Humoring Our Flaws Away

When a common enemy - the Mega Earthquake - struck, we finally saw the spirit of nationalism that almost every Nepali claimed they had in abundance. The pandering politicians finally got on the horse and drafted a constitution, the Nepal Army, Police and Armed Forces went above and beyond their call of duty while conducting rescue operations, and the youths of Nepal sprang into action to help all those in need. Today, almost three months later, this spirit is still seen although it may have lost some of its original drive. But we cannot afford to lose the momentum that has been gathered because Nepal still needs changes – and an abundance of it.

For me, progress is a secondary step, one that that can only be achieved after people come together for the greater good. The earthquake may have jolted us physically closer but most of us still remain divided in our hearts and minds. If people are not fully committed to achieving a common goal then any progress made will be lost to procrastination, apathy and even sabotage (like it has in the past). Well aimed developmental goals like the Melamchi Water Supply Project or the construction of various hydropower plants have still to show any results because all those involved are on their own singular paths, far away from the cause for the common good. Thus, progress in Nepal, at least for the present, will have to be viewed as successfully building solidarity among the Nepalese and directing them towards a common agenda.

Before we move on to any herculean task, we must first indulge in small changes, changes that bring us to respect not just this nation of ours but also each other. Such an atmosphere can be built even with small goals like helping in keeping the streets clean, segregating our wastes, abiding by the laws of the land and volunteering our time in orphanages, animal shelters and such. These little things can, over time, generate a sense of bond just as strong as the one created when we, literally, helped clear the rubble of our country - hand in hand - a few months ago.

Policy makers can help in such causes by continuously monitoring and implementing strict actions, not just to punish the offenders but also to show gratitude towards those citizens who are respectful. Yes, they should hand out tickets and fine those who neglect the rules but they should also issue statements through phones, television and social media and introduce various incentives to thank those who have done their part.

I personally think that it would help to see them tackling problems not just with a sense of gusto but also with a sense of playful, tongue-in-cheek humor. How about following in the footsteps of the eccentric former politician of Columbia, Mr. Antana Mockus, who used mimes to control unruly traffic and pedestrians? Stunts like these are fun, encourage bonding and get the job done. During his time as Mayor, Mr. Mockus reduced traffic fatalities to less than half by employing comical silent figures to wag fingers at traffic offenders and give smiling thumbs up to the courteous and abiding citizens. The Nepal government could employ popular actors and comedians  to do the same on occasions.

Apparently, the strongest of bonds are forged either on the face of a common enemy or in the face of shared laughter. While we cannot expect the earth to roar and shake every time we are in need of change, perhaps we can rely on humor to do the trick?


I added the #FMC hastag today cause I missed doing that yesterday. Hope I am still eligible for the competition. (fingers crossed)

Of course it counts, we’re closing the competition tonight and getting back to you as soon as possible;)

Did you extend the deadline? If so I would like to make some small changes. :slight_smile:

sure, until midnight today;) please feel free to do it

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Thanks.     :slight_smile:

very insightful!

And not only in Nepal!I feel, though in reaction to a much smaller tragedy, the same is in Georgia (and except for the point that government structure, police etc, went above and beyond). But, people getting together putting their differences aside to work for a common good def is the case here too, and the momentum failing a bit a few months later, that’s what we’ve seen here as well.

Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Thank you Inge, for your kind thoughts. I guess it is something akin to being out of sight and thus out of mind. But such momentum should be harnessed before it is too late. Japan rose like a phoenix out of its ashes after World War II. There is no reason why the earthquake cant do the same for  Nepal. But solidarity among people is crucial for any such meaningful progress.

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I’d love to see Mockus’ian interventions in Nepal :slight_smile:

Did not know the guy before, but now found the Wikipedia page of Antanas Mockus. He had impressive “policies” for sure! But for the moment I find it hard to imagine how this would look like in Nepal. It has to be culturally adequate … that I know, from working in the Future Makers Nepal team, where we had to adapt all the methods we brought in from a European context about how to organize good online dialogue.

