KuenselOnline

Saturday, October 25th, 2014 - 5:49 AM
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Neighbourly celebration – is it possible?

If  the royal Bhutan police had strictly followed their announcement, prohibiting the explosion of firecrackers during Diwali (the festival of lights), a lot of people would already have been arrested for disturbing the peace and quiet. Besides the flowers, colours and lights, a constant bursting of crackers has filled the tranquil evening air.  Some go on until past midnight without any remorse that the loud noises are disturbing neighbours, or a mother trying hard to put her sick child to sleep. Bhutanese love celebrations.  Sometimes, [... Read More]

The expensive option

When the 2015 academic session commences, some parents will change their children’s school, if not their mind of sending them to private schools.  10 private schools have increased their fee, with one school almost doubling it. That didn’t go down well with some parents.  If they choose to continue in the same school, they will have to pay through the nose.  Educating a child is expensive, more so if they choose to send to private schools.  But like a school proprietor said, parents can withdraw [... Read More]

The gungtong issue

The gungtong (unoccupied house) issue is back again.  This time it is from Samdrupjongkhar where local government officials fear that at least one house is getting emptied every year. In a desperate attempt to look for solutions, villagers are requesting the government to annul and take over gungtongs, or mandate at least one member of each gung (household) to remain in the village.  There is a reason for villagers to go to this extreme.  It is not because they want their neighbour’s gung annulled, but [... Read More]

Why are our children sick?

Education is in the limelight once again. This time, however, the noble sector is generating public interest for a reason that is not altogether a happy one. A school in remote Zhemgang is grappling with what appears to be peripheral neuropathy, a disease caused by nutritional deficiency. A team of health officials from Thimphu is in Gomphu Lower Secondary School investigating the case. There are 35 students with symptoms of nutritional deficiency. This has left the teachers, education officials and parents worried. Yes, we need [... Read More]

Women, rise!

As the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) prepares to hold by-election for the post of gewog tshogde tshogpa in Pemagatshel and Zhemgang, we need to pause and look back on the journey we have made since we became a democracy six years ago. At the same time, we need to commit ourselves to making amends wherever we have fallen short, and forge ahead. We will be doing a great disservice to our society if we fail to do so at least this much upon ourselves. [... Read More]

Other side of happiness

A large number of our senior citizens are finding themselves pushed to the edge of society. We don’t require statistics to tell us that. We know because they are there, starkly visible, in and around our prospering neighbourhoods. Yet the reality that is unfolding before our very eyes continues to escape us. Perhaps we are blinded by our need to serve ourselves first. And in this trail of honouring ourselves before any other, we have failed to understand that needs and wants are the very [... Read More]

Being responsible

The opening statement of the libel case that involves Druk Phuensum Tshogpa and Dasho Paljor J Dorji gives us some idea of the scope of the lawsuit.  It is not a petty scuffling. And this is why we need to put ourselves in the wider perspective. There is only a thin line between individual and society. As clichéd as the phrase can be relegated down to on a linguistic plane, no man is an island. But dearer still is truth. No man or institution can [... Read More]

Some consumer protection, please

The Bhutan Standard Bureau in its routine inspection of the fuel distributors found that customers are not getting fuel worth the money they pay.  Fuel, both petrol and diesel, has become expensive and is a necessity.  So, it gives cause for concern. Oil distributors are not cheating customers, intentionally.  But if customers are not getting their money’s worth, they will feel cheated, even if it is by a few millilitres.  With the pump dispensing 20 to 30ml short for every five litres, a customer would [... Read More]

Going biogas

There is an encouraging development taking place is some parts of rural Bhutan.  From Samtse in the south to Trashigang in the east, the biogas fever seems to have gripped villagers, who rear cattle.  Rather those behind the biogas project are now convincing villagers to shift to the cheaper source of energy for lighting and cooking. The Bhutan biogas project aims to install at least 1,600 plants by the end of the year.  Going by the progress, it looks achievable.  But the bigger achievement would [... Read More]

Keeping Ebola at bay

Ebola virus disease is sweeping across regions.  Because of the horrific nature of the epidemic, health experts are calling it “the scariest of all diseases”, deadlier than HIV/AIDS.  Developing countries with weak health systems that lack human and infrastructural resources, therefore, are at greater risk of getting affected.  Bhutan is no exception.  We need to be vigilant. It could have been conveniently a different story, but Bhutan is no longer safely cocooned in its protective shell of isolation.  We have opened up.  By opening ourselves [... Read More]

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