Showing posts with label Memory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memory. Show all posts

22 May 2014

Homeless Within Hours

I was on leave from school today, packing my bags for Mountains Echoes in Thimphu when an explosion drove me out of my house. It was fire right near our school gate, houses were burning like match boxes. I know every soul living there. I would always admire a peaceful man on wheelchair sitting on the balcony of his newly constructed home facing the morning sun when I walk to school every morning, and now his home was up in flames. When I reached closer I could see the metallic skeleton of his wheelchair glowing in fire.
I took out my phone to take a shot of the fire when the second explosion went off. By then it seemed like the fire was going to be very bad. Two tradition houses located very close to the burning cottages were beginning to smoke and catch sparks of flame. If the fire couldn't be contained the fate of many house that lie behind those houses will be ashes in hours. There was just a thin line of hope. If everybody present there threw a ball of mud each perhaps a difference could be made but despite my request many people behind me chose to enjoy the show and shoot movies.
Wooden Cottages burning like match boxes
By then our school boys have joined team. They were untrained and inexperienced yet they have braved to join the fight. They transported hundreds of buckets of water. On the other end huge group of boys were lined up and were salvaging belongs of eight families whose houses were almost catching fire. The rooms were filling up with smoke and ladder was very narrow but despite that every little item from those houses were transported to the paddy fields where we handed over to the owners. 
Teachers were anxiously running around to make sure that no student was endangering themselves. After few hours battalion of young soldiers marched at the scene, then we withdrew our students hoping the soldiers would do better job.
I found that one of my slippers was not on my foot. When I was looking for my lost slipper it broke my heart to see shoes and clothes scattered all over the ground with children's toys and family photographs- all those small things that holds years of memory, that that have changed many places and homes and traveled with family. We randomly collected all those pieces of memories and took them to the paddy fields where rescued things were piled up, to be segregated in better times. 
I couldn't really look straight at the family members who were made homeless within hours and screaming at heavens now. Though rescued they furniture were all over the place, some broken and some taken into wrong places. Their cloths and cookeries were scattered like seeds sown in the field. Some didn't know where their children were taken... they were shattered. I found a pair of rubber slippers in the mud, I wore them and walked home. 
By 2 pm fire fighter from Police and PHPA projects have brought the fire under control with the support of hundreds of office goers. The two houses that narrowly escaped were partially damaged by fire and water. Many families were homeless. Among them were eleven of our students.
School administration gave Nu.5000 each to our students as emergency relieve and further support was mobilized. Dzongkhag administration and school arranged relief shelter for the affected families in our empty classrooms until better shelter could be given.

**During the four hours I was at the scene I couldn't dare take out my phone to take a picture, in such times it seemed to me very disrespectful to resort to luxury of taking pictures. Because there are better thing you could do. The picture I posted was taken the moment I came out of my house. It reminds me of many pictures of Wangdue Dzong fire I took, but those were taken when all hope was lost and when you can do nothing at all.

15 September 2013

Incomplete Wangdue Tshechu

In June 2012, We lost Wangdue Dzong in a tragic fire accident but things moved on unexpectedly quick. In just a year the tragedy is forgotten, which is evident from the uneventful first anniversary of the fire. Perhaps it's our extraordinary strength to move on. Even for a person like me who sees the ruins everyday, the heavy feeling has disappeared and I can look at it with no significant emotion now.

But Wangdue Tshechu is a harsh reminder of what we lost. It digs into the cold ashes of the past. It reminds people of the great Dzong we don't have anymore. Some elderly folks take it very emotionally because they had worshipped it for decades. The excitement of Tshechu is no more the same, and I haven't been to both the Tshechus held in Tencholing ground. Without the Dzong the essence of Tshechu is hardly felt, I couldn't straighten my mood to get into my best gho and walk to the festival.

Today, 5th Sept, is the last day of three day Wangdue Tshechu and all of sudden I started wondering how Thongdrel is hung in Tencholing ground. I haven't heard of any structure being built and even if there was one built I wondered how would it withstand the power of Wangdue wind.
The Wangdue Thongdrel (Pic from
Not long after, it dawned on me that the gigantic Wangdue Thongdrel too was lost with the dzong and there is no more Thongdrel on the third day of Wangdue tshechu. Not having the Dzong and not having Thongdrel make Wangdue Tshechu painfully incomplete.
Where the Thongdrel used to be (Pic from Kuensel, edited for PaSsuDiary)
Watch the following Youtube video of Wangdue Thongdrel I shot in good times- 2009 Tshechu.

