“Govt. should give enough recreation facilities to youth to keep the youth engaged”

This is Nima Tshering, popularly known as “Rap Nala” who made into people’s heart with his first rap “Nge Ghi Soong”,

Nala is busy performing in various concerts in different places, conveying important messages to youth, about the dangerous of five poisons, his own struggles, impacts of undercutting, and on the corruption through his rap. Nala is a star.

He has had a hard life. That’s, partly, how he became a rapper. He Struggled for love, care and guidance from elders. Nala has suffered his entire childhood. Coming from a poor background, he completed Class III and was a substance abuser by the age of 11. He took chemical drugs and marijuana to assuage the pain and formed gangs.

Abusing drugs was not only to subside his pain, he also considered cool. “My mother was alcoholic. My aunt, who adopted me, treated me like a slave. My father committed suicide and I had no place to go and I was hungry,” Nala said. “I then resorted to smoking first before going into drugs.”

Having changed his lifestyle now and moved on, Nala said that he had only elders around him to blame for smoking and drinking in front of small children. “I was an addict, but who made me like this? It’s because of lack of care, love and guidance. People don’t have any idea that those youth who are in the streets are longing for support and love. Our society is such that they will blame kids for everything.”

Starting from selling scraps, washing dishes in the hotels, and friends stealing money from their parents, it became a regular habit. With the money, he went to buy the drugs in Phuentsholing. While working at Bhutan Suites, Nala got an opportunity to learn cooking.

In 2012, Nala was imprisoned to three years for fighting. In the jail, his interest in singing and rap grew more when he heard about MStudio and their songs on the radio. “Then I realised and wanted to change and stop everything. I didn’t suffer much because I wasn’t too dependent on chemical drugs.”

However, after the completion of his term, things did not change. Instead, he was back to gang fight and drugs. “I tried to show my passion for singing and rap through broadcasting channels; I could not.”

However, things changed when he met Gary Chia who was a youth volunteer at the department of youth and sports (YDS) in 2013. “He was in Bhutan for 9 months and this 9 months completely changed my life.”

Nala is a devoted Buddhist. He said his years of prayers were heard because Mr Gary was the first person in his life to ask what he wanted to do in his life. “I didn’t have any answer because this was the first time someone showed me love, care, support and concern for me since my childhood.”

Nala said that he decided to quit everything so that he did not have to run away from the police every time. He was growing to be a different man. “It was Mr Gary that took me to join youth volunteers in YDS where I experienced school life for the first time. Before I could realise it was already four months I had stopped substance abuse and then I developed the confidence to carry forward my life.”

Nala was almost got back to its old life when Mr Gary left for Singapore. But Lama Zhenphen walked in. Later he came across MStudio that helps youth to compose a song and hence, started his journey as a rapper. “What I did was wrong but the situation forced me that is why I want to concentrate on upholding youth, create awareness on the five dangerous poisons, and convey drugs is not everything in life. It’s not necessary you have to go to rehab but we can stop the negativity in life ourselves by trying hard.”

Nala today aims to portray his struggles as a lesson and warning for the youth. The subtle message is that the government and the people can and should do more to address the problem of addiction in the country.

Yangchen C Rinzin