Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Can beggars be chooser?

It’s not first time that I heard about beggars in Thimphu being not only forceful but also rude. There were instances when I heard of the beggars knocking the doors with sticks instead of hand. And with increasing number each day, it’s not only worrying to the residents but also a cause of concern for the government. Frankly I was little convinced when I heard of such stories from various sources including my cousin sister. However they were right!

Once it was my friend who stays with a relative at Thimphu (NPPF colony) and was alone at home, the owners were out to work. He heard a knock at the door. He didn’t give damn on the first knock.  Second time the knock was even louder; little frustrated, he opened the door’s latch reluctantly and he saw a man aged about fifties in ordinary gomchen’s attire. As soon as he opened the door, even without a word from his mouth, the man stepped inside the room and then started to talk. The man told that he resides at Paro Taktsang doing meditation and that he came to collect annual ration. He also boasts of so many other religious accomplishments and stories, which convinced my friend that he was really a realized religious man. He felt touched with all those brags and even though jobless himself (because he is a recent graduate) he searched his wallet and gave the man one hundred ngultrum. There was a beam in the man’s face, he could see it. But there was more to it. The man then began another round of talk that shocks my friend.

“Ja cup thuragmawamo, tshampa tong tongsangmachako” ( is there not even a cup of tea for dry throat of me, tshampa?) came the words. Believing it and feeling pity, my friend went inside the kitchen prepared a cup of tea and offered him. Then another surprise comes:
“Is there no Zaw?”
That was when my friend began to doubt if this man was even a decent gomchen? He told that he has no idea if there is anything as such for it was not his home. With much difficulty, he managed to let the man go out of the house. That evening when his relatives were home, he talked of the day’s incident only to receive some hard-to-digest words.

The same thing happened with me with the same Man! Fortunately I was along with my sister at home. The time was about nine in the morning and we were having breakfast. The door of the house was regrettably not latched. With just a murmur, (not even a clear word!) out of no where came the man. He came directly into the room and repeated the exact words he said to my friend.  That was when I became certain of the man’s identity. My sister told if I had Nu.20 or 30 to offer. The man heard our dialogue and it was surprising to hear him say that he wants at least Nu. 50/-! I had no change but he was again quick to answer about having change with him. After I gave him 50 bucks, he was inquiring if we had a cup of tea for him, immediately the dialogues of my friend echoed in my head.

With changing time the beggars also seem to have evolved and become demanding. I remember reading someone’s blog of the same incident and I realize how true the scenarios are now. So a word of caution to the residents of Thimphu; one should never keep the doors un-latched.
It’s also saddening to see the pristine spiritual religious being tainted by disguised as above. It may not be a serious issue for now, but if certain cautions are not taken, the numbers are on the rise and it will only become worse in the times to come. 

Interestingly just a week ago, I found the same man at Paro bazaar and I was wondering when does he starts his annual retreat at Paro Taktsang?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

For the first time in Air

It was about 12:30 pm, 13th October 2013, Wangchuck (Friend of mine at work) and I was readying to receive the ATR-42-500 aircraft which had gone to Bumthang at around 10:30 in the morning. I took the transit form and aircraft arrival/departure form from the rack and walked towards the ramp- commonly called as terminal. Sangay sir, a senior LAME (Licensed Aircraft maintenance Engineer) to which I was attached with was already at the terminal and was on his way back to the Hangar. He was busy on the call. I heard him say: “Was there was unusual cranking sound? Which engine is it...”

I walked behind him; I wasn’t sure if there was some problem with the aircraft but I was certain that it was delayed. I enquired him if the aircraft was grounded at Bumthang? And he said:
We need to go to Bumthang, there is Starter generator problem and we need to replace with it. There is also VVIP tomorrow and the aircraft must be at Paro by any means”
In the midst of our conversation, Mindu sir who is very jolly and straight-forward person joined us. He briefed Wangchuck and me as to what we were going to need; that we get it all issued from the store. The maintenance supervisor was informed formally we were almost ready to start our journey to Bumthang airport by vehicle. But there was transportation problem; I mean there wasn’t a good vehicle! That was when I realized about the two choppers pledged by the PDP government during Campaigns. How much it would of help during such emergency cases? Finally after various calls to the bosses, it was confirmed that the Hilux of Mindu sir was to be taken on hire.

