The details are not clear yet but we have been hearing disturbing news of an increasing number of Bhutanese meeting fatal vehicle accidents and facing difficulties in Australia. It is a problem that needs some attention. 

If Bhutanese continue to drive on Australian roads the way we do here at home,then we could land up in trouble. Adding to the problem could be our youths who attend a crash course of a few weeks in driving before they leave for abroad. Our roads are different, and so are the demands on the drivers because of the varying traffic density. 

Our driving habits, especially in traffic etiquette, developed over the years on roads that are mostly two-lane, will not change overnight. Such changes take time because, as it is said, you may take a Bhutanese out of Bhutan but cannot take Bhutan out of him. But when you are in Rome you have to do like a Roman does. 

A simple example of how things are different in Australia is the use of traffic lights, signs, road markings, and driving on freeways. Our people could take refresher courses in Australia or an agency or consultancy firms could step in to educate them. 

Every year, a small group of Bhutanese civil servants and a few from the private and corporate sectors leave to move down under on the generous Australian government scholarships. These individuals are briefed thoroughly on all aspects of “living in Australia” at the pre-departure sessions which is mandatory for each of the scholarship recipients. The civil servants have similar briefings also for those going abroad to study on various scholarships.  

Bhutanese landing in Australia, a few months after they graduate from their high schools or colleges, could be tempted by the freedoms at their disposal. 

The reality is that ours is not a society of wealthy people sending children out to enjoy themselves. Our youths are students from a small country going out to seek an education and a decent livelihood. And, for most parents and guardians, it is a financial strain to send children outside the country. This is a priority that our youths must understand.

Whenever you are in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. Being conscious of what one has left behind to pursue ones dreams and that of loved ones can to a large degree help in shaping that. 

As Bhutan see the exodus continue for at least a few more years, we cannot rule out chances of Bhutanese involvement in traffic accidents, petty crimes, and would hear about individuals being deported. With little more effort on the part of all stakeholders, including the driving institutes, the education consultants, and the Bhutanese association in Australia and abroad, and a little more consciousness on the part of the individuals themselves, we can do a lot.