Saturday, May 21, 2011

Historic Moment in Historic Hour

It was on 20 May, 2011. 
Day was auspicious for me in particular since very morning. I was moving to Punakha for the first. Sky was different with light shower, called meto gi chab in Bhutanese style means flowery rain. It is auspicious sign. But I was least sure of what auspicious is going to happen. I only knew the summer session of parliament meeting is going to start. Not more than that!

I am happy because I visited very historic place on that day and i could bath on the meto gi chab. That moment is incredible for me forever.

Photo of Punakha Dzong snapped on 20 May, 2011 is here under. This would be my asset forever. See the magic of nature on so special day as a day when Royal Wedding was announced.I don’t mean that I am the only person to have it snapped but I was one amidst. Flowers were in full bloom around the dzong, clouds mushroomed in the sky…

Photo snapped by Mr. Pema Namgay, BBS, who was with me.

“Today, at this auspicious gathering, I would like to make a short announcement to all the people of the 20 Dzongkhags.

As King, it is now time for me to marry. After much thought I have decided that the wedding shall be later this year.

Now, many will have their own idea of what a Queen should be like – that she should be uniquely beautiful, intelligent and graceful. I think with experience and time, one can grow into a dynamic person in any walk of life with the right effort. For the Queen, what is most important is that at all times, as an individual she must be a good human being, and as Queen, she must be unwavering in her commitment to serve the People and Country.

As my queen, I have found such a person and her name is Jetsun Pema. While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character. These qualities together with the wisdom that will come with age and experience will make her a great servant to the nation.

 This union does not mean that I am starting my own family. From the very day I received the Dhar Ngay-Nga from the sacred Machhen, the people of the 20 Dzongkhags became my family. Such is the duty and privilege of all Kings of Bhutan. It is through this union, that I shall have a Queen who will support, and work with me, as I serve the People and Country.

The wedding will be in accordance with age-old tradition, to seek the blessings of our Guardian Deities. I ask the government not to make any plans for a grand celebration. The happiness of my beloved father and the blessings of our People will give me the greatest joy and happiness.”

His Majesty with Royal Bride

Jetsun Pema, Royal Bride.

Photo Credit: Kuenselonline

This is a historic announcement made by His Majesty, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.  I was unaware about it until it was updated by BBS.  Signs and symbols revealed its truth. I was very happy because I celebrated it beforehand with my visit to Punakha Dzong. It was really a coincidence.

I know media covered its details. That is why enquiry to Royal Media came as far as from European countries. And in home, it is record broken when Bhutan Bussiness, newspaper, has to go for second round of printing for having covered on Royal Wedding. Otherwise it would face difficulty even in selling its first round. 

But story is worth telling twice. It can be repeated numerous time with zero lost in its vigor and splendor

This is how people of Bhutan express their love towards His Majesty. Mysterious, yet  felt. Inexplicable yet understandable.

Historic moment in historic hour...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Effect of Social Media on politics in Bhutan

Firstly, thank you Honorable Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay for encouraging us to share our views on this particular topic- effect of social media on politics in Bhutan. This article is not a thought of a matured mind but an opinion of a youth, which constitute important segment in the society.

Social media and politics in Bhutan

Media like newspapers, televisions and radios played very essential role in politics of Bhutan. Without media, introduction of democracy in Bhutan would have been equal to impossibility. Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced his historic abdication and introduced democracy in Bhutan by 2008 in Trashi Yangtse on 17 December 2005. Since then media disseminated this news throughout Bhutan. People were confused. Nervous. But due to timely news, people gained enough confidence to get adapted to democratic system. They voted for their representatives.

That time, social media like facebook, twitter, YouTube were not very popular in Bhutan. Only few of our higher officials could have access but not general public. But mobile phones and telephone were already available in our country. I can well remember our parents and neighbors talking over phone discussing issues like which candidates to vote. During campaign, candidates made appointment with gewogs officials through phones, and gewogs officials and tshogpas could ask public to gather and listen to their speeches. Campaign speeches determined most of our people to vote or not for that particular candidate. Even the campaign speeches are also a kind of social media.

Social media is used by people, not only to make friends but they started using it to comment on the performance of the government. For an example, blog of our Opposition Leader is used by concerned citizens to express their views and opinions on the policies, laws and issues related to our country. And he uses it to get his views shared to the people. As opposed to the government, which doesn't use any form of social media to their advantage, the Opposition Leader has successfully used it to forge opinions and shape public views.  He is still doing it, particularly on tobacco issues. He did it on vehicle tax issue, on CDG, on live coverage of parliament on government conduct etc…

 In a way, we are getting better chance to know him.

