Lobxang’s anger

Dangerous fun

Dangerous fun

The following letter, from Lobxang, deserves attention. Lobxang works in New York. He keeps a blog. And is on Facebook.

Dear OL,

I was much pained to read in the news the tragic loss of seven promising kids in the Wangchuck River. My deepest respect and prayers goes to the lost souls and the bereaved family. I read again and over again every piece of information that I could find on the net. I am deeply pained at first, and now I am angry, very angry.

Seven lives are lost. This is a national loss. His Majesty the fourth King always said; “Our children are the future of the country.”  Now here we are, mourning the loss of our future, our own kids.

From what I read in the news on that tragic night, I picture some perfect chaos with nobody knowing what to do. It’s my understanding that the river did not just ‘swell up’ and swallowed the innocent victims. There was enough time to save every one of them.

Let’s question ourselves. Do we always have to learn the hard way? Why can’t we be smart and act proactively? Why do we still not have some well trained rescue team?

Kuensel editorial rightly pointed out; We have helicopters flying in and out to rescue a single tourist who is sick. Let me add, we even have guides who are well trained to perform CPR or give out SOS signals in case of a mishap. Now there was a whole team of police and officials watching the kids drown that night. No body seemed to have known what to do. This is madness. They could pass on a mobile phone but they could not send in a single expert swimmer to secure the ropes around the kids. Where were the helicopters? Do we even have a single life jacket in the whole country? How about some life savers or floaters? We know very well our rivers are fast and good for hydropower but we also know it’s threats. It’s not for the first time a life has been lost into those torrential rivers. Watch my words, many more tragic events will follow if we do no wake up now.

Whom do we blame? What do a young active kid do on a sunny sunday afternoon? How long will he line up at the lone basketball court in school? Swimming is not just game and fun. It’s a survival skill. How many swimming pools do we have in the country?

Mourning alone is not enough. Let’s pay a tribute to the lost lives. Let’s have rescue teams in every community. Let’s have diverse recreational facilities in schools. Let’s be aware and learn how to act in tragic calls of mother nature.

Do something please. I lay my thoughts.

In Grief,

New York


Facebook Comments:


  1. pingpong says

    I couldn’t agree more with Lobxang!!!
    My condolences to the grieved family members, and may kids’ souls rest peacefully in the heaven!

  2. I disagree with Lobxang.

    What the hell would he know the ground realities – sitting in New York? Ofcourse it is a terrible loss and we all sympathize with the parents of the children who lost their lives.

    Let us not blame people before we know the real truth. I am certain that an investigation will be conducted and the truth will emerge as to what exactly happened or what did not happen. Until then, let us be sensible and do nothing that will cause another tragedy – such as the Solidarity Walk that is being planned today. This is not good.

    Now that I am posting on your blog, Your Excellency OL, please reassure me that PDP is not behind this Walk.

    To be frank, I did not vote for your party. But over the months since you assumed leadership of PDP in the Parliament, and your posting here, I have come to develop a healthy respect for you and so I visit your blog every day to see if you have posted something new. So far I like all that you have written.

    Is your party behind this Solidarity Walk? I need to know. Thanks

  3. Agreed. It is easy to pass judgement after the event and throw blame here and there. The fact is that seven precious lives were lost and it is a tragedy not only for the parents of lost souls but for all Bhutanese. My their young souls rest in peace.

    The lessons we should learn are:
    1. As many suggested we ahould form rapid response team for any disaster anywhere in the country. This team must be equipped with all necessary equipment, manpower and fund, and mobility including helicopter.

    2. Educate communities living along the rivers to be careful especially during monsoon season. Parents must not allow their children to go for swmim even in small stream during rainy season.


  4. Wang Drugyel says

    Not only Lobxang, I am also angry
    Among the 30 people watching the tragic incident which led to the drowning of the 7 innocent young children, for god’s sake at least one could have actually tried rope and should have proceeded towards the kids holding him by the other people. In any extreme cases his life is guaranteed as he will be hold by so called 30 brave people that even consist of policeman. This magnanimity action from any one among the 30 people should have save our young and helpless kids. I can’t digest the story of giving mobile phone, biscuits and finally seeing them washed way in front of the 30 strong gentlemen. Some blame also goes to the discharge of water from the dam which may have suddenly swollen the river and that did the final mishap. MAY THE YOUNG SOUL REST IN PEACE.

  5. I agree with Lobxang…every citizen has the reason to question and right to information. In this situation since there was ample time to get help it is only reasonable to question how was it possible that help couldn’t reach this children.

    And i also support the Solidarity walk…what are we for? just for rhetoric? if we can’t even get together during such times of disaster. This is not to point fingers at anyone but to question ourselves…its just to show support and solidarity to fellow fellow citizen that a tragic loss has happened and we cannot take it lightly. If we Bhutanese cannot even come together during such times then what can we ever do…

  6. Guest, common man, stop this blaming game…. and ask yourself a question. Why would you want to keep the game going on.. “PDP and DPT” Now we are one and must think like one. PDP or DPT stop this blame game. PDP has very respectable people who have their head on the shoulders and are accepts their fate quietly. DPT are the ruling govt, therefore must provide to the people whether PDP or DPT. But looks like the DPT is out to get PDP no matter what and what is the real reason behind it, we can’t understand. Is it personal differences or has PDP done anything so harmful that the DPT is so threatned?… it feels like the animosity of DPT towards PDP is very personal and feudal.

