Nepali Times
Mad tea party


It must be because I'm an Ass that I just don't get it. The government raises fuel prices because it is going bankrupt. Immediately, Comrade Makunay declared that the government is "incompetent"--a government in which eight ministers are from his party.

Then the student unions which are affiliated to the parties in the governing alliance declared they will launch a nationwide agitation to force the government to roll back the price rise.

Not to be outdone, the Maoists, who think they can make petrol materialize out of thin air through parthenogenesis, protest the fuel price hike by declaring a one-hour chukker jam with two hour notice along main thoroughfares. The way it is enforced is through four or five goonish looking YCLs in tracksuits stopping motorcycles, among them one carrying a driver, his wife and a kid straddling the fuel tank. The driver has waited cumulatively for 125 hours in the past two months to buy five litres of petrol each time, and now the young criminals tell him he can't take his family to his relatives for tika. The angry motorcyclist couldn't take it anymore, revved up his machine and just zoomed through the barricade.


As expected, Dasain was free season for YCL extortion. While Chairman Awesomeness, bedridden with backache, was clandestinely meeting select jarsaps over goat sekuwa in Kathmandu, his comrades set up kiosks at Ghorepani charging mandatory donations from trekkers whether they liked it or not. Marx's dictum of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" was modified to determine the revolutionary tax from each trekker. Israeli backpackers bargained it down to Rs 250 each, and Americans were charged Rs 2,500 unless they claimed to be Canadian in which case it went down to Rs 1,500.


But that wasn't very nice of Comrade Awful and his Ideologue-in-Chief to boycott both the NC and the UML tea parties. The Ass can understand not wanting to go to the chaotic kangresi tea party and the mad hatters that populated it, but the comrades may actually have shown leftie solidarity and some magnanimity by going to Balkhu on Saturday.

Compared to the NC circus, there was plenty of tea and samosas at the UML do and it was also more disciplined because the UML had deployed its version of the YCL, the People's Volunteers. Guests were escorted by MPs and had to walk a gauntlet of cadre. The Ass did spot Maharababu and Matrika Yadav hiding behind the smokescreen provided by the cloud of dust that Girjau's motorcade had kicked up so they wouldn't have to shake the prime minister's hand.


There was a time in the 1980s after the North Koreans set up their embassy that Jhamsikhel didn't have a street dog problem anymore. But later, even pet canines in the area started getting dognapped in broad daylight. Particular favourites were labs, Tibetan mastiffs and dalmatians. Now that Pyongyang Restaurant & Bar has opened up near the Hack & Yeti, and the Ass wonders if a similar fate will befall man's best friends in the Durbar Murg area.

We should learn from the Koreans about this novel way of funding the upkeep of our embassies abroad. Given the run-down condition of our missions, opening momo joints in each country where we have an embassy would be a good way for our dips to make ends meet. Maybe the 20 new ambassadors should take this up with the priority it deserves. But, alas, not in Canberra, Copenhagen, Paris and Kuala Lumpur--the four capitals to which the government had appointed Maoist ambassadors and which haven't yet sent agreements.


And before we go, this just in from Baluwatar: the seven parties made a breakthrough late Thursday by agreeing to hold elections after Tihar. They also decided unanimously to postpone Tihar till April.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)