Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia

Singer Touches Lonely Hearts in ‘Happy’ Bhutan

Sangay Lhaden Tshering sings to bring happiness to Thimphu’s lonely visitors.

Vishal Arora
By Sonam Yangchen, Chencho Dema, and Vishal Arora for

Sangay Lhaden Tshering is perhaps the only professional pop singer in Bhutan, a country known for its adoption of Gross National Happiness as a state policy. Sangay’s goals are not too different from that of her government. She identifies herself as not just a singer, but a performer who uses her singing to give happiness to lonely hearts in lounges in Thimphu.

Sangay says many tourists come to Bhutan alone, and that she seeks to connect with them through her music, to make them feel comfortable in her country. The Diplomat spoke to her at the bar of the Le Meridien hotel in Thimphu, where she performs on Friday evenings among other lounges.