The perfect gift

We are in a festive mood as we do our last minute preparations for the big occasion on Wednesday. The streets have been swept clean, the roads are smooth, flags are flying high, and flowers have magically sprouted in November.

Dress rehearsals are going on everywhere and everybody is involved either as participants or organizers. The scene is the same across the country as everybody wants to be a part of the celebrations to remember His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo on his auspicious 60th birth anniversary.

There is a frenzy of activities. Books have been written and published, numerous structures are being inaugurated, initiatives launched, and seminars and conferences held. Even going about on our daily scheduled activities we do not forget to dedicate it to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

This is a good occasion to remember a King who has done so much for His people and the country. Therefore, there is every reason to be a part of the celebrations and rejoice in such a happy occasion. How we take part and make it befitting is left to our ingenuity.

What is important is not forgetting everything after the celebrations. A befitting gift to His Majesty on his birth anniversary is not eulogising him or building monuments although they will serve as a good visual reminder later. The perfect gift would be doing what His Majesty aspired his people to do.

In His Coronation address 41 years ago, His Majesty the Fourth King told the people that a little effort on our part will be much more effective than a great deal of effort on the part of the government. Even as a young King he had pledged his dedication to serve Bhutan and its people. We are cherishing the fruits of the hard work and dedication of the King.

We can still ask ourselves if we have fulfilled what His Majesty had asked us to do. We have not changed our attitude completely. We still believe most tasks are still the responsibility of the  zhung,  government.

We can’t even fulfil simple things like replacing plastic bags and yet talk confidently of environment conservation as one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness, a concept we readily acknowledge to be His Majesty’s vision for the country.

Even as the nation waits to celebrate the birth anniversary, the most befitting gift would be shouldering our responsibilities in our capacities as elected ministers, civil servants, teachers, drivers and as parents. From the numerous aspiring addresses, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo has always stressed responsibilities. Carrying out our duties diligently in our own capacities would lead to a better, brighter and a more secure Bhutan.

This we believe will be the prefect gift to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    This editorial post and the one on 6th of November, ‘being sensible’ have a few things in common. Both mention the issue with people failing to take ownership of the public properties and developments and shoulder the responsibility as true sense of civic duty to maintain what has already been created or developed rightly. The divine wisdom of HM the Fourth Druk Gyalpo enabled him to understand at a young age that people of Bhutan must complement the Government’s efforts through their respective sense of responsibility.

    So why do we people fail ourselves in our duties! Why we often behave more in a destructive manner to what has been developed. At times new creativity has a destructive character to it; but to destroy everything can’t become our only character. Parents often feel that a little baby boy use, abuse and eventually destroys a toy he plays with while the baby girl likes to preserve it a bit more. To study child psychology is not possible for all of us, but parents do know that some kids need to be disciplined while others are naturally disciplined in their mind. Who will eventually become creative or destructive require a longer journey in life.

    When we talked about the highly developed countries; their strict public disciplines partly control what a child learns as discipline at home. We still tend to carry what we learn at home to the public life. If we are destructive at our home when parents or elders are not around, we behave same at public places when there is no one to catch and punish us or just discipline us.

    But there are other issues with lack of maintenance of our public properties. In our private life, when there is not enough to own anything new, we are always content with maintaining what we have. Conventional wisdom suggests that maintenance of the old will cost less than a new replacement. But everything can’t be maintained forever, but sustainability can be improved. In today’s time, it’s easier to find investment for a new project to create assets. But funds for maintaining the assets are only accumulating endless costs to any economy. And nobody wants to invest on a cost. We don’t do our personal expenditure accounting the way we do the business accounting. This is also where we ask this question whether we are very right with the way we calculate GDP and we have currency exchange rates to consider in a global economy. In Bhutan, if it’s not GDP we are agreeing to totality, we are always considering the strengths of GNH. A Happiness that you probably can’t buy with money and it’s also Happiness that you can’t waste like money. It’s very practical, but difficult to put in like a theory in numbers alone. And yet, we all need to deliver our responsibilities to complement the efforts of the government.

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