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June 2, 2006

A close relative of mine has recently (in the last week) been appointed as the global head for an Islamic Charity. And he brings me an interesting story about perceptions.

A young orphan boy of around 7 (though he claims to be 11) lives in Dhaka’s Government New Market (no longer ‘new’ as it was built over 50 years ago). He lives under the stairs to the main market mosque and wakes every morning to find food. So he looks in bins and there are specific bins where you will always find a half eaten banana, or a bit of a coconut, or if you’re lucky a piece of bread. This staves off his hunger and then he starts running errands for the shopkeepers, i.e. bringing cups of tea, getting drinks etc. And by around 11am he may have earned enough to buy something to stave off the hunger until the evening. He then continues to work until the evening by which he will have earned around 12 Taka (around US$0.18) which will buy him an evening meal. Then its back to bed.

This is life for this orphan, one of possibly millions in Bangladesh, while there are people importing brand new Mercedes-Benz’ which at 100% import duty cost effectively double the cost. So the person who I have seen has imported an SL65 AMG is paying US$185,000 x 2 = US$370,000. While our little friend is spending US$0.18 for his main meal everyday.

Poignantly this young boy’s envy for a better life is not directed at this ‘Boro Lok’ (Big Man), but at other orphan girls of his age.Why? Because people will do ‘Kharap Jinish’ (bad things) with them and then will feed them properly. He perceives them to have the better life. He did say that there was an NGO nearby who did things for kids like him, but he couldn’t find it. My relative did give him some money so he didnt have to work for a week so he could spend the time finding that NGO and getting help.

And this is certainly not a unique story. There will be hundreds if not thousands like this boy whom we simply cannot see. It makes you wonder at what point we as humans stop caring. Is it something we are taught or is selfishness a natural state for us? Sometimes I think it is certainly the latter and some people just give up trying to get out of this state.


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  1. hmmm
    i hope i can do a little more to help thers. and seek a little less for myself. ameen.

    shapps vai, jak onekdin por update!!! p.s. i am thinking about a quran discussion project on my blog. care to have a look? its

  2. shapps vai, sorry to bother you. again.
    how may i contact you?

  3. email is best. look down the right hand side of the page.

  4. selfishness.

    May the Almighty protect us from the selfishness of ourseles and of others.

    and our institutions from selfish regime change.

  5. And when this young boy will get recruited by some miltant organization like HuJi, we’ll wonder how that happened?

    The elite thieves in Bangladesh will cry foul! It is so frustrating.

  6. i agree with you!

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