Saturday, July 28, 2018

A Season of Service & Giving

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
-  Edward Everett Hale

A basketful of Maa & Datsi (butter and cheese) is what the people of Ketokha sent for me - as an expression of gratitude to the Club Secretary who helped build 25 toilets for their community. A most touching gesture!

Towards the end of this year, the Rotary Club of Thimphu will build another 34 toilets for the community – effectively providing 100% coverage of toilets in this impoverished village located deep inside the jungles of Chhukha.

One of the 25 toilets handed over to the Ketokha community on 23rd July, 2018

Strangely, Ketokha is a village located in the vicinity of Bhutan’s earliest hydropower projects - Chukha and Tala hydroelectric projects. If it is true what the government claims that hydropower brings riches to the villages and communities around it, one has to wonder why this village, including that of Bongo, are so poor that they cannot build their own toilets. In fact, even the dirt roads leading to these villages are in such poor condition that traveling over them is frightfully unsafe.

The Chief Guest speaking to the community of Ketokha

Early this year we handed over 36 toilets to the community of Bongo. When we finally complete the construction of additional 34 toilets in Ketokha towards the end of this year, we would have built close to a hundred toilets. That is not the end. We hope to cover entire Bongo Gewog - totaling over three hundred toilets.

Club President Rtn. Tsewang Rinzing speaking before a grateful crowd

What is encouraging is that the Health Assistant of Bongo Gewog has apparently reported that in the past 6 months there has not been a single case of sanitation related illnesses in Bongo village.

The Rotary Club of Thimphu is glad that we have contributed in some minor ways, towards the improvement of health and sanitation of the people of Bongo.

There are more coming.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

COMPENSATION: The Subliminal Bhutanese “Soch”

One word that has always intrigued me that every news media in Bhutan - whether print or visual - used unfailingly: COMPENSATION. I have always been bewildered why anyone would write or say that the farmers, who had suffered occasional natural calamities, would be compensated by the Dzongkhag or that they are awaiting compensation from the government.

Why do the farmers deserve “compensation”? Why should they be compensated for a natural calamity?

For all this while I had concluded that the media people had used the term incorrectly - a wrong choice of word. Until yesterday.

Yesterday evening General Manager Dilu Giri of Druk Hotel, finally opened up my mind. In reference to another matter that we were discussing, he quoted the late Indian politician Bal Thakery who founded the Shiv Sena, as saying that he may die but his “Soch” must endure. The Indian term “Soch” means - a thought process, a belief, a conviction, a principle, attitude, a deep-seated way of thinking.

I finally got it!

The Bhutanese news media were right all along! They had unwittingly articulated the subliminal Bhutanese “Soch”. It was an unerring manifestation of the true Bhutanese “Soch” - that of seeking compensation where none is due.

These days, in my capacity as the Club Secretary of the Rotary Club of Thimphu, I am in the middle of implementing projects that run into millions and millions of Ngultrums. And the stoical Bhutanese “Soch” is hindering my work and turning me into a taciturn desperado.

The Bhutanese “Soch” does not seem to recognize the fact that battling and circumventing adversities, and succeeding in the performance of ones duties is part of the mandate of an officer put on the chair of responsibility. The Bhutanese “Soch” clearly indemnifies the head of the household from the responsibility of putting more food on the table more often than feasting on what is already in the plate.

The Bhutanese “Soch” seems to promote the idea that if something fails because ideal conditions have not been met, it is not the fault of the person. Creating the ideal conditions, being inventive, being creative, taking the initiative and walking that extra mile to perform one’s duty seem to be alien to the Bhutanese “Soch”.

Pray, tell me, how far can the Bhutanese society survive with this kind of “Soch”?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Tengney Police Namgay II

Recently I was at the Rinchen Kuenphen Primary School, Thimphu - to inspect the broken down girls’ toilet that the Rotary Club of Thimphu is repairing to bring it back to use. There I met the lady Vice Principal Madam Chador who informed me that the dreaded Tengney Police Namgay has recently been promoted to the rank of a commissioned officer by His Majesty the King.

It was so heartening to hear the news. I wanted to congratulate him – but I did not know how – I didn't want to attend the celebrations (it was in progress as I was speaking to the VP) because I hate ceremonies.

I am glad he got the much deserved promotion – if any one has earned it -  Tengney Police Namgay has certainly earned it.

I Blogged on him a couple of years back. You can read the article at:

Congratulations Officer Namgay!

I Am Clueless!

I am constantly trying to understand what draws readers to my Blog --- if there is a pattern to their logic --- what holds their interest.

I am clueless!

Look at the following for instance – this morning I woke up to find that readers are reading my old – very old articles:

24th November, 2011       A Matter of Perception
13th November, 2012       Fishless in Punakha
2nd May, 2013                  Kabney & Patang
29th September, 2015       My Final Post On Keeping Chamkhar Chhu Undammed and Free-flowing
11th March, 2018              The Baby Steps - A Potential Global Revolution

Why do they go so far back to read my old articles that are buried in hundreds of pages of newer articles?

I am clueless!