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Monday, October 19, 2015

Silent Treatment



One of the most acerbic truth about getting into a very transparent relationship is when we realize that we are pushed towards the end of a friendship spectrum. At such disposal, it leads to the shrinkage of usual communication to the bare minimum creating a huge vacuum of silence. And when this silence is further silenced by silence, it becomes a beginning of an end for a small and beautiful journey of friendship, and compromises thereafter, are rarely promising. Such awkward episode in the smooth sail of friendship rather stonewalls the intimacy and the one who is at the receiving end of such cold shouldering business suffocates with incurable emotional abuse and rejections. 
 
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This demand-withdrawal pattern witnessed in the cloth of any relationship, by some marital therapists and clinicians, refer as “Silent Treatment”. It is one of the cheapest form of passive-aggressive manifestation of contempt, disapproval or discontentment because by prolonging silence, it conveys undying grievances, resentments and ignorance. When one willfully breaks the bridge of normal conversations with a malicious intent of isolating and insulating from the circle of cordial rapport, due to an involuntary resignation, the victim on the other side becomes defiant and vengeful. So, as long as it is painful for the giver to withdraw, it is even more terribly hurting for the other to accept rejections and step-mother treatment of insignificance, without really understanding the reasons of the stony mysterious silence. In this situation, both giver and the recipient are tortured and emotionally punished - one for attempting to withdraw and the other for being unable to withdraw. For this vicious cycle characteristic, few psychologists have even called it as ‘manipulative punishment’.
Silent treatment tests boundaries. It forces one to demarcate its own territory. This is risky especially for the relations written on the white paper of trusts and faith. While there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to settle the dusts of misunderstandings, it is important that both the ends come to a midpoint to make the things more transparent. In fact, both have to accept on speaking about the silence directly instead of avoiding silence with silence.           
“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained”- Anonymous.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is an act of stealing someone’s ideas or piece of work without any acknowledgement and crafting it as one’s own. It can happen either through deliberate cheating or by an accidental copying. But this theft of idea is classified as unethical and equated to be a grave academic fraud. In many countries people who violate and commit such immoral and dishonorable act are even subjected to potential legal implications. Such immoral drill of taking someone’s ideas furtively is intolerable in many parts of the world and that even a little spark of coincidence can at times ignite to a huge inferno of plagiarism row and allegations, and subsequently hit the headlines.
However, plagiarism is still one omnipresent academic epidemic that is generally witnessed and easily received in most of our educational institutions and publications. Just because there is copy and paste buttons, we take advantage of the technology to dishonestly sneak someone’s work and present it as ours. School magazines and newspapers have reportedly been the brothels of plagiarism for many of our students. And project work is of no exception. 
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The allure of plagiarism does not fade in the genes of our students. But as an educator, such practice of unlawful duplication of someone’s knowledge has a big reason to worry. Technologies that have transported the information to the doorstep of our fingertip has largely made this generation, complacent and lazy to invent their own ideas. Chronic procrastinators don’t agonize because they are highly acclimatized with the climate of accepting plagiarized work to be safe and permissible. As a result, they submit themselves to be the ardent players of systematic plagiarizers.
In the schools, in the event of doing class works, either intra-corpal (copying the work from their mates) or extra-corpal plagiarism (copying the work from the external sources such as websites or books) is highly rampant. And during publication of magazines, few switch to self or auto-plagiarism (resubmitting the work that was previously submitted).
While many of our students are aware that plagiarism is detrimental and inappropriate for them to practice, due to the silent approval of our culture, its business is still mushrooming. It is certain that in the schools, the teachers are responsible to watch this practice die young because such practice focus more on “product than the process”, but our parents at home are also equally liable for such lapses. After all, educating our youth is the shared responsibility of both the parents and the teachers, and not simply the teachers alone.

“Plagiarism is the fear of a blank page”- Mokokoma



Sunday, October 11, 2015

An Alter Ego while driving?



