Family strength

Here’s another picture for my ‘father and child’ series:

Tobgay and his wife, Sonam, with their children occupying a vantage spot at the Chukha Dzong courtyard. The family had traveled from Bjabcho to attend the consecration of their dzong, and had made sure that they would enjoy a clear view of the folk and mask dances during the festivities. The consecration ceremony was graced by Her Majesty the Queen and presided over by His Holiness the Je Khenpo.



Facebook Comments:


  1. PM’s Family Strength (and Rupee Crisis Story)…

    Government is “micro-managing macro policies” and that’s where it is going wrong.

    Moreover, it is a MAN-MADE DISASTER (or rather politically created disaster through political capture). Government should be managing Fiscal Policy, not Monetary Policy. When Government manages Monetary Policy through Political Capture (Read: Governor as political appointment rather than appointing an economist), this is what happens – it is called “Killing the goose that lays golden eggs” rather than managing to have golden eggs properly. Or its Bhutanese version would be “Killing the red cow that gives good milk and eat it as meat.”

    One more thing: More people need to give a closer look at our trade statistics (I did) and see which SINGLE billionaire business overtook tourism in terms of export and even almost caught up with hydro-power as one of the biggest exporters to Hong Kong or wherever earning huge dollars (Hint: a software company) – my hypothesis is since this business is a fake business (though legitimate through Government’s political capture again), billions of rupees from our reserve must have gone to India, and no one raised the siren. Is it because we have political appointment in the Central Bank?

    Did someone say Central Bank has to be “independent” of the Government? Yes, you got it right!

    Did someone say Government should manage Fiscal Policy better and not crowd out private investment? Yes, you got it right too!

    Did someone say one SINGLE billionaire superficial business is messing up our macro policies and even screwing up our GDP per capita calculation (rest of us are artificially but legally made richer due to one or two families’ huge income effect)? Yes, it is!

    It’s time our generation wakes up and refuses to be the Silent Generation before we send our preciously inherited nation down the drain. At least, I for one would refuse to do that when this precious nation is crafted by bare hands of our generations of Beloved Kings.

    This issue is above politics. It should concern us all.

    What about you?



    To validate what I said above, even today’s Kuensel (March 12, 2012) editorial even in its MOST RESTRAINT (read: Kuensel is pro-Government in general) has the following to say on this FICTITIOUS SOFTWARE COMPANY (owned by our PRIME MINISTER’S EXTENDED FAMILIES):

    “But there are also leakages within the system that is one thing in the books and is another thing in reality. A key point here is business fronting, where the Bhutanese license holder lives off a good commission for basically doing nothing, but the chunk of earnings goes with whoever puts in the money and does all the work. The central bank is probably aware of this, because a confidential study done in 2008 had enough evidence to show that two plus two was only adding up to one.

    Today, the software export business continues and, on paper, is bringing in billions, yet everyone knows that it is a mere front, but the government does not want to do anything about it, because taxes are being paid and rules are being followed.”

    I repeat this is above politics when our people at the bottom of economic pyramid are panicking and starving. I work for the INVISIBLE PEOPLE of Bhutan and anything that slowly starves or drags them to death, I will rise up and challenge.

    We must all rise up and challenge when crisis happens through political corruption, political inaction, political complacence, political eloquence, political “Don’t worry, Don’t be alarm” sweet talks because DATA and HARD STATISTICS show we are screwed up and screwing up more through those sweet talks.

    I put all our publicly available macro-data and trade statistics through RIGOROUS analysis by a group at Harvard, and I must say I was BRUTALLY ashamed to learn from from them that Bhutan should next move to make SWITCH WATCHES precision parts because Bhutan having software export as the SECOND biggest export just behind hydropower overtaking all tourism sectors combined is what macro trade data shows….its implications from our GDP per capita calculation, availability of grants and loans from outside…etc etc everything is affected.

    At the more human level, an average middle class family has to go across the border town in Jaigoen and buy money by money (buy Rupees 50,000 with Nu. 55,000) to fund for college going child when billions of rupees are leaked through a fake fronting software company.

