karmachoden

Spontaneous expression of thoughts and emotions in words.

Orange is my SKIN

Well, I was woken up to the sound of excited children around my neighborhood. I was like why there is so much noise especially on a Saturday morning when I should be having a quiet and longer slumber. But then my daughter says, ‘either you sleep or wake up to a beautiful snowfall.’ And no sooner did she say that I got up, looked out of my bedroom window and Lo and Behold! Snow alas… I couldn’t contain my joy and before I realized I was dressed up fully in warm clothes ever ready to get out of the room and feel the falling of the flakes on my face. I had not even brushed my teeth and washed my face. But who cared when the snow was there.

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I had my daughter take my Nuchu and Bumo out to feel the snow. After that is done, we took our much-desired walk around Mothithang area feeling the snow all the while and occasionally making snowballs to hit back to the street snow balls attacks.

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Once I reached back home and checked my phone, I saw a number of alerts and notifications one of which says there is a disaster at the Changlimithnag RENEW Mega Fair and Desuups are wanted for support.

Well, quickly I brushed my teeth, washed my face and got myself into my Desuung Uniform. Grabbed a quick breakfast and then walked down the lane to Changlimithang as I didn’t dare drive in the snow.

It was snowing at full force and there were few desuups, RBP Forces, RENEW officials, officials from Gyalpoi Zimpons’s Office along with Secretary of the Ministry of home and Cultural Affairs and Cabinet Secretary and Dasho Dzongda of Thimphu to console the bereft shopkeepers who have come all the way from India, Bangladesh, and Nepal for the Mega Trade Fair here in Thimphu.

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We were there the entire day drenched in snow and water trying to see how we could sort out the mess while providing moral support to the traders. We felt encouraged by the support from the highest office (HM’s Secretariat) and the presence of the Prime Minister boosted our Morales even more. The lunch and refreshment at the site was provided from the Secretariat Office of His Majesty for everyone. Later His Excellency the Prime Minister and Aum took us to a hot coffee treat at the Ambient Café. The very gesture touched our hearts so much so that the feeling of being in that orange uniform brought in a huge sense of pride and fulfillment.

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My desuup couple friends and I decided to take a ride to view the snow-clad Thimphu at the end of the day since we really missed it during the day. So we took a ride towards Dechenphug and ended the day singing our lungs out at a Karaoke. In a way the 2017 snow fall turned out to be one of the best experience for me.

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The next whole day Desuups along with RBP, RBA, City Corporation, Officials from Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Thimphu Dzongkhag, Bhutan Power Corporation, Cabinet and HM’s Secretariat helped evacuate the goods and relocate them properly in a safe place. The ground seemed to be decorated in orange. The flood of men and women in orange seemed to over power any other forces on the ground.

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Every single desuup worked back breaking on the day but nothing can soothe our tired limbs and body than to hear a lady from RENEW saying “Now I know the real value and meaning of being a desuup. I am inspired to take up the desuung course.” My dear fellow desuups, now that’s what I call a real compliment and imagine the joy of being a desuup! At the end of the day the real satisfaction comes from having done good for the society and this is what we the desuups have done on the last three days of the mini disaster that had fallen on RENEW Mega Trade Fair.

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Kudos to all my fellow desuups. We earned a good sleep for the weekends and what is more- The note by our Desunng Director sums it up all for our action. Orange indeed is our skin and it definitely is my skin. We are the Orange Skin Squad. (the term courtesy- my friend Charmi Chheda)

International Women’s Day 2017- Be Bold For Change

The last public International Women’s Day Celebration that I celebrated was at Trashigang in 2011 under the auspices of RENEW Bhutan. I was coordinating an Art Competition amongst the students from various schools. Since then I have celebrated the day very quietly either treating myself to a good massage in a saloon or cooking my favourite dish at home. Either ways I always tried to pamper myself on this day. On some days I treated myself to a full new set of attire that I had always wanted to wear. And I tell you awesome women out there, it really feels good to be treating and pampering yourself.

2017 International Women’s Day on March 8 is one I have embraced it wholeheartedly. The fact that the campaign theme for the year happened to be ‘Be Bold For Change’ made me bold I guess. The theme for 2017 International Women’s Day is “Women in the Changing Work Place- Planet 50-50 by 2030.

The moment I decided that I would indefinitely celebrate the day with the inmates of Dawakha gave me some kind of inspiration- something that you feel from the deepest core of your heart. And immediately I made a post on FB seeking for financial support to uplift the spirit of the women who feel they are outcast and treated differently. My only wish was to celebrate the day with them so as to empower them and make them feel that they are no different from anyone of us and that they too can live a life like anyone of us.

