UWB in USA: Mr. Blogger Goes to Washington

[Update: Read Dinesh Wagle’s American Journey here.]

UWB Note: Nepali blogging in UCLA. See this page.

After being invited by the U.S. government, UWB blogger Dinesh Wagle will go to America tomorrow in a three-week-long sponsored trip

By Dinesh Wagle

“Dear Mr. Wagle,” reads the letter signed by James F. Moriarty, the American ambassador in Nepal. “I am pleased to inform you that the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu invites you to visit the United States of America under an International Visitor Leadership Program entitled Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists in South Asia,” scheduled for April 3-21, 2006.” Because of that invitation, I am going to the United States. About 12 hours after the publications of this blog, I will be flying somewhere over the Indian Ocean heading for Washington DC via Bangkok-Tokyo-Detroit).

American invitation to United We Blog! blogger Dinesh Wagle

“I trust that your visit will enable you to broaden your knowledge of American society and help increase mutual understanding between Nepal and the United States,” James F. Moriarty, the U.S. Ambassador in a letter to United We Blog! blogger Dinesh Wagle.

I know I am not going to the Moon (Not even a trip to the NASA is in the itinerary.) America is no more an alien land for Nepalis. Thousands are living there and many others have been there at least once. But when I say this, I am not trying to underestimate the craze of America among Nepalis. The American culture has so much influence in Nepali society that it is almost impossible to live a normal city life without getting to know something good or bad about that country. So why am I talking about my U.S. trip as if it is was first time experience for a Nepali? Because, to the best of my knowledge, no Nepali blogger has visited the U.S. at the invitation of the U.S. government. They invited the founder/manager of United We Blog! And this brings me to the main topic of my this article: My blogging journey in Nepal that, without my knowledge, happened to be the first of its kind in this country.

I have been playing with news for the last 8 years and I have got two distinct titles related to my job.

IT Wagle

When I used to cover Information Technology for Nepal Magazine, unacquainted people would always have to say something like this hearing after my name for the first time: “Oh… you write on IT, right?” And many of my colleagues would call me by IT Wagle. I used to write on other topics for the magazine as well but no one seemed to care about those stories about clothing habit of young folks to the spreading tentacles of multinational FMCG companies in Nepal. “Oh…you IT Wagle,” they used to say, “That computer thing. I do not easily understand. May be I will grasp you writings once I buy a computer for myself.” (It is a challenge for a technology reporter to present things in such a way that readers of a general interest magazine like Nepal easily grasp the meaning of the article.) And there were some who would say that they admired my reporting and were indeed benefiting from my writings. The Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) fell in this category and awarded me with their first ever “IT Journalist” recognition in May 2003. That year I felt like being a technology reporter and set up a web site that could be claimed as the first for a journalist in Nepal.

I thank star journalist Vijay Kumar who, in my first self-chosen assignment, encouraged me to write on technology. I remember when Vijay Kumar, the founding editor of Nepal Magazine, told me after rejecting two topics before finally giving his go ahead to “Youth and IT” for the third issue (my first) of the Magazine. “This is cool,” he had said. “Write on this one.” [It is indeed a pleasure for me to know that Vijay Kumar has dedicated his latest Samaya Magazine weekly column “Prasna? Haina Uttar” or “Question? No Answer” to the “generation of Dinesh Wagle, a talented journalist of Kantipur.” Oh.. I can’t explain how people reacted after reading that article. “Dinesh,” said Raman Ghimire, “It’s indeed a great thing that your former guru praises you and dedicates his column to you.”)

People used to associate IT with Wagle to the extent that I sometime used to get irritated thinking that people were not reading my non-IT stories. That may be because I did not see too much prospects in IT reporting in Nepali journalism. Too few people have computers, even less have Internet connections, no home IT industry, no good IT education. That meant gloomy days ahead for an IT reporter.

