Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts

31 August 2021

Switched Off - A Book Review

'Switched Off' is the fourth book on crime and investigation from an ex-police officer turned author, Karma Tenzin Yongba. He has built a reputation for himself as a crime writer with his three previous books; The Restless Relic, The Barnyard Murders, and The Darkest June

The new book is about a girl named Sadey, who has two men in her life; Karma Rigzin and Ram Bdr Gurung. From a crime point of view, the book is about Ram Bdr who is found dead on the dancefloor. He was poisoned. Police find Sadey's number on the dead man's call record. And on Sadey's phone, they found a frequent caller, Karma Rigzin. 

Author Karma Tenzin tells the crime stories with the authority of someone who has been there and done that. The dashing cop, Max in the story is unmistakenly the portrayal of the younger version of the author himself, or so it seems. The character of the officer is carefully crafted with the right doses of courage and compassion, discipline and vulnerability,  intellect and rawness. It's a character built to win hearts, one that is a fine image of an admirable policeman. 

Besides the thrilling crime elements in the book, Karma subtly brings out the deep-rooted social prejudices when discussing why Sadey's parents won't allow her to marry Ram. Poor Sadey is stretched between two men both of whom she cannot marry, because the older man she loves, Karma Rigzin, has his family. The honesty with which the author presents these delicate subjects sets him apart. He seemed to have planned to give these strong jabs of social messages across our ribs while still keeping us hooked on the apparent murder case. 

However, the major complaints I have is against the presentation of the book, choice of paper and the cover design. How can we wrap such a thrilling story in something that looks like a high school project work? You don't design your book in MS Word anymore. It takes a professional book designer to layout a book. 

The story could have been seamlessly woven together if they are divided into chapters. An editor would have smoothened the rough edges and brought about consistency in terms of use of names, dates, quotes, paragraphing etc. The author need not take the burden of doing everything himself. A storyteller must go on telling stories and leave the technicals to professionals. 

Note: If you are interested in buying a copy, get it from BOOKNESE. It will be delivered to you. 

12 March 2015

Crime Hidden in Pine Forest

In 2003, I was severely ill in the first week I reached Sombaykha Primary School. I wanted to run back home but I was officially four days away from everything familiar to me. I knew I was going to die in the place so new and so remote. Everything about the place made me lonely. It was then that I accidentally broke a thick red ruler in headmaster's office. You won't believe how the scent of pinewood that came from the broken ruler suddenly made my heart race. I took the two broken pieces with me and kept them hear my pillow. From the next morning I felt more alive than ever.

Coming back to Paro and living among the Pine trees is a gift of natural happiness. I know the trees, I grew up with them, I played on their branches and slept under their shade. The scent from the free sends me heart dancing. I am home. But wait, what's under those trees?

Below my training centre in Dop Shari, there is a small patch of pine trees. It's too small to be called a forest but the small group of trees seemed to have survived so many human interventions. Between the trees and the road there is clearly a pit overflowing with garbage. It doesn't seem like a recent activity but now that we live and work in that area, people could easily blame it on us. My colleague Ram took it on to himself to clear that area as part of his social initiative. He got us gloves and sacks.

We thought an afternoon would be enough but as we dug we discovered that the place was used for ages. The waste was obviously from a hotel- countless wrappers of milk, sugar, biscuit, frozen chicken, wine bottles, broken plates and glasses, carton boxes,... It doesn't require much intelligence to analyse that the former occupant of our office was responsible. This place was earlier a tourist hotel, and evidently a very irresponsible one.

Tip of Plastic Iceberg
What we discovered later broke my heart completely. Beyond the pit, cleverly hidden under the pine trees was a secret world of plastic. It was clearly years of intentional and irresponsible dumping of plastic waste, which should be a criminal offence to the nation. It's a wonder how the authorities didn't spot at least the pit that was just below road to Paro Dzong.

The bigger question is, where are other hotels hiding their waste? I have seen a few patches of landfill here and there in Paro. Above Gaptay I have seen a depression in the woods filled with hotel waste, and above that I have seen at least three hotels. It seems to a trend in Paro to hide their waste in the woods. I would therefore like to alert National Environment Commission and Tourism Council of Bhutan to investigate this issue in Paro and perhaps elsewhere in the country. 

Revealing the Hidden
In Paro the problem must have cropped from the failure of the Dzongkhag Municipal. I assume that they can't possibly assist the hotels in managing their waste when they seem to fail in managing the waste in the middle of the town. The waste collecting trucks are small and manually operated, and the frequency of collection seems very less. The bins placed at prime locations are small even for a single user, and therefore are seen overflowing perpetually. Everything seems so half hearted.

Wherever the problem is there seems to be a serious need of intervention. This beautiful country we are so proud of may soon lose its countless adjectives, and our proud environmental efforts may just turn into myths on paper. 

