Monday, January 24, 2011
The Journalist congratulates the new mayor-elect of Thimphu city, Kinley Dorji and the mayor-elects of Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. Irrespective of the required protocol that will go hand in hand with the new posting, what The Journalist is more interested in is what kind of approach and solution will the first mayor-elect bring to the myriad of problems that await the mayor-elect.
More than any of the other towns, due to its plain positioning as the administrative and the financial capital of the country, Thimphu today represents an urban mess. From lack of solid waste management to towering rentals and shortage of houses to lack of recreational parks and parking spaces to public transportation and increasing pollution, the city has become symptomic of everything that ails a modern developing city.
Added to that burden are new ailments such as homelessness, the rising tide of unemployables, drug use and abuse, and crime.
None of these topics probably come as a surprise to the mayor-elect, but the persistent lack of a creative solution or something resembling thereabouts probably does. We are not that naïve to think that the election of a candidate has been the missing ingredient and that all that ails the city will suddenly become wholesome again! Far from it, we recognize the immense difficulties awaiting the path he will walk. But there is undoubtedly one expectation, that the mayor-elect chose to sat for the hot seat knowing full well the complexities of the circumstance that will await him and that awaits the city. And as long as he goes about his job the best he can knowing the many setbacks the city has suffered, we’ll remember the effort - anything more than that would be a welcome miracle.
Not entirely unrelated but somewhat different from the issue above is the issue of bans. Conceded that the cigarette ban is now a law and hence, any dillydallying on the topic would be waste of breath. But surely we couldn’t let go of a topic that harks back to the days of yonder when the one instant tepid solution to any lingering problem was the ubiquitous ban.
We tried it with the national dress, it didn’t work. We tried it with the long hair, it didn’t work. We tried it with the meat ban, it didn’t work. We tried it with the drugs, it does not seem to work. The only place where we haven’t tried the ban is the alcohol and for that, full marks must be accorded. The dissolution of empires such as the Soviet Union is testimony to the enduring truth about human beings: they have desires and desires cannot be banned.