A group of tobacco control act protestors are using facebook to comment on this act. Now, amend the tobacco control act group in facebook increased its members to 2157. They share their opinions.
People started discussing issues related to our country in their blogs and in their facebook walls.

Popularity of social media is increasing rapidly in Bhutan.  We can expect more of its impact on upcoming election in 2013. It is encouraging to use social media by our parliamentarians to let our people express their views in your performances and other issues. It is much cheaper yet effective means to do it.

Social media and politics in the world

Candidates participating in politics can pretty predict his chance of winning by looking at the number of followers he has on the face book, for an instance. Social media influenced them most in politics. They chat using facebook, tweets in twitter, etc…Here under I quote Jeremy Wagstaff:

Dan Zarrella, a self-styled social media scientist, counted the followers of the twitter feeds of 30 senate, house and governor races and found that in 71% of the races, the candidate with the most Twitter followers was ahead in the polls. And Facebook found that candidates with more Facebook fans than their opponents won 74% of House races, and 81% of Senate races. More than 12 million people used the "I Voted" button this year, more than double that in 2008.”
In 2009 federal parliamentary elections in Germany, twitter was used instead of other media to vote their government. They wrote, “heavy users were unable to impose their political sentiment on the discussion." Heavy users here means those who blog and use other means of media other than facebook, twitter, you tube etc. Now it is becoming more comfortable to use social media instead of knocking individual door to ask for the vote.  Just create facebook account and start the business.
Ahmed, a socialist activist in Tahrir Square in Egypt said "Online organizing is very important because activists have been able to discuss and take decisions without having to organize a meeting which could be broken up by the police."  This is what he said; protestors in Egypt used social media to protest their government.

In collaboration with Opposition Leader, Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay , I would like to urge all of you to do share your views. It falls on our shoulder to make best use of social media for the cause of the welfare of the nation. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

World Telecommunication Day

In early morning, I dialed 1600.


“Hello…Bhutan telecom”

“Hello, I am Monu Tamang. I am calling to wish you all Happy World Telecommunication Day.”

She thanked me with vivid smile that I can visualize from her words.

Today, whole day is dedicated to telecommunication by the world for all good it has done and is doing. In brief, telecommunication means to send information across the distance. Few examples of telecommunication are Radio, Television, Mobile phone, Networks, etc.  In olden days, people used smoke to communicate. It wonderfully served its purpose of communication by indicating the presence of human for those lost in their way. 

I can’t imagine this world sans telecommunication facilities. With telecommunication our world is made a village. Be in America or Australia, Thimphu or Damphu, we can communicate after a click. To say something we need not really appear in front of him or her, we can do it through phones and internets. Telecommunications is really a blessing to all of us.

Recently I started blogging where I post my articles. I need not publish it in various newspapers for readers to read it. But some of the newspapers are kind enough to pick my articles and publish it. I look forward for others to publish it too. On this auspicious day I would like to thank Mr. Pema Namgay, BBS, who introduced me to blogging. Otherwise, my dream of creating a blog would have been dream till this day. I drew inspiration from Honorable Opposition Leader Tshering Tobgay. His blog inspired me tremendously. I learnt numerous things from him through his blog. I visit his blog every day and every day is new day for me.

I am not a journalist by profession but  journalist at heart. And internet facilities help realize my dream. 

Telecommunication is doing very great job in modern Bhutan. Radio is everywhere in our country and television is available in those places with electricity. I would express my gratitude to this broadcasting service for you are doing great job. You are the voice to the voiceless people. You never keep us blind and deaf and dumb. What is going on around the country is kept transparent through your sincere endeavor. Wish you all would continue with same spirit. Otherwise people would have been unaware and innocent. Advocacies on deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS, H1N1, etc is serving its purpose. I urge watching BBS TV and listen to BBS Radio.

Learning the autobiography of our nation is an endless journey. You will never finish it.

photo credit; Bhutan observer

However, it is quite sad that our parliamentarians and planning to do away with LIVE coverage on National Assembly. It may not be necessary to show all details to the people. But transparency is the question. We need to know how our representatives are doing.Youth at large must learn from those master minds. Thus LIVE Coverage must sustain.

Our  journalists are doing great job in keeping the society transparent.

Happy Telecommunication Day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Still innocent?

Tobacco Control Act implementation is sustainable to this date.

