Tuesday, June 30, 2015

RE: Do they have what it takes to rebuild Nepal? ...in other words, coitus interruptus

Another perceptive article by Mister Bell. One bone of contention is his curious opinion that “the government and donors…deserve great sympathy and consideration”…for the very problems their coital relationship has spawned.

Heaps of profiteering on the backs of average citizens “deserves great sympathy and consideration” because...the bullies are experiencing conjugal problems (coitus interruptus between the donors and government) of how to move forward with…likely more of the same? Six decades of feeding off impoverished citizens is enough.

The Nepali people have long been without a champion, those who come to assist often end up aligning with patriarchal, ruling conservatives and the entitled establishment (with unmerited power and privilege), thus perpetuating a deathly tragedy.

With over 100,000 I/NGOs operating in Nepal, and sixty years of ‘development work’ you might imagine it to be a dazzling gem of advancement on par with Switzerland…instead, Nepal has been stagnant if not backsliding. The only thing that appears to be dazzling are the salaries, perks and lifestyle of the ‘donor darlings’ and the ruling class and government functionaries fostered by ‘aid’.

In fact, rather than receiving sympathy and consideration, the bullies themselves would do well to have sympathy and consideration for the society from which they profit, especially considering that their lucrative employment places them in the top 1% of the society that they traveled overseas to change.

The 99% have to put up with INGO bullies and the government bullies they undergird -- a government bottom feeding in annual corruption indices. Let the I/NGOs and diplomats at least consider that over half century of aid has propped up and bolstered the myopic old-guard ideology and its oppressive ways and means with lethal results.

Conservative rulers have dominated for centuries, and their leadership has done immeasurable harm to Nepal. Yet, wayward leaders and their entourage are continually able to bend the ears, minds and hearts of diplomats, donors and expats in their favor (often fueled by drinking rumpuses and banquet dinners).

The dereliction of office is tantamount to waging war on Nepali citizens. The real effects of malfeasance can certainly be as ravenous as war (e.g., sections of Kathmandu, including the Bagmati and Vishnumati rivers were post-apocalyptic pre-quake).

Is it then too far-fetched to suggest that blood is also on the hands of the ‘donor darlings’ and diplomats for abetting (knowingly or through lethal ignorance) a dysfunctional system that imperils the general population causing harm and suffering up to death of men, women, children and infants?

They have even driven many sons and daughters out of Nepal--robbed of opportunity in their motherland--to take on great risks and unmanageable loans to pursue work abroad. Frequently, they end up as slaves with no homeland representation, and on average, over thirty people die every month and their corpses are sent home in body bags.

The Nepali people don’t need to have sympathy for the bullies in government and from abroad interfering and throwing up obstacles and prolonging hopes of real change for the better.

Remove the deadweight, cancerous bureaucrats, politicians and I/NGOs and give the people the freedom to follow their own dreams with their own capabilities and efforts unencumbered by smarmy donors, diplomats and politicians.

#ThomasBell #NepalQuake #Corruption #FreeNepal 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I/NGO Bullies and Tumors They Envenom

Cheers to T. Bell for another insightful article. Donors and the aid cohort would do well to contemplate its message aimed with expert marksmanship directly at them and the cancerous government that they foster.

One minor bone of contention with the piece is the opinion that Nepal’s civil war is partially to blame for lack of development and progress.
At first blush that might seem obviously true, but is that really the correct conclusion to draw about that dynamic period of engagement?

After all, the war was incubated and fought, according to revolutionaries, to remove obstacles to development—a battle they believed was waged against patriarchal, old-guard values, corruption and oppression that have crippled the country and economy for the foreseeable past. Maybe rather than stifling development, the revolution instigated it by systemically shocking the body politic.

That said, there are few to no foreigners who have anything but discouraging words and notions about the Maoists. The popular narrative lays disproportionate blame on the Maoists. They are summarily condemned, not the least because of a very poor branding (many of Mao’s policies have been disabused, even in the People’s Republic of China) and because Nepali conservatives (dominant in the media and public and private sector) with vested interests antithetical to the rebels are able to bend the ears, minds and hearts (and clink glasses in all too frequent drinking rumpuses) of diplomats and expat crowd.

It is easy to elicit reflexive head nods of assent by criticizing the revolutionaries and blaming them for societal ills that were actually centuries in the making.

