Thursday, August 28, 2014

Graduate Day Blues

The race has only just begun.
Linus and Heechan, congrats boys!

You have been told, time and again, that the day before your graduation will something that I will reminisce for the rest of your life. A day when all come on to congratulate you on your glorious feat over your C- Professors, thick fat engineering books (of which, of course, you can’t even remember what the first chapters were)and most importantly, that stupid, lousy cat(s) that kept crawling over at senior year classes (and kept crossing your way).

Although I will not be wearing that ridiculous over sized dress and pose again and again for that perfect “throw that damn hat in the air as far as you possibly can” picture, I will be receiving my certificate of graduation certificate, which, in simple terms, tags me as “graduated.” I am not sure how I feel to be honest, I don’t feel the sense of happiness which you are supposed to be surrounded by, nor the sadness (because I not leaving just yet) that proceeds post-ceremony in having to leave the place that screwed over your brain cells and made you lose chunk of your eyesight. Unsurprisingly, the feeling of “meh” is largely what I am actually feel right now.

But what I feel what I should be doing instead is showing my gratitude the people who I have come across, shared some thoughts, shared pizzas, threw pizzas on their face and so on. 2010-2014 has been a mix bag of all sorts of emotions, me finding and learning and I guess it’s finally time to officially thank (writing makes it official, not pasting on fb wall) the people who made a difference to me on those days.

First stop, ma buwa. Dhanyabad for all the financial, moral, psychological support you have been giving me and I am sure I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this without you both. I am on my very own now, but there’s still much work to do.

That also includes the rest of my family, Dhanyabad, dhanyabad, dhanyabad. [kale da lai especially :p]
Now turning on to the rest…Let’s see where should I begin:

Binayak dai, Pratibha di: I wouldn’t have been here was it not for you. Thanks dai,didi for all the support.

Manandhar Sir: for my first curry in Korea.

Prof Yoo, Prof Ahn, Prof Jung: I will still be around.

Danny: I still feel bad I finished up your carefully saved whisky but I am sure we are now in a position to enjoy much more. You are welcome.

Jiyong and his family: My Korean brother from across the land, I will meet you next week.

The Quill: You guys were like a family to me and although I got a lot of spanking for my writing, I eventually improved. You guys prompted me meet tons of people, get tons of hangovers of varying degrees and go big on my writing.

SISF: My first summer here would have been much boring if I weren’t for you guys

Team Vietnam: Absolutely amazing, down to earth, fun loving guys you were.

SISA: my stint was constricted to semester but boy did I have fun. I still remember the shit I did in the MT (garbage) which still makes me chuckle randomly.

Run to You: The only time I truly contributed was when I screwed out some screws from that old, ridden jeep but my best memories will be of our time in everland.

FanatiKorea: got to meet a whole new breed of people.

Team SNUSAT CanSat: Last month was tough, but we ploughed it through

Labmates: can’t believe it’s been 6 months of interning already lol.

My congo guys: learning language was never the same without you people

Lekha di, Sanjaya dai, Rijana di: Gaf guff ani sanjay dai ko kuhiya jokes. ani momos!

Sungin and His family: Chuseok was great!

Halal, Sam, Hamza: you guys know why

Dessi, Nari, Nj, Jose, X1, X2: closest thing I have, had.

Bengali boys: Currys, very salty bbqs and late night talks

Prabhat: for being the other nepali

Gole, brihat, silwal: snapchat, gtalk and skype

Dalli: for listening to my drunk tirades

Sanila: for the late night talks

Linus, Heechan: you guys know why too

John: Coolest prof ever.

Vodka: great Busan trip

I know i am missing out on tons of names here, but I have come across you and talked to you then you demand a thank you from me too. To which I shall gladly oblige.

And to you too, for reading my nonsense.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Madeinepal's Arsenal Talk: The Season Ahead

With the rains finally falling down on a trophy drought-hit north London, and with an exodus of freshly brewed talent coming in to replace an equal mass of lost souls, the Arsenal faithful can perhaps, for the first time in years, look forward to a real competitive season. And with a very good reason.

Season after season of financial constraints, uncharacteristic we-cant-seem-to-sign-him complexities and no trophies had nearly put Wenger and his group of what he called top, top talent at the edge of a cliff only to wait for that imminent push on the back.

The push, however, never came. Ozil’s surprise visit invigorated the gunners and instead, they crawled their way back into safer plateaus beneath to bathe in all the FA cup glory.

But the story doesn't end here.

