Leadership of the Self


About 1,300 graduates are taking part in the annual graduate orientation programme. And like last year, and the year before, the opposition party will not have the opportunity to meet them.

Last year, I blogged about what I would have spoken about had I been able to meet the graduates. And over the weekend, I’ve been thinking about the wide range of issues that might interest this year’s graduates. But one topic stood out: His Majesty the King’s recent Convocation Address to the students of the University of Calcutta.

As the students in Kolkata prepared to enter the real world of work, His Majesty the King had urged them to live their lives guided by the values of kindness, integrity and justice. To exercise “Leadership of the Self”, His Majesty commanded, is to become better human beings. And that to bring change in the world – to eradicate poverty; to reduce inequalities; to reverse environmental degradation; to improve healthcare – we need to actively seek out “Leadership of the Self”; not leaders to lead the masses.

His Majesty the King’s message is even more relevant for every one of us at home. And it’s particularly pertinent for the 2010 graduates, our future leaders, for whom I reproduce His Majesty’s address in its entirety.

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Haa mela

Yesterday, the thousands of spectators who had gathered in Haa to celebrate Imtrat’s 48th Raising Day were treated to a memorable programme of sensational parajumps, equestrian displays, motorcycle stunts, dog agility, gymnastics and martial music.

But what really enthralled the eager crowd – locals and Indians alike – was HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck unexpectedly riding “Tipu Sultan”, an army thoroughbred, at a full gallop, attempting to pick up tent pegs with his lance.

The banner features our dashing prince on the young charger.

Implementing the Constitution

For the people ...

Several people have asked me for an English translation of the expression of gratitude that I had offered to His Majesty the King during the inaugural ceremony of the fifth session of the Parliament. A busy schedule, arising from the fifth session, distracted me from translating the statement.

But yesterday, after posting the entry about the signing of our Constitution, I suddenly decided that the translation had to be done immediately. Here it is …

Expression of Appreciation to His Majesty the King

Introduction. It’s been hardly two years since the introduction of democracy in our country. Democratic Constitutional Monarchy has started off well, and as such, our country has received considerable international appreciation and acclaim for a successful transition to democracy.

But more importantly, our people are already enjoying the benefits of the new system of government.

We have been able to achieve a great deal of development within such a short span of time, because of the blessings of the Triple Gem; the support of our guardian deities; the prayers of our clergy; the good fortune of our people; and because of the wisdom, foresight and guidance of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

Most importantly, it is because of the noble deeds and exceptional accomplishments of His Majesty the King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

To most people, democracy means that the complete powers of governance are in the hands of the people. And, that is correct. But in order to administer these powers on behalf of the people, our Constitution accredits a range of institutions. These are, for example, the National Council and the National Assembly, the ruling party and the opposition, the Lhengye Zhungtsho and civil servants, the judiciary, and the Constitutional Offices. The respective powers, roles and responsibilities of these institutions are enshrined in the Constitution.

But of all these institutions, that of the Druk Gyapo is, by far, the most important. According to Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution, “His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo is the Head of State and the symbol of unity of the Kingdom and of the people of Bhutan.”

All of us are fully aware of His Majesty the King’s noble deeds, actions and achievements. So on behalf of the opposition party, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude by recalling a few of His Majesty’s accomplishments during the past two years. I thank the Honourable Speaker for allowing me to do so.

One: land. In accordance with Article 2 Section 16 (b) (The Druk Gyalpo, in exercise of His Royal Prerogatives, may grant … land kidu and other kidus), His Majesty the King has, during the last two years, traveled throughout our country to grant audiences to people living in our remotest gewogs and villages, and to personally experience their living conditions and greatest difficulties. [Continue Reading…]

Day of destiny


On this day, two years ago, His Majesty the King, by warrant under His hand and seal, sanctioned the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

To commemorate the historic event I visited the Tashichhodzong earlier today. In its Kunrey – the sacred chamber where the Constitution was signed and officially took effect – I offered butter lamps and prayers, and reflected on how we, parliamentarians, have served or failed our Constitution so far.

