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Rocking the Vote Bhutanese-Style

March 24th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

The first parliamentary election was held today in Bhutan, ending one hundred years of absolute monarchy in the tiny Himalayan nation. I’ve been to Bhutan once, in 1999, the same year that television was made legal there, although no one I met at the time actually owned one. It was a magical trip, because the country is so removed from the rest of the world and, thus, so different. The trip was also, with its 8 straight days of trekking and camping, the most grueling adventure I’ve ever been on, lazy, indoor cat that I am. It turned out to be a wonderful way to see the country and meet the people, even though I was hampered for much of it by food poisoning, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and altitude sickness. Me and the mountains–we really don’t mix. So when I heard that 65 year-old grandmother Tshewang Dema (pictured above) hoofed it for 14 days and 380 miles just so that she could cast her vote in the country’s first democratic election, I was blown away. And then I thought, there isn’t a reason in the world why we shouldn’t vote. Not one.


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November 19th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

The New York Times published a story yesterday about a boot camp in South Korea called “Jump Up Internet Rescue School,” which purports to cure young web addicts. All the unhappy campers at this Outward Bound-ish rehab are teenage boys.

“This blows.”

One fifteen year-old, Lee Chang-hoon, who was sent to this camp because he was on the internet 17 hours a day, was described as “wet and shivering” during one exercise where he had to climb a telephone pole:

At the top, [Chang-hoon] slowly stood up, legs quaking, arms outstretched for balance. Below, the other boys held a safety rope attached to a harness on his chest.

“Do you have anything to tell your mother?” the drill instructor shouted from below.

“No!” he yelled back.

“Tell your mother you love her!” ordered the instructor.

“I love you, my parents!” he replied.

“Then jump!” ordered the instructor. Chang-hoon squatted and leapt to a nearby trapeze, catching it in his hands.

Geez. Talk about some Hardass Asian In Loco Parentis. Sure, some of these dudes sound like they got social probs, but aren’t they on the computer 17 hours a day because they haven’t gotten laid and are funneling their sexual frustrasians into WoW?

A better idea is to introduce these fellas to some ladies. Real live ones instead of those anime porn stars with circus tits that they “play” with online. The camp could teach them useful things like how to chat a girl up, properly use tongue, and unhook a complicated bra. Kinda like The Pick-Up Artist for teens. But instead, these poor guys are forced to stroke telephone poles? Aren’t they doing enough of that already?


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