It is very sad for us. People are caught and imprisoned. It is clear: Do not smuggle tobacco, it is not that do not smoke or chew tobacco. You can smoke or chew, you have the right. But do it with formalities. You must produce receipt to smoke and chew tobacco from Trade Department and you can import tobacco but only for your consumption.

Photo taken from Google

Despite our friends and relatives and neighbors being arrested under the Tobacco Control Act, we still act innocent.  Perhaps arrogant.

Bhutan TODAY of Sunday May 15, 2011 reports on Pema Norbu being imprisoned for three years. He is arrested for trying to smuggle 50 cartoons of WILLS Cigarette and 345 bundles of BABA, hiding in his friend’s Corona car. Unfortunately Police conducted sudden inspection and he was found. He meant to take it to sell to labors at hydropower project, Wangduephodrang.  He could have earned money with sincere endeavor. After all, he is a truck driver.

In queue, Passang Sherpa, truck driver caught with 13 cartons of WILLS and 76 bundles of chewing tobacco. He did it for want of Nu.15, 000 because it was not his.

My post in no ways means humiliation to two of them but I am in way to inform our dear people regarding what is happening in and around.

We feel very sad. Number of people being imprisoned is reported with escalating frequency. When we know it is illegal, let us not turn our deaf ear to the law. We should respect our laws and be respected equally.

When it is not your fault, even God can’t punish you!

We are still innocent to our law?

Beautiful dreams, the joy of life

Here, with prior permission from the author of this article, I would like to have this article written by Jigme Wangchuk, reporter at Bhutan Observer. This is a review of my book, The Joy of Beautiful Dreams.

May 10, 2011. From Bhutan Observer.

“Life without dreams is a flower without fragrance. Dream beautifully, you will receive the trophy of success everyday.” That’s how Monu Tamang, an aspiring young writer, captures the essence of his booklet, The Joy of Beautiful Dreams. Monu Tamang is a Class XII graduate from Damphu Higher Secondary School in Tsirang.

The Joy of Beautiful Dreams is a random mix of short stories and essays on themes ranging from intimately personal to patriotically national. Written in simple language, the booklet starts with a little background on Bhutan’s history and nationhood. Then, it captures in lucid details the author’s childhood memories, of meeting His Majesty the King, his journey from the village to a city and troubled times his family has gone through.

The book also dwells on surprisingly reflective themes woven around love, romance and poignant social issues. A heart-wrenching love story revolves around a young, beautiful drayang girl, who has worked as a babysitter and a prostitute unsuccessfully.

Monu Tamang says that the joy of beautiful dreams is ‘incredible’, and hard work and dedication are the only investment that can transform beautiful dreams into reality. ‘Nothing is impossible just as impossible is nothing,’ he says.

The 48-page A-5-size paperback publication is laced with good literary language in places. But it suffers from some typos and grammatical errors, which reflect hurried copyediting and proofreading. But by and large, there is a continuous stream of creativity and reflection flowing through the pages.

The book will appeal to the Bhutanese of all ages. While the young can immediately identify themselves with an author speaking his mind at their wavelength, the older readers can enjoy the clear-minded narrative of a young student.

Meanwhile, Monu Tamang is waiting to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy in India. His second book, Call for the Bhutanese Youth, is expected to come out soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vote for Good Voice

Druk Super Star!!!

Photo credit:
Much awaited contest kicked off few weeks ago. It is a culture preserving program organized by Mr. Kencho Wangdi. Hats off for him! We look ahead for more such kind of innovative and dynamic program to preserve our traditional culture.   

It is a cut throat competition amidst the  established singers. Public expected it to be superb. If not, at least much better than previous shows-Druk Star and Bhutan Star. Because this show comprises of stars, and they are super star in making.  Not just a star but super star!  And as expected, they are doing their best.

But we must also know that they are established singer but in different genres. Bhutanese songs are classified into three genres- Zhungdra, Boedra and Rigsar. Singers like Namgay Jigs, Dechen Pem, Minzung Lhamo are popular in rigsar. Kencho Wangdi  in Boedra. They may not be equally good in other genres. They are well versed in individual field. All are wise and wisely put, in mere repetition of poet, Emerson.

I am not sure whether the title of superstar will be awarded genre-wise or to a versatile singer. Should super star be jack of all trades or a master of one? It will not be fair if genre-wise award is not given because they are super performer in their own domain. But we hope that the superstar would be rightly crowned.

It is quite sad, this Saturday (14 May, 2011) tremendously enjoyed singer Minzung Lhamo was in danger zone. But I don’t mean others are not as good as she is. When 50% of the power in selecting super star is awarded to the people, let us vote for the right person. Don’t vote for your relative or friends but vote for the one of whom we would be proud enough to talk about.

