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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Global Warming

We can do something!
One afternoon after finishing a story in class 12, we discussed the theme of the story, ‘Ethics of modern science and its impact on human lives’. The story was about a teenager who undergoes a brain transplant but the operation rather than doing well only affects the main character who undergoes the operation.  The affect is emotional damage rather than the after effects of a scientific venture gone wrong.  The brain transplant also affects the other characters who are related or involved with the main character.

So, we were discussing the theme at a broader level and talking about the effects of science on our planet and our lives. Global warming was the hottest topic that flared instantly. I said that global warming was a real threat to our survival as it threatened the very life of our planet, may be the life of our planet would end during our lifetime because the Earth is becoming hotter and the polar icecaps and the glaciers are melting so rapidly. Hearing this one of the boys sitting at the back responded immediately saying that what if rich and powerful countries could build huge freezers. Every one in the class started laughing. Thought some of his friends were laughing I could say his response was genuine and immediate. There was concern in his voice.  I asked them why it was not possible; his response was rich with imagination. There was a beauty in his response which should be realized by everyone because it is our imagination which has made many things possible.

So without dismissing the boy’s response I asked the others who were laughing to say how they as individuals can help reduce the affects of Global Warming. They thought I was angry for they were silent for some time. So, I asked them again and when I did I was happy with their response.

They put it in a very mature manner and said they can help in their own capacities as individuals. They gave me the response I expected and I was very happy to know that they were now grown-ups. I had taught some of them for four years and now to see this responsibility in them was a reward. They said, though we may not be able to build huge freezers but we can contribute and help in small ways like putting out the lights when we don’t need them, closing the tap when we don’t need water, riding bicycles for short distances, refusing plastic bags, recycling any product that can be recycled, turning one’s kitchen waste into manure,  disposing their waste in the proper places, planting trees etc. There were many responses but I can’t remember all and the important thing was I felt they will do or try to do what they said they can do.
Some may say these are the responses one can expect from class 12 students. Yes that is true but when one hears it from the ones one wants to hear from, it sheer joy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 men caught with 284 grams of hashish

3 men caught with 284 grams of hashish
Hash Possession 27 September, 2010 - Thimphu police have seized 7three men, suspected to be involved in the illegal transactions of controlled substance.

This is not the latest news regarding hash, the recent was young people in Punakha caught by police(BBS 4th Oct). Hash or also known to some as maal or to some others as Laerim has come a long way. From what I read in Dasho Kinley Dorji’s ‘Within the Realm of Happiness’, Karma was one of the first who introduced smoking hash in the country. People didn’t know what the smokers were doing rubbing the plant on their palm then. And now the story between hash and young people is growing numerous, most of the time taking the front page or making the headlines. Most tourists I hear are amazed to see the abundance of marijuana growing freely in our country.
Now, the reason why I write what I write is to support Hashish, maybe to the extent that it should be given legal status. This I would like to do by labeling hash with alcohol. When alcohol enjoys legal status why is hash persecuted. Hashish doesn’t cause any aggression in the users. On the other hand people who smoke hash only occasionally I hear become creative and imaginative. I also found out, No reports of a statistical linkage between hashish and violent crime have been published in known scientific literature; instead it has been found to generally inhibit aggressive impulses.’  Wikipedia.
One of the recent news that caught my attention was a father-in-law killing his son-in-law because the son-in-law was under the influence of alcohol and threatened to kill the whole family. He was however killed by the father-in-law in self-defense. Domestic violence results because of alcohol. We don’t hear such news regarding marijuana. So, if alcohol enjoys legal status then why can’t marijuana when marijuana causes no aggression, and no domestic violence. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dzongkha and Me, Part III

