Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lesson to Bhutanese Contractors and Engineers.

Capturing Osama Bin Lhaden had been the main objective of the United States of America since the presidency of Bill Clinton. After the vigorous search he was finally captured and killed brutally by American soldiers. Anyway, the history was made. But, this is not what I wanted to write here. 

I wanted to share two pertinent concerns. First is QUALITY and the second is WORK ETHICS. 

Like how ambitiously America have chased and killed Bin Lhaden, we also need to end this war of quality work and work ethics. Honestly, I don't like the way our contractors perform their work. They are morally and ethically very poor at works. They all work for profit and never work for betterment of the country, forget about providing quality service. 

When was the last time we came before time for our work? Rather, we don't mind to come late for work and day starts with heavy grumble and complain of this and that. We bellyache knowingly or unknowingly for every bits of work responsibility given to us. This is absolutely horrible for a tiny Buddhist nation. With all such poor mentality we can never build secure, stronger and stable nation in any length of time. Which mean we need to plan and send our people back to school for serious lessons on ownership, sense of belonging and responsible citizen. 

My concern is actually not unique and different but worth million dollars. I raise this voice because I love my country like anyone of you. I am saying with our existing work morale, I could see the future of our country in danger. It is sickening every moment with more and more junkie people around. When the population is still manageable, government must plan to eliminate this hide-and-seek game to end from the base through the system of strict monitoring services is in place. We can do it. 

What are some of the corrective method our government is doing to tackle this problem? Why the road that was built few days before has to form crack and cleft? Why the government buildings are poorly built? Why every time the government buildings has to be the victim of wears and tears within few months? Where is the actual lapses –is it the government or engineers or contractors? 

Now it is time to sort it out sincerely. I do not mean our contractors cannot make profit from their work. It is in their hand and it is their right to make any level of profit. But, the choice of their profit shouldn't compromise the quality work done and timely completion of the work. Honestly, I don't like the way they perform their work, ethically very poor. What is our site supervising engineers doing? 

We still do not have clean and healthy toilets in place. But, we never forget to talk about Rocket Science and Artificial Intelligence. 

Footsteps that belongs to 1958 structure.

I have a very interesting fact to share here. It was somewhere in the mid-October I had Aue, Passu the owner of Bhutan Toilet Organization as a guest from capital city. He came to assist my SkyHydrant water filter project that come from Rotary Club of Thimphu, funded by Disaster Aid Australia. The school that I am working is one of the very fine and in fact very old education institution in the country. I feel proud to be in this school. According to some oral history, it says the design of the present Zhemgang CS was indeed copied from Late Father Mackey, a Canadian Jesuit Priest who was responsible for establishing the modern education system in Bhutan. I find the school structure is still strong, firm and beautifully laid. If given a bidding choice, it would fetch the highest bid price because it is still free from crack and cleft. In whole of the Zhemgang Dzongkhag, it is one of the finest and the oldest structure. Of all, I often fall in love with the building design which is very cool.

No sooner had my brief outline of the school was ended than he asked me about the conditions of the footsteps. Footsteps! I was confused. Initially I wasn't sure about his actual intention for asking me this particular question. I told him, it's there, its fine. To better authenticate I took him to the footsteps that lead to the main block. Perhaps, to my utter surprise he told me, isn't that footsteps shining. Not even a single crack and cleft was formed long these many years. I know many dignitaries would have walked across these footsteps and countless engineers may have made from the same building. But, not concern like Aue, Passu did. Had it been the modern buildings, crafty contractors and lousy engineers, the fate of this footsteps might have ended differently. It would have definitely stand for multiple fracture and repairs. There are still many unlearn lessons our people, contractors, engineers and policy makers have to learn from the Late Mackey's buildings. The present schools like Punakha CS, Drugyal CS, Jigme Shurabling CS, Sherabtse College and Damphu CS are the copy of Late Mackey's building structure. The good thing about these building structures are earth quack resistance and corrupt free structure. We need such contractors, contractors of my Grand Father's time. Perhaps, corruption wasn't there. They don't know how to prepare fake bills and eat money. Had it been in the hands of present contractors, this buildings would have gone into ashes and ruins. 