01 September 2011

The Rough Road to Bajothang

August 31st was the date people in Wangdue were waiting for months with different feelings. But nothing much was happening today besides some closed shops and one lone DCM truck carrying a family's belongings to Bajothang. Official notice has been issued, where it is stated that if any shop is found operating from tomorrow their trade license will be seized. The road to Bajothang, to change the history of a place is going to be rough again.
The biggest cannonball that the people loaded in the cannon to backfire the deadline is the readiness of Bajothang. They question the safety of town, hygiene, traffic, accommodation of people and vehicle. While the finished Bajothang town would have answered all these questions but if you visit the half-alive town today, you will see

  1. Many structures are half complete. Anything could fall from above and risk the lives of passersby. 
  2. The road network are blocked by construction debris on almost every street thereby making road inaccessible to cars. 
  3. Sewage from some building are running free on the streets, pollution both land and air. 
  4. All drainage systems are damaged, and nothing has been done till today. 
  5. There is not a single traffic signs erected or line drawn on the road, forget the line, there is not blacktopped road visible in the entire town. Streets are filled with cars parked randomly without following any traffic rules.
  6. All apartments are filled up, there is no room for people living in Gangthangkha to squeeze in.
I have toured both the towns this morning and viewed the situation from the eyes of an ordinary Bhutanese who has nothing to lose or gain for whatever happens. I had taken along my camera and captured shots of things to backs the story of what people claim. All the pictures are taken this afternoon, please go through the photostory.
This is where Children Park will be. Who will construct it and when is the deadline?

The tiny truck parking is being cleared for tomorrow. How many trucks will fit in there?

BOD. Why did they have to late for so long. Will they be ready by tomorrow morning? 

How to get to the other side of the street? Is it a mule track? 

Forget about traffic signs, you can't even see the road. The bridges you are seeing is constructed over sewage overflow. 

Desolate shops in Gangthangkha, left behind by people who have  shifted to Bajothang.

So far only two structures were dismantled. September 10 is the last day for clearing structures in Gangthangkha.

Where is the road?
Lone truck shifting a home.

Tomorrow morning when I wake up, Gangthangkha will be no more the place people will crowd. I wish people all the strength it takes to let go the past and embrace the new place, after all Bajothang is a bigger town, with bigger opportunity, with space for bigger dreams.
And I wish if the responsible authority could play their role swiftly and give themselves deadline, besides giving to others, in making Bajothang business ready.

24 May 2011

Ghajini Awards goes to My Family

Some years ago, I used to be surprised and even annoyed at my mother's forgetfulness- there would be towel on the gas stove, plate in the toilet, ladle in the closet, leave the stove burning, ... she would laugh out loud and say, "O, I forgot it". I would beg of her to be mindful, "Mother, Please, please don't forget." But she would forget again. When I insist too hard to be mindful, she would ask in irritation, "How could I help? It happens, I don't intend to." She deserves the Life Time Ghajini Award.
It has been a few years since I became forgetful too, and then I came to realize what my mother meant. But my wife won't believe me when I say, "I can't help it." I even forget my car in the school and reach home on foot, thank god I reside near by. It would be Best New Comer Ghajini Award.
"Have you seen my phone?" is the question I hear from my wife twenty times a day now. My wife has joined the Ghajini gang too. And now she would realize how forgetting happens. But compared to my brother and son, she is nothing. Yet I thought she deserves the Most Promising Ghajini Award.
My brother forgets everything, every time, and when asked he would giggle and say he has forgotten. Amir Khan must have worked damn hard to perform that good in the movie, but if it were my brother he would have done so naturally. No one can snatch the Best Ghajini Award from him- swear!
The Ghajini Family
Next in line is our son, who at this very age forgets everything he doesn't like. He forgets his homework, leaves his book in the class when it is needed at home and at home when it is asked in the class. He forgets to bathe, brush, and polish his own shoes. He doesn't know where he left his unwashed clothes as long has he has a new set on his back. One thing I like about his pattern of forgetting is He could choose what he wants to forget- or so it seems. He should be awarded Outstanding Ghajini Award.
Only mindful person in my family is my little daughter, who surprises us with her ability to trace the lost phones, gas lighter, remote controller, slippers, etc. - and my wife say, it's because she is the one who hides it.

