Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The National Day of Bhutan - 17th Dec

December had been a month with very important dates: my dad’s death anniversary, my commission, my daughter’s birthday, my tying of nuptial knot without pomp and fury and the most important of all for all Bhutanese historically the 17th December.

The national day is being held at Dechenling goeg coinciding with the silver jubilee of the Dechenling Lower secondary school. Two teachers from there came personally to drop the invitation card to my house. It is two hours journey from my place on the rough and precarious farm road. I prepared my best gho for the occasion to wake up early and to attend the grand event reminding myself to start two hours early from the ‘H’ hour mentioned on the card.

 ‘H’ hour minus two hours would be my start time the next morning.

When I reached there, there were people lined up for the reception on the well decorated ground with all the people sitting in a circle along the edges of the ground and the school children ready  for march pass on the command with banners proclaiming gratitude to the king and wishing him long live.

The organizer moved me aside and told me to be the chief guest because the chief guest that had been already earmarked, could not attend the event owing to some emergency. I could not deny for the show must go on and all the higher officials were either gone to Kanglung and those they are here had their own celebration and could not make it on time to Dechenling.

I agreed to be the chief guest and got on the podium to deliver the speech and my speech began thus, I was amazed at myself for not having fear of stage and being so confident and eloquent.

Ladies and gentleman, I have to admit that I have not prepared the speech for this occasion but I have many things to say despite that, on this very important occasion. I consider myself fortunate to be a chief guest by default and I assure you that the show will go on.

It is the 107th National Day that we are celebrating today. It was on this day that our forefather elected Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk as the first king of Bhutan. There after it is for all of us to see that tremendous progress had been made till today. Few years back it used to take four to five hours of walking and sweating to reach here. Today we sit in a vehicle and after two hours we reach here. I will not bore the students and the audience with history.

I remember myself as a student standing like you pupils and wishing for the chief guest’ to finish reading his speech. I just hope that today you people would lend me your ears for a minute or two.

You must have heard that the "future of our country lies in the hands of our children" told to us repeatedly by our kings. The realization of that statement only comes to you, after you do well in the school and get a job or do something for yourself. In any organization that you may serve you become like a bricks of a big house. One or two weak bricks may not do damage to the house, but couple of damaged bricks can cause the house to collapse. So do not be the damaged bricks. The good bricks are the one which bore the heavier brunt in the kilns. Your kilns are the schools and universities and try to get burnt there to be a excellent quality bricks.

You can see the alumni of the school being gathered here for the occasion of the silver jubilee coinciding with the National day today. It is good to see most of them are doing well and holding good offices and some doing great business, above all standing on their own feet, despite springing from a remote village as this. Please do not mind, i do not mean to offend you by saying that your geog is remote, but before even Nganglam was considered to be a remote place when the conditions of the roads from Pathsala to Bhutan was not not so good like today. I congratulate all of you here for being able to take your time out to attend the occasion and inspiring the youngsters gathered here, and still having connections with your roots here. That is one of the best part of our tradition and being Bhutanese.

For parents gathered here I would like to tell you that please do not tell your children to become dasho or doctors or engineers. When I was kid i remember my relatives and parents telling me that and I think little has changed. Just imagine that the wishes of the parents come true and all the children become dashos. Who will build our houses? Who will produce our food? Who will cook for us? For today’s lunch I think there must be some guys sweating in the kitchen. If he is not good how can we enjoy today’s meal?

Therefore, we must inculcate dignity of labour into the young minds by the parents and relatives. We will have good houses only if we have good mason. We will have good roads only if we have good labourers. We will have good food only if we have good cooks. We will have cheap goods only if we have good businessman. We as parents, should never look down on any jobs of our children and job of that of our neighbour’s children. Be them in any job if they are doing it sincerely with out-most dedication, they are helping in nation building. 

Today we see lots of youth roaming in the cities jobless and the irony is that we have no manpower in the construction sector taking up menial work. Why is that happening? Some of our children must be there at Thimphu asking for hard earned money from here. They could have easily earn minimum Nu. 165 per day if they work somewhere. Why they are not working? The fault lies not in them but in us. Please have a serious thought about it, later over a cup of bangchang. I am saying bangchang so that it would be a memory thread for you all to have a discussion later in the evening.

On this important day all of must try to change our mentality; mentality in working, mentality in providing services for those of us in civil service, mentality in making cuts for those of us in business, mentality in treating people having blue collar job, etc. 

The sellers must think that he is there because of the buyers, the service provide must think that he is there because of the service taker, doctors must think that he is there because of the patient and not the other way round as we must have noticed some day, sometimes.

It is being the anti corruption week. I have many things to share about it, but I pity those little little future citizens of the country wishing my speech to end, just like I used to when I was small like you and standing there on the ground like you all about 20 years back. And 20 years hence one of you will be here giving speech like me, impromptu sometimes. 

Long live the kings.

Tashi delek and thank you for making me the chief guest at short notice.

Clap, clap, clap, and the clapping becomes louder and louder. I raised my hand and it got snared on the fringes of the blanket. How come the blanket on the chief guest’s chair? There should be a silk cloth cover. Then I heard my better half shouting, clapping her hands again “Are you not supposed to go to Dechening?”

I got up with a jolt and looked at the time, on the mobile phone – I stopped wearing watch because mobile phone showed the time as good. It is well passed 7:30 and even if I owned a chopper, I would not make it to the event. So I stayed back watching live show of the national day at Kanglung.