I took pack lunch that day but it reached home as it was. I gobble up some spoons of rice and aludam that was prepared for lunch and hurried with a coat in bag towards the hangar again to load Hilux with the equipment and components that were to take. By then it was almost 3pm when we started off our journey, perhaps the longest one ad-hoc; imagine crossing five Dzongkhags in one evening, make the aircraft takeoff the next day! The worst might was waiting for us. Even more worst was when Sangay sir took the driver’s seat. The road from Dochula till Pelela is too rough and tough while the road from Pelela to Yotongla till Bumthang is small; the minimum speed was at 70km/hr. and every time there was some bumps rings along the way I was scared to hell. The normal nine to ten hours journey was reached at seven hours. It was 11:07 pm when we reached Bathpalathang airport. No sooner did we reach there than the trouble shooting began, we replaced the starter generator which took almost three hours in lamp light and tested again which was Ok; the engine was starting fine. Relieved we headed to Rinchenling Hotel at around 2:30am and took our night halt.

Wangchuck and I were to return to Paro in flight for sure; but the passengers were almost full in the morning trip and there was talk of Load penalty; so we were told to take the evening flight on the VVIP’s return journey. But in the morning again on pilot’s consent, the plan was changed and two of us were called to board in the morning at 6:30 am flight. So excited were we for it was the first time to fly in the air. The air hostess welcomed us cordially with smile. I was excited to see the beautiful valleys from 20000 ft. above the ground. Unfortunately most of the views were clouded and the views weren’t as expected. Nevertheless getting the opportunity to fly for the first time itself was pretty much an experience and I would never forget the story behind my first flight in air.


Within 30 minutes, the airplane landed at the Paro international airport. So short was the journey; the seven long torturous journeys by a normal vehicle is reached within 30 minutes thanks to Wright brothers; technology is a wonder indeed I thought.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

How can we Curb Unemployment Problem?

Bhutan is a small developing country with small population of approximately about 7 lakhs. The developmental philosophy is Gross National Happiness (GNH) which has gained so many worldwide appreciation and praise. But on the other hand, like any other developing or developed countries, Bhutan has its own share of problems and challenges. Youth unemployment problem is one of the most challenging one that Bhutan is facing and we can’t really afford to stand and stare this exponential growth each passing day. With the development of a people, society and country at large, youth unemployment is becoming a major problem which affects not only individuals, but also the society in every region. And to solve this problem, it is not only the sole responsibility of a government or agencies, non-governmental organizations or private companies or corporations, but a collective responsibility. All must go together hand in hand. Otherwise it would be too far from realizing it and the concept of GNH would be so challenging a task to be achieved. There are various factors that directly or indirectly lead to the problem of youth unemployment in any country.

Unemployment problem can be caused by the lack of necessary and required skill in a relevant field, the mismatch of the job and this is the most determining factor in our country. Every thousands of students from middle and higher secondary schools across the country and graduates from universities both within and outside the country are produced. But what is sad is the inability to absorb these passed out youths because of the mismatch of what they learned and what is required by the employer. This is the major cause of concern for Bhutan government and Bhutanese people. With number of students increasing every year, the problem will only keep soaring unless certain measures are taken care at hand.

It is so obvious to see that young people without a job for long time may probably endanger the very stability and sovereignty of a society and nation as a whole. Youths are always filled with enthusiasm and burning desire with righteous ardor. They need a suitable career to realize their dreams and aspirations. Without a decent job, a proper guidance or engagement, our youths may resort and attribute to so many social problems and lead them to embark the path of degeneration and crimes. Youth unemployment is also an unseen waste of talents and resources. Our dynamic and farsighted kings have always emphasized the importance of youths and youngsters in nation building and that they are the future of a nation, but what a waste it is when number of university graduates sits around all day long roaming the streets, gambling and has no decent career to develop, let alone seek his or her dreams.

