Donning thigh-high rubber gumboots and other leakage-proof paraphernalia that are also supposedly air-tight but environmentally friendly, the cranes keep roosting in muck and slime and lands and bans as other burgeoning parties with multi-personality Ikebana-inspired floral arrangements come to the fora in the great pursuit of the riches of serving king, kingdom and nagging natives, along with rainbow-painted rings and herbal colored balls. The return of the Ferrari Stallion in a friendlier and shorter stock of a traditional handsome pony are readying up to watch a theater play of Thumbelina- reconnecting with the grassroots is the tantra of the mantra.
Some of the revamped political package’s ingredients include supplies of mass consciousness and wholesome meaning, containing both transitory and deep metaphors. All of the parties vying for the 2013 Thumbs Up were generously registered by the ECB- the Election Circus of Bhutan for those less inclined with the workings of the august body that is also in the threshold of re-imagining its own PR, begun in earnest by none other than the circus master himself with Facebook accounts and Twitter pages that aims to befriend you, like you, tag you and finally invite you to its “2013 Thumbs Up” crescendo. Hence the ECB has done the penultimate round of party registrations for what has been dubbed the biggest summer blockbuster for the next four years by those with a sense of malicious humor.
The mega-event has “Elect Me Man” “Please Please Me” to “I Want Your Thumbs” and “I’ll Show You the Money” all releasing simultaneously. The investments are heavy and the risks are thicker than the fogs of Taktikothi, said a party spinner. But parties who have rolled in the moolha are sparing no change. All four productions will be coming to a chiwog, gewog and dzongkhag near you in all chiwogs, gewogs and dzongkhags right into your homes.
Pre-Publicity for the mega-ventures have begun in earnest and spin doctors say they shall “Leave No Thumb Behind” - its understood among gentile omnivores of the four registered parties that the prospect of winning the elections have taken on a ticklish-Tantalus-toll and devilish desires so that they can print bumper stickers with this priceless poop in the loser’s face, namely “Thumbs Up, Taste the Blunder” to their sadistically victorious chants and banners of “Thumbs Upped, We've Got The Dragon Thunder.” The chicks have been counted even as the eggs have yet to hatch.
The latest and newest babe, though technically the oldest infant of the two new parties, made its arrival on the Bhutanese political landscape, circa 2103- the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa. Its registration as a bonafide party offering “New Ideas For New Times” was hailed as a coup d’état by keen political observers suffering from a myopic sense of foresight well compensated with culinary nasal senses that, in the words of one well known headless bum who manages to confound all and sundry watching those BBS sanctioned round-table panel discussions where everyone looks bereaved and cheated on account of that Hollywood flick “2012” – which did not end the world as promised by the studios. “This leafing flower has proven its leagues ahead of the other new entrant and will pack a punch as we have demonstrated with our dynamic slogan which renders notions such as “Old Ideas for Olden Times” dead with sparklers such as “New Ideas for New Times,” said Doosra, Spin-Doctor par excellence- known to use lethal verbosity ala the Sri Lankan arm-twister.
Now that their banners and colors have been unfurled, anonymous critics have been cooking up a rather potent cauldron of broth. The first onion was peeled when Alo Shakamza, a budding culinary star cum self-confessed political aficionado figured the party’s registration was indeed deemed a milestone in terms of furthering the kitchenette-ties between Amazing Thailand and our own good old ema-datsi recipes with the kind of partying names now served for your funny bones and eating parallels.
Fingering a pair of rather sharp chopsticks in hand, Shakamza deftly pointed out to the prior registration of the Bhutan Kuen-Yam Party, which he reckoned would go a long way in first remembering what the part really was and then being able to intelligently tell apart the dishes of Amazing Thailand, such as the universally acclaimed “Tom Yam Soup” and its inter-independent relationship to a fruit suspiciously known as the “Yam”. “Or in a linguistic novel maneuver, did they mean subtly that “Bhutan Kan Yam?” The Druk Chirwang Tshogpa made clear the day they were registered that the party had nothing to do with either “Chir”- denoting a certain species of singing flora found abundantly in the regions where the plant is allowed to grow legitimately nor does the party, it equivocally stated, had anything to do with “Wang”- a suspicious sounding Chinese dude parading as a suspicious looking Bhutanese apparently frequenting Buddhist sites of empowerment in a bid to disempower the franchised-lot. already auctioned off to the alpha-logo in the parties’ “War of the Telling Symbols” (sounding rather like a surprise sequel to “I Want Your Thumbs".
