24 June 2010

The Farm Road that became Riverbed

The Farm Road During rainfall. It could be worse!
The farm road above our residence, climbing steeply towards Bajo Lhakhang, and now even extending as far as Matalungchu is a big threat to natural environment. Ever since it was built a few years ago it never saw water drainage along its sides. The road itself served as riverbed during the monsoon. Worse, farmers use it as their irrigation cannel in times of cultivations, paving deep drains at different sections and blocking the road. They would justify that there were these provisions even before the road was thought of.
The road is speeding the process of land degradation at an alarming rate; Bajothang School has so far diverted enough energy on removing tones and tones of sand from hostel and football ground, and now the building which has unfortunately become school staff quarter. However we have never had time enough to bother beyond our school campus. The massive amount of sand degraded so far comes from the hill above would have taken hundred years in its natural process.
Bajo School Football ground in 2009
School being an organization responsible for educating children has no authority, capacity or experience in addressing this issue. The most we could do and have done so far is clearing the sand and reclaim our property. Having faced several bad experiences we have devised a huge drain to withstand and route out the heavy flooding. We have plans to build wall below the highway, the point between the end of farm road and the school campus to defend our school but the bigger issue is at large.
The Grand Canyon (source:naturescrusaders.files.wordpress.com/2009/05)

The farm road needs well designed drainage or may be the road itself needs redesign in accordance with the topography of the landscape. The last option may be to shutdown the road, after all it is more used by water than vehicles. Otherwise, in few years time we may get to see something like the Grand Canyon and by then Bajo Lhakhang and Bajo School would be history.

23 June 2010

World Cup is a global event and not an African festival

I silently rejoiced the failure of South Africa squad to enter the second round of World Cup finals though I have high regard for the Nelson Mandela’s country ever since my high school age. I was even overjoyed back in 2006 when South Africa was chosen as the next World Cup venue. But ever since the onset of 2010 World Cup finals my love for the African nation faded in heavy chaos of Vuvuzela.
 Photo source:vuvuzelasouthafrica.co.za, forgive the integration of center vuvuzela.

Vuvuzela is actually a graceful cultural piece as I was in Hollywood movie Bones but it is far from pleasing when blown in crowd of thousands. It must be their tradition but tradition should not be ruthless. Despite the protest of millions across the world and even the players themselves South Africans selfishly turned their deaf ears. They should realize that the World Cup is a global event and not an African festival. They terribly failed in making 2010 World Cup in their country a memory worth cherish-able for the rest of the world.
Moment you put on the television either the sleeping babies are woken or elders are made restless, and without an option we have to either put off or watch it muted, murdering the very charm of the game.
South African team was doing well but the vuvuzela blew them out right in the first round and I sadistically loved it. I even loved the cameramen for not showing a single glimpse of vuvuzela during the entire tournament so far. When the news channels do show people with vuvuzela pressed hard against their lips I can’t help wishing if all of those turned into penises right into their mouth.

22 June 2010

Lost Path

Lost Path under sand.
It was raining the whole night and it got me worried. The new building I shifted in lately already experienced flooding twice. The rain had stopped in the morning. I looked through the window and saw that the footpath was lost again. Thick blanket of sand had surrounded our building.
Punatshang chhu is huge and everybody knows that one day it will flood the valley badly. Major concern has been diverted towards reducing the risk if in case the worst happens. No matter how much Bhutan tries not to warm the global temperature the big countries are carrying on with their deadly activities. The glacier lakes feeding the Punatshang chhu are growing by the day like a ticking time bomb.
However I am sad to discover that Punatshang chhu and the glacier lakes had nothing to do with what brought the sand around our building. I personally witnessed the second flooding. The source was the farm road that leads uphill above our home. The road is otherwise dry and dusty. But when it rains it becomes a riverbed of ragging water down stream that hit highway and spills over into our area. It carries heavy load of reddish sand and deposits it into our drainage system, blocking all outflow. If it rains again before we could clear the earlier sand there is no way we could save our rooms from flooding.
Making room for the next load of sand
While we worry about that one day when the Punatshang Chhu will flood, the farmroad flash flood has already threatened us thrice. The big question to answer is, whom should we fear more?

21 June 2010

World Cup outside Exam Hall

Forget the exam, Focus on the ball.
Tomorrow morning these kids will take their best pens and enter the exam hall to write what they have learnt in these five months. By the way what did they learn? As far as the learning is concerned they did a lot. But exam a totally different story; it is time to write what is in the book. God knows, if it is enough to conclude how much they learnt. And if it is the book things that they are supposed to read and reproduce tomorrow what are they doing in the paddies with football? Like I said last time, students know that exam happens twice or thrice a year but World Cup is a four yearly event, which should not be taken lightly.

