As the stubborn bull hits the hay and the confident tiger takes the reins, it is a solemn moment to look back on the year gone by and take stock of our failures and achievements. And with strength and dynamism the mighty king of the wild affords us we look to the future with renewed hopes and aspiration.

The Female Ox year will be remembered for the tests it laid down before us as much as for the bounty it brought. The pandemic cast a pall over the nation as rising positive cases and looming threats called for painful restrictions and lockdowns. The virus threatened to assail us to full blast, repeatedly, but each time we were rattled we prevailed with our cautious perseverance.

The scourge left no one unaffected; all sectors—government and private—ground to a halt, literally. For a small country like ours, the challenges facing us were overwhelming; recklessness would have undone us in one fell swoop. But then, we fought on and carried the day with the persistence of faithful and patient bull.

As an unprecedented number of people lost their jobs, Druk Gyalpo’s Kidu Relief provided support to untold individuals and families. In a soul-stirring and mind-lulling show of gratitude to the selfless King, young people in thousands joined the de-suung programme to help the country fight the Covid battle. Thanks to their indomitable spirit and dedicated service to the nation in these dark and testing times, our borders are secure. Essential service delivery system would have collapsed without these brave volunteers, leaving us to reel in the wake of unrelenting blitz of variant evolution.

Education, one of the biggest sectors, rose to the challenge in the most dauntless ways imaginable. Pandemic and intermittent shut-ins notwithstanding, lessons had to be imparted to thousands of children. Staggering with a system alien to us, online or virtual classes quickly picked pace. The experience has given us the confidence to break new grounds in the ways we educate our future generations. That in itself is an achievement to be reckoned with.

Economy took a severe beating in the year of the raging bull. However, with the announcement of gradual unlocking process, GDP growth is expected to rebound to above five percent. Unemployment continues to be a major problem but, with shelling out of various skilling programmes, the employment scenario in the country in the coming days and months doesn’t look all that dark and grim.

The pandemic may have tipped our economy and lives over the edge, but it has also given us resilience with which to fight back. It is with this strength and determination that we bid farewell to the bull and welcome the tiger.