Arsenal’s new financial deals with Puma and Emirates changed the landscape in their favor bringing in a summer where Arsene was conspicuously seen flashing out his credit card on players and not just milk, eggs, pasta and 2 kilos of beef for Monday morning breakfast. Convincing Alexis (he likes to be called him that way) to skip the bikini clanged beaches of Catalonia and make his trip north across the sea was perhaps the best piece of deal anyone could have asked for. Whether the trip takes a sour turn is anybody’s guess right now but given of what the 25 something has accomplished both at club and country level, all vectors seem to be pointing towards a basketball equivalent of a grand slam.

What was surprising though, was Barca wasn’t just done there. Their reluctance to keep Cesc *sigh* meant that Arsenal had the chance to bring captain fantastic back. With Ozil now the center with Ramsey, Carzola, Rosicky and Wilshire all but capable to play in the same position, Arsene found it hard to spend hard cash on a prodigy that he had so architected. Having now witnessed how he has seamlessly slotted into the system that Jose has in place this season, Arsene might be having second thoughts with the decision. It’s blindingly obvious that there’s always space for class.

He might have mentioned to Cesc that Ozil took his place, but this blogger feels that’s really not the case. Aron Ramsey’s becoming of a player that Arsene envisaged him to become must have certainly skewed his decision to go pick up his credit card from the Lost and Found section of Wal-Mart. The welsh jesus was in such rich vein of form last season that when his legs decided to go all Diaby on him post-midseason, Arsenal just could not go that extra to keep the lead.

What a shame.

Which only means that keeping him up and running will be as important as keeping Ozil fresh. The German, having won the World Cup along with Per and Prince Poldi, should have his confidence at peak when he does start in Goodison Park this weekend. The googly eyed Turkish decent still has a flurry of critics to answer but looking at what he brought to the team last season, it’s hard to fathom why those critics are being critics in the first place. Ozil’s signing not only brought a quality player on pitch but also raised the overall standard of the players around him. Playing against him in training, learning from his technique and getting to know how he thinks and plays must have done a world of good to all the squad involved. The categorical rise of Ramsey after of Ozil’s arrival cannot, thus, be ignored.

The only real trouble now though, seems to be in the defense department. Sagnas departure meant Debuchy took over, however, Captain Sharp Eyed switch to Barca meant that a signing is needed. And urgently.

Young Chambers has been key in the opening games but this blogger still thinks that it’s too early to tag him as a defensive solution. He has the capability to play DM, RB and CD which prompted Wenger to splash cash on him but he seems to be more of a guy who the boss will entrust serious defensive duties in the future; and not now.

Noting that the fact that we did sign Ozil just before the window shut down for good, there’s still a very good chance that we will bring someone, but let’s just hope that someone will bring some solid rigidity in front of a total Master-Glove Finale between now first choice Szczesny and WC hero Ospina.

A very, very interesting season ahead indeed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Photo Blog: Budhanikantha School Vintage'79 Stills

*Sigh* Then Crown Prince Dipendra on his first day at school
Makalu House, 1979
(832 A, if I am not wrong)
Mr. Mike Scholey has been posting some fascinating stills of Budhanilkantha School from the late 1970's to the early 80's time at the BNKS closed group on fb and I thought I might just share what he had to show. It's not fair that we are the only once getting to see these brilliant images. 

His Majesty Late King Birendra and Late Queen Aishwariya at Makalu House.
Royal visit to the school, 1979.

His Majesty Late King Birendra at HOH office, 1979.
He looks absolutely gorgeous.

King's arrival, 1979

King's reception in front of Kanchenjunga House, 1979.

The Late King Arrives, 1979

Young leader: Late Crown Prince 832 Dipendra leads Makalu House.
The flag carrier was the designated House Captain.
March Past, Sports Day, early 1980's

What it was like back in those days

Budhanilkantha School, 1979

Teachers; notice those classic baggy pants, 1979

Assembly Hall

The Foyer

Annapurna (left), Kanchenjunga and Nilgiri House.
Taken from the same spot where the Multimedia Center now stands tall

Way upto Nilgiri and Pumori, nothing's changed.
Fell down from these stairs a couple of times, not pretty at all.

Dhaulagiri House

Staff Quarters, view from Garden Pitch

Top, Middle and Bottom Pitch all in one view.
Just think about that for a moment.

Basketball court, someone on fb commented that it was perhaps the first of its kind.
He might have made a very good assumption indeed.

Middle pitch basketball court. I do have some bad memories here.
We did play cricket as well with the basketball stands as stumps.

Football at Middle Pitch. Its a lot greener now

Track and Field: Javelin in motion
(tight shorts, baggy pants again)

Sports day delegates

Sports Day event, 200m(?). Remember coming last on one of these.

Waiting for lunch I guess. 1979

The same place but reversed view.

Study time, everyone must have been huddled up inside the dayroom.

