Nepali Times Asian Paints
ARTHA BEED
Economic Sense
Jaipuri lessons


ARTHA BEED


RABI THAPA

When you have close to 50,000 people at a free event hosted within a couple of acres, you have to be up to the challenge. For this Beed, visiting the Jaipur Literature Festival for the second time, it was an impressive show. Events are getting bigger in Nepal, too, so there are a few lessons for us here.

To make a success of an event, you need a real tough general leading the way. At Jaipur, there were four venues, where hour-long sessions ran over five days. Packed audiences moved seamlessly from one venue to another. Importantly, when a session was meant to last an hour, it lasted sixty minutes. This may seem obvious, but in Nepal an hour usually has a variable number of minutes. If we are to host good events, then we need to ensure that people understand that a minute has sixty seconds and an hour has sixty minutes. Just watch the way our people talk on television shows or run conferences and seminars. We could take our cue from Nepa-laya, which is doing a good job of starting programs on time and putting up good shows.

Before I left Nepal, I was asked who was going to inaugurate the Jaipur festival. Perhaps the Prime Minister? Hardly. It was the Chief Minister of Rajasthan who did the honours, after which he discreetly made his exit, with nary a speech. The thousands present were then left to the literature they had come to celebrate. In Nepal, we would do well to discard our infatuation with political figures, who in any case are usually wholly unsuited to the events they are inaugurating.

For events to be successful, we need team performance, from the generals to the soldiers on the ground. For five days, this Beed watched a group of people whose only job was to pick up the trash. No matter what was going on, no matter who was on stage, they kept at their job. Shuttle vehicles took people to their hotels and back at regular intervals, making the whole experience much more restful for the attendees. It is people like these who make events a success. In Nepal, volunteers are more likely to be in the front row, listening to the concert, as no one wants to deal with filthy toilets. Those in charge of security are usually no better, and situations are much more likely to spiral out of control. Memories of a badly managed World Cup football final in our city stadium are still fresh.

Event management was the key to the success of the Jaipur festival. Nepali event managers would do well to visit Jaipur to get their own events right. There are companies like DMI in Nepal, who are getting better at defining professionalism, but the hosts of so-called event management firms need to learn what it is to deliver beyond people's expectations. It is not about resources, having the best audio-visual equipment, or the best venues, it is the management of such resources that makes events stand out.

Kudos to Teamworks, the producers of the Jaipur Literature Festival. We hope to see them do something in Nepal too, in collaboration with Nepali firms. Perhaps a Southasian Cultural Festival?

www.arthabeed.com

READ ALSO:
Jaipur: jostle or josh?, RABI THAPA



1. Lesson Master
A cursory glance at Arthabeed's columns says that he is good at passing minor, trivial and insignificant touristic impressions as "big lessons for Nepal". Some notable centres of lessons from recent columns are :-

- Jaipur
- Dubai
- Delhi
-Lumbini
-Cambodia
-Sikkim
-South Africa
-Kolkata
- Dehradun
-Bhutan



2. Slarti
Thank you for saying that #1. I am yet to read a beed article which belies the notion that the name of this column is an oxymoron. I am yet to find any sense in his economics. Unless, of course, the title means being economical with sense.

Examples include his article on inheritance which he tried to pass off as an attempt to open a debate on an important subject, on expat labour in Nepal who apparently take away Nepal's GDP's worth in remittances to India, and a cack-handed attempt at explaining the phenomenon of inflation in Nepal. 


3. Chandra Gurung
I think Nepali Times seriously need better economics writers. I respect both Beed and Ashu, but they are really getting worse. There used to be some semblance of economics in these columns, but no more. Ashu writes about slapgate, and invariably comes back to management lessons or politics in his column. Beed used to be slightly better, but is getting too predictable now.

I hope there will be
 (i) incisive comments on state of economy in Nepal with data based observations 
(ii) Comments on recently promulgated economic policies and their possible pro/cons.
(iii) Sometimes --comments on regional or , even, international economic policies and how they may impact us.

I also hope that they collect insights from economics professors of TU, economic policymakers at Rashtra Bank or major banks or major institutes, and cite them. There are tons of studies, and these people need to read these studies and distill them for us. Like the commentator above said, we should not be fed 'travelogue' as economic commentary.

