31 October 2009

Exam is an irrational torture: I hate it!

We call it examination time, the week long period at the end of the year to see if the students could go to next grade or get into college or a job. I wrote examinations for seventeen years of my life so far to rightfully hate it. I hate it because it lacks logic and I hate it because it is an official torture.
How do you suppose a three hour test could justify a year long learning? Toughest of subjects like sciences in classes ten and nine are just given one and half hour of exam time. In a few hours you fill up a few pages and that goes to rewrite the destiny of your life, is it time enough for such a serious decision?

Let’s look at it professionally; is examination in anyway capable of accessing the achievement of vision of education? Education is countless values and life skill while exam narrowly test the book stuffs. The most disciplined, the most obedient, the most responsible, the most decent students go unacknowledged except for their test scores just as the naughtiest chap could walk out as the best. Where is justice? Is education all about testing the memory power?
Where is the logic in giving children three hours to show what they have got in last six thousand hours? Luck surpasses logic in exams. What someone studied thoroughly has not come in the question paper, thus he fails the exam but look who failed whom? The paper failed to have the question on the part he has studied! Ever wondered why Dechenphu is crowded with students before exams? Exam is a game of luck!
Isn’t exam hall a torture chamber? Thank god we at least come out alive. Three hours is too short to justify a person’s knowledge and negotiate his future, but it’s too long a time for a young student to sit continuously on a hard bench without the freedom to move around. In these three hours a young child has to endure multiple trauma- continuous stretch of attention (at the most a child has an attention span of just 10 min), writing longer than ever before the pen blisters the fingers, the hard bench almost changes the shape of the hipbone, in such long sitting we can’t escape the call of nature that makes the mind restless, and the silence and the tiredness could welcome sleep.
Worst is not mentioned yet; why exams have to be in winter? Did we forget we live on the Himalayas? We must have adopted our education system from India, instead of hugging it all blindly we should at least have had the logic that if we bring buffalo to Haa it should be in the summer. Our fingers freeze, our toes become numb and only thing that keep running in our head is the urge to run out in the warmth of the sun. Our handwriting go crazy, you take ages to shape up a word and after sometime even the mind seems to freeze. Whose crazy idea is it to test the child in the extreme cold? Isn’t exam a torture?
Forgive the teacher in me for carry this contradictory perceptive, but I must confess I hate it more as I watch my students struggle through the torturous hours.

27 October 2009

Why would they want to “kill” the paper(Bhutan Times) they made!

This very team walking out today has given Bhutan Times its wings. Who could love the paper more than them? Not at least a man who joined just some days ago. It is a big story now. Of all Business Bhutan must find it ironic to see how their entrance has coincided with an almost-exit of BT. Anyway they got a hot news to print on a cold autumn morning.
I waited outside the shop that sells BT to see if there would be an issue last Sunday. I was playing with a strange probability in my mind; if there is the issue this week then it shall be a history, if there isn’t then it shall really be a history.
The opposition leader Tshering Tobgay is more excited than judgmental about the issue in his blog, “Volume III, Issue 50 of the Bhutan Times could hit the newsstands on 25 October 2009. If it does, treasure it. That issue could mean that private media is much more vibrant than we realize. And that fact is worth celebrating, regardless of who is right – journalists or management.

The second page is full of scanned copies of letters; from employees to the company, from BICMA to company, from CEO to BICMA. The one letter that caught my tail is Wangcha Sangay writing back to BICMA; I (Mr.) Passang Tshering of Haa Yangthang is thoroughly surprised by the degree of confidence and aggression of (Mr.) Sangey of Haa Wangcha. There is no doubt that this senior citizen of 57 (with a track record of proven capabilities and established credentials- look who is saying this) will rescue the company (from what?). However the letter is anything but official. He condemns the move of the team as “shameful” and BICMA’s interference as “threat”. Many lines are as if directly translated from a furious villager’s tongue.
The news is everywhere; criticism is blown in the wind.  Everybody is talking about how bad it was of the seven people to walk out on their company when it needed them so much. They are of the opinion that they left the company because the company is broke. There are plenty of stories from one side and from the other we have just this phrase “editorial interference by management”. What does it mean? What went wrong inside their office that made these seven people give up their jobs? There must be something bigger than a-cup-of-free-tea wrong and nobody is daring enough to speak it up.
As I read this blog “WE ARE NO WRITERS...” there seems to be a matter connected to that solidarity walk, which gave many oldies the fever of their lives, “It seems like some people have never come to terms with the ‘solidarity walk’. They dig shit. The stink returns. If there is any political reason to it…“ However I am far from understanding anything related to this but my concern is rather than condemning these seven people without even listening to their story, we should urge to know what they really meant by “editorial interference by management”? Thimphu is short of jobs, still why did they have to leave theirs, if not for a big reason? For the good of democracy we the normal citizens demand to know the fact of the matter.
25th October Issue of Bhutan Times must have sold the most, for everybody wanted to know what would be in it. Not so bad as we feared. There are many new names of which “Sangey of Ha Wangcha” out stood all the other, not in the style of writing but in the style of writing the name.
Hope we get to know who is right.