Does the author truly believe that there would have been anything but more of the same business as usual in that ten year interregnum from 1996-2006 had there been no conflict? In fact, in the rest of the article he widely and rightly condemns the status quo for misdeeds and misappropriations during pre- and post-war periods. Would the state have behaved any more productively for development without the revolution? Conversely, perhaps the revolution even put the brakes on malfeasance and graft for a spell.

The way things had been going up until 1996, all seemed on a trajectory for more of the same, essentially, more unmerited blessings for office holders and the entitled sliver of society and few to no blessings for the majority of the population. In fact, it might be contended that the war in part ameliorated an epoch of wrongdoing with regards to personal rights, particularly for women and people outside the ranks of the ruling gang.

Up to the war and still even to this day, many non-privileged groups have faced deep discrimination akin to apartheid. Conservative rulers (informed by the Hindu religion and its casteism) have dominated for centuries, and their leadership has done heavy harm to Nepal. They truly have squandered the chance to be genuine leaders and have generally opted to exploit personal avarice. In fact, is it too far-fetched to suggest that their derelict leadership has in itself been akin to a war on Nepal? Haven’t the physical effects been as ravenous (e.g., certain sections of Kathmandu, including the Bagmati and Vishnumati rivers were post-apocalyptic pre-quake).

All things considered, despite the heavy and tragic toll on life and property, the revolution at least ousted the royal crown creeping toward tyrannical rule, and a democratic republic was born. The revolution also raised useful questions including the re-drawing of boundaries within the state to be more representative. Whether all that might have happened if there had been no rebellion pushing it to a boiling point is anyone’s guess, but in my modest estimate, without taking up arms, an otherwise extremely passive people with no leverage and little say would not have effected any more change than they had for the previous centuries. What has happened post-bellum is an entirely different topic, and the Maoists certainly share considerable blame for the continued gridlock and poor administration of the state.

Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life, and keep in mind the state was responsible for more civilian deaths than the rebels, it can be argued that the revolution was a catalyst for change relative to other periods.

#ThomasBell #NepalQuake #Corruption #FreeNepal 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

RE: [Shamefully] Awkward Moment

Brilliant wordsmith Mahabir Paudyal very perceptively describes the open dirty secrets that everyone already knows about and from which lethal suffering results...Office holders and government and I/NGO administrators have for decades robbed able and talented Nepalis of a chance to move Nepal forward with their own dreams, capabilities and efforts.

The following are excerpts from Awkward Moment, an Op-Ed in My Republica, 23 June 2015:  

"Most of what happens within these agencies—such as how most things they do is limited to paperwork, how only staffs benefit from grants and assistance—remain hidden. INGOs are often manned by privileged people who are often critical of the government but defend their position or stay quiet for fear of losing their privilege."
"One doubts government ministers and donor representatives will be able to visualize these disturbing images while they are shaking hands, faking smiles, exchanging pleasantries, and serving or being served with sumptuous meals inside a comfortable hotel in Kathmandu."
"It will be no surprise if the conference ends up being a mere ritual."

#MahabirPaudyal #MyRepublica #NepalQuake #Nepal #Corruption #FreeNepal 

RE: A Small Step Forward in Nepal

What a refreshingly well-written and insightful opinion piece by an informed and talented Thomas Bell. As hinted at by Bell, an unfortunate effect of quake philanthropy will be abetting a dysfunctional government and status quo.

Wayward officials and factotums have long used their station and leverage to look after their own interests and their own kin, kith and wider entourage in a self-serving way rather than acting as proper functionaries and serving the whole community impartially. They have imprisoned Nepal in an endless bandh – a country under the thumb of its own unethical administrators and an oppressive societal structure with paralyzing entitlements.

Office holders and administrators have robbed able and talented Nepalis of a chance to move Nepal forward with their own dreams, capabilities and efforts. Poor governance has fatally prolonged development and has endowed the nation with chronic poverty and the troubles it brings of ill-health, hunger, malnutrition, lack of education, lack of opportunity, exploitation, suffering, injury, disease and premature death.

With the exception of necessary emergency relief, taking away foreign aid and intervention might be the best chance to pull the plug on cancerous politicians, cannibalistic bureaucrats and their accomplices whom aid otherwise enables and empowers. 

#ThomasBell #NepalQuake #Nepal #Corruption #FreeNepal 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Stinky Rose

I'm way way too cynical about tourist-overrun and trampled Chiangmai and the expatriate lifestyle there. The Rose of the North is truly swamped with sweaty tourists. That said, Chiang Mai can be comfortable with all the facilities tourists crave but it really is bursting at the seams and lately, loads of Chinese are streaming in to join the shivaree.