    When an average middle class family needs to take a mother for treatment at Bangkok, RMA gives only a few thousand dollars on air tickets when a big business can get millions of dollars for importing cars for sale.

    Our generation needs to correct all these economic malaise in our society. It is worst when PM only talks about GNH and lets things rot under his own watch, knowingly!

    I mentioned only how it affects average middle class families. Let’s not even talk about how poor and invisible families are affected. It is worse.

    I am not only deeply concerned, I shall challenge. I say again. This is above politics.

    For those who are DPT supporters here, I say I have two of my own immediate family members as DPT MPs. I will work to vote both of them out in the next election unless they refuse to be “Yes Man” to their PM and working for people’s interest by giving right advice to the PM to correct the PM (to not to harm this precious nation). So join me.

    For those who are PDP supporters here, don’t assume one’s enemy’s enemy is one’s friend. Just because I say DPT Government is screwing up the things does not mean I am endorsing PDP as alternative. PDP is yet to prove. That said, I must acknowledge OL is asking right questions in the Parliament.
    So join me.

    And those who are neutral, this is an issue above politics. It will affect us all. So join me.

    This is a issue dear to my heart. It concerns the nation. It is above politics.

    I am concerned. We all must be concerned.


  2. lyonpo, the Photo is pure GNH..

  3. Pel Yeshey Gempo says


  4. Dear Mr. Invincible,
    Thank you for raising issues of concerns. I addressed you as Mr because I know you from you writing. Every human being has a typical way of using language and specifically the words. Don’t worry, I won’t expose you rather let readers know of the absolute truth – so they understand and remain calm.
    Sorry to say that you have no knowledge about how an economy functions. Both monetary policy and fiscal policy are important to take the socio-economic development of the country ahead or slow down. For the benefit of the readers, let me explain the difference of the two polices. Fiscal policy refers to tax increases or cuts, increases or decreases in spending and monetary policy refers to measures taken by RMA to either tighten or restrict the money flow to avoid fast growth of the economy and offset the inflation.
    Thus both the policies are very important. One of the greatest shortfall or the crunch in Rupee (Rs) is due to the fossil fuel burning. When government did not think about it elections and wished to raise the tax on vehicle so that less vehicles were imported in the country and less Rs spent; also subsequently less fuel would be imported – the DPT government was taken to court. Do you know that about Rs 5 billion are spent on fuel each year- which is one third of the government’s budget?
    How does fiscal policy help to save Rs without monetary policy? So micromanagement becomes very important along with macro management (in your language). One of the problems that escalated the Rs crunch is also because of the new body that manages all the revenues of the country – please make a study about it – you are right, I am referring to DHI. Can you tell the government what achievement has the DHI made as an independent body (which otherwise used to be managed by ministry of finance)? I have no idea – may be they are doing an excellent job – helping the government save Rs.???
    On the issue of those poor, government cannot go to the houses of rich and loot to share with the poor. Through the very principle and value of GNH which you criticise (I will come to it later), we are able to distribute wealth. The government picked up six minimum programs – check them out how these have enlighten the poor. Can you show us record, if a single Bhutanese does not have three meals a day unlike those 2 billion each year, 7.7 million Children die each year due to hunger, 870 million people live malnourished, and 1.1 billion people do not have access to drinking water.
    We Bhutanese are lucky (sonam-chen) due to the blessings of deities and the wise rulers. Due to this very fact, the GNH is been spreading globally as a new paradigm for sustainable development. If PM picked it up it is in honour of the Kings and the country. He is a true teacher (unlike you) bringing GNH to the world. Do you know that we are known because of the GNH – in which culture is a wonderful pillar that identifies us? The very fact that you are critical to GNH, you are critical to culture that relates to royal and the very culture of our existence. Tourists come to Bhutan because of these; otherwise they would have gone to America or Britain because things are much better and beautiful there as I have heard. Do you know that the all the great people on this earth – the statesmen, economist, noble laureate, thinkers, leaders, ambassadors, NGOs, Islanders, religious leaders, neuro-scientists, including UN Secretary General will be participating at the 2 April conference on GNH. Thanks to the King and PM that they have taken the GNH to the world.