It’s no secret that the ruling party has been governing more like the Ruining Party if recent real-estate indicators are any indicators. Nonetheless, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa had their obese-infected MPs gathered in an obvious photo-op in the murky marshlands of its symbolic colors of the Black Naked Cranes who swallowed collective chuckles at the mention of the new entrants of parties they said sounded suspiciously like “Soup” or “Snack” and then chuckled and sneered some more much against the party’s code of convenience that dictated that leading up to the premiere of their blockbuster, all of their members were to don a look of perpetual sorrow wrought by witch-hunting in general and frightening facts at others, along with a show of humility at all times no matter how superfluous.
But four years of agonizing glory could not be leashed-in in such a short span of plans regarding conduct. A disgusted MP known behind his back as the Punab Menab and upfront as Dasho Jigs shot the first frog-dart. He said the president of one of the parties looked as if the president had been designed to evoke that latent inherent Bhutanese sentimentality with the famed American country legend Dolly Parton, and he graciously offered that it was not the mammary. He volleyed on that the other had a sinister look, ala Dr No of the James Bond edition of the same namesake, Dr No, and as a parting spear said that the freshly minted party of branches and twigs’, or was it a branching leaf sprouting country flowers? He wasn't sure but the president, he opined, possessed a “look of misguided sense of self-entitlement under a garb of simplicity and a commoner’s hairstyle”. Now these are all questionable motives, the DPT MPs sang in unison, almost reminiscent of a North Korean rant and march.
When the subject of the object derailed back to their own incumbent PM and his Hamlet look of tragic entitlement in consort with a John Wayne strut and walk to claiming the Bhutanese dowry as accused by the trio of other presidents, the well drilled DPT cadre declared via an appointment and then through a blitzkrieg of spontaneously strategized statements to the stressed-out press that their chief honcho’s look was bereft of any wrongdoing whether by “Hook or Crook or his Crook’s Look”.
The look of the PDP’s head had been well observed and made, and in a case of art imitating craft and craft imitating life they all sang in chorus, albeit a tad cheerfully, that this was one plate, pate and palette of a profile that unless the shining head suddenly started sprouting hair galore and looking good, that there was really nothing to book.
Shakamza later confirmed that the PDP head’s look was a naturally bestowed handsome cause that had proven to be a source of immense discomfort and unfathomable jealousy to the obese and the bald, the imp and the puny tribe in the two houses over the last four years of inferiority hang-ups.
Getting back to the subject at hand and the symbiotic, the well-clad emperors of the DPT pointed out to the DNT’s floral arrangement as the death of Ikebana and a potential injury in the making of grander Japan-Bhutan relations. An MP with a Doctorate in Guessology said their sigil’s organic elements possessed an essential ingredient he could not recall and furthermore, an unknown herb of immense benefit for its crème de la crème qualities, leading back to the ubiquitous hunt- if anyone had indeed eaten Nyamrup; that no one’s tasted it yet as it brings repulsive reminders of a crossbred recipe between a regional Bhutanese specialty and a Burmese noodle’s tragic love story and its closer than you think bonds with the BKP’s “Kuen-Yam”, another delicacy founded on the unknown laid eggs of four-even and round eggs with a slight oval-hint to it, said to be laid by a mammal with reptilian looks and bold-blooded tendencies and X-ray insightful spectacles of divine visions.
As far as the DCT’s sigil was concerned, the look of smugness swelling to fat ranks of portliness, the DPT vultures, aptly referred to as the Black Naked Cranes by non DPT hawkers, did shout-in giving in their admiration for it was a mistress-stroke akin to a Chinese wanton soup wherein they had taken a single water lily with a cracked personality of hangovers dreaming it was actually a lotus of destiny, ready for bloom, gloom and doom; plus a single egg of high yolk resembling a singular-wish-fulfilling jewel and in what is hailed as the stroke of genial-finality, had those sketches compounded by a schizophrenic swan with a phoenix hang-up.
The jugular DCT spin-doctor Madam Meshay said that that further cemented their blessed claim and their earnest assertion that their symbolic signage had nothing to do with either pines of Chir, planted or singing nor a suspicious looking fella named “Wang”- whether empowered or the disempowered kind, although the party, she said, in their service as slaves begotten to the chosen realm, would do everything within its swan-arising-from-the-ashes ala phoenix of the Egyptian myth, or as a protein-rich egg-yolk of the singularly and spontaneously wish-fulfilling kind and of course, the muck-mud water-lily disguised as a precious springing lotus. “This is no hocus pocus” warned Madam Meshay. “The handle and the point people must take home and ponder on and remember about is that the party will “empower as intelligently as they have managed to empower their sigil of a thousand literals and ten thousand metaphysical wherein their words are We Shall Overcome.”
