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Showing posts from 2011

A single account for all BOB branches with 2012

What a wonderful way to begin yet another year! Unlike in the past, you can now do all transactions with a single BOB account from any branches in the country. Earlier the bank charged its customers half of TT charges when you deposit or withdraw money from branches where you do not have accounts. (TT charge: Nu. 2.5 for every Nu. 100,000/-, minimum being Nu.20/-)
For example, you have an account in BOB Lhuentse Branch. But you are here in Thimphu and you need some money. So, you go to BOB Thimphu Branch to withdraw some money from your account maintained at Lhuentse Branch. Until now you are liable to pay some charge. But come January 2012, the bank plans to do away with the charges. This is wonderful thing for the customers and would truly benefit Bhutanese who maintain accounts in the country’s biggest and oldest financial institution - Bank of Bhutan!
There would be a substantial income loss with the doing away of the charge, but it is definitely for the good and benefit of the …

For Quicker Financial Services

Another development in 2011 that we can be proud of is in the field of delivering financial services to the public.  Now if you have one ATM card, you can withdraw cash from any Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) of any banks in the country. This means you need not at all have to bear the burden and hassle of carrying cash in your hemchu. Thanks to Bhutan Financial Switch (BFS), which RMA installed in December 2011. 
This would go a long way in promoting a cashless society and at the same time, Bhutanese now have the financial convenience, which was limited in the past. And with the introduction of ATMs customers no more had to wait in line in the crowded branch offices to withdraw money.  
But when more and more people possessed ATM cards, more and more people came in flocks and slowly, lines started to form around ATMs. People started to complain. But now if many customers are lined up to do the transaction, then you can move on to another ATM in the vicinity and save your time.  And …

Parental Preaching

Being parent has been one fulfilling experience and I am sure all parents agree with me.

But sometimes I don’t understand how parents become so irresponsible that they neglect their children. And I have also often heard men talk of leaving everything related to kids to their wives. 
That's not right. As parents, I feel both the husband and wife are equally responsible to their children, well, that’s if we love our children. 
Love our children, we all do. Right? Children are often born out of love and affection. And I could control my anger and resentment when I saw the poster that portrayed most men as unfeeling creatures. Those men helping their wives are laughed at.
It is a shame that fathers need such moral preaching.

Please meet my Grandma

"My grandmother, like everybody's grandmother,  was an old woman," writes my favorite author Khuswant Singh. Of course that's a crude way of describing one's grandmother, but I am sure he meant it well when he wrote that line. I find it so funny and can't get over with the expression.
My grandmother is 87-year young (I borrow the term from Bhutan Youth). She is blessed with a long and happy life. She gave birth to a dozen children of which only eight have survived. 
She is a living example of love, compassion and generosity and was loved all back in her village. Always willing to help others, her neighbors remember her for exemplary kindness. As a grandson, I might lie to you, but there are people who know this is the truth. It is comforting to know that she is here with us and still going strong although she complains of a series of body aches and numerous pains. It pains me so much to hear her talk of such pains in her frail body. But I realized that'…

When Dawa Dema went missing

Last night she went missing. This made me restless. I could not imagine her being in the streets when it is very cold outside. The thing about winter in this border town is that it gets deep into your bone and you have so much pain afterward. I did not want her to be out in the dark at that hour when no one was on the road. I worried that she might get trampled over by the speeding trucks.

The realization that I have lost her forever made me cry. And I cried my heart out. Just as she came I lost her, I repented. I might have behaved rude with her sometimes but I have always taken good care of her. When she refused to eat anything last time, I panicked and became restless. She would not even feed on milk.

But losing her forever was something I never expected. I was broken hearted. Crying didn’t help me. When sleep finally overtook me, I dreamed terrible, illogical dreams, which I often dreamed when I was under so much stress. I thought it was only natural.

And this morning I woke up ea…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…

Welcome to Phuentsholing this winter

Suddenly, Phuentsholing is become a noisy city filled with people from different regions of the country - all with one big purpose - to attend a two-month Wang-lung-thri ceremony from His Holiness the Kyabje Namkhai Nyingpo Rimpochhe. Thanks to His Holiness, this sleeping border town would stay awake this winter and get blessed.
Starting this week, people started pouring in and this afternoon, we realized it was even difficult to walk in the streets without bumping into someone. The dust would be once again regular feature of this city. But I am sure, businessmen on both the sides of the Phuentsholing Gate must be dreaming big. I would not be surprised if 30,000 to 50,000 people gather for this holy occasion. After all an event of this sort would happen only once in many years. The actual event kicks off from December 2, 2011. 
Many people are putting up different types of stalls ranging from food to garments. And this winter the roar of Amochu (Toorsa) would be even louder. 
The followi…

