Student on ice

Nishtha Sinha is Bhutan’s first student to visit Antarctica.

Nishtha, an Indian, studies in Lungtenzampa MSS. So she represented two countries – Bhutan and India – when she participated in the 15-day Antarctic University Expedition 2009.

The expedition, which ended yesterday, was organized by Students on Ice, a unique program that takes students, teachers and scientists to Antarctica and the Arctic to learn about and to develop respect for the world’s ecosystem.

Nishtha, along with other student researchers from high schools and universities from a dozen countries, blogged from their “school” onboard the research ship, MV Ushuaia. Her second blog can be read here.

Well done Nishtha. And well done Lungtenzampa MSS.

Photo from

Celebrating India

India became an independent country on 15 August 1947. But the British monarch, King George VI, continued as India’s head of state till the country was declared a republic. That historic declaration came into effect on 26 January 1950 when India adopted its constitution and became the world’s largest democracy.

As India celebrates its 60th Republic Day, I offer my tashi delek to all the people of India, especially those residing in Bhutan, and thank them for their warm friendship and unwavering support to our king, our country and our people.

I join President Pratibha Patil in wishing Indians everywhere: “Itney Unchey Utho ki Jitna Utha Gagan hai!”

Celebrating volunteers

I almost didn’t make it. I was so preoccupied writing about Galek’s taekwondo – and watching her practice – that I almost missed this morning’s event to honour two decades of JOCV service in Bhutan.

HRH Ashi Sonam Dechen Wangchuck was the guest of honour, and JOCV and JICA had arranged quite a show – from lively dancing, classical music and health checks to photo exhibitions, tea ceremony and bamboo toys, our Japanese volunteer friends had organized a lot of activities in the Clock Tower square. It was fun.

I would have felt terrible if I’d missed the event. Not because it was fun, but because I have been closely associated with the JOCV program. In my previous incarnation as a civil servant – which seems like ages ago – I requested for, worked with and benefited from the services of many Japanese volunteers.

And the range of volunteers I’ve worked with is extensive. They include two auto mechanics, an architect, a lacquering expert, a doll maker, a leather expert, a metal caster, a rebar fixer, a plumber, and an electrician. All good people who have contributed a lot to improving vocational training, particularly in zorig chusum. They made a difference. To them I offered my quiet, heartfelt thanks.

I’m glad I made it.

Mumbai blasts

I strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks by terrorists in Mumbai, and offer my condolences, solidarity and support to the victims and their families.

My thoughts and prayers are with the government and people of India.

Denmark for Bhutan

Yesterday, I attended the event “Denmark for Bhutan” featuring the Danish film “Italian for Beginners” directed by Lone Scherfig. The film, a light hearted romantic comedy, was made in the dogme style using hand held video cameras, natural lighting and a small budget.

The event was organized outdoors – in the clear, crisp Thimphu evening at the CICCC Ground. Well done. And very enjoyable.
Many thanks to the Citizens’ Initiative for Coronation and Centenary Celebrations, and the Liaison Office of Denmark for last evening’s celebrations.

To our film makers: would dogme work in Bhutan? It’s cheap and simple. But without the bright lights and loud sounds of commercial cinematography, we would have to portray real life issues. And that’s what we need. But are we ready?