karmachoden

Spontaneous expression of thoughts and emotions in words.

Nuchu and I

nuchu.jpg

The portrait that I see every day I wake up

And the same that I see before I go to bed

Making my heart miss a beat and my pulse at hold

Oh! The excruciating pain and a feeling of helplessness

 

‘Did I make a wrong decision?’ is the question I ask myself

I battle against all the odd feelings racing in my mind

Console myself that ‘whatever happens, happens for the best’

But this poor ordinary being is beyond any self-comforting messages

 

I go to University, attend the classes and try to bury myself in assignments

I go to work late in the evenings or dawn at times

Just so I can pass my days without thinking about him

But damn it! It is only for a little while I found

 

There has not been a single day that I didn’t scroll up his photos

And each session is as painful as the next

I shout out to him when I am all alone

At least I don’t fear being judged by anyone

 

‘Nobu-the-pug’ on instagram posts makes me miss my Nuchu more

I feel my nuchu would be basking in the same love and care

Had I not left him in the first place

Makes me even more guilty and unforgivable by the day

 

What is worst is I miss my Bumo too

She was just 48 days old when we brought her in

She was my Nuchu’s one of the four surviving children

The one that was destined to be with my family

 

The love of the family, the center of attention

My daughter, son, and hubby loved them more

Did I break everyone’s connection?

The fact I am more guilty of

 

I am like ‘can fate be any unkinder than this’?

But then to take it positively, fate has been kinder

Especially giving my Nuchu and Bumo a new family

Something that eases my own pain- a cover up I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

What it means to be in Australia- The so called DOLLAR fetching zone.

“Even now when I hear that sound of the mobile ringtone, it gives me a painful feeling. I hate that sound. That sound is connected to a very difficult and painful part of my life in Australia”, says Wangmo with tears almost forming in her eyes and voice breaking off making me go teary eyed too.

Wangmo had come to Perth some four years back with her husband Kinley carrying with them lots of dreams. ‘Life was not so easy. We were without works for around 5 months. We worried a lot and we had to grab every little work that came by our way even if it was for a penny. We had to do that to make a living. ‘

I am told that they used to get up in the middle of the night to go to work. Wangmo says that thinking of those days scares her now for the very fact that they used to go to work in half sleep that too driving about 30 to 1 hour distance to the workplace. It indeed sounds so dangerous now.

They labored and worked hard spending sleepless nights and putting their lives at risk to earn the few dollars that they made and slowly got their way up to where they are today in Perth.

Today Wangmo and Kinley can happily take a month off from work and go on a vacation to Thailand with children and family member joining them from Bhutan. They have worked hard to send hard currency home enough to buy a land for themselves, send their children to private schools and also support their parents back home.

Like Wangmo and Kinley, there are many Bhutanese who came with big dreams but started with struggles. A Bhutanese who has been in Perth for the last four years and who doesn’t want to be named here says, “we struggled so hard without works and with the little money we got we could not dare spend on anything luxurious. Vegetables are very expensive and chilies even more. For us, chilies were a luxury. When we finally could afford to buy a chilly each to bite with our meals, it was like reaching in heaven.”

But our fellow Bhutanese have found the way out and today everyone who is out here in down under has a decent job, make a decent earning and lives a decent life. And that decency would mean getting up at 2 am in the morning to go to work for the morning shift, doing a round of days chores and back to evening work at 5 p.m. This is just one example of a work schedule. Every single cent that the Bhutanese in Australia make is a result of their sweat and blood. It is the result of their lack of sleep, lack of food on time, working round the clock and so much of other sacrifices and compromises.

Besides the regular works that our Bhutanese take up, there are quite a few enterprising ones who have taken to sales of local products such as doma, (betel nut or areca nut), ara, (local alcohol brewed at home), dried chilies, and other delicacies such as juma (homemade sausage), momo (dumpling) and all during festive occasions or gatherings. People have started growing local chilies in pots at home, which not only suffice their taste buds but also fulfill the taste buds of many Bhutanese in Perth. A piece of doma would cost $1, which is equivalent to round of Nu.50 back home. A bottle of ara would cost $20 which is equivalent to round of Nu. 1000 in Bhutan. Doesn’t it sound so tempting to do doma and ara business than to slog for $20 per hour? (The minimum wage)

 

All in all, you will find a little Bhutan in Bentley and Wembley. If you take a little walk around the corner to IGA in Glendalough, it is just like walking to a local store in Thimphu. Every single customer is a Bhutanese. You will find that one in every five person on the street is a Bhutanese. If you go to Herdsmen Parade 47 and 49 and you will find that every next house is occupied by Bhutanese either in shared mode or single occupancy.

