In Honour of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck

༆ དཔལ་མི་དབང་འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་བཞི་པ་མཆོག་ལུ་བཀྲིས་བདེ་ལེགས་ཞུ།

A tribute for HM the Great Fourth on his birthday!

I’ve been told it’s not a wise idea to meet people you admire for it dissolves that aura of awe we associate them with. But he was a complete anachronism, the most pleasant revelation that came packaged as a paradox that sought neither power nor praise. Perhaps the most beloved figure in the entire history of this nation, with a biography that has the flavour of incredible myth and matchless courage.

From the very first moment you meet him, you realise that his is a force to be reckoned with. Yet his formidability is composed, always making the onlooker feel as if they were greeting an old friend. Warm and unassuming is his spirit – a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries is not just a political strategy, but a way of life.

He almost constantly gives off an aura of serenity and composure, opposing the fire that devours and wastes with the fire that kindles, and succours in despair. In an era where great men have monuments in bronze and marble set up for them, he has instead become etched in the hearts of every soul he touches, so that all of us become somewhat of the substance that he is made of, though to an infinitely lesser degree.

It’s easy to see that there is some magic to it, a warmth and charm to all the messages flooding in lately as we pay tribute to the great fourth — a yearning for nationalism, and values beyond the mercenary. Few people in this world inspire this. More than anything, there is a feeling of proud thanksgiving that has been given to us, of this generation and of this nation, to be associated with this monumental person.

A photo from 1972 when HM the King became Trongsa Poenlop – and my father had the honour of bearing the flag and kneeling before King and Country

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