In the same compound, there are some modern buildings. Designed and built by our engineers. Looking at its face, it was built not many years far. But, the way it appears is not so pleasing. It has torn apart into multiple injuries, the doors and the walls are gone –beyond repairs. The footsteps that stand between the two buildings have formed multiple crack. It isn't shining like the footsteps of the old structure. The only difference is that the contractors are different but the same building materials were used. The actual difference is the way it was made. In the first case the strict monitoring, right proposition of cement and other materials was used and contractors wasn't unkind. In latter case, they have breached all the rules of the country. 

Modern footsteps built not very far.

Shapeless and shameless footsteps.  

This is crazy footsteps.

This is how footsteps in government 
land looks like.   
This is completely a failure of lousy supervising engineers and greedy contractors. The main failures comes from our lawmakers. They have failed terribly. But, aren't we failing together?

Pelden Drukpa Gyelo...

This article is completely a personal views and it do not intend to defame anyone.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blessing in Disguise

Water Tank ready for use.  
Finally, I have my rush of adrenaline increased issues have subsided, because my long awaited water filter project have made its end. Perhaps, I am finally relieved from the daily routine. Honestly, for a yearlong all my heart and brain was filled with water here and filter there. It took me almost a year to materialize my project successfully. Indeed, the project came at the cost of millions of sacrifices but never thought this project would reach this far. Although, it took good amount of my time. But, it was life enriching experiences and thoroughly a new lesson to take –beyond the call of life. I was informed that this SkyHydrant water filter is first of its kind in Bhutan making me so so lucky and my school kids!

Initially, when I started to dream about doing this project. I did not dream for such a huge and expensive project to stand my way. However, I did it with all the support from Rotary Club of Thimphu and Disaster Aid Australia.
Filter installation with the help from BTO team. 
Let me briefly talk about my dream of this project.

The rough idea came to me when I have visited to Sarpang HSS for an exam invigilation duty. It was in late 2016. I was thoroughly impressed by their drinking water facilities in the school. It was clean and safe. I owe for the school management for installing such a good system of clean drinking water policy in place for many innocent kids. Although, it was a brief stay in the school. However, one good thing I came back home is with the rich idea of installing same or similar kind of drinking water facilities in my school too. I have inquired school principal about the installation cost and the availability of the system in the country. To his best, he gave me the full length of the project installation. In fact, he was kind and generous to share his experiences and wisdom about the water filter. He has some hands in this project too. THANK YOU SIR!

I know it was quite expensive to work on my own expenses. In between this, I took some domestic break. During this course of time, I came to realize Aue, Yeshey Dorji, who serve as Club Secretary for Rotary Club of Thimphu. Rotary Club is a kind of NGO that support people from all works of life across the world. Club's main focus always lies in the field of education and life skills, health and well being, farming and food security. And my case is no different. 

I know him for quite long time as a seasoned blogger and a fine professional photographer. I admire him professionally and follow him closely to the brink of my heart for his photography passion and skills. He is also my Hero! All I know is, he can easily sacrifice his own life at the cost of photography and raises a strong and patriotic concern over to those who is unsympathetic to environment. 

Perhaps, he is a rare species in kind!

Actually, I have never thought such would be my project. I have never started this project to end to such a high end expenses. I just wanted my water filter dream to end in simple and decent water filter system. Yet because of Aue, Yeshey Dorji and Rotary Club of Australia for making my dream of water filter project possible with lavish SkyHydrant water filter system in place. They were the one to make my dream ambitious and true. THANK YOU!

The intent of the project is never for a personal gain. It's all for the sake of many innocent school kids and for staff at large. Please, remember the water that comes out from this filter system is cold and fine, perfectly filtered, comes ready to drink. Enjoy fresh and high quality water out from my tap.

However, to do this project I have actually sacrificed my professional, personal and family time. But, after having done such a huge and expensive project. I am finally satisfied and relaxed. I am content with what I have started one year back with a project proposal never to end at this level. 

