Busy Days, American Politics and Our Leaders

I have been extremely busy in the past two weeks. Blogging was the primary (or caucus? ha ha ha) casualty. I was completely into journalism, my primary profession. Reporting, writing, managing and editing.

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto came as a shock and I found myself in our newsroom tracking the sad and dramatic development as it unfolded in Rawalpindi. Pakistani newspapers Dawn, the News, American papers NYT and Wash Post, wire services and the web sites of BBC and CNN. And Wikipedia too. All were my sources for the report that I prepared and was published on front, almost entire, page. The only other news report, also written by me, on the front page was about the until-then-top-secret-number of the Maoist combatants released by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). The front page of Kantipur, the next day, had belonged to me, as one colleague at the business bureau put it.

Ironically, I am the coordinator of the last page of the paper that is titled “Kala Ra Shailee” (Arts and Style).

In addition to that, I was recently given the responsibility of coordinating Koseli, the weekly supplement of Kantipur.

Plus, I have also started covering the foreign affairs beat as my colleague Devendra Bhattarai is going to Quatar as Kantipur’s correspondent. Kantipur is publishing its Doha edition (weekly) soon. The edition will be coordinated by Girish Giri who used to oversee Koseli until two weeks ago.

So that’s it. Even during the new years time I was working like an ass. Actually I enjoy every bit of the work. Reporting, writing, editing and managing. All. Yes, all. Conceiving a fresh and new idea for a new story is difficult and implementing that fantastic idea into words and photos is even more difficult. Writing is challenging. Actually editing is fun but only when you read the entire story with patience. Some stories, my experience tells, are horrible. I mean they are horrible even by the Nepali journalism standard. Some are with wrong angle, wrong perspective. And some are really good. I have seen them all during my career as the ‘Arts and Style’ coordinator of Kantipur and, before that, Feature bureau chief at Nepal Magazine. And yes, I have seen some of those during the past two weeks as I went through various feature stories. The problem with many is that they don’t seem to be reading twice what they have written. (Just like my blogs? :))

Since we accept feature stories and contribution to other interactive columns for Koseli, I would like to make it clear to prospective contributors that please make sure you know hundred percent about what you are going to write about (you don’t have to be expert and do PhD on the topic but should know how you are going to present the subject in the story.)

I am planning to introduce new columns in Koseli and hope they will be appreciated well by readers (they have already been appreciated by my editors actually!). Suggestion as to how can the quality of the supplement be improved are welcome.

Oh… by the way, how can I just sign off without mentioning a word about the US presidential election campaigns? That’s impossible! Last Thursday (the day of Iowa caucus) I wrote an op-ed for Kantipur and the article was talk of the town (I am not boasting or blowing my own trumpet here)! And the most talked about word from the story? “Pro-American like Sudeep Shrestha and myself…” Almost all of my friends and colleagues whom I met that day greeted me by saying “hello pro-American!” I was in the parliament that day and a parliamentary reporter started the conversation with “our pro-American is here.” At least three people asked me to clarify what did I mean by pro-American.

I was happy for Barack Obama when he won Iowa. I was still elated, though slightly disappointed, when he finished second in New Hampshire today. (One can imagine how busy I was when I couldn’t find time to blog about that victory!) But I disagree with this NYT headline today: From a Big Boost for Obama to a Sharp Blow. Yes, that was a big boost for Obama in Iowa but a sharp blow in New Hampshire? Hell no. Everyone (except the two polls by CNN and USA Today- released about a day before the voting) thought Hillary was going to win the race in NH. I still think whatever Obama got in NH could still be considered the boost for him. Look at the gap between Obama and Hillary in NH. Considering the fact that he was an unknown entity until four years ago, this is a great achievement for Obama.

I appreciate the fighting spirit of Hillary and that should inspire struggling women all over the world. I also appreciate this American tradition of congratulating and appreciating the rivals. After the ‘defeat’, Obama said: “First of all, I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire. She did an outstanding job.” This culture of appreciating rivals and competitors makes me the fan of American democracy though I must confess I have very limited understanding about American democracy. One thing I can say for sure is this: you can’t imagine doing a Nepali leader the same. They will not just accept the other’s victory with such ease and politeness. We need to learn.

