Monday, May 23, 2005






Submitted by - S.M.Mehdi Hassan

ID# 001-115-015

1. Have you personally observed or experienced a situation involving acculturation?

Ans. Acculturation is the process of picking up and adopting the behaviors of a particular culture of any organization, country, and community. For example, a Bangladeshi student who goes to America for studying has to adapt to the standard behaviors of American society. This might either result in positive or negative acculturation. In case of positive acculturation the student would easily pick up the behaviors and hold on to them which would end up in cultural assimilation. On the other hand negative acculturation would result in Culture Shock in which case the student would not be able to pick up proper behaviors or signs or signals and would try to insist on his native customs and culture.

Acculturation does not only take place in foreign countries but also in homeland as well. The acculturation experience that I observed took place in my homeland Bangladesh when I came to study in North South University as a student of English. I joined NSU in the Fall semester of 2000. When I was in Chittagong I used to hear from my fellow students that NSU was like English medium schools where students followed the Western standards (American) in terms of dress up, get up. Girls wore tight dresses, pants, T shirts and boys wore latest fashion dresses and there were lots of physical intimacy between girls and boys (just like we see in movies). A good portion of NSU students are from English medium schools and in English department that percentage is even higher. Moreover almost all of them are females. It took sometime for a boy like me to cope with the environment. Although I studied in co-education institutions I was not very good in dealing with girls because in Bengali medium culture the free mixing of boys and girls was not a widely accepted fact. Our teachers were rigid in this regard. Secondly, the problem I faced was language. I was from Bengali medium school and my communication skill was very poor. All the students communicate in English inside or outside the class and I have to response in English inside the class as well and my poor skills gave me quite a tough time at first since I caught up with them. Thirdly, in terms of dress up I always feel comfortable in wearing casual dresses. I never liked wearing jeans, T- shirts, and latest fashion clothes. I prefer comfort over fashion but in NSU most of the boys are from well off families and they can effort latest fashion clothes. This affected my image toward my classmates.

In order to develop my English skills I studied with a private tutor for one year. Now I can speak and write in English quite well and I can response better compared to other Bengali medium students in the class which gives me confidence. I do not hesitate to talk with female students anymore because I have spent five years with them. English department has a very small number of students so unlike BBA or CSE I did not have to meet too many new students each semester. It was the same female students all the time which helped me to build a friendly relationship with them. Lastly, I still wear comfortable rather than latest fashion dresses but I do not get any complex because I have spent a long time in NSU and I found out there are lots of other students who are not that serious about their dresses and they do not have any complex for that.

2. How do you participate in a world system of images? Are the images to which you relate mainly national or foreign/international as well?

Ans. The world system of images that I participate is somewhat different compared to the views of most Bangladeshi people. The newspapers, books, and television channels, have affected me to become a person with liberal ideas. For example, most people think that a husband should always keep his wife under tight control. Otherwise, the wife would get out of control and there would be total chaos in the family. I do not like this system by reading the short story Haimanty of Rabindranath Tagore I have realized that oppressing a wife can never bring any kind of happiness for a husband. Rather it makes couple life and family life unhealthy, discomfortable and very unhappy. So I believe that a husband should be liberal to his wife as much as possible. Most people think that my idea is a sign of weakness.

The images to which I relate are both national and international. The national images are many short stories and novels of Bengali literature which show that if a husband tries to be the friend of his wife instead of the master then couple life becomes heavenly. On the other hand western novels and movies show it too. For example, in the movie little women the hero tries to win the heart of the heroin (Winona Rider) with love and respect. It is true that I belong to the minority group in Bangladesh who share this kind of liberal attitude towards woman. However, I am lucky that there is a lot of images reflected in the media and the literature similar to my idea in this regard.

3. How do you use the media? Is there a program or group that has special meaning for you? How does that meaning differ from someone else’s, with respect to the same program or group? Are you personally irritated when someone questions your meaning?

Ans. In Bangladesh television is the most popular among electronic medias. I have been watching television since my childhood and it has a great influence on my life. I preferred English programs to Bengali programs. I enjoyed watching the American mini series like The A team, MacGyver, Auto man, Misfits of science, Simon& Simon, Nightrider, Incredible Hulk, Wild Wild West and wrestling that were shown on BTV. My father took cable connection in 1994 and it opened a whole new world to me. I came in touch with Western music through music channels (Mtv, Channel [V]). Star movies and HBO are my two most favorite channels. Among other programs I watch WWE (World wrestling Entertainment programs), hindi movies and songs and cartoons as well. Now days I can not think a single day watching television without cable connection.

On the contrary when it comes to print media I prefer Bengali to English. One of my favorite pastimes is reading story books. My father used to read to me when I was a child. Although I am a major in English language I have not read any English novels out side my class assignment. I always enjoyed reading books of Bangladeshi and Kolkata writers and English novels translated into Bengali. Last semester I had to do a book report on “Sea Wolf” by Jack London. Before reading the English version I read the Bengali translation of the novel and then the English version and I found out that I had a greater understanding of the novel. I feel more comfortable reading Bengali than English novels. I enjoy reading Hindu mythologies like Mahabharat, Ramayan. My favorite writers are Shankar, Shamoresh, Humayun Ahmed, and Sanjib Chatterjee.

I try to use the media basically in three ways. Firstly I use media for information. We all need to be aware of the latest news even if we do not like politics. For example, we need to know about hartals and rickshaw strikes for our own benefit. For this reason, I read newspaper (Prothom Alo) and watch television news (Channel- I) almost everyday. The second use of media is entertainment, and the third use of media for me is educational. For example, I extensively use internet to find materials for my class assignments and examinations.

The program that has special meaning to me is “Oprah Winfrey” show. Before watching this show I had no idea about the life of American people (especially of American women). I used to think that their life was like Hollywood movies- murder, sex, money, sea-beach etc. This program has taught me that the life of a common American person is almost similar to my life with happiness and sadness, hope and frustration, success and failure. I also realized that American women have to suffer the same way like our women. For example, they get physically tortured by their husbands and raped just like Bangladeshi women. They also have to worry about the husband’s getting involved to other women.

Most persons I know have a different meaning of Oprah Winfrey show. They think that it is very boring and not enjoyable. They only like those episodes in which there are beautiful women or models.

I get quite irritated when some one questions my meaning about this program. They think that I am a fool to watch this kind of boring programs. However, I know that it is a very useful program and we learn many good things to make our lives beautiful.

In the end I would like to say that watching movies helped to grow a positive view about western culture which helped me in learning English. In the same way my interest in Bengali served me well when I went to work in a computer magazine where I had to translate English articles into Bengali.

Dude...depression and ambiguity are just perception of evil(although i've got both of em)..I live in BD too...and strangely enough Im from NDC. Giving my HSC this year...and there cant be anyone else but a HSC candidate who feels the most betrayed by the political policies these days....and as i searched through technorati your post came into notice which contained the word 'MINORITY"...what do ya mean by that? Oh well its nice to finally see eloquent minds de-cocooning from the lethergy of our society...keep blogging.

[PS:I've left This blogger account long ago when my intellect was still juvenile (and probably innocent) check my preceptions out at]
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