Spontaneous expression of thoughts and emotions in words.

The Perks of being a VOLUNTEER with ABPI- A Personal Perspective

The first time when we attended the meeting to do the handing-taking over of the ABPI in November last year, one of the former executive members said that she has been waiting for this day to hand over and the day has finally come. I didn’t understand the deeper meaning of her words then but now I do. I can now relate very well why she took a sigh of relief and uttered those fainted words.

Well let me begin by introducing the readers to the Association of the Bhutanese in Perth Incorporated-most commonly or famously or infamously known as ABPI. With the increasing rise of Bhutanese in Perth, WA, our well-intentioned predecessors initiated the formation of an association to cater to the needs of the Bhutanese Community. These founders were far sighted. They knew exactly what kind of social ills and issues that Bhutanese would go though as a community. Thanks to all the former executive members who sacrificed their time and service and created what we see todays ABPI.

And in April 2014 ABPI bearing registration number A101769E got incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act of 1987, Western Australia. ABPI, thus, functions with the Constitutions and Rules and Regulations that has been framed according to legal requirement of the Associations Incorporation Act of 1987 and revised as per the Associations Incorporation Act of 2015.

ABPI has come a long way since then and it is still run and managed by a group of volunteers in the name of Executive Team with various title such as President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Event Coordinator, Web Administrator, Area Coordinators and so on. ABPI doesn’t have any funding on its own and is sustained through the registration fees of its members, which is only AUD 20 annually, and AUD 30 Biennial.

So how does these executive members work?

In a place like Australia where time is very precious, this group of individuals takes time out to provide the pro bono voluntary services to the community members. I personally took up these voluntary services thinking that serving our Bhutanese anywhere would be as good as serving our King, Country and the People-our Tsa-Wa-Sum. These groups of people are no different from the rest of the Bhutanese who are here in Australia. We go through the same work routine, odd working hours, stress of studies, time management and every thing that others experience. The only difference is that these set of people have come forward to go an extra mile and serve the community. We get calls at odd hours asking for support, which we heartily attend to. Sometimes we need to take leave from our paid jobs to attend the community meetings or to attend to official matters with the government or other agencies. Most time we not only end up sacrificing our time and energy but we end up spending from our own pockets. And most time from my own personal experience is that I end up staying late hours doing paper works and official correspondences thereby ending up in lack of proper sleep. The time that we manage to pull out between the works should actually be our resting time, which we have to spend on doing public free services.

Let me give you an example of a fund drive that we do which might seem like a very simple activity in the eyes of the outsiders. Everything needs a coordinated effort. Firstly, the issue has to come to the notice of the executive team who takes the issue up for discussions in the group. Since all of us work at different time, we have to wait for the response from each other although we always make an effort to use every single free time we get to respond in the group. We need to get the background details of the individuals against whose name we are raising the fund. We feel it is our moral responsibility and the people’s right to get the right and correct information so that they can make informed decision while doing public donations. In order to get the right information, we need to make a lot of visit to the individual person whether he/she is in the hospital or at home. Or we even end up having constant discussions with the relatives if any. Since ABPI is an institution, we are liable for auditing and we should be held responsible for everything we do. So proper documentation and crosschecking have to be duly followed. Once the public donations start pouring in we need to report it to the public every day to maintain transparency. All these need to be done through a coordinated effort involving all the volunteers. This is just once case scenario. Some of the visible things that people see ABPI doing must be just the public fund raising. There are so many supports the volunteers provide behind the curtain. Like many people ask for recommendation letters to apply for jobs here, to get loan in Bhutan, to rent a house, to process a visa and ABPI has been diligently providing all these services to people on time. Most times we end up hours on phone attending to people’s need. Many ask for legal advices, which even we are not proficient with and we go out of the way to find out these services for our people and recommend to them accordingly. We also attend to many relationship cases and provided due support. Especially this year has been very challenging with the impact of COVID 19 on our Bhutanese Community. Personally I got down with severe headache for a month, chronic erosive gastritis, anxiety and stress that nearly led me into depression. 

So what exactly are the perks of being a volunteer with ABPI? Check out the following list:

  1. Lots of personal sacrifices, stress, anxiety and could even lead to depression.
  2. Public criticism- there are certain group of people who always criticizes what the ABPI does thereby putting more pressure and stress on the volunteers and demoralizing the spirit of voluntarism.
  3. Expenditure from your own pockets- you not only sacrifice your time and energy but you also end up spending from your own pockets all the time.
  4. Lots of arguments and debates within the executive team because we aim towards doing the right things and providing the right services.
  5. Grievances from individuals who feel ignored.
  6. Some rude individuals who demand services as if they pay us.
  7. Lots of opinions from some so called learned people in the community. 
  8. Harassment and bullying over phone from some aggressive, arrogant and pushy people. Lately, some of our humble volunteers have been experiencing bullying from such people putting our volunteers under tremendous stress and pressure.

What would be the consequences?

