Thursday, October 15, 2015

What is 'Normal'?

My wife and I were talking about our choices of friends when we were in school. She used to make friends with the prettier girls in her class in Little Flower School, Imphal. And I believe that she was part of the 'hip' crowd. She is beautiful and also has good tastes in most things and she takes pride in it.

I, on the other hand generally made friends with the most shy person in class. The ones who were generally ignored by the crowd. Mostly because I was a terrible introvert back then and just wanted a quite time. Though I have improved my social skills over time, I am still an introvert mostly.

This led me to wonder what do we consider 'normal'? What I have seen in the past and from media, indicates that 'normal' is a very inexact term. It tends to change with time and geography. 

In the past, things that were considered 'cool' or 'acceptable' are now old news. There is a whole new way of doing things. For example, being a nerd was considered 'bad' and it was 'good' to be the outgoing type of person. But, nowadays we see that nerds are taking over the world. They are getting the appreciation that they deserved.

Also, different cultures have very different views on practices that are considered healthy. The Japanese for instance are often soft spoken and more reserved. Americans can be loud and more sociable in general. I'm sure you will have better examples in your mind right now about what I am trying to say.

We can never say anything or anyone is truly and universally 'normal'. We can only see that one man's good maybe another man's bad. So, love your uniqueness and embrace your abnormality. That is what makes you who and what you are.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Opium: My Favourite Drug

Opium Poppy with Latex oozing out from a cut

"If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution - then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise."
(1894 - 1963)

Marijuana is no doubt the most widely know and abused drug today, thanks in part due to the numerous portrayals in Hollywood Movies and Contemporary Music scene and even the President of US Bill Clinton. There have been many evangelist of this drug who praised its positive effects and there are many people who grow the plant in-house for self consumption in America. It is also legally available to buy like any other medicine from drug stores in Amsterdam, one of the few places in the world where Prostitution is also legal. 

However, today I'm going to share my thought on another very popular drug - Opium. The infamous drug derived from the beautiful Poppy flower has been a fascination since a long time. No, I am not an Opium addict, much less have I seen any in real life. But my interest stems from the fact that this drug has had a very long history and had caused multiple wars between British and China. Also, it was shocking to learn that Bombay (now Mumbai), the present day financial capital of India at one time developed and prospered due to this very drug. Of course many of the big businesses converted to Cotton production later on after making a fortune out of the drug (reminds me of the Mafia trying to become a legitimate business entity like in Godfather).

Opium contains pain killing chemicals like Morphine and is also used to make Heroin, a more potent drug which is widely know due to its depiction in Hollywood movies - the white powder snorted during parties. Opium due to its medicinal properties has been used as an effective pain killer since very long time. India is know to produce half of the world's legal Opium which is used for medical purposes. However, it is also known that there are many illegal plantations and trafficking of the Drug in and around India and its neighboring countries.

China had used Opium for recreational purposes - much like the hookah bars/ lounges of today since the 15th century. There were Opium Dens where ordinary people would just go and have a smoke of Opium.
Opium Den in China
Opium prohibition began in China in 1729, but like any other prohibition (read alcohol), its abuse even increased. Now, there is an interesting and diabolic strategy employed by the British during this period. China at that time had a positive balance of trade with the British, meaning they were able to export more of their own products than they imported from the British traders. So the British slowly started diminishing their stock of silver. This prompted the British to resort to selling Opium to avert the negative balance of trade. They did this by cultivating Opium in British India and selling it illegally to China. This led to confrontations between the Chinese and the British and the Opium Wars of 1839 and 1858 are forever remembered in history. 

Shocking is the fact that a Christian British empire, (I belief that, at least, at that time, England must have been more religious minded) used such unethical and destructive policies to try and win over China. It all this were true, i cannot imagine how Christ would have approved of such a thing. A few months back, I heard a close friend of mine who believed that British Missionaries were sent before the Real Colonials Powers in order to soften and win over the hearts of unsuspecting people. Though I replied back saying that Missionaries have done so many positive things, I cannot completely let go of the facts of history. 

Another, interesting development was that during the same time, the British East India Company, a wholly owned company of the British empire, started regulating and controlling Opium production in North-Central-East India to supply to China. There were many Indians who seized the opportunity to produce their own Opium in Western Parts of India (read Bombay) and started business without the knowledge and permission of the East India Company. 

