Showing posts with label Safety Measures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Safety Measures. Show all posts

01 December 2015

Mebar Tsho: Really a Burning Lake?

After I heard the history of Terton Sherab Mebar I found the attribution of origin of Mebar Tsho’s name to Terton Pema Lingpa not so convincing. The popular narrative has it that after Pema Lingpa reappeared from the river with the treasures and the butter lamp still burning, the portion of river came to be known as Mebar Tsho, meaning burning lake because of the burning lamp.
Picture Courtesy: TCB
About two centuries before Terton Pema Lingpa performed the supernatural act to prove to the skeptics of his time, Terton Sherab Mebar had to do the same in the very river holding a butter lamp to prove to the suspicious ruler of Bumthang then. Now is it a coincidence that the Terton and Lake both have a ‘Mebar’ in their names?

If the name of the lake originated from Pema Lingpa’s time, then why wasn’t it ‘Marme Tsho’ (Butter Lamp Lake)? Or why not ‘Terma Tsho’ (Hidden Treasure Lake)? Or ‘Pema Tsho’? Why did it have to be Mebar Tsho when the lake hadn’t burned in any sense?

Historian Karma Phuntsho, in his book History of Bhutan, says Terton Sherab Mebar “is perhaps remembered more for his failures than successes.” His failure began in Bumthang, through Pasakha to Nobtshona Patra in Haa (Read about this incidences). Therefore he is not in the good book of history and perhaps that’s how his association with Mebar Tsho was unacknowledged, and worse given it to the more popular figure in history.

Discussing about Mebar Tsho, it’s hard to forget the recent incident where a French tourist and his guide lost their lives. The tourist slipped into the lake accidentally but the guide jumped intentionally to rescue his guest who safety was his priority. Even though the rescue failed and he had to pay with his own life, his bravery and selflessness in performing his duty will be remembered by time.

The highest form of tribute we can pay to brave young man is never let another incident happen. But unfortunately, going by the record nine lives were lost in the lake in recent times and still no safety measures were put in place to prevent further accidents. Some people are even talking about closing down Mebar Tsho to tourist, as if putting in safety measure is so difficult.

After the incident when concerned authorities were playing blame game and counting excuses I was wondering how a presence of a throw-rope and ring buoy could have saved the lives of both the tourist and the guide. It will only cost less than Nu.4000. While authorities are still designing elaborate safety infrastructure that would take ages I would like to urge them to keep those two simple lifeguard equipment handy at the lake, for that matter even at the swimming pools and other water bodies where human activities happen. 

09 June 2015

Archery Safety Measures: How to Handle the Weapon Safely

Today we saw another gruesome reminder of how dangerous the game of hybrid archery has become; the man seen on news today still had the arrow struck on his skull. God knows how he survived to see another day. He was among the luckiest few victims, while there were many who weren’t as fortunate.

In Bhutan, if we had statistics, we might find that arrow had killed more people than tiger, bear and leopard put together. In fact, once not very long ago, one arrow hit a member of parliament, as if to ask for intervention from the house.

If we check through newspapers and hospital records we won’t believe the amounted invested in evacuating and treating people hit by arrows. Only recently I remember two incidences where helicopters had to be deployed to evacuate the victims.

Hunting Weapon

It’s time to acknowledge that the hybrid archery played with foreign hunting weapons is not only dangerous but also economically and socially damaging. First of all this new games has threatened and totally confused the very identity and existence of our national game (Read Nawang P Phuntsho's The way out for our National Sports). The next generation of Bhutanese children will not even know that we had an indigenous game called archery. But I am not going to discuss much on its cultural, social, and economical impacts, which can be a huge subject all together.

The Dying National Game...

Let’s just look at the safety issues of the game. We know that the gaming equipment are imported weapons, which anyone with money can use without even looking at the experience. The archery playing fields have no significant safety measures in place, though it attracts huge crowd during tournaments. Most archery playing fields are located dangerously in public places.

In Paro there are incidences of stray arrows hitting people walking in the town, in Thimphu Changlimenthang if an arrow goes astray it can hit a footballer and you know how archery field occupies similar dangerous locations across the country. To make it worse, anyone with set of the gaming weapons can play in this critical locations.

What safety measure can be taken to avoid mishaps in this lethal game?

Relocate Archery playing fields away from populated areasMake it mandatory for all archery fields to have standard safety pavilions for spectatorsSince the equipment is a weapon, the owner must have license to own it. The arms license should be issued after thorough background check. No person with drinking history should be given the license.Apart from owner license, there should be a pass, which certifies a person to play. Like the driving license, if you aren’t experienced enough you should play in remote fields and not in public grounds.Alcohol should be ban from archery fields and defaulter should be rid of their playing pass.The tournament organizers should be held accountable for any mishaps during the tournament.Encourage private playing fields with lightings so that amateur players can practice at night.

My suggestions might sound a little crazy for the moment but considering the craziness of the games itself they are only reasonable. In fact total restriction should be imposed on import of such weapons, because we never know when it will be used beyond the gaming fields. It’s during such goods that we have to make tough decisions.

This morning a stray arrow hit an unsuspecting biker in Paro. How many more incidences should happen before we realize that the Weapon we use for the games is lethal and archery ranges in public spaces are dead traps? Isnt it enough example already?