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Editorial: Shaken and stirred

23 September, 2009 – For several years now experts warned that Bhutan, which lies in a seismically active region, could any time soon be hit by a major earthquake.It did on Monday afternoon, killing at least 11 people, including two children, and damaging hundreds of villages, homes and monasteries, as well as government infrastructure and dzongs in the eastern dzongkhags. Mondays tremor, which measured 6.1 on the Richter scale, is the most powerful quake to hit the country since the 6.75 tremor of January 21, [... Read More]

Editorial: Making religion relevant

22 September, 2009 – The students of Changzamtog raised some pertinent questions that many young Bhutanese have in mind when they got an opportunity to meet and question Jangtrul Yangsed Rinpoche.What does Om mani padmey hung mean? Is it bad to convert to another religion? Why cant we make Buddhism interesting by making religious movies? These relevant questions coming from young Bhutanese growing up with Internet, dish TV and hip-hop culture, send strong messages that our youth needs to understand their religion better. This morning, [... Read More]

Editorial: Autumn

21 September, 2009 – Tomorrow is holy Thrue Bab and as most people take their yearly crack at purifying themselves of their past sins and future bad karmas by forcing their bodies under a chilly-before-dawn shower, the day is also celebrated as the end of farming season and the start of harvesting period. It also means that summers gone and winters round the bend. It also means, more pleasantly, that autumn is here.In Thimphu, besides the yellowing colour of ripened paddy fields, the first signs [... Read More]

Editorial: Monasticism in the modern era

19 September, 2009 – Buddhist monks leaving the monastery for breaking celibacy vows is not a new thing. The only thing new is that it appeared in the Bhutanese print media for the first time.Monks living and practising dharma in the confines of a monastery must uphold four main vows common to all Buddhist sects. Breaking any one of the vows kill, lie, sex and steal results in being shunned from the monastery, but it does not necessarily mean the end of learning and practice [... Read More]

Editorial: How do we demystify Dzongkha?

18 September, 2009 – The prime minister expressed the sentiments of many Bhutanese, who find it difficult to read and write the national language, Dzongkha, by asking experts to simplify it, make it user friendly and comfortable.This is a significant departure from past efforts, which focused purely on promoting the national language by creating new Dzongkha words for commonly used English terms. It is relevant because, even today, children memorise Dzongkha spellings and officials practise for hours, even if they just have to read out [... Read More]

Editorial: The car tax debate

17 September, 2009 – Given the number of times the debate on car tax has surfaced on the national arena, it is tempting to conclude that traffic congestion has become one of the scourges of modern Bhutanese life. The higher echelons of our policy makers and thinkers certainly seem to think so.Thus an array of proposed measures from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) to make buying a car, owning a car, and driving a car dearer in Bhutan. The proposal has met with [... Read More]

Editorial: Young and free democracy

16 September, 2009 – Yesterdays function in the capital to commemorate International Day of Democracy was an eye-opener of sorts.As students of Thimphu schools questioned an eminent panel of parliamentarians on Bhutans 18-month journey into democracy, it became clear that Bhutanese youth are in touch with what is happening around them. They raised questions that journalists would have asked, questions that have been on the minds of people after the transition to a new political system. From fulfilling campaign promises, the type of democracy Bhutan [... Read More]

Editorial: Bring farming back to life

15 September, 2009 – Farmer Tshering is a proud mother. All her five children are working in the civil service. She spends her time with her children in Paro and Thimphu. Her paddy fields back home in Punakha are taken care of by the landless farmers of Rinchengang on a sharing basis. She visits her village only once a year to collect her share of the harvest.In recent years, Rinchengang farmers have started to find employment outside agriculture work and their children are in school. [... Read More]

Editorial: How to stop piracy?

14 September, 2009 – The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) proposal to support the growth of professional media in Bhutan, which includes waiving off duties on media infrastructure, is a long awaited one but without doubt a good initiative. It will for certain advance our media.We are with MoICs Secretary Dasho Kinley Dorji in that films, music and books, among other creations, will indeed, if given the right impetus, lead to a shared national consciousness. MoICs plan to set up a contemporary culture department [... Read More]

Editorial: Our untapped sporting potential

12 September, 2009 – By any standards basketball is one of the more popular sports in Bhutan. It has been that way ever since the first ball was bounced here almost four decades ago.It draws more than 30 teams within Thimphu itself for the annual tournaments and thousands more play the sport in schools across the country, where rivalry gets fierce in inter-school tournaments. Yet, when the call was made earlier this year to form a national squad to represent the country in the SAARC [... Read More]