Saturday, October 22, 2016

A mixed bag of pseudo journalism !

In the last few days, many who is who plus social media watchers in Bhutan are being maliciously bombarded by a trio  and by fb enthusiasts who love sharing everything seemingly  destructive. A sensationalist woman, a disgusting  chameleon foreign character and an anonymous therefore dubious  character  who claims to know all behind the scenes,  are fuelling a non-issue.

This week to my surprise even the Prime Minister had passed his " neutral" views which have been carried over by national paper Kuensel,  on a matter that in my opinion is " a stunt of dark sensation ".  I term it such  because it is an act of desperate nowhere that proves nothing and feeds dark spirits. I did not think this ongoing deserved a mention but now it is official so might as well discuss it for the sensation. 

Namgay Zam seems to have rested from shacha fronting and has directly come out to continue her unfathomable attack upon the Chief Justice. She has written to all MPs and Prime Minister to investigate the Chief Justice. Till date only the PM has reacted.

Looks like the Chief Justice had taken the onus to express his view to a gathering of fellow Justices on  allegations levelled against him in a letter disseminated through  social media by Namgay Zam. That same letter is the basis of an ongoing defamation case at Thimphu Dzongkha Court between three people including Namgay Zam.  And she thinks the Chief Justice was wrong to express his opinion on the allegations she herself had posted in fb. Maybe because the allegations are the crux of ongoing defamation case or she is disappointed that now she cannot say " silence is an admission of guilt" about the Chief Justice.

I feel it is judicially prudent on part of the Chief Justice to make his position clear to fellow Justices about the allegations levelled  at his person. The Chief Justice is the Head of Judiciary and he does owe a clarification to those who look up to him as the epitome of judicial integrity. Simple as that. There are ofcourse so many jurists and lawyers who would have their own takes. I just used ordinary common sense to determine the issue.

The chameleon disruptive foreign  character goes by the name Arora or  Tenzin or whatever he choses at different occassions to call himself.  He has been taking up the cudgel for Namgay Zam since the beginning.

The involvement of a foreign sympathiser is a worrisome angle. Now who is backing or paying that foreign mouth piece who foul mouths Bhutanese institutions? Maybe he is just fighting for his bread with spicy sour stories on Bhutan. Possibly an attempt to instigate social distrust.

Then there is an anonymous character who goes by " sergi dawa ". This anonymous character whose tale was shared by Namgay Zam in her fb post,  alleges that a Dasho but "  not a red scarf " within the Judiciary is teaming up with Namgay Zam. A Dasho but not a red scarf seems to be  be an allegation directed against a Drangpon because he states that Dasho is " a senior lawyer". Further he alleges that the same Dasho drafted the letter that Namgay Zam circulated in her name? A rather serious charge of perjury, I feel.

Namgay Zam has dared the anonymous to come out in the public. There I support her. Reading through his spicy tale reminded me of The Bhutanese the  News Paper that somehow managed to get first hand sensational happenings over the last several years. Turned out to be true though at times seemed politically designed.  However,  credibility of sergi dawa is largely undermind by the nature of anonymity. There is always something shady, something fictitious and malignant motive woven into anonymous characters. I do not think sergi dawa will surface in the open or the name of the " senior lawyer " revealed. So no defamation case here.

We should refrain from feeding the dark hungry spirits  of human nature. Such could lead to more undesirable and unfathomable consequences to both the guilty and the innocent. It is like undressing in a glass pavilion. One ends up  exposing  more than intended about oneself. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

The reality of both India and China as Bhutan's border- sharing giant neighbours

There seem to be different takes on Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay recently  shaking hands with Chinese Presiden Xi Jinping in Goa.  Some forces allude to a possibility of replay of 2013 political explosion and interference in 2018 General Election. The primary reason being Indian clout and PM Tshering Tobgay's own  vehemently expressed opposition against  Prime Minister Jigmi Yoeser Thinley holding the first ever Summit with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Rio in 2012. My own take is positively different. The year 2013 was not something most Bhutanese can recall with genuine national or individual pride. Politicians are said to be animals. I do not know too much about that. But for sure politics is a deep dark jungle and you can never really know what is there to discover or what comes out from the under growths. That's a chance I leave to Triple Gem to absolve.  

Timing may be differ and style may vary. However, Bhutanese leaders can never really shun the wisdom of having friends. India is and will remain Bhutan's staunchest friend and benefactor. Geographical features, religious and linguistic factors bind the two countries. Both India and Bhutan need to exercise deeper faith in these crucial social common factors that unite us.