23 October 2009

Forgive me I am so imperfect

When I come home today I wish to find the door latched from inside, because when I ring the doorbell I wish to see you open the door for me with a smile. I don’t mind even if you come rubbing sleep of your eyes.
Everyday I walk in without your notice and you even don’t care when I have come. Sometimes I disgust you when I walk into our room disturbing your sweet nap with my strong footfall. Yet upon waking, you pull your blanket still further and sleep for little longer. I have just begun my marriage and expect grander romance out of it, if not as much as I saw in “Message in the Bottle” or read in “Note Book”. I am beginning to feel like an old man already.
Sometimes I walk in with dust on my shoes, you have no idea how I try to be careful about this but somehow it keeps slipping my mind, and that spoils your mood altogether. Sorry won’t work on you, so I even give my hand in cleaning it but your mood never seems to come back. Thus a dust on my shoe ruins a family’s evening. Evening after evening for silly matters like a “dust on my shoe” as long as sorry doesn’t work...
There are many other important things that I keep forgetting. Forgetting has become a part of me now, I don’t like it myself either. I want to remember everything in their finest detail but what to do my mind is overloaded with matters of four different subjects of six different classes with 200 different students each day from morning to evening in the school. That’s just one of ten parts of work I do in the school. So forgive me if I forget things, I promise I will no more forget our car in the school and come home walking. Please accept that I am imperfect just as anybody.
In all my waking moments I let the fibers of my life dance to the flute of your will, but forgive me if the dance sometimes is not perfect. Don’t let it kindle the flame of your anger that may burn down our home. In rage you throw and break things, which I forgive you but god may not, we may repair or replace the broken things but we cannot buy back the luck you smashed with some cherished things.
 Yet at the end of it all, when the calm befalls the fury I forgive you and that’s when I wish if you could accept my imperfection just as I agree with yours.

18 October 2009

A Very Rare Wang in Wangdue- bless yourself

People say this Wang is once-in-a-life chance. His holiness the late Je Daden Rinchen has passed on this blessing to the present lam Neten of the Wangdue Dzong, thus it is said that only he can give this wang.

Such public gathering always excites me, I love to take my family out into the crowd and let them feel the energy. Of course it was difficult for my wife to wear kira on her eighth-month belly. Thought of having to take her among the wild Bhutanese crowd scared me. However, it was not so bad. We avoided the crowd. 

I couldn't help watching the human drama of greed in the courtyard of the Wangdue Dzong where people have come to connect themselves with god. Everybody wants to be in the frontline, everybody like to keep in the shade, everybody wants to have the blessing first, and everybody wants bundles of soonkeys. At the end of the day, true blessing is what we feel deep within ourselves; no one can bless you more than yourself. The guilt-free self is the greatest blessing.

16 October 2009

Are we ready for the Coldest Winter ever?

I know anybody would ask, “Who said this winter will be the coldest?” The simple answer is who said the whole country would be flooded last summer? Who said country would be hit by a destructive earthquake ever? Who said it would be followed by windstorm?

Nobody has to say anything on this matter. This chain of things will keep happening now. It’s called the weather change, and our country can do nothing about it, we can just wait and suffer the different blows from nature. If all the countries in the world have been simple like ours then perhaps we would not have to face this natural calamities now. But the big countries with big desires provoke the instinct of the wild nature. Those countries are suffering year after year but why us? Whom to question at?

We better prepare to face different calamities now. Imagine heavy snowfall in Phuntsholing; are we ready to face it? Imagine months of road block due to snowfall; do we have enough food in stock? Imagine an avalanche from Sangaygang do we have a rescue team yet?

A slap on the right cheek means that we should take care of the left cheek, unless you want to be someone like Gandhiji. The September 21 Earthquake cost Bhutan over 2000 million. With this much money we could have built a shield against all earthquakes ever.

The question I put was funny, I know, and more funny question is do we still want to continue offering butter lamp, and relieve works once everything is over or are we going to do something before the disaster strikes so that there won't be a need to light butter lamp at all? was it a question? It seemed like an answer.

