for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bhutan is a Shangri-la and a heaven on earth

    A response  to the Development Minister of Singapore who said that, Bhutan was not a Shangri-la

Photo courtesy: Google images/Singapore
We can never see a Singapore in Bhutan nor can Singapore see a Bhutan in Singapore. Singapore will enjoy a clean and advanced concrete forest and Bhutan will always live happily in harmony with the great Himalayas and the rich biodiversity. 
The flag holds many answers...
The declaration made by Mr. Khaw Boon Wan (Development Minister, Singapore) may be true in his own sense. I am not annoyed by his remark but his remark is a call for every Bhutanese to view the country’s status and he has opened an opportunity to do so.
Yet, as a proud Bhutanese, I can feel the air of Shangri-la in my heart and I live in a heaven on earth. Bhutan is truly a happy nation. I admit that our beautiful country is not as advanced as Singapore. No two countries can be same. Bhutan is a living realm of happiness and rapid prosperity.

One of the many endangered species roam the
great Himalayas. Photo:Kuensel 

I prefer these natural beauties to man-made

The rich culture adds more value

The respect, loyalty, dedication are true plus points.
Bhutan follows a unique path towards the future. Bhutan has no intentions to emulate some other nation. Through the history, Bhutan enjoyed an isolated happiness, which flourished in her own soils. We have our own style of development. GNH says it all.  She fought the world wars without any involvement and the citizens enjoyed a peaceful passage of the great wars. Bhutan has been a peaceful country and she is the same now. People live a simple life enjoying an intricate society. Every Bhutanese love their fellow citizens. The bond between us is more than close. Families are together for most of the time and we have time for everyone. Nobody feels lonely in Bhutan.  One American friend of mine made a statement related to this situation. He said, “In America, we rarely have time to speak with our closest neighbor and here, even strangers talk like old friends. I love their hospitality.”  The rich culture and traditions of Bhutan are always a plus point in the changing world around. We also live in harmony with the rich natural environment. 

When business is concerned, Bhutan is not as busy as Singapore but we are doing our part. The approach toward business is wise and safe. We opened the international doors to business quite late and taking the short duration into consideration, we have done a lot and all judiciously. Business in Bhutan has seen drastic progression.  Ask any true Bhutanese, the answer is same.  We congratulate Singapore for being the ‘Friendliest’ nation to do Business. Nevertheless Bhutan also boasts of its own laurels. We received quite a good number of recognitions   in different fields, especially in protection of the environment. This is the greatest achievement a nation can have when the world is battling global warming. The country follows a wise strategy of development where we cause minimum harm to the natural resources. Industries do not dirty the rivers, so we enjoy clean water. The forest is rich, thus we breathe clean air.

The Beloved monarchs
In case of the government system, the system of government is a young democratic one and we see a great development in it. The world knows about the government system of this tiny Himalayan jewel. A father king sacrificing his throne, a king decentralizing the government, a king for the people, a dynasty loved by all for their developmental work… the list does go on. As citizens of this country, we enjoy every privilege and we participate in every governmental activity. Every government decision is implemented upon thorough examination and we rarely make a mistake. We have offices in charge of corruption cases and they do their part well. I believe no country is free of corruption. Is Singapore a corruption free nation? I guess not.
The concern...the closeness...the love
The progress of the tiny Buddhist country is immense compared to its size and location. As a citizen, I have seen every side of Bhutan. As the Singaporean minister noted, we need to revisit and improve in many areas. Nevertheless, I do not agree to the tag- ‘Not a Shangri-la’.  Bhutan is a Shangri-la on earth and will be one in future. There is no need of many lines to support this; we can see it in the faces of the people of Bhutan. The innocent happy faces hold every answer. The increase in tourist arrivals also shows that Bhutan is a place to be visited.

No king will be as close...
Photo: Kuensel
Bhutanese will go on to live happily with their families gathered around the mud oven, enjoying a hot home cooked meal. We would continue to lean on a tall cypress tree, feel the soft clean breeze with a view of the majestic mountains and dzongs. Old and young Bhutanese will turn the prayer wheels, walk to their office and recycle to save the environment. The Bhutanese citizens will live by the virtues of the Buddha, The teachings of Buddha will flourish. The king will carry on to guide us through while helping those in need; the government will plan and progress wisely. Husbands will be faithful to their wives; Children will respect their parents and teachers. There will be respect and help for the elders and elders will continue to advice and care for the young. Birds will fill the country with their soothing chirps; Tigers will roar from the distant forest, rare animals will live alongside the people.
The joy brought by the 'People's King'
Photo: Kuensel
A help when in need, as always
Photo: Kuensel
Rare flowers and orchids will decorate the country, prayer flags would flutter to the winds of change. Trees would be saved from logging, rivers free from pollution, and soils saved from desertification. No foreigner will miss their home; the Bhutanese people will maintain their warm hospitality. Education and health facilities will be free.  Songs and dances will be in the air, peace and prosperity will prevail.   The Bhutanese populace will continue to live happily. Bhutan is a true Shangri-la and a heaven on earth.

Happy as ever...
Photo Courtesy: Kuensel

Are they not happy?
Happy tourists are received warmly...
Photo: Kuensel
A family sits down for a simple lunch...this is beautiful and we can
see the time and bond.
Photo Courtesy: Kuensel
The sun of happiness will never set in Bhutan


  1. Keep up the good work Sonam... I liked this article of yours. We are a proud Bhutanese and we will always.

    Bhutan will always rise and shine.

    Smile :)

  2. hi sonam.....nice article..keep it up..........we are happy people...but we are not in shangrila........:)