I felt overwhelmed with the support that I got from all walks of life to help these women celebrate the day. Today if I celebrated the international Women’s Day, it is due to all those caring souls that made it possible and happen. With your generous contribution, I have been able to support the female inmates of not only Dawakha but also Tshimasham female inmates as well the residents of Tshimasham to celebrate the day. A big THANK YOU to all who made it possible. (Shall post a list separately when I am done with the final list)

I celebrated the day with the inmates of Dawaka Open Air Programme along with Ashi Mendarawa Dorji, Sonam Choden Tenzin and Tashi Payden Tshering. In the company of some amazing women!!!

We easily joined in the laughter and smiles of the females colleagues who were filled with joy and excitement. They swayed their beautiful moves to the music of Boedra, Zhungdra, Rigsar and Lhotsampa Dance. They played games starting from musical chairs to marble and spoon race to brain test for the NFE learners. And most of all we ate continuously from the time we reached there till the time we departed. All those yummy stuffs were prepared by themselves with each one taking the role over their speciality.

It was a day filled with love, respect, fun and encouragement for each other as we blended in together.

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Here is my English version of the talk, which I actually delivered in DZONGKHA to a group of female colleagues at Dawakha:

Dear fellow women,

A huge Tashi Delek to you all on the International Women’s Day. My colleagues and I are very privileged to be escorting Ashi Mendarawa Dorji who has come to grace the International Women’s Day with you all as a Chief Guest. Ashi has supported us with Nu.10,000 for the programme.

You may be wondering who the other two ladies are here wth us. We have with us Sonam Choden Tenzin who is also one of our greatest sponsors. She works in BNBL and she managed to collect Nu.11, 555 for today’s programme from the staff of BNBL.

Besides them, we have supporters from all walks of life for this programme. We have many generous people who came forward to support our today’s programme.

As we come together to celebrate this day here, let me tell you that your colleagues along with the residents of Tshimasham are celebrating the day too.

I want you all to know that it is the benevolence, kindness, love and compassion of His Majesty The King who wished that his fellow women be given a second chance to redeem, reform and rehabilitate by being in the open air as opposed to being locked up in traditional cell. Thus, it was in July 12, 2013 that 52 of you got the opportunity to breathe fresh air and be as open in all its sense of openness. You were given the gift of being in a programme called ‘Agriculture Based Female Open Air.’ It was the progarmme designed to prepare you all for a life after prison. To make you all ready to fit in the society. To ready you all to be part and parcel of the society so that you don’t feel out cast, ignored and left out.

By this very gesture of His Majesty, you all should feel grateful and pave a way towards being a responsible person so that everyday life out here becomes easier for everyone. The fact that you have been given a second chance in itself should be your guide to lead a daily responsible life. And how can you show that gratitude for the gift that has come from the throne? It is simple. All you have to do is follow the rules and regulations of the system, be disciplined in your every day life affair, listen to and cooperate with your supervisor, and maintain cordial relationship with your colleagues thereby making life easier for everyone here.

Today I want you all to know that every person who are in prison are not a bad person, it is just that their one bad decision brought them here. You change that one bad decision and you are like anyone of us who are living freely.

Also remember that not all who go to prison are criminals. Deep down all human beings are good, all human beings have compassionate heart and not all human beings intend to do bad things intentionally.

Many of you may be feeling sad, frustrated and depressed. Many of you may have your husbands leave you, many may not have family and siblings visiting you and you may feel let down. You may think of resorting to many evil ways to over come these emotional humdrum by getting into drugs, and alcohol and may end up being further punished.

All I want to tell you today is to focus on your positive talents, skills and knowledge. There are many things that you can do here. You are surrounded by beautiful nature and many of you are talented and skilled. I just saw how beautiful and smart you are, how beautifully you all dance and how beautifully you all have displayed your talents and skills in the forms of many products.

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Well, this is the area you have to focus on. Remember that when you get out of here, you should be able to integrate with the mainstream society and deal with people out there and live your life. There is so much you all can do here. Those of you who are educated and learned can either read books or write essays and poems. Who knows by the time you come out of here, you may even become an author having published all the works that you have composed during your stay here. Remember, Cervantes published his most famous book ‘Don Quixote’ while in prison.

Those of you who are skilled in weaving can focus on weaving, those who are talented in knitting can focus on that area, and those of you who are skilled in making products out` of waste materials can come up with different products. Channelize your energies in such areas which will benefit you all in the long run. If you need help in marketing the products, I will be more than happy to support you all in this area.

There are many famous people who have been in prison and its ok to be here. So focus on your positive outlooks, focus on your skills and talents whenever you feel sad and depressed.

I want you to know that International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March through out the world to commemorate and celebrate the success and achievements of women in social, economic and political arena of women. However, over the years the day has not only come to celebrate such success but also to pay our love and respect to women across the word for the role that they play for just being a woman.

It is on such occasion and day that only a woman can come forward to support another. That’s why we are here to celebrate the day with you all to show our support.

Today I am glad to have this opportunity to celebrate the day with you all- my fellow women beings. Its such a privilege and a huge satisfaction to know that you and I can together celebrate the day and be one in all and all in one.

