Our Passionate Affair with Rigamarole

I dreamt of a seven-year-old boy wearing a green gho who tried to save me from a bee. He managed to swat it away, but got bitten himself. I was wide-awake at 5am thinking about this boy who had bravely saved me from being stung by a bee. I was so grateful to this boy even if he was just a figment of my imagination. Something else that struck me about this dream was how much agency this boy had despite being so young while I, an adult was immobilised by the fear of a bee sting.

I feel like my dream was telling me to rethink, “older and wiser.” There have been other things too that have been making me pause and reflect upon certain reactions, and decisions made by the older lot in the country. Two things that happened last week have been particularly irksome: The “model bus stop” in Changjiji, and the new immigration rules.

I am sorry but there is nothing nice I can say about the model bus stop. I cannot believe the Transport Authorities think this Nu. 900,000 structure is “cost-effective.” A basketball court would have served this neighbourhood better. But a bus stop, correction: a fancy bus stop complete with a surveillance camera is what Changjiji needs. Sometimes, I wonder if it is the story itself that makes us (or people like me outside Bhutan) misunderstand certain developments or if most news coming out of Bhutan is really just a bad story? And no amount of retelling or editing could improve it.

The new immigration rule that bars a foreigner without a Bachelors’ degree from working in Bhutan takes the cake for the most absurd decision made this week. How much we harp on the dignity of labour, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the diversification of economy, yet our primary focus appears to be on the acquisition of a Bachelor’s degree- because without a degree, a person is not even worthy of a visa! A friend of mine reacted angrily to this, and he is right. The world’s greatest innovators and success stories do not have college degrees (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.), but being the unique country that we are, we must maintain a special way of doing things; read blanket rule and easiest way out.

I shudder to think where we would be if it weren’t for our inspired leadership from 108 years ago. More and more of us are becoming like me in my dream: afraid of a tiny bee sting and immobilized while fewer and fewer of us are like the seven-year-old boy: quick, brave, and selfless.


Read that the “model bus stop” will not be replicated thanks to intense public criticism. At least the government’s listening. This came out in Kuensel on 11/1/16. 

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