Returned rightfully?

On 7 March, BBS reported that: “The land occupied by the Paro Valley Area Development Project was finally handed over to the landowners today. It was handed over by the Agriculture Minister Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho to the Member of the Parliament from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk.”

The principle of returning the land to the public is right. The land was acquired by the government in 1990 and compensation paid to the farmers. But it was never put to its intended use. So though it’s been almost two decades, there is a strong case to return the land to the farmers.

But the way it was done was not right.

First, according to the Constitution and the Land Act, only His Majesty the King may grant government land.

Second, the land should have been handed over to the farmers or the gup or the thrizin … and not to the MP of the constituency, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk.

Photo from BBS website

Happy Birthday

Earlier today, 14 lucky students got to wish His Majesty the King Happy Birthday! I’m very happy for them.

I’m also proud of them. For those 14 children, all toppers in the 2008 national examinations, gave our monarch a valuable gift – the promise “that their young little hands grow to become strong and worthy of carrying our nation to greater heights.”

On the happy occasion of His Majesty’s 29th Birth Anniversary, I join those successful students, and the entire nation, in wishing our beloved king Happy Birthday! And in offering prayers for His Majesty’s long life.

May peace, prosperity and happiness flourish in Drukyul under the glorious reign of the Fifth Druk Gyalpo.

Committed vision

“My duty is to worry every single day about our people and country. And to voice these worries frankly so that we do not get carried away, get caught unawares, or become complacent” commanded His Majesty the King to the teacher graduates during their convocation on 17th February (read full text). His Majesty then articulated his concerns about our education system with the clarity, earnestness and sense of urgency that comes from “worrying every single day”.

Our education system has recently come under increasing fire. Yet seemingly little is being done. So His Majesty’s counsel is timely. No doubt, the government will take it seriously. What follows are experts from His Majesty’s address …

Does our education system reflect our changing opportunities and challenges? Contemplate this question.

Our hopes and aspirations as a nation must be reflected in what is taught to our future generations in the classroom.

We must ensure that … young little hands grow to become strong and worthy of carrying our nation to greater heights.

It is the duty of parents, policy makers and the government to put the right tools in their hands – the right books, the right curriculum, the right direction.

We must first ask ourselves … what is the Vision for Bhutan? Then we must build an education system that nurtures people with the right skills, knowledge and training to fulfill this Vision. The sooner we realize this, the better.

Our nation’s vision can only be fulfilled if the scope of our dreams and aspirations are matched by the reality of our commitment to nurturing our future citizens.

If our Vision for the nation is not contained in the pages of the books that our young children hold, in the words of our teachers … and in the education policies of our governments, then let it be said – we have no Vision.

While we pile dream upon dream like floors on a skyscraper, the foundation needs to be strengthened.

Mathematics is one of our main weaknesses. We have similar weaknesses in Science and amazingly, even English.

A nation’s future will mirror the quality of her youth – a nation cannot fool herself into thinking of a bright future when she has not invested wisely in her children.

It is not enough to provide free education – we must provide education of such quality that it will guarantee a distinguished place for our youth anywhere in the world.

Do not … let the light of education ever go out.

Tashi Delek!

Yesterday, Changlimethang Stadium
His Majesty the King addressing his people during the Centenary National Day. (Portrait from

I offer my congratulations to the recipients of the Druk Gyalpo’s National Day medals.

His Majesty the King awarded Druk Thuksey to:

1. Dasho Kunzang Wangdi
2. Aum Neten Zam
3. Dasho Pema Wangchuk
4. Dasho Pema Wangchen

His Majesty the King awarded the Druk Wangyel to:

1. Lyonchen Jigme Y. Thinley
2. Thrimche Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye

My heartiest Tashi Delek! to all of them.

The constitution of our nation

Today, we celebrate our 101st National Day. Today will also mark the culmination of the year-long celebrations commemorating a century of peace, prosperity and happiness under our beloved monarchs.

As we conclude the historic celebrations of 100 years of monarchy, we have many reasons to be deeply thankful: a secure and sovereign homeland, a vibrant culture and religion, a largely pristine environment, free healthcare and education, a unique democracy, and a growing economy. Simply put, we live longer, better and happier lives.

And as we enter the next 100 years as a unified nation, we must uphold our two most important assets to ensure that we and future generations continue to enjoy peace, prosperity and happiness. The first asset is our monarchy. This important institution, which is the essence and very basis of our kingdom, must be protected, nurtured and cherished by all Bhutanese – in body, speech and mind – so that future generations can enjoy what we today take for granted.

The second is our Constitution. This sacred document, gifted to us from the Golden Throne, must be defended – rights enjoyed and duties fulfilled – by all Bhutanese, for all time.


Our Constitution came into effect on 18 July, 2008. 152 days have already passed since the historic signing of this sacred document, and it has still not been properly distributed. Forget farmers, none of the gups I’ve met have received a copy of the Constitution.

Jewel of books

Twenty months ago the Tarayana Foundation invited Bhutanese to compose poems celebrating His Majesty the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Of the more than two hundred entries, 25 poems were selected and compiled into the book “Jewel of Men”. These poems express the deep feelings – of love, affection and reverence – that all Bhutanese hold for our beloved monarch.

“Jewel of Men” was launched yesterday by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, in a warm ceremony commemorating our Fourth King. Present were HRH Ashi Sonam Dechen Wangchuck, who delivered an eloquent welcome, and HRH Dasho Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, who gave us a poignant documentary about his relationship with his father and his monarch.

“This book of poems”, Her Majesty revealed to an audience full of emotion, “I hold dear to my heart, for it is a reflection of the sentiments of love and gratitude to His Majesty, who has given this country so much, in particular, a King in His Image, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck”

I thank Her Majesty and Tarayana for voicing my innermost feelings on the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, a giant among men, a king without equal, a jewel.

Volunteers for Bhutan

The Coronation was a grand success!

The Coronation – our coronation – showcased Bhutan’s unique culture and tradition. It also put on full display the love, affection and reverence that all Bhutanese have for our monarch.

I offer my heartiest congratulations to all the people responsible for making this historic national event a resounding success: The NSCCC, Zhung Dratshang, Home Ministry, Tourism Council, Protocol Department, schools, police, Thimphu Dzongkhag and City Corporation, hospital, media, City Bus, Department of Works and Housing, utility companies, DNP, and many others.

And I pay special tribute to the countless volunteers who came from all parts of our country and all segments of our society. They contributed their time, energy and resources to make the celebrations that much more enjoyable and safe, warm and special. Most of them worked behind the scenes and claimed no recognition. They worked long hours and shouldered heavy responsibilities.

Farmers traveled long distances, some from very remote areas, to offer special cultural performances.

Civil servants, especially the mid-level ones, sacrificed their long holidays to volunteer their services.

Recent graduates ignored looming employment concerns and turned in full force, everywhere it seemed.

The Citizens’ Initiative for Coronation and Centenary Celebrations organized a series of grand shows, and continue to do so to mark the centenary celebrations.

The Local Chapter put on memorable events and lavished pins and posters of His Majesty the King to all people.

They are patriots, all of them.

Volunteering is not new in Bhutan. It is a central feature of life in our villages. That’s how we build our houses, work our farms, celebrate births, nurse the sick, support the grieving, and secure our communities.

The Coronation Celebrations have shown that today’s urban Bhutanese are still ready to volunteer. That, in fact, volunteering is being taken to new heights. This, during our coronation, is a fitting tribute to our monarch.

To all volunteers: Tashi Delek!