Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tengney Police Namgay

On the morning of 22nd February, 2014, I was on my way to Paro Rinpung Dzong - but was undecided as to how to approach it - whether on foot over the Paro Ngami Zampa cantilever bridge or, by motor road running through the Paro Tshongdu. While I struggled with the indecision, I had parked my car by the roadside close to the Chortens at Ngami Zampa - to contemplate the merits and demerits of the two approaches to the Dzong.

Then I saw him - the dreaded Police Namgay - the bane of most Bhutanese motorists. He was in civilian clothing, smeared in white paint and he had a surgical glove covering his palms.  He was hovering over a number of people engaged in painting white lines on the paved space that served as parking lot. Intrigued, I got out of my car and walked over to him and asked:

“Wai Lobey Namgay, gachi bedo?”

“Aaaaa …. I am trying to create an orderly parking space saa. In the absence of a properly defined parking space, it is madness at this spot. People park haphazardly and there is chaos every time. As in-charge of the traffic in these areas, maintaining order is a problem. Once in a while I have to pull up some drivers for poor road sense --- but in the absence of a well-defined parking spots, I believe that it is not fair to penalize people. So I am marking out the space for organized parking”.

“OK … but why is a Traffic Police Officer responsible for painting the white boxes?”

“Actually it is the responsibility of the Thromde … but they have this excuse that they do not have budget to do the job. I am so fed up that I decided to take on the job myself with help from some of my johnnies. Those guys doing the painting are traffic policemen. I got the Thromde to give us the white paint … and I encouraged some of my team of traffic policemen to put in the labor. We started the work last Saturday … but it rained in the night and washed away all the paintwork. So we are redoing it today. Once the markings are carried out, the parking will be lot more organized and as you can see, we can now fit in more than double the number of vehicles that would usually occupy the parking area. Once the parking lot is well defined, there is no excuse for anyone to be errant in the way they park their vehicles. If they do, I can kick their butts without feeling guilty about it”.

What a pleasure to come face-to-face with a rare Bhutanese who goes beyond the call of duty! Whenever one refers to Namgay, people have a tendency to say; “Aani Tengney Police Namgay ya?”

A few more Tengney like Police Namgay would certainly be welcome. I salute him for his service and initiative.


  1. Police Namgay is a man scorned for doing his job well. He certainly deserves more than that.

  2. Means a person who can be described as:

    dreadful, horrible, abominable, ghastly, hateful, gruesome, monstrous, sickening