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Bloggers are not journalists

To say bloggers are not journalists is to say oranges are not carrots. Bloggers are not journalists. That’s true. But can bloggers become journalists? Maybe. Can journalists be bloggers? Yes. In fact, it would be only proper and appropriate for journalists to blog their opinions as opposed to being 'politically' correct all the time. So why call oranges carrots when they are what they are?
Well, it is true – bloggers have no training in journalism. That’s why they are bloggers. And for the same reason they are  not journalists. No bloggers have ever claimed what they blog can qualify as ‘journalism’.  We all do what we love the most and give our best in whatever we are doing either reporting news or blogging. 

Journalists do it as careers. Bloggers do it (mostly) for hobby and out of passion. Most journalists also do it with great passion - that's true. The journalists get paid for doing their jobs while bloggers derive pleasure doing it. Journalists cover (report) stories eve…
Recent posts

An appreciation exercise

We have great appreciation and deep respect for those people who make it do with bare minimum. But wouldn't it be interesting to find out if we can really do it with something as minimal as what we pay as daily national wage? Right now that's Nu.125. 
I am sure something like this would have been tried elsewhere in the world, but we need to have an established experiment closer to home to authenticate it as our own. I have been thinking about this exercise for a long time now. Of course, if there are more Bhutanese bloggers willing to brave this you are most welcome in the team.  
The survival exercise, if it goes well as conceived, is to see if we could work and feed ourselves in a place like Thimphu. I know all of us are doing that right now. But this exercise is bit different. The idea is to be completely homeless and start from scratch. All you take is some clothes and the team members survive on how much they earn and work for. But not more than the daily minimum wage. 
Once…

So what is the secret?

Cost of living in Thimphu is extremely high. No doubt about that. How do we ascertain it? When mid-level office-goers find it difficult to survive. But then it makes me wonder how those people who live on the daily national minimum wage of Nu. 125/day make their ends meet. Is this a serious mismatch between what we spend and earn? 
Looks like, some of us need to meet these people and benefit from their knowledge of survival. Maybe that way some of us can even save a few hundreds. If these people can very well manage their families and exactly match their expenses with the incomes that they earn, why do we need to go far for MBAs while we can do that right here on our doorstep? 
Of course, MBA is your qualification and does not necessarily reflect in the way you manage your everyday family affairs. 

Being greedy and not eating enough is different from making ends meet and also being in a position to save some for bad weather days. I certainly marvel at the people who live on 100 plus ngul…

For 24/7 Water Supply

Every day we hear people complaining how they face water shortage in their locality. And for a small city like Thimphu, some people feel that our pipes should never run out of the water. While we can tolerate shortcoming sometimes, we should never have a situation wherein we are always after water. 
So what does it take to have water supply 24/7? I think this can be achieved only if we are good at managing it. In some places in Olakha and Babesa since the supply by the Municipality is inadequate, private landlords have installed their own pipes to ensure a steady supply to the tenants residing in their buildings. Because having to depend on Thromde’s supply is to have a set of highly frustrated tenants, who will soon move to the next building with better water supply. That’s why our landlords are only being wise. 
Now Thromde feels that these privately installed pipes need to go. Where were they when these private individuals were digging out and burying their pipes? How can they be i…

How long and tall will our trees stand?

Most of our rural villages now have electricity. Chiwogs under Shingkhar Gewog in Zhemgang Dzongkhag finally got theirs on November 11, 2015, coinciding with the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. 
It was the biggest gift of the century for the farmers in this part of the Kingdom. 
Although power outage is more frequent than wild boar visiting their farmlands, villagers have nothing but gratitude to the government for lighting their homes. But the biggest impact of electrification is on our environment. Pressures on our forest have significantly dropped now that farmers no more need to cut down trees for firewood. And also the need to burn kerosene fuel to light a home is next to nil. I am sure smokes from kerosene is harmful to people’s health.
Thanks to electricity, today not many people use wood-fed mud-stoves. They are now concerned more of how and where they would refill their LPG cylinders. It is a lifesaver, especially in summe…

