Australia floods

Safe, sound and dry

I just got off the phone with Colin McCowan, popularly known as “Mister Col” by Bhutanese studying in Brisbane, Australia.

Col says that he’s in touch with all 25 Bhutanese students in the Brisbane area. And that all of them and their families are safe.

The floods have wrecked unimaginable damage in Queensland. So I’m grateful that our students and their families – all 60 of them – are safe and sound.

Mister Col: thank you for taking care of our students.

Paraprosdokian sentences

A friend sent me this. Enjoy ….

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.

  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list. [Continue Reading…]

Royal Body Guards

Thank you

The Royal Body Guards are celebrating their golden jubilee today. The banner, featuring RBG’s famous “Gho Company”, congratulates and thanks the commandant, officers and all ranks of the RBG, past and present, for fifty years of dedicated service to the tsa-wa-sum.

RBG’s announcement on this important day follows:

Royal Body Guards was raised on 27th December 1960 to undertake the security responsibilities of His Majesty the Third King. It then just consisted of one Company of 120 men including officers under the Command of 2nd Lt. Tshering Nidup who was later promoted to the rank of Colonel and had the Distinction of being the first Commandant of Royal Body Guards.

Since then RBG grew in numbers and relevance to take up very important assignments in the service of Tsa-Wa-Sum. Today RBG is being commanded by Major General Dhendup Tshering DW, DT under whose leadership RBG promises to make steady progress.

On this auspicious occasion of our 50 years service; officers, men and civilian employees of RBG offer our solemn pledge to serve with loyalty and dedication.

Quiz – 2

Our first quiz generated a good deal of interest. So, naturally, I’ve decided to make quizzes a regular feature here. I hope you agree. Please participate. And please contribute questions.

Here’s the question:

What does HPM stand for?


Thimphu mourns

Thirty two people were cremated today. 18 of them were pilgrims who died in the recent plane crash in Nepal. The rest were from other parts of the country – they were bought to Thimphu when their families learnt that that His Majesty the King was personally supporting the cremations, and that His Holiness the Je Khenpo was presiding over the final rites.

Thousands of mourners, from all walks of life, gathered in Thimphu’s cremation grounds to stand by the bereaved families of the air crash victims. The outpouring of public support reconfirms how readily we are able, and willing, to come together, as one family, whenever we are faced with adversity.

But we are fortunate that we’ve been able to hold the cremations at all. The air crash, after all, occurred in the high mountains, in a foreign land, and barely five days ago. In most such cases it would be near impossible to bring home the remains of even one victim. Yet, in this case, every one of the bodies were retrieved from the crash site, transported to Katmandu, identified, embalmed and brought home, all in record time. And, given the circumstances, in a manner that caused as little suffering and grief as possible.

All this, and much more, was possible because His Majesty the King personally oversaw the relief work, and ensured that the victims and their families were given complete and unconditional support. The Gyalpoi Zimpoen’s office and government officials worked round the clock, in Nepal and at home, to make sure that the families of the victims would be able to provide funerals for their loved ones, at home, with dignity, and in accordance with our traditions and beliefs.

A terrible tragedy is coming to an end. But through it, I am reminded that we are indeed fortunate to be Bhutanese.

Tragic news

Tara Air's Twin Otter

Bhutan is in mourning.

Nepalese officials have confirmed that all 19 passengers and 3 crewmembers onboard the Twin Otter aircraft that crashed in eastern Nepal have died. The airplane, which crashed shortly after taking off from Lamidanda airport, was carrying 18 Bhutanese pilgrims. Our fellow citizens were returning to Kathmandu after visiting Maratika’s sacred caves.

A team from Bhutan, led by the Cabinet Secretary and two Zimpon Wongmas, are already in Nepal overseeing relief operations and providing support. The bodies of our pilgrims have been recovered and identified, and are expected to arrive in Paro tomorrow.

The Galpoi Zimpon’s office has established a Crisis Unit to provide support and respond to inquiries. The Unit can be contacted at 188 (hotline), 02-35589 and 1711-6667.

The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs has also established a similar unit. They can be reached at 233 (hotline), 02-327098 and 1760-9591.

The tragedy has shocked our entire nation. And we are united in our grief. Together we offer our condolences and moral support, our thoughts and our prayers, to the families and friends of the victims of yesterday’s tragedy.

Photo credit: BBC

Unrestrained Truth

Two readers – Truth and Linda – went “off topic” on a recent post. “Truth” raised an issue that was totally unrelated to the post. “Linda” suggested that we should have a way of allowing readers to initiate new topics for discussion. And I agreed.

I’ve thought about it. And rather than incorporating an online forum in this blog – we already have Kuenselonline and for that – I suggest that you send, by email, a short written account of the topic that you’d like to draw our attention to.

But please permit me to review your contribution before posting it as a separate entry.

Sunday biking

Natural power

Our Sunday bicycling group is slowly growing. Today, there were 12 of us. We met up at the Clock Tower Square, and rode together to Dechenphug monastery and back.

Contact Rinzin Ongdra at if you’d like to join the group. Or, just show up at the square at 10:30 AM on Sunday. To encourage you I’ve posted some pictures from today’s ride at the gallery.

Druk Stars

Phurba Chencho

We were totally wrong.

Our poll predicted that Jangchub Choden would win the Druk Star contest. And that she would be followed by Jamphel Yangzom, Phurba Chencho, Sonam Tobgay and Chencho Norbu in that order.

In reality, yesterday, Jamphel Yangzom won the contest. She was crowned Druk Star, was declared the Voice of Drukyul, and drove off in a brand new Maruti Swift. Chencho came in second, followed by Sonam, Phurba and Jangchub.

We were completely off.

I’m happy for Jamphel Yangzom. And I’m happy for the other contestants who made it to the top 5. They’ve worked hard. And they’ve earned the adulation of the whole nation. Congratulations!

But I’m most happy for Phurba Chencho. He’s from Shari, a village of about 50 households in Haa. Before the competition, barely four months ago, he was a full time farmer tending to his cows, and preparing to plant wheat. He’d never been to school. And his singing was limited to impromptu performances during his neighbours’ chokus.

Phurba Chencho says that he’ll continue farming. But that he’ll take his singing a lot more seriously. Very good!

Photo credit: BBSC

Counting on gentlemen

Bhutanese golfers

Several of you have complained that Druk Star’s voting process is flawed.

Yes, you are right. Voters are permitted to cast multiple votes. But, they have to pay good money for each vote. So the candidate with the most money, or with the richest supporters, will, in all likelihood, get the highest number of votes. And win the coveted title.

The voting process, however, is purposely flawed. They are a business. Their primary aim is to make money. And what better way to do that than by turning a blind eye at the otherwise glaring fault.

But all elections are not flawed. In fact, that’s why we conduct elections: to select winners though a fair process.

And where would you expect to find the fairest elections? In the golf course, of course, among golfers, who dedicate their time to mastering the gentleman’s game – so called, because in golf, players expose their own transgressions, enforce their own penalties, and report their own scores.

So recently, when 36 gentlemen – yes, all of them were men – assembled in the Royal Thimphu Golf Club to elect a new president, not a single one of them doubted the process. The gentlemen cast their votes. And they counted them. The winning candidate had secured 16 votes. And the closest challenger had registered 15 votes. One vote, just one ballot, had determined who the next president of their prestigious club would be.

But one hacker – an incorrigible accountant, no doubt – totaled the votes. He counted 40 of them.

36 gentlemen had somehow cast 40 votes!