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An endemic sense of place

A sense of place is a feeling that makes one feel at home and thereby at peace whenever he or she is in a particular area or think of one. It is the first impression or a deep sense of recognition that is deeply rooted in our memories. It is a feeling of happiness, and a sense of safety, an expression of endearment toward a particula r place (Cross 2001).   Before I travelled to Perth for my studies, I used to work in Thimphu, though I was born and raised in a small village called Wamling in central Bhutan. Although Thimphu offers modern facilities and infrastructure, it is only back in the village that I feel entirely at home. It's here I get a sense of peace and experience a sense of belongingness; it's where I can genuinely be myself.   In Wamling, our day breaks with a crowing of a rooster and mooing of cows in the distance. Somewhere a horse neighs, and another reciprocates from nearby. A dog howls and chickens chuckle in the coup. A stream gurgles down the hill turning pr
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A Resilient Community

In our everyday conversation, we refer to something or someone as ‘resilient’ if that entity rises above hardships, struggles, and setbacks and succeeds. Resilience, in this sense, denotes the ability of a person or objects to handle difficult situations. This short account describes what a resilient community would look like and discusses some of its features.   Walker and Salt  (2012)   define resilience as the ‘ability’ of an individual or a system to withstand ‘shocks and keep functioning in much the same kind of way.’ In other words, it is ‘the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, and feedbacks – to have the same identity.’ Therefore, ‘resilience thinking’ gives us a ‘useful framework’ that helps us understand more why systems behave in a particular way  (Walker and Salt 2012) . Rob Hopkins   (2009)   identifies three critical parameters to consider when looking for a community’s resilience – diversity,

System Thinking

System is a collection of interrelated elements that create one complete and unified whole. All components within it constantly interact with each other to achieve a specific purpose.  For example, a car is a highly sophisticated form of a system. Hundreds of different parts work together to make it move in the desired direction, and even if a small part is missing, the car will fail to run.  From the system, I learnt that system thinking is a perspective of things around us, which makes us see how everything is connected to other things. In the above example, it is not just the motor that creates the motion in the car but combined work of all the parts in the vehicle. For example, even if everything works, without an accelerator, the car will not move in the desired speed that we want it to run.    Therefore, system thinking forces us to think about the relationships between things and how they influence the overall system. It makes us see the bigger picture. For example, when we buy

A system thinking approach to waste management

My major project (in one of the units) focused on the growing per capita solid waste in Bhutan’s capital city. I wanted to show how there is more to what we observe in the solid waste management issue than meets the eye. Looking at the issue through the system thinking lenses reveals various underlying factors that contribute to the problem. System thinking provides an overall perspective of what is really going on deep underneath, which can be best explained with the iceberg theory.   Being the most populated city in the country, Thimphu faces a critical challenge of managing the solid wastes. Given that there is only a lukewarm interest by the private sector in waste-related businesses, it is a national concern. This is because Thimphu is the place that all tourists visit, and tourism is the second-highest source of domestic revenue   The iceberg theory advises us to view an issue through repeated events, their usual trends and the underlying systemic structures. It reminds us that w

Nyak is more than saying No

What is  nyak ? Nyak is a cultural construct prevalent in many parts of Bhutan, especially in eastern and central Bhutan. It is never easy to describe for many things go with this. It is a subtle act of refusing when someone offers us something to eat or drink. Our first reaction (as our norm would have it) is to impulsively refuse and say ‘no, no, it is okay, I just had something', etc., even though we may not have eaten anything at all. However, having lived in such a cultural milieu, the host or the person who makes the offer immediately understands that we are shy or modest and immediately assume that we are engaged in nyak. It would prompt the host to make several attempts to get a clear answer if our refusal was honest. If we want to accept the offer, after several proposals, we would then say, “Well, if you insist, I will try it.” Nevertheless, the frequency would be much more if, for instance, you are a stranger visiting the village. The possible reason may be that the vis


  That in the end is what we make out of it. After all, a block is something everyone suffers once in a while, but they have overcome it by doing more and more regularly. Such is the power of practice – you can already feel it coming back. Such is the power of consistency - imagine how much better it would come out if we do it on a more regular basis.    I am a firm believer that we need practice but have failed more than once to keep up to that belief. Now I believe that everyone does this regularly. That's why, I need to invest more time and effort in honing this skill. I know I have deviated a lot from my original thought process, and I am aware of it. But I am also doing it with a purpose. And that's to say that I am going through a lot these days and have failed to express myself more effectively.  

Sanity check

I admire people who have it in themselves and who can really touch their readers with their expressions and words. Such people need to keep up the habit and hone it further. And Bhutanese are good at  expre ssing them selves. That's a rare skill. We must encourage our young ones to follow.   There are also many Bhutanese who can debate at length with words and expressions. There are many who hide behind their masks and express their anger and frustration using anonymity as the tool that protects them. Going through some of these posts, I am forced to believe that these people can do wonders given the avenues to express themselves fully with no hesitations. How much will we develop if they come out and raise voices openly against injustices and frustrations they confess to undergo under the systems that cripple their imaginations and creativity.   I am fully convinced that writing is no small feat and that it takes a lot of practice and hard work and sweat, so they say, to come up w