Economic reliance  is an important consideration but not the most critical criteria when one deeply analyse it. Though our nervousness do us the devil I must admit. Actually,  Bhutan is not largely populated and physically spread like Nepal. Therefore, an economic blockade cannot have the same devastating effect. And even a small help from another quarter can make survival difference for Bhutan.  Nor do Bhutan need to fear direct military invasion upon its  sovereignty. Neither of the giant neighbours would want an all out war that would come about if Bhutan is invaded by any Army. However, our sacred institutions must remain alert to any types of  subversion. And the wisest course to avert subversion or terror-mail (more compelling than black mail) in the near or far future,  is to pursue an open goodwill neighbourly approach with India as always and begin the same with China.

China and India may have many regional and international reasons to cooperate or mainly compete. The Kingdom of Bhutan is just a boat admist two vast adjoining oceans.. We have no reasons to compete or choose between India or China.The two giant neighbours are two oceans between which our Kingdomship must stay sovereign-afloat. Bhutan and Bhutanese must not unrealistically dream away from the natural  geographical position and reality of our situation. It just is not possible to pretend that China does not exist in our sphere of worldly existence. Visionary leadership cannot be devoid of real true vision that confronts Bhutan. 

Therefore, the people and political parties of Bhutan must move beyond internal Party Politics when it comes to relations with both India and China. I for one  remain grateful to India for all the assistance and good wills and plead with India to be tolerant towards honest China- Bhutan relation which can never match the deep bond of India- Bhutan friendship built over six decades since Indian independence from British Empire.

I stood by Prime Minister Jigmi Yoeser Thinley when he held the first official meeting with the Chinese Premier in 2012. I as a Bhutanese could never condemn  him for his selfless act on behalf of the nation and the sovereign institution. I am in no position to judge the timing but I thank the 1st democratic Prime Minister for formally  breaking the ice with China. This was something I had, even as a young student, submitted to the Third King. Personally for me, no timing was too early. 

And today , I stand steadfast by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shaking hands with Chinese President and thus solidifying the path opened by his predecessor. Neither of the two Prime Ministers of the Kingdom of Bhutan have acted against the Nation. the King or the People in their forward approach with China.

We have many detractors within ourselves and outside of our small nation.   Some do it ignorantly and some with intent to cause disharmony.  But I sincerely believe that  both the Triple Gem and our Kings have always had and have visions for Bhutan to be surrounded by friends.

Bhutan may be a buffer state in the eyes of the world.  And  for the two giant neighbours,  Bhutan may represent a prize to be vied for. However,  unto ourselves , we are a Kingdom. We are no one's buffer or pawn or trophy. And as a Kingdom,  we must continue strengthening Indo- Bhutan friendship whilst pursuing the inevitable goal of better and more sensibly  realistic  relationships with China. We cannot play  our two giant neighbours against each other and hope to reap benefits. We cannot be a mistress who feels obligated into having a public lover and a secret yearning.

We must be a Kingdom with the will and capacity to establish respectable relationships with both India and China. Intimacy and respectability are two different equations.  We always had Kings who had enlightened sacred visions for the Kingdom. The Dragon Throne was never bartered away for solace or assurance of any powerful neighbour:  be they Britisn India, Republic India or Communist China.

We have had Kings who have been willingly to lay down their lives with fellow Bhutanese soldiers to defend our sovereignty and dignity. King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was ready in 1962 when danger loomed in the north. And King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was ready when danger loomed in the south. And from whateverdirection danger may loom in his reign, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel  Wangchuck would be ready. The nobleness of leadership runs in the blood not in rhetorics.

Therefore,  dear beloved Bhutan and fellow Bhutanese, vanish your narrow  politics and selfish moral. Deny outside detractors. Rise up for the King,  Kingdom and People. Stand by our nation as we navigate our national vision to co- exist in the most friendly and realistic  manner with both our cannot- be -wished- away permanent neighbours India and China.

May Triple Gem guide and bless us. Pelden Drukpai Lha Gyalo for the Bhutanese nation- hood! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

India and Pakistan versus BRIC and BIMSTEC Countries.

An interesting political meet is happening in Goa, India. India is hosting BRICS Summit and at the same time,  there is an outreach to other members of BIMSTEC Countries. In so doing, host India is playing her game of isolating Pakistan. China and Russia would not at all mind playing along  with India and thus BIMSTEC. Pakistan may not be involved but Bay of Bengal is strategically crucial to both China and Russia. The irony, maybe,  United States could be more aggrieved than Pakistan with India playing the BIMSTEC card. 

