A professional society or a hierarchical one?

Recently, a prominent doctor paid up to Nu 6 million to the RCSC, to leave the Health Ministry to join politics. There is another medical doctor who has announced his intention to leave the medical service for politics as well, probably during the general rounds.  This trend goes back to the 2008 Elections, where medical doctors resigned from their profession to join politics.

Of around 30 civil servants joining politics in 2013, many have been senior bureaucrats and well trained and experienced professionals, who have left behind their secure jobs to venture into politics.

There is no doubt that their primary aim is to answer the call of democracy, and to serve the nation in the capacity of political leaders.

However, there are also other aspects into this migration of such highly skilled technical personnel and specialists from the professional field to politics.

One point is the failure of the respective agencies to retain them by providing good incentives or more importantly, a good working environment.

In addition, one cannot help but acknowledge the fact that the above, is the result of our highly stratified society, where an individual’s worth and merit is measured less in professional terms, but in more in terms of the color of our Kabneys and Patangs.

For example, a Supreme Court Judge who wears the same green colored Kabney as their counterparts in district courts was literally chased out of a tent by protocol officers during a public function, to make way for senior bureaucrats.

Every nation has to recognize the extraordinary people among them, and honor them in their own unique way and customs. In that sense, the Red Kabneys and the genuine title of Dasho bestowed upon outstanding individuals by His Majesty the King, is of high honor and distinction, which the people respect. The issue here is with the elected leaders turning themselves into overnight Dashos.

Bhutanese public’s love-hate relationship with their MPs started in 2008, when the MPs, instead of acting in the spirit of democracy as the people’s representative, hankered after Patangs and other entitlements.

It had reached to such a stage that the opening phase of our young Parliament was spent in discussing the perks and privileges of the MPs. The discussion prolonged from MPs Patangs to even the need for the MP vehicles to be adorned with special logos.

The MPs also insisted on being called, and calling each other Dashos.

The executive government during the time was no better, reviving and insisting on a set of strict protocol, which placed the ministers beyond the realm of what elected ministers in other countries are placed at. The additional perks like Prados, Wagon-Rs, housekeeper and cook allowances, etc., went on their list of privilege as well.  The government even modified the law for MP vehicle movement, so that it was not subject to the normal security checks, which is endured by every Bhutanese citizen travelling between Phuntsholing and Thimphu, and along other major road network.

All of the above moves have created an ironic situation, where the democratically elected leaders distanced themselves away from ordinary citizens, through barriers and layers of protocol, perks and titles.

This may also explain as to why a private sector representative of around 30,000 businesses in Bhutan said that those in the private sector are second class citizens in Bhutan.

However, it is not only the private sector that feels such an impact. The obsession with Patangs and perks by our elected leaders has virtually made the rest of the Bhutanese citizens into second class citizens as well.

The outrage felt by ordinary Bhutanese citizens rests in the fact that the elected leaders, in addition to exercising such vast powers and receiving the additional perks provided by the tax payer’s money, also selectively place themselves into a superior category.

The time has come to question, if a small and underdeveloped nation like Bhutan, can sustain this level of hierarchy and social divisions. It is already clear that our obsession with Kabneys and Patangs is having a negative impact on the professional sector, which is being considered as less ‘Dasho- like’ or less important.

Also, as an important religious head once pointed out, the impact of a hierarchical society leads to a Bhutanese society where youngsters are unwilling to even take up well paying blue collar jobs because it is considered demeaning.

A related aspect of this is also the ‘feeling’ that only politicians and bureaucrats are serving the nation, implying that the rest of the 6,70,000 or so citizens are not doing so. This is a fundamentally flawed logic, as the first impact of the rest of the population not serving the nation, would be no salaries for the political and bureaucratic classes. There are, the everyday ordinary Bhutanese citizens who contribute to nation building without making any demands.

However, there is hope, and also an example to follow. In recent years, none other than His Majesty the King has awarded titles and recognized not only people in the government, but those in the professional sectors like, hydropower, power distribution, arts, media, business, and others.

Elected MPs and the government should take a cue from this, and realize that it is not only they who are serving the nation and deserving of all perks and recognition.

 

 

“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”
Laurence J. Peter

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15 comments

  1. In which country the Minister doesn’t enjoy perks and privileges. please name 10 countries out of 200 countries.
    Doesn’t elected leadership command more respect than nominated leaders because elected leaders are selected by wisdom of whole people while nominated leaders are selected by one guy or small committee. What does mean by feeling that only politicians and bureaucrats are serving people. Isn’t doctors bureaucrats unless i forget definition.
    Judges are not supposed to mix with bureaucrats because they are governed but different set of rules. But in Bhutan Judges wants to be seen anywhere so that they can socialize with politicians and democracies. Besides, what makes you think that Supreme Court Judges and red scarf bureaucrats are of same rank? They are promoted on different basis using different rules. On what basis you say that they are of equal rank. The red scarf are called Dashos but supreme court justice wants to be called Dasho…

    • Responsible Citizen

      Defox, the fox that sucks. You are a crony of DPT, who is blind against everything else.

