Category Archives: Wagle Reporting

Walking Around a Nepali Village

Clicking some (or all) photos will take the clicker to my Flickr page.

A Nepali Kid, his buffalow and fruit 11

In the morning, in Chandanpur village of Lalitpur district, we decided to take a walk for a while. We wanted to see how people were living in their homes and what they were doing in their fields. We walked uphill for about 10 minutes and reached at a house. Inside, a lady was apparently preparing food along with her son. She turned out to be a MaSiKa (Matri Sishu Karyakarta: health worker on safe motherhood) who talked about her wrok in the village. “The Tamang women are less enthuasistic about getting expert advise and involvement during pregnancy than those of Brahnim-Chhetri caste,” she said. She is a Newar who attended highschool and is from the area of Lalitpur that is nearer to the capital city. “Initially it was so boring to come here in this type of village,” said the woman. “Now I am used to with the life here.” The woman also talked about the disease that was causing serious harm to the corn production in the village. She said many farmers in the village, including herself, have started planting cabbage instead of corn this year. [More about this has been mentioned in my Nepali article titled Motorcycle Diary that appeared in 26 July’s Koseli.] Continue reading

The Motorcycle Diary: Nepali Version!

See the related article [Motorcycle Diary] in Nepali in Blogmandu

Recently I went to some “remote” areas of Lalitpur district pillion riding on my reporter colleague Suraj Kunwar’s Honda Shine. During the overnight trip we rode over the bumpy roads, stopped for tea and snack in small tea-shops and stayed in a dirty lodge. But the food was good. The village was beautiful and we went around the village, sneaked into the residential compounds, and talked to the locals.

The first day of the two-day journey occurred under heavy rain. We continued riding even as the pouring continued as if that would sweep away the hills from where the road went through. The raincoat wasn’t able to save us from the water. That was fun. The leeches were at times scary especially when you found them sucking blood just above the middle of your thigh! There was couple of moments of cultural shock. One included the tea-house lady offering me a glass of local liquor instead of tea because the locals understand that you are asking for the raksi (liquor) when you ask for tea! Continue reading

Phones, Presidential Oath and the Restaurant Bill

It wasn’t predicted. It wasn’t on my schedule. In a way it was like any other unpredictable day in my professional life. As I was heading towards office thinking about what I might do in the newsroom, the cell rang- GSM I must mention, not the CDMA, as I have started carrying two if I am to exclude the third, data only CDMA phone that I put inside my backpack, over the past several days.

Presidential Complex was decorated with Moon and Sun on the presidential oath taking day

There is a convincing background for this, I must clarify. One of the numbers was published in the newspaper, at the end of one of my articles, and the text messages and miscalls (that’s right, not Missed Calls in Nepali usage!) kept flooding in. In addition to that, there are some benefits of carrying two different phones that are enabled by two different technologies albeit their service is provided by the same company Nepal Telecom. The reception of CDMA phone is very good in Kathmandu where the service of GSM is, to put it mildly, unbearable. Plus, if you go to remote places like Chandanpur village of Lalitpur district where I went last week, you won’t see signals for GSM while CDMA works perfectly fine. But, on the other hand, the GSM postpaid that I have is cheap to make calls compared to CDMA/GSM prepaid. So make calls from GSM whenever possible and receive on CDMA! Continue reading

Compensation to Nepalis Killed in Iraq: The Reporting Experience

Media Watch: Nepali reporters and news outlets sometime make jokes out of themselves. While reporting news, they hardly care about facts, those facts that are usually the backbone of the story itself. Rookie reporters and careless editors are often to be blamed for such inaccuracies.

I am talking about the coverage of latest development from Washington DC on the compensation awarded to the families of nine of the 12 Nepalis killed in Iraq in 2004.

Someone called Rajendra Thakuri, “an entrepreneur” based in Washington DC, sent an email to a few media outlets, including to Kantipur where I work, detailing how his neighbor, Matthew Handley and Matthew’s law firm successfully fought on behalf of the Nepalis killed in Iraq. Rajendra doesn’t categorically mention that the court ruling was for only 9 of the 12 Nepalis though he says in his email to the media that “there is better news for some of these families.” But the title of his article in Nepalnews, presumably put by Nepalnews, is misleading and wrong.

