Skip to main content

A tsunami of some sort

The recent tsunami in Japan that claimed more than 12,000 lives and many reported to be still missing, was a true testimony of how nature can bring in total destruction and create human mayhem. Thousands are rendered homeless. March 11, 2011 will remain forever etched in our hearts and minds. As we watch the devastating scenes helplessly, it is a strong reminder to us how impermanent our lives can get.
On behalf of my fellow Bhutanese citizens and on mine own, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my condolences to the friendly people of Japan. We hope and pray that the families and loved ones of the tsunami victims find needed courage and strength to move on. We send our prayers and good wishes to the brave people of the “land of the rising sun”. The monstrous earthquake and the consequent tsunami showed us how even a highly well prepared and equipped country still becomes vulnerable to natural destruction and consequent chaos.


But sometimes watching the flashing scenes of havoc brought about by such natural forces, I am made to wonder whether we would ever be prepared if the destruction of such magnitude affects us on this tiny nation. We are very lucky that we have not yet faced a serious natural calamity the likes of a tsunami. And we may not have the imminent threat. We may not be prone to tsunamis, but there are serious and some pressing issues, which confront us today.

Today more and more youths are thrown in the job market looking for jobs that are nearly non-existent. And I am sure the trend would only continue with the increasing number of schools and increased number of students passing the secondary school education and colleges home and abroad. This in turn would bring about increased number of jobless youth. As you read this, how many youths are looking for jobs? What does our unemployment rate tell us about the real unemployment scenario in Bhutan? As the number of job seekers increases, how do we make less and less people hunt for jobs in the market? These are questions of the day.


Numbers and figures do not make sense. At least in this case! In the first place, I feel uncomfortable with surveys and the data thus obtained. In a recent showdown, a corporation received more than nine hundred applications for sixteen temporary slots advertised. So, if only 16 are selected, it means more than 880 candidates would still have to look for jobs, which means only about 1.78% of those candidates would be  recruited. This was only high school graduates we are talking about. And let’s assume some have not heard the vacancies being advertised. Some may not have been able to apply at all. We would definitely have more people applying. We are not talking about unemployed university graduates. Are we prepared for this? Can the government be in a position to create jobs for everyone? Certainly, we don’t find solutions in closing down drayangs. Unemployment rate would only increase, let’s all agree – that’s a pure logic. There is no point in painting a rosy picture. 


Every year we lose hundreds and thousands of acres of forest to the forces of fire. Our sacred Constitution guarantees 60% forest coverage at all times, but if we continue to lose them to fires, year by year, would we be in a position to keep our promise to the future generations? Even as I write this piece, somewhere a strong fire is razing mountain bare. Are we learning new lessons from every new forest fire? Or do we simply forget the hazards once a fire is put out? Do we need to be extra careful?


Is there a need to educate our rural folk? After all it is our farmers and their sons and daughters who live in close proximity to the major portion of Bhutan’s pristine forest. Maybe it is time that we carry out some campaigns in the locality and bring about awareness amongst our rural folks. If the rumors of farmers, who intentionally set forest afire for the growth of lemon grasses, have any truth, these people should be taught a lesson. Authorities should investigate the matter and bring people to justice. While it makes sense to make an efficient use of available natural resources, fire burning the precious resources is a sheer waste.     


And I think for a small country like ours, these issues are as disastrous and destructive as the hungry tsunamis. Perhaps it is time that we do not hide or reduce unemployment rate to a minimal figure, but rather create conditions whereby unemployed youths find jobs. Perhaps it is time that we acknowledge the private sector’s role in the job creation and encourage many more to follow. Maybe it is time that we take some strong measures to curb forest fire and reduce destructions. Maybe it is time that we start planting more tress and educate our farmers. Let’s discourage any act that alienates our farmers from forest.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We killed our Golden Goose

One of our most significant events this year is that of Bhutan’s exporting of eggs to India. A few years ago, we were importing them – in truckloads. This goes to show that we have the potential to grow and progress as a country, provided we put in a little more effort and work harder. Did you know, Bhutan today has 422,648 hens and produces 251,678 eggs a day? 
In July 2016, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India reasoning that the laboratory tests conducted confirmed presence of pesticides. And right there was our opportunity to grow on our own. The news was like winning a lottery and it sure was a boon to many a Bhutanese chili growers, as they now had ready market san competition from cheap chilies from across the border.

Then came the ‘off season’. That is when the price of chilies unreasonably shot up as high as Nu. 300-400 per kg. It was unreasonable and daylight robbery, many people protested. And then people took to the …

Can we build energy-efficient houses?

Before we know it, it is winter again! Almost! 
And like all winters this winter will be unforgivingly cold. Of course, some people think winter cold is far less severe than the extreme summer heat the likes of which you experience in Phuentsholing or Gelephu. The reason they give is that while you can dress in cool and warm clothes in winter to beat the cold, the summer heat has almost no solution. Being naked does not help. Fair argument, I must say, but some people who can afford air conditioners in their homes might argue that the answer to the summer heat is in installing the equipment. 
But I think the answers to both the extreme summer heat and unbearable winter cold rest with the energy efficiency of the buildings we live in. 
Rooms in some of our apartments are unusually tall that in order to change a fused electric bulb requires you to literally climb onto two or three tall tables stacked onto each other. It takes three to four solid men or women to hold these tables in place; …

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…
01 09 10