The DPT, PDP syndrome

The fact that Bhutan suffers from a ‘small society syndrome’ is well known, however, ever since the introduction of democracy there has been another growing syndrome called the ‘DPT, PDP syndrome’.

If bad ideas and bad philosophies could be called viruses then this ‘DPT, PDP syndrome’ has become a nationwide epidemic affecting the high and the low alike. With the 2013 elections coming closer this syndrome seems to be getting stronger.

For those suffering from this virus nearly every family member, individual, public figure, activity, media story, programs and etc will be seen either through the DPT or PDP lenses. In short the main priority is to tag X or Y as for or against a particular party, and if they are neutral like in most cases then a choice is made for them, without their consent of course.

For those afflicted with this syndrome the moral integrity and human character of the individual is not a priority but what is important is which side of the line they fall on. Another symptom is that the patient is not satisfied until he or she can give either a DPT or PDP tag to everyone around them.

This syndrome is fine if left at dinner tables or gossip sessions but it is starting to take on a life of its own affecting the growth of a healthy democracy, social harmony, good governance, institutions and media freedom to name a few.

A problem is that this syndrome has even afflicted the high and mighty and at times decisions are even made based on it.

It has caused a high degree of political polarization in the country with increasingly hostile language and attitudes between political parties.

It is also becoming increasingly difficult for the Media to do even remotely critical stories as in this time of the ‘DPT, PDP epidemic’ healthy individuals will not be tolerated or believed in.

Even constitutional bodies are not safe, however, given their stature it will not be appropriate to give them the conventional tags so modified ones like, ‘anti-government,’ and  ‘pro-government’ are used.

The problem is not personal or confined to a particular section of society but is a larger reflection of Bhutan’s young democracy, nascent political culture and our socio-political condition.

Bhutanese democracy has sadly not yet evolved into one that can take criticism constructively but instead every public or professional issue is taken very personally.

This may sound a bit harsh but if one carefully observes how a foreign dignitary talks to some of our senior officials it is like a matured adult sweet talking a petulant child. Conversely when a local villager talks to the same senior official it sounds like the weakest student in the class talking to the class bully.

As a result of the syndrome the democratic space in Bhutan leaves a lot to be desired. A healthy democracy is not how much power an elected government has or not, it is not how loud the opposition is, it is also not about how great and learned its democratic institutions are. Even some of the world’s most corrupt countries have these in equal measure. The true essence of democracy lies in the ability of every citizen’s ability to speak their minds without fear of consequences. This is precisely what is under threat with the current wave of the epidemic.

Currently any critic no matter how sincere and honest is given the ‘PDP or DPT’ tag.

The government is also afflicted by the ‘DPT, PDP syndrome’ cannot stop seeing conspiracy theories around it. This affliction has been made worse by a spate of crises hitting the government, some of its own making and others not.

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  1. And thebhutanese is a PDP arm

  2. Crap article, absolutely no truth to what is written.

  3. Lamsang is the most dangerous virs in the country. Not PDP or DPT. Please use earplugs, goggles, masks and gloves to avoid infection.

  4. I can see that a lot of DPT supporters read this website. I am neutral and i would like to say that i agree with the above article. Politics is dividing this nation and society. I think in the end we are all in the same boat and so if there is too much infighting then the boat may not reach it’s shores safely. 

  5. As a close observer of Bhutanese politics i feel that there is growing political victimization. Former PDP candidates are not able to do business and many of their projects get stopped on flimsy grounds while DPT supporters like riverview even get to buy govt land at cheap rates and against the rules. 
    I also hear that govt is getting increasingly dictatorial and intolerant of criticism. 

    • You got to be kidding, in fact I think many of the failed PDP candidates have plum jobs, so what you say has no truth. Eg, Dorji Pavo who is in DGPC, JIgme who is the DMD of PCA, Karma Tshering who is the DMD of BOB and many others. If there was political victimization as you allege, please explain how the above happened.

      • Thupten,

        I have given you some examples to prove that DPT has/is not victimizing anyone associated with PDP, now lets have some examples from you which prove otherwise, since if I remember correctly, you were the first one to cast the stone.

        • True that 3 former PDP candidates are in DGPC, BOB and PDC but this is because of their competency and more importantly the fact that DHI is an autonomous body with a Royal Charter (thank god for that). 

          I am reffering to former PDP candidates in the private sector. While govt goes out of it’s way to help DPT supporters and their families like in Trowa case etc many legitimate PDP linked business proposals are stuck in MoEA, NEC (chaired by PM) etc. 

          In the civil service senior civil servants thought to be close to or related to PDP candidates are being punished with delayed promotions and transfers. While civil servants related to DPT  like Aum Phub Zam, Daw Penjor, Dasho Sonam Tshering and Yeshey Zimba’s brother sent as ambassador are doing very well for themselves. 

          • Why don’t you name some of them, as for DHI many PDP supporters allege that it has now been overtaken by the PM, now which is which.