Thanking His Majesty

Earlier today, His Majesty the King was received in a traditional chipdrel procession to the inaugural ceremony of the fifth session of the Parliament.

My statement, expressing the opposition party’s gratitude to His Majesty, is available here.

Superman and the carpenter

Flying kisses

Business Bhutan carried an interesting story last week. It was about a young student’s fantastic encounter with His Majesty the King.

Here’s another story…

When Galek came home from school recently, she excitedly announced that she had met His Majesty the King. She explained that our monarch had visited Thimphu Primary School that day. And, she recounted every detail of the royal visit, from the stories that His Majesty had told them and the soelra that they had received, to the songs that they had sung and the flying kisses that they had exchanged.

“Our King told us a story about a carpenter”, broadcast Galek. “A rich man ordered a poor carpenter to build a house. And when the house was complete he unexpectedly gave it to the carpenter. The carpenter was very happy. But after a few years, his house started crumbling. The carpenter regretted that he had not built the house well. The moral of story is that we must always work hard and work honestly!”

“When our King was a young prince”, she continued gushing, “His favourite superhero was Superman!”

Later that evening, before her bath, she carefully placed two invisible objects on the dressing mirror. And, immediately afterwards, she plucked the invisible objects off the mirror and gently put them in her pocket.

Seeing her exaggerated movements, her perplexed mother inquired, “What was that all about?”

“Flying kisses”, answered Galek. “Our King blew us flying kisses. I caught two of them!”

She went on to explain that the students had blown flying kisses to His Majesty the King. He had collected all of them, promising to use them for energy while trekking across high mountains and low valleys to meet our people who live in remote villages. In return, His Majesty had given them flying kisses.

About a week later, Galek’s mother opened her closet, and discovered that her daughter had secretly decorated two portraits of His Majesty the King with her prized stickers

“The flying kisses are there,” she pointed. “They remind me of Superman and the carpenter.”

Precious gifts

His Majesty’s birthday gifts to the people of Bhutan: a vibrant media and a strong judiciary for a successful democracy.

Birthday celebrations

Sombaykha Dungkhag

Sombaykha is the latest of our country’s 16 dungkhags. It was established barely two years ago to serve the two remote gewogs of Sombaykha and Gakiling. The offices of the dungkhag, which consists of three makeshift houses, are located in Sibthang along the banks of the Amochu.

Last Sunday, on 21 February, farmers from Gakiling and Sombaykha, descended on their dungkhag to celebrate His Majesty the King’s birth anniversary.

This week’s banner features the dungkhag office. More photographs of the festivities are in the gallery.

To protect and to serve

Tashi delek!

Tashi delek!

Yesterday, during the National Day ceebrations, His Majesty the King conferred red scarves to Dasho Sangay Khandu, Dasho Bharat Tamang, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, and Dasho Dr. Tandin Dorji for their dedicated services to the tsa wa sum.


While conferring the important award, His Majesty commanded that their scarves, which represent the Buddha’s garment, must constantly remind them to serve the people with humility and compassion. And, that their swords must remind them to always defend the security of the people and sovereignty of the nation.

This is a powerful reminder to all of us – but, especially to politicians – who enjoy the power, prestige and privilege of the patang and kabney.

Celebrating teachers and workers

Very important people

Very important people

Teachers and blue-collared workers throughout our country must be celebrating. Good. They have reason to rejoice.

Yesterday, during the National Day celebrations in Changlimithang Stadium, His Majesty the King paid special tribute to our teachers and blue-collared workers. And, in recognition of their important services to the tsa wa sum, His Majesty awarded the National Order of Merit to 16 educationists and blue-collared workers. One craftsman, Jinzop Karma, Bhutan’s foremost traditional sculptor, was bestowed the Druk Thugsay.

My heartiest congratulations to them.

And, to the countless teachers and blue-collared workers all across our Kingdom, I say: thank you.

Photo credit: BBS