This double auspicious day is a good moment to recap our situation and look at ourselves, something we need to keep doing. Bhutan is changing fast, transforming – within decades – from a magical “Last Shangrila” to an equally mind-blowing world of artificial intelligence. 

We don’t ignore risks and challenges but look beyond them. If we use key concepts and experiences as mileposts we have, as a vision to follow, the task of nation building with the end goal of creating a just and harmonious society. In terms of experience, some have suffered the pains of reforming governance, the complications of overhauling the education system, the alarming trend of thousands of Bhutanese seeking jobs overseas… 

Defining a new era by reforming government and transforming society will not be achieved overnight. Bhutan has refined a system of governance that goes beyond party politics. And we need to nurture society with a new mindset and work culture. We do not have the luxury of extended time that we would like to craft and adjust to situations. 

What we do have is the guideline “Bhutan Believe”, the need to be confident in our brand, “Bhutan” and to understand the notion, “Believe”. 

Bhutan has often looked at the distant past to draw on the wisdom of our ancestors and build our future. The great news is that, today, we only need to think back on our experience of the past three years to build a nation that is synonymous with political justice, social justice, and economic justice, drawing on the latest technology and best of human creativity.

As Bhutan emerges from a crisis that brought the world to its knees, analysts are asking why was a small developing country one of the most successful countries in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic? The answer is that the emotive experience of the Covid-19 pandemic brought home to us the true persona of a King for whom failure is not an option. His Majesty The King was an inspiration to all Bhutanese, meeting and talking with people in every corner of the country. 

Covid-19 task forces, comprising politicians, bureaucrats, military, and professionals from all sectors, were proof of the need to work together to achieve results. De-suups, volunteers, farmers and youth joined forces to form an invincible team. Bhutan proved that the Bhutanese system has the capacity to lead and the will to follow.

Bhutan is listening to feedback and critique from well-meaning citizens and friends. Not every Bhutanese is a thought leader but the doubts and concerns of women, men, and youth are useful for successful functioning of society. 

Some of the questions being asked should be answered. No, we are not neglecting the Arts but emphasising Science which has been neglected. Yes, we are thinking about the exodus of doctors, teachers, and other specialists who are leaving their professional posts to take up cleaning and other non-professional jobs overseas. 

Governance is being transformed and society is being empowered. We are seeing the clarity of vision emerging and our own capabilities being stimulated. As loyal Bhutanese, we now have the mandate to grow as responsible citizens. 

There is much more to come, and failure is not an option.