Thursday, November 24, 2016

There are no doomsayers regarding BBIN Agreement.

Our faith in the future is clearer all due to the wisdom of ultimate leadership. Few  fair weather proponents for BBIN have  alleged that those who oppose the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement are being "doomsayers" . I can only think that may be, such vocals are predicting their own personal misfortunes. I feel that with or without BBIN Motor Agreement, Bhutan does not face any kind of "doomsday".

However, the reality is that Bhutan does not have a road network infrastructure to support the implimemtation of BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement. The nation also do not have the necessary immigration and security establishments that can cope with end result more influx of people and vehicles.

It is heartening to hear that few realistic  Diplomats from the neighbouring Countries also understand the logistical and infrastructural shortcomings within Bhutan.

My opposition to BBIN has nothing to do with who is the governing Political Party or who are supporting or opposing it. It is far more substantial and enduring. I do not express opinion to suit personal convenience.

I have heard people complaining about number of cars imported not because of strain on foreign currency reserve but because they say " just too many vehicles ". My position was and still is that Bhutanese especially those who own cars  cannot wish away the desire and necessity of fellow Bhutanese buying cars. New registration of taxis are restricted under Thimphu. To this I felt and still feel that Thimphu is the most lucrative taxi market and it should not be just the monopoly of those already registered taxi owners only.

Regardless of the limitation of road network, I sincerely believe that it must be shared with all Bhutanese citizens. However, when what we have is not sufficient to cater to Bhutanese citizen needs then for sure the nation is in no position to welcome additional foreign vehicles.

I have applauded recent Tourism and Immigration procedural reform on application for visitor permit by neighbouring tourists through licensed travel agents. The hope is that this procedure would decongest lineups at the border and also assist Bhutanese buses and taxis commercially.

Quite sometime back, there was also call for road connection with Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh). Such a connection would naturally strain the Samdrupjongkhar Tashigang highway besides other pros and cons. I did not think it was a prospective venture for Bhutan.

I have personally not suffered transport invonveniences since I hardly travel. Also I am not personally anxious about competition in transport tariff as I am not into transport business. However, I am aware of the road difficulties that travellers and transporters face. The main national highway from Phuentsholing to Thimphu has been brutalised by rain and land slides to the extent that presently high tonnage are still directed through Pasakha which has its own numerous difficulties and disadvantages. So one can imagine the poor  condition of motor roads elsewhere in Bhutan. Also foreign transport will naturally have competitive impact on the in-country taxis and trucks. And so national truckers and taxis will voice their apprehensions. No reasonable person should tag such people worried about their livelihoods as "doomsayers".

Bhutan's only transportation network is the motor-road system. The roads are not just narrow. The road network is simply fragile. Therefore, the problems of rain and land slides and constant floods that wash away bridges during rainy seasons and cause obstructions with ice and snow during Winter will remain yearly ordeals.  Bhutan is hard pressed to maintain the road system to cater to her own vehicular and transportation movement. I suppose Bhutanese especiallly those loud hyperbolic writers are aware that even the present fragile road system is kept in service condition with foreign men, money and management. 

Objection to BBIN Agreement is not based on ultimate doomsday if ever such an event is ever to happen. And it is not that Bhutanese in general are against close relations with Bangladesh, Nepal or India. It is not that those who see the repercussions are " doomsayers" as alleged. Citizens will voice their concerns for various reasons. Some will express support for the Government initiatives  and some would express their opposition. The Government would have its own reasons and obligations in promoting the Agreement. The Government cannot be tagged as "destroyers" just as those who oppose cannot be tagged as " doomsayers.    It is for the MPs in the Parliament to now decide whether the Agreement executed by the Government is to be ratified or not.

Whatever is the ultimate decision, it should not be deemed as bringing about or preventing  "doomsday". The Kingdom has adequate collective wisdom and merit to ward of any such unthinkable unfortunate eventuality. .

Regional diplomats seem to understand that Bhutanese national  infrastructures may as yet not be ready for BBIN Agreement implementation. World recognised Institutions are ready to acknowledge that Bhutan is least corrupted in this part of the Region. However, within Bhutan, few vehemently disagrees and their voices do get expounded as they have media friends in other countries. Perceptions so created by such people may temporarily darken the national image.  However, in the end game, facts matter in national life whether in Bhutan or elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Indian money politics. Will BJP benefit?

BJP will derive benefits in both Party funding and political mileage from the demonitisation. However, in political terms BJP may not earn the dividend to the extent that had been planned.

Perception is crucial in a nation where nuances and reading into events correctly are not a practised culture. However, inmediate difficulties that people are made to bear could result in spontaneous negative reactions. That is why tomato and onion shortages during election period are known to swing votes.

Demonitisation was a political coup of mass acceptance but the counter coup was complete liquidity crunch that demonitisation caused. This situation was kind of an imposed starvation in the year of plenty.

The Government not only had printed wrong ATM size new notes of 500 and 1000 Rupees  but they had not realised the necessity to print greater stock of Rupee 100 and 50 notes. The old 500 and 1000 notes were invalidated and the replacements could not be distributed through the existing ATM system. Further people converted their old high notes in smaller denominations and stocked up the same.

Money supply in Indian market took grievous hits from 3 sides. First the sudden banning of old 500 and 1000 notes. Second the replacement could not be distributed due to transportation bottle necks and worse wrong ATM size notes. And third the exiting small notes went out of circulation with black money being stocked up in such notes.

