4-2-1, comparing close Joint Family – part One of Two

One child policy and foreign education

To alleviate the social, economical and environmental problems with the rapid population increase, in 1979 China adopted a one child policy. Though it is much relaxed and with many loop holes at present, much of the mid class economical family still abide by it. Wikipedia has an excellent read about the One Child Policy. I want to talk more about the educational, specifically foreign educational impact this has done related to 4-2-1 problem.

“Four-two-one” problem – and how it  may develop a nation…

As the first generation of law-enforced only-children came of age for becoming parents themselves, one adult child was left with having to provide support for his or her two parents and four grandparents. Called the “4-2-1 Problem”, this leaves the older generations with increased chances of dependency on retirement funds or charity in order to receive support. If personal savings, pensions, or state welfare fail, most senior citizens would be left entirely dependent upon their very small family or neighbours for assistance. Presently, however, couples are allowed to have two children if both parents were only children themselves. But there is a huge population with 4-2-1 problem.

I met few Chinese graduates in USA, who were part of this 4-2-1 cycle. These acquaintances, might not be from the rich suburbs of big developed cities in China. The 4-2-1 problem however, came out to be an economical and educational benefit for the locals. As the only child, most of them wanted to go back to China and support their parents and grandparents, instead living in United States. Three out of four, wanted to go back after studying in USA.

Now this whole One Child Policy is not something I would support as national forceful rule/regulation. But, somehow, the third generations, the Ones in Four-Two-One, tend to go back to support their family.  A close knit family benefits, and so does the local community/government and as a result the nation in the long run. Statistically put, I need 4-2-1 family numbers in China, and then those from these family who are studying abroad and have gone back, or are willing to go back. I hope this be a huge number, enough to make a dent in Nation’s economy. Sadly, am still learning, and could not find any exclusive paper through superficial Internet Search.

Comparing it to Nepal – how can we pull back the emigrated drove?

With somewhat close knit joint family culture in Nepal, we stand to gain something similar from both educational and non-educational emigrations. Hordes of Nepali, friends and family alike, that I know have expressed their desires to go back, if situations were better.  Instead of Nepal which has been a close country up until the early 90s, this is more comparable to India/Pakistan and other SAARC nations, who were under the British rule and have a long history of foreign education and foreign cultural influences on similar (like Nepal) culture. I myself, hope to go back in full swing after my education is complete. Here are few points that, according to me brings back a person back to Nepal, from a more developed nation.

  1. Family – close family, far family, huge family.
  2. Friends, Friends and lots of friends
  3. Nativity – language, culture, and food.
  4. Work Opportunities – definitely for me, in public health, medicine and research.

Disclosure – One Child policy has both some good and more bad implications. iO9 has a good read – The Unintended Consequences Of China’s One-child Policy  where the author even talks about the little emperors, or we call it in Nepali – pulpuleko bachha.

Technology this week.

Aakarpost this week has a list of News Applications for Android OS pertaining to the Nepali geography. This was my tech post for next week, as a personal research. I am very thankful now, and am sharing the post link [5 Best News Apps from Nepal..]. I do not have an Android device, I use – Bluestacks.

Below are my wish list Nepali Apps in mobile platform. Obviously with no In-App advertisements.

  1. Nepali Calendar App – which has both BS and AD
  2. Nepali News App – more like news aggregator.
    • News RSS App with headlines
    • Full News Story with headlines and Pictures
    • News App with Curated Audio/Video contents
  3. Nepali Keyboard – both Romanized and Devnagari Traditional.
  4. Note Taking App – yes, there are number of it, but none have Nepali UI in it. [Nepali UI?? – next post]
  5. Weather App – Not in English, but in Nepali.

Women Entrepreneurship in Nepal

This will be an ongoing topic for me, for few weeks. I write this as to identify important social and economical role of women in Nepali culture, at least in Urban Nepal. Here is a list of few occupations where women have excelled and are forming a core group of economical stabilizers in Urban Nepal – mostly in Kathmandu. These are my first thought, and much digging still remains / something I am currently writing about for next week.

