Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Pokémon Go: What’s all the Fuss about? - Rhilo Mero, B.A. 3rd Sem English Hons

                        




Pokemon Go is a game that has taken the world by storm with its ability to blur the lines between the virtual and real world. Its worldwide phenomena such  as these that make one marvel at the unassuming power of apps, arts, events  or be it performances and recitations like the one recently done by Vinatoli  Yeptho titled “Five Rules for Whomever it May Concern” that went viral on social media sites. Proof to the adage that ‘the world is your oyster’, technology and internet are changing the way the world functions, granting individuals and societies fame, popularity and creating worldwide sensations at a rate that we in Nagaland must also learn to take advantage of. Here’s more about the worldwide craze that Pokemon Go has created.

Pokémon Go: What’s all the Fuss about?


Before you ask any child what Pokémon is, chances are they will explain to you the basic idea about which you will find it easy to understand. However, for those parents and others who never heard of it, It is an animated children series where people catch different types of supernatural animals and monsters or, more appropriately ‘to make companions’ and train together for various competitions and become the best trainer or player. Pokémon is short for the original Japanese title ‘pocket monsters’ which is a media franchise managed by The Pokémon Company consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. But what is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android which is adapted in the form of a virtual world game that uses real-time and location of our world. Players point their cameras in different directions far and wide, in the real world and by flicking their fingers on their screen they capture Pokémon to score points. Pokémon Go has broken many records; it is used twice as much as the Facebook app on Android. People spent time in the game for an average of 75 min, while the latter only about 35. The usage of YouTube was dropped to 9% and Snapchat to about 18%, and the report of downloads of the game is up to a whopping 100 million people worldwide. The numbers itself prove how much the app overtook the world by storm.

The game has been shown to be advantageous, but at the same time there is a mean dark side to it too. On its merits, Twitter and several other social networking sites are flooded with the reports of children suffering from autism who are finally able to go out and play. It’s apparent that the game has greatly impacted their lives with tears of joy for the families. It has also helped people tackle depression and anxiety which are the real killers of the society. How? It motivates the users to get up and move out from their home-which is a real struggle for depressed people, hence improving their mental health, bringing laughter and happiness in their lives. Reuters Canada reported that the present war scenario in Syria is also reflected through the game where the Syrian Opposition groups have taken advantage and used the game to capture the attention of the world to the plight of children caught up in the five year war. Photographs of children in besieged Syrian town holding the pictures of Pokémon character appealing for help were published by the Syrian National Coalition. One of the many photographs of a child with a Pokémon character “Pikachu” reads “I am trapped in Douma(duma) in east Ghouta. Help me” Douma is a suburb in Damascus, one of the many places that are bombarded on a daily basis. “If you are looking for a Pokémon you can find it in Syria”, tweets the national coalition of Syria. Many Syrians feel that the world has forgotten and are ignoring a conflict which killed more than a quarter of a million people and displaced their lives. Besides ‘all for the good causes’ there are also negative impacts of the game like the headlines of how two youths crossed the border illegally but unintentionally from Canada into the US soil in a remote part of Montana while searching for Pokémon as stated in notey.com. They could have been killed or sent to juvenile home because of their actions. The ‘Fox News’ and ‘US News’ also reported that it has also led to a number of car accidents and a slew of mishaps stemming from distracted players. Pokémon characters appear in different places so the gamers are drawn to dark alleys, dangerous neighborhoods and sometimes targeted by criminals. People are charged with trespassing and invasion of privacy when strangers go about other’s property.  In India, there are instances of youths assembling at night when the rumors of rare Pokémon characters are spotted, which ends up creating unnecessary trouble for the localities. Certain historic places and museums and most of the middle-east countries have banned the game and religious leaders claimed it made the people obsessive and possessive; promoting gambling and Zionism hampering their spiritual lives.

