Pieces of good memories from Nepal

Group photo of delegates from 7 South and West Asian countries During the regional alumni workshop 2016 in Nepal. Image courtesy: Facebook page of Australia Awards in Nepal.

I was truly delighted to be part of the Bhutanese delegation to participate in the Australia Awards South and West Asian Regional Alumni Workshop which was held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 17-18 November 2016. There were five of us from Bhutan who were selected to take part in the workshop themed “Education for All”. Although the Bhutanese team members were new to each other, we quickly developed acquaintance and made up an excellent team.

Read more

The real weight of a guilty mind: a response to the defamatory stories on social media

Having to live with the guilt of hurting someone unintentionally is really a traumatic experience. As soon as I instinctively shared on Facebook what eventually turned out to be a rumor about the missing Bhutanese student in Australia about two weeks ago, I felt as though I slipped off the edge of this entire world. Although I removed the post as soon as I doubted its authenticity, somebody was quick enough to take the screenshot of the story and started sharing it across Facebook and WeChat. It was indeed this copy of the post that ignited the issue and went viral on social media. So I feel it was this copy of the post that did more harm than mine. I believe everybody who deliberately shared the post to defame me should also be equally guilty of spreading the rumor and hurting the sentiments of more people. Many people soon contacted me privately and accused me of posting the story. I had to spend hours trying to explain and apologize to them individually. At last, I was able to make peace with most of them except a few whom I personally know. A former school-counsellor who is currently studying in Perth even went to the extent of defaming me openly on my Facebook wall. He openly questioned my professional ethics as a counselor and I fully agree that I have overlooked it when I blindly shared what I heard in a WeChat forum. But if we turn the table around, he is also a professional counselor, and yet the way he is using the social media to launch personal attacks on me does not demonstrate his ethical practice either. He seems to be a better counselor than me with good understanding of counseling ethics and values, but I can’t understand why he is so keen to spread the hatred towards me through social media. As a counselor, he should be able to see me just as one of his clients or an ordinary human being at this point of time. . He must know that a counselor is also a human being and he/she can never be perfect all the time. I have made the mistake and I have accepted it. So what is the point in digging the dried shit again and again?

Read more

The secrets behind the smiles of Bhutanese people

Gross National Happiness. Photo courtesy: postsfromthepath.com

Last Friday, I was walking with two of my friends on the Doebum Lam highway in Thimphu when a news reporter from India stopped us and asked us why Bhutanese people are happy. The reporter told us that his team was in Bhutan to understand our secrets to happiness. He excitedly talked to us how Bhutan has been known to the outside world as the Land of Happiness and that he was interested to find out why. So in response to his question, this is the gist of what I told him:

Read more

A fate worse than death: a painful reality that can pierce your heart

Parental Love. Image courtesy: dwitnews.com

I am really shocked to hear that what could be possible only in the movies and fictions has become a reality in Sibsoo today. A couple of hours ago, an old man from my wife’s village sadly passed away in Sibsoo hospital, but what was more painful than the death itself for him was the betrayal from his own son. According to my wife who is currently in her village, his story goes like this:

Read more

Lessons that can be taken from Passu’s life

Photo of two speakers for YouTurn: Passang Tshering and Dasho Sangay Khandu with Sherig Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk in DYS auditorium. Photo taken on 30th September 2016

During the launch of YouTurn, the monthly inspirational talk for youth initiated by my office on 30th September 2016, Mr. Passang Tshering who blogs at Passu Diary shared some of the most important and interesting episodes of his ordinary life that had the potential to motivate and inspire young people to look at life positively. With his good oratorical skills and a good sense of humor, he could easily connect himself with the lives and experiences of young people and hence, everybody in the audience enjoyed his talk. His stories really carried lots of values and lessons the youth could take home. There were over 160 youth in attendance and all of them appeared to have enjoyed his stories. Following are some of the most significant lessons I could pick up from his life stories for the benefit of young people:

