04 November 2011

Singaporeans Believe in Bhutan

Two weeks ago, when Mr Khaw made a conclusion about Bhutan, I was disheartened. I thought he took away a wonderful friend from us because we count on Singapore when it comes to technological development. I knew his beliefs were his own yet I couldn't deny that those words were spoken in the parliament. I just sat down and wrote a letter to him, fully aware that my words won't make it anywhere near him in this vast universe of information. After over ten regular days, my blog stats suddenly started shooting up like a timer and comments flooded in. At first, it brought me immense joy and satisfaction as a blogger, and my message made it through. When the hits shot over 45,000, I began to worry. What have I done?

I only wanted Mr Khaw to know that we are happy, and far beyond my intention, it has gone viral, disturbing the minds of many Singaporeans. Many turned up to apologize on behalf of their minister, and discussions were heated on many forums. In trying to convince him that we were happy, I landed up making him unhappy; while I don't regret my words, I apologize for the unprecedented noise it made.

Our King and Queen just visited Singapore, and perhaps Singapore must have seen the very reflection of our simple happiness in the humility of our King. Over ninety positive Singaporean comments on my blog convinced me that they believe in Bhutan, that they believe in happiness, and that they are sorry about Mr Khaw being cynical. 

I am not used to so many comments on my blog; therefore, I am sorry I can't reply to each one of you, but I am very thankful that so many of you read my blog and took the time to leave your comments. I wish you happiness.

Thanks, Kuenzang Thinley, for the wonderful Award.


  1. A pat on your shoulder, Passang!

    Well, a good learning point:
    "LOOK" with not just open eyes, but also with an open mind, and not to dwell in our self-thought beliefs :)


  2. hey PasSsu!

    It ok don't have to feel sorry!
    I'm from singapore, we are a man-made garden city!
    everything here are fake! we really need to work hard for everything here! it's not easy! nothing is free!

    but i would like to visit bhutan someday!
    I still think that Bhutan is still the best country to relax and photo taking!

  3. Passang

    I had the immense (but fleeting) pleasure of seeing your great King and Queen close up last night, as they were at the same building where I was. I was like only 1 metre away from them. Must say that they are a great looking couple, and your Queen must be one of the most beautiful queens in the world, ever! I saw them in western clothes, which I thought for a second was rather unusual sight as they are always seen weraing traditional Bhutanese clothes, but on reflection, it would attract too much attention to themselves if they were to wear Bhutanese traditional clothes in Singapore - plus it would be unbearably hot to do so in Singapore's hot humid weather.

    Although it is a private visit, the local papers said that your King met with members of the Singapore Government. I wonder if your King had a word with Khaw about the unflattering things Khaw had said in Parliament about your lovely country.

  4. Hey PasSsu,
    thanks for sharing! I hope to be able to visit Bhutan one day!If possible, I would like to try out farming too! Cheers!

  5. Hi passu,
    I am impressed by your writing this time too. Its because your put flesh and blood in your writing. Its no wonder that i love your writing so much, even outsiders agree with you. M learning a lot from you. thanks for that.Congrats n keep it up.

  6. I would like to say that it is rather unlikely that Mr Khaw would be oblivious to Bhutanese peoples' happiness during his visits. The reason why he said that Bhutanese people were unhappy because he was rebutting the points that the opposition Members of Parliament (MP) raised. The opposition MPs said that Singapore should learn from Bhutan and increase the happiness of Singaporeans instead of focusing solely on economic growth.

    For quite a long time Mr Khaw is one of the Singaporean politicians I quite respect. He has been trying very hard to connect with Singaporeans through his blog: http://mndsingapore.wordpress.com/, and has been trying to bring down housing prices to more affordable levels. We know he's a devout Buddhist and became a vegetarian to improve his health, and set a good example for Singaporeans (because he used to be Health minister).

    It is sad that Mr Khaw has to say such things, which he probably knows is untrue, just to get back at the opposition. In our Singaporean democracy, the incumbent People's Action Party (PAP) which dominates the majority of Parliament is always concerned with "fixing" the opposition and goes to great lengths to do so. Perhaps as Bhutan takes steps towards democracy it may try to avoid such political catfights and instead embrace a more constructive form of politics.

