Kencho Tsheten

“I was chosen as the first person to cast a vote during the mock elections in 2007 at the last minute because of some good fortune. I received the opportunity to meet the king in person and be asked by him, ‘What is the reason for voting?’ I answered, ‘So that the right government can lead the country.’ With his hand on my head, His Majesty asked if I could vote on the machine. I said I’d practiced a few times. Before voting, I prayed for an efficient system under His Majesty’s reign. 

I am from the tranquil village of Kurtoe, Dungkar. In 1964, I was 24 years old and an army recruit. After a year, I returned home to take care of my lonely parents but the war at Lingmithang forced me to go back. Later in life, I served as the caretaker at the Naktshang. I have 4 children from 2 wives. When I was younger, life was very difficult. We had to provide Dzongsey Woola whenever called upon. I participated in the construction of Chunzom road and the Tencholing army quarters. Labour was intensive and all my clothes were worn down to rags. I constantly remind today’s youth that their lives now were only for the Royals during our time. The vast difference could be the meritorious fortune of these children. 

On one occasion after I’d retired, My azhang and I were traveling to Gasa Tsachu when we had the honour of meeting Gyalyum Kudey Phuntsho Choden. She spoke to us and awarded us Nu.10 each, which was a huge amount. Years later, I got to take a picture with His Majesty the King. He was visiting the Naktshang. His Majesty asked me not to smile as I hardly had any teeth. He removed his jacket but commanded me to keep mine on as it was too cold outside. On the count of 3, I couldn’t help but smile wide with joy. I was presented with a Phub afterward to protect me at all times and a cash amount of Nu.10,000. As he was leaving he said, ‘Don’t hide when I visit again or I won’t see you.’

I am 84 now. I served at the Naktsang from 1992 to 2002. My advice is to always revere your parents, king, and the dharma;  respect and heed the golden advice of elders and; do any job you have with diligence and ethics. Never let go of these 3 fingers. They’ll keep you on the right path.”


Photo Credit: Yellow Bhutan, Royal Office for Media.


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