Narrowing The Gap – W I D E R! – Yeshey Dorji

Few nights back a number of us long time friends and acquaintances were gathered at a bar for a friendly session of drinking – some beer, some whiskey and one among us, plain hot water.

As the evening progressed, there began a vigorous discussion on a number of topics – both relevant as well as the utterly silly. Dehydrated conditions caused by the room heater combined with copious amounts of whiskey and beer, invariably lead us to loosen our tongues and emboldened us to speak on matters normally considered unseemly.

One member of the group asked:

“Wai, one of the campaign promises of the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) was that you would narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. What happened?”

One of the senior most members of the DNT who was present, interjected:

“Yes wai – we are certainly on the job. We are narrowing the gap – WIDER!”

That got us all guffawing. I mean it was incredible that such a senior member of the ruling party would say such a thing.

I asked the Member: “This is an incredibly honest admission – can I put it down in my Blog?”

He said; “Yes, please do by all means!”

The discussion on “narrowing the gap” took center stage because one of the group members that evening was on the phone with another political party member – negotiating a price for a vehicle quota – this time for a Toyota Prado. The price on offer for the right to ownership and import of a duty free Prado was Nu.2.2 million. The speaker on the other end was asking for Nu.2.5 million. The deal couldn’t be concluded because they could not agree on the price for the quota. But it certainly opened up a vigorous discussion on the reprehensible practice of awarding vehicle quotas to some section of the Bhutanese society, and the shameless trading of the piece of paper with wanton abandon.

One can attain great fame by being able to achieve great things in life. But that is not the only route to attaining eminence – one can also do so by being able to have the courage to undo evil and injustice in society. Vehicle quota is one such unfair practice that causes immorality and breeds class segregation among equals.

I urge the incumbent government to have the courage to dismantle what you know is corruption among those who have been charged with the responsibility to be the custodians of morality and good practices.

You may never have that chance ever again. CARPE DIEM!

The writer is an ardent blogger and Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Thimphu.