Bumthap Memay: Kanglung’s happiness icon

Kanglung in Trashigang is famous for more than its premier educational institute, Sherubtse College.

A local icon, 70-year-old Ap Gyembo, popularly known as Bumthap Memay spreads happiness and cheer, occupying a niche in the people’s hearts,

Memay has been a resident of Kanglung for more than 40 years now. He runs a shop and can be seen wrapping doma by a corner but everybody in Kanglung vouches for the fact that he is one person who is full of goodness and whose repertoire of jokes never run dry.

Memay feels he has lived life to the fullest and that his greatest achievement has been serving in the armed force for 25 years. He has also travelled extensively across the country.

Dressed casually in grayish black trousers and a shirt of the same hue, Memay is originally from Chummey in Bumthang.

But he has always felt most at home in Kanglung exemplifying that home is where the heart is.

Most of his customers are attracted by his cheerful demeanor and the fact that he tries to make them as comfortable as possible. He is also known for his kindness and willingness to help others.

Talking about Kanglung, he said that he has seen drastic development and changes here over the past few years mainly due to the growth of Sherubtse College.

Most college students are Memay’s fans because of his flair with wisecracks.

“Sometimes, the locals ask me to negotiate and resolve their problems,” he said.

Bumthap Memay is father to four sons and was one of the active workers who contributed to the building of the Kanglung Zangtokpelri.

Every evening, he takes an evening walk accompanied by his nieces and nephews.

At other times, neighbors accompany him listening to his tales and jokes.

Apart from running a shop for a living, Memay rents out extra rooms at his building.

“I am interested in farming activities but I can only do so for my household because I do not have strength left,” he said.

Sherab, a college student who stayed as a tenant in Memay’s home for more than three years said that Memay is a kind and helpful person.

“His cheerfulness and smile are the best things about him,” said Sherab.

Sherab added that he considers Memay a confidant and one of the best human beings he has met in life.

Meanwhile, Memay also gives wise counsel to youth goading them to serve the nation through innovative ideas and work.

As Bumthap Memay folds another doma and packs it into a paper cone he said his ultimate aim in life is to be a friend to everybody.

“My greatest happiness lies in making others happy,” he said.

Jigme Wangchen from Kanglung, Trashigang