Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Haa Dzongkhag stood alone.

Sometime back, I came across a fb post about a study conducted in Bhutan that concluded that Haa Dzongkhag stood first in dedication to Tsawa Sum. I felt proud but was also a little anxious. I believe that majority of Bhutanese have to be equally dedicated to Tsawa Sum and probably are. If only Haaps, the nation does have a huge problem to overcome.

This morning I came across a post shared by a fb friend ( PM visit to Bji Geog of Haa ). The content suddenly provided a pleasant relief to my anxiety. I now realise that the outcome of that study was probably based on two physical facts. Quite ironic!

1. The only Dzong in Bhutan surrendered to IMTRAT ( Indian Military ) is Haa Dzong. As contribution to defence of Bhutan?

2. The only Central School surrendered to Defence Forces of Bhutan is Haa Chhundu Central School. For enhancing national defence capability?

And ofcourse since 1959 with closure of Bhutan- China Tibet border, Haa lost her national number one trade route status. A huge economic sacrifice for the nation though who remembers such old facts. 

Thus whoever conducted that recent study must have drawn the conclusion based on above two physical evidences. So fellows, no one needs to be anxious or curious as to why Haa Dzongkhag was thought to be number one in dedication. I do not think another Dzongkhag would want to compete with Haa Dzongkhag by handing over their Dzong to Indian Military and Central School to our Defence Forces.

Keep your Dzongs and Central Schools. I believe all Dzongkhags are equally dedicated to Tsawa Sum with or without Dzongs and Central Schools.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Can Bhutan differentiate between living culture and fear culture.

Analysis of continuing Thimphu Thromde dictate against wearing tracksuits by students on games day:  

1. A tell tale of a nation in confidence distress and therefore enforcing mass submission through culture whips.

2. Gho and Kira our cherished living heritage converted to uniform of political  slavery. 

3. A confirmation that elected and  appointed leaders when intellectually bankrupt will be out to curtail the society. Not lead the nation. Happens anywhere and happening in Bhutan.

4. Cultural bigots managing to cause social crevices even in a tiny nation. Promoting clone population cast in gho and kira.


1. Do not impose policies that create lame and systematized youth population who maybe easy to control but devoid of initiatives to build the nation.

2. Please save the youth ! Stop decimation  of youth who are the foundation of healthy Bhutanese nation.

3. Thoughtful and concerned citizens must   pray for Cabinet intervention or a lightening from blue sky to spark national forward spirit. We need to do away with the cultural witch- hunt and cultural rigidity.   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What smooth flow of traffic means in Bhutan.

Yesterday I posted a comment on traffic direction and deflection. And came across two views of young people. One felt all should be equally inconvenienced without partiality and another felt people should plan ahead. It seems they were born after 1970s and therefore unaware of national philosophy on normal life and normal traffic flow. In case some are interested let me share what I learnt over the years.

At one time even Ministers had pilots in Thimphu and sirens were used to announce VIP convoy. Then sometime in mid 1970s His Royal Highness Prince Namgyel Wangchuck decided to discard the use of pilot and that decision made other Ministers follow suit. His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck ever the epitome of simplicity never liked the sound of pilot siren and gradually His Majesty would not permit the pilot ahead of his car to even honk to seek right of way.

That is how important to the nation to preserve normal flow of life and traffic in the capital city of Bhutan where all VVIP and VIP live and also visit. I am sure this national philosophy must have been passed down through the traffic managers and coordinators at Royal Bhutan Police. The general public even seniors, I doubt, even noted such noble gesture and essence let alone younger generation ever comprehending such art of nation living.

The goal and objective of planning and coordinating traffic flow especially during emergencies and VVIP visit has to be, minimum disruption to normal way of life and flow of traffic and maximum convenience and security for the convoy of visiting VVIP or most easy way of tackling emergencies. If the goal was to forget all else but concentrating 100 % on tackling emergencies or only securing undisturbed convoy passage then easiest would be to declare no motor traffic day. That way everyone would be equally stranded at home or wayside and young people's thoughts of impartiality and planning for the day would be fulfilled.

The most important national philosophy that His Majesty the Fourth King pursued was no matter what,  Normal National Life Must Flow . People should read between the lines of the royal statements made even at the height of problems in the South. Students must stay in school and continue studying ; business people must continue the activities of commerce. The King did not ask all to drop everything and take up arms. Many leaders may have done just that and I do not fault them for their limitations. But for His Majesty the Triple Gem King, the greatest task of a leader was to protect the normal flow of national life,  come what may. Unfortunately very few new democratic leaders care to uphold this greatest goal of nation administration.

And I doubt even at RIGSS, any Speaker had as yet conveyed this main essence of national life and living as pursued by our Monarchs. People jump to declare how noble the Kings are but most never even cared to understand the essence of nobleness of our Kings. For many it's just a chorus they want to be seen acclaimng  publicly.  

