Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

20 August 2015

Plastic Won't Be a Problem in Bhutan

In school we were told plastic was among the worst things that could pollute our environment because it would not disintegrate in 800 years, ok, just say forever. It means that the very first batch of plastic mankind produced, which was in 1862, hasn't yet disappeared and in last many year god knows how much more plastic the world would have produced. Imagine if Zhabdrung had thrown a plastic bag in a field in Punakha it would still be there. But don't worry there wasn't plastic during Zhabdrung's time.

From 1862 to 1970, plastic was seen as a magical material that could be crafted into variety of shapes and substitute precious natural substances like tortoiseshell, ivory, horn, and linen. The revolutionary discovery gained the reputation of being the saviour and protector of natural environment because it drastically reduced on the hunting of elephant and tortoise.

It was the beginning of material abundance that helped people gain access to affordable essential resources when inexpensive plastic replaced the scarce natural resources. Things became cheaper, lighter, safer and stronger. The development of computer, cellphone, and all the advanced technology was made possible by plastic, including electricity and transportation. It raise the living standard of people.

Suddenly in 1970s world woke up and made the once saviour of the natural world into the terror of the natural world. It wasn't the plastic that changed its property suddenly in 1970s. It's like the common Bhutanese saying about how even mother's breast milk can be poisonous if over-consumed. Human beings began using plastic in everything and everywhere without considering where it would land up at the end.

Plastic clogs drainage systems and flood cities, it overwhelms landfills and leach out dangerous chemicals that are threats to lives, in river system it can endanger aquatic lives, it will soon invade our agricultural fields make them infertile, and at the end it will take away our forest. But remember plastic doesn't go there on their own, it's us who ill-manage it. Plastic is a Frankenstein and we are being very insensitive with it.

But in Bhutan we have our smallness on our side, today it may seem like we have plastic problem but if you have observed carefully, one moment you see lots of plastic bottles thrown around and next moment it's gone. It's just a matter of one good solution, because plastic is a magical element. My little niece Bumchu won't leave any plastic pottle at home or in our cars, because her school has the practice of collecting and selling plastic waste to Greener Way.

Now Greener Way has a local market in The Green Road right in Thimphu, where a young entrepreneur, Rikesh Gurung, with the technical capacity and legal right in executing the revolutionary idea of using plastic in blacktopping roads has opened shop. "The technology involves coating of aggregate with molten waste plastic before it is mixed with bitumen. Besides being an effective solution to plastic waste menace, it brings down considerably the cost of laying roads and enhances their life."-The Hindu
Thimphu alone produces 50 tonnes of plastic waste daily and the landfill has over 200,000 tonnes of plastic, says the founder of The Green Road, which means he will have enough resources to make better and cheaper roads in the country, and he will not run out of his key ingredient. And the best part is plastic in Bhutan will not be a problem anymore.

But I'm surprised Rikesh's idea didn't receive red-carpet welcome in the country. If our concerns about plastic waste were genuine and all the headlines meant anything serious I would expect the government to hug the young man because his project can kill two cockroaches at one spank; better road and plastic management.

Interestingly before Rikesh could showcase his first task of blacktopping 30 meters road in Thimphu, another project made a headline. It's about a technology that will be setup at the landfill to convert plastic into crude oil. I am throughly confused now. Rikesh has multi-million plant setup and now another project is threatening to steal away his raw material, what is this all about? Do we have so much plastic waste to feed two big projects? While the rest of the world is suffocating in their plastic waste, it looks like we are going to face plastic waste scarcity. Anyway, it's good for us!

26 July 2015

Blogging With Dragons

Do you remember the popular column "Ask Boaz" in Kuensel K2 Mag?

Well ‘Ask Boaz’ was for more than four years the favorite tech guide and information source in Bhutan, which ran as regular column in Kuensel’s weekly K2 magazine. Boaz Shmueli would answer to questions sent in by his readers with surprising wit and simplicity. Over the years, the column subtly became the most authentic history of technology in Bhutan. 

