1-7 December 2017 #886

Upwardly mobile

Whatever you do in Saudi Arabia, don’t use your mobile phone on a domestic flight. The poor chap was sentenced to receive 20 lashes with a wet camel-hide whip on each hind cheek.

It is pretty much a free-for-all out there when it comes to the websites you surf to watch x-rated videos, but they draw the line on WHERE you watch them. In Nepal, too, the #MeToo generation is exposing predators in the workplace and there may soon be a law that requires contracts for foreign direct investment henceforth to include a clause stipulating that joint venture enterprises can only have CEOs who are eunuchs.

But the Saudi mobile incident should be a wake-up call to Nepal’s newly-elected legislators to update our own laws regarding the use of hand phones in restricted areas. There was a famous widely-reported case of a Minister of Telepathy and Mis-communication (who cannot be identified because of privacy laws) who took a call on his mobile phone when it chimed loudly while he was at the podium delivering a keynote address in the Hotel Yakyetiyak on the theme ‘Nepal’s Strategy to Advance from Potato Chips to Micro Chips’. It was a sure sign that Nepal has finally made the transition from a Maoist Revolution to a Mobile Revolution. The question is: how do we regulate it?

We should not be that worried about investors in the teleco sector absconding without paying billions in capital gains tax by using legal loopholes. Such things happen in the age of globalisation. We should be much more vigilant about our public officials attending to calls on their mobiles while attending to calls from nature. This is especially problematic if they are wearing the two-tier national dress while taking a leak. 

Having once had the opportunity of using the facilities at Singha Darbar, I noticed that it is invariably just as the Honourable Minister steps up to the podium for the anointment ceremony that his cellphone will emit a cheerful warble. 

What follows is a series of intricately sequenced manoeuvres that involve a) untying two sets of surwal knots, b) clasping the hem of the daura under the chin, even as c) the mobile is held in position by one uplifted shoulder to the right ear, while d) hopping around on one leg as the hydraulic pressure builds up to intolerable levels. All members of the male species will readily attest that such emergencies wreak havoc on aim.

As we all know, Nepal has some splendid laws, the world’s best, in fact. But we have a slight problem implementing them. There is no point just banning mobile use in restricted areas, it has to be accompanied by a serious deterrent. And here we have a lot to learn from the Saudis, who have no problems at all with implementation because they are world leaders in the highly specialised field of amputation jurisprudence. Being liberal minded I would never support capital punishment by decapitation, but there is something to be said about chopping off an offending urinary appendage.

We greet the Ministry of Immobility for having finally decided to turn the humble handphone into a handy multi-purpose tool for national development.

comments powered by Disqus