postheadericon Kuire Ko Kura: 'Tis the Season


It's that time of the year again, and I can't get that holiday song out of my head...

"Deck the halls with lots of candles, Fa la la la, la la la, Tis the season to discard one's sandals, Fa la la la, la la la, Don we now our insulated apparel...

Or something like that.

The point here being, that as a nation, we have moved into our annual season of making do with so much less. Less heat, less petro and kerosene, less electricity, less sunlight, less - you get the picture. But being of hardy stock, we do so with less complaints overall, if one were to grade our grumpiness on an international curve.

For example, football fans at Chicago's Candlestick Park suffered a 10-minute power outage at a recent NFL game, and commentators were surprised that the fans did not react by tearing down the park and stampeding towards the gates.  Also, in the western states of the US this week, the weather there caused power outages of up to 12 hours and that resulted in a run on all 7-Elevens, as folks thought the apocalypse was certainly upon them, and no one wanted to be caught without snacks in their final hour.

In fact, seriously bad mood swings this time of year is very common outside of our small nation of have-nots; as portrayed in any of the disturbing new video reports posted on YouTube: "Woman Pepper Sprays Shoppers Over Xbox", "Fight Breaks Out Over Bath Towels Marked Down to $1.88", "Melee in Arkansas Erupts Over $2 Waffle Iron", "Manhattan Store Fails To Open At Midnight, So Shoppers Break In And Loot".

While most of this insanity is based around holiday shopping, depressing behavior during the winter season has always been a hallmark of the west. This is evident in the newer social mediums of the day, such as Facebook, which has a new feature for reporting suicidal friends to the authorities. Even Google will post a Suicide Hotline phone number in your browser if you search on terms like "how to kill myself" or "I want to die."

But western psychologists and doctors are now justifying bad behavior during this season of "merriment and joy for all." For example, the December Journal of Pain reports on research showing that swearing (really foul language) produces a pain-lessening effect for folks whose language is usually clean. In other words, if you are out of pain pills, just curse to feel better. In addition, the University of South Wales reports that being grumpy can help you cope better during demanding situations, as being nasty to others is one way your brain "promotes new information strategies."

If this sounds like an attempt to justify bad behavior to you, I have to wholeheartedly agree. Can you ever imagine HHTDL saying to followers, "If you want to be happy, make others unhappy?" No, of course not, but this seems to be the trend in the western teachings of the day. What else could explain the shopping riots in Wal-Marts all across America?

So coming back to our predicament here in KTM, where we don’t have much of anything, comparatively speaking, why then are we so happy all the time?

My shopkeeper at our local cold store is just one example; he stands in an unheated box all day long, selling bags of chips, smokes by the stick, and dozens of fresh eggs - all at near zero margins - yet never has a bad word to say or a frown on his face. Even when candles dimly light his shop, one can see that this human being is at peace with the world and his place within it.

And from where I stand in Dhobighat, it's hard to find one Grinch amongst us, even as prices for tea and sugar shoot thru the roof, and the roof is doing nothing to hold back the winter mists that can chill one to the bone. So "why is this" I have to ask! How come here in Nepal there aren't riots at New Road malls whenever there is a 10% discount on flat screen TVs? And even more astounding, where are the burning tires as load shedding is increased to 12 hours or more per day? I'm not sure, so you tell me...

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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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