A piece of advice for young drug users

Last Friday, I was on my way to Thimphu from Phuntsholing when suddenly the bus I was travelling in was flagged down by police at Tsimasham for a surprised highway checking. The two policemen swooped in and headed straight towards the rear section of the bus where a group of young boys were seated. One by one, they started to frisk them until two sticks of cigarettes emerged from one of the boys’ shoes. The real drama began to unfold as one of the policemen pulled out small packages of cannabis drugs from around his seat. The boy was immediately removed from the bus for further scanning and interrogation. We all watched in disbelief as he was finally taken away for detention at Tsimasham Police Station. We had to wait for more than an hour while the police completed the formalities.

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The key points to remember on the day of exam: a simple advice for students

Photo of Bhutanese students studying English subject. Image courtesy: Bhutan Culture Tour

Exams are particularly stressful events. During the final hours leading up to the day of exam, you panic a lot and often get confused with the lessons you have studied. The notes you have written with your own hand in the class appear like a totally new book and you spend hours scratching your head just trying to figure out what you have written. The textbooks do not make much sense and whatever lesson that has been taught does not flash back to memory. You feel completely lost. You keep studying through the late night but nothing seems to get into your head. You feel sleepy but you can’t fall asleep. It’s such a painful situation. The next morning you wake up with swollen eyes due to the lack of sleep and after trying to memorize a few things from the book, you drowsily head to the exam hall. In the hall, you are not in a position to think actively and creatively. You feel tired and when the question-paper lands before you, everything goes blank. You know that you are now doomed.

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Highlights from the Tobacco Control (Amended) Act of Bhutan 2014

Recently, a taxi driver in Thimphu was taken aback when he was flagged down by police for having a Marlboro sticker pasted on the back of his car. He didn’t know that decorating his car with such stickers was an offence under the Tobacco Control (Amended) Act of Bhutan 2014. Likewise, there are many shopkeepers who still sell candy cigarettes to children not knowing that it is also an offence. The Tobacco Control (Amended) Act of Bhutan 2014 states that the sale or use of any product intended to promote the use of tobacco products is an offence. The candy cigarettes and the stickers of various brands of tobacco are believed to encourage people to smoke. This was one of the key messages conveyed during the Tobacco Awareness Program conducted in Kabisa in Thimphu by Khasadrapchu Youth Center on 12th May 2017 as part of its outreach sensitization program.

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Some important legal provisions that might help you stay out of the way of drug law enforcement

Photo of the Director General of BNCA interacting with the participants. Image courtesy: Yangka, Khasadrapchu Youth Center Manager.

As part of the outreach service program in Kabisa community conducted by Khasadrapchu Youth Center in Thimphu yesterday, the officials from Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency (BNCA) interacted with over 50 youth and sensitized them on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and the associated drug laws in Bhutan. The rising trend of drug abuse and smuggling cases in the country over the years seriously call for aggressive public awareness campaigns so that young people can stay safe from drugs. It has been found that many youth are committing drug-related crimes simply because they don’t have adequate knowledge of the legal provisions in the Narcotic Drug, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2015. So most of the time, they are found unaware of what they are doing. It has been reported that a young graduate has been recently caught in Eastern Bhutan with 90 pieces of N10 in a parcel he was carrying for his friend from another person. If he had known that carrying N10 which is a Schedule III drug more than two times the permissible quantity of ten pieces would send him to jail for 5-9 years (3rd degree felony), perhaps he would have double-checked the parcel he had received for his friend. So for the benefit of all the youth of Bhutan, I would like to share some of the most important highlights from the sensitization program held in Kabisa.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Three great lessons we can learn from successful people

Success is definitely not a magic word. It does not happen overnight. Yet we see so many stars and champions in the world who have transformed themselves into extraordinary beings. They were not born genius. So what are their secret mantras for success? People say that successful people do not do different things; they do the same thing differently. Well, I think that’s true. If we look at most of the world champions, we would find that they don’t do different things but they adopt different strategies to do the same thing. Science says that when we are born, we all are blest with equal number of brain cells but as we grow, some people overtake us in rational thinking and creativity because how fast or healthily our brain grows depends on how much we use it effectively. Hence, it is apparent that success mostly depends on how effectively we mobilize our internal resources to meet our targets in life. I believe that we in fact have everything within us which, if utilized properly, can certainly carry us afar. But the sad thing is that in the midst of worldly affairs, we often miss the opportunities to look at ourselves and recognize our own strengths. Looking at the lives of a number of so-called successful people in the world, I have come to believe that the ultimate success could be determined by the following three main factors that can even be termed as ‘Secrets of Success’:

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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.

