Sunday, January 26, 2020

Waste management awareness onboard public buses

On the morning of 28th December 2019, I was pleasantly surprised when the driver of the bus I was travelling in from Thimphu to Phuentsholing played the onboard announcement that requested the passengers to take care of their own wastes during the journey. The public announcement which was recorded in three languages: Dzongkha, Sharchhop and Lhotshamkha talked about the importance of maintaining pristine environment and advised the passengers to make use of the garbage bin that was placed on the aisle. We were warned that we may be subject to penalties as per the relevant laws and policies if we are ever caught throwing our wastes outside the designated areas.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Happy New Year 2020

Poster of Happy New Year 2020. Image source: freepik.com

As the year 2019 draws to an end, it is time for us to once again revisit the path we have walked with our friends and families over the past 12 months and cherish the beautiful memories we have created together. This is the time to look back at the footprints we have left behind and pick up the lessons we have learned from our mistakes so that we don’t miss a step and trip off into the same pitfalls as we move forward. We should be grateful for the blessings that have helped us survive so many challenges during the journey and reach where we are today. Not all who had started this year’s journey with us have been lucky enough to make it through the darkest tunnels of life. We have lost some of our friends and loved ones on the way. Let us remember them in our prayers as we stand at this juncture of time breeding new hopes and dreams for the coming year.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Relishing memories from the 112th National Day celebration in Thimphu

Photo of His Majesty the King about to address the 112th National Day event at Changlemithang, Thimphu. Image courtesy: Facebook

As the people of Bhutan came together to celebrate the 112th National Day on 17th December 2019, the atmosphere in Changlemithang stadium in Thimphu was filled with the glory of our past. Thousands of people had dared the freezing temperatures of the winter night to be at the stadium for the event as early as 01:00 in the morning. As the sun rose up in the horizon, the valleys below began to brim with life and music. The beautiful tapestry of people in uniform, Desuups and scouts marching to the sweet melody of our national song: Gawa Dugo Kiba Dugo and the spectacular display of our national flag in the air added so much color to the event. As the helicopter flew over the valley carrying our national flag behind it, I prayed in silence for my country to be blest with peace and harmony forever.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The biggest disability lies in the mind, not in the body

When I first became blind, I felt as though I was shoved into a tiny cocoon, totally cut off from the rest of the society. The thought of having to live in the dark for the rest of my life haunted me deeply and shattered my dreams. I was alone, pressed on all sides by the weight of the tragedy. The love and sympathy I was showered by people at the time did not make me feel any better. I wished to be left alone. I wished to remain in my own cocoon, far from the hues and cries of human civilization. But as I spent days and nights in tears, trying to re-adjust myself in my tiny world, I realized that life has to move on with time. The journey of my life had just begun and I knew that sitting back and crying wouldn’t get me any farther. It was this realization that gave me the strength to pick up the broken pieces of my life and continue my journey. It took months and even years for me to completely break the walls of my cocoon and re-emerge in the society.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Integrity and honesty: the greatest virtues of mankind

A woman was walking home from office one late evening when she suddenly thought of buying a chicken for dinner. She walked to a meat-shop and asked the man at the counter if there was any chicken left for the day. The man went to the refrigerator and pulled out the only chicken he had. The woman watched as he placed it on the weighing scale. It weighed 1.5 KG. “Do you have another one slightly bigger than this?” the woman enquired. The man took the chicken, put it back into the refrigerator, groped around as though looking for another one and took out the same chicken. While weighing it, he gently pressed it with his thumb and this time, it weighed 2 KG. “Perfect!” said the woman. “I want to take both. Can you pack them up for me?”.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Integrating spirituality into everyday life

Photo of myself standing in front of a stupa in Paro

When we are in prayer, we are a perfect human being, so kind and compassionate towards everybody around us. We feel the pain of all other sentient beings in the universe and wish them to be liberated from this world of suffering forever. It is during a prayer that we become aware of our vices and seek forgiveness for the sins we have committed in life. For a moment, we reach the state of enlightenment, where we overcome our negative thoughts and get closest to the true nature of our mind. If we can maintain this state of mind throughout our life, we can be the most perfect human being on Earth. But sadly, the kind of person we portray ourselves to be during a prayer ceases to exist once we walk out of the prayer room. For the rest of the day, we continue to live like a monster with thoughts and actions discolored by anger, jealousy, greed, ego and other negative emotions.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A tribute to His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan on his 64th birthday

Photo of His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan. Image courtesy: Kelly Dorji's Facebook page

On this very day 64 years ago, we were blest with a Dragon prince whose extraordinary leadership qualities and wisdom would transform our lives and strengthen our foundation during his thirty-four years of kingship. Since the day he ascended the Golden Throne in June 1974 as the fourth hereditary monarch of Bhutan, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck took upon himself the sacred responsibility of defending, guarding and protecting our liberty and freedom. He showed through his own example how we should reach out into the future without forgetting our past. It was through his wisdom that we learned how to embrace modern socio-economic developments with values, without exploiting our rich culture and pristine natural environment. As we are celebrating his 64th birth anniversary today, I want to dive back into the past and cherish those special moments I personally had with my beloved king during my school days.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pushing boundaries to organize life at home

We all know that family plays a vital role in shaping the behavior of children. Since we are not born knowing how to behave in the society, we have to learn most of our behaviors from the environment around us. For children, learning comes in many forms. Sometimes, they learn by being directly told what is right and what is wrong. But most commonly, they learn through the observation of everyday life at home. In fact, the best part of education starts with family. Children start inheriting moral and ethical values from their parents and grandparents even before they go to school. It is for this reason that as parents, we have to be good role models.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Key messages conveyed during the observation of International White Cane Safety Day 2019

Group photo of visually impaired persons in Thimphu participating in a public awareness walk

As a visually impaired person, I have realized that one of the biggest challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Bhutan today is the lack of accessibility. The public infrastructures such as banks, hospitals, shopping complexes and other public offices are not as accessible and inclusive as they should be. Besides, the public spaces are also not safe enough for us to walk independently. The open drains without covers or fences, high sidewalks without guardrails, steep staircases without handrails and uneven footpaths/stairs are some of the barriers that continue to pose a danger to our safety in the towns. Yet nobody seems to be concerned. On the roads, the situation is worse for us. The motorists hardly care to slow down or stop their cars to let pedestrians with disabilities to walk across. If we don’t try to break these barriers today, the community of persons with disabilities will continue to remain behind the wall, disconnected from the mainstream society. This was the key message I and my visually impaired friends conveyed during the observation of International White Cane Safety Day in Thimphu on 15th October 2019.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Swimming Pool Junction on Doebum Lam highway in Thimphu should probably have speed-breakers to reduce chances for frequent accidents at the intersection

Since the day the 4-lane Doebum Lam highway in Thimphu was opened to traffic in 2008, the intersection at the Swimming Pool junction has seen numerous accidents over the years. The ever increasing traffic congestion coupled with reckless driving has made this part of the highway one of the most dangerous traffic hotspots in Thimphu. Despite stringent traffic rules and regulations in place, we still continue to see so many crazy drivers on the road.