In the following, I would like to share the interview I gave to The Business Bhutan. I would like to thank the News Editor, Ms. Peky Samal for kindly thinking of me when she actually wanted to write about the increasing blogging trends in the country. I share it here not because I have propounded great things; rather I share it here because I don't have anything worthy to share with you to close the last chapter of 2015.
What is your blog’s name?
I call my blog: Penstar with a subtitle … for the Pen is mightier than the Sword (www.nawanpenstar.com)
When did you start your blog?
I had started this blog sometime in 2009 although I had some other blogs while at college. Simultaneously, I was also blogging in a few popular blogging sites such as Kuzuzangpo.com and Nopkin.
What do you blog about?
Initially, I would post some of my short stories or poems, but things gradually changed. I started thinking about social issues – issues that affect me and society at large. I continue to blog about issues that I strongly feel about.
How many followers do you have?
I think I might have a few followers and readers who go through my blog entries. They are the real inspiration behind and I feel bad when I am unable to blog quite often. I owe big to these people.
What motivated you start blogging?
Actually, it started as a very private thing – this whole blog thing. But as I got to hear from more people, I thought of writing about pertinent social issues. I would be satisfied even if one person thinks or sees the issues the way I see it after he/she goes through it. So, the biggest motivation is the social good.
What do you aim to achieve through your blog? Long-term and short-term goals.
Personally, I do not aim to achieve anything by blogging. But of course I will be a much happier man if someone out there goes through it and stir his reactions both for and against. To reach out to more and more Bhutanese around the country would be my only goal – be it short or long term. I think small.
Who is your blog’s target audience?
I would like to reach mostly people of my age group or younger Bhutanese, who would see and respond to the things around them in the manner I do. And I also would like to reach out to the people in many big offices to hear out many of the unpleasant things that are happening in many places. This is with a hope that with responsive authorities in the concerned agencies or offices, some good things would come by.
Which blog post(s) of yours has got the most hits by far? How many? Or which is your most popular blog post?
There is one about Miss Bhutan Beauty Pageant. It is about Miss Bhutan candidates being interviewed in English and judged. I argue that we could have them speak in Dzongkha, national language of Bhutan or any other dialects, instead of making them speak English. This, I argue, is targeted at elite/urbanite Bhutanese. But we have the nation watching the show, which is completely being held in English. For those who did not understand Dzongkha, we could have had someone translating it. That was what I thought back then. And I think that was by far the most read blog entry on my blog; maybe it had some keywords related to beauty, Miss Bhutan, etc. Subsequently, the same blog entry was published as a column in Business Bhutan.
Personally, my own favorite happens to be one about morning talks to my three-month-old daughter. While it addresses a three-month toddler, the content of the blog talks about many social issues such as corruption, old parents having to take care of their children’s children in urban Bhutan, people’s misconduct and socially dreaded diseases, marriages/divorces among many others. The same was also published as another column by the same paper.
Do you think that bloggers can change the way people think/view certain issues?
Personally, I am not sure how much or to what extent people’s views on certain issues change after they go through a certain bloggers’ posts. But I think as this platform becomes more popular I think bloggers will certainly play a big role in changing people’s perception about social issues. At some point the current Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan addressed bloggers as the “thought leaders”. I wish Bhutanese bloggers get to enjoy that privilege. Especially, once the bloggers become popular, I see them promoting various brands or endorsing many good places to eat in town. I also wish our bloggers get to meet and interact with policy makers to discuss issues in their appropriate fields.
Which blogger do you admire most? Why?
On top of being a great fan of PaSsu Diary, I also closely follow Aue Yeshi Dorji’s blog. I really admire the way he researches his issues and comes up with many sensible arguments. His simple and clear language amazes me. He is one inspiring Bhutanese blogger and a professional photographer.
Any changes you would want to make in your blog? How do you want to grow as a blogger?
Although I periodically try to change the way my blog looks I do not intend to change much with the way I run it. I will also continue to blog about issues that are closer to my heart. And as a blogger some day in future I would like to see if there are some things that are worthwhile to go to the press – many years late. That will provide me opportunity to reflect on many things that I had experienced, seen and heard.
Are you a member of the community of Bhutanese bloggers? How do you think this community will help Bhutanese bloggers like you?
Yes. I am a founding member of Community of Bhutanese Bloggers (CBB) and currently serve in the working committee. This platform is aimed at bringing Bhutanese bloggers together and offer solidarity to fellow Bhutanese bloggers. CBB also conducts Bloggers Meets, Conferences and annual dinners for the fellow Bhutanese and interested people at large. I really think that CBB will introduce many young bloggers to the already established and more popular bloggers. To have that kind of platform is heartening. And most importantly meeting a fellow blogger is great experience many bloggers will always treasure. CBB connects many such ardent bloggers – the joy is boundless.
Any last words?
Our record shows there are more than 400 blogs in the country. But I think there are more bloggers than that – in fact much more. There are people who maintain blogs privately like their secret journals. We would like to urge many more, especially the youth to start blogging or continue to blog. I wish every teacher blogs, too, that way we would inspire many youths to do the same. Unlike the other form of writings, blogging has a charm in that whatever we blog, it is out there for the whole world to read and comment within a matter of seconds.
Writing society is also the one that reads.