The public domain is not an easy one. It is even harder when you happen be to an elected representative serving in the public domain. And it gets worse if you are an elected representative serving in the unique domain that is Bhutan and you are headquartered in Thimphu. The reason it is not easy is largely due to the intimate and communal setting that is the Bhutanese society. Nothing goes unheard of and the rumor mill works extra time. Most of what we read and hear and see about in the various media outlets are but polite offerings – the real stories together with their sordid details is in the hearsay and in the privacy of one’s home.
By the same token, the opposite is also true. But good news about good folks isn’t quite as juicy as bad news about bad folks. People like infamous people more than people who happen to be famous and should the famous become infamous, it’s a box office smash hit.
The news and the hearsay surrounding some MPs and their apparently questionable conduct keeping in mind the office they hold is such a scenario. They are the cynosure of all eyes and the Bhutanese mentality is a demanding one if you happen to be a representative elected by them. They see you and everything you do and hold as their moral and ethical duty; and expect nothing but the best from you. Imagine the scandal it causes when they hear vignettes about MPs on the wrong side of the law. They will not tolerate it and the reason for that intolerance is what they consider to be the responsibility of the chair and the perks therein.
Thus when talk surfaced and stories about MPs on the wrong side of the law made the news the results have been pretty damning. There are grave accusations of conduct unbecoming of a parliamentarian – womanizing, gambling, racketeering, nepotism and the like. Has it really come to this is the question on everyone’s lips. Expectations notwithstanding, the accusations are of a fair nature.
For if they are, indeed, conducting their own clandestine operations with ulterior motives than holding an elected office makes them fair game for debate and discussion. After all, no one is going to bat an eye lid when it comes to an ordinary Bhutanese going about bar hopping, shaking a hip and flirting away with the fairer sex. But when an MP is seen, found and heard about doing the above it naturally raises the moral scale - drinking alcohol while the house is in session sends the wrong message even if it is limited to one member; involvement in business of a shady nature under the protection of political immunity raises yet another. In three days the house will resume to conduct its sixth session. Here is hoping the session will be a well conducted one, befitting its altruistic purpose.