    • apple, please practice what you preach. You begin by asking guest to stop the blame game and end by blaming the DPT for being “very personal and feudal.” What a hypocrite. Ashamed of you man…..

  7. Your excellency,

    I have over the years, developed heartfelt respect for your knowledge, hard work and your well researched debates in the NA.

    I just hope that PDP is not behind the Walk.
    The Walk has set a bad precedence in the history of Bhutan.

  8. Shame on all those people who thinks PDP is behind this walk…very extreme and defensive. Even if they were, what is wrong with this? Bhutanese people love to gossip, but when push comes to shove, they don’t have the balls. It is high time we have the right to information – how much has the government spent on developing a rescue team? The answer is none! DPT spent their time and money on what allowances the MP should get…that is all.

    By the way, I am not a PDP supporter and infect I voted for DTP Jinba (south Thimphu).

    If Bhutan is keen to have democracy, have it to full swing and allow people to participate.

  9. if this walk set future trend and if it turns violent in future then i will call this day as a “black day”….otherwise its okey….

  10. Apple, I don’t think you will understand the larger implications of what this Solidarity March means.

    I said I did not vote for PDP but by that I did not mean that I did not vote for PDP because they were a bad party. I have my reasons. But now that we have had a taste of a government with such overwhelming majority and a Parliament with inferior Opposition – numerically, we need to do something the next time round to improve the disparity.

    But if the PDP is being irresponsible by instigating this March I am afraid that they are not an option I will reconsider in the next election. That is very clear.

    Read the plea the so called “Concerned Citizens” submitted. It is pathetic – their petition totally disregards the fact that the government has acted promptly and that concerned government Secretaries and Minister of Education was there on the spot to asses the situation. They also disregard the fact that His Majesty the King sent His own sister to console and reassure the parents. That isnt not doing anything.

    They march on the plea that nothing has been done. That is gross misinterpretation of facts and is designed to mislead the Bhutanese people. This is mischief that we don’t need and this a mischief a political party cannot be involved in – whether ruling or in the Opposition.

  11. This really calls from serious action from our side.
    Lets act so that this doesn’t happen anymore.
    Thanks for drawing attention to such an important issue.

  12. Guest, nothing personal nor political. I am just confused because everytime it is PDP or DPT. The whole discussion and the way the blame game is it looks like DPT is out to get PDP no matter what. My question is what is the real reason behind it, Is it personal differences or has PDP done anything so harmful that the DPT is so threatned?… it feels like the animosity of DPT towards PDP is very personal and feudal. How can we resolve this? or else PDP has no place in Bhutan as long as DPT is ruling!!!!!
    Sharing my thoughts aloud, as long as DPT is ruling, is PDP considered Ngolop? So supporters of PDP, is it a crime? Do you want people to percieve it this way? Very sad….. if I was the PM, the first thing I would do is to bring the 2 parties together and respect your opposition so that you will be respected in return….. The humility part is what is missing. There is a great need to bring the two parties together since without either one of them there would have been no election.
    Just an opinion.

  13. I think it is high time that we must have professional rescue team in the Country. At the same time we need good equipments and other necessary things to be used in times of danger.
    Govt. must do something.

    I have my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and my sincere prayers to the lost souls.

  14. I know that many people are angry and frustrated that seven young lives were lost in that terrible tragedy, but for lobxang to pass judgement from thousands of miles away, that I think was in very poor taste. By his own admission he says that he has fine tooth combed through all the news reports on this tragedy, but he seems to have conveniently forgotten that the parents of all the seven boys were there at the site of the tragedy and all of them have stated that nothing more could have done to save the children. As for calling in a helicopter to assist in rescue efforts so late at night, that was not even a viable option. I am aware that choppers fly at all times of the day and night in NYC, the same sadly however is not possible in Bhutan.

    At the end of the day whatever was possible was done, so lets leave it at that.

  15. At the end of the day, it is simply a reflection of our state of development and the kind of infrastructure and rescue system that we are so so much behind.

    A very simple case in point – last November, at the height of summer and torrential monsoon showers, the whole of the state of Queensland, Australia was inundated. There were several hundreds of incidents were common people were caught off-guard. And just like the incident here, young teenagers found themselves in the middle of rapidly rising rivers. However, throughout the whole summer months’ monsoon melodrama, what stood out was a string of brave, competent, professional and swift successful rescues!

    This is not to put Bhutan on an equal footing with an industralised nation like Australia; and I agree with Lobxang’s comments. It’s not about being judgmental or providing a commentary from the comfort of one’s safe environs. Rather it’s about some sort of an awakening, about what a nation needs to do, about the need to set things in order and to start “beginning” somewhere. And above all, it is also about not continuing to bask in the concocted glory of ignorance that we Bhutanese are so accustomed to!

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