The Nepal Digest - Dec 16, 1994 (30 Manghir 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Friday 16 Dec 94: Mangshir 30 2051 BkSm Volume 34 Issue 11

               To the Students: Good luck in the finals!
               To everybody: Happy Holidays!

                               - TND Editorial Board

 * TND Board of Staff *
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********************************************************************** Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 10:19:11 -0500 (EST) Subject: Use of dirty words in TND (fwd) To: Nepal Digest <>

The following piece is from Balkrishna Sharma <23012BKS@MSU.EDU>

I do't think many of the TND readers are against sex education per se. As far as the use of dirty language is concerned, I see selected few contributors cornering Nirmal GhimireZ for speaking against it.

In Nepali culture no bhadra person uses dirty language in front of other people. By dirty language I mean that requiring to name sexual act, male or female genitalia or the parts there of. These words do not sound as vulgar to people whose mother language is not Nepali (I am assuming that the words are said in Nepali language). Even the listeners find it uneasy to hear them.

If a child speaks dirty language, you punish him or her. If we see an adult speaking dirty language on the street we express like "Raksi khayeko chha ki justo chha". Even the western society does not allow four letter F words from the media and presentations and if it becomes inevitable they warn the audience of its bad language content. It does not sound very good to freely and sometimes unnecessarily write and circulate dirty words in TND.

Many readers read TND expecting to see news from homeland and read materials on issues pertinent to the development of Nepal and Nepali community. My concern is this:Why not avoid the use of such words if possible. Secondly, if someone wants the info requiring the use of such words why not pass it on to him or her only, and thirdly why not try to use the alternative method of expression whereever possible.

Thank you,

Balkrishna Sharma

*************************************************************** Date: Wed, 14 Dec 94 14:08:18 EST From: Shailendra Shukla <> Subject: Butterfly II To: NEPAL DIGEST <>

Not that it matters too much, but to set the record straight, I did not introduce the debate on "Putali". I rarely read the SCN postings. My TND posting was in direct response to the article by ATULADHAR in TND (Dec 4).

In any case, my response seems to have given Amulaya another chance to publish the whole thing again with additional words for enquiring minds to ponder. One also gets to know about metanymy and onomatopoetic words and the sound associated with a post-orgasmic blissful woman. What more could dodgy TND readers ask for?

Shailendra Shukla

********************************************************************** Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 17:05:10 -0500 From: (Eknath Belbase - Math Grad) To: Subject: Letter to the Editor

To the editor, TND, re: censorship redefined.

I would like to support the voices who have written in to say that they are against censorship of any sort on TND, barring editing for clarity or brevity. Mr Ghimirez' most recent post essentially redefines censorship by narrowing that which ought to be censored to the category of : "how it was done and how it was performed" [ie sexual details like the extent of foreplay, etc.] and "lust" as opposed to "art" as components of sex. Whatever that means.

Instead of setting up what is beginning to look like a one-man committee ala Jesse Helms to decide for us what we ought to read or not, or where the line between lust and art falls (the US govt needed a supreme courtdecision to do something analogous), how about a statement from the editorial board on the TNDs policy (is there one?) with respect to sexual material?

Finally, one suggestion: if a compromise is desired, why not put a warning header before articles that may be offensive to some? They don't have to read things they might find offensive and the rest of us get to read all the offensive things we want, something I personally like to do as much as time permits. Whether or not details of foreplay cross some border between tittilation and academia (and if they do, so what?!), I certainly don't need someone else to regulate where that line falls for me, and I am pretty sure most TND readers would like to make the decision to not read something based on their own tastes, not someone elses.