This project is a collective work of many people around the world. My first thanks and appreciation goes to Aue, Yeshey Dorji, Club Secretary (Rotary Club) of Thimphu and Rotary club of Australia for donating and supplying such an expensive gear, which I never thought would happen in my school. I thank DCM driver for safely delivering two polythene water tank from Thimphu to Zhemgang. Aue, Passu, owner of Bhutan Toilet Organization for installing the water filter system. I would also like to thank my school management (principal), school plumber, students and colleagues for supporting me with necessary support and energy.
Students enjoying fresh and fine water.
I have earnestly requested all my students and colleagues to enjoy clean and fresh water hereafter. At the same time I have also warn them to be a responsible person. 

I have requested them to handle water tap with Love and Care. Close the tap after use. Finally it became our property! 

Pelden Drukpa Gyelo...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crazy Price for Petrol and Diesel

On the upswing of ball freezing temperature, this November month is crazy in many ways. In the eve of Birth Anniversary of Fourth Druk Gyalpo, government has announced a huge reduction of the price of petrol and diesel. The prerogative was clear to commemorate the Birth Anniversary of His Majesty. But, I feel this is honestly not the right way to celebrate King's birthday.

How a government can float the price of any commodities that is below the actual imported price?

According to some media outlet, India revise the prices of petrol and diesel on daily basis. Daily rise and fall of the petroleum prices is mainly due to shift in currency exchange rate and this in turn helps public in maintaining actual profit in the other commodities. Perhaps, it save and control people's money outflow. It keep everyone fit on the supply and demand of commodities. It also keep laws and order in place. After all money matters more than anything. Several study have shown that such system in place have benefited larger public. Since, the prices of other commodity depends directly upon the petroleum prices. But, not in BHUTAN. 

In Bhutan even if the dollar exchange rate falls down, the price of commodities remains the same. I find this rather a chance for our greedy shopkeepers to give new price of their shop items in the name of petroleum product price shooting up every second. I can't remember our shopkeeper selling the commodities at a lower rate so far. When was the last time our government have announced that the prices of rice and oil have gone done by 5%? Or is it that our shopkeeper are too stingy and unkind? Or are they above the national law? Actually we have very best principles and laws in place. Failing in monitoring could be the only reason for all this unnecessary hoard of price escalation. If monitoring would have happened intensely and humanly we would have enjoyed the better fall in price of other commodities by this time. This is a serious matter to bring out for discussion with our Government and concern agency now. 

I do a usual week shopping from one particular shop. I started this customary merchandise long time back in 2013. I became quite close with them over the years. I even loan some cash and credit some salt when I run out of my bank balance. But, every time I make a visit to buy some essential goods they remind me of the fuel prices getting higher overnight and they sometime they levy me extra charges indirectly without my notice. I know their clear motives but I never say it. I don't want to embarrass them. I don't have any option than to visit again and shop some goods for succeeding week. I have been a constant victim of petroleum price being rise by inch and commodity prices by double fold. Is this fair? Where are our policy makers, market monitoring officers and other concern agency?  

But, looking at yesterday's crazy news on the massive reduction of petrol and diesel prices, I am thoroughly relieved for now. However, it equally worries me for its sustainability. For me the latest fuel prices is admirable, who not only had to survive their family with the honest salary but also to fuel the vehicle with sky rocketing fuel price in the past. Thank God! I am safe for now. 

It is double good for people like me. Since, almost Nu. 10.00 per litre can be used for other purposes and who knows sometime the same amount can also go for long term savings. I simple tense, it can generate better profit to my self, family and country at large. If such can also happens for other necessary commodities, our people around can enjoy bountiful cash and luxury like any other rich people. 

But, this massive reduction of the petrol and diesel prices have given me a very narrow thinking of a big political game being played by both Bhutan Government and Government of India. This should have happened rather in other ways, like Government should have done it inch-by-inch and not at a go. Such reduction must have happened on other very needful and essential life surviving elements like Rice and Oil. Since, almost 90% of our people depends upon imported polished rice and refined oil from neighboring country. If such is the concern, why this has not happened five years before. 

However, it is completely shameful to celebrate Birthday of His Majesty like this. Our Monarch is not a commodity. Whatever maybe the game or cause King's birthday cannot be played with commodity price. The government should have done it with something related to environment if they really wanted to celebrate King's birthday and ease the burden to public or onto something more prominent than the price of a commodity. So, in this way our policy makers are not looking for long term goals and aspiration. Moreover, government is not being mercy on people with this particular move. It will only going to benefit people with many cars and the construction company and not the ordinary people.    

