?

Letters to the Editor

Feature Article

Formation of a Bangladesh Caucus (USA): How You Can Help

This Issue's Sponsors (Commercial Ads)

Effective Bangla Language Center (EBLC)

Community Announcements

Roundtable at Columbia University NY: Bangladesh: Promise and Performance, Tue 6 Mar 

Wanted for Street Children's Party, Sun 18 Mar BAGHA Club 

Looking for Photos of Ricksha Art Showing Foreign Elements

Events Calendar, Dhaka & Beyond


WSO.NET: What A Great Bunch of Guys (Guy? Girl?)

Non-Commercial Advertisements

Subscription, Advertising, & Other Details

Next issue submission deadline Tue 6 Mar 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 

Late, Late, Late

Sorry to be so late with this issue.

Just procrastinatin' I guess. That plus the exTREMELY slow Internet access, since that cable in the Pacific got cut (???????) I guess.

Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I like to do the newsletter late at night, but the mosquitoes have made my office a no-go zone??? If you live in Dhaka, you know what I'm talking about.

But seriously:

What *IS* Going to Happen in 2004?

It's common knowledge and in the news of late that as of 2004, Bangladesh will face a serious economic challenge, with the end of the current trading regime for ready made garments (ie expiry of the "Multifibre Agreement" or MFA). RMG earns 70 per cent of BGD's export income, and employs in >2500 factories over 1.5 million persons, of which 90% are women. The employment of so many young women in this sector has had profound social impacts.

I have yet to read the authoritative analysis of the implications of 2004 for Bangladesh (if there is such a reference and you can direct us to it, please do; if it is on the WWW, it has so far eluded me; and that's saying something).

Call me an ex-Rust Belt Girl: born and bred in Cleveland Ohio, which boomed in the 1960s and 1970s and then in the early 1980's recession saw most of the automotive and related factories padlock their gates, leading to a net outflux of 25% of the metropolitan area population (that's a LOT of empty houses, folks).

So. Whatever experts are thinking about the economic and financial implications for Bangladesh of the end of the MFA regime, I feel this kind of queasy concern when I think about the potential social impacts of 2004 will be. In plain English: what will happen to all those young girls and their dependents, if there is sudden massive termination of employment in RMG? If indeed that is what is going to happen: I'd like to hear the arguments for and against that scenario. In this brave new world of free markets, is any sort of social adjustment assistance on the cards for displaced workers and their families?

Yikes ... or not?

Letters to the Editor

Date: 14 Feb 01 

Subject: The Angkor Wat

It might be of interest to readers to know that the Paharpur monastery in northern Bangladesh is believed to have been the prototype for later Buddhist structures in other parts of Asia, including the Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Sylvia Mortoza

Date: 14 Feb 01 

Subject: Hartals

Hi Sara,

Last four days we are suffering hartal. Couldn't move around. Winter is our high season but can not run business at all for such economical suicide. We are really loosing. What happened to our people? I think our politicians are responsible for this. They are cheat, cunning. Strange country, Strange people. What do you think? I am very very upset. . . .

Both govt & opposition are equally responsible and they are just playing with us. Hartal represents a cruel punishment of regular working people who are trying to make a living and build a prosperous Bangladesh. The politicians who are involved do not have the country's best interests at heart.



Feature Article

Formation of a Bangladesh Caucus (USA): How You Can Help From The Bangladeshi-American Foundation, Inc.

Dear Friends of Bangladesh,

We request your help in encouraging your Congressional Representative and the two Senators to support the establishment of The Bangladesh Caucus. The Caucus will deepen bilateral relations between the two countries, help to promote trade and investment, and also increase your representation in the United States Congress as a taxpayer.

You can help directly by contacting your elected officials and by encouraging others to do likewise. To help you in your effort, we describe below how you can contact your Representative and Senators. Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY07) is taking the initiative to form a Congressional Bangladesh Caucus. We will work with Senators also to have a similar Senate Bangladesh Caucus.

Please send an e-mail, make a call or send a letter urging your Congressperson/Senators to take action. We are also including a draft letter that you may edit and mail.

We thank you most sincerely for your effort.

Office of Communications The Bangladeshi-American Foundation, Inc. WWW.Bangladeshi-American.Org 

More info: email Rashad Chowdhury at ]

To get the e-mail and phone particulars of your House Representative and your two Senators:

Step 1: Open Internet Explorer or Netscape and go to 

Step 2: Place the cursor and fill in your zipcode under "Elected Officials" and click "Search".