Our predecessors have put in a lot of effort to form the association and our volunteers in the past have brought the association to what it is now. It is important for the general Bhutanese populace in Perth to know how the association is run and be appreciative of the hard works and sacrifices put in by the volunteers. If some opinionated individuals and groups keep criticizing the works of the volunteers, there will come a day ABPI will have no volunteers to run the association. This will have a huge negative impact on the general Bhutanese community. This could be also one of the main reasons why ABPI could not be strengthened. Volunteers need support from the general public to enhance and strengthen the association. It has to be done in conjunction with each other. Some of our former volunteers who have been in the same shoes empathize with the volunteers when we get attacked on social media while on the other hands there also seem to be some watching over us like an eagle and picking faults on everything that we do.

The ABPI is for the Bhutanese by the Bhutanese so we should all be in it together supporting each other, pulling each other up in a foreign land, maintain our close knit bonding, our Tha-Dhamtsi and Lay-Jumdrey to the Tsa-Wa-Sum and be a pillar for each other. Bhutanese in general have always been applauded for our solidarity and we should not let anything break that in us.

This post is shared with the intention to create awareness to all fellow Bhutanese on how the association is run so that no body dares to say ABPI executives rules the people.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is a personal page and all views are Author’s own and not related to official stand or position. The views does not represent ABPI’s stand.

A letter to the Prime Minister of Australia from a Bhutanese

Dear ScoMo (Hon’ble Prime Minister of Australia)

First of all let me share a brief history of how my country Bhutan handled the first case of COVID-19 positive case. He was an American tourist when he first visited the Jigme Dorji National Referral Hospital In Thimphu Bhutan and complained of all the symptoms that went well with COVID-19. He got tested for COVID-19 and was so found positive. What do you think would have happened next? Did Bhutan criminalise him and discriminate him from our society just like Australia did?

No!!! In fact, His Majesty The King of Bhutan came personally to see to it that our American Guest in Bhutan got all the possible care, help, and support that he was entitled for as a human being no matter whether he was an American tourist or a local Bhutanese wandering in the capital town.

I live in Perth, Western Australia but I always keep in touch with local news back home. The day I Iearnt that Bhutan had one positive case of COVID-19, it was also the day I learned that His Majesty was right there ensuring that that our American Guest was given all the love and care that he deserved as a human being. It was with so much of unconditional love and care that Bhutan could send him off so well to his home in America minus the COVID -19.

In Bhutan we take care of our guests more than inside people. Our Kings from the last 113 years have taught the Bhutanese to be selfless and that’s is how the philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) was born with the reign of His Majesty The Fourth King of Bhutan King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. He is known as the Bodhisattva King of Bhutan. The King who took care of the American Guest is known as People’s King in Bhutan and he is none other than King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk. At a time like this Bhutanese should be actually celebrating a national occasion on behalf of the birth of our second Royal Child but Bhutan didn’t do so because the King was busy looking after the strategic plans for preventing the spread of COVID -19 amongst his people. Bhutan lost one of the joyous celebrations in the history of Bhutan yet we would be celebrating one of the best examples of selflessness and the quality of selfless leadership.

Dear ScoMo, when you announced very vehemently on 4th April 2020 that International Students should go back home, I heard many people say that it was not surprising of ScoMo for reasons I really don’t know but well I was so hurt and surprised that a prime minister of a country would give such a blatant statement in a press conference.

I am an international student here in Perth. Having done my Masters in Community Development for the last two years at Murdoch University, I have contributed near to AUD 60,000 as tuition fees and almost AUD 16000 as tax as a family. I have my children whose fees I have equally paid in double the amount as mine depending upon their courses. Mr. ScoMo, while you said that International students should have come prepared you should also realise that while they came prepared and paid their fees and taxes on time, they also had to depend on some causal and part-time jobs to sustain themselves during their course of living here in Australia. This was the sunny part that was shown to attract every single international student. I am a very example of this prospectus. I had the option to go anywhere in the world to study but I thought Australia provided one of the best options being a Multicultural society.

Now when the international students heard your address to the nation, everyone got dumb for one moment. Then they started to think and analyze and realized that you made one of the world’s most racist speeches of the century especially amidst such a crisis when people deserved all your love and care even though you didn’t have to show it but express it.

Dear Mr. ScoMo, international students contributed AUD 32 billion in 2018 into Australia’s economy as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures. The then the Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Anne-Marie Lansdown said that international students brought vast benefits to Australians and the nation by contributing to the entire Australian economy, generating jobs, supporting wages, and lifting the living standards of Australians. A very powerful quote that Lansdown said was ‘Australians should be fiercely proud of this incredibly important industry. They should also be fiercely protective of it.’

But then where is the part about protecting international students when they need it the most? It is so disheartening to hear you say that they should make their way home when the weather was too bad while you didn’t mind them having here to make hay when the sun shone. According to the 2019 statistic, international students contributed AUD 34.9 billion a year for Australia, supporting more than 240,000 jobs across the country. The Chief of Universities then mentioned the important role that international students play in the economy of Australia.

