Sunday, April 15, 2012

Funny Signboards

-->I just returned from a trip to the Eastern Dzongkhags (Districts) covering Mongar, Trashiyangtse, Trashigang and Pemagatshel. It was not fun because it rained every day and night. Most nights, my companions had to sleep in the car because their tents got flooded with rainwater and sleep wasn’t possible. My own tent wasn’t spared either - most nights there was a small rivulet flowing beneath my tent floor. Fortunately, I have a very good tent - Cabela’s Outfitter SeriesTM Extreme Weather Tent - that can withstand anything that the elements can throw at it. Also, I sleep on a raised camp cot which means that there is no danger of rain water seeping into my sleeping bag while I sleep. I always wake up bone dry in the morning :)

Cabela’s Outfitter SeriesTM - Extreme Weather Tent

But the trip wasn’t entirely without its moments of hilarity. The stretch of road between Trashigang and Pemagatshel is strewn with road signs that provide the weary travelers a good bite of laughter and amusement. The DANTAK (the organization responsible for building roads in Bhutan) has put up road signs along the way that are quite humorous, if a tad dour. The following are some example of the DANTAK’s ingenuity at lively road signs:

Not to be out done, a shop owner in Khaling town comes up with a shop sign that has got to be a first of its kind. However, for the life of me I could not decide whether he did not know the Dzongkha equivalent of “General” or he couldn’t think of the English word for “Tshongkhang” and therefore decided on the amalgamation. Regardless of how strangely it is constructed, there is a nice ring about it, a kind of seamlessness in its integration: General Tshongkhang - not bad at all. By the way, what is the Dzongkha word for “General”?

But the following signboard at Yadi School did not amuse me at all. I mean an institution of education and learning cannot do any better? Forget the English, I suspect that even the Dzongkha version is written all wrong. Small wonder then that there is so much talk about dropping education standard in the country.


  1. I was certainly amused by all the signboards, even by the Radi School! I mean, see, they have written in their best English using difficult words. Anon.

  2. Haha.
    I didn't find the shop's sign too funny though...General Tshongkhang doesn't sound unusual. If you read the Dzongkha sign, it says "natshog" perhaps that is the Dzongkha word for general.
    Nice post though, thank you!

  3. HI Anon,

    I thanks for your comment. However, I think "natshog" translates to "variety", no?