The Unwelcome Parts

Concerned of my deteriorating sight, I went to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) for check-up. Kudos to Royal Government of Bhutan under visionary Monarch, I … could avail the service for free. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, I was advised to wear glasses. You may not like it, but circumstances compel one to [accept] go by it. As I put on the glasses, I pray that same misfortune do not befall unto others, at least for who does not wish for.

Scenes in the hospital, specifically, seeing those unfortunate fellow beings are rather disturbing. Amongst others, an unattended elderly man, seemingly in his early seventies, has also come for eye check-up. An Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist) expressed his   concerns of declining family support during old age. However, his warm hospitality and compassionate accommodation to elderly man gave solace to me, let alone the service. Is the social support system the practice of those bygone days?  OR, is individualism interpreted so stringently that sees other person, even one’s kin as a burden or competitor? OR, Are Bhutanese so engrossed in economically productive, academically enriching and socially cohesive activities to the extent that they do not have time for those groups of people?

Walking by the Chorten Lam, I came across an acquaintance of mine. A University Degree holder, life in Thimphu as a vagabond was not what he has endeavoured for. Even to get shortlisted for a job is hard to come by. Hopes dashed as opportunities go begging, he sees no alternatives but to leave Thimphu and do nothing. Is Thimphu the only place in Bhutan to earn livelihood? Is employment the sole purpose of education? Does education system in Bhutan implant wholesome education and values in students? Is enough being done to produce bread for those people who really need it? Are there adequate interventions from policy formulation to implementation to address their needs?

As I enclose my thoughts, I do with the optimism that a day will come when the needs of these groups of people are considered and taken care of. If left unattended or inadequately addressed, floods of social evils will erode the dreams of Our Great Monarchs and the people alike of happy, peaceful and prosperous Bhutan. May these ‘Unwelcome Parts’ serve as opportunities for you and me and Bhutan to come and grow stronger in our pursuit of Gross National Happiness!

Written on 24 February 2014 at Royal Institute of Management

Dechen Rabgyal

I am from Drepung, Mongar, Bhutan.