Lack of communication - an Update

Today there is another announcement in Kuensel. It was of course from MoIC. The written exam, which they announced to be conducted on November 30 now stands postponed. The ministry, I was told, called all the shortlisted candidates asking them to be there in Thimphu. Many I assume must have rushed to the capital yesterday. But now, it is cancelled? How did that happen? If deadlines can be as flexible as that then one would not miss so many opportunities in life!  
Do you smell something here? Maybe some powerful people's relatives could not be in Thimphu in time to attend the interview. This may not be true, but it appears like that now. 
Right or wrong, anyone has the right to assumptions until the real truth is out.  By the way, the ministry's website  isn't updated even when this cancellation of examination is announced in the media.  





Lack of communication in the Information and Communications Ministry

On November 9, 2011, MoIC announced availability of a number of vacancies in the Department of Civil Aviation to be placed in the country's four airports. The last date for the submission of application was November 25, 2011. The ministry announced the names of the shortlisted candidates only on 29th November 2011 Kuensel issue and not on 28th as informed earlier.
A friend of mine frantically opened the ministry's website to scan the list to see if her sister was shortlisted. But lo, the website did not have any information about it, whatsoever. She again confirmed if her friend in Thimphu, if what he said was correct. Yes, there was an announcement in Kuensel. 
The website is still silent on the announcement. 
And my friend then called some people in the ministry to confirm if shortlist was out. Then she checked her e-Kuensel, which did not have any information about the shortlist. It was only available in Kuensel hard copy, they said. Another friend had to fax the shortlist fro…

On the Road to Education

Every evening, I find my neighbor waiting outside the apartment for her two children from their evening tuition. And my neighbor has been doing that as long as I can remember. As a young parent myself I can understand how concerned she is of her children. It is jungle out there. Any rushing cars can make our children no more. Doing well and performing exceptionally beyond what is expected is becoming a trend in Bhutan today. Time was different when we were students.

By the way tuition is illegal in Bhutan. That’s the way it is here. Many things are illegal and yet we see them everywhere. Only this afternoon, we passively smoked in a restaurant – that lady, I think she was unaware of the fact that one is prohibited of smoking in a public place. She did it just before our eyes and so proudly too.
Anyway, you see tuition is illegal in Bhutan. And I am really encouraged by the reason our authorities give to defend their decision on the prohibition of tuitions in the country. They think tha…

Chewing money and rising inflation

The recent issue of K2 covered almost everything that you need to know on the custom and trend of chewing doma in Bhutan. The articles familiarize its readers starting from how doma, paney and tsuni are prepared to wrapping trend to the hazards it poses on the chewers to what doctors are saying about the habit to what doma-khamdo is known in English, etc. And pictures captivate the essence of the stories in full.


I have always admired the team behind that magazine and one of my uncles buys only the weekend edition of Kuensel for the same reason. K2 has already carved a niche market and the fact that it has its mother to accompany makes it more successful. But sometimes I become uneasy with the expression “K2 comes free with the Saturday edition of Kuensel”. On the other days the newspaper sells for Nu. 5 while on Saturday they charge us Nu.10/- (Nu. 5 is for the free K2 Magazine, I tell my wife).
But, good job K2 and congratulations to the team behind this wonderful magazine! I hope the…

What is in the name - yet again?

A few years ago, Nidup Dorji started with Bhutan’s maiden reality show Bhutan Star, which was apparently inspired by Indian Idol. But the organizer could not continue the show in the following year. A few years later, Kencho Wangdi launched his own version of the reality show and called it Druk Star. It displeased Nidup Dorji. He thought it was copyright violation or whatever the authorities termed it later on in the drama.

And then the court case ensued. That’s what we were told although we were not sure what happened at the end.

One of my favorite shows on BBS recently happens to be Nazhoen Express. Sangay Chophel and his team did an excellent job. It was a wonderful show and the producers should be really proud of the unique show they gave Bhutanese audience at least once in so many years. They gave us something new, something that’s truly our own.

