Thursday, May 26, 2016

When mistakes become headlines!

This is my first update in terms of brevity and I would like to keep it that way because I couldn’t help putting my thoughts into what happened.  

Watching the 9 pm news last night I panicked. The news was ‘MoLHR found unemployment rate had increased compared to the past year’ and secondly ‘Research showed favoritism as the most common form of corruption in the civil service’. The news was reprehensible. Fine!

If unemployment is brought down, that should be making headlines and if favoritism in the civil service is minimized or tackled seriously, that too should be making headlines. Not the other way around. This is sheer absurdity and ridiculous.  

I agree on the broadcasting part, but people involved in these two agencies should do some serious home works. What is the good done, if you tell a parent that his child has failed for the second consecutive time? It will only deepen the sorrow. It should rather be …… the child is made to work hard so that he/she doesn’t fail this time. Isn’t this morality? Not always but sometimes I feel you don’t need the brain of the almighty to come to conclusion that this is a serious mistake. Or this is right and that is wrong etc…

“If something is worth telling, it should be told twice”, I learned this long before I joined the civil service and my update ( only bolsters the news that they are right in making headlines. I owe this line to my teacher who taught me this. How true of him that he coined this universal dictum almost two decades ago. To him I pray, “The course of your teaching never did run smooth” Sorry I had to steal this lines from Shakespeare’s All’s well that ends well.

I have so many to put here but I thought and I still think when working everyone should work with a motto of reducing the mistakes and multiplying the success. Not that you proudly declare a mistake, come on the national TV with smiles from ear to ear charged with…I don’t know what!

Folks, listen to the news, there are so many absurd and bizarre things about our bureaucracy.

Happy listening to the news…

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Is Sloth our national animal?

Disclaimer: I don’t intend to demean and defame those offices under the bureaucracy who do their work with military precision and run by a dynamic, selfless leader. Some of the offices have meticulous service delivery and some, you know it better.

Despite the hard work everyone puts in for this great nation of ours; there are still some worms in our bureaucracy eating away the very foundation of our belief in service delivery and development. I am neither a development economist nor an expert on economic service models but a humble servant of this great nation who does his share to see Bhutan in its highest glory.

I saw many who cut loose on their commitments and openly talk about their commitment which is just the opposite of what they actually do. It’s just that these ones stand at a higher plinth than many of us. If something goes awfully wrong then it’s the individual or the committee that is responsible. If some individuals and committees make themselves proud, the credit will be claimed by the plinth holder. Such is the bureaucracy.

There are always some cronies underneath and these lots enjoy the predisposition of being either a blood relative or some high end individual. This privilege is not in the plates of every one. For a simple official chore, you will be grilled and sent here and there. For the ones that I mentioned it’s acknowledged immediately.

Google images
To get an appointment is next to impossible. Official or not, these cronies know how to woo and get their work done. Times have changed and everything should evolve with time, but the thinking pattern has remained that of the 70’s Bhutan, for these lots. I believe it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. For most working days, the individual who is answerable to all authorities is out, claiming to have done only official works. These days physical presence is not advisable. Internet does everything, from personal to official.

Google, a multimillion dollar company and growing is a paperless organization. Check the Google documentary on YouTube! Many might opine can we compare Bhutan’s bureaucracy with Google. Let’s learn good things form the good people around the world. Let us not isolate ourselves saying unashamedly, this is Bhutan. America underwent so many economic disasters after the 20’s depression. Thinking pattern of the 70’s and the working situation of the millennium doesn’t marry. It’s John Donne’s ‘Canonization’-Metaphorical irony!

Just last year, as some of you may already know, I wrote in one of my updates. I went to an insurance house to collect my benefits and there making me wait for an hour or so, the people behind the desks were talking about Archery and soccer. When I got my benefit, it was just a matter of signing the paper that I was holding.

Why is it that if one holds a chair, it is to exhibit your over emphasized ego to the visitors? Just do what you are supposed to do with the power your chair gave you! If our ambassadors (not literal) are selling or talking Bhutan to the world, it’s the very similar things that you and I share not the time you are wasting in doing your work. To get a glimpse of the similar things I just mentioned, get out of the comfort of your chair and start exploring your country. You may find out Merak-Sakteng is more beautiful than Bangkok.

A Journalist rightly mentioned in his Face book update some years ago and I want to further reiterate this, “Going by how things work in our system, the national animal should have been the Sloth Bear”.

