Friday, December 28, 2012

Alcohol free Bhutan will remain a distant dream

The other night, I viewed a program on our national channel and the title translated loosely would read, “In-house Talk”. It aired some youth who were the push-out(s) of rehab centre. Even those recovered lots insist on having an in house rule for the sale of alcohol in our town and cities. 

The program circum-navigated around alcohol!

Firstly, our bars and hotels boldly inscribe, “NO ALCOHOL BELOW 18 YEARS”.  Let’s say that this rule although in place, has minimal enforcement. This social ill will remain as long as the Bhutanese mindset remains what is generally perceived- “As long as I get the money, who cares about age?” If alcohol has become a social ill, why a host of breweries are allowed to operate? Does it mean government should blame the consumers of alcohol? Or our government has no say on the three major breweries operating in the three major-border towns? Or does it generate revenue for the government at the cost of its citizen’s health and well being? Ours is a miniature society that seeks happiness for all citizens and if alcohol is abundant, may be the happiness thing is out of bound. 

Secondly, my nature of work left me for four years in a remote village. The warning, otherwise seen in bars and hotels doesn’t apply in the rural villages. It’s because people begin drinking even before they reach their teen age. There are a host of reasons why people resort to drinking in rural villages. And for the urban dwellers, may be you know why people drink? If our country seeks the youth to be productive and responsible citizens of tomorrow, then close down all breweries. How many of our people prefer Ara over beer and Bangchang over whiskey? A very negligible lot! Perhaps, this is a million Ngultrums question?  This is the highlight because, it talked of Ara. Ara these days is the drink of the country bumpkins I guess. Townspeople rejoice in hard drinks and beers. 

Thirdly, the program highlighted on the economic impact and deaths by alcohol far exceeding by other causes. This is costing our government exchequer dearly. In financially difficult times, it is important that spending is curtailed. And the Bhutanese I know spend on alcohol than any other things. If alcohol in not available, where is the need to spend? None! On the other hand, I know there will be a thriving black market but is doing something good worth the effort? If it’s good then I grudgingly believe it’s worth doing it twice. Alcohol free Bhutan will remain a distant dream if production (Local or commercial) is rampant. There is no way that people can be held responsible for consuming alcohol if production houses operate with no government intervention.

Food for thought: Alcohol doesn’t answer all questions but it certainly helps forget the question.
Good day folks!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The world is flat, hot and crowded-Doomsday Pre-pers

The first force that led to the flattening of the world is the fall of the Berlin wall. This event signified the end of the cold war and enabled people to open their minds to free-market capitalism. This released up pent up energies of millions of people from India, Brazil, China and the former Soviet Union. The people from these countries were introduced to the concept of capitalism. The falling of the Berlin wall further enhanced and changed people's mindset about the world. It allowed for the concept of a single world market with global policies.

The major flattener occurred on 8/9/95 when Netscape went public. Netscape and the web improved people's means of communication. The digitization that took place meant that everyday occurrences could be shared to other people throughout the world through file sharing, music sharing etc. the development of internet email browser technology enabled quick and cost-effective communication throughout the world.

The next flattener is outsourcing. This is a process whereby businesses transfer their non-core business activities to other companies or individuals who are willing to effectively do them. These non-core activities include book-keeping, customer service etc. for instance, the United States benefits from outsourcing its non core business activities to India. In India, there are many unemployed but educated individuals. Due to advancements in technology and communication, jobs can be outsourced to India and done at lower cost than would be done in the United States. Similarly, Bhutan too has some out-sourced agencies from abroad.

Human civilization and their unending thirst for power, energy and resources led to the exploitation of natural resources on earth and it continues to grow. The demand for energy is making the human race devise alternative sources of energy. When human activities continue to grow on an unimaginable scale, the massive effect that earth undergoes is rise in global temperatures, decline of resources, massive poverty, natural disasters etc. thereby, making our planet hotter by the day. Here in Bhutan, it is recorded that Gelephu is getting hotter each summer with low humidity, when other low lying areas have their humidity high. One sure sign of climate change and the earth getting hot is the melting glacier. What can be more evident than melting glaciers indicating climate change and what causes these glaciers to melt? The rise in global temperatures perhaps. Keeping this fact in mind it is needless to say that this world of ours is hot! 

The story of our species is one of remarkable success. From a starting point in Africa, our ancestors spread across the planet, harnessing local resources and adapting to the harshest environments.

As human beings prosper and mankind leaps forward with every passing moment, our mother earth shrinks by every passing moment. So what can be done to make space for all the people living on this planet are in the conscious mind of every human being occupying a space in on this planet! Therefore, it is very much obvious that this world is flat, hot and crowded. The doomsday is obvious! So guys have your fingers crossed.