In conclusion it depends on the person to be responsible. But the game “is not just a game anymore!” Let’s all be realistic and accept that it is changing people in and around the world. People are literally dying and at the same time living in a new era of higher form of communication through this mass social-networking game. It has been praised as well as criticized by many. Frankly speaking, right now I don’t know what to choose ‘to support it or go against it’, but what I do know for sure is that when the game becomes available in our region I’ll definitely play it, so will my friends and relatives. However, I urge people to remember these facts so that what you are playing is a fun game. Moreover, with this new app we see that people are going out and socializing in the manner before phones were invented, meeting face to face, with friends, but if you lose yourself so much in the game you are probably ‘gambling with your life’. Finally, I should say it’s safe for me to quote “Life is no Nintendo game, there is no restart button”, so play it carefully.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Woman = Men - Dr Nonlih Chohwanglim, Asst Professor, Department of English



As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, let us reflect upon the immeasurable contributions made by women across the world. Many courageous women throughout history have stood and championed against all odds for women’s political and socio-economic equality. Yet, there are many more unsung and equally worthy heroes who though inconspicuous in their deeds have been the foundations of every society. Every woman-mothers, sisters, aunties, grandmothers, and wives-in every society are the unsung heroes. It is these fearless and courageous women, unwavering in their love that inspire and carry societies forward.


                                          
                                       
                                                          Woman = Men

As I write an article on Women’s Equality Day, which is celebrated on the 26th August of each year since 1920, I realize the reason as to why I am able to jot down my pen to work is because of the real fight fought by many brave souls over the years. This day marks a turning point in the history of the struggle for equal treatment of women and their rights. Women’s Equality Day commemorates 26th August 1920 when the right to voting was won by women in the US. It was at the behest of Congresswoman Bella Abzug in 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” Abzug could introduce the bill in the Parliament based on decades of activism by suffrage activists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott.

Prior to movements like these, even respected thinkers such as Rousseau and Kant believed that woman’s inferior status in society was completely logical and reasonable; women were ‘beautiful’ and ‘not fit for serious employment’. According to such opinions, all women could be understood as “Nora” of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play, A Doll’s House. In the play, Nora is a homemaker, wife and mother. The play traces the awakening of Nora Helmer from her previously unexamined life of domestic, wifely comfort. Having been ruled her whole life by either her father or her husband, Torvald. Nora, who has been manipulated to live a life of a doll in the name of ‘protection’, realizes the truth, the truth about her husband, her marriage, her subjugation as a woman; she breaks the tradition and walks out of her husband’s life to find her true self, her true identity.

Over the last century, great women have proven these views (inferiority of women) wrong as the world has witnessed just what women are capable of achieving, from the likes of Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt fighting for civil rights and equality to great scientists such as Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Jane Goodall (to name a few). The last century has shown more than ever what both women and men are capable of achieving, “given the opportunity”.
           
In the Indian context we can declare with pride that its society has successfully done away with many of the social evils; yet cannot claim that India is free from gender biases.  Are we really treating genders equally? The concern here is how they are treated even when they are on the same horizon. Ranging from celebrities to daily wage earners, women face the challenges of differential treatment based on gender. Lower salaries, unwillingness to hire married women, reluctance to appoint them to higher posts, it’s all a sad reality.

From the likes of the Indian poet Kamala Das who explored female sexuality fearlessly, to personalities such as Barkha Dutt, who bravely reported from the precarious conditions of the Kargil War, from words to action, Indian women have come a long way proving the myth of female inferiority to be a farce. Despite the massive progress and achievements, women living in modern India are still challenged with many issues of identity and discrimination.

I remember a discourse that had unfolded in one of my classes recently. The discourse was about a woman being ‘independent’. One of the students remarked that I was a strong independent woman and the other student stopped the sentence with an attempt to rectify (done with good intention, but gone haywire) that Ma’am cannot be addressed as ‘independent’ because Ma’am is ‘married’! I had a caesura time there! Would they have the same opinion about a male teacher who was married? It set me to ponder if it was the voice of one male student alone or of the society as a whole. I was a daughter and a sister and then I became a wife and a mother. Yet in this transition, the ‘I’, my being, my essence, my individuality remains the same. Then is the society eyeing me from a different perspective because of the ‘transition’? Am I now just the ‘other half’, and not a ‘complete being’, am I now ‘dependent’ because of the social duality based on my biological existence?

The male/female hierarchical dichotomy and the fight against it is not a localized issue. Every woman, from every angle is one through their stance and will to annihilate this dichotomy which prevails in different forms. ‘Nora’ has walked out and today we even have a woman as a Presidential candidate of USA (from where the concept of Women’s Equality Day germinated) marking the journey from ‘Let Us Vote’ to ‘Vote for Me’. A wonderful transition indeed!

Yet the journey of ‘Nora’ does not end with the walking out. As we observe the day, the larger concern should be the journey and the destination that ‘Nora’ is supposed to reach. Women’s Equality Day is not confined to voting right alone, rather slips into every aspect. The observance calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. I, however believe that the most important part of this struggle is women realizing their own right to fight for equality. Women have to let go of age-old cultural norms which place them behind the menfolk.  I cannot but help wonder how many ‘Noras’ have to walk out of their houses before we stop shrouding their existence in stereotypes and age old norms. Have we progressed but at all?

