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Some years ago (high school) I listened to some talks by some well known people but it seems I was not that mature enough to grasp what they said. We were asked to sit in the multi-purpose hall. We were excited not to listen to the talks but to escape from the social work (SUPW) and the scorching sun. I don’t remember what speaker told us exactly because most of the time I was sleeping with my head on friend’s back while she shielded me from the view of teachers and the speaker. Somehow in the middle of the talk I heard the speaker telling us again and again  that our country Bhutan do not have anything such as powerful weapon, wealth or population that would define who we are. But what we have is something unique that none other has and that is our culture and tradition. Our unique culture and tradition define who we are. Well seriously speaking I didn’t know what he was actually talking about. And it didn’t even bother me to ponder over the things he said. As soon as the talk came to an end, I hurried to catch my bus.

Now when I think about it, I have the guilt of not appreciating what we have. I remember often thinking about the structures which has more or less same design.  I even remember telling my friends that design of almost all building are so monotonous. Why can’t we build or come up with the design like that of foreign countries. I always have this craving to see unique structure or anything that is different. I even use to narrate the jokes I heard. I think most people know about it but I do not know whether it is true or not. A tourist once asked “isn’t there any architecture in Bhutan?” Well I am sorry if it is not true or if it turned out to be offensive. And other non-stop talks about how important it is to preserve our culture, our religion, traditional dress and so many.  I don’t know but I didn’t even bother to think about it. It is not that I didn’t care at all; I follow the rules like having to wear our national dress when going to monastery or to schools or classes. I have been a good follower when it comes to rules and regulation but it was not out of my genuine concern. I am Buddhist by religion and it is a shame on my part when I cannot tell our core values of our religion when someone ask about it. I do have a vague idea of how our religion is but if someone asks me for details, I do not have it.  That is when I feel guilty or ashamed of being ignorant.

It is true that we do not have anything proud to talk about other than our unique culture and tradition, at least from my point of view. And the surprising thing is when other people know more about our country than we do. It now makes sense why foreigners appreciate our preserved culture and tradition.It also makes sense why we donot create structural design like that of foreign countries. one of my architect friends said while i was blindly criticizing about design , it is a challenge to keep our architecture alive while incorporating modern facilty. i think little knowledge is indeed very dangerous (reminder to myself)  Uniqueness defines who we are. When I see something different or something new it’s refreshing. Reflecting back, I feel happy and proud now that our elders and those who knew about the essence of our uniqueness have kept our identity alive. Every individual will have their own perception and I respect that. But for me I have the responsibility to take care of our uniqueness.  In the fast changing modern world we should embrace the changes but at the same time let us not forget who we are.  If we do not take care of the root of what defines us then who would.

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