Disclaimer :
This is a personal blog. Views and opinions expressed here are of author's and not intended to disgrace any religion, institution or individual. The writer(author) also admits that his views may not be necessarily same as those of others.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

11 November-Memorable celebration

Gaeddu College of Business Studies celebrated 11 November in a unique way this time. Usually, students perform cultural events-not this season. It was all about faculty and support staff showcasing their talents in celebration of Children's day coinciding Royal Birth Anniversary and Constitution day . That was great in deed. Get a glimpse of events from the following images.
(Director offering marchang)
(Dean, delivering welcome speech)
(Chief Guest Lam Neten giving speech to the audience)

(  (That's my turn: speaking in brief the significance of the children's day)

LET me begin with the question:
HOW will we feel if your children, if my children, if our children so young, so immature work as baby sitters in private homes; waiters in restaurants; mechanics in automobile workshops; conductors in transport services? What will they feel as Child laborers?
Well, today, the 11th November is important occasion not only because it is Royal Birthday or because- it is constitution day. It is in deed a day, special day, to think and ponder upon the issues related to Child Abuse and their rights. Thus, from this very earmarking of the children’s day coinciding the Royal birth anniversary, we can feel the depth of the concern our Majesty has on our OUR CHILDREN.
As we celebrate this very important occasion, it is our duty, as educators, teachers, parents, students and productive social members, to reflect on the signing of 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and identify:
·         basic human rights that children everywhere have
·         their right to survival
·         their right to develop to the fullest
·         their right to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation
·         and their right to participate fully in family, cultural and social life
Lastly,  lets together offer our heartiest greetings of prayers and good wishes to our beloved 4h Druk Gyalpo and the children all over the country for  GOOD HEALTH, WELL BEING AND HAPPINESS!!!
Karma Yezer
(Staff in action: dancing to the tune of WELCOME SONG)

(Indian faculty ready to perform their interesting dance)
(Just for the audience, JUST FOR DIFFERENT TASTE)
(Slow and steady-may be boring yet so traditional zhungdra in offering)

(All the world's stage and we are all just actors,,,,,!!!!)
(All's well that ends well: This is how we ended with TASHI LEBEY)

Friday, 21 September 2012

Human Values and Professional Ethics Workshop at Gaeddu College

Workshop on Human Values and Professional Ethics was conducted at the college from 12-19 September, 2012. The workshop was organized by Gaeddu College to generate right understanding and create harmonious living environment around individuals.

The facilitator Ganesh p. Bugaria, professor and alumnus of IIT-Kanpur, explicitly explained the holistic development and role of education. He said “the role of education is to facilitate development of the competence to live with human conduct.” The eight-day workshop covered every aspect of value concepts under: the process of understanding self (self exploration); and understanding harmony in individual, family, society and rest of the world which leads to mutual happiness and prosperity.

There were more than hundred participants who came from different agencies, nearby schools, Office of the vice-chancellor and from colleges under the university.
Distinguished guests included Dasho Pema Thinley, Vice Chancellor of the University, Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen, Secretary of Dzongkha Development Commission, Dasho Jigme Zangpo (retired Drangpoen) and Directors of the RUB colleges.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Abrupt halt on the way to OZ

Australia, for Bhutanese, is more than the fantasy world depicted in "The wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. There are lot more reasons for just dreaming of getting there. The only incident that must strike is, cyclone of opportunity, where, like Dorothy in the story, could be taken to the coveted land of Oz.

One of the opportunity cyclones for us comes in the form of AusAID awards (Literally, Bhutan gets development assistance of Australia every year; the estimated total Official Development Assistance for the year 2012-2013 was a sum of  $11.4 million). I had the pleasure this year of at least trying for that noble award even if that Good Witch could not greet me with the silver shoes (it is believed in the story that the silver shoes which the Good witch gives to Dorothy have a magical power and properties) this time. My ill luck...LOL!