Lastly, how does the bureaucracy work? This is for my dear fellow readers to decide.

Thank you and do visit again…

Thursday, May 19, 2016

As Irri as it may get...

I took a two day leave to attend to my wife at the hospital and I was dead tired. I and my Tenzin waited outside for hours, sometimes listening to music in the car and sometimes taking her out to some shades for the day was hot. Gosh! These days it’s unbearably hot. My personality defines me to be an impatient individual and I was irritated to have waited this long, I said some things to my wife. No hard feelings though.

As impatient as it may get, we drove back home in the afternoon and just below the junction from the hospital, an old lady and an attendant were making a cross to the other side. They were using the Zebra crossing. I was waiting for them to cross.

The moment I hit the brakes to make way for these women to cross, a car behind me honked at me. I looked out to see who it was, not necessarily wanting a brawl but to signal, ‘people are crossing’, then another honk. Then I lost my temper, I honked at her. It was a middle aged lady in an electric car. She honked again. I honked too.

Google images
Then I moved ahead, she followed with several honks and I further reiterated my temper with my share of honks. Lastly, as I sped up, what I could do just raised my middle finger up in the air for her to see. Never had I been so pleased to gesture-ly indicate F*** you at someone who although drove an eco friendly car but with unfriendly knowledge on roads.  When every car is waiting before the zebra crossing for the pedestrians to cross, who the heck gave her the license not to stop and honk at the preceding car? That too on Zebra crossings! 

Shit happens and I believe in this annoying truth but drive your way in your own lane. She must have noted my license plate and I too noted her down. Should there be any formal complaints, I too would like to answer her in a way that is legitimate.

The picture I have posted in this update best describes my experience.

Happy Driving Folks!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dreaming before thirty…

I had these three dreams to be fulfilled… own a car, write a book and get a Masters degree. All of these dreams must be realized before I turn thirty. I had made up not a lofty but a fair goal in my life. I had these dreams in my mind and every sleeping moment of my nights, I tried and worked towards realizing these dreams. I could achieve two of my dreams with strict military precision but the third one made me update this one here today.

Dream 1
When I got into the civil service, not many cars were driven and only the upper middle class and the wealthy could afford one. I got into the civil service in 2007 and I was posted to a very difficult place. Degala in Zhemgang. Zhemgang had few cars which belonged to the business community and some high ranking officials of the Dzongkhag administration. The domestic roads were used mostly by domestic animals and thus it was underutilized. Finally when I came back to civilization, every one owned a car each. That’s when I decided to own one. This was my dream number one after I left college. I owned a car before turning thirty.

Dream 2
I was always fascinated with print and this fascination came when I was in my eighth grade. I hastily wrote a small free verse prayer to my king and it was later printed in the school magazine. To see my name in black and white of something that I wrote gave me so much happiness that for once I thought, I wrote a literary masterpiece. That was then. In my Degala days, I was wondering what I should write about. Then, one fine evening over some sips of Bangchang, the idea of writing struck me. Why not I write about myself? Of experiences of a teacher teaching in a remote school and thus I began writing. Since Degala had only natural lights, I had to buy a car battery, an inverter and assemble some obsolete solar panels for power. Every night before bed I used to write about my life in that remote place. The noise from the inverter didn’t deter my passion to write. Reading was fun as well, in this remote place, I subscribed to the monthly Reader’s Digest. In the silence of this remote school I wrote my very first book, ‘Beyond the call of daily life’. And thus I authored a book before turning thirty.
After getting transferred to an electrified place, I kept alive this passion to write by blogging ( Since 2011, I have been blogging and I am now an active member of the CBB (Community of Bhutanese Bloggers) and WAB (Writers Association of Bhutan).  In the past, when there were plenty of private newspapers in circulation, I was one of the contributors. One in particular, Bhutan Observer printed all of my articles and even to this day I have friend there.

Dream 3
This is one dream that I am still trying to reach. I dreamt of undergoing my Masters Degree before turning thirty but it seems fate has delayed this dream for me. I am now 32 and I am still dreaming of it. I hope someday I will be able to reach it. An old friend of mine once remarked, “Don’t just dream, do it” on getting myself a Masters degree. Other friends of mine got theirs from India and elsewhere while I was cocooned in Degala writing a partial memoir.