Blogger Wagle

After I changed the paper nearly two years ago (to Kantipur that, like Nepal Magazine, is published by Kantipur Publications), I starting writing less on IT and more on other topics that I enjoyed writing about. By then I had already set up a blogging website. Blogging fever had caught me and, I still remember that strange look that my colleagues used to give me whenever I used to talk about blogs with them. And that happened very often. And two weeks ago, when some of them actually knew that I was invited by the U.S. government because of blog, they were more than curious to know about the blogging phenomena. I thoroughly enjoyed that one hour, peak hour in the newsroom of Kantipur, telling my colleagues at the desk the ABC of blogging. They all agreed to start their own blog that evening but I am yet to see them blogging!

Oh… I have just happy that they listened to me for an hour. In the beginning, the same could not be even imagined. After 18 months of active blogging in Nepal, I have seen a sea change in peoples’ perspectives toward blogging. In the mid of 2005, I realized people were replacing IT with Blogger and I was being called Blogger Wagle. Right from my reporting colleagues to the editor to the other prominent personalities of Nepali society. I became a cyber celebrity, though in my own way, when international media like Reuter and BBC started writing about blogging in Nepal. I subscribed an email account from an Internet Service Provider that goes something like blogle@wlink.com.np!

Now, again I am seeing the same problem. People have started forgetting that I work for Nepal’s largest and most prestigious daily newspaper. I am a blogger for them. (Thank god, the only consoling thing is that my editor at Kantipur still thinks I am doing okay in the paper.) I am wondering what the year 2007 (or 2063 BS that will start in a few days) has for me! Thanks to king Gyanendra’s anti-democratic takeover of Feb 1, 2005, we soon found ourselves in a changed scenario and our usage of blogging was changed: we became political bloggers with a mission of helping peoples’ movement to restore democracy in Nepal. Blog was new not only to us but also to the Nepali internet users around the world. I am elated to see many blogs by Nepalis sprouting around the Internet.

Being first in the field has some advantages and challenges as well. As a blogger of United We Blog!, the pioneer blog site of Nepal, I have gone through both of these experiences. This is the season of travel for us- the founders of UWB. Co-founder Ujjwal Acharya fly next month to take part in an international conference representing Nepal and UWB. But then I have also visited the headquarters of the Royal Nepal Army to explain the Directorate of Public Relations what the blog was and why we were not doing anything wrong by disseminating information via a new medium. Working for newspapers to earn our living and blogging in the nights to fulfill our passion. We did not expect the attention that we are getting today and we certainly did not expect the U.S. or the organizers of international conference to invite us abroad in sponsored trips. That was just that we wanted to express ourselves and blog was the perfect medium we found.

My (Impending) American Journey

Well, I am certainly thankful to the U.S. government for inviting me but let me clarify that I am thankful to them as much as they are to me for I accepted their invitation. I know they too have challenges: representing Nepal in the IVLP with good guests. So it is a mutual obligation that they found a ‘good guest’ in me and invited for the sponsored and guided tour and I accepted that. Let me put it on record that in future, if I found myself in a position to EASILY pay back the money that the U.S. government is spending for my trip, I will return that back to the American government. I am always a fan of America but after this visit, I will be extra careful not to make my writings too much pro-American and too much Americanized.

I know this is a high-profile and attractive visit package. Even an American sounded like envious when I said him that I will be going to DC to LA to Madison to New York in 24 days enjoying the free ride and staying in good hotels (one Milwaukee hotel where we will stay is in the list of a magazine’s World’s Best 500 hotels). Wow, the Californian in Kathmandu said, I would love to do that kind of traveling man! It is a fact that not all people visiting U.S. from Nepal get to interact with newspaper editors, City officials and State Department boss one after another. (Apart from the regular itinerary, I will be sharing my blogging experience with American and other international audiences in a program to be organize by AsiaMedia of University of California, Los Angeles in the second week of April.)

