Thursday, September 29, 2016

Election Duty: Some Reminiscences

25th September

As obvious as it may seem to the readers, the recent LG Elections made headlines with voters exercising their franchise. I was deputed to one of the polling stations in south Thimphu. Khasadapchu MSS was the polling station where the largest numbers of voters (726) in Thimphu are enrolled.

The very first meal
25th of September was a wet day. In fact Thimphu was drenched beginning the 24th. In the rain, I and many others had to collect the EVM’s and other official papers before we moved to our respective polling stations. Arriving at the polling station, the hall was packed with plastic chairs and dusty floors. The first thing we did was arranged all the chairs and swept the huge floor. We then arranged a few tables for the poll day. We made our beds on the stage.

I had pre-arranged a large rice cooker, a curry cooker, some bowls and provisions for the nine of us in my team. We started cooking towards the evening. The huge hall had lots of tables besides the ones that we had already arranged. So Lopen Tshering and I arranged a small corner as dining table for the team. We ate broccoli stew, rice and boiled eggs with some pickles for dinner.

26th September 2016 

My Station
Waking up at 7 we washed our faces and by the time I woke up my security police –lopens had done preparing breakfast. After the meal, arranging of the machines and materials had to be done and this was the very reason why we had to be a day ahead at the polling station. The morning, we spent on making things ready and in the afternoon, some of us slept as we had difficulty sleeping in such a large hall.

27th September 2016

My team
Waking up early and getting ready was a mandate and after doing that we found ourselves conducting the mock poll before our team. After the mock poll, people were lining up even before 9 AM. Candidates had to be present during the mock poll but they weren’t around. A full day of voting gave us exactly 420 voters out of 726. We declared the results and reported it to the ECB and called our day off. The next day as I collected my perks for the duty, the amount freaked me out. I was underpaid. But nevertheless,  there was pleasure as well as pressure, so measure for measure, the pleasure far outweighed the pressure. 

Oh! How I missed my two little kids at home…there’s nothing like home be it under a bridge. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

What good is your Degree and Masters if you don’t have the decency to talk politely?

This morning at 10:33 am, I had a missed call from a landline number. I was in the class and couldn't hear the ring. Also, it is not expected to answer any calls while teaching. After the class at around 11:15 I saw it and made a return call. A man answered from the other end. I asked I missed the call because I was in the class and may I know who’s this? The answer came, “Ga ina mashey pa chin, ga lu call chap mo” (Why did you call if you don’t know who’s at the other end) and he put the phone down. I was like….what the heck?

Of no fault of mine I was answered rudely. I called back again and after a pretty long ring, someone answered. This time it was a lady. I told I was just asking which office is this because I got a missed call from this landline number. The lady replied saying sorry we don’t know who called but this is the Ministry of Education office. Then I introduced myself. I told her, I want to talk to the man who answered the phone earlier. She told me nothing about him. Instead she begged sorry on his behalf. You see now, one phone call  tarnished the image of people working in the MoE.

Firstly, I made a call because there was a missed call. Unmindful of being ignorant who called, I get an answer mocking me for calling. Secondly, a lady answers apologizing and being sorry for the man who answered my call. This isn’t a new thing and this ins’t the first time I am being answered rudely for no fault of mine. Why aren’t most civil servants polite over the phones? I am ashamed mentioning that I work for the MoE and people at the head office are so rude that they even don’t have the decency to be humble while answering a call.

To the man who answered my call, ‘What good is your degree/masters and exposure you got out of the training's abroad if you don’t have the decency to talk politely over the phone? You are a worm in the bureaucracy of ours and people like you eat away the hard work teachers like we put for this nation. And I am intimidated at the very fact, how did someone like you end up working in the Ministry when you don’t know the most basic of human functions-speech? Such people work for the Sherig Lhyenkhag.’

God bless us, because teachers far and wide may call to seek help but if the person speaking at the other end is like the one I mentioned, I will surely lose my motivation and faith in the Ministry for which I am working and to which I am answerable to.
The next time you say ‘Hello’, dear teachers, pray that this person doesn’t answer you! For now I have saved the number should there arise any retribution and retaliations in future.

Happy Calling Folks!