02 November 2013

Class Picnic

This picnic with my class was long due. They always wanted it but I was never really sure if I wanted to take 29 young kids away from home and school and cook for them and give them a day worth remembering.
A few days back they came to me with the date and shopping list and left me with no choice but to agree on it. We sat down calculated a decent cost and wrote to their parents about today, the place and time.

Because they are very young I was worrying about every little detail, from salt to pots to bus. They were counting on me. I thought for a while and declared that I am going to be their guest and that I am not going to do anything. It's their picnic and should be done their way.
Well that freed me from all the worries and for the first time I enjoyed the idea of going on picnic with my class. This morning when I reached the picnic spot they had the breakfast ready, and were already in preparing for lunch. We had a good laugh over the spoilt breakfast, the fried rice that turned into pizza, which turned out to be tasty.
They have managed over six dishes with our decent collection, god knows how they managed it and the lunch they served today could beat any hotel in Bajothang. This is the best picnic I ever had, that too on the coronation day of his majesty.

The Pose, lead by my friend Tshering Zam, and directed by Jaggu...;D
Moral of the story: If you want to enjoy kids' picnic, let them be in charge.

31 October 2013

Love Story and Real Life Story

My son is in love and he is very serious about it, which makes me very happy as a father and as a friend to my grown up son but there are some thing I want to tell him about love and life but he won't listen to me, perhaps he thinks I am too ugly to judge his love story or perhaps he thinks I am too old to understand  his way of life. I don't blame him and his school of thought. They are inspired by our generation.

Our generation, who are now parents of young adults are responsible for reshaping the culture of modern Bhutan. We were the ones who introduced love story in schools, who were the ones who experimented with drugs, we were the ones who formed gangs and popularised gang fights, and therefore now we are paying for all the wrongs.

I personally have no hand in any of the revolution in schools those days, I fought but alone, I loved but silently, and to my parents I have been the best son who gave them happiness every year and who never bothered them financially or socially. Perhaps that's why it hurts worst when my own child doesn't pay attention to my words.

I was only explaining to him a simple concept of love and life. At his age it's his natural right to fall in love and think that the world revolves around his girlfriend. At his age it's also obvious to love the song "when we are hungry, love will keep us alive." But sometimes it's foolish to wait and learn from ones own mistake, we could easily learn from others mistakes. I have seen that love doesn't keep people alive when they have nothing in the kitchen.

My Facebook Cover :(
I have met many high school lovers of our time living desperate and pathetic lives and wosres without each other, they have tasted real life and understood that their high school love wasn't enough to keep them together. I don't want my son to regret his love story like them, I want him to have a wonderful life with her and tell their children about their long love story. For that to happen they must concentrate on building the foundation of good life, which is education.

If they truly love each other and have serious intention of living the rest of their life together they should inspire each other to study harder, promise to bring great results, insist on completing homework, remind about assignment, and all the loving things that will bring them joy and seal their future.

But encouraging each other in bunking school, missing classes, ignoring homeworks, spending wasteful hours on phone and Facebook chat, and cheating parents and romancing will only bring momentary and selfish pleasure. These are recipe for a disastrous life and relationship. They will hate each other for being the reason for their failure in life.

But there is still time and I want my child to listen to me once seriously and live his love life intelligently. I also want my students and all the student lovers to decide how they want to live and love...

29 October 2013

Easy Education is Blessing

When I was growing up in village I was a hungry boy. My mother would say if I didn't return home by dusk I would sleep hungry and it happened several times. When I return home very late they would have finished their dinner. I would silently sneak into kitchen only to find the pots empty. I would cry until I fall asleep. Same punishment happened when I didn't do my share of household chores. And this desperation for food forced me to listen to my mother. I literally had to earn my food. Food was honoured as prize for being good. This is the story of hundreds of village children once upon our time.