BRICS is mainly an economic pact. However, India being the host and chairmperson have included terrorism a part of the agenda on the justification that terror is direct threat to economic prosperity. Indian Media likes to make out as if the main BRICS Summit agenda is terrorism. But it is not so. Terror is just one of the  5 or so topics. And though the Indian  media points at Pakistan, during the Summit even Prime Minister Modi could not mention Pakistan by name whilst talking of terrorism. He said " mother of terrorism " on the sideline. Now " mother of terrorism "  can mean different countries or organizations to different members of BRICS. 

India may term Pakistan as mother of terror. And Pakistan may term India as mother of regional hegemony. However, the members of BRICS or BIMSTEC or SAARC would have their own internal thoughts on India and Pakistan.

Since the humiliating attack at Uri, India has upped her tempo to condemn and isolate Pakistan. However, India is in a very dicey position. URI is in India occupied Kashmir in the view of Pakistan and maybe some other greater powers in the world. Terrorism that India is grieving about are incidents that occur in Kashmir occupied by Pakistan and India. And India has always maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India. Not an issue to be discussed at United Nations or involve any third Country. Therefore,  how can India succeed in isolating Pakistan at international level on an issue  about Kashmir that India does not want other Countries or Agencies to get involved?

Prime Minister Modi is a shrewd political leader. In a way he is to BJP what Trump is to Republican. The old guards had to be pushed aside for Modi to assume leadership. He understands that this life long feud between Pakistan and India is only weakening the two nations and adversely affecting their regional and  international clouts. But for the time being he has to play the populist drama of making a wave to crush the international goodwill for Pakistan. It cannot succeed but the Indian public would be satisfied. And politics is politics. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The great King passes away in Thailand.

Life and death and in betweens are complex to comprehend and difficult to digest.

You announce your birth with your own cries. The cries of others mark your death. And in between, there are happenings of joy and sadness interspersed with  humbling and prideful occassions. But never so consequential events as birth and death over which you have absolute no say.

Today the Kingdom of Thailand lost their most reverred King. He must have possessed great compassion and his share of benevolence for His Majesty is much loved and adored. The loss of Thailand and her people is infinite. During such national distress, one has to turn to the Dharma for solace. I wish the reverred Royal Family and the friendly people of Thailand great courage and fortitude. In the passing away of His Majesty the King of Thailand, Bhutan has lost a great benefactor and our Royal Family a very dear and respected senior friend. May the great soul rest in peace.

Personal thoughts on the 5th Royal Wedding Anniversary.

Personal thoughts on the 5th Royal Wedding Anniversary.

Every married couple whether royal or otherwise would desire to celebrate their most precious wedding anniversaries with their offspring/s. And this year, His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen can just do that. This is wonderful!

To me this 5th Royal Wedding Anniversary on this day of 13th October, 2016 is the most celebratory and rewarding anniversary for the presence of the HRH the Crown Prince. Their Majesties the King and the Queen, the Wangchuck Dynasty on the whole with the gracious Members of the Royal Families and the People of the Druk Yul have the most joyful and glorified reasons to celebrate this particular 5th Royal Wedding Anniversary.

Congratulations and Celebrations to their Majesties and the Tsawa Sum! And thank you Gyalsey for blessing the 5th Royal Wedding Anniversary with the precious  presence of Your Royal Highness.

May the Nation of  Bhutanese and the  Wangchuck Dynasty be forever blessed by the Triple Gem. And may Your Majesties always have special reasons to celebrate each successive wedding anniversary, hereafter.

With deep reverence and respects, I humbly wish Happy 5th Royal Wedding Anniversary!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Remit - Bhutan launched for all Bhutanese abroad.

-Remit Bhutan launched in New York ( courtesy Kuensel )

A very beneficial scheme launched by Finance Ministry and RMA under the blessings of the Royal Government of Bhutan. His Excellency the Prime Minister had initially inaugurated the Remit -Bhutan Scheme in Thimphu sometime back. And this time the Finance Minister of Bhutan had taken this scheme to the Bhutanese in New York through the Permanent Mission there. This demonstrates the seriousness of the Government to service the Bhutanese living abroad for mutual benefits:  Enhancing  the national hard currency reserve level for Bhutan  and creating  more financial benefits and flexibility for Bhutanese working abroad.

The Government had taken this initiative at top gear. Congratulations to RMA and Finance Ministry for building up this scheme and implementing it at fast track. The Finance Minister and the RMA Governor have moved fast to bring about Remit- Bhutan.