Instead of trying to verify the information, which is so easy thanks to the Internet and cheap phone calls to the US, reporters blindly report in many newspapers and web sites today that families of ALL 12 will get the compensation.

Only Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post (not even our own ekantipur) got it right because they reported that the families of only 9 out of 12 will get the compensation [See the screen print version of some outlets via the links at the end of this post.] I shared all the documents that I downloaded from the web site of Cohen Milstein, the firm that represented 11 Nepalis, with Prabhakar Ghimire, who wrote the news for the Kathmandu Post. Both the Post’s and Kantipur’s reporting also includes interview of Matt that I conducted in which he talks about the case and his involvement in it.

The moral lesson: Of course, mistakes do happen because we are all human being [My own mistake, as one reader pointed out, is that it should have been Chicago Tribune, not Chicago Times as I wrote in the report]. But the grand question is: are we trying to avoid them? Reporters, please check facts before writing the story. There is something called Google. Just google it!!

Googling would have taken you to the web site of Cohen Milstein where they have separate section for this case that has PDF files of the many related documents.

Click on the following names to see the screen print of their respective coverage of each of the news outlets:

THT, Nepalnews, eKantipur.

[Nepal Samacharpatra and Rajdhani dailies have also published wrong reporting.]

Here are the PDF versions of the front and third pages of Kantipur: Page 1 and Page 3

Fatalism And Development. The Book.

All photos by Yogesh Khatiwada

I have posted the photos of me looking for, finding and buying the much acclaimed book Fatalism and Development by anthropologist Dor Bahadur Bista who has gone missing since 1997. Continue reading

Chyura Set in New Road

Pics of Wagle by Yogesh who’s seen partly in the photo above- front. Other pics by Wagle

Background: I had this idea of a story about the rising inflation, worldwide and in Nepal. I wanted the real story, human story not just the hard facts. Though I am not an a-dollar-day man (fortunately I earn slightly more than that) I can still feel the heat of inflation in various forms. The price these days have skyrocketed. From a cup of tea to a plate of momo to a t-shirt to apartment rooms to bus fares to plane tickets. So I wanted to do a story about inflation for Koseli but unfortunately I couldn’t. There were too many other news assignments for the regular issue of Kantipur. Too many foreign observers were coming in to see the CA polls and I had to follow them. I had to cover too many press conferences and other stuffs. Continue reading

All About Nepali Press Conferences (Including Two by Jimmy Carter)

The Jimmy Carter press conferences (pic by Bikas Rauniar) were definitely better organized than many of the usual PCs in Nepal that are grossly mismanaged and both organizers and reporters are responsible for such mess.

24 Nov: It’s 10:30 PM and I just finished writing second of the two news items of the day (they will appear in tomorrow’s editions of the paper.) I missed the 9:30 van that was delayed for about 15 minutes. Now I am actually waiting for the next one which will leave the office at 11 PM. It was a hectic day. Thanks to the 39th US President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, I woke up early today.

It was 9 AM that I finally decided to throw the siraks off. The alarm rang just on time I had wanted it to sing the national song: 7:15 AM. I wanted to sleep more. I set the alarm for 8:30. It worked but still I didn’t want to get out of the bed. It was 9 when I finally decided to get up because I had to attend Carter’s Press Conference that, according to a Carter Center invitation, would begin “at 12:15h at the Megha Malhar Conference Center of the Crowne Plaza Soaltee in Kathmandu, Nepal.” Here is what was in the invitation that made me wake up early: “Due to security protocols, accredited Nepalese media and foreign correspondents are asked to arrive no later than 11:15h using the rear entrance of the Conference Center. Persons arriving after 11:15h will be denied entry.” Continue reading

White Water Rafting in Trishuli

Yea, I want to do more rafting and in more challenging rivers. Bhote Koshi, I will see you soon!

