Only online?

The south Asian country Bhutan is always different. While almost every country, including communist/socialist/capitalist China and Vietnam (don’t know which tag is correct for them now) are pursuing Gross National Product (GNP), Bhutan is upholding Gross National Happiness (GNH).

Compard with many leaders trying to increase their reign in all legal ways, such as former Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated immediately after handing down the power to his appointed successor Dmitry Medvedev, former King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck (after 24 years of governance) voluntarily passed the throne to his son in 2006. This constitutional monarchy held its very first general election in March 2008.

Bhutan is different again.

I read this piece of news on paper the other day.  The parliament of Bhutan decided to ban members from bringing laptops to sessions.  Their Speaker says “members can be distracted playing games and view pictures” because of computers and internet access.

Several thoughts popped out after this article. 

1. The Speaker knows the existence of online games and (probably) flickr. Good. I am not making fun of this. Afterall, many people have no ideas about them at all. Some judges in Brazil cannot tell YouTube from U2, for example.

2. Mr. Speaker seems to forget that no matter playing games or viewing pictures, these can still happen without laptops. Once upon a time, when people used a thing called “films“… Once upon a time, when people played sudoku and crossword on paper…

3. Without transparency or accountability, voters or the public will never know parliamentarians are playing online games, sharing YouTube clips, viewing pictures, or…. sleeping.


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