Again, I respect what you guys are doing and I like both of you guys. But I hope a positive comment will be taken positively.



4. hange
Lesson Master, wow you did quite a bit of research here on Beed's past articles.  Do you simply have too much time on your hand?  Or do you make the time to choose an author to bash?  And, finally, if Artha's work simply constitutes the minor, trivial, and insignificant, why do you bother to read them in the first place?  You have the choice to not click the link my friend.


5. Battisputali
Maybe it is time for Nepalitimes to try some new talent for its economics column? Chandan Sapkota could be a potential fit.



6. Lesson Master
Hange, 

I have time on my hand. It's my time, not yours. 

Some future lesson locations :-

- France - Lessons for Nepal's wine industry 
- Germany - Lessons for Nepal's auto-dealers
- London Olympics 2012 - Lessons for Nepal to organise Asiad
- Switzerland - Lessons for Nepal to build houses on the hills
- China - Lessons for erecting a big wall on Indo-Nepal border
- Japan - Lessons for how to set up vending machines everywhere

Happy now?
 



7. kiddo
Battisputali,

You kidding? You want an undergraduate with no experience of Nepal to speak of to write a column in Nepali Times?


8. Battisputali
Yup. Undergrads can be wise. Folks who were much younger have written for NT. What do you mean by experience?
Back to topic. Travelogues or not,  I enjoy the Beed's columns. But, echoing number 3, adding some data based economic analysis would not hurt. 


9. Dr B
I guess we are all entitled to our views and that all can accept that everyone's perceptions are as valid as the next person's. If I apply such a principle to Beed's writings then what I perceive is an attempt to show that it is often the small things and from the bottom up rather than the top down that make a difference. How many examples do you want?
1.  For five days, this Beed watched a group of people whose only job was to pick up the trash. No matter what was going on, no matter who was on stage, they kept at their job. Shuttle vehicles took people to their hotels and back at regular intervals, making the whole experience much more restful for the attendees. It is people like these who make events a success.

Compare this with the workers at TIA who sullenly stand around as baggage is lost, delayed, mishandled or damaged. They don't want to know. 

2. Most Nepalis accept that there is a high level of corruption amongst high level politicians.
Compare this with the taxi driver who tries to charge 5 times the amount for a ride from Durbar Marg to Patan, or the street trader who tries to charge a tourist 10,000 rupees for a statue worth 100 rupees. Two examples of endemic corruption.

3. Look at the queues for a passport, a visa or even something relatively simple like cashing a cheque. The workers dealing with customers (now there's an alien concept in Nepal) look like zombies with no care, concern, interest or pride in their work.

4. There are companies like DMI in Nepal, who are getting better at defining professionalism, but the hosts of so-called event management firms need to learn what it is to deliver beyond people's expectations. It is not about resources, having the best audio-visual equipment, or the best venues, it is the management of such resources that makes events stand out.

This comment is 100% valid and almost representative of a Nepali disease. It also exactly mirrors my own experience in Kathmandu as I try to make 6 schools better places for 1200 Dalit children. The staff seem to think its about giving them new buildings, computers, av equipment, but it's NOT. Its about them becoming better teachers, applying high personal standards, caring for their students, becoming child centred.

My perception of what the Beed is saying is that economic sense can be built from the bottom up as much as the top down, that each individual must take responsibility, that what each individual does matters. From the toilet cleaners at TIA to the Ministers in Office, from the traders in Thamel to the Head of Police, from the taxi drivers in Durbar Marg to CEO's of banks. 
All you have to do is to "see sense"!



10. Gole
What this country needs, it seems is a Jaipur Foot!
 We have by now lost one foot already due to gangrene.


11. Sargam

Why make us do maths of school?

When we would rather be playing kiss chase!?!



12. Chandra Gurung
Dr B,

"the street trader who tries to charge a tourist 10,000 rupees for a statue worth 100 rupees" is not an example of endemic corruption.

If you had taken undergraduate microeconomics, you would know that it is called first degree of price discrimination, and it actually makes market efficient. The street trader is guessing that the value of the statue for the tourist is 10,000 Rupees. By trying to charge as much as possible, he is trying to extract consumer surplus. It is, in a way, similar to what auctioneer trying to sell a rare painting would do. As long as the tourist is not forced to buy a statue, a street vendor can price his good anything.