24 January 2011

Talking about PaSsu in Singapore

I don't remember what I was doing on 5th Oct last year but back in Singapore it was Singapore International Foundation Dinner. Of course, I was not supposed to attend that dinner or was I invited but what makes it of interest to me is what Ms Euleen Goh, Chairman of SIF spoke that evening. It was a long speech though but three paragraphs were on a Bhutanese boy who feared computer once and went on to become an ICT teacher- which is me.

It came to my notice when my teacher Ms. Loh Kwai Yin, who is also in the story, posted it on her blog. She posted the whole speech. But I choose to show only those three paragraphs where I am mentioned, lol.

Original speech can be found in 

05 Oct 2010

SIF Appreciation Dinner 2010

Speech by Ms Euleen Goh, Chairman of SIF at Partner for Good - SIF Appreciation Dinner 2010 at the Grand Ballroom, Hotel Intercontinental

Thanks to you - our volunteers – such stories of success and new hope abound all over the region. In Bhutan, a teacher - Mr Passang Tshering - shares how the SIF's IT-in-Education project helped him get over the fear of computers. When he first sat in front of a computer, he was 16. What would normally be an exciting event for any other youngster, proved to be a frightening experience for this boy. Why the anxiety? Well, he believed then that the computer was so intelligent it could read his thoughts!

This same young man is now, at the age of 28, the head of the IT department at Bajothang High School in Bhutan. All because, PaSsu (as he is known to friends), was selected to be trained by IT teachers that the SIF sent from Singapore five years ago. Today, the former techno phobe teaches his students through web applications such as SharePoint, Google documents and wikis. He also has his own blog, and Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts.

PaSsu was invited to Singapore this February, as part of a study visit by Bhutanese teachers under the Bhutan wired project, co-sponsored by SIF and the Temasek Foundation. It gave him the opportunity to catch up with his SIF trainer from half a decade ago: Ms Loh Kwai Yin, now head of department of information and communication technology at Singapore's School of Science and Technology. Not that they hadn't been in touch all this while; both had kept in close contact through the internet and continue to share ideas and resources. 

From Singapore Magazine (

 I appeared in news papers, blogs and even speeches in Singapore. But what they don't know is  I have no good memories from the tour in Singapore, except meeting my teacher Ms. Loh. It was  a torture and I blame nobody except my own unpreparedness for the outside world. I went out as a Bhutanese and came back a sick man.

10 October 2010

When Kids are made to Fight

I was supposed to photograph the fight actions but I rather found the expressions more charming. I was laughing most of the time and missed many good expressions. To save space I have photoshopped the four pictures into one:

Amused, Anxious, Hurt and Shy- all too honest!
Memories from Drukgyel

It reminded me of my silver medal in Drukgyel High School back in 2002. I was then 72 kg heavy, which put me up with a tall red belt guy Karma Tenzin. I requested him early on not to knock me out and not to hit me hard. I wasn't even white belt. During my trainings I was put far behind because I wasn't so pleasing to the master, whose sharchopka I didn't understand. Thanks to Jakie Chan, I had picked up some kicks from his movies.

During those longest two minutes of my life I was running around the ring. Karma was kind enough to spare my head until I used one of Jakie Chan's kicks to push him down. I quickly regretted it but by then he was upset and I had to pick my helmet from the ground. I lost the match to win the silver medal because there were just two of us in our weight category.

11 September 2010

9/11- Burn a Quran Day

9/11/2001- seconds before the second plane hit
On this day 9 years ago four American Airlines jet hijacked by terrorist group masterminded by Bin Laden suicide-attacked the US. Two of the four hit on the World Trade Center twin towers, one hit the Pentagon and the last which was headed for White House crashed in a field. Today is a day to remember ...but...

One lone voice of some Pastor Jones of a small congregation in Florida with only about 50 followers disturbed the minds of million in the world. This man wanted to remember 9/11 victims by burning copies of Quran today. Quran or Koran is the holy book of Islam.

To Pastor Jones and his followers:

Pastor Jones- the man with bad idea
Why are you burning Quran? Quran is not Bin Laden’s Diary or his preaching. Quran is the holy book of Islam and Islam wasn't responsible for 9/11. Terrorists were Muslims but all Muslims are not terrorists. You can’t hate all the mothers in the world just because your mother ill-treated you. If you really want to burn it do it in the corner of your house and stop creating unrest in the world. You are a bad man. You are not different from terrorists; they misunderstood Islam and your misunderstood Christianity.