Boys going back to their rooms after class

The famous pillar for all purposes: reading, sunbathing, nailcutting 
and oh yeah, Chungi playing

Tiffin time. Tea was one of our favorites past time too

Chicken Day Craze.
The whole point was to get the biggest, fattest piece.
And steal some chips from the other table

The infamous 10 past 6 punishment which we never had to endure

More of the punishment

Double tiffin LOL

Uniform change, by the time we showed up the blue pants had turned grey.

All credits to Mr. Scholey and his camera.
Keep those pictures coming.

Monday, August 18, 2014

5 Clever ways Koreans ask if you know Jesus Christ

Photo credits: [HERE]
Let’s face it, any non-Christian foreigner living in Korea will have picked up the bible, read a few sentences and made a shit load of misinterpretations of it at some point of their prolonged stay. They could have done so out of pure curiosity but for most individuals, including this blogger, it’s an involuntary affair. Some people go on to like what they read and some end up being very bored indeed.

Now don’t get me wrong; I do have a lot of close individuals who are devout Christians. I have spent time with their families, gone to church and celebrated Christmas and Chusak together. That’s all well and good.

However, the once being stated here are the weird guys who follow you around the street asking if you know Jesus Christ. But since foreigners are not stupid and guess where that’s all heading to, these “messengers of God” sent from God and no one but the God himself have devised clever ways to stay one step ahead of the game. And they are really good at it.

The “Element of Surprise”

Often when you see some stranger smiling at you for no apparent reason and coming straight at you, you know what to expect. While most Koreans shy away without ever making an eye contact, these guys are just the opposite. They approach you with such swagger that it’s really hard to ignore them and walk away.

Usually these guys are fluent in English. They are well trained to what to say and how to say it. This is quite the most direct approach they can take but sometimes they bring out the element of surprise to spice things a bit.

This one time, while I was minding my own business, a twosome came and started saying something in Korean. Since the word Jesus was apparent, I politely interrupted them and said that I couldn’t speak a word of Korean at all. I thought that would do the job but instead I got “Oh great! We were hoping you would say that! Now where were we?”

And that was not the last time. Next time someone started to come near and preach about the almighty, I just acted plain dumb and used some sign language to ask him if he can use that language instead. Works like a charm.

The “Thesis”

“Excuse me? Can you help me with this experiment?”
“Oh sure. What’s it about?”

“My graduate thesis. You see, I need some foreigners. Would you please mind helping?”
“Great.. What can I do?”
“Lets sit down for a while, shall we?”

Its only after a while that you realize you have just done yourself no favors by reading out the first line of the bible from a printed A4 paper.

The “Dropping the bomb”

Freshman year in Korea, especially the first semester, was as confusing and problematic as it could possibly get. In one of the community based programs I attended, I met this women who took a liking of me and we started talking. She said she finished her Master’s in the US and so forth, understood how it felt to be in another country studying in a language you don’t get shit.

So she started inviting over for dinners where she would be this really good listener and give these advice on to solve the issues at stake. It was all going smooth at this point and she asks me if I could meet her once a week. I had nothing better to do so I said yes.

It was perhaps in the third week that she dropped the bomb.
“I want you to read the bible with me”

“I said, I want you to read the bible with me”

“I am sorry but I can’t”

“After all I have done for you?”
“Come one, give it a try,” she adds, “If you like it you can continue, if not you can just drop it”
Classic you have a choice but you don’t have a choice situation.

But she did have a point. She had been very helpful for the past month or so and I just couldn’t say no. So I said yes.

“Call me sister. I will call you brother”

After three weeks of intensive bible misinterpretations which included she telling me that the bible time and our time scale were different (which made everything else messy and even more confusing), I dropped the bomb on her. But not in person.
“I can’t do this”

“You can’t quit now”

A plethora of useless discussions followed which ended by her telling me to never see her again, to which I gladly complied.

The “Knock on the door”

When people come knocking at your door asking if you have time to discuss issues that need to be discussed immediately, it’s hard to say no. Especially when you come from a culture where you respect people who come in front of your doorstep asking for something.

But cultures change and I have grown accustomed to asking people to come the next day for the next 30 days.

The “Are you HAPPY?”

One of the most difficult questions people ask themselves is the question of happiness. It’s not something quantifiable but some individuals who call themselves messengers of god have found a way to somehow rate them on a scale of 10.

“8” I wrote on the survey paper they had just provided me and after giving a answers to quite a number of questions, I handed them the paper back.
“Wow excellent. You seem to be content. Now what do you think you should do to make it 10?”

“I really don’t know. Maybe Arsenal needs to win a cup (they hadn’t at that point)”

“Don’t be silly, come one, give me something”

“Don’t know”

“Maybe, just maybe reading the bible might help”

I pretended to get a phone call, excused myself and off I ran. I was later sharing this story to a friend of mine, who also had a similar story to share. But instead of 8, he wrote down 10/10 under the heading “Happy”

“Wow, 10! That’s perfect, would you mind sharing your story with our church members on how to become as happy as you. They would love you!”

