COMPTETION ENTRIES 50 ie $75 in prizes . Closing date April 30th. Essays title :

What I like about my home country .....(Pakistan , India , Bangladesh , Sri Lanka , Kenya , UK ) ie the country you left or have a special affinity for ...

Specal book token prizes for high school students.

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Last competition entry won by Saba Ansari and B Prabakharan --Congratulations !!
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This essay by B.Prabakharan -PRIZE ENTRY

A different cultural shock

Well, my name is is a typical south Indian name. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran.
Long (longest?, I don't think so !), and both my first and last names are long. 
And telling my name to others was the first "cultural shock" I had when I 
landed in the United States. 

Anybody, for anything, typically ask : "your name please".
I ask them : "first or the last?" Ok, they want the last name, first !
I tell them : "Prabhakaran".
	"Praaaa.... what? Can you spell that out?"
So I start off spelling it : "P  R  A  ..."
	The normal answer I get is : "Oh, is it P R  E ...?" 
and I will soon find that their derived spelling mismatches my name to the 
maximum extent possible. Ok, it is the accent problem.

I tell them : "Oh no, I will spell that again" 
And this time I am more careful to tell an appropriate word for each letter.
I start off saying "P as in pen, R as in robert, A as in apple, B as in boy,
	H as in harry, A as in apple, K as in kite, A as in apple, R as in 
	robert, A as in apple and N as in nancy."
Hugh, that is quite an effort. But before I can recover, they say : "Ok, your
last name please" !

There I go again : "B as in boy, A as in apple, L as in larry, A as in apple,
	K as in kite, R as in robert, I as in ink, S as in sherry, H as in
	harry, N as in nancy, A as in apple and N as in nancy"

Oh, boy! I did that. (And I still am doing that many times a week !). The
effort is to remember the correct spelling myself while telling an appropriate
word for each alphabet ! And that has been some lesson on ABCDs ! But the worse
part comes when some mails come with my name mis-spelt "Prabhrabharan" or
something like that. Did I miss the sequence myself or did they miss it? God
only knows.

Most of the other things, however, were known and expected. Like I knew the 
traffic flows on the right here. It is 110V and 60 Hz for the electricity. You 
insert the key upside-down for opening the locks (people here still eat through 
their mouths !), the first floor actually means the ground floor (in most parts 
of the world), hockey actually means the ice hockey and football is really 
american football, etc. Talking of sports, like many asians, I have been made
into a cricket fan. Watching the Tests and One-dayers on TV, listening to the
commentary on the match between foreign nations, maintaining the score of the
teams, the bowling analysis, etc., etc. I knew I can't see cricket in the
States. But I thought I can manage the cricket commentary atleast. So off I
went to the stores for purchasing a good radio. Well, some have AM reception,
some with FM reception, some with both. Well where is the Short Wave ? I can't
see a radio with Short Wave ! 

I went straight ahead and asked the sales person : "Er, do you have a
radio which can receive stations on Short Waves?" 
	"Well, you have radios with both FM AND AM. What more do you need?
	 Other things you ask might be pretty expensive"
What more do I need? I need to tune to England, Australia, Newzland ...
Forget it, when you are in the States, you listen only to the local stations :
be it sports or the world news ! Don't I regret me not bringing my pet radio
with me.