Bindas over water: Wagle waves at camera while rafting

That was my first experience with rafting. I was excited and was too eager to board into one of the raft boats anchored on the bank of Trishuli River. At the same time, I didn’t want to miss any of the ‘useful’ verbatim that I may hear during rafting because I was there to write a story for my newspaper. So I was ready to raft with camera, notebook, pen (and iPod) on my handbag that was air-tightly packed and hooked into the boat. Apart from that, I had carried a few blank pages from the notebook and a ball point pen with me. I soon realized it was very challenging to save notebook from the waves of water that suddenly pour over you as the raft dances over water. Still, the good reporter in me successfully kept those pages in my pocket unwashed and kept on noting down anything that I deemed important and useful for my stories. But the most important challenge was to find a good story- not just the reporting the event (organized by an organization called KTM cards of singer Deepak Bajracharya that sells membership cards to fans and brings them near to the celebrities in occasions like this and other gatherings in Kathmandu.) Continue reading

Bungy Jumping In Nepal: Incredible Experience

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But I have decided not to jump again. I still wonder why people say they enjoyed jumping from the 160-meters-high bridge. All pics by Suraj Kunwar

Am I an adventurer? No need for any such questions. I am, of course. I love traveling, wandering, trekking, going up to a hill and descending back to the plains. I love hiking alone, walking in a group and I love camping and what not. If these activities are not enough to prove my venturesomeness, fine I don’t care. But I have decided, for once and all, I will never do the Bungy or Bungee jumping again! That is, not AGAIN which means I have done that! The jump that I took on Monday, May 7, 2007 was terrible. Not that I crashed down on the George of Bhotekoshi river but the whole experience was so scarier that I am still afraid of even thinking about jumping. Continue reading

British (And Other Foreign) Film Festival in Kathmandu

Kathmandu sees many foreign language film festivals, not just Bollywood and Hollywood flicks.

One after another, it’s now time for British Film Festival in Kathmandu. The sixth edition of the yearly event was inaugurated by the British Ambassador Andrew Hall yesterday evening in Gopi Krishna Cinema Hall. Over the past several years, we have seen many language-based film festivals that are organized either by the foreign embassies in Kathmandu or non governmental organizations that have gotten some kind of assistance from those missions. Those festivals are primarily targeted to the learners of the related language. “Our main target audiences are young learners, students and young professionals along with a wide range of senior officials,” states a press release issued by the British Council, the organizer of the British film festival in Nepal. The festival will go to Pokhara at the end of this month.

I was talking about the waves of foreign film festivals in Nepal. I recently attended French film festival and, before that, Spanish film festival. Kathmandu also sees Chinese film festival. The market here in Nepal is overwhelmingly dominated by Bollywood (Hindi) and Hollywood films. Films from these two groups are so much popular that people stand in queue to get tickets for the shows. With that craze in background, some people might think Nepal doesn’t see Indian film festival and American film festival. That would be wrong. Even Indian embassy and American mission do organize Indian film festival and American Film festival. We can see alternate films from those big industries. Indian embassy organized a traveling film festival last year, I think, screening old films while American Center organized a month-long screening of many rarely heard American films several months ago in Kathmandu. Theaters in Kathmandu.

These festivals are definitely useful for the young crowd in Kathmandu who will get opportunity to explore into different cinematic worlds that are not available in mainstream film market in Nepal. For instance, I couldn’t have seen a film like Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël, photo) in any theater in Kathmandu if there was no British film festival organized. I enjoyed the oscar nominated anti-war moive on the inauguration day of the festival yesterday as I was there to report the event. The British Council press release further states, “We feel that film festival is an extremely effective way of enabling large numbers of predominantly young, educated people to widen their views of the world and, in this case, provide them with vivid impressions of modern Britain.”

If anyone is reading this and is interested in attending the festival (which is free of cost), feel free to visit the Council reception in Lainchaur to collect the ticket. Because I am a reporter, I already got a few from the Council.