Let every Nora be a guiding ray for every other Nora!

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Customer Versus Suppliers? - Namsurei Thomas Kamei, Head of Department of Economics, Tetso College




A satirical piece on customer services in Nagaland, this article brings to light certain shortcomings and the grimmer side of what the general public experience in the goods and services sector. While every consumer has a different experience and it is no easy feat keeping every individual happy, this article tickles one's thoughts about the real need to ensure all customers are treated fairly and equally. 







Consumer versus Suppliers?


We consume varieties of goods and services. Consumption is not confined to intake of foods and drinks. It also means deriving some utilities or usefulness from the goods or services we consume. While deriving this usefulness, we encounter many unpleasant experiences. Provider of goods and services may not always meet the expectations of the consumers. At present, because of the existence of numerous providers, quantity and quality may not necessarily go hand in hand. Let me give some accounts, from my own experience, of the expectations of the consumers and the realities of what is actually provided by the suppliers of goods and services.

Banks are one of the busiest places in our city, especially the public-sector banks. At any time of the day, your work is not done without the ‘wait'. Banks with their lofty and appealing slogans, such as ‘A tradition of Trust' (Allahabad bank); ‘Much more to do. With YOU in focus' (Andhra bank); ‘Relationship beyond banking' (Bank of India); ‘together we prosper' (Bank of Rajasthan); ‘banker to every Indian' (SBI), ‘we understand your world' (HDFC bank) etc., have much to do in terms of customers' satisfaction. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the bank staffs are desperately in need of soft skills or customer service training. In case they have forgotten, they must go for the refresher courses. They must realize that, instead of having ‘I know it all' attitude or looking busy when customers are around, their businesses thrive because of customers. Perhaps, I'd suggest changing their slogans to ‘rush hour', ‘exclusively for the rich', ‘no time for you' etc., in case they have no time for the average customers. 

Even when one goes for routine health check-ups, we nevertheless come across the infamous ‘wait' and that scornful, indifferent staffs of the clinics or hospitals. We are made to wait endlessly for consultation with doctors. Whenever we want clarifications, the staff looks at you as if you are asking for a lifetime favor. Can't we have a system where we are informed about the timing of our appointment? Can't we have staff trained in soft skills and are a bit more motivated and professional? Moreover, there also seems to be the parallel existence of pharmacies and doctors' clinics; in other words, a business deal where the medicines prescribed by doctors from one particular clinic are available only at the pharmacy attached to that aforesaid clinic. No doubt, it is convenient for patients but it is also possible that better and more appropriate prescriptions can be made (Am I speculating on this?).

The problems and inconveniences are not just restricted to the banks and health care services. We come across the same sort of problems with the telecommunication providers as well. We are all familiar with the kinds of services we are provided with. Sometimes, it makes me wonder why the telecom providers charge me even for the services I am not provided with. When I make telephone calls, and I am sure many of us have gone through such experiences, all I can hear is at best some indistinct voices, and at worse, a dreary inaudible silence. Can we ask the service providers not to arbitrarily cut our phone balance because we can't talk? You can talk or not, that's not a problem for them. You are charged, regardless. It's the same with television service providers too. They will give a number on the screen to call or message in times of technical difficulties or problems. So, you call or message them; and what you get is some weird instructions at a very high toll. Why do we have to pay when all we get from them are some weird instructions? 

Another example is the education sector. You can experience tedious processes here as well, especially during the admission season. I also know many heads of schools and colleges take extra care for the convenience of admission seekers. At the same time, many don't care. First is the ‘wait' to meet the in-charges, and second is the advice to ‘come later on'. It really takes a toll on parents when they have to come day after day seeking admissions to meet the heads of institutions. I understand admission times are busy times for educational institutions and I also understand that getting into the right institutions is also important for the parents as well. But, in my opinion, admissions can be granted or denied at the first meeting. Of course, terms and conditions apply. 

And lastly, the inconvenience we face from our landlords. Many of us have rented or are presently renting rooms or houses. We are paying rent for the facilities provided to us. However, staying in a rented place becomes an unpleasant experience when the landlord starts imposing unwarranted rules and regulations, restrict movements, visitors, and arbitrarily hiking the rent every New Year. I have not come across any authority regulating rents, at least in Dimapur or in Nagaland. At the same time, I would like to make it known that I am paying rent not for the landlords to impose rules and regulations on me and my family, but for the rooms or the house I have rented.