However, please note that life at the beginning is not so easy. Little did I realize that I would be living the story of Wangmo and Kinley just a few months after my arrival in Perth. The stress that you go through for not getting work is depressing at worst and the conditions under which you have to work is needless to mention. My hubby and I drove several times in sleep in the middle of the night or at the wee hour in the morning either to work or back from work. Many a times you have to put your safety and life at risk.

You meet all kinds of people-our very own people here in Perth. Friends become strangers and strangers become friends.

Gumtree is the buzz word around for newcomers. The seasoned and the experts will only tell you to download the app and look for work on Gumtree. You really think that you will find some works through Gumtree and you spend hours every day till it hurts your eyes and fingers to find something suitable for you. You then apply online as advised by the seniors. You keep on applying a million times and wait for responses. As time moves on you learn that applying for works though Gumtree is just a myth. You know that it is not going to work yet you keep searching and applying with a hope that someday a miracle might happen. But time only proves that it doesn’t happen. Time tells you that you need connections to get work. It is the recommendations that get you work not the countless applications you make on the Gumtree or Indeed, SEEK Jobs, Perth Jobs, Job Search and many more job seeking apps.

Remember, when it comes to work, Bhutanese are by far very reluctant to help for reasons I really don’t know but I did hear of some rumours of the past of how people used to snatch jobs from each other and off course many ill intended stories. Not even our people will help you find a job if you are not the real siblings. One has to find your way the hard way.

If you see greener grass in down under and plan to come this way, know that you need to possess the following attributes:

  1. Be emotionally and mentally prepared and strong enough to go through the stress of not finding the work for quite sometime after your arrival in Perth. Some I believe spend almost a year to get job while some lucky ones get job on their arrival.
  2. Make sure you have someone in down under who will not hesitate to recommend you for work.
  3. You should possess driver’s license and be able to drive in Australia. You don’t have a job if you cant drive.
  4. Be prepared to take up any job. If you come with the values ‘no job is too small or too big’ nothing like it.
  5. Be prepared to sacrifice your sleep and shift your meal times. In other words be ready to move out of your comfort zone.

Once you are here, you will find that the grass is indeed not green on this side but then your positive outlook and the dollars that you get in hands will motivate you to keep going.

By doing this story, I am hoping that our fellow Bhutanese back home will know that life is not all about glitters in Australia. I want our people to know that they cannot afford to dance on the dollars sent from Australia. That would be the greatest crime against humanity. This is also a preparation message to any newcomers to The Land of Kangaroos.kangaroo-beach (1)

The last and the best part for the Bhutanese in Perth happened on 21st February 2018 when the Bhutanese in Perth came together to celebrate the 38th Birth Anniversary of our beloved His Majesty The King of Bhutan. It was the most befitting gift His Majesty gave to his fellow Bhutanese residing outside of Bhutan. We were surrounded with our Bhutanese celebrities like singers Lhamo Dukpa and Namgay Jigs, actor and actress Sonam Tenzin and Sherab Lhamo and the most famous comedian Gem Tshering accompanied by the officials from Royal Bhutan Embassy, Bangkok. I don’t know about the Bhutanese gatherings in the past because I am also very much new here and this is my second visit to a mass Bhutanese gathering in Perth my first one being the visit by his eminence Khamtrul Rimpoche. However, I am told this is the greatest ever congregation of Bhutanese and it was a very momentous occasion to listen to His Majesty’s words of wisdom through the harbingers of His Majesty’s message. From what I could gather, following are the messages from His Majesty in a gist:

  1. Our Bhutanese in Australia are contributing hugely to the economy of the country through the hard currency that they remit to Bhutan.
  2. They create a very financially stable family and social life back home.
  3. Parents are able to support their children and children are able to support their parents.
  4. They create employment opportunity back home. The jobs that they leave behind are seats left for someone else.
  5. They get exposure to the third country, widen their horizon of learning and also bring rich experiences with them back home.
  6. No matter where our people go, they will always use the Bhutanese intrinsic intelligence and be able to survive amongst the fittest.
  7. Most importantly they promote friendship and maintain good foreign relationship with Australia government at the same time maintaining our own identity.
  8. Bhutanese in Australia have proved as the best ambassadors of Bhutan.

This is to our entire fellow Bhutanese not only in Perth but also in the whole of Australia and elsewhere outside of Bhutan that His Majesty The King is aware of the hardship and contributions we make to our country. It doesn’t matter what kind of jobs we take up because there is nothing called small or big jobs. What matters is that we make a difference.