    Thanks very much for your post.

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  9. Thumbs up!

    Singapore may look "nice" but only the very smooth surface.. It's a whirlpool beneath.. As u can probably tell, true blue native Singaporeans aren't happy, at all..

    I can't believe our govt (PayAndPay)is so superficial to the point of embarrassment! They really prove that they talk nonsense..

    Reading your reply just proved how nice it is with all things natural and that it CAN be done.. But sadly, it's also true that our home cannot be like yours.. We're slaves to our home till death.. Can u believe the govt is making it a must for elderly (aged 62-65) to be rehired?? I would SO love to see parents of ministers working!

    And NO, I do not feel our country is superior to yours.. I'm sure many Singaporeans think that too!

  10. @longlivehismajesty
    The Leader of the Opposition Party - who Yee Jenn Jong had said in Parliament was one of the 4 most admired people in Bhutan - has his own blog:


    He is a very gracious opposition politician. It is incredible that he posted on his blog a congratulatory message to 2 Bhutanese who set up opposition parties (which will of course be rivals to his party in due course):


    Postscript to visit of King and Queen of Bhutan to Singapore: when I sort of bumped into them, I was surprised at the small size of his retinue / security guards with their Majesties. I think there were no more than 5 or 6 people with them. Each of our ordinary cabinet ministers is always accompanied by a huge contingent of security guards, and the Prime Minister, former Minister Mentor, Senior Minister, etc will not have fewer than 14 security guards with them at any time. Just imagine the cost to the tax payer!!

  11. Dear PaSsu:

    Please do not be worried about the unexpected effects of your previous post. You are right in sharing your views and to correct any misconceptions regarding your beloved country. You also totally have the right to do so.

    Perhaps our minister was in too much of a hurry during his trip to fully appreciate the beauty of your lovely country or soak in the happy, social atmosphere, but that is his personal loss.

    Do trust that many Singaporeans are tired of the never-ending rat race and the pursuit of fame, wealth and status. Many of us look forward to a simpler and happier way of life - One that is meaningful and built upon solid, lasting familial and social relationships and bonds.

    It may be a long while more before we get there, but we will always look to Bhutan for inspiration and guidance!

    Take care and heartfelt blessings to you, your family and friends and fellow countrymen & women!

  12. Dear Passang, like many Singaporeans who have posted here, I have great admiration for you and your country. Please don't be discouraged by the naysayers – if you dislike any rude comment posted here please delete them. Mean souls have no place in your gracious and kind world. Blessings.

  13. The Singaporean Ministers and leaders are MORE ARROGANT earning a few million dollar-salaries unlike most Singaporeans who are humbly surviving on a few thousand dollars a month. So, Khaw's arrogant comments in the Parliament do not reflect the ALL Singaporeans.

    But Passu, your first paragraph very much sounds like Jonathan Mak...haha....may be that's just a co-incidence, or may be I read too much....hahaha.


  14. SHALLOW is the word. Singaporeans think they're on top of the world because we have a government that breeds such people. Singapore boasts of an elite education system; yet the minds of the citizens are but primitive and shallow in the most bizarre ways. Because they are exposed only to the monotony of a metropolitan environment and are driven only by the elements of competition in a totalitarian conglomeration of trite, they are quick to jump to conclusions when presented with a scenario and ignorance is blatantly displayed. This is because Singaporeans expect others to abide by their modus operandi and have no wish to understand cultures beyond their '1ST-of-all-1st-world-nations' country.

    Those who travel are usually quick to make comparisons and look for attributes that make other countries inferior to Singapore and hence do not learn anything. We are governed by a body of people whose views and mode of handling issues are obscured by selfishness, individualism, ignorance, arrogance, pretentiousness, shallowness and a contempt for things they don't understand. When we have stupid ministers such as these, the apples can't fall far from the tree even if they want to. Comments like these made by shallow and shortsighted ministers only justify a furor of despise from people of other countries.

  15. I am Singaporean but I don't live my life like most of them do--seeking money and materials at the expense of personal liberation, personal enlightenment, people-connectedness and gracefulness, which is why many of them can sometimes assume things without much consideration.

