A few days ago I witnessed a disheartening incident at the Changlam square in Thimphu. There was a group of high school girls who hurriedly gathered along the pavement, craned their necks across the road and began laughing at something seemingly very funny. I got curious and walked a few steps to get their perspective. I thought they were looking at Phurba Thinley because he was capable of making people laugh on the street.
But just then I saw a young couple riding on an old Bajaj scooter and the girls continued laughing as they passed by. It looked like a typical scene from a movie- a snobbish gang of girls mocking at a poor newcomer in the school parking. The couple seemed to have noticed because they parked behind a car and didn’t come out until the girls left.
I looked at the girls and wondered how it was possible for these young girls to reflect the same old school outlook we saw during our times. I thought their generation shunned this cheap social-status mentality but I felt so sorry to see the dark shadow of our generation cast over their innocent path. They forgot the Cinderella story already. They had misplaced their values living in our hypocritical society.
For them the scooter was a joke. They couldn’t see how unpretentiously the couple rode on what they could afford. They couldn’t see the humility of the couple in riding a scooter among big cars. They couldn’t feel that perhaps it could be an honest scooter owned by a content family.
And perhaps they didn’t know that laughter could be dangerous; the couple might go home and think of buying a car and to afford the car they will land up selling their happiness and worse even their honesty and integrity. But I prayerfully hope this didn’t happen.
It’s not nice to laugh at anybody unless they are joking, but if children love laughing at all I recommend them to laugh at high profile thieves, con artists, and manipulators who have betrayed the King, Country and the People. Their name list is with the ACC and many names have already been published in media. They may not be riding on Bajaj scooters but whatever they are driving is stolen.
Opinion by Passang Tshering
The writer is a Teacher at the Royal Academy in Paro