Everyone aggress that it is so much more than contributing to the local economy by international students. They feel that international students contribute to local communities, society, global outlook, and the economy. More than anything else, Australians benefit from powerful personal, cultural, diplomatic, and trade ties. It was also heard quoting that when these international students return home they join the global network of alumni and those who stay prove to be the highly skilled graduates needed in the nations’ economy. As of recent updates, international students contribute to 130,000 skilled migrants to the workforce leading to AUD 8.7 billion GDP in Australia’s economy.

Now when the Australian economy is affected severely by the pandemic COVID-19, you are all up to protect your citizens and residents. You forgot that those international students who contributed to the larger chunk of your GDP now lost their jobs, are left homeless, and not in the position to pay their rents. Their positions in the wok place are given to their citizens and residents. And then there comes the announcement that international students should make their way home.

So Mr. ScoMo, on what humanitarian ground and the economic ground did you make your statement that international students should make their way home especially when you know that almost all the transit routes are locked down? I am just so curious to know whether you made just a casual remark or whether you really made that statement. Did you even realize the kind of panic you created amongst all the international students here in Australia and their family members back home across the world? The day was almost like a doomsday as if the entire international students got caught in the myriad of COVID-19. Personally, it didn’t affect me so much but by virtue of being a community leader, I had to bear the greatest brunt of the announcement. I have never answered so many calls in my entire 4 decades of life than I did on the doomsday of your announcement.

Most sincerely,

Karma Choden

Some causes of stressful situation that people should be aware of while in a foreign land

Stress image

(Photo Courtesy: Dr. Marvin Marshall’s ‘Without Stress’)

A few days back, a 41 year old Bhutanese man is known to have committed suicide in Perth, Western Australia. I don’t know anything about the incidence and what prompted the guy to commit such dreadful act.  What is alarming is the reaction of the people on social media. Some people thought he was too weak and a complete loser and some thought he committed a sin while many empathized with the family members who were left behind.

I was like ‘one never know what his life was like and what he was going through. If he took such a big step he must have reached to a level where he couldn’t take it any more which most probably could have led to that ultimate fateful night where he had to take his own life.’ Seriously, we the people are so fast to pass judgment and conclude things without even knowing a wee bit of the person’s emotional, mental, physical and financial state. And at a time like this, all we can do is pray for his soul to rest in peace and pray for strength for the surviving family members to take the situation in their stride. It is a very difficult time and the least we can do is to stop passing judgment.

Having said this what prompted me to write this blog is to create some awareness to our fellow countrymen (I do know there are many aspiring to come to the other side of the world) about the expected and variable causes of a stressful situation that one might come across in a foreign land depending upon individual’s resilience and adaptability to the situation.

Following are some of the major reasons for a stressful situation:

  1. University life coupled with work (not able to balance Uni and work)
  2. Work factor
  3. Relationship issues (some couples stay separately)
  4. Addiction to alcohol and gambling especially Crown Casino.
  5. Addiction to party life
  6. Lack of time management
  7. Financial stress (Not being able to make the required fee payment)
  8. Emotional contacts back home with either parents or a close person
  9. Loneliness especially if one is reserved and not an out-going person
  10. Health issues which ultimately affect all other aspects of life
  11. Lack of good friendships
  12. Lack of coping mechanism

Interesting work is a huge factor for a stressful situation. For a beginner, not finding one leads to stress and then as one advances it is either the over work or having to manage work at odd hours that leads to stress. Or it can even be not finding the right kind of work. I have met a couple of people who confided in me about their stressful situation and not being able to manage it. Most cases were related to academic issues and work issues. In the former case people were not able to manage the timely completion of the assignments and in the later case people were not able to find a proper job that would ensure their survival in the foreign land. The combination can be very dreadful and may lead to anxiety and depression.

However, let me also say that there are a number of Bhutanese who are doing very well. Some of our colleagues who are on permanent residency (PR) visas are running business as in Consultancy firms, Hotel, installation of solar lighting system, renting houses, mobile restaurant and some even sell home made food from home on either pick up or delivery service basis  (Few that I know as of now). Some of our fellow men who are not on PR but very innovative have started cleaning business which not only keeps them busy but also employs other Bhutanese people. Many go through one or more of the stressful situation that I have mentioned above but they rise above every difficult situation proving the resilience of the Bhutanese people.

But not all people can handle every situation in the same manner and this is one reason why I write this piece because every life is precious and I want every fellow Bhutanese to come mentally, emotionally and physically prepared if they decide to explore the other side of the world.




