Druk Stars

Phurba Chencho

We were totally wrong.

Our poll predicted that Jangchub Choden would win the Druk Star contest. And that she would be followed by Jamphel Yangzom, Phurba Chencho, Sonam Tobgay and Chencho Norbu in that order.

In reality, yesterday, Jamphel Yangzom won the contest. She was crowned Druk Star, was declared the Voice of Drukyul, and drove off in a brand new Maruti Swift. Chencho came in second, followed by Sonam, Phurba and Jangchub.

We were completely off.

I’m happy for Jamphel Yangzom. And I’m happy for the other contestants who made it to the top 5. They’ve worked hard. And they’ve earned the adulation of the whole nation. Congratulations!

But I’m most happy for Phurba Chencho. He’s from Shari, a village of about 50 households in Haa. Before the competition, barely four months ago, he was a full time farmer tending to his cows, and preparing to plant wheat. He’d never been to school. And his singing was limited to impromptu performances during his neighbours’ chokus.

Phurba Chencho says that he’ll continue farming. But that he’ll take his singing a lot more seriously. Very good!

Photo credit: BBSC

Counting on gentlemen

Bhutanese golfers

Several of you have complained that Druk Star’s voting process is flawed.

Yes, you are right. Voters are permitted to cast multiple votes. But, they have to pay good money for each vote. So the candidate with the most money, or with the richest supporters, will, in all likelihood, get the highest number of votes. And win the coveted title.

The voting process, however, is purposely flawed. They are a business. Their primary aim is to make money. And what better way to do that than by turning a blind eye at the otherwise glaring fault.

But all elections are not flawed. In fact, that’s why we conduct elections: to select winners though a fair process.

And where would you expect to find the fairest elections? In the golf course, of course, among golfers, who dedicate their time to mastering the gentleman’s game – so called, because in golf, players expose their own transgressions, enforce their own penalties, and report their own scores.

So recently, when 36 gentlemen – yes, all of them were men – assembled in the Royal Thimphu Golf Club to elect a new president, not a single one of them doubted the process. The gentlemen cast their votes. And they counted them. The winning candidate had secured 16 votes. And the closest challenger had registered 15 votes. One vote, just one ballot, had determined who the next president of their prestigious club would be.

But one hacker – an incorrigible accountant, no doubt – totaled the votes. He counted 40 of them.

36 gentlemen had somehow cast 40 votes!

Druk Star gazing

Bhutanese idol

We are divided on the question of Bhutan’s accession to the WTO. 40% of you answered “No” in the poll that asked “Should Bhutan Join the WTO?”, 37% replied “Yes”, and the rest said, “I’m still unsure”.

I’ll give my views on this important matter soon.

For now, we need to consider another important matter: Druk Star! After four months of music and entertainment, we are down to the final five contestants. One of them will be crowned Druk Star this Sunday.

Our poll asks the burning question: who will be the next Druk Star?