The show presents what we have seen and heard and experienced all our life and yet as we watch the show with rapt attention, we feel li…

Model Leaders for the 21st Century World

What a memorable moment that was! And the whole nation is still in the celebratory mood. People everywhere undergo what I call a Royal Wedding hangover for the sheer longing for an extended duration so that the celebration befits the people’s king and the Queen and the joy of the Bhutanese people. But the fact that we were all part of this historic and auspicious national event is truly worth writing pages and pages about. I will always remember the day when the whole nation came together to celebrate the important event.   The Royal Wedding assumes an additional meaning to me. It was the occasion, which made my four-generation-family (my 87-year-old grandmother, my mother, me and my one-year old daughter) witness to this historic event. Of course the importance and sanctity of that auspicious occasion can never be overstated. It was truly one national event that unified and brought all Bhutanese far and wide together in the true spirit of brotherhood and evoked patriotic feelings in al…

Happy Royal Wedding, my King and the Queen!

Every time I behold His Majesty shake hands with people from all walks of life on the national television and hold the hands of old people, who shed tears of happiness not being able to contain the joy on meeting their king, a large lump forms in my throat. It happens every time I am shown that scene. And I find that I am unable to control my tears. This is when I know how His Majesty feels towards his subjects. This is also when I understand how much our old citizens love and revere their young king. And getting to shake my humble hands with that of his Majesty’s was truly a blessing in disguise. I will never forget my convocation.
Talking of convocation, unlike in the past this year it was to be held in Thimphu according to the announcement made by Royal University of Bhutan. There were resentment from all graduates, but there was nothing much we could actually do. We wanted the day to be as real as it can get and for that we wanted to go to the actual setting and make it seem as if …

In preparation for the BIG Day

If you somehow happen to be visiting Phuentsholing or permanently residing here, you won’t regret your being in this gradually turning dusty border town especially when the nation comes together to celebrate the Royal Wedding. The big event would unfold in Pungthang Dewa Chenpoi Phodrang and Changlingmithang national stadium, but to commemorate the auspicious occasion, the big names in Bhutan’s music industry will be here shouting their lungs out during the Royal Wedding.
On 13th October you will witness Bloywood singers and other bands entertaining the crowd while for the remaining two days, our eyes and ears would be treated with the melodious and haunting voices of Minzung Lhamo, Namgay Jigs, Ugyen (Mayako), Dechen Zangmo, Jampel Yangzom among many other well known singsers.

If you aren’t in Thimphu or Punakha, come visit us in Phuentsholing and relieve your senses. There will be all sorts of food stalls and sales. However, if you love gambling and alcohol, you will be disappointed.…

Investing in Sports Infrastructures

Days are gradually getting shorter nowadays and the paddy fields are slowly yellowing in our villages like the autumn sun itself. For farmers this is the time to harvest their hard work for having toiled both in the rain and shine the whole summer long. But here in the heart of Phuentsholing town, there is nothing to harvest although the whole summer our footballers seemed to have prepared the new football field for paddy transplantation.
Phuentsholing Sports Association (PSA) has invested a lot of effort in trying to turn the old ground into a new and standard football stadium; of course with the funding from the outside. It is nowhere near Changlingmithang national stadium, we know. But for a smaller town like Phuentsholing, the new stadium is all that we could possibly ask for. It came as a blessing for the football enthusiasts in the town. The new stadium (which does not appear to be now) took more than a couple years to be fully built and then the grasses to grow. And as the grou…

The hallmarks of our nationhood

In 2009 The Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS) organized a three-day National Storytelling Conference. Scholars from home and abroad presented papers on the importance of folk culture. They pointed out the need to revive our rich oral tradition. Hundreds attended the program and it was truly one big national event. People from different regions were invited to narrate folktales in their own dialects. That conference was praiseworthy. It aimed at creating deeper understanding and appreciation of our oral tradition and similar traditions elsewhere.
“Walls of rural Bhutanese houses may have once echoed and re-echoed with folktales narrations but frequency of narrations today is becoming ever fainter and lesser,” writes Dorji Penjore, one of Bhutan’s foremost folklorists. “There is a huge gap between original folktale reservoir and what could be narrated today. A Bhutanese folklorist would be disappointed by number of narrators and folktales surviving in the villages.”
According to him Bhutane…

Promoting our Creativity

The role of our national language or any other national language for that matter is to bring citizens of a nation together as one big family– one big family that communicates in one common unifying language. Language is the carrier of a particular culture. But in essence, the purpose of having a language in the first place is to provide for a medium of communication for a particular locality. And of course culture aspects follow thereafter.
Some agreed and as expected some disagreed. There were workshops where experts congregated to talk about it and scholars debated on it. But everyone agreed our national language needs to be promoted in an era which is mostly dominated by English. Our effort to simplify Dzongkha have raised concerns amongst our scholars and rightly so. However, we must appreciate the fact something is being carried out for the promotion of our national language.
Many students consider Dzongkha a tough subject. For many an urban student, being able to meet the required…
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