    • You talk so much but of no essence….Don’t waste your energy. Defox

      • Dear Responsible Citizenand Concience,
        If comments are not to your liking, you call it crony of DPT and wasting of energy. If it is against DPT like this author or so-called journalists of The Bhutanese is doing, you will call it essence…

    • Defox…. As your name suggests, first De -fox your self first and read between the lines….carefully……..I think you are over looking some important points raised by the writer… any ways no hard feelings brother/ sister…Cheers 🙂

  2. Elected DPT’s leaders lead our country other way round. Leaders lead and inspires others, however our elected leaders too lead first, but they lead and want to lead more in terms of accumulating Land, Prado, Mining, Buildings……by cheating.

  3. Name everybody who operates mines in our country. That will be an interesting topic to everybody to know who owns how many……and need not have to argue on behalf of someone else.

  4. Since MPs are the representatives of the people, why need kabneys and patangs? Wear white kabney like ordinary citizens to represent ordinary citizens. Just issue an identity card to identify them as MP. This would not only kill the lust of becoming MPs, it will also solve the worry of having many blue and orange kabneys in the near future. Only genuine people will then look for the post.

    Some politician said that retaining kabney is the tradition of our country. This is just an excuse. Traditions are started by our grandparents and monarchy was also a tradition, but our beloved fourth king changed this tradition and made it democratic form of government. So what is kabney and patang in front of the sacrifices made by our king.

  5. can we not just call our MPs as Chimis because after all they are same like the chimis of those days, who represent us, the people in the parliament in law making ?? just my thought…..

  6. it surprised me that non of the party president against DPT asked about it. Yes the 5 yr term of ruling government especially the MPs finished discussing their benefits. DPT is Druk Personalbenefits Tshokpa to me.

  7. DR.LOTAY WAS FINE SURGEON AND A GREAT HUMAN BEING.I HAVE SEEN HIM WORKING VERY HARD-REDUCING LONG QUEUE BY WORKING NON STOP EVEN ON WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAY.HE CONDUCTS CAMPS AT GIDAKOM,PARO,AND JDW ITSELF SO THAT POOR PATIENTS WONT HAVE TO WAIT TOO LONG.HE WAS THE ONE WHO STRONGLY RECOMMENDED AND FOUGHT FOR FREE ENDOSCOPY SERVICES TO ALL WHICH WAS OTHERWISE AVAILED BY THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD IT.HIS DUNGTSHO BBS PROG WAS VERY INFORMATIVE.
    THE PATIENTS AND THE PEOPLE IN GENERAL WILL SUFFER AT THE COST OF THE FAILURE OF OUR INEFFECTIVE BUREAUCRATS AT MOH AND RCSC. ITS GONNA COST A HUGE AMOUNT TO THE GOVT TO REFER OUT ALL SURGICAL PATIENTS NEEDING THE EXPERTISE AND SERVICE OF DR LOTAY. ANYONE CAN BE A RCSC COMMISSIONER,HEALTH MINISTER OR HEALTH SECRETARY OVER NIGHT BUT NOT SUPER SPECIALIST. NURTURE AND RESPECT OUR TECHNOCRATS.ELSE WE LOSE ALL OF THEM TO GREENER PASTURES. SIMPLY THREATENING OR REPRIMANDING OUR HARDWORKING DOCS AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE MORE RESIGNATION LIKE THIS AND OUR PEOPLE SUFFERS AT THE END.ITS HIGH TIME THE SYSTEM RECOGNIZE AND RESPECT TECHNOCRATS AND INSTEAD OF WORSHIPING OF FAT CORRUPTED BUREAUCRATS! WISH YOU GOOD LUCK DR. LOTAY!FOR ME YOU ARE A WINNER ALREADY BY STANDING BY YOUR WORDS!

  8. In no democratic country does the elected govt have the Right nor the Power to privatize office equipments and duty vehicles at the end of their term. The elected leaders think it belongs to the govt so it’s theirs not realizing or rather refusing to acknowledge that govt property is People’s property bought from tax payers’ money. 

    Such blatant robbery by our leaders calls for CHANGE. Glad to new parties have come forward to provide us people a choice for CHANGE.

  9. Tshering Dradro

    If we have brain, intelligence, capabilities, and want to go forward like Dr Lotey, then that is it. I think South Thimthrom should really think for the one who did sacrificed to the tune of millions to serve them. He is already a winner and will win again. Yes, if Dr Lotey stays to serve as a doctor then he will always be an old doctor. He will have no avenue to showcase his talents and capabilities. I think we need intelligent people like Dr Lotey and Dr Sonam Kinga to represent us and not some body who talks a lot and does nothing in particular. We need deserving people as a member of the house.

    • His talent is his attributes as a doctor, what other talent do you think Dr.Lotey possesses, one thing he will find out is that politics is tough business. He has already disappointed many people who thought the world of him and things will only get worse for him.

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