Step 3: The photographs of the President, your two Senators and your House Representative are displayed. Click on each picture in turn to get the phone numbers and/or email address

Please copy your email to so we can also monitor the level of public support.

Draft Email :(This is a sample, you can edit the content to express your views)

Dear Honorable ___,

As a member of you Constituency, I request you to support the establishment of the Bangladesh Caucus to recognize and deepen the long established friendship between the United States and Bangladesh. Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY07) is taking the initiative to establish this Caucus.

Bangladesh, with United States support, has made excellent progress in poverty alleviation through micro credit and population control that has been an example to other developing countries. Increasingly, the relationship has grown into one based on trade and investment. Moreover, as the largest Muslim country with a working democracy, Bangladesh needs our support through increased trade and investment to sustain and deepen democratic practices and principles.

As a community, Bangladeshi-Americans are relatively new but our number is increasing rapidly. We are professionally and financially well established, and we are making significant contributions to the wider society. As of end-2000, we numbered about 230,000. Census office data show that our community is mostly concentrated in medicine and university-level teaching. We are significantly above average in terms of educational and professional achievements and household incomes. Detailed statistical information is available at [no longer online].

Bangladeshi-Americans are very well organized too, because of our historical experiences -- in 1952, Bangladeshis had to organize to defend the right to use our mother tongue and, in 1971, they had to organize to fight for their Independence from Pakistan. Reflecting these experiences, we have about 250 organizations throughout the USA serving the cultural, social and professional needs of our community.

With our high professional and financial achievements, and organizational strength, we are increasingly rallying for strengthening and deepening trade, investment and friendship between the United States and Bangladesh.

I request you to join the Bangladesh Caucus. It will help to foster friendship, bilateral investment and trade between the two countries.

Respectfully yours,

[your name]

This Issue's Sponsors (Commercial Ads)

Effective Bangla Language Center (EBLC)

A new Bangla language center in Banani with a grop of the most experienced instructors. We promist to make your life easier in Bangladesh. Courses are offered 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

+Advanced course - focusing on Bengali customs, culture, historical, social, and religious aspects

+Special course for diplomats

+Crash course in spoken Bangla specially designed for Western children

+Intensive course & individual instruction tailored to students' needs

All instructors are former senior staff of HEED Language Center, each with 12+ years of Bengali teaching experience.

Email, include your name & telephone number. 

School Opening Hours: 8:30am to 4pm 

Address: House 16/A, Road 25/A, Banani 

Hotline: 017678547 

Evenings after 7pm: 802, 8129299, 8018967, 8114663 

Fees: One-time registration Tk1000. One month course fee Tk5500. Hourly rate Tk350. Book Tk200.


Community Announcements

Roundtable at Columbia University NY: Bangladesh: Promise and Performance, Tue 6 Mar

Please join us in the round table discussion and book party on the 6 Mar where you will be able to meet others interested in Bangladesh studies.




Tuesday March 6

Round table 3-5pm, followed by a reception 5-6pm 

Room 1501, School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118 St., New York, NY

The Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University, The Society For International Law And Politics In International Affairs (Silpia), Columbia University, and Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, invite you to a round table discussion and reception to celebrate the publication of, "Bangladesh: Promise and Performance," edited by Rounaq Jahan, (London: Zed Books and Dhaka: University Press Ltd, 2000).

Selected authors and others will participate in the discussion using the book as a point of departure to highlight some of the key challenges facing Bangladesh today:

  • Democratic governance
  • Civil society participation and accountability
  • Human security
  • Women's rights
  • Sustainable development

Round table speakers will be:

  • Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairperson, Center for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh: Democratic Governance
  • Professor Harry W. Blair, Rutgers University: Civil Society Participation and Accountability
  • Ms Adrienne Germain, President, International Women's Health Coalition: Human Security/Women's Rights
  • H.E. Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations: Sustainable Development
  • Professor Rounaq Jahan, Columbia University (Moderator)

Please contact Ezra Kover for more information by phone at 854-5514 or email at 

Wanted for Street Children Party, Sun 18 Mar BAGHA Club, 9:30a-4:30 p


  • Old towels for the children to dry themselves after their swim
  • Clothes for 5-15 year olds to change into after their swim

These can be delivered to the BAGHA club at any time marked for the attention of the Manager.

