Bowled Over by Bhutan - 2007

limited that no harm has come to the environment due to these potential polluters.

Visiting the country convinced us that the pristine forests and the amazing visibility are

clear evidence of environmental concern. The work of this poor country to preserve its

animal life is also touching and it is gratifying that somany agencies like World Wildlife

Fund and UNESCO are assisting the country in this endeavor through research and


The Fourth king’s fourth pillar in the creation of a happy and successful society is

the establishment of good governance. His plans for the gradual transition from an

absolute monarchy established in 1907 to a constitutional monarchy with representative

democracy surely constitute “good governance.” That king abdicated in favor of his son

who is currently the uncrowned fifth king because he apparently believed that the younger

man would handle the transition more smoothly than he could. All this change is due to

occur in 2008 with the coronation of the fifth king, the establishment and acceptance of the

new constitution, and the election of a representative National Assembly directly by the

electorate for the first time! We learned from Kelzang on our return home that he has

decided to run for that Assembly to represent Thimphu Valley.

The four of us happy and contented visitors to this magical country agreed that the

Gross National Happiness we observed is real. From our admittedly limited

perspective, the government continues to work diligently towards the realization of

the “Four Pillars of Happiness.” We very much enjoyed our exploration of the Land of the

Thunder Dragon. May it continue to thrive and bring contentment to its citizenry!

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