Spontaneous expression of thoughts and emotions in words.

There is nothing so inhuman than shaming a sick person and his family

Today as I opened my Face Book page, I was quite taken aback to see my feed flooded with the same status shared by different individuals and forums on FB. Each shared status was followed by numerous comments condemning the inhuman act that took place in the Drukair which apparently took place on 25th September from my calculation.

Well, I am talking about the status posted by Dolkar Tenzin on Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines wherein she has poured her heart out for what her father and family had to go through owing to her father’s sinusitis with chronic nose ulcer that naturally emitted bad odour. They were on their way to Bangkok for the treatment of the same disease which was the last hope of the father to permanently get rid of the disease.

Can you imagine what would have gone through the sick person and his family when they were inhumanely brought to shame first in the process of voting that was made to happen and ultimately disallowing them to board the plane?

My question is why in the hell the voting had to happen in the first place? Aren’t all passengers with tickets given the rights to fly until and unless held back at the check point for some suspicious behaviour? Even if the voting took place, out of 90 plus passengers in the plane, why did the pilot decide to go by the four votes that objected to the boarding of the sick person and his escorts? Why couldn’ the rest of the passengers say anything when right under their noses such injustice was being displayed? Would those passengers still live without feeling a tinge of guilt and with clear conscience when they know they could have come to the rescue of the desolate family? And I am left wondering whether the pilot in question did have a peaceful sleep that night.

Are we reduced to such level where one cannot identify with the plight of a sick person so desperately in need of help? Where did our so called buddhist values of compassion and kindness disappear at that point of time. Why didn’t the pilot and co-team make an informed decision? Why did the pilot compromise on the need of the sick person rather than attending to the comfort of the four non-objective, unfeeling and heartless people?

The whole incident left me with so many questions and had me completely worried and saddened. Such inhuman and unacceptable act by the Drukair staff left me feeling dazed and my heart went outright to the victims of thr incident. No amount of justification from the pilot and Drukair will erase the pain that the sick person and family had to go through. Imagine when just by reading the narration of the incident could put me through so much pain, I am sure Mr. Tashi Tshering and his family went through much greater pain.

Can we expect some justice from the esteemed Drukair as an organisation that is meant to be catering to all Bhutanese and other passengers irrespective of cast, creed, colour, wealth, power or with smell or no smell?

My sincere prayers on the way to Mr. Tashi Tshering, daughter Dolka Tenzin and the entire family for quick recovery from this traumatic experience and for a much sooner treatment.

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2 thoughts on “There is nothing so inhuman than shaming a sick person and his family

  1. Singey Namgyel on said:

    Dear Karma,

    Greetings and good wishes from a good friend!

    The following is what I posted on Wangcha Sangey’s Blog. I post this on yours too so that you might reconsider your stand on the issue.

    Dear Sangey Wangcha,

    I will have to disagree with you on this one. I completely agree with the decision of the Captain of Druk Air. The Captain was very level headed in the decision he took, under the circumstances.

    The Captain of the ship is the sole authority and his decision alone must prevail over all others. He has to take a decision based NOT on emotion but on the realities that face him and the eventualities that could result from a misplaced humanitarian decision. He is not the Mother Teresa but the Captain of the ship and the custodian of 109 human lives. The Captain is not accountable to one passenger but the collective 109 individuals that were on board the ship. A situation that was unfavorable to 108 other passengers on board is certainly something that cannot be acceptable to a Captain who is responsible to the safety and comfort of all the rest of the passengers and the ship itself.

    Remember, when the cookies crumble, the Captain will not be judged on the basis of his humanitarian compulsions but on his capability as a leader and his sense of responsibility towards the larger good of a larger number of human life, as opposed to the discomfort of one individual.

    Your son Sangey Wangchuk is a RBA Major – please ask him what kind of decision he would have taken in a similar situation, where he is the Commanding Officer of a platoon, caught in a precarious situation in the battlefield. Would he have accepted one bleeding soldier to endanger the lives of the rest of the soldiers? I know that the situation was not as perilous, but 109 people in a sealed plane for close to six hours ….. any thing could happen. Already, as reported, people began to puke even while they were on the ground. Imagine what would happen when they are airborne – in a sealed aircraft.

    I am not a great fan of Druk Air but for once I am glad that they have in their employ a Captain who is levelheaded and is capable of hard decisions. I get the feeling that the Captain will come under lot of criticism from misguided people with misguided concepts of how to commandeer a ship but he should take strength in the fact that he did his duty and, possibly averted a disaster hundred times greater than the discomfort of one single passenger.

  2. Tenzin Dharpo on said:

    Hello to all.

    As a neutral observer, I cannot but help notice some of the more bizarre developments of the incident.

    But as a neutral observer without any judgemental sentiments, it is difficult as it is immoral not to lean in solidarity with the family of the ailing man.

    The incident has occurred and the family has undergone the humiliation and trauma, and the four passengers has escaped a four hour flight without having to go through the ‘foul smell’.

    If anyone reading the previous sentence does not have a problem then it points to an even larger problem, that is collective apathy to the suffering.

    It seems there was a voting, which is all democratic and resolve based, yet the result was not carried forward. Why take it in the first place. The cookie crumbled right there. Four people who voted to deny an ailing man to board the plane against the 90 something people that did, and for what? Foul smell? A point was made by Singey Namgyal that the captain took a ‘hard decision’, well that is if you consider the safety of the aeroplane, very good I must say, but in my opinion the hard decision would be to put the four people on a next flight.

    I feel that the analogy used here”when the cookie crumbles” which is a 1920’s american slang term to denote people bucking under pressure and reaching an undesired result appropriate. In my opinion, the captain not only crumbled, he dissolved like a cookie is dipped in hot tea, or suja in this case.

    Recently a journalist in Hungary was regarded blasphemous, fired from her job and later made to give a public apology for tripping and felling an immigrant and his son. She said she was in essence trying to defend her country, well in this case the pilot can say he with the safety of flight decided to have these four people escape foul smell. Let me elaborate on the other insignificant party in the incident, the pilot in question left out an ailing man and his family, both citizens Bhutan, with valid tickets and the ordeal of amassed psychological and physical difficulties of a family with an ailing member to see the flight zip pass by in a foreign country. That is a ‘larger GOOD served’ according to Singyel.

    Putting four passengers in the next flight and letting the ailing man on the flight would make such a wonderful story, a good one in fact where people took hard decisions.

    Putting aside morals, ethics, solidarity and other big words, I put a clip on my nose and breathed from my mouth for some time. Only my voice seemed awkward and there were temporary marks on my nose but I was fine. The mere thought of the family going through the humiliation and agony was quite the nightmare for any human being. May be I am queezy like the other 90 passengers who voted to let the family ‘return home’.

    I have known Bhutanese people to be fun loving, and primordially decent, they still are and will be. But when a ‘bizarre incident’ like this has taken place, it is in my believe only the PR wing of Druk-Air engage in face saving measures, a citizen with far flung ideals of greater good defending it seems, quite frankly, ‘foul smelling’.

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