I am certainly uncertain whether it is apposite to tag this article, either loosely or raggedly, with the term Alter Ego.
But with the support of my immature limbs of linguistic competence, I am connoting an alter ego to a set of different behaviors demonstrated in some situations by any people. And particularly this time, in the spotlight of driving.
Having been driving to the workplace from my home on a daily dose of 14.9 miles, by now, I felt like I have neared the equatorial belt of South Africa. And at the end of this academic tenure, I will be drenched with a feeling that I conquered the journey to the world in 180 days.
Well, I am not vomiting any resentment of my life here. Ever since I learned on how difficult it is to acquire human life, I have put an end for this life of impermanence to weigh against each other. So basically I don’t equate my life with others because at best, I am reminded of a story, where a shoe-less man stops complaining about his life after seeing another without a leg. Our living has to be sustained in our own ways, as destined or fated, big or small. Hence, in my mind, this mundane observation does not stir any startling wave of inconveniency.  
But what is so bothersome is a kind of drama I witness frequently on the theatre of the highway performed by our professional motorists. Even those licensed drivers (sorry taxi drivers), who are mandated to protect themselves, passengers or pedestrians by following a set of transport guidelines overlook the traffic rules once they journey into a network, unreachable from the web of traffic cops. Due to this roadside fuss, driving in the early morning, breaking the silent virgin of the dawn is the only thing what I wish for, as I don’t suffer from any hiccups of driving wrath owing to the limited interface of other vehicles. But by evening, on my return, I would witness the identical incidences of driving transgressions on a different screens of motorway. 
A case in point, as soon as the temporary roadblock caused due to widening works is lifted, vehicles from both the directions would speedily marathon to access the highway. At such circumstances, that mandated traffic rules of vehicles moving down the hills which should otherwise hang on, in favor of vehicles climbing the higher gradient, becomes a forgotten traffic decree. Consequently, all the vehicles remain congested and jammed, almost immovable even by an inch. The only space to free from such mobbing is to fly off the cliff, which nobody would be willing. That is the time where drivers from the opposite directions would pursue to indoctrinate one another to give the way, by describing a promising heavenly space even when there is just a hell inviting gap. No drivers would accept their miscarriage of traffic guidelines, but instead argue their purpose of driving as complete urgency and exigent.
Sometimes, my wild imaginations can’t fathom the risk involved in getting thronged on our highways. Just imagine the situation getting stuck during monsoon season (but only the eyes awashed with tears can see better) on a narrow highway pitched on the mountains, especially at this time when our roads are prostituting with copious road widening works. With sharp cuttings that are landslide-inviting above, and itching baldness of cliff below, my goodness! we can almost define impermanence within that short moment even without the help of any spiritual guru. Such surreal feelings aggravate our already unenlightened mind to blame one another for ensuing a situation of a particular sort, almost trespassing on personal matters, and thereby lose our focus in solving the road problem.
But if we do not invite our ego to take the driver’s seat, immense of those minute problems can be halved or solved by manifold. This trend of wild driving is as biologically defined, undergoes silent mutation in our society today. Although, it takes place in a very subtly negligible and almost unnoticeable manner, they are yet equally deleterious and worrying.
“Take it easy driving- the life you save may be mine” – James Dean

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Green School in Green Bhutan



At one time of our educational voyage, the concept of ‘Green School in Green Bhutan’ was so popularly branded. It was the most decorated educational endeavor that glamorously pledged the Ministry of Education’s mission on educating for Gross National Happiness - an undertaking that targeted to reclaim the core objective of education.
Steered by the former Education Minister Thakur Singh Powdyel, it was in its truest sense a noble educational enterprise embedded into the bone marrow of Education Ministry to channel its drive of educating for Gross National Happiness - the brainchild of His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Because of its magnificent input of concepts, it was inspiring to learn that “My Green School”, a book authored by the ex-minister is translated into Spanish and Catalan, the Spain’s two major languages by one of the Spanish’s educator and translator. Loads of appreciations to the ex-minister for secreting pheromones of such green ideas, inspiring the little world around Bhutan to follow in tow. 

