Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Boris Johnson the Britisn Prime Minister

Presently he is in intensive care with Covid-19. I look forward to PM Boris Johnson regaining his good health and back in full charge. I know his survival does not make a difference to Bhutan and our immediate problems. 

However, this gentleman is true to his belief. I read he was never for European Union even as a journalist. And since joining politics , he never changed his belief. He remained ardent Euro- exit for Britain and finally he became the Prime Minister and led Britain out of EU. 

Interesting to read that he wanted to become the King of Britain but as he grew up and matured, he toned down his ambition to becoming the Prime Minister.
And that is who he is today. 

I feel he has more role to play and not die just yet. May God save the Prime Minister. The Queen is already saved and Her Majesty gave a beautiful heart lifting speech the other day to her people in Britain and Commonwealth nations and maybe she had all others in the rest of the world in her  mind as well. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Visions do become realities if spoken from conscience of true heart.

1. Seeking Saturday to be school holiday.

Much before democracy came about I had broached the proposal for Saturday to be free for Primary schools. It was during a workshop of education stakeholders. His Excellency Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup was the Minister for Health and Education. Probably he felt it was a dicey proposal for him to consider at that time.  

Now all Schools have breaks not just Primary schools on Saturday. 

2. Lowering PP age to 5 years. 

I had been an advocate for the 5 years children admission to PP since pre-democracy days. Fortunately the old rules were implemented loosely. If Government schools refused admission, there were private schools. Then in 2019, the third democratic government came down hard even on private schools. The rule did not affect me personally. However, I strongly felt that kids of today are so developed that to leave them out of education system even at the age of 5 years was a social crime of irresponsibility. But it seemed near impossible to get the Government to see it my way. 

Then a miracle happened. His Majesty the King  announced " GyalSuung" after class xii when most youths would be 18 years old. That was the beam of light that pierced the darkness of the Education PP Policy. The quick thinking Prime Minister instantly responded in the most positive and reverential  manner. Despite his government's strong push to implement the old policy, His Excellency braved all hesitations and announced that PP admission would be open for 5 years kids so that in the years to come, all youths leaving High School will be at the ripe age of 18 years to undergo GyalSuung. I think this was an energency  operation that transformed the life of Bhutanese children to greater height and goal. Probably the most life sparkling operation the Surgeon Prime Minister did both  within and outside the operation threatre. 

I wonder if Lyonpo Thakur can recall my request to him on lowering PP age to 5 years. It was on the auspicious day celebrating 100 Sherig years at Gongzim Ugyen Dorji Higher Secondary School at Haa in 2012. I had gone to pay a common man respect to our forefathers of education by simply attending the event as a spectator. Her Royal Highness Princess Kezang W. Wangchuck  the youngest royal sister of the 4th King and great grand daughter of Gongzim Ugyen Dorji was the Chief Guest. There was even a royal message from the Grand Queen HM Kesang C. Wangchuck blessing the occassion. And I somehow got a lucky moment to submit my views to the Education Minister Lyonpo Thakur.  Actually I felt the 1st democratic government should have lowered PP age to 5 years after the Constitution was adopted and voting age was set at 18 years. Maybe that was the reason why the policy implementation was relaxed though not changed.

3. Doing away with Small is Beautiful Family Policy. 

I dreaded the family planning push and small family policy of the Royal Government. I was perplexed why there was such a royal directed push to reduce Bhutanese number in the world. I always advocated for population growth because Drukpa race should not disappear. 

Then towards mid term of 2nd democratic Government, a brave admission was made about " no growth " in population number.  Today it has been confirmed that Bhutanese population growth is  Negative as is our carbon emmission.  Our present national population maybe less than 0.6 million though officially it is around 635,000. There maybe around 100,000 foreigners which increases the number of people residing in Bhutan to about 735, 000. 

Finally Bhutanese leadership may be prepared to design policies to save the Bhutanese race and encourage population growth. A huge relief. 

