Monday, August 26, 2013

Trok Trok Slippers

My daughter has always had some kind of craze for shoes. When she was a baby, she would play with shoes and slippers. When we were in the shops, she would try on the different shoes and would tell me that she wanted them. But she has never really asked for them like she did yesterday.

She has been putting on my slippers and she likes the ones that make the ‘trok trok’ noise on the floor. That is why we have the name for such sandals – trok trok slippers. I told her that I will buy her a pair of such slippers. After that, she clung on it and yesterday, she wanted it so badly that she wouldn’t even eat (she had not been having a good appetite too though). So as soon as her daddy was ready, we had to go to town. It was barely 9 a.m. We loitered around for sometime in the vegetable market and then went to Etho Metho Plaza. Luckily a shop that was just opening had such slippers. And she got them.

Oh boy, she was so happy! She put them on immediately and at home, she boasted it to everyone. When her grandma got home in the evening from the chorten, she showed them to her three times, until she acknowledged that they were good, and asked, ‘ama, haptur lepu la, ebi gi gawa?’ (Wow, it is really beautiful, who bought it for you?)

True to her words, she ate when we got back from town. She put them on and walked here and there – the more noise it made on the tiles, better she liked them. She kept a small table at the verandah and jumped several times. When I put a foot-mat to jump on, she didn’t want it. She wanted the ‘trok trok’ sound. And a few times, she even beat them on the floor with her hands, just for the sound. At night, when she went to bed, she kept them right next to the bed and started walking in them, ‘trok trok, trok trok’ again this morning. She sure is a girl! (Been reading a bit on the different genders, sexes, and the in-betweens these days).

She likes them so much that she doesn’t let her daddy touch them. She says, ‘men pa de le’ (you will spoil them). I am hoping she will not get spoilt in return – for complying to her needs. Hopefully, she will not have many things she wants with such craze.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sorry I am late

I had an official dinner, which wasn't compulsory. But I chose to go because sometimes it matters. I am sorry that I wasn't there to put you to bed. This is how you greeted me when I got home just now. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Should Facebook be blocked?

This is a question I have been asking myself for a long time now. If I knew that I couldn’t access it, I know I wouldn’t have the temptation to open it during office hours. I agree that it sometimes gives us a refreshing moment of break from work. For example, the other day I was kind of bogged down with work – somewhere in between, there was something I didn’t know, which made me stressful. Taking a break from it, I was talking to three friends in a group chat, which definitely gave me the freedom and the space to share my problem, thus relieving myself. But often, such break can stretch to an hour or more. And when it does, it doesn’t quite seem right.

Acting on this impulse and conviction, I blocked it. I tried thrice in fact. And each time, I got a call from staff asking me if it has been blocked. If I blocked a site other than FB, I am sure they won’t notice it at once, or their response won’t be that quick. They will not immediately telephone me to find out what happened. Of course I unblocked it immediately. I am sure there are other people who are debating on the same thought. I asked a few friends and their suggestion was that, it should not be blocked. They argued that it won’t disturb the work or the output of the staff because if they are given a specific task, they will have to finish it on the deadline. But my point is that, there are so many works that we have to carry out on day to day basis, that do not have a specific deadline. And when we have the choice to browse Facebook, or work, we have the tendency to choose the easier one, and thus compromise our work. Even in the case of a task that has to meet a specific deadline, we could choose not to dedicate as much time as it may require, and thus compromise its quality. I don’t really favour the idea of banning, (because it gives people more temptation to revel), but there has to be a way to find a balance in this case. Should all offices in Bhutan block it during office hours? We could do a survey and find out how much time we devote in browsing it and see how much it disturbs us in giving our best to the work we are assigned.

Monday, August 5, 2013


I have never written a post directly on my blog but I am doing it now. I know I have grown a year older today; as my friends wished me to have all my wishes come true in a healthy, long life, I couldn't help feel a little sad as well. It is not that I am unhappy that I am growing old. The feeling I am getting is something like a grace you feel in the face of a morning sun, or the tears you feel welled up in your eyes in an audience of a high lama. 

