Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fear Death…Let’s not be insolent!

‘Who is related to whom in this world, every creature is born alone and he dies alone’ a very common Bhutanese maxim reads. Relation however intimate and close it may be, everything and everyone is leveled at the crematorium. Death may be untimely but it is ultimate. Forgetting whatever one achieved and accumulated in one’s living moments is insignificant when time for departure has come and when god’s will be done.

Now you may wonder, a supposed blogger preaching about death. As obvious as it may seem I am beginning to think about what people do one of these days, seriously on people being very insolent. I was on a weekend veggie hunting at the farmers market and after I got some, back in my small car I was waiting for the familiar parking fee collector. He is a boy with humility as I have known him for the last three years or so. Before he could collect Nu: 15/- from the car before me, I saw him ridiculed by the driver who was may be too proud to park his shiny Toyota Prado. He almost punched him on the face and later threw Nu:15/- on the road and sped off.

Walking towards me and after grabbing my charges, I asked him, “Gachi Bayee Nochu”, “Kho sir ghi hema park chapchi, ganta chi Yasi”, Teru ray meetay sa lap mey”. Shob chab mey” - (What’s wrong! He parked even before sir came and left the car for an hour. He is unwilling to pay, He’s lying). The Prado owed more than just 15 bucks. I felt sorry for the boy and handed another extra ten to my charges to which he smilingly said, “Kadrinchey”.

On my way back home, I was thinking hard to connect his Prado to a meager charge of Nu:15/-. What would have gone wrong if he paid the charges? What would he pay if his Prado succumbs to an accident? And many more questions until I realized who am I to worry so much on the cruel behavior of an ill-mannered wealthy. After all, he shall die, the parking fee boy’s time will come and my time also will be done. Considering death as an ultimate equalizer, there’s no time to be so insolent and proud of one’s machine which also comes with an expiry date. Being humane matters! Remember my tryst at the CFM[i], Thimphu. Please be humble! I know you will and yes have a nice day. A food for thought perhaps to tickle your consciousness…

“Death is not the greatest loss in life; the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live”



[i] Centenary Farmers Market

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Morning Sun…Some Reflections!

Thank you Monu and Sonam Yangki for having me at your lodge for the launch of The Morning Sun. It took me close to two and half hours to begin and end in one sitting.  It was a refreshing read and it was a metaphorical cruise into the life of Sonam Yangki put into words by our very own doctor.

Monu has used words and expressions to cater to all readers and I strongly recommend this book to our youth these days who with little hardships have big complaints and for whom putting in a little more effort means punishment.

Well, first things first, I am awestruck at Sonam’s endurance and her zeal to live despite the life-threatening circumstances early on in her childhood. Reading of working hard to make ends meet on a daily basis brought tears to my eyes and I will never forget the memorial Chorten incidences, Doma and Tshering later. Reading between the lines I am quite confident what Sonam underwent was 10 or so years back. I am also beginning to wonder such people like Ap Gyembo and the other uncle existed in what we call now the capital city. I also cannot forget the army officer whom I should say was a literal maniac.

Modernity has bred negativity and this fact is evident how careless and bother less were people who knew Sonam. My favorite part from the book begins after chapter 19 when Sonam’s life takes a turn for the better meeting Tshering and not forgetting Uncle Mila’s who sees the dream and desperation in Sonam when she was young. If time permits I would like to meet Sonam Yangki and Tshering in person once again not forgetting Golu. I know he will grow up be a confident bloom as he is now a timid bud. I wish him all luck and wishes. I now know its Sonam and Golu in the picture of The Morning Sun. This picture speaks. Just give it a try. I know you will!

Sonam’s love for singing and her achievements in this art is commendable considering her dedication and economic challenges she underwent in achieving the almost impossible. Sonam’s forgiveness is praiseworthy when she embraces her mother later despite all her doings and I still wonder how you cannot love your own child. The Morning Sun greets readers with a pity on the onset where one cannot help but turn the pages and read for what happens next? It is a story of survival amidst economic advances we boast of and more importantly Sonam’s struggle to find life worth living. Every plot of the story takes some obvious turns and you know how values degenerate in humans once money takes precedence over everything else in life. All in all, The Morning Sun is a story of stories but true.


