Wednesday, June 25, 2014

There Are 100 Bars and No Bookstore in Bajothang

It's sad but the hard reality of doing business gave birth to about 100 bars offering 100 different ways to get drunk in Bajothang and not a single bookstore to offer a single book. Bajothang is not alone I am sure. Ironically we still expect our children to behave well and grow into good human beings. In the society where every other building has a bar and every other adult is drinking, what else can we expect from our children?
An African  proverb is a good reminder: "It takes a whole village to raise a child." And Bajothang is not a place that can raise a child, it can only spoil.


I have often wanted to start a bookstore here but all these years I was barely surviving. I haven't cleared my car loan after four long years. I couldn't hurt my own kitchen for a neighborhood dream because running a bookstore is not a smart business. To dare that dream was to become a guilty family man.

Having been a helpless eyewitness to too many social problem in the school and beyond, and having been a sad observer of worsening academic standards in our students it has increasingly dawn on me that the only total solution to all these problem could be in the magic of reading. Reading does magic to language and opens the floodgate of wisdom. It discovers the goodness of human soul and transform the total outlook on life. I have known many good readers to believe in it. I have known some brilliant kids who are not only academically admirable but also such nice souls to be around with. Their secret to excellence is their love for reading. It's so possible and I don't know why we are not so passionate about making reading a social pride. Everybody wants their child to be extraordinary, it's possible, make them read. 

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay believes in this and decided to make reading a national priority. If his idea of Reading Year (2015) is received warmly by the stakeholders Bhutan will never be the same again in few year. We will have the best generation of Bhutanese ever. I wish his excellency could take one more step and give Tax Holiday to all the bookstores because doing that business is an endless sacrifice.

Personally it as been a very book year for me. I have received numerous book gifts from various writers. It's a sign that I must understand. It's a sign to dream again, to champion the spirit of reading. One family friend personally came all the way to my place to gift me two cartoons of their finest collection. What they said then will always go with me: It's almost sin to let books collect dust on the shelf after they are read. The books they gave me will go a long way.

I have always been a moving bookstore in Bajothang. It began in 2009 when I helped a friend sell Bhutan Now Magazine. Then I sold three issues of Yeewong Magazine and later I established lifelong relationship with Students' Digest Magazine, from their third issue till now. Soon I was selling Bhutanese Novels like Dear Seday, Then I Saw Her Face, The Night Hunters. Let me blog my trumpet by saying that I have sold more copies of those books than any bookstore in Thimphu. Selling 300 copies of single issue of a magazine in few days is a serious matter in Bhutan.

I wish to celebrate Reading Year by putting together all my gut into opening the first bookstore in Bajothang. If there are 100 ways to get drunk, let me give them one way to remain sober. It will be a huge sacrifice and I don't know how I will do it. As I type this article my friend Dawa Knight and I have already visualized a vague but brave plan to get it started-something like Book Cafe. I will need long tax holiday, book donations from individuals and established businesses, and Dawa's living room,because he has decided to remain single for some more years, to being with.
Something like this

Friday, June 20, 2014

Books on Democracy in Bhutan

Million things have happened in the first five years of democracy in our country. We were all eyewitness to those events that defined the birth and infancy of democracy in Bhutan. There were events that excited us, headlines that shocked the nation, political dramas that angered sections of society, decisions that changed our lives, and moments that changed Bhutan.

Those decisions, those promises, the headlines, the emotions, the drama and everything that happened in those five years are but surprisingly history now, to be forgotten with each passing day. No matter how strongly we felt about somethings or how somethings impacted our lives we have moved on. But if democracy has to flourish we must not forget what happened in the first five years, it was the priceless lesson we cannot afford to lose.

Gyambo Sithey, the same author who documented the 2008 election in his book "Drukyul Decides-In the minds of Bhutan's first voters", has done us yet another great favour of recording remarkable events from the first five years of democracy in Bhutan in his second book "Democracy in Bhutan-The First Five Years 2008-13". The book with its excellent print quality and design is a complete history of the founding years with nostalgic collection of pictures.

The Democracy in Bhutan
On one hand I wonder what was there to make up a staggering eleven chapters but by the time I turn the last of 200 pages I couldn't imagine how the author could possibly sum up five years and million things in eleven chapters. The eleven chapters will take you back in time and let you feel the impacts yet again, sometimes taking you into the depth of some matters that we had just let go with a smile.Undoubtedly the foremost writer on democracy in Bhutan, Gyambo Sithey has picked on stories that have mattered the most and that should be remembered for times to come.

What he will write next is not so hard to guess but looking at how many things have happened under the new government within the first year I wonder how many chapters he will have to write. But I bet he must have finished the first chapter already and the title may be: "100 Days Pledges".
Gyambo Sithey's First Book: Drukyul Decides
I have been lucky to receive both the books from the author himself, signed. And the author signed two more copies for my school. But I didn't want these two books to be hidden among thousand other books in the school library, I wanted them to be seen and read, to educate young voters in my school. Therefore I gifted the books to School Democracy Club, the ECB initiated group that is responsible for educating the school on democracy. To them the books are no less than encyclopedia.
Democracy Club posing with Gembo Sithey's Books. Thank you!


I would like to suggest every Democracy Club in the schools to own these two books as assert and perhaps ECB could make this possible.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

To Rinchengang, Without Me

Last Weekend my club planned to tour Rinchengang to collect artifacts for our school museum. Our success and adventure in Matalungchu inspired us. But I had to fail them because our teachers were set to go on a gaming tour to Phobjikha. That was another big thing happening for the first time and I didn't want to be a disappointment. Teachers from four high schools in Wandgue were coming there for sports and this is going to happen four times in a year, each time in different school. This was big teachers' time.