Hats off to all the hard working Bhutanese who sacrifice their personal comfort zone for the sake of larger interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuchu’s 5th Born Day

Its Nuchu’s Born Day today. He turns 5 today. Over  the last 4 years Nuchu has given meaning to my life. 

Thank you my boy for making me bawled over in love with you. 

Thank you for proving that the cliche ‘love at first sight’ can actually happen. 

Thank you for teaching me what it means to be giving and receiving unconditional love. Till then I had only read in romantic novels and love stories. 

Thank you for all the joys, laughters, happiness, and fun we had together. 

Thank you for being that shoulder for me to cry on when we watched sad dog movies together. Remember how we cried holding on to each other while watching ‘Hearty Paws’ and ‘Hachi ko’? And many other movies where your kind played the key roles.

Thank you for being the listening ears when I was going through some difficult times in my life. 

Thank you for being my walking partner when I needed some fresh open air in the woods. It was so much fun and never tiring even if I had to walk the entire Thimphu with you.

Thank you for always welcoming me whenever I came home tired from work. 

Thank you for being that pillow when ever i needed one to rest my head on. 

You are such a source of joy and happiness. 

I love you my boy. Nobody will ever be able to replace you. I hope you understand why I had to leave you. Sometimes I feel I have made the biggesr mistakes of my life for going away from you but I know you do understand and you want me to do well and come back home successfully. 

Wait for me my boy. We shall meet again. Till then with my heart in my mouth I pray you live happily in the company of your new parents and family members. I know you are in safe hands and it makes my life a bit easier to live in a foreign land.

Happy birthday my bubu. I miss you so much that words cannot express the gravity of my feelings. 

The only solace I have is that you got a mother now who will probably love you more than me and who will never leave you. made with @videoshowapp

Book Review Title: The Mystery behind the death of RBG

IMG20170707182542.jpg

Book Title: Switched Off

Author: Karma Tenzin (Yongba)

Year of publishing: 2017

Genre: Fiction

Beautifully titled ‘Switched Off’ literally meaning the light that got switched off, the phone that remained switched off and metaphorically meaning the death of Mr. Ram Bahadur Gurung aka RBG in the book, the author tries to weave the story around the mysterious death of RBG in a plot that has its own twist and turn of the events.

Author Karma Tenzin, most famously known as Dasho Yongba brings to us the central characters Max –the police officer on investigation of the death of RBG-Ram Bahadur Gurung, a Lhotsampa man who is Seday’s Boyfriend,

Seday- Mistress of Karma Rinzin and lover of RBG and Karma Rinzin- A senior civil servant and a happily married man with children but in affairs with Seday.

The book starts with the missing of RBG and is filled with suspense as Max gets into the task of finding out the reasons behind his sudden disappearance. As you read on and meet other characters like Seday and Karma Rinzin who intricately weave a tapestry of thoughts and actions leading to their connection with RBG, one is but left with the thought as to who could have committed the murder of RBG.

The suspense slowly begins to unfold as we get introduced to other characters like App Zigtoo, Azha Hagu, Bago Tashi and all. It is like how one thing leads to the other and finally to the utter surprise of the readers, the author points out how RGB was wiped out of the scene.

An excerpt from the book reads like this:

So far the case ran thus:

-RBG had gone missing.

-RGB was poisoned to death.

-The deceased had no adverse records.

-The deceased was Seday’s last boyfriend.

-Relation between Karma Rinzin and Seday turned sour.

-Karma Rinzin tried to find his rival without success. He was jealous and restless.

-Seday got pregnant and RBG was responsible.

-Pregnancy was terminated in India.

-Karma Rinzin knew nothing about this.

-This probably happened as Seday had no future with Karma Rinzin and she was trying hard to break away from him without hurting one another.

So the central theme of the book revolves around the missing of RBG and that he had gone missing as he was poisoned. But who could have poisoned him and what could have been the motives? Through the investigations carried out by Max, readers are introduced to the nuances of the police investigation in cases such as murders and tells the readers that ultimately truth reigns and one cannot run away from the consequences of your own actions.

The book depicts the ordinary ways of life and the relationship that exists in today’s time indicating the nature of human beings and the complexity and the simplicity of the relationship in which we are entwined with.

With three other published books in the author’s name such as ‘The Restless Relic’, ‘The Darkest June’ and ‘The Barnyard Murder and Other Stories’, this is yet another feather in his cap. In fact, this is one of the first fictional Bhutanese book depicting suspense, investigations and revelations. The suspense is so killing that once you start reading the book, you wouldn’t want to stop in between. You are made more curious with each leads that Max comes up with and you want to know who exactly murdered RBG or was he really murdered or did he just consume the poison on his own will.

