Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Looking Beyond the Awards

So we have successfully organised the first annual media awards. 

Awards and recognitions such as these will hopefully provide the much-needed professionalism and dignity in the Bhutanese media.  Never mind the minor controversy this time.  In any contest anywhere that’s there.  In Bhutan, I have learnt, it is always there!  Because somehow we Bhutanese never learn to lose.  I guess it is the direct result of lack of sports and other competitive activities in our schools.  The Media Award was relatively less controversial. 

I hate controversies.  For fear of being dragged into one, I withdrew my film “Nazhoen Chharo” from the last film festival.  I was not scared of losing.  I was scared of engaging in petty quarrels and bad mouth.  So, to the disappointments of many of my fellow filmmakers I enjoyed the evening as a guest.  I was even asked to give away a prize (to the best newcomer female!).  That was lot more fun!

The wisdom behind awards in artistic fields, such as films and journalism, is of course a much-debated subject everywhere.  One theory, which I partially subscribe to, is that you can’t judge one film from the other.  Both are masterpieces in their own rights. And so are literary and journalistic works.  The subjects are different, the contexts are different and the intentions and intensities are different.  In short, there are too many subjective variables to enable objective judgements.  

However what I truly believe is that events such as the Bhutanese films and the media awards are more "a collective recognition of the profession rather than just the individuals".  In a society that looks down on every other profession other than government jobs, the fact that we have begun to recognise these industries is a step forward.  The institution of the Annual Media Award was therefore the biggest winner!  

There is no doubt that awards and recognitions can boost your motivations and drive - especially among young journalists.  So, while I celebrated the Bhutanese journalism and our film industry at the YDF Hall, together with all others, I also applauded and personally congratulated all the winners.  I had five entries to this first media awards and managed to secure one nomination,  which was not announced - for technical glitches, I was explained much later.  I believe them because many a times I have been on the receiving end as the organiser of such events.  Technical problems are routine in events of such magnitude. One only has to learn not to make the same mistake twice and never to make such mistakes intentionally.  

I have attended many films festivals and media awards around the globe.  Many a times I was a participant, at times I was a judge and few other times I was also the winner.  But the biggest win was just to be out there, representing my country, rubbing shoulders with the best in the profession and to befriend other contestants with whom you exchanged ideas, skills and techniques.  

One of my favourite memories was the one in Seoul where, after the award ceremony and the party, we were all cramped in the room of the grand prix winner.  We bullied him into giving us an insight into how, why and what went behind making such a masterpiece.  The workshop started at midnight and ended at five in the morning.  After learning a lot from the winner, we all went back to our rooms, packed our bags and shot straight for the airport.  Life moves on!

That’s what we should all be doing here.  Learning to lose and learning from the winners and above all, learning from each other.  

Only then we progress as professionals.


  1. Ata Dorji,

    You always have better side of sad stories,with your wonderful thoughts,even the loser wins. Keep up the spirit!!!

    Kota Karma

  2. Ata Dorji,

    You always have better side side of sad stories.With your thoughtful comments,even the losers win....

    Keep up....I frequently visit your blog...

  3. it is a very nice perspective, i have my reservations about it and wonder as to whether you are exhibiting a known trait of the Bhutanese, call it compassion call it complacency and acceptance, call it what you may! As important as it is that a forum for recognizing journalistic efforts be instituted, it is also important that a right and proper forum be instituted!

    Free comments, that what we blogger's do ;)

  4. I have decided to express my personal opinion on the issue after I read some very strong and disturbing opinions and reports - where the broader picture was totally missed. Besides of course not expressing any appreciation to a committee that worked so hard to get this first award launched.

    It is easier for people to complain. In fact if I wanted to, I also had all the reasons - because the only nomination I had was not announced or screened because of a technical glitch. And I believe there would been a technical glitch because I have organised so many of such events myself and I know anything can just fail anywhere anytime.

    In the version I have sent to Bhutan Times, I have made some suggestions as how to improve the award in coming years. So I agree we must institute a good, credible and respectable Award to recognise the Bhutanese journalism. Especially at a time when media is seen more and more as an important element of the new system of governance.