While the concept of Green School in Green Bhutan is familiar, through the lens of my limited understanding, I wanted to reiterate the rosary of its brilliant dimensions. I vividly remember once a grade 7 student who attempted English essay in the school where I worked 5 years ago wrote, “Green school is a school full of green trees and plants”, and nothing more.
Well, it’s appreciative of him though, for he knew at least one aspect of green school, i.e. Natural Greenery. In fact, Green School in Green Bhutan consists of 8 components as follows:
1. Natural Greenery
2. Intellectual Greenery
3. Academic Greenery
4. Social Greenery
5. Cultural Greenery
6. Spiritual Greenery
7. Aesthetic Greenery
8. Moral Greenery.
1. Natural Greenery
Obviously, among all the components, natural greenery is critical and crucial, in a sense that it presents the general blueprint of how the school is. It will display the natural atmosphere and largely portray the physical arrangement of the school. A naturally green school is apparently neat and clean, decorated with perennial ornamental plants and trees. It is a zone free of litters, plastics or any non-degradable wastes. It is such a natural paradise that does not tolerate any substance abuses, graffiti or junk foods. A natural greenery can promote the values like beauty, cleanliness, purity, aesthetic, naturalistic, respect to nature, love, carefulness, sense of belonging, peace, harmony, sustainability etc.
2. Intellectual Greenery
Through the intellectual greenery, we know and realize the sole purpose of coming to the school, i.e. to cultivate our mind. The fresh land of our mind should be well equipped and prepared to grow and absorb good learning, because a mind sans a good learning can be a devil’s workshop. The arms of our mind should embrace all sorts of virtuous ideas, moral values and innovative knowledge and it flourish irrespective of any seasons. Otherwise, a mind that is intellectually not challenged can largely defeat our primary goal of coming to the school. An intellectually greenery can enhance the values such as thoughtfulness, determination, purpose, readiness, confidence, attention, concentration, contemplation, usefulness, helpfulness, worth and utility.
3. Academic Greenery 
With academic greenery, one is able to appreciate the grace of ideas presented by various scientists, academicians, philosophers, thinkers, educators, poets and authors. Or else, one may not know why we should learn Science, Economics or literature, which are in fact the vast ocean of ideas. The ideas in the theories of science, the fats in the curry of literature and the brain in the skull of economics are necessary and useful in our generations to grow and get ourselves informed. So, such trend of appreciations for the efforts put in by various thinkers must be kept alive and academic greenery is one powerful gene to sustain this inheritance, for many generations to come. An academically green learners will be able a vessel full of values such as appreciations, admiration, thankfulness, respect, honor, esteem, enjoyment, pleasure, happiness, satisfaction and delight among many others.      
4. Social Greenery
As school is a niche that houses a group of educators and learners having stature of intelligence and caliber that are poles apart. It is not merely a habitat that erects numerous classrooms and playfields. A huge community is thus built, with the accommodation of diverse learners and educators. A wide spectrum of values and beliefs are shared almost every day, and useful values are mutually appreciated and practiced. The reasons of being together peacefully and dependent of each other is collectively sought and pursued. The success of anybody is a joy of teamwork while, the failure and sickness for any single individual is also a disaster for the team as well. Subsequently, with the feathers of social greenery, we fly together to confront the tsunami of obstacle that are of any magnitude. Such aspect of greenery enhances
Unity, sharing, teamwork, harmony, peace, togetherness, commonness, oneness, cooperation, tranquility, serenity and composure etc.     
5. Cultural Greenery
Culture, be it tangible or intangible, is often an expression to showcase how we are and the way we do things. These expressions are generally conveyed in the way we dress, talk, belief, pray or conduct rituals. Since culture is an entity flavored with beauty and creative dimensions, a school has to offer a platform to stage its creativity, gracefulness and uniqueness to the learners of today, who will be the custodians of our own culture tomorrow. A culturally sound learners will encompass a high degree of civility, sense of belonging and uphold social conventions. Thus, the cultural greenery will ensure that our youths practice the standard and conventional form of cultural practices on the ground of commonality and pass it green to generations manifold. Values that are often groomed due to cultural greenery are identity, personality, character, uniqueness, individuality, distinctiveness, tranquility, sovereignty, autonomy, comfort, peace and harmony.
6. Spiritual Greenery
One commonness in all the Bhutanese (being Buddhists should I say?) is that we all possess that filament of spirituality. We never belief that we are just a complete being. We are grounded by a belief that there are infinite other beings, above and beyond, superior and powerful, capable and intellectually gifted than us without whose backup can’t make us achieve and realize our dreams. Such rational thinking consciously remind us to nurse and tend the spiritual relationship and ennoble it. Spiritual greenery will help to cultivate the values like belief, relation, strength, dependence, trust, hope, faith, devotion, loyalty, sincerity, allegiance, conviction, confidence and reliance.
7. Aesthetic Greenery
An aesthetically green person will be able to distinguish clearly between the appearance and the reality. The dominance of technology has flattered this world by making ugly beautiful, dubious genuine and uncertain certain. But with the insights of aesthetic greenery, we will be able to truly appreciate the real good and beautiful, and boycott the unwanted and unworthy. By this gene, we would learn to incline our mind towards doing morally good things and put an end to engage in immoral practices. Such greenery will instill in us the values like truth, honesty, integrity, appreciation, selection, insight, admiration, adoration, pleasant, satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, and satiation.         
8. Moral Greenery.
The compass of a moral greenery can enable us to navigate the good from bad, right from wrong, or true from false before we submit our judgement in doing things. The rudder of such aspect of greenery can help to sail the boat of our mind into the sea of growing divinely charisma and noble values that are one critical trait in generating a productive citizenry. A morally green learners possess a high sense of judgement, analysis, reasoning, logic, interpretation, illumination and enlightenment.
Since school is one formal institution to foster such values into the mind of our future generations, the education we provide, must encompass such aspects of greenery. Our kind of education expects to instill those green values, generations upon generations, and let it be green forever. And the flame of this noble expectation can be kept burning for a long time only with the wick of Green School in Green Bhutan.
“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather make man a more clever devil”- C.S.Lewis

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