KuenselOnline

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 - 5:53 AM
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The rub of the (gender) green

At the tender age of 19, in 1992, Kinley left school to marry a husband chosen by her single mother.  She had been in class VII.  She failed the final examinations and wanted to repeat, but that was her last chance. An average student, Kinley had already failed the then class VI board examination and repeated.  She convinced her mother that she would quit school if she failed again.  When she did, the happiest person was her would be in laws – as they wanted [... Read More]

Selling the country short

Listening to Aum, rather Dasho, Neten speak, whether face-to-face or at forums is interesting.  It is not the speed at which she speaks, or the gestures as she mixes English, Dzongkha and Tshangla in response to questions, but her honesty and bluntness as she drives home the message. The chairperson of the Anti Corruption Commission made some bold statements in a recent interview, which is worrying.  Following the suspension of 12 immigration officials and 21 commercial licenses of foreign workers agencies in Phuentsholing, the chairperson [... Read More]

They also serve, and so deserve

The recent pay rise and increases in taxes was expected to lead to inflation.  Low-income group like those that make the national workforce bear the  brunt. The minimum wage rate was revised from Nu 50 to Nu 100 in 2011, after about a decade and to Nu 125 last November. The five categories that make up the national workforce received in 2011 an increase between 60-65 percent. The increase was made to improve the standard of living and to alleviate poverty among the workers in [... Read More]

A feeble fourth estate

The Journalists’ Association of Bhutan (JAB) has a damning report about the state of the Bhutanese media.  About 50 percent of practising journalists disagree that there is freedom of press that the Constitution guarantees.  This is worrying, to say the least. Democracy will service only when there is vibrant media.  The report, at best, gives us a picture of doom.  It says the “hope of revival is grim and gloom.” Eight years ago, when the country was preparing to transit from a monarchy to democracy, [... Read More]

Yet another attempt

A mass dog sterilisation and vaccination program has begun to control the stray dog population.  Yes, you heard it right.  A sterilisation program! Not to deride the initiative, Bhutanese are quite used to dog sterilisation programs.  We’ve had several in the past.  Did they work?  Walk down the street to convince yourself. In the meantime, the best friend of man has not really lived up to that reputation.  Ask any resident in Thimphu today, they would probably question the one who coined the phrase. Nobody [... Read More]

Are we losing our tongue?

Ro Kha Mashey Rang Kha Jang (Other tongues unknown, one’s own forgotten). This is an old Bhutanese saying. The aphorism rings true more today than it ever did. Our children today are growing up watching and listening to foreign channels, particularly from India.  What’s wrong with that, one might ask. When our children speak Hindi among themselves and to their parents, not in Dzongkha or their first language, it’s not a small wrong that we can just let it pass. We need to be concerned. [... Read More]

Time to take to task

They came in droves, descended on the capital city equipped with sacks and sticks.  A few hours later, the result was a much cleaner town that was shorn of the usual litter, making some awkward with the change. The two thousand or so university graduates attending the orientation program cleaned the capital city yesterday.  A few days ago, a group of students cleared the drain below the Thimphu Memorial chorten. Every time students or some groups organise a cleaning campaign, the city looks cleaner.  We [... Read More]

Resources in the red

Mankind is in debt for the rest of the year. As of today, we have consumed the earth’s annual supply of renewable natural resources and carbon absorbing capacity.  What we consume from tomorrow is going to be borrowed from our children’s share of the nature’s wealth or resources. As we join the international community to mark the Earth Overshoot Day, also called ecological debt day, it is a timely reminder of the need to balance production and consumption.  The earth is fast losing its natural [... Read More]

BAFRA must not let us down

Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) will conduct tests on tea imported from India in the coming week. Tests must be conducted, repeatedly if necessary, and we hope that the authority will be sincere in their business and take to heart the lives of hundreds of thousands of people that is in danger. A report compiled by Greenpeace India, a non-government organisation that has been dealing with environmental issues since 2001, says that tests that it conducted on some 49 branded and packaged tea [... Read More]

Fair and square

That the National Land Commission is going to ensure landowners are adequately compensated or land substitute provided before their land is acquired comes as a huge relief to landowners. Land, to repeat the cliché again, is a sensitive issue in the country.  As it is scarce and dear, nobody wants to part with it, especially people whose holdings are limited.  With numerous projects in the pipeline, a lot of private land will have to be acquired in the broader interest of the nation. The priority [... Read More]

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