Monday, September 14, 2015

Sin against God, not bureaucracy!

Disclaimer: This update of mine is not to demean the hardworking people across all offices but for a few whose office job has become a perennial source of irritation for everyone.

Just this morning I went to a familiar office, not that I am new to the office but I have been to this office ever since I ended up in Thimphu. I make my appearances in this office for professional and official reasons. Every visit that I make to this office or other government offices in particular; it has been a palm-itching experience.

Firstly, I have to arrange my classes or substitute the class not to let my children stay idle in my absence. Then, after the permission granted look from my superior, I head off to see the official. Reaching the office, to my utter dismay, either the official is out or the desk people give you excuses with some stupid grin on their already over-painted and tainted face. Excuses is more than fine but for one of their excuses to come out, its takes some minutes of browsing through some bogus sites on the internet. These desk people are paid to arrange time and appointments for their boss who’s inside the chamber. Instead, they chat over some issues with their cronies alike or fiddle with the mouse wearing a look as if to say I have had diarrhea for the last couple of days.

A stranger waits at the door and there is no harm in saying, “How may I help you” or “Gadhim chi bay Joen (woong) yi.” It only makes visitors like me feel that they do not how to talk let alone being polite and courteous to others.

The hullabaloos of this desk people ate up 40 minutes of my time just to get a signature of her boss on some official document. And finally when you meet the official, he speaks in a sorry tone. The desk people who are to assist the official act as if they bought the chair for the official they serve. This is efficiency in the civil service.

Google images
Similarly, Last year in one of the insurance houses, I was there to claim some benefits. If I had some line of people waiting before me, I would have perfectly understood the hour long wait but making me stand, the desk people were talking about soccer. I still stood waiting for them to finish.
My tryst with meeting people in their offices for official reasons has been gruesome. I wonder if others like me undergo the same ordeal. This is the public service delivery in the bureaucracy.
Also going by the number of people living in Thimphu, the desk job should have been faster and efficient but sadly Dzongkhags have the edge in doing things faster. I am afraid if I reside in the capital city.

As a teacher myself, if you point that I am not teaching my kids, I will surely be guilty on receiving my salary but if you as desk people are getting paid for making visitors wait for no reason and just for internet surfing, are you not painfully guilty? To those who spend their time away sitting on chairs only to make people wait for no reasons across all offices: Sin against God not against bureaucracy, God forgives bureaucracy won’t.

"Bureaucrats sometimes do not have the correct information, while citizens and users of resources do."- Elinor Ostrom


  1. What to do Lobzang Sir? This is what we see in all the offices and with many post holders. I think there should be proper rightly defined chair and the salary with rightful person but how...? This is Bhutan and we needed to survive with this itching scenario....Anyway, I hope you got your job done at the end of long, long waiting...

  2. I got my work done sancha. Had it not been done at the expense of my time, I would have created a scene there. The front desk woman was concerned more of her hair than the people waiting to see her boss. I accept but it's high long can this generation of people tolerate superficial civil servants in offices. After all we all work for the same cause. If public service delivery in a school is questioned, there are all sorts of authorities joining the band wagon in criticising schools. If the same is for other offices, it's neglected.....where is the RCSC umbrella vision for civil servants followed? In the words of my former teacher, TS Powdyel, "We are under the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), therefore it is needless to say that we are the Royal Civil Servants." I wonder how is she rated on 'Customer Service' in her core competency ratings. I took a breathless sigh after I came out of the office...anyway...sorry that I used all these words.....indeed ......this happens only in Bhutan.....