Of course, Nepali leaders are also working with the team spirit (I can cite those ‘countless’ agreements to corroborate my claim!) But most of the time, they act like fighting kids, cats and gods. And such public spats, baseless statements and unfounded claims reduce their seriousness to jokes. The other day I read a NYT report that cited candidates making untruthful statements, stretching truth to support their statements etc. That was a good report and we in Nepali journalism should publish reports like that pointing out factual errors in leaders speeches. By the way, today in canteen, while we were talking about electricity transmission lines, Bikash Thapa, the energy reporter for Kantipur said that once Makune (that is Madhav Kumar Nepal of CPN UML) had said that he would transmit the electricity from Mahakali to foreign countries via satellite. Even after saying such a foolish statement, he is still our leader!

And yes today I didn’t ‘work’!

15 thoughts on “Busy Days, American Politics and Our Leaders

  1. S

    hmmmm weired…looks like you don’t know that ‘Wikipedia’ is not considered a reliable source.
    Coz regular writers/readers around the world update that site. I thought as a Journalist …you shud have had known….


  2. S

    I agree with your opinion on Obama…how long has he been around anyway….and to make it this far is infact a victory in itself. I really wasn’t at all in my wildest dream expecting Obama…to come so far considering his experience. And I didn’t even think that Oprah’s support would do him any good. During his campaign all over America..when Oprah too came along to support him…most of the people clearly admitted that they just came to see Oprah but not Obama…but well..looks like its all working out for him …I still don’t think Americans are ready yet to accept Obama as the next President. But this phase is certainly a stepping stone for him.

    And about the politicians makign insane statements. I just realized….. in Late night shows …they actually show such speechs of their presidents. And its always fun to watch…wish even we had shows like that…ofcourse backed up with some good writers. ..hahaha…all hail to Writers Guild of AMerica!!


  3. Wagle

    I know how Wikipedia is produced. Just because anyone is entitled to write entries or edit them doesn’t mean information there are completely unreliable. Mistakes happen even in well edited and closely guarded books and newspapers. Having said all that I use Wikipedia as a starting point for my researches, not as the single source.


  4. rEaLiTy BiTeS

    Best wishes for co-ordinator of Koshli on coming days. If u really busy, then we have a chance to read your all time hits blog like this.
    In Kosheli,Hope to continue Kofee-Gaf by the senior wagle there as soon as possible. Also, If u try to increase 2 pages extra on the recent pages of kosheli including youth issue, tourism and technology pages, that would be really change (o)ur imagination in reality.
    I am not giving u guidelines but only as an humble request only that Be careful of in foreign issue like embassy selling and SUSTA ‘s sad news.
    Finally thanks for writing so much exciting and touchy long blog in long time.
    Best wishes for O-B-A-M-A ‘s outstanding win from Hilary’s hill.


  5. Raj Shrestha

    Off Course
    Congratch for the post coordinator on Koseli…Love to read to your entries at this midnight from sydney ..anyway i chk your photos on flickr today…rara lake …..haha …intresting anyway best to both OBAMA and hillary .


  6. Reader

    Great article about Nobody ppl. Loved you man for the article, I dont mean writing style was superb, that was ok ok but subject was so touchy.
    Keep it up!


  7. smita

    You capture the fleeting moments, all those moments that would have passed quite unnoticed otherwise. Be it the stories of “Nobody” or “newroad bata Live” all are the stories of going through the ordinary events that we happen to encounter everyday but are never aware that they “are”. So foregrounding those stories against the background of the busy New Road area or Singhadurbar or the ordinary( as most people think) public bus journey around kathmandu is really touching and praiseworthy.


  8. Basanta

    Nice one!.

    I am here, to thank you for your nice article in Kantipur about the so called ‘perliamentary hearing’ on Dr. Durgeshman singh. I sent a comment to Kantipur’s ‘Pathak Manch’, but it was not published.

    Thank you for showing us the true reckless character of our so called leaders. But I was delighted to know that we have visionaries like Dr. Singh too with us.


