Published June 21, 2021 by with 6 comments

Let’s Talk Money – The Happy Nation

Bhutan is ranked as the most peaceful country in South Asia for the 2021. Sure, we are happy and proud. On the other hand, how can we be at peace when Our Majesty is in constant worry fighting Covid-19 at the front line? How can we brand ourselves the happiest nation when we know for a fact that we are far from being self-sufficient? Do we want to continue being the back drop for the people from rich nations to come and take breaks from their normal busy life? Or do we want to strive harder to reach their achievements, of course while keeping our culture and traditions intact?  

Recently I have been involved in writing content for a certain paper related to Covid-19 and its impact on Bhutan. I know for a fact that the number of individuals living off Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu is huge. Recently, with the floating of shares (held in the name of Sungchob Fund and Kidu Fund) for sale, the extend of the pressure caused to the Relief Fund can only be imagined. If this cannot make us worry, then I don’t know what can. It aches my heart to see Our Majesty fighting the Covid-19 battle in the front line. His majesty’s recent photos shared by many Bhutanese on social medias can tell us how much worried Our Majesty is for the nation and his people. It would have been easier if the battle was to only guard against the virus. However, His Majesty has to worry about bringing food on the plates of his people, to pay for the interest on the loans owned by those laid off workers. Once upon a time we were the future of our nation, we have somehow collectively failed to keep up the hope held on us. It will be difficult to determine the pieces of lapses that brought us to this pressing situation.

Tourism is the only sector that brings in significant amount of foreign exchange. More than a year after closing our doors to the tourist, repercussions are being seen over all sectors of economic growth. Thousands of people in the productive age group lie idle without a fulltime job. We cannot think of other alternatives to earn foreign exchange

It started somewhere when we were told ‘money is the root of all evils'. Talking about money is a taboo in our community. Expressing our desire to build wealth creates a social stigma. The irony here is almost all of us love money and want money. We work like donkeys for money. Yet we hesitate to discuss money openly.

 I would like to suggest few things to improve our lives which ultimately would help grow the nation:

1.     Talk about money to master the game of money.

Until we talk about money openly, we cannot accumulate enough excess money to finally say ‘money is the root cause of all evils”. This is more relevant to wealthy nations where millionaires reside. With their large sum of excess money, they engaged in harmful projects that have negative impact on the environment and human lives.

For us, it is the opposite; not having money is the root cause of all evils. It the cause of;

Corruption, embezzlement, vandalism of chortens and ATMs, willing to become a working class in the first world countries, seeking donation on social medias in times of medical emergency, depending on foreign aids for developmental activities (few thousands would again go in the pockets of some individual), depending on Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Fund in times like this.

How would talking about money help us put in a better situation? Let me narrate a simple example; 

When we were in schools, elders didn’t talk about menstruation openly. Therefore, we were not able to maintain proper menstrual hygiene. We would be embarrassed to buy menstrual pads, did not know how to dispose them in safe place. Even in school,  toilet window seals would be stacked with used sanitary pads. Girls would be embarrassed to get up if they happened to leak menses on their kira and chair.

Things have changed, girls these days in schools openly ask for pads from health in-charges (even from male in charges) in times of emergency. If they leak on their kiras, they ask for permission to go change their clothes, properly clean their chairs and no insults from the boy classmates. Toilets are free of used sanitary pads. All thanks to observing red dot day and talking about menstrual cycle openly. No more a taboo. 

Talking openly on certain topics considered taboos can promote healthy growth. Let us talk about money to grow wealth.

2.    Financial Education

The first step anyone should take if one wants to build wealth is to get financially literate. You could start by taking financial courses absolutely free on Coursera. The course packages on coursera are excellent. More the 500 free courses are available, one can start from the basic and move up to advanced and professional level. I recently completed two courses on their website and I cannot emphasize enough how brilliant the experience was. From financial to economics, technology, data science, blockchain, science, psychology, health, nutrition, personal growth, buddhism, name it. The thing about the courses on Coursera is, if you want the certificate, you will have to pay few amount. However, if you are just looking to expand your knowledge and learn new skills, the course materials are available 100 %, except for the course completion certificate.

You could also start by reading;

a.    The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason   – Learn the art of making money work for you. 

b.   Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki - Understand that a penny saved is just a penny, in fact less than a penny in few years’ time.

c.  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill- If you are serious about putting into action, everything that you learnt from the above two books, then please go for this book. You will learn how you could use the power of thoughts to become the person you want to become.

 Make money online.

I am not talking about all the e-ecommerce that is happening on social media. These things actually make money flow out of the country by bringing in clothes, cosmetics, electronics from outside. The estimate number of global population internet users stood at 4.6 billion in 20020. Imagine how many of these would be seeking some sort of service every day. Can we not offer our intellectual, talents, arts or some sort of service to these individuals in exchange for foreign exchange? If we think we can, we definitely can. They are many sites you could explore such; Upwork – work as a freelancer to create contents of many types, also there is Fiverr. I definitely do not advice anyone to jump on it without doing any homework. First thing first, get digitally literate to avoid falling victim to scammers. Educate yourself enough to try things online. Learn from real people who has done it and experienced it. The journey will not be easy and money won’t come quick. Take the pain to learn and have patience.

4.      Share online earnings and works openly

It is difficult for anyone to try out freelancing online until they meet real people who has done online works and earned dollars. It would be an inspiration and encouragement to our younger generations if those who have really done it can share their experience openly.

5.     Learn blockchain.

We are missing out massive opportunities of employment and remote work in the global work force because we delayed to embrace the power of internet and technology in the past. We would miss out even bigger opportunities and growth if we do not take the pain to learn blockchain now.
I recently completed a course on Coursera, Blockchain – Foundations and Case uses. I am a dummy when it comes to blockchain, however the course gave me some foundations. Things I thought I knew about cryptos got busted. Blockchains are decentralized networks and cryptos their currency to do business/ trade inside the network. No matter the fluctuations of crypto rates outside of their network, blockchains are the future. Without their respective currency, known as the crypto, no trade/business/transaction can be performed.  

“The question I have is, how are we able to leverage technology for education; job creation; good governance; effective, timely and efficient delivery of services to our people; private sector development and growth; and accountability and transparency? In addition, there are emerging new developments such as Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Big Data, IOT (the Internet of Things), Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

These technologies excite me as they present opportunities for the future. Among the many countries in the world, those which prepare for this change and build the foundations to take advantage of such technological advancements will prosper and develop. Those which are not able to do so will invariably be left behind.”
His Majesty The King’s Address at the 14th RUB Convocation.

Disclaimer: Please note, this is a personal opinion. You must seek professional help for expert opinion.  

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  1. A brilliant writeup madam. I hope and pray to get traction on this article from people across the globe, especially from Bhutanese, and walk the journey of the technological revolution together.