10 November 2023

Billionaire Cinderella

Sara Blakely is the founder of SPANX, who was named the world's youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes Magazine and one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in 2012.
In a few weeks, Sara is going to launch her new product, that shoe she is wearing: Sneakers with Heels.
She is in our country with Sir Richard Branson.

02 November 2023

Quinoa Recipes for Bhutanese

 Certainly! Here are five delicious and nutritious quinoa recipes:

1. **Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Mediterranean Vegetables:**

   - Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, chickpeas, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, olives, fresh parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

   - Instructions: Toss cooked quinoa with chickpeas and a variety of chopped vegetables. Add crumbled feta cheese, olives, and a dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley.

2. **Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans:**

   - Ingredients: Bell peppers, cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cheese (optional), cilantro, salt, and pepper.

   - Instructions: Cut the tops off bell peppers and remove seeds. In a bowl, mix cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and optional cheese. Stuff the mixture into the peppers and bake until peppers are tender.

3. **Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Quinoa:**

   - Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, shrimp, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.

   - Instructions: Sauté shrimp in olive oil and minced garlic until cooked. Toss with cooked quinoa, fresh lemon juice, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.

4. **Vegetable and Chickpea Curry with Quinoa:**

   - Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, chickpeas, mixed vegetables (e.g., carrots, peas, cauliflower), coconut milk, curry paste, garlic, ginger, onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper.

   - Instructions: Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger in a pot. Add mixed vegetables, chickpeas, coconut milk, and curry paste. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Serve over cooked quinoa and garnish with lime juice and cilantro.

5. **Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers:**

   - Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, black beans, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and your choice of toppings (e.g., lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, etc.).

   - Instructions: Mash black beans and mix with cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, egg, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Form into patties and cook on a stovetop or grill. Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings.

Remember, you can always customize these recipes to suit your taste preferences and dietary restrictions. Enjoy your quinoa dishes!

31 December 2022

Top 10 Brand Bhutan Promotors Beyond Borders

The year 2022 has been a tremendous year of transformation and risk-taking for Bhutan. We have finally done many things that we have only thought about or didn't even think about to this day. It's too early to get any sense of where it would take us but what matters is that we have done it. I am optimistic that it will be worth it. 

Of the many things that we braved to change, even though they seemed to be working fine (because just fine isn't enough anymore), is the transformation in the tourism sector. The sudden rise in the SDF from $65 to $200 shocked the sector, but that's where the idea of an exclusive destination gets real. We just have to wait and see if this was a masterstroke. I have reasons to believe it is. But we have to put in some effort to promote Brand Bhutan as an exclusive destination across the world and not just on paper. We must make the world curious as much as we have to make ourselves ready. 

I made a list of the top ten Bhutanese citizens who have managed to create curiosity in parts of the world and made people ask, "Where is Bhutan?"

Department of Tourism could use these people as ambassadors in the regions they are popular or at least recognize them in some form because if we are to put a cost on their contributions to the promotion of the brand Bhutan- it's going to be priceless.  


1. (Druk Thuksey) Pawo Choyning Dorji: We all know about the Oscars nomination of Pawo's Lunana, a Yak in the Classroom, but we will never know the extent to which his film has promoted Bhutan globally. There is no way we can ever organically reach so many countries, cultures and languages as Lunana did. Therefore, I put him at the top of the list. 

Pawo Choyning Dorji, Filmmaker 

2. Dasho Tshering Tobgay: Dasho's TED Talk captured the attention of millions of people across the globe on our country's extraordinary leadership, environment and culture. That talk alone must have created billions of dollars worth of goodwill, network and climate action.  

Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Motivational Speaker

3. Sangay Tsheltrim: A bodybuilding champion turned actor with a military background fascinated the Bollywood audience, as he played against Bollywood superstars like Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. He has introduced Bhutan to parts of India where we are hardly known.   

Sangay Tsheltrim, Bodybuilder, Actor

4. Kelly Dorji: Kelly was the only Bhutanese we had in the international film industry for decades. He has shared the silver screen with the biggest names in Indian cinema, and to this day, we see him on TV every few days. His roles in south Indian cinema are particularly glamorous even though they are negative roles.    
Kelly Dorji, Actor

5. Pinda Panda is a celebrated gamer and streamer living in Malaysia. She is living a life that most young people dream of. She has a huge fan following; for them, she is their introduction to Bhutan. She should appear in kira sometimes to fascinate her fan on the big gaming platforms. 
Pinda, Gamer

6. Chencho Gyeltshen: He took Bhutanese football to a whole new level by breaking the glass ceiling and starring in clubs in India. He made the whole country watch Indian premier leagues on TV. He made the commentators shout "Chencho from Bhutan" a hundred times in a match. 

