Radio gaga

A52JF

Tourists visit Bhutan for many reasons. Most do so to catch a glimpse of the last Shangri la, that is, to experience our unique culture and enjoy our pristine environment.

But many tourists visit our country for specialized purposes, and because those purposes can be fulfilled here more so than in any other country in the world. For instance, tourists visit us to do the arduous Snowman Trek, ride the treacherous Drangmechhu, or complete the grueling Tour of the Dragon. Enthusiasts pay to look for rare butterflies, catch a glimpse of stunning birds, or soak in the beauty of the blue poppy. And experts visit us to enjoy our stunning textiles, wonder at our intricate thangkas, or photograph our breathtaking dzongs.

Some have come all the way here simply to meditate. And, given the opportunity, many visitors would willingly blow up their life savings to fish the legendary mahseer, scale our virgin peaks, or safari in Manas.

Yes, we’ve been endowed with more than our fair share of unique tourism products. And most of us think we know all of them. We don’t.

Yesterday, for example, I met Iain Haywood and learnt about another special reason why tourists are willing to pay big money to visit our country. Mr Haywood, from England, is a ham radio operator and is on a DX-pedition to Bhutan. That means that he’s here primarily to operate his amateur radio. And for that he’s arrived with, and already set up, his aerial and other equipment to receive and transmit radio signals.

So why does Mr Haywood find our country so interesting? Because there are very few amateur radio operators in Bhutan. And because, as such, ham radio operators all over the world would jump at the opportunity to hook up with a radio signal originating from Bhutan.

That’s why Mr Haywood, who’s been licensed by BICMA to use the call sign A52JF, has not left his hotel room in Olathang, Paro, since he checked in two days ago. But by the time I met him yesterday, he was already enjoying a “pile up”, a position of privilege in which ham radio operators rush to connect with him. And by that time, he had already logged about 400 “conversations”, or data exchanges, with operators from Europe, Asia and Africa. His goal: 2,000 conversations in five days followed by a two-day trip to Punakha! His dream: to return to Bhutan to do a “summits on the air”, that is to operate his ham radio from our high peaks.

Other ham radio enthusiasts have also visited Bhutan. And they, like Mr Haywood, used the services of Yeshey Dorji, Bhutan’s national operator, to organize their special tours.

I’m surprised at the amount of trouble amateur radio operators will go to advance their hobby. But I’m glad that that interest translates to tourism and, more importantly, goodwill for Bhutan.

Today, incidentally, is World Radio Day.

 

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  1. FROM KOL:(I found these articles interesting and more relevent a subject for discussion and thought at some in time if OL could choose this as a discussion subject in his blog. Today, there seems to be a big confusion surrounding our banks and its working system which needs to be revisited in the interest of the public)

    SUBJECT: RMA vs BANKS

    Banking wrote:

    RMA makes all the banks in Bhutan a guinea pig for testing because they are still learning how to do banking. Because of thier trial and error method of implementing the services charges, inconveniences were caused to all banks and public for no reasons. Had this new rule been discussed with banks while simulating the basic calculation of charges inconveniences would have been avoided. And same goes to RMA Prudential Regulation, because it is in total mess. They make lot of noise but look at each other for clarification if simple question is asked on PR ambiguity.Knowing only theory doesnot make a good policy maker, theory cum practicality gives better result. Policy maker should have both knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice.

    morninglory wrote:
    Banking said:
    RMA makes all the banks in Bhutan a guinea pig for testing because they are still learning how to do banking. Because of thier trial and error method of implementing the services charges, inconveniences were caused to all banks and public for no reasons. Had this new rule been discussed with banks while simulating the basic calculation of charges inconveniences would have been avoided. And same goes to RMA Prudential Regulation, because it is in total mess. They make lot of noise but look at each other for clarification if simple question is asked on PR ambiguity.Knowing only theory doesnot make a good policy maker, theory cum practicality gives better result. Policy maker should have both knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice.
    ________________________________________
    I think the author missed some points. It is clearly stated in the paper that the issue was deliberated thoroughly with the CEOs and only upon their agreement that the revision was implemented to be tested for one year. Anyway, we appreciate the firm decision of RMA. These big BANKS are into killing the smaller ones. You can’t always have and save the bread at the same time.

    Banking wrote:

    That is the biggest problem of policy makers .They never bother for lab tesintg, UAT and live simulation before releasing for field implemantion.(RMA said, “to be tested for one year”, what do you mean by that?). It is very expensive to make live testing and experiement on customers. It is very simple, we dont need 365 days to test. 3 hours is more than enough to get result in virtual counter with dummy transactions. we know that the several rounds of delibration happened across the table to discuss whether banks should charge for the services and not how to calculate if at all miscellaneous services cost are to be shared with customers. Interesting thing is that; now RMA is not willing to be accountable for their lapses. Now blame Game on between parties, Passing bugs and ownership problems. This is a pure equity issue. We should give fair go. In between, who is looser in power struggle?. Not definitely Banks nor RMA but surely general public and customers due to delay in services and hassel they have to go through. This is very simple issue which can be resolved without having to sit for a expensive meeting. It seems more of attidute problems than a policy issue. we talk a lot about customer service efficiency, delivery time management etc..etc but where is the conducive environment?. It is the simple method that achives the greatest result. Cheers! let customer be happy!

