Remote Dramtoe in Samtse is untouched by development and many other things including cable television. There are only three TV sets in the village of 104 households. They are living their life.
It will soon change. There is pressure from the younger lot; some are saving money to buy one. They want TV and some are wishing that more households had TV sets so that they could convince the cable TV distributors to hook Dramtoe to their network.
The discourse among villagers is interesting. Some feel TV would make them more informed and exposed. Others are worried about the bad side of TV, especially children wasting time watching TV. It is the priority today that is stopping the remote community. If they or their crop do well, TV will be high on the shopping list.
From their occasional trips to the ‘developed’ parts of the country, they know what television brings with it. Some are becoming apprehensive of children getting wasted. Some feel it is the window to the world. The debate sounds familiar. Many in the towns and city went through the same dilemma.
Dramtoe will develop and they will have TV. It is not fair to say that we should have a village or a community without cable television. But it would be exemplary to have one community not getting hooked to cable television that bombard homes with more than 30 channels from Hindi soaps and serials to “Naked and Afraid.”
After almost two decades of cable TV, we are still discussing the repercussions of the new media that has not become old with social media ruling families and homes. We cannot stop new media penetrating our homes. The media landscape in Dramtoe will change.
Going by recent trends we know what the young in the village are not going to do. They are not going to help their parents tend to cattle or in the fields after school. Television is so irresistible, especially when it first comes home. It could eat into the community values people upheld for years. In urban areas, nobody is talking after dinner. They are watching TV or face-booking.
Besides, there is nothing much cable TV is adding. Villagers have a preference for local channels. They may get exposed to what is happening around the country, beyond their community, besides that, cable TV is not seen as the best entertainment.
Two decades after internet and cable television came to Bhutan, we are not able to analyse the impact of it even though we have felt the power of this media. This medium is powerful. Soon Dramtoe children will be more excited about Valentine’s Day than the annual village tshechu. They are already bargaining with their parents over priorities.
Apart from national television, our local channels are not providing much unless we want a group of dancing girls or boys from Dramtoe competing in “tape dance” where dancers jump to some rigsar music, the trend today on our local channels.