However, I feel this time the choice to mark 62nd Birth Anniversary of Great Fourth was completely outlandish, shabby, unforgivable and shameful.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Honorable MP, Dorji Wangdi in Zhemgang.

Honorable, MP DOrji Wangdi in Zhemgang CS, MPH. 
It was usual Friday Morning. MP’s arrival time came as a good news. Probably, 9AM was what I heard from V.P sir and we all expect him to come like any other guest, unpunctual! But, shockingly MP was already in front of us and that makes a Breaking News. Because in the past we have lots of bitter experiences of waiting officials for hours.

Unlike other people, we are culturally fit to wait any kinds of guest anywhere –at home or in office. We say proudly waiting and being unpunctual is our culture but –it’s beyond our education. Our education never taught us to be unpunctual. We say, it’s ok! No problem! It means we don’t care about time and being punctual is always a challenge and priority for many of us. Time management is always an unwholesome task. But, to honorable MP is a cup of tea. 

He is an outstanding human being and a fine parliamentarian. We see him working so hard for the wellbeing of the country and the people with all his dedication.  

Honorable MP, Dorji Wangdi is one of the frequent member in the parliament house to debate with the government and one permanent member in BBS panel. He always brings in genuine, legal and researched point to support his stand. He always talk what is good for the country and the people. Nonetheless, he is one of the few individual that Zhemgang has ever produced.

The last time I have seen him was on bbs television on the controversy to corporatization of JDWNRH. While in his full length of discussion, he said government has breach the constitution of Bhutan.

As usual, MP started his talk by asking students about their wellbeing. He also acknowledged school management for giving him the opportunity.

He paused for a second and told us he would talk on four main topics – democracy, the roles and responsibilities of government and opposition party, the country’s current situations, the purpose of education and finally his life experience.

Without any hesitation, he told many things about democracy, its main purpose, challenges and priorities. One important crux was the role of an opposition party is not only to oppose the ruling government rather opposition is party in waiting. He also briefly told us about the roles and responsibility of three types of government – legislative body, judicial body and executive body in making a stronger government. Looking at his clarity and the flow of ideas on the topic, I wish him to be a History Teacher. Honestly, he had substituted our history teacher on the talk and its worth spending our time together.

Along with democracy talk, he also have connected the roles and responsibility of government and the opposition party with some examples. He briefly said the present scenario of the country is not so sound, development are in progress and some future scope of the country. He said if democracy in Bhutan has to sustain well, it is our individual and collective responsibility that can make a huge difference and that only can make a dream and aspiration of His Majesty come true. Thus, in perusing life –beyond democracy, quality education and being good human being is what matters more than a university degree qualification.

Unlike in the past, the way we live a life has changed dramatically. Therefore, it is very important for all of us to adjust with such changing times for a successful survival. He also shared the vision of His Majesty on the type of individual country wants for a job market today –‘innovative and tech-smart or Geek’.

He said, what we must do as an individual to create lasting and reliable future. He took us to the world on how to be genuine, kind, nice and gentle human being. According to him, moral responsibility and commitment are the two things that keeps country moving forward and successful.

What is it that makes a successful person? His answer is –being positive, focus and being consistent in work.

He informed us about our idealized past and utopian future that is too unstable.

The most appealing element of his talk was on our pursuit of democracy. The objectives of democracy are actually very clear and fine, it is the elected member who makes it dirty. He passed the messages of His Majesty, the introduction of democracy is to secure country’s stability and sustainability and not to mislead people on their right.  

Moving deeper into his talk, he said the power of one single person taking an example of Emperor Meiji of Japan. Meiji was a lone man who raised japan back to one of the most powerful nation economically and politically after the massive destruction during World War II.

In the golden age of technology, digital economy is now dominating the world into craziness. Thus, to be at par he informed us that our education system should produce Youth who is work ready, world ready and future ready technologically. To get into job market anywhere in the world, abilities like hard skills and soft skills has become very important and necessary. However, communication skill is a heart throb.

He finally released the secret behind him becoming youngest cabinet minister –is all due to support of his people, his parents for admitting him in school, teachers for his education and finally it’s his continuous hard work and positiveness are the only top-secret.