  1. The Hair Salon
  2. The Sewing and Knitting
  3. The Shopkeepers
  4. The Homeowners
  5. The Cottage Industries
  6. Vegetable sellers ..
  7. // .. still digging up.. {next week}

Movie nights – husband Vs boyfriend

A recent New York Times Article – Movie Date Night Can Double as Therapy – made me think if I did indeed do this. The answer is YES. Lots of movie with my wife, and then we talk about it. Helps a lot raicha.. 🙂

Affiliated Read

My previous post – Nepali in USA (August 28, 2013)

Platform Convergence – Looking for a viable Open Alternate eco-system

Way back in early 2000 with Windows NT/2000, Microsoft began converging its personal and professional operating system. It was the first successful convergence of two different (back then) – personal and professional desktop experience. With Windows XP Operating System, Microsoft successfully converged Windows NT 5.1 kernel with 95/98/Me line and further solidified the lead. It was no more a home desktop operating system, and could now spread to all possible direction – from Office automation, to ATMs, to factories and many government base throughout the world. It became first (as I want to believe) global system to penetrate both personal and professional space.  Sure there were alternate, but XP had more reach. It was both luck and time that made this convergence work. ArsTechnica has an excellent read on the Ten years of Windows XP  here (by Peter Bright). It simply worked.

Mid 2000 was the era when computers were mostly grounded. For a person (me) from developing nation like Nepal, a computer was a heat emitting plastic  box with a keyboard, a mouse, and 19 inch monitor with a big behind. I was running Intel Pentium 4 (1.7 GHz) with 2 gb RAM, and 80 GB HDD computer. Life was simple, when the my desktop activities were limited to – word processing, Need for Speed 5, Age of Empires II and simple photo editing. I had one email address from Yahoo, and used my smartphone (for then) to make multiple miss calls and 10 seconds phone calls, and SMS. In 2007, my smartphone in hand was Motorola Rokr E6 (amazon.com).

The Age of Connection

Today’s world is different, everyone has a smartphone and/or a tablet. Well most of my friends in USA have both, and most in Nepal have at least a Google Android phone (if not Apple iPhone 3GS). Its all about “APP” and use of it across different platform – phone, tablet, computers to wrist watch (Pebble), Television, and Game Consoles (Xbox and PS3). Netflix now is available in 24 different platforms as per this Wikipedia post. The notion of single platform is fading away, and personal computer space is shrinking; divided into smaller gadgets and gizmos. Between the next wave of “Internet of things” and fading personal computers, now lies a swath of internet connected devices which all have one aim – convergence.

convergence – the process by which content and services that until recently could only be accessed on one platform, can now be accessed on multiple platforms and in new combinations of content and services

Presently the might of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, are striving for operating system convergence and harmony. The prize for any technological powerhouse which achieves this is mind blowing. To have a single platform that manages across different platforms and devices, is in a way the holy grail of technology at present. Last few years has seen these major platform providers integrating different aspects of platform within each and slowly lurking towards ecosystem drive. The so called Post PC world has huge opportunities for consolidation.

How big is the walled garden?

It is not just hardware and/or software. The battle for convergence has escalated to contents. Here is the link to good read from   in ExtremeTech from September 2012. Few areas like Enterprise Cloud and Game Console are not talked about,  but the table below is the gist of the convergence up until 2012. Can’t predict the outcome, but consumers are the ones with biggest wins. I believe it to be actually a double edge with are more wins and less loss in developed world. However, for developing world, the outcome is mostly unpredictable – and a great effort is underway to predict this war and its effect. Most if not all, are closed systems and are built upon the pillars that might not be fully democratic, open and reusable for those in developing world.

Apple’s campaign is most successful, but is a walled garden. Android had its root in openness, and projects like CyanogenMod are living up to it. A closure look reveals a trend of crippled AOSP releases from Google in recent years. Amazon and Microsoft are further expanding upon their own close systems. I am not against close systems, I just want at least one viable open system in place to keep the balance.

The state of play in 2012. [from Extremetech.com] Green means competitive offering, yellow is partner, partial or beta, red means no product in the space

Looking for a viable alternate?

All this writing got me hungry for more any open alternate. Wasn’t there a viable open system delivery content system that actually works? An open converged platform system (OCPS) or something? But before this, I needed to know what does it need for a converged platform to succeed. A little digging around and few bullet points did come up sanely.