However, for the sake of this teachers' time I wasn't going to put a halt to my bigger dream and not at all try to hold back the overflowing energy of my students for whom Saturday was all packed and ready. They came with lunchboxes and extra bottles of water, with umbrella in case it rained or shined too much.

The school bus was ready with the team on it and I was the missing piece. Surprise! I had brought in two ex students to replace me and take care of the team on the tour. Madav was our ex-school captain and has all the leadership quality it takes. He is around waiting for college reporting day. Yeshey Jimba is another very exemplary student who is waiting to resit for XII examination. He has his little sister in my club and her stories got him interested in our project, so that makes one solid team.

Before I reached Phobjikha I got a call from Madav about the success of the tour. Though half the village was out in the fields they managed to collect 32 amazing artifacts along with many offers of tea. And last Wednesday during the club hour they proudly presented their collection to me and I saluted them! And Special thank you to Madav and Yeshi Jimba. Come to visit the 'finished' museum during your college vacations.
The team with their 32 treasures
Talking about ex students, today fourteen of our class XII graduates visited us and gave us 'thank you' tea party. In few weeks all of them will be joining colleges and making us proud. I took them aside, click this picture and told them how impressed I was with what they did. The sweetness of the tea didn't matter, we felt so good that they came to visit us before they venture onto life's bigger journey. God is with you. All the best.
The 14 who came to say thank you

Friday, June 13, 2014

Guest on Namgay Zam's 'Let's Talk About It'

Good news to all Namgay Zam fans is that she is back but this time on Thimphu's popular radio- Radio Valley. She is doing a show- 'Let's Talk About It'. I was honoured to be her first guest. She thought my last blog needed more attention: Say No to Sex on Camera. Thank you Namgay.

I am sure many of you missed the show, so here it is.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Say No to Sex on Camera

Love making is one of the most intimate expressions of love. There is nothing shameful and bad about having sex but unlike in the rest of the animal kingdom sex is a very private affair in human world. When this very romantic ritual becomes public then it turns vulgar and therefore subjected to humiliation.
Bhutanese society is so small that just one leaked private video is enough to disturb half the population while the unaffected half share and gossip over it. Shocking number of homemade leaked videos have silently gone viral in our country and no one is giving a second thought before forwarding them to their friends. What more is a sadist?
Sadist is the man who made love on camera. Sadist is the man who leaked the private video. Sadist is the man who distributed the video. And sadist we all are in receiving those videos and watching them, trying to see if we could identify the people in the clips. How exciting it is when she is not our sister, how naughtily we talk about it when it's not our daughter, how casual we are because she is nothing to us. Will you do the same if she was a family? Can you imagine the humiliating pain she and her loved ones are going through?
Today the world is with you in having fun at their expense, tomorrow the same world will switch side and enjoy at your expense should you be the victim.
I see no difference between the women in videos and any other women when it comes to what they will do in bedroom, it's just the matter of having caught up with a wrong guy who took advantage of their trust. Whatever the intentions were, the act of recording the private business in itself was wrong. There can't be a justification, it was just ruthless abuse of blind trust. How could it leak out if it was never recorded?
I am a guilty sadist by circumstance; because I use a smart phone and I have huge contacts I have received every leaked videos in the town but on my part I have tried to stop right there by not forwarding them. I know I couldn't make any difference but as brother, as son and as father I have done my share of right so that I could face the women in my family without much guilt.

One woman I know has received all of the clips and surprisingly she has forwarded to all her women friends. Quite shocked, I asked why would she, as woman, do this instead of helping in containing it. She told me that her not-forwarding them can hardly make any difference, she rather chose to send them to her lady friends to warn them and to let them learn lesson. She is right, sometimes we can learn from mistaken we haven't done ourselves.

Remember:
  1. When you are sending your phone or computer for repair, make sure you don't have secrets saved in them. It's alleged that some videos were leaked that way.
  2. The files you have deleted from your memory devices can be retrieved using retrieval software, so don't think your secrets are gone when you have clicked on Delete button. 
  3. If you are staying in cheap local hotels make sure there aren't any peepholes as was in one case. 
  4. Last and the best, don't trust your partner if he takes out his camera in the bedroom. Say no to Sex on Camera and there is nothing to worry about. Sometimes it's not about trusting your partner but it's about how well we understand the technology. 
What keeps us going as Bhutanese is not our military might, it cannot be technology advancement and never was industrial estate, we are beautifully Bhutanese because of our social values that binds us as family but these videos we are sharing are degrading our Bhutaneseness...

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Overwhelming Birthday

Birthday Celebration is one of human's best physiological inventions, you become a year older officially and it's a moment of sadness but see what happens. Then to make it even more wonderful Facebook came along. I was overwhelmed by the number of greetings I received. I would like to thank everybody who took time out write those words to me, even those very lazy ones who managed to type: "HBD".

I have never seen a Birthday cake with my name written on it ever, I am not saying it's necessary but as a child that would mean a world. Growing with rich cousins was heartbreaking especially on occasions like this when they have big parties and cake and no one remembers my birthday. Now I can afford a cake but the cake-loving excitement is gone with the age.    

There is this warm saying, "Friends are family we choose for ourselves" that redefined my life in last many years. Dechen called me in the morning and sang the whole Birthday song. She has very bad voice but it was magical. Dawa Knight and Paday walked in with  a surprise package each and it turned out that both came with cakes, they were pissed with each other but I am happy. Wa, two cakes for a man who haven't had one in a life time- quite an irony. It made me blush. Thank you endlessly.
The Two Unforgettable Cakes.




LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...