31 July 2012

Dorji-puen: Spiritual Brothers and Sisters

Both my mother and mother in-law were among thousand other in Haa last month receiving Thrul from his holiness the Je Khenpo. And this time I had the opportunity to understand the purpose of closely. There were many things I took for granted and therefore I missed the biggest responsibility as the eldest son.
Thrul is the spiritual preparation for death, it's the turning point in ones life; the point in life where we realize and accept death as the gateway to next life and therefore receive the teachings that are believed to be the light through the gateway.
My mother with her spiritual family
My Mother (green tego)and her Dorji-Puen
Two interesting events during the Thrul are Getting the spiritual name and then meeting the spiritual family.
Our names are believed to be associated only with our body, and therefore we must leave it behind as well. We receive choeming, meaning the spiritual name, the name with which we will be known after death.
Then the spiritual family- the crowd of thousands will form groups of seven with the blessing from the je Khenpo and they become Dorji-puen. Seven strangers unite in the presence of his holiness to be spiritual brothers and sisters across lives, yes across lives. Dorji-puen means your brothers and sisters for next life.

My mother inlaw with her spiritual family
My Mother In-Law (in Blue tego) and her Dorji-Puen
And if you love your parents so much you must make it your first priority to let them receive this blessing when they are still strong and breathing. You may not believe in all this but what is more important is what they believe in. This is one priceless gift. But I failed. I was out on vacation when my mother met her spiritual brothers and sisters. I and all my siblings were expected to be with her during the ceremony, and we should be meeting her newfound family over tea or lunch. I am only hoping I will make it up to her someday. But you need not wait for another day, know that you have to be there during the last two days of the Thrul with tea, which I didn't know. My brother in-law, though youngest in the family, made all the difference by being there and fulfilling his duty as son. Thank you.

29 July 2012

My Business Idea

Bhutan Innovation and Technology Center organized The Business Idea Competition of Bhutan 2012 from April to June 2012 and I walked out of my comfort zone to take part along side some 50 of them. Well it was one totally different and comfortable experience dealing with cooperate people. And on top of the experience my idea of Indoor Menchu Service made it to the top ten Business Idea "for its Excellence".

Thank you Thimphu Tech Park and Bhutan Innovation & Technology Centre for the recognition. I will come with crazier idea next year.


28 July 2012

Maths Teacher at The Fuel Pump

I have various stories of myself at the fuel pump, and in the last many stories I was either the clown who ran on empty tank to the empty pump, or the villain who shouted at the manager who thought he had nothing to do with the empty pump. But this time I didn't switch my role, I remained a teacher- a Maths teacher.
I don't know if you are used to keeping your investigative eyes on the fuel meter while fueling your car, because there are pump boys who are out looking for chances to steal a few drops from your purchase. You have to be extra careful while fueling at the stations where the old model pumps are still serving after their retirement age because you don't see the price and the rate.
I was at a Fuel Station in Paro this morning and I was already displeased at the old machine. I asked to be fueled for Nu.1000 and the boy stopped at 14.4 L. I thought his machine needed a break but no, the boy was done.
I just fueled in Wangdue yesterday and argued over why I was only given 15.2L when I would get 16L normally. I was informed about the latest price hike. It's surprising how a faintest news of hike in India could be taken so seriously and swiftly in a place where the hiked fuel trucks are yet to arrive.
The boy came for the money and I denied him, I inquired him about the rate and he started stammering and changing colors. I knew it wasn't a mistake, he was only trying to rob a little bit from me just as he did from many others, but this time he messed with a maths teacher who not only teaches his kids how to do maths but also live mathematically. I gave him a short division lesson and made him add 800ml more, which was rightfully mine before I gave him the money.
Now, it doesn't really take a maths teacher to figure out such simple robbery, your mobile phone has a calculator in it in case you have to stop at a gas station where they use old machines that do not show the cost. Every drop counts in such times and 800 ml is more than some drops. Be careful.