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How to take screenshots from your mobile devices

As you all might know, a screenshot is an image of the display on a computer or a mobile phone screen. It is a great way to show what is difficult to be explained in words or via emails/text messages. By taking screenshots, we can easily capture the entire information displayed on the screen and share it with others whenever necessary, and the good news is that we don’t even need a camera to do it. Screenshots are used for various purposes. People use them for advertisement, sharing documents in picture format or to save any online materials which cannot be easily copied or downloaded. But most importantly, they are used for trouble-shooting purposes. Whenever your computer program/website or your mobile phone device crashes, it would be difficult for you to explain everything in details to the technical staff online. So the best way to convince your friend or customer service staff about your issue is to take a screenshot of the error message or anything that appears on the display and send it to them. This would greatly help the concerned technicians analyze and diagnose the technical problem you are facing. Therefore, taking screenshots is a great way to communicate with people what your devices display without having to verbally explain it to them. But how do you take screenshots? If you have no idea how to do it, please stay with me. Today, I will show you how to take screenshots from your mobile devices. Just follow the steps given under each heading below.

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Have you ever wondered why ‘number 5’ on numeric keypads have a raised dot or bar on it?

You might have noticed that almost all devices with numeric keypads such as telephones, mobile handsets and remote controllers have a raised dot or a raised bar on number 5, but have you ever wondered why? It certainly has more meaning than just being part of the layout of the keypad/keyboard. In this article I will try to explain the purpose of this striking feature to the best of my knowledge.

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The benefits of inclusive education: my interview with Mr. Rinchen Dorji, a PHD student

With the passage of time, I am glad to know that at least some people have now begun to realize the importance of inclusive education in Bhutan as a tool for integrating children with disabilities into the mainstream school environment to further their independence and enhance their capacity to live a meaningful life. I have studied in the mainstream school since grade 7 but with no teachers trained to deal with special need children, it was very challenging to be able to cope with sighted friends because we were literarily crippled by limited reading materials in accessible formats and lack of trained teachers. Nevertheless, I and my friends managed to find our way out and could successfully complete our studies. But if the inclusive education policy was already in place, we would have had a different story to share. Today, people have started talking about inclusive education and I am very grateful that they have started taking some interest in the subject. One of the lecturers of Paro College of Education, Mr. Rinchen Dorji is currently doing his PHD degree in Inclusive Education in Australia and a couple of months ago, I have had the opportunity to take part in his research study. Following is the transcript of that interview held in my office. I have named the interviewer as RD.

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A discourse on Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: the most logical answer to a seemingly illogical question

Photo of Sogyal Rinpoche. Image source: Google

I was once listening to a recorded discourse by His Eminence Sogyal Rinpoche on his groundbreaking book ‘Tibetan Book for Living and Dying’. He was talking to a group of students in a college in California, USA. After sometime, a student raised a question which can never be answered with certainty. He asked “Is there life after death?” I wondered how would Rinpoche respond to the question because he was certainly not talking to an orthodox audience who would easily believe what is written in the religious scripts. But the answer he provided moved me completely. It was perhaps the best answer one can ever expect for such a question.

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The significance of Bura Maap (red scarf) and Patag (sword) in Bhutan

Photo of Dasho Karma Tshiteem with His Majesty the King after receiving a red scarf. Image courtesy: Kuensel.

The conferral of Red Scarf and Patag (sword) by His Majesty the King is a unique Bhutanese tradition of honoring and recognizing individuals for their most dedicated service to the nation. Only those who prove to be the best among the best (Dasho) in terms of their contributions to the country are privileged to receive the red scarf from His Majesty the King. The color of the scarf itself is associated with Buddhism as it resembles the robe worn by Lord Buddha and hence, it carries both spiritual and cultural values. As His Majesty the King has said while conferring red scarf to Dasho Karma Tshiteem, the Chairperson of RCSC during the National Day celebration last year, red scarf symbolizes the compassion of Buddha with which its wearer serves the society and the Patag represents strength with which its wearer protects the nation forever. It is a sacred symbol of honor and recognition. But although both red scarf and Patag are part of the regalia that symbolize recognition, they are slightly different when it comes to their actual significance. This would explain why some retired officials are still seen wearing their red scarf while their Patags have disappeared.

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