Nuchu and I


The portrait that I see every day I wake up

And the same that I see before I go to bed

Making my heart miss a beat and my pulse at hold

Oh! The excruciating pain and a feeling of helplessness


‘Did I make a wrong decision?’ is the question I ask myself

I battle against all the odd feelings racing in my mind

Console myself that ‘whatever happens, happens for the best’

But this poor ordinary being is beyond any self-comforting messages


I go to University, attend the classes and try to bury myself in assignments

I go to work late in the evenings or dawn at times

Just so I can pass my days without thinking about him

But damn it! It is only for a little while I found


There has not been a single day that I didn’t scroll up his photos

And each session is as painful as the next

I shout out to him when I am all alone

At least I don’t fear being judged by anyone


‘Nobu-the-pug’ on instagram posts makes me miss my Nuchu more

I feel my nuchu would be basking in the same love and care

Had I not left him in the first place

Makes me even more guilty and unforgivable by the day


What is worst is I miss my Bumo too

She was just 48 days old when we brought her in

She was my Nuchu’s one of the four surviving children

The one that was destined to be with my family


The love of the family, the center of attention

My daughter, son, and hubby loved them more

Did I break everyone’s connection?

The fact I am more guilty of


I am like ‘can fate be any unkinder than this’?

But then to take it positively, fate has been kinder

Especially giving my Nuchu and Bumo a new family

Something that eases my own pain- a cover up I guess.






What it means to be in Australia- The so called DOLLAR fetching zone.

“Even now when I hear that sound of the mobile ringtone, it gives me a painful feeling. I hate that sound. That sound is connected to a very difficult and painful part of my life in Australia”, says Wangmo with tears almost forming in her eyes and voice breaking off making me go teary eyed too.

Wangmo had come to Perth some four years back with her husband Kinley carrying with them lots of dreams. ‘Life was not so easy. We were without works for around 5 months. We worried a lot and we had to grab every little work that came by our way even if it was for a penny. We had to do that to make a living. ‘

I am told that they used to get up in the middle of the night to go to work. Wangmo says that thinking of those days scares her now for the very fact that they used to go to work in half sleep that too driving about 30 to 1 hour distance to the workplace. It indeed sounds so dangerous now.

They labored and worked hard spending sleepless nights and putting their lives at risk to earn the few dollars that they made and slowly got their way up to where they are today in Perth.

Today Wangmo and Kinley can happily take a month off from work and go on a vacation to Thailand with children and family member joining them from Bhutan. They have worked hard to send hard currency home enough to buy a land for themselves, send their children to private schools and also support their parents back home.

Like Wangmo and Kinley, there are many Bhutanese who came with big dreams but started with struggles. A Bhutanese who has been in Perth for the last four years and who doesn’t want to be named here says, “we struggled so hard without works and with the little money we got we could not dare spend on anything luxurious. Vegetables are very expensive and chilies even more. For us, chilies were a luxury. When we finally could afford to buy a chilly each to bite with our meals, it was like reaching in heaven.”

But our fellow Bhutanese have found the way out and today everyone who is out here in down under has a decent job, make a decent earning and lives a decent life. And that decency would mean getting up at 2 am in the morning to go to work for the morning shift, doing a round of days chores and back to evening work at 5 p.m. This is just one example of a work schedule. Every single cent that the Bhutanese in Australia make is a result of their sweat and blood. It is the result of their lack of sleep, lack of food on time, working round the clock and so much of other sacrifices and compromises.

Besides the regular works that our Bhutanese take up, there are quite a few enterprising ones who have taken to sales of local products such as doma, (betel nut or areca nut), ara, (local alcohol brewed at home), dried chilies, and other delicacies such as juma (homemade sausage), momo (dumpling) and all during festive occasions or gatherings. People have started growing local chilies in pots at home, which not only suffice their taste buds but also fulfill the taste buds of many Bhutanese in Perth. A piece of doma would cost $1, which is equivalent to round of Nu.50 back home. A bottle of ara would cost $20 which is equivalent to round of Nu. 1000 in Bhutan. Doesn’t it sound so tempting to do doma and ara business than to slog for $20 per hour? (The minimum wage)


All in all, you will find a little Bhutan in Bentley and Wembley. If you take a little walk around the corner to IGA in Glendalough, it is just like walking to a local store in Thimphu. Every single customer is a Bhutanese. You will find that one in every five person on the street is a Bhutanese. If you go to Herdsmen Parade 47 and 49 and you will find that every next house is occupied by Bhutanese either in shared mode or single occupancy.

However, please note that life at the beginning is not so easy. Little did I realize that I would be living the story of Wangmo and Kinley just a few months after my arrival in Perth. The stress that you go through for not getting work is depressing at worst and the conditions under which you have to work is needless to mention. My hubby and I drove several times in sleep in the middle of the night or at the wee hour in the morning either to work or back from work. Many a times you have to put your safety and life at risk.

You meet all kinds of people-our very own people here in Perth. Friends become strangers and strangers become friends.

Gumtree is the buzz word around for newcomers. The seasoned and the experts will only tell you to download the app and look for work on Gumtree. You really think that you will find some works through Gumtree and you spend hours every day till it hurts your eyes and fingers to find something suitable for you. You then apply online as advised by the seniors. You keep on applying a million times and wait for responses. As time moves on you learn that applying for works though Gumtree is just a myth. You know that it is not going to work yet you keep searching and applying with a hope that someday a miracle might happen. But time only proves that it doesn’t happen. Time tells you that you need connections to get work. It is the recommendations that get you work not the countless applications you make on the Gumtree or Indeed, SEEK Jobs, Perth Jobs, Job Search and many more job seeking apps.