Fluttering solution to our prayer-flag dilemma

Back in those days when trees were aplenty and permission to cut them down was not required (this was at least so in rural Bhutan), people would normally erect 108 prayer flags in the name of a dead person. Erecting prayer flags is believed to deliver the dead person's soul from the state of Bardo.
And still to this day most people insist on wooden poles. This comes at a time when we face difficulties in conserving our forest and keeping our constitutional promise to the future generation. But again the issue concerning the dead is a sensitive one that requires utmost care. On one hand, we need to respect the sentiments of those bereaved family members and on the other, it is important to protect our forest.
Realizing this, a few years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF) encouraged people to use bamboo poles instead as they are stronger and more durable. The same poles, unlike their wooden cousins, can be reused multiple times. This was a perfect substitute and the wh…

Seeing and experiencing REAL Bhutan

Yes, we have deep respects for those tourists, who visit places and observe real festivals with the natives and enjoy them to the fullest. Such foreigners will get more out of Bhutan and their visits. In my opinion, most tourists would like to see something like that and experience real Bhutan and not the one that’s artificially created for them. They would like to spend some time interacting with our farmers. 
Our people need to maintain clean rooms and cook hygienic food. Such skills can be provided to the people in the rural villages. If only that happens we see the benefit of tourism being shared with all. Because right now only those who own big restaurants in urban centers and those who own major tour companies are the ultimate beneficiaries. That way we will have rich people getting richer while the poor will remain more or less mere spectator of this ever happening tourism sector.  We need to think of new tourist destinations. For now, almost every tour company sells almost th…

Going Beyond Elections

Women empowerment is a recent phenomenon in Bhutan. And unfortunately, many of us today have narrowed it down to having more women contest elections. Although it is true that empowered women are more likely to take part in the elections, empowering women is more than that. 
Because elections can have only so much women; at the most, we are talking about 72 women getting elected as members of the parliaments, 205 gupsmangmi and some 1,000 plus women tshogpas. But what about the others, who are not part of the process? 
It is important that we invest in educating our women and girls. Our NGO, READ Bhutan, believes education is the most critical component of women empowerment. So, all our efforts are targeted at providing opportunities for women to learn and educate them on all spheres of life. Possessing literacy skills is another element especially if someone is contesting elections in Bhutan. In Bhutan, aspiring candidates have to pass Functional Literacy Tests (FLT) to stand as cand…

Towards Thimphu Declaration

Coinciding with the International Women's Day 2017 (March 8), Bhutan hosted a three-day National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics with a Regional dimension at Terma Linca Resort in Thimphu. It was the second conference to be organized in Bhutan; the first one was conducted in April 2014. 
The conference was organized jointly by National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) with funding support from DPID, International IDEA, and others. The conference was attended by delegates from Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan.
One of the most important outcomes of the conference was drafting of Thimphu Declaration, which aims to have at least 30% women candidates fielded by the political parties in the upcoming 2018 elections and increase the number of elected women leaders by 30% using fast track measures. It also envisions increasing women executives in the civil and public service by 25%. 
It is true that qualified and empo…

A Vibrant Village

What is a vibrant village? What does it take to create one? Can a village vibrancy prevent and curb rural-urban migration?
A village is vibrant when it has happy and content people. A village is vibrant where content people help each other. A vibrant village is where everyone is involved in or concerned with building a strong community. Such a village is connected with a well-maintained road that provides farmers with access to the outside world. 
A vibrant village grows its food and has no need to import anything from outside. Such a village booms with economic activities and here farmers look beyond subsistence farming. That is not to inject greed; it is rather, to encourage hard-working people to work harder. These farmers have at their service useful and modern farming tools to ease their work on the farms. In a vibrant village, farmers have the right to harvest their crops without having to share them with wild animals. 
A vibrant village has adequate and modern day facilities. Ele…