My process for prestigious AusAID scholarship began as early as March: On 17 March,did IELTS Test at Kolkotta; thirteen days latter, the result(score) indicated I can go ahead with my plan. Then started filling online application after having processed passport and done with document notarization. The dateline closed on 30 April.

(Invitation letter  for interview from the country scholarships coordinator)
After waiting curiously for nearly two months came the notification on 20 June that I was shortlisted for the interview. It still gave me GREEN signal that sometime by January-February 2013, I would be in Australia. Wow! felt simply Wow!. Of the total of nearly 500 applicants, to have shortlisted itself was great success for me (I believe only somewhere between 70-75 applicants were shortlisted).

July 3, the real D-day it was. At 2:00 PM, I was in a luxurious Hotel Migmar, in front of a panel of four interviewers and after having interacted for around 25-30 minutes, I was guided to another room for written test. OOOFFFFF.....the whole process of getting to the land of opportunities was almost done by 3:00 PM. If everything could have gone well so far, Australia was not too far from my dream (but I soon realised that I failed to submit at least three original documents for verification during interview: Degree certificate-it is too big in size( I always keep it rolled), couldn't adjust in my file; Citizenship ID card-was in my wallet ; Academic referee report-The original copy was still with my referee, I just got scanned copy through mail that was accepted in online application; I simply forgot to ask for the original copy). When I was interviewed, the documents were separately verified by verifying group not by panel members. I was not even asked of those missing original documents. Will my dream come true? This question continued.
(Letter of notification stating unsuccessful result)
The question continued till the final notification. I received a letter of notification informing unsuccessful result on 30 August. After having received the notification(through email), I just stopped worrying for my dream !!!



Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Sherig Century: Reminder of the greater role of education

On 2 May this year, the nation launched and celebrated ‘Sherig Century’ across the country. This is indeed an indication of support that the education as an inevitable sector has from the government and the people. Hundred years ago, the modern education had just begun, but since then the education system has been improving consistently to come to its present stage. Thus, the celebration of the Sherig Century not only gives an opportunity to look back, all together, into those foundational days and rejoice moments with satisfaction, but also gives to anticipate the future visions at the same time.

Today, the nation has its own university; the Royal University of Bhutan was instituted in June 2003. There are community primary schools reaching every corner of the country and almost enough High schools for our youth. The literacy rate of the nation has increased by many folds. This means that education in Bhutan has come long way. Going by this standard of development, it is only agreeable that our own education system can contribute towards national development through the production and distribution of knowledge. Undeniably, the mandate and the objective of the Royal University of Bhutan, the highest learning institution, is also to: develop and provide programmes of study at tertiary education level, of relevance and good quality which will fulfill the needs of the country for an educated and skilled population, and to promote and conduct research, to contribute to the creation of knowledge in an international context and to promote the transfer of knowledge of relevance to Bhutan. Thus, these lines explicitly define our university and the educational goal.

As the nation continues to celebrate its year-long Sherig Century, Gaeddu College of Business Studies has taken initiative, just in right time, to commemorate the occasion on its own small way. The Inter College Debate Competition held on 23 May at Gaeddu College has been participated by at least four nearby colleges of the university. The participants from the participating colleges debated on current issues of ‘Rupee shortage’ and the ‘necessity of the corporal punishment in our education system’. While the result, winning or losing, matters least in such kind of academic activity, what really matters most is how we could engage ourselves and disseminate our knowledge to the people. Prior to this, the college also organized international conference on Gross Nation Happiness in collaboration with Lyolla College, India. This kind of reasoned public discourse is just one of the many ways a university can share information with the public.

This is how Gaeddu College came up with its intention to celebrate the occasion. This is how we as a member of institution of higher learning continue to improve and move forward. This is how a university as a whole develops.    

By Karma Yezer
Lecturer, Gaeddu College

Note: This article was already published in Gaeddu Voice-IssueII, a bi-monthly Newsletter of the college

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Is Buddha under my feet?

