An unmatched love for the bow
Archery is the national sport in Bhutan, a paradox as it is considered a martial art in a country that abhors killing.
Bhutan's search for Gross National Happiness provides an alternative way of looking at life that not everyone is happy with.
Karma Tshiteem is a man with arguably the best political title anywhere on earth: the Secretary of Gross National Happiness. I am sitting in my hotel in Bhutan waiting for him to arrive, when an unassuming man walks in and asks my name. I guess he must be the GNH Secretary’s assistant but it is the man himself.
Although apparently relaxed in his attitude and affable, Mr Tshiteem seems a little serious until his cell phone suddenly rings and he breaks off to answer it. Apologizing afterward with a grin, he says: “It was my mum. Her well-being is very important for my well-being!”
Trying to make anyone happy is a tall order, he admits, and he is at pains to debunk some of the myths about GNH. “Our job is to identify and create conditions for happiness, like preserving culture, but we’re clearly not going to get into the business of telling people what to do to be happy. Happiness is too fleeting and too personal. That responsibility rests squarely with individuals themselves.”
And he doesn’t expect to help everyone, adding with a wry smile: “Some will still choose to be miserable, but that’s their decision.”