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25 July 2012

Anti Buddhist Shoes- Made in USA and China

I didn't believe when I saw an Ugg boot with Buddha on it in Kuenzang's Blog. I thought it was a photoshoped piece of work by some sick people. But I copied the link address of Amazon from his picture and did a little verification only to find that one whole company called Iconshoes is sick. They boast their founder to be some fool from Hollywood who landed up becoming a shoemaker, and they have a long list of sick artists whose brushes deserved only some ill-designed shoes. 
The Sick Icon
Why do they have to put Lord Buddha's image on shoes? Among Buddhist we don't even let our shadow fall on His image. It cannot be ignorance since they had the guts to run a company and even call the pattern "Thangka of the Buddha". They know everything, they are simply launching war against our faith, knowing that we are Buddhist and that we are capable of saying nothing. They are looking for enemies by hurting Buddhist sentiments across the world.  As much as Jesus is to Christians, and Allah is to Muslims, Buddha is to us Buddhist. He is our God, Our light, Our Hope. We don't fight Jihad nor we fight Crusade, that doesn't show our weakness, thank the lord you have put on your shoes that we are not violent. 
But remember we are only Buddhist, we are not the Buddha to tolerate that level of disrespect and hatred to our faith. If your factory was somewhere near you would see how it burns down tonight, lucky that you are hiding in California and China.

Anti Buddhist Shoe 1

Anti Buddhist Shoe 2

Anti Buddhist Shoe 3

Anti Buddhist shoe 4

Anti Buddhist Shoe 5
These are just a few from their wide range of choices. They have boots and UGGS and I am surprised the Amazon.com as allowed the sale of these hateful shoes on their popular site. I am sure some crazy people must have bought some of these and might wear it on their feet, but I swear if I see someone wearing one of these shoes I will break their feet and remove the shoe to show them how badly they have hurt my Buddhist heart.

If you are a Buddhist and you are hurt by this insensitive shoemaker then pour your emotion on their site's contact form. You can also write to them @ info@iconshoes.com or  Call  888 426-6746. Or Leave comments on their Facebook Page. Make sure you use the worst language possible.

UPDATE 10 AUG 2012: Please Sign the Petition: Stop using Buddha's image on shoes. This will be delivered to Icon Shoes, amazon and Zazzle.com, the three companies who were involved in producing and distributing the Anti-Buddhist Shoes.

24 July 2012

Don't Envy Teachers' Vacations

Don't envy teachers' vacations, if you check their bags you will see bundles of answers scripts demanding more time than we have vacation. I put all my guts together and left my bundles in my car at Paro airport. But when the flight was delayed for four hours I badly wished if I had brought along the papers in my hand luggage. Nightmare of correcting exam papers didn't leave in Bangkok also, no matter how I try to tell myself that I was on vacation the teacher in me kept worrying about deadlines.
Finally on 14th July I flew back. From Bangkok to Dhaka to Paro to Thimphu to Wangdue to my study table and started correcting papers all in a day. There were hundred things I wanted to blog but nothing seemed more pressing than my papers. I was soon sick of seeing the same post on my blog and many shared the same irritation. Sorry to all my readers who are used to my regular updates. I am back I promise.
I like to thank you for giving me 300 followers and 300,000 hits, which gives me great joy in blogging, and inspiration to explore further. Blogging has long become my source of daily happiness, and last ten days away from my blog was very painful.
Among my painful hours of correcting papers I had hearty laugh with some answers my students wrote. One answer from class VII maths in particular is worth sharing:
The Question was: Rigsar got 2/5 votes, and Bodra got 1/4 votes. Find the Difference in vote between Rigsar and Bodra.
Expected answer was to subtract the two fractions and find the difference which is very obvious but the following answers came from the blue:
A girl wrote: Rigsar is like rock song. It is for shiking body first first. Bodra is slowly.
First I laughed so much then I got worried. Is it her mathematical problem or inability to understand English? Perhaps both. Blame it on me for maths, and the English teacher for the English but I must tell you in the same class I have students who scored in 80s, and I don't take the full credit. But for all the laugh I give her the full credit.
Now I have washed my hand from paper correction and ready to begin the next session with renew hope and same is with my blogging. I must Challenge the Zero Tolerance policy. I must clarify I was not involved in making of the policy nor will I be involved in implementing it. I will be busy correcting students, which is why schools are there, and which is why teachers are there.