Now the complete collection of his articles from ‘Ask Boaz’ column is put into a book "BLOGGING WITH DRAGONS" and if you are quick enough, the ebook version is on for free these days (Click on the Picture).
Click on the pic to download the book

As I read flip through the pages I am transported down memory lane- the times we struggled with Dialup connection to the wake of Facebook on 3G network, technical nitty gritty to online security and media literacy, KB days to coming of TB, … 
The book is the most authentic biography of technology in Bhutan. It can give a very authentic insight into the lives of people of the Bhutan, and the gradual change we underwent in the short span of time.

The book is a legacy of a foreigner who lived a meaningful life in Bhutan and impacted everyone who owned a computer, tablet or phone.

The book can still be a helpful ‘how to’ book in Bhutan and similar countries. It can be a useful technology guidebook for anybody living in or travelling to Bhutan because we are still faced with the questions that Boaz answered years ago. 

The writer Boaz Shmueli is also the author of and Creator of android app BhutaNews

23 January 2013

Empowering Teachers

I haven't been on winter vacation for three years, and even forgot how it feels like to go on short summer breaks. I am paid and used for empowering teachers in our country and like me there are forty others spread across the country to leave no teacher behind on this aggressive computer literacy project. We don't have Sundays in our weeks nor do we have any national holidays once we begin but after every ten days our trainees change. I had the privilege of training over 200 teachers in four Dzongkhags giving me 200 reasons more to smile in life. 
If you are a teacher in Bhutan you already know what this project is all about and how important it is for your career regardless of your participation yet but not many of us realized that the program is much more than just a compulsory certifying course. Most are coming because they learnt that the certificate from this training is going to be a mandatory document while applying for promotion or scholarship. I have seen many teachers walking into my class with what-the-heck look on the first morning and on the last day the same people shake my hand so hard with gratitude and I could assume what's on their mind: I didn't know this was going to be such a life changing ten days.
Batch-2, Motithang Lab, 2013 Jan
I will sum up the curriculum of the ten days and let you decide if I made sense in saying it's a life changing ten days for teachers: 

  • Teachers learn to draw diagrams in Microsoft Paint, and this also help beginners gain Mouse balance.
  • They learn to setup question paper in Microsoft Word- Multiple choice, Filling Blanks, Matching, Labeling diagram and True or False. They also learn to plan their lesson in Word.
  • They learn how to prepare lessons using PowerPoint Presentation. Animation amazes lot of them.
  • They learn how to store student's marks in Microsoft Excel and prepare mark sheet there. All necessary formulas and functions are taught and practiced until perfected. Many teachers cannot believe that it could be so easy, quick and accurate. 
  • Then we take them on ride on internet. Google for anything and everything they ever want and mostly for downloading diagrams and pictures they would require for their presentation, question papers or regular lessons. Wikipedia for information resources. YouTube for video resources. Email for communication- everybody leaves the training with email address. And for advance users we teach them blogging, in short- they are shown the power of Web 2.0 tools. This make it very hard for us to drive them home after 5.
  • What more a teacher wants? In these ten days teachers are given enough time to practice daily and two days are dedicated for their assignments alone. 
Ladies of Khuruthang with my Partner Mr. Parsu Ram
By the end of the program nobody talks about the certificate they came for because they have too many new things in their head to wonder about. And for me repeating things over and over ceased to be boring, in fact I enjoy amazing people, I love the screams of excitement when teachers accomplish something. I have made wonderful friends and learnt values beyond holidays- I am living a meaningful life without Sunday, I am on a mission to empower teachers!  