Well!,  you know what?... Today I had a class(=period) with first year students from 2:15-3:15 (afternoon).  We were discussing on types of question; actually I was introducing them some basics on "Approaching and understanding written assignments". Everything went well, until everyone in the class was fully awakened in the last five minutes. Oh! I am not saying that my students reached Buddhahood...lol. I mean they were simply unusually active.

While discussing concepts, Suddenly, I remembered a statement:  "Buddha is under my feet" which I heard when I was a Student from one of the (national) teachers. So I said to the students: " Buddha can be under our feet. Justify." (I mentioned this just to arouse their curiosity and make the class lively while they can also start to analyze and understand the concept at the same time.)

All students seemed to be SURPRISED upon hearing my statement. I could understand that;even I had the same thought when I heard for the first time. I felt that the teacher was insulting religion, and the statement blasphemous. ERRRRRRRR.... this time, it was actually me who repeated that statement(though adapted). As expected, one student even stood and said "Sir, it might be insulting to the Buddha". But any way I explained, not to take the statement otherwise. I suppose they are all convinced not to take it negatively.

Now, let me get straight to the point. These days, who walks without wearing any shoes or slippers(there may be a few exceptions in the remote corners)?. Do You wear shoes? I do. Well, you know, almost all the insoles are leather. And leather actually is the modification of animal skins. And now, if that shoes serve to keep us safe from hurting our feet, they(shoes) do more than providing security especially if one is suppose to take a dangerous, thorny path. Even Buddhas have the intention and prayers for every being not to be in suffering. Also, it is said that every being has the Buddha nature deep within. Definitely, even that particular animal, who provided insoles for our shoes would have had Buddha-nature. So, don't you now feel that, a part of Buddha (=symbolic though) is under your feet?

Or do you believe Buddha exists everywhere? above; in front; behind; besides; within yourself or so? If it is everywhere, definitely Buddha (might) can also be under our feet.
Well, my explanation would not have been very convincing. Not necessary to believe me!

Anyway, when I say these sentences, please do not read me wrong. I don't intend, in anyway, to disgrace any particular Buddhas who have already enlightened. Do not sue me for "blasphemy". If you are hurt, it would only mean that you didn't get me right. My only point is, the way shoes serve basic purpose is somehow similar to the intentions every saviour (you think your own saviour) would have.

Oh yes! Just like Osho, who wrote Zorba the Buddha replied:  "perhaps you don't understand that Buddha is no body's personal property; and Buddha is not necessarily the Gautam Buddha who you have been worshipping for thousands of years in your temples. Buddha simply means 'the awakened one'. It is an adjective; it is not a personal name. Jesus can be called the Budhha; Mahavira was called, in Jaina scriptures, the buddha; Lao Tzu can be called a Buddha-anybody who is enlightened is a Buddha. The word Buddha simply means 'the awakened one" to the Sri Lankan ambassador  to the states(who condemned Osho for writing that Book and equating Buddha with Zorba), I would also apologize if you are hurt reading this. 
By the way I am a devout Buddhist myself. I have utter faith in Gautam Buddha and his teachings. 

(You might read my " Disclaimer sentences" at the top of my blog for more apology.)
note: this was written on Friday (August 10)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Intercollege Debate Competition commemorating the Sgerig Century

On 23 May 2012 (Wednesday), Inter-College Debate Competition was held at Gaeddu College of Business Studies to celebrate "Sherig Centenary". Four colleges under Royal University of Bhutan participated in the event.

The debate session began with participants debating on the corporal punishment issue,  in national language. Royal Thimphu College and College of Science and Technology opposed Samtse college and Gaeddu Collge stating that "corporal punishment " is not very necessary to discipline our youth/students. For English debate, Samtse College of Education and Royal Thimphu College stated points supporting the statement that the rupee shortage is due to the inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the regulation system of the government while Gaeddu College of Business Studies and College of Science and Technology argued their points.