Remember, when it comes to work, Bhutanese are by far very reluctant to help for reasons I really don’t know but I did hear of some rumours of the past of how people used to snatch jobs from each other and off course many ill intended stories. Not even our people will help you find a job if you are not the real siblings. One has to find your way the hard way.

If you see greener grass in down under and plan to come this way, know that you need to possess the following attributes:

  1. Be emotionally and mentally prepared and strong enough to go through the stress of not finding the work for quite sometime after your arrival in Perth. Some I believe spend almost a year to get job while some lucky ones get job on their arrival.
  2. Make sure you have someone in down under who will not hesitate to recommend you for work.
  3. You should possess driver’s license and be able to drive in Australia. You don’t have a job if you cant drive.
  4. Be prepared to take up any job. If you come with the values ‘no job is too small or too big’ nothing like it.
  5. Be prepared to sacrifice your sleep and shift your meal times. In other words be ready to move out of your comfort zone.

Once you are here, you will find that the grass is indeed not green on this side but then your positive outlook and the dollars that you get in hands will motivate you to keep going.

By doing this story, I am hoping that our fellow Bhutanese back home will know that life is not all about glitters in Australia. I want our people to know that they cannot afford to dance on the dollars sent from Australia. That would be the greatest crime against humanity. This is also a preparation message to any newcomers to The Land of Kangaroos.kangaroo-beach (1)

The last and the best part for the Bhutanese in Perth happened on 21st February 2018 when the Bhutanese in Perth came together to celebrate the 38th Birth Anniversary of our beloved His Majesty The King of Bhutan. It was the most befitting gift His Majesty gave to his fellow Bhutanese residing outside of Bhutan. We were surrounded with our Bhutanese celebrities like singers Lhamo Dukpa and Namgay Jigs, actor and actress Sonam Tenzin and Sherab Lhamo and the most famous comedian Gem Tshering accompanied by the officials from Royal Bhutan Embassy, Bangkok. I don’t know about the Bhutanese gatherings in the past because I am also very much new here and this is my second visit to a mass Bhutanese gathering in Perth my first one being the visit by his eminence Khamtrul Rimpoche. However, I am told this is the greatest ever congregation of Bhutanese and it was a very momentous occasion to listen to His Majesty’s words of wisdom through the harbingers of His Majesty’s message. From what I could gather, following are the messages from His Majesty in a gist:

  1. Our Bhutanese in Australia are contributing hugely to the economy of the country through the hard currency that they remit to Bhutan.
  2. They create a very financially stable family and social life back home.
  3. Parents are able to support their children and children are able to support their parents.
  4. They create employment opportunity back home. The jobs that they leave behind are seats left for someone else.
  5. They get exposure to the third country, widen their horizon of learning and also bring rich experiences with them back home.
  6. No matter where our people go, they will always use the Bhutanese intrinsic intelligence and be able to survive amongst the fittest.
  7. Most importantly they promote friendship and maintain good foreign relationship with Australia government at the same time maintaining our own identity.
  8. Bhutanese in Australia have proved as the best ambassadors of Bhutan.

This is to our entire fellow Bhutanese not only in Perth but also in the whole of Australia and elsewhere outside of Bhutan that His Majesty The King is aware of the hardship and contributions we make to our country. It doesn’t matter what kind of jobs we take up because there is nothing called small or big jobs. What matters is that we make a difference.

Hats off to all the hard working Bhutanese who sacrifice their personal comfort zone for the sake of larger interest.








Nuchu’s 5th Born Day

Its Nuchu’s Born Day today. He turns 5 today. Over  the last 4 years Nuchu has given meaning to my life. 

Thank you my boy for making me bawled over in love with you. 

Thank you for proving that the cliche ‘love at first sight’ can actually happen. 

Thank you for teaching me what it means to be giving and receiving unconditional love. Till then I had only read in romantic novels and love stories. 

Thank you for all the joys, laughters, happiness, and fun we had together. 

Thank you for being that shoulder for me to cry on when we watched sad dog movies together. Remember how we cried holding on to each other while watching ‘Hearty Paws’ and ‘Hachi ko’? And many other movies where your kind played the key roles.

Thank you for being the listening ears when I was going through some difficult times in my life. 

Thank you for being my walking partner when I needed some fresh open air in the woods. It was so much fun and never tiring even if I had to walk the entire Thimphu with you.

Thank you for always welcoming me whenever I came home tired from work. 

Thank you for being that pillow when ever i needed one to rest my head on. 

You are such a source of joy and happiness. 

I love you my boy. Nobody will ever be able to replace you. I hope you understand why I had to leave you. Sometimes I feel I have made the biggesr mistakes of my life for going away from you but I know you do understand and you want me to do well and come back home successfully. 

