This is my first blog post of 2015. Happy New Year and welcome back to another year filled with excitements and exhilaration.
I voiced this concern on the social media, but I would like to do it here again. Our policy is to promote our national language and everyone talks about it on the television and on radios.
But until now, in my opinion, it has been more of a lip service. I am not sure if that is a correct term, but I am using it anyway. You see, those people who are responsible and are paid to say that on the national TV say so only because they are mandated to say so. But once they are at home, they turn into a chilip and talk to their children in English. We can’t blame them. They are just doing the right thing by making their children’s future brighter by perfecting their English proficiency, because in real Bhutan, English proficiency, especially speaking is prized over anything.
At selection interviews, if a candidate speaks fluent English then the panel is almost moved to tears and thinks it has discovered some mysterious islands in the Himalayas. And then we stress (again lip service mostly) importance of our national language. I don’t doubt its importance. But sometimes I certainly doubt if people really mean what they say in the public. Of course I am not discounting what some pioneers are doing to promote Dzongkha. I salute such individuals. Dasho Sherab Gyeltshen, the former Secretary of DDC, is one such people, who deserve our praises.
I have been thinking about this for a long time now. Mobile operators in Bhutan use English followed by Dzongkha in their automatic responses. I think they provide services to the Bhutanese and not foreigners. For example, when someone does not respond to your call or is out of service, the first automatic response we get is recorded in English. And the saddest story is this - people who understand English hardly wait for the Dzongkha version of the message. They cut if off; any sane person would do that. But people who do not understand a word of English, especially in rural villages have to wait until they get it.
I am not sure if this would cost anything at all – to reverse their automatic responses – to the telecom companies. But it would certainly mean a lot to the promotion of our national language. Otherwise, how can we promote it?
Recently, someone wrote on the social media that our laws are first drafted in English and then translated into Dzongkha. These laws are then interpreted in Dzongkha, mostly referring English versions but they maintain “Dzongkha text shall be the authoritative text, if there exists any difference in meaning between the Dzongkha and the English text.”
But I wonder if we have enough words or equivalent terms to match what is been encrypted in English. But that is for another day!