Sincerely, Eknath Belbase

PS I just thought of an interesting side-issue. Since the internet falls within the scope of public media, which TND uses, censorship of posts due to sexual content MAY constitute an illegal act or at least open the editorial board up for legal action for breach of first amendment rights. Thus, barring that which passes the US Supreme Court's definition of obscenity, TND may be OBLIGED to not censor. If you do, watch out guys - I have a friend who's a law student in need of some money! ;-)

******************************************************************************* Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 22:25:41 -0500 From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) To: Subject: New Road Pipal-bot vs. Sathi-ko bihe: analogy SCN Vs TND

Cross-posted from SCN:

Jo jashalai sambandha chha. (Padha-nai parcha bhanne chaina----)

I am just wondering about the guy who forwarded my month old posting to TND, about the statement made by Mr. HA and the published article looked as if I sent myself directly to TND. The person would have just put a note that it was posted in SCN and forwarded to TND. The posting was already outdated and I have promised not follow #oralo lageko mirga "the former PM" lai bachho le pani lakhetchha# because he did what I wanted. I consider SCN like a Pipal ko bot in New Road where any one can go and TND like a marriage ceremony where the posting should have some norms and standard so that only selected articles should be published. The posting (Article? NO) could be made better if you have requested me, atleast it would look like "Dhoyeko tara purano luga" rather than
 wearing "Dinbhari Kathmandu ma Vikram tempo ko kalo le mailo banayeko luga" while going to a marriage ceremony where peoples might have guessed me like a care less "chanda-na-bandko" kabi, "jhusha dari-2-4 dinko nakateko- mailo luga ani euta kalam bhireko--purano jutta" jasto. I hope whoever you are, please cite in future if you are "draggin me from Pipal ko bot while buying PATRIKA to Sathi ko bihema--nimta na simta--
", I can atleast say to the friend in his question
"K ho yar tero yesto tala, mero bihema pani yasto ? kam-sekam ......?"
, that "K garne taile khabar garinash, yeshale pipal bot yshai kam nabhaye ra bhoutari raheko belama bhetera , anfu chai takka-salaka-, malai estai bhai pani ta bhaihalcha ni , chinne le chinekai chhan na chinne le a talai euta purano -samyabadi- kabi bhanlan ni bhanyo, ke garne?, afno mitra ta parisha- tero jindagi ko euta bihe kahan chhodane, estai bhaye pani hunchha bhanera hindeko - "junga pale pani, kate pani juju man ta honi". Hop e you got the point.

Thanks for your effort.

Gyaneswore Pokharel

P.S. I am not against the publishing the Posting, I just want you to cite it the original source i.e. forward from or extracted from "SCN"...

***************************************************************************** Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 01:19:10 -0500 From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) To: Subject: New Road Pipal-bot vs. Sathi-ko bihe: analogy SCN Vs TND

Cross-posted from SCN following the above thread:

Response to Gyaneswor's article-

As an SCN Correspondent (Liaison) for TND, it was probably me who "dragged" you onto the "tip top bhela of TND" in your "jhootro-jhaatro"! In any case, I take the blame/credit and I (in behalf of TND) seek your apology. But, if you felt the "jhootro-jhaatro" was embarrassing, you needn't quite be - for we probably deemed you not as "j-j" and hence had you over TND!

While TND is, as you say, less of a "New Road pipal-ko-bote" gathering, nevertheless, it is unlike a "Sathi-ko bihe" where you go only if you get invited. TND is more like that "bihe" where people go without needing invitations however/whenver they please - because it's always there, gates open, for everyone! "Tip tops", "suit-boot", "casual", "j-j" all welcome!

I do appreciate your suggestion of quoting SCN for cross-posted articles. Someone else mentioned it too, and I have already started inserting in that extra line for those postings following a thread or requiring a context.

Thanks for your interesting analogy of TND and SCN.

*********************************************************************** From: Shailesh R. Bhandari <> Subject: A-oo-ta Muktak To: Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 11:22:00 -0500 (EST)


                 Meri mayalu ko sammaan maa
                                Yaha ke ke hunchha
                 Koili uskai laga ko-ho ko-ho garchha
                 Ban ko mujur uskai lagi kuk kuk garchha
                 Ani, mero mutu
                 Uskai lagi dhuk dhuk garchha.

