Friday, April 15, 2011

The Fuzz and the Weed

My recent visitors remarked something about Trashiyangtse that I was cognizant of in my first few days here but have since stopped noticing and never blogged about, namely, the substantial police presence:

Today the local police head gave a presentation to my school's older grades on drugs, assault, vandalism, and gang behaviour. It is pretty tempting when you teach in a Buddhist mountain kingdom to believe that your students don't encounter issues of that sort but of course they do.

In fact, the "war on drugs" is a bit more challenging here than at home because marijuana grows in every ditch. The teachers perform mass uprootings of the plants around the school but it is quick to grow back. I didn't realize before now just how literal the word "weed" is.

Like all of the Bhutanese I've met in positions of authority, the police officer dazzled me. He is as articulate, knowledgable and firm as you'd hope a spokesperson of the law would be, but he is also bubbly and sunny and unabashedly thrilled to be alive. He's very excited about bringing a Police / Youth Partnership programme that has been a success across Bhutan to Yangtse. The aim is to break down the "us vs. them" attitude that youth worldwide have about police in favour of trust and respect built on personal relationships.

In many developing countries, police and military are something to be feared but in Trashiyangtse the constant sight of uniforms is a constant reminder that I am protected.


  1. How interesting! Thank you for pointing out that youth across the globe are tempted by the same vices. Thank you also for explaining the origin of the nickname "weed".

  2. thats true I never really thought much about the police presence. guess thats why its such a nice place.

  3. Quite the country you have there!
    Love, Mom & Dad