What can I say, I'm a farang 'foreigner' too.

Along with the tourist hullabaloo and general noise, the dry season air is particularly polluted here and throughout Asia. People burn debris in Asia including farmers burning harvested fields to provide nutrients for the next crop.

Monte Cristo, I need a java before I expose more cynicism.

If this overly cynical blah-blah-blah tramples your sensible senses then please don't mind. My pet peeve is when people take my humor-seeking pet peeves personally--if that makes any sense (your pet peeve becomes my pet peeve but when the God of Tourism gives lemons...then, at least, can't a joke be made about it?)

That said, if it ever gets burdensome, then please do let me know by posting a message privately or publicly, preferably with kind-heartedness, I will kindly remind you that viewing someone's blog is entirely voluntary.

I don't take myself too seriously and like to think of my half-baked ranting as truly a release valve for stuff that gets to me here and there, especially the BS that seems to be overlooked by the gazillion other visitors and clueless expats, especially so if I can be comedic about it which is my truest goal. 

However, other people, usually Brits, snatch complaints out of the jaws of my humor (perhaps it is a strain of stiff upper ribosomes in their genetic coding but Brits are especially adept at this and then reveal an inveterate condescending nature with fatuous suggestions sprinkled with fatuous humor about what I need to do to improve myself and my way of being in the world....don't feel left out, spend any time around your average self-possessed Brit and you too can receive a complimentary dose of condescension, too, and humor at the expense of others...I mean humour). In their honor, I have been inspired to note the following: If weather is fair, then I know you Brits will be around. If the weather is sour, you’ll go for suds at happy hour.

Rest assured, humor and creativity are my end game and ultimate aim even when it might seem like I am far off the target of either and on a pedestrian tangent. Regardless, both are benign, aren't they?

And please continue to view my blog with full naivete otherwise my quasi-front of seeming to know something about something about Asia and the human race in general will be exposed. Nah, I know that you, dear reader, are much more savvy than that and you humor me gently while nodding and winking at the element of comedic truth (hopefully) in it all at the same time.

#ChiangMai #Expat #SmarmyBrits

Monday, June 1, 2015

Two four-letter words make for dreadful viewing

Base + Ball = Boring for virtually all non-fans of the slow, tedious sport, especially if endured by audio broadcast. Could watching winter grass grow be more dull?

I am traveling in northern Thailand hunting out a work prospect...specialty art items to sell within Asia and beyond and that seems to have fallen through while I was already on the slow moving train from Bangkok.

I arrived to Chiang Mai, aka, 'Rose of the North' in pre-dawn hours and was looking forward to a quiet, cool (relatively cool that is-- cool here means not sweat drenched) morning walk to my guest house 45 minutes away while listening to ESPN radio live on iTunes. Unfortunately, to my benumbed morning mind, ESPN programmed or shall I say inflicted on listeners...a live baseball game-- in May no less when the season is slowly beginning and teams are not in close battles for the playoff. Just when I need ESPN the most they do this haha-weepweep. 

ESPN couldn't possibly have programmed something more repellent than live baseball in May except maybe airing on radio details of an apple pie being made live including commentary during cooking time in the oven...or worse, live bowling and golf commentary any time of year-- the most ardent sports radio listeners would be puking over their sound systems out of boredom alone.

Even if it had been World Series game seven that was on during that early morning stroll, I wouldn't listen to it live. No disrespect to misunderstood baseball fans, but that is just me. I am thinking of 'writing a letter' as people do in such horrible circumstances :)  To whom should it be addressed...director of programming for international radio in Thailand 5 AM hour Sunday morning...hehe. A simple message--baseball is never appropriate.

Actually, my limited experience with ESPN radio on iTunes had heretofore been a pleasant way to pass time while traveling...usually it's talk show guys who know in-depth trivia of sports from distant past to present day. They are interesting if not insightful with loads of guests and call-ins, and topics du jour covering everything from FIFA mis-governance to pitchers doctoring baseballs to who is a better team player/leader LeBron or Jordan, and why talented players like Harden and Iverson don't win championships and much more...yeah, sometimes the testosterone overrides and discussions digress into bar-room blather and chest-pounding but it's better than listening to the wheels of tuk-tuks go round and the sound of the blades of ceiling fans whizzing...notwithstanding baseball and baking an apple pie live on ESPN radio. 

#ChiangMai #Expat #ESPN #iTunes