************************************************************ From: (Gopal Shah) Subject: politics To: Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 13:26:37 -0500 (EST)

All indications shows the present government won't last longer.Here are some reasons why: 1)The government in third world countries without absolute majority hardly survive longer.Even in Japan we 've seen several governments in past few years. 2)The most of cabinet members have no previous experience in the government. 3)The present economic situation and resources in Nepal won't help this government to jump up the fragile economy right away and the people who wanted to see changes will be tired of this government soon.The stock market already showed 13% decrease. 4)No other parties have participated in this cabinet council.This government is in minority already.There is a definitely political reason not to participate in this government. 5)The donor countries like India,USA,UK etc are not excited about this government of communist-monarchy. 6)The long rival Congress party won't be sleeping there in the parliament supporting everything whatever this government does.Also royalist party ,RPP, with 20 seats are likely to support the congress party against UML whenever it is necessary.

************************************************************** Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 15:37:47 -0500 From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) To: Subject: 15 member cabinet is formed

Cross-posted from SCN:

Does anyone have an idea if Nepal has a separate ministry for "Royal Palace"? I fail to understand why a prime minister always has to take the responsibility of *looking after* the royal palace.

Why does the royal palace always have to appear as a ministerial cabinet portfolio? In this day of constitutional monarchy, why should Nepal's prime minister, much less a communist prime minister, continue this Panchayat-era tradition?

Does Nepal's prime minister have enough time to divert his attention away from the country's much more pressing problems to assume a portfolio only to appease the king and his family?

If royal palace must remain a ministerial portfolio, then this portfolio should be given to an assistant minister or a secretary in the government. The royal palace has its own secretariat, why can't they simply look after themselves? During the Panchayat-era, the king's secretaries used to run the country in the Panchayat-era; I'm sure they don't need prime minister's assistance to run the royal palace.

My argument is, why should a democratic government in a constitutional monarchy continue the nonsense Panchayati tradition. When will our leaders wake up?

Does anyone know how much money Nepal's taxpayers spend on the royal palace and its inhabitants? And what are their business interests and ownership within and outside Nepal?

********************************************************* Date: Tue, 13 Dec 1994 13:51:22 MST To: From: "VIVEK S. RANA" <RANA@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU> Subject: For TAJA KHABAR

                New Parliament in session from tomorrow
                --------------------------------------- News-Software: VAX/VMS VNEWS 1.41
        The Parliament is to start it's first session from tomorrow. HM the King has appionted Bal Bahadur Rai, the most senior MP to act as the Speaker of the house till the elections are held.
        The CPN-UML are proposing 2 names for the speaker; Jhala Nath Khanal an d Umesh Adhikhari. The NC are also proposing Mahant Thakur and the RPP also announced that it will field candidates for Speaker and Deputy speaker of the house.

                Resuffle in UML cabinet soon

        A protocol error could be the main reason for the upcoming resuffle in the UML cabinet. The consitution requires that the Minister of Law to be a member of the Judicial Board. The board requires the minister to be full minister (Mantri)
        This has raised the question over the appiontment of Subash Nembang to the Judicial Board (Naiyek Samiti). He is the state minister for Law and Justice. The C.J Bishwanath Upadhya has talked to PM Adhikari on this matter and he is considering appionting Madhav K. Nepal (Deputy PM) as the Minister of Law on Justice to solve the problem.
********************************************************************** Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 14:01:16 -0500 (EST) From: "Jacqueline R. Francis" <> Subject: Letter to the Editor To:

I'm hoping Nepal Digest readers can help me with two problems. The first is that I would like to directly deposit some money in a Nepali friend's Nepal Bank Ltd. account in Surkhet. Does anyone know if the bank has a relationship with a US bank that would allow me to do so? Or, does anyone know of a US branch office of Nepal Bank, or of any other way to send money cheaply and safely to Nepal? Second, I'm shopping around for a graduate program in TEFL or Education for a Nepali friend, and for scholarship opportunities as well. Can any of you students share with me the secrets of your success?

Thanks. J. Francis

***************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 14:23:10 -0500 From: (RaJesh B. Shrestha) To: Subject: 15 member cabinet is formed

Cross-posted from SCN:

In a previous article, (Ajay Pradhan) wrote:
>Does anyone know how much money Nepal's taxpayers spend on the royal palace
>and its inhabitants? And what are their business interests and ownership
>within and outside Nepal?

