Friday, June 13, 2008

The World I know

What can I say that might be of interest and relevance? Let me answer this question by taking a journey all the way from the time when I was a little child just eagerly waiting to be enrolled in school to today. The most formative and influential years of my life were those which I spent as a kid. Every word that I hear and every action that I see others perform has some influence on me. That is the period where my mind is free of skepticism and I believed in everything. That is the period where I followed everything that my elders do and my peers suggested with neither the fear nor analyzing it’s effect. That is the period when I didn’t know how to discriminate people on the basis of race, sex, wealth, region, ethnicity and religion. I never prayed to God to give me the courage to speak the truth, yet I was able to speak it whether it is good or bad, but the truth. The power of reason is almost unknown, for I didn’t care whether my parents can effort to buy me toys or give me five ngyeltrum every time if I am to stop crying. I never realized that my parents had sacrificed all their needs and wants so that I can be a happy child. I hardly knew that the foods that I have refused to eat where the best that they could effort. What a beautiful life it has been without trials and tribulations, worries, fear, reason and discrimination.

When I was five years old, I was admitted to a school which is about six kilometers away from my home. I could still feel the happiness within me when I was taken to the school by my mother with a new gho with lagoue(white scarf on the gho), new shoes and socks and calling myself proudly as Dasho. I promised her that after finishing my studies, I will bring them radio, cloths, etc(I don’t know if ever I can fulfill all that promises ). What a good entertainment it used to be when I taught my parents everything that I learned in class and reciting them the national anthem. They would laugh and feel proud for they knew that I was learning something new which they didn’t know themselves. Every morning I would refuse to go to school if there isn’t any cash with me, what a burden I had been to them besides my two brothers. This is the period where I learned how to read and write ABC and ka, kha, ga, nga but I never thought that those will be the words which I would be writing to express the thoughts in my mind today.

From my sixth till twelfth grade, I went to a boarding school and the life thereafter was almost completely different than the earlier ones. I met more people from different ethnic groups, social status and regions. I used to do temporary jobs so that I can help my parents and effort my school spending. This is the period when I learned discipline, living our own life in relation to others, looking for someone who is closer to us thereby the sense of discrimination, pride, selfishness and above all the reason. It was there that I found my true identity – learned who I really was. The cocky kid on the outside, who was really scared on the inside, emerged after years as a reasonably self-confident person who was ready and anxious to enter the next phase of his life. The world that I knew earlier was just my own world, my own creation.

The world in reality was unequal, insecure, unstable and unsustainable. Firstly It is unequal because almost half of world’s population aren't part of it. A billion people live on less than a dollar a day. Two and a half billion people have no access to sanitation. A billion never get a clean glass of drinking water, forget about cooking their food. About 46 million people are living with AIDS and millions are inflected with it since the day they are born. Millions have no access to proper health facilities and education. Millions are left orphaned due to diseases, civil wars and huger. Millions search for rice while the water is boiling on the oven. Forget about the world at large, just take in the context of Bhutan. While some people can even drive their cars into the house, some have to walk days after days just to reach a road point. Some people have hardly any cloths to change even in a year while others just dump it because they don’t like the design or color. Some children cry saying that they don’t want to eat while others hardly get any. Some people leave their fields to the mercy of nature when others don’t even have a palm of land registered under their name. Some people go to United States to perform some minor operation where as some die on their bed because they even can’t effort to go to the hospital. Some parents sent their child overseas to study but some can’t sent to a school which is in their own village just because they are not able to generate about Nu.500 a year. How unequal is the distribution and how unfair is the world?

Secondly, it's an insecure world obviously because all the benefits that we share of being connected make us more vulnerable to destructive force, because we're connected. Whether it's terror or weapons of mass destruction or the specter of a global epidemic disease like Avian influenza and AIDS, which we don't yet have a vaccine or a cure. The attack on Afghanistan and Iraq by United States have had impact on all the world. Some countries loosed their income because they are highly dependent on tourism which was directly affected. Millions and billions of dollars were spent on the operation which could have been spent on poverty elevation. Thousands of civil and innocent people were killed just because they were ruled by a regime which is against the United States. The increase in the price of oil by some oil-rich countries resulted in the fall of the economy all over the world. The green house gas released by some nations are directly or indirectly effecting the world at large. The presence of weapons of mass destruction in the hand of few terrorist are a threat to the world security. The development of science (specially the war weapons) had made the world totally insecure and the human race itself is threatened. In the context of Bhutan, look at the recent several bombings carried out in Phuentsholing. The apprehension of people connected with communist party of Nepal in Samtse. Any one can become a victim of their act of violence. How insecure is this world?

And, finally, this is an unstable and an unsustainable world because of global warming, which now virtually everyone accepts as a reality. The world's ice caps on the mountains and polar regions are melting at a steady rate and the water level is increasing drastically. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), the worlds surface temperature is likely to increase by about 6.4 °C within 2020. An increase in global temperatures can in turn cause other changes, including sea level rise and changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation resulting in floods and drought. Some low lying nations like Maltese and Maldives will be buried under water for ages. Agricultural production patterns and habitat of animals and plants will be changed. And all of this is going to happen at a time when the world is already short of resources. We are cutting down too many trees, we're losing too much topsoil; we're losing drinkable water at a time when there is already a shortage. Most biologists believe that plant and animal species are disappearing at the most rapid rate in 150,000 years. Meanwhile, the population is growing from the level from 6 and a half to 9 billion people in the world, mostly in the countries least able to handle it. Bhutan is investing billions on hydropower which is the main source of income for the nation. Some small streams are already drying up. What if all the major rivers of Bhutan suddenly dries up? Hopefully it will not! The farmers in the villages are already facing the shortage of water during the summer when it is the time for the cultivation of paddy which is the main source of their food. The places which used to get snow earlier are now no longer receiving it. The productivity of some foods items are decreasing despite using more advanced fertilizers and seed variety. It is self evident and we cannot escape from the fact of global warming. How unstable and unsustainable the world we are living was?

That is the real world that I knew till date and Bhutan is not an exception to any. It is the duty of each and everyone of us to face the challenge. We must contribute in every possible way in any field, let it be in education, development, poverty elevation, etc. Since in this world, what we think and what others see us thinking matters, let us all work for the peace and security of the world at large and Bhutan in particular. We must use some of the education that we have received to deal with inequality, insecurity and sustainability all over the world and not just in Bhutan, because we are interdependent.

1 comment:

  1. You have an interesting blog.

    However, I would like to point out that IPCC wouldn't have indicated a surface temperature rise of 6.4degC by 2020. That would be disastrous but is also not possible.