I was relived to find that he did not blame people like me who took very little interest in our national language. According to him, the national language suffered and could not develop because of the situations and conditions which were unavoidable. One key reason being the late modernization of our country. It was only in the early 1970s that modern developments started taking place in our country. Now in the tenth five-year developmental plan, our country is still not developed enough to produce goods in our country. Now, you may wonder like I did, what has this got do with the national language. According to Dasho Sherub for the development of any language, nouns/names are important but in our country since everything is imported from outside and have their own names, we need to invent new names in Dzongkhag. But, even after inventing names it is important to keep pace with the advancement that the technologies and developmental aspects are making. For instance, even before finishing a name for the CD now we have to invent a name for the thumb drive because the thumb drive is now slowly erasing the CD’s functions and its existence. Even in inventing these names we just can’t name them with what ever that comes to our mind and the reference or the basis that we keep in inventing a Dzongkha name is English. The new names have to make sense and also be comfortable to use. He also said that in the recent years with democracy setting roots in our country it has promoted our national language as it presented the opportunity for invention of new Dzongkha names or terms which were in line with democracy. The discussions happening in the parliament using the new terms promote them and the national language. I also came to know that the judiciary was and is one strong contributor in promoting Dzongkha. One eye opener to me was the realization of language used in the society dictating the societal values and thoughts. So, if we speak, write and read only English then we will become like westerners, this is what Dasho Sherub said. And when we become like westerners we are no longer Bhutanese and our identity will be lost.
But he doesn’t blame the people for taking interest in English and ignoring or neglecting Dzongkha. He said that Dzongkha did not and could not develop because there were very less factors favorable for its development. Excelling in Dzongkha did not secure a job. There are very less or no reading materials in Dzongkha. There are very less authors writing in Dzongkha.  Dzongkha teachers do not get training opportunities. And the general outlook was that speaking or writing English was superior to using Dzongkha.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dzongkha and Me, Part II

On the 24th of September my school was visited by the Secretary of the Dzongkha Development Commission, Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen. The objectives of the visit were clear as I know our national language is important but listening to the Dasho’s presentation, I came to know I never really realized how important it was to me as a Bhutanese. I had been clouded by ignorance and had been carried away by my English. How I was good and better in English had me never really be bothered with how poor I was or am in Dzongkha. I never thought about the impact it would have on my country’s future if there were more people like me. People like me who prefer to use English over Dzongkha and only look at the national language as crude and not rich enough to express ourselves.
Language in any society is of utmost importance, the language that weaves the social fabric is the identity of that particular society. With globalization in place, every country is striving to promote their identity. One should not forget one’s roots and in remembering the roots, realizes the importance of identity. This I did not know until Dasho Sherub opened my eyes. I am grateful that I did not miss his talk. Attending his talk I came to understand the initiative I should take as a Bhutanese to promote Dzongkha. The vital juices of his talk, I know I will not be able to convey in these few awkward lines but I think there is no harm in trying.
to be continued ...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dzongkha and Me. Part I

My most vivid memory of a Dzongkha class in my primary level is the Dzongkha teacher’s stick. I remember one incident in class three when our Dzongkha teacher smacked one of my mates so hard that the boy shit in his gho. I can’t forget the teacher or the painful ashen face of the boy with whom I studied for six years.  As for me I can’t remember getting any serious beatings, may be because I was always on the guard, as I always managed to copy my homework on time and struggled to memorize my text though I always received little beatings every now and then but they were not considered beating as everyone got them. I escaped the serious beatings because I managed one way or the other. I was not good in Dzongkha. In fact I hated the subject. I am not proud to say that but as a child Dzongkha period was the longest period of the day for me. I remember how the clock ticked by painfully slow. I use to pray my Dzongkha lopen would meet with an accident. I would play the accident over and over  again in my mind; my lopen on his battered Indian chetak scooter straining to make the up hill road to the school and suddenly a big truck running down out of control. There would be no Dzongkha class and it will be taken by our class teacher who use to teach us nursery rhymes.
These were my thoughts then as a child and now even as an adult my opinion for Dzongkha has not changed much. Though I feel the need to improve my Dzongkha I never actually tried. I am ashamed to say that I don’t know how to read or write Dzongkha nor can I speak formal Dzongkha though I am a Bhutanese. I was so ignorant of the importance of this language that my conscience is now tainted with guilt.