Happy Reading folks and Monu! See you around buddy!

Monday, May 8, 2017

My Inspiration: A Teacher and a Journalist

On a usual morning, getting lost in my usual chores, I get a call from a colleague who was doubtful whether I will recognize him or not. He had no idea I saved his number a year ago when we met at conferences and the much celebrated Mountain Echoes 2016. We became friends by our likes and love for writing. And he is Monu Tamang, now a Physiotherapist at JDWNRH.

The Teacher
I was invited for the release of his third book, The Morning Sun. I made myself available and in the evening I was waiting for others to arrive and in the distance saw Tashi Gyem, a Horticulturalist also a blogger.  Behind us were Creative Donkey and Beenu. We were late. Calling Monu we slipped into the last row and sat diligently. Looking at the speaker I was taken aback. It was HE T.S. Powdyel. His talks and the silence the audience maintained took me back 12 years into college when I was taught literature by Mr. Powdyel.

Scanning through the heads listening to the talks were familiar faces like Chador Wangmo, Karma Choden, Passu, Nawang P and I am not sure whether you heard the name KB Lama.

My update today is about who inspired me to write in the first place. Besides Ernest Hemingway, DH Lawrence, William Wordsworth, RK Narayan and the modern Elizabeth Gilbert, I am still fascinated with words and writings of our very own TS Powdyel and KB Lama. Mr. Lama used to head one of the private newspapers and my admiration for him was his fiery editorials.

The Journalist
Monu gave me the opportunity to meet my inspirations and I try and write like my inspiration: A teacher and a journalist. Just to make this read a pensive one, listening sincerely to Mr. TS; I took to the pain of memorizing and remembering his words “We need artists to make our society fuller and much realized.”  Back in college, all presentations that we did in Sir Powdyel’s class were displayed on our classrooms walls and not realizing some of the charts were trash, sir exclaimed looking at the walls, “Oh! It’s a hanging garden ina la, Make sure you pick only the flowers mey la.”

I got this wonderful opportunity to meet my inspirations and my experience was nothing short of edifying.





Monday, May 1, 2017

Just Write!

www.blogger.com
Whether you write on experiences, observations or opinions on whatever you come across, it shouldn’t be ignored, is the first ground rule for blogging. In my years of blogging I have come to know whether you write trash or state your opinion, you must stand your ground firmly to justify your writing and in doing so I have come across so many accusing me of the writings I have published here in my blog. 

As a factual anecdote I was once asked to explain to an agency for stating my opinion on the services it rendered. These are just a blowing breeze in the quest of achieving perfection in writing or telling stories. 

So never lose hope and believe genuinely in what you write. How will readers react to your writing is solely dependent on how you want the readers to understand in the first place, Criticisms can come in various types and kinds so feel passionately about your love for words and expression.  

So dear readers, find your inspiration today and care-less about what may ensue for what you write… lastly, you will be amazed at the audience who follow your blog and much more amazed at readers from different countries. Here is mine.


For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.Vincent van Gogh 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Somebody's sorrow is making me weep!

If you remember the notice last night on BBS news, the boy who went missing was fished out today from the Wangchu and I can only imagine the plight of the parents and what must be going on as of now. RIP the four year old and my deep condolences to the boy’s parents. Look at his picture below. The poem below by E.L. Wilcox now makes sense in its entirety. After some years of a happy life EL Wilcox too suffered the same fate. Pardon me I can remember only a few verses from her poem.






Facebook 
       Somebody’s baby was buried to-day— 
      The empty white hearse from the grave rumbled back, 
      And the morning somehow seemed less smiling and gay 
      As I paused on the walk while it crossed on its way, 
      And a shadow seemed drawn o’er the sun’s golden track. 

