Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Losing community vitality



With internet age breaking into the every aspect of our life and the civilization, I am awestruck by the simple fact that we have changed the whole system of our community and life style. We are into what we proudly call as Social media during most part of our day apparently trying to construct the social web and also keeping in touch with our friends. World’s most of the population are into facebooking, tweeting and in various forms of media and the ones who are not into these are most probably deprived of internet facility. However the question that goes unanswered is that are these things really a form of social interaction which would make our life thrive if not better?
Few months back, I attended this symposium organized by Japanese architects. There was already a so much of outsider coming to Bhutan and reminding Bhutanese architects about traditional architecture of Bhutan that we have to listen from our peers about young architects not trying even to know about our culture and traditions which are deeply rooted in our architecture. They went and went basically trying to teach us the same thing which we have been looking at since we took keen interest in architecture. However amongst many Japanese architects who presented their works and case studies of Bhutanese architecture, what caught my conscience was when their team leader started his presentation.
He started his presentation by showing the picture of a great Japan tsunami 2011. He begin by saying that Japan is proud and boastful of their technologies which has earned the fame of being one of the best in the world which contributed in changing the whole pattern of civilization, however when there was big disaster, these technologies did not help- mobiles phones were off, electricity was not there, cars couldn’t ply because of the flood and debris collected over and the only thing that helped was people. People helped people.
It was such a big realization that it made me think over about how I don’t know my immediate neighbor even after staying in that same building for 6 months now let alone the whole tenants. And that I have not even tried to know them. We live in such a small community and yet we don’t know people around. I keep in touch with my friends in social media and all, but I have never bothered to ask the name of the person who stays in the next flat. What if such disasters occur some day, I won’t be able to ask for help to my friends who stay far away. Even when some of our friends unknowingly leave us latched inside the flat, we have to call our friend and wait for him to reach the house to open the door. It’s a pity that we are busy trying to catch our friends online but do not have a social interaction with people who are at immediate distance. We go for clubbing and partying, but we have never thought of enjoying a simple gathering over a dinner with friends and relatives.
Although the Japanese claimed of community vitality that which is still existent in Bhutan, I feel we are already in the losing phase. We are turning into unsocial aliens, not even animals because animals have a big sense of togetherness and that’s why we say flock of birds, herd of cattle, etc.
The price of building a community is expensive until we are in adversity.  
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