Lots and lots of money, resources, both of the country, of the elected govt, much more than what we are supposed to get in return "a symbol of unity". If i had so much money and so many years to exercise it, sure I can create a socio-political artifact, called the "need for a symbol of unity"

For all those Nepali friends who want a rich king for a poor country's symbol of unity, why not we have "jhupro" ma basne king with no property and we will still respect him as king. Heh Gandhi did it why not the Shahs, we just cannot subsidise their lock on the nation's capital and it is pity that the king is becoming more popular.

This reminds me of a popular royal anecdote of the origins of corruption and graft and all this talk of symbolism. Some of you may have heard this before.

Ever wondered why Prithvi Narayan Shah is represented with his 1 index finger raised high (supposedly for 1 country)?

Why King Tribhuvan is shown with his palm of 5 fingers held high?
(supposedly returning from Delhi)

Why King Mahendra is shown with his 10 fingers held in front of his chest in namaste?

and Why King Birendra is shown with that avuncular tilt on his head, a tel-tale smile beneath is mustache and his hands held behind his back as he visits deevelopment works?

Well the explanation is that Prithvi wanted 1 percent of all the country's wealth in his individual dhukuiti up front as his right, (hey he conquered the country, right, and did not all victors demand tributes from fiefs and feudal lords in their suzerainty?

Well, Tribhuvan held his hand a little lower, and said 5 percent ghus is fine, you know the Ranas had taken so much that he needed a little recompense for all his lascivious ways.

King Mahendra was reasonable and looked you straight in the eye while he demanded 10 percent of his 10 fingered Namaste to finance his Panches

Birendra is a king of our times, he says, "hey congress and communists, you can have the country fine just make sure you give me behind my back whatever will fit my hands" and the merry go around of royal costs to the nation goes on.

This story is one I heard in Ratna park, an example of the people resistance to the king even in the times of his absolute rule.

Amulya Tuladhar


*********************************************************************************************** Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 14:30:41 -0500 To: Subject: NC accuses UML of killing its party workers From: (Rajendra P. Shrestha)

SOURCE: Xinhua

HEADLINE: contest for house speaker post kicked off in nepal

DATELINE: kathmandu, december 15; ITEM NO: 1215076

   all members of the newly-elected parliament lower house can make proposals for the election to the post of the speaker from today to friday, according to bal bahadur rai who worked as the speaker pro team for being the eldest member of the lower house. it would be a keen contest as all political parties stated that they would not withdraw from the competition for the prized position in the house. the ruling communist party of nepal (uml), the single largest party by capturing 88 seats in the 205-seat house of representatives, has said
"as per the parliamentary practices, the ruling party should have its speaker while the post of the deputy speaker could go to the main opposition". but the nepali congress (nc), the main opposition with 83 seats secured, claimed that "it is in minority only 'technically' and, therefore, the ruling uml should agree on the congress' having the speakership". the spokesman of the rastriya prajatantra party
(rpp), the third largest party with 20 seats won, asserted that "the post should be occupied by rpp as it is capable of maintaining a balance in the given political context". the nepal sadbhavana (good will) party (nsp) sources said if the ruling party was for a national consensus the uml and other major political parties should allow the nsp to have the speakership of the house. king birendra had fixed december 17 for the election of the speaker, according to rai. the new 8th lower house, which started wednesday, was to be resumed on saturday.
-------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: AFP

HEADLINE: First session of Nepal parliament


    Nepal's minority communist government is confident of winning a vote of confidence in the country's new parliament due to hold its first session here on Wednesday, a communist party official said.

   The ruling Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist and Leninist
(NCP-UML), expects to win the vote of confidence, NCP-UML Central Committee Deputy Secretary General Bamdev Gautam told AFP.

   "We have approached all the political parties to support us to prove our majority and we are fully confident that all political parties and even the independents will support us," Bamdev Gautam said.

   The vote is expected before the end of the year.

   If the NCP-UML government fails to win the vote, then it will be forced to resign and advise the king to dissolve the hung parliament and call another mid-term poll. But observers say this is unlikely because neither the Nepali Congress (NC) party nor the public wants new elections.

