Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rotary Club of Thimphu Service Projects

With funding from the Rotary Club of Sarasota, USA, the Rotary Club of Thimphu has recently installed a water filtration system at the Technical Training Institute, Rangjung, Trashigang. Made in Germany by Karcher, the reverse osmosis solution dispenses 100 liters of filtered water every hour. The institute has received 2 units of these advanced water filtration systems.

 Karcher water filter made in Germany

Institute Principal getting his dose of filtered water

Next in line is Udzorong Central School, Trashigang where a much, much larger filtration system will be installed during early February. Known as the SkyHydrant Filtration System, this single unit dispenses 12,000 ltrs. of clean and safe water per day. Donated by the Disaster Aid Australia, 5 of these mammoth filters are already in use in 5 schools across the country. Five more are in the process of being installed in schools that need safe water for their children.

SkyHydrant Water Filtration System donated by Disaster Aid Australia

Even as I am writing this Blog post, 36 Pour-Flush type toilets are being inaugurated in Bongo village, Chukha today. The Rotary Club of Thimphu, along with a host of Rotarians and Rotary Clubs from Malaysia, India, and individuals from across the world have contributed to this project. A detailed post will be made in the next few days.

Even as I write this Blog post, 36 of these Pour-Flush type toilets are being handed over to the Bongo community.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Imminent Water Wars of the World

By 2025, two-thirds of the world will live under conditions of water scarcity.
International Water Management Institute

Global water demands will increase by 40% in the next ten years.

Pacific Institute

Two-thirds of the cities in China suffer from water shortages. Clean water is even more rare.

Asia Water Projects

India WILL run out of water in the near future.

Arlington Institute

The world's highest unclimbed peak - Gungkhar Puensoom - located in North-Central Bhutan, reflected on the lake at its base where the as yet undammed Chamkhar Chhu originates

WATER: it is critical to all life forms on this earth. Without it, nothing will survive. And yet, even while we are being forewarned of the eminent disaster from which there is no escape, we remain blasé about it. The least that we can do is to secure what we have, even if adding to it is beyond us.

We may not be doing anything to safeguard our water resources but it looks like one country is certainly preparing themselves. Take a look at the following:

It is obvious that water is going to be a resource over which wars will be fought. If it is going to be that scarce, we have to stop compromising the value of our rivers, by pledging them as collateral for doomed hydro-power projects. All indications are that our rivers in their natural form would serve us better, instead of shackling them to eternal bondage by building dams over it – to turn hydro-power turbines that churn out debts by the hundreds of billions at 10% interest rate.

Let us be responsible to our future generations and make a pledge today to keep some of our rivers free flowing. In any event, solar power is fast emerging as a serious competition to hydro-power. In 1977 solar cells used to cost US$ 76.67 per watt. By July of 2016, per watt cost of solar cells had dropped to US$ 0.26. It will not be long before hydro-power is nudged out of the competition. Thus even from the point of view of investment, it looks like we are putting our debts behind a loser.

Let us stop further hydro-power projects. It is pretty clear that in the next 5-6 years, energy generated by hydro-power projects will no longer be competitive. Even worse, water may no longer qualify as a renewable resource, caused by global warming.

Fortunately for Bhutan, only two of our rivers originate in Tibet China - Kuri Chhu and Amo Chhu. So any acts of water terrorism by China won’t effects us. But it is a completely different story for some other riparian states downstream of some of the major river systems of the Himalayas, as the following maps demonstrates.

Major river systems of Bhutan

Major river systems that originate in Tibet China

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Vital Statistics

Photos for the Photo Lovers

The following is being posted for those of you who love photography. I selected these for their sharpness and near perfect exposure. The images have been intentionally cropped and watermarked to prevent some of you naughty guys downloading them

The photo of Punakha Dzong was taken on the last day of 2017 - clearly a dramatic end to the year.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

100 Rotary Peace Fellowships on Offer for the year 2019

The Rotary International is now accepting Rotary Peace Fellowship Applications for the year 2019. A hundred fellowships is on offer. The fellowships are intended for individuals who have chosen a career related to international relations, peace, and conflict resolution; who have work experience in these areas; and who have a commitment to community or international humanitarian services and to work for peace.

Two types of fellowships are offered: A Master’s program and a Professional Development Certificate program at premier universities around the world.  The fellowship includes: Tuition and fees, Room and board, Round-trip transportation, and Internship/field study expenses.

For more information about the Peace Fellowship, please visit:

The application is available online at:

The Rotary Club of Thimphu will be happy to endorse all qualifying Bhutanese applicants. The application deadline is 30 April, 2018.

Please read up on the above two sites – everything you need to know is available on those two sites. The Rotary Club of Thimphu will only get involved at the stage of endorsement of the applications - we will not be in a position to assist you in any way during the application process.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Environmental Heroes & Assisins

Here is a THUMBS UP to the people of New York: I root for you in your endeavor to act meaningfully and realistically, to help save the earth’s environment. This goes to prove that no matter how debauched the present American administration may be, the American people still have your souls intact.

And, here is a THUMBS DOWN to all those Bhutanese people who support the construction of the illegal and meaningless Shingkhar-Gorgan road. The debauchery among those who matter is such that I am told one Commission Member of the NEC refuses to attend the Commission meeting unless the environmental clearance of the construction of the road is on the agenda.

Talking of NEC, here is another THUMBS UP to the Commission’s Secretary Chencho Norbu, who unwaveringly stands his ground despite threats of dire consequences from some who think they are powerful enough to subjugate a spirit that has remained undaunted all his serving life.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Thrizin, Thrizin, Thrizin of Zhemgang, Wherefore Art Thou A Thrizin?

Of late, I have been hearing of a bizarre decision supposedly taken by the Thrizin of Zhemgang Dzongkhag Tshogdu. From what I hear, the Thrizin wants to make it compulsory for every one in the Dzongkhag (District) to wear our national dress.

Zhemgang Dzong with the rarely seen view of the Black Mountain range in the background, covered in snow

The fact that whole lots of people have ridiculed the decision and made the Thrizin a butt of whole lot of jokes is clear indication that there are not many who think he is being serious. Such a regressive decision is neither progressive, nor productive. But I hear that the man is dead serious about carrying through his decision.

Now what is to be seen is whether the laws in place will permit him to enforce a rule that impacts at a national level - not merely the people of his Dzongkhag. Well, I suppose if we go and elect a XXXXXX, we have to live with one. My census too is in Zhemgang but I am happy to tell you that I did not vote for him.

There is something that intrigues me though. According to what I hear, the Thrizin is proposing this national dress rule - as a means to “serve the country and preserve our culture”. But he proposes that the rule be applicable only from 9AM until 5PM. That is generous of him.

But the question I want to ask the Thrizin is this: What happens to our cultural values, ethical standards and the need to serve the nation - after 5PM until 9AM in the morning? Can Khengpas go completely lawless and uncouth; shorn of culture, etiquette and discipline - during this time? Is it acceptable that cultural sensitivity and duty to the Tsa Wa Soom be given a reprieve at certain intervals?

Please hammer some sense into the Thrizin. He is obviously clueless about what he is doing.