27
十二月

不丹的專制與幸福

作者 : 客座隨筆   在 邁向現代 Road to Modernity

「祖兄」近期參加旅行團遊覽南亞小國不丹,根據其觀察和感受,撰寫下列幾段文字,期望增加讀者對不丹的認識:

“Bhutan is a small, quiet and peaceful Himalayan country and they want to preserve their culture and nature while they gradually develop their economy. It is written into their Constitution that at least 72% of the entire country must be covered by forests and trees.

Not more than 30,000 tourist visas would be issued by the government each year and foreigners are only allowed to visit around 25 out of the 2,000 monasteries in the whole country. There is no backpacker visitor in Bhutan. Tourists must be led by local guides and can only visit the places pre-approved by the national tourism board; these places are listed in the tourist visa which would be given to your local travel agent upon arrival. We can only take photos up to the court yard of the monasteries/museums as photography is not allowed inside their temples, government buildings and museums. There are security check points along the main road (at the moment there is only one main road running through the whole country) to ensure that you do not enter those areas which are not listed in your visa, sounds like North Korea?

The ancestors of most Bhutanese came from southern Tibet and all of them are Tibetan Buddhists. The country policy of Bhutan is to score a high Gross National Happiness index rather than a high GDP growth rate as they are of the view that money is important but not the most important item in human life; that the people of rich countries are often too stressed by their wish for power and wealth. The locals are slow paced and friendly even though 30% of its population can be classified as poor, according to the UN’s definition, with annual income less than US$1,000. For the few office workers, they don’t follow fixed working hours; even temples and government offices are closed for 2 hours during lunch time. Their electricity supply breaks down from time to time with frequent power cuts even in the capital, but people are used to this daily event.

As 90% of the population are farmers, they can grow their own rice and vegetables (100% organic as they don’t have money to buy chemical fertilizers) with rice and red chilli as their main dish at home. Cows and sheep are kept for their milk. As a Buddhism country, the locals would not kill animals and don’t even use insecticides to kill mosquitoes, their dry meats and fish are imported from India for cooking purpose.

However, the late King of Bhutan implemented two important measures to improve the people’s livelihood:free education and free medical service for life. If the academic results of their students are good enough to be admitted into an overseas university in India/UK/US etc, the government will pay 100% of the airfare, school fees, overseas accommodation and living expenses during their overseas stay. Only Toyota/Hyundai cars are imported into Bhutan and there are no branded shops (such as LV, Prada) and foreign fast food/coffee chain outlets (MacDonald, Starbuck, KFC etc) in Bhutan, so having a large sum of money is not that important to most people.

May be the whole country is considered as backward from our perspective as city people, but quite a number of CEOs from multinational corporations spend 2 to 3 weeks’ leave in Bhutan each year to take a real rest by disconnecting themselves from the outside world.

From what I see when I was there, I feel that most Bhutanese are happy even though their country is gradually opening up to the outside world. I guess their money concept, disconnection from the outside world, and their simple but self-sufficient life style do help them to feel happier as their Buddhism concept is integrated into their daily life. Of course, for those youngsters living in the 2 towns (Thimphu and Paro) nowadays, they can surf net and may wish to visit the outside world and sky scrappers in modern cities when they have money. They may not be so happy as the farmers living outside the town area.

The government conducts a national happiness survey every year to study what causes the people to feel unhappy and try to implement rectification measures to improve the Gross National Happiness index. Bhutan is ruled by the King and Prime Minister, however, the elected parliament can cast a no-confidence vote to remove the king and prime minister if required. ”

這篇文章發表 於 星期日, 十二月 27th, 2015 10:31 上午 在 邁向現代 Road to Modernity. 你可以回應這篇文章透過 RSS 2.0 feed. 你可以 留下回覆, 或 引用 從你的個人網站.

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