It was a quite a time for Bhutanese this week and last.

We started the weekend coming together celebrating His Majesty The King’s birth anniversary. The lunar New Year, Losar followed it with the iron Rat year setting in even as we recover from the celebrations.

 And just as we got back to work, the rain and snow (in many parts) settled the winter dust welcoming us to a new beginning. The rain and the snow may be attributed to some atmospheric disturbances, but in lay interpretation, it is a welcome sign, a good omen, albeit the cold.

 Receiving it soon after the New Year symbolises a good beginning, to start afresh, to get over problems of the past year, and to begin the New Year with renewed hope and optimism.

 Farmers know it well. Early rain and snow is welcomed. It is seen as a harbinger of a good year ahead, agriculturally speaking. The Rat Year astrologically is a good year for those in agriculture. The datho predicts a good year with bountiful harvest.

 The Rat Year, which we celebrated with much zest, represents a new cycle.  It is the first of the 12 zodiac animals, so symbolic in encouraging us to start anew.

 This gives the people reasons to look forward to a new beginning. The government that has lost much time in settling down looks forward to the New Year. There are plans and activities laid out. The priorities are set. We have the all-important 12th Plan just kicking off.

 Those dependent on the government investment to kick-start the economy are waiting. The government has assured an investment of Nu 20 billon in the coming year. This should restart the engine of the economic growth, including creating meaningful employment.

 Our memories are short-lived. But if we can recollect, His Majesty The King had already highlighted key national concerns during the 112th National Day on December 2019. The message was simple and crystal clear. His Majesty stressed on the need of a 21st century economic roadmap, of us not making the most of our smallness and concerns related to the youth.

The path to focus is made clear. There is a clear royal vision on the importance of science and technology as a means of survival in the competitive modern world with modern problems. There was also a call on the government, legislators, the private sector and experts in various fields to work collectively and chart out an economic roadmap.

 The government has started working on the 21st century economic road map and highlighted the priorities in the 12th Plan and outside it. They will be as busy as the Rat.

 The optimistic and energetic personality of the rat should encourage us all – whether in the civil service, public corporations, private or at individual level to utilise the energy and make a difference.

At the end of the year, the Rat should not be hiding in its hole for opportunities it has missed. It surely is a year to look forward.