                Somebody’s baby was laid out to rest, 
               White as a snowdrop, and fair to behold, 
               And the soft little hands were crossed over the breast, 
               And those hands and the lips and the eyelids were pressed 
               With kisses as hot as the eyelids were cold. 

       I know not her name, but her sorrow I know; 
       While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more, 
       And back to my heart surged that river of woe 
      That but in the breast of a mother can flow; 
      For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.


This is a partial excerpt from the Poem, "The Little White Hearse" by E L Wilcox

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Making a negligible excuse!

The recent outcry on Facebook about teachers leaving the profession didn’t come as a surprise but as a nuisance. I know there are hordes of teachers willing to join the cadre if one decides to come out of teaching. This happens every year and it didn’t make much hue and cry in the recent past. The question is why now.

Opinions can be viewed from all possible angles and directions. Most resign due to the system which only burdens the teachers besides one’s actual responsibility. To put into simple words, it’s just teachers being ‘overworked and underappreciated’. It is only obvious that wherever there are some civil services issues, teaching come to the limelight. And civil servants outside teaching say, “Gatey Jho ru, teachers ra imbay”, “Ya metubay, maa metubay” (Wherever you go, it’s always the teachers complaining of issues)

It’s not a worry for the government because 200 or so is a number very negligible compared to almost 9000 existing teachers.  Everyone is worried about the numbers, pay grade, perks associated and opportunities available. No one talks about how and what are some of the ways and means to retain teachers so that children become responsible, efficient and productive citizens in the near future. Everyone takes a back seat when mentioning of curriculum delivery. Smacking children and using punishment for learning like you and I underwent is a thing of the past now.

Let me make this very clear that year after year there are new things coming into teaching and it’s professionally demanding. Just because some lot of teachers make noise and voices out their inconveniences and grievances doesn’t mean the service workers outside teaching are doing their part. Get out of the comfort of your chairs and try and look into the life of a teacher. You will be horrified to become a teacher in the first place. If you are what you are now, remember there was someone behind you. If you perceive things that you find it right, it’s your personal view and your teacher didn’t teach you (I am sure) to look at things negatively.

‘Be a realist rather than trying to act perfect’ should be the outlook before making judgments of any sort, be it at a personal or governmental level. I am thinking of Ronald Reagan when he mentioned, “I ‘m from the government and I ‘m here to help.” After all who is the government, imagining a shadowy figure now, we are the government. Let us not criticize each other. And still, if you think this update too is also of a teacher, and if you think I am making a negligible excuse then think of the person teaching your kids at school. 

To those of you who still think this is a noise, to you I say...We are not just teachers, we are the managers of the world's greatest resource: Children. -Robert J. Meehan

Monday, April 17, 2017

Protecting Bhutan’s Backdrop…

Yesterday I paid a chance visit to the famous Druk Wangyel Chortens at Dochula on a mundane weekend drive. With nothing to do at home my wife agreed to the idea of going there. The site was filled with Indians. Some were of Asian origin listening attentively to their guides. The sun was stunningly bright and the view was just breadth-taking. I took some pictures of the scenery there and while returning, the waste hidden beside the roads made me update this here on my blog.

Being proud of the flora and fauna here is a liability if waste is not managed, especially plastics from fast foods. I felt a need to volunteer for a cleaning campaign there if Dochula’s serenity is to be maintained. Looking closely at the trash littered beside the roads made me think of the BBC news some years ago, which highlighted of Nepal’s mountains and sites full of trash contributed by the tourists and locals alike. I fear this will definitely not be the case with our country.

April 16, 2017 2:20 PM
Just see for yourself the view that mesmerized me. Isn’t this beauty worth protecting? Although driving posh cars there are people who throw away their trash while driving. Please don’t do this my fellow readers and I know you don’t. This is just a case with Dochula. How many such Las’s is Bhutan dotted with?

People around the world pay heavy sums just to watch scenes like this and I thought about this for a while. Such scenes constitute Bhutan’s back drop and let us protect it.

Good day ahead!