There will be temporary setbacks to fake money printing process and certainly there would be considerable reduction in  the quantity of black cash stock. However, actual black wealth cannot be dented as Government claims. As for political gains, the elections including ongoing  bye election results will demonstrate the impact of the exercise. Whatever the end effect and impacts, there is no doubt that this exercise of demonitisation has turned the Indian economy and way of commercial transaction upside down for all Indians from villagers to urban dwellers. 

I find this Indian scenario fascinating chaos. I do  appreciate the unholy  predicaments that so many people continue to face  especially the common people who knows no other method  than cash transaction and cash just evaporated in the market. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dasho Pema Wangchuk the laughing Buddha.

The man with the GNH countenance has passed away this week. Dasho was already a red scarf officer by the time I met him. He was the Director of Agriculture. There was another red scarf officer Dasho ( Doctor) Yonten who was the Director of Health. Both hugely built and both such mild mannered gentlemen. You get the impression that they never faced problems in life. I guess some are born to be content and provide comfort to others. People like them added prestige to the red scarf and sword that adorn their position and symbolised their dedication to their responsibility and profession.

I remember two things about Dasho Pema Wangchuk. His smile and his doma chechu ( I am not sure whether he gave up doma in later years).  And with the  passing years his white hair.

His is a rare personality and even rarer are the honours he received from three successive Monarchs. The 3rd King granted him the red scarf, the 4th King  entrusted upon him the most crucial and heaviest of task of keeping the international boundaries of Bhutan as it was handed down to us by the great forefathers. It is no easy task when the international boundaries of the Kingdom of Bhutan adjoins that of China and India. And the 5th Monarch bestowed upon him the ' Son of Bhutan ' medal.

I do not know what the Indians called him. Someone said the Chinese referred to him as the Laughing Buddha. Such is his nature. Inexhaustibly patient, diligently tenacious and honest to the bone. I often wondered how baffling the Chinese Border Talk Teams initially found him to be. By any known and measured standards,  Dasho Pema Wangchuk would have been the most unlikely person to head the Technical Team on the Boundary Talks with China. However,  His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck had his unique unfathomable ways.

Mahatma Gandhi the most well known Indian national leader promoted the principle of non- violence but no Indian leader ever practised it after Gandhi died. But in Bhutan,  King Jigme Singye Wangchuck who was not even born in Gandhi time , converted that principle of non- violence to fortify the will and means of the Kingdom to deal with the giant neighbours. Imagine the King who is the Supreme Commander of the Security Forces commanding his officers and soldiers to face confrontations with foreign forces at the Borders unarmed. And his troops followed such seemingly astonishing orders in blind faith. That is how till date Bhutan managed to secure her international borders without ever firing a shot. If a shot had been fired that may have been the last shot Bhutan could ever fire against China or India. 

Now we might to some little extent comprehend why Dasho Pema Wangchuk was commanded to serve as Secretary of International Boundaries of Bhutan. We had to have a Buddha personality to compensate for all our physical  weakness when dealing with China or India on international boundary issues. Just wear them down with patience and smiles until we get what we seek and must preserve what is ours. In retrospection,  there is just no other way dreamed by mankind or directed by gods.

Dasho Pema Wangchuk is said to have joined the Royal Government Service in 1962 and till his heart gave in this week, he served the Kingdom. Dasho is one person that we could unhesitatingly declare that he lived and died for the greater glory of our Kingdom. 

I wish he lived just one more year to witness the signing of Sino- Bhutan International Boundary Agreement. All the technical field works and surveys have been completed and agreed upon. The latest China Bhutan Border Talk was held in China few months back.  Dasho was the deputy leader of the Bhutanese Deligation led by the Foreign Minister. I remember reading in Kuensel that the the final reports of the two technical teams were compared and the two nations agreed upon the finalised technical report. So,  in so far as the progress of Bhutan China Border Talks is concerned, I think it has now reached the stage for political decision. The technical agreement is already sealed.

Perhaps it was the Border Talks that somehow kept the Laughing Buddha going. Just last Spring,  Dasho who is in his late 70s lead his Technical Team on the trek of the Himalayan mountain ranges along the western Bhutan China Border on a joint Bhutan China Technical Survey. No wonder his sudden death this week has been a shock. Physically he was very fit so thought many near and dear to him. Maybe we underestimated his will power and overestimared his physical fitness. But thank you Dasho for your life given for the cause of greater Bhutan.

I am deeply sorry for the family  ( his wife, children and grandchildren ) and even more regretfully sorry that we lost such a phenomenal servant of the Kings, the  People and the Kingdom of Bhutan. My own privilege was knowing him personally and keeping myself upto date with the Boundary Talks through following  discussions that took  place in almost every National Assembly/ Parliament Sessions over the many years and from reading summaries that appeared in  Kuensel issues. Once in a public gathering Dasho told me, " You are the only person from outside who seem to have such keen and fair interests ". Dasho had read some of my thoughts on the Bhutan China Boundary Talks. The irony of my humble response was , " Sir,  please conclude it in your time. Do not leave it for another. I have not come across another Laughing Buddha ".  Dasho did not leave his task uncompleted. He has done his service to the Tsawa Sum. It is now for the Cabinet and the  Parliament of Bhutan under the gracious guidance of His Majesty the King to commit the political decision.

The surest tribute to Dasho Pema Wangchuk would be to seal and sign the Bhutan China Border Agreement for  which he had devoted many years of his life to conclude. 

I pray that the Laughing Buddha is now truely where he belongs - the Kingdom of the gods. 