He used Archimedes quote, ‘give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I will move the world,’ to supplement on collective success.

Importance of having ambition and dream is what keeps us focus, keep us working and good attitude is what keep us becoming good human being.

As a student, Honorable MP has a dream to become a simple school teacher. But, he has different fate in store and that is what he is today.

Honorable MP, as we see in the debate is so staid but it is not. He is equally humorous and a jolly person but that came only to the end was a big surprise.

He informed us the news of BBIN motor vehicle agreement for now is kept on hold for country’s security and for environmental concern. The other good news was, Zhemgang CS is likely to turn into college in 12th five year plan.

I wish him Good Luck in rest of his career!

Monday, October 23, 2017

RIP, My Old Boxer!

Recently Zhemgang Dzongkhag Tshogdue (DT) have decided an unkind resolution making it compulsory for both town and village people to wear Gho and Kira from 9AM to 5PM. I have really like their antique ideas for a good cause so that our age old tradition and custom is preserved well. As a Bhutanese I am a responsible citizen to uphold my country's law and identity. For me wearing national gears is not so difficult and a big deal. I feel so comfortable and proud to be in my colorful gho. I often prefer wearing of Tshechu color Gho over my Pangtsi Dhorma (Boxer)! But, I have seen people of all works of life pouring out their grievances openly and savagely in some social media.  

According to DT chairman, the decision was taken according to Local Government Act and the book on etiquette's to protect and preserve national identity, culture and tradition. I feel all these are the old thoughts. But, I don’t mean to be unfaithful and doom my country along with few unpatriotic people.

As of now the proposed penalty to those who fail to comply with DT’s decision was quite handsome but unkind. Who told that wearing of National Dress alone can preserve the National Sovereignty?

Although, it is important to preserve and promote culture and tradition and to protect country’s independence and security in the face of changing world. But, not this way. I feel this is too harsh for the people. Let them decide what to wear and when to wear what. If wearing national dress alone can stand to protect us from foreign invasion and danger. I submit myself to be wearing my national dress even while sleeping and to my deathbed.   

I suppose culture shouldn’t be stagnant. It must go on with the change of time. At any time, nobody want to hang in their birthday suit. Our concern authority should have the knowledge that the country’s sovereignty can’t hold by simply wearing Gho and Kira, speaking national language, playing archery (bamboo bow) and eating Emadatshi. There are times and places where individual citizen should be oblique and obedient to law of kingdom.

We live in 21st century and the world is so open now. The air of change is already overflowing even in our locality and country is experiencing the most dramatic change in culture and the other system that are actually brought by our own people living abroad and some foreigners who visit to see Bhutan’s unique culture. We can’t stop such habit and interdependence to eachother!

I feel completely depending on cultural won't uphold the nation's independency. The time to display of our museum pieces has gone far now and it holds no good meanings either. In present times, the political and economic powers are the two main things that keeps us strong and alive.

Therefore, wearing of Gho and Kira should be made lovable and comfortable and should not be imposed as a law. Anything that comes as an order can never sustain and it won't be durable either. So, far I didn't see any Bhutanese who have said he/she do not love Bhutan. When we love our country so much, it means we love wearing our national dress but appropriately in right place and time.

The policy makers actually have a bigger role to play when such discussion happens. They should be always mindful of the past experiences and the facts. I vividly remember the controversy of half-kira, compelling speaking of Dzongkha as the medium of communication in all the offices and public and the Tracksuits in schools had to overturn because of public infuriation and citizens right.

However, besides everything we must stand to give higher priorities on, how to solve the issue of trash, rural-urban migration, youth unemployment rate and increasing numbers of students involved in alcohol and drugs related crime at the earliest. Likewise, we also have some more urgent needs to reach out at the earliest like modern development –boosting of rural-economic opportunities, supporting more efficient trade and market deal, quality education and reaching out for drinkable water has to be the top agendas for our DT to discuss and not such catastrophic discussion. 

I love my National Dress, DO YOU? 

Here are some comments and feedback on the social media that I captured reacting to the resolution:

Rinchen (Farmer from Gongphu, Zhemgang)
It would be difficult for farmers to work in the farms in gho and kira. “I have not heard of the new rule but I will raise the issue when local leaders come with the news.”