  • Companion experiences offering a very similar user experience across Phone, Personal Computers, Tablets, and Web browsers. 
  • App-to-App communication via a common internet data-hub. The ability to sync content (photos, music, movies) between the different screens, gadget management from PC or web. Ability to store emails, contacts and calendar entries into one common database.
  • Sharing Lingua [InteroperabilityBase features like kernel, multi-core processor support, sensor fusion, security model, network, and video and graphics technologies. If this is not possible, a web browser with standard internet features.
  • Contents and a lot of contents
  • Developer Friendly – this has to be there. 🙂 [may be number one on this list]

Some Alternate – Convergent Eco-System.

Ubuntu – The first thing I can pitch this way – at the moment is Ubuntu 14.04. Soon to be released in April 2014, this is one awaited convergent open source alternate on the hardware side. Well not completely open but open enough for my definition not being in the walled garden. For a feature freeze list visit here.

OwnCloud – This is new for me. I am currently setting up a test bed for my own personal Owncloud Services. Here are ten reasons on why one should follow it. For some one who wants to setup his/her own Cloud Service – LifeHacker has a wonderful beginners guide to it. here. There are other alternates to OwnCloud itself. Here is a list.

  • SparkleShare, Seafile, Pydio – Three products for personal and/or small group Cloud Services.
  • finally the big elephants – AWS and/or OpenStack. – Am not going to deny it, I know very little about Enterprise Software, and will just push out the names and not go further. I know, it does something, but not sure its extend.

Android – I have some reservations for this Google backed project. Its definitely the Windows XP for mobile right now, however – its not as open as it claims to be. Guardian has one specific article from January 2014 on the hidden costs of Android. here. Google does not charge for its Android software, but manufacturers have to pay specialist firms thousands to gain a licence to use it. Number one on my list – is Microsoft. Weird, but true. Another read from ArsTechnica from October 2013 explain the difference between Android AOSP and Google backed Apps. here.  – – — There is also Firefox OS, Tizen Linux OS, and my favorite Maemo/Meego child – the Jolla/Sailfish OS.

XMPP Standard Foundation/Jabber – The go to default of instant messaging. Google Chat had it until last year, before Hangout dropped XMPP for better or worse. I do not know how easy is it to convert Jabber into a unified messaging platform – but for now, from what I do know is its big use in Microsoft Chat, Lync Servers and Facebook Chat. The new (almost old) communication standard now is – WebRTC which is gaining huge momentum. Firefox and Chromium both support it now.

With WebRTC, traditional telephony will soon be browser addon, and not a separate component. This is not just voice over internet, but text chats, media streaming (audio and video synchronization),  and file synchronizations over network.

Ogg (Vorbis and Theora) – These are the Audio and Video container file format like mp3 and mp4. Old and dying. Luckily Open Media projects have good days – WebM and WebP are gradually gaining some footholds. There is also Opus – which is in my watch list for the time. Opus is also an alternate container to voice chat protocols, very new, and highly flexible. There is also Speex – of which I have very little idea.

Its a mobile first, cloud first world. Everything is software bound. – Satya Nadella, CEO – Microsoft.

Firefox/Chromium/Opera – Not an alternate, but falls in this list for combined convergent ecosystem. Browsers are must.

EAS Alternate – CardDAV is an address book client/server protocol designed to allow users to access and share contact data on a server. CalDAV, is an Internet standard allowing a client to access scheduling information on a remote server. It extends WebDAV (HTTP-based protocol for data manipulation) specification and uses iCalendar format for the data. Together with IMAP – this is a pretty strong EAS alternate for personal or small group sync. EAS = Exchange Active Sync  from Microsoft.

So what have we [in Nepal] got?

We have very few of the above mentioned in Nepal. There ain’t a big enough software/hardware tech company to initiate this – as far as my knowledge goes. The developer community in Nepal is still  premature and there hasn’t been a solid content farm from within Nepal that represents Nepali culture/language. I can safely say that this will take time; but hope may be right around the corner.  Following are the three pillars which may help a Nepali tech establish itself to be a tech convergent in Nepal. [again this is my guess work].

  1. Stability and Credibility
  2. Power of Local
  3. Local Traffic

These become difficult when the internet is itself converging the world culture. But there are some local examples throughout the world with solid footing. Not all of them are open  sourced, but have a strong local representations. This will be is a  detailed post, sometime in future. But for now, I list here some of the local content and services with strong “Nepal/i” in it, which might very well put into use for making a strong convergent eco-system on local and national level, or may be personal level.