Thursday, November 17, 2016

The necessity to Kill the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal ( BBIN ) Motor Vehicle Agreement.

This Agreement now goes from National Council to Parliament. We need to appeal to the NC members who abstained or voted for the Agreement to please kill the BBIN Agreement. Please do not join the Government on this crucial stake. The Government maybe under heavy tactic regional power pressures. 

National Council is there to resist such foreign pressure upon  national sovereign interest. Please all  25 honourable NC Dashos, kindly stand by Bhutan. In this be with the Opposition Party and vote against the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement. You are doing your duty not favouring the Opposition Party against the Government.

The PDP Party on the whole  must prevail upon the Cabinet to save the Country from Regional Occupation. The road system in Bhutan are already under crushing strain to even handle internal motor traffic. How can our roads handle the onslaught from the Regional Countries? Let us not be drowned under the deluge of people and vehicles from Bangladesh, India and Nepal. This is no time to fool around with politics. The present Trade and Transit Agreement between Bhutan and India can meet all our requirement. We do not need BBIN Agreement. And please note Agreements do not protect Bhutanese vehicle  and life on Indian  roads or any other foreign roads.

I would prevail upon the present as well as future Governments of Bhutan to strengthen national road system. Embark upon the construction of Southern Highway. Speed up progress on the Central East West Highway widening Project.  Improve North South Highways and connect by road the extreme northern inhabitants. The nation needs all the attention to develop the delicate and inadequate national motor road network. We are in no condition to cater to regional vehicles and politics.

This year was a terrible travel year wherein our economy and people movement was strangled by strains caused by very heavy monsoon rain and  floods and road widening activities. Let us not invite more national economic and social agonies. 

I hope our Government will find ways to let our neighbours know that Bhutan just cannot absorb the impact of such an Agreement. We are so small in economy and physical land size. Why do they want to flood us with their human and mechanical population? I see it as modern war and occupation.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

President Obama saves his legacy and Clintons gets washed out.

President Donald J Trump the 45th President of United States will be sworn in on 20th January, 2017.

President Obama did everything to oppose Presidential candidate Trump. He wanted to save his legacy the Obamacare and thought Hillary Clinton would do it. But Trump beat her handsomely to the Presidency.

After the defeat, Hillary Clinton sulked.She was obliged to phone Trump to concede her defeat on the Election night  after a storm of rediculous bewilderment  arose at her attempt to sit out till the next day. Then the next day she addressed her supporters and called upon them to " fight on ", it was a " hard loss " she declared.

So in cities where she won, her supporters started protesting starting with New York and even engaged in looting and rioting.

After the election result,  President Obama came out and he congratulated President Elect Trump on his victory and assured a peaceful and smooth Transition. That speech went a long way to soothe the brutal personal wounds between the two men. Then the next day the two powerful men met for one and half hour in the White House. The two first ladies also met.

The end result was that now President Elect Trump has said aloud that Obamacare will be amended not repealed thus preserving part of Obama legacy.That is a very good sign of good politics. 

In his acceptance speech President Elect Trump had called upon all to pay a debt of over 33 years of Clinton service to the nation by thanking her. The great gesture was warmly receved.  It meant his administration will not be pursuing criminal investigation on her. But ego got better of Hillary and she issued a vield threat the next day in her concession speech. She did not congratulate the President Elect and  called upon her supporters to " fight on ". So now criminal investigation against her is on the balance.

Too bad for the Clintons' image. The protests will go on but for how long?  20th January, 2017 is a long way. Meanwhile the majority will get fed up with those hard core disrupters and blame Hillary whilst by -the -way- people who form part of the protest group will fade away.

Trump Team is already putting their Transition Team together. The media says the next President will also have the opportunity to fill over 4000 Federal posts. And on 20th January, 2017, thousands  of Americans and world leaders will attend the Swearing in Ceremony of the 45th President of United States of America. And millions will watch the event from afar in America and around the world. 

I kind of liked President Clinton and wish for his sake that Mrs.Hillary Clinton practised a better grace in handling her massive defeat. In the end, the protests will have harmed the democratic Party more than the Republican Party. And these demonstrations of bad loser traits cannot in any way impede the progresz of President Elect Transition Team. Also achieving an edge in popular vote though some consolation has no meaningful weight for Hillary. The reason is that only about 60% of eligible voters had cast their vote. Further Women, Latinos and African Americans  did not overwhelmingly endorse Hillary though her campaign claimed to champion for those groups.

Today a new Trump heirachy has taken over the Republican Party and the Democratic Party has been badly wounded. The Clintons have now given way to Bernie Sanders. And the main stream media has been shredded to apologetic pleadings: " We did not know " and " Trump heard voices that none others heard " and " All the Polls turned out wrong ". The usual President Elect Press Corp of main stream media was twice ignored by Trump Team and only a boisterous pleading from the media,  got them the assurance of inclusion the next time. In America the Superman is the elected President.

Donald Trump has triumphed as he said he would. And for the next four years possibly the next 8 years, President Trump will be at the helm of the only Super Power. May the world have more peace and less strifes. And let me again add that Bhutanese in America " go about your work in peace and have no fear. President Trump is largely against criminal illegal immigrants ".

Friday, November 11, 2016

Impact or no impact to Bhutanese individuals and Bhutan economy by recall of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

An fb friend sends a message asking  my views to be shared with other fb friends and all on the rupee thing. 

