fredag 18 juni 2010

The Last Post

Two years went fast. In january 2010 we left Kathmandu and headed back to Finland and Helsinki.

Do I miss Nepal? Well, yes, kind of. Every now and then I think about our time there. I think about all the people we met and the places we've seen. I miss Patan, I miss our house on Piss Avenue.

And as for this blog I miss all the stuff I was supposed to write about but never did. But that the way it is – at least for me.

fredag 5 juni 2009

Republica: Why Nepal's new daily makes my heart beat faster

I have this reading ceremony every time I pick up a new edition of my favourite magazines like The Economist, Wired or Q Magazine.

First I flip and skim through the pages, trying to get a sense of all the stuff I want to read later on.

When I get to the final page, my heart beat is the indicator of how good the current issue is.

If my heart is pounding, I know I have a great reading experience waiting, if the beat is normal or just slightly faster it is a pretty good issue.

Since this week I've kept an eye on Nepal's new daily Republica (the English version of the Nagarik published in Nepali).

At home we already have The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan Times. Both dailies are fairly OK but quite boring and both papers have room for major improvements when it comes to the editing and design processes.

Now, I have to confess I had a personal interest in Republica.

As a former journalist I'm of course always thrilled when a new newspaper is launched (especially in these the-newspaper-is-dead-times). But more importantly I had the honour of meeting Damakant Jayshi, one of Rpublica's editors, over a year ago for a cup of coffee when he still was at The Kathmandu Post.

Me and my wife had arrived in Nepal a few weeks earlier and before leaving Finland a friend suggested I look up Damakant to get a first crash course in Nepali politics (they in turn had met at Harvard as Nieman fellows).

After meeting Damakant I followed his editorial writings until they suddenly didn't appear any more in The Post. Soon I heard he was involved in a new project - Republica.

Getting an insight into Damakant's world view, his knowledge and his ambitions of course raised the bar of my expectations.

But I did not get disappointed.

The graphic form of Republica is very tastefully designed with enough room for every article. The editing is so nicely done that even a non-native English speaker like me has no trouble enjoying the material (the two other dailies seem to sport with getting as many weird slang terms into the headlines - strange but true).

But more importantly I feel there is a personal voice in Republica. It is hard to pinpoint why I feel that way, you have to check out that claim for yourself. And there is a serious ambition to provide the reader with relevant background information so that the news piece makes sense even if you are an outsider.

And there is a fresh feel to the way the Republica team challenges the newspaper concept.

For example, when I this Friday morning picked up Republica, on my way to New Orleans Café where I write this, I got a bit of a different newspaper in my hand compared to the previous issue I bought earlier in the week.

The whole Friday edition is called The Week and it seems to me that Fridays are special focus days for Republica. Very smart as the weekend is coming up and Saturday in Nepal is the major day off, not Sunday.

Today the special focus is on environmental issues as it is World Environment Day. The Republica provided me with an extensive reading package about both Nepali and global environmental issues.

Very impressive - especially when the two other dailies didn't even bother to inform me that World Environment Day is today.

As there seems to be so much interesting stuff to read in Republica that the paper makes it to my list of Morning Must Haves with flying colours. So that I can give my little heart a kick start straight away in the morning.

That is of course why I today started my Republica subscription.

PS. Also check out the Republica website at

torsdag 21 maj 2009

Annapurna Goes Green With New Treks

Ever since my arrival in Nepal I've heard trekkers complaining after coming back from The Annapurna Circuit.

The reason is the new infrastructure up there: On some stretches the trekkers share their routes with cars and motorbikes.

Luckily the tourism industry has taken note of these complaints. In today's Himalayan Times there is a report on new trails being planned, the so-called 'disturbance-free trails' will open soon.

Now my only hope is that the Annapurna Area Conservation Project (ACAP) applies the disturbance-free-concept widely.

Not only cars and motorbikes are a pain in the ass for any trekker. Litter along a trail is as much of a nuisance: Empty chips bags, bottles and small black plastic bags (filled with stuff you don't want to know about) sure doesn't get you into that relaxed Himalayan mood.

Luckily 'eco-tourism' seem to be the latest buzz word in Annapurna.

tisdag 19 maj 2009

Nepali Mobility

After a long time of feeling wing clipped I realised my Nepali operator Mero Mobile actually offers a pretty stable GPRS service.

So now true mobility is the name of the game. As long as I am in the Kathmandu valley (99 % of the time anyway).

And my mobility on a daily basis means getting of the house here in Patan and walking a few blocks to New Orleans Café to have my regular: Lemon soda and a coffee.

Can mobile blogging save Namaste Express?

No point in going into the excuse department. Namaste Express has been dead for a long time and that's a fact, Jack.
But there might be some hope:

A) I'm back in Kathmandu after a couple of months in Finland.

B) I've added a Blogger component to my mobile so there can potentially be more on-the-go-blog posts from me. Sadly, most stuff people shuffle away into cyberspace from buses, bars and god knows where from tend to be utter trash.
Could Namaste Express be an exception? Let's hope so.
Anyway, this is just a test so that I can see if this stuff actually leaves my mobile.

Posted by ShoZu

torsdag 8 januari 2009

Så mycket kostar ett adoptivbarn i Nepal

I mars 2007 stoppade de nepalesiska myndigheterna alla internationella adoptioner.

Orsaken var att man hade upptäckt en hel del konstigheter, bland annat kunde utlänningar hosta upp en rejäla slant ordna sin adoption hastigt och lustigt.

I september 2008 publicerade också Unicef en rapport där det kom fram att en industri har vuxit upp kring hela adoptionsprocessen.

Enligt rapporten har det funnits fall där barn som inte är föräldralösa adopteras bort av både barnhem och föräldrarna.

Nu har i alla fall myndigheterna på nytt meddelat att utlänningar som är intresserade av att adoptera kan skicka in sin ansökan.

Samtidigt har ministeriet för kvinnor, barn och social välfärd fått ihop en lista på 68 internationella adoptionsorganisationer och 38 nepalesiska barnhem som nu har tillstånd att genomföra adoptioner.

Prislappen är också klar:

En adoption av ett nepalesiskt barn går på 13 500 USD. Barnhemmet tar 10 000 dollar och staten kammar hem 3500 dollar.

Lägg till det flygresor, hotell och andra extra utgifter och du landar på minst 20 000 dollar. Adoption är tydligen inga billiga grejer.

Läs mer:

Artikeln i Kathmandu Post:

(Första sidan...)

(...och fortsättningen.)

Artikel från FN:s nyhetsbyrå om Unicefs rapport

Hela Unicef-rapporten som PDF-fil

tisdag 23 december 2008

Happy Xmas from Finland

Nowadays organisations and companies compete in sending out the coolest and most upbeat digital season greetings.

Here comes two examples of how we in Finland deal with the digital greetings:

Finnish ad agency Hasan Partners sent me these two season screamers.

The cause they support is good and at least you don't fall asleep.

But, if you want more sober stuff I can recommend the digital season greeting from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It captures perfectly the Christmas Spirit of Finland. Check it out here.

There you have it, two v-e-e-e-e-e-e-ry different ways of saying Happy Christmas in Finnish.