But nat!

At school, we, like all children, all over the world, loved playing pranks. Our arsenal boasted an impressive range of innovative pranks. But the simplest and the most popular of them by far was the very versatile but nat! prank.

This is how it was administered: We’d go up to a fellow student and excitedly declare, “I found your wallet!” And then, very slowly, add, “But nat!”

Or we’d tell him, “Our math test is postponed … but nat!” Or, “She says she likes you too … but nat!”

The but nat! was meant to negate whatever news had just been delivered.

For obvious reasons, the prank would work only if the victim had really lost his wallet. Or if he hadn’t prepared for the upcoming math test. Or if he had confided that he was in love with a certain girl. And if, by some chance, the victim had lost a lot money, or really hated math, or was madly in love, the prank would triumph.

The prime minister, who, incidentally, also attended the same school, has pulled off a but nat! on the entire nation.

Last month, he went on live TV and confidently broadcast that the government would ban the import of vegetables from this month onwards. But last week, a month after his announcement, he seems to have changed his mind, and slowly added … but nat!

There’s no doubt that we can grow our own vegetables. In fact, we must grow our own food. But we’ve done precious little to encourage domestic production. So we’ve been relying almost exclusively on imports.

We can, and we must, grow our own food, especially vegetables. But that’s not possible overnight. Our dependency on imported food has come about from years of inefficient farming combined with lazy government policy.

Yes, we can, and we must, work towards substituting imported food with domestic production. But we must work carefully, deliberately and intelligently. An immediate and outright ban on vegetable imports will do more harm than good.

So I wasn’t surprised to hear the government say but nat! and negate the vegetable import ban.

But I am surprised at their decision to allow only one agency, the Food Corporation of Bhutan, to import vegetables. The FCB, as far as I know, does not have any experience in importing vegetables. As such they will find it difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate, buy and transport a wide range of perishable goods every week to Thimphu and other parts of the country. They don’t have the experience to do the job. And they don’t have the incentives to do a good job.

It’s clear that we will be compelled to import vegetables for some time. As such, the government should permit the vegetable vendors to continuing importing vegetables. They, not FCB, are the people who know how to do this business the most efficiently.

But in the meantime, the government must encourage domestic vegetable production. The government must take food self-sufficiency seriously.

Playing but nat! at school, with students, is one thing. Playing around with government policy, without understanding the ground realities, is quite another.


Facebook Comments:


  1. some times back we had fun watching ‘the great Tamasha’ on ndtv and never realising the fun we could have in our own back yard..but all in one this is good and even more when the government try’s to correct itself grammatically on a national paper on things the PM had said earlier..a democratic cliche for a young democracy..

  2. ”untill it is in writing, it is unofficial”. . PM was quoted as saying by Kuensel.
    So, does it mean all the promises and mandates DPT swore to the people of the kingdom during their election campaigning are all ‘unofficial’????????????

  3. we thought the PM borrowed some techniques from the UN during his last visit about growing vegetabkles overnight .. because he literally meant ‘Ban’ on live TV

  4. ‘Not thought through’ like so many other decisions – the decision to let the banks have their own say regarding interest rates, the decision to let the MEA (formerly Trade Ministry) issue n number of licenses, etc

  5. what about the decision to recommend this stupid fart as ‘the governor’?

  6. i love this Quote
    “”Playing but nat! at school, with students, is one thing. Playing around with government policy, without understanding the ground realities, is quite another.””

  7. We just want a straight answer, when is this going to end? Everyone is suffering from this crisis. Private sector has slowed down and will soon come to a standstill if something is not done asap. NO loans, no imports and now high priced vegetables. Each and everyone is effected. Governments fall just because of rise in onion price and in Bhutan, no one is answerable and the blame game is going on.

  8. guardian says

    I think we should actually be applauding the PM for his U turn on this issue. It is clear to see, that earlier, at the time of announcing the ban on the import of vegetables, the PM was not aware of the ground realities. Now with the benefit of hind sight, he is aware that such a move would cause huge problems for most Bhutanese citizens in general.

    In this case the PM has been proactive and my guess is that if the PM had allowed the ban to be implemented we would have a much bigger crisis on hand, ie no vegetables available.

  9. they need to be grateful for being leaders of this kingdom .. or shall i say, they are shameless.. because, had it been in another country, the Finance Minister and the central bank Governor would have already resigned!!! ‘incompetent’ people shouldnt be allowed to hold office for long.