   But the government could face a big hurdle in getting MPs to vote for its finance bill on the annual budget and its socio-economic and political programmes.

   If the new budget and the socio-economic and political programmes are "unpalatable" to the NC and the rightist Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), they may reject the finance bill, obliging the minority government to resign.

   Also on tap is the election of a speaker, to take place either on Saturday or early next Sunday. The opposition Nepali Congress (NC) and the NCP-UML are both making a strong bid to win the post.
-------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: AFP

HEADLINE: NC accuses Nepal ruling party, UPF of killing nine supporters


   The main parliamentary opposition party, the Nepali Congress (NC), has charged the ruling party and another leftist faction with killing nine of its activists, a party source said Wednesday.

   The NC alleged that members of the ruling Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist and Leninist (NCP-UML) and the United People's Party (UPF) were responsible for the deaths of nine NC activists in different districts since the NCP-UML formed a minority government following elections on November 15.

   The NC, which lost power in the elections, made the claim in a statement released following a meeting of its parliamentary party.

   The statement also accused the NCP-UML of "seriously endangering the inter-party relationship" and of "inefficiency and (an) inability" to stop political killings in various parts of the country.

   "On the one hand, the minority UML government has made an appeal for national consensus through the government media, while on the other, the UML workers are openly involving themselves in political killings in various districts of the country," it said.

   The statement also indicated that the UML was likely to encounter difficult times in the coming months.

   The home ministry has confirmed some of the deaths and said four people had been arrested, but the government has yet to reply to the allegation.

   In a related development the pro-democracy Nepal Students Union
(NSU) criticized the government for implicating NC and NSU members in a number of deaths in different districts.

   An NSU source said the Dang District Court, west of here, had issued warrants against 67 people, including former minister for public works and transport Khum Bawhadur Khadka in connection with political killings in Dang district prior to the polls.

   The NCP-UML won 88 seats in the 205-seat parliament, 15 short of a simple majority.

   It needs the support of the NC or the rightist Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) to survive a vote of confidence which will be tabled in the house of representatives on or before December 30 as required by the constitution in cases involving minority governments.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: DPA

HEADLINE: Egyptian airplane carrying Nepalese peacekeepers damaged in Zagreb

DATELINE: Zagreb, Dec 14

    A passenger aircraft of the Egyptian airline EgyptAir has been badly damaged during a landing in thick fog at Zagreb airport in Croatia, officials said Wednesday.

    The 157 passengers on board the plane - United Nations soldiers from Nepal - escaped injury, officials said.

    The pilot of the Boeing 707 had apparently missed the runway, causing the aircraft to crash into the runway lighting late Monday, the officials said. The accident was not announced at the time. dpa rg jbp
------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: Xinhua

HEADLINE: d p 627 bc- nepal -king-return hke121457 --nepali king returns from india

DATELINE: kathmandu, december 14; ITEM NO: 1214205

   nepali king birendra returned here this afternoon after completing a three-day private visit to india. the king was received at the tribhuvan international airport by prime minister man mohan adhikari, deputy prime minister madhav kumar nepal, home minister k. p. sharma oli, chairman of the national assembly beni bahadur karki and other senior officials. king birendra left for india on december 12.

HEADLINE: 8th parliamentary session starts in nepal

DATELINE: kathmandu, december 14; ITEM NO: 1214134

   the eighth session of the house of representatives (lower house) in nepal started here this afternoon. it is the first session after the 205-seat house of representatives was elected in the mid-term polls held on november 15. the new speaker of the lower house will be elected on december 17, it was announced in the opening ceremony of the eighth session. the parliamentary meeting will be chaired by senior member of the house bal bahadur rai before the new speaker is elected. during the session, the budget for fiscal year from 1994 to 1995, tabled by the former nepali congress government, will be approved and a supplemental budget proposed by the newly-elected government will be discussed. it is expected that the vote of confidence for the new government led by the communist party of nepal
(uml) will be carried on by the end of this month. according to the parliamentary sources, king birendra, who is now paying a private visit in india and will be back this afternoon, will address the current parliamentary session.
-------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: UPI