    On the extended family and software, it is directly trying to sling mud on PM’s face. Let me ask you a question, which renowned or elite family in the country do not have an extended family – will you go to prison or take a blame that is done by someone of your extended family? I bet my ass, you will not even recognise the person, when it came to it. Why even bring the relation hear. I know that sometimes, PM does not have time to eat his lunch. His prayers that keeps him going is the Tsa-wa-sum; the service to the people, country, and the King. He works tirelessly to bring happiness to the people in Bhutan – should we not join him and help this noble goal of his????
    When it comes to software export – I do not want to argue but wish to provide some statistics (you looked at it and I did as well – and screw the Harvard researchers on whose strengthen you make the noise but a meaningless one). The export earned 11.6% of the total exports to top ten export-countries, which is Nu 2,188.2 million (to India is Nu 15,589.43 million). While the income from tourism is Nu 4,036.05 million, which is almost double of software exports. Do you know if software did not come into life, our balance between export and import would fall short by another 12%, escalating the problem to 45% or more as our balance of trade which was minus 33.3% as of 2010. In other word, the software narrowed the gap substantially in trade balance and the total export reached to Nu 29,324.39 million. The other issue is if Rs was used to export the software, it would have earned dollars in two folds to our country. Please check on how much return did it have?
    On the crunch of Rs, I feel sorry that we have to undergo several problems due to monetary policy of the RMA. It is the best way they can do now. I am confident, it will balance it out. I know bank will again go into liquidity. From the very beginning, I was telling the financial experts not to print Nu but rather find mechanism to earn Rs and limit the Nu for circulation in Bhutan – one of which was trading over stocks. The reality is that fiscal policy will not help much in alleviating the Rs CRUNCH because if taxes were raised for the wealthier society (who has used most of the Rs), the OL would make noise and all the rich would do the same – and so the construction economy would slump. The good thing is that all that is not measured by GDP is considered as a minus or plus by the GNH.
    Now the only way out for our economy to revamp itself are:
    1. Control import of fuel – reduce by half, improve on public transport. Bring GNH to each family and like in the yester years, they will begin to walk to office. It has two benefits one building social relation and two living healthy (GNH way of life).
    2. Improve tourism from abroad and India. As a short-term policy, we must encourage massive tourism from India. Even if they drove madly to Bhutan, we are sharing our 53% of our natural capital to outside Bhutan – we can sequestrate much more bad fumes.
    3. Education City: Today about 54 billion USD is spent only in Australia for education of Indian children. If we can link to Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, etc. and the fact that we are much more secured, environment friendly, and culturally welcoming, even if we can attract 10% of this, it would be enough for us to be self-reliant.
    4. We must enhance our organic production and be critical about it. People in Bumthang have almost left cultivating buckwheat – which is sought in Europe and Japan exclusively. All we produce can be exported. Our people are happy collecting cordysceps and live out of it – easy money and life.
    5. Stop all constructions except that of national importance. Allow people to build their own small huts to live the way of life they wish to – give them space – short term solutions.
    6. Sale the green capital to the west and control all the useless moment of the civil servants abroad and in India. They bring nothing back to practice and living. It is only money earning spree for them.
    7. Etc. many possibilities – will government that is run by Bureaucrats do it? Because we cannot constitute the government with ten ministers and a PM – civil service is more responsible to bring the right kind of analysed information to the political leadership for a direction. Can anyone claim that they have done and the political government did not take action?
    You will not believe but cost of maintaining roads is much more less than the cost of the government cars that run in this country –I have done a study and I can prove it. Ask your Havard economists to do it.
    Your idea of a political appointee of the RMA governor is wrong. Please read the constitution. We definitely need a reform and a GNH graduate as against an economist heading the RMA. Mind you, we only realised the Rs crunch now. But remember the shortage was each year 20% due to the negative trade balance with India. It has hit hard because we kept on allowing the rise of economic boom, especially the construction and buying cars (directly related to fossil fuel).
    I hope this helps you and all readers to understand against what you wrote. We as citizens only make noise but do nothing. Do you drive a car – stop driving, do you eat imported food – stop it, do you have a construction underway – stop it, do you have a child studying outside Bhutan – bring him or her back home, do you go outside the country for holidays -cancel it, and so on. If 10% of the population did this, I can assure you that we will be out of the Rs crunch tomorrow. The question is CAN YOU DO IT???
    A well-wisher of this government .

