Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Without my 3rd through 5th grade years, that doesn’t happen. Lopen Kardinchey la!

It’s not too often we get to thank our teachers for what they’ve taught us, but it’s less often that we get to learn from them for longer than one school year. I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to be a student of Lopen. Yes, Lopen Pema Woedzer it is.

Lopen Pema Woedzer
On an emergency visit to reach one of my friends to Bajo town, looking for some familiar Cab to Thimphu, I stumbled upon my Teacher. He didn’t recognize me and walking towards him I introduced myself as his former student. He had difficulty initially and as we conversed more, I could make him remember me at last. He asked me about my dad, mom, sister, and my brother. Lopen has aged but I look much older with the hairline.

Most people would define a good teacher as someone who makes their students excel academically and do well on their tests. I believe that’s almost right, but a little off. I believe that a good teacher doesn’t have one dimension but two. They not only make you excel, but they make you want to go to school. They care about the student’s insecurities and problems, and most importantly they are there to support you.

Lopen was very strict with studies and if one slipped a little with bad behaviour, he would make everyone not forget his style of dealing with the un-behaved. I was and remain an underperformer still in Dzongkha but whatever little I know in Dzongkha is because of Lopen.  Lopen was feared for his dealings with the ill behaved and I was a registered ill-behaved in his books😊. A smack or two on our cheek was enough to get us into behaving like humans.

My formative years with Lopen as my teacher taught me many of the concepts within my philosophical approach to human-centered education I used as a teacher. Now as a teacher: getting to know every individual pupil, coaching pupils from their strengths, continually raising expectations slightly based on prior accomplishments (and providing the support to achieve those expectations), and accepting every person for who they are by seeing who they could be with support and guidance is who I strive to be. Without my 3rd through 5th grade years, that doesn’t happen.  Lopen Kardinchey la. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

How Much Money is Rich? Some Reflections…

It has been an awful two-year gap since I last posted an update here. No, I didn’t resign from reading and writing and to put some humour into this gap… “I took a two-year long vacation.”

Watching TV on a rainy-drenched weekend, I took an accidental look just below the TV. The thing was a book which I was made to buy some months ago. I paid the forgotten books’ price a month later. Such is the care for reading these days. I, included.

With children hooked on play and phones and wife busy banging her loom with loud thuds every minute or two, I reclined on my bed aka three-seater sofa, began reading HOW MUCH MONEY IS RICH? -THINLEY WANGCHUK. 

A 136 paged story as the author claims is a work of fiction and to the Bhutanese in me, I found a very thin line between Fiction and Realistic Fiction. The Author also claims to have used the real name of his son in the Note. 

The story revolves around Kuenkhen (Protagonist) life. His toils, trails and tribulations outweigh his jubilations, elations, and ecstasies. By now you must have guessed it that this book is about what the author has rightly put it as, “His self-contentment in life is living what he experienced.”

A typical Bhutanese movie in mind resembles the plot of the story and as I mentioned, Kuenkhens toils, trails and tribulations revolves around the simple fact that the money you make is the symbol of the value you create. Or to put it simpler, you will be loved, admired, and liked if there is money with you. How true of this universal truth. Family, friends, acquaintances, kith/kin, and every soul begin to take a back seat when one is in trouble.

The author shares the only reason why divorces are a common problem among young married couples or the newlyweds through this book and I at the reading end of the story couldn’t agree to disagree. Despite the upheavals, which is too loose a word to describe the protagonists’ life, his son is the only reason that keeps him going. As I post this update, the protagonist’s son must be studying in Grade III in one of the Thimphu schools. I wish the young lad to listen to his father. Mother, although living with her son had no time to breastfeed the poor infant in his cooing years. This happening in a typical family set up is unthinkable for a man like me thinking which mother would deny milk for her own flesh and blood?

The protagonist also ventures into the Aussie dream of ‘minting dollars’ and turning up wealthy only be bulldozed into desperation by his wife.

Page 69 sums up the feud in the story and I hereby quote, “Losing a battle behind the enemy line can be considering, but losing your ground at your doorstep is devastating.”

To take a sensible break from the daily hum-drum of this mundane life in a hustle, I highly recommend this book. Do grap a copy because I grudgingly believe this story isn’t a fiction and you and I may be helping him out pay off his debts…

We all have debts and this debt shouldn’t be monetary in all sense of the word. Closing the update with an excerpt from page 131…

“No man should be prejudiced to make judgement on others, the clothes, the hair, and the way they talk does not make them the person someone makes him or her off. Nobody actually has the right to judge anyone because they don’t know the story of what someone has been through.”


Happy reading folks!