HEADLINE: Nepal's prime minister declares assets


    Nepal's first Communist prime minister has declared his personal assets, indicating that he is much better off than most Nepalese, whose annual income is just $202, the Ministry of Communications said Wednesday. Man Mohan Adhikari, who at 74 is the oldest prime minister to hold office in Nepal, has two houses in his hometown of Biratnagar in East Nepal and a bank balance of more than $24,000. Adhikari is building a third house in the Nepali capital of Katmandu, the ministry said. Deputy Prime Minister Madav Nepal has two houses, one in the Nepali capital and another in his home district of Rautahat.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: UPI

HEADLINE: Nepal's newly-elected parliament meets



    Nepal's newly-elected parliament held its first session Wednesday led by
 Nepal's Communist Party, which gained the largest block of seats in last month's elections. Interim speaker Bal Bahadur Rai, 72, officiated at the meeting as the second oldest member in the 205-strong house of representatives after Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari, 74. Holding 88 seats in the parliament, Adhikari heads a minority government formed by the communists -- the first communist government to come to power in the Himalayan kingdom. The government will have to win a vote of confidence in parliament during the current session, which if it fails would force King Birendra to call a new round of elections. Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari, the prime minister's brother, said he will present a supplementary budget to parliament reflecting the priorities of the communist government. On the eve of the first session of the newly-elected parliament, the opposition Nepali Congress party, held of a meeting of its parliamentary representatives and discussed cooperation with the communists. ''Consensus can be sought on programs supported by all parties. But we will not support Marxist programs in the name of national consensus,'' said Congress' parliamentary leader, Sher Bahadur Deuba. The communists have sent letters to all opposition parties requesting support for the vote of confidence. Meanwhile, Congress members issued a statement claiming nine of its activists have been killed throughout the kingdom since communists assumed power on Nov. 30, alleging communists were responsible for the deaths. Home ministry spokesman, Sri Kant Regmi, denied that workers from only one party were killed in the political violence.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: Reuters

HEADLINE: Nepal sets December 17 as date for speaker election


    Nepal's King Birendra said the Himalayan kingdom's freshly convened parliament will elect a speaker on Saturday in a vote that could help determine the fate of the new Communist government.

   "His Majesty the King has fixed December 17 for the election to the post of the speaker of the House of Representatives," Bal Bahadur Rai, 70, the oldest member of the new legislature and acting speaker, said on Wednesday.

   The lower house convened for the first time since its members were elected in general polls on November 15.

   The Communist Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party won a plurality of 88 seats in the 205-member House of Representatives, falling 15 seats short of an outright majority.

   New Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikary, the UML leader, will need the support of either the Nepali Congress, which lost its three-year grip on power in the polls, or the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) to survive a confidence motion that must be held before the end of the month.

   Congress took 83 seats to 20 for the RPP, whose leaders governed Nepal during much of a three-decade period of partyless rule before pro-democracy demonstrations brought an end to absolute monarchy in 1990.

   The UML, Congress and the RPP have all staked a claim to the speakership. But political observers said the UML was likely to throw its support behind one of the opposition parties in exchange for backing in the vote of confidence.

   The RPP on Wednesday elected former prime minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand as its parliamentary leader. Chand, 55, was prime minister under the partyless system that prevailed before 1990.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: BBC

HEADLINE: Finance minister on coming budget and programme to help the people

SOURCE: Radio Nepal, Kathmandu, in English 1415 gmt 13 Dec 94

   Text of report

   Minister for Finance Bharat Mohan Adhikari has said that the CPN(UML) [Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)] government will present the budget within 12 days and a programme providing direct relief for the people within 20 days. Minister Mr Adhikari made this remark while addressing party workers at (?Charohat Morvi - untraced), organized by the [word indistinct] CPN-UML committee today [13th December]. Mr Adhikari said the government will abolish the feudal system and is thinking to control prices and reduce the prices of some items.

