Archives for March 2018

I like the way our women said Jadha to ada-rachu

When the rest of the world is concerned about women not wearing anything at all, we find ourselves in the midst of a debate dictating what women should wear. While we are clearly ignoring bigger and much immediate issue at hand, for instance, should monks be required to wear red underwears or should they be allowed to wear their usual leopard-print thongs? Now, this is something we all should be talking about, isn’t it?

But no, we have a long history of recurring stupidity especially with bureaucrats dictating something ridicules, realizing it was foolish and rescinding it later like nothing happened. To name few, the pedestrian day, the tobacco ban, and Zhemgang Dzongkhag’s buffoonish decision of making everyone wear gho. Which is ridiculous because most villagers in Zhemgang wear gho all day long and use ghos and kiras as a blanket at night. (Even they were apparently pissed off about the rule.)

All in the name of culture, you want to make our women throw away their colourful rachus when it has been in use as long as anyone remembers? Which in a way makes it a tradition in itself. Speaking of tradition, our forefathers didn’t wear underwears, they trudged the harsh Himalayas bare-ass and barefoot. If the pursuit of upholding the tradition demands women to wear ada rachus, then shouldn’t the same justly require all men to strip themselves of this abominable western invention called the ‘underwear’ and expose their bare genitals like our forefathers proudly did?

One thing our folks at the Ministry of Home did not understand and gets my goat the most is that culture is not decided overnight by a group of men; It is passed on from generations to generations. For example, the Sarshops have the beautiful tradition of Serga Mathang, which is just another excuse to screw one’s cousin that they somehow managed to preserve to this day. (You know your uncle’s daughter is your sister right? Ashole.)

On a totally unrelated instance; if you enter BBS office premises, you will be required to wear the National dress with formal shoes. If you go there wearing sneakers, you will be asked to take it off at the gate and enter their office barefoot. Because their office is a Dzong and their CEO is a Dzongda. Apparently, they live in a delusional world where they think that they are a valid governmental organization. It will be a matter of time before you will be required to take compulsory etiquette classes and wear kabneys just to enter their offices, and anyone who does not follow would be tased with an electric taser and seared with hot-iron. Speaking of searing with a hot-iron, many years ago, Gelephu and Sarpang police used to harass and jail people who didn’t wear national dress in the town. They would often put the culprits in the back of their pickup truck and drop them far off in the forest and make them walk all the way back.

My point is, if we have to harass individuals in the street to wear our national dress or force women to throw their flowery rachus away, then we have lost the very essence of it. It is our pride to wear the National dress. We do it out of an immense sense of love and respect for our country. That is why we do not find a single Bhutanese entering a Dzong without wearing a Gho.

It is one thing to educate and encourage people and leave it to their choice, quite another to force it on them. Things have changed. We live in the glorious era of Globalization. Internet’s at our fingertip enabling us to watch porn without having to go to Osang Video Library, yet it is astonishing to see how we still try to shove down other’s collective throats and dictate how one should lead their lives with rules coined during the times when we were still collecting wild mushrooms. Please know that it is a democracy and any effort of subjugation will be faced with a huge middle-finger from the public.

The practice of Tshe-thar (life release)—the pros and cons

The practice of Tshethar is prevalent in many Buddhist communities throughout the world, Bhutan included. While it is an act of compassion which I am in no wise condemning, at the same time individuals must open their eyes to the threat it poses to the animals themselves and the ecosystem at large if not done intelligently.

My first encounter with the practice was back in the year 2000. A group of monks and lamas had released hundreds of catfish in into the river. It might appear like a compassionate act, but in contrast, it could be crueller. Catfish are omnivorous, which means these shark-headed asholes feed on everything to the extent that they are considered a pest by many. They devour smaller fishes and anything that comes their way, including private parts of a naked swimmer (I am sure there is a recorded case somewhere). The catfish they had released in the river must have killed hundreds of thousands of other fishes in the river. It is like saving a Serial killer from a death sentence and releasing him into a peaceful community.

Scientifically speaking, releasing animals not native to the habitat causes a great deal of disharmony to the ecosystem. (There was a similar story in Perth, Australia where they released harmless Goldfish into the Vasse River. These midgets later grew up to be as big as four pounds; causing harm in the River by digging up vegetation, stirring up sediment and eating almost anything they see, including the eggs of native fish species.)

An entire Industry has been developed around this practice. In Bodhgaya, fishes are bought, released for Tshethar, caught again and sold to another unsuspecting pilgrim for the life-release.
In Bhutan too, there are similar stories about the Yak Tshe-thar where religious people set yaks that are about to be slaughtered free by paying a hefty amount as a ransom. The only problem is, there are rumours that they are caught again and marketed to another group of unsuspecting lamas for the same. (The truth of it is yet to be confirmed, though.)

When old cattle are released into the wild, they are exposed to possible wild animal attacks and other threats. The wild isn’t a safe for the domesticated animals anyway. They are not really doing them any favour if you look at it this waymost Bhutanese are against killing, in a worst-case scenario, they walk the animal to the edge of a cliff around the time of Losar and wait for them to fall to their death. So, all they are doing in the name of Tshe-thar is screening out old animals that are no longer useful to relieve themselves from the burden of feeding them under the pretence of saving them from a non-existent slaughter.

I am sure, this post is going to fuel public backlash, I am not condemning the practice, rather raising awareness so that people who do it do it intelligently. I wish forest officials be present to advise whenever tshe-thar is carried on.

let us save animals, let us also do it wisely. I condone, not condemn compassion. But being blind to the consequences in pursuit of it could be fatal.