Many components of new laws and rules only portray hardliners way of governing the nation ( recent examples: exhorbitant penalties and unnecessary prohibitions  like sport wear ( track suit ) in schools and over Nu:1000 penalty for failing to slow down at zebra crossing ). Laws and Rules are necessary but need to be tampered with common sense to protect essence of national life and living. Heavy fines that call for hammer to kill flies and stupidly adopted cruel rules that demonise self expressions and general convenience only sow seed of social oppression and animosity. As in even  flow of normal traffic so highly valued by the King so must Governments value the essence of national flow of life and living. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Trongsa land case: The third battle between ACC and OAG.

The third battle has began. The first the Gyalposhing case was won by ACC. The second Lhakhang Karpo case was restructured and won by OAG. Personally I felt from the start that the Haa Dzongdag case was more of administrative lapses which did not amount to criminal offence. 

The outcome of the two cases resulted in three high profile political victims. I call them political victims because if the present stand taken by OAG is constitutionally correct then Gyalposhing court case should not have happened. And so the former Speaker and the former Home Minister would be MPs today. And in case of Lhakhang Karpo, the main defendant the then Foreign Minister though ultimately declared innocent had paid a heavy political price. The trial process cost him his ministerial berth.

I kind of recall that Supreme Court had denied ACC to takeover the Lhakhang Karpo case prosecution. After the Dzongkhag Court ruling,  ACC was unhappy with the approach adopted by OAG ( diluting the charges against the defendants ). The same kind of argument as in this Trongsa land case was expressed by ACC then.

As a fellow citizen, I feel it is high time that a proper constitutional ruling is made to draw the line as thin as it maybe between ACC and OAG.  The political victims whether high profile or low profile are equal citizens of the Kingdom and  therefore equal subjects of the same King. We are all bound by the same laws of the land and  should not be additionally  subjected to the whims and personal prejudices of those at ACC or OAG.

When we view this tussle between ACC and OAG, it is important that we do so  with the objective of preserving and protecting fair and impartial investigative and  judicial processes and not base our views on who are being affected or not affected in a particular case.

In general if we believe that the nation has a reliable judicial system then it should not matter who prosecutes the case. However, in cases where ACC takes up prosecution of a case dropped by OAG and loses then the defendants must be adequately compensated. Besides their normal entitlement of salary or daily wage, there has to be substantial monetary award to cover defamation injuries.

Both ACC and OAG cannot be construed as being totally free from political influences or personal prejudices. So there are possibilities where ACC may drop or take up an  investigation for reasons other than just lack of evidence or existence of credible evidence of wrong doing. . And OAG too could favour alleged perpetrators by declaring that the case does not warrant prosecution or even dilute the charges against the defendants. 

Therefore, the Supreme Court has to ponder over more than just the black and white words in the Constitution. The Apex Body need to consider at depth and width all the colours and implications for the ultimate well being of a nation state and the larger goal of delivering justice over preserving power or autonomy.   

Friday, April 14, 2017

The magic of XI Jinping the President of China.

In 2015, there was pitch high feverish allegations against China on industrial and military espionage and cyber attacks and currency issues by Western media and  American public figures. Then President XI Jinping came to United States. And suddenly all such allegations evaporated. He stood very tall that day on the White House steps facing the Western Press Corps and they had no issues with China.

Also America under President Obama, did her best to derail AIIB and the Currency Basket but in the end even her European allies jumped on the AIIB wagon whilst some countries adopted Chinese yuan for trading.  And the silk route is taking shape despite America, Japan and India putting up obstructions.

This time President Trump had been attacking China on every issue from trade to currency manipulation, North Korea nuclear tests, the  One China policy and South China venture.  Then President XI met President Trump on his home turf and in that instant Trump turned around 180 degrees. China is not manipulating her currency and China is doing all in her power to resolve situations regarding North Korea. There was no public mention of South China Sea. 

It is said that President Trump informed President XI Jinping over dessert that America was firing missiles at Syria at that very moment. But if one considers the later decision of China to abstain rather than side as usual with Russia on the Syrian gas condemnation vote at UN, actually it is possible that President Trump gave the go ahead to fire the missiles only after confirming over the course of that same dinner that President XI Jinping was with him  on the Syrian gas attack.

Now China has increased her military presence near China- North Korea border and also China has refused to buy more coals from North Korea on which North Korea depend for hard currency income. But neither of the two developments can be interpreted as China fixing North Korea. The increase in troop numbers by 150,000 can work both ways: as deterrent to North Korea or as bolstering North Korea in case of American attack. And as for turning back coal shipments, North Korea can be helped by simply giving the hard currency without buying their coal.

