03 September 2011

Wangay's Letter - "Bereaved leave"

Wangay is a teacher in Phuntshothang Middle Secondary School, Samdrup Jongkhar. I don't know him but his letter (see the picture) published in Bhutan Observer yesterday connected to me. He had to come to school to attend to his duty leaving behind his grieving wife whose mother passed away. In times of sickness and death even enemies join in to give helping hand but because he was a working man who ran out of allotted leave, he failed so much as a husband.
When I was in my first year of college my father passed away. My sister was one year senior to me in the same college. Two of us cried our long journey home. I cried more when I thought of how my mother would be, and cried even more thinking about our three younger siblings. Our youngest sister was only three then. When I reached home I rushed to see my mother, why has already cried herself to unconsciousness. My little sister was among the villagers trying to revive my mother, she wouldn't know what had happened. She would say her father has gone to collect firewood. My youngest brother was on his way back from school and hadn't yet known his father was dead. My other younger brother was strongly waiting for us, since he was the eldest when we were not there.
All our close relatives living in Thimphu provided us with all the money we need to preform the funeral rites, but when it comes to being by my mother's side they weren't there for even a single night. We children were the only people surrounding the widow. And the most ugliest, most regretful and the most inhumane part of that story was our early return to college. The two eldest children left their mother on the seventh day because of our unforgiving attendance system in college. If we didn't have the required attendance we wouldn't be allowed to sit for exams no matter what. Even today, it pains me so much when I think of that system, and my biggest regret is the choice I made- I chose too leave my broken mother for a damn college.
This is my story among thousands of your stories. Of all the times in life shouldn't we be given a special leave  when something like these happen? These are life changing moment that don't happen often. And with Wangay, I wish to urge the government to think over it. It's should matter if it isn't in American system, Bhutan is the first country that should welcome "bereaved leave". Please.


  1. I mourn for Wangay's grief. But as far as i am concerned there is Bereavement Leave already in the Civil Service Rules & Regulations (BCSR 2010). Bereavement Leave of 15 working days apart from Casual leave and Extra ordinary leave is provided to every civil servant in the event of death of an immediate family member on each occassion. Thats what the clause states.

    Maybe Wangay is totally ignorant of the rules or he did not approach the right personnel in his agency or his agency is ill-informed altogether.

  2. That's totally a breaking news for me as well. Thank you so much. I would love to find about it and enlighten my friends about it.

  3. hi sir, every article of yours move my heart....... Love your writing so much la....

  4. Thanks Dechen for your comment. I hope to move your heart over and over again.


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