२७.१२°C काठमाडौं
काठमाडौंमा वायुको गुणस्तर: १५४

"I find Nepalese tolerant and patient"


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Nepal became a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1966. Almost three decades later, the ILO office was opened in Nepal in 1994. Since then, it has been cooperating with the Government of Nepal on national and international labor issues. Numan Ozkan from Turkey is currently working in ILO Nepal-Directorate.

Previously, he served as ILO Turkey-Director. Özkan has experience in program implementation and policy advocacy in the areas of social policy, social dialogue, labor rights. ILO Nepal, who has worked in the field of international labor - Ozkan Edited part of the conversation with Jagadishwar Pandey of Kantipur about Nepal, its environment, costumes, culture, weather, language, songs and music on various topics :

When did you first come to Nepal and what is your opinion about its geography?

I came to Nepal for the first time on April 1, 2023. That day is also my birthday. I started a new chapter of my life by coming to Nepal on that special day. It was the beginning of a new year and a new adventure for me. For some reason I feel like I came to Nepal. It's not just a coincidence that I'm here on my birthday. I have always been attracted by the spirituality that prevails in Nepal. And I believe that coming here will help me in my introspection and journey through life. When you come to Nepal from western countries, you fly along the Himalayas.

As the airplane passes a height, the towering mountains fascinate at first sight. As you travel across the country beyond the mountains, you notice that the geography here changes rapidly. Various scenes including mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, plains can be seen here. After the frozen lakes and snows, at a distance of a few hundred kilometers, you reach the dense forests of the tropical region. That's amazing. Mountains and seas have always fascinated me. Mountains in general are awe-inspiring. At every opportunity whenever and wherever I see the view of the White Mountains, I can't help myself. But I look at the mountains for a few minutes. That way I can stare at the mountains all day long.

While working in Nepal, you met many people. How do you find Nepalese people?

Nepalis are very kind, easy to communicate with and easy to talk to. Even if you don't know your language, you can easily connect with Smile. Nepalis are very helpful, easy to meet and easy to communicate with. I also find Nepali people calm and happy. It is very rare to meet angry and hoarse people here. It attracts me especially in traffic during road trips, where people seem tolerant and patient. I see many conflict situations in traffic. And, I say - now they are going to fight. But they usually leave each other and go their separate ways.

What is your opinion about Nepal's weather?

I love the weather here. The weather here is mostly normal. Not too hot and not too cold. I also love the monsoon season. Especially when the sun shines after the rain and you can get fresh air. Every season is beautiful and has its own characteristics. I don't like winters in general. But even from Kathmandu, the clear sky and the view of the mountains makes the mind happy. What bothers me is the lack of a heating system and proper insulation in the house. Which makes you feel cold especially at night in winter. Winter nights in my hometown (Turkey) can get as cold as 20 degrees Celsius. But houses are warm.

How much have you tasted Nepali food and what is your favorite Nepali food?

Nepali cuisine reflects its culture and diversity. The variety of cuisine is inspired by its multicultural heritage, varied terrain and homegrown ingredients. These ingredients impart a mixture of sweetness, flavor and aroma to the food. To be honest, most Nepali food is too spicy for me. When I first came to Nepal, my health was somewhat disturbed due to the food. So health-wise I prefer to be on the safe side and opt for dishes that don't use too many spices or contain too many ingredients. That's why I think lentil-rice and vegetarian me:me are suitable.

What is your opinion about Nepali behavior? Nepal is very rich in

original behavior. Nepalis are everywhere. Everyone is deeply involved in the daily lives of others. What I like most about Nepali is the custom of saying 'Namaste' with a nice smile and hand gesture. It is important if you say it from the heart, consciously knowing what it means. It means 'I salute the God within you'. You can see how powerful it is and how it connects people.

How many Nepali festivals have you celebrated? Which festivals do you like the most?

There are many festivals in Nepal. It is also very surprising. Some kind of festival is celebrated every day in Nepal. There are so many festivals celebrated in Nepal due to the many ethnic groups and different cultures here. Every festival celebrated in Nepal has different meaning, background and rituals. I read about festivals and try to celebrate them by understanding their true meaning. I try not to be a foreigner but to celebrate the festivals of Nepal together with the locals. Holi is my favorite festival of colors. It is supposed to be a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Despite so much evil in the world, it conveys the message that there is ultimately good. Holi also marks the end of winter and the beginning of summer. And, apart from these, it is a very enjoyable festival. People celebrate the arrival of spring by spraying each other with different colors. Colors are symbols of life. And, color gives life to our desires and celebrations. Apart from Holi Gaijatra is also loved here. Gaijatra festival and Indrajatra which is celebrated to commemorate the death of a relative I enjoy a lot. I used to celebrate these festivals with joy.

How well can you speak Nepali language?

I am trying to learn Nepali language to be able to communicate on a daily basis. I try to speak some basic Nepali with people around me. It is also a matter of showing respect to the local people. Also, in my public speeches I like to start with some Nepali sentences. It helps to connect with people. I know that more than 120 languages ​​are spoken in Nepal. I try to speak at least standard Nepali language.

Do you listen to Nepali songs? Any particular song you like?

I listen to Nepali songs while participating in various occasions, programs and concerts. Sometimes I also turn on the radio channel to play Nepali songs in the car. However, I am not familiar with any particular song or singer. I really like the tune of the national anthem of Nepal. As I have to go to government meetings/seminars, I often listen to the national anthem of Nepal. I think I even started memorizing the lyrics. I also studied the meaning of national anthem in English. In which I also understood that Nepal's sovereignty, unity, courage, pride, natural beauty, progress, peace, cultural and cultural as well as biological diversity and respect were praised.

How knowledgeable are you about Nepali literature? Any literary works you like?

To be honest, I am not familiar with Nepali literature. Also, especially about novels, poems and stories, I don't know much about it. However, I like to read about Nepal, its history, culture, politics, etc. written by Nepalis or foreigners. Lately I have been reading Sujeev Shakya's book 'Unleashing the Vajra'. I think this is an excellent book to understand the past, present and future of Nepal in terms of political economy and geopolitics.

Have you seen Nepali movies too?

I have not seen Nepali movies. I think it is appropriate for the theater and the entire industry to take initiatives to promote Nepali movies on the international stage. One way to do this is to reach different platforms with proper dubbing or subtitles.

How many places have you visited in Nepal? What is your favorite destination?

I have been to Ilam, Jhapa, Dhangadhi, Pokhara apart from around Kathmandu valley. I especially liked Elam. Because, it is like the Northern Kalasagar region of my country. The topography is very similar, with all-green high mountains. As in Elam there are also many tea gardens. So far, Ilam is my favorite place outside Kathmandu Valley. However, I have yet to see many parts of Nepal.

You already know that Nepal is rich in art and culture. What do you think about Nepal's art and culture?

The first book I read about Nepal was 'Cultural Sock'. The culture of Nepal is so rich and diverse that it takes more than a year to understand it. There are many dimensions that influence culture. There are hundreds of tribes, castes and languages, dimensions of religion and their various interpretations and practices. There are also dimensions determined by geography (lowlands, hills and mountains). Put all this together and you have a really complex cultural mix here. I am still learning new things every day. Every time I go to a new place. And, that place feels like an onion. As you peel back one layer of the onion, another layer comes under it. I don't know when I will reach the main place. But one thing is clear that along with culture and religion, the ideas and customs that come out of it are the core of Nepali society.

प्रकाशित : वैशाख १, २०८१ १०:२७
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