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Editorial: Youth and the monks

4 February, 2007 – We believe that Bhutans monk body has contributed to the peace and prosperity that the people have enjoyed as well as to national security. Spiritual well being has been concomitant with national well being and our monks conduct important ceremonies throughout the year.Our monastic community is as busy as ever, perhaps more so, as the population rapidly increases. Apart from the demanding ceremonies, monks are in great demand because nearly every Bhutanese household still conducts the annual lochhoe, rimdros, and other [... Read More]

Editorial: Tomorrow

31 January, 2009 – With the government streamlining salaries and benefits and other incentives for people in different professions we hope that there will be a more contented work force building Bhutan today. The priorities will change with the times so it will be a continuous process. Meanwhile it appears that we need to give more thought to the future generation as it prepares to take over this exciting yet ominous responsibility.In an informal exchange with civil servants this month the prime minister announced that [... Read More]

Editorial: Change based on reason

28 January,2009 -Not many people are happy about the salary revision? No surprise. Would any other proportionate raise have made everyone happy? No.A comment on Kuenselonline asked, Why are people in a GNH country so unhappy? If the question implies that a GNH society should not be concerned about salaries it is skewed reasoning. GNH requires that happiness takes precedence over material wealth but acknowledges the importance of a comfortable life. The salary revision was certainly not about GNH but it was an element of [... Read More]

Editorial: Responsibilities of citizenship

24 January, 2009 – The world listened to President Obamas speech this week, thousands of Americans reduced to tears by the change including the sheer significance of the United States being able to elect its first black president. The president, one of the most articulate orators today, did point out this incredible change in the U.S., but he said much more.Obama made a critical point that could not but strike home an important point for Bhutanese listeners. the question we ask today is not whether [... Read More]

Editorial: The others

21 January,2009 – Will the salary revision raise the cost of living in Bhutan? Perhaps a more relevant question is would the cost of living remain unchanged if there was no salary revision?No, not when we import most of our essentials and our cost of living is decided outside the country. The truth is that standard of living in Bhutan is directly proportionate to our imports. The salary revision does raise many issues and that is why it was debated more than democracy. The first, [... Read More]

Editorial: Yes minister

17 January, 2009 – Politicians, who become parliamentarians, ministers, prime minister, come into power with the mandate of the people. In the Bhutanese prime ministers words, they have the privilege to dream. The understanding is that, if they have the right dreams, they succeed as national leaders. If not, they will be looking for new jobs.Bureaucrats are life-long professionals, trained to implement those dreams. The civil service is, supposedly, the intelligent machinery to carry out the orders of the cabinet. Together they form the government. [... Read More]

Editorial: The people as masters

14 January, 2009 – The people of Bhutan vested their will in the Monarchy. After 100 years the Monarchs bestowed the responsibility and authority of governance back to the people. Having celebrated this phenomenon over the past year the government is thinking deeply about its responsibility.On January 10 the prime minister and the Cabinet met the top layer of the Bhutanese bureaucracy to, in the prime ministers words, get to know and to understand each other. By implication the suggestion really means that both the [... Read More]

Editorial: The pay

10 January, 2009 – One version of the public service salary proposal has been out on the finance ministrys website. The ministry apparently wanted feedback on the proposal the public view, public meaning the civil servants who have access to the Internet. It was, according to the ministry, a gesture to convey the governments commitment to transparency.Nowhere is a government salary structure decided by the public, so the comments may be taken as criticism or used as justification. That in itself is good strategy. But [... Read More]

Editorial: On the pay raise

7 January, 2009 – What is the purpose of a government salary revision? It is not to make the lives of public servants more comfortable but to help build a government that can serve the people better. Does that sound too esoteric?With the salary discussion scheduled for January 19, the government is attempting to instigate public debate by placing the pay commissions proposal online on the finance ministrys web site. That is a good idea but, since the real public does not have access to [... Read More]

Editorial: Learning from confusion

3 January, 2009 – Bhutanese society is questioning the mandate of the National Council today but, in reality, we are debating the role of all the institutions that comprise our emerging democracy. This is a good development because it is only through such discourse that all of us will understand our responsibilities in the political process.We know that democratisation does not have an end. It has begun and future generations of Bhutanese will continue to refine the system of government, taking a few steps forward [... Read More]