Monday, April 10, 2017

I couldn’t come up with a suitable title to fit my update this time…

Scrolling Facebook, doing nothing in the hot afternoon yesterday, I came across this picture which was posted by XYZ, a Facebook friend of mine. The picture was titled, “If the nation calls, our monks are also ready to serve the nation”. My immediate thoughts after seeing this was like, ‘What the heck?”. I am not against what was written or why this had to be a Facebook update. This is just my personal reality check on what many might think.

Facebook
Well, coming back to the picture, I felt and still feel pity on the young monk who posed with a toy-gun. There is a metaphorical reality between the path that he chose and the one that he is holding. Compassion vs. Violence! Well by looking at the picture you can draw your own conclusions. For me as an individual, he should be holding books instead of toy gun. It is up to the adults to choose what things we give to our innocent kids. What would have ‘Chillips’ thought about it if they came across this scene not forgetting this was during the much revered and celebrated Paro Tshechu.

There can be interpretations in millions if I ask you to comment on the picture but following some wise advice, there are always three sides to an argument; the right side, the wrong side and my side. I can only claim to be on my side. Look at his face, the robe he is wearing and the toy he posed with!

Good day folks!




Monday, April 3, 2017

News on women…

“What has been reported is a very negligible percentage and many are unreported” The anchor proudly closes the subject and moves onto other news. The women speakers in the news proudly speak of the incidences and expert claim of men stereotyping women.

I am baffled these days at the news on gender issues, women not being treated well enough and all sorts of issues related to women treatment and not forgetting domestic violence on women in particular. I do agree there are some who abuse their women at home and treat them badly. A few organizations are also making headlines helping the victims, women in particular. This is such a sad thing to know when Bhutan is dancing with modernity every moment of our lives. It is such a shame to know when educated people abuse their spouses in all forms. I too consider this to be very serious and shameful in nature considering the biological differences between a man and a woman.  I am also happy that people now know more about domestic violence than a couple of years ago. Thanks to the ever growing media in all forms.

Women these days however small in physique and however paid in their profession seem to take an upper hand in a typical family set up. You see, most men submit to women when it’s family. For wealthy overpowering wives, you can only imagine the plight of the husbands. And for some women, they are more than men. Just see for yourself if there’s any speck of truth in my statement. This is the general scene in almost all homes in Bhutan. Back in the old past women held all decision making power including landholdings and house ownership. It was men who moved into being husbands in the homes of women. Isn’t this also true? This practice is very much alive even today in our villages. Just ask your fellow people nearby!

On the other hand, the news is correct. Men do exist who ill-treat women, men who belong to the old school of thought. Such men should be guillotined.

Our society places women in high regard and is giving opportunities equal to men and women in general enjoy no discrimination at least in our country. I see it this way. And of course there will always be some drunken psychopaths in every society who beat up their wives. Let the law take care of them. Imagine the plight of women in the developing world and especially women of some Islamic nations.

I hope the next news I hear would not be, “Some men were beaten-up in the street by a group of women”



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Distracted from Distraction by Distraction (T S Eliot)

These days many tell and ask me about the recent free immigration granted to the Bhutanese by the US President Donald Trump. I too came across this news on Facebook and forgetting others, even my wife at home asks me about this. I told her it’s fake. I don’t know about the general population but most of whom I know spend more time on Facebook and other social media sites. I am also no exception to these lots of people who are into internet for almost everything, if you know what I mean.

My other teacher friend who is a Dzongkha teacher also asked me this morning, “President ghi immigration thar bala dang, Bhutanese baka mangi moh(The president has granted free immigration to the Bhutanese. Is it?) A woman with scary cuts on her neck was posted some weeks ago mentioning of the incident in Punakha. Later, it was a hoax. I am sure many had a long ensuing conversation of the incident. These sorts of fake news will only create malaise in the society.

Google
I think it’s high time people know what’s real and fake on the internet. I am of the opinion that social media sites like Facebook has a powerful influence and impact over its users and people tend to think whatever posted is for real. I am also of the opinion, children be taught media literacy in schools. It’s OK for the children but what about the general population. Something should be done to educate people on what to believe and what not to believe. News of everything comes on the social media even before BBS makes an official broadcast.