  10. Next time election, we should have balance parliamentariann representation to implement the constitution. right now constitution is sidelined by the govt. govt does wrong without any hesitation. please selective next time.

  11. So what do you suggest? That govt should not reconsider any of its decision?

    To realise that maybe a decision should be reversed and then to reverse it for the benefit of all INSPITE OF KNOWING THE CROWING AND GLOATING THAT WILL ENSUE FROM CERTAIN QUARTERS shows courage and selflessness.

    And all you crowers and gloaters – may god help you because your spite and malice will definitely bring suffering and despair.

  12. Honestly…it’s so much easier to say this is wrong and that is wrong but being able to say how it should be done (if not that) is a different ball-game altogether.

    The PM and the govt displayed high level of maturity in correcting/revising a decision that was not realistic…any fool can say whats to be done and whats not to be, but it takes a GREAT soul to stand corrected, despite the full knowledge of whats in the offing, lambasting, …and to do it “for a purpose” higher and bigger than politics.

  13. crower and gloater.. eh ?? @ tangled and kinga, ya al must be among the few who have benefitted from this government or perhaps you havent felt the pinch of the INR crisis yet. The government is not doing anything selfless or great by putting in measures that they should have done a long long time back. Govt expenses started increasing at an alarming rate since 2008!!! the interim measures adopted by DPT has always been bullcrap. . so i dont see any degree of maturity displayed by the govt in containing the current economic issue.
    and tangled- mind you, suffering and despair is already prevailing, caused by the government at the cost of innocent people . ironic, that The govt havent accepted its mistake yet.

  14. I have read in the papers that the remote places in Haa (Example: Sangbay Ama village in Haa for more details Please refer to Business Bhutan dated May 5, 2012 Page 5.) are affected because of increase in prices of vegetables and other basic FOOD items.

    I don’t know why the Government is trying to restrict the import of basic food items such as vegetables (If the farmers in Bhutan are producing enough to meet the demands of all the consumers then it makes sense but for now they are not able to meet the demand at all). In case if the import of vegetables from India is restricted then imagine how much a Kg of Chilly and a bunch of Sag would cost… I will not be surprised if it cost more than Nu.100.

    The Rupee crunch is due to increasing Government expenditure, which fueled investment and therefore increase in credit by the banks… the figures are as follows.

    The following shows the top four-loan portfolio of the banks in Bhutan from June 2010 to June 2011:

    ………………………2010…. 2011…. Increase……. Increase %
    Transport ………….2.3……. 4.0……… 1.7 …………76%
    Building ……………7.6 ……10.3……… 2.7 …………35%
    Manufacturing ……5.1 …….7.1 ………2.0 …………39%
    Commerce …………4.8 …….5.8 ………1.0 …………22%

    The above figures are in Billions ( 1 Billion = 1,000 million)

    Form the above table it is evident that the rupee crunch is fueled by import of vehicles, construction, manufacturing and commerce activities. It is understandable that the sectors like construction, manufacturing and commerce is necessary for growth but an increase of 76% in vehicle loans is not at all sustainable and uneconomical which is unnecessarily creating the rupee crunch.

    In 2010-11 Bhutan imported only Nu 1.5 billion worth of Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Coffee, Tea, Spices, Cereals, Grains & Seeds.

    Government should look at restricting some unnecessary import in the above 4 sectors most importantly import of vehicles.

    If the Government restricts the import of basic FOOD items then, as always the poorest section of the society will be affected the most.

  15. Dorj,

    The govt does a U-turn and what do the likes of you do – gloat and crow. and say that the govt has not accepted its mistake as yet!

    suffering and despair don’t stop until spite stops.

  16. haha @tangled , what is it that you find so great in the govt taking a U-turn? it is just a result of weak decisions made by a weak govt.
    gloat and crow, oh we do that. we couldnt do much for the betterment of the economy for the govt wouldnt pay no heed!!!
    besides blaming the pvt sector and private consumption.
    i wouldnt be surprised if the govt is forced to take another U-turn because fools like you are blind to see another curve ahead!!!!

  17. MANIFESTO says

    was that growing ownvegetables there in PDP manifesto on 2008?… i doubt….

    we saw the problems with GDP and found a solution in GNH.
    so i am hope ful the leaders will find a solution to this simple vegetable busines aslo

  18. the fact that you don’t see the courage and selflessness in taking the decision, knowing full well how the gloaters would crawl out of the woodwork to crow, shows just how blind you are.

