Sunday, December 27, 2015

Minnesota Debate: The Victors!

Before you begin, read the intro here!
Minnesota North America Chithue debate video here.

Candidates, feel free to post your version of answers if you think you have been misinterpreted . Although I have provided the link of the video above. I welcome any and all critique. 

What is special/unique about you as compared to other North America Chithue candidates? Why should one vote for you?

In my opinion, Chithue candidate Tenzin Rangdol  and Kalsang Phuntsok did best in answering this question. The question was intended for the candidates to both introduce themselves as well as convey to the voters, what their vision was.

Tenzin Rangdol uniquely identified himself by emphasizing on the tremendous amount of resource we have in the form of our youth. He stressed on the need to identify, formulate and implement ways in which this resource can be used for Tibet and showed his intention to work towards that goal. At the same time, he acknowledged the great work our elders have done under the guidance of His Holiness while underscoring the considerable responsibility on the shoulders of Tibetan youth.

2016 First North America Chithue Debate: Was it really a Debate?


        The first North America Chithue debate was organized by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) Minnesota and was held on Dec 12, 2016. A complete video recording of the event is available here

       Before you read further, I must congratulate the regional TYC in doing a great job organizing this event, particularly their moderation and time keeping during questions was quite good. However, I did not really see an actual debate, where there are rebuttals, counter-views and a focus on delivering a precise set of messages by each candidate. What I mostly saw was an opportunity given to the Chithue candidates to give their answers to a certain set of questions and wallow in niceties to each other. There was time given for rebuttal, but none of the candidate really took it to critique or dissect their opponent's views. 

        When I am watching a political debate, or for that matter, any debate. I expect individuals to be on either side of an aisle, this does not necessarily mean having opposing views or ideology, but it simply means having a set of unique perspectives. But they somehow all seem to agree on everything.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What is the role of a North America Chithue?

In 2011, much of the focus had been on the Sikyong candidates with limited attention being paid to the Chithue nominees and finalists. There were a few low profile debates/discussions for Chithues, which did not seem to have attracted too much attention.

This year, in 2016, there has been relatively much more interest in the Chithue elections, and in particular, the North America elections. There are already a couple of debates being announced, the first being hosted by RTYC Minnesota on Dec 12, 2016.

Personally, as a young Tibetan and a North America resident, I feel extremely responsible for the two chithue votes that I will cast during the final elections on March 20th, 2016. This is an important decision for me and for all North America Tibetans.

As I contemplate my decision to vote for a/two particular chithue candidate/s, the first question (perhaps out of my ignorance), that comes to my mind is,

" What is the role of a North America Chithue?"

Monday, November 9, 2015

10 Questions for North America 2016 Chithue Election Finalists

March 20th, 2016 is the date for the final elections for electing both Sikyong and Chithues. The North America preliminary election results are already out with the names of the finalists. Unlike 2011, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in the North America Chithue elections. We have also witnessed more campaign efforts by each nominee in presenting themselves as the candidate of choice.
In the coming months we will see a lot of interviews, debates, articles and campaign efforts hopefully highlighting what each nominee has in store in terms of policy efforts and action plans. The goal of this article is to highlight some key issues that will hopefully steer the conversation in the right direction.

Following are my 10 questions for the Chithue finalists:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sikyong 2016: Challenges and the road ahead

One of the candidates for 2016. photo by: Tibet Sun/ Lobsang Wangyal

     Election for the Tibetan Prime Minister in exile or Sikyong (Tibetan) in 2011 were widely publicized and enthusiastically contested. Debates, talks and visits by the nominees held across the world from Asia, Europe and North America infused a sense of new energy in this facet of the Tibet movement. We saw many Tibetan candidates, young and old, standing up, ready to share the reins of responsibility for the Tibet movement with His Holiness the Dalai lama. The 2011 election results brought Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a young and fresh face,  at the helm of a generational change of leadership. He won not only widespread adulation and support from Tibetans across the globe, but also inherited a myriad of challenges to tackle and solve. (A review of current Sikyong's policy initiatives over the last 4-5 years will be a part of another write up in future.)

              With another election at the horizon and many candidates already warming up for the preliminary elections for nomination, it would make sense to point out a few of the challenges that the Tibet movement today faces. This would perhaps help to shape the dialogue over issues, that could highlight the respective campaigns of candidates in this new election cycle.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Paper Planes I flew

Time flies by and what remains are memories, some faded, some clear and some barely remembered. People's names, their faces, places you once were at, books you once read and many other things of the past, slowly slip past your hold. Things you once thought you remembered well, even they begin to slip into an abyss, where all things forgotten go to rest. Old friends, their memories, the snappy things they used to say, things that made you laugh, things that made you cringe, they all fade. For that is how time seems to move and that is how our lives seem to move forward, leaving behind memories, memories we soon don't remember. 