I think media consumers in Bhutan need some education at a personal level otherwise going by the numbers who believe and think it’s for real is staggering. If something isn’t done now, I think T. S Eliot will be more than happy when he said, “Distracted from Distraction by Distraction”. I would like to end my update today with a food for thought and see if it's for real. I know you will!

"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do" -BF Skinner


Good day folks!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Going awfully wrong!

Sir, Nga phow nawmey” (Sir, my tummy aches) said a tearful girl. I bumped into this girl on my way to the morning assembly. I told her to be in the class and rest. When I was back, she still wept over her pain. “Give me your mom’s number” and I made the call informing of her condition and to my horror, mom tells me, “Moh homework ma chab ni dhe ghe shob chabmey” (She’s lying because she didn’t do her homework). I asked her time and again and only after assuring that she will not be punished for any homework did she tell me the truth. Her homework is undone. I let her sit down with the other mates and instantly her pain was gone.

On one occasion teachers were asked to write an explanation because he/she had taken some senior students on an excursion and some naughty ones came home late at night. That was a Monday morning greeting. Parents, worried and frowning at the management questioned the school administration. Later upon investigation, it was found that some students did go for an excursion and some posed as teachers calling their friends parents. No teacher went for any excursion. Parents were deceived and teachers…scapegoat.

Very recently on the news, a child was caught using a cell phone and the teacher seized it. Later some out of school youth charged the teacher wanting the cell phone back. Again upon investigation, the out of school youth were friends of the mobile phone owner.

Just last year, some two or three broke into the school library and took away the computer monitor, CPU, keypad and everything that comes along including the extension cord. Imagine their plight of lifting all of these packed in sack. They did this in broad daylight during a Sunday.

Little children as young as 8 or 9 formed a group calling themselves a ‘gang’ robbed several houses and when questioned by the police, these innocents testified saying, “Ngachey lu boss yeh la.” (We have a boss).

Another one, this would be the last otherwise I can go on and on making it painfully didactic for you to read of children’s mischief. Some boys in one of the afternoons brought some cigarettes and they hid just above the school in some bushes, you know why. In doing so, they lit up the bushes nearby and we found ourselves disturbed by the fire fighters sirens in our school compound.

Somewhere, something is going awfully wrong. For all the incidences that I just mentioned, you can draw your own conclusions and weigh it measure for measure because for some pressure and pleasure mean the same. I mean the children these days keeping in mind I am also a father of two.

Good day folks!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Smacking Sense in People!

I write my frustrations and thrash it for readers like you to read but trust me when I write my troubles down, I am relieved and writing significantly reduces my troubles.

Here’s another episode of my experiences that I undergo on a daily basis. I live in place where greed has taken precedence over humanity. People can go to extremes to get their will done. For instance, if one is superior in whatever fields, colleagues don’t matter or for that matter, opinions. If a crowd of thirty unanimously agrees to one thing, these flabby superiors will take the opposite stand defending their opinions, ultimately their ego. One need not be a philosopher to infer that it is their ego speaking with shallow pride. And of course they aren’t right. The remedy to avoid embarrassment is, ignore them and just make excuses not to be in their company. This works and avoids trouble after all one need not depend on the other for anything, for anything!

When people use others stuff its fine with them but when their stuff is being used it’s as if the crime branch people come knocking at your door. Only time tells of the people they really are, and until you know such people you are just a passerby. If they need help, they will leave no stone un-turned to make you help them. Such politicking can people be and I am sure you must be having these ones around you. Be careful, they aren’t the ones whom you think they are. 

The lure of power drives a decent human being to become a psychopath in seconds. Once power overrules judgment, that’s when you make enemies and even if you have friends they befriend you for the power you possess not for the human being in you. Also, take for instance in offices far and wide, one need to have someone known working in that office, otherwise your little work will take days because the person in charge of doing your work’s ego will be hurt if the work is instantly done. Just to make you realize how powerful he/she is, you will be given stupidly obvious excuses which even a three year old would comprehend.

