Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Letter to my father

Dear Apa, 

I hope all of you’re doing well without any sickness and problem in the village. My prayers are always with you all!
With the blessing of Kenchosum, I’m doing quite well here. And it’s been two years that I started working as dzung wokpa [civil servant]. You remember, Apa? When I graduated with BA, you always urged and wanted me to try for a job in the civil service and that you wanted me to sit for the RCSC exams. And you arguably told me that once I become a dzung wokpa, I will be invincible. Or more aptly, you used to remind me that the repeated storms of joblessness can never touch me once I become a dzung wokpa. Also, I’d have easy access to get loan.
Moreover, I was assured that in the civil service I’d have enough quality time for my family and myself. Restful weekends, CL, EOL. I still remember the time when you told me that even when I become old and weak there would a cheque every month being sent in my name. 
But you know, Apa?  In the beginning, I found myself in such a jeopardy as you’d never dream of. I was nearly suspended from my office. But I was only being exceptionally industrious and suggesting breakthrough initiatives to my bosses.
Instead of describing our job responsibilities and teaching us the work, bosses only try to discipline us. We only do what those above us order us to do. Our bosses are never accustomed to the subordinates asking questions. It’s unbelievably funny to say that what our bosses tell us is not always right. But it’s not our job to ask why. If we all began to ask why, there would be only ocean of whys.
There’re two rules about the bosses in our line of work. We’re to be mindful of the rules for all time. They are:
                          Rule 1: Bosses are always right
                          Rule 2: If they’re found wrong, refer rule no. 1

Apa, you must’ve heard or seen on TV our senior bureaucrats unhesitatingly and unashamedly lauding that youth are very important and guardians of the future Bhutan. But the irony is that they (heads of different sectors, divisions, departments, ministries, agencies) never invest in young officers. All the ex-country training opportunities are grabbed by them, secretly though. No fewer than six times in a year they visit to attend the ex-country trainings (more than what they are entitled) and countless in-country workshops, seminars and short-term trainings.

Funniest of all, most of these people are in their early 50s and will be retiring after a few years. Our government is mindlessly wasting the budget on them. I think young officers should be the priority because we still have three more decades to serve in the civil service.  

Now, I will tell you why they frequent ex-country trainings. Though old, they never twirl the rosary and practise dharma like you. The last few years of their service is to earn as much as to buy new prados with the available quotas and purchase plot of land to erect buildings. And their children’s job is only to finish off their savings and destroy their properties. Sounds strange!

I forgot to tell you that in the dzung wok, we stop living truth. Blunt and straightforwardness in the matter relating to office management would only do more harm than good. Those hardworking people are never acknowledged and rewarded. I’ve a beautiful poem written by someone like me which can better explain you the situation of dzung wok. It’s here, Apa. Read it below,

When I do something without being told, I’m trying to be smart,
When my boss does the same, he is taking the initiative.

When I make a mistake, I’m an incompetent,
When my boss makes a mistake, he is only human.

When I’m out of the office, I’m wandering around,
When my boss is out of the office, he is on business.

When I’m on day off sick, I’m always sick,
When my boss is a day off sick, he must be very ill.

When I do good, my boss never remembers,
When I do wrong, he never forgets.

This may interest you further. In every dzung office, there’s a bunch of people who are the boss’s favourites. We called them chamchagiri. The boss is always surrounded and accompanied by this group, treating with domas and tshom from their rural homes. They’re extraordinarily sincere in front of their boss but bunk office as soon as he is outdoor.They've discovered that the secret to success in  the civil service is not in hard work but in the chamchagiri

We’ve another group of people who assemble together, do tea and doma party during the office hour and gossip non-stop.

Most people in the office broadcast their works they are doing. They pretend that they’re really working hard in front of their desktops. The reality; however, is that they would be busy chatting on yahoo messengers or printing or photocopying their children’s assignments or project works.

Don’t worry, Apa. I’m coping up quite well with the system here. It’s only a time of change for me, from innocence to reality. Now, I’ve honed all the necessary chamchagiri tricks and concocting plans to build unshakable rapport with my bosses. It’s little weird, but I’ve to do all this for the ex-country trainings, fast-track promotion and more necessarily to sustain in Thimphu.

Yours beloved son.


  1. Wow, a very beautiful and thought-provoking post, sir. I have been reading or hearing such things many times before and this article of yours in the form of a letter to your father further ascertains the fact. It is very sad to learn such things taking place.:(

  2. wonderful article...very satirical and to the point....makes me also to write such things....getting inspired, sir...have a great day..keep writing..

  3. very true indeed...when we are faced with the situation where we cannot change it... we are forced to follow the rhythm of the situation... Welcome to the world of

  4. Incredible post la sir...and could see the profound truth in it!!

  5. Keep a work diary of you own, and keep another one for writing everything wrong you notice. One day if you are threatened by anyone you stand tall and fight back with right, remember there is someone up above who is not corrupted- not God- our king. You don't have to be like them, you will only regret.

  6. Dear Riku,
    Thups up.. wel articulated. this is really a nice written piece. keep posting.

  7. Sir, really an interesting post yet a disheartening one. Till then keep flowing, as long as there is no two sun, global warming cannot dry the streams.

  8. Dear riku,
    Dont care what the world perceives u as! what u think & do is far more significant to urself (well mostly).if your boss thinks that he is alys rite, but err, you don’t, well… you can always separate on rightful differences.Wanna give the Devil a severe inferiority complex!!!

    But then, you do need to substantiate these claims.

    Probably the world has changed so you have no one to blame and no one to thank.But who knows sumday u mite b doing the same.