Ngawang Choden (Mother of three, zhemgang)
It would be uncomfortable to work in kira in hot weather. She said that local leaders should have discussed the matter with the people before deciding. “Imposing fine would be a harsh punishment for farmers.”

Norbu Toiisang Lama
He said, national dress is to be worn with pride, not with fear to be penalized. I don’t support the resolution.

Tshering JK Jurmey

I am not sure about the abrupt decision, how people at village will bear the cost of demeanor because of dress code? We know everything about village as most of are the son and daughter of farmer. The decision should should not be made base on our present comfort chair, it’s just my perception…

Friday, October 13, 2017

Alcohol Free Birthday Party -- part II

Although, one's essential needs of food, clothing and shelter is something measurable. However, for kids the more important is the social environment in which they live in. For every kids their parents, relatives, friends, uncle and aunt usually plays a very significant role in making the kind of person we want them to be in future. 

Of course, their parents having a brand new car and a smart phone can give them a temporary feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment. But, in reality it will never give them the peace of mind and justice they want as a child.

We have been hearing and becoming a constant victim of so many alcohol related misconducts –lying, stealing, cheap sexual behavior, fighting and murdering are the most common happenings.  

The study conducted by RENEW and other relevant agency have also found out that about 96.7% of the crime and unwholesome domestic violence are reported to happen due to alcohol. Therefore, I personally feel banning the sale of the alcohol products legally is the only way forward to put end to all forms of violence. 

To better seal my opinion on the new idea of alcohol ban birthday party. I have recently met a group of unschooled women in the market with baby at their back. They seemed so traditional in their attire but not so much in their conversation. Their language were –beyond my education to understand. Yet, I made some rough conclusion. As I stand near to them, I had sensed some of them are desperately hunting to quench their thirst with popular Druk 11,000 brand. I knew their favorite brand wasn't in the market for some reasons. So, I waited patiently to hear their response. 

However, after sometime one of the woman seemed to be more desperate was leading a group had willfully accused the shopkeeper for not keeping the brand with so and so. 

I see 99.9% of our people are crazy in drinking. Since, they are made socially fit to drink right from their birth or many even before that. So, we share equal blame for this. 

The program's main motive is to educate people on drinking habits in front of their kids. The other is to give more and quality time at least during their birthday party. Conversely, what usually happen with us is, all the parents sulk in one corner with their brands and the child are left freely to the other end. Often, times before the birthday party ends, many parents would be intoxicated. They won't be in a good position to reach home. The safety of the kids is always forgotten.  

Therefore, as a responsible parent, I feel what other parent feel for their kids. In this modern world, I could see unfathomable challenges and responsibilities ahead of us to nurture our juniors; to an alcoholic or an addict is right in our hand!

Perhaps, I feel rather doubtful on how other parents would like this idea. I know it will take us long and needs all our dedication to understand on the cause and the effect of alcohol. However, this program can only be successful if all of us join hand sincerely and wholeheartedly. The concern agency have a similar plan to sincerely educate on free alcohol birthday party celebration to a wider audience have given me some hope. I wish them good luck!

Nonetheless, I have some reservation on how this customary offerings would end. I know Coca-Cola drinks also serves the same purpose. But, to what form? I also know many invited guest and relatives would surely miss distant uncle's birthday party.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Alcohol Free Birthday Party

Yesterday, I was reminded by bbs television on 'Alcohol Free Birthday Party. They have hijacked my emotion and took away my happiness. And to many it may have seemed like a Hiroshima bombing. The program aired was so ambitious. However, I have some personal reservation and a doubt on how this can work. I could see some painstaking challenges ahead of us. If everyone like this new idea of birthday celebration, it would definitely benefit us. But, it would be difficult for those friends and families who can't live without it. I am not saying for my sake. I am honestly a sober guy. 

The one who came with the idea deserves my hands down salute for making such a catastrophic program. I am thoroughly confused how this age old customary tradition will end without the offering of alcohol for the guest. 

