Undoubtedly vocational training would help ('Vocational training is the way to go', #412). All potential migrant workers must be educated and informed about the country they are going to work in. The information must include not only the country's customs, culture, religion, geography, climate, and per capita income but also how locals treat foreign workers with different faith from a poor country like ours. Also, women must not be sent to countries where abuse is common.
* The main reason foreign countries import labour is to fill those jobs in which locals refuse to work. It makes sense to train workers before they leave so that they might earn more. This means positions which require training that are slightly more competitive, pay more and give you more job security, especially in Gulf countries, would first go to the locals. It is equally important to research and understand the job market reality in these places before Nepali workers are given false hope. Training outgoing workers will undoubtedly increase remittance. However, the Nepali Times' projected graph ('Economic class,' #412) is anything but realistic. How about providing quality education to today's children so that when they grow up, they may not have to go to foreign lands to fill the absolute lowest, most labour-intensive positions.
Why such excitement over these fast food chains ('Slow interest in fast food', # 412)? It is like tobacco companies. After much public protest in western countries they move to the developing world where there are no regulations. In the US, eating in McD and KFC is not something people would boast about.
* My trekking experience in Lukla or Annapurna says that you don't have to eat dal-bhat non-stop for three weeks on a trek. In Phakding or Namche you can get Italian or American food easily. Furthermore, if fast food restaurants are to be opened in the Valley, they will, at best, serve as a substitute of already existing food options. The international brands will give a hint of what the rest of the world is like to the local Nepali population. They also illustrate how to protect and expand a brand name, and what a brand name can do for a business.
SLOW BURN IN TARAI
Prashant Jha is right, lawlessness at the top does indeed trickle down to the ground ('Slow burn in the Tarai', #412). I hope we see more and more people raising voices to make it not a Pahadi and Madhesi issue, but rather a Nepali issue. To top that off, a high profile kidnapping case involving a 'rich and famous' person in the heart of Kathmandu has shaken the consciousness. Finally it seems to be hitting home that no one is safe in New Nepal. Preserving our centuries-old Nepali nationhood, our diverse cultural identity and core values is everyone's responsibility. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Our ancestors from all castes and creeds?Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Rai, Chhetris, and Maithali Bahuns?stood up to the British Raj and China, unafraid to shed blood, to give us this gift of a nation called Nepal. No matter how imperfect our nation may have been, like many others, a modern nationhood of Nepal was created by a visionary Prithbhi Narayan Shah and there is nothing to be ashamed of. As an independent nation, it has outlasted many other countries in the world. Change we must, but don't let anyone erase this proud history. Challenges abound and we must work hard to uplift women, Janjatis and Dalits, and create equality between Madhesis and Pahadis. The only way we can do it is by focusing on our similarities, not our differences. How we can create a common thread is the biggest challenge. We certainly are not going to accomplish it by burning our dhotis or topis.