I believe dreaming about goals and working towards achieving it can definitely make a person productive, efficient and industrious.

So keep dreaming!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Home vs. School: Chores vs. Performance

From among millions of reasons that affect a child’s learning in schools, ours is a little customized. We cannot do away with our customs and cannot be complacent with our children’s’ performance either. What lasts in the long run is performance not how elaborately a Rimdro is being conducted. This is just a teacher-ly opinion about one of my pupil, caught sleeping in the classroom on several occasion. I suggest, readers’ discretion is advised and you may draw your own conclusions about my opinionated update.

Death as you may perceive, is unpredictable and we all know that. Typical of our customs and rituals, we have days and days of never ending rituals at home for the one who left us. This is good. As Vajrayana Buddhist, one cannot think of not doing this death ritual at home. I am not a master of any sort to be judgmental with our customs and practices. Once again reader’s discretion is advised.

I lost my Grandpa a decade ago and all I had to do was just sit and pray before an elaborate altar. I was a kid back then. We had so many people beside our blood to work and meet the needs of all people making the offerings and paying their respects. Not everybody gets this comfort during these rituals. Remember I was a kid when I lost my Grandpa.
Now that I have become dad not only at home but also at my school, I have come to know many a children in my 9 years of teaching. The teaching bunch literally becomes moms and dads. To juxtapose death rituals at home and school is…

I saw Ngawang Namgyel sleeping in my class on three occasions. Today was his fourth. I silently went near him and asked politely, “Don’t you get time to sleep at home, Ngawang?” Hesitantly and unwillingly, “Wangdi na, Aumchum Bjong sii la”-My Wangdi aunt expired! I further enquired and he said the after-death ritual is being conducted at his home. I was put into silence because, after some questions he told me, he was raised by this aunt and he wasn’t quite sure about his maternal mom.

Ngawang undertakes house hold chores and helps other adults at home when asked about what he does at home these days. My jurisdiction can only let me speak of his academic abilities to his parents and things other than that are occasional, meaning we mostly talk about performances. We do talk to parents about disciplinary issues if something serious may come. These days till the end of the 49th day, he works and helps with chores late until midnight.

I was sorry on hearing Ngawang’s loss and recently we lost a class V kid to some accident on a weekend. I didn’t say anything about his sleeping acts in the class. I woke him up to complete his task. Later, I called his dad and requested not to make him work late at nights…

I do not know whether what I did was right but for Ngawang, making him work until midnight was certainly not right. After all, it’s not that Ngawang shouldn’t be working at all. You see, repercussions come to school for the acts done at home. I am very certain that you won’t make your kids work beyond time. Biologically it’s your child but socially, emotionally and intellectually your child is our (teachers) child.

Help us teach your kids in time so that we don’t have to point fingers at each other during the reports/results declaration…My fervent prayer.

Good day folks!

Friday, May 6, 2016

I know, you know and everybody knows…

I have been soul searching for the last five or so days to write about something. You can call that a temporary amnesia. Just when I was busy with school stuff I stumbled upon this picture. Looking closely at the picture I figured it to be the prize we were awarded for standing 2nd in the art competition held a year ago. Children who participated got a T-shirt each.

This picture was beautifully put into a brown wooden frame. Tashi Cell organized this event and we proudly took three students for the said event. It was held in the clock tower square. I accompanied the Arts Club coordinator for the competition.

Proudly winning the 2nd position we showed this picture during the morning assembly and we got ourselves a good applaud from everyone. Later, our prize was walled and decorated picturesquely. Recently, the picture was removed. It had some shabby duck tape and it was lying on a table used by none.

Ok first things first, the prize was 2 Mbps internet leased line for 6 months and people thoroughly enjoyed this free service. Can you believe that? Six months of free high speed internet! Sadly the picture was discarded. I was wondering, had it been some cups and shields it would still be there. Prizes are prizes after all, however small and meager it may be.

This put me into thinking, what was wrong if it was kept as it is… I also came up with a speculation, what harm could it possibly do to let it be?

Children who participated are gone…the uniform they wore for the event is gone… T shirts must have gone as well and finally the framed trophy is also gone. I am a little disturbed…if you know what I mean, but the people who made it available still lives. Prizes are prizes! I know but people with huge brains don’t seem to know this. I know, you know and everybody knows, something that may take days to get is shattered in a fraction of a second. Grudgingly true…