Actually no impact of substance at all to Bhutanese economy. To Bhutanese individuals unless they have been duped in saving fake Indian Rupee denominations of 500 or 1000, again not much of impact except some inconvenience.

I think there is also a real possibility that at a later date, RMA will reimburse to Bhutanese individuals the old notes with new notes courtesy Reserve Bank of India. Save Your Deposit Records.

The Reserve Bank of India and the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan have  a duty to fulfill their mandate and replace to each individual Indian or Bhutanese the old notes with new notes.   Afterall, they had declared in the past those notes to be legal tender. Also these notes,  if genuine notes, bears the committed promise of India. Otherwise people would not have been saving their wealth in the form of those notes. And it is not India as a nation that has gone bankrupt. It is simply a change of tactic by Indian Government to tackle fake notes. So India  is still bound to reimbursing in full and equavalent value any promissory note including the 500 and 1000 rupee old notes.

You may have  read the notice from RMA and I hope readers did not miss the important statement that in 15 days time, RMA may issue further notice on this exchange issue. I hope that the Reserve Bank of India takes the onus of facilitating RMA with the means to reimburse Bhutanese the same amount of rupees surrendered in old notes by new legal notes of rupees 500 and 1000. RMA notice states that all old notes will be surrendered to Reserve Bank of India by 30th December, 2016. So latest by 15 the January, 2017, RMA should physically receive the new rupee notes as replacement from Reserve Bank of India.  I feel those  Bhutanese who surrendered old notes would get new note replacement from RMA quite soon.

I applaud the Government of India especially the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister of India for taking the bold decision to protect their national economy. Fake notes in great quantity can have very unpleasant effect on economy unlike black market or black money. The later two moves economy though tax collection is affected. 

This thing about funding terrorism with fake rupees is rather watery. There must be other very substantial national reasons. A terrorist is a hardened soul but not an immune commercial  fool. Nor can be  those who provide the required terrorism materials. Anyway that is not my concern here.

I am just interested to know  as a Bhutanese how this  Bhutanese Cabinet especially the Finance Minister and Board Directors along with  Governors of the Royal Monetary Authority are going to go about the matter. They cannot claim to have eased the rupee shortage and then colly pocket those 500 and 1000 rupee notes from the depitors in exchange for one 10000 rupee payment and rest in ngultrums. Clowns and Jesters  are laughed at and appreciated only during Tsechu festivals in Bhutan.

I know we Bhutanese will simply walk in hordes to the nearest Bhutanese Banks to surrender such rupee notes if we have them. We  might grumble a little. But we  will never question the Reserve Bank of India, the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan or the Royal Government of Bhutan. Not for lack of courage which ofcourse is in short supply sometimes in real times  but just simple  lack of awareness of implications thereof or nonchalant characteristics about larger issues. 

It is not the people's fault in possessing 500 or 1000 rupee notes considering the low market value of a 100 rupee or ngultrum note. It is also our Government and our RMA which accepts rupee as a legal instrument in everyday business transaction in Bhutan. And that is why Bhutanese would be having rupee notes of 500 and 1000. 

The Embassy of India in Bhutan which represents the Government of India in all matters, thereby,  even Reserve Bank of India and the Bhutanese concerned authorities better come up with satisfactory arrangements in this high denomination issue if they want people to have faith in the close friendships between Bhutan and India. And the  closeness that  the two people share in relationship to rupee transactions in commercial business in Bhutan is to continue.

The 61st Birth Anniversary of 4th Druk Gyalpo.

Today the 11th of November, 2016 is the BirthDay of the King with the Triple Gem qualities. The Kingdom celebrates the Happy  Birth Day of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck with a national holiday.

This year's most strikingly memorable pictures of the King for me were (1) The King at Punakha attempting to have His Holiness the Jhe Khenpo hold the baby Crown Prince and (2) the King combing the hair of the baby grandson with delicate hesitancy during the same event.

In public or in private, there is a noble human being who loves and cares. And to him each child in Bhutan deserves his love and nuturing. The task is now ably taken over by the King on the Throne but you can bet that affection is still glowing and has its impact.

I am sure His Majesty holds in his arms all his royal grandchildren and comb their hair and do more with equal love and care. That what most  grandparents in Bhutan do. The incidents I quoted happened in public only because it happened at a historic national event and a great Grandpa was being just a normal grandpa unconscious of BBS TV camera. (Thank you BBS).

There are great Kings and Leaders. But I doubt if they were gifted with  one singular honest quality that is natural to  King Jigme Singye Wangchuk. I have studied him in private as a student colleague and observed him in his public strides. This Royal Person is the same person in thought and deed both in private and in public. There is nothing fictitious (put on acts) about this human being. He is mother earth throughout 24 hours of the day and night.

Let me ask fellow adult  Bhutanese or better still the citizens of the world ( if only I could be at such a forum to be in contact with them). How many of you thanked your family members for accepting your love marriage and really meant it?

I wonder if any Bhutanese can even recall the incident. I have a little doubt because people in general are not only blind to nuances but they look at a rainbow in front of them without seeing the beauty of the prism colours.  They hear what they want to hear and they presume what they want to assume.

Well to get to the point. On the very 1st occassion of the draft  constitution consulting day at Lungtenphu, Thimphu ( the beginning of the end of absolute Monarchy rule)  the King of Bhutan thanked his fellow subjects for accepting his marriage to the four Queens. This absolute Monarch hardly did anything without consulting the people and if he did  something on his own,  it was in the larger interest of the nation for the future to come.  For example he imposed the Constitution and the ways of Democracy along with a new King for greater good upon the reluctant and perhaps the confused populace.