**************************************************************** Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 14:30:55 -0500 To: Subject: The Iron Man's Price From:

Although Nobody quite remembers if Girija Prasad did some Shakespeare while a student at a Bihar College in the 40's, He's definitely rumoured to have quoted Julius Caesar and exclaimed, "Et tu, Ganesh?" from the balcony of his Baluwatar residence after GM Singh began playing the race card through his biographer, Mathbar Singh Basnet's Weekly 'Punarjagaran', 3 years ago. All this "Brahminization" everywhere has hurt my feelings, said Ganeshman. Girija in a move to allay his colleagues' concerns, appointed three ambassadors in a row, Surya Prasad Shrestha to the Court of St. Jameses in London, Durgeshman Singh to Brussels and Lok Bdr Shrestha to Dhaka. Now the UML has formed it's cabinet and eight of the nine full ministerial portfolios have gone to "Brahmins", Everyone turns to the legendary IronMan for a response, He wouldn't utter a single word. Meanwhile, all the Koirala appointees either resign or are called back (incl. Georgetown linguist, Dr Jayaraj Acharya, Ambassador to the UN and the Iowa trained Economist, Dr Bharat Dhital to Tokyo) except the three initially appointed to appease Singh. Not quite a coincident and I agree with the Kathmandu tabloids this time- Good old barter isn't obsolete yet in Nepal and you can even buy the Supremo's silence. Price? A difficult question but a rough estimate would be like a half a million US Dollars. Hey, How? Because that's roughly the amount our treasury would have paid the three Ambassadors by the end of their term. The famous duo who the Iron Man shares the Chetrapati mansion with were not available for comment.

S Wagle London School of Economics.

******************************************************************* Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 13:32:52 EST To: The Nepal digest Editor <> From: "Pramod K. Mishra" <> Subject: The Story of Mathematics Teaching to Kids

Dear Editor,

Mathematics has always been a horror story for many of us, particularly this numberphobe. It was only recently when I read the following paper, I understood why, at least partly. So I thought I should share this essay with the readers of TND, many of whom are parents of young children, and many others plan to be ones sooner or later. I would request other readers to share their ideas and experiences on this topic.

The author of this essay, Noam Shazeer, is a Freshman at Duke University; and the essay was written as part of the requirement of a University Writing Course.

From: Noam Shazeer <>

                        Olympic Number Cruncher

This was the title of an article published in Duke Magazine about my success in winning a gold medal in the International Math Olympiad held in Hong Kong this summer. The title implies that I have the power to take the biggest and ugliest of numbers and crush them to a pulp in my bare hands. It is true that this is a much more flattering title than "math nerd," or some of the other names I have been called, but it still disturbs me. "To crunch numbers" is a term used by computer scientists meaning to perform large numbers of arithmetic computations. Although
"crunching numbers" seems like a macho thing to do, the idea that mathematicians spend their time performing large numbers of arithmetic computations is one of the biggest misconceptions which our society holds about mathematics. Seemingly harmless misconceptions such as this degrade people's views of mathematicians and the state of mathematics in our society.

The work of mathematicians is very obscure to most people. Mathematicians speak a different language. Their work is not as directly and obviously applied to the real world as that of other scientists. People tend to develop false and degrading stereotypes about those they do not understand and perceive as different from themselves. As a result, people avoid mathematics and mathematicians. This leads to the needless ostracism of many people and the underdevelopment of a beautiful and essential area of knowledge.

The stereotypical mathematician in our society works diligently by himself all day performing calculations on large numbers and scribbling magical formulas. This could not be farther away from a real mathematician. Mathematicians rarely work with specific numbers. If they are doing something which involves performing large numbers of calculations, they use computers to do them. Also, mathematicians are not diligent, but in general, are very lazy. They try to accomplish their goals in as little work as possible. A mathematical proof is considered beautiful of it is short and elementary, not if it is long and requires higher mathematics. Unlike the stereotype, most mathematicians do not work alone. Mathematicians usually discuss their ideas with each other, and interact with scientists in other fields to find problems to solve and applications of their work. Mathematicians also rely on each other's results. Almost all mathematics that is currently done relies on the mathematics which has been developed over the past thousands of years.