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Kadrin Che.

Who can be called a STAR or a National HERO?

Lately, I have been wanting to write so much on who can actually be called a star especially in the midst of all those people who either claims a star title or who have been placed on the pedestal just so one can come in the limelight even at the cost of naming and shaming our nation.

Let me start with the story of a chilly pounder.

Jigme Namgyel-the Chilly pounder whose pounding was heard loud and high by then the Trongsa Poenlop was the force behind the unification of Bhutan after he took over Trongsa Poenlop. He is none other than the father of first King of Bhutan Sir Ugyen Wangchuck whose coronation took place on 17th December 1907 thus bringing forth the great Wangchuck Dynasty. Remember, in the whole of Bhutan we have only one person who has been knighted so far and deserves the title of ‘SIR’ and that is our first king.

Since then Bhutan has been enjoying the peace, stability, tranquility and happiness both at individual and national level. Let me not even talk of the roles played by our forefathers to bring Bhutan to where we are now. All of us have read history and we know very well the heroic deeds of our leaders.

Our Kings are beyond the title of the so called STARS. They are our living gods.

Just a decade and four years back on 15 December 2003, His Majesty The Fourth King by the code name of Hotel Mike led a team of armed forces and few militia volunteers to flush out the militants from the densest of forest in the south east of Bhutan. Now for me those are the guys who deserve to be called national heroes. They are the stars amongst us- sons and daughters who fought for the peace, security and sovereignty of the country. The people who lost their lives in the operation, those who are surviving without hands and limbs, those who are amongst us now but on wheel chairs, for me these are the real heroes.

Remember the tourist guide who dived into Mebar Tsho to save the life of a tourist. For me he is a star. The policeman who risked his life several times saving the lives of the people deserves to be called a national hero. The lady who goes out of her way to preserve the national environment of the country is our STAR.

The teacher who walks several days and nights to reach to his destination so that education can be imparted to the unreached children residing in the remotest of our country is a STAR.

A graduate who instead of complaining of no jobs in the country but takes up modern farming is a STAR.

An artist without claiming any publicity but quietly training hundreds of more artists in the country is a STAR for me.

A person who without any inhibition goes around cleaning the poops of others and public toilets, is a STAR to me. Someone who quietly picks up the garbage thrown by others is a STAR.

The comedians of the likes of Gyem Dorji, Gem Tshering and Phurba Thinley who bring smiles and laughers in the lives of people- they are the STARS for me.

The forester, who works in the midst of jungles without even seeing the glitters of the city life to save our forest and endangered species, is a STAR in my eyes.

Someone who works 24/7 to monitor the glacier lakes somewhere in the most coldest region of Bhutan having to stay away from his near and dear one, is a STAR as far I am concerned.

These are the people who actually serve at the ground level making a lot of impacts on the lives of people around them. For me they are the stars and without a second thought I would call them as our National Heroes.

A real hero is the one who does so many things for the well being of the country without claiming any ‘STAR’ title. There is no greater a hero than those people who serve the Tsa- WA – Sum (King, Country & People)  with utmost loyalty, integrity, and who knows the value of Tha-Damtse- Lay-Jumdrey.(Trust and Faith)

So just because someone has the gift of the gab, is vocal, can talk about freedom of speech and talks about protecting the rights of someone considered lesser, cannot be called a star. And especially not someone who belittles the very country that fed him/her to gain self-publicity or be in the limelight. It is like “Et tu, Brute” (BETRAYAL)

But “time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides: who cover faults, at last shame them derides.”- William Shakespeare.

And which of the birds is a star anyways- The parrot who jabbers nonstop claiming to be the know-all or the silent eagle who soars high having done great deeds?

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Book Review Title: A tale of Sikkim told by two

Book Title: Smash & Grab +Sikkim-The Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom

Authors: Sunanda K.Datta-Ray & Andrew Duff

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Same story of Sikkim told by two people differently based on their level of involvement and research. While Sunanda K.Datta’s was of a personal account of the experiences in the capacity of a journalist based in the area, Andrew Duff’s work was that of a highly and richly researched works along with that of interviews and also the world of information that he retraced from the exchange of letters between the two Scottish head mistresses- Martha Hamilton and Ishbel Ritchie who served in Sikkim at the time.

The only difference is the way it has been reflected in the title…while the one portrays very aggressively as ‘Smash and Grab-Annexation of Sikkim’, the other one mildly puts as S’ikkim-the Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom.’

As much as one can understand the stand of Sunanda K. Datta on the last Chogyal of Sikkim and Sikkim itself so is the requiem for the Chogyal by Adnrew Duff as much as the requiem was for Sikkim.

Both the books tell the story of ‘Divide and Rule’ –the basic concept of colonization adopted by the British India. Thondup –the last Chogyal of Sikiim is portrayed as failure, the victim and having died a very tragic death. On the other hand the uncanny Kazi Lhendup Dorji and his Scottish wife Kazini of Chakung-Elisa Maria Layford-Rae were portrayed as having played the opposition role to the Palace thus showing them as the main villain.