Chencho Gyeltshen, Football Player

7. Phub Zam: Chechey Phub Zam, who emerged from a singing show, found her calling as a different breed of a singer who could touch people's hearts with a special voice for spiritual songs. She tours Buddhist countries across the Himalayan region, singing spiritual songs and spreading happiness. 

Phub Zam, Singer

8. Ryhaan Giri: This young man introduced himself to us from the Voice of Nepal stage. His captivating voice, combined with his sweet nature and good looks, is capturing the imagination of the Nepali population. He is creating an image of Bhutan in Nepal that they haven't known.

Ryhaan Giri, Singer

9. Ugyen Choden: When Ugyen appeared on some foreign TV shows giving interviews, she amused us with her candid remarks. We didn't know she was building a career in Nepali Cinema back then. Now, she is much loved in Nepal with back-to-back projects. If Ryhaan makes the Nepali girls scream out his name, Ugyen will do that for the boy. 

Ugyen Choden, Actor 

10. Tashi Choden: Tashi was into modelling and acting in the last few years, and it seemed like that was it, but the young girl changed it all for a new beginning by contesting for Miss Bhutan 2022 and winning it. The next phase of her life has just started, and she will undoubtedly represent Bhutan on the world stage in vogue. 

30 December 2022

Reviving School Museum in Bajothang

One of the last things I did before leaving Bajothang was starting a school museum club and physically creating a school museum. But that was in 2014, and after I left, my idea almost died. In the first few years, I would call my old friends to inquire about the status of my museum; each time called, I got more disappointed until I stopped calling. 

2014: My Students and I on the trip to Matalungchu

Fast forward to 2022, and out of the blue, I got a call from a teacher in Bajothang, Mr Norbu, who traced me out as the founder of the museum and shared his passion for reviving it. He called to ask me to attend the opening of the museum.  

2014: Look what we found.

The Oven Maker

After he called, I walked down memory lane on my blog to the time my 22 students and I joined forces to start a new club. I remember starting the club to convert the old building into a museum and protect it from being demolished. That old structure has a fascinating history that makes it worth preserving. It's said to be the first structure built on the empty plains of Bajothang during the reign of the Third King. The place was created to serve as the centre of commercial ventures, a new idea of a marketplace back then.  

Mr Norbu posing with the Museum Signage ( It's the same board we made in 2014)

The Old Structure housing the Museum.

I am grateful to Norbu for gathering a bunch of young people around him to revive the project I had started and for reaching out to me to be a part of it. He recognized the importance of that project, which showcases rural artefacts that are alien to urban Bhutan. The importance of the school museum will only grow with time as we distance away from our roots. Even when we were starting the project in 2014, many of us couldn't recognise half the artefacts we collected. Imagine what it will be like now and worse in a few years when Bhutanese children are born in a foreign land. 

My Kids who made this happen. I wonder where they are now. 

Mr Norbu knows more than just reviving the dying project; he made it an important event in Wangdue Dzongkhag but inviting the Lam Neten and Dzongda to inaugurate the School Museum on the 115th National Day. 

Chening Dorji- A Driver to a Published Birder

Chening Dorji is more than a person; he is one of the most inspiring stories you will hear. He was a primary school dropout who had to leave because of financial difficulty. He dropped out to help his parents and lived a life of a villager. After over a decade of cow herding, his desire for education brought him to Thimphu, where he became a driver for RSPN Bhutan.

A villager man coming to Thimphu and becoming a driver is no story to tell. But wait, as a driver, he just didn't drive around people, wash the car and wait for his salary. He did more. He drove around environmentalists, ecologists, conservationists, and all prominent wildlife experts. He didn't just drive them around and wait for them near the car; he joined them in the field.

Among many, while driving Aum Rebecca Pradhan, a renowned ecologist with RSPN, to the field, he showed his interest in learning from her about plants, animals and wildlife. She took notice of his genuine thirst for learning and started grooming him. He was her driver on the road and apprentice in the field, that too a great one.
On the other front, his former executive director at RSPN, Dr Lam Dorji too saw the passionate learner in Chening and sent him for a basic English language course in India. What difference can a basic language course make to an ordinary person? But Chening proved to be more than an ordinary learner, which Dr Lam Dorji recognized. In a few months, Chening returned with impressive literacy skills that opened his gate to unlimited knowledge.

The pleasant man, now equipped with literacy, didn't spare any opportunity to learn while driving wildlife experts around in the field and turned himself into a professional birder and photographer, who is now a resource person for young Bhutanese Birders(YBB). And now, he is a published author of a bird photography book, Wings of the Dragon, Birds from the Kingdom of Bhutan.
The second edition of his books is out. But it's not for sale, sadly. If you wish to grab a copy, contact WWF Bhutan, where he works. The book is published by his office in recognition of his extraordinary talent and story.

