postheadericon Kuire Ko Kura: One week into 2012



Well, it's one week into the new year of 2012 (western time) and I hope you are doing well so far. Me, I thought I would take a look back to see how far we have come in the past year, and so far during this one.

I distinctly remember this time last year, as on Jan 1 2011, my family and I moved into a new flat. Then, there was no water in the city tank to take a shower, hot or otherwise, and now there is none as well.

There was no electricity to heat the water even if we had some, and there is no water now.

I also remember planning a drive to a local health club, just to clean up, but there was no petro then, and there is very little now.

Giving up hope of taking a bath at home or outside, I remember just taking a bath in imported hand sanitizer, just as I did today. The selection of imported hand sanitizer at my local department store is tremendous; at least 5 different varieties packaged in all shapes and sizes. (I find the Himalaya brand to be the best for those "larger" washes.)

Its incongruous that one can live in a country where there are hundreds of brands of imported Italian pasta packages, perhaps thousands of types of French wines, with bottled capers from Spain, but not enough home heating to keep ice from melting on the kitchen countertop.

Last January I was pretty chilly writing my article, and today I can't feel my fingertips either. It will be 2 P.M. soon, and my daily sunbath will then thaw my numbed fingers and toes, just as it does with the all the street pooches and outdoor-market sales personnel.  We are all cold, but hopeful for warmer days.

As another calendar year has ticked by, it's this outlook of brighter days ahead that keeps us all going forward. I met the son of the owner of the World Trade Center (Teku) the other day, and he filled me in on the history and philosophy of building huge new shopping malls in a city almost collapsing under the weight of ancient infrastructure. It all has to do with thinking of brighter days and saving money now, since the expense in the future will be much greater.

I have to admire that kind of forward thinking. Building the World Trade Center 6 years ago means that millions of construction Crore are saved, instead of waiting to build an outlet for international merchants just 5 - 10 years from now. Even if the malls today are filled with the same commodities that you can find in the parking lot in front of the National Zoo, at some point in the future, when Armani and Gucci and all the rest decide to set up shop in KTM, there will be space for them, ready and waiting to be redecorated in a BKK over-the-top style.

All that's needed now is to wait for the shopping middle-class to arise and ascend the escalators of nouveau opulence, that appears to spreading like the H1-N1 around the globe, slowly but surely. But is this foresight, or optimistic dreaming?

Are you high up in a think-tank tower, such as the one being built in Sanepa, where a two-bedroom 1,000 square foot condo is pre-selling at 87 Lakhs? Or are you more down to earth with your thinking, and imagining small microbusinesses selling organics as the way to our prosperity?

I am not an economist by any means, but I do follow trends shaping the world economy, and find our near neighbor Bangladesh to be of interest. The garment industry there exploded back in the late 70's, and with just a little investment in training and machines, folks there were able to invent a garment industry that went from nothing to 700 factories in just about 5 years.

So what will the explosion be for Nepal? We are all waiting and wondering...

Folks over on the LinkedIn website have an interesting discussion going on in this regard, and for anyone interested, I recommend the Nepal Development Forum (http://tinyurl.com/7bblpkp) for a lively discussion on the future of this fair country. From inclusion to pollution, everything of relevance is being yakked about there.

Is Tourism the way, or perhaps Botanicals? Should the Government do more? What role does Business and Banking have to play? What about Remittance and the Youth of Nepal? Will all the youngsters be lost abroad, or stuck at home playing Cityville on Facebook?

All great questions and topics of serious or idle conversation, but I suspect that next year at this time I will be writing about the proposed answers, still with freezing fingertips, no water in my tank, and without enough petro to drive out to find a hot bath.

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Jiggy Gaton
lives in Kathmandu and is an aging technologist - has been since the days of Woodstock - so in the words of Roland The Gunslinger "he is from a world now gone by." However, Jigs is extremely up-to-date on all things tech and is also available for hire.
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