Sikkim left to see its 12th and the last King – Palden Thondup Chogyal (23 May 1923 – 29 January 1982) who had a fairy tale wedding with a 23-year-old American wife Hope Cook in 1963 when he was at his 40s. The marriage called in controversy in the midst of Indo-China Cold War. Hope Cook was looked upon as American Spy, which was to India’s bad taste. Fueled by the opposition of the Kazi and Kazini, Sikkim ultimately landed with the annexation by India under the governance of then Indira Gandhi in 1975 especially under the influence of the cold car that went between India and China in 1960s and 1970s. Sikkim thus became the 22nd state of India.

The way the stories are narrated leaves one with wanting to know more, leaves you in doubt and more so in reflection.

At the end of the book one is left wondering whether the people of Sikkim were pulled into deception, exploitation or betrayals. One is also left wondering the role of RAW and the shrewdness with which India annexed Sikkim with the help of its political officers based in Sikkim and off course the works of RAW.

Both the books are nothing short of a thrilling reader or a movie with lots of intriguing twists as reflected in the plots as it unfolds.

However, for a Bhutanese, the books are a must read. As a Bhutanese as I unfold every chapter of both the books I couldn’t help thinking about how our Monarchs dealt with the situation in the midst of over powering neighbhours and especially at a time when the neighbhoring small kingdom like ours was not only going through severe turmoil but eventually got annexed.

I as a Bhutanese could not help being more grateful to our Leaders who played a very significant role in preserving the security and sovereignty of the Kingdom in the light of all that was happening during the most vulnerable time.

This is the very reason why I chose to do this book review as my pledge to my Gyalsey- who symbolizes the continuity of peace, progress and sovereignty of our country. Our kings have never failed us in the past and they will ensure that the future kings will be even stronger. Gyalsey in that way is very special. HRH Gyalsey has the blessings, love and guidance of not only their Majesties but our Great Fourth, Their Majesties the Royal Grand Queen Mothers, Great Grand Parents from both the sides of the family and love of the people of Bhutan.

Wishing HRH Gyalsey a very happy 1st Birth Anniversary. My sincere prayers for Gyalsey’s Happy growing up with wisdom, grace, intellects, and compassion that befits the future King.

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In the Footsteps of my King

FB_IMG_1481288003573.jpgAs Bhutan marks and commemorates the 10th Year of Glorious reign of His Majesty the King, I would like to pay my tribute too as an ordinary citizen, desuup and alumni of RIGSS. Before, I say anything, I would like to reiterate a quote from the Coronation Address of His Majesty where he said, “Throughout my reign I will never rule you as a King. I will protect you as a parent, care for you as a brother and serve you as a son. I shall give you everything and keep nothing; I shall live such a life as a good human being that you may find it worthy to serve as an example for your children; I have no personal goals other than to fulfill your hopes and aspirations. I shall always serve you, day and night, in the spirit of kindness, justice and equality. As the king of a Buddhist nation, my duty is not only to ensure your happiness today but to create the fertile ground from which you may gain the fruits of spiritual pursuit and attain good Karma.”

Today 10 years after the reign of His Majesty, we have seen and understood the real essence of the above quote by His Majesty delivered during the Coronation Address in 2008. Since then we have seen His Majesty in action. From giving land kidu to the landless, providing home to the homeless, food to the starved, and sustenance to the devastated to travelling in sun, rain and snow through the nooks and corners of the country, leading the mitigation and restoration team in flood, fires, and earthquakes, inspiring and motivating students and teachers alike in all his school visits, His Majesty has done it all. Through his actions, His Majesty has sown the seed of compassion, empathy, sympathy, kindness, love, care, responsibility, diligence, and discipline of being a good human being and a responsible citizen.

His Majesty has also initiated many Royal projects such as Desuung, Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies, (RIGSS), Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Law etc to model excellence, heightened intellectual capacity, and enhanced sense of volunteerism, ethics and values of community service, integrity and civic responsibility towards playing a greater role in the nation building.

I am fortunate to have got the opportunity to partake in both the training programmes envisioned by His Majesty The King. I look back with fond memories to those two weeks and one month of rigorous training at Tencholing Military Training Centre and at The Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies in Phuesntsholing respectively. It was a training of both mind and body and the nurturing of my heart and soul. Since then I have had the privilege of many audiences with His Majesty and each one brought me closer to understanding the royal vision for the nation’s peace, prosperity, security and sovereignty. In one of the audiences I remember His Majesty telling us that we can contribute to nation building in so many ways. It can be as simple as reading a book, sharing the knowledge, keeping our surrounding clean, maintaining cleanliness at home, taking care of children and family to a bigger role of strengthening the economy and achieving prosperity for all our people.