As I mentioned earlier, the U.S. society and the cities, I will be visiting to are not entirely new to me. I know one thing or the other about them. So what I want to do in this trip? There are formal programs, included in the itinerary, which I plan to actively participate. But more than that, my goal of the visit will be to EXPERIENCE the American life. I will try to feel the American life in those 24 days. (I will go to New York after the formal program finishes in Washington DC and, among other things, do the walking around the Times Square and buy a copy of New York Times from news stand. I am tired of reading that paper on the web.) I will go to McDonalds, buy a burger, and eat like the way Americans eat. (That is what I said to folks at the American Center when they were having discussions with us a day ago. I am sorry if they wanted me to be a bit shy and formal saying, “Oh…sir, I would be obliged to you forever for providing me an opportunity to see the democracy in action in your country. Of course, that is what I will be doing mostly in my visit but the part of eating burger in the American way is very important to me. And here burger symbolizes the Amrican lifestyle.)

Oh…by the way, did I mention that I am not going to the U.S. for shopping? That is partly right. I am really looking forward to buy a laptop computer. After all, being a blogger without a computer on the lap feels a little bit like a non-IT Wagle!

End Note: Ujjwal, Deepak and other friends will look after UWB and I just hope, but not sure, to contribute from the US in the next four weeks. It is a bit irony that a blogger from a third world country like Nepal is worried about not getting affordable Internet connections for blogging in the U.S. Yea, before I forget, let me quickly add that I also want to enjoy the experience of surfing the high-speed Internet connection. I know how it feels browsing the web in 19.3 KBPS. That is what is the speed of my UTL phone Internet connection through which I will be post this blog in a few minutes. Anyway, I will come back to Kathmandu in April 26.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

58 thoughts on “UWB in USA: Mr. Blogger Goes to Washington

  1. Dinesh dai…as promised earlier bhet nu parchha hai…mero phone number chha haina…email gare pani hunchha…

  2. dear y2k,
    best wishes to ur Patal Prabash !
    Dont forget to bring americi CHAMCHAM for maila haakim !!

  3. good luck and hope you learn difference between
    “DEMOCRACY” AND “DEMOCRATIC” PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA out there.

  4. Best of luck Mr Wagle.

    What will you do if Gyanendra is overthrown while you are in America? Will it be strange not being in Nepal to report on the matters first hand?

  5. now is the time like every other nepali to stay over there illegally and try for the green card ..refugee status i dont know that its called over there.

    i genuinely dont think that Mr.Wagle would do something as such but hey thats the way it is for every other Nepali…..from so called students to actors…..

    dont know what the heck am i writing

  6. Well Well, you are finally paid for your contribution for your active blogging. Congratulation Mr. wagle. Enjoy this trip and may you will get every chance to experinece american life.
    use this trip for sake of Nepal and Nepalese too, if you can.

  7. hey, dinesh, make a stop in shell, wyoming!! just fly LA to Cody, Wyoming and its an hour from there…go see a real cowboy rodeo! its on me…

    seriously, when in NYC, forget McDonalds. they have those in bangkok and Delhi. Eat at a real new york style deli and get a pastrami sandwich…that’s pure heaven…

    pro american, anti american, you will find america to be a land of kind and warm hearted people. we are a land of immigrants…even the native americans immigrated from asia and crossed the bering strait…when in nyc, yo will hear hundreds of different languages spoken. but the one common denominatori s that they can call themselves, proudly, AMERICAN. IRISH AMERICAN, NEPALI AMERICAN. IRANIAN AMERICAN, INDIAN AMERICAN. They are embraced as part of our wonderful melting pot…

    by the way, Detroit has the largest group of Arab Americans in the USA. and LA? A HUGE iranian american population (who are very well off) in addition to the fact that you will hear so much Spanish spoken. california used to be part of mexico, you know!

    seriously, you are going to all these big cities. Trust me, the USA is not all big cities. it has HUGE WILDERNESS AREAS. and, no, we are not all backwards in wyoming!! I for one was educated at boston university and chooset to live in this corner of the wilderness for my research on the wolf populations in yellowstone national park…so, please, drop us a line!!

    all the best, confederate keti (aka shadowrati)

  8. Hey Dinesh,

    I am happy for you. So it’s true that the “fruit of patience and perseverance is sweet,” hoina?