Companies and individuals have been extremely generous in their donations towards the cost of this party. Now others can help in the following way:

  • Landrover UK have sent 5.5 inch models of their "Defender" landrovers in a presentation box which can be purchased for Tk 250. Great for gifts to car-mad relatives and friends! The money will go towards the party.
  • Beautiful children's high-quality backpacks are also on sale for Tk 250 each.

Helpers are also wanted for some part of the day to supervise over 300 children having the best day of their year. There will be dancing to a live band, riding on a train, bouncing on a castle, watching a magician, swimming and eating a wonderful breakfast and lunch.

Please contact if you wish to purchase the Landrover or backpack or wish to volunteer to help for the day.

Many thanks, 

Nancy Benham

Looking for Photos of Ricksha Art Showing Foreign Elements

I am looking for photos of rickshas that feature foreign elements. I've seen for example on the backs of baby taxis (1998) pictures of the Concorde airship, and the golden pagoda somewhere--Japan probably; Sydney Harbor--- If anyone has any such they would share with me, please can scan and email jpg images, size around 480 x 640, at around 600dpi if possible. (Please, I don't want advertisements.) Thanks.  J. Kirkpatrick USA

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 6 Mar 01.

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

Late February / Early March

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 .

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

Tue 6 Mar, New York - Round table discussion and reception to celebrate the publication of, "Bangladesh: Promise and Performance," edited by Rounaq Jahan, Round table 3-5pm, followed by a reception 5-6pm. Room 1501, School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118 St., New York, NY. [See Community Announcements for more info]

Wed 14 Mar [NOTE CHANGED DATE] - BWA Monthly Meeting, 3:30pm. Talk on earthquake preparedness by Dr. Sara Bennett, or a talk on the Gujarat earthquake by Bob McGurty (who went there and whose organization is involved in helping villages rebuild). 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.

Tue 6 Mar - Deadline to submit items for next edition of BICN.

Mid/Late March & Beyond

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.

5-7 May - BUET- UNU International Workshop On Technologies For Arsenic Removal From Drinking Water. Pre-registration is required but there is no fee. For more information and registration form, contact Professor M. Feroze Ahmed, Department of Civil Engineering, BUET, tel 9663693, email ; or Dr. M. Ashraf Ali, Department of Civil Engineering, BUET, tel 8614640/7625, email 


WSO.NET: What A Great Bunch of Guys (Guy? Girl?)

From the Editor: I just wanted to put in a word of thanks to WSO.NET, the ISP that hosts the website. For a mere USD38 a month (or something of that order), WSO.NET has provided rock-solid, fully-featured hosting of the virtual domain.

WSO.NET has a number of packages, from inexpensive FrontPage-only hosting, right up to full-on e-commerce packages. If you are looking for webhosting, I can't really recommend them highly enough. [And, no, there is nothing in this for me or BICN, no referral fee or anything.]

The best thing about WSO.NET, though, has been Chris (or Super Chris, as I think of him, or her...), who answers the technical support mail. Somehow s/he always my questions, day or night, within a few hours. I have been debating for years whether (1) s/he never sleeps, (2) tech support happens to have multiple Chris-es, or (3) "Chris" is the fictive identity of the whole tech support department. S/he has always had intelligent useful suggestions, *even* when answering questions that are really nothing to do with WSO.NET's services. This has been a real lifesaver especially since I don't really have any fellow nerds to commune with here in Dhaka.

Check them out 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.

CAT/KITTEN WANTED: "Eleven year old boy is looking for a cat to be his special friend. As his parents are doctors and worry about rabies, the cat will always stay inside. Does anyone out there in Bangladesh cyberspace have an indoor companion cat, neutered/spayed, that they love, but need to give up for some reason? Or if you know of some pretty kittens, let us know that too! Contact Stewart at"

DRIVER AVAILABLE: Haque is available for immediate employment. Kindly contact for further information.

WANTED TO BUY: Used Vehicle (Passbook) Have taken off an old car from our personal passbook and would like to purchase a newer, more reliable vehicle for use around Gulshan. Would prefer a larger 4WD Pajero-type but a good sedan would also be acceptable. Will be able to negotiate time of sale, depending on a person's departure date. If you have a vehicle for sale within the next few months, contact Sharlene Meisner at and we might be able to purchase and put on our passbook easily.

WANTED TO BUY - New or used girl's or boy's bicycle. 24-inch wheel size desired. Single gear or multi-gear. Hand brakes or pedal brakes. Does not have to be in good shape. Will provide it with a good home. Don Schroeder 

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 ..

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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