I have come to know of His Majesty as being a voracious reader and I have been collecting every book that His Majesty has recommended us to read. I have finished reading some of those books but I am yet to get my hands on the many others that I have bought and desire to read. Ever since His Majesty declared 2015 as a National Reading Year, I have started to review every book that I read and I share them in my blog as well as in ‘Read RIGSS’ Website and ‘Desuups Read’ Face Book Page. This has inspired me to facilitate a ‘Reading Programme’ for the students at the Camp RUF (Camp Rural Urban Friendship) during the winter of 2015 to take the royal vision for reading to our children. We started with the book, “The Prince Siddhartha” gifted by His Majesty to the campers. This has also inspired me to collect many books to take to the children so that they can either start reading if they are a starter or continue reading if they are already into it. I am already in my pursuit of collecting books to be taken to the children for the Camp RUF 2016.

By virtue of being an alumni of both the institutes envisioned by His Majesty, I have taken to more volunteerism activities either physically, financially whenever I could or in the capacity of panelist in many panel discussions organized by various organizations sharing my opinion on many issues that we are faced with.

To live up to his Majesty’s words of wisdom “Where we live must be clean, safe, organized, beautiful, for national integrity, national pride, and for our bright future. This too is nation building”, I also took up to cleaning public toilets in Thimphu under the aegis of Bhutan Toilet.Org and worked towards raising funds for the group. As an inspired desuup, I joined my fellow desuups in every tree plantation and cleaning campaign to keep our country clean and green. Well, these are little things that we do that are not so visible and tangible but impacts the lives of people around us.

And today I am proud to call myself a Desuup, a Citizen Volunteer, A voracious reader, a Columnist, Book reviewer, a passionate cook, a super mom besides being a diligent civil servant at the service of my nation. His Majesty has truly lived by his coronation address in the last 10 years teaching ordinary people like me to make a difference through small or big steps but to take a step.

May His Majesty The King live long for the peace, prosperity and sovereignty of our nation.

 

 

 

Desuung-The Guardians of Peace and Harmony

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With Prayers and Joy for the Successful and Glorious 10th year of His Majesty’s reign

It is 3.30 am. I get up, rush to bathroom hopping to catch an empty one so that my precious few minutes are not lost. I get a shower and clad myself in the orange dress with the orange cap and the most famous DMS boot.

I look at myself in the mirror and find a new person there. I find a Desuup ready for “Fall In” at 4 a.m listening to the instructions of the Peljab (Sergent) who would use all means to get us right, both mentally and physically. Some days, he would make us stamp so hardduring drills that he would want the entire Rinchengang hill shake.

The Gopa(Corporal)is more ferocious than the Peljab. He would call himself the devil of Tencholing Training Centre and would command us that our stamping should shake the entire mountains of Bhutan. The word “Fall In” means a lot more than how it may appear or sound. This is the word with which we start and end the day. This is the word that keeps ringing in our ears long after the training has been completed.

Starting from the morning yoga, running, walking, drills, firing, rappelling, rafting, river crossing, games of all kinds to a coffee night jam session, cultured dinner, recruits nights, limited alcohol dinner to unlimited alcohol dinner, cooking competition, games and sports competition, best shooter to being the best marathoner, the entire training keeps one so occupied that we don’t realize how time passes by.

This is the “Guardian of peace” in the making at the Tencholing military training ground.

This is what I underwent under the Integrated Desuung Training Programme in the cohort of 13th batch from 8 to 20 September 2014. We were 121, which included 17 ladies with the senior most being Sangay Thinley, Dasho Dzongdag of Bumthang who was actually superannuating right after the training.

FB_IMG_1481290893215.jpgEnvisioning the important role of civilians in the protection of the nation’s peace and sovereignty and maintaining national unity and harmony just as militia personnel used to, His Majesty the King initiated the De-Suung Integrated Training Programme.

The programme was launched on 14th February 2011 with 125 candidates that included 80 men and 45 women.

It was His Majesty’s noble vision that the programme be a value based personal development program with the main objective to encourage all citizens to be active in the greater role of nation building. The underlying premise of the training programme is built upon the spirit of volunteerism and the positive influence of ethics and values of community service, integrity and civic responsibility,”according to TashiTobgye, Director of Desuung Office.

Since its inception, the Dessung office has trained 21 batches with 2,516 Desuups being trained so far under the vision and guidance of His Majesty The King.

Amongst many initiatives ever since His Majesty took over the responsibility in 2006, Desuung has taken a very prominent place in terms of realizing His Majesty’s vision of encouraging citizenry to be active in the greater role of nation building, providing useful and appropriate skills and knowledge in the field of disaster management, instilling a greater sense of community, harmony and co-operation as a group and individual members of the society besides providing value based personal development programmes and instilling enhanced sense of volunteerism.

Sharing the Royal vision, His Majesty, during His address to the 18th Batch Desuups on 21 January 2016, said that their (Desuups) service to the nation would help build the kind of future that we envision for Bhutan.” (Face Book Page of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.)

