Friday, August 27, 2010

NEPAL in their eyes

He would just have known as much about Nepal as he would get by typing "Nepal" in the Google. Moreover, rarely read news in the newspapers also had accentuated more of an abject image of Nepal than the prosperous one in his grey matter. "What would be the real Nepal?"—the lad, who has already returned to Hong Kong from Nepal, pondered on such questions some weeks ago. He got a very different experience than he had presumed. He was saying, "Really, once is not enough for Nepal."

But neither was Timothy Lau Tin Ching the only one to visit Nepal, nor was their mission a jaunt. They wanted to know about children and women of Nepal by encountering them in people on their own. They were 25 young people in a team of UNICEF, Hong Kong, who are having a 3-month summer holidays these days. They often raise funds in these long vacations and occasionally during other times conducting various programs in Hong Kong and dispatch them to the UNICEF. This is also why they were in Nepal – to directly observe how the money sent by UNICEF, a part of which is contributed by them, is being utilized. Moreover, these selected youths will also suggest policies for children's promising futures based on their observations.

"I considered Nepal a fully tourist site," said a member of the team Napoleon Wong, sharing the conjecture he had beforehand, "but no longer had we dropped at the airport did the pollution victimized us." On top of that, when too many of them were stuffed in a cab, they planted a bad first impression of Nepal in their minds. But when they got to their study site Dhulikhel of Kavre district, they felt as if in their fantasies. He yelled in delight from within the vehicle, "Can this be real ?" His fellows were busy in their own world clicking the shutter releases of their cameras. Hong Kong had not had such high hills. Besides, the life that relished in the multi-storied buildings and rooms and the internet got rare opportunities of natural pleasure.

"While Nepal is affluent in natural resources, we are depressed finding it impoverished in everything else," Samuel Ho Chung Sum, a grade 11 student of Diocesan Boys’ School said, "Even though, we found that many constructive programs have been launched in villages." According to them, the independent works of women and children in the villages are quite exemplary. "Whatsoever external aid might there be, there are many cases in hand where problems remain the same due to the inactivity of local people," they say, "The works independently carried out by women groups and children here championing for their rights are lessons for the entire world." Also, the "paralegal committees" formed to solve the minor conflicts within the village in mutual concord compelled them to think of their own country where the culture of taking trivial matters into the court is mounting. He says, "Though developed, our nation is facing increasing violence as such commendable practices lack there."

They say that the teacher-student relationship is not as sound in Hong Kong as in Nepal. The students here highly yearn to learn from teachers," says Jack Law Chenk Wan after visiting some schools, "perhaps because teachers are everything here." On the other hand, access to plethora of other means (like internet, library, and televisions) to read in Hong Kong is perhaps the reason the teachers are not that revered.   "The students here greet the teachers, and accomplish the assigned work in time," added Jack with moving his eyes around in the ground, "They just need opportunities to advance.” According to him, the ruling problem of young people in the developed cities is "frustration". "We learned to worry about our future since our very infancy, so are unhappy," said he, "here they teach students to be content on their possessions, and such children ultimately evolve as ingenious ones.

The scenes of children carrying the waste, begging, collecting fares and clutching the vehicles' doors, and doing similar chores displeased them the most. Alecia Ng says, "Every nation has disabled and helpless children and orphans, but despite the fact, we have to save them from the jobs that make their futures even more ruined." She will address this issue as soon as she returns back Hong Kong. But they consider that the Nepalese youths gradually being involved in family's decision-making and putting forth their notions is a lofty achievement. They had a big talk on the same matter with the fellow peer-educationalists of Kavre's Methinkot. A local high school student Sangita Chaulagain questioned them, "What would you do if your parents arranged your marriage with someone whom you don't like?" Each of them girls told easily, "I would tell my parents that I would marry the one I like." Every Nepalese counterpart, when posed the same question, said, "I would tell my parents that I would not marry the one I don't like."  It seems that the concept of choosing the partners oneself is still deemed  a felony here in Nepal," they wished in a united voice- "Let the one capable of saying 'I won't marry one I don't like' at present be capable of saying 'I will choose my partner myself' very soon." J

Click here for its e-paper link in Nepali which was published on KANTIPUR

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