30 November 2014

"Robbing the Country Blind"- Beyond English Lesson

"Robbing the country blind" was a figure of speech that Druk Phunsum Tshogpa took literally. Over the past months many people including Dasho Benji himself gave the party several English lessons. This case became so popular that the whole nation would by now know the meaning of the figure of speech, but as a matter of fact, no one will ever use it, especially on Facebook.

Opposition Leader with Dasho Benji- Photo Courtesy: RSPN Website
Beyond the English what lessons did we learn?

Individually, we must be warned that we can't just say anything against anybody if we can't substantiate. You should be more careful if you are a prominent figure in the society. Your words can be interpreted in many ways. And most importantly we should know freedom of speech has limits, which is not defined.

On the contrary, what Dasho Benji did was a very democratic example to the so many young followers he has on social media. He is illustrating how to speak up without shying, and most importantly he was showing us that we need not be anonymous to speak up boldly. But what DPT did to Dasho will have very deep impact on the emerging culture of social dialogue. People will never take chances and we may always resort to speaking anonymously.

Druk Phunsum Tshogpa, as a party should have never bothered about such petty comments because this is politics. They should focus on bigger goals of nurturing democracy in the country rather than giving suicidal threats from time to time. Their very nature of going off-focus lost them 2013 election, where instead of talk about what they will do they spent the whole campaign period talking and laughing about what the other party was going to do.

While it's easy to file a defamation case, just as freedom of speech has no well defined boundary, defamation doesn't have shape too. Freedom of speech doesn't necessarily end where defamation begins. The thin line between the two is very flexible. Therefore, now Dasho Benji's lawyer is charging DTP for "infringe upon the fundamental rights of an individual, which is guaranteed by Constitution.” He goes on for 13 pages where international examples of how political parties can't sue individual were cited. In a surprising backfire, after failing to convince the party that 'robbing the country blind' was a figure of speech, Dasho Benji is now substantiating his Facebook comments by digging out the ugly past, which could cost the party Nu.75 million. Party shouldn't have cornered the cat.

6 December, DTP will present their argument and the case will go on for sometime. Opposition will lose so much in this case- from time, attention to their real job, public support and perhaps Nu.75 million. 

Who Should Win?

If DTP wins, freedom of speech will be under question. There will be lesser people daring to say anything openly. There will be lots of anonymous users on social media. The very foundation of democratic dialogue will be dead.
If Dasho Benji wins, then it will lead to more social dialogues, not personal attacks. People who are hiding behind the mask will slowly come out in the open without fear. DPT will need a loan of Nu.75 million to drink their own ara. 


  1. Simply put, it means we are on the verge of a ‘small’ but significant change.
    Social media will never be looked at in the same way....
    Thanks PasSu...

  2. People resort to all kinds of bullshit on social media...DPT should have just let it pass instead of resurrecting their own skeletons and now, they may have to resign en-mass as they guaranteed, and who were they challenging - the ex CJ of Bhutan? I bet DNT members are warming up to take their place :)-

  3. I am nobody to question Dasho Benji's flair in English but I still find it silly on Dasho's part to have used that phrase and even more sillier for DPT to have pursued the case legally .........

    Let them play the silly game.

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  5. What is Nu.75 million? Is this anything to do with DPT--Dasho Benji court verdict outcome? The winner will receive Nu.75 M from the court? A money game?...hahaha

  6. @Pema Dezang, that Nu.75 million is the amount Dasho Benji's Lawyer claimed from DPT for defaming him- interesting twist in the case.

  7. How interesting.... Now the lawyer is trying his best to Rob DPT blind......

  8. Dasho Benji is a proven motor mouth. Nothing about him is serious and nobody takes him seriously. So why is DPT being so silly? They should withdraw the case and forget about it as a laughable matter.

  9. Dasho Benji is known for his loose tongue...so dpt should have just laughed off at his comments and went ahead doing their important work as an opposition party.

  10. simply a political dialog including Mr. X. as far as i am concern no law grants any individual a false statement as freedom of speech. and if freedom of speech is everything the word defamation should not have existed. and for DPT taking individual comment on social media over a national duty as a opposition party is a concern as a citizen.
    Just a individual thought, no affiliation to either side.

  11. I think DPT didn't realise what bhutanomics once posted about them.....If they have read those posts earlier I think what dasho Benji wrote is nothing.


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