During his reign, he made one decision for himself without consulting the people. The decision to crown four Queens. And on that day which marked the historic transition from absolute Monarchy rule to Constitutional Monarchy System, the supposed to be absolute Monarch expressed his royal gratitude to his people for taking in national stride that one royal  personal vice.  That's how sincere, how humble and how great the supposed to be absolute Monarch is.

I just mentioned few above points because people say that the King is great and if asked why,  they cite so many development activities including number of students and schools.  ( As if Bhutan under any other leader would have been put in a time capsule). Sometimes I feel like saying we have more students in more schools today because there are simply more children and so more schools to accommodate them.  Make a little effort and take a peak at the true greatness. That way you might just know and appreciate the King a little more sincerely.

Today I offer my prayers that the Great King live long and healthy and be there in person to bless his grandson the  Crown Prince when he is crowned the sixth King of the Kingdom.

Happy Birthday Day Your Majesty ! May you retain that greek god look and health and share with all your ocean of love and wisdom. Most humbly and respectfully I remain an admirer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A farewell confessional speech from doubly and soundly defeated Hillary.

Some 8 years ago, Hillary Clinton thought she had a chance to the Presidency. But as Primary contest for Democratic Party 's Presidential candidate progressed, she was left trailing by the other candidate Barrack Obama. But that defeat was not too bad because Obama became President and she was appointed Secretary of State.

But the irony is that maybe the perceived lapses by her as Secretary of State have opened her Presidential campaign to distrust by voters including those in traditional democratic states.

This is her second consessional speech and she took many hours to gather the courage to give it. This final defeat was most unexpected and therefore shockingly hard to handle. She did not congratulate Trump for winning the Election in her speech. But earlier,  she had phoned her acceptance of defeat to Mr.Trump.

The Clinton Couple have had both great and chequered journey across the political
spectrum of America and the world. And it is expected that though never any more as President yet they will continue to impact American political and social lives to certain extent.

Today President Obama, too, spoke and called upon Americans to move forward together under the Trump Presidency. May be the generous speech retrieved a bit of his lost dignity in claiming that Trump did not connect with the working people and Trump can never be President of United States because he was unfit. Trump has been voted by working Americans to be the next  President.

Political Analysis is an art of honest estimation without self prejudice and self agenda.

Today Donald Trump won and a lot of Bernie Sanders Democrats went to Trump dumping
Hillary. The stunning result surprised Trump team and shocked rest of America.

My take was that he would be hard to fell. And he had a good chance to succeed and be accepted as President. What Main Stream Media of the world said did not change my take.

Read what I wrote about Donald Trump and American Presidential Election.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Foreign Policy of Donald Trump.
The American President hopeful Donald Trump gave his foreign policy Speech. This is my take.

An olive branch to all. No intervention or forceful regime changes. No threats but strong meaningful diplomacy that benefits America as well as others especially Russia and China. Like everyone else still banking on China to control North Korea ( the hidden or undeclared reason is of course America cannot directly declare war on North Korea. Its too close to China ).

No war for the sake of feeding greedy war industries. War will be last resort and that too to defend American security not ideals of democracy. For home consumption, he said Christians needed to be defended in better ways than that of Obama effort.  And foreign policies to suit international order of peace and prosperity for America. He will not succumb to the in house Washington out dated think tanks who will be tanked for good he confirmed ( this is the main fear of old Republican guards in Washington. Losing their ancient hold on Presidents).

He attacked Iran Nuclear Deal but stopped short of renegading upon it. So the Deal stands but emphasis on ensuring no nuclear weapon for Iran. He maybe against Muslim refugees entering America but he confirmed that he is against destroying Muslim Countries and their system of governance and beliefs. He is against ISIS that successive American Administrations both Republic and Democrat helped to create.

May 12, 2016

American Politics: Donald Trump

I was intrigued by Trump from his early campaign time. Few other billionaires had tried for presidential candidacy before. But this one had no Party backing and no political base to build upon. On 28/4/16, I blogged my take of his foreign affairs speech. Foreign affairs was said to be his weakness. But in my view, he passed rather fairly.

Now that he stands tall and alone in Republican race, he has been declared the presumptive Party nominee as Presidential Candidate. His die hard critics within the party establishment have not died but their hearts are melting with Trump heat. They are gradually lining up behind him. And Paul Ryan the Speaker of the Republican dominated House who declared his opposition to Trump candidacy is changing his tune. He offered to sit out the Convention if Trump so desires and next he could very well declare his support , " for party unity sake " but actually his own survival.  No love and no hard feelings. Simply wisdom of tuning to political climate. It is all politics !

Now America is in General Election mood. That is between Republic Party presidential candidate Trump and Democrat Party presidential candidate Hillary. Its a tight race but if Sanders is VP candidate on the Democratic ticket, it will really be a toss up. Trump may have to choose a female VP to increase his chance. No not Sarah Palin as VP but if Trump makes to White House, Palin would definitely be part of his cabinet  team. Palin has proved that she possesses a political intuition far superior than her party's traditional kingmakers.

American women voters cannot be crazy about Hillary. She is a man's woman not a woman's woman in her outlook. Only lately she had shed her preferred two piece suit for more feminine attire. But Trump too has a deficit in women and immigrant vote field. Thus a feminine female VP with moderate track records on immigration has a place in his ticket to White House.

