Deserving parents

What good parenting does

Dago Pema Retty deserves to be congratulated. Dago, who is a Class VII student at Pelkhil School, recently participated in the 9th International Clubs Open Taekwondo Championship in Vietnam. He bought home a bronze medal from that tournament.

Dago’s parents, Aum Pem Dem and Gyambo Sithey, also deserve to be congratulated. They spotted their son’s interest in taekwondo, and went out of their way to cultivate that interest. They hired a private coach for their son. And even though Dago was the only Bhutanese participant in the Vietnam tournament, they sent him there, and they bore all the expenses.

Our children are naturally talented. And we, parents, must nurture their talent. But too few of us do so. That’s why most of our children end up with mediocre standards at best – unable to fulfill their potentials.

If we want our children to become artists and musicians; if we want them to excel in games and sports; if we want them to do well in science and mathematics; if we want them to become wholesome citizens with well rounded values and a sense of civic responsibility; if we want our children to be able to compete and succeed internationally … we, parents, must take parenting more seriously.

Yes, our schools play an important role in developing our children. And so does civil society, like, in Dago’s case, the taekwondo federation. But we can’t escape the fact that, if we want our children to excel, we, parents, must ultimately take the biggest responsibility.

Aum Pem Dem and Gyambo Sithey are doing their part. Are you?

Photo credit: Bhutan Today

Laurence of Taba

Too good!

The road between Langjophakha and Dechhenchholing is being expanded. Good.

Traffic on the single-lane road that connects the upper precincts of Thimphu valley with the town had become heavy and dangerous. So it was time to widen the road to accommodate the growing number of vehicles.

The government is executing the work departmentally. And they’re doing a pretty good job. It’s been barely 3 weeks since starting the project in Langjophakha and they’ve already reached the Dechhenchholing bridge area. Impressive.

But some people have complained. Sonam commented that commuting has become difficult and unpredictable. And Laurence set me this email, which, incidentally, has not been published by the newspapers.  [Continue Reading…]

Praying for help

Lam Sangay

Yesterday, at the opening ceremony of ECB’s annual conference, I sat near Lam Sangay Dawa and his student-monks from Semtokha shedra. They were there, beside the choesham, microphone in hand, ready to preside over the sacred marchang ceremony.

The marchang, which was composed and popularized by Zhabdung Ngawang Namgyal, is an offering of wine – an oblation – to the lama, yidam, pawo, khandrum, choechong sungma, neydag and zhidag to secure their blessings for the removal of obstacles, and for the successful outcome of the endeavour being inaugurated.

Naturally, the sacred ceremony is important. And Lam Sangay and his monks were at hand, happy to provide the spiritual and psychological support needed to ensure the success of the new endeavour.

And what was the endeavour? It was the Election Commission of Bhutan’s Second Annual Conference. But Lam Sangay Dawa, who would lead the prayers, did not know it. He hadn’t been told.

So after exchanging a few pleasantries, he turned to me and asked, “What are we inaugurating today?” He explained that he needed to visualize the purpose of the marchang ceremony. And that he wished to offer his own prayers for the successful outcome of whatever it was that we were launching.

We had asked Lam Sangay and his monks for their help. And they had obliged. But somehow, we had forgotten to explain why we needed their help – why we wished to invoke our guardian deities.

And it’s not just the ECB. Lam Sangay Dawa, who is 56 years old and has already spent 46 of those years in the monk body, confided that he’s hardly ever told why he’s asked to perform the sacred marchang ceremony.

Spring art exhibition

“Everything in life is watched and seen beyond the strength of the naked eye,” says Passang Tobgay describing his painting “Under the Watchful Eye”.

Passang, who graduated in traditional painting from the Institute for Zorig Chusum, is a member of VAST. He taught traditional painting before exploring modern art to communicate his ideas and emotions.

“Under the Watchful Eye” is currently on display at VAST’s Spring Art Exhibition. The exhibition, which is at the Tarayana Centre, runs through April.