The men and women in orange, as many would call, has since played an important role in search and rescue, helping during natural disasters like floods, fires, road blocks amongst others across the country in keeping with their honour code – “I as De-suup will keep service to my nation before my own safety and comfort.”

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One of the greatest disasters Bhutan has seen in recent times was the most unfortunate fire, which reduced Wangduephodrang dzong to ruins on 24thJune, 2012. Along with six officers and142 NCOs and OR from the Armed Forces, nine Desuups from the 4th batch bravely fought the fire and saved 17 trucks of precious relics from the dzong. These nine Desuups were later awarded the Drapoi Norbu Yoesel (Light Treasure of the Armed forces) medal by His Majesty the King on 21st Feb 2013 at the Dechencholing Palace.

In every address to the Desuups, His Majesty shares the royal vision behind the programme and inspires every Desuup to play their part in nation building and in serving the country. “Your character and attitude towards work and disposition towards service will shape our future. You are the guardians of peace, stability and happiness of our country, and the custodians of our National Identity,” His Majesty The King said on 29 April 2015 to 15th Batch Desuups.

Inspired by His Majesty’s selfless dedication to his people’s safety and comfort, the Desuups under the leadership of His Majesty played a very crucial role in the mitigation and restoration work when late monsoon this year flooded southern parts of the country recently.

It was His Majesty’s vision to extend the service of the Desuups across the border when Bhutan’s friend and neighbour was devastated by a massive earthquake in April 2015. Under the Royal Command,15 Desuups left for Nepal to offer medical assistance for the earthquake relief operations along with other Bhutanese team on 27 April 2015. Seven more Desuups partook as a reinforcement team based in Trishul, Nepal on 5th May 2015 with the blessing of His Majesty The King.

Besides the presence of orange uniform in disaster management, Dessups are also seen controlling crowd, serving refreshments or meals, taking care of senior citizens at every festive occasions or at places of large gathering. Desuups also took active border patrolling duties at India border in the South and China border in the North to understand the significance of porous borders and its impact on Bhutan.

During the Royal Address to 15th Batch Desuups on 29 April 2015 that lasted for over an hour, His Majesty inspired the volunteers to contribute to nation building through various ways, big and small-from reading everyday to increasing the overall knowledge of the society, and aspiring to create clean, well managed and beautiful surroundings that contribute to national pride and integrity, to larger visions of strengthening our economy and achieving prosperity for all our people. (Face Book Page of His Majesty The King)

“Where we live must be clean, safe, organized, beautiful, for national integrity, national pride, and for our bright future. This too is nation building.” His Majesty The King said at the first ever Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition in Paro Ugyen Pelri Palace on April 1 2015.

Taking His Majesty’s wise words of wisdom by the letter, Desuups also volunteered to be the permanent members of the Clean Bhutan and pledged to keep our country clean and green. Thus, Desuups took up several cleaning initiatives as well as planted thousands of trees at various places across the country.

Today, Desuup sare volunteers from all walks of life starting from students of class X and XII, university graduates, teachers, health workers, members of parliament, civil servants from various organizations, private and corporate personnel. “Being trained as Desuup not only teaches self discipline, compassion, being helpful to the community, and providing support in terms of disaster, but it also helps you as a teacher to communicate these values further to thousands of students in the schools,” a teacher Desuup, Pema Wangchuk, said. “You train one teacher Desuup and in turn you train thousands of students.”

Desuung has also bonded so many people from all walks of life irrespective of posts, titles, and designations at their cohort level and also amongst other cohorts of Desuups. Each cohort of Desuups remain connected through creating group on social media. This connectedness has helped Desuups to respond to emergencies at a faster rate.

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Desuup Karma Tshering, an eminent member of the National Council from 13th batch says, “I feel privileged and proud to be able to give back to the community through this service and be in such inspired company.”

Desuung has further provided a platform for individuals to contemplate and reflect on their daily life routines, thoughts, and ways of living. “Joining Desuung was like experiencing the other side of life. It was about finding your strength and weakness. It was the test of patience, perseverance, commitment and loyalty,” said Desuup Tshering Choki, 2nd batch. Desuup Kinley Tshering from the 9th batch further reiterates this spirit of self awareness “Desunng training has helped me understand the value of life by helping others, respecting the senior citizens and come forward for any cause.”

“Through the De-Suung course and participating in various other De-Suuung activities, I have learnt and experienced the values of, “Brotherhood, self-discipline, responsibility, mindfulness, team work, mental and physical fitness, initiative, patriotism, selflessness, service to Tsa-Wa-Sum”, DesuupTshering Wangmo, 17th Batch.

“Nothing has been a greater achievement for me than to see thousands of individuals graduate as Desuups and most importantly realizing the Royal vision of His Majesty The King in creating a pool of committed nation builders”, says Tashi Tobgye, Director,Desuung Office.

