Showing posts with label GNH. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GNH. Show all posts

16 February 2021

How Two Bhutanese Telecoms are Unfaithful to GNH

There were times we didn't have mobile phones. It came and changed our lives. We are grateful to BMobile for leading that change. 

In the early 2000s, the mobile service was at least five times more expensive than today. Without smartphones, the purpose of phones was limited to talking and sending SMS, yet it was so exciting. Bhutan Telecom enjoyed the monopoly and exploited the people's curiosity. The fascinated people didn't realise that they have been robbed until Tashi Cell came by to help us understand that it could be done at a lesser cost. For that, we remain eternally grateful. 

However, now the two telecoms seem to have ganged up and decided to watch each other's backs. Their products are almost identical. And they have chosen to misplace their values at the same time. Of the several things that don't seem right for a business in Bhutan, the following two top the list of reasons why they are so unfaithful to the core values of GNH. 

1. Paradoxical Data Package Costing

It's good that we now have various small data packages to choose from unlike in the early days where the smallest voucher we could buy was Nu.300. However, the way the packages are priced is shockingly so pro-rich. 

For Nu. 99 you get 1330 MB of data, and for Nu. 699 you get 22,370 MB. Do the maths. If you can pay seven times the price at once, you get 20 times the data. They may argue that it's a typical bulk discount scheme, but for Bhutan, such a paradox is insulting the core value of GNH. 

Bhutan TelecomTashi Cell
Rate (Nu.)Data Volume (MB)MB/Nu.Rate (Nu.)Data Volume (MB)MB/Nu.

Obviously, it's about who can and cannot pay. If you can afford to pay more, you get it cheaper. We want to rain where there is water. If you can't afford it, you have to pay more. The margin is significant enough to raise the question; why can't they share that offer with those who have no means to opt for bigger packages, if so much can be spared? 

It's much like the Duty-Free shop where the prominent people in society with all the means are given handsome discount quota. In contrast, the people who desperately need these discounts are selectively deprived—such a paradox. 

2. Unlimited Plans to Ruin a Generation 

The cheapest data package on offer with our telecoms is the unlimited plans sold at Nu.55 by BT and Nu.57 by TCell. But the catch is it's effective between 1 AM to 7 AM, the prime sleeping hours. If I have no other means, and I get unlimited downloads at night that's right for my pocket, I might as well put aside my sleep. Thus, thousands of people, mostly youths, are sleepless every night, ripping the benefit of this misguided scheme and missing on real things happening during the day. We are creating a generation of strange young people, who haven't met their parents for days because when they are awake, their parents are asleep. And vice versa. 
TCell Sleepless Scheme

BT Sleepless Scheme

When the telecom sales team sat to brainstorm and invent this 'brilliant' product, have they considered for once what would happen if their own children fall prey? When they watch the night traffic soaring, they see the money flowing in but do they put faces and stories to those numbers? It reminds me of the movie, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008). I don't have to explain this. 

A still from The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

My friends are petitioning against this scheme. Here is the link. I am signing the petition. We need you to sign and put pressure on the telecoms to do some soulsearching. 

There is a book called Proposed GNH of Business by The Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS). The summary of the book on BOOKNESE reads;

The idea of incorporating GNH values into business was first proposed by Prime Minister (2013-2018) Dasho Tshering Tobgay in 2015. He mentioned that the current business model of overemphasizing profit maximization and increasing shareholder values at the cost of environment and community was unsustainable. He expressed the need to recognize and manage these costs and risk and called for integrating GNH values into the business operation. Essentially, it meant measuring the success of a business by its ability to serve, facilitate, and engage with its stakeholders. -

09 November 2015

Singing Legend in Bhutan

Bhutan's singing legend Yeshi Wangchuk was at the GNH conference in Paro last week. I know this is not even a news. He was singing those songs we heard on radio as a child, but not on the stage, rather near the refreshment tent when the guests passed by to sip their tea. It was painful to see our legend sing like a gypsy in the open to entertain the guests.

Worse was in the evening, when he had to sing as the guests were enjoying their dinner. He went on till the last person left the buffet, by then even random visitors like us finished eating. He and his musicians were the last to eat. I know he must have been paid for his service but personally I felt very bad.

