Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Amidst the menace: Corona Virus vs My Nation.

PC: Google.
History tells many tales of our gallantry and contentment showcased by us in our times of celebration or of challenge. One such story of triumph unfolds as we speak, hear and act through our own little ways as citizens of this Great Nation to help stop the spread of this deadly virus. 

When the first case of COVID 19 was made confirm through Prime Minister’s Official Facebook post on the morning of 6th March we learnt His Majesty himself had been at the frontline the whole night supervising the coordination tasks undertaken to treat the first patient. In the following days, we learn His Majesty is on his way to visit southern dzongkhags to monitor the preparedness in case there is an outbreak. Such selfless and exemplary acts in many occasions in the past and more particularly of the present scenario vehemently reminds us how fortunate we are to have been born in a country with a king who is always there to love, care and protect us. A king who leave behind his palace to safe-guard his subjects! If this Royal act does not shake you and ignite in you the sense of duty to serve our country, then what will?

The coming of COVID 19 also gave an avenue for Exhibition of Leadership chosen by the people of Bhutan last general election. The preparedness to combat COVID 19, giving assurance of safety and the timely dissemination of information by Prime Minister and Health Minister to general public through various means of communication were also appreciated by many from far and wide. 

Needless to mention about the fellow journalists input in catering those valuable information in such critical time. Many netizens, on the other hand, battle it out over social media with English speaking journalists asking them to communicate (during Press Conferences) in Dzongkha so folks in far flung villages can get informed more accurately. They fought a different battle on a different frontline to give Dzongkha, our national language, its due respect and acknowledgement.

Many individual citizens and organizations also came forward to support the government’s effort to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in the country. Some surrendering their private hotels to be used by government as quarantine centers, some donating face masks, water tanks, some supporting with construction materials to be used for a temporary flu clinic and some even made monetary support. There was something or the other happening. It looked like the whole nation is busy preparing for a grand celebration and no citizen wanted to miss this mega opportunity.

Some media personalities shared self-produced advocacy videos and creative posters online to better inform our fellow citizens about the Dos and Don’ts. Like awakening from a slumber the nation wakes up as one strong team to fight against this modern enemy.

Equally worried yet inspired and motivated were the educators. Teachers from across the country came forward as individuals to form an Association (Volunteer Teachers of Bhutan) to initiate e-learning through video productions and had also express their intend to remain active and useful as an independent Association in any other national emergencies.

With our first and the only COVID 19 patient already evacuated to US for further treatment, the United Nations now declaring this disease as a Pandemic and our neighboring countries battling it head on, the sense of venerability of getting infected through contact with potential patients across the border has once again resurrected the need for Royal Government of Bhutan to provide more of low cost housing colonies inside Phuntsholing so (those left out 3000 plus Bhutanese)fellow brothers and sisters who still reside in Jaigoan could have same liberty and the privilege to dwell in their own mother land without any forms of fear or guilt. The need to have internal highways in the southern belt for our own security is also felt strongly again.

Irrespective of our dwelling in the country or abroad, we shall always remain indebted to our Kings. we, Bhutanese in general, shall come forward to work towards attaining our collective national goals and aspirations and the infamous online debate over excessive use of English language during press conferences and the need to improve and develop our national language for sure shall continue even after this COVID 19 saga. But above all, there has been a complete positive change in two other important aspects of our way of life lately. 

This pandemic firstly reminded us the sheer importance of personal hygiene namely hand washing and secondly the need to utilize and implement eLearning platforms to continue schooling and thus to meaningfully engage our kids in such unforeseen times.

The Thrim-Throm office along with some private organizations have installed water taps along Nordzin Lam for shoppers and pedestrians to wash thier hands to fend off the corona virus. These water taps and all good practices  must continue even after the normalcy returns.

As schools and educational institutions in the four identified Dzongkhags were ordered to shutdown for the following two weeks many schools immediately made use of WhatsApp, emails and BlogSpot to assign online  assignments to their students. Few video lessons were also uploaded by some teachers on Facebook so their learners could learn from it. Schools also simultaneously  conducted PD on google classroom to facilitate more efficient distance teaching-learning experience.

With now further extension of the closer of schools (including the schools across the country w.e.f. 19th march) it shall be both challenging and as well as an enriching experience for both teachers and learners. The teachers shall be even busier planning and preparing different teaching learning materials to suit eLearning. Students shall also take personal responsibility for their learning and thus become a self-learner for life. A distant aspiration for technological aided learning which is about to be actualised within a few weeks time.

