This week seems to have been one of transitions all around the world. Thursday brought many Asian nations into the year of the Rabbit. Silly rabbit, trix are for kids! My classmates from these respective countries, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam showered us with treats galore, it felt like Christmas, well not really but close enough. I learnt and forgot how to say Happy New Year in three different Asian languages. I could tell that they must have missed being at home for these times. The Tibetan New Year is just around the corner, the Iron Hare year, but I am sure that it is not the same.
As the main Election Day for the Tibetan exile community comes looming on the horizon, one of the candidates running for the Kalon Tripa (Chief Executive Position) Tethong Tenzin Namgyal gave a speech on Monday in Tibetan for the general campus audience and in English for the study aboard students. It was my first time seeing anything of the sort, like a politician running for office laying down why he or she is doing so and why anyone should vote for them, campaigns for school president clearly don’t count. Back at home when folks run for these kinds of things one only sees them on the tube but rarely gets the chance to see how they are like in the flesh. I remember in college on two separate occasions when I attended impromptu discussions with Ralph Nader and Angela Davis but that was long after they had ran and lost for whatever offices they were running for.
This candidate was just as far as I could see an average middle-aged Tibetan guy, most particularly for the fact that he was very humble which is what I mean by average. Putting yourself out there can be seen as a bit uncouth around here, but still I guess that coming for the Amerilandia one expects a politician to be full of pompous snazz and bullshit rhetoric. This fellow seemed very honest and he seemed to me that he understands the Tibetan political situation very well. His experience is all across the board from day one which is undisputable and quite impressive but does that mean that he will make a good leader for the Tibetan people? I definitely do not possess the wisdom to know so. I have not been able to follow too closely with the election, beside what I heard from the rumor mill.
The other top candidate Dr.Lobsang Sengay seems to be really popular. I have read some of his articles, an intelligent, ambitious young man, no doubt. I wonder if he will come to Sarah and give his spiel now that Tethong la spoke here. If he comes I would be interested in hearing what he has to say now that I have heard the other guy. I know that he is popular because he’s got a Harvard law degree, at least that what many students that I know who support him have told me, I am sure that he must have other redeemable qualities suitable for the position besides that he went to Harvard Law School. Just because one graduated from an Ivy League school don’t mean dick about being a good and effective leader. George W. Bush graduated from Yale woopdy fucking doo and look how far that brought us. When there is trouble don’t call G.W!
It appears that the raid on the HHK home at Gyüto Monastery in Sidhbari has taken the Tibetan exile community by shock. The Indian media, from what I hear from the students, has been throwing all kinds of allegations to HHK about being a Chinese spy with no evidence what so ever. It seems to me that an anthill was turned into a mountain, if it would have happened to some zero no media and no sensationalist bullshit would have transpired. The community seems to have taken it to heart though and candlelight vigils and protest marches were held in support of HHK. My classmates wanted to go on Tuesday but Gen la said that we have too much to cover in class especially with the exam coming soon, if it was any other time it wouldn’t have been a problem. Many of students from the other classes went though and Sarah was almost a ghost town that day. Us, foreign students have to be really careful about participating in these kinds of things. I have no qualms about going to a protest march demonstrating against the P.R.C. but this one having a more local feel to it and directed towards the Indian law enforcement made me feel uneasy, partly because my stay in India as a foreign student could be liquidated since such act could be seen as directed towards India. Also it is the Superintendent of Police that has to stamp my registration permit. Though I might just be paranoid, it is better to be safe than sorry.
I think that this issue has other deeper concerns too, like Tibetan stability within India. I seriously cannot think of any other country in the world that would do to another group people what the Government of India has done for the Tibetans. It is quite amazing, this actually could, I might risk saying, be the reason why Tibet and its heritage was not totally wiped off the map and the minds of the globally conscious around the world. They totally allowed them to set up shop, their own schools, businesses, government, religious institutions, etc. Most of this was probably due to Pandit Nehru though there are other issues on that front. Though they live in India, Tibetans have their own gig almost totally independent, in an insular fashion, from India as far as living is considered. I say almost because at times they do clash and it is not always pretty. I remember when I first came to Dharamshala in ’05 and I was talking with the director of the NGO that I was volunteering for and he told me, “You know, we have been here for more than 50 years now and though I am totally grateful for all that the Indian Government has done for us Tibetan people, I still wonder how much longer they will put up with us?” That gave me a lot of food for thought. Some students asked Tethong la how stable and protected are the Tibetans in India? Especially after HHDL finally passes to the other side what then? Thus obviously it is a thought that is out there. Also it seems that the negative media that the Tibetans are experiencing could be touching that extremely sensitive but worrisome spot.