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Immense Gratitude to our LEADERS

This monsoon has seen one of the worst floods leading to road blocks, damages to the bridges, homes and even taking a few lives. But it is in this worst situation we have seen the best of leadership, compassion, sympathy and empathy of our leaders. It was the presence of His Majesty in the worst affected area that touched the hearts and won admiration of many people in the country. Without giving a second thought to his personal safety, HM led the rescue team from the front personally overseeing the mitigation, restoration, relocation and safety of his subjects while himself being drenched and soaked to the brim in rain and flood. While the rest of us basked in the comfort of our warm cozy rooms HM spent his time with the flood affected people giving warmth and comfort to the people. To this we the citizens at least owe our gratitude for once again our Kings have proved that the safety of his subjects is far greater than his personal safety.

Seeing HM at devastated Sarpang town reminded me of HM the Fourth King who led his team at the forefront risking his own life during the December 2003 flush out operation of the insurgents in our country. This time it is HM who came at the forefront leading his team to rescue our people from dangers to their lives and properties. Where in the world will one find such a king who immerses himself so fully at the ground level?

Secondly, it was great to see our Prime Minister who immediately cancelled his scheduled visit to Lingzhi and personally engaged in the rescue work at Phuentsholing, Kamji, Pasakha, Samtse and joining HM at Gelephu. He left  no stone unturned to follow in the footsteps of His Majesty and spent tireless nights sometimes working till the wee hour in the morning to ensure the safety of our people.

PM’s recent FB post indicate that he is at Nimtola in Dagana and is seen interacting with the students and public to learn the ground situation there since the gewog got disconnect from the rest of the Dzongkhag due to the flood. It is heartening to know that a farm shop with essential food items will be opened immediately and food items will be sold at fair prices to the public. I learned that food items will be airlifted and stocked at the farm shop till the situation there improves. This also reminded me of how at one point of time people complained, whined and made a hue and cry over the government buying helicopters. People come to know the value of a person or a thing only at the time of disasters such as this.

Our people should remain grateful for all that the PM has done in the recent flood. I don’t know how our people feel but I am not ashamed to admit that our PM has earned my deepest admiration. Actions after all speak louder than words which PM proved in all his moves.

And last but not least, I for one cannot shy away from admitting the selfless service of our arm force and desuups who are always ever ready, willing and in the service of our country. I salute to you all who were engaged in the rescue and restoration works of the recent flood. Images of the people in uniform working hard day and night at times like this are always heartwarming and heart wrenching too. One cannot help but admire their level of devotion, love and display of patriotism to our King, Country and People.

Times like this also bring people from all walk of lives in solidarity and support for the ones affected. It was very heartwarming to see organizations coming together to help in the damage mitigation work carried out at different places. Some contributed physical labour while some contributed food and refreshment.

Now, there is a darker side shown by the recent flood. People in the capital city not only selfishly lined up their cars around every available fuel station creating traffic jam but also hoarded fuel despite repeated request from the PM and concerned agencies not to hoard fuel. Vegetable vendors started selling vegetables at exorbitantly high rates.  Onions during the time of flood were priced at Nu.80 per kg while it costed only Nu. 40/kg just a week before the flood. Taxis started charging extra fare for the customers in genuine need for travel. I will not be surprised if someday we get to hear that grocery shops have raised the price on food items.

How selfish can we get? and how grateful can we remain?

 

Youth, Social ills and Family Bonding.

Its summer breaks and children all over the country are home for 15 days. While few will be engaged meaningfully, many will be taking the opportunity of the freedom from the strict watchfulness of the school teachers, wardens and matrons and taking advantage of the unconditional love of the parents.

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A young boy of 16 years old has already succumbed to stabbing in a gang fight around Norling area in Changangkha. There are others who are found in groups in their favourite hangouts. Some of the most common places children frequent in groups are around Norling Building area in Changangkha, Yellow Building in Changzamtog, City Bus Parking area in the main town, Red Building in Olakha, Twin Building in Babesa, cinema theatres and all the dark and dingy places. If your children are not home at certain time, do check out these places and all the bars and restaurants around Norzin Lam. Children flocking in the town and streets are like a time bomb. Any time the bomb may blast and we may hear news of another child either being in the hospital or in the custody of the police.

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Children are on vacation and it’s time for them to relax, rejuvenate, and recuperate to prepare them for the next half of the academic session. As such, they do deserve some outings to chill out with their friends, share their teenage stuffs that they can only share with their friends. However, these outings will have to be guided so that they don’t get into the peer pressure or any harmful temptations.  Parents should constantly stay informed of the whereabouts of their children, the kind of friends they are hanging out with and the details of the parental backgrounds of their friends.