13. Lesson Master
Dr. B, you are like an interpreter of poetry. You see meanings and intuit sense where there are none. Carry on!

14. Dr B
#12 Chandra Gurung
Thank you for the "microeconomics lesson" even if expressed a little condescendingly to a humble psychologist like myself. On your degrees of price discrimination scale, where does the taxi driver charging 5 times over the odds sit, or the NGO officer who wanted baksheesh to facilitate our own aid work, or the politician who awards contracts to the corporations who pay for his children'r education abroad, or the municipality officials who set up dummy accounts for non existent teachers salaries .......?
#13 Lesson Master
Your are incorrect, I intuit no sense or meaning in your response.



15. slarti
Dr B, thats a great question and with apologies to Chandra Gurung, I think the first answer is that while his example is behaving lamentably, your examples are behaving illegally.

You may not intuit sense or meaning in Lesson Master's comment because that is not fantastic poetry but mere facts expressed in prose.

While your  defense of beed's incredible exploits is admirable, it is unnecessary. 

While it is universally agreed that the Beed is smart enough to write a terrifyingly named book (Unleashing Nepal - on who?) and getting invited to various prestigious gatherings, it does not show in his writings here.

You excerpts are good enough to deserve commentary but you can also get that kind of commentary a dime a dozen. 

There is a lot that one wishes to say, but I will stop here.


16. Dr B
#15 Slarti 
Thank you, I think!


17. Chandra Gurung
Thanks Slarti for your  note. 

To Dr B, I am sad that pointing out an erroneous example constitutes "condescending". haat jodera galti point out garnuparne ta haina hola ni.:)
Your other examples are different from the one I raised objection on.

On the side note, when a psychologist is commenting on an economic column, he/she should always remember that his/her understand of economics is less than ideal and his comments on it are more likely to be wrong than he/she thinks.



18. Dr B
Chandra Gurung
There you go again, you really just can't help yourself can you?

"On the side note, when a psychologist is commenting on an economic column, he/she should always remember that his/her understand of economics is less than ideal and his comments on it are more likely to be wrong than he/she thinks."

That's about as clear a statement of the condescending type you are likely to see and quite different in "tone" from the beginning of my own initial posting where I said "I guess we are all entitled to our views and that all can accept that everyone's perceptions are as valid as the next person's"

Your response fits into a similar category with commentators on forums such as these where the focus is on the messenger and not the message, and there is little or no debate about message or meaning.

You'll be telling me next that "one who is not Nepali should always remember that his/her understanding of Nepal is less than ideal and his comments on it are more likely to be wrong than he/she thinks"






19. Sargam
Dr.B,

Your comments are most welcome. But if you try to dump Nepalese with a commie's viewpoint like Arthur is doing right from the beginning you will be discarded.

 I for one appreciate your tidbits.

Take that for granted


20. Chandra Gurung
Dr B:

Your comments were actually entirely expected. You are the one who

1. Writes "Dr" in front of his name, and volunteers to introduce himself as a "psychologists". Both of these information are extraneous to the arguments we are making. What you are or who you are has nothing to do with the discussion here, and you could have kept those informtion to yourself. But as things stand, you have a habit of writing lengthy comment, introducing yourself to unanimous posters unnecessarily, and yet, it seems you are unwilling to take responsibility of the consequences arising from your action.

2. When someone points out a mistake in your lengthy comment, you don't care about his main point, but asks counter question and accuse him of being condescending.

3. And yet, in your last posting, you accuse me of focusing on messenger and not message.

4. Your arguments are ill informed, and ,as your last two lines show, speculative. 

Grow up, kid. You are not a Dr that you claim you are. College Admissions will be opening soon, and I hope you get into a decent college. Keep on reading "plus two" schools' advertisements in the Kathmandu Post.


21. Lesson Master
On the other hand, judging from the response of Dr. B, it is possible that Dr. B is indeed a PhD doctor in psychology, as he claims. His laughable response is an example of how most Nepali PhDs behave in public forums. 

Here's how to identify them :- 

These men are eager to offer up their credentials in all the wrong places as a substitute for thought. They mistake (1) the act of arguing in public with (2) the act of constructing good arguments to make a point in public.   