Wait for me my boy. We shall meet again. Till then with my heart in my mouth I pray you live happily in the company of your new parents and family members. I know you are in safe hands and it makes my life a bit easier to live in a foreign land.

Happy birthday my bubu. I miss you so much that words cannot express the gravity of my feelings. 

The only solace I have is that you got a mother now who will probably love you more than me and who will never leave you. made with @videoshowapp

Book Review Title: The Mystery behind the death of RBG


Book Title: Switched Off

Author: Karma Tenzin (Yongba)

Year of publishing: 2017

Genre: Fiction

Beautifully titled ‘Switched Off’ literally meaning the light that got switched off, the phone that remained switched off and metaphorically meaning the death of Mr. Ram Bahadur Gurung aka RBG in the book, the author tries to weave the story around the mysterious death of RBG in a plot that has its own twist and turn of the events.

Author Karma Tenzin, most famously known as Dasho Yongba brings to us the central characters Max –the police officer on investigation of the death of RBG-Ram Bahadur Gurung, a Lhotsampa man who is Seday’s Boyfriend,

Seday- Mistress of Karma Rinzin and lover of RBG and Karma Rinzin- A senior civil servant and a happily married man with children but in affairs with Seday.

The book starts with the missing of RBG and is filled with suspense as Max gets into the task of finding out the reasons behind his sudden disappearance. As you read on and meet other characters like Seday and Karma Rinzin who intricately weave a tapestry of thoughts and actions leading to their connection with RBG, one is but left with the thought as to who could have committed the murder of RBG.

The suspense slowly begins to unfold as we get introduced to other characters like App Zigtoo, Azha Hagu, Bago Tashi and all. It is like how one thing leads to the other and finally to the utter surprise of the readers, the author points out how RGB was wiped out of the scene.

An excerpt from the book reads like this:

So far the case ran thus:

-RBG had gone missing.

-RGB was poisoned to death.

-The deceased had no adverse records.

-The deceased was Seday’s last boyfriend.

-Relation between Karma Rinzin and Seday turned sour.

-Karma Rinzin tried to find his rival without success. He was jealous and restless.

-Seday got pregnant and RBG was responsible.

-Pregnancy was terminated in India.

-Karma Rinzin knew nothing about this.

-This probably happened as Seday had no future with Karma Rinzin and she was trying hard to break away from him without hurting one another.

So the central theme of the book revolves around the missing of RBG and that he had gone missing as he was poisoned. But who could have poisoned him and what could have been the motives? Through the investigations carried out by Max, readers are introduced to the nuances of the police investigation in cases such as murders and tells the readers that ultimately truth reigns and one cannot run away from the consequences of your own actions.

The book depicts the ordinary ways of life and the relationship that exists in today’s time indicating the nature of human beings and the complexity and the simplicity of the relationship in which we are entwined with.

With three other published books in the author’s name such as ‘The Restless Relic’, ‘The Darkest June’ and ‘The Barnyard Murder and Other Stories’, this is yet another feather in his cap. In fact, this is one of the first fictional Bhutanese book depicting suspense, investigations and revelations. The suspense is so killing that once you start reading the book, you wouldn’t want to stop in between. You are made more curious with each leads that Max comes up with and you want to know who exactly murdered RBG or was he really murdered or did he just consume the poison on his own will.

The book has a list of glossary at the end for local and regional words, which makes it more reader friendly for the international audience too. The cover design is done beautifully and in it self leaves the viewers with a sense of suspense.

Written in 136 pages in a very clear layout and reader friendly letters, it is a book that can cater to the taste of every age level and every reader both locally and internationally.

So grab your copy now, own it and read it.

The book will be launched on 8th July 2017 by Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck at the BCCI Hall.


Reviewed by:


Karma Choden

Voracious Reader and Passionate reviewer of books.

She can be contacted at: www.karmachoden.wordpress.com


Significance of May 2nd as Teachers’ Day in Bhutan.


While the whole world celebrates teachers’ day generally on 5th October, there are countries that have adopted different dates to mark the same according to their national significance. For instance India our immediate neighbor country celebrates its national teachers’ day on 5th September, which is the birth date of the second president of India Dr. Saevepalil Radhakrishnan who was born in 1888.


Like wise Nepal our next immediate neighbor celebrates its national teachers’ day on a full moon day of Ashad which is also called Ashad suika purnima- the date which usually falls in mid –July. The day is called ‘Guri Purnima’ where ‘Guru’ means ‘teacher’ and ‘purnima’ means full moon.


In the similar way Bhutan celebrates its National Teachers’ Day on 2nd May, which marks the Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The Third King of Bhutan –His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. In the history of Bhutan The Third King is known as the Father of Modern Bhutan, and especially for the Education fraternity he is known as The Father of Modern Education in Bhutan.


