Lest we forget the silk pyjamas. Yes, the piece of clothing that His Majesty The King gifted to the American tourist, the first case of COVID-19 detected in the country.
Lest we forget the compassion behind that simple but Royal act of solidarity.
Lest we forget that we are a nation bound together by deep cultural, historical and religious ties.
Lest we forget that we are fellow Bhutanese-brothers and sisters of the same land, and we must suffer and rejoice together in times of national celebration or crisis.
Lest we forget that the Buddha preached compassion toward all sentient beings and we are human. Lest we forget that it is during times like this that love must abound.
Yes, the Bhutanese can forget easily. If all the news of harassing the COVID patients, spreading fake news and circulating so-called pictures (real or imaginary) of those affected by the virus, the mad scramble for food and hoarding (not stocking up) unnecessarily and cracking insensitive jokes or making hurtful remarks about COVID “carriers” are any indication, we are a community that forgets easily.
This is a time of great risk and danger. But this is also a time where human hope and unity can rise against the odds.
This is no time for foolish squabbles or skirmishes. This is no time to spread hate, hate-speech or anger. This is no time for greed or selfishness. This is no time for complacency or blame-game.
This is the time to rise to the occasion. This is the time to prove that we value community. This is a time to show love and help others. This is the time to promote whatever is good and resourceful and cut off the bad and unworthy.
If we fight alone, we choose to be isolated and what worse than making it to the top alone? If we fight as a community, we will celebrate our victory together and happiness shared is multiplied.
Therefore, let us not forget. The leaders have shown the way.
From risking their own health to investing precious time, energy and resources, to validating the people who were battling it out in the interest of the nation since day one, the leaders have shown that it can be done.
All we need is a little more empathy, a little more compassion, a little more love.
Let us not forget to be kind to the children, sick and elderly.
Let us not forget to share our resources with those in need.
Let us not forget to put the pressing needs of others above our own ordinary ones.
Let us not forget to speak words of comfort to the sick and grieving.
Let us not forget that a kind word or deed can be the healing touch that another might be in desperate need of during the pandemic.
Yes, let us not forget that by learning to love better, we become beacons of hope not only for our country but the whole of humanity.