Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What’s in a spelling?

The Prime Minsiter Tshering Tobgay inaugurated the office for Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited at Paro Airport on August 10, 2015. And….bam it has become a delicious headline and mockery almost everywhere - on social media, social gatherings and chats. It was not to do with the launch of helicopter service, but for an amusingly intriguing reason - misspelling of helicopter.
Pic: BBS
 At first, I felt it was a deliberate political scam, or sort of photosophed image. So I checked with images in newspapers and websites. Err it wasn’t; the inaugural board that Lyonchhen has inaugurated really spells “helicotper.”  

I just wondered, “How come?” But I instantaneously settled to it’s just a spelling error.

This morning when I logged into Facebook I was thoroughly captivated by hilarious discussions going on about this particular misspelling. People were throwing comments so frequently, sharing it rampantly, loud.  

I assume by now the person who had printed the board must have realized his mistake, and Lyonchhen must be blushing too.    

I have picked up some of the interesting comments and reactions from the Facebook users and here they are:

Wangdi Wangdi: “Spelling mistake instead of Helicopter how come Helicotper ya.”

Pasang Norbooz: “HELI-COT-PER (kotper or copter) RIP english.”

Younten Jamtsho “Hhaaaa. Leyonchen proudly inaugurating the HeliCotper. .. what an achievement.”

TB GheaShung: “LOL... is Helicotper model no/series no of helicopter?”

I believe that nowhere else a simple spelling mistake had aroused such exciting discussions entailing defamation. This is truly interesting and something that we must not forget - that a simple misspelling not only wrecks your life but can bring blushes to even personality like Prime Minister and his government.

There are others who have justified the misspelling, but in a funny way, as written below:

Sonam Jamtsho: “Spelling mistake is due to new service in bhutan.”

Thrinley Jamtsho: “There is no one in Bhutan who can make helicopter so we write helicotper. but in future there will be someone who can make so at that time bhutan will write right spelling.”

Chundhu Nidup Tshering: “Very soon bhutan will also launch.... Arrowplane not Aeroplane.”

Meanwhile, the discussion has brought to an issue of an inherent problem of Bhutanese attitude; that we very negligible and complacent. Karma wrote, “This is a silly mistake. We are talking of our Prime Minister here. This is called due diligence in our assigned work. Where is it in this one? Shameful. I don't find it funny. I find it shameful.”

Tashi Jyatsho added, “It was such a BIG event, after all the Prime Minister of Bhutan is going to come and inaugurate the office, and no doubt, it will be widely publicized. So why did they not care to correct the typo? Because they thought ah! never mind!! (Khed Mid). In fact this is the attitude of our people.....the Khed Mid attitude......that is dragging our country in all fields of development!!”

Some people felt that it is a “Bad Omen”. Because “We believe in signs and significance when beginning something important,” a comment justified.

Others went on to say that the person “Who was responsible for the board” and error “should be fired”, “sue”, “Cut away the both hands, of the writer and designer”.

Above all, it stirred the political drama and questioned the ruling government’s election campaign promises. Kailash Shongbhen Rai reacted, “OMFG......this is the flagship agenda of present government n finally it came with spelling blunder.”

Similarly Jumbo Page commented, “Great job PM. Enjoy the service and watch jobless people from up there.”

However, there are people who feel the mistake is pardonable and should not be publicized too widely, cruelly. Wang Chu justified, “Anyway everyone makes mistakes,we r human.” Another Facebook user supported, “This cn b corrected,instead of criticising,help d agency to correct it,useless fellows only criticise.”

TB Ghisingh Tamang: “understanding is more important than the spelling.”

Tshere Lham: “Hats off to the govt for providing wat is promised.”

Passang Tshering: “But looking beyond the ridiculous typo I must congratulate the government on the big development. It will change the face of rescue services and perhaps also transportation service (if only affordable to the Commons).”

So I would like to ask you, what’s in a spelling?

In fact, I have been always fascinated by Juliet’s dialogue in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”,

"What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Here Juliet is referring to Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention and the names of things or person do not affect what they really are. This dialogue encapsulates the central struggle and tragedy of the play, so here the spelling of helicopter and it has created a whole drama of mockery, fun and political attacks.

What’s in a spelling? I am not an expert to solve this puzzle, but I am very much sure that from now onwards Bhutanese people will never make mistake in writing the spelling of helicopter. Yes, even on social media.

So I end this post on a happy note by quoting what Passang Tshering wrote, “Ha ha ha this also means that the signboard designer had a good sense of humor and a perfect publicity plan. Would this picture be shared if not for this typo? Lol”

Note: I didn’t seek due permission from those whose comments appeared here because it has already appeared in public (social media). Thank you.


  1. A great comparative analysis done, Riku. You have provided a balanced view on the issue and I really appreciate that. It's a nice read. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thank you so much Sir for your comment.

  2. I really enjoyed reading. It was wonderful.