Minipost 18 – Why would you be a Journalist, Doctor or Teacher here?

Why do you do your job?

A blogging friend recently posted about how he would never be a journalist in Bangladesh. I don’t blame him – it’s a very dangerous profession at the moment. A married journalist couple were stabbed to death in their own home in front of their young son recently and others have been beaten up on the streets and in their offices – often by the police.

attack at bdnews24

The office floor where Journalists were attacked by criminals recently.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be a journalist in Dhaka? I would be scared to step into the street not knowing who would get you – the rioting mob or the police supposedly there to protect you! Those that do, I believe, are courageous for rooting out corruption and I liken them to war heroes.

This got me thinking.

Be a doctor instead? At LAMB we see medical cases not normally experienced in the West – and often not often in Bangladesh either! Sometimes, interviewee Bangladeshi doctors come, see the kind of work that goes on and immediately leave. LAMB has an international reputation and is well respected in and out of Bangladesh – but it works hard for that good name. What we see here is not easy for anyone to deal with.

Currently, we face a crisis – not enough doctors in the coming months. It will be tough on those that are here and difficult to recruit good replacements who will stay when easy Government positions beckon all the time. Those that do stay make damned fine doctors in the end but it comes at the cost of unusual commitment.

LAMB will survive – it always does – but it makes me wonder why some people become doctors at all. It would appear that a drive to save lives is not always the primary concern for everyone.

Be a teacher? At LAMB school we constantly face the challenge of teachers leaving soon after arriving. The school is excellent (it’s why I came) and teaches students equality, respect and real thinking skills. But that means teachers actually have to teach (and not by the ‘copy out and recite endlessly’ method favoured by the national education system) and are not permitted to teach privately for money. We encourage teachers to teach well in the classrooms so private tutoring is unecessary.

This is too much for many teachers and they leave when they realise they can’t earn a hefty income on the side from their students. But, again, the ones that stay make excellent teachers who care about education and standards.

Personally, anyone who does their job for the purpose of improving the lives of others is alright in my book. I’m proud I know so many who do – in Bangladesh and all over the world.

Why do you do your work? Did you just drift into it or does it drive your life? These are not just philosophical whimsies to ponder over a cup of tea – in Bangladesh, they can mean the difference between life and death. For somebody, at least.

About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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19 Responses to Minipost 18 – Why would you be a Journalist, Doctor or Teacher here?

  1. What a gruesome scene! Bangladesh and my beloved Nigeria unfortunately share a lot in common. We need to keep hope alive.

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  2. Kerry Dwyer says:

    I teach English because one can lose a lot of friends correcting their grammar.

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  3. Ladygardenia says:

    I have nominated your blog for The Reader Appreciation Award! See details below the post “Reader appreciation award” at http://ladygardenia.wordpress.com. I look forward to continue reading your wonderful blog!

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  4. Sajib says:

    Problem with me is I’m already in journalism and at some point I may not be able to settle myself in 9 to 5 desk job. Let’s just pray I don’t face such death, or injury at worse.

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  5. Anjali says:

    I think it’s great that you are teaching in a place that is going through so much trouble. I feel terrible for the journalist couple you mentioned. (I am a qualified journalist and Montessori teacher-turned SAHM.) On another note, I’d be happy with the rejection letter you received, too. Good luck with getting your book published!

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  6. mimijk says:

    This drives so many other questions…why should awful events unfold for people trying to do their best for others, while others hang out in safety amassing wealth and the ability to pay for their own safety. I recently finished “Behind The Beautiful Forevers” a beautiful, harrowing, sorrowful, incredible account of life in a slum near Mumbai airport. And as I sit here in my kitchen, blessed beyond belief, I remain haunted by the imagery and the questions it inspired.

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    • You are so right. I think it is important not to either drive yourself into the ground nor to ignore those feelings as a passing emotion. The importance of such books and, I hope, blogs like mine are that they should inspire action. Not everyone can or should go out trying to help – I’ve seen a fair few make things worse! But we should, each as we can, do what we can to help others in distress whether they be on our doorstep or thousands of miles away. I don’t know if you have seen Slumdog Millionaire but I can tell you that the life it describes is painfully close to the life we see in Bangladesh which is, after all, the cousin of India.

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  7. Ladygardenia says:

    Oh, that story was awful about that Dhaka couple.. And they kept investigating the body even after they were buried… God, Help… I really want in future to do my job in Bangladesh, cause Bangladesh needs it badly and I love the Bangladeshi people.. I feel for them so much.

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    • Yes, it was most distressing and I do hope the killers will, one day, be brought to justice. I have my doubts though…😦
      Good for you Kristiina! What job would you like to do? I think you would be a perfect ambassador here – I think you probably already are🙂

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      • Ladygardenia says:

        I would like to be a fashion designer, to open a boutique shop and in future a place, sanctuary for the street people, specially children. Where once a month they could get free clothes, special food etc. Honestly, I would even like to adopt a street child…

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        • Well adopting is more difficult – the Government stopped that a long time ago, though you are married to a deshi man so that might be possible – I think your other ideas are all winner. Go for it!🙂

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