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Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003

television society

"News footage from the first BBS broadcast of June 2 1999, records the cheer that resounded around Changlimithang. Bhutan's spiritual and cultural leaders were all agreed that TV could only increase the country's Gross National Happiness and help the people to pave the way to a modern, democratic nation. Mynak Tulku, the reincarnation of a powerful lama, is the Dragon King's unofficial ambassador for new technology. Light pouring in through the carved wooden windows catches his large protruding ears and bathes the monk in a golden glow. Nearby, in the main library, some of the oldest surviving texts in Tibetan Buddhism, dharmic verses penned in liquid gold, are being digitised. "I am so excited about technology," beams the Tulku, the epitome of the king's notion of Gross National Happiness. "And let me tell you that TV's OK, as long as you appreciate that it is a transitory experience. I tell my students that it's like rushing in from the cold, going straight to the heater and ending up with frostbite. Ha, ha. TV can make you think that you are being educated, when in fact all you're doing is blinking your life away with a remote control. Ha, ha."