Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Cultural Ambassador

Last night, I was You-tubing and I came across our very own Sonam Dorji, popularly Kheng Sonam Dorji. I was browsing for the videos on Mountain Echoes and I came across the videos from TED x Thimphu. I could see Sok Sian Pek Dorji’s talk on the role of media in a GNH driven society and followed by the video of Kheng Sonam. I am sorry this TED Ex program took place in Thimphu but I could only find it out last night.

I watched this video and I got moved by his presentation. The fact that music and dance has on our culture is quite amazing, as preservation and promotion of culture is one of the pillars of GNH. I have been working for the last six years in Kheng and I have heard about the popular folk song, “Bumoi Karma Wangzom”. It was after I watched this video that this popular song which is sung throughout the Lower Kheng, was composed by Kheng Sonam Dorji at the age of 15.

He embodies the real Bhutanese art and he is doing a great job documenting the folk culture of Bhutan before Globalization sweeps it from the face of the earth. Please do watch the video and I am sure you will not be disappointed. Therefore it is needless to say that Kheng Sonam can be our cultural ambassador to the world. We want more of such people in Bhutan to show that our cultural vitality is our pride. This is who we are and it should remain that way for eternity. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I ain’t Sorry

“Don't waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.”
Paulo Coelho
And this is why I have decided to explain it to my fellow bloggers. A common maxim reads, “Between the devil and the deep blue sea”! This is a narrative that talks about our common experiences and yet we hesitate to speak about it because of the fear of demeaning and defaming oneself. Perhaps this has long been there since we are still at infancy in our thoughts and consideration for others. I am talking about the word “Nepo-corrupt”, part nepotism and part corruption. 

That’s right; I work in an atmosphere where Nepo-currupts are at its peak. Some like to let people adjust to themselves never reconsidering of adjusting themselves. Some defend until death that my stand is the rightful one and no one else’s is. People were united in groups even before I joined because of their likes in attitudes and there are some who think that they are superior and above all others. One stands out and this individual doesn’t know what a ‘Hypocrite’ is. Perhaps this individual will never listen to suggestions and opinions because of the pride associated with being one of the ‘supposed’ seniors. 

And when friendship is forged, there are always eyes that look with suspicion and the ill intended gossip ensues. When goodness is showered graciously over people unintentionally, no matter how evil and sinister one may be inside, one’s reputation is intact and safe, outside. Then, good gossip ensues. And yet there are those that forge friendship for being the ‘supposed’ rich and wealthy. It’s not human values that make sense but superficial glamour. There are those who glorify time and punctuality yet be always late. 

We make professional gatherings to nominate someone worthy of the office and we conclude having agreed to the nomination made by the presiding person. (Person already made a pick). We are governed by a multitude of individuals.  If I have to answer to someone, that someone has to answer to some other. That’s why one good afternoon, just recently, that some other paid us a visit where the supposed someone got thrashed in front of us by the some other. I reside in the heart of town and gossips have reached people beyond the realm of office. At least not about me and I wonder if they talk bad of me equally to others. 

Gossips, I feel is not something about goodness but gossips of people whom you don’t know always means something terribly bad or wrong. I may or may not fall into what I described and it’s for them to describe me. I know I stand out as the only writer in the realm of our office. Again the gossip ensues. Once a mate was told by the supposed ‘someone’, “if you scratch my back, I will scratch your back”. Just imagine the modicum this inspiring someone has over his subjects. Such individual holds the office. I know there are plenty of such some ones. 

Wait a minute; you might want to scratch your grey matter and ask, who gives this man a right to comment on others? To this obvious question, let me question back, who gives people the right to gossip about others? This is perhaps scratching each other’s back. I aspire to function and deliver under a dynamic someone who truly inspires and for the numerous that I mentioned here, I ain’t Sorry!

“Gossip is just a tool to distract people who have nothing better to do from feeling jealous of those few of us still remaining with noble hearts.” -Anna Godbersen

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wangpem or Pem of Wang!

The unusual Wangpem
This time around, the local vegetables are in short supply and Zhemgang is a place where veggies are scarce unless one maintains a kitchen garden. Amidst the scarcity, I have come to enjoy all that we get locally even the wild ones. On a usual weekday, I was hunting for veggies around shops and then I met Uncle Bajay. I could only find some pepper and tomatoes. He introduced me to what people locally call it “Wangpem” as if Pem from Wang. I have tasted this before once with Lopen Kinzang at school but never been curious then. He tells me this particular plant belongs to the family of orchids. It can be eaten as a vegetable. I wanted him to make Wangpem as our weekend delicacy, to which he agreed. 
Wangpem in the wild

Wangpem is found in Zhemgang in the wild and the edible part of the plant shoots out from its roots. Pretty scary! And this strange looking part must be plucked and cooked. Then, some days later he told me to take pictures of the Plants which he has abundantly put around his house, supposedly for knowing that I do write about usual and unusual things and happenings. 

I took some pictures and agreed to pluck some for dinner. He assured me that he will cook along with some porcupine meat. This could be my second instance where I may get to eat porcupine meat. I thought it’s better to eat the meat thinking of people eating all sorts of bugs and tarantulas in National Geographic programs. 

Wangpem with Porcupine meat
But before we made it into a meal, we did some scientific research. Mr.DB Gurungs book on the Orchids mentions of no such orchid and together we sought refuge in the internet. It too turned out fruitless. If you readers have any idea, then do let me know and accordingly I will inform my friend. We made a contact to the Department of forestry in College of Natural Resources and we weren’t responded either. So this is unusual and may be this particular plant is waiting to be discovered. 

Whether I call this ‘Wangpem’ or ‘Pem of Wang’, it certainly was an experience tasting this unusual fruit of the plant. However, when tasted, it’s somewhat bitter! So, next time you see this unusual plant in Sunday market, just say, “Tshonpoen! Ani dhi Wangpem ina?” And be assured that it’s perfectly edible, if not I wouldn’t be alive to write this update in my blog…LOL!

Good day ahead!