    SilentWatcher wrote:

    Yes, i fully agree with Mr. Banking. I myself is a banker and I know the impacts of RMA’s decisions in my day to day work. They send dirty, torn and tattered notes to be put in the ATMs saying that the notes are sorted ones. We got no option but to feed the machines with those notes. And at the end who gets the blame from the customers?? It’s the bank. Customers say that the bank officials put torn tattered notes into the machines. And recently I heard RMA is trying to make the daily withdrawal limit from the ATMs to Nu. 40,000/- for all Banks. When they make this decision think of the pressures it would give to the ATM custodians who are already so much burdened with acute staff shortage and so much pressures from the customers. RMA don’t think all these!!

    morninglory wrote:

    Banking said:
    ” It is the simple method that achives the greatest result. Cheers! let customer be happy!”
    ________________________________________
    What are you saying man? The revision in the charges have at least benefitted the customers and not affected them and I as a customer of the bank is for the first time happy with this heavenly decision after about a decade of availing banking services.
    But on hindsight, what use are the CEOs if they are to attend the meeting and endorse the decision in silence only to be refuted later wasting time and resources of all? If the decision were not acceptable they(CEOs) should have fought tooth and nail then and there as they would do in the board meeting for annual bonus. No offense intended please.
    ________________________________________

  2. Private sector development plans in paper plus present banks’criminal organization like working environment equals to zero growth back to square one formula.

  3. From Business Bhutan:

    <<<>>>

    Bhutan needs to produce a new breed of entrepreneurs
    By business bhutan| 18 February 2012 | 0 Comment

    Like it or not, the problem of unemployment, it seems, is here to stay, for quite a long time. Especially in the wake of thousands of school and college graduates pouring into a relatively small job market every year, unemployment will only become dire with the passage of time.
    The only solution to solve unemployment is to create enough jobs for all. And herein lies the difficulty.
    First, there aren’t enough job openings in the civil service – the most preferred choice of any young graduate. The civil service will only be able take in so much as it aspires to remain compact and efficient. The Bhutanese mentality that a job in the civil service is the best deal one can get isn’t helping either. It restricts us to explore opportunities beyond the civil service.
    Second, the private sector, the so called engine of Bhutanese economy, is still in a fledgling stage. Although in recent years, the private sector has created more jobs than any time in its history, job seekers and their families are tied down by conventional notion that jobs in the private sector are not secure, salaries are low and other benefits are few and far between.
    Third, a decent education, by which it is normally understood as obtaining a university degree, does not necessarily translate into readily available jobs. Specialized skills, right aptitude and drive to perform, among others, are what employers look for in job seekers.
    There is a obvious mismatch between supply and demand without doubt. This is exemplified by our highly misplaced, almost desperate, policy of accepting science graduates in the post of administrative officers and dzongkha graduates as planning officers, for instance.
    That way, if there is a need, university curricula must be refined and shaped to prepare graduates for the job market. This may even require a complete overhaul of the education system which may take many years of doing. But eventually what matters is making education relevant and more in touch with existing realities of the job market.
    Parents and individual youth must be aware of the changing dimension of Bhutanese economy. And accordingly, they must decide what field to pursue in order to land a suitable job without much ado.
    Besides that, young graduates must also explore opportunities of self-employment. Nothing like it if this is the goal of every youth in the country. Bhutanese economy needs young, daring, innovative entrepreneurs and business leaders.
    It’s about time we move out of the herd mentality and think up creative ideas that will not only boost the economy but also create more employment opportunities for others. Ideally speaking, what our young job seekers need to do is make the bold transition from being a job seeker to a job creator.
    There is a dearth of good ideas in the market which only means there is a whole lot of space for experimentation. There is always room for innovation. However, sometimes, there are ideas but without investment. Financial institutions are unwilling to take the risk as most young entrepreneurs lack capital and asset.
    To quote an example, a young upcoming Bhutanese scientist who invented a washing machine was literally going from pillar to post, looking for funds. We must give talented, visionary and innovative youth like him a chance to prove.
    Similarly, young entrepreneurs who think out of the box have ventured into green business like waste management, because they know there is cash in trash.
    The government can do its bit here, by providing subsidy, financial assistance and tax holidays to upcoming entreprenuers. Actually, the labor ministry’s entrepreneurship development program and Druk Holding and Investments’ BEGIN program are encouraging examples that invest in innovative business ideas. The government and DHI are facilitating with financial institutions to promote such businesses and our youth must grab these opportunities.
    It’s time to shed the traditional mindset – the white color disease – that is partly responsible for widespread youth unemployment. Our construction industry is booming like never before and enough jobs are created but sadly there are not many takers. One problem with menial jobs is that it is lowly paid.
    Instead of talking about dignity of labor at length, we must raise the wages for such jobs. Respect and dignity will follow. If not, why do Bhutanese travel abroad just to do the same kind of jobs? As much as policymakers need to get to the bottom of the unemployment problem, as a society we also need to do soul-searching in earnest.

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