  9. NepaleseLaw

    These days, I am bit far from the political realm and developments as I find them not worthy of wasting our precious time. It’s unfortunate in fact, given the normally perceived gyan that youths should show interests in these things as they are the building blocks for future and so on and so forth. I personally just hope that B.P’s reconciliation principle will be revived before this nation becomes colony of some newly rising empires.

    And, if you people find some time, kindly visit my new adventure.


  10. myblogride

    since you are now the coordinator of Koseli, would like to write down upon some of my comments regarding the changed/modified format of Koseli.

    There is the section where some of the writers write about their experience with book. Most of the writers just give the name of the list of the books only, I doubt whether they themself had read or not. No analysis and no diving beyond the cover of the book. No message….no nothing. All an example of shallow writing. why they need to write about the book , just the name of the book if they are not going the dissect the pages of the book. This is the worsest thing that i find to read.

    Pustak barta and tandurusti barta which i feel worthless, where nor the excerpts nor answer giver both are serious about the matter. However, the same section in Kpost, i find appreciable and gives the impression of seriousness.

    There is campus jeevan, where most of the writers surprisingly are either student of mass communication or Journalism, and they write about the same old story of coming from village,adjustment problem in town colleges and so and so….. The same old story all are repetative. In a place where one is difficult to read,sometimes you people place two.

    There is college jeevan, where it is difficult to figure out what their discussion is about. and most of the cases, there is no such discussion that should be given the priority of publishing in the Saturday supplement.

    In the race of making Koseli more youth oriented, you (not personally but collectively) are making it like a college magazine.

    would be glad if i hear from you in this matter


  11. Reader

    So no birthday blog this time? I was expecting this time you would be celebreating your birthday with Obama 🙂 Is it sound odd if I wish you belated Happy Birthday? Wagle you are getting older Man!!!!
    Anyways, nice reporting about Ghar Pharkeko keto.


  12. myblogride

    Congratulations for brilliant piece of writing at KOseli and thanks that at least Campus jeevan was excluded. Keep up the good work!

    Yet, pustak analysis was a huge disappointment. I very much agree to Mr. Narayan Tiwari of his comment.

    What use of chupur-chupur writing,just to mention the name of renowned books only. why these writers never go beyond BP Koirala, Parijaat, Nelson Mandela, Garcia Marquez, Salmaan Rusdie, Samrat Upadhaya, Manjushreee Thapa? What use of writing incomplete, shallow story without plunging into the book matter? Do their experience with book count so worth if they relate with their activities?

    Books relate with life. In fact they are larger than life.So, its wiser to relate books with experience of the lifetime not with the daily activities. What count things like… who gave you that book? how you got that book? Who took away from you that book? Who not returned your book? who and how you lifted book from library?

    When you write about a book, the protagnist is the book, not the columnist who write about the book. So, story about the book should be prioterised than other things.

    Why not pick a book,only one book (books’ of above writer also included) and mention like pustak charcha of only one book, like you guys write about in a reel review (about films) in Kathmandu Post.

    And why not to seek contributions from elite than amateur contributers?

    I urge you…
    10 wata kitaab retera chodnu bhanda eutai kitaab chaapai katnu bes huncha!
    belated Happy birthday from myblogride!


  13. Reader

    Blogride, if every newspaper starts seeking elite contributer then who else give chance to amateur? I agree with you that those article who have been publishing under the topic of Pustak Charcha, are not so good but Kantipur has given a big plat form to new comer.
    And yes, Narayan Tiwari has raised absloutley right question. Pustak Charcha sould focus on Nepali Book. There are some name which you never can ignore though you stronglt want to ignore. Like can you ignore Henary? No, you cant.

    Regarding the Campus life, that was good but Wagle should urge to write to them who are not capus goer now but had gone once. You could make balance if you did it.

    It seems you are booksih or if not, the least you are is you love books. You sounded like that in these two comments so why dont you start in the way you want!!! Or you already have written huh??????????/


  14. myblogride

    Thanks a lot for the response.

    To make it clear.. i am not against amateur writing. The truth is that I myself fall in the same category. But yes i am against shallow writing. the purpose of writing is not fulfilledunless the complete full story is not given.

    My question to you is… do we need to start writing a book if we find them not in the way we want to read?
    What say u? And by the way i was talking about book analysis not about books!



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