Sunday, June 28, 2015

The invisible killer lurking in the air

Due to the intensive development of wireless communication technologies in the world today, our atmosphere is being loaded with thousands of low intensity microwaves which travel through us at various frequencies every second. If visible, you would see that the air, be it at home or anywhere else, hosts a huge traffic of such electromagnetic radiation and we are just caught in between those waves. The sad thing is that there’s no physical boundary for these waves and we can’t see what do they do to our nervous system when they pass through our brain.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A broken promise

I must have been little more than 9-years-old and I was still recovering from the painful experience of having lost my sight. As a visually impaired child, I had been busy finding ways to adapt myself to the new environment which I had lived in only at nights. But as days piled up into weeks and then to months, I slowly began to find some comfort in my new world. My life started rolling back to normalcy as children of my age in the neighborhood resumed to play with me although I was never the same person who had played with them before. It was in Trashila in Wangdue Phodrang where we had to travel on a cable-box from Chhu Zomsa. My father was working for a company which produced charcoal. Most of the people working there were from our village in Chengmari, Samtse and hence, we lived as a small community.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Loss and grief as seen through the lens of my own personal experience

On 11th September 2005, the telephone rang and the news came of my father’s death. He was 71. At that time, I and my wife were busy preparing to go to see him in Samtse hospital where he was being treated for jaundice. We had already bought bus tickets to go to Samtse, but when the devastating news came in, I lost my world. Everything went blank in my head and I broke down in tears even before hanging up the receiver. My wife and her brother consoled me saying it’s part of human existence but even the reminder of that universal truth did not do much to make me feel better. At the time, I was attending the National Graduate Orientation Program (NGOP) in Thimphu and I was waiting for the program to end but just then, the tragedy befell me. As soon as the program ended, I and my wife rushed to Samtse to attend my late father’s funeral. My paternal uncle who oversaw the cremation had waited for my arrival to bury my father’s body.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Social responsibility and ownership: a food for thought for all

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a group of young people in a youth forum which was organized to promote services and facilities provided at the Youth Center. One of the main objectives of the forum was to attract more youth to the Center and to instill in them a sense of ownership of the services and facilities provided at the Center. I told them that the Royal Government of Bhutan has spent a huge amount of money in developing the entire infrastructures and facilities with a firm belief that they would benefit young people of Bhutan. So, I told them that all the facilities and services we provide at the Youth Center belong to them and that they must fully own them with a sense of responsibility.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Vended Poor Lass

Beauty has her way to the city misled
Where to lave in her own tears is she made;
And although equally placed among mankind is she,
So unfairly is she denied the rights of humanity.
Every human soul indeed knows pretty well
That never was she born as a plaything for public sale,
And yet I know not why is she still dragged into such a place
Where like a caged beast is she entrapped in disgrace.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A rough ride on the road to Russia

Latest FIFA Second Round Result. Courtesy: AFC.

After losing to Hongkong by 7 goals during the first game of the FIFA Second Round World Cup Qualifying match on 11th June 2015, it seems our journey to Russia for the 2018 World Cup would not be as easy as I had imagined. When our country qualified for the Second Round after beating Sri Lanka in the First Round with 3-1 total goals in March 2015, we had regained confidence in our national team and believed that they would not surrender easily. When they finally left for Hongkong on 1st June 2015, the entire Bhutanese people were behind them, showering them with wishes and prayers. But unfortunately, luck did not favor us this time despite the team’s best efforts and hard-work. Although we lost to Hongkong 0-7, I feel we cannot afford to deny the efforts put by our young Dragon Boys. I should say they played very well despite being comparatively far behind the Hongkong National Team in terms of exposure and professional experiences.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bumthang fire disaster: an unsolved mystery

Photo of fire outbreak in Bumthang. Image courtesy: Tandin Pem's blog

In the early hours of 26th October 2010, a devastating fire ravaged through Chamkhar town in Bumthang raising 66 shops to the ground and leaving about 267 people homeless for months. The fire which was believed to have started from a mobile phone shop belonging to Kuenzang Tshomo lasted for three hours before local residents, school children and travellers brought it under control. The fire started at around 1:45 in the morning when everybody was fast asleep. Two people perished in the fire and one was injured. A helper of a shop and a traveller who was on his way from Trashigang to Thimphu were among the dead. While the police could not establish the actual cause of the fire, many attributed it to possible short-circuits or negligence. But a handful of victims doubted if it was intentional although they did not have any clue who could be behind the act.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The cost of negligence in the health-care sector in Bhutan

I know that there are many good doctors and health workers in Bhutan with excellent service records. I deeply respect and honor them for their whole-hearted dedication to the service of Bhutanese people. These people are highly professional in their approach to working with patients and take their responsibilities seriously and professionally. I have met many of them in my life. I would like to say that these individuals do not only make diagnosis and prescribe drugs, but they also seek to provide corrective emotional support which is an equally important component of a healing process for the patients. You may not believe me but simply talking to them makes you feel better because their words and tone carry a magical spell. But unfortunately, not everybody in the health-care sector has these qualities. Just as the good must be followed by evil, there are people in our hospitals and health facilities who do not seem fit well to be in a helping profession, because firstly, they don’t have the heart to own the problems of their patients and secondly, they don’t have the right attitude to deal with their clients. They seem to be doing their job just for the sake of earning a living. As a health-care provider, I feel all health professionals must be able to take ownership of their patients’ concerns and provide appropriate support in a professional manner. The following incidents would explain why I decided to write this article.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A historic moment for Bhutan!

