Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts

05 May 2022

Blame Not Your Country. It’s the Committees

I was chatting with a friend who was reprimanded for writing stuff on Twitter, which, according to a 'disciplinary committee', violated the civil service code of conduct. He said the committee has decided to withhold his promotion for a year as an administrative action. 

He said he didn't write anything so out of the ordinary to be punished. He said they scrolled up and down his Twitter feed to see if he had really written anything so wrong to violate the civil service code of conduct. 

I told him to appeal to the committee and ask them to prove their charges because the official letter states he can appeal within 10 working days.

"I don't think that will work. I might land up making it worse. I will rather resign and go to Australia." He said. 

"If that has pushed you to the brink of resignation, then what's the problem in appealing and facing the committee? What could possibly go wrong? Even if things don't work out, you could still resign." I said.

"Awooo, laakha du mena Bhutan na." He said, which shocked me. His statement paints a different picture of Bhutan. It sounds as if it's dangerous to speak up in Bhutan. 

So, I told him, "Man, don't bash your country for the action of the so called committee that is made up of a bunch of pleasers who think they are doing their job with utmost dedication. Your country didn't fail you; the committee failed you. You are not fighting against your country; you are fighting against the committee. Please know the difference and separate the two."

It was easy for me to say this, but for him, holding that letter in his hand, the fear was real. God knows what sort of big words and names they must have dropped when handing the letter to him. Here is my personal request to all those committees, please don't let ordinary citizens bash their country for your actions. You have to own it up. You can't use names and acts and clauses to threaten people and make them shit bricks. You are doing big disfavour to this country. These committees are whittling away at Bhutan's unique democratic culture that the successive kings have painstakingly built over the last decades. 

The best ways around to help civil servants avoid violating clause, Chapter 3 of BCSR 2018 are;

  1. Conduct social media literacy to help them use the platforms productively. 
  2. Create open internal platforms for dialogues with the assurance that they won't be reprimanded.
Otherwise, it will only breed hostile anonymous communities that will go beyond attacking policies into defaming individuals, family members and even their beloved country. That's worse than violating the civil service code of conduct.  

03 October 2013

bBay Imitations

A Blogger buddy, @Thimphutech sent me a tweet:
"@PaSsu_Diary, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Check out the 'Bbay' page on Facebook.(link removed)"
I wasn't even curious to check out because I have already seen several imitations of my Facebook Group 'B-Bay Buying and Selling Second Hand Stuffs in Bhutan', but that tweet actually made me feel good. It indicates that I should be proud that people are imitating my work. And I did.

The Top is mine: Rest are imitations. 
But sometime ago I was upset at people who ran out of basic creativity and resorted to cheapest means by imitating. I even wrote to someone who not only imitated my group (except with typo) but also campaigned against my group policies. He copied my group to counter mine, because he was removed from the group after coming into conflict with our policy. I regretted having written to him.

The copyright issue is out of question but the question is about ethics and self respect. Facebook is a free platform and English is full of words yet some people cannot come up with something of their own. I adopted the word 'bBay' from 'eBay' and I acknowledged that it was inspired by eBay.

They think the magic is in the word 'BBay' but the real success comes from cleaning the Group Wall of spams, non-sense, and irrelevant items on everyday. We also filter members and accept only Bhutanese or foreigners living in Bhutan. We also filter abusive Bhutanese members, and also brokers. If we have allowed every request we would have over 40,000 members by now but we wanted the group to be useful to Bhutanese. I have employed my family to look after it and take the group seriously. That's the secret behind the success of the group. If someone else it willing to provide this service so sincerely I am willing to give up but I doubt anybody would commit so much time. They only see the finished work and not the effort that went into it.

I hereby declare that you are free to imitate bBay, but I request you to imitate my commitment too.

13 September 2013


Today Twitter made a big announcement, they are planning for Stock Market Listing. Who would have imagined that a website which only allows a miser 140 characters would be a big business someday. It's an inspiration for people who are chasing crazy ideas. If you want to hit big, go crazy.
Follow me @PaSsu_Diary

Who would have imagined Twitter would play an important role in a Bhutanese's life? I grew particularly interested in the success of Twitter because apart from all the learning experiences and fun I had, Twitter helped me solve a big problem yesterday. I don't want to present the case here because it won't be appropriate. But trust me without Twitter I won't have known where to begin and how to go about.

I sat on my computer the moment the problem was discovered and after over 20 Direct Messages to a tweeple I never met the problem was resolved in the most appropriate way, of course Facebook helped a bit too in providing photographs. It saved me from rushing to Thimphu and from lot of emotional drainage. Thank you so much @drukpafool for help.