Hillary seems to have far more number of voters on her side than Trump. But quite sometimes back, Al Gore won the popular votes and Presidency went to Republican Bush. I look forward to Trump Presidency. Simply because he is less boring and less superficial. And I agree with him on placing America first ( but in America ) and not meddle in the internal affairs of other nations and change governments.

25th July, 2016

Watching Bernice Sanders trying to convince his followers that  Trump must be defeated but without much success. His people are wildly angry with the bias of Democratic Party machinery. He got booed throughly when he said vote for Hillary. Who would have thought that Sanders would take a position to be heckled and shouted down by his own ardent supporters.

30th October, 2016

United States Presidential Election.

Penultimate election shocks for Mrs. Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party Presidential candidate.

1The soaring premium for Obamacare ( heath insurance scheme ) that Hillary favoured so much that she even endorsed it as Hillarycare.

2. The FBI Friday letter to Congress Committee Members that it was investigating emails that are pertinent to Clinton private email server case. This indicates a possible criminal investation against Mrs. Clinton that was previously declared to be closed. 

3. The pro Clinton media overplayed Trump sex to the extent that public has become immune to it. Thus unlikely to influence voters. 

My own thought on the American Election was that after the incredible results of the Republican Party  Primary Elections, , it would be quite a task for the combined forces of the  traditional Republican establishments and the Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton  to over- power the popularity of Mr. Donald Trump.

Remarks: The world stock market tumbled a little with Trump Presidency today. But I found stock market mood that of a crying child. It will recover fast and better in no time..

American Presidential Election today.

It is not a surprise to me that Trump has done  well.  The American political establishments of both Parties, Media and Industralists all ganged up against Trump. But I thought he had a good chance at the Presidency and I had said so in my previous political comments.

That Hillary Clinton may even end up losing  traditional democratic states is proving to be a big shocker to so many self appointed political pundits and core establishment.

The result of this election is embarrassing  especially to Obama Couple, Bush family and Republican traditional stalwarts who threw their whole weights behind Hillary Clinton. President Obama was most unpresidential in his personal attacks on Trump.

For sure lady Gaga will not be singing in the Inaugural Ceremony of the next American President. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Politics and what startling goal of a Political Party.

In politics when people say begging for votes during election, nobody imagines that politicians are roaming streets with  begging bowls.  Actually it means ,  you are asking earnestly for voters' trust. The King of Bhutan has shown no hesitation in requesting for the trust and allegiance of the People when he was crowned the King.

The President of DPT Political Party declared that to quote " I will never beg for votes if people don't understand why they have to vote and appreciate the value of their votes". This was followed up with  supporters explaining that their President was a noble man. So DPT President thinks that he is noble  and people should realise the noble value of voting for him and his Party.

There were charges and allegations  during 2013 General Election and after,  that DPT Party leadership only wanted to Rule as Masters  and not serve as Leaders. I largely took such political statements as election rhetorics. However, this has been now confirmed unequivocally.

I am apolitical. I owe no allegiance to any Political Party but I had respected each Party for their part which I assumed was the strengthing of democratic system. And yes , I have honestly expressed my opinions about the decisions and activities of both the Ruling Parties during the 1st and 2nd democratic Government. And sometimes even on issues beyond the Government.

I have keenly observed this North Thimphu bye election from the day it was declared by the Election Commission. I believed it could give an indication of the existing vitality of the two Parties and also a look into possible 2018 scenario. I felt sorry for DPT when it's initially proclaimed candidate backed out. A Party always has a wider choice of capable candidates during the first round of selection. But when that candidate backs out then the option really narrows because the other initially interested capable candidates may not want to be the second choice. And I was glad for reasons of having a strong Opposition Party that the Party got another candidate. A walk over would have been disastrous for DPT Party and our type of democracy.

I never expected the Prime Minister who is also the President of PDP to put his own credibility on line by personally campaigning with his Party candidates. When that happened, I commented that " this bye election contest has been taken to another level ". I still did not expect him to campaign door to door with his Party candidate but he did. Even then, I was definitely surprised when the PM with his Party candidate knocked at my door.

Most people of Haa rightly look up to him  as the first son of Haa Dzongkhag and feel very proud that he was so soundly  elected to become the Prime Minister of Bhutan. I, too, am proud of him and respect him for his achievement. However, in my political observations, I never ever gave even an inch  of allowance to him or his Party for his birth origin. Among many observations, I crucified the Government on the decision to cancel the South Bhutan Highway and recently steadfastly opposed the new Thromde proposals. I went to him, then to the Speaker of the Parliament, the Chairman of the National Council and the Leader of the Opposition to express my opposition.

The PM came to my home in the responsible role of the  President of his Party.  Not to humour my ego. His Party had got that young man Taba Tshering as their North Thimphu candidate and he was there to give his full support. That was the reason why I told that candidate that he was fortunate to be a candidate in a bye election in Thimphu because the Party President was personally able to campaign with him. In a General Election such privilege would not be available due to time constraints.

It is the customery duty of our home to welcome any visitor as guests.  And in times of elections,  we are careful never to differentiate in the warmth of our welcome to Party candidates. The warmth of our home must never be compromised and like wise the sanctity of our home will be protected at all costs if anyone has hostile ideas.

The fact was that after we greeted them, the first remark of both the President of PDP accompanying candidate Tshering  and the MP of DPT accompanying candidate Kessang upon entering the compound of our home, was so strikingly similar.  Dasho Rinzin of DPT said, " It is so nice here " and Prime Minister said, " You all are living our dream". They were not polishing us up for votes. Many visitors get that impression from our informality and untidy natural sign of homely living. All carelessly  attired, bare feet and basking in the warmth of sun and our happy home.