So if you @Sneha_Pandey or anyone else has an idea for a specific humorous intervention in Nepal … I am very curious smiley

Unusual yet interesting

Hey @Sneha_Pandey,

I really enjoyed reading your work! It was very unusual to come across an article that suggests we use humor but I can see that it has worked! No reason it wouldn’t in Nepal. Thank you for your suggestion. The humorous approach apparently is not a laughing matter at all! :wink:

Hey @Sneha_Pandey, thank you for introducing the trick to us. I think it would be worth trying. There is a few things that would use some more time and writing - as I think you have some interesting remarks and ideas.

Do i sense irony in when you write about nation/patriotism? Maybe it is something I am simply looking for as a nomad and cosmopolitan whose identity can be expressed at best by speaking Polish at a native level. That’s about my sense of belonging. So, here would be my first area of interest - what do you think of a nation state as the grad motivator for people?

Secondly, I wonder what would be a short list of projects that contribute to the common good - and  the reasons why you consider Melamchi a singular path? I only know that the project is spectacular, costs much more than expected and unfinished since what… decades from what I have heard? Or at least a significant, high number of years. These things do seem to be necessary in Nepal, same with sewage treatment plant which is being built only now, when the riverbanks stink worse than hell.

I am throwing questions around and wondering about your opinions. We might have to discuss them over a beer once again, anyway:)

My thoughts

@ sneha Pandey

I have to appreciate you for your well written thought. All the issues and agendas raised here are interesting and realistic. As a citizen its our duty to express our opinions and make them addressed by the GoN.

My question here is how can all these queries be forwarded to the concerned authorities. We can keep going here for ages, but if the voices are not heard and addressed, i don’t see the efforts that all of the contributors have made is make a valid difference.

My suggestions

  1. make this website linked to the social network and try to get as much open minded opinions as you can.

  2. we can then at least request the NPCS & MoFALD look into this as the site will have many active users and opinions.

i think my thoughts came a bit late as this thing is gonna end soon, i hope the concerned agencies give an extension and at least make these voice heard.


"We are shaken , not fallen "

Tiny acts of kindness

I like the way you think (and write)!

Big ticket items are important, of course - but I think generally overestimated. Or perhaps a better way to put it is with Saint-Exupéry:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

This also holds for water treatment systems. The indirect way can be the shorter one in such endeavors - not to mention the more sustainable. Everything is embedded in a social fabric - and there is only so much you can lastingly achieve without the support of that fabric.

There is this theory floating around that if someone indulges in jaywalking for example, he/she is also much more likely to commit more serious deviances of social norms. I think there may be some truth to that, however it cuts both ways: If you have people doing (or being nudged to do) positive deviance, that goes beyond the social norms in a good way - you can subtly improve the social fabric. This particularly affects large, complex (also technical), and long term projects in a predominantly good way.

I like to think of tiny acts of kindness like a sort of gateway drug to goodness. Being a technical guy one thing I like to do is to have a tiny amount of lubrication oil with me. If someone’s office door is squeaky or some little appliance likes to get stuck, it takes me 5 seconds to address this with zero fuss, while discussing business as usual. However, I can tell this does not fail to make an impact on people present, because it is well outside of the social norms. Something I wanted to start is to take a small bicycle pump with me and do 30 second fix-ups on other people’s bikes. Riding bikes is a Good Thing. So helping people to do that is helping us all, even though no one can catch a profit (so what, it turned 30s of waiting into some exercise and perhaps a nice conversation). Unfortunately, people don’t ride bikes a lot where I am at the moment, and you don’t have a lot of traffic lights in Nepal I assume. Just make sure not to have them repay you, but to pass it on (because this gets it amplified by nice people). I wonder if this would work better if one would just mumble a hashtag while doing it…



@trythis, that’s really insightful. Would you like to resume our dialogue re drones, Egderyders and various things? Still traveling, but will be finally home in the weekend.

@Drones for good - sure we can

I have been working through some background info (at the moment finishing the current french white book on defense - has some good docking points), and I spotted other places where we could push our effort into (e.g. first German white book ongoing call for participation, but also other directions). So of course I’d be happy to get back to the topic!

I really need to expand the part for the collab book draft… and I have to throw out a technically focused collab vision at some point.