One thing is for sure, China will never accept American hegemony over North Korea.  During 1950s , China was too weak to prevent South Korea following under American umbrella. Not now.  And it seems that  America has been made to understand the red line of China for Korean Peninsula and possibly also the South China Sea. The redline on  One China Policy had already been delivered much earlier and publicly  accepted by the Trump Washington. 

President XI Jinping came through an incredible journey of personal and political  life to reach at the helm of Chinese leadership. Therefore it is of no surprise that  each time he has been challenged or tested by other nations and leaders, he comes out into the territory of the enemy and takes away the banner. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A national lesson in maintenance and operation. Any Government should learn this art and adopt in practice.

Many years back Bus Services was privatised in Bhutan. And private bus companies faced huge malpractices in misuse of fuel, fares, spare parts and huge maintenance costs. After years of management difficulties, looks like someone decided to handover all the headaches to the one person who  held the central role of all management headaches and solutions. He was the driver. Hand over the bus to the driver on a monthly fee. All the problems of exorbitant fuel and lubricant demands, short changes in fare tally, frequent breakdowns of bus, irregular timings and even sanitation inside the bus became a nuisance of the past. No deed for bus conductors and wayside inspectors, no fuel slip controllers or cashiers. Today there are many bus companies whose business are managed efficiently by individual drivers who actually operates a one man transport service. That is why today we have fairly good and timely public bus services.  

Adopt this same principal for power tillers.  Train one person for every tiller and handover the charge  Fix the hiring rate, minimum amount of hours of work especially during cultivation season,  percentage of allowance for maintenance including minor spare parts, fuel per hour and wage per day of work. Put the GAO in overall charge to supervise all operation and maintenance of Geog power tillers.  All should be fine.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Depression a disease we dread rather too late!

There is a killer that kills not just the individual afflicted but also all that are near and dear in some sort of many ways.

WHO had chosen the World Health Day  this year to highlight the traumatic illness known euphemistically as " depression ".

In Bhutan this illness is not socially abhorred as leprosy and it is not dreaded as AIDS. It seems to be an illness of the mind but quite different from what we generally categorise as "chhelo" ( insane or mad ) though some  symptoms could be familiar.  And yet when one goes over what Doctor Chencho the Psychiatrist had to say about it, it is quite startling. Seems that suicide tendency is interlinked to depression. This illness seems to be difficult to diagnose and tedious to treat. Looks like the doctor, the patient and family members have to be exceptionally patient and be in possession of the deepest of faith in finding a cure. There is no certainty that normal equilibrium can be re- established and if possible when? But if diagnosed on time, it seems that full successful treatment is possible like that of any other disease.

On and off, I have come across Doctor Chencho talking about it on BBS or through  some  writeups.  But this time, the good Doctor really made an all out effort to penetrate that public screen that most of us shield ourselves and unmask in the most literal sense this illness called " Depression". Really appreciate your endeavours Doctor Chencho.

Last night I saw part of the interview BBS had with Doctor Chencho. This morning I read the Kuensel article which quoted him and this afternoon, I came across in fb what the Doctor said courtesy a lady named Tshering Wangmo.

Depression appears to be like the Bhutanese nation animal " Takin ". Impossible to make out what it really is by examining the hoofs, tail, body, head or horns. It's such an assorted kind of animal and so seems to be this illness.

I want to thank the good Doctor who appears to be such a concerned Samaritan in his sincere and earnest quest to combat so many parts of " Depression" : The attitude of the society, the characteristics of the disease, the inadequacies of the facilities and insufficiencies of medicines within the country, the lack of trained health workers, the vulnerability of any age, status or otherwise healthy looking people to depression and so on. As many as 20000 citizens could be suffering from amongst the 680000 national population but so far identified or known cases are just about a 1000. And even this number cannot be adequately treated for so many reasons he outlined. 

The best cure seems to lie in TALKING  about it. Depression seems to be a consequence not the starting factor. Like drops of rain that result in flood or landslide. A patient of such nature might not be able to reveal his inner thoughts or fear to his family or even to his regular intimate friends. Just my own perception. If it was possible maybe depression would not have set in because he or she would always have  access to regular friends and family members. The thought or fear that trouble the patient may be related to the family or friends and that may inhibit openness with those very people.  A regret or frustration or extreme guilt that arose from having hurt or resulted in hurting the status of well being of oneself or someone close by for which one is helpless in finding a remedial solution. Such a dilemma of mental health could give rise to depression.

The ideal companion for a mentally depressed person would ofcourse be a professional psychiatrist. Bhutan has too few of them. Also a small society environment is not conducive to the need of incognito that a patient may desire and feel comfortable to share open the inner thoughts or fears. A complete stranger may also not serve the purpose as trust could be the key factor in opening up a patient's emotion. So next to a good Doctor who may have limited time to spare, a reliable acquaintance  ( not intimate nor stranger) to talk to might be ideal to help a person under depression.