  19. i am of the opinion that you are lost in the process of understanding selflessness and ignorance . . yuh have rightly chosen your nick.
    there aint no question of courage here.. PM and the Governor make spot decisions in haste. what we see is a one man show!!!
    everyone knows that except you.
    it doesnt take much to make a foolish decision boi, but a strong leader is prerequisite to make strong and farsighted decisions.
    btw am sure ppl who make these decisions, particularly on the vegetable ‘ban ‘ face no crisis in their kitchens!!!
    @manifesto, the issue here is not about PDP,DPT nor DNT . nor any party’s manifesto . .its about the current situation effecting everyone , for which the present govt is responsible!!!! yes, our govt. had all the courage to do that!! and if it is about selflessness, irresponsible people would have stepped down from their posts!

  20. by the way DPT is NOT the founder of GNH. Our beloved , farsighted monarch is !@!!!

  21. changtong says

    just frustrated with present govt.. DPT doesnt gave the luck to rule these beautiful nation

  22. Contrary to what OL writes here, FCB, as i have learnt, is capable of meeting demand for vegetables if FCB is given this opportunity to import. It has wide network of marketing agencies in India and also within Bhutan. The problem with vegetable vendors is that they charge huge profit margin (up to 400% for some vege items, example beans. The price of beans at Falkata (from where bulk of vegetables are imported) is 400% times less than what customers pay at CFM, Thimphu. They are not more than 14 such vegetable vendors at CFM but this group rips off whole Thimphu population by overcharging the vegetables purchase. t is high time Government assist local production and diversify vegetable importers so that customers are not ripped off.


  23. One who makes mistakes and corrects it is a wise person. But the one who always finds other’s mistakes is a fool. There is no harm in correcting your mistakes, honourable PM! But, OL! when one finger is pointed to others, the rest are pointed to yourself. Keep your school pranks away from the national issue please.

  24. my point here is RMA as the central bank of the nation lacks professional capacity in the field of human resource!!! zimba and wangdi nob, even with all their experience in the finance sector has failed Us ALL!!!

  25. Dear OL,
    I remember yourself saying in one of the BBS interviews that one who accepts the mistakes and makes necessary corrections is a logical person. Now, it is also you saying that such kind of talks are pranks. Do you think before you say or write anything? Or, for you, everything PM says or does is a nuisance. Does Bhutan not deserve better OL than you in the future? It is a sheer disgrace on your part to bring such unhealthy issues.

  26. Dorj said

    “everyone knows that except you.” So you are everyone?

    “a strong leader is prerequisite to make strong and farsighted decisions.”
    Please point out some strong leaders so that we can compare and choose.

  27. i would have recommended a few if only, you had the power to compare, choose and designate.
    lmfao over my quote that you quoted. take a chill pill, sit back and tryna untangle- you will realize that the current system is steered by one single individual! and he is steering it in the wrong direction.
    one do not dictate everyone in a democracy !!
    proper analysis & consultations are important to come up with decisions unless it is made the monarch.

    we dont want people to make a joke outa Bhutan’s leadership cuz this aint no dictatorship!!!

  28. @correction

    i would have recommended a few if only, you had the power to compare, choose and designate.
    lmfao over my quote that you quoted. take a chill pill, sit back and tryna untangle- you will realize that the current system is steered by one single individual! and he is steering it in the wrong direction.
    one do not dictate everyone in a democracy !!
    proper analysis & consultations are important to come up with decisions unless it is made by the monarch.
    we dont want people to make a joke outa Bhutan’s leadership cuz this aint no dictatorship!!!

  29. FCB has always been there, FCB retail shops are more expensive than many other retail shops in the town. Many farmers are leaving gingers in their field because the price offered by the traders does not even compensate the cost of the seed itself? FCB has been used as platform to export all the fruits and vegetables grown inside bhutan till date, why is it now that they are licensed to take the little earning of the vegetable vendor owners? What significant role did FCB played till date to assure the general public of finding a solution to this problem? This situation will now make us pay double/ triple the price for the same tomatoes, beans, onions from falakatta. The cost will escalate increasing the outflow of money? The market is going to be next to communist-monopoly. Well done.

  30. Hapa,
    One who alys find others mistake is fool,…. But what to call for those who uses more than 11 different nicknames and try to oppose whatever issue our OL put in his blog??? And one thing, I have not seen nor heard that our PM accepted tat as his mistake instead what I heard is that his statement on television had been misinterpreted and misunderstood as per clarification made by PM during meet the press. If that clarification is really true then why it took a month to clarify???