His Majesty The Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was born on May 2, 1929 at Thruepang Palace in Trongsa. In his reign of Bhutan for 20 years from 30th March 1952 to 21 July 972, he transformed Bhutan significantly introducing democratic system since then to the modern developments in Bhutan. Unfortunately he demised in Nairobi in Kenya in 1972 while he was on a safari In the forest of the Africa.


It is 88 years now after His Birth Anniversary, we the Bhutanese have not forgotten the birth of a great man who changed the fate and destiny of the many Bhutanese then and now.


In 2029 we would be celebrating the 100 years of His Majesty’s Birthday and I tell you that Bhutan and Bhutanese shall make it one of its kind of a Birth Anniversary and the Teachers’ Day too.


We celebrate the National Teachers’ Day to either pay our respect to the teachers past, present and future who have sacrificed, made a difference and who are sacrificing, making a difference and teachers who will be sacrificing and making a difference in the lives of many who had, are and will be building the Nation.


By celebrating May 2nd as Teachers’s Day we would not only be paying respect to the great human being in the form of our Third King but we will be paying respects to all the great souls who come in the form of teachers playing with Chalk and Duster, Notebooks and Teskbooks, Lesson Plans and Home Work corrections, challenging their own emotional, mental, and physical health to over come the challenges of the emotional, mental and physical health of the students.


Teachers who work beyond 9 to 5 hours of the regular schedule, those hearts who worry endlessly when the board examinations knock on the gates, the people who ignore their own children at times for the sake of other children under their care, those brave souls who fight the wintry cold and summary heat to be in the classrooms, those souls who walk for hours on end to reach to their destination yet their love of the profession take them there.


For this very reason we need to celebrate the so called TEACHERS.


In a beautiful message by Hon’ble Sherig Lyonpo Norbu wangchuck to the teachers across the country on the Teachers’ Day 2017, he says teachers live a life, which is not ordinary, and for this very reason teachers mean a whole lot for the Nation. And for this very reason, he says teachers should play the role which none can play. The role of building the nation BUILDER in short.


Coincidentally. There is another country that marks the national teachers’ day on 2nd may and its Iran. They mark the day after Dr. Morteza Motahhari who was an Iranian cleric, philosopher, lecturer, and politician and who was assassinated on 1st May.
















Sensitivity and In-sensitivity of Social Media

IMG20170428215958Yesterday there was a post by a mother pleading the help of everyone on FB to help find her lost son who was only four years old. The post sounded so desperate and says the boy could be anywhere in Babesa or any part of Thimphu. He looked so cute clad in a black pant and a black pull over holding a even cute black pug. My heart went out to the boy, the parents and especially the mother whose heart must have bled a thousand times.

I neither shared the post nor I commented on every post that went viral on FB but I silently prayed for the well being of the little boy with a hope that he may soon be united with his parents.

To be exact, I recited Chapdro, Baza Guru, Mani, Drolma, Guru Soelldep Tsig Duen, Barche Lamsel and sincerely prayed for the boy and his parents. The first thing I saw on FB today morning when I got up was the good news that the boy has been found and reunited with his parents. That was the report by the Royal Bhutan Police. My heart heaved a sigh of relieve and prayed for the reunion of the family.

And Lo and Be Hold… the next news I hear is that the boy has been drowned and fished out of Thimphu Chu somewhere near Terma Linca Resort. My mind refused to accept the news. But then again there were viral posts on FB showing the photo of the little boy and people commenting ‘RIP’ (Rest In Peace)

And then there were posts going in every private or group WeChat App- the most famous in Bhutan when it comes to spreading anything- be it good or bad, serious or not, sensitive or insensitive, jokes and many more. The worst part is to see some of these members sending the screen shot of the various photos and messages on FB Group page- the most famous or infamous ‘The Bhutanese Forums’ and people either sympathizing or blaming the parents for the carelessness.

The more I read the posts the more my heart went out to the mother and the little boy and off course the father too. I was wishing against the hope that people would stop putting more picture of the little boy on FB. Every post made my heart bleed so one can imagine what the parents must have gone through.

Well, what I am trying to say is the mother seeking the social media help to find her lost boy was fine. It was a desperate deed done. And it is heartwarming to see most people coming forward to sympathize and support and help look out for the little boy.

The media reporting that the boy was found out from Thimpchhu was also fine but then it is the others who tried spreading the post inviting many debates around the disappearance of the boy. Some even went to the extend of posting the boy’s body wrapped in a white cloth near the river where a monk is seen reciting prayers.

Some blamed the parents for their negligence, some hypothecated on many other reasons. Some said the grandmother was involved in the drowning of the child. And some even posted contradictory posts by different people and sought for justification not realizing what the parents must be going through for the loss of their gem of a child.

My earnest request is if anyone of you come to know of lending a supporting hand, do share as much as possible but once you know that the incidence has occurred beyond recovery, please stop sharing, commenting and discussing. Respect the departed soul and the souls who are grieving at the moment for the departed one.

And more than anything else lets stop putting the blame game. This will make the situation even worse for the ones who are alive and make it difficult for the departed soul to find peace.

