Himalayan magazine

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An item in the Himalaya Mediafile column of Himal's Sep/Oct 1994 issue refers to an article in the Calcutta Telegraph alleging that Dr. Michael van Walt and myself have helped Mr. T. Muivah of the NSCN to establish links with the United National Conference on Indigenous People, Just for the record, I would like to categorically state that as far as lam concerned I have never even met Mr. Muivah nor any of his associates at any time.

The Telegraph has been misinformed and I would not be surprised that this act of disinformation was done on purpose by certain vested interests. I read Himal faithfully and find it very informative. I do hope that you will verify stories you carry in the future, in order to maintain the integrity of your journal.

Lodi G. Gyari

Special Envoy of

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Washington DC

fielders are tnytteid to comment, criticise or a^Cto iRtenaBon afid' ^pinions appearing in Hi ma I. Letts r s should be'briefj: toffte point and ma/

be edited. Letters which are unsigned : and/or without addresses will not be

entertained, include daytime tele­phone number, if possible.

email;hirnal@mqsnepaJ.8rnet in. .= :■:

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H1MAL January/February 1995 51

Abominably Yours,


he visa form was fairly straightforward. I filled out Name, Date and Place of Birth, Passport Number, Sex. But then came Race. That put me (as perplexed yaks say here in the Upper Barun) in the homs of a dilemma. Some fellow Bangkok-bound Himalayan hominoids were equally flummoxed: what kkjs their Race? One of them put down: Human. Another chuckled as he wrote: Marathon.

Not since African migrant workers chained to the lower decks of transatlantic sailboats filled disembarkation forms have race and creed been such a strong criteria to choose those who can or cannot cross national frontiers.


Obinna Okonkwo

Place of Birth: Ferkessedougou Destination Port: Baton Rouge, Louisiana Type of Visa:




Slave V

Profession: Cotton picker

Race: Hunh?

The Buddha said existence is dukkha. And among the various dukkha memories that tried to distract Keanu Reeves as he sat crosslegged under the bo tree was the excruciating torture of getting a visa. As the

cosmic special effects died down, it dawned on Reeves that if young Siddhartha was alive today and if he had a Nepali passport, Buddhism perhaps would never have reached Japan and Thailand. For a start, what Race would he say he was in the visa form?

And when he applies for his US visa this fall before his New York trip to attend the regular session of the General Assembly, what is Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari going to write down where it says: Are you or have you ever been a member of a Communist Party? For that matter, how is Chakra Bastola going to answer: Have you ever hijacked a plane in your life? (Tick one.)

Q Regularly

  • Ocassionally

  • Once

  • Never

Not being a frequent flier myself, I was caught in the dilemma of the earlier-referred-to horns as I mulled over my Race. For a primate whose species itself is a taxonomical question mark, this posed a conundrum. And yet, I did not want to be untruthful on a document that for all intents and purposes held the keys to the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. So, under Race, I wrote: Against Time.

The symbolic

ambivalence on the survival of the species seems to have been lost on the visa officer who promptly issued a visa.

So, here I am now on a window seat contem­plating the dog on the tarmac wolfing down Business Class lunch discards. Miss Prangtip closed the hatch, welcomed us all to her "Loyal All-Kid Service" and gave purple

all-kids to us

women on board and anyone else who wore an ear-ring—regardless, I am glad to add, of race or ethnicity.

"The pleasure in this cabin is automatically controlled," Prangtip whispered in her delightful Indochinese lilt. 'If the pleasure should fall, pull the oxygen mask to your face, clobber your nose and mouth and bleed normally."

Now, I know exactly what you are thinking: you are thinking that our feminine, feminist columnist has finally succumbed to the temptations of Asia's foremost fleshpot and is flying Thigh to get there. Was the promise of carnal tourism too much for her to resist?

Rightaway let me put all rumours to rest, I am on a fact-finding mission to discover for myself how a country where golf courses regularly steal water from drinking water reservoirs has become Nepal's latest donor—funding a water supply project for Kathmandu.

By this time, the pilot was leaning on his right aileron trim to balance the bank caused by passengers migrating en masse to the left-hand side of the plane to see Mt Everest. I had never seen my home from this perspective, tracing the Arun Valley to the confluence of the Barun, up Tilman La and past Chamlang and tiny Tutse to the looming pink granite of Makalu.

Nature's awesome architecture made these frozen water towers a natural storage system for water that negate the need for reservoirs and expensive dams. That little speck on the side of Baruntse — no it couldn't be — but yes! just below the seracs of the western saddle. My cave. Hello, ama!

We flew over Bangladesh, then SLORC-desh. They brought around the arrival forms as Prangtip came on once more to tell us to be careful when opening the "oval-head rockers". Thigh will mail this column for me while I hightail it into the City of Flesh, from which I may or may not emerge, given my race and sex.


January/Febwary 1995 HIMAL




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