27 June - 3 July 2014 #713

Beer Belly Barometer

The annual Freedom Index puts some countries in the ‘partly unfree’ category. That is like saying someone is partly unpregnant. Be that as it may, it is perturbing and perplexing that Nepal always ranks near the bottom of the Freedom Index despite us having had two-and-half democracy uprisings, and a history of selling our souls.  

I know of no other countries where citizens are freer to do as they like. Where else are you allowed to throw garbage right on your doorstep, and get away with it? Where else can police confiscate an illegal firearm, sell it, seize it again and repeat the process seven times to make a fortune?

Only in Nepal can students stage a violent protest demanding the right to cheat. Tanker drivers have the freedom to pilfer diesel, and go on strike when caught. Only in Nepal are revolutionary Brahmin high priests free to join an atheist Maoist party that waged war against a Hindu monarchy for a secular republic. Only Nepal grants students affiliated to the ruling party the freedom to go on an arson spree to enforce a band against its own government.

GDP per capita only measures income and is skewed in favour of industrialised countries. We need to level the playing field by concocting new indices to quantify freedom and development: 

** Freedom Benchmark: In terms of liberty to break the law Nepalis top this list. There is total freedom to make illegal U-turns outside the CA building, and drive recklessly on the wrong side of the road inside Singha Darbar.  

** Constituent Assembly Not Functioning Days Quotient (CANFDQ): This is an indicator of the vibrancy of democracy in a particular country. With a CANFDQ of 0.9, Nepal is right up there with vibrating democracies like the People’s Democratic Republic of Amnesia and the Kingdom of Utopia.

** Corruption Prevalence Ratio (CPR): This is arrived at by calculating the square root of GDP per capita with the wealth-redistribution potential and multiplying it with an inverse decimal for the public expenditure as a proportion of total budget. For example if 35% of the bureaucracy is actually moonlighting as Commercial Desk Workers (CDW) then that gives us a CPR of 0.0006. This year, we will take a giant leap to the top of the league by earmarking Rs 5 corrodes to all 601 CA members, with 26 yet-to-be-named members reimbursed retroactively.  

** Instant Noodle Index (INI): Asia’s economic tigers have shown that there is a direct correlation between consumption of noodles per head and Purchasing Power Parity. Nepal’s exponential growth in instant noodle production gives us an INI quotient of 9.9 – which means we have the same quality of life as Taiwan or Singapore. 

** Beer Belly Barometer (BBB): The more beer a country imbibes, the more powerful it is. Combined with the Gross Dal-Bhat Gut (GDBG) Nepal’s BBB has now expanded the per capita girth of an average Nepali, giving us the status of a Regional Beer Superpower. Burp.

** The Gross National Holiday Coefficient (GNHC): Going by this parameter, Nepal is one of the most productive nations on earth. Our civil servants, schools and industries are closed 217 days in a year giving us a GNHC of 65%, and we still manage to get all our work done.

** Gross Domestic Glee (GDG): Nepal scores pretty high here because our people are so gay. But to give credit where it’s due, the original idea of measuring national bliss emanated from none other than King Jigme the Joyful (father of Jigme the Glad) who reigns over a country that has attained the happiness coefficient on earth, a feat he accomplished by making about 120,000 of his people very sad. 

** Bagmati Olfactory Gauge (BOG): This is calculated by finding the square root of ambient hydrogen sulphide concentration at Bagmati Bridge divided by wind speed multiplied by seasonally adjusted Sewage Retention Factor rounded off to the nearest decimal point. There is a strong correlation between the NEPSE Index and the BOG. In other words, if the smell at the bridge is really bad you can be sure the stock market has hit the roof.

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