Japan to Aid Bhutan in Measuring People’s Happiness

September 9, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. dispatch /dɪˈspætʃ/ (v.) – to send off someone to another place for a particular task or purpose
Example: As the prime minister’s interpreter, he is often dispatched to foreign places the prime minister goes to.

2. in (the) hope of /ɪn ðə hoʊp ʌv/ (idiom) – expecting that something will happen
Example: The government is promoting the country’s tourist spots in the hope of improving its tourism industry.

3. prosperity /prɒˈspɛrɪti/ (n.) – the condition of becoming successful, often financially
Example: The country may experience prosperity once the employment rate increases.

4. seclusion /sɪˈklu ʒən/ (n.) – the state of living in private and without any social connections
Example: Very few people enjoy the seclusion of the town.

5. barter /ˈbɑr tər/ (n.) – a type of trade that uses commodities or products for transaction instead of money
Example: With the barter policy, farmers can now purchase products in exchange for their harvested crops. 


Read the text below.
A team of Japanese experts will travel to Bhutan [boo-TAHN] to help improve the country’s methods of evaluating its gross national happiness (GNH).

A former Bhutanese ruler first used the term “gross national happiness” in 1972. Future leaders have supported and developed the concept ever since.

Bhutan has sought Japan’s aid in June in the hope of having more accurate readings of its GNH. In response, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will dispatch three social metrics specialists to the Himalayan [him-uh-LEY-uh n] kingdom later this year. The experts will make use of an experimental happiness survey, which will be tested on the country’s population. They will then guide the Bhutanese [boot-n-EEZ, -EES] government in formulating new measuring strategies based on the survey results. 

Bhutan distinguishes itself from other countries by focusing more on its national welfare through its GNH value than the conventional gross domestic product (GDP). The country is known to measure its prosperity through the happiness of its people.

However, the GNH system is known to have its flaws. The current Bhutanese prime minister Tshering Tobgay [TSHEH-ring TAW-b-gey] has questioned this policy’s usefulness and relevance to the country’s improvement. And while the country focuses on the happiness and well-being of its citizens, economic problems such as poverty, unemployment, and corruption still exist.

Nevertheless, Bhutan continues to be known as a country of independent values. Aside from the well-being of its people, Bhutan also strives to secure its seclusion from the outside world. This effort continues to be maintained through the country’s strict tourism regulations and barter economy.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with Bhutan’s prioritization of its GNH over its GDP? Why or why not?
·         Would you want your country to implement policies related to GNH? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Which do you think is more important, the citizens’ happiness or the country’s wealth? Why?
·         Do you think every country should have policies that ensure the citizens’ happiness? Why or why not? 

September 9, 2014