23 December 2022

Personal Transformation 2022

When I came out of the last lockdown, I could feel my cheeks hanging and my belly visibly swollen. I was beginning to snore while sleeping, which often awakened me. I had backaches and beginning to feel older than my age.

That's when Sangay Tsheltrim reminded me of the offer he gave me a year ago. He said, "you are younger than me but look at you..."
I owe it to you, brother.
That's when I told my lazy self that it was now or never and started going to Thimphu Muscle Factory Champion's Gym.
It wasn't easy. Every morning I wished I didn't have to wake up to go to the gym, but soon things changed. The snoring disappeared. Backaches gone. After the morning gym, the day felt so good. Gradually, the tummy went back in.

18 November 2022

CSO Contribution to Sanitation in Bhutan

The emergence of Bhutan's own national civil society organization (CSO) in the sanitation sector is a recent development. However, with their volunteers and activities at the grassroots levels, their contributions are significant in raising awareness, civic responsibility and influencing social changes. The decades of government efforts found a complementing partner in civil society to make it complete.

Following are some of the contributions made by the national CSOs in sanitation;

1. Policy Dialogue: CSOs contributed significantly to influencing, lobbying, drafting and reviewing national sanitation policies, guidelines, and roadmap. They are also a major player in creating awareness on sanitation issues and mobilizing volunteers to become a part of the solution. They are also responsible for highlighting the government's efforts and letting people do their part.

2. Proper management of public toilets: many public toilet facilities have become defunct without proper ownership or management. CSO volunteers conducted mass cleaning campaigns to make the facilities usable and handed them over to caretakers.

3. School Toilet Upgrade: students were using old toilets that are difficult to clean and maintain hygiene. With students using unsafe and dirty toilets, their behaviours are reflected in the way the Bhutanese perceive toilets. Realizing the influence of school toilets on overall national sanitation, CSO partnered with the Ministry of Education and development partners to upgrade over 2800 units of school toilets using smart methods and technologies. Over 400 school staff are trained to carry out maintenance work. 

4. Monastic School Toilet: to make toilet facilities in the monastic schools clean and safe for the monks and nuns, the old toilets were upgraded using the same method carried out in the schools. The monks are trained to maintain and manage the facilities hence.

5. Toilet for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and Elderly: For people who cannot go to the toilet or use ordinary toilets due to disabilities, age or sickness, CSOs have taken various initiatives to either make toilets accessible or bring in innovative technologies to put toilets closer to the people. Small portable toilets were introduced as bedside toilets that are made available to people in various forms and models.

6. Emergency Toilets; During the pandemic, hundreds of duty stations were built along the borders and hundreds more outside the quarantine facilities. CSOs rose to the occasion and helped provide sanitation facilities for duty personnel across the country and for the displaced communities and schools. 

7. Rural Toilets: CSOs have worked with communities that are hard to reach and that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in improving their livelihood. Communities are empowered with economically viable activities and provided housing and sanitation that are resilient and in coherence with their environment. About 1000 rural families who could not afford sanitation facilities were supported by various CSOs. On top of that, CSOs have brought in technologies to upgrade hundreds of old rural toilets to speed up government efforts to achieve 100% ODF. 

8. Event Toilet: During events, the venues do not have sufficient toilet facilities. These events usually lead to massive public health issues. But CSOs have developed modern interventions to provide portable toilet facilities and safe temporary toilets to tackle the issue.

9. Professional Toilet Managers: There are no professional sanitation workers. We have been dependent on foreign workers to deal with the dirty job. CSOs have worked to create opportunities for the emergence of local professionals who are proud and skilled in doing the job. Over 200 Bhutanese cleaners are trained to manage toilets professionally. 

Note: The above write-up is a brief note prepared to be included in a national presentation to be made at SaniLearn Workshop in Sri Lanka. It includes the works of CSOs like Bhutan Toilet Org, Tarayana Foundation, Ability Bhutan Society, RSPN, Rotary Club of Thimphu, among others. I am sharing this to celebrate CSO's contributions to sanitation to reserve World Toilet Day.

And as the founder of Bhutan Toilet Org, I would like to thank UNICEF, Save the Children, WHO Bhutan, the Education Ministry, Helvetas Bhutan, the European Union, SARAYA, LIXIL, Dept of Tourism and friends from Japan who supported us in carrying out the above activities. I want to remember all those generous private donors for believing in us. Look how far we have come. Thank you so much. 

Today, we offer our solemn gratitude to His Majesty the King for the vision, direction and handholding from the beginning and throughout. We rededicate our commitment to take it to the end without any compromise.

29 September 2022

A Letter to Author

It's not every day that I receive a mail from a reader who loved my book or otherwise. There are not many readers, and not many readers take their time out to write a review or a mail. That's why when I do get a message, I really treasure it. 

Following is a heartwarming email from a young girl who finished reading my book in two days. It goes to show that she really enjoyed it. From a short mail, I can make out that she is quite a reader, and for her to like my book is a significant compliment. 