    I also don't think many of them really understand what Happiness is about, so they are definitely not qualified to judge Happiness in other people and their countries. Even the more qualified positive psychologists from the western world are still unclear on what creates Happiness.

    But I can share my perspective of Happiness after living many years of a truth-seeking while also very challenging spiritual way of life in Singapore, far away from the common materialistic way of life that most of my people are caught up in.

    Happiness truly comes from one's liberation that one possess, to do what one feels like doing while living in connection and harmony with the laws of the Universe, while constantly broadening one's perspective by seeking deeper truths of reality to resolve ignorance and gain understanding/enlightenment.

    Happiness certainly cannot be observed from a person's face, for it lies deep within the mind. But how closely people live with Nature and the amount of liberation given to them to express themselves is a very good clue of their level of Happiness.

    I hope I can visit Bhutan some day. I think I can use its fresh air, scenery and try its vegetarian food. I just saw some pictures of Bhutan being displayed at a local shopping mall a short while ago. This is the site about the photo exhibition--

    I also saw the photo of your King and Queen's recent visit to Singapore. I envy the people in Bhutan for having such graceful inspiration. They certainly emanate a quality that is natural and unbound by much social restraints.

  16. Your article made me happy...It was a knockout punch to Mr. Khaw's Remarks...

    Lyonpo Yeshey Zimbas remarked on BBS today... "Mr. Khaw is right in saying that Bhutan isn't the last Shrangrila. We never said we were. We just believe in the wellbeing of the people...."

    Keep up the good work...

  17. Hello again,

    I think I have realized the real reason why the Singapore minister said that the Bhutanese people are unhappy. It is because he was disappointed that he could not find the Happiness he sought when he went to Bhutan a few years ago in his personal capacity(who makes a trip all the way to Bhutan not to seek its Happiness?). So his failure to find Happiness in Bhutan could have led him to think that Bhutan's focus on Gross National Happiness is a scam/lie, which he later expressed this in his disparaging remarks made in parliament that the Bhutanese people don't look happy to him.

    Bhutan is actually a place where people can find real Happiness/Liberation, but only if they look from the right perspective, otherwise they would fail to find it.

    I hope one day he can find the right perspective to perceive and appreciate Bhutan's true Happiness.

    I have wrote a spiritual article of the 5 core factors of Happiness in my Spiritual Facebook group

  18. As being Bhutanese we accept your clarification to our nation, our nation is not Shangri-La as you said Mr. Khaw Boon.

    As being Buddhist, we don’t have tradition to rudeness about other people and nation.

    So therefore, we Bhutanese would like to request all citizen of Singapore not misapprehend his words. We acknowledge what he said and we don’t have any bad feeling to Mr. Khaw Boon.

    We Buddhist greet all the commentary from the foreigner and we will learn in positive way……… free feel and be happy to yourself.

  19. There must be some reason why Mr. Khaw made the remarks about Bhutan..I think happiness is all in state of mind. It is difficult to see from outside.Bhutanese people are happy inside although they have to struggle in the field to make their living.

  20. Look at the interesting comic here on Khaw and Bhutan!


  21. God Bless Bhutan, thank you Passu for sharing your views. Bhutan to me IS shangri-la, where I can imagine sitting and watching the mountains and it's fields with awe. True is your statement that Bhutan can be Singapore but Singapore never Bhutan. It's easy to forget the simple pleasures of life and it's abundance of joy living in a city like Singapore. I have 2 children and live in this great cosmopolitan city, we hope in this lifetime to afford a simple holiday in Bhutan where we can share with our children - happiness is within, happiness does not measure with how many rooms your home has, what car you drive or how many LV, Prada or Rolex you have. Life is such.

  22. I'm Singaporean, I totally agree with what you said. You can tell Khaw Boon Wan to shove it. He's nothing but a joke in Singapore. Those of us Singaporeans who grew up before the 80s and lived in country-side houses know of the carefree life that you speak of. The PAP has turned our beautiful country into a hell-hole. Tell Khaw Boon Wan to shut the fuck up, nobody in Singapore loves this idiot.


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