Sunday, December 8, 2013

Personal Perspectives on Current Events III

A tribute to Hon’ble Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

He was jailed for 27 years. For over seven decades, he endured the wrath of the apartheid regime of South African minority whites. The humiliation, pain and suffering heaped upon him far surpassed that of Lord Buddha of Buddhism, Holy Christ of Christians and Mahatma of India. And in his ultimate success, he liberated more humans than all of them put together.

In liberating the black people of South Africa, he brought a new liberation to all supposed liberated black people in the whole world including America. And the rippling effect of the change in South Africa even raised the plateau of the oriental race to the level of the plateau of the White race. Today prejudices remain between races, religion, rich & poor, man and woman but the exclusive club of white race has been vanquished from the world because Nelson Mandela refused to bow down to inequality and the dictates of Apartheid.

He was born into Xhosa speaking Thembu people of South Africa. It almost sounds as if he was born into Zongkha speaking Thimphu people of Bhutan. Like Lord Buddha, he was a prince but he fought for salvation of others in this world.

Nelson Mandela the soul of humanity passed into state of Nirvana on 5th December, 2013. May Madiba the father of South Africa grace the heavenly abode of the thousand Buddhas.

Tobacco Act Amendment again!

If Tobacco Act was a name of a patient, I could comprehend the proposal of another surgery. But Tobacco Act is a devil created by the group of elites to terrorize the poorest of the poor masses in Bhutan. If the present National Council and the National Assembly posses any sense of basic human propriety, the devil of a Tobacco Act need to be vanquished.

More stringent penalty for drug peddlers!

The Chithuen Phendhey Association must be a pseudonym for an authoritarian civic agency that is desperately groping for national power. These people seem to have the same brand mentality as those behind the Tobacco Act. There are always hopeless leaders who cannot lead but occupies the front row and ultimately end up leading the society into ambush of Chamgang Central Jail or more despicable situation.

It seems Bhutanese administrative and civic leaderships are totally bankrupt in solutions and therefore brimming with oceans of threats and penalties that would further deteriorate the social environment.

Agreed that drug peddlers are social nuisance but they do not represent organized Crime Associations who are said to make millions in other countries. Bhutanese drug peddlers are desperate individuals attempting possibly a last resort to feed themselves and their families through sale of mostly painkiller tablets. Of course drug peddlers must be discouraged and prevailing laws do that. The Royal Bhutan Police seem to have a good network of informers and RBP could take far more effective measures if necessary resources like fund and personnel are made available.

More legislations and heavier penalties do not solve larger social issue of drugs. Broken families, unemployment, iron fisted laws and penalties lead to social despair that force people to turn to drugs which in turn creates a demand for role of drug peddlers. There is the need to tackle the root cause because window dressing like that of Chithuen Phendhey Association drive for signature for harsher penalties causes the social wounds to go septic.

Whether it is Tobacco Act or Drug Act or any other Act to treat undesirable social ills, the mentality of Bhutanese proponents and legislators must move away from draconian apartheid attitudes wherein penalties, restrictions and levies suppresses the society that it is suppose to uplift. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Personal Perspectives on Current Events II

A Philosophical reflection from India

The present political persona of India Narendra Modi BJP chosen Prime Ministerial candidate declares that Constitution is his Holy Book, national development his only Prayer and that India Government’s religion has to be “India First”. Election rhetoric or not, the statements do stand out in contrast to Bhutan’s political philosophy of pleasing India our Holy policy; Power our only Prayer and DPT constitutional development grants or PDP gewog development grants official bribes to promote “Party First” religion.

Bright spots for Middle East (Iran and Syria Talks)

1. Iran and America have taken the first necessary steps to co-exist peacefully. Western media is saturated with western power claims that Iran buckled due to impact of Sanctions. It is true that Iran is having economic problems but almost every nation has the same economic problem be it America or India or France. In spite of Sanctions, Iran continues to influence events in Middle East and her nuclear program had progressed steadily. The 5 Permanent UN Security Members and Germany have now tacitly recognized the right of Iran to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. America has agreed to release Iranian money frozen in Western Bank accounts.

In my opinion the nuclear Talk was successful because America has decided to engage itself with the real world situation. Mecca may be in Saudi Arabia but the spirit of Islam prevails in Iran. Israel may have been at one time a successful surgical Striker and war Strategist but Hezbollah held its ground when Israel tried to root it out from Southern Lebanon. Iran nourishes Hamas and Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia and Israel do not fear a nuclear Iran. They are afraid of Iran’s influence, wealth and unity. And America is wary of Chinese and Russian influence in Iran. I am particularly happy with America’s new regional politics of realism. It will be good for all. America has helped Bhutan with the Jaffa refugee problems thus giving new dignified life to refugees and easing international pressure on Bhutan. America is in position to improve everyone’s life if she chooses to pursue a world policy of unbiased leadership.

2. It has already been decided that Syrian Peace Talk will be held in January, 2014. This is again a positive approach by America. There is every possibility of scaling down the hostility in Syria. Bhutan will have no direct benefit from successful Syria or Iran Talks but peace in Middle East will surely impact the price of crude oil especially with the prospect of lifting sanction on Iranian oil export. So Bhutan too will indirectly benefit through cheaper petroleum products.

Bhutan Government’s 100 days.

The first 100 days idea originates from the American Administration. Generally a new President is given a hundred days of honey moon administration by the media and critics. There is not much to say about the People’s Democratic Party 100 days in power. However, the 100 units of free electricity for rural Bhutan is Pure Blessing. It is not a political ruse for popularity. It is an authentic consideration for well-deserving hard working poor rural families. It is a blissful way of sharing a national resource with poorest of the poor. In other matters, I wish the Government had not panicked so much over the delay of fund release from India. Panic leads to surrender but Bhutan does not seem to have much to surrender or offer except our say in our internal or external affairs. It never occurred to me at the onset of Bhutanese Democracy that Democracy for Bhutanese meant more say by India in Bhutanese national affairs. Maybe we could revert to Mono-Cracy where we had elected members in Royal Advisory Council and National Assembly and the Monarch firmly and courageously guided Bhutan’s entry into United Nations to assert Bhutan’s Sovereignty.

The Proposed Pay Raise for Bhutan Civil Servants.

I hope everyone gets a good pay raise including the Ministers. I recall reading in Kuensel the anxieties of a Pay Commission member expressing worries over the economy, rupee crisis and impact on corporations because of pay raise. This member left nothing for the King and the Prime Minister to do. I thought Pay Commission is to look into the quantum of pay raise for all civil servants and other Government budgeted personnel including politicians and local leaders. And leave the issue of economic problems, rupee shortages etc to the Cabinet and the King. And let DHI, Private Sector take care of their responsibilities when it comes to the issue of salary in corporations and other business entities.

Thailand: A Kingdom in Crisis Again

Bhutan has very friendly relation with Thailand. In fact our national sovereignty has been strengthened with Druk Air flying directly to Bangkok. Therefore, one does feel sorry for the instability of Democracy in Thailand. There really seems to be a power struggle between the ambitions of the established hierarchy and the democratic vision of majority of voters. This time the army is offering to meditate and not dictate as it did during Thaksin’s time. But meditation could be a passive form of persuasion to compel Government to give into the demands of the protestors. Hard luck Democracy!