As per last night’s update from Prime Minister’s Office suggested that the closer of schools due to COVID 19 proved more beneficial. As children stayed at home it  improved parents-children relationship and parents were also involved in assisting children with their lessons and online assignments:

With His Majesty's guidance and blessings, the leadership showcased by the government of the day  and the brave troops in the form of private volunteers and frontline health workers nothing will stop us from fending off this virus. Collectively we are giving Covid 19 a good fight. And Thus, many positive developments have also happened  and are happening amidst this menace: An epic example of 'blessing in disguise' or call it a case of 'every cloud has  a silver lining' story.


Monday, March 9, 2020

What to do best when you are under home quarantine!

Allow me to share some important insights of how to cope up the so called being "under home quarantine". This is for my little friends and parents to read and take the best out of this situation.

Quality time with my little man under our madeshift house in our living room.

The following is an abstract from an online page. Hope you would find it useful.

"Keeping spirits up in quarantine at home:

Being under quarantine can be frightening, particularly for young children.

Suggestions include:
Find out everything you can about the infection from reliable sources.

Talk to the other members of the family about the infection. Understanding the illness will reduce anxiety.

Reassure young children using age-appropriate language.

Keep up a normal daily routine as much as possible.

Maintain apositive attitude.Think about how you’ve coped with difficult situations in the past and reassure yourself that you will cope with this situation too.

Remember that quarantine won’t last for long.

Keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media.

Exercise regularly. Options could include exercise DVDs, dancing, floor exercises, yoga, walking around the backyard or using home exercise equipment, such as a stationary bicycle, if you have it. Exercise is a proven treatment for stress and depression.
Reducing boredom while in quarantine at home.

Being confined to home for an extended period of time can cause boredom, stress and conflict.

Suggestions include:
Arrange with your boss to work from home, if possible.

Ask your child’s school to supply assignments, work sheets and homework by post or email.

Take everyone’s needs into account as much as possible when you plan activities. Remember, you don’t have to spend every moment of quarantine together.

Make sure everyone gets the opportunity to spend some time alone.
Plan ‘time out’ from each other. You could split the family into teams that occupy different areas of the house – for example, Dad with one child in the garage and Mum with the other child in the lounge room – then swap the following day.

Don’t rely too heavily on the television and technology.

Treat quarantine as an opportunity to do some of those things you never usually have time for, such as board games, craft, drawing and reading.

Accept that conflict and arguments may occur. Try to resolve issues quickly. Distraction may work with young children." 

Though our situation, at the moment, may not be of real great concern(still we are in the so called orange zone)....but getting updated on essential information is always beneficial.

Stay safe! Wash your  hands, avoid crowd. Read well and complete your home assignments on time..... And most importantly Be Happy

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The (Hopeful) October Sky!

The October Sky

Those Leaves on trees haven't fallen down
Down on those lush green ground

Milky white cloud float gently above
Above that beautiful clean blue sky

Flowers still bear their unique fragrance
Fragrance that lure butterflies and bees

I feel the calmness in those cold afternoon breeze
Breeze that makes me feel i still have some more breath to breathe

In all those moments i envey their resilience
Resilience that urge me to hope for beautiful or at least a better life for me

I dare expect for warmth and wonders to visit me
Under this hopeful October sky
Before all surrender their death to the unforgiving freezing winter

I wish i could sing a beautiful song of praise
For they forged me to dare a promising dream
A Dream that shall remove all my unkindly inconveniences
And thus I may shed all my greviences
Or at least wash my long due regrets!

Monday, October 21, 2019

The other equally dashing, young and energetic volunteer teacher at Druk!

He is Panav Rai,  a class XII science graduate waiting to enroll himself in his choice of tertiary education in few months time. As he awaits, he is with us at Druk! Yes...... he is the other young and energetic volunteer teacher who i interviewed last June. 

When i come across such young people sacrificing their time and energy for community enhancement i am made too believe there is still a monumental HOPE in humanity. Keep Going Bro! 

Enjoy what this young man has to say about volunteerism, education and how importance is discipline in life to become what one aspires to. 

Photo courtesy :

1. Your life philosophy:
The philosophy I believe in is to "be our own definition of 'good'. It is enough to save this world of ours"

2. What the World need to know about your youth volunteer group? (basic facts)
Y-VIA does much more than child protection workshops. The peer tutoring project to Druk School is one among others. We have been actively involved with other volunteers in various other activities to benefit the community.

3. What made you choose Druk School to render your service as a volunteer teacher? 2 points
We had heard from our coordinator that there is a shortage of teaching faculty in Druk school. There was no better of an opportunity for us to render our services. 

The other reason would be our interest to help in our own little ways and make the most of our holidays. 

4. Your say on the student’s conduct and their aptitude and attitude towards their studies?
They are driven to be the best at what they are most interested in. There is a balanced distribution in terms of academic performance and their average performance in exams is up to the mark. But on the other hand, they might outsmart even our teachers when it comes to knowledge other than that  of the textbooks.

5. What three things you see 'best' in druk school?
The policy of having zero waste on the school is the most appealing as the lesser the dustbins, lesser the production of waste. 

Wednesdays are probably the days that everyone looks forward to at Druk School. The club activities that the teachers and students engage on gives everyone a break from the metronome life at school.

The value that has been instilled in Druk School whereby the students are are not pressured to be dynamic in academics only is the most appeasing. To produce versatile student graduates is far better to lead them to success in life. 

6. Three suggestions you may wish to submit for the betterment of the school.
It would be good to see the students marching properly during after assembly.

Boys having to cut their short is becoming an issue. I think that a suitable hair length can be kept so that they look tidy and are satisfied with their hair.

From my observations, the bell that rings to signal the end of every period seems to be merry but the high pitch seems to be bothersome to the ones in the hallway. A change of tune could perhaps could help a little.

7. What incident in your life prompt you into volunteerism?
It is the pleasure that I get from volunteerism that motivates me further. There has not been any particular incident as such but the enthusiasm from my volunteerism from middle schooling has led me in taking up as a volunteer.

8. Your early schooling?
I have studied my primary level of schooling in Etho Metho School and the Early Learning Centre. It is where I have had the foundation of what I am today.

9. Your academic persuades hence forth?
I would like to pursue a course in medicine as it has been my passion since my early childhood. 

10. And lastly , Your  advice to the students of Druk School.
As someone who just passed high school I may not be in a position to advise but it is my suggestion to these younger ones to try their hands on whatever opportunities they get as students; that privilege is lost once we graduate from school. We may fail at times which is okay as we learn from them. 

It is essential for all of us to be well educated and hence we must all work hard academically. It is equally important to have fun as well as it is not the grades but the mellow memories that one cherishes  during a lifetime.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Gratitude to a fellow volunteer teacher On International Youth Day

Hi sangay, though this interview was done some months ago...i am sorry i couldnt find another note-worthy day to post your interview than today. Thus, please except this post as my expression of gratitute to you for rendering your service as a volunteer teacher at my school. May your spirit of volunteerism continue to benefit and inspire many young people towards self-less service.. 

1. Your life philosophy.

Life gets trickier every time we take a step forward but what must not be lost is the HOPE of being able to walk over all the obstacles life offers no matter how much courage it takes because we must 'live'our lives not just try and be a survivor of this beautiful world.

2. What the World need to know about your youth volunteer group?

We belong to the youth group known as Y-VIA (Young Volunteers In Action) which is under The Bhutan Youth Development Fund. It was initiated in March 2003 to support the efforts of YDF and to represent the youth in YDF activities. 

3.What made you choose Druk School to render your service as a volunteer teacher?

Thankfully Druk School was kind enough to allow 12 pass out students like us to volunteer and help the students of 7th and 8th grade when our Regional Coordinator of Y-VIA, Ma'am Jotshna Gurung (a teacher of YHSS and a parent of one of the students who studies in Druk) came to know about the shortage of teachers in this school during PTA and she took the initiative to ask us and write an application to the school to render our voluntary work like we always do wherever needed. That's how we got this wonderful opportunity to interact and learn with the students of Druk.

4. Your say on the student’s conduct and their aptitude and attitude towards their studies?

Students of Druk are impressive in their studies and also when it comes to communication skills. Their level of language (speaking and as well as writing) is honestly very good and I am quite surprised how good they are for this age. I am glad to tell that the teachers have done their best in being the inspiration for the students' achievements in their intellectual skills. 

5.What three things you see 'best' in druk school?  

First thing that I like about this school is how different the policies are that are almost as same as the outside countries which signifies our country's movement towards modernization even in the educational system. Next, I like the co-curricular activities the school offers to the students because that gives them the platform where students learn more than what's there in the textbooks and gives them the opportunity to explore and discover their passions. Lastly, I appreciate the policy of helping the primary students or rather the very young ones to reach their classes and carry their lunch boxes to their classes by the elder students. It's a good practice and that'd be a source of inculcating the sense of responsibility and volunteerism in the students. 

6. Three suggestions you may wish to submit for the betterment of the school.

I'd like to suggest the school to have more of life skill classes to all the students so that they not only grow academically but also morally. I feel like few students lack the knowledge of life and the people where they need to learn how to be selfless and have a better understanding of how to deal with people and their friends. If they are inttectually very good and do not have certain morals in life then I feel like they'll have a tough time to be a real grown global citizen. Topics like anger management, compassion, sense of belongingness, sense of responsibility and respectfulness must be reminded to them relating to practical experiences that occur in the community. 

7. What incident in your life prompt you into volunteerism?

Well, there really wasn't an incident which prompted me to take up this so-called 'volunteerism'. It just happened when my friend asked me if I wanted yo volunteer at a summer program that's conducted every year at YDF known as Golden Youth Award Camp. I was not really looking forward to that thing but somehow I thought I should give it a try. Then that was it- I was obsessed with volunteering. I met a lot of students there, got to experience new things in life and at the end of the program, it gave me a sense of satisfaction because it was worth the try. Then I started volunteering at other programs as well because I knew what it feels to be a volunteer and to render our services because in exchange we learn new life-changing skills that completely enhance our ability to be a part and to contribute to this society in small ways.

8. Your early schooling?
I studied at Etho Meto school, then at Rinchen Kuenphen Primary School till sixth grade and after that I went to Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School where I studied till the tenth grade. Lastly, I studied my last school years at Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School till twelfth grade and graduated from YHSS in the year 2018.

9. Your academic persuades hence forth?
After this voluntary work, I'll be pursuing BA in English at Sherubtse College from July which was of course the program which I've always wanted to study. The beauty of English literature has captivated me for so long and now I would be finally exploring its beauty in depth.

10. And lastly , Your  advice to the students of Druk School.

I would like to convey this message to all the students of Druk School that life's gonna be real hard at times but what must not be forgotten is hope. Hope doesn't necessarily come with a paper with some instructions on it to move on with life but it lives within ourselves and what we have to do is look for it during the times of need. It's like a small spark but once when you find it, it radiates just like the sun with all its brightness. When you've actually found that small light, it gives you a reason to be strong and to move on, leaving all those miseries in the past. The will to try harder next time when you've failed in exams or when you've disappointed yourself and your parents, is hope. That very 'will' is the hope that takes you ahead with life. Therefore, no matter how tough life gets, just don't worry about it way too much. Make sure you learn from those mistakes and give your best the next time you do it. Study hard and chase your dreams!!!!

Follow him here:

Visit again tomorrow at 730pm as i post another interview to mark the internation youth day, 2019. I shall post an interview with another volunteer teacher mr. Pranav(who still serves as a volunteer teacher here in our school)

Pranav, Sangay and their friemd yeshi had volunteered as substitute teachers while they were waiting for the commencement of their tertiary education.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Give us a Hospital and a school in Hangay, Kalimati AKA Sengaygang: A Compensation payment for ‘zoo keeping’ the wild-elephants.

Past 20 or so years residents of my village and the neighboring villages namely Peljorling, Balbotay, Namgaycholing, GhaNgatey, Norjangsa to name a few…. have suffered greatly from wild-elephants encroachment. My village and Peljorling notably has have borne the brunt of wild-elephant activities the most. Some have lost their lives too, many lost their properties in terms of hard-earned annual harvest and some lost their ancestral house.

Bad news! Things have not changed much after so many years. Worse! The damage caused by elephants has been only escalating. And this year has been notably the hardest hit year ever. My fellow villagers spent sleepless nights guarding their crops. If elephants destroy their crops both their sleep and labour is lost. And it’s a rare incident when elephants come and go without inflicting damages. 

The Local government and the central Government both have done many things possible to benefit the locals. From solar electric  fencing(It didn’t work) to crop insurance scheme( it became too unpopular because of the low encashment in case of any crop damage) and in helping to build up the QRT (Quick Response Team) from among the villagers to petrol during the nights so dwellers are alerted at the earliest about the approach of wild elephants. 

I have a good news too! One must understand that the human wild elephant conflict is an old problem now and an old solution will not help us any longer. Old problems need newer solutions to tackle them efficiently. 

Correct me if I am wrong. In this issue some Bureaucrats need to make use of their ‘joker’ card to play the game!  I understand that the Local government, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest and environmentalists are mandated to play their ‘special card’ on issues like this. Many people may not know this. When an endangered animal like the Asian elephants walk the face of the southern foothills they need to not only act righteously to protect the locals but also judiciously to preserve the nation’s wealth- the (wild) elephants. 

Even aspiring Political Candidates also never take this issue quite seriously. Because firstly, it’s almost impossible for us to stop the mighty elephants from entering our fields…. Secondly, like I mentioned earlier, on conservation issues the presence of elephants along the southern belt of Bhutan is a source of great pride for the nation…and its equivalent to a pricy jewel especially for environmentalists and wild-elephant conservation and protection agencies both national and of international repute. 

Since the day when elephants started destroying our crops…we have been trying to stop them and never thought of co-existence…We never did…but we must now…like they say what you cannot change, you must embrace it! We cannot change the course of the wild-elephants but local and central govt can change the way how they treat the affected people. 

We must change our point of view! Of wild elephants and their activities. We must embrace their presence so we benefit better. The local and central government and the elite politicians need to also change the way they function towards such local issues. They must think rationally and pull their sleeves to do something concrete and more beneficial. Lip-service is an old tactics…it may not work anymore now. 

I have few suggestions if you may like to have:

1. Provide subsidized ginger and chili seeds for farmers (of elephant affected areas) to grow and also assist them in marketing their produce. (Ginger and chili are some of the vegetables/crops which elephants don’t like to eat).

2. Provide training and facilities for Bee Honey Harvest to the locals. This item will be an alternative source of income.  

3. Provide subsidized/or free jersey cow for each resident (of elephant affected areas) for dairy produce (we already have a dairy farm producing ice-cream and other dairy products. The extra milk will only help the dairy farm produce more or/ the local government can explore other alternatives too). It will be a good (safer because elephant don’t eat cows…) source of income for the affected residents. 

4. Refer the title of this post. To ensure good health of the immediate affected locals and also school going children can attend school regularly. They need not also have to walk 2 kilometers to reach their present school at Peljorling. They can use the down time (50 mins to reach present school) to spend it for Self-study at home which will benefit them to excel in their academics. 

Enough of this wild-elephant ‘business’ without any economic or social benefits being enjoyed by the immediate affected locals. What locals encounter is more losses than gains. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forest need to do more than just the supply of seeds and the arrangement of occasional yet grandiose visits of our Forest staff to witness crop damage with their loaded guns! Exercise some CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY to help us better. Oh Dear, the least the government of the day can do is to Pay us by constructing a hospital and a school in our community as a compensation payment for ‘zoo keeping’ the wild-elephants for last 20 years. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

The story of a kitty cat and her kittens

Lately my fellow villagers have been uploading photos after photos of the destruction caused by wild elephants on their social networks in their desperate attempt to inform concern authorities so our common greviences could be heard loud and clear.

Admist this great disappointment and sleepless nights, I would like to share a story of humility and humanity. A story of love between human and animal: A Story of a Kitty and her kittens.

Well, this post may not help stop the wild elephants at large but it certainly will re-assure the spirit of humanity and advocate that kindness and humility shall triumph  forever and ever.

So here it goes.....You know how it rains in the South. Its inexplicable specially when in summer. 

On one such rainny day, my mom and dad were on their way for the regular work at our small areca nut orchard nearby our house.

Before they could reach the orchard they need to cross a thick tiger-grass bush. Thats where the real story begins: The 'inciting incident' so to say of this mega real life story.

As they approach towards the orchard, my mother heard a kitty cry somewhere inside that thick tiger-grass (or 'centella asiatica') bush. 

They could hear the kitty cry in the following three days too. They felt something is really not ok with the kitty. Thus they finally decided to get through the thick bush. 

And alas, as they expected, they found a plastic cement sack from where the crying sound of the kitty could be heard. 'Human can at times become so inhumane! Exclaimed my parents as they untangled themselves out of the thick bush with the mysterious sack in their hand. The unfortunate kitty is imprisoned inside the sack. 

Returning to an open space, they started to open the sack. The opening of the sack was fastened around its neck several times which made it almost impossible for my parents to open it. They had to cut the sack wide open with a sickle to finally let free the destitute kitty. Oh dear, though not so well but kitty is safe!

Now free from the heinous treatment...For next half an hour the kitty just couldn't move a bit. Her eye sight was also effected.  May be it must be because of the severe dehydration and starvation. 

Soon, they took her home and took real good care of her and fed her well too.

That was 7 months the fortunate kitty has two lovely kittens of her own and they live in our store room and happily play and run around with my son and nephew! 

Amidst the menace: Corona Virus vs My Nation.

PC: Google. History tells many tales of our gallantry and contentment  s howcased by us in our times of celebration or of challenge....