There you go again. 

The Busan Diaries: DayII

The next day started real early as I made my way out jumping on top of sleeping Koreans. The rain gods didn’t seem to be favoring the travelers but I did manage to stay dry with a makeshift umbrella I bought at the store. I wanted a nice view of the ocean while enjoying my breakfast and after much looking in the rain, found out a beer/chicken place with a misplaced beach view which oddly had fried rice on their menu. Very interesting indeed.

Finding Nemo
Ideas were popping up as quickly as the tummy was getting filled up and I decided to make use of one of these discount coupons I had. For a Nepali who hardly got to see the sea, let alone sea animals, going to an aquarium seemed to be as exotic as it could get. I remember watching these creatures like a kid in a candy store, sampling and savoring every bit of flavor that was oozing out from behind those transparent glass walls. I guess my favorite memories of the place includes the otter feeding, the hyper, on drugs dolphin who kept moving in clockwise circles in top speed (and made everyone’s head turn accordingly) and the very slow-mow chill sharks who all seem to not care about a rather tasty Indian delight at the other end of the glass. When I say Indian, I mean actual Indians and not me. There were these bunch of them who kept asking me where the exit was which almost made me feel as if I was their guide.

Give me break, will you?

Having now woken vodka, I made my way to, apparently, the biggest departmental store in the world; The Shinsegae Departmental store at Centum City. It covers a mind boggling 293,905m2 of space equivalent to an area covered by 41 football fields. That’s something isn’t it? You need an indoor taxi to go around in that space.

“Hey Ajashi, can you take me to the nearest H&M store please?”

While I did get my hands on a couple of T’s at H&M without having to board an imaginary one, I wasn’t there for that. Supposedly the 4D hall was amongst the attractions that made the most noise on the internet and so I thought I should give these moving seats and water sprays a try.

I would have preferred to watch this instead
But like all important attractions, they had one last seat remaining. Since it was obvious that two people couldn’t fit in one, we decided to choose a more traditional 2D movie which we later regretted watching. badly. It was perhaps the worst of the worst of the worst movies we had ever laid our eyes on, with the story swinging from one point to other overdosed by over acting with tons of other bull shit on the side menu. Having to think about it, all those horrible nepali and hindi movies that I have spent not-so-quality-time on all those years feels surprisingly better now. Zero Theorem is highly, highly recommended because every movie you watch from then on is going to feel amazingly better.

HQ: got better as the afternoon wearied out
Post-horrible-movie-hangover needed some time to recover, so we headed back to beaches of Gwangan again, opting to re-initiate code PUB CRAWL but a lazy one instead. The newly opened HQ was a bit difficult to find but once we got ourselves locked on it, it wasn't long before we were sitting down beside this gorgeous view of the beach, the sea and the famous busan bridge(not sure what’s it called). Dare I say it rivaled the same laidback experience I had at riverside Shanghai when I just sat down besides good company, drinking good brew and devouring the scene ahead. Exactly what I had imagined my trip to be.

stamina boys!
After the busan boys (this guy and the other guy), joined the table as well, we decided that it was finally time to try some of busan’s famous cuisine. The eel-like delicacy was a local hit here (the boys kept saying it was good for stamina. And then they kept adding it was for boys. You get what I mean) and I could really see why. The meat(?) was almost soft and buttery, and with a helping of typical BBQ servings, the whole experience was as good as it could get.

With that done, we focused on witnessing what the beach had to offer. And there was tons of it. You could either sit down with a bottle of makalli and anju and get a close up view of the bridge or sit down watch a musical or watch a live, rather impressive acoustic performance. We did it all except for that part where the makalli and anju was conspicuously missing.

Galmegi Brewing Company
But things were not over just yet. We still had to check out Galmegi’s new outlet and after some searching, ended up with a square table with perhaps the best brew in Busan. The CEO and headbrewer was even kind enough to show around the brewery where you couldn’t help but smell all the chocolaty malt they had been wanting to use on their next batch of driftwood porter.

Of course, my worries now turned to finding a place to spend the night in and after saying my goodbyes to the busanites, I went straight to Spa Land at Centum City. Having heard so much about it, and rated highly as a must-have-experience in Busan, it made sense to at least dip into what they had to offer. Unfortunately for me, I missed out on the point that they actually closed at midnight and so had to drag my ass back to the beach where I found a round the clock sauna to get some rest. It was a rather old one but I had to catch the train to Seoul in the next four hours anyways.

And before I knew it, I was back to my report writing ways at the lab.