The national pension and provident funds offer of a special housing loan scheme, at 10 percent interest, has placed the Bhutanese banks and financial institutions as well as many clients in a bit of a quandary. But the general consensus is that it is a positive development for the Bhutanese economy.Although the NPPF scheme is dubbed a housing plan rather than a loan scheme it has had an immediate effect for several reasons. Apart from [... Read More]
With the world divided into high tech, low tech, and no tech regions, the developing world has a tendency to gripe about the digital divide, about the inequalities of globalisation, about cultural and, now, media imperialism in essence the gap between the rich and poor.These complaints fall on deaf ears as developed countries continue to ignore them. The sidelining of the UN by the United States has rendered these observations even more faint.
What many [... Read More]
Bhutan and Nepal – both officialdom and the public – as well as observers, agree that there is an upbeat atmosphere surrounding the bilateral process to resettle the 100,000 or so people in the UNHCR-run refugee camps in eastern Nepal.In fact the mood, and general bilateral relations, have not been better in the past decade.
The main reason is a major breakthrough in the prolonged and protracted negotiations that have seen repeated disagreements, delays, and [... Read More]
On the trunk of a mountain that looks like an elephant… in the middle of two rivers… a person by the name of Ngawang will appear… to build a sok (soul) dzong (From the scripture Dorje Lingpai Ter Lung)Eight centuries later this prediction by Guru Rimpoche came true as the most dynamic personality in Bhutanese history, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, established the Dewachenpoi Phodrang (Punakha Dzong) at the base of Jilligang hill, which slopes down to [... Read More]
It is no surprise that temperatures are generally higher after the release of the Royal Audit Authoritys annual report. Specific organisations and incidents are named in issues that imply millions of Ngultrums in irregularities.Audited organisations vehemently protest that the reports are not updated and also that some of the observations pre-date the audit period. They object to the fact that the audit reports and the media do not reflect their views and are, therefore, biased.
These [... Read More]
Bhutanese men have always teased Bhutanese women, just as the women have always teased the men. Now this light banter is taking on a little more ominous tone.It has long been recognized as an aspect of Bhutanese culture that we enjoy this form of social exchange whether it is on the archery range, during annual ceremonies and festivals, or even in the outdoor work environment.
The urban setting is changing all that.
Women in Thimphu are now [... Read More]
For football fans and the general populace in Thimphu, the performance of Bhutans national football (soccer) team against Mongolia last Sunday was a satisfying experience. More than the match itself, or the group victory, it was the maturity we saw in the team.We joined the international world of football with a bit of a jolt when the federation sent a hastily cobbled national team to Kuwait and shocked the folks back home with a resounding [... Read More]
In an era of workshops, seminars and conferences, the home ministry launched a particularly important training programme this week. A total of 211 elected leaders are attending a 10-day tailored course in Thimphu to get a better understanding of the DYT and GYT chathrims along with an intensive course on their management and financial responsibilities.This answers a basic question raised by observers within and outside the Bhutanese administrative system: are the local leaders capable of [... Read More]
Never has a sneeze sounded so frightening or a cough so foreboding. With the SARS outbreak the common cold, which was just a temporary nuisance in the past, is causing greater anxiety than it should.That is why the need to understand SARS in the right perspective.
There is no doubt that we should be concerned about this new disease that is currently an epidemic. This form of respiratory infection has created consternation around the world because [... Read More]
Although rumours and gossip are generally kept outside mainstream communication channels, their impact can be exaggerated in a small society. For Bhutan, it is not necessary that we acknowledge and respond to every rumour that wafts across the Himalayan foothills. But it is interesting to hear some of them.According to reports in some newspapers in the region this past week, a Lama known as Nawang Jigme (Jigme Nawang in some papers) passed away on April [... Read More]