Mon, Jun 11, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Bhutan pays the price of trying to buy happiness
不丹付出用金錢買幸福的代價

A traffic warden directing traffic in the Bhutanese capital city of Thimphu on Oct. 4, 2010.
一位交通督導員二○一○年十月四日在不丹首都廷布指揮交通。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

They say you cannot buy happiness — and it is something Bhutan is finding out the hard way.

The tiny, mostly Buddhist Himalayan kingdom won a world voice for adopting a happiness index to measure its economy. But its prime minister says it promptly forgot its own lesson, and let a sudden rush of prosperity go to its head.

“Wealth creates increased desire,” said Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley. “There are families with four or five cars. There are luxury vehicles being imported that can hardly drive on our roads and are made for far better roads than we have here.”

A country that was closed to foreigners until 1974, and only recently opened up to the forces of globalization, lacked the tools to cope with newly found economic growth and the wealth it brought.

The government has cut expenditure and is considering raising taxes on imported vehicles. Youth unemployment is over nine percent and people are drifting away from the countryside, and traditional values, to the towns.

Worst of all, Bhutan’s most recent Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, in 2010, found only 41 percent qualified as “happy.”

(Reuters)

俗話說金錢難買幸福,而不丹現正痛苦地學到這個教訓。

這個坐落在喜馬拉雅山區、居民多為佛教徒的蕞爾小國,因為採取幸福指數來衡量經濟發展,在世界取得發聲權。但不丹總理表示,不丹很快就忘記了自己的訓誡,讓突如其來的經濟發展沖昏了頭。

「財富帶來慾望的增加,」總理吉格梅‧廷里說。「有些家庭現在有四、五輛車。但這些進口豪華轎車卻很難在我們國家的道路上行駛,因為它們是為了路況更好的道路所製造。」

不丹遲至一九七四年才開放外國人入境,最近才向全球化勢力開放,卻缺乏因應經濟迅速成長及其所衍生財富的工具。

政府已開始刪減支出,並考慮提高進口車輛關稅。年輕人失業率已超過百分之九,民眾正紛紛遠離鄉村與傳統價值,湧向都市。

更糟的是,不丹最近一年,也就是二○一○年的國民幸福指數(GNH)發現,只有百分之四十一的國民夠格稱為「幸福」。

(路透/翻譯:國際新聞中心)

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. pay the price

v. phr.

付出代價 (fu4 chu1 dai4 jia4)

例: I didn’t read the contract fully before I signed it, so now I’m paying the price.

(我在簽約前並未仔細閱讀合約內容,現在正為此付出慘痛代價。)

2. find out (something) the hard way

v. phr.

透過艱難困苦才學到教訓 (tou4 guo4 jian1 nan2 kun4 ku3 cai2 xue2 dao4 jiao4 xun4)

例: I found out the hard way that it’s difficult to work and go to school at the same time.

(我歷經艱辛才發現要同時兼顧工作與學業很困難。)

3. go to someone’s head

v. phr.

沖昏了頭;驕傲自滿 (chong1 hun1 le5 tou2; jiao1 ao4 zi4 man3)

例: Don’t let all this praise go to your head.

(別讓這些讚美沖昏了頭。)


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