Longer thoughts Part A: I had a dream, Kony

If you haven't read the blog intro click here.

I had a dream (Calm down, it’s nothing like the “I have a dream” speech). A dream where I was defenseless against an army of ants completely equipped with miniature sub machine guns and night vision glasses, making an attempt to capture and establish a base of some kind inside my ears. As  I lay down paralyzed by fear, I shouted for mercy, for help “guhar guhar!” only to wake up right at a moment where my roommate (Halal) was putting shit into my ears to force me out of bed. Try it out, it’s an amazingly simple way to wake up your peers. Works everytime.

I finally got to have chicken together with my dorm peers and it was nice to know the people who I share the restroom with. The conversation was as usual- people speak in Korean and then you just sit down and polish up your listening skills. This time though, I was motivated to say something in Korean.

As the conversation took a little turn, I said something I thought was hilarious (but in Korean) Unfortunately, the people around me thought otherwise. There was complete sense of confusion around the room so I had to add, “Just a joke!”  Everyone gave out their fake laugh and the situation calmed down. With level 1 vocab, you can’t expect to make jokes. No.

Turns out, the little chat did produce something substantial. A week ago, when the semester had just begun and we had relatively free time, Danny came over for some drinks. We were sharing a laugh when suddenly, we heard someone trying to open our room’s door well past midnight. I had heard of these random “checks” that the Residential Advisor (RA) does in order to check if everything is in order, just that I didn’t expect he would be soooo overly enthusiastic about it. We are allowed to have guests but only uptill 10 pm. I stole a glance from my computer’s clock: 2 am.

As I slowly made my way towards the door to act all innocent, Danny frantically was trying to get out of the view. First he tried out going under the bed. Didn’t work out. He opened the cupboard. No space. He went out to the veranda only for his ass to stick out in plain view. When all hope seemed to have been lost, the door stopped making the “khattak khattak” noise. RA must have had to take a leak.

This is what happened outside our door: At around 1:55 am, our mini-apartment’s main entrance was being forced to open. Confused, my dorm peers went over to check it out. As they opened the door, a random guy completely “not-in-control” made his way straight to the toilet without making a noise and puked all over OUR toilet. And then, confidently, he came over and tried to open OUR door. Bewildered again about the whole drama, the guys tried to bring him to senses and explain that he was making a mistake. “Its my room!” he answered. When asked what dorm no. he was supposed to be in, he said,”421”. As you can see, he was long long way from 921. Finally, they forced him out and made him read what was written outside the door and as expected, apologized and tumbled down the staircase.  It wasn’t the RA after all.

Meanwhile in some other time, completely different place, the week’s second DFM lecture was in full swing. Prof was explaining about the decreasing trend in something to do with “length” of a semi conductor.

Prof: “As you can see the curve, its decreasing and now they have managed to produce upto 22 nm. So who can guess what the limit would be?”

He looked around and got no answer. His eyes slowly turned to the darkest possible guy around. Me. I hate contrasts.

Prof:  “Mr. Maskey, would you like to make a guess?”

I just felt a bucket load of Kimchi being dumped into my mouth and was then asked to swallow. I was so used to listening to Professors saying,"hey you there!” in undergraduate courses that it was difficult what to make out of the politeness that these graduate courses bestowed.

Me: “Maybe around 10 nm”
Prof: “that’s correct! Scientists believe that it’s around that number that the “length” gets saturated. And what do you think the companies like Samsung will run into?” he looked directly at me, smiling.
(Nervously) Me: “Ahmm” nothing seems to come out. Then somehow,”possibly steeper competition?”
Prof: “that’s right!” and then went to explain stuff you will get bored of.

I knew I had just used all of my day’s luck in that very brief 30 second time. To be locked outside, unable to get into my room (the battery from inside ran out) only confirmed that later.

Moving into more serious stuff, and that’s really nothing to do with this blog is about KONY 2012. Now, most of you must have already watched the short “documentary” urging people around the world to do something about the situation in Uganda. Its fair enough to say that awareness is a key factor in addressing a problem,but is not always the solution. And the other solution that the video provides-to some degree-is utterly crazy.

75 million views and increasing, the video is now a blockbuster. Google’s Youtube must have racked up serious amount of advertising money and some percent must have ended up in the pockets of Invisible Children-the creators- as well. The cinematography done is great, punch line perfect, viewership crazy, music intense but solution? Increase American presence in the resource abundant region? Again? As experts in the region claim, the producers have instead, over simplified a Gordion Knot-like problem. Read more here.  Capturing the now "almost Pop star" Kony is a major step, but as Halal added after we watched the clip, “there’s always gonna be more of those.” Unless the deeper issue to why those problems came up in the first place isn’t addressed, the viscous cycle will continue on and on and on.

then whos gonna give a shit about them?
Photo credits: Silu di
taken in jan 10' Amalbesi, Nepal
Compared to where those children in Uganda are, I am simply in heaven. But not surprisingly, the same comparison can be drawn if you compare the state that I live in and the state of most Nepali children who still live in poverty back home. Believe me, I have seen them. Do we simply need to go so far away, do we need a damn video to remind us that there’s actually a problem? Ridiculous.  All you have to do is take a walk around the suburbs of the capital and you will find them. Well, you will find them everywhere.

I am not saying we will all have to start becoming Mother Teresa. Clearly there’s a need for balance between enjoying life and moral responsibilities. We have to have fun, enjoy, keep ourselves happy but at same time remind ourselves where we come from. And it’s not pretty. 


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