Absorbing observers from Lam to Lam, Tshongdue to Tshongdue, Gully Bar to Gully Bar and et al noted the early resurrection and demise of the Druk Mitser Tshogpa, which had the audacity to depict a man toiling about with a plough and a pair of bulls with no sight of any kind of fields- whether they be rice fields, potato fields, corn fields, wild marijuana fields onto grass-less football fields, as nimbly pointed out by Professor Robert Langdon of the Da Vinci Code notoriety and other feasible non-fictional writings. The Prof. was in the kingdom on account of an error, a simple navigational misjudgment really, wherein he was under the impression he was flying to Belize or even Benin for that matter. But having savored and relished the national airline’s priceless peanuts and free flowing conversations in his own sweet mama’s tongue had gotten the old wolf curious. If there was a groundnut’s suspicion left, the emblazoned metallic flag glimmering on the plane’s tail with a dragon dressed in yellow and orange had nailed him. The Prof. was now learning GNH and would soon acquaint himself with the kingdom’s plethora of myths and mayhem, with a sigil for everything, along with banners, flags and colors.
The enigma of the Bhutanese political parties’ adoption of psychic-imagery was the pudding on the cake, or the butter surfacing in the mug of the suja.
The Prof. had demystified and interpreted almost anything remotely based on and drawn from figures of speech to metaphors. From dissecting Manchester United’s Devil holding a Pitchfork to the Chinese obsession for red cordyceps as white aphrodisiac self-medication and the Japanese bow to the Indian bob, the Prof. had done it. He immediately sighted the Druk Mitser Tshogpa’s sigil as bulls that gored the farmer for his apparent lack of imagination or more pointedly, lack of fertility as the enthusiastic professor noted with delight, and the important absence of power-tillers, as he later recalled.
The Prof. went back, referring to the 2008 elections, the first ever in what was then the youngest country to enter the firing fray and boiling cauldron of symbology when eventually the losing party, the People’s Democratic Party, unfurled its fateful logo of a young, wild and a vibrant stud of an unsaddled horse tragically confined within a circle of doubt rather than trust, which he said was further embellished with the paradoxical slogan “Walk the Talk.” “Obviously the galloping horse could not even take a strut let alone walk, gallop or neigh the message in the slogan. The majority of the masses gave the horsing Ferrari a thumbs-down when the ballots were cast” The Prof. noted. “The revamped logo of the party, wherein the circle of confinement and distrust is removed portends the PDP will tiptoe, walk, strut, trot and gallop where necessary., The new-saddle bestowed upon what is now a visibly more domesticated horse, a pony actually, could go down well within a population that is still coming to grips with the senseless horsing and racing around four-years ago”. The Prof. said “Remember, folks recall the flightless migrations of the ruling roost and their inability to conceive, now that it’s been a four-year barren spell and with most cranes missing the flight of fertility, it was indeed desperate times. Infact if there are no hatchlings they will suffer. They need to breed and mate and breed if the reins of power are to stay on tied and knotted.”
Hence as far as the three black naked cranes of the incumbent party is concerned, the professor reckoned the 2008 elections were a result of what is known as the “Bad Vote”- meaning that the folks voted not so much for the flight and fertility of the birds, nor was it for the Three Day-Dreaming Leg-Less Trio of Black Naked Cranes in-flight but rather against the horse of confinement that should ideally have been let loose to gallop, and the unforgivable missed opportunity of not having used “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones as their campaigning soundtrack that cost them the votes of negativity.
“It’s even steven” the Prof. said. “There’s status quo. There’s balance of imbalance and it could play out to be game of golf played with snooker cues and the margins for errors are thin and fine… probably resting on who interprets their sigils, their houses, their words and their colors and banners in as lay a common tongue as the lay understands.”
