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Distance Education arrives in Bhutan

Laya - a remote Bhutanese villageWhen I first arrived in Bhutan, I was invited to help the government’s Department of Information demonstrate the power of technology in an effort to get more government funding. We mocked up a distance education system using the two Polycom systems that were in the country at the time. The teacher stood in one room and drew on the blackboard as he spoke. The students sat in an adjacent room […]

PopMatters Review

John L. Murphy has completed a mammoth review of just about every book written on Bhutan. He understands the value of a book written by locals and residents.

There are many more books about this amazing country than I knew of, and I’m delighted to see he rated some of my favourites highly – see Beyond the Sky and the Earth and Treasures of the Thunder Dragon. I wondered how he missed Bold Bhutan Beckons, but then I realised that, like my publisher, CopyRight Publishing is an independent publisher. I’m […]

Dragon Bones Discussion Guide

I tried very hard to allow the Bhutanese people in Dragon Bones to tell their own stories and to minimise the bias created by my beliefs, my mood and other aspects of my life. I knew it was an impossible task before I began writing, so I provided clues to my own state of mind in the story and made it clear when I was describing my reactions to an event rather than the event itself.

I wanted readers to experience […]

By |11th November 2012|Bhutan|0 Comments

A New Future

In 2009 I set myself 4 goals as steps towards a future of providing assistance on locally driven aid projects in developing countries. In their original form, those goals were:

  1. Publish a book on Bhutanese culture
  2. Complete a Masters in anthropology
  3. Buy a studio flat in Australia
  4. Invest the rest of my savings to create a modest passive income

I imagined a life as I’d had in Bhutan, where I kept myself entertained with a mix of my own projects and helping develop […]

Tribute to Robin

Robin, my Bhutanese friend who ran the rock climbing group, passed away last week. He didn’t seem the type to have email let alone facebook (in fact he did) so I haven’t exchanged a word directly with him since I left. My decision to leave came suddenly so I don’t recall even saying goodbye. I wrote the following brief tribute to be included in a book some friends are making in his honour.

Robin, I remember you best from Sundays at The Nose. You welcomed me into the climbing group and taught […]

By |4th May 2012|Bhutan|0 Comments

Australian Himalayan Foundation

I received a letter from the Australian Himalayan Foundation thanking me for my donation of the royalties from Dragon Bones. It confirms that the money will go entirely to the RENEW project to enable disadvantaged young girls from Bhutan to attend school. As I know some of the people involved in the project, I hope to be able to post some photos of their work in the future.

Dragon Bones Supports Education of Bhutanese Girls

The first royalty cheque for Dragon Bones was for 502 copies sold over 6 months. That’s about 10% of my big goal of 5000 sales. My main driver for selling so many copies (it is a lot for an unknown writer) was to ensure substantial support for Bhutanese organisations. To put this in perspective, my full target of 150,000 Nu was equivalent to 18 months base salary for a government employee. The recent strength of the Australian dollar makes the royalties worth far more in […]


2011 has been a big year for me. In March, my first book Dragon Bones was released in Hong Kong. In May it was released in the US. In June, I moved into my new flat – the first place of my own that I’ve ever lived in. It’s right on the train line, but it’s large and the sound proofing is excellent. A few weeks ago I submitted my thesis on culture in virtual teams that completes my

By |31st December 2011|Australia, Bhutan, Japan|0 Comments

The Good Samaritans

I didn’t see what befell the old man, but he’s being helped off the highway crossing by two others as I walk around the corner. He doesn’t appear to know his helpers and doesn’t acknowledge either. As soon as he reaches the curb, he grabs hold of a railing and tries to support himself.

I try to work out what has happened before I offer help. Is the man hurt or in shock or just slow? Was one of the men who helped him off the […]

By |6th November 2011|Australia, Bhutan, China|0 Comments

Bhutanese Repatriated

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about Bhutanese/Nepali refugees settling into new homes. It’s news I’ve waited years to hear, but that’s short compared to the time these people have waited to feel welcome somewhere.

While I’m always sympathetic to the plight of refugees, I generally don’t think that them fleeing, or repatriating them, is the best option. I said this in a recent post and […]

By |1st August 2011|Bhutan|0 Comments

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