During my school days, the kind of respect we had for our teachers never changed even when they lashed us mercilessly. We did not have value-education classes but we knew our boundaries well. We have been culturally groomed to believe that teachers are like our parents and that we must respect them as much as we respect our parents. We have been convinced that we would earn respect if we know how to show respect to our elders and treat them with love and dignity. But sadly, this trend seems to be taking a different turn today. Probably due to the excessive exposure to western cultures through social and mainstream media outlets that have emerged with the technological revolution of the modern era, the youth of Bhutan appear to be gradually drifting away from the unique social and cultural values of our country that define us as Bhutanese. This rapid decline of values among the Bhutanese youth has triggered important discussions in the government agencies in the recent times. Upon the Royal Command of His Majesty the King, the Ministry of Education has already started working with the Royal Education Council (REC) to explore effective ways of inculcating our own national values into the young generation. The first draft of the curriculum framework for teaching values developed by REC was presented during the special meeting convened on 19th June 2017.
In Bhutan, our Citizenship Identity (CID) card contains a 11-digit number but have you ever realized what each digit represents? Certainly those 11-digit numbers are not picked up at random by the computer. Each digit has a meaning and contributes to your identity. Just by looking at your CID number, we can exactly know which part of Bhutan you are from and what’s the status of your census. Today I am going to share what each digit of your CID number tells about you.
The advent of smart phones has made our life easy and interesting in many ways. We have so many sophisticated features and applications that can enable us to do almost everything just by swapping and tapping on the screen of our phone with fingers. For instance, we can create and edit photos/videos, record music, access social sites and accomplish many other important tasks apart from making calls and sending/receiving text messages. In short, our mobile phone today has almost become like a small compact computer which can help us carry out many tasks efficiently. But as there is a limit to everything, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that we must be able to use those facilities more responsibly.
There is absolutely no problem when you call a spade a spade, but something is wrong when you call a crowbar or a shovel a spade. The term ‘Jaga’ in Bhutan is an official tag for India and its people just like ‘Jami’ for Chinese and ‘Chillips’ for Westerners. But it’s sad to know that in the feat of anger and hatred, many Bhutanese have the tendency to call Lhotshampas or Southern Bhutanese Jagas which carries a strong racial tone. Over the years, I have often heard people using this term to refer to Lhotshampas whom they hate and I have always been wondering what is actually there in the word that satisfies people who use it. Is it retaliation to the word ‘Bhotey’ often used in the south to refer to Drukpas? If that’s the case, I feel there’s nothing that one should be angry about. The word ‘Bhotey’ literarily refers to the people of ‘Bhot-stan’, one of the earlier names of our country which means ‘The country of Highlands’. So, I feel one should be instead proud to be called Bhotey, but the word ‘Jaga’ has literarily nothing to do with Lhotshampas.
I was fortunate to be part of the team selected by Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan (DPAB) to take part in the international cultural exchange programme for persons with disabilities in New Delhi, India from 14th to 16th November, 2014. As usual, the event ‘Sambhav 2014’ was organized by Association of Learning Performing Arts and Normative Action (ALPANA) and it has been an annual event since 2006. I have learned that Sambhav which means “Possible” has been initiated to provide artists with disabilities a platform to showcase their artistic talents and promote the exchange of rich cultures among persons with disabilities from different parts of the world. Personally for me, it was an enriching experience to be part of the event amongst highly talented artists with disabilities from about 15 countries.
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It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon, blest with the warmth of the shimmering sun and light gusts of cool breeze. The world was brimming with life especially for students since it was the only day of the week that freed us from routine academic tasks and gave us opportunities to do whatever we liked: play games, go for walk and chat with friends. The boys’ hostel where I lived stood facing the nearby maize-fields, as though watching the distant trees and bushes dancing to the rustle of the wind that blew over them. I was chatting with friends on the veranda of the hostel, while some junior students were playing on the front lawn. It was here where a girl who was on a Sunday walk from her school popped in, unknown to either of us that she was to become my first True Love later.