Happy new year and Nyilo tashi delek to everyone.
Here we are, turning the page to a new year. Like you all, the eve compels me to meditate on the year that was and of what is to come. And of all times, 2023 glides in with so much significance, one that is built on the highs and lows, hard work and sacrifices, and all the stories we wrote in 2022.
It might already feel distant, but it was in 2022 that we emerged unscathed from the jaw of the pandemic after more than two and half years of our battle with COVID-19. Alongside, we carried off gratitude and unity, lessons and experiences, and most of all, higher purpose and belief as a nation.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one for playing your part and fulfilling your responsibilities.
As we come to terms with reality, this decisive moment of transition from 2022 to 2023 is what His Majesty reminded us as the “inflection point”. Bhutan has hit a crossroad. Where we go from here will depend on our actions and if not now, there will not be any more opportunities.
Thus the national transformation initiatives, as you all know. I am fully aware that there is a sense of uncertainty, confusion and even anxiety among us, as we live through the process of change. It is totally understandable.
I can relate this to the times of pandemic. We lived with lockdowns, quarantines and many restrictions. It wasn’t easy for anyone. There were grievances, discontentment, panic and fear. And yet, for more than two and half years, we all complied and endured it together. Today it comes to fruition, visible in the simple fact that on occasions such as new year, we are with our loved ones.
Similarly, if we withstand this phase of process together, Bhutan will come out clean once again. We all know that change must happen, but it doesn’t occur overnight. There will be a few among us who would care less and think this has got nothing to do with them.
But this is another battle our nation is fighting and like we did during the pandemic, we must think and act as one.
These days, we have all raised concerns on the number of Bhutanese leaving for abroad. As much as we are worried, we also seek solace in the fact that almost all Bhutanese travelling are either out to study or support those who go to study, thus engaging in studies, work and experiences.
Most are going for courses and institutions that are not available in the country. Mere thought of Bhutanese upgrading academically and enhancing their career in that size and number, all at a time, is so fulfilling.
But as is the Royal aspiration, we will hasten our efforts to make circumstances favourable back home to return, study, work and invest in the country. For we know that if there are means and ways, we will always prioritise Bhutan no matter where we live.
So let us all make one common new year resolution today- to listen to the call of our motherland. She is speaking of the deficiencies and problems, of opportunities and hopes, and of love for her children of today and all Bhutanese generations to come. Let us live up to her expectations so that history records of us rising to the occasion to take Bhutan forward in 2023.
Personally, during the days of the pandemic and even now during the times of reform that requires major moves, I silently laud myself for deciding to join politics back then. With all the excitement, challenges and sacrifices I go through, I awaken to a realisation that this is what nation building must have meant.
So much work needs to be done, and in shortest possible time. There is no time to rest. For the remaining part of the government’s tenure and the times beyond, we will make every hour count. Everyone wanted change until now. We are bringing that change. And when His Majesty is showing us how, we are confident that the nation’s victory is imminent.
Without holding you long from your family and friends as you make wonderful memories of ushering in the new year, I pray that 2023 is filled with joy, love and success for you all.
Wishing you warmth and good health,
Dr Lotay Tshering