Astrological predictions last year had that the Year of the Rat would see calamities, particularly from rain. We didn’t see rains causing havoc, but the impact of the novel coronavirus did rain on us. As we bid goodbye to the year of the Rat, it is with much relief that we put behind a year that many Bhutanese would want to forget quickly.

Like the troublesome rodent, the Rat year will be remembered for disruptions it caused to businesses, livelihoods and normal routines – in short, disruptions to our lives.  It is, therefore, with great relief that we end a year marked with grim periods.

The year ahead, according to astrologers, will still see pandemic continuing even if Covid-19 is not specified in the datho. But we should not be deterred. The predictions come with dothabs (solutions) and this is good. We are in the year of the Ox, the animal that symbolises strength and hard work.

The lunar New Year that we sincerely follow is in fact the beginning of a new era in every sense. It should usher in better tidings.

Bhutan and Bhutanese cannot be bogged down with the excuses of the Covid-19 pandemic. We should be able to carry the yoke of responsibility coming down hard on us. Success can be achieved only with hard work and conscientious efforts.  The Ox is a strong animal. It should bring out the strength in us.

There is so much to look forward to. Towards the end of the Year of the Rat, His Majesty The King reminded us where our focus should be. His Majesty issued two Kashos calling for reforms in education and in the civil service.

If the Covid-19 pandemic derailed most of our plans, the directions are clearer now. It is time for us to start ploughing following the directions. As the Ox takes over the responsibilities, we are happy that the national priorities are laid out. It is time, like we say, to truly grab the bull by the horn.

The government has lost time, as containing the pandemic became the priority. They have succeeded in this front with the guidance from His Majesty The King. The road ahead looks better. There is a solution to the pandemic in the form of a vaccine. This will allow us to turn back our focus on the needs of the time.

Government must return to governance with a renewed focus. It is now the time to start ploughing. With changing times, our priorities have changed to the extent that we have to look beyond our planned Five-Year plans. We should not stumble under the weight of the mighty Ox.

As we return to work, rejuvenated by the Losar break, we need to be spurred on by the call on changes.  The disruptions caused by the Covid-19 are temporary. There will be solutions. What is important is that we should contemplate, plan, and start working beyond the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

The directions are clear. If we fail to follow it, it will be a cause of regret next year when we look back at the Year of the Ox.