It would have been an embarrassing for the Bhutanese team lead by the Health minister attending the 68th session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee meeting in Timor- Leste’s capital, Dili or the Bhutanese citizens should be.
It may have been the wise though of the reporter but the kuensel read “Tobacco use is culturally accepted in Timor Leste, just as alcohol is in Bhutan”. They are comparing our nation’s culture to what tobacco has done to theirs.
So is it not time for us to learn?
Bhutan, a small country, cannot afford to learn from repeated mistakes but be swift to discover from others’. Drinking may have been culture but the time has come for us to rethink our culture. During those days, drinking was culture, yet people rarely got sick form alcohol. The amount of drink was subsidized by the manual work they had to do. They had to work in the field, defend the crops against the animals, walk, carry and fetch. In short, everything was physical and manual.
Today, development has raced in front of us and made our life dependent. Everything has been made easier if not comfortable. So even if one drinks a glass of wine, there is no physical activity to balance the drink. This results in increasing number of alcohol related diseases and even deaths.
Better late than never; let us not drink in the name of culture. There is a dzongkha proverb which says “learn good things even from an enemy and avoid bad things even from one’s own parents” (Hope I got it right). If drinking is one of the main culprits in death of many, we have to do away with our culture. It’s very disheartening to lose our countrymen for our culture.