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Monday, November 14, 2016

Citizen Journalism

ith an easy access to the social media and microblogging sites, majority of us chip in – either knowledgeably or innocently – in sharing the information that are of any sort and gravity.
This circumstance commonly referred as ‘Citizen Journalism’, in which every citizen engage in an act of reporting is a noble phenomenon believed to be nurtured so as to scaffold the democracy’s tongue of empowering freedom of speech. Simply put, in an environment that allows the right to speech, citizen journalism functions like a peripheral limb of a mainstream media business by opening the closed stories, bringing far close, and making the unheard heard. It cultivates the ethos of participating and involving the total citizenry which is generally failed by many mainstream media for endless motives.
Image courtesy: Click LINK
The momentum of citizen journalism is rapid and so easy to pick up. With a dawn of technological gadgets such as smartphones and video cameras, the keyboards have been more like a basement of the printing press to generate news. And as one unfurls the information on the screen of the social media, at times, it is the news which contains less meat of fact that travels at a lightning speed and goes viral. The consumers at the receiving end never bother to measure the calorie of truth it enclose but rather share the already diseased and contaminated information.
Judging by the writing ability of a person, media consumers like us, never question the reliability, validity and accuracy of the content that one posts. Unlike the trained media professionals who are bound with the standards and etiquette of reporting, citizen journalism is likely to have some dusts of falsity, inaccuracy and subjectivity. Thus, getting swayed by the citizen journalism is risky and perilous to a small nation like ours where information can hop from east to west within a heartbeat.
Under the banner of democracy and chanting the verse of freedom of speech, a lot of people with pseudonym are crafting the stories with its origin and depth of severity unknown and immeasurable. Confidential and classified materials are getting enormously exposed. Fraud, rumour and cat fishing are rampant. But as a responsible citizen, realizing what illegal offline is illegal online, we have to be media literate and diagnose the content instead of clicking like or sharing the story that is known to have even an ounce of truth. A media literate citizen would behave online as we would offline.
“I would trust citizen journalism as much as I would trust citizen surgery” – Morley Safer

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sex is Everywhere

ex is everywhere. It has noticeably invaded the public square than ever before. Music is sexually toned while the music videos are highly galvanized with sexually explicit contents. Songs postulated to produce quixotic flavor are genetically mutated with degrading lyrics that would either objectify feminism or reify the supremacy of masculinity. Advertisements and endorsements are increasingly becoming the brothels of obscenity by the growing use of immodest sexual imagery believed to elicit sexual responses and in so doing invite consumers. And almost tolerably, sex has developed itself into a language of the social media that is understood by the culture of any origin.
While sex has openly colonized practically almost every sphere of human space, it has undoubtedly remained injured after the collision of numerous existing cultural and religious taboos in discussing it within a family circle. Restrictions of these measures are highly detrimental that the adolescents are often risked to gather misconstrued knowledge and irrelevant myths from various sources that may be passed down to the generations.     
Attending the National Seminar on Combating Sexual Violence for a Better Society as one of the speakers, I have learnt that the comprehensive sexuality education has to take roots initially at our own home. When the children are bathed with the information on sexuality and reproductive health during that crucial period of transition from childhood to adolescents, its reinforcement later in the educational institutions like schools and colleges can advantage them in making healthy decisions regarding their physiological and psychological wellbeing.
The presenters of the seminar held at Samtse College of Education
Parents are accounted as one of the most reliable influential socializing agents that can shape adolescents sexual behavior, minimize sexual risks and realize the potentials of adolescents becoming sexually responsible. Empirical studies have revealed that the adolescents exposed to early introduction of sexuality education are potentially impacted with positive knowledge, sexual beliefs and attitudes, delay early sexual debut and gather skills to overcome sexual health risks.
However, despite evidences that it is imperative and beneficial, information on sexuality education is largely inaccessible and often limited to discuss within our family premises. Because it is so delicate and sensitive in nature, many parents shy away and nonetheless find it daunting. Literature has it that some parents fear of encouraging early sexual experimentation by triggering sexual curiosity if open discussions on sexuality are initiated by them to the children.
But this is not true because an early parental interventions during the adolescence regarding the sexuality education, even if the teen has not yet encountered sexual experience is worthy in fostering adolescents sexual maturity. As parents initiate sex education to their children at a tender age, when the time grows, it would be easier to extend involving the entire family members. By then, talking about reproductive issues would be a serious family stuff and nothing else. Also, parents shouldering responsibilities such as these can largely help the educators in the schools to share the responsibility in generating the productive citizens. And the productive citizens whose education is sound not only in terms of academics but as well as reproductive issues can save the government coffers in millions specifically in a nation like ours where education and health amenities are provided for free of cost.
Nonetheless, stuffs of this sort may not have been realized if Samtse College of Education financially supported by the UNFPA, Bhutan, dint offer me a privilege to conclude my manuscript and present it. Not only have I learnt a lot, my social circles expanded after interacting with scholars from RUB colleges, UNFPA, RENEW, lawyer, NGOs and the teacher trainees. So, I am immensely grateful to these institutions. Also thank you Ms. Kinley Seday for the encouragement and support rendered beyond measure. No adjective can suffice to describe the inspiration you gave me in making me travel a journey thus far. Also thank you Ms.Bijoy Hangmo Subba for the succinct and timely email correspondence.
“Parents aren’t sex education experts just because they are parents” – Pepper Schwarty.    
Dr. Sonam Rinchen welcoming the participants