Drinking and offerings of alcohol in our culture deeply rooted in our age old tradition. We have a society that is best known by the offerings of alcohol in a most traditional ways. In fact, offerings of alcohol to any level of guest shows, how kind and generous are the host. In many celebration, alcohol offerings is necessary because our culture and tradition demands for it. Perhaps, actually such belief hooked us more deep into alcohol accessible society. 

According to World Health Organization report, Bhutan has the highest per-capita adult consumption of pure alcohol, 8.47 litres which is even higher than the average global consumption of 6.2 litres.  There are around 5,400 bars and about 700 of them are in the capital alone. Some study have revealed that one outlet per 98 Bhutanese aged 15 and above is easily available. For a small society the number is amazingly so high. 

                                                                  Alcohol Free Birthday Party -- part II

Monday, October 2, 2017

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk Factor in Zhemgang.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, Education Minister
"Kuzozooo…zangpooooo…La…zhemgang", began Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk in his deep shimmering voice like he used to do in the parliament house. My students were surprised, they have never faced him in person like this before. I am sure many of my students would have seen him for the first time as an Education Minister. As he begin, the hall went mad silent which was –beyond my expectation and even to those students who have been the most boring and sluggish have their head high up in the air trying to make some sense through Lyonpo's thrilling and hilarious talks.   

Honestly, this talk has been the best so far in my school hall. I feel very sorry for some Class VIII students who couldn't have made due to limited space. And to those who have been purposefully absented from the day's program are the most ill-fated and unlucky one in their entire life. Perhaps, they have missed Lyonpo's talk forever like a flowing river. The lucky half who have attended the talk have graciously snooped Lyonpo's talk with all their energy and interest they have in their fate.

Lyonpo busy in his talk with students and staff of ZhemgangCS
Lyonpo's talk basically was about the youth, their poor mentality and attitude towards tradition and culture, the way they perceive their lifestyle and the balance for quality of education. 

Of all, I liked Lyonpo's classical example of a gallant and a cool guy is what I too have during my school days. The concept of a cool guy is all to ambush the girl you are in love with a piece of cigarette in one hand and gogs on his forehead. I could feel the same psychological break-down of behavior and mentality  of cool is still hanging around with our youth today.

Lyonpo trying hard to control three balls
To further exhibit what actually is trying hard, he took out three different colored balls and immediately started to juggle with his two hands so merrily and mercilessly. The hall filled with surprise that turned into a huge round of applause for his talent and ability to play the ball in the air. However, his recent example of how he have won the Open Men's Double National Level Badminton Championship is all due to his co-partner and his positiveness. So, the lesson is that sometime being positive alone is more important than talent, is what I called as Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk's Factor!

Lyonpo giving a real trying juggling shot in front of students
and staff
Lyonpo in action
However, His Excellency's example of beautiful volcano eruption on plasma TV screen have captured my attention the most. But, I worry how it could be possible in Bhutanese Classroom setting, when the classroom wall is still poor.

Honestly, I have never seen my students responding to any speakers so impatiently like this before. I must say, it is not that he is a Minister but his talk has all the substance that have captured the audience mood the most as a parent, educator and a politician. His real life experiences have added all the charm in his talk show. The big laughter came when he cited an example of his most ugly friend and his 10 pages love letter. However, the hall went pin drop silent when he finally said that his ugly friend have left the school when the girl he loved the most have terribly failed to accept his proposal. It is lucky that he is still alive with different life partner.  

There are many things to learn from Lyonpo's talk and I am sure everyone present in the hall would have deeply committed within themselves of the strong take home message. He also have shared that his two kids are far too superior to him in fiddling smart phones and other items is what amaze him the most.  

To further authenticate the reward of hardship, he narrated and took us to the world of movie. He shared how he took the challenges to become a successful movie script writer? He also said that it took him sleepless night to become a successful writer. Now, given a challenge he can write any good movie script within a week time. He was proud to say that, some of his movie was very successful and even earn the title of blockbuster film. Some of his movie script includes, 'Senglem, Sleeping Beauty', etc…

His Excellency then talked so proudly about the magic of hard work and positive mindset. Within very short span of time as an education minister, he was deeply fascinated by the fact that change in curriculum was successful. He is also happy to see the talented and skillful youth all across the country. The way they play with all kinds of gadgets is incredible and awesome. However, at the same time, it is little disheartening to see many of the youth are ruining their life into drugs and some even to unlawful activities. As an education minster, he worries about the quality education, the declining values and culture over time with the introduction of western cultures that are slipping in through different forms. 

