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Archive for December, 2008

Sacred dances digitally documented

December 29, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Culture, News

Gerard Houghton compiles chham database for posterity

29 December, 2008 – Thirteen centuries after it started, Bhutan’s history of sacred mask dances has now been documented and digitally recorded. The document on Buddhist ritual dances (chhams) of Bhutan was presented to the home and culture affairs ministry (MoHCA) by the technology director of Core of Culture, Gerard Houghton, on December 25 at the national library, Thimphu.

Gerard Houghton said, “It’s perhaps the most expensive documentation and digital recording of the world on dance.” He said about one million dollars was spent in the making and that it took about five years.”

“It was very difficult to capture the video because, for a few of the dances, we had to stand almost 6-7 hours,” he said. Houghton said the dances of Bhutan are unique and do not exist anywhere in the world and the document database will keep these dances alive.

The documentation was done as a part of The Dragon’s Gift exhibition project between the Bhutan government and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

The 300 hours of digital recording contains dance clips from 20 different tsechus across the country, some of which are almost endangered today. (more…)

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Clean-up Act

December 28, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Uncategorized

27 December, 2008 – Thimphu will be one of the cleanest cities in the world by 2011, assured the prime minister, Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley.

After the National Assembly enacted the Waste Prevention and Management Act yesterday, Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley said that the government decided to purchase a waste incinerator, which would dispose 40 tonnes of waste at a time. But the government is yet to decide which country the incinerator will be bought from. 

He said that, to buy the machine, which is known to be expensive, the government was seeking assistance from the World Bank and other development partners.

NA members admitted that Bhutan faced a major issue of disposing, segregating and managing waste. The Memelhaka landfill, household waste, garbage of all kinds overflowing from waste-disposal pits, garbage bins, streets and the river, in public places and residential areas represented the range of issues facing policy makers. (more…)

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Bhutanese take divorce in their stride

December 25, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: News


Thimphu market scene

Bhutan is urbanising less quickly than its neighbours


By Charles Haviland 
BBC News, Thimphu

“The divorce case is very, very common. If you go to the court, you will see most of the cases are all on divorce.”

It may sound like a comment from Scandinavia – but this is Bhutan and the speaker is a young artist, Barun Gurung. His own parents divorced 10 years ago, when he was 13 and his brother a little older.

“I think during their marriage they used to have small fights which, you know, used to have bad impact on us,” he told the BBC.

“They used to fight and you know my father used to put hands on my mother. So it was quite bad to see that.”

We meet in the studio where Barun works – a collective of artists in the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu, its walls plastered with brightly coloured pictures.

At least one of his colleagues joins in the conversation saying he, too, comes from a family affected by divorce. Marriage break-ups are common in this tiny kingdom. So, too, are love marriages, not arranged by one’s family. (more…)

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Six honoured for service to the Nation

December 21, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: News

Druk Thuksey medal

20 December, 2008 – “As King it is my duty to recognise people, who have served their fellow countrymen and nation in an exceptional way. It does not matter who you are, whether you are from rural or urban Bhutan or from the private sector or government. In the end all that matters is your love and service for our people and country. It is my hope that, henceforth, every one of you will strive to merit these awards.”

For six Bhutanese citizens, December 17, 2008 turned out to be an unforgettable day. In a surprise announcement, during the royal National Day address, His Majesty the King awarded the Druk Wangyal medal to the prime minister, Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y. Thinley, and the chief justice, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye.

“Jigmi Thinley and Sonam Tobgye, throughout their careers, have been motivated by service to the nation, regardless of what responsibilities they held,” His Majesty said. “They have excelled in carrying out their duties in each position and their devotion to the country is exemplary. Even today, under a new democratic system, they continue to serve the nation in important positions, that they have earned through their own merit.” (more…)

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Bhutan celebrates the National Day:The road ahead

December 21, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Culture, News

His Majesty addresses the Nation at Changlimethang

20 December, 2008 – Future generations of Bhutanese people will live longer. They will be better educated. They will have better communications and will travel further. They will be more prosperous. Their lives will be more comfortable.

It was with this knowledge that the Bhutanese people around the country gathered to celebrate National Day on December 17 – to reflect on a past that made such a future possible.

“We have all come together, as one small family, celebrated 100 years of Monarchy, the start of democracy and my own Coronation,” His Majesty the King said in the royal National Day address, which was broadcast and telecast live to the entire country. “The success of these celebrations and in fact the success of our nation over the last 100 years owes so much to the prayers and hard work of our people. I offer my gratitude to our people of the 20 dzongkhags for the kindness and love you have shown me during my Coronation.”

Literally stepping into a new era, many people were reflecting on their aspirations. They saw challenges ahead but were optimistic about the future.

According to a former gup of Punakha, the past 100 years had not been smooth sailing. “But our forefathers ensured that we had a stable and a strong country,” he said. “Ask any of the elderly people and they will give examples of how our great Kings achieved this.” (more…)

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