Giving thanks

MPs outside NA

This week’s banner features members of parliament, in front of the Gyalyog Tshokhang, preparing to receive His Majesty the King to the inaugural ceremony of the fourth session of the Parliament.

A quick translation of my statement thanking His Majesty the King follows:

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A series of natural disasters have ravaged our country during the past 20 months. Nature’s four elements have created calamities throughout our country, in every dzongkhag, causing immeasurable problems for our country and our people.

Recently, earthquakes, windstorms and fires have inflicted damage, and caused anxiety and hardship for the people living in the eastern part of our country. And, only the day before yesterday, fires destroyed many houses in Haa town and Samkhar, Trashigang.

Such calamities are common in some countries, but in Bhutan they are rare. And they have never occurred in such frequency, or with such force, causing unprecedented problems and hardship for our people.

So our people are surprised. And they are worried. Since all these calamities have occurred only after the first elections, some people have wondered if democracy is inauspicious for Bhutan.

Democracy may or may not be auspicious for us. But, what is certain is that His Majesty the King personally introduced democracy in our country specifically to protect the wellbeing of our people. Furthermore, His Majesty the King has repeatedly commanded that we, the people, must strengthen the foundations of democracy in our country.

So, regardless of whether the signs are auspicious or ominous; and regardless of the frequency and severity of natural calamities, all of us must work together, collectively, to make democracy successful and beneficial to our country, our people and the dharma. This important responsibility belongs to each and every one of us.

On behalf of the opposition party, I thank our civil servants, armed forces, Zhung Dratshang and religious organizations for providing immediate help and support to our people every time there is a natural calamity.

More importantly, I offer our eternal gratitude to His Majesty the King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Whenever natural calamities strike, His Majesty always rushes to personally help and comfort the people who are affected by them. And, in addition to awarding kidu grants to the victims of natural calamities, His Majesty provides moral support to build their confidence.

Recently, on the 3rd day of the 8th month, an earthquake – the strongest living memory – rocked our country. That earthquake completely destroyed not just houses, but entire villages upon villages in many parts of Eastern Bhutan. Many precious lives were also lost in the earthquake.

To make matters worse, aftershocks, windstorms, and fire spread even more damage, and caused our people living in the East – and people all over our country – a tremendous amount of worry and hardship … problems that His Majesty the King addressed personally.

In fact, this is what people told me when I toured parts of our country that were affected by the calamities: on the very day the earthquake struck, members of our armed forces were immediately at the scene – at His Majesty’s command – to help the people affected by the disaster. By the next day, the offices of the Gyalpoi Zimpoen had arrived, and were already distributing food, clothes and tarpaulin to the victims. Furthermore, at His Majesty’s command, the Prime Minister and Gyalpoi Zimpoen toured the affected areas and met the people.

The people found these interventions extremely helpful. Yet, His Majesty chose to visit the region and personally meet the people to give them moral support and a sense of confidence. Now, in addition to traveling the area on foot and personally seeing the affects of the disasters, His Majesty awarded cash grants, and kidu for timber and CGI. Furthermore, His Majesty commanded the armed forces to help the villagers rebuild their houses.

But that was not all: His Majesty visited their homes, cooked for them and talked with them. And, in order to comfort the people, His Majesty sang and danced with them, and slept in the houses of the poorest farmers.

As the earthquake had severely traumatized the rural students as well, His Majesty comforted them, played with them, told them stories, and built temporary classrooms for them.

The people affected by the natural disasters have said that, because of His Majesty’s personal concern, support and kidu, they actually consider themselves fortunate. They say that they now have the opportunity to build better homes for themselves. And, to build more vibrant communities.

Similarly, when fire raged through Haa, His Majesty, who was immediately at the scene of the destruction, granted support and kidu to the victims of the fire.

It is because of His Majesty’s all-important and selfless work, that, in the democratic era, our people look to our Monarch as our only support and ultimate insurance.

In order to fulfill this important mandate, however, we parliamentarians also have a responsibility. That responsibility is to establish the Relief Fund which, according to Article 14, Section 12 of the Constitution, the Druk Gyalpo can use for urgent and unforeseen humanitarian relief. But, instead of establishing the Relief Fund in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, we, parliamentarians, allocated Nu 20 million as a budget item for the fiscal year 2009-10. That was hardly enough, so the Gyalpoi Zimpoen’s office launched a separate Kidu Fund.

Led by the Dratshang, the royal family, members of the armed forces, civil servants, corporations, businesspeople, students, private citizens, international organizations and friendly countries have all made generous donations to the Kidu Fund. Still, in the interests of the future, it is extremely important that we, parliamentarians, establish the Relief Fund.

The fact that His Majesty the King is gracing the opening ceremony of the fourth session of the First Parliament, despite all other important engagements, is indicative of His Majesty’s support of the democratic process, in general, and of the Parliament, in particular.

On behalf of the opposition party, I once again, offer complete and heartfelt thanks to His Majesty the King.

 

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  1. Hon’ble OL,

    Being the last of three speakers to present your kadrin legso, you did a fine job by not going into rhetoric but finding your own niche and approach to express your feelings and gratitude. You may like to extrapolate this approach in defining your political career and the new political system of this country. After you guys are the trendsetters. In fact the ruling government should also do the same. Each party and power centres should find their own strength and approach rather than resolving to confrontations and victimism. The ultimate goal is, I guess, the same – to serve the nation and its people.

    If I heard you right, your actual presentation in Dzongkha also carried some commendations to the government, which you have not put in your translated version here. I thought that was very nice of you. Unless by “zhung” you meant “civil service”. There are some things and events that should be above politics. National tragedies are one of those things and I thought you got that right.

    Your call for an immediate establishment of the HM Kidu fund was bit unnecessary because under the present situation the ruling government will not reject any requests for funds should HM require them. If at all you wanted to call the attention of the honorable members of the parliament to their scared duty, the need of the hour is to rally around His Majesty the King and the government as one nation and move the country out of this tragedy. Bring back that communal harmony that remains destroyed, because much of the blame for the unprecedented division of our communities goes to our honorable parliamentarians (including some of the ministers).

    Rightfully, the inaugural session of the parliament was dominated by the recent natural disasters that paralyzed the whole country. The silver lining to those dark moments was that, after a long time, we all felt like one nation. We all felt like one people. And we all felt like in good ole days. For once, the scars left by bitter election campaigns were disappearing. Your appeal therefore would have made lot of sense. Because if we continue to stand as ONE STRONG NATION, no disasters, natural or man-made, external or internal, would be able shake our beloved motherland.

    My homage and wishes to you and to all the MPs for fruitful deliberations in our august body.

  2. Your Excellency,

    You mentioned about armed forces clearly.I was so touched. It was the soldiers who were on ground zero first (of course upon Royal Command) and faced the harsh reality where rubber meets the road. So I thank you on behalf of all the “invisible soldiers” who are re-building lives and homes of people who were hit hard.

    I also thank you for re-emphasizing the need to establish Relief Fund as mandated by the Constitution. I agree with you that all types of disasters have already hit us, what are we still waiting for?

    Respects,
    Invisible

  3. Poll:
    In the next life, you will either be in heaven or hell…there is no middle ground.In this life you are either with God or against Him…you either believe in Jesus or stand condemned.
    “Repent of your sins or perish forever”.
    God loves you.

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