Thursday’s Picture of the Week: The Winning Caption Is…

“I have no idea what she’s saying, but I think I’m getting a car!!”

Congratulations to Caryl

You will be receiving a $20 Amazon gift card for your winning entry.

Photo of monks watching television

Behind the Scenes: It is the year 2000 and Jeffrey has been hired by Wired Magazine to photograph a feature story about Bhutan, the last country in the world to get television.

Map of BhutanBhutan, known by its people as Druk Yai (Land of the Thunder Dragon), is a small landlocked kingdom sandwiched high in the Eastern Himalayas between Tibet, China, and India. Primarily Buddhist, it has been named numerous times as one of the happiest places on earth. Its king proclaimed “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.

Bhutan has held on tightly to its culture for centuries. It only allows about 7,500 tourists a year to enter, and within the country police are empowered to detain any Bhutanese not wearing official national dress, the robelike gho for men and the jacket and apronlike kira for women. The king is only allowing television to be introduced because he feels his country needs to keep up with the modern world.

After flying on Druk Air into Paro, Jeffrey travels to the capital of Thimpu. Here he’s lead to a small hamlet on the outskirts of town, where the Oko Thsering Family has just acquired a TV. They are the only ones in the entire area with this new contraption and they aren’t sure what to make of it yet. Jeffrey photographs the family, along with several of their friends as they watch it.

Much to Jeffrey’s dismay when the television is turned on, the first thing they see is World Wide Wrestling, followed by Felix the Cat cartoons, then finally Oprah, which you can see in the image above. He knows at that moment, Bhutan will never be the same.

If you want to know how television has affected Bhutan, take a look at this 2003 article in the Guardian called “Fast Forward into Trouble.” Perhaps you can tell by the title that introducing western values into this culture has not added to Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness.

To see more of Jeffrey’s photographs from Bhutan, click on the picture of the monk below:

Photo of a monk in Bhutan

ALSO, there were so many creative captions for Jeffrey’s photograph, I wanted to give a shout out to several runners-up. 

Marcia: “And this week’s selection for Oprah’s Book Club is…”

Jennifer: “I heard Oprah really is God.”

Claire : ‘Om mani padme hum’
‘O Prah me find me hom’
‘Oprah me find me mom’

Michael: The guy on the far right says, “I heard that she and Steadman are having problems again.”

Cathy: Is this America’s new president?

All I could think of was, “AND EVERYONE WINS A YAK!”

The Art of an Improbable Life Blavatar

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