The book has a list of glossary at the end for local and regional words, which makes it more reader friendly for the international audience too. The cover design is done beautifully and in it self leaves the viewers with a sense of suspense.

Written in 136 pages in a very clear layout and reader friendly letters, it is a book that can cater to the taste of every age level and every reader both locally and internationally.

So grab your copy now, own it and read it.

The book will be launched on 8th July 2017 by Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck at the BCCI Hall.

 

Reviewed by:

 

Karma Choden

Voracious Reader and Passionate reviewer of books.

She can be contacted at: www.karmachoden.wordpress.com

 

Significance of May 2nd as Teachers’ Day in Bhutan.

FB_IMG_1493652631139

While the whole world celebrates teachers’ day generally on 5th October, there are countries that have adopted different dates to mark the same according to their national significance. For instance India our immediate neighbor country celebrates its national teachers’ day on 5th September, which is the birth date of the second president of India Dr. Saevepalil Radhakrishnan who was born in 1888.

 

Like wise Nepal our next immediate neighbor celebrates its national teachers’ day on a full moon day of Ashad which is also called Ashad suika purnima- the date which usually falls in mid –July. The day is called ‘Guri Purnima’ where ‘Guru’ means ‘teacher’ and ‘purnima’ means full moon.

 

In the similar way Bhutan celebrates its National Teachers’ Day on 2nd May, which marks the Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The Third King of Bhutan –His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. In the history of Bhutan The Third King is known as the Father of Modern Bhutan, and especially for the Education fraternity he is known as The Father of Modern Education in Bhutan.

 

His Majesty The Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was born on May 2, 1929 at Thruepang Palace in Trongsa. In his reign of Bhutan for 20 years from 30th March 1952 to 21 July 972, he transformed Bhutan significantly introducing democratic system since then to the modern developments in Bhutan. Unfortunately he demised in Nairobi in Kenya in 1972 while he was on a safari In the forest of the Africa.

 

It is 88 years now after His Birth Anniversary, we the Bhutanese have not forgotten the birth of a great man who changed the fate and destiny of the many Bhutanese then and now.

 

In 2029 we would be celebrating the 100 years of His Majesty’s Birthday and I tell you that Bhutan and Bhutanese shall make it one of its kind of a Birth Anniversary and the Teachers’ Day too.

 

We celebrate the National Teachers’ Day to either pay our respect to the teachers past, present and future who have sacrificed, made a difference and who are sacrificing, making a difference and teachers who will be sacrificing and making a difference in the lives of many who had, are and will be building the Nation.

 

By celebrating May 2nd as Teachers’s Day we would not only be paying respect to the great human being in the form of our Third King but we will be paying respects to all the great souls who come in the form of teachers playing with Chalk and Duster, Notebooks and Teskbooks, Lesson Plans and Home Work corrections, challenging their own emotional, mental, and physical health to over come the challenges of the emotional, mental and physical health of the students.

 

Teachers who work beyond 9 to 5 hours of the regular schedule, those hearts who worry endlessly when the board examinations knock on the gates, the people who ignore their own children at times for the sake of other children under their care, those brave souls who fight the wintry cold and summary heat to be in the classrooms, those souls who walk for hours on end to reach to their destination yet their love of the profession take them there.

 

For this very reason we need to celebrate the so called TEACHERS.

 

In a beautiful message by Hon’ble Sherig Lyonpo Norbu wangchuck to the teachers across the country on the Teachers’ Day 2017, he says teachers live a life, which is not ordinary, and for this very reason teachers mean a whole lot for the Nation. And for this very reason, he says teachers should play the role which none can play. The role of building the nation BUILDER in short.

 

Coincidentally. There is another country that marks the national teachers’ day on 2nd may and its Iran. They mark the day after Dr. Morteza Motahhari who was an Iranian cleric, philosopher, lecturer, and politician and who was assassinated on 1st May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensitivity and In-sensitivity of Social Media

IMG20170428215958Yesterday there was a post by a mother pleading the help of everyone on FB to help find her lost son who was only four years old. The post sounded so desperate and says the boy could be anywhere in Babesa or any part of Thimphu. He looked so cute clad in a black pant and a black pull over holding a even cute black pug. My heart went out to the boy, the parents and especially the mother whose heart must have bled a thousand times.

I neither shared the post nor I commented on every post that went viral on FB but I silently prayed for the well being of the little boy with a hope that he may soon be united with his parents.