Remit -Bhutan has created a permanent dependable source for Bhutan's hardcurrency requirement. RMA'S  hard currency reserve level will improve and Bhutanese living and working abroad will gain financial security by banking their hard earned hard currency within Bhutan. There will be  better interest income from their deposits and enhanced opportunities for in  country investment. It is a win win gain for the  Bhutanese nation  and the  Bhutanese living abroad. That how good governance should go about governing well. 

May Remit -Bhutan become a permanent feature of Bhutanese fiscal policy and may all Bhutanese working abroad participate in Remit Bhutan for their own self financial benefits  and overall hardcurrency benefits for the Bhutanese nation.    

Thursday, October 6, 2016

My BirthDay 5th October brought memories afresh of "Beloved Souls"

Dearest beloved Aum Changmey Rinzin and Apa Gyalpo Dhendup.

Thank you so very much for giving Birth, Oceans of Love and Blessings. From your heavenly abode please grace and bless our Homes in Haa and Thimphu and all the children that have come down your Lines.

On this day of my birth,  I offer you the Light of Gratitude and Everlasting Love through the symbolic lighting of Karmi and purification water. I do it every morning but today it is somehow more sentimental. Maybe in your physical absence, I miss the comfort of my Root. 

I bow before your images seeking continued support and guidance and wishing you well in the other world. Through  your Love and Blessings and immense Grace of Deities that you always put our faith in, we are all  in good stead and all grand and great grandchildren children enjoying the fruit of your hard works and Love. Thank you and always in need of you.  With much Love. Always your loved child.

In loving memory of mother.

Still trying to live up to my mother's dictum. " Be honest sincerely" . It is not easy to be honest always but it is being sincerely honest that gets me few praise and much flaks. However, now with just a short distance to cover, I do not think I ever would need to fail to serve the motherly dictum. It is one huge satisfaction in my life.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

India's so termed surgical strike against Pakistan.

India's so termed surgical strike against Pakistan. 

I like the term " terrorist launch pads ". So Pakistan is supposed to have rocket launched terrorists into the highly secured Indian air force base at Pathankot and army base at Uri. No wonder the two bases were unable to prevent the infiltrations into their camps by the terrorists on foot. They had rocket wings.

Pakistan claimed loss of 2 soldiers and 9 injured in the incident ( surgical strike or cross border firing). Indian forces on the other hand denied suffering casualty but stated that they were under instructions not to leave behind casualties suffered. So implied admission is duly recorded.

Meanwhile coinciding with surgical strike one Indian soldier is said to have strayed into Pakistan hand but it is claimed  to have happened elsewhere and the straying incident  is denied to be part of surgical operation. Whatever the truth of surgical attack, in the aftermath, the Indian Government is left with her soldier as prisoner in the " enemy hand". That is a national tricolour agony.

What is a fact is that all three great powers: America, China and Russia have made their positions known. And America is not ready to allege that Pakistan government or army had directly attacked Uri. It was terrorists using Pakistan soil.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sorry Bhutan! Bhutan chickens out from SAARC Summit in Pakistan.

Sorry Bhutan!  Bhutan chickens out from November SAARC Summit in Pakistan.

India has her stated public reason. And Bangladesh too had prior grievances and Afghanistan have Taliban based grievance with Pakistan.

The Kingdom of Bhutan never had substantial differences with Pakistan or any other SAARC member nations. It is simply a uniniatiative  decision to comply with India's dictate. Bhutan had one unique opportunity to save SAARC and enhance her own  regional constructive image. Bhutan should have publicly first called upon all members to postphone the SAARC Summit.

Not attending is not at all excusable. Bhutan simply became a self condemned Indian- slave- State overnight with this rediculous boycotting of the SAARC Summit.

The decision to start the winding up of SAARC does no good to Bhutan or to India. For India, she lost her own regional base in international politics. And for Bhutan, she had closed down one important regional legacy of the Fourth King and worse,  displayed humiliating leadership as a nation and as a regional member. 

SAARC without Pakistan cannot be a respected Regional Body. All others only kowtow India. It is at SAARC where India can get her international objectives enhanced and earn some recognition of the world as the Chief architect of an important region. And the fact Pakistan is part of SAARC makes India look more influential.

India may be feeling that SAARC usefulness is nearing the end for India. China has been pushing for membership and how long could India stave it off. And once China joins then one nation SAARC control goes out of Indian hand. So might as well wind it up at this time?

How could India be so insecure with so much resources in land mass and population volume? Pakustan can be embarrassed by this boycott but that nation cannot be isolated or bullied by SAARC collectively or individually by India. Nothing is gained by this boycott.