  • Nepali Keyboard and Bikram Sambat Calendar – A very very doable yet fragmented online entity. Something like this Nepali keyboard in Google Play Store. link. is a must for semi literate like me.
  • Local Banking / Mobile Banking – Mobile software implementations, be it software based, or simple SMS text based.
  • Mobile Messaging ApplicationLine is popular in Japan-Korea, WhatsApp in North America and Europe, WeChat is targeting Italy, Mexico and Brazil. Viber and Skype is popular in Nepal.
  • Online Dating and Marriage Services – I know this to be absolutely local. Disclosure – never used it, so don’t have an example. Facebook? maybe
  • [Content] News – Yes there are Reuters, AP and BBC, along with new news media in the likes of HuffPost, VOX Media, and Drudge Report. Local news however, has its place close to heart. For the given context – Nepal is a small country, and even though they are represented national news services, from here (from USA) its more or less local hometown for me. I literally gobble up all the RSS feeds from Kantipur, Nagarik, Setopati, and NepalNews. 🙂
  • [Content] Sports and Entertainment News – Even though they are news, from my personal recommendation and to elongate this list – I put sports and entertainment (read TV and Cinema) in another category of local content to drive the local convergent platform. Reminds me of Futsal games. 🙂
  • Social-Cultural Aspects – For Nepal – Dashain, Tihar, Eid, Easter and them three or four New Years, etc. Information about these, and well to-do for the present generations is a big information hub. Disclosure – Yes, I am not an ideal brahmin, don’t do poojas and don’t speak/write Sansrit, rarely follow any gods/goddesses, have very little religious views. What I am, is a human, a doctor, and some one who needs to help at least 1000 people before I die [thats my todo in life].
  • Food – Local food, dish and dine. daal-bhaat-tarkari and mo:mos. I am surprised there is very little Nepali websites for good food.

Reference

Snippets

  • BuzzFeed  – here is a wonderful article on 10 Gmail Hacks.

PS – This post has not gone through grammar check, spelling errors, and second read. 😛 I am not a strong believer of open source. For me, good Technology is that which works the easiest and smartest – and does not hide any secrets from me (even those that I don’t understand)

Of Wrestlings and Elections (I of II)

Last week was all about history. I refreshed my memories about World Wrestling Federation Entertainment from Bret Hart to HBK, Steve Austin and CM Punk. Belonging to the millennium generation from Kathmandu I was never a Rock fan. Thus I am trying to mention him less. Much of school life, grade eight, nine and ten, was about WWE, talking about Monday night “RAW” and Thursday’s “SMACK DOWN”. The back stage interviews, entrance music, commentaries made by JR and King, and those awesome rivalries were must know general knowledge. Everyone knew how to draw the bull (pictured below), sketched out in notebooks, text books, and school diaries. My sister would go on to draw it in her school bag, and I know I had one printed shirt of it. It read “ayatollah of rock and rolla” in the most common Times New Roman font – italicized. We took three (or four) days to design this in MS Word ’97. I still don’t know what ayatollah means.

The-Rock-Brahma-Bull-wwe-33324645-1280-800

AND thats the bottom line… cuz Stone Cold says so!

Last week was also about my political inclination back in Nepal). Major parties in Nepal including the pseudo-communist beleaguered Maoists, have put their nomination forward for the November election. This is the second constitution assembly for Nepal. There nomination list has some surprises, few misfits, and certain number of dropouts compared to the last election. My supported politician back from 2006/7 elections did not get the ticket this time. She’d won last time. Had I been in Nepal, I’d vote for the Nepali Congress nominated candidate from Kathmandu Area Four constituency. Gagan Thapa is by far the most favored candidate in NC right now. This is what I think. Since I am outside Nepal and won’t be able to participate a direct election I take up an audience seat this time. But why can’t I vote?

So why can’t I vote?

A friend of mine in Facebook mentioned something about 2008 Election commissionaire talking about the foreign Nepali voting right. “He had promised that the Election Commission would work towards this end and create conducive environment for Nepalese residing abroad so they can exercise their right to vote in the future.”  

Why doesn’t Nepal have a workable mechanism devised  so that citizen/s could vote from abroad?

Why doesn’t Nepal have a workable mechanism devised  so that citizen/s could vote from abroad? My one word answer would be poverty (an initial perception). However, I think there ought to be some other explanations as well. Disclosure – no money was required, but some time was spend researching internet.