29 November 2012

My Daughter Becomes 3

The Attitude Pose- Nov 2012
This day in 2009 was a Sunday and Kezang knew our child was going to come ahead of due date. We went to Sunday market in the morning, then to town to prepare for the new member in the family. She cooked for us and packed stuffs for the hospital and by 9 PM our child made a loud entry into this world. It was a daughter.
The excitement of becoming father didn't die in these three years, often I look at my little girl and exclaim, 'wow, I am a father', and that good feeling brings lot of energy. Becoming father was the beginning of becoming a better man, it was another chance in life to look at the world through an innocent eye. The next phase of me was born with my daughter and we grew together.
She is growing into a beautiful girl like her mother, and everybody is happy that she didn't resemble me but I have more than one ugly part; I was the naughtiest and wildest child ever born in my family. Therefore I am never angry with my daughter though she is turning into something Kezang can't believe. Kezang only heard about my childhood, now she is getting to see me through our child.

Miss Bhutan Pose!
Apart from being extremely naughty, my daughter is very smart with technology. She can amaze people with how she can play around with iPad since she was two. Now she is more on YouTube and surprising us with her new crying, screaming, talking and punching styles. She can already run us down from ABC to Z, and 123 till somewhere less than 20. She spends much of her time on either movies on computer or on YouTube. She is very fond of singing and recording her own performances on camera. One thing that makes her even more special is her ability to sing Zhundra. The only song my mother taught me was Naychoe Dongkala, which I sang to my daughter when putting her to sleep. Amazingly she caught not only the tune but also the entire lyrics of the classic song. She would sing that in karaoke and other public places because she knows that gains her lot of attention which she enjoys.
The down side of having a tech-loving daughter is having to spare half of the computer screen for her movie. She is never enough with 'The Gods Must be Crazy' series. I had to reschedule all my works just to make room for my daughter but she leaves me not a single hour of peace, thus I wait till midnight, which is when she finally sleeps, and wake early in the morning to buy myself some extra hours.

We sit on same computer(Ninzi's Half- PaSsu's Half)
She loves going to birthday parties, but she thinks she has the right to blow the candles on any birthday cakes. Part of being a father is fighting with other kids to get pink balloons for my daughter in all the birthday parties. But tonight she will have a cake of her own with candles she can blow and pink balloons she can have without her father having to fight for it.
Happy Birthday Darling, you are three now!

22 July 2011

Google+ and Facebook

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populated country with over 750 million active citizens, beating even the United States. It gives me pain to realize the fact that a man younger than me would be ruling that country, yes I am hinting at Mark Zuckerberg. One crazy idea made all the difference!
The King!

But I am not alone in the list of people who envy Zuckerberg. Some countries blocked Facebook, many companies followed, and so many offices tried. But it surprised me when I found even Google was jealous. But I never thought Google will add a “+” and join the war against Facebook. Google+, is nothing new- another surprise, but has acquired over 18 million users even before it opened to public. That is over 30 times the population of Bhutan.
If + could make a difference...
With Facebook blocked in so many places Google+ is going to have party. When I joined Google+ last Sunday I was very lonely, so I told Pema Gyamtsho, who invited me there, that Google+ is a brand new bar with different brands of wine and whisky, but all our friends are still drinking in the old bar called Facebook. It felt very lonely among 18 million people after having spent years with 750 million people. 

09 July 2011

Catching up with the Students

With due respect, I was insulting* over fifty senior teacher for the last ten day. The Best thing about being teacher is that it doesn't really matter who saw the light first, they listened to me passionately. I began by tell them what computer is, then we sat together in finding ways to use it in doing our regular works. Then we went on to find out how we us Internet- yes I took them on a joy ride to Facebook.  I couldn't stop myself from telling them how I consider Google as the greatest Rinpochee- I didn't leave them until they changed their faith. They are now more Googlist then Buddhist!
Then I finally reminded them why we are learning what we are learning; we are not trying to learn something great to help us help our students but to Catch up with out students.
One of the cartoons I showed!

*Please, do not consider the literal meaning of the word 'insulting', I mean it in good humor. 