  31. constitution says

    whatever OL and his loyalist says about Mr. PM and his govt, DPT govt. is to stay for another term, and of course PM because people are matured enough to judge their decisions based on the delivery of this govt. unlike 2008 where votes were swayed somehow under the influence of civil servants… fortunately toward what we have now.
    Individual’s desire is hard to quench, but I always look from the larger perspective and despite all the difficulties with limited power, limited resources things have moved thus far and sure with more lessons learned, this govt. is the force to reckon.
    Yes, OL will find loopholes in every move of the govt but he too need to realize the harsh reality that he too contradicts to what he said earlier.
    I see the IPL mess going on in India gettting politics in it and my only hope and prayer is hope OL do not wish to be going in such direction.
    If OL really feel he is the responsible citizen, better do soul searching and get on tract rather than getting on mudslinging with govt. on personal issues.

  32. Dear OL,

    One thing that I am yet to understand is as to how the overly imports has lead to the Rupee crisis.

    Whatever little economics I know, I understand that when the imports are higher than exports and their is no other source of revenue generation then the value of the currency goes down. In case of our country that is not going to happen because our currency is paired with Indian Rupee.

    In my opinion, the problem we are facing arose because of the decision by the Indian traders in bordering areas of not accepting Ngultrums. So far they were accepting the ngultrum, the common men was not even touched by the crisis. To control imports is our governments duty and they should certainly do it. But, my question is even if our economic condition is improved – how it is going to affect the life of common men. Will he be able to buy things in bordering area using ngultrum???

    Is our government addressing this issue? Have they identified the reasons for why this decision was taken by our till now very friendly neighbours? Is there any talks going on to resolve the present crisis of non-acceptance of ngultrums?

    If our leaders wants us to believe that by growing our own vegetables we will become independent and the crisis will be resolved, then they must educate us as to how the things are going to be in phases? How a businessmen sitting in Jaigaon is going to be bothered by it and will start accepting Ngultrum for financial transaction???

    A serious thought…

  33. With next election just few months away, i suggest some media house take up opinion polls as in the practise of other democratic nations (US ….)of both ruling and opposition party.

    Media houses do opinion polls but more like a quiz, tugged at the corner of its website or in the insert page that hardly serve the purpose if its serious enough.

    This way, current performance or whatever they have done could be captured by the popularity function, which would greatly determine the vote banks.

    Just useless suggestion though…

  34. Dear Gangkar,
    I’m sorry for not knowing that you are OL’s puppet. If you find me always opposing to OL, I find you always opposing the government. What I have pointed earlier was that correcting one’s own mistake is what wise men do, but one who always digs out other’s mistakes is a foolish act.

  35. this but nat is expected..he’s done other but nats – like when he said they’d all resign after they lost the constitutional case; like when he tried fear tactics & said they’d have to stop rural electrification..this pm is a pro at but nats..

  36. hapa,
    I think your answer to my comment is incomplete. Can you please be kind enough to show us where n when did PM accepted about this issue as mistake as u said ”I remember yourself saying in one of the BBS interviews that one who accepts the mistakes and makes necessary corrections is a logical person. Now, it is also you saying that such kind of talks are pranks. Do you think before you say or write anything?” using ur nick as Drukpa. I am against your every comment coz there is no genuine reason or logic behind ur points plus I still remember (first time i started noticing your comment) your comment in which you tried to advocate OL about attitude showing your real rude attitude. Dude…opposing against anything is not as easy as you think and you can’t just oppose coz you dun like it but you should give a genuine reason/logic behind your opinion.

  37. Mr. Upton says

    In all honesty, Politics is a game..A blame game played at the highest level in absence of a referee. Its surprising that the two leaders from the same school are playing this game but cannot agree on anything, one Team representing the Dinosaur OGB and the other a young OGB. The only way to resolve this stalemate is to invite a well known personality called Uncle Uppy [Upton]who could straighten out things….BUT NAT ???

  38. all in all .. . PM.. the DPT.. and RMA is nothin but jus a bunch of crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Oh boy! I don’t know where this but nat is taking everybody! We should concentrate on the main issue of ‘but nat’, its cause and effect instead of showing our frustrations no one actually cares a fig about!

  40. gachibewmo says

    Dorji (which one of the thousands?)
    “..nothing but just a bunch of crap.” If that is the case, you have no choice but to eat the crap that they dish out. Enjoy my friend while it lasts!!!

Leave a Reply to Thinlay Cancel reply