Read more

A piece of memory from the Blessed Rainy Day 2016

Happy Blessed Rainy Day. Poster courtesy: askideas.com

As Bhutan observed Thrue-bab or the Blessed Rainy Day yesterday, three of my visually impaired friends and their families joined me at my house for a simple meal. Keeping in mind the spiritual significance of the day, we all chose to have a simple vegetarian meal to join the nation in observing this year’s Thrue-bab. Although the Blessed Rainy Day is traditionally supposed to be a feasting day for the common people as it marks the end of the farming season and the beginning of the harvesting season, it is also believed to be an auspicious and holy occasion for Buddhists. On this day, it is believed that the rain will be blest with elixir and has the supernatural power to cleanse all our sins and bad karma if we take bath during the most auspicious hour specified by renowned astrologers. So since it is a holy occasion, even those friends of mine who were not vegetarians agreed to stay clean for at least this Thrue-bab yesterday.

Read more

How can we ensure free and fair election if we don’t know our candidates?

As Bhutan gears up for the second Local Government Elections, those of us who have registered for postal ballots are having a tough time to decide our vote for the right candidate. In the absence of live coverage of the campaigns and public common forums on BBS Television and other mainstream media, it has been difficult for those of us who have been away from our villages for a while to personally know our candidates and understand their commitments for our communities. I am just wondering why the mainstream media are not giving as much importance to the local government elections as they usually give to the parliamentary elections. Since each vote can make a difference, it is important for us to have access to how each candidate in our Gewog/Chiwog is campaigning and what kind of future he/she is promising for our parents, grandparents and relatives in the village. This would also ensure fairer elections since we would be able to choose the right candidate for the right post without having to consult someone in the village.

Read more

Beware of internet hoaxes

Over the past few years, the internet has been flooded with various hoaxes that can be easily construed as true by gullible readers. In the modern era of information overload, it is increasingly becoming difficult for us to sort out the fake information from the hoaxes. Most of the internet hoaxes appearing on social media come from the fake or satirical news sites. The hoax sites usually do offer a disclaimer to indicate that the stories they publish are not to be taken seriously, and hence, it is very important to check out the disclaimer notes of the specific web site to determine the authenticity of the stories.

Read more

Trying to turn a new leaf in life

Photo of myself and other three friends with our root Lama, Lopen Singye. Picture taken In Paro.

It has been almost one year since I seriously started considering to redefine my spiritual path. My religious root has been quite complicated. I was born Hindu but grew up in a Christian family. My uncle and his family had already been devout Christians when my father joined them in late 1990 after he suffered a stroke and became partially disabled. So with the hope of getting rid of his disability, he decided to turn to Jesus Christ for solace and blessings. When I joined them later, I was also persuaded to attend the church and join their congregation for prayers. I was told that I could regain my sight if I truly believed in the supernatural powers of Jesus Christ. So I also started going to the church and prayed with others. But the moment I was back in the school in Khaling, I forgot everything and attended the daily Buddhist prayers with the same kind of devotion and belief. So I think I should say that during the school days, I was a Buddhist and during the winter vacations, I was a Christian.

Read more

The importance of tourniqueting as part of the first-aid treatment during medical emergencies

Nobody is immune to natural disasters and accidents. We would never know what kind of fate every new second might bring on us. Hence, it is very important to cling to the blessings of God everyday and stay prepared for whatever tragedy that might cross our path. What makes the situation worse is that accidents mostly happen far away from the medical facilities and it is often difficult to get immediate medical attention. Therefore, in order to save time and to save lives, it is always important to be equipped with at least a few first-aid techniques. The most important thing to remember during any accident is not to panic. This is the moment when we are required to make the most rational and critical decisions and hence, panicking would never help us get out of the situation safely.