And yet, there are moments and there are times, snippets of time capsules, we somehow tend to always remember, even if partially. We reminisce over these snippets when we are young and contemplate over the same, when we get older. Sometimes these snippets of memories remain meaningless and sometimes, they seemed to have shaped and defined who you have become today.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Bus Ride, A Tibetan,A Chinese and 20 Minutes

         Public transportation has its advantages, especially if you live near a campus. The convenience of commute, the opportunity to speak with students from different countries or the time to read something without having to deal with the mundane task of driving everyday on the same route. This post will be a recount of one of the many interesting incidents that occurred during my undergraduate years of commute on University of Utah shuttles (buses). As the title suggests, it will be about meeting a Chinese student (one of many I have met over the years) and my conversations with him in a span of 20 minutes. I will try to avoid the seemingly allegorical posture of my title in the following paragraphs, it's just a plain narrative of one of my experiences :).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Must We Misrepresent Facts?

After a long sabbatical from my blog, I was finally inspired to write a few paragraphs, when I accidentally stumbled upon a piece published in "Tibetan Political Review". The piece was titled "Must we love the party". I will speak about the piece in subsequent paragraphs, but let me share with you the general sense of the experience I received when I visited this website.

The last time I kept an eye on this website was during and after the Kalon Tripa elections of 2011. Since then, a lot of pieces are published on the website. However, the tone of the website is pretty much the same as that of a partisan website with its birth during the election period as a defacto election campaign website. I was surprised at the persistence of this website in accumulating and fabricating an aura, where the leadership of Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, pre and post elections, was represented much like the usual republican rhetoric about Obama. This website along with some other pseudo intellectuals in our society, have truly decided to close their eyes to the bigger picture of our struggle. They seem to leave no stone unturned in twisting and re-twisting statements and events pertaining to the Tibetan politics, with an unrelenting goal of simply playing political football.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Film Cinematics and “The Shining”

Apart from the sheer thrill of suspense, drama, fear and entertainment delivered by this movie, its none the less a classic example of one of those standalone movies, where film cinematics are displayed in their best of forms. Whether it’s the sound, the lights, the narrative, the dialogues, the acting, the editing or the sets, the Mis-en-scene of “The Shining” plays a perfect synchrony of both form and function.
In the following paragraphs, we will touch many of the facets of film cinematics in “The Shining” and evaluate how each played the role, it’s supposed to.
Nothing would be better than to begin with the opening sequence of the movie, which in a way sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The score for the opening scene creates a strange, grotesque and disconnected feeling about the movie. The screams or noises we hear towards the end of the opening score create a sudden distraction. This somehow brings us back to the same feeling of disconnection, all the while we were still trying to familiarize ourselves with the location, setting and general tone of the movie. The ominous and eerie music gives us a sense of imminent danger. We can clearly observe some match cuts during this opening sequence, signaling continuity of the film. The framing of the shots are mostly in a bird’s eye view fashion, allowing us to observe the surroundings, while we still follow the car, intrigued, and wondering, where it is going, what is going to happen, who is driving the car etc.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scholarship named for Jamphel Yeshi launched

Courtesy: Tibet Sun (

Jamphel Yeshi in an undated file photo taken in front of the temple at the Tibetan camp Majnu ka Tilla in DelhiPhotographer unknown

By Lobsang Wangyal | Tibet Sun

A group of young Tibetans living in the United States have launched a scholarship named for Jamphel Yeshi, the 26-year-old Tibetan who died after burning himself for the Tibetan cause in New Delhi in March.

A press statement by the group said, “The recent self-immolations in Tibet and martyr Jamphel Yeshi’s sacrifice inspired a group of young Tibetans, including former CST (Central School for Tibetans), TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) school students, and working young Tibetans in the US, to start this one-time three-year scholarship.”

The scholarship will be provided to an exiled Tibetan student in India starting from this year’s academic session in July. The candidate will be selected from a pool of students who have applied for scholarships from the Department of Education of the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamshala.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Self Immolation in Tibet, the 2008 Uprising and Our Plan of Action

It is not a pleasant experience to see almost every other day, the news about a fellow Tibetan setting oneself up for that ultimate sacrifice of one's existence, so that he may be recognized as being different, so that he may be recognized to have an identity that defines a nation, a free spirit and a resilient human being.