Another false stereotype of mathematics is that it does not require creativity. In fact, any mathematical problem requires a high degree of creativity to solve. If a method of solution is already known, the problem is considered already solved, and no mathematician is necessary to solve it. Mathematics is also considered by many people to be useless in the real world for anything other than teaching mathematics. This is completely false in that almost all the technological advancements which have occurred over the past several hundred years have been direct or indirect results of new fields of mathematics.

These false and destructive stereotypes of mathematics and of mathematicians are the result of the way that children are taught math in our society. Math consists of several aspects: a set of concepts which have been developed and understood over the years, the creation of new concepts and the further development of old ones, the application of these concepts to problems in real life, and a set of algorithms which have been developed to manipulate these concepts. Although all of these aspects are essential to mathematics, the last is the only one which children encounter early in school, and therefore is the one which shapes their view of mathematics. When children are very young, we attempt to teach them algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In these early years, a child is not well suited to memorize lots of facts and to learn to follow algorithms precisely. It is no wonder that it takes children many years to learn these simple operations. Until the end of elementary school, children's only exposure to what they call "math", is countless hours of drilling and repetition of a few standard exercises. They learn that math is boring, non-creative, done alone, and involves only following instructions.

In middle and high school, more concepts are presented to the student, but they too are presented in a "this is how you do it" manner. The student is encouraged to take the path of least resistance. Instead of trying to understand the concepts and to solve problems on his own, he simply memorizes the formulas and algorithms which are placed in front of him. He soon gets the idea that math primarily involves memorizing formulas and plugging numbers into them. He usually quits learning math in disgust before ever being asked to solve a problem using creative thought.

Although it is not usually done, it is possible to teach young children higher mathematical concepts, to teach them to solve problems creatively, and to teach them to apply mathematics to the real world. Asking a child a question such as "if x plus one is six, what is x?" teaches him the basic concept of algebra, yet does not require him to know how to do long division, multiplication, addition of large numbers, or any of the many other things that a child is usually taught before algebra. Similarly, other concepts such as fractions, probability, and some aspects of geometry can be taught before many algorithms of arithmetic computation. Teaching children these concepts early on has many advantages. It allows them to learn them while they are still young and most receptive to new concepts, it gives them the idea that there is more to mathematics than arithmetic, and it keeps them from complete boredom at the hands of arithmetic drills. Another possible technique in teaching children real mathematics is to give them simple brain teasers and logic puzzles. Such exercisers in creative logical problem solving have much more in common with the work of mathematicians than do repetitive exercises in arithmetic.

Unfortunately, our societal traditions preclude us from teaching children creative mathematical thinking in school. We have the fixed idea that 90% is an "A" and is good, and 60% is a "D" and is bad. Anything less than 50% is inconceivable. We expect children in school to always be able to solve more than half of the problems that they encounter. In creative problem solving it is very likely not to be able to solve a problem. Real mathematicians could not even hope to attempt, let alone solve half the problems they encounter. They work on problems which they are not sure whether they can solve, and are delighted to achieve any results. When children in school do not attempt or solve a vast majority of the questions they are asked, we assume there must be something wrong. We therefore avoid giving them questions requiring any original or creative thought.

We also cling to other obsolete traditions. In earlier times, when elementary school students often did not go on to middle school and high school, and when it was a necessary skill to be able to do arithmetic quickly and accurately in the absence of calculators, it was necessary to spend elementary school teaching kids algorithms for arithmetic calculations. Instead of realizing that these conditions no longer apply, we have made the ability to perform arithmetic calculations our gauge for measuring the success of mathematical education in elementary school. We are unwilling to accept any decrease in this traditional measure of education, and are willing to sacrifice practicality and children's interest in math to maintain it.

If we are to correct the false impression of mathematics in our society, we must begin to teach children mathematics, not arithmetic computation under the name of mathematics. We must forget our educational traditions of teaching only arithmetic at a young age, and of requiring children to answer correctly almost all of the questions that they encounter. To expose to children the true nature and beauty of mathematics, it is necessary to expose them to many fields of math at an early age, and to give them the opportunity to practice creative logical problem solving. If our schools can do this, they may start to produce mathematicians, instead of very expensive calculators.

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