Besides that, the timing is important to me. It's been over four years since my book was published, and all the hype is gone with the wind, yet for someone to read my book a
and write to me makes me 

Dear Author,

This might be an odd way of expressing my appreciation, but I couldn't find a better way of connecting with you. (I preferred email for my lengthy message )

I must say, you are really an inspiring figure for youths in our country. I have heard a lot about you and your contributions to Bhutanese society from others. Still, to really be honest, I never actually knew who you were. Perhaps I never tried to discover the works you have done, or I haven't read any piece of your collection yet. 

Just recently, I finished reading your book "PasSu Diary", which I got as a recognition prize during the reading week in my school. I am not a bookworm, but I do enjoy reading. However, I hardly read a book till the end as my interest in reading truly depends on how the writer expresses each line. This might sound weird, but it has been my style ever since I was a kid. 

The moment I read the first lines of your book, it just gravitated my soul towards the next page and so on. Trust me, I was done reading your book just in two days. Reading your book was like getting an opportunity to be part of all the events in flashback. Your writings also give a sense of pride and a raw perception of being a Bhutanese. The sentences in each chapter boosted my thinking capacity. No other prize could have been better than this book.

As I went on learning about you, I discovered that besides writing, you had been a social activist in various fields, and above all, you are someone that youths can look up to. Your writings have motivated me to become a passionate reader and a responsible citizen.

A bunch of thanks to you :) 


- Sonam Tashi Lhazom

If you are interested in my book, here is the link to get it from BOOKNESE or buy the eBook version from Amazon

27 September 2022

A Dangerous Thruelbub Belief

It's dangerous to believe that you could wash away the sins (Lay) you have committed, bad deeds you have done, or harm you have caused to others just by bathing on
#Thruelbub or visiting a temple.

No, you have to be good and do enough good to outweigh the bad you have done. There is no erasing or washing away the bad you have done. You can only drown them in the sea of good you do.
Don't be fooled into believing that a shortcut exists. A day like Thruelbub is rather a good day to stop being an a**hole and start being a good human that everyone is capable of.
Thruelbub is a good holiday to celebrate with your family and feel blessed. It's not a day that will wash everyone's sins and set them free to commit more sins for the next Thruelbub. No, it can't be that easy.
Sorry for the bad news, but I hope you had a good time.

19 September 2022

Bhutanese Monarchy and Queen Elizabeth II

When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8, 2022, the news touched every corner of the earth, including us, who never had anything to do with the queen. While some grieved the death of the queen they had loved all their lives, others celebrated the profound life of a monarch who ruled for seventy years.

Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Bhutan, are attending the funeral of the Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom. From the short video clips, we could feel the profoundness of the moment, where a young monarch pays his sincere tribute to another monarch on the other side of the planet. We can only imagine the significance of such a gesture. 

Isn't it fascinating that Her Majesty was born in 1926, the same year our First King, Gonsar Ugyen Wangchuck, passed away? It was the same year Second King Jigme Wangchuck ascended the Golden Throne. He ruled for 26 years and passed away in 1952, which coincidentally is the same year Queen Elizabeth began her era. 

So, in 1952, Third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, ascended the golden throne at the age of 23, while Queen Elizabeth did the same at the age of 26. He was three years younger than her. If he had lived his full life, he would be 93 years old. Unfortunately, he died too soon, in 1972, at the age of 43. 

With the untimely demise of the Third King when the Crown Prince was only sixteen, our country was pushed to the edge of a dark era, but this blessed Kingdom was rescued by the young King in the most historical way. His Majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, ushered Bhutan into an era of unprecedented peace and happiness.  

In 2006, when His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo abdicated the throne at the young age of 51, he surprised the world in more ways than we can ever comprehend. If there was one lesson the world and, for that matter, the late Queen herself could have learned from our Great Fourth, it was the detachment from power and empowering the next generation at the right time. He further engraved his wisdom for eternity by putting the retirement age of 65 for future kings in the Constitution of Bhutan. 

In 2006, when our Beloved Fifth King ascended the Golden Throne, he was coincidentally 26 years old, the same age as the Queen when she took office back in 1952- over half a century ago. The coronation of His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgay Wangchuck, was the happiest coronation in the world where the healthy father King crowned the son who was more than ready. The wedding of their majesties and the birth of two princes in the presence of the Great Fourth were events of profound happiness that the Kingdom of Bhutan experienced for the first time.  

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, lived across the era of four Bhutanese Kings- from Second King to the Fifth. It was also within this period that the United States of America saw fourteen Presidents come and go, 13 of whom met the queen.  Her life and death are, therefore, of significance to the world. 

May Our King and Queen be blessed with Queen Elizabeth's longevity. 

May the Queen rest in peace.