Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 - 3:16 PM

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]

Deliver democracy at doorstep?

In the light of the vagaries in the weather that will be when elections begin, inquiries are being made on some of the suggestions the government made sometime last year. One suggestion among a spate of other propositions the government made the elections commission was with regards to the possibility of having polling stations in the capital city and a few other urban centres. This would certainly make sense and be most convenient for many Bhutanese, especially considering a significant number reside in them from [... Read More]

Tongue twister

As one observer aptly commented, the biggest opponent for most of Samtse district’s seven council candidates during the TV public debate on Thursday was the language. What grabbed attention of viewers were not those, who rattled off their speeches and rebuttals in fluent Dzongkha, but those who struggled to even read what they had put on paper. At least one of them appeared to be have broken off in a sweat, while the camera panning the live audience revealed some faces controlling a grin. For [... Read More]

Make vote by post count

What if a postal ballot application is rejected?  Is that the end for a potential voter seeking to participate in the upcoming National Council election? These are some questions that jog the minds of many a voter in the capital city, who have applied for postal ballots about a month ago. While such concerns are pertinent, its timeliness is a cause for wonder, because it is coming on the eve of the election to be held on April 23, barely three weeks from now. Applications [... Read More]

A growing gender gap

With the official campaign period for council election started, candidates are out and about, visiting households and greeting everyone they come across. In some cases, where the candidate is well known, for whatever reasons, they get invited to have a cup of tea.  In others, candidates have to literally ambush passersby, to introduce themselves, and give them a business card with their picture on it. In Gasa district, the public debate on TV among the nominated candidates was broadcast yesterday, on a broad topic decided [... Read More]