31 July 2013

Twitter Friends in Thimphu

Last weekend three prominent ladies on twitter- Aum Tshewang Tashi(@norththimphu) the vice president of BKP and born activist, Sonam Ongmo(@sonamongmo) the international journalist and editor of The Raven and the beautiful entrepreneur Chimi Zom Dorji(@czdorji) planned to overwhelm me when they called me for a debut meeting. 
I was excited and worried by the threats they made on twitter: "Don't Chicken out", but it was actually me who made it there first. I was prepared to run away if they really meant their threats but the latecomers were truly honorable and graceful. I loved every moment spent with them.
Then came in the true hero, Madam Karma Choden(@476Kaycee), another sage on Twitter. She made a thundering entry and overwhelmed three ladies. I was prepared but the ladies weren't expecting the sage to be so loud that they had to cover their ears throughout the gathering. They paid for the mischievous intention against me. They are only thankful that twitter has no option of posting voice tweets. They finally surrendered and chickened out with bruises on their arms and bells ringing in their ears. They hated me for not warning them but I was innocent, I was worried myself you know and I enjoyed the expressions on their beautiful faces.
Kuchey, We Surrender!
Days later I regretted, because I realised that I had spend the whole time laughing and drinking without talking anything significant with the ladies, but you know ladies never finish their own chats. I am looking forward to another meeting with them over coffee but time flies swift in Thimphu and I have my duties calling from Bajothang.

With graceful Chimi Zom Dorji
I am in Thimphu for the last two weeks working on the Education ICT Master Plan, and I will be working partly for this project for the next four months. Keeping the guilt of not being in the school aside, I am enjoying every day in Thimphu with my family.

01 May 2013

Drunk Chorten on the Sober Road

I was looking for ST Auto Spa, the latest car servicing facility in Thimphu, to give my car a nice treat for the 90,000 km service it provided to my family. I could see the orange building with big signboard but couldn't find the road that leads to the facility. After a short drive I was startled to find a chorten standing on the road, I nearly honked at it. It looked like a drunk chorten on a straight road.
My Tweet! (@Passu_Diary)
For sometime I forgot everything, just came out of the car and stood there wondering what exactly must have happened with the chorten to be there right on the road. I joked about it on twitter but it's anybody's guess that it wasn't the chorten that encroached on to the road. It was standing there for ages not realizing that one day it would be standing on our aggressive road to change.

26 April 2013

Election and Social Media in Bhutan

On 23 April 2013, when Bhutan voted for National Council election for the second time in the history of the newly democratic country, another history was made on an equally new platform. For the first so much information was generated by Bhutanese on Social Media, that when I return from short toilet breaks I could see over hundred updates on Twitter and Facebook- and yes everything related to election.
I wish I have the resources to count and analyze how much data was generated exactly but Bhutan telecom must have enjoyed maximum business. Twitter accounts of Kuensel and BBS were on fire that day- another record breaker! When BBS TV viewer were jumping in excitement with the result of fourth Dzongkhag we on Twitter were done with all 20 Dzongkhags results via two government media tweets.
However, National Council Election for some reason is taken lightly by people, at least on social media, and also among the 67 candidates who took part only about 10 of them were active on Facebook and just 3 on Twitter.
Come National Assembly Election and we will see the real revolution of social media. There are several groups on Facebook that are seriously discussing Bhutanese democracy and not to mention the so many anonymous intellects and analysts on Tweeter who have million questions to ask. Bhutanomics has made itself available to Bhutanese via Facebook (though its actual website is blocked) and has made a comeback.
Feeling the need of the time all five political parties have established themselves on the major platforms of social media and are actively interacting with Bhutanese netizens. And interestingly many cabinet ministers have joined Facebook recently, and most of the new members of political parties have begun their introduction from Facebook. Some former members are already seeded player on Social media with amazing fan followers.
If you happen to see a party's page or a member's profile on your Facebook sidebar, that's because they have advertised with Facebook, which is another new thing in Bhutan.

Following table shows the presence of Political parties on Social media: (Click on the pictures to Follow them on Twitter or Like their Facebook Fan Page)

Now Imagine the amount of data Bhutan will generate, and imagine the dimension of debates and their influences on the minds of voters- even those of who are offline!

30 March 2013

Social Media Monitor

I am officially appointed as the Social Media Monitor for 2013 Election by Election Commission of Bhutan since 10th March 2013. I will be working under office of Media Arbitrator in Chubachu with a team of media experts and a lawyer.
I have willingly agreed to undertake this role because of my love for social media. Now I can official be on twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, and online forums for 24 hours without upsetting my wife.
But I also have fear of being misunderstood by my cyber buddies-you might start thinking I will be policing on you and restrict your freedom on social media but in reality we are as free as ever as long as we follow rules. And ECB Social Media Rules and Regulation of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2012 has nothing more than ordinary rules we follow in life, what makes it different is it stresses on election. It's just a question of few months for the sake of Free and Fair election.