To Muslim who were disturbed by the plan:

Muiz Nasrallah wrote in Facebook, "You may burn thousands, millions of Koran, but you cannot burn our religion." and I say yes, Quran is just a book, faith is all that matters. Why make big issue out of a crazy man’s plan. It is all about being hyper-reactive; we don’t tickle a person on the forehead, we do under his arms because that part reacts. It’s a good chance to show to the world that Islam is not what they think, Islam is tolerant and Islam loves peace too. People have burnt Buddhist temples and bombed Buddha’s statues but nothing happened, so they were bored and they bombed no more.

To Media:

Media is responsible for the unrest. Otherwise what difference would one man with 50 followers matter in the world so big? Why did they make his crazy plan hot news? If it was not broadcast, no one would know and nothing would happen.

I was in Drukgyel High School when the Twin Tower came crumbling down, which triggered the war in Afghanistan; nine years on today so many people were killed and what have we got? There should be a better way to remember 9/11!

P:S: Today is the last day of the holy month of Muslims. Muslims labour working in Bajo Construction took our school's big speak for their prayer ceremony. Wish them good day!

09 September 2010

My King and I- The Best Moment of my Life.

My Short visit to Heaven

I graduated in 2006 December, employed in 2007 January, got paid in 2007 July onwards, and was called for convocation only in 2009 October. All my friends were coming and they called me up to come, which is the only reason why I had to agree on going back after three long years. It was too late for them to tell us that we have graduated. Some friends had passed away in those three years.

Upon reaching there I thanked god that I came, because His majesty the King graced the occasion. To add to the glory his majesty posed for photograph with each one of us. I was about 700 teachers behind and yet shivering with excitement. As my turn neared I was almost flying and fading. When I finally gave the closest bow to my king, received the scroll and stood next to him I couldn’t feel myself anymore until I felt the royal pat on my shoulder. If I had a little weaker heart I would have fainted. That was the moment I felt totally enlightened. When I recomposed myself I forgave the convocation and thanked it for giving me the life’s best moment.

I even forgive Kuensel for letting me come there over and over for the last one year and a half for the Picture.  And I forgive the person there for not giving me the softcopy of the picture. 

13 August 2009

Post Card from Around the World

Well this time it is from Singapore. My teacher Ms. Loh, yes a Singaporean, makes sure that I receive a post card from her on every important occasion and from every country she travels to. I have her card from China, India, Russia, England, Paris, Hongkong …I forgot some of them now. It is funny that the receiving end’s address never changes, I am forever fixed here. Something great about her is that she doesn’t mind me not replying.

The card this time is meant for the Independence Day of her country 9th August though it seems to taken 23 days to reach me. I asked about 9th August to Mr. Kong and he laughed. He didn’t realize at all amidst his travel and troubleshooting.

Ms. Loh was my lecturer in Paro College of Education 2004 to 2005. She was a great teacher. She still believes that post cards are better than email.

Note: Apologies for not post the tips for speeding up computer right away, just because this one seemed more exciting at the moment as I hold her card.

07 August 2009

Gifting me my Lost Dream

Eight years ago, I proudly walked the gate of Kuensel for my first “Best Story of the Month” certificate. That was just the beginning of the long road. The next month I saw my name again. I had been unkind to Writing then; from the prize money I bought watercolor and brushes. I was appreciated more for my paintings those days. Of all the prizes for poem, short story and paintings that followedI was moved by the “Best Short Story Writer of the Year” award Drukgyel school gave me. I changed my dream. I wanted to become a writer. I used to say, my dreams may change me but I won’t change my dream.

By the end of another year I had completed 30 short stories, edited them over hundred times, and kept them aside for publishing. I designed a cover for the book, wrote the introduction, even the acknowledgement. Everything had to be edited over years…many names changed in my acknowledgement. Perhaps there are none now.

How many stories you have finished by now? If someone asks me this question, my answer is: 30. I never wrote again. It’s not that I gave up so quick, I had to give up eventually. I went from publisher to publisher, printing press to government agency with no money in my pocket. I finished several shoe soles to return disappointed every night. Everybody promised me something and none did anything actually. They say it is not profitable. I even said I want no money out of that!