17 June 2010

Free Pen Carrying Message with Irony

I was in the Dzong yesterday for clearing up some official mess. One of my CE students working in accounts section insisted on taking me for lunch. The rustic canteen served good meals and attracted every official from the Dzong. Among them was a lady who distributed pens among us. It was a nice pen I got. It took us some time to discover that the pen had glossy scroll that can be pulled like a rubber band. Upon reading what was one the scroll I found out it was from National Environment Commission of Bhutan to spread their message on critical issues like "Save Water", "Reduce Waste", "Reduce Air Pollution", "Save the Forest", "Say NO to ozone Depleting Substance". It carried another page of information on the back page with the heading "Help save our Environment" with the mention of Article 5.1 of the Constitution of Kingdom of Bhutan.

The Irony: The pen is made of plastic, including the scroll inside. It must take about three plastic bags to make pen of this size and quality. Again there must be thousands of such pen freely distributed. Now tell me how can I "Say NO to ozone Depleting Substance" when it is such a nice pen given by a cute NEC lady herself. Or is she checking our ethics?

However, I am thankful to the pen giver lady. This pen is meant for teachers; we can overwrite our class timetable on the scroll. Of course I finished reading the message already. 

My Brother Left his Job

Sonam excitedly agreed to work while he waited for his exam this winter. He was lucky to be employed by a private mini industry right away as a site supervisor. I envied his job; he only has to look after the labours and study his syllabus. His employer promised two months exam leave and paid him Nu.6000 for just being there. Housing was provided for free.

Sonam (left) with senior colleague at the work site
It has been over three months he has been working there and I saw my brother brimming with pride as he discussed his work stories with us during his Sundays at home. He was often taken out for lunch by his boss and it was going on so well.

But suddenly he became ill and had to come to hospital. It happened almost every week. And last weekend his back started aching bad. He couldn’t rise easily once seated. I found it out during one of my casual visits to his site. I brought him home and asked him to call his boss for leave but he told me that he had informed his colleague on the site do it for him.

Monday morning he was feeling better and I insisted him to go to work. When he called his lady colleague on site she informed him that the boss has asked him to put up resignation letter and he flatly agreed. I knew it was misinterpretation by the girl and misunderstanding by him but no matter how much I negotiate with him there was no moving forward. His ego was badly hurt.

Later that evening I found out that I was right; boss has just said he may resign if he didn’t want to work. The girl didn’t inform the boss, nor did she tell about my brother illness when the boss asked. She simply said he had gone home. It took me the whole evening to explain to my brother the right meaning of his boss’s words and upon failing to get it through I had to narrate what I had to go through as early as sixteen. He is past twenty and I am there for him but when I was struggling I had no one to help me; I was hungry all my elementary school days, at sixteen I worked in construction as labour and by nineteen I was sending home money as apprentice teacher.

Next morning he was up early and ready to go to work. I dropped him at his site and even gave my piece of mind to the girl. The boss was on his way and I didn’t have time to wait for him. I just said my brother was sick and now he is back over the phone. Toward the afternoon I was told that my brother has packed his thing, and only thing I could do was to go and get him home.

The boss it at the site then, he apologetically shook my hand and explained why he said what he had said. He said my brother was straight forward, shy and a good human being but he being a student may have bigger dreams, he wanted to resign. I thanked him for employing my brother and apologized on behalf of my brother for leaving work in the middle of the work season. He finally told me that he wanted a permanent worker, whom he could train and keep through out. I told him I have bigger dreams for my brother.

I brought my brother back and asked him to focus on his studies. I didn’t let my brother work for money alone; I wanted him to learn how life is like for a half educated man. What he had gone through this time could be his fate forever if doesn’t study well this time; throwing himself at a mercy of someone. He has set up his study table firm and was on it through out this morning. He saw his life, he wants to change it!

14 June 2010

Green Car: a car truly for Bhutan

REVA in Bhutan!
I saw the cute electric car commuting in Thimphu often and it got me wondering. Only last night’s “Jurwa” program on BBS enlightened me. I was amazed by the speed it could travel at on battery; 80 km per hour. Once fully charged it could take you 80 km far and at the end of the journey you could happily plug it up at home, without having to waste tie going to fuel pumps and never having to worry about the ups and downs of fuel price. At the top of advantages list stands its zero emission feature, car truly meant for green Bhutan.