14 June 2011

Wind-hole in Wangdue

Legend has it that the Wind in Wangdue comes from a hole in the elephant hill. And many still believe so, finding no geographical justification to why Wangdue should be so windy when places around it are calm. To add more gravity to the legend, the wind at the southern end of the Wangdue Dzong is man-blowing; if you haven’t been there you don’t really know how windy the windy Wangdue is.
Man-blowing wind.
The gigantic prayer flag on the hill waves ferociously with sound enough to surpass twenty scooters starting at once, every blade of grass points in the direction of the wind, trees seem to have lost much of their leaves to the wind… every inch of the hill spells out the power of the wind.
I went looking for the hole, from the head to the tip of the trunk of the elephant hill. I wanted to photograph the wind at its source, but the legend remained a legend- I couldn’t find the hole this time. But the wind blew me into wonder- is so much power going to go wasted everyday in blowing dust around? Or embarrassing and shy girl by blowing up her kira, or by blowing off a bald man’s hat? Can’t it be harnessed into useful energy- to pump water or generate electricity? Because even if there is no wind hole in the hill there is undeniable power of wind sweeping the hill at all times.

25 January 2011

Getting Bhutan schools W.I.R.ED by Eisen Teo


MOST teachers in the landlocked Himalayan nation of Bhutan are computer-illiterate. Internet connections there are patchy at best, and only one in 10 students has a personal computer at home.
But a group of Bhutanese educators is determined to pull the country into the Internet age.
Ten teachers and five principals from five schools in Bhutan were in Singapore last month to tour the National Institute of Education and School of Science and Technology campuses, to learn how to use information technology (IT) in the classroom.
The five-day programme, from Feb 1 to 5, capped nine years of collaboration between the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and Bhutan's Ministry of Education and the Royal University of Bhutan. Previously, SIF had organised about 30 volunteer trips to Bhutan, teaching IT and planning IT curricula at seven educational institutions.
The mountainous kingdom, bordered by India and China, lifted a ban on the Internet and television in 1999.
The latest phase of the collaboration, dubbed Bhutan W.I.R.ED (Weaving Infotech Resources with Education), hopes to take IT to a higher level: training teachers from the five partner schools so they can, in turn, train other teachers and students. SIF's goal for the country is 'sustainable development', said Ms Tam Peck Hoon, manager for international volunteerism.
Mr Passang Tshering, 26, embodies that value. He was one of the students in the pioneer batch who took an IT course planned by SIF volunteers eight years ago. Today, he is one of three teachers out of 28 at Bajothang Higher Secondary School, in central Bhutan, who are adept at IT. The school has 502 students, aged 13 to 20.
The father of one has his own blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts. He set up a website for the school last year.
In Singapore last month, he was impressed by the school tours. 'We got a lot of ideas, such as giving out homework on Google Docs, and having class blogs.' He planned to share these ideas with his colleagues and students.
Ms Loh Kwai Yin, the head of department of information and communication technology at the School of Science and Technology, is pleased with the progress made by the Bhutanese.
She volunteered to plan IT curricula in Bhutan from July 2005 to June 2006. Compared with four years ago, many schools there now have Internet access and projectors to experiment with using IT to conduct classes, she said.
Mr Tshering's school is one of them. It has 10 second-hand laptops donated by SIF, wireless Internet access, and a projector. He has bigger dreams for his country. He wants IT to become part of the official school curriculum and hopes all schools can be connected to one another through the Internet. The aim is that a wired Bhutan will help make life easier for its people.
He said: 'People would rush to the capital to apply for jobs or file their taxes. Now they can do it online.'
SIF sent a Singaporean volunteer - teacher Germaine Cheong, 32 - to Bhutan on Feb 24 to work with the five partner schools until the end of the year.
Six workshops helmed by Singaporeans are also planned up to the end of next year to help the Bhutanese educators keep up with technological changes.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.