To bring our youth to a bright future, our schools, government and youth we have our own chunk of responsibilities. The government must make sure and initiate that the universities and colleges across the country present an appropriate course (the syllabus) that is associated with relevant work experience after the completion of studies. Any company or an employer will never refuse to recruit an individual with sound knowledge of the work with fund of interest and enthusiasms. The companies and the agencies have the responsibility to offer job opportunities with deserving emoluments and rewards. And the youth themselves in turn has to do their best to become qualified and capable. There is no question that a position will be rejected if one has the most suitable talent and capability.

Rural-Urban migration is another most prominent factor that causes the youth employment problem in our country. Bhutan is still developing country, an aid dependent country and not all parts of the country are accessible to better modern facilities. People living in the rural areas without basic facilities like road, electricity, safe drinking water become an easy prey to the modern life in urban centers where such facilities are present. Young students leave in the middle of their schoolings to better life in towns and cities. People abandon their happy and secured life at home in villages, which they think are but the hardest, the cruelest and most unfortunate. They  migrate to urban areas in search of jobs and better facilities where not everyone is fortunate enough to live up to their dreams leading to not only unemployment problem but also many other social problems like gang fights, drug addiction, flesh trade and even suicidal cases at times.
To mitigate this problem, the government must have a balanced developmental strategies and programs in place; the industries must be set up in designated areas where it can retain people in and around and which can benefit people surrounding it. This is where private sector comes into picture and hence private sector must be empowered and strengthened with certain responsibilities, authority and accountability. Private sector is one of the main engines behind any developmental activities of a country and it must be morally supported and nurtured with proper guidance and regulations.

Corruption and nepotism is yet another factor that has a direct link to unemployment problem. Small and religious country like Bhutan can’t afford to have such incidents because it is too small to deceive and be deceived, where everyone can know each other within small span of time.  Corruption and nepotism is the very root creator of the difference between haves and have not’s. But ironically, corruption and nepotism seems to be rampant in our country that every day we hear rumors about recruitments being tainted and disturbed by bigwigs. Such actions deprive the rights of certain sections of society and can hardly progress as compared to those uplifted by some sort of assistance. Hence this must be curbed by legislation of strict rules against corrupted people. As proposed by good governance committee (in national council) in the recent parliament session, the merit-based recruitment and selection process must precede over social connection and there must be a mechanism to fix accountability on heads and human resource officers.

Bhutan may be a tiny Himalayan country, but it is adorned with rich biodiversity and these natural and renewable natural resources must be put into good use. The constitution of the country states 60% of country’s areas to be maintained under forest cover and therefore, maintaining this, the rest must be utilized to a good purpose. The government must come up with various small scale and cottage industries that will absorb and engage number of unemployed individuals. Otherwise what is the use of leaving such resources unutilized and then ultimately giving way to illegal utilization and transactions like the recent one at Paro dzongkhag? Bhutan can also harness various other renewable resources like wind and solar which can be a good alternative towards alleviation of living standards of middle and lower class families, an indirect way to curb unemployment problem.

We have a parent Ministry- the ministry of Labor and Human resources, which coordinate and facilitates an easy outflow of the employment opportunities in the country and which act as a bridge between the employers and the job seekers. A lot of mechanisms and programs are conducted like internship programs to gain experience in a relevant field which is appreciated and which must be continued fairly without fear or favor. There are complains and criticisms about the ineffectiveness of such programs because of the inability of ministry to take action and I am convinced that the ministry has no teeth to really put their efforts to reliable and productive implementation. This must be taken into account with appropriate solutions by the government, morally supported by public as well as the private to further strengthen its capacities with certain legislations and executive authorities to function effectively and independently.

Certain immediate measure like job fairs to sensitize and create awareness about changing the mindset of our youths take interest in blue color jobs, the dignity of labor must be increased an implemented. Certain unconventional methods of earning like betting and gambling which are done secretly in closed doors must be legalized which would reduce the exploitation and increase in taxes. The government must also support civil society organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental organization (NGOs) which takes in large number of personnel.