(a participant stating the points)

The judges included senior teachers from the High school (Gedu Higher  Secondary School) and media (Kuensel and Bhutan Times). At the end, Gaeddu and College of Science and Technology stood the winner for English, while Samtse and Gaeddu were declared winner for Dzongkha Debate. And the best debater for both English and Dzongkha were begged by the participants of Gaeddu College

(The Director, Mr. Lhato Jamba offering College memento to the Chief Guest)
(The Faculty Representatives of SCE & GCBS receiving Trophy for the "Best Team" from the Chief Guest )

The following is the Welcome Speech (I presented before the actual debate begun):

(Dasho Sonam Kinga speaking after the debate)
Hon’ble Dasho Sonam Kuenga, Vice Chaiman, National Council, Honble Dasho Tshewang Jurmey, member of the National Council,  Director, Deans, distinguished guests, representatives from media, members of the faculty and the students:
Very warm welcome to the Inter-College Debate Competition.

It is indeed a matter of privilege for Gaeddu College of Business Studies to host the Inter College Debate Competition to commemorate the “Hundred Years of Education in Bhutan”, in other words, to Celebrate “SHERIG CENTENARY”. Besides this, the objective behind organizing this activity is to bring different colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan closer and enhance the cooperation among the colleges and to give students a platform to participate in meaningful academic activity.

Minister of Education, Lynpo Thakhur Singh Powdel mentioned during the Second Conference on Gross National Happiness at St. Francis Zavier University, Canada in 2005 that,
“…a university is the expression of the needs of a community, a society or a nation, devoted to the fashioning of its intellect. As an institution of higher education, a university is dedicated to the pursuit and propagation of knowledge, to the study and clarification of values, and to the advancement of interests of the society and the nation at large

The Article 2 of (The Wheel of Academic Law) under: The objectives of the university states that:
The overall objective of the university shall be to provide, through the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of learning and the granting of awards, for the economic and cultural development of the Kingdom of Bhutan and to promote the cultural enrichment, personal development and the wellbeing of our people.”

It is so hoped that, through this kind of public discourse, we as a member of the university would at least help realise some of the actual objectives that the university as an institution of higher learning has. Thus we kept the theme: “Transforming Higher Education through Reasoned Public Discourse.” 
In brief, we also expect that this kind of activities would help our students gain general academic skills like: Critical reasoning; analysis; evaluation; the handling of evidence; the identification of problems and their solution; conceptualization; synthesis and creativity.

Just Before I conclude, I on behalf of Whole Gaeddu Collge family would like to once again welcome all our guests to this Inter College Debate Competition.


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Message in the devine prophecy

One fine day, on the 10th day of the 6th month in Tiger year, it is believed that the Guru Ugyen Padma Jungjey  had sent message from the south-western land of Demons to Tibet. You must have heard, and even read that message.

Well I got the message electronically. I don't remember exactly when but I saved it because I found it interesting and true at times; I suppose I had e-mail, chain-letter they say, asking me to forward to other as many as I could. And the warning, if i didn't. I hardly believed; I did nothing to have merit (=there was mention that if I did what I was asked, I would get merit). Lol...Why should have I trusted that not-so genuine message?. At least, I inquired some people if that could be really genuine, and nobody knew to be exact. But, I confirmed myself that it indeed was genuine: I saw the same message written on the rock in Paro. You can see the same message on one of the rocks, just a kilometer left from Paro College of Education to Paro dzong (bypass road,).

The following are the first few lines from the Guru's message (translated into English):

"By the power of blessing of all Buddhas
When there is peace just for a moment now
All lamas and incarnations (will) go for fame and popularity
Living (wandering) in villages, they deceive sentient being (People)
With adroit talk trick and deceptive ideas they (will) take upon other‘s
possession (wealth/property)
Instead of using wealth (collection) for dharmic cause, they (will)
cling to it with attachment
Monks will indulge in singing songs and dancing rather than
chanting prayers
Rather than engaging in virtuous acts of generosity (given alms to needy)
they will wool for ways to snatch other's wealth
Their behaviour (conduct) and costume (will) change to be that of
anti-Buddhist ( Countries of Ja and Hor)...."