The rules are there to
  1. "Promote the responsible use of Social Media..."
  2. "Ensure a level playing field for all contestants..."
  3. "Prevent and Control any violation of the Electoral Laws in the use of Social Media in elections."

Click on the Picture to Download the book (Just 15 pages)
Let me quote few lines from the Rule book that will give you an idea of what you can and cannot do on Social Media during the Election Period;
Every user of the Social Media shall have the responsibility to carry out oversight duty and report to the election authorities any violation of the laws, in particular the Election Code of Conduct by a Political Party, Candidate, Voter, media, electoral officer or worker of a Political Party.
No individual shall communicate/transmit/post hate messages or any content with intent to defame or reduce the electoral chances of an opposing contestant or Political Party.
And under "Fair and Accurate Reporting" I'd like to highlight one point:
A Party, Candidate or their supporters shall not include rumour or unsubstantiated statements that have potential to mislead or deceive the reader, listener or viewer.
Role of our office is as stated in 4.6 (however the online version needs to be updated with changes made)
"The office of the Media Arbitrator shall put in place facility to monitor the Social Media forums effectively during the election and be responsible to arbitrate all media related disputes."
And in case of violation of the Electoral Laws by Anonymous users on Social Media:
4.9 (It's not in the online version)
"An ISP shall be required to put in place a system that can lawfully intercept and provide the necessary information on the identity of social media abuser using its services"
And two Solid Don't's you must remember during the election period are:
8.2 An online poll on support or opposition to Political Party or Candidate shall not be permitted during the Election Period.
The 48 hour period before poll and until the close of Polls, is also referred as Blackout Period or the 48-hour no-campaign period under the Laws, during which:
No one shall publish, broadcast, or transmit any item that is of the nature of election campaign supporting or opposing any Political Party or Candidate.
 **The views expressed on this blog are my own (except the Quotes) and not those of the Election Commission of Bhutan or the Office of Media Arbitrator. It's for my fellow social media users for information.

23 November 2012

"Please Use Your Liberty to Promote Ours"

I loved the movie The Lady because I celebrate Aung San Suu Kyi and I celebrate her bravery. I idolized her ever since I knew about her in high school. I felt proud when later in college I discovered that the brave lady spent some time in Bhutan during her happier days along with her husband Michael Aris

Aung San on her way to Paro Taktshang, Bhutan

The Lady is a biographical movie of Suu's life, of her bravery, of democracy that ran in her blood, and of ultimate sacrifice, she, her husband, and the Burmese people made for democracy in Burma. This movie made me understand why Aung San Suu Kyi was not with her dying husband in his last days, which otherwise kept bothering me and my love for the lady. However, the man who took care of Michael Aris till his last breath was a Bhutanese student by the name Karma. I knew he was Bhutanese from Dasho Kunzang Wangdi (@KunzangW) on Twitter and also that he is now in Bhutan. It made me so proud. 

(Update 2021: I now know the Bhutanese student Karma is celebrated scholar Dr Karma Phuntsho, the founder of Loden Foundation and author of The History of Bhutan.)
Michael Aris in Bhutan

The movie ends with an unforgettable quotation from Aung San Suu Kyi, that must have made difference in her struggle for freedom;
"Please Use Your Liberty to Promote Ours"
This line kept repeating in my head for days and brought about a sense of guilt of being free and not having done anything for those who are struggling for freedom. Now that Burma has seen the light, I wish to take this line and use it on behalf of other oppressed people.

17 October 2012

How Much Would it Cost Us?

I have learned that "If shuts down for 60 minutes, it loses more than US$3 million" from a's tweet. Boaz Shmueli, the passionate brain behind works and lives in Thimphu. He has the world of internet on his finger tips, and has been very kind in helping every Bhutanese with tech related issues. He also runs a Q&A column in Kuensel's weekend K2 magazine to extend his helpful hand further. So far he has been our 'May Day'; he enlightened us on issues faced by our isp and other organizations, he warned us of hackers and malicious activities on our sites, he showed us better and secured way to occupy space on the virtual world... he always remained tactful and did us the services that we should actually expect from our ISP Druknet. He also covered areas in cellular communication when BMobile failed to explain or inform.
That Tweet!
So when he tweet about right after Bhutan experienced an unexplained and uninformed internet outage he means to let Druknet understand that every time they are out of service they are losing business. But question is would they even know about the tweet since Druknet is not even on twitter?
If loses $3 million in 60 minutes of shutdown, how much could we (Bhutan) possibly be losing when;

  1. When Internet is down across the country four many 60 minutes?
  2. When Mobile network fails?
  3. When the electricity goes out for days and weeks?
  4. When the roads remain blocked for days? and 
  5. When the whole Nation is put to standby mode for a day on the Pedestrian Day?
Or do we even care? Another tweet from @tsheringtenxin suggests that unlike ours are "govt owned enterprise after all. It's not going to hurt them in the bone to lose business for weeks and months."