India could have still retained her big brother status at Islamabad Summit. Uri was humiliating.  So were Pathankot and Mumbai. India just have to buck up as a nation and overcome the low morale of the navy, air force  and army. The enemy is not Pakistan or Terrorists. Real weakness is civilian authorities attitude towards Defence Forces. Why compel the Defence Forces to beg for better pension and equal pay?

Indian media thinks that this boycott has isolated Pakistan. Well,  if Pakistan is isolated with three members teaming up with India  then is India also isolated since  the other three members have teamed up with Pakistan?

No one nation has come off better in this unfortunate internal regional tussle. Really wish giant India had not brought this bilateral difference with Pakistan into this regional body.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Celebrating REMIT Bhutan with RMA and Bhutanese residing Abroad.

Celebrating REMIT Bhutan with RMA and Bhutanese residing Abroad.

Just came across an fb post of the Prime Minister shared by fb friend regarding REMIT Bhutan. It is about Foregn Exchange Account a Bhutanese can open with or through Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA).

This is a good starting move to promote  hard currency banking in Bhutan by Bhutanese working in third Countries.

RMA needs to go much further than simply permitting opening Foreign Exchange Accounts by such Bhutanese.   It has to change its authoritarian mode of simply " granting " something like permission to maintain " foreign exchange account" under REMIT Bhutan.

The Governor and the Board of RMA has to come up with commercial strategies to encourage those Bhutanese to park all their hard currency savings with or through RMA in Bhutan.

When DPT Government of Bhutan borrowed Indian Rupees to meet shortages, the Government paid interests of 9% to 11%. On top of that the Government had to more or less beg the Government of India to arrange such short Rupee term loans.

Later the PDP Government of Bhutan used hard currency reserve with RMA to buy Indian Rupees to solve the same problem of Rupee shortage. That way Bhutan did not have to beg India for Rupee loans.   

I cite these two cases to highlight how important it is for RMA and the Government to value the hard currency source that is represented by Bhutanese working  in third countries.  You cannot express value by words only  or simply permitting opening of hard currency account.

This REMIT Bhutan Scheme must be promoted and attracted through incentives that commercial banks (normal banks like BoB, BNB,T Bank and Druk PNB) offer:  Such as Savings interest and Fixed Deposit interests.

a) Offer 5% interest on Hard Currency Savings Account and higher interests on long term Hard Currency Fixed Deposits. The interest component could  be paid in Ngultrums. A twin Ngultrum Account could be opened along side the REMIT Bhutan account for interest deposit as well as for such account holder to spend money in Bhutan from their Foreign Exchange Account through equivalent counter value transfer into this Ngultrum Account.

b) Interests income from Fixed Deposits should not be taxed. Such income must be free of PIT to encourage saving culture for all Bhutanese living inside or outside Bhutan.  Banks can use Fixed Deposits to mobilise as capital source for their loans to clients. More money would be available to plough  into the economy.   And Government can earn more income through CIT from Banks and from BIT on  incomes generated through business investnents enabled by loans disbursed by Banks . This way all three:  the Depositors, the Banks and the Government ( Revenue Department) become end winners together. The Bhutanese nation benefits in the overall scheme of things.

c) Main reason why hard currency remittances are taking place through other channels than Banks is because RMA has in place a very discouraging short sighted regulation in place. RMA pays less when buying hard currencies and charges more when selling. The difference is around  than  Nu: 2. 25 for every dollar transacted. There are valid reasons in general transactions  like Donor contributions wherein Banks and RMA are able to accrue benefits from the service facilities offered.

d) In cases of Bhutanese citizen remittances, RMA need to pay the same selling rate in  counter value. This will encourage Bhutanese residing away to remit through Banks and also induce such Bhutanese to park their hard currency earnings with RMA or Banks authorised by RMA. Bhutanese residing or working outside must be encouraged to bank their hard currency savings with Bhutanese Banks. Over the years they will grow to be reliable continuous substantial foreign exchange source for Bhutan.

e) Whilst on this subject of exchange value, RMA could also realise more hard currency if it permits re- exchange of left-  over foreign currency at the selling rate. For example: The Banks sell certain amount of dollars to a Bhutanese travelling to third Countries. The exchange  rate applied is the higher selling rate. The same Bhutanese should be permitted to re-exchange upto a third of the amount initially exchanged at the prevailing selling rate upon return from the third Country. This would enable RMA to capture almost all available hard currency within the country and such Bhutanese do not have to seek buyers in the black market or hold on to the hard currency saved for next outside visit which may not even happen. 

I appreciate the progressive step taken by RMA and this Government. Thank you for national interest. Please take further concrete steps so that both the Bhutanese nation and the Bhutanese citizens residing or working outside mutually benefit.