This illegal Opium business is said to lay the foundations of what we now know and admire as the biggest financial capital of India. It is also said that when many of these Opium businesses had grown big enough they switched over to more legal form of business like Cotton production. Of course not all of the Cotton mills started from Opium. Many of the Cotton producing mills are still seen in present day Mumbai (Opium has been swept under the carpets). There are now Real Estate developers fighting over these old huge areas of Cotton mills due to its prime location and corresponding astronomical monetary values.

Though I would love to continue on, it has been quite a long post and you may be tired reading. So, this is where I stop my writing and leave you to ponder and do your own research on my favorite drug!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tips to freshers: Students

28th July 2011 | Lianthansiam Valte

A. Purpose
Amasapen in laisim dia om ihi chih manghilh keini. Lohchin iut taktak leh thildang teng sang a i laisim priority piak ngai ahi. I laisim hunluah theidi lungluthuai thil dangdang tampi; social, relationships, hobbies, etc. a om sek a, himahleh laisim masak ngai ahi.

B. Goals
I Purpose toh kituak tup-le-ngim neih ding ahi. Tup-le-ngim ei context in class examinations a hoihtaka pass di ahimaithei. Competitive examinations pete ading lohchinna muh khong le ahi di. Mun tuamtuam a om I Zomi unau te un UPSC All India Rank sangtakte ana muhtheih uleh Bangalore a Zomi tenle bang ziaka mulo tuan di? Asang zawlam tung theidin pan lathak ni. Thupil khat in ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” ana chi a. Goal neilo a mawk om in deihthusam hon tun louh ding ahi.

Goal setting chiang in I siamna leh pilna te hon challenge thei bawl ding ahi. I muhsa hiam a awlsamlua bang tup a ineih leh masawnna taktak omlo ding, i potential tunglo ding ihi.

C. Plan of Action
“In life or in sports, you need to visualize how to reach for your Goals, where will you make your next move and based on the target work backwards towards how you reach that goal.” Hiai atung a kigelh, hostel ka omlai a French tennis coach khat hon gen ahi. Target/ Goal I neih nung a, I target tung nang lampi hoihtaka zuih ngai ahi. Hiai toh kiton point bangzah hiam I gen ding:

1.      Interest
Subject a lunglut huailo omlo ahi; History, Political Science, Accountancy, Physics, etc. Na thil simten bang gen taktak hiam chih theihsiam sawmin dotna kibawl lete lunglutna hong piang thei ding ahi. Class sung ah leng participation neih theihna punna leh chim loh na ahi. Lawmte toh discussion in lunglutna behlap sakthei hi. I theihlouh te heutute leh senior te kiang dot zel ding ahi.

2.      Environment
Mun thoveng leh bengsenglou a laisim ding ahi. I lungsim hon lathei di omna mun a lekhasim phatuam lou ahih ziakin thilging, meivak salhna leh gimhat omna khong ah lekhasim louh ahoih. Himahleh, deihthusam tak om gigelo ahia, iki adjust theih zel ngai ahi. Tutna leh posture leng lekhasimna toh kituak di neih hoih ahi.

3.      Regularity
Lekhasim ichih zankhat thu a zoh ding hilo ahi. Exam ma a ihmulo zen a sim sangin niteng a tam loulou a sim ahoih zaw. Mi khenkhatte zing a simin a theibaih zaw ua, akhente nitak a sim nuam asa zaw ua. Apoimoh pen ahih leh niteng a time table hoihtak zuih a sim ahi.

4.      Attendance
Damlouhna hiam buana dang om ahihkeileh class kai gige ahoih. Aziak omlo a class miss a attendance kimlouh ziaka examination pe theilo a om lohsapna kipatna ahi.

5.      Notes
Laisim topic tengteng summary notes bawl ahoih. Diagram gelh bang theihsiam na ding in phatuam mahmah hi. Heutute hon piak omkei leh leng mahni a notes kibawl mai ding ahi. Examination ma a revise bawl nang in leh phatuam mahmah ahi.

6.      Group studies
Mahni kia a sim sang in, lawmte toh simkhawm in tampi ki theih beh hi. Amau theihsiamdan ana tuam deuh a, hoihpen zuih theih mah. Heutute leh Senior te kiang ah leng I theih louhte dong peih le phatuam mahmah hi.