To be exact, I recited Chapdro, Baza Guru, Mani, Drolma, Guru Soelldep Tsig Duen, Barche Lamsel and sincerely prayed for the boy and his parents. The first thing I saw on FB today morning when I got up was the good news that the boy has been found and reunited with his parents. That was the report by the Royal Bhutan Police. My heart heaved a sigh of relieve and prayed for the reunion of the family.

And Lo and Be Hold… the next news I hear is that the boy has been drowned and fished out of Thimphu Chu somewhere near Terma Linca Resort. My mind refused to accept the news. But then again there were viral posts on FB showing the photo of the little boy and people commenting ‘RIP’ (Rest In Peace)

And then there were posts going in every private or group WeChat App- the most famous in Bhutan when it comes to spreading anything- be it good or bad, serious or not, sensitive or insensitive, jokes and many more. The worst part is to see some of these members sending the screen shot of the various photos and messages on FB Group page- the most famous or infamous ‘The Bhutanese Forums’ and people either sympathizing or blaming the parents for the carelessness.

The more I read the posts the more my heart went out to the mother and the little boy and off course the father too. I was wishing against the hope that people would stop putting more picture of the little boy on FB. Every post made my heart bleed so one can imagine what the parents must have gone through.

Well, what I am trying to say is the mother seeking the social media help to find her lost boy was fine. It was a desperate deed done. And it is heartwarming to see most people coming forward to sympathize and support and help look out for the little boy.

The media reporting that the boy was found out from Thimpchhu was also fine but then it is the others who tried spreading the post inviting many debates around the disappearance of the boy. Some even went to the extend of posting the boy’s body wrapped in a white cloth near the river where a monk is seen reciting prayers.

Some blamed the parents for their negligence, some hypothecated on many other reasons. Some said the grandmother was involved in the drowning of the child. And some even posted contradictory posts by different people and sought for justification not realizing what the parents must be going through for the loss of their gem of a child.

My earnest request is if anyone of you come to know of lending a supporting hand, do share as much as possible but once you know that the incidence has occurred beyond recovery, please stop sharing, commenting and discussing. Respect the departed soul and the souls who are grieving at the moment for the departed one.

And more than anything else lets stop putting the blame game. This will make the situation even worse for the ones who are alive and make it difficult for the departed soul to find peace.

And let me end this post with an invocation of taking a refuge:

I take refuge in the Lama,

I take refuge in the Bhuddha,

I take refuge in the Dharma,

I take refuge in the Sangha,

I take refuge in the three jewels, the supreme object of refuge.

And may the soul of this little boy find refuge in the three jewels of the supreme object of refuge.

May the parents of the little boy take refuge in the three jewels of the supreme object of refuge.

May the soul of the departed little boy find peace.

May the souls of the living parents find peaceMy sincere prayers your ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Picture that tells a story…

FB_IMG_1493305565408

A story of a King who is known as ‘The People’s King.’ Somewhere down the history of Bhutan, we would be telling the story to our great great grand children that Bhutan in its 21st Century had a King who was lovingly called as ‘The People’s King” by its citizens and known as the ‘Dragon Kingdom’s People’s King’ by the world.

The moment I opened my Face Book, this was the first post that welcomed me and then every post on my wall had gone viral with this picture. I searched for His Majesty’s FB page to see the post only to realize that this was just one of the pictures from the entire post from HM’s FB Page.

But the fact that people picked this photo out of the many on the post says a lot about how much this picture has impacted the thoughts of the Bhutanese Citizens including mine. I for once was like, wow!!! This pic deserves a story and so am I here with the picture story for posterity at least for myself, for my children, my grand children and great grand children.

We have had five generations of Kings since Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously crowned as the First King of Bhutan not to forget the ground work laid down by Desi Jigme Namgyel for the very foundation of the Wangchuck Dynasty.

Each of the Kings had his unique charismatic ways of building Bhutan- the Bhutan that we see today.

For instance, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck at the age of 17, had to lead his troops to fight against the then Paro Penlop Tshewang Norbu. His father Desi Jigme Namgyel left him to take care of himself, his family and the entire country at the very youthful age of 21 years old. At 23 years old in 1885 he had to lead 2400 troops in a series of battles that ultimately ended in Changlimithang. And it was in 1907 that people of Bhutan unanimously elected his as the first hereditary King of Bhutan.

Son of Sir Ugyen Wangchuck, Jigme Wangchuck ascended the throne at 21 years old in 1926. He focused more on powerful central government formation and infrastructure development and enhanced bilateral relationships with India.

Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck is known as the father of modern Bhutan. He is also known as the father of modern education in Bhutan. He is still survived by His Queen in the form of Her Majesty The Royal Great Grand Mother. (Personally I revered as my Khandoma)

He was the King who removed slavery systems in Bhutan. He was the King who granted lands to the landless in Bhutan and made all equal. He was the one who removed taxations too. Surprisingly he also became at the age of 23 years old.