(For those who are unaware of the current situation in Tibet see Self Immolation in Tibet)

The recent surge of self-immolation in Tibet and its continuity jolts the very core of the moral dilemma the global community and government's face. It is not my intention to berate about how the international community fails to do anything about it, and how everyone is so helpless or unwilling to take any form of tangible action pertaining to Tibet. The purpose of this blog entry is to analyse and self-critique, the role we Tibetans ourselves play, in either the failure or the success of our efforts throughout such events, including the 2008 Tibetan Uprising.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Missed Opportunity For My Rangzen Brethrens

I have been away for quite a little while, having to deal with a lot of school work etc (that's just to sound busy), but mostly because of the lack of any idiotic views thrown around me to stimulate a few paragraphs in response. But at last, that seems to have changed. The recent change of the Tibetan government in exile's name, the ensuing barrage of apocalyptic views from the usual self-acclaimed writers and monopolizers of "Rangzen", have sparked my interest and brought me back to pen a few comments. I also thank my lovely wife and a friend to inspire me to write this short note. However, the following piece would diverge a little bit away from the aforementioned issues, which i will address in another piece at some other time.

But here, I would like to bring to my readers attention, a perspective, that even the usual advocates of Rangzen have seemingly failed to take notice of, or perhaps ignored in fear of embarrassment.

The 2011 katri elections, apart from its various implications on the Tibetan movement, was also an opportunity for the Rangzen advocates to voice their opinion in a forceful manner upon a really tangible platform, gifted to us by His Holiness. On the contrary, what I noticed was the lack of any real practical action that reflected any of the usual rhetoric thrown around by supposed rangzen advocates like Jamyang Norbu la.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Karmapa media buzz, and the failure of Tibet campaign in India

The Indian media frenzy, over the past couple of weeks, mostly centered around the "Karmapa-spy Theory", allegations, speculations and everything else that a 24-hr news channel culture, Ted Turner(CNN founder) brought to TV years back, could regurgitate was shown. At some point, I think it was even harder for the Egyptian protesters to take the center-stage in the Indian media. But nevertheless, the founding principles of fast paced media servings, ultimately has taken its toll and the story is finally relapsing into the every growing exabytes of archives of the mundane.

The reaction of the Tibetan community was of course that of , disdainful awe and surprise. Karmapa is a highly revered spiritual leader, and in fact symbolizes major part of Tibetan heritage, both in exile and in Tibet. Of course, Tibetans are offended and for good reasons too. Now I would not go into the details of how this was all false, a misunderstanding, mismanagement etc etc. I leave that to the experts. The matter after all, will resolve itself with passing time, as more and more facts come to light.

Friday, January 28, 2011

International Media attention and Katri Elections

With each passing week, month,the excitement and the enthusiasm surrounding the coming Katri elections is only getting stronger and stronger. Momentum in terms of grass root campaigning, informative debates, discussions etc have almost reached its peak and still getting stronger. What is the one thing that anyone notices to be lacking?

Unlike anything related to Tibet, our usual protests, demonstrations etc, the Katri election has generated very little International media attention. Perhaps it could be because of the nature or the significance of the issue or its relevance for consumption in todays 24 hr news bites. But more than that, I feel its because of the lack of any debates in english, press conferences in english etc by the respective candidates. Of course a few articles here and there have come up in some of the international media, but nothing more than that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Emergence of Partisan Media in Tibetan Politics

Apart from the many firsts surrounding our coming Katri elections, the emergence of partisan media in Tibetan politics is yet another development one must not overlook. Now I would not go on a wikipedia search rampage here, by providing my blog visitors with some long historical and archaic background concerning "Partisan Media", but a brief description in plain simple English should suffice.

I can surely provide you with some high worded, scholarly sounding definitions of the matter in question, but that has never been my style. "Partisan Media" basically means a media organisation or outlet of any form, that supports and purports (spreads), the objectives of either an individual or a group of individual,in most cases a political party.

In case of the US politics, news media groups like FOX News, MSNBC, etc each has its core interest group. While Fox news supports and spreads Republican ( a political party in US) agenda, MSNBC is known to lean more towards the Democratic (another pol. party) agenda. To give some Indian examples, Aaj Tak is more or less a trumpet for BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) agenda, while NDTV, IBN etc more or less lean towards the supposedly more liberal Congress Party.