Latest posts by Sonam Ongmo
"Thank you Your Majesty,.... For being the role model with the hallmark of simplicity For being a far sighted and visionary leader"
The tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan has received a royal gift - a new Queen - after the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck wed and crowned 21 year old Ashi Jetsun Pema. The excitement of the Bhutanese came pouring out on the Twittersphere as well as on facebook and other social media outlets.
Depending on which way you look at it, the first violator or victim of Bhutan's anti-tobacco act that came to effect in January 2011, was a Buddhist monk who was arrested end of January while trying to enter the country with 72 packets of chewing tobacco from India.
The idea of citizens contributing towards this in the form of taxes is still a new/alien concept in Bhutan. The Bhutanese twitter-sphere broke the news of the verdict in favor of the Opposition who protested against the legality of imposing vehicle tax in the country.
Starting this month the Bhutanese government has started implementing its draconian “Tobacco Control Act,” which was enacted last year. According to this act, any citizen in defiance can be charged with a fourth degree felony that can fetch a prison term of 5 – 9 years.
Bhutanese women may have, unintentionally, created the stirrings of their first feminist movements of sorts when they recently started to encroach upon a traditionally male dominated sport Khuru (game of darts).
Angry Tibetans around the world are condemning Nepal’s actions in confiscating their ballot boxes by protesting in front of the Nepalese consulates. In New York, despite the rain, they carried banners and shouted, “China respect Democracy in Nepal,” and “Nepal, Give Back Our Ballot Boxes Now.”
It was nice to have a little laughter - even whimsical as it may have been - when the PM of Bhutan proposed “Happiness” be included as the 9th Millennium Development Goal at the the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals.
Bhutan is in a flurry of activity, gearing up for the upcoming SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit. Here the South Asian leaders will discuss about issues like climate change, poverty alleviation, economic cooperation and curbing terrorism and will try to find a common ground.
Last month the fashion world went literally “wild” during the unveiling of fall collections. They had models strutting the catwalk in so much fur, it was scary enough to make animal rights activists and environmentalists jump out of their skins.
Wildlife activists and organizations around the world are determined to make sure that this is really “The year of the Tiger”. They have seized this opportunity to step up their activities and bring global attention to this majestic, yet severely endangered species in the ever diminishing animal kingdom.
With quiet diplomacy and tact the tiny Himalayan state Bhutan took on giant China over encroachment and border issues recently. The Bhutanese officials and netizens are usually cautious to protest these issues with China, the powerful neighbor, but some netizens are voicing their dissent anonymously or under pseudonyms.
Upon the conclusion of the 5th conference on Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Brazil, Bhutanese bloggers share their views on how the concept seems to be taken more seriously in places other than Bhutan, where the concept was originally coined.
What is Bhutan? One camp glorifies Bhutan as the last Shangri-la and the other claims that it is practicing ethnic cleansing. Sonam Ongmo breaks some stereotypes.