The RIGSS Blog

To stimulate analysis, innovation, and forward thinking, and generate new ideas and insight
on subjects that matter in 21st Century Bhutan.
A humble tribute to celebrate learning, leadership and service that His Majesty The King continues to champion.

Launched on 21st February 2021 to commemorate the 41st Birthday of His Majesty The King

The views and opinions expressed in the articles on the RIGSS Blog are that of the authors and do not represent the views of the institute.


POSTED ON February 21, 2021
Tshering Wangchuk
Former Managing Director, BBS

One evening in August 2020, the Prime Minister of Bhutan came on BBS TV. Apart from updating the nation on the current COVID-19 situation, he announced a Royal Command calling for people's support to feed the stray dogs in their neighborhoods. Bhutan had closed its international borders five months ago because of the Covid-19 scare, and now it was going into the first national lockdown. A person outside the quarantine facilities had tested positive, giving rise to fear of community transmission. It was at the height of the pandemic, and news from the region and beyond were not encouraging either. So, when the nation was grappling with economic downturns and loss of livelihood, fearing the worst outcomes, the Royal Command must have come as a surprise to many. The reason behind this was simple; starving dogs could attack humans. Despite all the challenges posed by the pandemic, His Majesty had even thought of the most minute details.

The BBS received few commands early on during the pandemic. First, enhance entertainment on television and radio. With many people in quarantine facilities and at home during the lockdown, His Majesty was concerned about the mental health of the people. The BBS introduced a two-hour live program with artists and entertainers from the Royal Academy of Performing Arts, the Bhutanese Film Industry, and local music bands. The Royal Office of Media also gave BBS 95 Bhutanese movies to broadcast. The feedback from the public was astounding. Many people in the villages didn't wait for the 7 pm curfew, but they were in front of the TV by 5 pm to watch the programs. People were well entertained with three movies a day apart from other programs. As far as I know, BBS was the only television and radio in the world that provided live musical entertainment programs during the pandemic. The Royal Commands were simple, but the impacts went a long way.

Another Royal Command to BBS was to engage the film and the entertainment industry. BBS received a budget and started the production of short films and programs. The Royal Vision served a dual purpose of giving sustenance to workers in the entertainment business and bringing additional programs to BBS television. Further, His Majesty was fully aware that if the pandemic endured for long, artists, actors, technical crew, scriptwriters, and many others would leave the industry. Although still in a nascent stage, the industry had come a long way in the last three decades, and it could be severely impacted if many left the industry.

Similarly, there was kidu for those who lost their jobs; medicines for the elderly delivered to their doorsteps; vegetables and other essential items distributed to households; and many more. His Majesty commanded all the Bhutanese worldwide would be provided vaccine and that the state shall bear the cost. It was His Majesty's initiatives that lessened the impacts of the pandemic on the Bhutanese people.

Our immediate needs restrict our ability to see the bigger picture. On the other hand, His Majesty The King was already looking ahead into the future. We will confront situations of the magnitude of Covid-19 pandemic again. But, it is reassuring for Bhutan and the Bhutanese that we are led by a King, who is not just an epitome of compassion but one who is already several steps ahead.



POSTED ON February 21, 2021
Pempa Tshering
Senior Analyst, DHI


POSTED ON February 21, 2021
Dorji Dhradhul
Director General, Tourism Council of Bhutan


POSTED ON August 26, 2021
Douglas OLoughlin
Faculty, Organization Development and Change Management, RIGSS


POSTED ON September 01, 2021
Douglas OLoughlin
Faculty, Organization Development and Change Management, RIGSS


POSTED ON December 10, 2021
Norman New
Faculty, Strengths Advocate/Mindfulness Coach/Career Strategist, RIGSS