This apprehension, thankfully, did not last, as Passu started a month-long introduction to information technology (IT) in school that very year as part of his Grade 9 curriculum. From then on, IT was to open vistas for the 26-year-old in both his professional and personal life.
As an IT teacher at Bajothang High School, Passu is among a pioneering batch of educators who have undergone a three-year IT enabling programme started by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF). “I was lucky to be in the first batch to be trained in 2004,” he said. “It was a three-year training course divided into five (six-month long) phases that included basic training and application in education.”
Passu’s visit to Singapore from 1 to 5 February this year was part of the Bhutan W.I.R.ED (“Weaving Infotech Resources in Education”) project, cofunded by the Temasek Foundation and the SIF. This three-year collaboration with Bhutan’s Ministry of Education and the Royal University of Bhutan aims to help develop the capacity of Bhutan’s educational system in employing IT for learning and living in the 21st century.
“We don’t need to rely on textbooks and chalkboards; IT has changed how we teach.”
Passu told Singapore that he felt “fortunate” to start his IT exposure early and to have been able to further his proficiency when he trained to be an IT teacher. It’s the new wave, he said, and an essential way for Bhutan to progress. “We don’t need to rely on textbooks and chalkboards; IT has changed how we teach,” he explained. “With IT, it is more interactive. We can show instead of just tell. We can entertain as we educate, and students are more excited about learning.”
This appetite for learning is not limited to his students. Passu himself is on a dedicated and continued journey to grow his IT expertise. His five-day learning visit to Singapore was very useful, he said, as he learnt about new applications for IT in education, such as SharePoint, Google documents and Googlesites. He has also expanded his horizons in other ways. “It’s my first time flying by airplane, coming to Singapore, seeing tall buildings, and riding on the MRT!” he said with a grin.
His Singapore experience has inspired him, he said. “The Singapore education system, school and country as a whole seem to us like something from the future. On top of education and infocomm and technology training, we were overwhelmed by the transportation system, cleanliness, civic sense of the people, and the food. We even observed how we would walk down many streets and come back indoors and find not a fragment of dust. If Bhutan has to develop, Singapore could be our vision!”

24 January 2011

Talking about PaSsu in Singapore

I don't remember what I was doing on 5th Oct last year but back in Singapore it was Singapore International Foundation Dinner. Of course, I was not supposed to attend that dinner or was I invited but what makes it of interest to me is what Ms Euleen Goh, Chairman of SIF spoke that evening. It was a long speech though but three paragraphs were on a Bhutanese boy who feared computer once and went on to become an ICT teacher- which is me.

It came to my notice when my teacher Ms. Loh Kwai Yin, who is also in the story, posted it on her blog. She posted the whole speech. But I choose to show only those three paragraphs where I am mentioned, lol.

Original speech can be found in 

05 Oct 2010

SIF Appreciation Dinner 2010

Speech by Ms Euleen Goh, Chairman of SIF at Partner for Good - SIF Appreciation Dinner 2010 at the Grand Ballroom, Hotel Intercontinental

Thanks to you - our volunteers – such stories of success and new hope abound all over the region. In Bhutan, a teacher - Mr Passang Tshering - shares how the SIF's IT-in-Education project helped him get over the fear of computers. When he first sat in front of a computer, he was 16. What would normally be an exciting event for any other youngster, proved to be a frightening experience for this boy. Why the anxiety? Well, he believed then that the computer was so intelligent it could read his thoughts!

This same young man is now, at the age of 28, the head of the IT department at Bajothang High School in Bhutan. All because, PaSsu (as he is known to friends), was selected to be trained by IT teachers that the SIF sent from Singapore five years ago. Today, the former techno phobe teaches his students through web applications such as SharePoint, Google documents and wikis. He also has his own blog, and Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts.

