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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The brutality of alcohol as seen through the lens of personal experiences

Right from my early childhood, I had seen people heavily drinking and often fighting amongst themselves, but I had never been exposed to the brutality of alcoholism until I was 9 years old. I was in Wangdue Phodrang hospital undergoing treatment for ocular infections when I got familiar with a man on the adjacent bed who was admitted for liver cirrhosis. I heard that doctors and nurses had strongly advised him never to take alcohol again. He was a very outgoing and cheerful man. Whenever his family-members brought him homemade food, he used to share it with me and my father. I can still remember the delicious fish curry and rice he had once shared with me after some of his relatives visited him.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Lessons I have learned from my late father

Photo of my late father

Every year, the month of September transports me back in time and reconnects me with the memories of my late father. September 11 has become one of the darkest days of my life. It was on this day in 2005 when I had to part with my beloved father, the only person I could call my own family. Since then, I have been living in a story that does not have a protagonist. Without him to stand beside me, I had to move on with life alone, often swimming through the turbulence and rough waves on my own. 14 long years have gone by since that fateful day, but I can still feel the vacuum that has been created by his absence in my family. If he were still alive, he would have been 85 today and I am sure he would have been still strong enough to play with his grandchildren and entertain them with bedtime stories and jokes. It is very sad that my children have to live without the memories of their paternal grandparents throughout their life.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Global warming is now becoming a reality

Photo of Wangdue-Tsirang Highway submerged in water in August 2019. Image source: Kuensel

Although Bhutan has more than 70 percent of its land under forest coverage, it is clearly visible how we have been facing the brunt of global warming over the years. The atmosphere is heating up right in front of us. September is supposed to be a comparatively cooler month in Thimphu, but I am still using a fan at times. Until some decades ago, Thimphu used to be one of the coldest places in Bhutan around this time of the year. We used to receive heavy snowfalls by October and November but today, we don’t see such snowfalls even during the peak winter season.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Key highlights from the Hon'ble Prime Minister's keynote address during the celebration of International Youth Day 2019

Photo of Hon'ble Prime Minister delivering his keynote address in DYS auditorium on International Youth Day 2019. Image courtesy: PMO's Facebook page

During the observation of International Youth Day on 12th August 2019, the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Dr. Lotay Tshering made his vision for education loud and clear. Since the theme for the event was “Transforming Education”, the main focus of the day was on how to make our current education system more relevant to the emerging needs of the 21st century. He called on all the relevant agencies to come together and work towards making education more appropriate and relevant for young people so that they would have the knowledge and skills necessary for survival in the globalized world. His keynote address basically revolved around the following issues: