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Monday, March 28, 2011

Of Journals and Correction.

Lately I have been very busy because I have asked my students to start writing journals. My students write three journal entries for one week and they have to get it corrected from me and rewrite again. The journal entry can be on anything they like to write about. It can be describing the tree outside their classroom, or guesses about why the teacher was late, or describing their friend or the can be about anything. Anything, as long as it is not personal. 

I have started this so that they will improve their writing skills, express their thoughts better. I have also asked them to borrow/use the words and phrases they come across in their reading to express their own ideas and emotions in their journals. Like other classes my students don't maintain writing portfolios but they update their reading portfolios by writing the book reviews. I don't know where will this will take us, but am hopeful that it will result into something positive. 

The only problem, on my part, lies in getting the journals corrected on time and handing them back. At the time when i asked them to write, i didn't realize the amount of correction i would have to do. I have three classes, in each class there are more than forty students, a total of hundred twenty six students(126), each one of them writes three times in a week, which sums up my correction work of three hundred seventy eight(378) journal entries a week. May be I have bitten off more than what I can chew.

My table, my journals.
One journal entry by a class eleven girl reads, ''No one is allowed to gossip during study hours, so some students who love to share their feelings feel very frustrated for having to keep quiet. Some who cant control speaking, murmur to their friends but when the murmurs slowly turn to loud noise, the captain stands up from the corner and shouts loudly, 'Girls'. With no option left and having to obey, all gossip lovers pause for a moment. the study hours are exclusively for studies but some other activities can be seen around. Some can be singing, some chewing, some sleeping, some plucking hair from their heads and some yawning. Some of the students can be seen looking time and again at their watches to begin the count down.

Another boy from class eleven science writes about what his mother advised him, '' Smile can make your life different, it will cost you nothing, this was what my mother always told me. i followed her advice, though at first it was very hard for me to smile at every face. But slowly I was able to do it. Now I do it always and I like it. I gain pleasure as others smile back at me. Like my mother told me, I am experiencing a different world, this world is beautiful with flowers in every eyes. I use to see serious faces before but didn't realize that it was not them, it was me. Now I will smile every time to be happy and share happiness.''

Friday, March 18, 2011

“The Bhutanese Democracy-Gift from the Golden Throne” An Essay. BY; Ngawang Tobgay, XII SCI ‘B’ Punakha .H.S.S, 2010

Bhutan the ‘Land of Thunder Dragon’ for a complete century has been under a wonderful system of Monarchy. Through good and bad times alike, she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideal which gave her strength because of the farsighted kings who led her. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, and opening of opportunity to the greater triumphs and achievement that await us with its change to be a Democratic nation.
His Majesty the Fifth King said ;
“The highest achievement of one hundred years of Monarchy has been the constant nurturing of Democracy. This has culminated with the first sitting of Parliament and the start of Democracy, where my father the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and I, hereby, return to our people the powers that had been vested in our kings by our forefathers one hundred years ago. We do so with absolute faith and confidence, offer our complete support and prayers for the success of Democracy”
Bhutan enjoyed long, unprecedented peace under the benevolent and dynamic leadership under our Monarchs. Bhutan has remained a sovereign ,independent and a happy country throughout  its recorded history , not through mere good fortune but because our great leaders  and forefathers greatly cherished and valued our way of life and our unique national identity, with their selfless dedication and hard work for the happiness and wellbeing of the people. And moreover with their utmost concern in the service of the country, the dynamic Wangchuck dynasty has not only gained the great love and loyalty at home but respect throughout the globe.
The move towards a Democratic constitutional Monarchy form of government in the year 2008 can be track back to the reign of Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. He introduced revolutionary political reforms to empower the people in participating and decision making with regard to governmental affairs. These political reforms started with the founding of the National Assembly of Bhutan in 1953, which culminated in the formation of Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdu (DYT) and Gewog Yargay Tshogdu (GYT).The devolution of power and the writing of the Constitution during the reign of Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The first two Kings consolidated the sovereignty and security of the nation, while the Third and Fourth Kings decentralized powers to the people gradually leading to the Democracy in the country during the time of the Fifth King.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people”.  Therefore, in a Democratic form of government, it allows each and every individual to exercise their right in participating and decision making with regard to the governmental affair and the right to vote and elect the right person to the power, whereby the citizens of the country can efficiently contribute to the developmental progress in the country. The fundamental rights which are protected and ensured by democracy for the people is of utmost importance that we the people exercise these rights selflessly to ensure we contribute to support the government. There by democratic form of government can become the best form of government if it enjoys the peoples support and contributions.
In most countries Democracy did not come easy, there were lots of social violence. The people had to overthrow governments and leaders to have democracy. In Bhutan it is amazing to know that after a century of Monarchy, the transition to Democracy came without any conflict. It is with the complete selfless dedication, genuineness and the brilliance of our Fourth and Fifth Druk Gyalpo, which let this transition to be an extraordinary success and achievement. Our kings gave up power for the sake of the people.
In a democratic state the people have to be actively involved in the developmental policies to make the government effective. We have the right to raise voices against injustice and atrocities. Democracy gives us this height and opportunity. Democracy is better than other forms of government because it emphasizes to give individual freedom, freedom of speech and expression. But, to what extent do we as good citizens use these rights well is of utmost importance, because in exercising our powers do we have to realize our responsibility to our country and the expectations of our beloved kings.
It is with this notion and view that our wise and benevolent kings have planned for this valuable transition even before we knew what was democracy. One very important attribute of Democracy is that people are given ample opportunities to become strong and self reliant and it reflects the will of the people in the governance of the country.
In our country Bhutan, it convincingly appears that the nation will achieve greater heights with the new form of government as our leaders have cleverly initiated the foundation of constitutional Bodies such as the Election Commission, the Royal Audit Authority and the Anti- Corruption Commission for the smooth functioning of the newly introduced Democratic government.
Dawn or Dusk? ...Your perception.
It is the farsighted and enlightened leadership of our Druk Gyalpos that Bhutan’s transition from Monarchy to Democracy could take place without social upheavals. In doing so, our leaders have proven themselves as enlightened rulers of great vision, wisdom and extraordinary courage. The transition to Democracy is indeed, a remarkable Gift from the Golden Thorne!
We pray that we may be worthy of the unlimited goals and opportunities that our leaders have bestowed upon us. And hope the Land of Thunder Dragon will bloom with utmost magical flowers of prosperity, peace, and happiness along with the fulfillment of our ideal of GNH in this most awaited new era of Democracy.
Palden Drukpa Cholay Namgayel!’

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Principal. Update from Punakha HSS.

Mr. Yesh B Ghaley

(This writing may not be of much interest to people who are not related to Punakha HSS.)
You hear words and you form images in your head, bits of colors, vague outlines and broken figures come together like pieces of puzzles to give life to your interpretation of the person. You try to form a picture as close as possible to the real man from the information you gather. It’s an interesting game and you may marvel at the many pictures you form and reject in your mind. This is what I did when I heard that my school was getting a new principal.

I heard his name, ‘Yesh B Ghaley’, and instantly images started forming in my head. Later I heard more about him, a little from here and a little from there, the picture became clearer.

Like one of the supporting staff described him after seeing him, ‘very hansom’, very true, he is hansom. But beyond the good looks, I found him overwhelmingly powerful. I don’t know if my opinion will remain the same but his first address to the students and teachers in his first morning assembly speech surely was. One of the madams said she was now his fan.

The stereotypical definition of personality is greatly dominated by body fat or physical size in our society. The quintessential boss in the Bhutanese mindset is fat because of the dominant role that the boss should play. However, this is changing and I do see flickers of that promising change in my new principal. My new principal is not fat, he is tall but he is not huge, yet he has such a compelling personality. He is not feisty but composed. Some one said this is the first time that Punakha HSS got a tall Principal.

My old principal, when he was leaving the school, told us that he was passing us onto better hands. At the moment I don’t doubt his words and am hopeful I will never get the chance to doubt him.