22. Dr B
Sargam, sorry, I don't quite understand your comment about "dumping Nepalese with a commies viewpoint like Arthur you will be dumped"? Me a commie, my ultra right wing capitalist friends will be laughing their socks off at that. I can't actually remember agreeing with anything Arthur has written but maybe you were being allegorical.

Chandra Gurung, and still you persist with your personal attacks on me: "not a Dr (yes I am and have been for 40 years), Kid, (I'm probably double your age), psychologist, (merely mentioned to highlight that I had studied something entirely different from economics as raised by you)
Just re read that post and ask yourself about the number of assumptions and condescensions. Astounding.
You pile on your condescension like a tap so probably need some help yourself. Here's a small piece of advice from the website mentioned:

Stop assuming that you know more than the other person. This is not necessarily the case. As a whole, we know a great deal. As separate entities, while we may be expert in one small part of our field/hobby/profession/passion, we don't know it all and we have a great deal to teach and learn from each another. Instead, treat each encounter with a person as an opportunity to learn more, to expand your own knowledge and to gain an ally.





23. N Jha
"I guess we are all entitled to our views and that all can accept that everyone's perceptions are as valid as the next person's"

While we are all entitled to our views, everyone's perception is not as valid as the next person's.

Though Chandra Gurung did not say it, I would say that "one who is not Nepali should always remember that his/her understanding of Nepal is less than ideal and his comments on it are more likely to be wrong than he/she thinks" and I will defend that view for as long as you would like.

Regarding your excerpts, I would urge you to read them again, they offer nothing but bland observation that every Nepali makes and perfectly understands. 


24. Dr. Harke
Dear friends: This not time for Jaipure- lesson , now time is tending towards
Kolhapure lesson. Wait only few ays result will come very soon ?


25. Chandra Gurung
Dr B,

Khai aru ke bhanau. You steadfastly refuse to accept any lesson. Arthabeed may have to write many more "lessons from location XXX" to convince you of something perfectly reasonable.

Lord have mercy on your patients.


26. Sargam

#Dr. B

You made a great to-do about it. In general, I despise all creatures who dwell on usual amount of arrogant ignorance, bald-faced bigotry and brazen hypocrisy.

Well, I didn't mean to snipe at you by using a punch line through a kind of spiritual legerdemain or with a slight of soul-searching allegory. When I used the verb 'dump' it was meant to signify to offload issues on or shove down the throats of Nepalese all sorts of drivel or gibberish. You misinterpreted,  anyway.

Nonetheless, those who deal with human psyche they give me the pip. Except those physicians who are the doctors in medicine others are just the specialists of such and such discipline. In Germany almost every street is crammed with doctors of nuts and bolts, or some of them have invented some household commodity objects, they are all called 'Herr Doctors'.

Out there in Nepal, those PhD holders have just written a thesis about something unusual and mostly unknown to the outsiders. Which is why they are seldom exploited, that means, what they have done serves no useful purpose. Otherwise Nepal would have exploited their patterns to enrich her patrimony and enhance her economic uplift and development as a whole. Instead, they become politicos and ministers to augment import levy of vehicles by an astronomic 200 percent pronto to kill the business with how many people going broke and jobless. All that because they are diehard communists. For that I say basta ( that's enough).

And there are those who have a prodigious vision memory, that means, they can learn by rote the entire text books without empirically grounded knowledge. Most of them are our beloved purohits alias Bahun bajes who rule the roost with such an extraordinary gift to learning things by heart. They learn everything by heart - Ramayana, Gita and Ved Shastra et al since humanity is humanity. If they apply the same technique to obtain PhD degrees they become useless and blunt as ever.

Erstwhile rote learning was their vocation as for Lamas, Mullahs and Priests and it was their job to recite things in Sanskrit while people have to perform their variety of traditional poojas beginning with births, home poojas, weddings and deaths which were obligatory rites to be performed by the commoners, but a very few understood what they were reciting thanks to lack of knowing Sanskrit, a dead language. Tell them to recite 'Sunder kand' � at once they would blab out, ' Tarchu char samundra aaj sahajai bhanne iradha gari. Shri Ramko charana....etc. etc. Or in Sanskrit something like ' Sarbve Sukhina santu sarve santu niramaya / Sarve bhadrani paschantu ma kaschit dukha bhag bhavata.' And so on and so on...

We all need a lot of soul-searching.





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