14 September 2012

Endoscopy of Health Ministry

My brother had a painlessly bad stomach for years, which won't keep anything beyond an hour. He was gradually losing weight and getting tired of running to toilet after every meal, and we were deprived of our regular toilet visits, since we only have one toilet. His so many hospital visits neither satisfied his disease nor him, not even me. I knew something was seriously wrong.
During his long toilet occupation he would finish a whole newspaper, and by the beginning of 2011 he was reading Business Bhutan passionately because it had 24 pages to last longer than his toilet ordeal. Those days Health Ministry Corruption was just a news for him in the toilet. The following series of stories on the ill health of health ministry by Tenzing Lamzang went on shocking us. But at the end of the day it was just a news and often I saw the newspaper lying wet on the toilet window.
Last month I took my brother to Thimphu with a referral from Wangdue hospital for endoscopy, to have a photographic view of his funny stomach and to clear all our doubts. It was a smooth sail until he was sent for endoscopy appointment, though we waited for hours, But he was given his appointment two months later. I didn't believe, I triple-checked the date. Later I learnt that this has been the process for quite sometime, and everybody has learned to follow it.
My brother wanted to return home right away but I didn't want him to live any longer with the disease we didn't understand yet, and land up hearing 'it's too late now' later. Then a friend on Twitter rescued us by mentioning about the private clinic that has the endoscopy machine, she also share about the price of the service. It was expensive but life is priceless. He went there the next day and got it done. It was discovered that his stomach was invaded by bacterial colonies, which has matured enough and if it was left untreated for some time more it could have caused Cancer! Damn I knew that. I always feared that but didn't want him to worry. However we made it there on time and he has stared his new course of medication, which is showing good results now.
After all this was over I was there at the hospital attending to my mother in-law and I chanced to know why endoscopy service is taking so long. There used to be three machines and two broke down, which is obvious after having read the procurement scams. And when job of three machines are left for a single machine we can't expect things to happen as quickly.
So the whole news on health ministry corruption my brother read on his toilet pot finally boiled down on a common man like him. But we were smart and we made it through on time. He paid the price, in cash and not with his life. What about the so many people who are lined up for as long as three month to have endoscopy done? What about so many who waited and found that they were a little late? Were they late? How many may pay with their lives for the greed of some highly educated frauds? When will the two other machine be fixed? Common men are paying price every day.
Thanks to Tenzing Lamzang and ACC for doing the endoscopy of the Health Ministry and removing the cancerous cells dancing on money its stomach. Hope things will be better with time.

18 March 2012

Black Money Heaven

It's funny that black money is not black in color, it can be of any color but obtained illegally or undeclared to authorities, and therefore untaxed. During the BBS discussion on rupee crunch the Governor of Royal Monetary Authority explained why it all happened. The man was straightforward to the extend of declaring everybody as ignorant and irresponsible. Of course, everybody know who's been irresponsible.
What was so disturbing was the figures he shared of our import and export. Going by the record he mentioned Bhutan is a rich country with export far exceeding import, and record he had was our national record, which means import figure is insanely understated. Nu. 25 Million is so much we imported? Later on Twitter I got to know from some learned Bhutanese that we import 9 Billion worth of fuel, forget all the other things. Now it's simple maths to solve and see how much money is unaccounted for. When unaccounted, it is untaxed and that's black money.
For the population of ours, and the economy health, so much black money is outrageously too much, and so far neither authorities made any stringent law to stop black money nor we thought it would impact this big, thus Bhutan was the heaven of Black Money. If every import was declared and taxed we would have never reached here. And now I am worried if there is anybody who knows how to get out of this mess.

24 September 2011

Bhutanese Twitter Accounts Hacked

My mailbox is flooded with direct messages from Bhutanese twitter friends, and after checking two of them I was confirmed that it was spam. It seems like all the accounts are hacked including mine, from where many messages have gone out as well.
Experienced internet users like Boaz, Murray Gunn and Sonam Ongmo knew it right away and took time to alert friends but many might fall victims to whatever the hackers are after. Murray seems to have followed the link and got "sucked"- he wrote to me. It may be for a promotion of something or may infect your computer...

How NOT to get "sucked":

  1. Change your password right away.
  2. Don't click on the link mentioned in the tweet.
That's all I know and I did. For more secure advice ask Boaz
P:S: Apologies to all my Twitter followers who received direct message from my account that sucked!