Pseudo-drayang businesses booming

… Government is set to reverify such establishments

Puran Gurung

Drawing curtains on drayangs in the country has led to emergence of pseudo-drayang business, it looks like a bar and a discotheque put together.

Instead of dancers, waitresses come around to sell and serve drinks and they also perform dances on the stage. They prefer wearing western outfits.

Today, the dancing stage is not limited to the dancers themselves

Most of the waitresses are former drayang employees, and they said that this is the only job they can do.

A regular at one of such pseudo-drayang entertainment centre said that these pseudo-drayangs are gaining popularity among their friends. He said that there was no ‘request system’ for songs like in the past.

However, he said that the waitresses bring around expensive drinks, and they ask couple of rounds of drinks for themselves too.

He said that about 30ml to 60ml of the whiskey on sale cost anywhere between Nu 350 to Nu 450. “They are obviously working on commission basis,” he said.

The source also added that he has his doubts that the whiskies sold are not what they say it is. “I know the taste, and they are all locally distilled whiskies,” he said, adding that the waitresses drink more than five to six shots of whiskey costing more than Nu 2,000 to Nu 3,000.

He also added that there are not less than five to seven waitresses in one establishment, pseudo-drayang.

For this pseudo-drayang business, his friends call it ‘barty’ among themselves because they feel the comfort of bar and a discotheque in one place.

One employee at such business said that some customers act like they own them when they buy some drinks. “This is only business and we are not her to be picked up by them,” she said. Some hurl rude comments to them, she said.

She claimed that some of her former drayang friends, who no longer works with the business entity visits the bar and mingles with the customers. “But it’s risky for them when they meet aggressive customers trying to pick them up,” she said.

Earlier, the drayang owners would intervene in such situation to protect their employee. “Now there’s no one to protect them but they still do things out of old habits as they too need to feed their family,” she added.

Another former drayang dancer said that they were expecting some organized decorum to be placed. She said, “But to our surprise, instead of making a drayang a safe profession, it was closed.”

Some entertainment place also allows their waitresses to sell lottery tickets costing at least Nu 100 citing some events in the coming week to ensure customer return.

A customer who visited such place said that it’s a new way of making easy money. But they are forced to buy the tickets although they really are not excited to win prizes. “I went three times in a row to this one place, and the waitress there made me buy the ticket every time I visit the place, it’s sometimes funny out there.”

They are also of the view that such pseudo-drayangs are playing all types of songs highlighting that earlier they used to only play Dzongkha numbers. “They also wear only casuals, I think it is better to have drayangs,” he said.

Most of these businesses are operating under the guise of karaoke and other entertainment centres such as clubs, observers say.

To this, the Economic Affairs Minister, Loknath Sharma said that recently stakeholders of Entertainment Licensing Committee presided over by Thromde met and they agreed to reverify all entertainment centres including the converted ones, if any.

However, this will not see much changes except that few specific conditions will see changes so that the entertainment centres perform specific activities as per license terms, said Lyonpo.

This will also be done for other dzongkhags too.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) will revise existing entertainment regulations.

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