Photo of Bhutan receiving the certificate of recognition for Guinness World Record. Image source: Facebook.

With early sunlight flourishing over the hills and valleys and birds in the surrounding forests singing to the rhythm of cool breeze blowing over the trees and bushes, today is definitely a special day for Bhutan. Coinciding with the anniversary of the coronation of His Majesty the 4th King and Social Forestry Day, Bhutan has created another new page in history. With blessings from God on this auspicious occasion of Saga Dawai Duezang (Parinirvana of Lord Buddha), 100 Bhutanese volunteers have planted 49,672 tree-saplings in one hour and set a new Guinness World Record for Bhutan.

Monday, June 1, 2015

My first gift for a girl

Since 1991, the integrated education policy was introduced in Khaling to help the visually impaired children cope with sighted people in the same learning environment. This was initiated to enable the blind children to develop relevant skills and abilities to live an independent life by interacting with sighted children. As a result of this policy, we were required to attend classes in regular schools at least three days a week. I was studying in grade II when this policy came into effect. So, I went to Khaling Primary School thrice a week to study with other sighted children. It was during this time when I first met a girl who instantly became my good friend. We soon came to the end of the academic year but once again met in grade III in the following year.

In 1992, we were fully integrated into the regular schools and I had to attend classes in Khaling Primary School for the entire week. That gave me more opportunities to interact with her. We soon began sharing eatables and other things. I was only 12-years-old but I knew I was in love with this girl although I could never let her know about it. I think she also had some soft-corner for me because I could make that out from the way she behaved with me and treated me. I used to get so excited and happy whenever she was around. The intervals and lunch-breaks were the most awaited moments of joy and fun. At that time, she was the main factor that motivated me to go to school and participate actively in the class. Whatever I did, I always tried to do something that would impress her. Although I didn’t have money or anything that could be shared, I always tried to talk nice to her and remained very decent. Although some friends kept teasing us, we continued as good friends.

However, one day while chatting together in the classroom during the interval, she told me she needed a geometry kit since she had lost hers. She didn’t ask me to buy one for her but I really wished if I could get one for her. I thought that would be the best opportunity for me to prove my love for her. But the saddest thing was that I didn’t have even a single penny with me. I kept thinking about this for a few more days. Suddenly I realized that Dashain was round the corner and hoped that some Lhotsham teachers might invite me for Tika ritual during which money with flowers would be given as a symbol of blessings and good wishes. For me, that was the only viable option at that time. As days passed by, I kept praying for my dream to come true.

Soon, Dashain came and I was more excited as I waited in anticipation for at least some of my teachers to invite me. To my surprise, I and a few other Lhotsham students were invited by one of our teachers. I was extremely excited and glad to get the invitation. But my worry still remained a bit: will the money I was going to get be enough to buy a geometry kit? We were soon inside our teachers’ house, ready to receive Tika from our Gurus. After blessing us with Tika, we were handed a neatly folded paper and a piece of flower each. I knew there was money inside the folded paper but did not know how much was there. I was hurried to get out of the house and know how much money I had got. After finishing eating whatever we were offered, we left for our hostel.

I soon learned from one of my friends who could see a little that I had got Nu.15 in total. I instantly requested him to accompany me to Khaling market to look for a geometry kit. He demanded that he would help me only if I buy him something to eat. I agreed to his demand on the condition that if the cost of the kit was less than Nu.15. The we went to Khaling bazaar looking for a nice geometry kit. Soon we found it in one of the shops but sadly, it was costing Nu.15 exactly. I made the payment and got the kit but my friend was very disappointed. He got angry with me that I did not buy him anything. I begged his pardon for that and returned to the hostel.

The next ordeal was how to hand the geometry box over to the girl. I carried it with me everyday to school but could not get the guts to give it to her for about a week. Finally while coming out of the classroom during one of the intervals, I found her at her desk alone humming a song. With certain kind of nervousness, I called her name and gave her the geometry box. I immediately rushed out of the classroom to avoid further enquiries from her. I felt so relieved that I could ultimately fulfill my dream. When we met later, she thanked me for the gift and I felt so happy that she liked it. That was the first gift I ever gave to a girl.