On Thursday, Gen la finished the “Presentation of Signs and Reasonings” and Friday started the “Presentation of Mind and Awareness” (blo rig) an introduction into Buddhist psychology so to say. Again, Gen la jokingly said that we will be entering new territory but I am still lost in the land of signs and reasonings and I am screaming like a corn-fed Offie, “Heeeey yooooou, Guuuyyys wait up! But there is not too much that I can really do about it. Ergo since the exam is on the way, I have been focusing on finishing the memorization of the main “Presentation of Signs and Reasonings” text; I had about two/ thirds done at the beginning of the week and know I am almost to the middle. I have been using the mandatory study time from 2 to 4pm for downloading plus about an hour from 4 to 5pm. So since about Tuesday I have been doing 3 hours of downloading a day, which is über intense. But I have made some serious head way and at this rate I could be done with it before the exam.
The text that we are using for studying the “Presentation of Mind and Awareness” was written by the founder of I.B.D. and Sarah College, Lobsang Gyatso a.k.a Gen Dampa. The full title of his text is the “Compendium of the Important Points in the Presentation of Types of Awareness, [an Internal Division of ] the Greater Path of Reasoning” (rigs lam che ba blo rigs kyi rnam gzhag nye mkho kun btus), gotta love these long winded Tibetan titles. After the exam I should have more time to focus on this topic, but since we are behind schedule I have a feeling that Gen la will be going through the text rather rapidly.
I have had a small mystery on my hands or just a lucky accident. I had exhausted all but ten of my cell phone minutes last week and one day after lunch I find a text saying at my phone was recharged. No doubt I was extremely happy that my phone was recharged on minutes, but I could not for the life of me figure out who the hell would have done it. I asked all my friends and none of them did it and so it must have been an accident. Though the chances are highly unlikely that just might be the case, I could possibly be that anomaly where some stranger whose phone number is close to mine but who got it incorrect on their side and correct on my side thus causing my phone to be recharge. Shit, I definitely can’t complain though I hardly use my phone any old how besides as a calculator or for telling the time. Sometimes I go weeks without a receiving a single call or text, beside spam.
In the same vein, this week has been one of gifts at least for me; I have gotten more gifts this week than I have received in a very long time. It is a huge mystery to me, they have come from various different sources, and maybe it is in the stars or something. I know, it is such a lame excuse, right! For it is nothing of my own doing, for I always tend to think if I deserve it and my answer is more positively no! I have been a zero all my life and will probably leave this body as one, which is both comforting and very scary at the same time. Regardless, I am extremely touched almost to tears by all these seemingly random gift giving acts, my appreciation knows no bounds.
For the past couple of days the sounds of drums, trumpets and bhangra music have been filling the airs in and around Sarah. The weather has made a tremendous change, just last week I was in four layers of clothes plus a down coat and since about Wednesday I have been slowly peeling off the layers. Thursday morning was the first morning this year that I realized that the sun is started to shine in my room. My first waking sight that morning, interestingly after they had been in my dream that prior night, was streaks of rainbow light shining on the wall above my bed. I have hanging in front of my window two crystal balls that emit rainbows when the sun shines on them. It was a most happy and welcomed sight for sure. A good sign I hope.
A wedding seems to have been going on for the pass two or three days and it might have been more than one. Last night I saw two sets of lights, one more nearby and another, a ways across the ravine. The mixed sound of canned and live music mixed in my ear drums. As I was studying last night the unmistakable dirty, boom, cha boom cha of a reggaeton beat reached my ears. At first I thought that it must of have been a mistake, an audial hallucination, but I stepped out on the veranda and sho’ nuff, Daddy Yankee was blasting from the wedding up the road. I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard, “¡Dame mas gasolina!” blurted all around Sarah. Even though the dancing at Indian weddings are very lively, they tend to be gender segregated. So I knew that the possibility of any perrero happening at that party was nil, no “Dale duro, dame duro papi dame mas duro”, oh well, a bro can still dream right. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a lil’ perrero very now and then right, playing off of R. Kelly. Anyhow, I think I have exhausted myself for this Saturday. I am happy for the heat, sunlight and rainbow.
P.S. Though I have not been able to get the full news, the revolution that seems to be happening all over the Arab world should have your attention if it doesn’t already. Why? I dunno. I find to the whole thing most interesting. Freedom ain’t goin’ come ‘til ya regulate it!