Fourth King His Majesty King jIgme Singye Wanghcuck had to take over the country even at a very young age. He was only 16 when his father left him. He had to take over a country when it was left in the midst of its third year plan. He is the King who introduced the developmental philosophy of Gross National Happiness over Gross Domestic Product. He is the King who brought about the significant changes we see in Bhutan now. He is the King who tried to live the values of all his former forefathers. He is the King who put himself at the forefront at the time when Bhutan had to flush out the militants from the country.

He is the King who made one of the most self-sacrificing decisions of his life- that of abdicating the throne for the sake of democracy of Bhutan.

No where in the world have we read or heard of a story where a King gave up his crown for the sake of his country. For this very reason, he is known as The Bodhisattva King, The Dharma King, and Chenrezig in its true form.

And now we have our ‘The People’s King” in the form of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. He is truly deserving of the name and title that both at the national and international level are calling him. He has his own different ways of connecting to the people and the country. And who knows may be it is the way that best suits the time now. We love our King who can walk down to the level of common people and hold their hands. We love our king to whom we feel comfortable to speak up our needs and doubts. We love our king who is ready to listen to any concern of our people. We love our king with whom  feel connected. We love our king to whom we feel we can reach out to- A King like no body else.

Its been over a decade His Majesty reigned Bhutan in its most glorious form and I have a lot to write but for now let me just focus on this particular picture.

The picture here is of an old lady with His Majesty- the photo depicting of a victim of windstorm that took place in Punakha. It is my personal observation but I see the old lady more in commanding force and His Majesty more or less listening. Where in the world would a King listen to the command of an ordinary people? I think it happens only in Bhutan.

The photo not only made me write this this article, it made me more emotional, more connected, and left me feeling more luckier that I am born in Bhutan and that I am a proud citizen of Bhutan.

This article is dedicated to my two gems of children Osel Norbu Dema and Yonten Jigme Tshering and to their children and their grand children as well as great grand children. I want them to know that they are living under such protective forces in Bhutan that they will never feel the need of another protection.

Palden Drukpa Gyalo.

 

Disclaimer:  I am neither a Historian nor an Academic.  I wrote this post purely as a Citizen and from a Citizen’s perspective and as spontaneously as it came into my mind.  So nay errors in dates and history if you find, please kindly feel comfortable to correct me.

Book Review Title: Divided by War, United by Love.

IMG20170415014056Book Title: HALF OF A YELLOW SUN

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Publisher: Harper Perennial.

Year of publishing: 2007.

8th Impression: 2016

First published in Great Britain by Fourth Estate in 2006, “Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the heart breaking tales of the civil war that took place in Nigeria which is also known as the Biafran War that stayed on for almost 3 years from 1967 to 1970.

The excruciating horror of the civil war dates back to 1960s in Nigeria and is fictionally narrated through the main protagonists in the book such as Ugwu-a poor village boy who goes to work for Odenigbo-a radical university professor who are soon joined by Olanna living in with Odenigbo followed by Richard –the English writer who falls for Kainene-twin sister of Olanna.

The dynamism of the relationships between these main characters get affected during the civil war as their personal decisions tear them apart yet they find themselves back together due to the love and loyalty they hold for each other.

Through their lives in the civil war, the author attempts to actually tell the story of the Nigerian Civil War that divided many people and left the country torn apart. The history of Nigeria is richly told in a very enriching, heartbreaking yet with a mix of humour in a very beautiful English and off course the readers get introduced to various African words and phrases which makes the book even more an interesting read.

Although Nigerian Civil War is a notable aspect of the book, it also talks a lot about the African politics, the western influence during and post war, about marriages and how women were portrayed and perceived as during the time.

As you read one chapter after another, you actually realize that you feel them and see them in the civil war and somewhere somehow you kind of make a connection with the people then.

In a review by Daily Telegraph, it says, “Over the course of the book the characters burrow into your marrow and mind, and you come to care for them deeply-something that is all too rare when reading the tricksier contemporary novels.”

Daily Mail has this to say about the book, “Heartbreaking, funny, exquisitely written and without doubt, a literary masterpiece and a classic.’

And this is what the Guardian has to say, “ A landmark novel. Adichie brings to history a lucid intelligence and compassion and a heartfelt plea for memory.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba in Anambara State. The book won the most coveted Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007

and is now a major film starring famous stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.

Orange Prize for Fiction is usually given to a female author who writes a full-length original novel in English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review Title: The Journey of a King and His People in the last ten years.