Maybe any of us who are good sincere listeners and have the time and patience to hear out and respond can be of beneficial help to such patients. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A follow on about school track suit in Thimphu.

Kuensel issue today has a front page article on the thoughts of Thromde Executive Secretary. Looks like the official has staked his pride on this implementation as he had in the two road bumps at Langjophakha.  By the way congratulations to the technical professionals who when finally permitted to practise their trade unhindered, did a good job about the bumps (achieved the purpose of caution unaccompanied by disruption).  How the public feels and the inconveniences to the students do not seem to matter.  For some officials, political correctness is the only right of way for their professional advancement. 

Sounds like the Executive Secretary wants to replace tracksuit with half pants. I guess some officials feel that in a co-education school, display of physical asset is more appropriate than display of sporting ability. Any way half pants do not overcome the difficulty associated with re-wearing the gho uniform. But then the executive does not care for solution. Outside facade of national identity supersedes any common sense.  

Dasho Thrompon seems to have gone through proper schooling ways and earning professional dividend through merit. His response quoted by Kuensel reveals that he is aware of the problems and does not think that the people are voicing concerns  just for the sake of disagreeing. However, I do not think the tracksuit restriction was an initiative of the Thrompon in the first place. He can undo it but even an elected head of local government must accommodate Central Government for various public and personal reasons. Moreover, the few political fanatics heading the schools will reimpose the restrictions favoured by their behind the scene  bosses.

All I wish to reiterate is that a particular student does not wear track suit six days a week. It is just one day a week. To those who have no school going kid, it may seem students are always wearing track suit. And to such people the restriction is no big deal. You all are lucky to be removed far away from the hassles of  reality. For general well being, the nation requires an enabling social and political environment not characters of political correctness who promote regimented groups in gho and kira. If however, the present restriction is converted into an outright ban order, I will not be writing about it. Darkness will ultimately have to give way to light but ofcourse it takes time. I appeal only when I believe the light is still there.    


Monday, April 3, 2017

How grevious is life imprisonment sentence for acts of robbery or vandalism related to religious properties?

Life sentence for chorten ( stupa ) vandalism! Somehow the penalty seems as sacrilegious to life as the vandalism crime is to any faith.

Before democracy, Buddhism was the  official state religion of Bhutan. A natural Faith for a Buddhist Kingdom. And with the introduction of democracy, Bhutan has been declared a secular nation. However, in most cases, anything that is part of or related to Buddhism is still considered sacred and equally sensitive as when Buddhism was the state religion. This deeply entrenched emotion in most cases is important because Buddhism was not just a spiritual faith in Druk Yul.  It was and still is central to our culture, tradition, cherished heritage and infact the guide and guidance of everyday life. Even so, under Democracy, I had hoped for a more considerate and reasonable national attitude towards those criminals involved in chorten vandalism.

Chortens or stupas are scattered all over the wilderness of Bhutan. These religious monuments are different from temples in terms of preservation and protection.  The temples are usually placed in the custody of caretaker or a Lam and serves as centre of religious and cultural activities of a community. Whereas chortens are left near abandoned and often never attended to. It is a fact that religious sentiments that a Buddhist has for temple or chorten or a scripture or even a statue of a Lam are equally deep and sacred. Perhaps that is why whether a criminal robs a village  temple which is protected and regularly looked after by the community and a chorten left in the geographical wilderness, the penalty under the law of the land is same. It is life imprisonment for robbing a temple or vandalising a chorten. 

It would be considered sacrilegious to suggest that attacks on religious properties does not warrant heavy penalty.   But a distinction needs to be exercised between vandalism of a derelict chorten left always unattended and that of robbing  a community temple. Also though religious properties are sacred and we have a duty to protect and preserve, is it really a correct way of Buddhism to avenge so mercilessly?  Most robbery or vandalism are committed out of greed for wealth. Not for reasons of animosity towards a particular religion.  Is it possible to do away with life imprisonment for any robbery unless caretaker was physically attacked? And could the level of penalty vary between robbing temples and that of act of vandalising an abandoned chorten?

I believe that even under a secular nation, Buddhism must  remain the primary national Faith. Buddhism is the hallmark of our sovereign heritage. For this reason, I had earnestly appealed during the national exercise in the framing of the Constitution that Buddhism should be preserved as the state religion whilst endorsing the freedom of practise of other Faiths. However, as a born Buddhist and with renewed maturity in my faith in the goodness of Lord Buddha, I am disturbed by life imprisonment sentence for chorten vandalism. Our religion an art of compassion and our law relating to it " life imprisonment " a terror of life and living.