    Congratulations once again!!

  9. what in the fks name is a Nepali American or a Chinese American…you are either american or you are chinese…….. nepal ma janmeko america ma ayera baseko jindagi nepal janu man chaina moreny bela ma chai retired life nepal ma bitaunu janchu…..tesailey ma nepali american…. what in the hell is that….. thats a dhobi ko KUKUR yeta ko na uta ko….

  10. Dear Wagle and other…
    First let me brust into laong laughter first..hahahahahahha. You know y? It should be around 2000 or 2001, one South African paid 20 million US dollors (?) to travel to space…and CNN got the headline, headline goes like: What a blast, South African is in Space….I really surprised, and thought its a mean mentality of Amrikane thinking.

    Likewise, Moriyatri gave you a ticket and visa, you are writing 3 page long blog describing yourself…Mr Blogger, Mr IT, Mr…bla bla bla…Now you are showing your mean mentality. What a shame…I think this travel is going to be your space travel…India, Tokiyo..Detroit…I wish you, be good enough and do not get heart attack…when you board in plane.

    Bhagawan Krishna bhannu hunchha, extreme desire ramro hoena, ani aatma prasamsa pani. Like our great leader Krishna Prasad says, power ra pratishta prati dherae aasakti hunu ramro hoena…, Wagle timi pani Moriyatrile Ticket and VISA diyo bhanera eti bidhi dhuri nachada. US is just bakbas..I think at least people like you…I think you will be convinced at least if you have watched post Katrina.

    anyway, enjoy your trip…have fun. And your blog site now a days looks very shit..change its font to Garamond…and update regularly man

    Sorry for loads shotting, though I am ak47

  11. America is a big melting pot. You could be American without loosing your nativity.

  12. My friend,
    It looks like the US does not want to have you here to tell the truth in the up-coming days..

    Why not tell the US Ambassador you will be free after Nepali New Years and stay for the April Revolution ?

    If the US Government shows you around you will only see the LIES OF THE BUSH REGIME..
    Why would they ask you, out of 25 million Nepalis, unless you were causing them problems ??

    Either way, Good luch,
    Michael Dhai

  13. best of luck…hope u can look at American society critically…….don’t get carried away like most of Nepalis by high speed internet, luxurios hotels, and glamor…..and don’t forget to interact with largely selfish Nepali community here who believes that earning money and sending a fraction of it to Nepal will solve all the problems. Look at the intellectual bankrupcy of smart Nepalis who blame everything except their escapist mentality for problems in Nepal….I am not at all positive about larger mass of Nepali intellectuals here…ofcourse, there are exceptions.

  14. As a nepali educated durnig the democractic era , bagle belives in hardwork and his capbability.
    see, how nepalse esp. young nepalese are jumping. Young inetellects of the nepal hold the potentiality .They are geniuss and ofcourse hard working. The problem in Nepal is the older generation.
    The people above 35 in nepal are incompetent. They are non productive. They don’t belive in hardworking.Rather they would belive in chaplushi and chakadi(gulami and salami). The party posts are occupied by these group of peoples. I mean people above the age of 35 are infact the root cause of the problem from different angles.

    From multi time everest winner to good batsman in cricket, from good leader like gagan thapa to blogger like wagle and umesh shrestha , they are someway the representative of modern nepal.

    Mr. wagle this is just the starting. You have to show that young Nepalse are almost noway less than americans.
    You are firm , strong and intelligent. go ahead .our tons of wishes are with you.

  15. Best of Luck, Dinesh. I had, for an undisclosed reason, decided to tell you ‘See You’ only after you take off (Certainly not an excuse). And, I hope, Blogger Vishnu again will start blogging, after a brief respite from this job.