As stated earlier, the youth unemployment problem should not be thought of as an individual problem, it is a national (perhaps global!) problem and everyone must put their head and hands together. The employers should not too strict, seeking only the experienced ones. How can one gain experience without even getting recruited?  And the job seekers in turn should not be too choosy and think of only the incentives, because there is nothing as free lunch! One must prove that one is capable and deserving. Otherwise the youth unemployment problem will only aggravate in times to come.

PS: An essay i wrote sometime ago; credit also to Mr. Namgang for relevant help..

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A for Ama

For nine months you have carried me in shame and pain, gave birth, ate and slept with shit, walked with the pace of mine, had listened to silly insistence and nag. The list goes on….. Yes, mom you are the best. I love you and I am grateful, honored, thankful and proud. It may be a normal thing about the mother-to-child thing; like if it is not mom, who? Something like who doesn’t like their own blood, or who will if it’s not the mom? Yet the fact still remains that not all mothers are fortunate enough to be or give, likewise not all children are lucky enough to receive. What requires is the perfect marriage of a Merit, བསོད་ནམས as we call in Buddhism. In the mist of so called life, either one get lost and carried away by some unfathomable circumstances until it just become a mere name.

You may not be educated but you have given me the best wisdom that is not found in any of the books, you may not be well-off, but I have got the most expensive gift- the gift of life to treasure. I owe you so much. You have sacrificed so much for my sake and I am grateful; I know it can never be repaid, yet I promise that I will do my best as a son, as a loyal son. I know what you expect from me. It is not that expensive gold or the best attire or best food, but what is best for me; for my joy and sorrow is yours.
.
 Thank you Mom, I Love you.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Life as I see it

Source: Google
Life is not always as easy as it seems. Every one of us lives the same life, yet not all of us live in the same way, we may walk the same street, yet not all has the privilege to walk with head held high, for some of us it demands a hushed stumbling. Life may be fair on its part, yet to an individual it seems unfair and unjust. But still we are to live on! The music of life keeps on beating and we have to cope with it.

As a little kid, what do we know about life? What do we know about the hardships and hurdles, the curses and blessings, the sadness and happiness or the young and old? As the child is king, everything is in front and at hand; hardly do we realize about how much it takes to reach there. As we grow up to become a youth school going children and then into college, we slowly understand what the nitty-gritty of life is. As a young blood, we are often tempted by certain emotions and pulses which often lead to unhealthy involvements; at times we are victimized, that’s when we embark into the path of degeneration and crime. We are drenched into one-sided thinking, the narrow one and we often fail to notice what it is from the other side.

After college, we enter into the world of work; we get frustrated by the profession we choose, for the pasture on the other side of bridge is always greener, then the marriage comes in between followed by kids and suddenly the life gets stagnant! That is it, over! The unfinished and burning dreams and desire we had once come to halt and to full stop. But still we aren’t satisfied, it isn’t enough and we don’t stop it there.  We tend to seek and search and the more we get, the less satisfied we are and the greedier we become. What a sad thing?

My life in particular had been pretty exciting so far, not because I was lucky enough or the entire long journey was smooth and frictionless, but because I have been able to survive, I have struggled enough to know what it takes and what it means to live and this gives me hope, it makes me envision myself and it makes me alert. I am just beginning to have the real taste of it. It is full of tests and every rising sun gives me a chance to do new, be new and learn new. The challenge that lies ahead keeps me awake, although it often makes me sad and hopeless for it is with lot of compromises and adjustments. It often makes me pause and rewind back thinking if I have blundered or if I have traced the right path or if it will be ever same?  Life is full of ironies you know. While I am happy to have lived so far, it often wonders me and I am even scared to think of what is in store for me in the coming days (Will I be even alive?) as to how I shall tackle it and as to how I will react to those unseen comings..

In the midst of all these, I wish and pray for the best, I make myself convinced that life is two side coins and that there are always HI’s behind every Byes and dawn after dusk. That it is in the hands and head of our own to decide, do and dwell.


What do you think of your life?