Thursday, April 9, 2009

What’s all the fuss about Christians?

The other day, I was going through Kuensel forum and I was deeply disturbed by the kind of comments people had written with regards to the 500 Christian missionary teachers coming to Bhutan.

I learnt about those teachers in one of the google alerts and I was quite shocked myself. According to the article, the teachers were invited by the education minister. They had also called upon the prime minister.

These teachers, according to the article, would come to Bhutan to teach English, Science and Mathematics in various schools.

People have written such defamatory statement against the education minister. They have openly condemned the Bhutanese Christians.

The terms used to describe Christians are so derogatory in the forum that for a moment I thought that I had committed a huge crime for being born as a Christian in this country. I even realised about the way others feel about us and the way they despise us.

Spontaneously, I asked myself a question: “What wrong have Christians done to others in the country that there is an evident hatred against us?”

Are we not humans like others? I do accept the fact that the new converts often times, over do everything but just by looking at these few people, we should not be generalised. Will it be okay for me to openly declare that all Buddhists are ill mannered and uncivilised by just taking few such people into account?

No! Right? And I will not do it because I respect all religion. It’s just a different approach that we take but eventually, heaven is everyone’s destiny.

Fine, it is okay for people to voice out their opinion but one thing that really shocked me was the fact that Kuensel overlooked in its forum management.

The comments are usually moderated. But the comments that were published in the forum with regards to the 500 Christian teachers seemed not moderated at all.

In my six months experience as a reporter and three years course in Journalism, I have learnt about the Journalistic ethics. As a Journalist or a media person, we should not be supporting anything that would create communal discord. So as a journalist myself, I don’t see any reason why such comments were published in the forum of the National Newspaper- which everyone looks up to!

The comments were not only breaching journalistic ethics but also defaming one of the most learned persons in Bhutan- Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel.

If the Christian community (though small) and the Lyonpo himself were to sue Kuensel for that matter, I am sure Kuensel would be in a thick soup! But, we believe in the saying: ‘God sees the truth but waits.’

And what happened finally? Lyonpo damned the subject as just a speculation! It was not true. These teachers had visited Bhutan but no concrete resolutions were finalised on them coming and teaching in the country. That is perhaps what we Bhutanese are quite known for- making a fuss about nothing!

Impacts of speculation on young children

I have grown up sharing a huge bed with my three sisters. Now that one of the sisters is married, I still share the bed with two of my sisters. They are still in school (and I still have no plans to get married).

I know it sounds weird but I am used to it and I just like it. Of course, most often, I wake up in the middle of the night feeling uncomfortable just to find my youngest sister’s legs on my chest and sometimes even the second youngest sister’s. It is annoying at times, especially when my sleep is disturbed but a slight spank does the trick.

My sisters wake up early as they have to go to school and though they do disturb me with giggles and sometimes quarrels, I just ignore them and go back to sleep. This morning, I woke up while they were dressing up for school as I had to come to office early.

The other day, I had carried Nu 800 in my purse and surprisingly finished Nu 400 by the end of the day just splurging on junk food the whole day.

Unlike myself, my sisters, though they are very young, are very careful about spending and it’s a shame but honestly, they are my lenders when I am flat broke.
So, I was telling my second youngest sister about how I finished the money. She first grinned at me and before she could pass any comment, my youngest sister blurted out with a sigh: “I know that you can do whatever you want to.”

I retorted, just as a big sister should, by saying: “Honey, even you will be able to do what you want in future. But for that, you will have to study hard, get a good job and start earning.”

“No, sis, that day will never come in my life,” she promptly replied.
I asked: “Why not?”

You will not believe what her response was.

“The world is going to end in 2012. I will be in just class VII at that time. So, where do I have the time to finish my degree, get a job and do what I want to do?” said she.

I froze like a person who was dropped in the Antarctic without any clothes on after hearing these words from a 10-year old.

I don’t remember what I told her next but the conversation made me think deep about the vulnerability of young kids being exposed to things that are factually incorrect.
We know that children of my sister’s age would not read newspapers thoroughly nor watch news on television. Now, the question is how do they manage to hear such speculations? Who is to be blamed?

If we dive deep into our conscience and analyse by the book, we realise that irrespective of what or who the source is, in a way, it is the media that blows it up.

I remember an article that was published in my very own paper (though it was someone else who wrote it) about this particular speculation. I never realised its intensity when it came to creating fear and worry in the minds of the younger children until I heard it from my little sister.

Through it, I even pointed fingers at myself and sulked for not being a responsible journalist myself. The incident has made me realise the important role that media plays in a society. Everyone goes by what we write, irrespective of whether it is true or not.