Judges must be just and fair. How far they are working is transparent through  LIVE telecast on BBS TV. When the mark is shown to all the Bhutanese people judges must think twice. No partiality in judgment!  Right person must win!  We don’t want rich but untalented person wining. It is the contest of singing well but not the showcase of wealth.

Those eliminated candidate should not be despondent. It is just the beginning of the journey. Numerous challenges are yet to be faced. Elimination never means you don’t have the talent. It means your talent is not recognized at the moment. Bring out another album of song and let them regret for not casting vote in your favor. Talents are  recognized with the passage of time. None of the famous idols get recognized so easily. 

Silent group of people, who have heart to vote you but no money to cast, weep on losing you. That drop of tears for you is enough. It is not necessary to win the vote. Winning hearts of the people is the biggest victory, most precious trophy.

If music is food of love, play on... 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Freedom is not free

Once upon a time, there lived a king. He was distressed because all of his subjects were very lazy. They never worked. One waited another to do their work. And to change this perception King placed a huge stone in middle of the regular path. Who would throw it away?

None did. Merchants went round it and went away. Horse riders searched another path and escaped. No one did it because they wanted someone to do it for them. And who would do for whom? King was very angry and he himself removed it clearing the path. To citizen’s surprise, a small bag full of gold was kept under the stone with the caption, to the one who removes this stone. All people were embarrassed no end. 

Freedom is not free. It is the responsibility.

With this anecdote comes a social message. For the benefit of people in emergency, government is kind enough to introduce toll free number. But people misuse it. It is tremendously disheartening to know that our people are playing with it. Making fun indeed. They started dialing toll free number in hospital calling for ambulance to pick up dead dog. Calling and staying silent, or play music to health worker. We are not only misusing the facilities but also the work force. Heath workers could have done at least some useful work in service to our nation if you didn’t disturb them.

Do not attempt such a huge prank. We get irritated if our friends lie to us. Irresistible anger rules us. Put yourself in their (health workers) shoes and imagine. It is called empathy. How irritating it is to call   ambulance and finally provoke it to be prank? We are not in need of Maltida. We don’t want you being dragged to prison for this blunder. If it is the case, how can they provide the best service? When we are given freedom, we should not be irresponsible. Be responsible! If you can’t help other, at least don’t disturb others.

It is always because of some hooligan; all the members of the society share the equivalent intensity of blame.   

Dial 112…

Save the lives. Or ask some useful questions related to health. Learn and be full. Do not irritate them. We have numerous doubts on HIV/AIDS but who have asked it. Time is too precious to while away. It is discouraging for government to avail this facility on other part of our country where they would use it to their best possibility.

I, on behalf of needy people in collaboration with innocent segment of our society plead to never misuse our facilities. Let us be more thinking and perhaps more feeling citizens. We can do it.

Freedom is not free!

Youthful Thought on Tobacco Control Act

Congratulations! Law implementation in Bhutan is becoming sticker. Our endeavor to ban tobacco since 1984 is becoming reality now.  But debates still are going on about Tobacco Control Act (TCA).  Numerous questioned on its sustainability and call it inhumane law. Because we failed many times and what if we fail again.  How sustainable the TCA would be, will entirely depend on the hearts and minds of the Bhutanese people. Many bans were banned in deficit of proper implementation. Should the rules of our country be our puppet?

When laws fail, we blame law-makers. It was not strict and it failed! And when they come up with bit tighter rules and regulations, we blame asking for inclusion of human sentiments. If it continues, will we be able to respect laws for our own benefit?   TCA should include sentiments of the people. They argued for it. And need to revise it because majority argued. Tears tickle on thought of first victim-Sonam Tshering. No excuse for his innocence and unawareness! Since then, deliberations on this Act started…

Now people caught with tobacco via Phuntsholing,  Paro, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu will not be charged under smuggling. However, products will be seized and additional tax of 200 percent will be imposed. In this perspective, would Sonam Tshering be allowed to replay his part? He was charged under this category.

In addition, people with receipts will be allowed to smoke in bars and restaurants provided it falls under smoke-free zone.

Our parliamentarians are doing for us. Hospital reports increased number of patients related to tobacco diseases. And huge amount have to be spent for their treatment. If we think beautifully and abstain it, we would be shocked to know how happy we become. Tobacco neither appeases our hunger nor quenches our thirst. Then why consume it? Imagine, how happy would your wife and children be if you report her on your decision to quit tobacco. Just do it. You will know it. How sad, if you were imprisoned for no reason-just for smoking.    