He also have noticed that the most vulnerable stage is when our students reach to class nine until they finish class twelve, he reminded to all of us that, this four years of schooling is very important and crucial. What he have noticed was, most of the drop out and criminals are made in this segment of schooling. He have shared his concern over our young, talented and beautiful youth start to mess up their life into drugs and alcohol. 

And particularly, to me I have been longing to see and hear from him in person for a long time. Because I have heard few hundreds of his ability to talk to any kinds of audience. His talk would especially benefit young school going children and some cynical heroes. I am quite sure there won't be another set of such talk in future from him. But, let us make a point to hold whatever he have said for long one-and-half-hour talk till the very end would do a magic in our life for all times.

His message was strong to those who think education is the vehicle and game changer for whatever maybe the reasons; religion, blood and the color won't matter in education. He requested all the teachers to be a role model and continue to educate -beyond textbook. He also have deeply reminded to us that no matter what ever maybe the curriculum and how high end technology that may slips in, we must not forget to prepare our child for 21st century. Lyonpo said that, although we are seven ocean apart from United States of America, yet we are politically and economically connected. Which means we share many common aspects of life, and education is a game changer for all of us. 

We must remember that education is a big vehicle and we must start to build this vehicle a responsible vehicle for all times to come. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Review title: To sir, with Love.

Book title: To sir, with love.
Author:  E.R. Braithwaite
Publisher: The Bodley Head
Genre: Autobiographical Fiction. 
Year of publishing: 1959

To Sir, With Love is a 1959 autobiographical novel written by E. R. Braithwaite set in the East End of London. The novel is based on true events concerned with Braithwaite taking up a teaching post in a school there.

The author brings in the weave of twist and turns of his fate, on his new teaching job and the nature of different adults he have encountered in his new profession.  

The book takes us through the life of the author regardless of having outstanding qualifications is denied job fit for his education because of his skin color. Thus, he takes the teaching job at Greenslade School in East End London, as that was the possible best job he could get at that time. But, the school's culture presents another shock to him. Having worked in Royal Air Force, Braithwaite finds it hard to be surrounded by undisciplined, unmotivated and unclean students. He tries to teach them but he becomes a victim of their pranks, rough attitude and rude remarks. He decides to change his teaching style. So, instead of teaching them book lessons, he starts giving them life lessons. He gradually begins to prepare them for life. And that's when things begin to shape and his students start responding positively to his efforts.

The book clearly stated the challenges he had faced, filled with suspense as he gets into the task to handle ill-mannered students. As you read on and meet the better end on how he have overcome all the challenges is an amazing. However, left with the thought as to how could he have made such a huge commitment in changing the behaviors of his students is yet another miracle we see through the book angle.

The suspense slowly begins to unfold as we get introduced to the other characters like school principal and his colleagues and all. It is like how one thing leads to the other and finally to the utter surprise of the readers.

However, somewhere in the middle his relationship seems to decline a bit when his senior colleagues have discourage him to work extra miles. However, we find him back together due to his love and care he hold for his students.

Through his own life experiences, the author attempts to actually tell a racial division and discrimination in London that have divided many people during that time. Although, racial discrimination is a notable aspect of the book, it also talks a lot about the London Politics, about the grim human acumen and a culture of how black people were portrayed and perceived openly by the society.

The ups and downs in his life, his interactions with his class and their transformation from boisterous teenagers to young responsible adults is what keeps a reader glued to the book till the end. 

This book closely reveals the relationship between a teacher and the students. It is this journey of Braithwaite that makes this book undying and lives with a reader long after the story ends.

In a nutshell, a committed teacher have the power to turn hatred into love, teenage disloyalty into self-respect and dislike for others into introspection.

Mr. Braithwaite a rejected technical graduate from many interviews have finally turned to become a school teacher. The rejection in all the interviews mainly came because of his skin color, as he was a Negro. An engineer by profession have finally settle to become a school teacher is all the twist of his FATE.

“It is easy to be called, but difficult to be one amongst many is a teaching job”.