Given the numerous challenges in our State, maybe it is understandable for the suppliers to run a monopoly on the services provided to the consumers with less regard for consumers' interests. However, if greater regard could be given to all types of customers, it would definitely make everyone happier. 


Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Recipe for Success - -Kinitoli Aye, Asst Professor, Department of History

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                          


We live in times where people are obsessed with ‘success’ and ‘fame’; hence, we come across numerous platitudinous catch phrases and titles—be it on new media, books, magazines, internet ads, or large billboards, etc.—such as ‘How to be successful?’, ‘Keys to success!’, ‘How to attain wealth and success!’, ‘Guides to success’, and so forth. Yet, in the midst of such commotions, we become so parochial in our efforts to succeed that we begin seeking easier ways or ‘shortcuts’ and, in the process, forget the two essential aspects of Success: Hard work and Passion.  
                                        
                                                   The Recipe for Success  

Hard work, a key to success, is a well-known adage. Parents, teachers, as well as others, guide a child to work hard so that the child can achieve good scores. Though a little bit of luck invariably plays a positive role, I believe that hard work is the key to success. In fact, if only luck is to be considered, no one would work but just wait till their luck shines up. But this is not the case. Today we see that technology has improved to such an extent that a person can have a lunch in Paris and dinner in New York on the same day. There lie great contributions from people like the Wright Brothers and Henry Ford in inventing means of transportation, which were the result of their hard work and great efforts. If these people had waited for the D-day and luck to shine on them, we probably would still be using firewood to cook instead of using electrical ovens, consider flying a dream, and the world would not have been globalized.

A person can excel in his career due to hard work. If he sits at home, no one would offer him a job unless he initiates the job searching process. Promotions come because of hard work. Luck does not lie in the picture. Students excel only if they study hard. Many students after the graduation say that they weren’t lucky enough to get good marks, or the evaluators must have been very strict. But again these are merely excuses that can’t be given preference. Innovation does not happen without hard work. Hard work is what translates vision and ideas into results.

We definitely need to work smarter too. But work smarter and harder. They go together. It’s true that by working smarter and being more productive with your time, you may not have to work as hard to enjoy success. Those who adopt the motto of working smarter, not harder, will eventually be left in the dust by the competition. The best are always striving to get better. They are always pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone. They are always innovating and improving. Always remember Darwin’s theory of evolution.

When you work hard, people notice, maybe not right away, but eventually, and you will be rewarded. The key is to do your best every day and strive for excellence in all that you do. Rewards come to those who are humble and hungry; humble, as in, you are striving to learn, grow, and improve every day, and hungry with a passion to be your best.

There’s another important factor that goes side by side with hard work, and that is passion.Passion is understood as an intellectual, emotional, and physical drive that generates positive action. We each are passionate about something, and it is this passion that gives us a purpose in life, and we thereby pursue our goals in life. Whether one loves playing sports, listening to music, or spending time with their family, the most important element becomes the satisfaction and joy derived from the activity. Passions predetermine the personality and behavior of a person. Without any passion, our life would resemble emotionless mechanical things, dead and  deprived of any expressions. However, if a wrong passion is harbored, the end result might just as well be gravely disastrous. Those with a passion for material prosperity might be prone to unethical behaviors, while those with a passion for alcoholic drinks may waste away their life.

Be passionate about the right thing! We need to believe that we can do it better, have the desire to make it happen, and always hunger for success. However, before the much-awaited success comes our way, we need to have the undying energy to go through all odds that are going to come our way. Have the mindset to get up every time we are knocked down. Don’t be scared to take risks when you pursue your passion. Have the stamina to keep the fight going, and bear the sufferings that come along with it. If practicing for hours on the guitar makes the skin of your fingers break, or dancing the ballet to the tune of the nutcracker gives you ugly toes, your passion for these says ‘so be it’. Being passionate is being invested wholly towards fulfilling your dreams. The time, the efforts, the costs, the blood and sweat; it all counts. Always remember that passion calls in for changes, overcomes difficulties, generates actions, and inspires others.

I end my article with this quote from the 2006 American biographical drama film ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’- “Don't ever let somebody tell you...you can't do something. Not even me. Alright? You got a dream...You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it!”

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.
   

