Monday, February 2nd, 2015 - 7:43 AM
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A wake up call

The small Bhutanese community in Perth is a bit shaken; with most of them receiving numerous calls from home inquiring if the Australian immigration authority has cancelled visas of two Bhutanese dependents. Last night, members of the Association of Bhutanese in Perth confirmed that authorities questioned four Bhutanese and no visas were cancelled.  This comes as a relief to parents, relatives and especially to hundreds of Bhutanese waiting to go to Australia to study. It would have been  a big blow had the authorities cancelled [... Read More]

A Pandora’s box of past land scams

The cold Thimphu air, especially in South Thimphu, is filled with suspense, as conjectures are made as to whom the Anti Corruption Commission will call next to interrogate, following the detention of the former Chang gup and two land commission officials, present and former. It is not clear why, but some landowners fear that many may be called, and a lot can be exposed.  This is interesting for two reasons.  One, because, going by the apprehension and suspense, there could be lot of land-related issues [... Read More]

A thriving illegal trade

How do illegal businesses erupt?  What fosters their growth?  And what does it really mean to our society? We need to ask these questions and seek answers because a bulk of our people today is into illegal sandalwood business.  What we know from our story today is that our people of Paro are buying sandalwood from India and selling it across the border in the north. It is a business, all right.  Every citizen has the right to make money and better his own future.  [... Read More]

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]

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