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:

Monday, August 19, 2019

From knees to the wheelchair: a story of pain and struggle

Photo of Rinchen Dorji, a physically challenged student of Khasadrapchu MSS

Life is a choice. How we live it depends on our ability to accept who we are and find peace within ourselves. When we have a disability, it does not mean that we don’t deserve to live. We all have disabilities. The only difference is that some are visible and some are not. As we all know, life does not treat everybody alike. It often throws lemons at you and if you can’t make lemonade out of them, it is said that you will have to go through the sour taste of time forever. A positive mind, charged with optimism and determination, is what takes a person to lift himself up from the pain and find a new purpose in life. It is this positive energy that has transformed the life of Rinchen Dorji, a physically challenged student of Khasadrapchu Middle Secondary School in Thimphu.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

G4B, the smart and intelligent goggles for the blind

In a world where technology is transforming lives everyday, there is another good news for the blind. A young engineering student from Arunachal Pradesh in India has invented goggles that can protect visually impaired people from bumping into taller obstacles on the way. Fitted with sensors, the G4B or Goggles for the Blind is designed to detect obstacles that are higher from the ground within the distance of 2 meters and alert the user through vibrations if he or she gets closer. It is said that the G4B has three sensors: one each on the left, right and at the Center, designed to vibrate as per the position and direction of the obstacle. More interestingly, it is said that the intensity of vibration is determined by the distance between the person and the obstacles ahead of him or her. The closer one gets to the obstacles, the stronger the vibration becomes. It uses echo-location, similar to the navigation mechanism used by bats. If this technology comes to the market, I think it can make life much easier for the visually impaired population as a whole.