karmachoden

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Book Review Title: The Mystery behind the death of RBG

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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

 

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

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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…

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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.

Book Review Title: Divided by War, United by Love.

IMG20170415014056Book Title: HALF OF A YELLOW SUN

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Publisher: Harper Perennial.

Year of publishing: 2007.

8th Impression: 2016

First published in Great Britain by Fourth Estate in 2006, “Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the heart breaking tales of the civil war that took place in Nigeria which is also known as the Biafran War that stayed on for almost 3 years from 1967 to 1970.

The excruciating horror of the civil war dates back to 1960s in Nigeria and is fictionally narrated through the main protagonists in the book such as Ugwu-a poor village boy who goes to work for Odenigbo-a radical university professor who are soon joined by Olanna living in with Odenigbo followed by Richard –the English writer who falls for Kainene-twin sister of Olanna.

The dynamism of the relationships between these main characters get affected during the civil war as their personal decisions tear them apart yet they find themselves back together due to the love and loyalty they hold for each other.

Through their lives in the civil war, the author attempts to actually tell the story of the Nigerian Civil War that divided many people and left the country torn apart. The history of Nigeria is richly told in a very enriching, heartbreaking yet with a mix of humour in a very beautiful English and off course the readers get introduced to various African words and phrases which makes the book even more an interesting read.

Although Nigerian Civil War is a notable aspect of the book, it also talks a lot about the African politics, the western influence during and post war, about marriages and how women were portrayed and perceived as during the time.

As you read one chapter after another, you actually realize that you feel them and see them in the civil war and somewhere somehow you kind of make a connection with the people then.

In a review by Daily Telegraph, it says, “Over the course of the book the characters burrow into your marrow and mind, and you come to care for them deeply-something that is all too rare when reading the tricksier contemporary novels.”

Daily Mail has this to say about the book, “Heartbreaking, funny, exquisitely written and without doubt, a literary masterpiece and a classic.’

And this is what the Guardian has to say, “ A landmark novel. Adichie brings to history a lucid intelligence and compassion and a heartfelt plea for memory.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba in Anambara State. The book won the most coveted Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007

and is now a major film starring famous stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.

Orange Prize for Fiction is usually given to a female author who writes a full-length original novel in English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review Title: The Journey of a King and His People in the last ten years.

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Book Title: Bhutan’s Crowning Glory- The Journey of a King and His People in the last ten years.

Author: Ugyen Tenzin

Year of Publishing: 2017

‘Bhutan’s Crowning Glory-The Journey of a King and His People in the last ten years’ was launched on February 22, 2017, dedicated to the 37th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The King. The book chronicles the selfless and self-sacrificing actions that ushered from the Throne since enthronement of His Majesty on December 9, 2006.

This is one of the first and the newest books in the town that contains the latest information in the making of the history in Bhutan. It has in one package documented His Majesty’s actions at home and beyond with relevant portraits connecting to every information.

In short the book talks about the following:

  1. A brief introduction about His Majesty and the abdication of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
  2. A section explaining why His Majesty is called The People’s King.
  3. Contribution of His Majesty to the four pillars of Gross National Happiness (GNH)
  4. Diplomacy.
  5. Different forms of kidus.

Touching stories and anecdotes of kidu beneficiaries and those who have had the opportunities of getting audience with Their Majesties are prominently recorded in the book some of which brings tears to one eyes. One will marvel at why March 4 means a lot for Kezang from Merak, how Tashi Wangmo from Lhuentse got a new leash of life, what it meant for the villagers of Wafay to be given a new settlement at Khenadrang and many more personal anecdotes.

Tashi Wangmo’s story of how she got a new life from being ostracized her entire life until then brought tears to my eyes. The fourth paragraph of the story on page 15 reads like this, “His Majesty went towards Tashi, drank two cups of ara (home brewed liquor) from her and told Tashi to inform the world that His Majesty drank two cups of ara from her and nothing happened.” It touched me to the core.

Important Khasos (Royal Edicts) passed by His Majesty are also included along with some excerpts from the Royal Addresses as well as some Royal Addresses given beyond home. The author has tried to capture very intricately the selfless actions of His Majesty in the last ten years of His Majesty’s glorious reign, which will not only serve as source of information and record of the history but also help people understand the noble deeds of His Majesty The King.

The book is written in a very simple, reader friendly, very lucid and easy to comprehend language. This is one book that will serve as a great supporting reading material for our students who will come to learn about the unprecedented actions and reforms brought about by His Majesty and in doing so build the bonding between our youth and The King.

In terms of the quality of the book, I would boldly claim that the binding is done very perfectly, the paper quality is great, the size of the letters are appropriate, the lay out is done very well and the pictures are placed appropriately with relevant write ups.

The cost of the book in the market is Nu.1200. However, for bulk purchase, the book is offered at the rate of Nu.750 and if the bulk purchases are more than 700 copies of the book, the rate is further discounted to Nu.700.

Captured in 156 pages the deeds of His Majesty, the book is highly recommended for everyone to be apprised of the latest information in the history of Bhutan and most importantly it is recommended for every schools, institutions and colleges so that our students have access to such information which will help them understand the unprecedented actions of His Majesty The King and build connections with His Majesty.

If you would like to own a copy for your personal collection or for bulk purchases for schools and institutions, contact the author at 17975243 or email him at uktonzin@gmail.com.

 

Tracksuits in Schools- should it be banned?

At a time when we are talking of wholesome education, quality education, excellence in sports along sides academics and off course value education, there comes a sudden announcement from the Thimthrom about the banning of the use of tracksuits in schools.

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Photo courtesy: Druk School Web Site

Well, anything that is banned calls for reverse reactions from the public and so did this tracksuit thing too. People from all walks of life raised their voice either for or against the issue.

But one thing came out very clear. What is that we are looking for? Can we promote culture and tradition just by banning a tracksuit? Or can we promote wholesome education by allowing the use of it? Or could we have struck to a middle path to maintain the balance?

Tracksuit 1

Photo Courtesy: DYS Web Site

Could we not have found a way to move towards wholesome education while at the same time maintaining the culture and tradition?

I am always reminded of a conversation I had with my education minister who always shares what he understood from the audience of His Majesty The King. Although I had an opportunity of many audiences with His Majesty, I have never heard His Majesty speaking on this topic or else I would have remembered and talked about it.

eating with hands

balling rice in hands

Photo Courtesy: Tourism Council of Bhutan Web Site

But then my Lyonpo had an opportunity and he narrates the address of HM’s speech like this, ‘HM says that while we teach our kids to learn to eat like balling our rice in our hands, at the same time we should teach our youngsters to eat with their fork and spoon too”

eating with fols and spoons

Photo Courtesy: Tourism Council of Bhutan Web Site.

The vision is very clear. As far as I understood it simply means while we teach culture and tradition to our kids, we should also teach them the modern means of moving with the changing pace of the world.

And how can we move with the world when we are so bigoted to think that wearing a tracksuit in schools will wear off the culture and tradition?

How can we even think of moving ahead if our mindset is fixated on just a simple tracksuit? When the whole idea of education could be focused on how to divert our youth from the ill effects of social menace like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, and suicides and so on to make them a better human being?

It is one thing to have a Royal Vision, It is another thing how the subjects interpret the Royal Vision. I hope at the end officials working at relevant agencies do realize what it means to be interpreting the Royal Vision into ACTIONS.

“The Vision 2020 document enjoins that, ‘education must be guided by a holistic concept based upon the total development of the child and the need to ensure that the innate potential of each and every child is fully realized.” (Vision 2020).

Sports has become very popular all over the world and in many countries has also become a significant source of employment and livelihood. In Bhutan unfortunately, sports is still seen as little more than ‘play’ and many students do not participate even in that. Research proves however that the benefits of sports in school are multi-fold and it is high time this was recognized. (Source: Pelkhil School Web Site.)

Here are some comments on the social media that I captured reacting to the ban.

 Sonam Norbu

Before going into the tracksuit thing, Why is Thimphu Thromde’s Education Conference held in Paro? I think We talk a lot about being financially smart but this kind of small things matter a lot.

And coming to tracksuits, it’s a great idea to be in proper attire for PE classes. The issue is with misunderstanding and misusing of the purpose of children wearing tracksuits. I feel we should be smart enough to have amendments and should be rethinking of how conveniently we can have tracksuits, rather than disallowing. The harsh and rude Banning culture in Bhutan ought to change with time. However we see few schools in tracksuits on most occasions for some other manageable inconveniences also. I feel the purpose of having tracksuits in schools should be given priority and then the use of it ought to be done accordingly.
Let tracksuits be there but for their purpose.

Benji Dorji

Shocked at Thimphu Thromde’s notice banning tracksuits in schools. The Ministry of Education is the ‘competent ‘ authority, definitely not the Thromde!

