Monday, December 31, 2012

Monkeys on the way to Gangtok, Sikkim

If you travel along West Bengal-Sikkim highway don't forget to take an extra bag of breads, biscuits and bananas because there are many monkeys waiting along the roadside expecting something from the travelers  These monkeys are so used to staying by the roadside that they don't run away even if we shoo at them. Instead they give us expressions that clearly suggest that they want something from us. Their expectation only grows when humans get closer to them. 

They are lightening fast at dodging speedy tyres and sometimes driving is very difficult with so many of them running across the roads. Sometimes they would tease us by standing right in front of the road and running away when our vehicle gets close to them. 

One monkey was interesting. He was sitting alone. He might not have got anything to eat from anybody that day and he looked hungry and sluggish.

I pulled over and showed him a piece of orange. 

He saw it and stared for a while as though to assure that it really was an orange. 

He come over to my car. He never looked nervous. He took the orange from my hand.  And guess what he did to thank me. He showed me his-
I chuckled and pulled away before anybody in my car saw it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Youth and youthful energy: A message to all students

Dear students,
At this point of your life, you are very energetic. You are full of youthful energy. The energy within you makes you potential of doing myriads of things to unlimited extents. You always look for adventure and excitement. You really are a tremendous heap of energy.

But, what's important is, how you manage the energy within you. The way you manage your energy will determine weather you rise high or fall down. If you use it for a good purpose your energy will potentially unfold as talents and skills. When you become talented and skillful, you attain great heights in life. That brings happiness and pride to parents, teachers and the nation. The energy in you can be a powerful tool for success.

But if you misuse it, it can equally be dangerous. Remember it is easier to get into doing something bad than good. The chances of you impulsively falling in the hands of ill are higher. Then the energy within you can take you to extremes in doing bad things. That is when you become unruly, offensive, commit crimes, get into bad company, do drugs, etc. You become but public menaces. Then you become an agent of a social issue known as 'Juvenile delinquency'. 

In the recent past, there has been an increase in juvenile crimes and it has alerted the police and other organizations. In fact, they are hyper-alert of you. They have taken proactive initiatives to contain juvenile crimes. Of the many, I want to inform you one that you must know (or perhaps you already know). Recently, police have adopted 'Youth Delinquent Monitoring System (YDMS)' and even more recently they have developed 'Youth-crime history database' which records any crimes by youth and shares the information with other core stakeholders like RUB (Royal University of Bhutan), MOE (Ministry of Education), MoLHR (Ministry of Labour and Human Resource), etc. Admissions to different colleges of RUB and institutes of MoLHR will only be done after checking the 
youth-crime database. If they find any crime records against your name they will not admit you in any of the colleges and institutes. Then your dreams of pursuing higher education will be over. 

The academic year has come to an end. When you were in the school you were very good students. That was mainly because school rules and regulations; and teachers helped direct the energy within you to right places like academics, sports, learning moral values, etc. But, now that schools are nearing to close for winter holidays we are deeply worried that you might become delinquent during the holidays and that your names might go to youth-crime database.
How can you keep yourself from negative influences? Government organizations, schools and police may come up with many programs to keep you engaged in meaningful activities. Parents' advice and guidance may help you.  But of all these what is most important is yourself. And how can you do that individually? By being mindful. We do mindfulness training in schools. That should help you. Being mindful helps you contemplate on your thoughts and feelings before you take any decision. Mindfulness helps you distinguish between whats good and bad. It helps to weigh the pros and cons before you do anything. It helps you take better decisions and spend the energy within you for good purposes. 

Make your winter holidays productive and we hope to see you as better persons next year. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2012

In Pursuit of Human Excellence: Samtse LSS's first school magazine

In over 50 years since the school was established, there has not been any attempt to produce a school magazine for Samtse Lower Secondary School. Perhaps other important activities in the school might not have given room  for a school that stands out for being one of the oldest seats of learning and alma mater of many contemporary eminent figures, to embark on the idea of producing a school magazine. Or there wasn't anyone to take the initiative. 

But this year the school saw a turn of events. The school administrative team decided to produce it's maiden school magazine. An editorial team was selected from among the teachers. The team comprised some senior teachers and language teachers, Mr. H B Viswa, a seasoned teacher was the chief editor. The idea of producing the maiden magazine was regarded special as it coincided with Sherig Century or the commemoration of 100 years of education in the country. 

This month, the production team successfully launched the magazine. Although rudimentary, the magazine marks an important milestone in the history of the school. It lays foundation for producing successive editions. It opens avenue for students to showcase their literary skills. Mr. H,B Viswa said that it will be published annually and he hopes the magazine to get better in the following years.

As the school is an alma mater of the reigning Education Minister, Lyenpo Thakhur Singh Powdyel, the magazine enjoys the privilege of having a message from Lyenpo. Despite busy schedule Lyenpo has spared time and mind to write a message in the magazine. He reminisces about his days in the school, pays tribute to some of his 'learned teachers' and informs how his 'dear alma mater' was a 'regular theatre of literary, dramatic, cultural, social and community activities'.

The content of the magazine is essentially a compilation of students' literary fortes in the form of  essays, stories, jokes, poems both in Dzongkha and English.

As I read the magazine, to my surprise I found an article written by my daughter. She had written it while I was away overseas studying. It read-

I miss you, father!

Father when are you coming home? I miss you very much. Yesterday mummy showed me your photo and when i looked at it I cried a lot. When Mummy saw me crying, she cried too. 

Father come home soon. I want to hold your hand and walk with you. Father you told me to be good girl at home and at school. I will do that. Father I miss you.

Pema Tshoki Yangzom, I D 

Samtse Lower Secondary school is very close to Samtse Higher Secondary school, the school where I currently work. They are separated only by a road. Prior to my placement to Samtse HSS, I worked in Samtse LSS for a year and half. It really was a 'seat of learning'. As a greenhorn teacher I gained a lot of experiences from the school.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My younger daughter turned 4

My younger daughter (Sonam Choki Dema) turned four today. Few days back she insisted me on arranging a celebration on her birthday. I had to scratch my head but I couldn't turn down her plea. Kids get excited of birthday parties. They enjoy eating cake, sweets, singing birthday song and dancing. So my wife and I promised her a  simple one. We planned to invite her neighboring friends and make the night for her. But we felt sorry for not being able to afford her a grand one. 

Wishes and Messages: Apa, Mummy and Sister wish you a very happy birthday. May God bless you. You have come to us as a special gift. We love you so much.
There is special message from your sister. She requests you not to pull her hair when two of you fall out. She says she is no-match for your deft hands. She wants you to try something other than pulling  her hair. 

But Apa and Mummy want two of you to be best siblings. No fights. Don't yank anything from each other but share. We want two of you to love, care each other and stay safe.