Last year I chose not to display my birthday in my Facebook profile thinking that it actually burdens people to wish me even though more than half of them didn't remember it or didn't care. But I changed that later because I realized that it actually gives my friends a reason to contact me, at least on this day and it is in fact nice to hear from them, even if it is superficial. And who doesn't like hearing from their friends? It also has a positive psychological effect on me. It makes me feel that my friends have cared to say something to me, on my birthday. But, I must confess that it may not be the day I was born. From an account of what I heard from my cousin, it seems like I was born in December, and not in August. But, it hasn't mattered to me much. I have always taken it to be the real one and thus am psychologically attached as well. Anyway, in my times and before, most parents were uneducated and they didn't keep record of when their children were born. At the most, they knew the month they were born in, in the Bhutanese calendar and it didn't always translate to the same month in the western calendar, which is used during the time of enrollment in school. 

Those of you who have wished me today, please don't feel wasted. I have always taken this day to thank for my birth, health, family and every other joy in life. And even if I do find that I was born way apart from this month and day, I will still take this day more seriously, because it is the day I always celebrated. 

Thank you everyone. When there are people wishing you good things to come in all the days to come, growing old just seems like another joyful step in life. I cherish for having come across each one of you. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Is Automobile More Important than Our Children?

The question that the presenter threw back to the audience had me thinking. Professor Martin Carnoy from Stanford University, who was the resource person for the seminar on Education and Democracy organized by the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy asked this question to the audience. It was a reaction to the advices that the Bhutanese audience gave to the teacher who was feeling lost being placed as a primary school teacher in a very remote school after completing the training as a secondary school teacher. The young teacher said, he was everything at this remote school – from sweeper to principal. While he knew that the job as a teacher would be difficult, he didn’t imagine it to be as challenging as it was, as he experienced. He said, ‘I am still feeling lost.’ There are students from classes PP to two. He takes classes PP and 1 simultaneously, which is extremely hard. Not knowing how to tackle the challenge, he consulted the parents of those children. The parents thought he should beat their children in order to discipline them. However, he did not do that.

He lamented that he was trained to teach secondary school students and not primary school students. He felt he was not dong justice to his students, feeling incapable of how to teach them, despite having a curriculum on his desk, right in front of him. It didn’t help. Then he didn’t teach at all for one whole week. He didn’t share if it got a little better after that; he concluded by saying that he still felt lost.

Anyway, to this, Dr. Dorji Tshering from Royal University of Bhutan, Dasho Neten Zangmo from Anti-corruption Commission of Bhutan, and Aum Deki Choden from Early Learning Centre told him that he should not give up. They said that he should take it as an opportunity and if he has the will to try, there will be a way. It is to this advice that Professor Martin gave an example: if your Suzuki car got a problem, would you take it to a mechanic who had not dealt with Suzuki car, saying that he will figure out a way? He said, we never do that. We actually take it to the person who knows how to fix it – who has actually done it before. That is where the pertinent question of, ‘is automobile more important than our children?’ came in. I think we should all ask ourselves this question in this day and time when education has come to be the single most important quality in life that actually helps making better decisions, and thus having better lives. We should not leave it to the chance that somehow it will happen, that a day will come when the teacher who is not actually trained for it will figure out a way. The young teacher’s another comment was that his placement was all jumbled up. I think our government should know exactly how many teachers we want at primary, secondary and tertiary level annually. Then, the teacher training institutes should take trainees according to that need. Anyway, if you care enough for your children to be educated by the teachers who are trained exactly to give them the best education, depending on their age and locality, you should make yourself heard.

This is Bhutan

I moved to Adelaide, South Australia 10 months ago. This decision was driven by my belief that family has to be together and pursuing your c...