Tashi Dorji

Another ill-thought ban. Total bungle-up of priorities…what about coming out with good bans such as ban on potholes , ban on overflowing sewage on the roads, ban on dirty, open drains, ban on dirty, drinking water, ban on restricted water supply, oh the list goes on

Tsèyang Nidup

For the life of me… a decision made in Paro, by officials from the THIMPHU Thromde… 🤣 If such decisions were to be made, couldn’t the team have done it from Thimphu itself? Why do we need an Education Conference within an Annual Education conference? The money pocketed for such a ludicrous decision, could’ve been put to better use!!!
And, our country is in debt !!!

Luengten Dem

It really needs rethinking…..its is very troublesome for students and teachers alike…..wearing tracksuit by allstudents is a uniform…it does not dilute any of the cultural aspects…….what about the uniform policemen who hoist and takedown the flag near the Tashichodzong.

Luengten Dem

I am sure the thromde will reconsider n invite wider participation next time . Some rules will only bring more problems and less respect for the more important rules. Is it like gender equality …women playing khuru n archery…or even may be mask dancing..

Sangay Lhamo

Lucky I …will twiddle my thumbs while kids change into their tracksuits and come to do their SUPW.
Pelkhil Dorji

…and here’s the Kuensel article on the issue. So what’s the issue:
1. Are school tracksuits destroying Bhutan’s traditions?
2. Are school sports not important?
3. Are common sense solutions not allowed?

Unfortunately, many schools had tracksuits even though they had no sports programs. The question however should not be “Why are they wearing sports clothes?” but “Why don’t they have sports programs?”

Wide participation in sports in our schools is looking increasingly unlikely unless parents and students begin to speak up.

Chablop PaSsu

Lockers in the school, changing room, bathroom and toilets… first
Then talk about the rest.

Chencho Lhamu

Makes me wonder if we equate cultural promotion with preservation. To me preservation means valuing the past and promotion means to allow the culture to take on new shades and dimensions. Preservation and promotion goes hand in hand but it doesn’t mean stemming the culture from progressing. Honestly, had it not been for the dynamism of RAPA, the Boedra dance would have died. Youth would have long despised the stoic and abrupt dance steps we were taught long ago. But RAPA progressed innovatively, we see our youth take Boedra dance to a new level.

Thukten Yeshi

I wonder how a track suit designed as a uniform for a school is any different from uniforms worn by our military personnel. And our national anthem is sung in all sports meet where Bhutan participates. This rule is as ridiculous as the ada racha rule.

Hands that reach out

Yesterday on 22nd March 2017, Bhutan Red Cross Society under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen was launched coinciding with the commemoration of the World Water Day 2017.

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2017 World Water Theme was ‘Why Waste Water. In line with the theme twenty-two institutions and communities under the wise leadership of Bhutan Red Cross Society (BRCS) adopted the Chhubachu Stream that starts from upper Mothithang and ends at Wangchhu. A cleaning campaign was conducted as the first activity of the BRCS.

“Acknowledging the theme of this year’s World Water Day – Why waste water? there could not have been a better day than this to launch this very programme of “Cleaning Campaign and adoption of Chubachu stream”. Said the Chair Person of the Working Committee of the Bhutan Red Cross Society- Dasho Tashi Wangmo, Emminient Member of the National Council of Bhutann.

17475445_10154612042130547_1143704256_oDasho further said “This cleaning campaign along the Chubachu stream is the direct outcome of Her Majesty’s personal attention on preserving the pristine environment and Her Majesty’s deep concern over our fresh river waters getting polluted by various forms of wastes that has adverse impact on the bio-diversity and the ecosystem.”

BRCS was formed with the blessings of Their Majesties The King and Queen out of Their Majesties deep concern for health and well being of the citizens.

17453334_10154612042885547_931689005_o“The Bhutan Red Cross Society is mandated to work in the fields of Disaster management, Health promotion, and Social services. With Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen as the President of the Society, the activities of the BRCS will mainly be executed through community volunteerism and memberships”, said Dasho Tashi Wangmo in her opening speech during the launch of the BRCS.

His Excellency The Prime Minister had flown all the way from his eastern Bhutan tour just to grace the day not because he had the luxury of travelling from east to west in a helicopter but because this was an important programme close to his heart. In his address he said that the natural resources of Bhutan means a lot to him and all the citizens of Bhutan should equally appreciate, preserve and protect them.

17499816_10154612043130547_40121419_oLyonchhen mentioned that Bhutan is gifted with clean air, clean water and beautiful flora and fauna and each one of us must work towards maintaining it the way it is now by not polluting our water, air and by preserving our forest and conserving our natural resources.