  5. INVISIBLE says

    Dear Libra,

    I HONESTLY appreciate your effort in explaining lots of things. The fact that you took the pain to explain in response to my comments, I TRULY appreciate it. I mean it from the heart. It means you care and you worry. We all need to worry about our country (if we don’t, who would?). Whoever you are, I bow to you and give my honest respect to you. You helped me understand lots of things.

    I am also glad that you know me. I am not surprised at all. In fact, almost every reader who reads my writing here knows it is me. The reason why I use name “INVISIBLE” is for two reasons. Obvious reason is in Bhutan we have limited names/similar names. So I don’t want other persons (similar to my names) get unnecessary blame or confusion for my personal views on my nation’s future. I am SOLEY responsible for my personal views (I will go to jail for my personal views if anyone locks me up, legally). That’s why I use name “INVISIBLE” and not Nima Tshering.

    But the less obvious reason (and one close to my heart) is I am speaking for the “invisible” people in our society – those who are invisible to those who are privileged and those who walk the corridors of power. I started using this nickname “INVISIBLE” since seven years ago in 2005 ever since I was transformed by seeing the plights of invisible people in our country while working as a volunteer at Tarayana Foundation. It’s my hope that my continuously speaking for the “invisible” people, we will be closer to GNH when those who are privileged and those who walk the corridors of power see those who are “invisible” in our society more clearly. I myself graduated from invisible group, having born in the jungle while my mother was herding the cattle and having herded cattle myself through my high school. So this is my full disclosure to you for the respect I have for you. In fact, I have done that full disclosure to others before too. I wouldn’t write online what I wouldn’t say in person face to face. Like I said, I am responsible for all my personal views but my views are not cast in stone. Enlighten me and convert me. I can be changed/converted if what you said are all truth.

    That said, I agree with some of the things you said but I still disagree with some of the things you said such as Education City (You will be very disappointed if I say my personal view is Education City project will fail miserably because of the current PPP model and Bhutanese future generation will have to pay the heavy price for our current irresponsible decision but I won’t argue it for now). That’s natural. If we all agreed all the time, the world will be mundane and Bhutan won’t be striving for GNH.

    For now, just a few clarification. Do you really think a GNH graduate can head RMA better? What’s a GNH graduate? From where can we hire him/her?

    Do you really also thinking a solution is “stop driving, …stop it,…stop it,…cancel it, and so on? Should we stop eating, stop sleeping, stop living also? Does that sound draconian? Wasn’t Tobacco Act amended?

    On moving from macro-economics/micro-economics to macro-management/micro-management to macro-politics/micro-politics, is it accurate for me to say I can sense that you are defending the PM or DPT government? If you are, you are defending against a wrong person. For my respect to you and for the full disclosure, I VOTED for DPT in 2008 and I will still VOTE for DPT in 2013 unless a good alternative comes. But that does not mean I can’t disagree with my government and the Prime Minister I voted for – it’s called democracy. I disagree with my father all the time at home and often it upsets him but I still love him.

    On the PM, I am not saying he is a mistake – I am saying some of his policies, actions, inactions, indifferences, etc are mistakes. He needs more blunt advisors around him, not simply those who defend him even when indefensible. It is OK for a leader to be vulnerable. True and authentic power comes from the vulnerability. If you think the PM is indispensible for Bhutan, I disagree. My inspiration for disagreement is if K4 is not indispensible, then NO ONE is!

    Why I am saying the PM as a person is not a mistake because he used to my idol ever since he gave me an inspiration about two decades ago on May 16 on the ground of Khaling High School. When someone is your idol, you tend to like to know that person more and more (otherwise, who would care). But I must admit that I am disappointed by quite a few of his government’s sweeping policies, not all. So I think those actions are mistakes but it’s just my personal views and I will continue to express my strong personal views mortgaging my own safety and life because I care for my nation. We draw moral authority to care for the nation from our Kings. They have shown us good examples. Their examples take away our fears and turn them into hope for the future. So I don’t fear anymore because I also have nothing to lose when I decide to mortgage my own life.