I am not a registered voter of north Thimphu but my children are. I do not direct who my children should marry or who they should vote for. I expect them to to be capable of making their own decisions. If they cannot do that much then I have wasted my efforts put in nuturing them. But those who I meet outside home and make request for votes, I dutifully pass on each request to them. When Lyonpo Khandu phoned, I passed the request to my children. They know that I have deep respects for Lyonpo. Several DPT ladies made similar requests and again I related the incident during our family dinner. When Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho phoned,  again I passed on the gist our our conversation. My adult children know that Lyonpo has kept an open channel of communication with me. In fact Lyonpo Pema has always sent his regards to me whenever he met one of my children. I dutifully gave to each of my children the name cards of the candidates that each visiting campaign team gave me. I respected Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho's position and damn him for not reciprocating in kind. 

I did think that each young candidate would be more buoyed up  by total endorsement commitment from especially the Lyonpos and  their other  Party stalwarts. And by virtue of their experience and communication skills and the social respect that people hold for them, the Lyonpos definitely would  impact voters.

In my case, I never offered any advice to PDP candidate because he had the best accompanying him. But I did offer my fatherly advice to Kessang. I could not help imaging what if my own daughter was visiting homes of other people like she was doing. I told her not to seek votes just on being a woman but rather be a daughter committed to serving all.  Maybe I should have advised her in the fashion of her Party President. Tell people that they should feel fortunate to have a choice in the bye election. 

I hardly ever met Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho in person but as said earlier there was a open line of communication. And I do respect him as a former Lyonpo and now as the Opposition Leader. I never realised he was so shallow and so haphzardly anxious in finding someone and  anyone to  blame for DPT poor showing.  Maybe at that time,  he was in deep political grief. And considering that possibility and my respects for members of DPT that include school colleagues, I did not respond in kind ( look through the fb exchange between us on the Election night).

What he should know about me is how I treated him as a ruling Party Lyonpo and as the Leader of out of power Opposition Party. I do not get impressed with ranks and I never ignore  those out of power once powerful figures. I never feel less of a man no matter who I deal with. But as a Bhutanese I do try to be the first to greet respectfully all those especially honoured by the Kings.

I will continue to express my opinion. And this time I do honestly believe that PM did win for his Party the seat of North Thimphu Constituency. To bad for democracy that the turn out was low. I call it voter fatigue. Just few days back, it was Local Government vote. And possibly this time money was not the luring candy as it was often alleged in General Elections of 2008 and 2013. 

And if DPT Party Leadership thinks my observation was made on the basis of PDP being the ruling Party and PM visiting my home,  then it's their desperate stupidity ruling their ' noble ego'.   And if DPT does not believe in going door to door with their  candidate when it was so convenient to do so this time to seek the trust of the people, they should never have  lured this sweet innocent daughter of a commoner to save Party face from an election walk over. Shame on DPT greats for feeling out of place in canvassing for votes in the company of their very junior lady candidate. 
The father and the daughter dud not deserve to be put through such pilitical grinding  without the  heavy weights providing her their  shoulders to lean on.  The humble father and his innocent daughter are not serfs of a noble man though the daughter is an employee of DPT supporter. At least some solace in this fiasco in that there is a good chance for the lady candidate to continue in her old job. Otherwise DPT has taken out a fish from water and thrown it in the hot sand.     

Nothing personal. Just to set the record straight. Cannot wish DPT the best when the goal is not service through leadership.

I shared my thoughts yesterday at a promotion Party with Lyonpo Khandu who insisted on talking about the issue. I told him I will post my thoughts but he said no call for that. 
I wish I could feel the no call. But this obnoxious attitude of DPT President continuous to irk me. And I also think I have provided adequate time space for him to get over his political grief period. It is better that for the peace of our minds or tempers that we lay it out in the open for whatever useless debate may  follow between fanatics. I will not be a party unless legally forced where a neutral authority can decide whether he is a noble person and he can find out what I really am-  a political chamcha as he alleged or my true identity.  The absurdity of some political characters. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Deep Gratitude to His Holiness Trulku Jigme Choedra the present 70th Jhe Khenpo of Bhutan.

Despite Election Commission Pressure through Dratsang Lhentsog Secretariat to cancel the Moenlam Chhenmo yesterday, His Holiness conducted it. It was done in such a way that a national " Varkem " may have been averted and at the same time the devil's thirst was quenched to some extent ).  It seems His Holiness not only  shares with the Fourth King the same year of birth but  also the great political acumen of the Kings in the way that Their  Majesties the Fourth and the Fifth share with His Holiness the highest quality of spirituality.

The response to Election Commission  was that religion was outside politics, therefore, the Dratsang will continue performing the Moenlam Chhenmo (I guess it was to let Election Commission know in clear constitutional terms that Dratsang was not under the purview of Election Commission). However, it was announced in the Moenlam Chhenmo congregation that Dratsang will be performing Moenlam Chhenmo but civilians need not attend it( that was to quench the devil's thirst for national disasters to happen). However, quite azsizable number of devotees did attend it. (The nearest translation of the announcement made on behalf of His Holiness to the congregation, from Dzongkha to English has already been posted by me ).