Later when I grew up and saw life beyond my village I was up against hundreds of surprises and one that I couldn't digest was the way my urban cousins took food for granted. Their parents have to run after them to feed them, with promises to take them to town if they could empty their plate. If kids don’t eat parents get worried and fake many stories such as, if you eat you will grow strong like hulk, you can jump like Spiderman, and your hair will grow long and shiny like Barbie’s…

I just look at them and wish I was so lucky. But over time my crisis with food ended. I reached high school where we were given to serve our own meal and as much as we wanted. Gradually I began skipping breakfast and at times lunch. Then I realized why my urban cousins weren't desperate about their food. When something is given lavishly and for free we tend to take for granted. We forget to appreciate it.

Is this happening to education in Bhutan? Getting education in Bhutan is easy and free and every child’s right but unfortunately the easy education seems to be taken for granted. There is no desperation for education because desperation comes with deprivation. When I look at my students I could see the lightness with which they take school. They come to school, sit there and leave. Given the chance they would want every day to be sunday and go on picnic. They wouldn't realize the value of their right until it’s deprived. Should we be deprived of free education to appreciate its value?
"We realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way when we were in Swat, we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.” -Malala Yousafzai
I want to print the following picture of Malala and hang on the school wall so that someday our children will understand how blessed they are and most importantly learn to appreciate their blessing.
Image from buzzfeed

23 October 2013

God Don't Need No Money

The Buddha and his Buddhism I know about and I believe in doesn't talk about money, it doesn't talk about buying blessing with money, it doesn't talk about greed for blessing, it doesn't talk about blind faith, and it doesn't talk about cleansing of sin just by bathing, offering or praying. It is all about selfless sacrifices we make for others, freeing from greed and attachment, and contentment with what we have. But looks like we have made Buddha into a business model.

I am not a faithless man but what is happening in Thimphu at RAPA hall is a religious circus where they make mockery of holy relics, which they know is a magical commerce. When religion opens a shop, there is no need for advertisement and nobody bargains. About 16,000 people kept aside their sleep and hunger to see the relics and throw in their money with prayers and wishes.

Image from BBS.bt
When I look at the wild crowd of pilgrims there I see greed, greed for blessing. Everybody wants to selfishly get in the front and everybody wants to be blessed first and more. They throw in money as if blessing is up for sale, and bigger the amount they throw more satisfaction they get with the selfish feeling that they will be blessed more.

On the other hand, there was Health Walk organised to raise money for Health Trust Fund, which is the money that will sustain our free health service but how many of us contributed? How many of us contributed without criticizing the move as political stunt? Our country is in difficult economic state and if there is anybody who needs money at this time its our country, not God, God don't need money.

Image from Kuensel
Rupee shortage has been bothering us since last year, which hugely inflated food prices and also was the very cause of vehicle import ban. In such times we have to put in collective effort to reduce rupee expenditure to stabilize the balance of trade but the millions of ngultrum we collectively threw at RAPA hall in the name of God will be converted to rupee and flown back to India on top of the huge fee we paid them to bring the relics to Bhutan. God didn't take the money, it was taken to India.

When will we understand that God is impartial; God won't bless those who came there more than those who didn't come, and those who paid more than those who paid less. When you will understand that you cannot bribe god for blessing, of all the things in the world god don't need money.

21 October 2013

The Youngest Bhutanese Blogger

How young do you think will be the age of the youngest Bhutanese Blogger?
Would you believe if I told you he is a 10 year old boy in Thimphu? Well you have to.
Singye Namgay is the youngest blogger I know in Bhutan and perhaps the most unbelievable. At his age I couldn't write a sentence in English correctly and this boy is reviewing books, movies, TV series ... with utmost spontaneity and brutal innocence.
Reading his article is like listening to an adult native English speaker, with soothing transacting from sentence to another and not to mention his great vocabularies, some of which aren't yet in my dictionary. Everytime I open his blog (www.singye.bt) I get goosebumps and I can't help wonder what substance this little soul is made of.
Let me not reduce his worth with my words, his own words will show you his true worth. Visit his blog by following the link above or by clicking on the picture below, and remember I am not responsible for what happens to you on his blog ;)
Singye's Blog 

18 October 2013

After So Many Wednesdays

I began a new club in my school called eLearning Club this year. The members were recruited from different levels and right on the first club day I fed them with big dreams. I presented to them what we are going to show to the school on the last day of the club, giving them the mental picture of the annual club exhibition day.
Members who presented on the Day, there are more outside the picture.