And as usual our men and women in orange uniforms were present to lend our helping hands in the cleaning campaign. His Excellency The Prime Minister while thanking the volunteers who were present on the day specifically mentioned that desuups who represent His Majesty The King are always present in any kind of voluntary work be it fire fighting, disaster management or cleaning campaign.

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And that meant a whole lot to us.

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I hope all our desuups realize the significance of that representation when in the orange uniform. I also hope our desuups realize that when in the orange uniform, we are not an individual but we represent the office and we represent His Majesty The King.

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Finally I hope our desuups realize that we are the hands that reach out in support not the hands that snatch.

17495611_10154612043325547_543668248_nBy the way just to let all our desuups know that henceforth any desuup who volunteers will be recorded in the system with the desuung office. The system will record the kind and number of voluntary works each desuup has carried out. And please just don’t volunteer for the sake of volunteering. It was good that our coordinator yesterday took the attendance at the end. It was found that half the desuups who were there in the beginning had disappeared.

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Children of the Lesser God

A beautiful Sunday just can’t be wasted by being a couch potato at home in front of the wide screen watching nothing in particular but still shuffling through the various channels. A Sunday out in the field makes your day worthwhile if you get there with a purpose. And our purpose was to take basic foodstuffs, clothing and shoes to some people at Khariphu village in Khasadrapchu, Thimphu living below the poverty line. Can you imagine people in Thimphu Dzongkhag living in poverty forget about being below the poverty line? And it is just about 40 minutes drive from the glittering Thimphu city.

From the outskirts it will appear that no people would be living in poverty. One will find huge houses in a very beautiful village. But once you get into the interior you will find the ramshackle huts without proper door and basic necessities to live a decent life.

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It was a project initiated by my two wonderful friends – Choki Tshomo and Ugyen- and thanks to them I got a chance to contribute my service in my little ways. I owe these wonderful couple a bunch of thanks for making it possible for me to see the realities of around 10 households in Khariphu. They have collected rice, oils, soaps, clothing and even plates and mugs to be distributed for the families in need of the help. I too did a spring-cleaning of my wardrobe and contributed clothes and shoes of our entire family members and got some good new stuff from my friends in Shop No 7 in Olakha too.

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We met aum Dago Bidha, a small stunted old lady who did not even know her age. She was bare feet and looked like she has not taken a good bath for ages. We were told that she lives with her two children one of whom is stunted like herself. Ugyen and Choki handed over a bag of rice, cooking oil, soaps, some clothes and shoes to the lady and for her daughters too. We got hold of two local boys, gave them a pair of shoes and sought their help to help carry the old woman’s stuff till her house.

17430663_10154569343681849_1011360143_oThen we met Zam and Tandin- a couple who makes lime out of limestone and sells it at Thimphu. They did not seem to have some decent clothing on their bodies and two little kids of theirs were shabbily dressed. We distributed some clothes and stuffs to them.

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We then went on further to stop over at Paydey and Choden’s shack. The mother-daughter duo with their children lives in a small hut and looked a bit complacent. Nevertheless, they looked very much in need some clothes for a change. So once again we opened our car trunk and sorted out the clothes of their size.

17408472_10154569346916849_1438193986_oThe most interesting person we met was app Dhew. He came out with huge smiles on his face and little short in a very cold and windy day. We immediately took out a nice long pant and shirt and got him dressed up immediately. He looked much smarter in those outfits and had even greater grins on his face.

17430812_10154569349201849_235567066_oIt is such smiles on their faces that make our hearts smile too. We met Choden and her little daughter who seemed to be doing much better in the village.

We then went on to meet Dago Dem and her daughters whose conditions we felt were the worst scenarios of all. The mother and daughter came with three little kids. We took the maximum time at this place to sort out clothes for the kids and parents. We were touched by the conditions of the children living in abstract poverty. Both the parents looked healthy and the daughter specially turned out to be very pretty and at a very productive age. But we learned that they were bit complacent and spoiled by alcohol. We were like these innocent kids did not deserve the kind of life they are being provided with. It is one thing if the adults choose to live their life by drinking but then it is completely another thing to be dragging their children in the kind of life they are living.

17356934_10154569351821849_1782503171_oWe advised the young mother to be more mindful from hence onward and to take care of her children. Well, the least we could was this.