Read more

Five inspirational stories that might help you start your day with a positive mind

Life becomes so dull at times that we often need external inspiration and motivation to push it forward. I believe that positive energy is something that can be transferred from one person to another but we should know exactly how to tap it. Whenever we feel low and desperate, all we need is someone who can give extra thrust to our life through their experiences and stories. The real beauty of life lies deep within the layers of problems that engulf us and to get to the core to conquer this precious jewel, we often need some external forces to push us from behind. At the end of the day, a positive mind is what matters the most. The following five inspirational stories may help you change the way you look at life.

Read more

International Youth Day 2016

Group photo of Youth Center Division Officials at Gedu Bhutan on the way back to Thimphu. Image courtesy: Ms. Rinzin Wangmo

“We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we just borrowed it for the future”. This was the key message conveyed to the youth of Bhutan during the International Youth Day celebration at Samdrup Jongkhar on 12th August 2016. Personally, it was a great privilege for me to be part of the team from the Youth Center Division, Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education to leave for Samdrup Jongkhar to coordinate the event. Against the warning of incessant Monsoon rain and the threats of terrorist attacks in the Indian State of Assam, we hit the road on 7th August 2016 from Thimphu to celebrate this year’s International Youth Day with the youth of Samdrup Jongkhar on 12th August 2016. The International Youth Day has been observed in Bhutan since 2010 to recognize the potentials of young people and to celebrate their key achievements in various fields. But for five consecutive years, we celebrated the day only in Thimphu and hence, those youth living in other Dzongkhags could not get the opportunity to be part of it. So this year, for the first time in six years, we decided to take the event out of Thimphu. In line with the UN theme for the day “Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty by Achieving Sustainable Development through Sustainable Production and Consumption”, we decided to collaborate with Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI (, a civil society organization that focuses on GNH-based developmental activities especially in rural communities to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication. So this was the main reason why we chose to travel all the way to Samdrup Jongkhar to celebrate the event this year.

Read more

Remembering the friends of persons with disabilities on the special Friendship Week

Photo of a young man walking with his visually impaired friend on a forest path using the sighted guide techniques. Image courtesy: Google

With every single help you offer us
Comes a blessing that brings a smile on our face;
Thank you for being part of our lives
And helping us understand how beautiful is the world around us.

Read more

The secrets of success in business

Starting and managing a business is not as easy as what we generally think. It requires adequate knowledge and experience on business management to be a successful business person, no matter how small your business may be. If you look at other countries, you would find people taking up numerous business management studies and training before starting a business of their own. Just selling away what the customers come for, or just having enough financial resources alone does not make you a business tycoon. It also requires a lot of commitment, hard-work and patience to be able to take your business to greater heights. But in Bhutan, I have observed that most of the people get into business without any such preparation. Hence, they lack the knowledge and experience to run a business in a systematic manner. People do not know the core ethics that should guide the business such as customer service, social and communication skills and so on. As a result, they end up driving away their customers instead of serving them with all their heart and paving the way for future visits. Speaking from the experience of an ordinary customer, I believe that if you adopt the right strategies, there will be certainly no shortage of customers, regardless of the location of your business. The following few tips might help you succeed in business.

Read more

A humble man with big dreams

Photo of Mr. Tashi Namgay, the Founder and Executive Director of Bhutan Kidney Foundation. Image source: his Facebook profile.

Having gone through several ordeals in life, Tashi Namgay has finally earned a smile on his face that can melt the hearts of many. He is a man who has found the extraordinary courage within himself to walk the path not so commonly walked by his contemporaries. Today, he is admired by many people for his noble initiatives and contributions to the society, firstly as a social worker and secondly as the Executive Director of Bhutan Kidney Foundation, the non-profit organization he founded in 2012. To me, he is a great source of inspiration especially for young people. He bears testimony to the fact that nothing is impossible if we are truly determined to achieve what we aspire to achieve. This is a story of how determination, hard work and love for humanity can carry a person far into the realm of happiness and contentment.

Read more