Over the many Wednesdays we met our ideas narrowed down to small projects and we divided ourselves into subjects groups to venture out hunting for materials. I let them know that there are endless resources on internet to bank on. By the second month Rigsum has launched their Sherig Collection and we didn't have to struggle much on international materials anymore.

However, we took inspiration from Sherig Collection and worked on our own tutorial videos and audio books. Some students produced impressive maths video tutorials. But we failed on recording videos of important Science experiments, this is something we will take up seriously next year.

Last Wednesday, the time finally came for us to show what we have done in so many Wednesdays and I reflected on the vision we had. We set up a projector, two laptops and a computer connected to 42" LCD screen.
Following are the works we exhibited.

  1. Animated offline webpage, which contained all our works subject-wise. We had video tutorials, question bank, presentations,... on various subjects in website.
  2. We had a presentation on our members' blogs.
  3. We had set up a laptop as a station for the visitors to listen to the audio book recording of "Dawa, the story of stray dog in Bhutan"
  4. We had digital comic books of many short stories taught in different levels of classes, and also had print version of some of them.
  5. We had another station where we had installed Rigsum Sherig Collection for demonstration and distribution. 

By the end of the exhibition, after over 700 visitors came in and walked out with excitement I knew we have lived the dream we saw on the first day. My Club members were so happy themselves and perhaps they now know what they have to do to make 2014 Exhibition even bigger.

Kindly visit my students' blog and motivate them:


16 October 2013

How to Recover What is Lost in Gambling

Gambling is very addictive; it's easier to counsel a young drug addict out of his habit than to keep an adult gambler out of the game. Even bankruptcy can't stop a gambler. The winner wants to win more while the loser wants to recover his loss and there is no end to the race. I heard this before as a story, now I know a man close to me who is living this story I once heard.

When he came to Wangdue to join his new job he was carrying a load of money, gratuity from his earlier job and other benefits. Like a smoker finds a smoking friend even in the strangest of place, he found gambling partners even before he could locate toilet in his new home. He wanted to buy a taxi to make his after-office hours useful but by the time I knew him closely his dream has gone into someone's pocket.

It was an expensive lesson he was supposed to learn but he was a bad student, he didn't learn. He has taken several loans from friends and bank only to see another taxi dream fading on the gambling table. Now he has enough loan to pay for next few years yet hope of recovering his loss drags him back to the people who peeled him off. Every month-end he reaches home late at night with long face and empty purse, and his wife has to go into hiding to escape from house owner when he comes around collecting house rent.

He grew desperate, he was going to either learn how to cheat like many others do, or he was going to seek support from astrologer but there is no sign of him giving up. That same day, by coincidence, an elderly friend of mine came by when he was discussing his desperate measures.

My elderly friend join the conversation with excitement, because he happened to be a survivor and his saviour was an astrologer too. He is now one of the richest man in Wangdue with property even in Thimphu. My desperate company grew interested in the story of gambler, astrologer and riches. Thus the rich elderly friend shared:
"I was finished, everything that was legally mine was gone and one day my wife left too, not because I was a poor man but because I wasn't ready to leave gambling even when I had nothing left to gamble with. That was when I went to an indian astrologer and show my empty palm. The sadhu at once told me that I had a leak in my hand, and that I had finished everything. I told him, I know this part of the story and that I wish to know if I will ever recover my fortune. He studied my palm carefully and eventually told me that I will be rich again. That was the sweetest word I heard in many day.
"I at once wanted to know how and when, I wanted him to tell me what kind of pujas I have to perform and what are my lucky days. The sadhu read my palm again for the longest time and said, 'Son, there are no pujas to perform, you are destined to be a prosperous man. All you have to do is, Just leave gambling and start working'.
"That was the turning point in my life. Now I have not only recovered everything but also built so much on it. And if you truly want to recover whatever you lost gambling is not the right choice. If you go to the best astrologer, he will tell you exactly this."