Sunday, September 9, 2018

Clueless About What We Are Talking and Doing

A European reader of my Blog writes to me as follows :

“…… Clining to one’s temple is not a safeguard but a fear of the future. The slogan His Majesty the King exposed to Sudents on August 17 at the National Graduate Orientation Programme, giving them his thought « Evolve, Adapt , Upgrade » cannot be understood by the whole people. Let us hope that He will be able to give some precise headings for the « little people » after the election and of the future elected P.M. I have a plenty confidence of His visionary feel.”

The man is clearly worried by the way our elections are going and by what is being put out by our politicians.

I am worried too. How did we get this way? At what point in time did we shed our sense for reasoned thinking?

Another reader from Asia – an academician – writes:

“………. More generally, I am disappointed that politicians have declined - for their own reasons - to address your critique of the hydel mess.

Otherwise, on the political front, I am depressed that Central issues are not being addressed in a strategic vision.”

That says it all!

Our politicians are talking of cutting taxes – obviously they are clueless about the merits of broadening the tax base and increasing tax collection.

They are splendid in their brazen intention to help the civil service remain corrupt – in fact, even heighten it through the promise of increased quota allocation. That is in stark contrast to our collective endeavor to fight corruption. Who is fooling who?

Late in life I am beginning to face the reality of the scrambled Bhutanese psyche, more precisely – thoughtlessness.

Few weeks back during one of our Club meetings, a discussion was initiated as to how much to pay our Members – when they are out in the field, on Club business. Whole lot of Members began putting out numbers, justifying sums, working out averages, cost of lodgings, cost of meals, breakfast, conveyance etc. to arrive at a sum that, in their opinion, should be justly claimed by a Member as TA/DA entitlement.

In the ensuing discussions, one central point was completely missed - that Rotary work is voluntary - there is no such thing as an entitlement. Entitlement is the very antithesis to the Rotary doctrine.

I tried to make the point that a Rotarian cannot claim entitlement – because that is not in the spirit of voluntarism. It is not in the spirit of Rotary to claim an entitlement for doing a humanitarian voluntary service. I vehemently opposed the idea of fixing an entitlement on the grounds that doing so would violate the Rotary dictum. Instead I suggested that a Member could claim actual cost spent behind performing a task on behalf of the Club. My logic is simple – as a person belonging to a voluntary organization, one is expected to volunteer ones time and skills, FREE. No entitlements can be claimed. However, a Member is not required to suffer financial loss in the pursuit of Rotary objectives, involuntarily. Thus he or she should be reimbursed in full, all the sums he or she spent, if he or she so wishes.

My logic simply did not gel with those of my colleagues. It was all Greek to them. Thus, I gave up arguing because it was clear that there was no clarity in their thoughts. If 7 years of Membership has not taught them the finer nuances of being a Rotarian, my frothing in the mouth arguing a point for an hour wasn’t going to yield any results.

It is like our government issuing a person a license to start an enterprise of profit - and then accusing the person of making profits!  That is the level of our confusion.

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