Thursday, September 10, 2015

Locked Doors

Disasters, by its definition, refers to a sudden accident or natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life. Many disasters are often unavoidable but there are many that are avoidable, if we take the necessary precautions. We must try to ensure that avoidable disasters be avoided, at all costs.

I am absolutely saddened by the news of the tragic fire accident in Phuentsholing yesterday. The loss of one’s home and material possessions are a very sad loss indeed. But the loss of lives, of young and innocent children – that is a loss of such immense magnitude.

My heart goes out the families of the two children who were victims of the fire yesterday that gutted so many homes as they struggle to live with this tragedy.
So what can we do to avoid such disasters in the future?

Disaster preparedness is a much broader issue and not one that I want to examine here. My immediate thought is that often it is the locked doors that prevents children from finding their way to safety. The caregivers may keep their children locked inside for many possible reasons i.e. there is no one else to care for them, or keeping them safe and out of harm’s way, or simply not having thought of possible dangers and implications etc. It could be that they leave the child unattended for a short time to get something from the shop or the neighbour’s house – but those minutes could make the difference between life and death.
What happens if there is a fire, like this one? Or there is an earthquake? This is definitely a possibility given the highly volatile seismic zone Bhutan is in.

What happens when the place of safety becomes a prison for them?
Apart from the long-term negative psychological impacts to children, confinement ‘for one’s own safety and protection’ can be a dangerous thing indeed.

It is time for us to think and reflect on this. There are so many children who are kept behind locked doors when parents go to work. There are also many institutions where children may be kept under lock and key in the dormitories for ‘their own safety’. We need to be made more aware about the possible dangers that this could give rise to and find other ways of dealing with a situation.
Finding other options can be difficult especially in the fast changing world in which we live. But we need to ensure that we find those options.

Otherwise the alternative is too tragic to consider.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adjust or Confront

Often times in life I am faced with the dilemma on how best to respond. When facing a difference in opinion should I stick to my views and values or should I adjust with the others. Would adjusting with others mean that I am comprising my values? Or should I stick to my own gun, have my own thoughts and always do things my own way.

I recently read an article on the importance of assessing a situation and seeing when to use the power to face or confront.

I found the article most useful as a guidance. We don't always have to be correct. We don't always have to be righteous. We need to be able to adjust and co-exist harmoniously in a world where there are many different types of people. But at the same time we should not adjust too much when it goes against what we truly believe in. The article mentioned the following:

We have to discern when to use the power to adjust and when to use the power to face or confront. When it comes to difference of opinion and ways of working, we need to adjust with others, not confront them. But when there is abuse, exploitation or compromise of values and principles, we need to confront, not adjust.

Picture source: Internet
Hope this helps you, as much as it helps me, as we face similar dilemmas living in a complex world.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Drup Tshe Zhi

‘Drup Tshe Zhi’, or the fourth day of the sixth month of the Bhutanese calendar, is one of the most sacred days of the Buddhist calendar. After attaining enlightenment at the age of 35 years, some 2600 years ago, Lord Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park at Sarnath – present day Varanasi in India.

This auspicious day honors  the day of the first teachings of the Buddha when he talked about the doctrine of the Four Noble Truths and the Middle Path to the five monks who became his disciples.
Picture source: Internet

 The Four Noble Truths forms the foundation of Buddhism. They are:
1. Life is full of suffering. Suffering of birth, old age, sickness and death is unavoidable. The suffering must be borne alone. It is a part of life and cannot be avoided.

2. The truth about the causes of suffering (the root cause). The cause of suffering are craving, desire and ignorance. It is important to understand the cause because without that it is not possible to do away with suffering.

3. The truth about ending suffering (the cure). The key to end all suffering is to remove all desire, ill will and ignorance. Only then can a person gain Enlightenment.

4. The truth about the path to liberation. One must follow the Middle Path and the Noble Eightfold Path – namely (1) Right Understanding; (2) Right Attitude; (3) Right Speech; (4) Right Action; (5) Right Livelihood; (6) Right Effort; (7) Right Mindfulness; and (8) Right Concentration. Following this path will ultimately lead to an end in suffering.
Picture source: Internet
It is believed that the effects of positive or negative actions are multiplied multifold times on this day.

So hope that good deeds have been done, good thoughts thought, good words spoken and good efforts made. Happy Drup Tshe Zhi everyone.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Disciplining of self

Self-discipline is an important attribute. It is what keeps a person strong and moving forward. It is the characteristic that distinguishes between those who achieve much and those who don't.

Though some people have more self-discipline than others, it is an attribute that can be developed and strengthened. A conscious effort must be made. We must first know what it is that we want to do, to achieve. It is important to set goals and targets. And we must then try consistently to meet these goals and targets.

I say all this, because I just looked back and found myself lacking somewhat in this effort. It has been a while since my last post, despite my desire to write regularly. It is so easy to lose focus. To find so many other important things that need to be done. To simply be lazy.

So once again, I would like to pull up my socks and write... meaningful things when I have something to write about, or even meaningless things so that I can at least keep up my efforts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I wander as I look at a generation past...

On my way to work today, in the midst of all the chaotic energy of the early morning rush, near the Ministry of Labour & Human Resources, I saw an elderly woman walking slowly along the footpath.
Wizened with age, she appeared to be little bigger than a young 10 year girl. Her back was hunched so low that her vision would be parallel to the road on the ground and her head had to be tilted upwards for her to see the path ahead. Her short hair was ash silver and her face full of creases and wrinkles -ravines of an age long past.
Looking at her I could not help but wonder:
·         How many summers and how many winters have come and gone – she could, for sure, not count them on her fingers.

·         How many bags of grains would she have carried on the once straight and strong back of hers? Now how who helps her stand and move around?

·         How many sleep filled teary eyes she may have comforted over the years. And how many hungry mouths she may have fed. Now, who wipes her glazed eyes and puts food into her toothless mouth?

·         How hard her hands must have once worked as it tilled the soil and worked the field; as it cooked the food and washed the clothes. Now who is there to hold her hand - rough with years of work and wrinkled with age?

·         How many friends and family have passed on before her – leaving behind little other than memories of days long gone?

·         She is of a generation past. How many of her tales and stories have she passed on to the younger generation?

Her Realities are now Our Past; Our Present was once Her Vision.
As she walks along the crowded street, I wonder what it is she sees. Does she see the chaotic rush of cars bustling by or the rice fields of yesterday?
When she climbs into her bed at night, what does she think about and of whom?

And when she puts her head on the pillow does she wonder if tomorrow she will even wake to hear the birds chirp and see the sun shine over the mountain tops?

I wonder.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Boiling Frog Syndrome

We often do things because that is the way it has always been done. We stay with the same people because they are the people we have been around for years. We look at things in a particular way because that is how we have always thought about it.

We rarely take stock of our lives, our relationships, our habits.
And we rarely even think about the need to make changes.

Oftentimes we have taken up occupations that we may not enjoy much. The working environment is not conducive or we may be doing things that we are not interested in. A good number of hours every day are not put to optimal use and the output is not be as good. Not only are we dissatisfied with life but the organization also suffers as we may not put in the right effort.
In our personal lives as well, we may often be in a relationship that drains us. It could be with one’s partners, within the family or among friends. It could be people that belittle us, take advantage of or abuse us (intentionally or un-intentionally). We may not even think twice about it but such relationships often undermine our own sense of confidence and self-worth.
It is important to do one’s best in the workplace or try hard to make relationships work – but it is critical that one occasionally takes stock of things.

Sometimes it is necessary, for one’s own happiness and wellbeing, to face the situation and make informed and rational decisions to accept change.
And it may be necessary to make the change when one still has the energy to do so.
Am sharing below a story about the Boiling Frog Syndrome. I found it interesting and I hope that you will not only find it interesting but it will also help you embrace change, when needed.

The Boiling Frog Syndrome
Put a frog in a vessel of water and start heating the water.
As the temperature of the water rises, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature accordingly.
The frog keeps on adjusting with increase in temperature… Just when the water is about to reach the boiling point, the frog is not able to adjust anymore…
At that point the frog decides to jump out…
The frog tries to jump but is unable to do so, because it has lost all its strength in adjusting with the rising water temperature. Very soon the frog dies.
What killed the frog?
Many of us would say the boiling water…
But the truth is that what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when it had to jump out.
We all need to adjust with people and situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust and when we need to confront/face.
There are times when we need to face the situation and take appropriate action.
If we allow people to exploit us physically, mentally, emotionally or financially, they will continue to do so.
We have to decide when to jump.
Let us jump while we still have the strength!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Visibility is like sugar in the tea
too little – the tea is bland
too much – it is too sweet
and just right – it is perfect.