15 April 2012

Teachers Outrage in Bhutan

Early this month a teacher in India was killed by a group of students for not letting them copy in their exam. He was only doing his duty. Perhaps we ignored it because it happened far away and ignored the warning attached to it. I was scared these directionless children we have may land up doing something similarly serious. But children will grow up some days and realize all the wrongs they have done.  Shockingly a foreign parent walks into a Bhutanese classroom, drags the teacher out and bashes him to the extend of removing a tooth and damaging his eye, when will he grow up and realize his mistake?
Teachers across the country are outraged and seeking justice, this was the biggest blow to the otherwise peaceful teaching community of Bhutan. It questions our security- teaching was once the safest job but now it's like working in a nuclear station with the most radioactive materials, even in protective gears we can't escape the radiation. We were already showered with blames for reasons uncountable and here our society is taught how to deal with teachers by a learned man.
We are not machines; we are teachers- we teach with emotions, we become sad, we grow excited, we become happy, we get irritated, we become angry, we become joker, we become hero, we change ourselves now and then because we care for our students no less than their parents do. Now a father walks into our classroom and questions our emotions. We can stop our emotions and start being machine anytime but that's not what our country wants of us, that's not what our king wants of us, and that's not what our students want of us. And dear parents please step aside and let us do our work, we are on a national mission.
But unlike the mission of the UNICEF fellow, he was sent here on the United Nations' goodwill mission, he was here to help us but what did he do? He insulted the culture of the innocent nation, he manhandled a teacher in the nation where teachers are respected highly, he has corrupted one of Bhutan's highest value. As is the trend, now we are expecting more such disgrace and he will be remembered as the forerunner.
Even on the personal grounds he was a doctor who is supposed to treat people, care for them and comfort them but he disgraced that profession too. If his son thinks his father was a hero after that then it's another disgrace, and I am only happy and relieved that they are not Bhutanese.
Debate and Outrage continues on Facebook Forum and Kuensel Forum and we wish to know what happens to the man and what steps will be taken to ensure that we the teacher are safe after this. He was lucky to have lost his senses in Bhutan; our values forbid aggression and violence, the same value that he has kicked. If it had happened in any other country than Bhutan he would have known the price of his action. He would have to run for his life and his diplomatic immunity would be only a crap on paper. How waste of a person to travel half world across with the highest qualifications and not to have woken up to learn the simplest Bhutanese values.

20 March 2012

Under 16 Nuisance in Wangdue

There were two explosions in my school earlier this month and you must be wondering if I didn't hear them. Of course I heard them and I even gave my statement to police. But I didn't want to make it public so that police could do their job at peace. But now that the news has already been reported in two papers I see no harm in writing about it.
I have nothing different to tell from the story The Bhutanese and Kuensel covered but let me run the narrative as unfolded before me. At about this time, 11:40 on March 1, I was working right here when I heard the first blast. I ran to my window and surveyed the campus. Nothing was out of the ordinary. I was lost in my works again when I heard the second blast. After spotting nothing unusual, I thought it must have been army firing at Tencholing.
Only in the morning I found out that it was right at my friend's door. But even he didn't realize it was there until morning when he found his door latched from outside. Upon opening the door he found three sheets of warning notes pasted at his door and on the school notice board. We reported it to the police and police requested army to identify the remains of explosives. They concluded that the devices used were those used in construction works.
This ordeal raised two big questions: How did the explosives land in the hands of children? How safe are teachers in doing our duties? While the first question would be answered soon by the police, the latter shall remain unanswered. This incident has sent a wave of question across the teacher community and some were talking about thinking thrice before disciplining children. Our friend, who was attacked that night, is still weighing his moral duty as a teacher against his personal safety. He was our backbone when it came to keeping the students on track but now the backbone seems to be cracked even though the Dzongkhag education officers came here to give him and all of us their support.

As the story unfolds I was shocked to hear that two boys, who were arrested after they broke into a store, were the mastermind of the March 1st blasts (Read in Kuensel). I know the two boys for last four years, and one joined our school last February. They are chronic thieves and everybody in the town knows them by their name. They can break open the best locks and find cash from the safest corners. They seem to have the database of every dweller of the town because they know who is out at what time of the day. No matter how careful you are when they walk into your shop, you will always find something missing after they are gone. One time they were caught red handed and guess what, they assaulted the house owner and escaped. They are never worried about getting arrested, as long as they could run away and enjoy the cash, because they know that once the case is gone, it's gone.
Interestingly they were caught and arrested 90% of the times and been to jail almost every week but they were released because they are under 16, which they know and are taking advantage of. If they were kept locked up Bajothang is a better place altogether but even police is helpless. Now this time they have crossed their highest limit and I hope they won't roam freely among us.
I know they are just kids, they have dreams but they are not ready to change themselves yet. They are going bigger and bolder with time and forgiveness. They must undergo so sort of special correction before releasing them back among general public. This asks for Correction Camp of young lawbreakers. A prison where classes are taken so that inmates don't lag behind when they finally come out as good citizens because we can't afford to let them walk free if they are going to keeping having fun at the expense of public security.

19 March 2012

What More is Terrorism?

Fake Nu.1000 notes.(source: BBS)
In such times, when the country is struggling to survive a financial crisis, how could our own people assist outsiders in printing and distributing counterfeit Ngultrum notes (on BBS)?  I am saying outsiders because Bhutan can't have such printers. What more is terrorism to a country? This can't be the first time these brothers are doing this, and they may not be the only Bhutanese men involved it.
The sixteen Nu.1000 notes may be just a part of a bigger plot and these men must take police to the root of the fake money. It's our national luck, as always, that the activity was discovered before it could affect much. However, there could be many other innocent victims that may be known by tomorrow following this timely news on BBS.
For now, we must double check every Nu.1000 note that comes in and goes out of our pocket to be sure.