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The last household we visited had around twenty-three members living under the same roof. Imagine the living condition? It is too harsh to out in words here. We found a little boy of PP doing a huge pile of dishes and it appeared like he was going to take the entire day to finish the dishes. The remaining of everything was equally distributed among the family members lest they fight after our departure.

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All in all, it was an experience of a lifetime. You not only get to explore places and learn the ground realities of the people but you also get to do something good for the society and the community which is a part of bigger Bhutan. And what more, finally I got to eat the specialties of my friend Choki Tsomo’s culinary skills. It was kind of outdoor fun with a purpose. Nothing better than whiling your Sunday sitting in the corner of your home when you can get out and get things done.

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And most important thing we found out was that these people need more of educational programmes in the form of counseling, awareness and knowledge of what they are surrounded with and what they can actually make out of it. There is lots of productive age group who are found to be simply wasting their lives by abusing alcohol.

Khariphu is a beautiful village with access to road, have limestone quarry and the people have cultivable land. It is found that most of the lands are left barren and we did not find even a single person working in the filed. The one good thing we learnt was that the person who operates the quarry (Khuenphen Norden Mining) has not only taken roads to the doorsteps of each household but also provided the village with a school bus to drop and pick the children to and from schools. Most of the children I believe go to either Sisina Primary School or Khasadrapchu Middle Secondary School. It was the only ray of hope we saw for the little kids of the famished family.

17407850_10154569356221849_1423173466_oWe believe that these people need some serious educational programmes. Relevant agencies could really look into the matter. After all it is about the future of those little kids we met today.

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Hon’ble Sherig Lyonpo meets the B.Ed graduates from Paro College of Education and Samtse College of Education.

17353304_1022778397853135_8665468679168125272_nHon’ble Sherig Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk on 15th March 2017 met with 279 B.Ed graduates from Paro College of Education and Samtse College of Education including 68 Contract teachers who have been placed as regular civil servants under the umbrella of RCSC.

Lyonpo talked on the role of teachers, how the roles of the teachers are perceived as by not only the society but also teachers themselves. And how these thought perceptions could be changed by, ‘Leaving a Legacy.’ Lyonpo says that one can leave that legacy simply by supporting the legacy building of His Majesty The King.

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“Whenever you come across any situation where you feel low and frustrated, always remember that you are connected to a higher legacy…the sacred legacy of His Majesty and that will lift your spirit”, said Lyonpo to the graduates.

Lyonpo also talked on the challenges of today’s time in the face of changing geopolitics, economic development, climate change and how Bhutan fit in these changing times. At a time like this education plays the most scared role in preparing our children to face the challenges posed by the time. This is where teachers come in with their sacred duties. Teachers should seek the answers to these challenges in the classrooms, to prepare our children for much bigger role than cleaning the toilets somewhere in Australia. If we have to build Bhutan’s future, we have to first build it in our classrooms, said Lyonpo.

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Lyonpo said that the quantum leaps in terms of development and technology are very huge. There is a huge jump in the mechanization, in the society’s aspiration and expectations even in today’s Bhutan. In such a time, how do we prepare our future generations? Lyonpo urged the graduates not to be relaxed in what is at present that the things are changing by leaps and bounds. He also went to say that people here are so relaxed while elsewhere in Singapore, people are talking about preparing their future generations and in Japan people are talking about technology.

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Lyonpo said that in education system, the change can start with School, Curriculum and Teachers. Lyonpo informed the floor that changes in the system, curriculum and professional development for teachers have already started at different levels starting from school to Dzongkhag and at the National level. He mentioned that our present education system is not sustainable. It is not possible to construct 600 schools and sustain them. That’s where the Autonomous and Central School come into the scene. We are not even able to deliver quality education to our children. We will not able to give quality education in all the 600 schools because we won’t be able to provide resources adequate for all the schools. However, we can provide that in 120 Central Schools. We have found out that 120 central schools are adequate enough to fit in all the children in Bhutan. That way we can ensure quality delivery of education too, because we can afford resources in 120 schools.

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Lyonpo advised the teacher graduates to think positive and lead a positive life- to follow the concept of Think-Feel- Speak-Act theory and urged them to have that fire in them that will inspire the future generations.

 

Sherig Lyonpo welcomed the teachers in to the family of education and urged them to always remember His Majesty’s vision for the country. He said that His Majesty’s vision brightens up in the classrooms. That is the place where humanity develops and that is the place that talks of the sacrifices of our teachers.

“You are going to join the committed bandwagon of sacrificing teachers and that is where we have hope in education. “ concluded Lyonpo’s address.

inspiration qoute

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