Showing posts with label Torture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Torture. Show all posts

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.

18 October 2010

Dear Students- IV : More you study Luckier you get

How was the first paper this morning?
I was on invigilation duty this morning and the three hours of silence really put me to test. Three hundred thoughts ran across my mind and three hundred bones ached in my body- how many bones are there in our body actually? Doesn’t matter, because every bone ached.
Luckily my chair had cushion on it and I had the freedom to move around and out. I was given tea and biscuit. But I was worried about you. If you have undergone the physical training I prescribed earlier, it would have helped. Did it?
Many of you had running nose; not that I saw your nose running over the table but I heard and felt your utter discomfort as you rubbed your nose between the words. It is not because of cold as you might assume, rather because of the unusual physical and mental stress. You can call it exam-flu. If your body is used to such stress on regular basis the problem would disappear itself. This is where your physical preparation comes handy. I bet you won’t have the nose problem by the time you do your last two papers, and that’s because your body gets tuned finally.
One girl grew restless in my hall and I was worried she might be up to something. Halfway through she handed me her finished paper. By rule nobody can leave until the last half an hour of the exam time. She was however desperately in need of toilet. It is a big funny problem. Everybody laughed. Lucky for her that it happened during the trial exam otherwise it could compromise the quality of all her answers. It can happen to anybody and taking care of your body especially during the exam should be considered important. Keep yourself warm, do not eat unusual food, don’t overeat, don’t under-eat even, and do your businesses with toilet before you enter the hall.
I have my best wishes for you and want to wish you all the luck in the world. But as far as I have known exam it always occurred to me that the more I studies luckier I got.  If you didn’t study anything at all even luck will be helpless. Same is the case with visiting lhakhang and offering butter lamp before your exam, no matter how many kgs of dalda you offered finally what matters is how much you studied. You can’t bribe god it write exam for you.
Your trial is a scale that measures your readiness for the final exam and I hope you will put in your best to get the correct reading, which will motivate your additional preparation for the board exam.

06 October 2010

Dear students III

When you feel the cold in morning hours, see the greenery fading away and leafs falling from tree what comes to your mind? Don't be philosophical and tell me it reminds you of impermanence of life. As winter sets in you should be better worrying about examination. It is unfair though that an exam decides your course of life but fairer part is that you have the power to choose how you write your exam. Destiny is not written in one day; it is drafted and edited according to choices you make day after day.

Writing your exam is closest to writing your destiny and therefore there is need for serious considerations. Of
course I see a lot of you getting busier by the day but I am concerned still of some important aspects which we take for granted. As a student myself, I would spend enough time on studying the content and I would gamble with certain chapters' probability of coming in exam having read through many past question papers. By the time I set foot on the threshold of exam hall I would be fully ready. But I never really came out with good score. And you see, it doesn't matter how well you know, at the end of the day what counts is how well you scored.

Now the question is what went wrong in my preparation? After this many years I have found the answer. All the while I forgot to physically prepare myself. I realized that until exam time I have never sat in one fixed place for over an hour, I haven't written more than two pages in one go, and I haven't spend hours thinking hard, not ever until exam. No matter how much you know, as you keep sitting for longer duration than you ever did your body denies you proper functioning, then you start losing focus. Your fingers were never used to writing for three hours and therefore even your fingers ask for excuses. And most importantly, your attention level fades away after sometime and you can hardly recall what you know. This is how you come out of exam hall defeated.

I remember telling you in assembly about this thing right in the beginning of the year, and I am hoping you are
doing your regular physical training for your exam. Weekends are the best times, please give yourself three
hours of non-stop sitting and writing, without toilet, water, music, mobile and friends. If you haven't started
yet, you are not late.

I can't assure you great marks because it will also depend on how much you studies but I can at least guarantee that you can bring out everything that you have inside. I am not sad about things I didn't know but about things I knew, which remained unexpressed.
Best wishes

04 October 2010

Dear Students... I studied in Dawakha

Have you heard of Dawakha Pry School? It is in Paro by geography but it could be easily misunderstood for a place in Ha because it falls between Chunzom and Ha. It was a great location for a war movie or horror movie but people chose to construct a school there. Worse, my guardians sent me there. Much later in life I realized that I was sent there on punishment. What was my crime? It is sad to share with you that my crime was nothing more than occupying space in the room and emptying pots in the kitchen. I was rustic, ugly and born to poor mother but I have never demanded for new clothes, not for food my cousins had or for a brighter room than the store I was put in. yes, I confess I hated cleaning their pets shit every time I came home. I was eight yet washed my own clothes and bought my own shoes from money I saved in beer bottles. I washed dishes for them carried water from the well. I still remember how heavy that well bucket was. I didn't deserve to be sent to Dawakha.
As if I didn't have enough already Dawakha was full of hateful people. Captains didn't have to have reason to make us naked and peel our skin, the head master would tie us naked on the volleyball post where the girl could see, and teachers were very choosy about the sticks they use. I don't remember a day I didn't cry in Dawakha. Headmaster was so fond of using WFP supplied Oak hammer to knock us down- it only takes a few minutes to regain consciousness but it takes days to heal the swell, of course it never healed until I passed out from there because before the first one could subside we would be blessed with next. Of all the people there I remember Lopen Dawa fondly for being kind enough to use flat planks which gave louder sound than pain. In his eyes I saw mercy.
Today when I remember the hostel I can only relate it to Nazi Concentration Camp. Thirty students were squeezed into a room, where our beds are made on muddy floor. There were lice on every fiber of our cloth and smell of urine even in our plates. But my biggest pain was hunger. School had WFP supply but I don't know why they couldn't feed us enough, I would be dead if not for the peaches and apples we had in stock from our labor during the weekends. Headmaster's chickens had better amount than us. There were times we were fed only ata boiled in water and worse two small potatoes per meal.
That was the school I studied in and when I look at you today I find no reason why you can't study. You are lucky, the only person who can cause you pain is you. Be kind to yourself and gift yourself a good life.
Your lovingly

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.