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Got a Friend? - Imchenmeren, BA 5th Semester English Honours




In our darkest moments, we all need someone   who will listen. Some turn to helpful professionals, while a few rely on those who are older and wiser. Others seek out someone who knows what they are going through. However, for most of us, there is nothing more therapeutic as a refreshing long chat with a few good friends. With Friendship Day just around the corner, this week’s article scrutinizes the value of friends in one’s life. 



Got a Friend?


Try to think of someone who has always been there for you when you were alone, who makes fun of you but also supports you and cares for you the most when no one does, who argues with you but always helps you during the most difficult times, who tries to correct you when you are wrong, and who tries to understand you when your parents do not? Who do you think that ‘someone’ is? A friend is more precious than the glimmer of a thousand diamonds!

“Goodbye! I’m off!” Those were the last three words she spoke and left me all alone with a broken heart. Tears rolled down my eyes just like rain drops. I was in pain and I had no idea what to do or what to say. I was a walking zombie! I had lost all appetite and drowned myself in drinking to numb the pain. I could not share my problem with my parents. I was speechless and hopeless. Alas! Then one day my best friend came up to me and said, “Why do you have to suffer like this when you have a friend like me? Cheer up! You and I, we are still alive!” Those lines were so strong that it went through to the  depths of my soul and cured me of my emotional breakdown. My best friend gave me hope and encouraged me. He listened to me and tried to understand my problems. He supported and corrected me in every possible way. I finally understood what he was trying to tell me, that life is always beautiful. I could see how much he cared for me. Because of my best friend, I was finally able to smile and continue to live my beautiful happy life.

It has been two years since, and the bond I share with my best friend has stood the test of time. We fight, we talk, we laugh, and we probably fit the definition of a ‘bromance’. Nevertheless, in this day and age, where people are obsessed with finding Pokemon, or obsessively ‘snapchatting’, having a real life best friend can be such a comfort.

I believe that every human being in this world needs a friend. It doesn’t matter whether your friend is rich or poor, a fool or a genius, or a cool cat or a geek. What matters, ultimately, is your mindset. Do you trust your friend? Can you understand your friend? Are you faithful towards your friend? I got to admit, I love the portrayal of friendship on the sitcom of the bygone era, ‘Friends’. Monica, Ross, Rachael, Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler were the icons of friendship in the US of the 1990s. They understood each other so well, and stood beside each other no matter what! As a student of literature, I do not feel guilty about taking pleasure in these fictional depictions, and I believe in my heart, that such friendships are a possibility!

Indeed, we must never forget that, as Helen Keller once verily stated, ”Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” We all know the hard life story of Helen Keller, an American author, who was deaf and blind. Even though she was afflicted with such physical disabilities, she never gave up. Her biggest inspiration came from her mentor, Anne Sullivan. At first, when Helen was frustrated with her efforts to spell words with her hand that she almost gave up, Anne was there to cheer and encourage Helen through every hurdle. Even though Anne was her mentor, she was also a friend to Helen.  It’s true what they say, that a friend in need is a friend indeed!

A friend can help you realize your flaws and can also help you to know the reality of life. When I read Jane Austen’s novel ‘Emma’, I remember with glee how through the shy and awkward Harriet, Emma was able to realize the true value of love and life, and stop her obsession about class and parentage. Without a friend, I doubt happiness would be a possibility. That is the reason why even when we are alone in our rooms, we constantly throng to social networking sites, hoping to communicate and socialize with ‘friends’. What happens to someone who is alone? I got a glimpse of this while reading Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’. A man who was stuck on an island for many years, of course, learned to live and feed himself, but he was terribly lonely. More than good food, he wanted the companionship of a friend.
Everyone has their own opinion in defining their friendships. Some may say that ‘we are halves of each other,’, while others may say that ‘my friend is like  family to me’. It’s the year 2016, and the dynamics of our society is changing drastically. Our grandparents lost touch with their classmates once they graduated college. Thanks to social media, I even know what my childhood friend, whom I have not met in 6 years, is having for dinner! There are documented cases of people forming emotional bonds with the intelligent personal assistants of the 21st century, namely Apple’s ‘Siri’, and Microsoft’s ‘Cortana’.

Maybe humans weren’t designed to live alone. I thank all my friends for being there for me. What about you? Got a friend?

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.


Road Rage & Road Woes - Tatongkala Ao, HoD, History

Frustration hits a high when driving along the roughshod roads in Nagaland. Add to that the non-adherence to road rules and driving ...