PaSsu was invited to Singapore this February, as part of a study visit by Bhutanese teachers under the Bhutan wired project, co-sponsored by SIF and the Temasek Foundation. It gave him the opportunity to catch up with his SIF trainer from half a decade ago: Ms Loh Kwai Yin, now head of department of information and communication technology at Singapore's School of Science and Technology. Not that they hadn't been in touch all this while; both had kept in close contact through the internet and continue to share ideas and resources. 

From Singapore Magazine (

 I appeared in news papers, blogs and even speeches in Singapore. But what they don't know is  I have no good memories from the tour in Singapore, except meeting my teacher Ms. Loh. It was  a torture and I blame nobody except my own unpreparedness for the outside world. I went out as a Bhutanese and came back a sick man.

19 November 2009

Bajothang School Wireless Network: A generation ahead!

When I heard the news (on BBC) of a city in England where every citizen gets access to free wireless internet connection (first of it kind in the world) I just realized that Bajothang School is not bad! You walk into my school campus with a laptop (with wireless device) and you are connected 100mbps wireless network with 24 hours internet for free (Of course I should authorize you).

We began with a dial-up connection in 2007, then we taught internet from book and students has to imagine what email is and search engine… By last year we moved on to broadband. Sharing the internet on an imperfect network was difficult; on top of that broadband is not a connection to be shared on network.
I knew development is going to rain on us when a Singapore International Foundation chose our school along with four other for their Bhutan W.I.R.E.D Project. The core of the project is to use ICT in teaching and learning. And the dream is to connect the five schools with MoE to share resources through internet. The project donated 10 laptops to each school, with a LCD projector each and cameras. We are half way through at the moment but the going is good!

The broadband became old fashioned suddenly; we opted for lease line (all high school must have got this scheme from MoE). Our network became reliable and we started sharing the internet connection. Then the Bhutan W.I.R.E.D required our school to have a domain server which glorified our network and made my college dream come true. Mr. Kong Ming, a volunteer for the project, came out of his shoes to set up the whole thing.

Mr. Karma Jurmi, the man who looks after ICT department in MoE, promised us a set of wireless equipment and he kept his word. Right after we had the network and domain server done we got the wireless set. The power of this tiny device still didn’t cease to amaze me. I worked out a blueprint and left no building in school out of network, through wire and the wireless.

There are about 30 teachers in my school and 27 of us own our own laptops, which are connected to internet as long as they are in the school premises. Mr. Kong Ming showed me even more amazing things we could do on our network. We already started having a school intranet site (of course just within our school network but far more interactive and useful than school website we have) where we can post school announcements, have subject wiki pages, share files, discussion forum, etc.

My senior IT teacher BB Ghalley is on his masters in India. He writes me a mail once in about two months. He tells me that his university has just a few slow computers connected to internet where hundreds stand in line. Is it really a university then? I know his wits can’t withstand this story of a high school he once used to be in. But it’s true Bajo is one generation ahead of many school in the country.

14 August 2009

Speeding Up Your Computer- Some Tips

Well here am I with the post I have promised, but sure it isn't going to be so big as I thought because Mr. Kong's checklist is meant for making up a good client computer on a network, meaning much of the options on the computers are disabled (something you won't like).

Try a few of the following tips and see if they appeal you enough. I am impressed though.

Right-click My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Performance Settings... > Visual Effects > Adjust for best performance
(This removes most of Windows XP's bells and whistles and greatly improves performance

and then

Advanced > Virtual Memory > System Managed size > Set > OK > OK (Click No to restart.)(This enables Windows to manage its own Virtual Memory for low memory systems.)

Right-click Desktop > Properties > Desktop > No picture > Black background

Screen saver > (None) screen saver or 'Blank'

Appearance > Effects > Uncheck all except

"Use the

following method to smooth edges of screen font"

Settings > Resolution > 1024 × 768 pixels for 17" monitor. Colors set to 16 bit. (Removing desktop wallpaper and reducing colour depth reduces video memory use (usually taken from

main RAM))

Click Apply.