CA NEPAL CONSTITUENCIES HU BLUE[Converted]

Voting right for citizen abroad

There is an excellent Gaurdian article by Joseph Mayton (here) from 2010 July which speaks about how you would feel deprived of a say in your country’s future, if not allowed to vote. He gives two country specific examples which are very similar to Nepal’s emigration. He speaks about a theoretical possibility related to Lebanon’s diaspora. Lebanon has some 12 million citizens living outside the country compared with only around 4 million inside – so in theory absentee voters could determine the outcome of any election. Please also listen/read to the Freakonomics podcast on how Lebanese are most successful Immigrants in the world (here), which came out in August 29 of this year. Our second example is that of Mexico, which recently introduced voting right for citizen abroad. The cost factor might be unprecedented for Nepal, but if we are to learn from Mexico’s example; Nepalis should begin to seek out a means to better their native countries.

voting_from_abroad_120This article also refers to Maria Gratschew (co-author) and her handbook, Voting from Abroad, where she argues that “external voting is highly relevant to the many people who are travelling or working around the globe”. This handbook is from 2007, so some of its data might be irrelevant. My next post has some quick read materials that I found interesting in here along with more personal insights for November election. Disclosure – This book is free and under Creative Common License (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)

So what has Nepal to gain from its citizen abroad?

I argue that there are three major groups of Nepali outside Nepal.I wrote some part of this in August 2013.(here is the post link). First the hard working labor population representing mostly from Middle East and South East Asia. They are the ones keeping Nepal’s economy well and alive through massive remittance. It not Lord Pashupatinath, its them. There has been a huge spike in this group in the last decade, and boys leave the country as labor population as soon as after finishing grade eight. This is the plight of the Lower Class, a majority in Nepal. Tap into them for voting rights, and most if not all will represent socialist outlook. Presently represented by एमाले (confusing mixture of democracy and communist) and माओवादी (purely communist) parties.

It not Lord Pashupatinath, its them and their remittance that have kept Nepal’s economy alive in this last decade.

Second huge group outside Nepal is the student population – both undergraduates and graduates. Most if not all the undergraduates are money-drain from Nepal, and like the First Group there has been a huge spike in people leaving Nepal for Education. This group of students are have mixed educational and intellectual background when it comes to politics. Most represent the Middle Class family from Nepal, and as progressive they are, all of them might not be the answer Nepal needs right now. Case in point to a blog post written by Pranaya Rana in ekantipur.com (here). The topic was something I’d definitely would have talked/written about before I came across this post. He writes it very well, and he has much better command in the language (better than me). The post argues about the plight of middle class, and how we are limited and disillusioned by our own good intentions to do good. Mr Subedi (read more here) last week was one of the fall guy among this Middle Class hordes. These represent a mixed political views ranging from liberal democracy to hard line communism.

The third group is the indistinct settlers. These are either the upper class or the ones that have first educated themselves in foreign land and then gained experience as much to settle in. The H1B Visa status in USA and the alike. I can’t really say anything more about them as they comprise of the heterogeneous population from all parts of Nepal, and most of them are content with their lives in foreign land. They comprise the brain-drain population from Nepal. Few definitely have done good deeds for Nepal, despite being outside Nepal. Most of them represent the नेपाली कांग्रेस (corrupt-democratic) party. Obviously this is my personal statement and I don’t have hard facts to prove it.

Regardless of my perspective, if the country is to make a situation for voters abroad have their say, it would benefit Nepal. According to the Census report 2011, Nepal’s population stands at 26.4 million, out of which 1.9 million is absentee population. This is 7.1% of those who are outside Nepal. I am short on the total number of registered voters right now, still searching for it and will post as a comment to this page once I find it.

Lastly – reinvigorated love for my N9

Read a post last week from OSNEWS (here) and a link from an original article (here) about the one true mobile phone experience – Nokia N9. He writes – Virtually every N9 owner I’ve ever talked to loves the N9 unconditionally. It could have been the Eve of Nokia’s resurrection. Instead, it became the symbol of its demise. So very true. I do have a constant mobile phone changing experiences averaging eight months – – albeit with budget phones. Until last week I was using Palm Pre II through Ebay at 54 USD. Got it in USA, this July, because it wasn’t available in Nepal two years since it came out. Used it for three months, but now am back to Nokia N9 (got this in early Feb 2013 – second hand shop). It just works.

Next Post – is part two of this one. shorter and fewer tidbits on November election. The tea post is still on, i still am searching for few images (CC-BY-3)