Let me give a background picture in layman term what it means to interrupt an ongoing religious event. In villages almost every household conducts an annual Chhoku. And the day before the Chhoku, the tormas are made. Unless a family member dies, the next day Chhoku cannot be cancelled once the tormas are installed on the Chhoetri. It spells out what misfortune needs to strike to cancel an ongoing religious Prayer event. Every Bhutanese Buddhist family has to be aware of it. And I am told that the Election Commissioners are Buddhists.

For the Central Dratsang led by His Holiness to cancel an ongoing religious activity specially the greatest of Dharma Prayer ' Moenlam Chhenmo ', the nation would have to be struck  with any of these griefs: War, Natural disaster of huge magnitude or Death of national figure. Such griefs would cause the attendees of Moenlam Chhenmo to meet the immediate challenges that burden the nation and for Central Monastic Body and His Holiness to return to their Seat of Dharma ( Tashichhodzong or Puna Dewachen Phodrong ) to intercede with the Deities of the Kingdom to come forth to alleviate the misfortune of the Kingdom.

Under any other circumstances, I cannot imagine the cancellation of promised offerings to the already invoked Kasung  ( at Thimphu Moenlam Chhenmo Neten Chudrug till afternoon and evening Dramar). Prayers need to be blessed and consecrated by such holy forces to have desired impact. All required religious arrangements had been made for nine days of continuous Prayers from 6: 30 am to 7pm. How does anyone suddenly break the flow of prayers and invocations without suffering undesirable consequences? If anyone does not appreciate what the monks and Lopons and His Holiness have to undergo ( for the well being of the nation)  just the physical part forget the spiritual strain, take a hike to Kuensel Phodrong at 6am and 6pm at this time of the year and sit still. Experience the icy chill and fierce skin scrapping wind.

The devil is not the Election Commission.The devil is the unseen and unknown evil forces that want to harm the Kingdom. Election Commission became a convenient tool of medium to belittle and humiliate the very Central Monastic Dratsang and His Holiness who with the Deities protect the nation from unforseen  ' Varkem '.

Now let me explain why I used the terms  "rude" and "collision" when I described the decision of the Election Commission to forbade the performance of Moenlam Chhenmo by the Central Monastic Body and His Holiness the Jhe Khenpo.

If for any inevitable reason the Commission felt the Moenlam Chhenmo need to be put on hold, why could not the Commissioners seek an audience with His Holiness and explain whatever the situation was? Are they so egoistic with their constitutional ranks  that the communique must be restricted with a notice/ request to the Dratsang Lhentsog Secretariat.  I do not believe the Moenlam Chhenmo would have been  put on hold but a more personal approach could have prevented the high temperature and sacrilegious offence.  It was so blatantly rude and offensive. 

Collision of evil and good forces is bound to happen if civilian authorities are so callous and aggressive towards the Central Monastic Body and the Holy Person of Jhe Khenpo. And some people with evil intents  even alluded that Election Commission had consulted with other " stakeholders "  and also  Election Commission on its own did not possess "  the courage " to take such a drastic step.

I think Election Commission was over zealous and hasty.  And it definitely did not consult any worthwhile stake holders or authorities. Someone would have pointed out to  the Commission it's boundary of jurisdiction ( North Thimphu not South Thimphu where there is no election and therefore,  under the overall authority of Central Government but under immediate administration of Thimphu Thromde ). His Excellency the Prime Minister would have handled such an issue so tactfully and in the best of decorum under the circumstance if he was consulted. Just the other day the honourable Prime Minister had come to Kuensel Phodrong to humbly pay his respects to His Holiness and the Dratsang. 

I do not think Moenlam Chhenmo would have affected the voter numbers. Whether Diwali or Moenlam Chhenmo both pacify and make people happy not raucous.  Those registered voters I happened to sit nearby were already asking friends to look after their seats durng the next day because they themselves would be  be absent to attend to the voting. Those who want to vote,  they would have come from far and wide just to vote and those who do not want to vote will not vote even if the voting booth is placed on their door step. By now we have a fair idea of the behaviour pattern of our voters and non voters.

Thankfully we have the Royal Family and other Agencies to steady our ship of the state. Today Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and their Highnesses the Princess and Prince Trulku graced the Moenlam Chhenmo. Among many other notables the Royal Bhutan Army and a Constitutional Body the ACC offered their respects and offerings at the Moenlam Chhenmo. His Majesty the King is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and also the Supreme Head of Constitutional Bodies. So their presence made me very happy. 

I thought it was the most auspicious day to silently thank the Deities and the King  and take my leave of the Tsawai Lam. I do not ever want to be a witness in person  another black day. I was so shocked to tears when I heard the announcement that evening of 3rd November, 2016. I am still shocked because I have so deeply believed that come what may the two main Pillars of the Kingdom:  First the Institution of Monarchy and Second the Dratsang could survive any unforseen defaults of democracy.  How wrong? The seemingly permanent and deemed indestructible Institutions are so frail at the stroke of a pen. On 3rd November it was the Dratsang which was prevented from performing it's state duty. When will someone strike next?

To think that 2016 the  year of Male Fire Monkey began so beautifully and was heading towards a golden finish line.  The much prayed for Crown Prince arrived; the Local Elections happened so smoothly, Their Majesties celebrated and shared  with the nation their greatest happiness of  Wedding Anniversary ;  A great Dharma Prayer begun in the Capital for the very first time; the nation happily greeted the Coronation Anniversary and soon the BirthDay Anniversary  of our Triple Gem King to be followed by the National Day.

Prayers and Prayers.