This is not an obituary of the old BAFRA uniform but a celebration of the new one
The legendary blue uniforms of the Bhutan Agriculture Food Regulatory Authority inspectors got a new color and shape lift in July 2009.
Smart looking trousers and shirts replaced the traditional gho and kira with BAFRA logos stitched to the shoulders. Women inspectors wore the blue kira with white wongju. The logos on the dress made the national dress look odd.
All BAFRA field officers were instructed to be in the approved uniform when on duty. And even those at the BAFRA Head Office were instructed to wear it to give credit and respect to the uniform.
“He is a pilot…,” many school students thought when they first saw a BAFRA inspector. The men looked handsome. The women inspectors, to be honest, looked hot.
“For the first time I have seen a pilot in a dzongkhag but the planes were nowhere to be seen,” said someone from a small town.
This is true! People started teasing BAFRA officials when they started wearing the new look.
“I was teased for landing a plane on the football ground,” recalls a BAFRA official in Bumthang.
Many felt that the unform change was a waste of money. Some said that our great ancestors defended Bhutan’s sovereignty by going to wars wearing gho which displayed our tradition and culture.
Some anti-western uniform fanatics, willfully ignoring the handsomeness and hotness of the uniform argued that village folk worked in the field wearing gho and kira.
However, there are some who supported the change. They thought BAFRA looked smarter than before. “Earlier there were many thin and lean inspectors who looked strange in ghos and kiras,” said Sangay, a tour guide.
Not even a year old, people have now forgotten how the old uniform looked like. “I can only remember the color blue,” said a grocery shop owner, Kuenzang.
But this change had an impact on the way people looked at the officers. They earn more respect today than they had before. “Now they all look smart and dignified. It has something to do with the new uniform,” said a private employee, Pema Wangchuk.