Published September 15, 2011 by with 16 comments

Being a citizen

:) my this essay won the best entry for "Beyond the Ballot" Challenge ( bagging me 10,000 Ngultrun  cash prize plus a certificate), Celebrating International day for Democracy 15 sept. Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy hosted the competition together with  UNDP, and UNDEF on the theme "Citizen". what does it mean to be a citizen?
Being a citizen
The meaning of being a citizen extends beyond just possessing the Citizenship Identity Card. Love and respect for the nation. It is about respecting the principles and laws of the government, abiding by the laws, which you as a citizen approved prior to bringing into effect. Being a citizen should mean raising your voice at the flaws of decision made by the law making body. It means not keeping quite when the government goes wrong. It doesn’t even mean you keep complaining. What it takes to being a citizen is your willingness to give opinions and point out the flaws, if any, and together working towards a better amendment.
He who is a good citizen will have the qualities; 1) Not being opportunistic and not misusing government resources. 2) Serving the Nation selflessly without seeking individual benefit and working towards upbringing of the people 3) Being compassionate towards the needy ones and extending a helping hand where possible. 4) Respect for the older, courtesy towards the young and consideration among peers. 5) Pride and respect for the unique culture and tradition the nation has, 6) and the mind to keep these traditions alive. 7) Being wise in adopting foreign cultures.
As much as one might think one is right with one’s opinion, one should respect the principles and views of other fellow citizens. Participating in community activities, the activity might be as small as a cleaning campaign or constructing a bridge. Nevertheless, your interest and willingness to be a part of that small event shall prove that you have the sense of belongingness towards your community.  A citizen should not lag behind in standing up for the rights of his own and at the same time should not fail in respecting the rights of the people around as much.
Sometimes being a citizen takes as little as having common sense. For example; by not leaving your waste/garbage behind at a picnic spot, you may be playing just your role but you are being a good citizen by not littering the environment.  Taking care of public properties or at least not destroying them.
When it comes to voting for the leader, we all should keep in mind that it is not the political party that matters. In the end, it all comes down to, how capable that particular person we are voting for is in serving the needs of our community. Our vote should not be biased towards a party background nor should it be based on a relation.  Most of all, it is about being true to ourselves while choosing the leader. 
Being a citizen (of Bhutan) is not just about holding pride talking about GNH somewhere abroad, but it also is about being able to think on the social, economic and environmental issues within the nation and showing concern. It doesn’t end by just showing concern, we all should come hand in hand and work towards how these issues might be addressed.
Well, wearing the national dress, speaking the national language and holding Citizenship Identity Card may be defined as being a citizen, but understanding and feeling yourself as one such citizen has a meaning broader than these physical proves. He is a person with honesty, a person true to himself and others as a whole. Above everything, all that takes to being a good citizen of any nation (for that matter, of the world) is being a good human being. Being a citizen is very simple yet a tough job, it is about playing your role with honesty and integrity. 
Lotey Om 
B.Sc (Physics) Hons, 4th year
The University of New England                                                                
Armidale, NSW, Australia                                                                           
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  1. Wow ...congrats. You have said it all. Keep going girl. You make me proud. Tashi Delek!

  2. Sad that you were not here for prize. Congrats Lotey! Your entry truly deserves the first prize.

  3. thank you sir, yeah little sad cuz i wanted to be there as well but thats ok

  4. Now I don't regret I did not participate it. Was not going to win it against ur work. Nice job.

    Porky pie

  5. ohh that means alot Porky, thanks a lot.
    thanks aue pema

  6. An incredible read. CONGRATULATIONS!

  7. Great post.. We are proud of our country because we are born in it.. That makes our country very special.I also think that exercising of human rights and democracy go side by side..What do you say about it?

  8. Nice one completely deserve it ...congrats

  9. sangay, gayleg and anu, thanks for all the kind words :))
    gayleg, yeah i too feel the same

  10. Very well deserved both recognition and prize, by reading this every body will be pleased to know the roles of being a responsible citizen as you have clearly mentioned...and I am proud to be bhutanese citizen... Pelden Drukpa Gyallo.

  11. Great entry indeed! Congratulations for winning mey la. Keep on writing and there will be more awards waiting for you!

    BTW, when did that happen? Hows everything down there?

  12. ehh that was on 15th sept pema. and hey thanks.
    i am good down here. how is shercol? having fun or having a tough time turning into a sir? hehe