    Lastly, on your question to show a record of a single Bhutanese who does not have three meals a day, here is the true record:

    I met a destitute woman named Aum Demola in a remote village Zhurphel, Trong Gewog, Zhemgang in Bhutan. Her most prized asset in the world was her leftover meal from the previous night that she kept under lock in a wooden box in her bamboo hut. She had the key around her neck.

    This experience taught me the real meaning of “you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.” She does not have three meals a day. It shook my conscience. It gave me a calling. It gave me more reason to speak for the “invisible” people in our country.

    Hope as much as I respected you and said lots of things you said convinced me (though not all), I hope you will also overcome your own fear and have the courage to admit not everything I said is false. You and I must both equally care for our own nature even when we are different sides but different sides of the same coin.


  6. INVISIBLE says

    Last sentence above, I meant:

    “You and I must both equally care for our own NATION even when we are different sides but different sides of the same coin.”

    Sorry for the typo, thanks for reading (if you are reading this far, it means you care for our nation, I admire you).

  7. Dear Invisible,

    I am honoured and thank you for your reply. I fully respect you and your views – you are as concerned as I am for our country and the most unfortunate in this country. This was the reason why this government began with 6 minimum program to bring equity to far flung lives.

    Although, I do not believe that you are Nima Tshering and that you went to cow-herding in the forest, as I did – you are a city man from …. but you understand us so well – I respect you for that.

    I am sorry to hear about this lady who does not have three square meals a day. I think we should have a common pot to share our food with such people. Having come from that background (ate two meals a day), I know the pang of hunger.

    Do you know that the PM does not have enough people who can help him in his office, the office that is responsible for the success of the government? A few people he appointed to his office were under debate for almost two years. He has no speech writer, no researcher, or economic adviser, no sectoral dissectors and analysers, his office is functioning with bare minimum people. RCSC does not see the need to strengthen his office. PM did not have an office when he took over the responsibility of the government four years ago. People working for him are spread in three places and cramped because building an office for himself was spending millions that could be better used for the welfare of the rural unfortunates, he thought. As I closely keep an eye in his office, I feel sorry for him and therefore appreciate whatever he does. He does for the love of the country and his countrymen. If he is to be able to take government forward without any delays or lack, he needs advisers, some intelligent people, some critical people to advice him – he has none that I know of. His prayers are for the success of the government and the country. He spends every minute he has for the country – If Bhutan does not want to fail him and our country, RCSC must look for people he would require.

    With all the respect to you; I never said to stop eating, sleeping, driving – I only meant if we need to share that to the hungry woman we must eat just enough to pull ones life and not fatten, drive when absolutely necessary and urgent a in a smaller cars or use more public transport,etc. This way we save for excesses in our economy.

    I cannot argue on the Education City, but I believe that it will be a world heritage – and a source of life, living and learning.

    Finally, a GNH man that must be recruited at the RMA. He is someone who is completely aware of four domains of GNH and manifests in living them – a person someone who is aware of the economy of the country not just the monetary policy – he must have statistics on his finger tips. A person who can think what is enough each year for the country but planned over a hundred years. Is such a person difficult to find? I think we do have such mindful people who live GNH and can do wonders. Merely an economist would not be enough. For economist,it is GDP and all those values described by GNH mean nothing for GDP such as natural, human, social wealth. If we cut all the trees, GDP will grow, if we put more chemical in the soil- we have more production – I would say an economist is a mindless human being who thinks GDP is everything – so there would be unabated growth that does not bring equitable distribution of wealth where rich become richer and poor poorer, misses the standard of living, intangible values, real savings, black marketing etc.

    I appreciate your thoughts, please vote again for DPT because I also did that and PM is my idol too – so we seem to the coin on the same side.

    With respects

  8. Those were eye opener for me. Thanks for the post. I dont know whether the government is micromanaging macroeconomics or macromanaging microeconomics. I just hope that the govt begin its macro-managing by understanding the micro level first. Thats why things get skewed. The east asian tigers followed this strategy and thats why they advanced fast.

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