Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reaching out to youth through a smart phone

Photo of me in front of Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, the venue for the workshop

Today I was in Paro with other four colleagues from my office to attend the advocacy program on the use of mPowerYOUth, a mobile application designed to help youth access various services provided by various agencies working for young people in Bhutan. This application has been developed by the Department of Youth and Sports, MoE in collaboration with the G2C Office as part of the government’s efforts to streamline and enhance the public service delivery. With this application in place, it is expected that youth will be able to avail various services just through their mobile phones and hence, their needs and concerns can be taken care of easily.

Friday, June 24, 2016

All Strangers: a typical reflection on urban life

A couple of days ago, I read on Kuensel about how a Bhutanese official working at the Royal Bhutan Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand as Accountant was accidentally electrocuted while attempting to cross over the fence inside the residential area near the Embassy, but until yesterday, I never knew that he was my neighbor living just across the street here in Thimphu. I was shocked when my wife told me this after hearing the news from other neighbors who had gone to attend his cremation yesterday. Although I am not personally familiar with them, my wife knows his wife very well and she told me that she had met her with her daughter just last Sunday in the vegetable market. My wife says his wife is a very frank and friendly person and that she talks to her wherever she meets her. The deceased had left for Bangkok, Thailand in January this year and that his family was planning to join him soon. It seems they had even bought air tickets during this summer vacation to go to see him in Bangkok, but it’s very sad that their dream could not materialize. Life is just like a dream: you won’t know when you would wake up to reality.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Another piece of miracle that probably goes beyond the scope of scientific explanation

Photo of King Cobra. Image courtesy:

Right from my childhood, I have learned from elderly people in the village that some people have the special power to treat snake-bites without requiring the victims to go to hospital. Even my late father used to tell me how he was once bitten by a snake on his finger while fishing in the village river and that he was treated by a fellow-villager simply by chanting some kind of Mantra. It seems he didn’t even have to go to hospital. Nevertheless, I am not able to understand how this process works and even to this day, it is a mystery for me although I have my own sister-in-law in my family who has been treated by such a healer.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Different strategies adopted by miscreants in urban centers today in abid to survive

While we are definitely enjoying the fruit of rapid globalization and socio-economic growth, we are also facing numerous challenges that come hand-in-hand with modern development. As we transition from a traditional society to a fast changing modern Bhutan, social problems such as unemployment, broken families and substance abuse which hardly bothered us until decades ago are now constantly on the rise, and the government is still struggling to deal with them effectively. As a result, many people especially the youth who have been the victims of moving time are seen utterly frustrated. In the absence of means to legally earn a decent living, many people have now even started risking their lives, dignity and human values to find alternative means to survive in the society. It is no surprise that burglary, scams, deceptive practices, cheating and robbery have become so common today. You can be looted through various means at any time anywhere, and one tricky thing about those miscreants is that they can change their strategies according to time and context. The following stories are a reminder that we should be careful wherever we go.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The near-death experiences that might explain the dying process

Death is a dark reality of life every living being is destined to face. No matter what powerful positions we hold or how much luxurious life we enjoy while we live, there is literarily no escape from this ultimate fate. From the beggar to the king, and from an ant to an elephant, we are all bound to die one day regardless of who we are. But I am just wondering if it is possible for the dying person to notice what is happening to him as his stream of consciousness leaves his body. I have heard that many people appear to go through a series of strange experiences as they die, but are those experiences just hallucinations as some people think or is it a normal process of dying? It is difficult to understand the actual process of death but I have learned from my late father that it is definitely the start of a new and unique journey into eternity.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

When I was not able to accept my disability

I was on my way back to school after my winter vacation. In Phuntsholing, we had to come to the bus terminal so early in the morning to catch the bus to Samdrup Jongkhar. During those days, we used to have 1st bus, 2nd bus and so on and I and my late father had got our tickets in the 2nd bus which would leave at around 5:30 am. It used to take more than 12 hours to reach the destination and hence, it was the longest and most tedious journey. So I and my late father checked out of our hotel-room at around 4:30 am in the morning and got to the bus station well ahead of the departure time.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How animals also value their life as much as we value ours

I must have been 7 or 8 years old when I first saw how a pig is killed. It was a bright late morning and the sun was already high up in the horizon. Since I was able to see at that time, I still have the visual memories of the incident. It was our neighbor’s pig and many villagers had gathered at his house as they prepared to slaughter the pig. Many people looked excited to have their share of pork even as the pig was having his last meal which is usually given just before being killed. I was standing not far from where a man armed with a sharp spear was trying to aim right at the heart of the poor creature. Then as the pig was busy munching his food, he shot his spear right through the ribs of the pig and the poor creature collapsed to the ground with long painful shrills and squeals. In the matter of few seconds, the pig was dead and some of the men made fire to burn the pig to remove its hairs. But as they threw the pig into the fire and the smell of burning hairs began to rise up in the air, the pig suddenly woke up and ran into the nearby thickets. The men then ran after the half-burned pig throwing stones and anything they could find on the way. The pig disappeared into the thickets and everybody was worried. But the poor pig was not lucky. The men soon found it trembling in the bush and they finally killed it successfully. This memory still tends to haunt me whenever I think of that incident.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The price children pay for their parents' divorce

Last night, I was browsing through Thimphu Confession Page on Facebook and I was very sad to find so many people sharing their painful experiences of being the innocent victims of domestic violence and broken families. Some of the stories even brought tears to my eyes. I had not realized that the hostility between the separated parents could go even beyond their boundaries to torture their children. I have copied two stories testifying how painful it is to be deprived of the opportunity to grow up with both the parents and siblings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Beware of weight-loss scams

When I was studying in the college in 2004 in India, a friend of mine had found an online commercial advertisement about a product called NutriSlim Powder which claimed to help people lose weight without any hard labor. I knew I was putting on weight and I was wondering how I could shed off those extra fats and stay physically fit. I never dared to remain hungry. So skipping meals was out of the option. I was doing some physical exercises but I was not getting the expected results and that was not giving me enough motivation to keep up my commitment. So when my friend recommended NutriSlim Powder to me, I got excited and wanted to give it a try. After all, its price was only Rs.1100 and with home-delivery service available, I thought it was worth trying once. So I telephoned the Asian Sky Shop at Chennai and placed the order for one packet of Slim Powder. The product reached me in a few days’ time and based on the given instructions, I started taking the product every morning and evening. The sawdust-like powder had to be soaked in water for about twelve hours before drinking. According to the instruction booklet, it claimed to help people lose appetite, burn unnecessary fats and increase the metabolic activities thereby helping the person lose weight in a short period of time. After a few days, I seemed to lose my appetite a bit and felt as though my belly was shrinking. But then it was time to order another packet because I had finished the first packet even before realizing the real effect of the product. So I ordered for the second packet but this time, I deliberately tried to test its effectiveness by eating as much as I could. I wanted to see if I had really lost my appetite but I found out whatever improvement I thought I was seeing after taking the powder was only a psychological feeling. Only then, I realized it was just a weight-loss scam.