IMG20170404155042

Book Title: Bhutan’s Crowning Glory- The Journey of a King and His People in the last ten years.

Author: Ugyen Tenzin

Year of Publishing: 2017

‘Bhutan’s Crowning Glory-The Journey of a King and His People in the last ten years’ was launched on February 22, 2017, dedicated to the 37th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The King. The book chronicles the selfless and self-sacrificing actions that ushered from the Throne since enthronement of His Majesty on December 9, 2006.

This is one of the first and the newest books in the town that contains the latest information in the making of the history in Bhutan. It has in one package documented His Majesty’s actions at home and beyond with relevant portraits connecting to every information.

In short the book talks about the following:

  1. A brief introduction about His Majesty and the abdication of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
  2. A section explaining why His Majesty is called The People’s King.
  3. Contribution of His Majesty to the four pillars of Gross National Happiness (GNH)
  4. Diplomacy.
  5. Different forms of kidus.

Touching stories and anecdotes of kidu beneficiaries and those who have had the opportunities of getting audience with Their Majesties are prominently recorded in the book some of which brings tears to one eyes. One will marvel at why March 4 means a lot for Kezang from Merak, how Tashi Wangmo from Lhuentse got a new leash of life, what it meant for the villagers of Wafay to be given a new settlement at Khenadrang and many more personal anecdotes.

Tashi Wangmo’s story of how she got a new life from being ostracized her entire life until then brought tears to my eyes. The fourth paragraph of the story on page 15 reads like this, “His Majesty went towards Tashi, drank two cups of ara (home brewed liquor) from her and told Tashi to inform the world that His Majesty drank two cups of ara from her and nothing happened.” It touched me to the core.

Important Khasos (Royal Edicts) passed by His Majesty are also included along with some excerpts from the Royal Addresses as well as some Royal Addresses given beyond home. The author has tried to capture very intricately the selfless actions of His Majesty in the last ten years of His Majesty’s glorious reign, which will not only serve as source of information and record of the history but also help people understand the noble deeds of His Majesty The King.

The book is written in a very simple, reader friendly, very lucid and easy to comprehend language. This is one book that will serve as a great supporting reading material for our students who will come to learn about the unprecedented actions and reforms brought about by His Majesty and in doing so build the bonding between our youth and The King.

In terms of the quality of the book, I would boldly claim that the binding is done very perfectly, the paper quality is great, the size of the letters are appropriate, the lay out is done very well and the pictures are placed appropriately with relevant write ups.

The cost of the book in the market is Nu.1200. However, for bulk purchase, the book is offered at the rate of Nu.750 and if the bulk purchases are more than 700 copies of the book, the rate is further discounted to Nu.700.

Captured in 156 pages the deeds of His Majesty, the book is highly recommended for everyone to be apprised of the latest information in the history of Bhutan and most importantly it is recommended for every schools, institutions and colleges so that our students have access to such information which will help them understand the unprecedented actions of His Majesty The King and build connections with His Majesty.

If you would like to own a copy for your personal collection or for bulk purchases for schools and institutions, contact the author at 17975243 or email him at uktonzin@gmail.com.

 

Tracksuits in Schools- should it be banned?

At a time when we are talking of wholesome education, quality education, excellence in sports along sides academics and off course value education, there comes a sudden announcement from the Thimthrom about the banning of the use of tracksuits in schools.

sports pic 3

Photo courtesy: Druk School Web Site

Well, anything that is banned calls for reverse reactions from the public and so did this tracksuit thing too. People from all walks of life raised their voice either for or against the issue.

But one thing came out very clear. What is that we are looking for? Can we promote culture and tradition just by banning a tracksuit? Or can we promote wholesome education by allowing the use of it? Or could we have struck to a middle path to maintain the balance?

Tracksuit 1

Photo Courtesy: DYS Web Site

Could we not have found a way to move towards wholesome education while at the same time maintaining the culture and tradition?

I am always reminded of a conversation I had with my education minister who always shares what he understood from the audience of His Majesty The King. Although I had an opportunity of many audiences with His Majesty, I have never heard His Majesty speaking on this topic or else I would have remembered and talked about it.

eating with hands

balling rice in hands

Photo Courtesy: Tourism Council of Bhutan Web Site

But then my Lyonpo had an opportunity and he narrates the address of HM’s speech like this, ‘HM says that while we teach our kids to learn to eat like balling our rice in our hands, at the same time we should teach our youngsters to eat with their fork and spoon too”

eating with fols and spoons

Photo Courtesy: Tourism Council of Bhutan Web Site.

The vision is very clear. As far as I understood it simply means while we teach culture and tradition to our kids, we should also teach them the modern means of moving with the changing pace of the world.

And how can we move with the world when we are so bigoted to think that wearing a tracksuit in schools will wear off the culture and tradition?

How can we even think of moving ahead if our mindset is fixated on just a simple tracksuit? When the whole idea of education could be focused on how to divert our youth from the ill effects of social menace like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, and suicides and so on to make them a better human being?

It is one thing to have a Royal Vision, It is another thing how the subjects interpret the Royal Vision. I hope at the end officials working at relevant agencies do realize what it means to be interpreting the Royal Vision into ACTIONS.

“The Vision 2020 document enjoins that, ‘education must be guided by a holistic concept based upon the total development of the child and the need to ensure that the innate potential of each and every child is fully realized.” (Vision 2020).

Sports has become very popular all over the world and in many countries has also become a significant source of employment and livelihood. In Bhutan unfortunately, sports is still seen as little more than ‘play’ and many students do not participate even in that. Research proves however that the benefits of sports in school are multi-fold and it is high time this was recognized. (Source: Pelkhil School Web Site.)

Here are some comments on the social media that I captured reacting to the ban.

 Sonam Norbu

Before going into the tracksuit thing, Why is Thimphu Thromde’s Education Conference held in Paro? I think We talk a lot about being financially smart but this kind of small things matter a lot.

And coming to tracksuits, it’s a great idea to be in proper attire for PE classes. The issue is with misunderstanding and misusing of the purpose of children wearing tracksuits. I feel we should be smart enough to have amendments and should be rethinking of how conveniently we can have tracksuits, rather than disallowing. The harsh and rude Banning culture in Bhutan ought to change with time. However we see few schools in tracksuits on most occasions for some other manageable inconveniences also. I feel the purpose of having tracksuits in schools should be given priority and then the use of it ought to be done accordingly.
Let tracksuits be there but for their purpose.

Benji Dorji

Shocked at Thimphu Thromde’s notice banning tracksuits in schools. The Ministry of Education is the ‘competent ‘ authority, definitely not the Thromde!

Tashi Dorji

Another ill-thought ban. Total bungle-up of priorities…what about coming out with good bans such as ban on potholes , ban on overflowing sewage on the roads, ban on dirty, open drains, ban on dirty, drinking water, ban on restricted water supply, oh the list goes on

Tsèyang Nidup

For the life of me… a decision made in Paro, by officials from the THIMPHU Thromde… 🤣 If such decisions were to be made, couldn’t the team have done it from Thimphu itself? Why do we need an Education Conference within an Annual Education conference? The money pocketed for such a ludicrous decision, could’ve been put to better use!!!
And, our country is in debt !!!

Luengten Dem

It really needs rethinking…..its is very troublesome for students and teachers alike…..wearing tracksuit by allstudents is a uniform…it does not dilute any of the cultural aspects…….what about the uniform policemen who hoist and takedown the flag near the Tashichodzong.

Luengten Dem

I am sure the thromde will reconsider n invite wider participation next time . Some rules will only bring more problems and less respect for the more important rules. Is it like gender equality …women playing khuru n archery…or even may be mask dancing..

Sangay Lhamo

Lucky I …will twiddle my thumbs while kids change into their tracksuits and come to do their SUPW.
Pelkhil Dorji

…and here’s the Kuensel article on the issue. So what’s the issue:
1. Are school tracksuits destroying Bhutan’s traditions?
2. Are school sports not important?
3. Are common sense solutions not allowed?

Unfortunately, many schools had tracksuits even though they had no sports programs. The question however should not be “Why are they wearing sports clothes?” but “Why don’t they have sports programs?”

Wide participation in sports in our schools is looking increasingly unlikely unless parents and students begin to speak up.

Chablop PaSsu

Lockers in the school, changing room, bathroom and toilets… first
Then talk about the rest.

Chencho Lhamu

Makes me wonder if we equate cultural promotion with preservation. To me preservation means valuing the past and promotion means to allow the culture to take on new shades and dimensions. Preservation and promotion goes hand in hand but it doesn’t mean stemming the culture from progressing. Honestly, had it not been for the dynamism of RAPA, the Boedra dance would have died. Youth would have long despised the stoic and abrupt dance steps we were taught long ago. But RAPA progressed innovatively, we see our youth take Boedra dance to a new level.

Thukten Yeshi

I wonder how a track suit designed as a uniform for a school is any different from uniforms worn by our military personnel. And our national anthem is sung in all sports meet where Bhutan participates. This rule is as ridiculous as the ada racha rule.

Post Navigation