Monday, July 20, 2020

Queen of Bhutan Rose

How many of the Bhutanese subjects of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck know that there is a rose created specifically for Her Majesty? I for one did not know – until a Rotarian from the UK sent me a photo of it yesterday night. The Rotarian tells me that he bought one and is currently growing the flower in his garden in Sandwich, Kent, UK. This is how he writes:

I am sending you a photo of one of the roses in my English garden. 'The Queen of Bhutan'. It is almost as beautiful as the lady herself.

I am keeping abreast of events in Bhutan and congratulate you on your nation's outstanding control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am saddened that l am not packing my suitcase today in preparedness to come to Thimphu. However each month l am putting a little money aside for next year so l might add this to the conference money l have already paid and lengthen my stay in your Himalayan kingdom around the Rotary Conference 2021.

Yours in Rotary

The "Queen of Bhutan Rose" created in the UK

The rose was created by the famous rose breeder Philip Harkness of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England. The special one-of-a-kind flower was presented to Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during their visit to Bhutan in April of 2016.

A Club Member informs me that the flower was publicly displayed  for the first time on 2nd June, 2016 during the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition (RBFE), held in Paro.

It transpires that there is another flower honoring Her Majesty - a tulip called Queen of Bhutan Tulip. It was a specially cultivated tulip from the people of Netherlands - to commemorate the Royal Wedding of His Majesty the King and Queen of Bhutan. The flower was released in September of 2012.

The Queen of Bhutan Tulip

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


This morning I woke up to read a beautiful message – circulated in a WhatsApp Chat Group created for a select group of Rotary Leaders around the world. I found it so meaningful, I would like to share it for my readers here - so you too understand why it is important that you contribute to keeping the fire of unity burning.

A man, who regularly attended meetings with his friends, suddenly without any notice stopped participating.

After a few weeks, one very cold night the leader of that group decided to visit him.

He found the man at home, alone, sitting in front of a fireplace where a bright and cozy fire burned. The man welcomed the leader. There was a great silence.

The two men only watched the dancing flames around the logs that crackled in the fireplace.

After a few minutes the leader, without saying a word, examined the embers that formed and selected one of them, glowing most brightly of all, removing it to the side with a pair of tongs. Then he sat down again.

The host was paying attention to everything, fascinated. Before long, the lone ember flame subsided, until there was only a momentary glow & the fire soon went out.

In a short time what was previously bright light and heat had become nothing more than a black & dead piece of coal.

Very few words had been spoken since the greeting.

Before preparing to leave, the leader with the tongs picked up the useless coal & placed it again in the middle of the fire. Immediately, the ember was rekindled, fueled by the light & heat of the burning coals around him.

When the leader reached the door to leave, the host said: Thank you for your visit and for your beautiful lesson. I'll return to the group soon.

Why is the group extinguished.....?

Very simple: 
Because each member that withdraws takes fire & heat from the rest.

It's worth reminding group members that they are a part of the flame.

It's also good to remind us that we are all responsible for keeping each other's flame burning & we must promote the union among us so that the fire is really strong, effective and lasting. 


It doesn't matter if sometimes we are bothered by so many messages that reach the chat. What matters is to be connected. We are here to meet, learn, exchange ideas or simply to know that we are not alone.

Let's keep the flame alive.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

An Act Of Restitution Of Our Ethics & Morality

On 2 June 1999, the Kingdom of Bhutan celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the reign of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan’s beloved monarch. It was also in this year that Internet and TV was introduced in the country. During the celebrations in Thimphu which took place in Changlemithang, as the pioneer in the sector, I was elected to represent the private IT sector.

I attended one of the meetings for the planning and organization of the event - headed by Dasho Aum Yangki, the then Finance Secretary. One of the other Committee Members representing Ministry of Trade, Industries & Forests, as it was known then, was Haap Yangley of the Department of Industries.

Aum Yangki started the meeting by saying that it was now time to put together plans and programs, including sector-wise budgetary estimates. However, she cautioned that there was absolute need for every one to be stringent and judicious when working out estimates since the government was working on a tight budget. To this Haap Yangley stood up and responded as follows:

Poen gii baangzoe na tiru zobi se meysa mena Dasho

“There is no such thing as the King’s treasury going empty”

Aum Yangki looked at Haap Yangley and sternly reminded him to get serious.

The above line of Yangley came to mind because of what His Majesty the King has recently committed to his subjects by way of Kidu. It is simply incredible the monetary value of His Majesty’s gift to the people of Bhutan. Nothing we do will even come close to what His Majesty has done.

But I can think of one thing that we can do - to demonstrate that we care and appreciate and are willing to do our part. What we can do is to offer to end the shameful Vehicle Quota system. Doing so will save the country hundreds of millions in perpetuity, while at the same time it will be an act of restitution of our lost ethics and morality.

Doing away with this shameful practice that ends in illegal transections can afford the country much needed respite during these times of difficulty.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Again, and Again, and Yet Again: For Our Men In Blue

Five officials of the Rotary Club of Thimphu – the Club President, Club Secretary, Past President, Past Secretary and Foundation Chair of the Rotary Club of Thimphu returned yesterday from Agro-Based Open Air Prison For Female Inmates – bearing three packets each containing potatoes, beans and peas – all organically grown by the female inmates lodged at the prison facility in Dawakha. The Club officials were there at the invitation of the RBP, to attend the inauguration ceremony of a brand new child friendly center for the prison facility - funded by Save the Children International at a cost of Nu.4.6 million. During the same time the RBP officials headed by the Chief of Police flagged off a 14 KMs long water supply project for the facility, funded by the UNICEF. The Rotary Club of Thimphu will be part funding the water supply project - by providing 3 large water storage facilities.

 Club President with other dignitaries at the initiation of the water supply project

The Water Supply Initiation Plaque

The Chief of Police also took the opportunity to request the Club for 10 additional motorized sewing machines – to train new female inmates due to arrive soon at the Center. The Club President was happy to accept the request – seeing that it would further augment our earlier donation of 10 units that had helped provide training to 26 women in the skills of sewing. The inmates will use these new 10 sewing machines; including the earlier 10 units we donated, to produce Face Masks. In doing this project, we not only help the inmates to make some money but in the process help save some lives through production of Face Masks to provide protection against COVID-19.

This is yet another endeavor of the Club – in our fight against COVID-19. Our other COVID-19 project that is yet to see the light of day, is a project that will fund the provision of incineration machines worth US$59,000.00 to the Ministry of Health, to incinerate COVID-19 wastes emerging out of Quarantine Centers, Isolation Centers and hospitals where COVID-19 cases are treated.