7.      Health
Lekhasimna ah damtheihna poimoh mahmah a ihmut, nek leh dawn leh taksa hoihnang exercise te pilvang taka neih ding ahi. Moderation a thilhih ahoih a, a tamlua hiam tawm lua hiam ahih chiang in damna hon sesak thei hi.

8.      Extracurricular activities
Hun neih tengteng a lehkhasim gige thil hitheilo ahi. Lekhasim louh hun a lungsim leh taksa adia hoih thil tuamtuam hih theih hi. Lunglut na ineih deuh sports, music, drama, writing, painting, cooking, public speaking, photography, environment club, etc te ah kihel le all-round personality development nadin hon panpih ding ahi.

9.      Support
Sungkuan, nu-le-pa te leh u zawte toh relationship hoihtak neih ding ahi. Amau kiang a I kipahna leh haksatna te kikum a emotional support neih poimoh mahmah ahi. Ei theihlouh tampi a tuahsa om di a, I hoihnang a hon advise thei ding uhi. Thumna leh laisiangthou sim gige in hon panpih leh hon hihhat mahmah ahi.

10.  Persistence
Laisim a om tengteng a lohching gige kei ua. Bangziak hiam a lohsapna I tuah in leng lungke mai lo a I thil tuah te omden louding ahi chih theini. Mi thupi leh lohching tele tamveipi lohsam a pang teitei te ana hi uhi chih phok ni. Athak a panla a sim zelzel le khatvei tei vualzohna kimu ding ahi.

11.  Fun
Atawpna ding in, I laisim hun, haksa leh khamhuai kia din ngaihtuah kei ni. Hinkhua adia hun manpha, manghilh nawnlouh ding ahia. I tuailai hun, thahat lai, pil lai leh melhoih lai pen hun anuam theipen in pilvang takin zat sawm chiatni.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

Mahatma Gandhi said "There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed". I do not know if there is sufficient food, shelter and clothing for everyone in the world for now and for the future. (Looking at daily news it seems like quite a lot of people lack basic amenities.) So, it is worthy and noble to at least try and conserve our natural resources as much as possible.

In the meanwhile, humankind can come up with ingenious alternatives to sustain life. Our next generation of cars could run on H2O or Nuclear. And every home energy requirement could be powered by sunlight or biomass. Who knows, Mars may very well be our new homeland. (Homeland reminds me of the constant struggle we hear of between various ethnic groups and communities for identity and political self-determination. But that is another topic in itself) Maybe this is the right time to start buying real estate on Mars, because 50 years from now, price would have appreciated greatly :)

Looking at the irresponsible ways natural resources are depleted by us humans, it seems that we would run out of oil, forest, drinking water or even clean air within our lifetimes. I have read in my science textbooks in school that the world’s oil reserves would run dry in 50 years. Don’t know what will happen to Saudi Arabia’s economy by then?

You man have heard of a few experimental towns and communities which try to become green and conserve every bit of energy. Also they try to be self sufficient and produce their own green energy from sunlight, wind, flowing water, hot springs and bio mass. Kudos to them and hope that a million more models spring up in other parts of the world.

Many Countries & Private companies are trying to be environmentally friendly; knowing that it is the right thing to do. Governments around the world hold debates and negotiations on the lines of KYOTO protocol, reducing carbon footprint and cutting down green house gas emissions. However, it seems that the already rich and developed countries find it easier to comply with while the developing and under developed countries find it difficult to adopt such policies obviously for economic reasons. Companies too try to become green - though they say it makes monetary sense, i am not quite convinced if that is true - if it is then well and good. However, i guess the majority of them want to create a good brand image by being known as a green, environmentally clean company.
There is a price to be paid for green energy and conserving the environment. Electric cars do not run as fast and cost much more than the oil guzzling versions. While the leaders of the world fight it out and the corporates brainstorm in their meeting rooms my immediate concern is: What can I contribute to a greener and healthier world?
In our own small ways, we can play our part:
  • Walk or cycle instead of driving
  • Switch off any unused energy consuming devices
  • Keep all documents in electronic formats
  • Use less amount of water for washing or cleaning
  • Don't use disposable plastic/paper cups; Use glass/ steel instead
  • Avoid napkins if you have clean water to wash
  • Avoid plastic bags while shopping; carry you own jute/paper bag
  • As much as possible Reuse, Reduce, Recycle