Parents should also make conscious effort to leave their office on time so that they can spend quality time with their children thereby ensuring that children do not feel the need to hang out much with their friends. There are so many beautiful places that you can hang out with your children if one is in Thimphu. Why not take a healthy walk around the Ludrong Memorial Garden, appreciate the beauty of the nature and enjoy a cool lunch amidst the nature. Or for that matter why not hike up the nature trail around the Kuenselphodrang Park, or drive up to Lamperi Park over a day’s picnic. This may just sound like outings and picnics but this is when parents are together with their children and this is when bonding between the two are enhanced.

I know most parents do know of this but it is our human nature to forget amidst the busy schedule of our daily work unless we continuously remind ourselves and make conscious effort to keep the flame of family bonding burning all the time. It is in this conscious effort that we will save our children from becoming one of the victims of the social ills.

While parents play their role, it is equally important for all the operators of the bars and clubs to be socially responsible and mindful and not to engage in indulging our youth in damaging activities. We can’t shy away from our roles and responsibilities when it comes to our youth- be it our own children or somebody else children. Every individual is responsible. Let’s roll up our sleeve and save a child from social ills.

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Book Review: Lomba

Title of the Book: Lomba

Author: Pema Euden

Year of publishing: 2016

Number of pages: 203

 

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Seday the protagonist in Lomba doesn’t sound so enthusiastic about going to Haa having to leave behind her close friends in Thimphu. Nevertheless, she had to tag along with her parents as her father lands up with a good job that paid better and so does her mother who easily lands up with a job by virtue of being a teacher.

Seday wasn’t actually looking forward to her schooling in Haa. She misses her best friends in Thimphu but to her dismay, finds out that they had taken her for granted. However, the strong characteristic in her makes her move on and as time passes by she gradually settles down with her new friends especially Tenzi and Pem in her new school. She finds out that Haa is actually not so bad and she starts to feel at home. Everything was going perfectly well for her.

And then Lomba starts. And that is where the mystery lies. What happens on the night of Lomba if you don’t eat your dinner which is usually Honteys-the cuisine from Haa made on the night of Lomba? What is the mystery about? Is it just a belief? Or does this really happen?

She is being provoked by her friends that if she doesn’t eat dinner on the night of Lomba she will be in for a surprise- a very bad surprise. They tell her mysterious stories about Lomba that doesn’t go very well with her. She doesn’t buy their stories at all and earns the title of being a very stubborn girl.

Seday decides to challenge her two friends to forego her dinner on the Lomba night to prove her friends wrong about the mystery stuff. She feels the whole ritual is a waste of time and stupid. However, on the night of Lomba she finds herself being carried away to a strange land amongst friends and people she had never had any real conversation with surrounded by alien like creatures.  That is where the real story of Lomba starts.

Seday’s experiences in the bizarre world of strange people is put very explicitly, unequivocally and imaginatively in modern contemporary English that is very much relatable to the younger generation of her age.

Through this book of fiction, the author brings out the core values of friendship, relationship, family, trust, good vs evil and most importantly the message that we should never take anything for granted.

The cover art is done very well that matched the imagination of the author and the blurb page leaves a great sense of suspense that kind of arises curiosity in the readers. The author could have worked a little extra on the layout and design and the quality of printing. If not for this little shortcomings, the book has come out very well in terms of the quality of language and story.

Done in 203 pages the young author of 19 years of age has brought out a book of imagination targeted at the young Bhutanese audience. The cost of the book is Nu.295 and most importantly 30% of the proceeds from the book will go to Tarayana Foundation. It may be worth noting that she published her first book, “Coming Home” in 2008 making her the youngest author in Bhutan and the proceeds from the earlier book were also donated to Tarayana Foundation.

‘Lomba’ was launched by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck on 28th June, 2016 at Tarayana Foundation.

 

 

Eulogy on the demise of Shakespeare from Bhutanese curriculum

My thoughts on the removal of Shakespeare from our curriculum. I was feeling nostalgic going through Shakespeare’s works and most  importantly I was flipping though the pages of Julius Caesar which actually motivated me to write the following lines:

Friends, Bhutanese, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Shakespeare, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Shakespeare.
Our noble curriculum reviewers hath told you Shakespeare was archaic;
And grievously hath the Bhutanese English curriculum answered it.
Here under the leave of curriculum reviewers and the rest,
For curriculum reviewers are honourable men;
So are they all, all honourable men-
Come I to speak in Shakespeare’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me;
And curriculum reviewers say he was archaic,
And curriculum reviewers are honourable men.
Shakespeare hath brought many linguistics integration to Bhutan,
Whose ransom did Shakespeare’s coffer fill:
Did in this Shakespeare seem archaic?
When the thirsty learners have sought,
Shakespeare hath quenched the thirst;
Yet curriculum reviewers say Shakespeare was archaic.
And curriculum reviewers are honourable men.
I speak not to disapprove the curriculum reviewers,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You did love Shakespeare once not with out cause:
What causes withholds you not to mourn his removal?
O judgement, thou art fled to unreasonable thoughts,
And men have lost their reasons.
Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Shakespeare,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

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