Without alcohol there would be more happiness

Dorji died a few days ago. He was my classmate in Kanglung. He died of alcohol related problems.

Dorji was among the 75 of us who entered Class XI in Sherubtse College, Kanglung in 1982. Another two of my classmates from this batch have also died – Devi Bhakta and Thinley Penjor. Both of them died from alcoholism.

One of my classmates was recently in the ICU. He’s still recovering from alcohol related complications. At least three more classmates are chronic alcoholics. And many of us are heavy drinkers.

Alcohol has already killed three of my classmates. And it threatens to kill three more in the near future.

This is just the tip of the iceberg among my classmates.

And the very tip of a very large iceberg in our beloved Drukyul – with less alcohol there would be more happiness.


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  1. I hate strongly those substances that adversly affect our body. Among them i hate alcohole more than any other substances. It kills people and creates social problems more than the effect of any other. I think we bhutanese are very lucky to have an OL like you who understands the effect of alcoholism. We would higly appreciate if you could bring this issue at the higher policy level whereby some something can be done as we did with on Tobaco. Thank you very much.

  2. Tshering Tobgay says

    During “question hour” this morning, I asked the health minister what the government was doing about this growing problem. His answer was long – it covered everything, and nothing.

    But let’s keep at it. For our own sake.

    • this is all bullshit….personally i think this blog is just to brain wash people against DPT….i know the new govt has done so many things to the country..i rele wonder what would be the condition of our country if PDT won the election…no offence to OL…lets take the above example you have mentioned..about what was govt doing about the growing problem..if OL was really concerned im sure he wont have written saying the answer was long covering evrything n nothing…this is just brainwash….change our attitude then only the problem will be solved…dont just blame the government….thank you…

  3. I know, I saw the debate this morning too. Wonder why these guys try to baffle us with bullshit. Another thing I noticed is tht during the campaign period the present gov promised us lot of things and said tht money was not a problem as the old minister have connection to get the fund from outside. But now I always hear them saying the gov has no money…… w do u think la.

    • anonymous can you tell me one point that the new govt has broke the promise…come on people wake up…new govt has done so many things..n they r still trying their best…its easy to blame the govt..the first thing we need to change is change ourself…blaming wont help …anonymous huh wat the…

  4. Anonymous said “…whereby some something can be done as we did with on Tobaco” – umm what exactly has been done about Tobacco use?? Tobacco consumption has not decreased, there is still smoking in public places which means that non-smokers are still passively smoking and now all we have is a black market wherein unscrupulous people are making big bucks. Also, this “ban” on tobacco is just taking up money and time as custom officials have to look for tobacco when this time and manpower could be put to better use elsewhere.

  5. Instead it would be better if tobacco was heavily taxed and the ban on smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants etc should be properly enforced.

    Back to the original post, I agree that more needs to be done about alcoholism in Bhutan though.

  6. Ministers are used to giving flowery speech which yields nothing, so surely not a surprise from the health minister. In general most leaders in Bhutan do that to waste first 20 minutes of ecery sessions in meetings or whatever.

    • oh ya …you think you are great..you know why DPT won…people knows the truth..you know why they are ministers because people voted for them..everybody knows that PDP was damn sure of wining..haha..good things always happens at last…i again saying this…your attitude is not right..change it man…peace

  7. Bhutanese Blogger says

    Kudos for bringing this issue to the forefront. Sympathies for your friends and many other victims of alcohol.

    It is surprising (or rather unsurprising) that whilst the Government empties locally brewed ara in villages (depriving villagers of cash income), it does nothing to discourage the proliferation of bars in urban areas.

    Every third shop in Thimphu is a bar. It is anybody’s guess how effective our rules regarding sale of alcohol are and how seriously the issue is considered.

  8. I think anything taken in moderation is fine. Alcohol as such is not the problem, if taken in moderation, it’s a medicine. Even sugar taken in excess makes one diabetic but that doesn’t mean we ban sugar from the market.
    Anyways I’m sorry about your friend. My condolence to his family.

  9. Woa! There’s passion in his voice. A passionate voice is a credible voice. Body, speech and mind in one.

    Well, then! … Some useful scientific and historical facts, for the public policy work of the passionate L.O.:
    1. Alcoholism is a hereditary disease. Genes that make the addiction more probable skip a generation and reappear – from grandparents to grandchildren.
    2. Alcohol content of homemade ara can easily exceed safe levels for human consumption. Higher the alcohol content, stronger the impact on the hereditary genes, leading to more incidence of the disease early in lifecycle.
    3. Prohibition has always failed in human history. It profited criminals and even created mafia organization.
    4. High taxation always works to curb consumption of alcohol, but cannot eradicate the disease by itself.
    5. What works is a strong teamwork between concerned public agencies and citizen’s social organizations, supported by compassionate society, and led by a strong political leadership who champions the cause.


  10. One applaudable clause in the recent pay hike was “no alcohol must be served on official dinners except for beer”. Hopefully, this is strictly adhered to by all our heads with authority.

  11. zekom>> i don't think i agree with your first point. I know this though experience. Basically its the choice you make in life.
    One thing that's important is education and information, rest its up to individuals.
    I think local Bhutanese beverage are unique and our own, and as such its production, sales and export should be encouraged. I remember that in one of the International Dinners here, our local whiskey was a really bit hit. I don't really agree about the high tax thing.

  12. well,the government did ban of local brewed ara….. which was the part of income for our people but, the imported drinks are not banned…. is it fare!!!
    The answer may be Taxes…. but we can even charge taxes on our local products.we even have alcoholic products from AWP….where every police gets one bottle of XXX rum monthly..
    so, as OL…what your honourable thinks on it?

  13. one thing….. goverment does many camign on such issues…. like drugs, acohol and HIV/AIDS… till then people get in to it very knowingly…. so, i could say why to watse money on such campign… better provide good service at the ICU….a liver patient gets slow concerntration from Doctors because they didnt listen them at the campigne…..
    “We can take a donkey to a riverside but we cant force him to drink water”…..that is donkeys….animal right!!!

    your honourable, dont question much to health Minister because he too dont get confident to give speach on it without a peg(Jigger)

    sorry for the truths…..

    • phub wat the…this is all jealousy i dont understand you people…do you know health minister huh..without peg how can you write this also…just look at ur attitude…i can garante that u drink a lot…just looking at ur coments im telling…correct me if im wrong…phub(balloon)

  14. i think Phub is attacking Health Minister personally..don’t you think?and you said u don’t accept any personal attacks on other people using your blog..or should we conclude that this blog is only for your supporters..not the Bhutanese citizens

  15. Sir / Madam,

    i would like to clarify your doubt on me…..
    well,it is not the topic of attacking but its upto your understanding…..if you know the solutions, then you can take poison as medicine but, if you fail the recipe, even a medicine can turn into poison…..
    Please forgive me if you feel its part of attacking… i could say its a saying…..

  16. Dorji Wangchuk says

    I also lost my mother to alcohol
    when I was mid-way through my University. The year was 1993. If there is one regret (I try never to have one actually) it has to do with my mother no seeing me graduate and watch me come of age and enjoy modest colourful career. I was therefore disheartened to hear we had nothing in store to contain this problem which is taking thousands of lives all over Bhutan. We talk so much about HIV/AIDS, malaria, avian flu etc. And yet alcohol continues to be the single largest killer in this country besides of course creating other problems like divorce, rape, violence and much more.

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