ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Shops run out of scarves in Bhutan's capital
Publication Date : 01-08-2013
Ap Sangay, a shop owner in Thimphu, had to rush in search of additional scarves (khada) from other shops after having run out of stock on the evening of July 27.
More than 300 people walked into his shop, looking for scarves that day.
“I even went to shops near centenary market and around Thimphu town hoping to get scarves in bulk,” Sangay said. But the shops had little or no scarf let to sell.
His friend, Lekey Dorji, who also owned a shop in town, said this was the first time after the coronation celebration in 2008, where they sold about 400 scarves in just one day.
Tashi Tshongkhang in Thimphu had also sold more than 100 scarves costing between 30 to 150 ngultrum (US$0.49 to 2.47) for each scarf.
“Majority bought the medium sized khada, which cost 50 ngultrum, and during such occasions, many went for those with Tashi Tagay (eight lucky signs) print,” the owner said.
Huge number of people living in Thimphu and those that had come in from other dzongkhags (districts) had bought the symbolic scarves to welcome the new prime minister and his cabinet on that day.
By Bhutanese tradition, khada offering during celebrations was significant of wishing good luck.
The khada offering ceremony began in the prime minister’s office and respective ministries after, the team received dakyen (official appointment) from His Majesty The King on Saturday morning. In the evening, it continued at their homes in enclaves for the minister, while for the prime minister, it was at his home in Taba.
Following the event, the newly appointed ministers, who were showered with scarves of all kinds, are left not knowing what to do.
The minister for foreign affairs, Rinzin Dorji, said that, since it was a huge bunch of scarves, he wasn’t sure what to do with them all.
Smiling, he said he might have to give some to relatives running shops in order to recycle.
The new health minister, Tandin Wangchuk, said, since each scarf cost 100 to 250 ngultrum, he distributed most of it to those, who came to wish him that day.
“While in Punakha, when we went to offer prayers to machhen of Zhabdrung, we distributed some to people, who came without scarves to wish us,” he said. “We also left some with our relative-monks here to use on future occasions.”
He intends to use them during the appointment of parliament members in days to come.
DN Dhungyal, the minister for information and communication, said he kept scarves in office for re-use in future, while also distributing it to some people.
All the ministers encouraged re-using of scarves to save cost as well as to prevent wastage.
Besides individuals, even offices and organisations bought scarves in bulks.
“Our office bought about 240 scarves for 21 staff, which cost about 33,000 ngultrum,” said Thinley Wangchuk, a corporate employee. “We went in a group, officially representing the organisation.”
Meanwhile, shopkeepers said scarves come in about six different qualities, and the prices vary, depending on quality.
While families opt to re-use it for different events, shopkeepers said they don’t take back the sold scarves since they came from different occasions, which was not always auspicious.
“Some also come in wrinkled, which customers refuse to buy,” Sangay said.
Shopkeepers are already gearing for yet another bumper sale, when the rest of the assembly members will be officially appointed.