11 July 2012

His Majesty's Charm in Bangkok

In Bangkok it's honor to be a Bhutanese; people change their tone and expression when they hear that we are from Bhutan. They come closer and talk like they always knew us. They talk about how they love our 'king Jigme'. From security guard to cab driver, from barber to waiter, everybody knows our king and his beauty.
A cab lady who was driving us from MBK to hotel looked tired and angry until she heard us mention about Bhutan. She suddenly beamed with smile and gave us 50% discount without we even asking. The barber I had haircut at called whole her family to talk to us and they showed us the street through which our king passed.
Thank you your majesty, you have not only given us a great country to live in but also the license to travel abroad with honor and pride of being Bhutanese.
This morning Bangkok Post carries the headline: Bhutan King Honoured. Inside in a light orange box they have news of Naresuan University's honorary doctorate degree in Public Health to our King this month.

Snap shot of Bangkok Post

10 July 2012

Bangkok Diary

Bangkok excitement held us week before but it nearly died when the flight was delayed for four hours. While the rest of the passengers were making hundreds of calls me and my daughter took the liberty to think of the boarding room as our bedroom.
Good Night at Airport
My daughter screamed all her first-time-flying excitement when we finally boarded the plane, she drew lot of attention. She drew more attention when she denied the seat belt. It took three air hostesses and all their management skills to belt my daughter on to me while taking off. We had economy class tickets, but we're seated in business class, yes the place where everybody does their business- near the lavatory. My daughter kept me and an air hostess busy at all times. After a while her flying excitement died and wanted to go out, and we were over clouds to listen to her demand.

I should have asked for standing ticket for my daughter. She never used her seat.
We landed in Dhaka, where my girl badly wanted to go out, and I took her to toilet every time she asked to go out. we set the record of highest toilet visitor on the flight.
At Suvarnabhumi Airport we had to get our visa on arrival, because we were late in applying at Thimphu which could have saved lot of time here. Nu.500 more in Thimphu for express service seemed too much for me who have lot of time to spare but forgot to consider my daughter's mood. She became very difficult and cried the loudest in Suvarnabhumi airport. Her magic worked here as well, her super high pitch cry earned us the place at the top of the long queue. Very systematic Thai service has room for consideration that won our heart right at the gate to Thailand.
Hippi,at the Hotel Finally! 

17 floor above the ground for the first time. Pullman Hotel.
Enjoying the Height
Out of the Baggage. Economiest Class lol

Thaitanic Pose
I always wanted to travel in a boat and in Bangkok you don't have to wait long. We took a family boat and went as far as and as long as we wanted.
Fishing Family
Angry Bird at all times
One place I can't take my daughter away is from the swimming pool. If we are to divide the time between her swimming time and rest of the activities in Bangkok, it would be even. Even as I am blogging my wife is struggling to get her out of the pool.
Her Chill out time, the only chill out place

02 July 2012

Dear Students, The World of Your Own

The world will not end this year I will take the risk if it does, but I can't take the risk if you choose to end your world. You own a world of your own and you are the center of that world. You can destroy that world as easily as you could make it a wonderful place to live in. There are always choices ahead of you, distinctly black and distinctly white, easily separable. There are people like you and me who go strong and make white choices, and there are people like you and me whom the black choices choose because they are not strong enough to love themselves.
Every time you go on vacation I get a bad feeling that you might land up on the dark side of life, from where you might drown further away from life everytime you want to return, therefore I write this to you to tell you three simple things as you leave for summer vacation of 2012.

1. Bad opportunities, like weeds in our garden, are generously available in the human garden. But don't be generous with them, be kind enough to spare yourself a few moment to think of all the people that mean to you so much, and think about what would happen to them if you go those wrong ways.

2. You will be caught. Bad things never go unpunished. Every time you are tempted to do something wrong just know that you can't run from it. If love can't stop let fear hold you back.

3. Take care of your own little world, the big world will take care of itself.
Have a happy summer vacation. Make people around you happy. And when we reunite let's share our happy stories.

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