I spent thousands in printing manuscript and binding them for submission and many of the publishers have a copy with them, may be not anymore (they may not know that I spent all my pocket money on those). What left me disheartened and discouraged is not that they didn’t accept it but they rejected without even reading a story. I know it is not my fault at all but why to write in a place where even publishers can’t read.

Thus, I lost my dream…

But dreams die hard. My friends and teachers from good times regard me as a writer, thank you so much, even if I am far from it. Sometimes I run into strangers who tell me that they read my story or poem and express how good I am, thank you for the pleasant surprises, in those brief moments you reminded me of something great. And most of all, my friend Nagwang never leaves me alone, just as Kezang Namgyel is. They squeeze stories out of me with their good intentions. I owe these two guys my best dream. Thank you for gifting me my lost Dream.

05 August 2009


Four days after the tragedy, some eyes are still full of tears. I may be among the many who still couldn't believe it at all. When I close my eyes to sleep I see roaring river rumbling downstream, hardly letting me sleep. I watch TV until sleep comes over me. Three days we were along the river but we still couldn't recover his body... Now finally we search no more and perhaps we consider him alive among us, for if he is dead we must have his body...
Sigay- Our beloved
(11.11.1990 to 01.08.2009)

We deeply mourn the sudden and untimely demise of our dear friend, student and brother Sigay who left us on the afternoon of August 1st 2009. We pray for his soul and may god bless his family with strength to over come the lose.

Bajo School Family

03 July 2009

Back to Drukgyel after seven years

2002 I passed out from Drukgyel with beautiful memories; this was the best school I have ever been to. I have done lots for the school and school has lots for me. It was the best of time and the worst of time... I now remember only the best. This school showed me great teachers like BB Mishera, Boj Raj, Surja lapcha and Gopilal Acherya. I became a teachers because i loved them.

I am here this time for a five-day training on Bhutan W.I.R.E.D project, even My teacher Surja lapcha is there... He is one among the only three teachers left from my times.

I can't help walking about the paths and looking at how tall the trees have grown over years, didn't even know time has passed so much. Some buildings are faded and others are recolored. There are new structures here and there but I love looking at those things that were there hwen i was here. I am still among the pages of school Magazine with my short stories and the poems. Oh! this coming back brought wave of joy and sadness...

29 May 2009

Fire, Water and My Village Yangthang

Yangthang, like phoenix rose from the ashes. Royal Kidu gave us strength and hope to rebuild our homes after the 2002 fire, which burnt down twenty five houses. We lost more than houses in the fire; history and memories. We dread fire, eight years of moving forward we still dread fire.
When my house was burnt down to ashes I was in Gyelposhing, crying over an imaginary picture of my-village-on-fire. Now I am in Wangdue, still having to imagine a picture of my-village-in-flood.
Punatshangchhu grew wild on 26th May, hundreds of logs thundering downstream, touching the heights it never did, and threatening the bold Wangdue Bridge. When the river encroached into our school campus I remembered my village. It lies on bank of the Ha chhu. I called my mother; she was giving me chilling details of the flood. She was planning to take our cow and move to the hills. The rivers, she said, had split into two, forming new course through our fields, washing away Tshering’s sawmill and Lam Dorji’s house.
“The village of Yangthang (52 households) had been cut off from the rest of Haa as, during the flash floods, the river had breached its banks and created a new course between the village and the highway.” Tobgay, T. from(
I saw the first picture in our Opposition Leader, Tshering Tobgay’s blog, who has visited my village after the disaster. It made me sad, and then made me happy. What if the river has gone the other side? The village still stands and against all geographical justifications we are grateful to Ap Chundu for saving our village.
“Yangthang’s New Bridge” in OL Tshering Tobgay’s blog touched my heart in different corners; People standing in unity against adversity, Dzongkhag’s helping hands, and most significantly Building a Bridge together, which made all the difference. It shall remain in our village history.
“Civil servants. When the dzongkhag staff heard about the efforts of the farmers, they, led by the new Dasho Dzongdag, quickly made their way to Yangthang, and took up their position on the bank opposite the stranded villagers. With farmers working on one side of the river and civil servants on the other, it didn’t take long for the river to be bridged.” Tobgay, T from (
Photo Courtesy: Tshering Tobgay