In candid talks after talks, The Prof. said given the platter of new parties and their symbolic avatars hinting at certain culinary dishes and the general images of ring-a-ring-a roses and colored balls, of dying twigs with tea-leaves or a bouquet of poverty-stricken wildflowers, a horse on a trot minus a rider with a saddled rein begging the question “Who’s the rider?” and the unchanged amigos of the three Black Naked Cranes still at large from the flock they abandoned with rheumy-eyes of longing beholding the heavens, and the synonyms of “Equity and Justice” taking on its antonyms along with allusions that the three cranes are the three bird-brains of the party, supposedly Talking Tom, Desperate Dick and Blinding Fat Harry. Barring that it was anybody’s ema datsi.
The Prof. said he’d been intrigued four years ago by the legless crane and the reined-in horse, and now with the entrant of the new images, it was indeed “symbolic times” he would definitely keep on a keen pair of eyes and a raised keen pair of ears to see whether the imagery of the symbolism is overrated or as the case might be, underrated.
Another party in the offing still trying to gauge the political landscape is the Bhutan Takin Party. Still underground, the party’s goal seems to border on the notorious rather than anything based on actual-power. An oddity no one’s been able to figure out. Ap Atsara, the party’s cartoonist cum jester, said once they get rejected by the circus, of which they are utterly confident, they’ll come out clean and mean. But as it stands this unexpected fifth element are making crashing waves with their unabashed claim that the symbol for their party is the Takin, the national animal of mythical proportions and as many components as it was believed to have been put together from many other animal parts by the legendary and beloved Lama Drukpa Kinley, also known as the Divine Fucking Madman, for his unusual counseling practices, practical hijinks and love of the booze.
The Prof. was most intrigued...
“It’s a very interesting notion. But only time will tell who has the best telling metaphor and who sells that metaphor in a language the masses can relate to in the best possible manner and hence, present the masses with what needs to be extracted and find out what is being concealed and kept mum,”
The Prof. grinned. "Its gonna be incredible" he thought to himself, willfully, as he pondered and could almost taste what was only the soft-snowflakes swaying gently down on top of the mighty Eastern Himalayas. "I'll come back in Spring when it thaws, and see what the Summer sweat reveals." Mostly the Prof. curiously looked forward to his return flight out of PBK and the prospect of catching those little sacks of peanuts almost had him in giggles. "Ah! And the demo!" He told himself aloud as his sabbatical mind played over the air hostesses' silly-alley-cardio.
"What a country!" He muttered as he headed towards the brand new minted coffeeshop at Junction Middle Central called The Jeddah Abu Dhabi Cafe
NB: The Ghost Logo of DCT
[Prof. Robert Langdon of the Da Vinci Code deconstructs Bhutanese parties and their symbolic gambles and shambles among which was a curious case of plain mistaken identity regarding the emblem/logo/brand mark/watermark of the Druk Chirwang Party. I checked the party's logo where it should be, in the party's official pages, registration forms they had submitted to the Election Commission of Bhutan, Facebook pages and whatever site directed by Google lead to the proper pages and most pertinently the right logo. The logo depicted in this parody was the same logo reproduced by all the local newsprint, as well as Google Image, Bing, Flicker save for the local photo studios. I accidentally happened, if accidental happenings have no correlation to spiritually laden coincidences, upon a tweet tweeted by an increasingly social networking savvy fan in the person of the election commissioner himself. There was a smart mobile jazzy snap of the DCP's logo angled to show maximum visual depicting the same logo in circulation like the one used in this spoof with a matter of fact caption stating 'wrong logo'. So when February fair of The Raven hit the newsstands, the article below was similarly photographed with the self-same serving, namely that The Raven had also featured the wrong logo.
I went back to researching the logo. And shunning aside the usual dependable sites, jumped head on into the DCT's pages beginning with their formal letters submitted to the ECB. The party's letters all featured the same logo. I left the icing on the cake for the end. Punching the ECB's sacred letters, I logged into their website and bingo! There it was- the same logo stared back at me in a rather mocking look of bemusement and consternation as if the logo itself had tired of not being the logo of the DCP when all visually available sources revealed the very logo now charged with impersonation and perhaps, possibly fraud and imitation of a genuine official logo that in probability, seems to have been constructed for the sole private eyes of the election commissioner himself.
I must confess I'm now rather curious and taken affront by the whole episode and come heaven or hell-fire, I intend to lay eyes on this most elusive of logos by hook, look, crook, or cook before the voting banks begin to accept blue-thumb-deposits.
Holy Haap Hento! That was exhausting! To recap, Prof. Robert Langdon of the Da Vinci Code deconstructs Bhutanese parties and their symbolic gambles and shambles.]