Now are you shocked?
Whatever, these lines of prophecy seem to be making sense. Agreed?
Time seems to be changing, but we are again already reminded that, actually people change, the mind, behaviour and intention of people change. However, we can not, in any way generalise that every Lama or Truelku does for popularity and fame through deceit-may be we are too harsh sometimes to say, or even think that we are being deceived. Saints like Drukpa Kuenley in fifteen-sixteen century had appeared in most unusual way yet with one intention: to help liberate sentient beings. Even Drupthobs ( Maha sidhas) are said to live their own way, not conventionalised way of life.

These days, we encounter many Truelkus and Lamas with various characteristics-some very descent, some not so descent. We still pretend to have faith, devotion and trust. In other words, we have "HOPE" to be liberated. As a common, lay Buddhist we are incapable of identifying genuineness in lama/Truelkus we come across. But the good thing is, this shows our strong believe in "Koenchog sum" and desire to be a good human being. That is one reason why we are so interested in religious discourses, teachings and Lamas.

But the fact is, we might become divided-self. And this could be even very dangerous-worst of all. I mean, in the course of following religion, we could become anti-religious. Let's say: a Truelku has an extra-marital affairs, goes to karaoke, impersonate, steal what is not being offered, drinks too much,plays snooker, injects drugs and smokes. So, can we still keep our faith in him/them ? Can we still believe in religion, when the missionaries ( who are suppose to be propagating the genuineness of the religion) fail themselves to convince us?. The answer could be both: YES and No.

YES: because there are some examples who have shown odd behavior and they were still genuine bodhisatva like Drukpa Kuenley as mentioned earlier . And there is also a believe that whatever negatives they have are all due to our accumulated demerit-if we question or even think against them would only add to the demerit we already have. So, we are some how forced/obliged to have faith.

NO: because, anyone who does odd things cannot be capable of being pure, meaning there is every chance that we could be fooled by some stupids. We also have believed set of norms on how real, genuine, bona fide Truelkus/Bodhisattva/lamas portray normally. We expect them to be descent. So, the odd behavior could only breed doubts for us. 

Thus "Self-divided" we become when we can't stand on either fence. This is how we might loss our faith in lamas/Truelkus and finally even the religion; this is how we continue to live in ignorance in the ignorant world.

You might visit this link, if in case you have time.

PS: 1. This is not edited. Forgive me, if this article has any loopholes.
      2. I have no intention to hurt anyone. You might take it simply generally.
      3. Don't understand me otherwise-I am neither nihilistic nor atheist. I still have religion.


Monday, 2 April 2012

Bagdora trip

I have been to Bagdogra for several times. Each time I go there, I go with one purpose: To receive and pick up guest  professors there from (airport).

Last Saturday (31 March, 2012): I with the college driver started our journey from Gedu at around 5: 30 in the morning without even breakfast in our stomachs. No one seemed to be awake except a few college students who we came across our way jogging. It was completely peaceful. And as we travel, the morning started to cease; the Jaigaon business men were busy opening their items for the day; Rickshawalas, beggars and everybody seemed readying for their day's labour.

By the time we reached Birpara, we have already listened same songs two/three times-I started to feel monotonous. So I decided to take a short nap on the backseat of the car, of course with due permission from my friend, Anil who was driving the car. Despite the unbalanced, rough highway road, I felt asleep ( the fact is, I haven't gone for bed so early the previoust night; my friends and I were happy with IELTS result which was declared that evening-and followed a little celebration). When I opened my eyes, I realised that it was time for breakfast. We parked the car near LAMA restaurant and had breakfast there. Begun the journey to wards Bagdogra.

It was exactly 7: 00 PM when we were back to Phuentsholing . We waited for some minutes in the office of immigration department processing entry permit for Delhi University professor and his wife. We were done with it and I took them (Professor and his wife) to Peljoling Hotel for some refreshment.

 And the moment we begin to start for Gedu, we found something wrong. OH-MY-GOD!!! one tyre of the car was punctured. Had to unload the luggage and fix it in the middle of the town. It in deed was great experience.