Advanced Settings... > Set font size to 120% (for better word clarity on 17" monitor) > OK > OK (Click No to restart.)

Start > Run... > "msconfig" > Boot.ini > Click /NOGUIBOOT and Timeout = 3 seconds.

Now restart Windows XP. There will be a blank screen for a while because no graphics is loaded.

After Windows XP is logged on, uncheck the remainder.

Try these also!

Open My Computer > Right click on C: hard drive> Properties > Uncheck "index drive for faster searching"

Do the same for all hard drives.

On My Computer > Tools > Folder Options > View > Uncheck "Automatically search for network ..." (This speeds up opening Windows Explorer and browser.)

Right click My Computer > Manage > Services and Applications > Services > Server > (Right click) Properties > Startup Type = Disabled. (This disables File and Print sharing on the workstation. Saves RAM if you are not sharing files/printers on this workstation.)

Control Panel > Sound Settings > Sound Scheme = No Sounds.
(This removes Windows sounds (however, the computer can still play music).

Control Panel > Security Settings > Disable Automatic Windows Updating. (This reduces unnecessary internet traffic. Keep one or two fast computers to 'set to notify'.)

Control Panel > Remove Windows Components > Remove all unnecessary components (e.g. Games, Accessories except Calculator and Paint, MSN, Networking, Outlook Express, Messenger) (This removes unnecessary Windows components. You can remove IE if you are planning to install Firefox. However, if you remove IE, you cannot use Windows Update from the workstation.)


In addition have you used CCleaner software? Well this does magic in fixing registry errors, and remove temporary and deleted files (you know deleted files still occupy space in your hard drive.) Just download this 3.2 MB software and install; it is very easy to use.

And what about Disk Defragmentation? You did it before? Well this process that is there in your computer, which will arrange the files in your computer memory thereby freeing a lot of space.

Finally, I bet you know this: Antivirus! You must have one installed on your computer. Will two do better? More than one is as good as not having or worse! So just have one. Update it as required. Never let anybody open there storage devices in your computer without scanning. Sometimes you have to be unkind.

28 June 2009

e- Soonkey

Soonkey means a holy locket, a tiny packet containing prayer stitched in silken pouch or a miniature statue or a picture of some god or just a foot long string, generally worn by Buddhists and even Hindus as protection from evil influences, just as Christians wear cross. Soonkey was a priceless gift pilgrims bring home from holy places like Dorjidhing, Tsho Pema, Lhasa, and even Bumthang Kuje, Paro Taktshang, and Paro Chumphu. Over

the time fashion influenced soonkey's designs; any piece hang-able on the neck becomes soonkey with blessing received upon it, making it worth commercial. Ironically even bullets are worn as soonkey! Many won't want to wear the bamboo piece from Paro Chumphu, once considered holiest. So this is a little bit about soonkey, but what is e-Soonkey?

This is my very personal invention and therefore must sound crazy to some. Though my faith in religion and god is deep rooted, I often

take some practices for granted, by choice or by chance. People give me soonkeys and I appreciate it so much but I hardly have it on my neck the next day, either it went lose or I forgot to wear it back after shower. What I don't forget to wear on my neck is my 1 GB Thumb Drive (you may call it Pen Drive or USB Drive). I don't remember a day I didn't wear it! Now the point is Why don't I get my Thumb Drive blessed and wear it as soonkey?

Logic behind the idea is no just I-don't-forget-to-wear-it but that 1 GB space can hold hundreds of pages of prayer, hundreds of Kupars, and religious symbols along side my important documents and software. If the same amount of prayers, kupars and symbols are to be hung literally on your neck; perhaps you may need a car to carry your soonkey. Now, if you question the content of the device being just virtual and nonphysical, you should perhaps reflect on your faith.

So my e-Soonkey is the marriage of faith and technology.

At times I funnily believe that someday e-Soonkey may be more effective than antivirus in protection against computer viruses.