COMPENSATION: The Subliminal Bhutanese “Soch”

One word that has always intrigued me that every news media in Bhutan – whether print or visual – used unfailingly: COMPENSATION. I have always been bewildered why anyone would write or say that the farmers, who had suffered occasional natural calamities, would be compensated by the Dzongkhag or that they are awaiting compensation from the government.

Why do the farmers deserve “compensation”? Why should they be compensated for a natural calamity?

For all this while I had concluded that the media people had used the term incorrectly – a wrong choice of word. Until yesterday.

Yesterday evening General Manager Dilu Giri of Druk Hotel, finally opened up my mind. In reference to another matter that we were discussing, he quoted the late Indian politician Bal Thakery who founded the Shiv Sena, as saying that he may die but his “Soch” must endure. The Indian term “Soch” means – a thought process, a belief, a conviction, a principle, attitude, a deep-seated way of thinking.

I finally got it!

The Bhutanese news media were right all along! They had unwittingly articulated the subliminal Bhutanese“Soch”. It was an unerring manifestation of the true Bhutanese “Soch” – that of seeking compensation where none is due.

These days, in my capacity as the Club Secretary of the Rotary Club of Thimphu, I am in the middle of implementing projects that run into millions and millions of Ngultrums. And the stoical Bhutanese “Soch” is hindering my work and turning me into a taciturn desperado.

The Bhutanese “Soch” does not seem to recognize the fact that battling and circumventing adversities, and succeeding in the performance of ones duties is part of the mandate of an officer put on the chair of responsibility. The Bhutanese “Soch” clearly indemnifies the head of the household from the responsibility of putting more food on the table more often than feasting on what is already in the plate.

The Bhutanese “Soch” seems to promote the idea that if something fails because ideal conditions have not been met, it is not the fault of the person. Creating the ideal conditions, being inventive, being creative, taking the initiative and walking that extra mile to perform one’s duty seem to be alien to the Bhutanese “Soch”.

Pray, tell me, how far can the Bhutanese society survive with this kind of “Soch”?

By Yeshey Dorji

The writer is a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Thimphu. His is also a Paul Harris Fellow. Currently he serves as the Club Secretary for RY 2017-2018. By Profession, Yeshey is a photographer.

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