  16. I tend to agree with shadowrati in that US is not only about cities. In fact it has the best rural parts in the world where you can find a peace of mind…Many people are just illusioned by the towers in NY…many just dream of taking a stroll around the Times Square. But, the real US is much more than that.

    I doubt if you will have a real US experience if you are just thinking of mcdonalds n times square. One thing is sure, only poor folks go to mcdonalds..but don’t forget to go to other restaurants too..if that is what you came to us for…

    24 days packed with official meetings is not enough to know US…n its people…as you said..you are going to walk around in times square..be careful…with the suspicious looking people who tend to offer help…n then deceive u…

    hari sharma
    http://unitelibertarians.blogspot.com

  17. You did a good job.

    Please give people around you that the short cuts are the longest routes and sometimes dangerous too. The self confidence and hardwork pays off in the long run.

    Welcome to USA. Yes. it is a great country.

  18. Wagle ji,
    just a personal note that accomodation in world’s best 500 hotel and food in McDonald is a quite mismatch. You may try McDonald to taste how it is like, but visiting there for every meal may be sub-standard! Hope the invitor provides enough stipend if not Rs.60 million from “Arthamantralaya ko Khajana Kosh” for the Nepali Blog Yuvaraj Dinesh Wagle ji…j/k

  19. yes, Chankhe
    Wagle, you should avoid fast food places
    for your health and taste
    eat healthy, eat organic, look for barbecue and grill eateries as well as salad houses
    (Outback, Chilis, and Olive Garden are medium kinds)
    for a real taste and health, I would always go to one below:
    Masa or Bastide in LA,
    Herbfarm in Seattle
    French Laundary in San Francisco
    Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago
    L’Espalier in Boston
    Seeger’s in Atlanta
    Casa Tua in Miami
    Tony’s in Houston

  20. “Well, I am certainly thankful to the U.S. government for inviting me but let me clarify that I am thankful to them as much as they are to me for I accepted their invitation.”

    A little bit of “I am the man!” attitude? Well, Wagle ji, there are many other journalists in Nepal who could have been invited. You should not be too proud of yourself to the extent that you feel like you did a favor to them by accepting the invitation. They are not desperate to have you here brother. They can easily do without you.

    You should be grateful for they gave you the opportunity. I am not saying you have to beg to them but this is not a place where you boast and brag about yourself. You are not the only one in Nepal brother. You have achieved something does not mean you become a proudy superior.

    It always pays to be humble despite your achievements.

    I should have written it all much earlier but I did not read it thoroughly previously.

    hari sharma
    http://unitelibertarians.blogspot.com

  21. “Well, I am certainly thankful to the U.S. government for inviting me but let me clarify that I am thankful to them as much as they are to me for I accepted their invitation.”

    What a pride dude! You think they should be grateful to you for you did a favor to them by accepting their invitation? Be grateful for they gave you the opportunity to visit the land of freedom and dreams. Sometimes it is better to be humble. You have accomplished something does not mean you are the only journalist in Nepal who knows about Nepal. Be down to earth man. I saw too much pride in you which is not the best as you still have a long way to go.

  22. Dinesh,
    I am glad you will get a “taste of America”, but hope you will remember that the Government of George W Bush is based on lies and oppression ! Maybe the Ambassador signed the invetation, but it was probably written by the CIA.

    They “choose” you because UnitedWeBlog has provided the truth that the Palace and the US, does not want to be told… I find it interesting that you were “invited” only a week before the April Actions… Looks like the US would rather have you eating hamburgers than reporting the truth from Nepal..

    Enjoy yourself and PLEASE COME BACK EVEN MORE READY & ABLE TO FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY !!

  23. yeah wagle is one hell of arrogant. when he finds any post herting his pride he dely its posting for hours.

    and wagle what happen to the old post that were hacked. are you not going to inform bloggers when it is going to apear again?