What makes driving difficult on a regular car is the clutch and gear system, which are not there on this green car making it more attractive. Your left foot can be at rest at all times and when your right foot shifts from accelerator to brake the battery gets recharged, amazing! No noise pollution at all, which means you can sneak out of home without your children’s notice, making office going all the more easier.

But the car is small and looks like a toy, as if it was meant for kids. This external design was not taken seriously at all. You can’t help smiling when an adult drives it. Like lynpo Nado Rinchen pointed out, it should have three standard seats at the back for Bhutanese to find it practical. While Lynpo’s ideas of encouraging Bhutanese by giving incentives such as 1.Tax free 2.No parking fee and 3.Regrestration fee exemption are very bright, the car maker should reconsider its design according to Bhutanese ego.

REVA NXR- Better option!
We Bhutanese are known for showing off; we are always worried “what people would say?” It is no exception even during funerals; we want the most number of cars joining the convoy, excluding the small cars. We borrow clothes for festivals. Some pay Nu.70,000 for a dress they can only wear once a year. Santro, Alto and Maruti 800 cars are called kanchi cars in Thimphu, among the Prados and Mercedes. So the maker should make it big and stylish, money no problem.

On the economic ground, who would want to invest Nu.345, 000 in a toy-like car when we can easily buy a standard one at the same price? Of course we fail to realize that an average car consumes more than Nu.75, 000 worth of fuel and gear oil a year, which will be Nu.375,000 in five years, price of another car. While the green car can be charged for free even at your aunt’s place.

Sources of the two pictures are linked to the picture themselves. Click on them.

08 June 2010

Breast Envy

In Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual development theory there is an interesting phrase that describes a girl child’s desire for penis, and the power that it represents. This is described as penis envy. I ain’t Freud’s fan a bit; everything in his theory sounds crazy but I own a strange feeling that no word could describe, and which somehow relates to his penis envy concept. 

After I became father I started wondering why I can’t breastfeed my daughter. I shared my funny state of mind with Germaine, a Singaporean friend, who inspired me with stories she read about male breast feeding being possible in some scientific research papers. It is known as male lactation.  She gave me a few living examples including a western doctor and a Hollywood actor. I tried a few times myself but my daughter would look at my face and smile away. 

It is too much a job for a mother to carry the baby for nine months in her belly, suffer the near death experience of delivery, and still having to sooth the baby every now and then, even in the middle of night. What are fathers for? Gone are the days when fathers go out in search of food, now a days if father puts the bread on the table it is mother who puts the butter. But god needs to redesign the human anatomy. Why did he have to give both to woman after all, what if the mother passes away? Why did he have to give two little nipples to man when he had no intention of filling it up?

My daughter likes playing with me, knowing I could lift her higher than her mother do and take her places out of home. But every now and then she looks for her mother despite my hardest effort in pleasing her. When she wakes from her naps I love being by her but she would cry as if she saw a stranger, only her mother’s presence would make her smile. She can spend days without me and that makes me feel inferior. I am almost unnecessary in my daughter’s growth. If only I could breastfeed her I would feel like a complete father.

Cc: to God, for necessary action.

06 June 2010


I was dying to own a professional camera but looks like I have to wait for sometime. While I wait my friend Yam let me use his camera for about two weeks. It was like dream come true. I got plenty of great shots of my family, especially my daughter's. The following two are my first try on something different.
Caught in my Aunty's garden
Potted Flower attracts Butterflies too!

02 June 2010

World Cup verses Mid Term Exam

Of all months in the year FIFA had to choose June for World Cup finals. It’s exam time here in Bhutan, but who cares? I do. We have more football fans in our school than students. This morning the exam time table was put up on the notice board but they already have the World Cup fixture occupying their walls. Every student walks with the notion that the world Cup is bigger than exam, it happens once in four years, while exam happens every now and then.

If I were a student myself I would have already finished my revision, or may decide to ignore the league round, and enjoy finals after the exam is done well. On the other hand some are already busy putting bets. When the World Cup is over, only thing that will bring joy to a student’s life is the exam result, for Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn’t even know there exists a country call Bhutan forget about boy who cheered his every move wearing Portugal jersey late into nights.

As of myself, I have already written an application of request to my wife for the possession of TV remote during the entire world cup season. And because she doesn’t watch serials at all, I got lucky. But my worry will be residing in the next room, over his study table keenly listening to the commentaries and celebrating the goals. My son is the biggest football fan I know, and I don’t know how far his mind will be on his book during the exam.
I bet for Argentina!

Photo Source: bleacherreport.com