Google Images
Morality is one principle which everyone propounds verbally with anecdotes and incidences and when need comes to them; corruption is the only refuge they seek. A very good friend of mine Rinchen remarked in one of the morning assemblies, “Not everyone who smiles are your friends.” How I wish the people I mentioned were all six year old spoiled brats so that I could spank some sense into them and make them human again.

As I mentioned in my opening lines, I am now reduced significantly in my embarrassment and the next time I meet these people, I will just greet them smilingly thinking of Rinchen’s lines.

“Not everyone who smiles are your friends.”


Good Day Folks!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Being a Student Again!

This is in continuation to my blog post of 11th May 2016 titled Dreaming before Thirty. I wrote about my three dreams that I wanted fulfilled before turning thirty and this update mentions of almost fulfilling my third dream-getting a Master’s Degree. In my previous update too, I have mentioned about how I wished my dream realized.

It was during the fall last year that I received a call from a friend of mine asking me to apply for the yearly TICA[i] scholarships. She knew I was eligible and had the prerequisite of qualifying for the scholarship. I was not really into qualifying but I had good degree marks. Getting ourselves a photocopy of all the documents, we submitted to our parent ministry and after a week of submitting the documents, she again called, of me getting shortlisted.

Excitement kicked in at the news and from then on, discussed so much on how to answer in an interview, sought help in the internet and so on. Finally on the big D- Day of my interview, I was the fourth candidate to be interviewed by a panel of five think tanks from various ministries and agencies. After answering pretty smartly to all their questions, I was acknowledged by the chair and wished me luck for the results. I smilingly thanked the panel and slipped out of the room.

Source: RCSC
School resumed for this year’s academic session and I went about my schooling duties. After 2 days of resuming, the news crashed in and half-hardheartedly browsed for my interview result only to be elated and excited for the very first time in my 10 years of professional life. You can only imagine how happy I am now and how I long to be a student again and immerse myself in the world of academics.

Guys! Wish me luck…





[i] Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Punishing the innocent…

“Lopen, Zhu Zhu” stopping my car was a lady traffic police.
Stopping I said,
“Gachi ina”.
“Mobile use bayday loh.”
“Gaghi lab deh” was my prompt reply. “Nga ghi thong yi”.

This incident took me by surprise a couple of weeks ago. I had my cell phone charged for almost four hours on my way back from Trongsa. Listening to some of my favorite songs I had forgotten about my phone and out of nowhere a lady appears accusing me of using mobile phone. As I was settling my differences with the lady, the other officer had already asked for my documents and handed me a pink receipt stating a violation. What the heck?  You can only imagine my temper and frustration there for doing nothing.

I had to wait in a long snaking line, the next day to get back what was deliberately taken from me and after paying a thousand Ngultrums of course.   Well I drive a small Alto. What about those cars whose audio system can be synchronized with a cell phone. People casually talk and drive. I have seen plenty. And for the men/women (traffic police) in blue, how are they monitoring such practices. And those using a Bluetooth headset, do they actually take notice of what that thing is.

On being uniformed blue with white stripes allover, these people think that are the king of the roads and talk to people with overpowering tones. Instead they look like clowns to me personally. Dear members of the traffic police, use some human decency to talk to drivers and people on the roads. I am sure you are being paid every month with rations included for your services. And your service is not to accuse people as if you bought them their cars.
Google Images

I travel every day to work and I see roads dotted with these blue people and every day I also see people talking merrily while driving and they don’t seem to notice. Are these people there to deliberately fine people or are they there to make our roads safer by fining the violators? Just a thought hoping that this update of mine would prick some sense into the much respected traffic people, with all due respect to those who are doing their services work fine. No pun intended!

Lastly but not the least, one person’s act should cloud my judgment on others but this has been the norm of everyday life since the beginning of time.
Happy Driving folks!