Monday, July 28th, 2014 - 10:12 AM

Fair game

A quote from Thomas Jefferson, that a man who never looked into a newspaper was better informed than he who read them, set the tone of the last “Meet the Press” with the Cabinet ministers yesterday. For almost every question reporters at the session raised, from the issues of Rupee problem, to development projects, to the Gyalpoizhing land case, it was reverted to how the Bhutanese media projected the government. Was the media fair, was the question the ministers reciprocated with. This is not the [... Read More]

Entering election mode

For the past weeks, those eligible have been busy filling in and mailing their postal ballot to choose the candidate they want as councillor from their district. As expected, some voters did lobby among friends and colleagues from the same dzongkhag to vote for a particular candidate, while others made some frantic calls, dug up old documents to get the correct thram number and name of chiwog properly filled in. Some postal ballots are still being mailed, but most should have reached the destination pre-stamped [... Read More]

Green and glacial – it’s all good

There is all the more reason, and all the more good for us, to preserve the country’s rich forest cover at the percent stipulated in the Constitution. It is also comforting to learn that, even in the absence of glaciers, the country’s many river systems would still sweep down the valleys. All the more comforting still, particularly at this point in time when the country’s emphasis is on developing hydropower projects, that many of its river systems can endure. This, indeed makes us believe the [... Read More]

May the best one win

A week from today, the nation will go to polls to elect 20 councillors, one from each district, from among 67 candidates. The 20 elected, together with five eminent nominees, will form the national council, an apolitical institution and an integral part of the relatively new Bhutanese parliamentary system. In most of the districts, the live public debates and common forum campaigns organised by the election have been completed or are winding up, which leaves candidates a few more days to make last minute door-to-door [... Read More]

Lead contamination in rice merits deeper look

Recent news about lead content in rice, which some Bhutanese newspapers picked from those written in the international ones, have felt like a slap and left a scowl on the faces of rice exporters. The more shocking this news becomes, at a time when the country is being seen as a bastion of clean environment, and the subsequent potential to become a nation to grow organic. For these reasons emerge some obvious questions of how it was possible that a country that rarely used chemicals [... Read More]

Drowning in hydropower?

What would happen if you pour a bucket of water into a small potted plant? It will flood from the top and bottom and wash away the soil.  The flowerpot itself might topple, the plant might break from the gush of water and the roots could rot in time. This is the analogy some members of the Bhutanese intelligentsia like to draw, with regard to the investments being made in the hydropower sector, the backbone on which the Bhutanese economy will ride into a more [... Read More]

Reality about reality shows

The thing about reality shows is, it has just about everybody engaged in it, in our case it involves more children. Parents are delighted to see their children, even if it is for a few minutes, on stage, on screen singing for the whole nation to listen to, watch and judge. Children have been fed that information to have to perform their best and the rest of the Bhutanese audience sit in front of the screen enchanted, empathising with those they deem deserving but fall [... Read More]

Saving innocence

It was a young parent, who came across the image of two underage girls on a localised facebook fashion page, and raised the alarm on how children were being depicted like adults. This only reinforces the argument that parents and parenting have a key role to play in ensuring the safe and healthy development of children, girls in particular, growing up in today’s environment, where commercial and other influences are as powerful as they can get. Given the focus of popular media that is all [... Read More]

The lay of the land

If there was one good thing the Rupee crunch did the country, it shifted the emphasis back to agriculture in a largely agrarian society that we are. Agricultural production, however, remains sluggish. Development over the last four decades or so, and the rapid urbanisation as a result of it, had a major chunk of the population shying away from the spades and the lush fields that fed them, because modernisation brought with it other options. Lack of strong policies and support encouraging agriculture as a [... Read More]

A learning curve

With the televised public debates and common forum campaigns for council candidates in full swing, what is said and how it is said is the talk of town. Viewers from the capital to the interior towns are talking about the delivery of that candidate, and the substance of the other. Several things are also emerging.  Council candidates are making promises, but not the kind of promises council candidates made in the first election five years ago. There is no promise of bringing a road or [... Read More]