Let us remember, if we prick beautifully blown balloon in desire of fresh air, balloon would burst easily. Apologies would not bring it back. Better safe than sorry.  Once the balloon collapses, it is worth dumping in the garbage bin.  For this reason, abstain pricking and enjoy it…

Our laws must metaphor the kite. If you want kite to fly up, you can’t let rope lose. Tighter you hold the rope, higher would the kite fly.

It is in our hand to make our rules and regulations the balloon or the kite.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Teachers Day Celebration

02 May is significant day in two aspects. It is a day to sing a song of tribute to our beloved Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a day to pledge to our teachers to do our best. Significance of teacher can be derived from how important day as the birthday of third king is mentioned as teacher’s day.

This poignant expression is to heal the wound and sooth the pain of our beloved teachers. The purpose of this day is all about the splendor of teachers, to massage their exhausting journey, to breathe in fresh air of hope and to look beyond the captivated horizon.
The seemingly meaningless scribbles on papers and walls, the distant noise of poems and our shaded minds contaminated with negative thoughts, swoop our thinking to zero level. But, magnificent human lift us to new worlds with positive energies. We penetrate shrubs and bushes of innocence, and find our way out of barbarism. Powerful wisdom, knowledge and ambition kindle us out of the cauldron of worthlessness.

When we first enrolled to school, we are just cow boys running after our parents to find the usual solace, but it is in school that we learn how to draw sketches, pronounce words, and evaluate what we learn.

Instruction of bell are too urgent to while away time without going to school, piles of note-books for correction steal away their time from sleep and lesson plans exhaust their muscles which gives tremendous strain to their nerves.

We become independent. We gain potential to venture beyond our boundaries. We reach the glittering city of Bangkok, fly over skies, and sail across oceans. These achievements are the manifestation of hard work and dedication of our teachers. No tribute can repay their kindness; it is the eternal beauty of their profession.

In jubilant celebration, I launched my first book The Joy of Beautiful Dreams at Damphu HSS, Tsirang. This book is a collection of history, Short stories and memoirs. All words reflect the inspiration that I drew from my Beloved teachers. To be frank, I haven't   put in much effort, words came from my teachers. They show us the joy of beautiful dreams to all of us.  

Eternal source of wisdom!   

Monday, May 2, 2011

My first post

I am entering the domain of blogspot with this pioneer post. It might sound romantic but bear with me. I would surprise you at the end. I would write on how to live happily in our life.

To live happily is our aspiration. None aspire for unhappiness. But often we go miserable in the journey of our life.

Here is a story. So simple, yet so profound.

Happily married couple lived happily for few years. But husband became not very romantic due to heavy official obligation. It offended his wife no end. And she wanted to break up. In search of way to break up she said.

"On top of a mountain, there is a flower. If you try to pick it, I am sure you will fall to death. But still I need that flower. Can you pick it for me?"

"I will tell you the answer tomorrow" said her husband. It again added fuel to the fire.

Next morning, her husband wrote this letter. I got it from my friends. I sincerely apologies for  I could not mentioned the source.

"My dear

I would not pick that flower for you, but please allow me to explain the reasons further...
When you use the computer you always mess up the software programs, and you cry in front of the screen, I have to save my fingers so that I can help to restore the programs...

You always leave the house keys behind, thus i have to save my legs to rush home to open the door for you...

You love traveling but always lose your way in a new city, I have to save my eyes to show you the way...

You always have the cramps whenever your good friend approaches every month; I have to save my palms so that i can calm the cramps in your tummy...
You like to stay indoors, and I worry that you will be infected by infantile autism. I have to save my mouth to tell you jokes and stories to cure your boredom...

You always stare at the computer, and that will do nothing good to your eyes, I have to save my eyes so that when we grow old, I can help to clip your nails, and help remove those annoying white hairs. So I can also hold your hands while strolling down the beach and the beautiful sand.... and tell you the color of flowers, just like the color of the glow on your young face...

Thus, my dear, unless I am sure that there is someone who loves more than I do...I could not pick that flowers yet, and die...

Now, that you have finished reading my answer, if you are satisfied, please open the front door for I am standing outside bringing you favorite bread and fresh milk..."

She rushed there, and yeah he was standing there with the milk and the bread.

In a way, many of us nag not knowing how much others love us. When others loves us, let’s try to love them back and live happily forever...Never ask how much our parents loves their children, teachers their students, women their beloved and so on. Be patience in love and win the trophy of happiness every day.


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