  6. I think The Bhutanese and Tenzin Lamzang are doing a great job since their inception. I do not believe that this paper is pro PDP as many of their investigative articles from Phobjika to Bjemina have instead shown that they don’t only criticize the govt but also others. 

  7. What happened in the past is history, the fact is that ‘the bhutanese’ is a paper which only writes negative stories on the government, even a fool would be able to see that. So your views that the newspaper does balanced reporting is way off the mark. The fact that the owner even walked out of a press conference involving the PM just shows what kind of person he really is, only to  crib at a later date that the RGOB was not fair in allotting advertisement funds.

    • TL walking out of the press conference is also history no then?

    • So funny, Monk. Why do you think there are international courts that put on trial the war criminals, terrorists, etc.? They are charged and put on trail for things they have done in the past as well. You make it sound like the atrocities should be pardoned only because such things happened in the past.
      If the past is irrelevant then why are you also keep going back in the past and bringing up the issue of the owner, Tenzin Lamsang walking out of a press conference. By your logic, that happened in the past too so nothing negative about the past should be mentioned.
      Don’t you think the PM is equally to be blamed for the flare up in the press conference? When questioned on a pertinent issue which the PM did not want to answer, he brushes aside the issue by accusing the journalist of “working for Indian vested interest.” How bad does that make us look when the PM can’t even handle the meek press? Don’t make it sound like everything is perfect about Bhutan. We are imperfect and the insights and daring stories by a paper like this is good for democracy. Keep up your spirit and good work, The Bhutanese, we Bhutanese people are behind you.

      • Past is when Tenzing Lamsang was a journalist for kuensel and Business Bhutan, never mentioned anything about past crimes and corruption cases should be forgotten. In the present TL is the owner of ‘the bhutanese’ and the fact is that his articles all have a negative tone. 

        Tashi, if you condone TL walking out when he was supposedly interacting with the PM, then it is only because you have not been taught proper values and his walking out was only mentioned to highlight that he was journalist with no ethics.

        • Monk it is a pity that you don’t see any positive in the paper or in TL.
          But you have the right to your opinion. Just for your information: journalism ethics
          is not linked to Driglam Namzha. Infact, in our culture, it is the rank holders that
          should lead by example. HM the King has said to the nation that getting a rank such
          as “Dasho” shouldn’t be that you suppress and lord over people, instead you should
          have the humility to serve the people. PM should be serving the people and that
          is why we voted for him. “The Bhutanese” will not be crazy enough to publish
          articles that defame people. There are constitutional bodies that will get the people
          who try to manipulate laws, policies and even affiliation for personal gains at the expense of the nation and its people. Why only pester a nobody like T Lamsang who is merely doing his job of keeping the nation and people informed. Something Kuensel should actually be doing since it is well funded and staffed.

  8. thebhutanese does not appreciate bhutanese culture and values

  9. Monk are you saying that Lamzang has to please the PM to get ads. This is what happens under a dictatorship not in a democracy. 

    One of the key principles of our democracy is a free press. If it is true that govt is not giving ads to this paper since it is critical then all bhutanese should be concerned.

    The govt already has enough on its plate with poor response on recent earthquake, gyelpozhing scam, rupee crisis, veg ban, pedestrian day and now wangduephodrang dzong burning down. The govt is increasingly seen by many as having started well but floundered mid way.  
    I and many of my family members voted for the DPT in 2008 because we believed they were the best choice. 
    But if they are becoming not only incompetent but also undemocratic then we may have to seriously re consider our vote. 

    Mr Monk your hardcore DPT supporters have been blinded by power. Lamzang writes against everybody and for the right reasons. That is why most bhutanese readers love him and find him to be the most credible journalist. 

    Lamzang should continue writing and if ads are being stopped then we in the public will support him. He can declare an account number and we will contribute so that if not anything bhutan at least should have the freedom of press

    • Who is saying that, what I am saying is that he is stooping so low to accuse the RGOB for not being fair on giving ads, now if he were a person with some self respect, he would surely not be going around doing that. As for you not going to vote DPT in the coming elections, that is the beauty of democracy, you have the right to vote for any party that you think best serves your interests and the larger interests of the Bhutanese people. As for most Bhutanese loving Tenzing Lamsang, I think that is highly debatable and an argument which would never end if we had one.

      For me he brings out the worst in Bhutanese journalism, while for you he is a hero. Anyway, best of luck with your choice of party in the 2013 elections.

      • Mr.Monk and Guardian.
        Why you are so against Tenzin LHAMZANG? He was the one who could unfold some of the larger cases of corruption which other wise could have never known. You may dislike for his personality but this is not a place to mention. Well about thebhutanese, if they write about negative which are truth, what problem do you see? I guess you guys hate him because you love to have corrupted nation or one of you could be involved in the corruption…and your way of hating people doesen’t suit you to have name “monk”.

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