And let me end this post with an invocation of taking a refuge:

I take refuge in the Lama,

I take refuge in the Bhuddha,

I take refuge in the Dharma,

I take refuge in the Sangha,

I take refuge in the three jewels, the supreme object of refuge.

And may the soul of this little boy find refuge in the three jewels of the supreme object of refuge.

May the parents of the little boy take refuge in the three jewels of the supreme object of refuge.

May the soul of the departed little boy find peace.

May the souls of the living parents find peaceMy sincere prayers your ways.







The Picture that tells a story…


A story of a King who is known as ‘The People’s King.’ Somewhere down the history of Bhutan, we would be telling the story to our great great grand children that Bhutan in its 21st Century had a King who was lovingly called as ‘The People’s King” by its citizens and known as the ‘Dragon Kingdom’s People’s King’ by the world.

The moment I opened my Face Book, this was the first post that welcomed me and then every post on my wall had gone viral with this picture. I searched for His Majesty’s FB page to see the post only to realize that this was just one of the pictures from the entire post from HM’s FB Page.

But the fact that people picked this photo out of the many on the post says a lot about how much this picture has impacted the thoughts of the Bhutanese Citizens including mine. I for once was like, wow!!! This pic deserves a story and so am I here with the picture story for posterity at least for myself, for my children, my grand children and great grand children.

We have had five generations of Kings since Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously crowned as the First King of Bhutan not to forget the ground work laid down by Desi Jigme Namgyel for the very foundation of the Wangchuck Dynasty.

Each of the Kings had his unique charismatic ways of building Bhutan- the Bhutan that we see today.

For instance, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck at the age of 17, had to lead his troops to fight against the then Paro Penlop Tshewang Norbu. His father Desi Jigme Namgyel left him to take care of himself, his family and the entire country at the very youthful age of 21 years old. At 23 years old in 1885 he had to lead 2400 troops in a series of battles that ultimately ended in Changlimithang. And it was in 1907 that people of Bhutan unanimously elected his as the first hereditary King of Bhutan.

Son of Sir Ugyen Wangchuck, Jigme Wangchuck ascended the throne at 21 years old in 1926. He focused more on powerful central government formation and infrastructure development and enhanced bilateral relationships with India.

Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck is known as the father of modern Bhutan. He is also known as the father of modern education in Bhutan. He is still survived by His Queen in the form of Her Majesty The Royal Great Grand Mother. (Personally I revered as my Khandoma)

He was the King who removed slavery systems in Bhutan. He was the King who granted lands to the landless in Bhutan and made all equal. He was the one who removed taxations too. Surprisingly he also became at the age of 23 years old.

Fourth King His Majesty King jIgme Singye Wanghcuck had to take over the country even at a very young age. He was only 16 when his father left him. He had to take over a country when it was left in the midst of its third year plan. He is the King who introduced the developmental philosophy of Gross National Happiness over Gross Domestic Product. He is the King who brought about the significant changes we see in Bhutan now. He is the King who tried to live the values of all his former forefathers. He is the King who put himself at the forefront at the time when Bhutan had to flush out the militants from the country.

He is the King who made one of the most self-sacrificing decisions of his life- that of abdicating the throne for the sake of democracy of Bhutan.

No where in the world have we read or heard of a story where a King gave up his crown for the sake of his country. For this very reason, he is known as The Bodhisattva King, The Dharma King, and Chenrezig in its true form.

And now we have our ‘The People’s King” in the form of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. He is truly deserving of the name and title that both at the national and international level are calling him. He has his own different ways of connecting to the people and the country. And who knows may be it is the way that best suits the time now. We love our King who can walk down to the level of common people and hold their hands. We love our king to whom we feel comfortable to speak up our needs and doubts. We love our king who is ready to listen to any concern of our people. We love our king with whom  feel connected. We love our king to whom we feel we can reach out to- A King like no body else.

Its been over a decade His Majesty reigned Bhutan in its most glorious form and I have a lot to write but for now let me just focus on this particular picture.

The picture here is of an old lady with His Majesty- the photo depicting of a victim of windstorm that took place in Punakha. It is my personal observation but I see the old lady more in commanding force and His Majesty more or less listening. Where in the world would a King listen to the command of an ordinary people? I think it happens only in Bhutan.

The photo not only made me write this this article, it made me more emotional, more connected, and left me feeling more luckier that I am born in Bhutan and that I am a proud citizen of Bhutan.

This article is dedicated to my two gems of children Osel Norbu Dema and Yonten Jigme Tshering and to their children and their grand children as well as great grand children. I want them to know that they are living under such protective forces in Bhutan that they will never feel the need of another protection.

Palden Drukpa Gyalo.


Disclaimer:  I am neither a Historian nor an Academic.  I wrote this post purely as a Citizen and from a Citizen’s perspective and as spontaneously as it came into my mind.  So nay errors in dates and history if you find, please kindly feel comfortable to correct me.

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