It was nearly 10:30 PM when we finally reached Gedu.

PS: I have even more interesting experience from my first journey to Bagdogra. I was suppose to drop IIM professors till Bagdogra airport. On our way to Phuentsholing, we encountered road blockage. Had to send the car back from there. And interestingly, the professors had to catch the flight in time. Alternatives???Finally, we decided to call "Biney Travel" agent to send one taxi till the block point. HUHHHHHH....the taxi came, we boarded it and reached airport just in time.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Worthwhile Lesson

That was the great lesson. Lesson through demonstration.

"Once upon a time, Paa chu river was very clean....." She began narrating. (Well, she has come all the way from USA to see how Bhutan can turn the concept of GNH into reality, at least in the long run). And in a while, a participant came forward to help put leaves and flowers into a blue bucket which contained clean water as she(narrator) continued the story. Sighing said she "This is Pachhu during those days". She let every workshop participant stare the water inside the bucket. We could even see our own face on the water surface through those flowers and leaves-a little exaggeration here.

The story continued; some more participants came forward one by one with different ingredients. 

By the time story ended, the colour of the water was completely different from what it was at the beginning: clean, transparent liquid has finally changed over to simply murky substance. Now, it was nothing more than mixture of wastes from engines, construction sites...and you name it all. That was in deed perfect allegory, perfect lesson for GNH country which considers environment conservation as one of the important values/aspects. In Bhutan, do we really consider "Use me" dustbins?. If we do, there is no reason to see plastic covers/wrappers laying just besides dustbins to the mercy of blowing wind. Do we even heed the board saying "Washing cars prohibited along this  river side"? Instead we see increasing wastes, converting to real murky situation. You agree me? And perhaps you may be one of us contributing to the effect.

After the demonstration, that professor from NAROPA university posed the question: What would be the consequences? Who suffers?. After a short while, one participant stood up to say, " it all goes to India", with a sense of humor though. Interesting! isn't it? But the fact is we buy Indian FISH for our curry.

So, that was the unforgettable lesson I have ever learned from that two-week workshop. Let Contemplative education, mindfulness, Gross National Happiness, holistic education system, Participatory Action Research, meditation, Research Team, Coaching groups, Focus Groupsbla, bla bla be in my head, but I will not forget the "Paa Chu" story. You don't forget too!!!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

My brief reflections

Excuse me! I am sorry for not being able to update my blog.

Well!, I have had a little busy beginning this year. I was asked to involve in Post Graduate Diploma In English (PGDE) programme at Sherubtse College, Knaglung from 1 January to 1 February, 2012-Winter vacation. I was more than happy to accept the offer; I thought to myself that, it could be really an exciting and experiencing moment . And It in deed was!!!.

I spent most of my winter days at Kanglung. While there, I learned more about "non-fiction prose" than I taught to those in-service-PG students. Oh!!! Let me bring you an interesting fact here: (my)students were all far better than their tutor, experience wise at least. They have joined the service much, much earlier than I did. Any way, the fact that I have honors degree in English put me to that position. I did my part. They did theirs. At the end of the month, it was all fair.

But even after those hectic days, I had yet another busy moments at my village home. I have been there for the first time since I got my job. You imagine how that could have been. It is customary in our village that whenever someone revisits their places after sometime, neighbor brethren come to see the person. They bring with them some local products: cheese, butter etc. Not the least, bottles of ara, locally brewed wine. In return, it is always expected that they be compensated with some amount of cash, and gifts (if someone is  close relatives). I was not exceptional-same applied to me too. Only then, I realised the complications associated with our custom. It is good. And it is too bothering as well at times. Please Excuse me for what I just said ! Stayed for some days anyway.

 By then, it was almost time to return to where I belong-My work place. Yes, I reached at Gedu just in time. Everything went well: We thus begun our new academic session. But as the sessions started to begin, I was sent for GNH consistent pedagogy workshop at Paro college of Education.

The workshop was for two weeks: 15-29 February. Too long.

I would continue latter............