Communal joke on WeChat

The context of this post is the communal joke that was widely circulated on the badly abused social media platform, WeChat. Yes, WeChat has been already used as the launchpad for the three worst things to happen in Bhutanese social media which are leaking private movie clips, spreading hoaxes, and sharing communal jokes. All of this has resulted in social disharmony that is very new to Bhutan.

Well, the joke was a voice recording of two men allegedly from Haa talking about a woman named Sanja Dem who married a guy from eastern Bhutan. Their conversation roughly translates to,

“Sanja Dem is married!”

“Really, who is the man?”

“He is a Sharchop.”

“O’ then he will steal nyah.”

I am from Haa and I know the men whose voices were recorded weren’t from Haa, as is evident from the fake accents they used. They were making fun of our language. Worse still, they impersonated us to insult Sharchops by calling them thieves. With all my sense of humor I am trying to laugh at the joke but somehow the intention in this joke seems seriously wrong.

I heard the joke before and back then Sanja Dem’s husband wasn’t a sharchop, he was a gatey (ex-monk) but the character in the joke was suddenly changed to a sharchop to supposedly do maximum damage. This seemingly dry joke could lead to social disharmony and therefore such communal jokes of disastrous potential should be stopped right away.

We must appreciate our unity as a harmonious little society. Many countries suffered because of communal division leading to mistrust among people, igniting riots and starting civil wars. We need not learn the lesson in a hard way; history is a good teacher. We should not take our harmony for granted just because we didn’t earn it ourselves. It’s the greatest gift of the Wangchuck dynasty that we must honour it.

Let me quote the Police Chief here. “Such clips are communal in nature and much more severe than the circulation of pornographic materials. We can book them under the National Security Act as it is highly objectionable.” – Police Chief, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyal, in Kuensel

Opinion by Passang Tshering

This writer is a teacher at the Royal Academy in Paro

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