The Journalist reporter Tashi Wangmo talks with Dr(PHD)Abdulaziz Hassan Ali Abul, Honorable Member of Parliament of the Shura Council of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on a wide range of socio-cultural issues facing Asia and the global community as a whole, during the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) standing committee meeting held here in Thimphu from August 31-September 1.
Dr (PHD) Abdulaziz Hassan is also the member of the finance and economic affairs committee and women and child committee of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Q. What are the most common aspects of Bhutan and Bahrain’s cultures?
A: Bhutan and Bahrain are both small kingdoms with well mannered people who are also kind and helpful to one another.
Q. What are the similarities and the differences between your country and Bhutan’s cultures?
A: Similarities: The two nations have protected and preserved their respective cultures very well. People are cultured and well dressed unlike other countries where their traditional attires are long forgotten. The role of women is also well defined and respected.
Differences: There are differences in our religions and Bhutanese are more open than our Bahraini counterparts. Bhutanese have the exception of knowing how to deal with people from other countries with kindness and humility. The culture of youngsters respecting their elders is exceptional.
Q. What is the most important aspect/s of Bhutanese culture?
A: People of Bhutan are very nice and kind by nature and we feel at home and the way the citizens of Bhutan revere and serve their king and the country is unrivaled anywhere else on earth. Bhutanese should also take pride in having championed the cause for environment conservation. The country is a heaven where every global individual would be proud to live in.
Also the younger generations have high esteem and respect for their elders, and the elders know how to show love and care for their young ones. Moreover, the diversity of Bhutanese culture and tradition that is still intact is another milestone of your vibrant culture.
Q. What do you think is the most important social problem that the participating countries, and the global community at large, are facing today?
A: Poverty is the most important social problem that the world is facing today. It is sad to learn that countries in Asia, and some other countries around the globe, still have a majority of their general citizenry living in poverty. Access to proper healthcare and education is also a major bottleneck in these countries. In stark contrast, Asia is supposed to be a very rich continent in terms of its abundant natural resources.
The other important challenge that Asian countries face today is not being able to make development more balanced and equitable. This often leads to widening the gap between the rich and the poor even further.
Q. What could be the probable solution/s to these problems?
A: In order to address the issues related to poverty, we need to first address the issues of how to use our available natural resources in a more judicious, reasonable and productive manner. The use of ICT should also be advocated in our development plans but most importantly access to education should be made a priority. It is only through education that we can foresee a better and brighter future for the people of Asia and the world at large.
Q. Do you think that cultural differences are a hurdle in solving social problems?
A: Every country has different cultures of their own that symbolize and represents their identity as a nation. But these differences in culture should not be accused of being a bottleneck towards solving our problems. One should have the liberty to choose and live the way they want, or dress the way they like to so long it does not affect others. However, if the difference in our cultures or religion divides us then it is a problem. Cultures should co-exist without interferences.
Q. Any other comments you would love to share with us?
A: I wish Bhutan develop further as a gross national happiness (GNH) country with a clean, green and happy environment and it’s rich tradition and culture still intact. Although development requires lots of sacrifices, I wish and pray that the kingdom of Bhutan will balance it well. I would love to visit Bhutan again.