The National Geographic Magazine brings us a photo essay by Lynsey Addario on Bhutan in its efforts to join the modern world without losing its Buddhist soul. Reading the accompanying article, I was saddened by the inexorable march of the so-called progress fueled by globalism which is now threatening this delightful Himalayan enclave. You will see that the article mentions youngsters who are enamored with hip-hop and American wrestling...a photograph by Lynsey showing a trio of Bhutanese girls (near one of the top Thimpu hotels) dressed in jeans and colorful tops...but the most disturbing of the photographs was the one of 12-year-old Jigme Lhendup and his sister Sonam, 9, showing off their hip-hop moves at their mother's bar in Thimpu.
Although Bhutan's countryside remains relatively untouched by this 'progress', it may be only a matter of time until it too will be affected. I am certainly glad that my Bhutan photo-expedition is scheduled for October 2008...its members will still see Bhutan as I've seen it over the years.
National Geographic's Bhutan's Enlightened Experiment