15 October 2009

Can’t wait to keep the promise

Over years I realized I was growing very quick. Many a morning I woke up wondering why I was doing what I was doing then. I regretted so many things I was doing that I often found myself slowly changing the course all together. It was not at all picnic having to start undoing things that had once been a part of me.
First was my anger. It was terrible. I was living with a devilish master and I didn’t know I was affecting people around me. If I had continued with that anger of mine today I would be all be myself. But I realized on time. People say it is very difficult to overcome it. I don’t remember facing difficulty because all I was doing was just not being angry when I feel like being. That’s when I realized how many people cared for me.
Then, it was my smoking habit. I don’t even remember how I quitted. Three years into the habit I was finding it funny; why am I taking smoke into my lungs when I very wisely know that it would do nothing more than bad on me? It was waste of time, money, health, and grace (most people think smoking is cool but in the eye of decent people it is erosion of character).
Drinking was interesting when bachelor. Once I started having family I looked like a fool, balancing myself on my feet when the rest of them are leaning on me. Nobody had to tell me anything, I just did what a responsible man should do.
Looking at my tattooed arm I might look like once-a-drug-addict but I swear I was a bad boy but not so bad as to take drug. I hate drugs. The reason I am growing wise and responsible is because I never used it at any point. If I had done it I might not have lived up to realize all these.
There were minute other things, which is fine even if not written.
Well I have finally given up this (one more) cheap habit of mine--chewing tobacco. After I quit smoking I picked this up. Everybody thinks this is a very filthy thing to do with my mouth. I often questioned myself and since it is so subtle I promised to leave it for a grand reason. I looked for reasons, something that would give me time enough yet. Then I thought perhaps I will leave it when my first book gets published. That sounded great to me, at least to would give me time to enjoy for quite sometime.
My memory is failing me now, my manuscript must be collecting dust on the publishers’ desk, and my lips are peeling and teeth and gum darkening. If I wait any longer I may not be left with lips to kiss my coming baby. I think I can’t wait to keep the promise. So for no special reason I stopped chewing tobacco, it is the fourth day now. Let the book get published years after, I have already kept the promise, for I couldn’t wait for a reason to do a good thing. Could there be a grander reason than the act of doing it?

Pictures used from Google. ( Picture 2 from http://www.ahajokes.com/fp043.html)

13 October 2009

Why do we need a religion? why a new one?

How many of us Bhutanese are Buddhist? Strictly hardly any of us are. Do we care? NO! and this carelessness in us has kept our country at peace so far. The bloodiest wars on earth are fought in the name of religions, thank god we never really bothered to know what religion we are supposed to follow, forget about fighting a war.

Buddhism has deep root in Bhutanese history and it has won faith over centuries. Therefore when a child is born he is a Buddhist by birth. Though half understood and half manipulated in blind faith yet our religion is keeping us happy and at peace. And as long as we have that we are ready to call it our religion.

Of all the things in world religion should be the last thing to play round with, it's a matter of belief and faith and not something that could be thrust upon somebody with power or influence. Religion is of god and soul and all the good things that it should be the last thing to start a war. But what has happened so far everywhere?

We are the last country left, and we are changing- many new religions are breeding in the corners of our streets, and many people are working full time in spreading them. It's like forming gangs, who has the biggest gang has the most power to rule the streets. Buddhism is cool and tolerant and selfless, therefore we never had problems of any sort...now the religions known for wars are coming up in our street, and they are already showcasing groupism and the day is not far when we will have to see Holy Wars!

We don't want any New Religion in our country- STOP RELIGION, STOP WAR we will get nothing more than war and blood in the name of god ( actually it is not god, it is some crazy people doing all these stupid things)

Picture from Google: the ancient Buddha statue in rock before Taliban bombed it down. We didn't say anything. Buddhism is tolerant.

06 October 2009

Freestyle Dance and Bhutanese kids

A dance format that has no format at all is called freestyle; even wearing a cap is a big step there, not to mention that any physical stunts you can do will be counted, regardless of whether they go with the beat. That's what I have seen so far in Bhutan- of course I have seen the true freestyle dance on TV and it's no where similar to the ones we see here.

Good thing about the dance is that it is very physical and engaging.and that any hyperactive kid can do it but the bad thing in it that the dance and dancers are everything but decent; from the way they keep their hair, to way they dress, to speak, to their gestures. All these must be normal elsewhere but Bhutan gets shocked. From so far as I have seen and know- beginning from my school- these very dancers are the kids who are least interested in studies and gets involved in troubles, not to mention smoking and doing drugs.

My son is one among these 'future of the country'. He comes home every day with a new step or a story of how people applauded on one of his steps in sheer excitement. He is very sharp though but I was not surprised when he failed in five subjects last summer. As far as the dancing goes I am happy he is one of the bests, but I fear he might lose himself among the rotten habits and never even come back to become what he deserves to be in life.

Last Saturday I went to his school variety show and much to my surprise there was no show if it weren't for his freestyle dance. Crowd went wild at his stunts and I for once thought he is so gifted. But the very next evening, I was at home, I got a call from his class teacher saying my son has broken his finger on the stage. That scared the breath out of me. My wife was almost crying, she felt that the teacher is lying and that the injury must be deadlier. We rushed to his school. Thank god it was only a finger and not his neck, which I know will be if he continues his dance.

Following is the freestyle dance my son performed in his school's Variety Show, the day before he broke his finger: