Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Amidst the menace: Corona Virus vs My Nation.


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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.

Cheers! 

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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....