Of course, doing the right thing does NOT mean that things will go right for you. That is a given.
But one does what is right not because that will, or even might, necessarily ensure things go right for oneself…forget always. That’s part of life. One does what is right for its own sake — i.e. because its the right or ethical thing to do.
Most of my adult life — being educated in, living, working, and traveling around the world — that had mostly been a truism and therefore had not really been a major concern or issue…until I reached Qatar. There, I was thrown in jail for allegedly insulting Islam. What I had tried to do during the fateful event that led to my incarceration was doing the right thing as an educator: educating a few children about bigotry.
The last several years of living and working in Nepal, however, I have had to take a few steps back and re-evaluate all of that.
When left is right and right is left; when might is right and right is wrong; and when the wrong get their way and are held in high esteem, what is left?! I’ll tell you what is left…you are left with the country of Nepal!
I have discovered that pretty much all State set-up and run systems in the country — and many others — are corrupt to the core. The point of pretty much every single one of them appears to be…nefarious. One of their points is to exploit the citizens — especially the weak, the vulnerable, the poor, and the marginalized. Another is to enable those in positions of power and influence to plunder the resources of the country to enrich themselves. And still another is to assist them in their never-ending quest for power, no different from how it had always been before democracy was introduced in 1990.
So, forget doing what is right in Nepal for its own sake. Of course, forget about things GENERALLY turning out — or going — right for you if you do what is right, especially when that involves a number of different actors and/or systems, such as the legal system. Doing the right thing can easily turn out to be the stupid thing to do.
There have been even instances and contexts where doing what is right or insisting on what is right could have ended up with me holding the wrong end of the stick, as it were! Worse, doing the right thing can very easily end up with you suffering…greatly, something, I am sure, many Nepalis have discovered again and again and again, even from one generation to the next!
As a matter of fact, systems, attitudes, and values are incredibly topsy-turvy here! If one is able to get something — or get somewhere in life, or accomplish something — through “source-force” (“money and/or connection”), that is by bucking the system, for many it’s a source of pride and something to brag about. Many actually view that as ACTUALLY worthy of praise, adulation, and emulation!
The following FB post by a friend perfectly encapsulates that.
Here’s a translation of the bit in Nepali.
Something one hears here and there:
“So what if s/he took bribes, a Nepali took them! Besides, he didn’t selfishly take bribes only for himself/herself, s/he also ensured other also got their cut, took bribes with glee making sure everyone else got their share — set many up for life. S/he uplifted many. S/he left after winning a debt of gratitude from those s/he was supposed to have. Who would one show adulation for if not for such an mazing individual?! One who quietly takes bribes for himself/herself? That’s worse.”
(A song playing somewhere in the neighborhood: “This impossible-to-fathom life of a human, more vast than life itself is this mind of our own Nepali brothers.”)
What do you think?
Find more about the topsy-turvy world of Nepal in the blogs below.
Nepal, Where Doing the Right Thing Could Be Wrong. A blog post about an incident in Kathmandu, Nepal where I did what I thought was the right thing. It could have ended really badly for me however, and therefore, looking back now, it was a stupid thing to do. I won’t be making that mistake again.
UWC Scholarships, Nepotism and Conflict of Interest. A blog about how United World College (UWC) scholarship applicants and their guardians tried to get an edge over the other applications through me. Of course, I didn’t comply.
Like Country, Like Young Man? A blog post about a UWC scholarship applicant who tried to get an unfair advantage over other applicants BUT found even the “appearance” of someone else having done just that UNACCEPTABLE!
The Price. A blog post about how being vocal about the many social issues the country suffers from has resulted in my antagonizing and losing friends and others.
Nepal, where keeping your friends happy is more important than defending the country’s constitution. A blog post about The Bar association and it’s members’ refusal to speak out against the Supreme Court Chief Justice overstepping his legal bounds because they didn’t want to anger or “antagonize family and friends.”
A Ghost of Qatar. This is about my brief engagement with the police in Kathmandu. I had always hoped that I don’t EVER have to deal with them or any member or organ representing the security apparatus of the country for any reason. After that incident, I don’t want to have to engage, work, or deal with them.
Fake Fake Fake Fake Fake. This about how Master’s and PhD’s are granted to student in Nepal on the basis of thesis bought from venders, a practice the investigative journalist found evidence for going as far back as 1985!
To Err is Human But to Err so is Inhumane. The horrendous aviation safety records of the country and the industry’s tendency to blame the disproportionately high fatal crashes to human error, i.e. to the dead pilot, and wash their hands off.
This is Not the Twilight Zone…This is Kathmandu Airport. Absolutely mind blowing short story about a flight that wasn’t supposed to take off taking off!
Naya Patrika (Nov 26, 2020). अर्काको ज्यान जोगाउँदा एकैपरिवारका एकको हत्या र तीन सिकिस्त घाइते भएपछि… (Going to save another’s life, one member of a family is murdered and three hospitalized…) [Added April 12, 2021]
Shilapatra (Nov. 7, 2020). ‘विद्यार्थी डन’को आक्रमणबाट मुस्किलले बाँचेका प्राध्यापकको बकपत्र. (Testimonial of a University Professor Assaulted by “Student Thugs”.) “यो विश्वविद्यालय, यो न्यायालय, र यो देश गुण्डाहरूको रहेछ । […] अघिसम्म सद्दे मेरो दाहिने खुट्टा हेर्दाहेर्दै भाँचिएपछि म वारी सडकबाट लतारिँदै उछिट्टिएर पारि क्रिकेट मैदानपट्टिको सडकतर्फ ढलेँ । त्योबीचमा आएका केही मोटरसाइकल र पैदलयात्रीसँग मैले गुहार मागेँ । अहँ, कसैले वास्ता गरेनन् । ” (This university, this judicial system, and this country belongs to thugs. […] With a broken right leg I lay prone on the other side of the road. In the mean time I called out to some motorcyclists and pedestrians for help. Not a single one paid any heed.” [added April 12, 2021.]
Naya Patrika (April 4, 2021). बुढीगण्डकी जलविद्युत् आयोजना निर्माणका लागि उपभोक्ताबाट ५९ अर्ब कर उठाइयो, तर लगानीको मोडालिटीसमेत टुंगो लागेन. “आर्थिक वर्ष ०६९/७० मा निर्माण सुरु गरेर ०७७/७८ मा सम्पन्न गर्ने लक्ष्य राखिएको आयोजनाको निर्माण कार्य अझै सुरु हुन सकेन, ६ वर्ष म्याद थपियो |” (Begun in fiscal year 2069-70 with plans to complete in 2077-78 (2021) the deadline for [the construction of the hydroelectric power plant] that has yet to even begin has been extended by six years. [Added April 12, 2021.]
Naya Patrika Video (April 23, 2021). ६४ वर्षमा पनि बनेन ९० किलोमिटर सडक. (90-km road not completed even after 64 years.) When will this become the next “pride” of the nation?! In another 64 years?! [Added April 13, 2021.]
The Kathmandu Post (May 11, 2021). Prohibitory orders in Valley extended until May 27. National projects never finish on time. Often they overshoot and then overshoot and then overshoot…. What I mean is, they keep extending the deadline multiple times. The most ludicrous one completed recently was Melamchi Drinking water project for Kathmandu. It took 25 years!! Anyway, they still call such projects of shame “National Pride” projects! [Added May 12, 2021.]