  24. Wagle is a man with self-pride,
    not a slave to any king or foreign country
    he cannot be purchased like some KG’s blog employees
    Yes, Wagle, you honored the US by accepting the invitation

  25. another agent is born. This chap is now gonna blog on behalf of US for sure.

  26. hey, America? i don’t like it although i haven’t been there.why America? those destroyers of humanity, those killers and hijackers of one’s soverignity are trying to use u. do u support war on terror? bush is like our king. he says yes or no to teror as our king does. nation is what they say for they are fighting. they are trying to rule us with the guff of nation and its pride. those are capitalists and imperialist.
    in america, only rich has power.look at them. whoever have control over media and other things, wins the election. do u thinl that is fair? so i don’t think it is good idea to be a part of their mission. we can do ourselves. we can also preach freedom. why are u going with the people who have blood in their hand? r u going to shake your hands with them? o don’t . return back to nepal. we can do it. let it be done by ourselves
    i know you haven’t felt like me. but why america? who tha hell are they? we are also the preacher of freedom. we can teach them. we have fought for democracy and freedom. not them. they have heard tales from their forefathers. we are doing it. we are more good then them. why them?
    i am disappointed. i hope positive response for me from u people.

  27. BRAVO TO HARI SHARMA!! YET ANOTHER LIBERTARIAN!! YOU SEE, WE ARE OUT THERE, AND OUR IDEAS ARE NOT WACKO. I HAVE ESPOUSED LIBERTARIAN IDEAS ON THIS BLOG AND BEEN TOLD THAT IT DOES NOT APPLY TO NEPAL. BULL SHIT!! iT MOST CERTAINLY APPLIES TO NEPAL!!

    I think that the usa may realize that dinesh could be in serious trouble if he is in nepal during april 6-9…he would not be able to blog at all, most likely, as my guess is they will cut the internet, phone lines, have shoot on sight curfews…just as manjushree thapa left after feb. 1 last year (the US Ambassador personally escorted her onto the plane to make sure they would not stop her and apprehend her)…Dinesh is taking great risks. Look at the bloggers in china who are in jail…it is the bloggers who are out there, on the front lines, telling the TRUTH…

    I say, kudos to dinesh and safe journey. When you return, keep up the hard work to make nepal the kind of place Nepalese will want to STAY IN. As an American, I love my country. But I love Nepal equally as much. LIfe is not all about money…but then again, if you don’t evern have enough to feed your family rice twice a day, money is something. and when you are jailed for speaking the TRUTH about the current royal regime, then the ideas of the land of the free look pretty appealing…

    go libertarians!! http://www.libertarianparty.org

  28. good luck dinesh ji!!

    so you’ll be updating UWB from an american land..

    wishes!!

  29. Hi Dineshjee,

    Congratulations for the trip. Is indeed a great achievement to be summoned by the U.S. government for its not like landing in U.S.A. by any means as we Nepalis intend out of misconception or may be frustration. U.S.A is not just a melting pot but a salad bowl. Hope you will stay there long enough to observe its society and cultural aspect and get to know americanism.

    Write in the blog if you find American nature to be individual and liberal/democratic. Though our culture itself is rich enough, we still need to learn some good points from the U.S. what we are seeing now among youngsters in the city/towns are just the negative impacts. Hope Ujjwaljee will keep the blog all the more lively while you would be busy studying/observing the U.S. Thanks.

  30. I heard that he was invited to US trip…you are dreaming my guy, do you remember APRIL FOOL ??? YOU BECAME A FOOL OF THIS APRIL

  31. Its good you are success on your work. I hope u will be back in nepal and write for democracy.

  32. cia has interest on this blog because lots of maoists sympathizer post their comment on here that keep them updated what maoists sympathizers has to say. and wagle got reward just for that. good job.

  33. yeah I am surprised this blog can be accessed from nepal anytime of the day. As one having lil knowledge on web know that .np can always be controlled.

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