4. The dreams still in dream land. 

a) The one unrealised dream is Bhutan taking a proactive role in our foreign policy. A hope I had even submitted to HM the Third King in 1970 when I was then a High School student. I guess someday like a good seed thrown in the wilderness, that dream too will be visualised in a very substantive manner. Presently the nation operates under the armpit of India. But I plough on promoting the dream. 

b. The other dream is that we Bhutanese make genuine sacrifice for maintaining our identity as a sovereign nation, celebrate our success, correct our failures and even take self pride to organise our own National Day celebration.  Why make a mockery of our national aspiration and ourselves as masses or as individuals by Indianizing our Root Culture Agency ( RAPA )  and Bhutan National Day in 2019?  Or in 2008  shivering in frightful frustration  when cooking gas quota was withheld. Be Bhutanese whether able or not because our independent entity is crucial to preseving sovereignty. 

c. The ultimate dream is that both common man on the street and leaders holding  the rein of governance endeavour to transform the one nation one people under one King from glib words and loud slogans to actual deeds of closing differences between regions and races. There is much to be desired in this national unity approach. 

May Palden Drukpa Deities hold firm and bless our national path. 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Humble thoughts about The National Day Royal Address of 17th December, 2019.

1. A 21st centuary economic roadmap. ( Vision 2020 expires this year ).

2. Preparing for the challenges ahead especially the technological advancements with proper realisations reflected in matters of policies and legislative responses. 

3. The one year mandatory National Service " GyalSuung". 

Let me leave the first two points for another day. Here it is suffice to state that  if Bhutanese leadership is really genuinely heart to heart concerned  and not superficially into appearance forsake then open the national door more wide. Take a real leap into the broader world outside the narrow confines of donor dependant and India only true friend 60 years policy. Bhutan is now sliding backward with the same saturated policy. The future is bleak and no amount of mind conditoning exercises can overcome the challenges facing Bhutan. 

Regardring the 3rd point the National Service " GyalSuung ". 

GyalSunng seems to be an extension of several decades back National Service period for all college graduates. It was a 3 months service for all graduates and later it was 6 months national service after RCSC selection. But GyalSuung seems to be more formalised and targetting the youth at their entry into voting age. The former national service was more to do with introducing rural Bhutan to graduates entering national employment. The GyalSuung is more martial in nature about soldering and essential skill development to enhance livelihood opportunities. And it is mandatory. 

I do not see much irritants with the mandatory nature of GyalSuung. Afterall DeSuung programme is very popular and never short of candidates though not declared mandatory.  The disaster I see is in the enforced one year across the board brake on general essential progress of all youths beginning from 2022 in the field of higher learning. 

I think it is possible for those planning the GyalSuung programme to accomplish the objectives of royal vision without totally disrupting normal flow of life and imperatives of life related progressive advancement like college studies both professional and general degree course. Is it absolutely necessary to cut away one year from life of youths just to implement GyalSuung ? Could the one year programme be bifurcated into two sessions of 6 months each. Six months after class xii ( immediately after Class xii exams and before college academic year begins )  and 6 months after college graduation ( immediately after graduate exams and before RCSC PE ). Such an adjustment could achieve the objectives of Royal vision and not cost the youth one precious year of their study life. GyalSuung experience would be life enhancing naturally but how much more sensibly beneficial  if the price of undergoing the programme can be made less costly to the life of a youth with higher study opportunities. For others, it could be a continuous one year programme. 

We often emphasis on youth education and youths as the future hope of Druk Yul. Yet we declare un-hesitantly one year bann on further studies for all youths from 2022. What if Thimphu Thromde declared a moratorium of one year to water supply so that the whole water supply line system could be over hauled and after one year resume supplies. 

GyalSuung is part of but not at all the whole of overall  progressive life long education. GyalSuung should not be implemented in the nature of national calamity or war like situation where all else are reduced to secondary status. 

Great Visions bear beneficial fruit when sensitivities to other essentialities of life and national progress in varying fields are taken into considerations. Look back to what irreparable damage was caused to the overall national status by the blind fury of birth control and small family goal that was pursued few decades back. At that time, I did state that the royal drive to implmement birth control would ultimately reduce Drukpas to rare zoo species. 

A lone voice of common man cannot change the tide. But still I say GyalSuung is not worth the one year wedge in the path of regular higher studies of all our youths. The sacrifice called for is at national calamity level whilst the benefit is much at abstract level.