I know it wouldn't make a difference but I walked up to him and requested a pictures together just to let the foreigners around know that he's an important person. But even if nobody noticed I felt better after seeing him happily pose with me.

19 March 2013

How to Celebrate Happiness Day?

The World recognized Bhutan's Philosophy of Gross National Happiness and decided to observe 20th March as International Happiness Day. Bhutan is going to celebrate the day for the first time tomorrow. Schools will not celebrate because students are expected to enjoy the day with their families at home, towns across the country will have programs for families are go out together and spend time meaningfully.
My students were excited about the holiday, so I asked them, "how are you going to celebrate the happiness day?"
Following are random answers I could grasp from their chorus:
"I will laugh the whole day!"
"I will go on picnic with my friends."
"I will play football."
"I will go for swimming."
"I will sleep whole day."
"I will chat with my best friend."

I told them, "These are things you do every day, every Sunday, every holiday. These are things you do for fun, for pleasure. You will forget those experiences when you wake up the next morning. Tomorrow is different, tomorrow you should do special things."

Then I suggested some things they could do:
"When we were young like you we spend our free time around our parents and grand parents begging of them to tell us stories. Those days we consider them the source of wisdom. Nowadays, you find them unexciting and outdated, and what they say don't make sense to you because they don't know Facebook and they complain about your hair. Many of you don't even live with your grandparents and some of us have our grandma as babysitter and grandpa as housekeeper. They were the loving parents who invested all their lives on our parents and on us, now they need our love and attention. They may not hear clearly, they may keep repeating some things, they may complain but tomorrow sit near them and talk to them, listen to them, cut their finger nails and ask them if they are taking their medicines on time. If they are not with you call them on your cell and talk to them. Promise to yourselves that you will do it often.
"How is your relation with your parents? Nobody in the world loves you like they love you. They complain a lot about you but they are the only people praying for you everyday. Girlfriends and boyfriends are people who didn't mean to you anything before you met them and perhaps won't matter anymore in a year or less. They will come and go but parents don't happen everyday. They were with you from your birth and will live till the end. But how often do we sit with them and talk? how often do we pay attention to their words? How many holidays have you spent with them? How many movies have you watched with them? How many time did you try to make them laugh? How much time did you spend in thinking about impressing them? Well tomorrow is your chance to reconnect with your parents and prove yourselves worthy of their unconditional love.
"How many of you have your best friend among your siblings? Your brothers and sisters are friends sent by god but many have our own friends outside our family. We are jealous about how our young brother is favorite of our mother or how our elder sister is our father's pet. What we must know is that our sibling are the people we know best and you will always find your most trusted friend in them. If ever we could show all the love we show to our friends we will find the best friends at home.
"Tomorrow is also about reaching out to people with whom you had misunderstanding with, to explain and apologize rather than spending the rest of life with hatred and regret. It's also the day to check through your contacts and call those people who have influenced your lives and say thank you rather than chatting with strangers on Facebook.
"Celebrating happiness is not about laughing, opening a champagne like in movies or doing things that you alone enjoy, it's about doing things that will bring smiles on the faces of people around you and in making them feel better. You will be surprised to realize how happy you become in giving happiness to others.
"Happiness is in these simple things you can do everyday. You don't have to buy big gifts nor write long letters or put on expensive make ups, just be with your family and try to catch up with all those things you have have missed so far. A good child at home will be a good students in school and good person in the world. Begin at home!"

Of course I wasn't so structured while speaking to them, but I told them everything that's here in this piece. And I hope it made sense to at least a few. I wish all my readers a meaningful day tomorrow, may you make difference in someone's life...

31 October 2012

My GNH Model

This is how an ICT (Information and Communication Technology) teacher looks at GNH model (see the picture). Imagine socio economic development without banks, or banks without the new technologies. Imagine environment conservation without hitech devices. Imagine preservation of ancient texts and their promotion without computers. Imagine government that doesn't employ computer technology.
There is too much to imagine, and we know we can't imagine any of these without technology. But so far we haven't spelled out the role of ICT in achieving GNH, and when something is not specified then it's hard to work on it. ICT needs to be given due importance right now and here.
ICT is the supporter to all Four Pillars of GNH and Light to all Nine Domains.