Mr Kezang Namgay speaking on Buddhist Spiritual Perspective on Sexuality
Mrs. Karma Chhoden speaking on LGBTI as an Emerging Discourse in Bhutan
Mr. Ugyen Norbu speaking on Implication of Sexuality Education
Mr. Ugyen Phuntsho presenting on Prevalence of Sexual Behavior in Trongsa District.
Presenting my findings on adolescents perception on parental communication about sexuality

Mr. Jangchuk Dorji, a Legal Officer presenting sexual violence based on legal perspectives
Receiving the certificate from the Resident Officer, UNFPA, Bhutan, Mr. Yeshey Dorji
Dr. Tashi Gyeltshen during the wrap up session of the seminar

Saturday, July 16, 2016

No Longer a Safe Haven

Bhutan, globally branded as the Last Shangri-La is certainly losing some glamour to be the last haven on earth.
The tiny Buddhist kingdom that was totally isolated from the rest of the world until 1970s – not due to its rugged mountainous terrain or thick vegetation – but secluded calculatedly by the reigning Monarchs of the Wangchuck Dynasty to defend its sovereignty, is witnessing a sea of change over a wee epoch of time, particularly Thimphu, the Capital city of Bhutan.
Thimphu City at night. Picture courtesy: Click LINK
As many won’t deny, no slice of earth in Thimphu is excused from the blades of booming constructions of varying sizes and shapes, strangulating the green and serene Bhutanese niche. No section of street is exempted from a convoy of ceaseless automobiles of various brands and marque, prostituting the otherwise halcyon night and untainted oxygen. And more eccentrically, no dusk is spared from the footsteps of bellicose adolescent gangs of diverse colors and pigments which arithmetically outnumbers the pacific street canines, converging for different engagements at these odd hours and incommoding the ritualistic evening walk-goers.               
Thimphuians are certainly immune and resistant to such strange pooling of youths in the town at night I observed.
That late night as I was waiting in the parking lot for my friend who was in the night duty shift, a maroon Hilux rested its wheels beside my car. An earsplitting voice by the passengers inside followed with a thunderous applaud, supposedly indicating a triumph over a safe arrival or succeeding something. On seeing them in a squad, my timid mind which was already enduring the fever of dread and angst hearing the recent stab case due to a violent youth clash, further turned pale and cold. My posture had involuntarily shrunk to an inch size C-shape. Within a short while, I heard two loud successive smacks on my car, which further aggravated me to tremble in fear and hum the prayers even more in a fast-forward mode.
But it dint last long. As the volume of the howl by these scoundrels lowered, I gradually raised my head, only to observe 6 inebriated teens in a proportionate gender equality, heading towards the town by supporting on each other’s shoulders.     
Although that hell-like moment in a heaven Thimphu was brief by time, it has generated a lasting scar of shockwave in my mind. I immediately quitted the place and drove towards the well-lit part of the town, and inspected my car. It sustained with some bruises, possibly due to a forceful door opening after they narrowly parked beside my car.
Since I valued my life more than those material property, I thanked the Almighty for extending my dateline to register in the death logbook. Had I reacted to them instantly for hitting my car, my name might have probably appeared in the “Headlines” of the national television, or might have reserved the front pages of our newspaper or social media to earn some “Rest In Peace” comments or occupy some obituary column.
So after giving a huge sigh of relief, I murmured, these days our people don’t need a reason to get enraged, pick up a fight or stab each other.
Being an educator by profession, witnessing a wide spectrum of wild behaviors by our very own domestic kids nowadays, makes me wonder: Where are our youths heading to? What are our dear parents doing and why are our parents not able to smell the whereabouts of OUR own kids? And of course, what lucrative business does our society runs at that very late night?
While hearing the gamut of such juvenile delinquencies are one, experiencing in reality is another. The later engulfs with the hell lot fear that even if one has some genuine reasons to travel at night, one is obliged to forbid, experiencing some bitter taste of a living hell in this Last Shangri La.
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference” – Nelson Mandela


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